Braithwaite Postmaster retiring after three decades of “doing it all”Jul 31st, 2012 | By Jessica Gonzalez | Category: community
Charlotte Bazile, Postmaster at the Braithwaite Post Office, is retiring after 33 years of serving the public.
After 33 years of helping residents navigate the ever-changing waters of U.S. Postal Service policies and procedures, Braithwaite Postmaster Charlotte Bazile is saying goodbye to her second home when she retires July 31.
“I did the math and over the course of my 33 years here, I’ve sorted around 2,660,300 million letters, large envelopes and parcels,” Bazile said matter-of-factly, while peering over her small reading glasses. “In such a small office you have to work a lot harder– I sort mail for the carriers, answer phones, assist customers with packages– I do it all.”
And surprisingly, doing it all really hasn’t eroded Bazile’s enthusiasm for the job: even though she is retiring, she’s considering coming on as a part-timer to relieve the new Postmaster should they be out sick or need to take a leave.
A newly-wed who moved to her husband’s homeland of Braithwaite from her hometown of Westwego, Bazile first started her career with the post office after hearing about a part-time job opening from her husband’s aunt, who was Postmaster of the Braithwaite office in 1979.
“It just seemed very interesting to me,” Bazile explained. “So I came down and took the test to apply.”
Bazile passed the test, was hired and worked part-time until her aunt retired. After her aunt’s replacement was moved to a larger branch, Bazile was promoted to the position she holds today.
Over the course of three decades, Bazile has seen many changes come down on the postal industry with the most recent resulting in branches closing across the country. When Bazile first started out stamps were 18 cents, and luxuries like Express and Overnight delivery didn’t exist. But despite the industry sea change spawned by nation-wide cuts, layoffs and branch closures, Bazile maintains that the sleepy Braithwaite office is business-as-usual.
“There are changes coming down, but since we’re so small they really haven’t affected us yet,” Bazile explained.
Bazile says that with the advances in communication technology, many avid technology users are losing touch with the post office and the soon-to-be lost art of letter writing– especially those in the younger generation who don’t know life before computers and cell phones.
“I get letters with stamps in the wrong corner, improperly addressed all the time– I used to go out to the schools and give presentations on how to properly send out mail, but eventually they stopped teaching that,” Bazile explained. “I think the younger generation is missing out on the magic of getting a handwritten letter– there’s just something so personal about it and I think the new technology is rather impersonal.”
As far as what she’ll miss about her career, Bazile affirms she’ll miss the friendly faces behind the counter that make her job so interesting.
“I think I’ll miss serving my customers the most, some of them have become lifelong friends,” Bazile said warmly.
Bazile’s last day at the post office is July 31, but after that you can catch her at area craft shows selling handmade Saints and LSU women’s dresses and hairbows with her craft business Bella’s Bowtique.