Inextricably identified with St. Amant, Councilman Randy Clouatre bleeds black and gold, and does so gleefully. Mostly affable, sometimes irascible, Clouatre’s District 6 has retained, to a degree, that quaint guiding principle of “rural character” found in the recently replaced Master Land Use Plan and largely ignored since its inception two decades ago. Residential subdivisions have not, not yet anyway, inundated St. Amant where drainage/flooding has been Clouatre’s major issue since taking office in 2008.
Having declared that his name will not appear on the October 12 ballot, it seems Randy Clouatre’s tenure will not see the beginning of Laurel Ridge Levee extension’s construction. Nothing amps Clouatre up, though criticism of Lamar Dixon Expo Center comes close, like Laurel Ridge Levee. We suspect it is one of his regrets since he did not reply to two questions posed.
- How would you characterize Randy Clouatre’s 11.5 years on the council (of what are you most proud, any regrets, etc)?
- What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
Harshest hit by August 2016’s flooding, St. Amant’s victims included its council representative. It’s no wonder that Clouatre is one of East Ascension Drainage Board’s (it is comprised of ten east bank council representatives) most vocal members. He enjoyed a stint as the board’s chairman, before it became the exclusive province of Clouatre’s neighbor to the north, Councilman Dempsey Lambert.
Not that it matters all that much, given their deferential treatment of successive parish presidents even though EA Drainage is an entity separate and apart from Ascension Parish Government. Cooperative Endeavor Agreements are enacted annually (except during former president Ronnie Hughes’ tenure) to empower the administration to run things. Under Clouatre’s gavel in February 2009 the Drainage Board even agreed to a 4% “charge” shifting drainage tax revenues to parish government.
Deference to “the administration” has been a hallmark of Clouatre’s tenure, not that he’s alone in that. His was one of four votes to sustain President Kenny Matassa’s veto of the May 16 ordinance limiting fill material on development to 3′ across the parish…
then Clouatre accepted an appointment by Matassa to a committee tasked with filling the void left by that veto…
NOTE: Clouatre, during his 2015-16 Council Chairmanship, refused to place a “No Confidence” in Matassa vote on the agenda after the president was alleged to have bribed a candidate for Gonzales City Council. He would vote “No Confidence” when it came up after Matassa had been indicted in 2017 in a rare split with the administration.
All as Clouatre claims an ordinance limiting fill material is “important to me and my district.” Six years ago it was Clouatre who made the motion to limit fill to 3′ (instead of 4′ originally proposed) in the ordinance applicable to all development, which allows subdivisions and commercial development to go higher so long as fill is mitigated.
Clouatre’s focus was not on subdivisions, but individual lots. On December 5, 2013 Clouatre said:
“I’m all for the regulation because I do have some of the ant nests,” he employed the moniker applied to homes built atop “mountains of fill…We’ve got people filling boundary to boundary and they have no responsibility for their runoff.”
Maybe he will break with the administration on Matassa’s fill ordinance committee, though we doubt it. Planning Director Jerome Fournier was grilled by Clouatre’s District 2 counterpart during the veto override proceeding on June 6:
Bill Dawson: “You are recommending no limit on the amount of fill. Is that correct?
Jerome Fournier: “That’s what the administration is recommending.”
Is a compliant Randy Clouatre going to finally buck an administration at this late date?
He has gone along with the administration and colleagues on measures not so important to St. Amant; sanitary sewer, MoveAscension, placating developers…none of which has worked to his constituents’ detriment (or benefit) since those issues have not impacted still rural (sort of) St. Amant. Parish sewer lines will not extend to District 6 for decades, not until those developers target St. Amant. All of the transportation dollars funding MoveAscension are being invested in north Ascension.
Drainage is another matter entirely.