11 Ascension Parish Council seats are scheduled to be contested on October 14, with some districts having seen major changes to accommodate wildly shifting demographic patterns reflected in the most recent decennial census. Our analysis of those district-by-district shifts, with an assessment of potential changes to the electoral dynamic, focuses on District 10 today. (See above for map going into effect for Election Day, adopted during a Special Meeting of the Council on December 29).
The most drastic change of any district, nearly 46% of the voters in District 10 on October 14 will have been eligible to cast their ballot in some other district four years ago. Three precincts were shifted elsewhere with one eliminated after being subsumed. Four new precincts were added, all east of Airline Hwy and to the City of Gonzales’s north.
That is noteworthy since the two-term incumbent is a native of Gonzales where his political power base lies. Had we not tracked four redistricting workshops and simply compared it to the current District 10…
we’d have questioned whether or not Councilman John Cagnolatti intended to seek reelection. Precinct 32, bisected by Purpera Rd where Cagnolatti performed exceedingly well in two elections, is now in District 2. It includes many of the old-time politicos ultra-supportive of his election bids, especially in 2015 when Cagnolatti coat-tailed on a City of Gonzales transplant who would win Ascension’s presidency. Also excised were Precinct No. 23 (abutting Gonzales to the northwest) and Precinct No. 73.
In return District 10 gained three precincts (Nos. 24, 25, and 41) from District 9, a fourth (No. 21) from District 11. Cagnolatti, assuming he is on the ballot in October, is open to a challenge from one of those areas. If the citizens of Gonzales were paying any attention, he should leak significant support inside the city limits.
Sorrento mayor exposes Lawler, Casso, Orgeron and Cagnolatti petulance
Adding his name to an East Ascension Drainage Commission agenda item in May 2022:
Discussion of requiring all municipalities on the Eastbank to have development drainage standards that are at least equal to Parish standards under possibility of cessation of drainage work in municipalities that do not have such standard (Vice-Chairman Aaron Lawler, Commissioners Terri Casso, John Cagnolotti, Corey Orgeron).
considering a cessation of drainage works inside Gonzales is an abject betrayal of the citizens he supposedly represents there. Joining with Aaron Lawler, Teri Casso, and Corey Orgeron demonstrates a profound lack of judgment. Parish President Clint Cointment, still overseeing EA Drainage, put a stop to it after Sorrento Mayor Chris Guidry laid waste to Councilman Lawler (see link above). Too bad Guidry’s Gonzales counterpart, and pal of John Cagnolatti, did not join the public excoriation.
We digress…because your writer happens to reside Precinct 32 along with 1,300 or so other citizens who are the real winners in the redistricting process. Trading in Cagnolatti for Joel Robert is quite the upgrade.
Cagnolatti’s disservice to his Gonzales constituency is of ancient vintage. In 2017 he sat idly by as former DPW Director Bill Roux attempted to stick the city with half the cost of the New River Dredging project, pitched by EA Drainage’s current liaison as a two-tiered, $20 million job. Nearly 20% of every dollar raked in by EA Drainage annually originating inside the City of Gonzales, its residents were double-taxed as their representative sat idly by, mindlessly nodding in approval like the empty suit he has been for seven years.
Gonzales having to pick up the tab for…
City of Gonzales approves $573,000 Purpera Canal drainage improvement
flowing through Cagnolatti’s current district (Precinct 32 as it happens), should not sit well with any resident of the city. Suffice it to say, Councilman Cagnolatti has many detractors among his Gonzales constituents, exposing his northern flank all the more.
And then there was the six-member attempt to divest President Cointment from operational control over EA Drainage works. It spurred a recall effort against Cagnolatti, with a surprisingly large number of signatures according to its Vice Chair, a solid platinum voter list with which his challenger should launch his/her campaign. The District 10 seat, as newly-configured and all things considered, is ripe for the picking.