Sorrento Councilman Donald Schexnaydre knows frustration as a career educator and football coach but handling sometimes ill-tempered students did not prepare him for “a petulant Ascension Parish Drainage Director and President.” Persistent demands that the parish clean out drainage ditches alongside the railroad which bisects Sorrento were finally met; but the stretch adjoining his property line went untouched. And Schexnaydre is convinced the omission is payback for his criticism of President Kenny Matassa’s administration.
Since February Schexnaydre called on President Kenny Matassa and former Drainage Director Bill Roux (since elevated to Department of Public Works Director in a consolidation of departments which saw Drainage come under the DPW umbrella) to appear before Sorrento’s Council.
Allen Allred, currently Assistant DPW Director over Drainage, appeared in their stead in April but could provide no answers to Donald Schexnaydre’s questions. Last month the full council passed a resolution inviting Matassa and Roux to a Sorrento meeting but…
Parish crews did undertake one of the Sorrento Councilman’s recommendations. Schexnaydre has long advocated for clearing of the railroad ditches which abut the rear of his property along Airline Hwy.
“These drainage ditches, especially under three railroad trestles, don’t just drain Sorrento. We’re downstream from the City of Gonzales and these drainage arteries serve a substantial portion of Ascension Parish,” Schexnaydre said. “The parish is responsible for all major drainage.”
Director Roux has longed bemoaned an inability to elicit cooperation, or even a response, from Kansas City Southern Railroad officials which prevented Ascension Parish from undertaking improvements to the track-side ditches. But Donald Schexnaydre cut through such bureaucratic red-tape with a phone call.
“I called the railroad and was told it has no objection to Ascension Parish, or the Town of Sorrento, cleaning out those ditches,” he reported in April.
Kansas City Southern’s stance? It did not create the drainage ditches running along its rail-line (and parallel to Airline Hwy); Ascension Parish did. While the railroad denies responsibility for the ditch’s maintenance, it does not object to Ascension undertaking its upkeep according to the Sorrento Councilman.
Ascension Parish crews appeared in recent weeks, but halted ditch-clearing at his property line.
“Yes, I absolutely believe President Matassa and Mr. Roux are sending me a message,” Schexnaydre insisted. “This is politics at its very worst and it has caused significant tension between me and our mayor who is an ardent Matassa supporter. Unfortunately, it is the people of Sorrento and other areas of the parish whose property is drained by these c who will pay a price.”
“A chokepoint anywhere along the railroad ditch will impede drainage just as surely as if none of the ditch had been cleared,” he said. “So, what was the point? This was a slap in the face to me and all the citizens of Sorrento who I represent.”
Pelican Post sent the following email to President Matassa and DPW Director Roux earlier this week:
“Gentlemen:I recently spoke to Sorrento Town Councilman Donald Schexnaydre with regard to the above referenced matter. According to him, parish drainage officials and the parish president long ignored his pleas to clean out the railroad ditches where drainage has long been impeded by overgrowth.Finally, according to Councilman Schexnaydre, the parish cleaned those ditches, except those areas adjacent to his property line. He feels this was done intentionally to punish his persistent, and public, complaints/criticisms of the parish for ignoring Sorrento drainage problems.I am affording you the opportunity to respond in any manner you deem appropriate.With warmest personal regards,Wade Petite, Owner/EditorP.s. Any chance you might add Pelican Post back to the list of press release recipients? I’m sure we agree that the people have a right to know…after all, it was you who declared “Secrets are now, effectively, outlawed.”
“Again, I extend an open invitation to President Matassa, Mr. Roux, or anyone with the administration to attend our town meeting to address persistent drainage problems,” Schexnaydre offered. “The president was willing to come visit with us during his campaign and would not have won without support from Sorrento. Don’t ignore our citizens now.”