Just Talkin’ 4-26-18

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JT was taken aback when he opened an email last week. The email contained information and a photo and the photo was moving! He looked again and it was still moving. Not the whole picture but the people in the photograph were slightly moving around. JT thought, “This is it. I’ve totally lost it” but upon further inspection, he decided the photo was actually animated Ummm…..Was this the Daily Prophet come to life? Harry Potter fans will understand. Maybe this is the technology of the future of newspapers, moving photos. JT figured out quickly it was simply a photo in gif format that allowed it to move, but he wasn’t expecting it and almost shouted “Expecto Patronum” to ward off any bad mojo.

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JT hears the Walk of Honor on the sidewalk in front of City Bank might be disappearing in the not to distant future. In fact, the granite squares, embedded in the sidewalk, honoring just over two dozen who have brought honor to our city might actually be put in storage. The Walk of Honor attracts a huge number of visitors and it’s not uncommon to see folks taking pictures of the squares and even kneeling down beside one for a photo. The squares themselves can be quite slippery if stepped on, especially if it’s rained recently. Any attempt to modify the granite squares to make them less slippery only impairs the view of the pieces. For that reason, there is talk to move them to another prominent location for display. What JT hears though is that the city doesn’t want them and if they have to take them up they’ll just put them in storage somewhere. That would be awful…and shame on the city if they turn their backs on those who have brought fame and international recognition to our city. Ideally, they should be displayed at the Event’s Center or even made a part of the Riverbank improvements. We need them to be displayed somehow…somewhere. If we can’t embed them in the sidewalks for fear of someone falling, then how about placing them on pedestals, or even mounting them somehow to a wall or building. What do you think Natchitoches? What can we do to keep this Walk of Honor from ending up in storage? The last thing the city put in storage, the Ole Darkey Statue, is now in Baton Rouge.

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JT’s hearing a lot of back and forth on the Parish Council form of government as opposed to Police Jury system. It looks like we are going to have an election to decide if we go back to the Jury system or keep the Parish Council form. Under the Police Jury system, the jurors decide among themselves what projects they were going to do and who to hire. Sometimes those decisions were made for the sole purpose of “just because I want to.” The Secretary-Treasurer was more or less a referee and helped them do what they wanted…within the law. The Parish Council form of government gave the parish an administrator who took the politics out of getting things done. They looked at the parish as a whole rather than one district over another. It brought greater accountability. The way JT sees it. The real problem is…there’s no money! Secondly, the Parish Council has a credibility issue that carriers over from the Police Jury days. That’s not going to change no matter what form of government you have. We have a declining population and retail base, as well as an antiquated homestead exemption. The majority of our population is on some sort of government subsidy and those who own houses don’t pay any significant property tax. That’s because the first $75,000 in value of the home is exempt from taxes. For years homestead exemption has been a “sacred cow”…something you didn’t mess with because it reaches too many voters. JT understands that, but until the burden is shifted off the backs of business and industry and more citizens start paying their fair share for parish services, we never will have any money for roads or parish improvements.

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The weather last week for all the activities we had outdoors was magical. JT hears record crowds were on hand Saturday at Melrose for the Arts and Crafts Festival. There seemed to be a lot more vendors. There definitely were more people because finding a parking place was a nightmare. That’s the only complaint JT heard…parking way off and having to walk so far to get to the festival site. Maybe that’s something they can address next year. Who knows, perhaps they could use those trolleys like you see in downtown Natchitoches incorporated with some type of shuttle system.