Carolyn Roy | News Editor
Patsy Ward-Hoover has a vision for the Village of Natchez. She wants it to be a model community for other municipalities in Natchitoches Parish.
Ward-Hoover was elected mayor of the village April 30. Her vision includes revitalizing the community, bringing down decaying buildings and upgrading City Hall that she says is in deplorable condition. City Hall is on the grounds of the old Natchez school and she wants to determine if the gym is worth saving as a meeting place for the community.
A big part of the vision will be cleaning up the Village.
“I am looking forward to working with the new leadership to find new and innovative ways to address pressing issues such as economic development, finding new Federal and State grants for infrastructure revitalization, creating new educational and entertainment opportunities for our youth and seniors and working to enact long overdue beautification initiatives.
“My other key commitments are to bring affordable and energy-efficient housing options to the area and find business partners to assist in delivering high-speed Internet to the community which could transform this area.
“Further, I will work to showcase our village and advocate that our community is, in fact, open for business. Lastly, I will implement an open door policy and champion transparency and professionalism.
“But my first order of business will be studying the Village audit and deciding how to move forward,” Ward Hoover says. She doesn’t know what is in next year’s budget since it was proposed this month and will be voted on at the June meeting. “It’s not how much you have but what you do with what you have,” Ward-Hoover says.
It’s hard to move her away from talking about her plans for the Village. But she acknowledges her past struggles. She was the mother of three young girls when her 25-year first marriage ended. Her daughters were academically and athletically blessed which made for a busy life. “I became a single mother. I want to show other women that the sky is the limit.”
Ward-Hoover has a total of eight and one-half years of elected public service. She was a member of the Natchitoches Parish Police Jury and was then elected to the Parish Government Council. But it wasn’t easy getting there. “I first ran for public office in 1987 and it took three times to get elected. At that time, not a lot of women were involved. I say to other women, it’s not easy but you can get there.
“I would like to thank our outgoing mayor for her years of service and dedication to the people of our village. I truly want to thank the citizens of the Natchez community for their vote of confidence. I would also like to extend my deepest gratitude to my campaign team for their tireless work and to my dear husband and children.”
Ward-Hoover is a native of Natchitoches and was educated in Texas and Louisiana. She is youth minister of the Natchez Pentecost Baptist Church where the pastor is Joe Williams Sr. She lives in the Village of Natchez with husband, Edward J. Hoover, and is mother to Ulisa Ward-Hookfin, Roshunda Ward and Renita Ward-Williams.
She is a member of the Black Caucus of the La. Police Jury Association and served as secretary and parliamentarian of the caucus.
She has been recognized by the City of Natchitoches with the People’s Involvement Award for being the first African American Woman in Parish Government. She has been chairman of the Parish Council and while on the Police Jury was vice president and assistant parish manager for the highway department.
While Ward-Hoover will take office July 1, the dates for other activities are not certain yet. She will have a swearing-in for herself, three aldermen and chief-of-police. The speaker will be Roderick Scott from the Governor’s Office of Governmental Affairs. Since the vote was made official Friday, she must now decide at what point to offer her resignation to the Parish Council. She wants to facilitate a smooth transition since someone must be named to take her seat on the council.
Ward-Hoover had an easy answer about what inspires her. “You can do all things through Christ. That’s my philosophy. You have to keep God first. I ask for your prayers as we work to build a better future for the dear citizens of Natchez.”
Carolyn Roy | News Editor