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More than 700 people, many dressed in red, white and blue and quite a few in full military uniform, attended the long-awaited dedication of the St. Landry Parish Veterans Memorial this week. The dedication ceremony at the memorial, located at 5348 La. 182 immediately south of Opelousas, took more than two hours. Despite that, nobody left before the sun set Wednesday, when volunteers pulled the cord to unveil the memorial and the bronze statue of a kneeling soldier that tops it. Engraved in gold on the memorial are the names of every man and woman in St. Landry Parish who has died in service to their nation from World War I to the present. Rev. James Brady, pastor of St. Landry Catholic Church, opened the ceremony with a prayer of thanks to these fallen veterans and everyone else who has served. “We must never forget the gifts given to us by those willing to serve,” Brady prayed. Keynote speaker for the program was retired Gen. John Basicilia Jr., who led a local National Guard unit in Baghdad, Iraq, during 2004 and 2005.

To read more about the dedication ceremony:


6:00pm   Public Works Committee Meeting
Immediately following Public Works Committee Meeting: Administrative / Finance Committee Meeting    

These meetings are extremely important and you are urged to attend.
By order of St. Landry Parish Council
/s/ Hurlin Dupre, Chairman

Public Works and Administrative / Finance Committee Agendas

Keeping Opelousas and the parish clean will get a little cheaper because of two donated vehicles from the St. Landry Parish Solid Waste Disposal District. The trucks aren’t new, but they include a new, environmentally friendly and cost-effective option — they are powered by compressed natural gas, or CNG. That fuel comes at a discount because it is a byproduct of the parish landfill in the Beggs community. Solid Waste is converting waste methane captured from its landfill into CNG equal to about 250 gallons of gasoline a day. District officials say more capacity is possible.

To read the full article from the Daily World:

The St. Landry Parish Veterans Memorial — a project 10 years in the making that has experienced setbacks and obstacles over the years — has announced its opening ceremony. Pat Mason-Guillory said a formal dedication ceremony has been set for 6 p.m. Sept. 10. “There is still a lot of work to do on the park, but for the dedication, it’s ready,” she said Wednesday. “The granite facing panels are up; the seals are in place. We are ready to go,” said Mason-Guillory, who has headed the project since it began in 2004. The committee had hoped to dedicate the monument on Memorial Day. But its five large, black granite panels, inscribed in gold with the names of every St. Landry Parish veteran who has died in the line of duty since World War I, were not yet ready. Mason-Guillory said that delay gave the committee time to install even more paving bricks on the monument’s various walkways.

The main walkway from the parking lot of the memorial, located at 5348 La. 182 just south of Opelousas, has been reserved as a walk of honor that celebrates various individuals who have served. Engraved paving bricks with the names of project supporters fan out from the central pentagon-shaped monument adorned by a larger than life-sized statue of a kneeling soldier. Italian sculptor Franco Alessandrini, who also created the Father Verbis LaFleur monument at St. Landry Catholic Church, created the centerpiece bronze statue. “I can’t wait to unveil that statue,” Mason-Guillory said. She said the committee has installed more than 1,600 of the engraved paving bricks so far.

While volunteers are still working on the 10-acre park around the monument, Mason-Guillory said it is already looking good. In addition to flags and park benches, crews have planted 21 oak trees and special trees dedicated to individuals. One of those is a Savannah Holly Tree donated by local businessman Bobby Dupre in honor of Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg. President Barack Obama last year honored Remsburg’s story of courage and sacrifice during his State of the Union message. Dupre saved St. Landry’s monument project by donating the land. The monument was days from a groundbreaking ceremony years ago on a site near the entrance to Evangeline Downs Racetrack and Casino. At the last minute, the Downs withdrew its donation and said it could only lease the site to the committee. Because the monument is intended to honor local veterans for generations to come, a lease wasn’t acceptable and the project was knocked back to square one. Mason-Guillory said it has been a long and at times difficult road, but she added that she’s confident the people of St. Landry Parish will be happy with the result. “All of our committee is so happy now. It is going to be really, really something to see,” Mason-Guillory said.

For more information, call her at 337-692.1133 or reach her by email at
Want to go?
What: St. Landry Parish Veterans Memorial dedication ceremony
When: 6 p.m. Sept. 10
Where: 5348 La. 182, immediately south of Opelousas

*Courtesy of the Daily World

This week Karl Aucoin, with Aucoin & Associates, opened the second set of bids for the Smooth Ride Home rural road improvement program. This time to upgrade 62 miles of roads north of U.S. 190 and in the Eunice area. It did even better. The apparent low bid by Coastal Bridge of Baton Rouge was $12,783,479 …— well below the parish's estimate of $15 million. "This will allow our money to go further so we can improve even more roads," said Parish President Bill Fontenot. "We are upgrading our roads to a standard that will last for many, many years to come," he said.. "This is work that has been needed for decades."

For now, Coastal Bridge is only the apparent low bidder. Fontenot said the parish engineer must review the bid to make sure it meets all the requirements, but he added that with a company such as Coastal Bridge, that should be just a formality.