City, parish operations curtailed
St. Mary Parish President Paul Naquin
After a parish-wide meeting of governmental leaders, the mayors from the cities of Morgan City, Patterson and Berwick announced this morning that non-essential workers will be told to stay home Tuesday and Wednesday.
Essential workers in utility departments will be on call with fire and police departments staffed as needed.
Morgan City Mayor Frank “Boo” Grizzaffi said, “Safety is our number one issue and priority.”
Police chiefs in each of the three cities are asking residents to stay off the streets Tuesday and Wednesday.
Berwick Police Chief James Richard said, “Please stay inside and stay off the streets unless it is absolutely necessary.”
Parish President Paul Naquin will be issuing a state of emergency for the parish. This will allow greater accessibility to resources if needed and also will expedite a reimbursement of expenses if the parish becomes declared a federal disaster area.
Naquin said parish business at the St. Mary Parish courthouse will not be conducted and non-essential parish workers will be asked to stay home for their safety. He expects other entities at the courthouse will also be closed.
“We do not want our employees to unnecessarily be exposed to dangerous circumstances as conditions on the roads are expected to become hazardous,” Naquin said.
The parish landfill will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday and Progressive Waste has told the parish that it will not run routes in the parish, Naquin said.
The three cities and the parish sent non-essential workers home early Friday afternoon due to a freeze event last week.
The Tri-City area managed to escape serious incidents last week and city governments are hoping for a repeat with preparations for another round of wintry weather this week.
Grizzaffi said the city workers managed last week’s weather well last week and essential workers are on standby for this week.
“I have 200 workers to consider,” Grizzaffi said. “We will err on the side of safety. But we will be staffed enough to cover whatever arises. We have multiple issues to consider. Whatever I decide, we will have essential employees from utilities, police and fire on call.”
Berwick Mayor Louis Ratcliff knew the weather had the potential last week for major headaches but was glad to see that it did not amount to much more than an inconvenience.
“Everything came out OK, thank the Lord,” Ratcliff said. “I hope and pray that we come out as well this week as we did last week.”
The biggest inconvenience in Berwick was for travelers when a weather-related accident occurred on the U.S. 90 exit ramp for the overpass to La. 182, Ratcliff said. The accident was attributed to the ramp being iced over leading to the ramp being shut down for more than 12 hours.
Patterson Mayor Rodney Grogan sent non-essential employees home around noon Friday because of impending weather conditions and has followed suit with the parish in closing City Hall Tuesday and Wednesday.
“I hope everybody in the city will just stay home and stay warm unless they just absolutely have to get out,” Grogan said.
Community Action Agency and Head Start in St. Mary and Vermillion parishes announced they will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday, tentatively to be reopened at 8 a.m. Thursday.
Anthony Saleme, assistant district attorney for the 16th Judicial District, said court will not be held Tuesday and Wednesday and offices associated with the district attorney and courts will be closed.
Defendants and their attorney’s with cases scheduled those two days will have their court dates rescheduled and notices will be mailed out to them regarding the rescheduled date, Saleme said.
The Daily Review office will close at 3 p.m. Tuesday.