Mickey Rivet's lifetime of service honored as he retires, Russell Gerace to complete term

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South
Plaquemine Post South

Plaquemine Selectmen Michael "Mickey" Rivet retired from the Plaquemine Board of Selectmen, after 15 years of service, at the end of December.

Mayor Edwin "Ed" Reeves, Jr. and the Board of Selectmen honored Rivet at its meeting Tuesday, January 14 and appointed local resident and businessman Russell Gerace to complete Rivet's term, which ends on December 31, 2020.

Gerace has pledged not to run for Rivet's seat this fall.

Rivet has had the unique experience of not only being an active community volunteer for 50 years, but also being involved in local politics long enough to remember first-hand stories of some of the most powerful men in Iberville and Louisiana history.

He retired because of continued health issues that have made it difficult for him to do his job.

"I always said if I can't give 100 percent to something, I don't want to do it, and right now I have to focus on my health," he said. "I would never want to short-change the people of my district."

Rivet was elected four times, first taking office in 2005. The city had numerous major accomplishments, including the Mark A. "Tony" Gulotta Bayou Waterfront Park, massive improvements to City Park, the new city wastewater treatment plant and extensive sewer system upgrades, all of which won state awards.

He is most proud of the Waterfront Park, which took some 10 years to complete as the city pieced together the financing.

But, his life of service began long before his public service. Rivet joined the Knights of Columbus in 1968. Through the years, he held many offices in the organization and was the Evangeline Coordinator for 20 years. This year-round commitment meant traveling with Evangeline, queen of the Acadian Festival, to appearances across the state.

He served St. John School athletics for over 40 years, serving as Athletic Director and also assisting the football team for many years. He was a member of numerous boards, including the Iberville ARC, the Iberville Museum, and the Iberville Relay for Life.

As an active Relay volunteer, he raised more than $15,000 for the American Cancer Society. Mickey was the first president of the Iberville Parks & Recreation Board of Directors and served on the board many years.

He has been a member of Friends of the Plaquemine Lock Historic Site, and for years has been a trophy donor for the St. Jude Car Show in Plaquemine. He also annually donated cash to give as door prizes to seniors at the annual Council on Aging Senior Thanksgiving Dinner.

The accolades for Rivet's service have been many, and include Grand Marshall of the Acadian Festival in 1994, the Catholic Diocese Distinguished Graduate Award in 2003, the Kiwanis Citizen of the Year in 2007, the Louisiana Municipal Association Achievement Award in 2010, the Spirit of Iberville Award in 2012, and the Missionary Baptist Church Star Among Stars Award in 2016.

Rivet started his involvement in politics in 1968 when he began working for the late Sheriff Jessel Ourso. He recalls the days when Ourso, State Rep. Bobby Freeman, Senator Boysie Jumonville, and Gov. Edwin Edwards were good friends.

"Years ago, Bobby and I went to see Edwin Edwards when he was in prison. I recall the visit well," he says.

Ourso appointed Rivet to the Indigent Defender Board in 1972, and he served on that board until it was dissolved by the state 22 years later. Among the board members were Kitty Kimball, who would later serve as a judge on the Louisiana State Supreme Court.

Asked why he stayed on the Board of Selectmen for so long, Rivet said, "I just enjoy helping people. I didn't do it for the money, it was always about helping people. When someone called me with a problem, I always checked on it right away. Politics has changed a lot over the years, but I always just liked people and wanted to help. That never changed."

Rivet was honored for his service with a proclamation and a plaque by Mayor Edwin "Ed" Reeves, Jr. and the Board of Selectmen at their January 14 meeting.

Contributed by the City of Plaquemine