Jewell urges House to keep North Iberville in District 60

Deidre Cruse

Iberville Parish Council President Matthew H. “Matt” Jewell lobbied a legislative committee Friday to keep North Iberville in House District 60 with most of Iberville Parish when the district lines are redrawn.

A special legislative session on reapportionment opened Sunday in Baton Rouge. The Legislature must draw new districts for House and Senate seats, as well as for Congress, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and other state bodies.

Jewell, who said he was also representing his father-in-law Rosedale Mayor Lawrence “Football” Badeaux, and Grosse Tete Mayor Michael Chauffe, attended the meeting Friday of the House and Governmental Affairs Committee. The panel was considering a plan that would move Maringouin and Rosedale from District 60, now represented by state Rep. Karen St. Germain and into District 18 with Pointe Coupee Parish, a district represented by Rep. Major Thibaut. Jewell testified against the plan.

“Do y'all think Major Thibaut is going to think about North Iberville,” Jewell asked. “...Thibaut has a major bridge coming on line (between New Roads and St. Francisville). If he needs votes, send him to East Feliciana.”

“We've always been that other part of the parish way over there,” he said. “There are 23 miles of woods and swamp between North Iberville and the rest of the parish.”

Jewell said North Iberville has been helped by the construction of the parish's new Welcome Center at Bayou Grosse Tete and I-10, and is looking forward to a new $2 million community center, for which construction will start soon.

“We don't need to take a detour at this point,” the council president said. “We need to move forward.”

After the committee hearing, Jewell said. House Speaker Jim Tucker said he “would look at this very hard.”

“If you don't go voice your opinions, if nobody stands up and fights it, the first thing that comes up is that nobody showed,” Jewell said.

State Sen. Rob Marionneaux said last week he would fight to keep Iberville Parish in District 17, which he currently represents, even though he is term-limited from running for re-election.