Funeral services set for the late Mayor Gulotta

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South
Plaquemine Mayor Mark A. "Tony" Gulotta speaks at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Iberville Ochsner Medical Complex.

The body of the late Mayor Mark A. “Tony” Gulotta will lie in honor at Plaquemine City Hall for public visitation on Tuesday, September 15, from 4 until 8 p.m. Visitation will also be held at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church on Wednesday, September 16, from 11 a.m. until Mass of Christian Burial at 2 p.m. Interment will follow at the St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church Cemetery on Main Street in Plaquemine.

The 57-year-old Gulotta died of a massive heart attack on Friday, September 11.  He was serving his 23rd year as City of Plaquemine Mayor (Iberville Parish).  He was the longest serving mayor in the history of the City.

Gulotta was considered a visionary by many.  He enacted many community improvements that restored pride and ignited excitement in the city.  In 1993, he made a promise to voters to clean up Bayou Plaquemine.  Developing the idea of the Bayou Plaquemine Waterfront Park in 1994 became viable with community and elected official support.  He worked for years to get millions in funding to complete various phases of the park, including the main pavilion and parking plaza. Also completed in conjunction with the park was a project to pump freshwater into Bayou Plaquemine, which has greatly enhanced both bayou water quality and aquatic life in the bayou. The award-winning park is now considered the crown jewel of Plaquemine.  Gulotta was currently working on another improvement of the former foundry building, which will be used for additional parking and event space.

He also led numerous other projects during his years of service, with the support of the Plaquemine Board of Selectmen.   The former Plaquemine High School campus was turned into the City of Plaquemine Activity Center, a popular recreational facility for residents with an air conditioned gym, football field, and walking track.  Recent Plaquemine City Park additions have included a water spray park and skate park, and at his death.  Gulotta was working on a master plan for the park with more improvements being planned for 2016.

Gulotta oversaw the city’s $12 million road improvement project in 2010 and 2011, $7 million in improvements to the city’s electrical system in the last three years, and a $16 million project to divert wastewater from Bayou Plaquemine to the Mississippi River and to construct a new wastewater treatment plant to replace the antiquated plant that was operating at capacity. The new plant is currently 80 percent complete.

Mayor Gulotta was a preservationist, who believed in maintaining the historical beauty of the city; and had been involved in the restoration of the circa 1848 Old City Hall building, the Plaquemine Police Department building, and improvements to present historic City Hall building.  He has continued to be a staunch supporter of the Plaquemine Main Street Program, which began at the beginning of his term in 1993.  He served on the City’s Committee to formulate its historic preservation plan, which was adopted in 1989.

He was a member of several organizations, including the Elks Lodge 1398, Krewe du Roi, and Order of Alhambra Meuter. He was an active board member of the Louisiana Energy and Power Authority (LEPA).

Gulotta is the fourth member of his family to die while serving in public office. Both of his parents, Joseph “Tiger Joe” and Etta Lee Gulotta both died while serving on the Plaquemine Board of Selectmen. His brother, Orian A. Gulotta, died in April 2015, while serving as Plaquemine Police Chief.

Gulotta is survived by his wife of 37 years, Mary Sue Varnell Gulotta; two sons, Jeremy Gulotta and wife Amy; and Brad Gulotta; a grandson, Braydn, and granddaughter, Analeigh; sisters Belinda Gulotta and Melissa Koulpasis and her husband, Dave; brother Gregory “Hump” Gulotta and wife Debbie; and numerous other family members.  The Plaquemine Board of Selectmen will serve as honorary pallbearers for the funeral services.