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Photograph: Washington Town Mayor Dwight Landreneau. (Photograph by Freddie Herpin.)

Editor/Consulting Writer

The Town of Washington is soon scheduled to become the only small rural town along Interstate 49 to feature an electric vehicle charging station, Mayor Dwight Landreneau said on Thursday.

Landreneau, who will be inducted into the Louisiana 4-H Hall of Fame on Nov. 12, said the charging station is expected to help attract more visitors and tourism to the town.

The charging station, which will be located next to the town police department, is one of several major town events that Landreneau discussed during a morning St. Landry Parish Tourist Commission networking session held at the Opelousas Hampton Inn off the I-49 service road.

EV Charging Station
Landreneau said an unveiling ceremony for the charging station has been set for Oct. 12 beginning at 10 a.m.

During an interview Landreneau said the EV station was donated to the town by CLECO and will allow vehicles to charge for about 45 minutes.

Vehicles will be able to locate the charging station through phone apps, which motorists ordinarily use to identify where they can charge their EV’s, said Landreneau.

Landreneau thinks the EV charging station might be used as a tourist attraction, since drivers can pull off the interstate and view aspects of the historic town.

Revitalizing A Neighborhood Park
Landreneau told Commission members that a neighborhood volunteer organization is working to restore the Jacob Joubert Memorial Park at the corners of Vine and Prescott streets.

The organization is planning an Oct. 14 funding event to assist with the expenses, said Landreneau, who was elected to a four-year term in 2022.

Washington-area citizens that include Al Harris, Vanessa Harris, Tony Harris and Karren’s Kids Foundation are among those who have helped provide revenues and supervision for events that are being held at the park.

Tourist And Visitors Projects
Landreneau said plans and construction are continuing for a projected nine-room boutique hotel on Main Street, in addition to a recreational vehicle park that will eventually feature a pavilion, boat ramp and canoe rental business.

There are also plans to create a cart and walking trail through the town, said Landreneau.

The golf carts will have strict operating regulations, such as licensed adult drivers, windshields, lights, state registrations and other permitting restrictions.

Landreneau said there are about 50 historic sites that can be viewed by walking or riding the carts.

Revolutionary War Event
The town will also host an Oct. 28 event featuring the Sons of The American Revolution, which are scheduled to perform a reenactment event as well as present a plaque for Revolutionary War veterans at the Church Landing cemetery, Landreneau noted.

Landreneau pointed out that the town has made extensive efforts with the assistance of a Cemetery Foundation organization over the past several years to clean and maintain the town cemeteries.

In The Hall of Fame
Landreneau will be inducted into the 4-H Hall of Fame at Camp Pollock.

The 4-H organization, Landreneau said, was always part of his Washington High School curriculum.

Later Landreneau was employed as the St. Landry Parish 4-H agent for five years as part of his work with the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service.

“I’ve always been connected with the 4-H in every capacity, whether it was as a 4-H member, camp counselor, educator, administrator or volunteer,” Landreneau said.

During his years in the parish school system, Landreneau said he was active in the organization from fourth through 12th grades.

Town Revenues, Expenses
A 2022 town budget review, which was presented in July to the Town Council, reflects revenues of about $1.7 million, which was an increase in the original anticipated $1.5 million.

In 2023, the town budget is projected to receive revenues of about $1.8 million.

Expenses are expected to be about $1.6 million. 

Most of the revenue stream includes $650,000 in utility charges, $440 from fines and fees and another $300,000 from taxes.

About $500,000 is expected to be spent for town police, while another $400,000 will be used to administer town government.  

St. Landry Parish Tourism Director Herman Fuselier leading a discussion at the monthly Commission meeting. (Photograph by Freddie Herpin)