Robideaux Report Recap
Lafayette Mayor President Joel Robideaux hosted his inaugural parish-wide address, titled Robideaux Report, on the evening of Thursday, March 30 at the Heymann Center. During his speech, Robideaux spoke about his administration's first year, including highlights and challenges, and gave attendees a glimpse of his new cultural economy initiative for 2017.
Robideaux took office on January 4, 2016 facing an extended period of declining sales tax revenues coupled with the plummeting price of oil. The immediate challenge for the new administration was the budget. Robideaux was forced to make tough decisions and make drastic budget cuts, including cutting the budget for the district attorney and the judges.
The unprecedented rainfall and resulting flooding in August of 2016 seemed to be everyone biggest challenge, including departments. Robideaux talked about the immediate emergency response and the following recovery and lauded the work of emergency responders, charitable organizations and community members who came to the aid of those in need following the flooding. He discussed the $1.6 billion in federal aid and was realistic that the aid would run out quickly, leaving many without help. He acknowledged the need to work with the congressional delegation to identify the extremely large amount of money needed for local recovery.
Shifting towards the opportunities and accomplishments of the administration’s first year, Robideaux talked about his approach to serve his constituents through a parish-wide focus and working with the other elected officials throughout the parish. In an effort to keep people better informed, he ramped up communications through an increased online presence and a weekly radio show, welcoming citizens to call in with their thoughts and concerns.
Robideaux discussed his intent to improve University Avenue as a gateway to the community. He said together with the Council, funding will be dedicated in the next bond sale to begin the esthetic improvements such as planting trees and building sidewalks along the corridor. He also discussed the I-49 corridor project as an opportunity to reconnect the community in a way that has not existed since the Evangeline Thruway was built. Robideaux stressed the importance of the future of I-49 as the Energy Corridor for the U.S., as an economic catalyst locally and an evacuation route for the region.
Early in his administration, Robideaux committed to transforming the Lafayette Animal Shelter to a “no kill” center by 2020. The popular initiative has had some early successes which include a formal partnership with Target Zero, substantial improvements to the animal euthanasia rates and expanded adoption hours. Looking ahead, Robideaux will be introducing ordinances to further improve the “live outcomes” of the shelter.
Robideaux concluded his address with the launch of a new initiative to capitalize on Lafayette’s culture to further diversify the economy. CREATE (Culture, Recreation, Entertainment, Arts, Tourism, Economy) is a parish-wide, interagency, multi-year initiative to expand upon one of our greatest and most innate qualities, our culture, as an economic driver. Robideaux said the first step is to develop a cultural inventory and develop a relationship map in order to rebrand as a cultural, recreational and entertainment destination. He stated the initiative will also be important to retaining and attracting future generations to the region. Sign up to be a part of guiding this important initiative at https://www.robideauxreport.com/create/.
Watch the full address via The Daily Advertiser’s Facebook Live broadcast at https://www.facebook.com/dailyadvertiser/videos/1600096776697664/.
Missed the Robideaux Report, Year-in-Review? You can watch it thanks to AOC Community Media.