Four years ago I moved to the small village of Grand Cane, Louisiana. And it’s been quite an adventure! But I’m embarrassed to say that, until last month, I’d never attended a village council meeting. But I’m hooked.
Let me back up. Louisiana runs things a little differently than, say, the rest of the country. They go at their own pace and have their own rules. They even call things by different names than the other forty-nine states. Louisianians call it the uniqueness and beauty of Louisiana. I call it bucking the system. But hey…I say toe-may-toe and they say tuh-may-ter.
Grand Cane boasts 298 residents within the village. John and I support our village, and yes I poke fun, but I’d put our leadership alongside any big city. We have an amazing mayor and three incredible aldermen. I love them all and thank God they embrace their government salaries and run our community. Yes, government officials should consider themselves servants of the people. But when our leaders receive less than $25 a month, they truly are servants. My cleaning lady makes more than that.
Last month I attended my very first ever village council meeting. What should I wear? Should I take a sweater? Should I bring along a pen and paper? Could I get a selfie with the council? These burning questions poured through my head as I prepared for my initial government meeting.
For the record, my father plays bridge with the mayor every Monday, and I have coffee with her on Fridays—with about ten other ladies. And yes, I go to church with one alderman. The other two? Oh, I see most every week in Grand Cane. So probably not a hard sell to get them posed and ready for social media.
What would my first village council look like? Well, I’ve seen YouTube videos of government meetings gone wildly astray. Fists pumping, people screaming, police arresting. Would the Grand Cane village council be anything like that? Uh, no, not even a bit.
We opened with prayer—always a good thing. I mean, who wants God reigning down hellfire and brimstone on a village council meeting? Yes, always best to pray. The motion to pay the bills? Again, yes, always a good thing. I don’t like the bill collectors knocking on my door. And I don’t want my village to suffer that same fate. Yes, please pay the bills! The motion to approve the financials? Well, our village is suffering from lack of money coming in and money going out. Nope, not great, but it is what it is. So yes, let’s approve the financials.
Sewer report? Check. Yes, we still have a sewer, thank goodness! I mean, lack of a sewer would bring forth a whole mess of issues that, quite frankly, I’m not qualified to deal with. But our sewer needs money to keep going. Okay, I get that. We all need money to repair our stuff and keep going. Motion to raise sales tax so we can do that? Well yes, put that on the fall ballot! I don’t want my friends and neighbors creating unique and unusual ways to dispose of their, well, the things their bodies expire. And let’s move on.
Proposal to accept new merchants downtown? Yay! I am all for small business owners. Let me brag upon the village of Grand Cane. Our village rents downtown space at $0.25 per square foot. Now, if that’s not a deal, then you haven’t priced retail space, my friend! Our council voted to accept two new vendors. And with a proposed 1% sales tax for the village? Whoo hoo! No need to create unique and unusual ways to dispose of unmentionables. Let’s move on.
Jann Goar Franklin graduated Russellville High School in 1985 and lives in Grand Cane, Louisiana. Jann also writes books, which are for sale at www.jannfranklin.com. You can reach her at email@example.com