Wednesday, June 24, 2015
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH – On Friday, June 19, 2015, Parish President Natalie Robottom, Representative Randal Gaines and Council members were joined by a host of other elected officials, staff members and residents for a ribbon cutting ceremony in Reserve renaming Hwy 3179 (East 22nd St.) to Martin Luther King, Jr. Hwy.
Parish officials began the discussion about naming a street after the slain Civil Rights leader about two years ago following a request from Retired Judge Sylvia Taylor Dunn. The Council approved a resolution requesting the name change and forwarded it to Representative Gaines for introduction during the 2014 legislative session.
Representative Gaines worked tirelessly with Parish President Robottom and the Council to gain support from his colleagues for the bill which was ultimately adopted and signed by the Governor. “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. challenged us to be better people and this Parish is a better place because of his efforts,” said Gaines. “It is only fitting to rename this roadway as a reminder of a selfless leader who was willing to take a stand for moral courage.”
Parish President Robottom accredited the successful name change to a joint effort between many officials, residents and DOTD. She also indicated that it was quite fitting that the renaming occurred on 150th anniversary of Juneteenth - a symbolic day in American History in which news of President Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the emancipation proclamation reached the enslaved people of the South.
“As the first female and African American to serve as Parish President, this is a testament to how far we’ve come and the struggle many people have endured to get here,” said President Robottom. “Through acknowledging the efforts of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we continue the fight for equality for Americans of every race and background and celebrate the shared promise of a better tomorrow.”
Lucien Gauff, Council Member at Large Division A, said “it was a humbling moment for St. John and a day that will be marked in history.” Council Member District III, Lennix Madere, shared that he was “happy to be involved in such a great thing.”