Wednesday, January 20, 2016
St. John the Baptist Parish – Parish President Natalie Robottom, her Administrative Staff, Council Members Jaclyn Hotard, Julia Remondet, Buddy Boe, Lennix Madere, Larry Sorapuru and Kurt Becnel paid tribute to the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday through marches and programs held Parishwide. Other local elected officials, faith-based leaders and a host of residents and visitorsalso joined the festivities.
The day began with a march and rally co-sponsored by Bethlehem Baptist Church, the New Pilgrim Baptist Church, and Victory Beyond the Walls Ministry pastored by Reverend Forel Bering and St. John Parish Government. Participants, including residents, local church leaders, fraternity and sorority members, and the East St. John High band, marched from Belle Pointe Blvd. to the Percy Hebert Building where the program was held.
St. John School Superintendent Kevin George served as the key-note speaker, focussing his speech on Dr. King’s dogma of hard work and faith. “Nothing worth having comes easy – you have to grind, you have to work, you have to get it.” Superintendent George said. “Do not let Dr. King’s actions be made in vain, we must seize every opportunity we are given,” he added.
As the rally on the East Bank concluded, the 8th annual Dr. King celebration began in Edgard with a March and program sponsored by the West St. John Civic Association. The program, filled with motivational discourse and song, resonated the theme of the day: "Moving Forward While Accepting the Challenges with Pride and Dignity.” The West St. Elementary dance group, Peggy Joseph and Nathan Joseph delighted attendees with performances. Superintendent Kevin George also served as the guest speaker in Edgard.
Last year, Parish officials spearheaded a bill which ultimately was adopted in the 2014 legislative session to rename Hwy 3179 in Reserve as Martin Luther King, Jr. Hwy. in commemoration of the Civil Rights Leader. “Dr. King’s work opened many doors and allowed us to enjoy the privileges and opportunities that might otherwise not be possible,” President Robottom said. “We must not forget our past.”