Louisiana consists of 64 parishes and over 300 municipalities. But if you are looking for places with more drama than a soap opera you don’t have to venture very far. Between the City of Youngsville (Why-ville) and the City of Breaux (Broken) Bridge there are plenty of things playing out. It is almost like the two are competing to see who can screw up more things. Let’s cover a few items of which you may be unaware.
Majority of Civil Service Board members not qualified to serve
The Breaux Bridge Municipal Police Civil Service Board is required and regulated by state law. The qualifications for the members of the Board and the process for appointing them are all determined by state law. But state law be damned… they do what they want in Breaux Bridge. Much like the election rigging that occurred in the City of Youngsville, Chief Albert “Buz’d” LeBlanc engaged in his own election antics and voter suppression. But the City of Breaux Bridge has really set itself apart when it comes to the selection process of Civil Service Board members.
The Breaux Bridge Municipal Police Civil Service Board consists of three members. One of the three is selected by police officers in the classified service, with the remaining two being appointed by the Council for the City of Breaux Bridge. But there is a catch! At least one of those members must be selected from a list of nominees supplied by the President of ULL. Additionally, under state law the candidates are required to undergo a background check. But if you ask the City of Breaux Bridge, that just ain’t the way they do things around there.
Likewise, Louisiana Civil Service law has strict dual office holding restrictions. You can’t sit on a local Civil Service Board and also hold a position on another board or in government (aside from the police and fire representatives on Boards). Despite this, officials of the City of Breaux Bridge illegally appointed Burton Dupuis and Ken Mouton to serve on the Breaux Bridge Municipal Police Civil Service Board. Both men presently serve on the St. Martin Parish Hospital Service District. Dupuis being appointed to that Board in July of 2019, while Mouton was appointed to the same Board in July of 2021. When brought this to the attention of the Council for the City of Breaux Bridge… crickets!
But recently we learned that both Dupuis and Mouton are no longer on the Board. Both stepping down after notice was received from the State Examiner’s Officer indicating that they may not be eligible to serve on the Board. Didn’t someone notify them of that previously? Oh right, Citizens for a New Louisiana did. Thus the process of finding replacements began, but not in the normal manner. Mayor Ricky Calais, instead of asking the ULL President for a nomination list as required by law, sent his own nominations to ULL President Savoie on October 5, 2023. Savoie then returned the same list of individuals back to Calais as his nominees on October 11, 2023. Mayor Calais then sent an e-mail to Chief Albert Buzz’d LeBlanc, Terry Latiolais (Assistant Chief), Tenneal Latiolais (Secretary of the Chief, Secretary of the Civil Service Board, and wife of the Assistant Chief) and Attorney Bart Hebert. Calais’ email indicated that from the names he received from President Savoie (THE ONES CALAIS SUBMITTED) he planned on recommending Norris Theriot and Neal Angelle to serve on the Board at the November meeting. Attorney Hebert chimed in that Neal Angelle would need to resign from the planning and zoning commission. To which Mayor Calais replied: “He already has.”
Without the Breaux Bridge City Council ever having an opportunity to discuss the recommendations and vote for a selection, steps had already been taken by Neal Angelle to resign from the planning and zoning commission in order to be eligible to serve on the Civil Service Board. As it turns out, Neal Angelle previously worked with Bart Hebert at the firm Boyer, Hebert & Angelle in Breaux Bridge. A firm at which Bart Hebert and Breaux Bridge City Judge Randy Angelle are both partners. Neal Angelle also has a family relation to both Judge Randy Angelle and former Civil Service Board Member Burton Dupuis. Why is it that this small group of people seemingly control and influence every Board in Breaux Bridge? Another tangled web, much like Youngsville.
Criminal investigations underway
Former Youngsville Chief of Police Rickey Boudreaux found himself the target of several investigations, including at atleast one criminal investigation by the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office. Likewise, one of his officers, Eric Segura, was previously the target of a criminal investigation by the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office last year. Segura was recently sued in Federal Court for his alleged role in violating the civil rights of a Texas man (more to come on that as well). But Breaux Bridge is keeping up pace.
It was earlier this year that we learned of a criminal investigation underway regarding evidence handling at the Breaux Bridge Police Department. Youngsville has also been the subject of alleged evidence mishandling. However, the investigation involving the Breaux Bridge Police Department seems to call into question evidence practices going back over a year. Several dozens of firearms are allegedly missing from the evidence room in Breaux Bridge. But more recently, we have learned of another Breaux Bridge Police Officer under criminal investigation by the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office.
So why is the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office investigating a Breaux Bridge Police officer for on-duty activity and not the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office? Well, the alleged crime occurred in Lafayette Parish, not St. Martin Parish! Back in August a Breaux Bridge man was found dead in Lafayette Parish. It just so happens that the same individual came into contact with Breaux Bridge Police just days before his body was discovered. While information on what actually transpired between the subject and police officer is limited, what we do know is that a criminal investigation persists.
We have not reported on the City of Youngsville being involved in any confirmed censorship. However, it does appear that they recently disabled comments on a Halloween post when someone remarked about the “iron fist” of police officer Eric Segura. The censorship tactic in Youngsville seems to be more about silencing people through intimidation, not blocking or restricting social media comments. We should probably look into that though. One Youngsville Police Officer allegedly recently found themself under investigation for answering a question posed by Mayor Ken Ritter. The question: ‘What can we do to make things better at the Youngsville Police Department?’ The answer: ‘Stop hiring CRIMINALS!’
While in the City of Breaux Bridge, it’s been confirmed that the third-party vendor hired to run the Facebook page of the Breaux Bridge Police Department was engaged in blocking people (including at least one police officer) and comments. We initially sought records in June of 2022 regarding allegations that the City of Breaux Bridge had engaged in the blocking. Only recently were we able to get information confirming that this had in fact occurred. We were told that the vendor has been notified “that actual people (as opposed to spam “bots”) cannot be blocked from making comments (as long as the comment complies with Facebook’s community standards).”
It’s true that these issues don’t just exist in Y-ville and Breaux-ken Bridge. They can be found in every community in this state. However, it’s up to the local citizens to pay attention and demand accountability. It’s amazing the amount of heat a little sunshine can generate. You can rest assured this will not be the last time we visit the activities of these two cities. There is certainly more to come.