by Cody Leger
Bayou Vermilion District has been no stranger to controversy in recent years. The latest controversy comes in the form of a campaign led by Jolie Johnson, who serves as a council member for the Louisiana Association of Museums. This campaign has been dubbed, “Save the Artisans, Save Vermilionville.” The entire premise of this campaign is that the Artisans of Vermilionville, or Vermilionville as a whole for that matter, may be in danger of being lost. In a opinion recent letter, Jolie makes unfounded claims as grandiose as the title of her movement. Even if we dismiss the broad generalizations that accuse unnamed entities of “stacked boards” who continue to take over budgets and narratives, there are several other claims directed at Bayou Vermilion District that require clarification.
Did she just make the whole thing up?
The namesake of the movement subversively implies that the artisans of Vermilionville and the village itself are in danger of being lost. There have been no records of discussion among decision makers that Vermilionville, nor the artisans of Vermilionville are in any sort of danger. In fact, it has been quite the opposite. The BVD commissioners have repeatedly stated the importance of the Village. Some have even expressed the need for an increase of artisans! Furthermore, if anyone had bothered to listen in to the Executive Committee meeting of December 14th, they would have known that commissioners included raises for Vermilionville staff in the proposed budget. This doesn’t quite fall in line with the projected narrative of this movement, does it? New commissioners who are calling for increased financial accountability and transparency have faced rapid onslaughts of purposeful mischaracterization on what transparency and accountability actually mean for the village. This movement is no different.
Lamenting inaction when real action has finally arrived.
Another claim is that people have witnessed the “continual downfall of Vermilionville due to inaction on every level.” What does the continual downfall of Vermilionville look like, exactly? Does it involve a group of commissioners who have finally arrived to demand financial accountability from an entity funded on the backs of taxpayers?
I am left with more questions than answers from this article and the type of support that “Save the Artisans” is searching for. Warning readers of the continual downfall and a looming battle without validating these types of claims is exactly the type of divisive language that forces onlookers to pick a side. It is a form of ideological subversion that attempts to turn a non-issue into an issue with the sole purpose of side-tracking public opinion.
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