State paying $1.8 million to set up Gov. Foster's archives - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

State paying $1.8 million to set up Gov. Foster's archives

Updated:

MELINDA DESLATTE
Associated Press
    
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The state is spending nearly $2 million to renovate part of an old elementary school building to house the archives of former Gov. Mike Foster in his hometown of Franklin.
    
Gov. Bobby Jindal, who started his state government career as Foster's health secretary, announced the plans Tuesday.
    
The third floor of the former school will be renovated to keep the archives of the two-term governor, who was in office from 1996 until 2004. The first and second floors already have been refurbished and serve as the Franklin City Hall.
    
"This building will serve as a place to celebrate the incredible work of Gov. Foster and educate generations of our people about the monumental reforms he implemented," Jindal said in a statement.
    
The Jindal administration and lawmakers included $1.8 million for the project in the state's construction budget this year, with $300,000 in funding approved by the Bond Commission to start the work and the rest expected to be paid in later years.
    
Another $75,000 for the project is being paid by St. Mary Parish.
    
Previous governors in Louisiana have not had such treatment for their papers.
    
The Secretary of State's office, which oversees the state archives, doesn't know of any other instance where Louisiana has spent money to set up an archive like what is being done with Foster, said Meg Casper, spokeswoman for the office.
    
State law allows former governors to pick and choose which documents they give to the state archives, if any.
    
"We have one of the weakest laws when it comes to governor's records and what has to happen to them," Casper said.
    
She said the Baton Rouge-based state archives have all of former Gov. Dave Treen's records, compared to only a few boxes each from former Govs. Buddy Roemer and Edwin Edwards, the latter of whom was in office for 16 years.
    
Former Gov. Kathleen Blanco donated many of her papers to the state archives, while Foster only sent records involving state boards and commissions, Casper said.
    
The St. Mary Parish elementary school being renovated will have a public auditorium and will display historic books and documents from other parish leaders, including Foster's grandfather, who was Louisiana's governor from 1892 to 1900.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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