Four vie for parish president’s job in St. Bernard Parish

Published: Sep. 29, 2023 at 7:21 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - In St. Bernard Parish, voters will decide who the parish’s top leader will be.

Four Republicans are vying for the job: Kerri Callais, an at-large St. Bernard Parish councilmember and managing partner at Callais Ice Service; former St. Bernard councilman and longtime businessman Wayne Landry; Emile Pellittieri, a contractor who once ran for sheriff, and Louis Pomes, chief of field operations for St. Bernard Parish government.

All say they are the best choice for the job.

“I believe that I have the qualifications, the experience, the involvement necessary to do this job as well as the relationships across our region. For the last eight years, we’ve seen amazing progress and success in St. Bernard and I’ve been happy to be a part of that. I also believe my community involvement is one of the things that stands out from the other candidates in this race. I’ve been chairwoman of the Chamber of Commerce, I founded the Leadership St. Bernard Program,” said Callais.

Landry said, “I have a degree in public administration, I have 38 years’ experience as CEO working with government entities and more importantly I’m financing my own campaign, so I’m not going to owe anybody anything. We’ll be able to do what’s right, we can end a lot of the wasteful spending and what I would call corruption in our parish government.”

“I have 50 years of doing volunteer work, community service. My goal has always been and my life has always been community first. All of my decisions are going to be looked at through that perspective and everything else follows,” said Pellittieri.

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And Pomes said, “To start with, I’m the most qualified person for the job. I’ve actually been working in parish government since 1981 in a full-time position, serving the people of St. Bernard Parish. I had a great opportunity to work with every branch of government in the past 40 years, running some of the largest budgets throughout government. I’m responsible for millions of dollars in equipment.”

They were asked what they think are the parish’s most pressing problems.

“Obviously, the saltwater intrusion is one of the most pressing but more importantly than that, we have a lot of issues with our fire department,” said Landry.

Pomes said, “At this time, it’s the Port of New Orleans coming to St. Bernard, the infrastructure that we have, the quality of life that it’s going to destroy, that’s one of our biggest problems. Another problem we’re having right now is we have this saltwater wedge coming up the Mississippi River.”

Pellittieri stated, “It always comes down to safety, safe homes, neighborhoods, streets, schools, drainage is a problem… We need some more recreation projects.”

“I believe that our drainage funds are going to be important, we have some drainage issues that haven’t been dealt with since Katrina,” said Callais. We’re going to have to make sure that we’re addressing issues with our youth and issues with the drug epidemic that is going across our nation but specifically is an issue here.”

They also responded to a question about their top three priorities, in terms of problems to tackle.

“Obviously, the port is a big issue for us, we’re going to need to make sure that, that is handled in the correct manner. We also need to make sure that code enforcement is addressed,” said Callais. “And my priority for the last eight years will continue as coastal restoration.”

Landry stated, “I would say the port, economic development, okay and the fire department right now is the issue, but there’s a whole host.”

“Stop the port project, safety in the community with the schools, drainage issues,” said Pellittieri.

And Pomes replied, “Number one is going to be the Port of New Orleans coming into St. Bernard, that’s going to be our number one, number two is we have a little issue with our fire department for protection *BUTT*Number three is infrastructure for our drainage.”

Early voting starts Saturday and each candidate feels good about their chances of becoming the next parish president in St. Bernard.

“I feel really good with my chances on winning,” said Pomes.

“We are so excited. The momentum has been building over the last few weeks,” said Callais.

Landry said, “I think my chances are just as good as anyone else’s. I think the people down here know me.”

And Pellittieri said, “I feel good about it, some days not so good. But we’re out there, we’re pushing for it.”

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