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Censure expected for Ascension Parish Council’s Joel Robert

Staff Report

Ascension Parish Council’s District 2 member Joel Robert is expected to face censure during the next meeting due to leaving an expletive-filled voicemail for the council secretary.

Ascension Parish Council’s District 2 member Joel Robert

Baton Rouge-based television station WBRZ obtained audio purported to be Robert using the “f-word” in a roughly 10-second message left on the phone of secretary Cinnamon McKey.

Robert was on vacation when the council voted on a controversial subdivision Delaune Estates, planned for the area of Hwy. 73 and White Road, about a mile from Interstate 10. 

A 6-4 vote fell short of the necessary eight votes to overturn the March 11 denial of a 237-lot subdivision preliminary plat, previously known as Antebellum Pointe.

He reportedly sent a letter to be read for the record during his absence, which stated his disapproval of the subdivision. 

The only reference made about Robert during the meeting was when Chair Teri Casso mentioned he would not be present due to being on vacation.

In the television report, Casso said she will ask for an official censure discussion the next time the council meets on Aug. 6. Robert has apologized for leaving the message, she added.

Robert told WBRZ he called McKey and wrote a letter of apology to her family.

McKey has been council secretary for more than eight years.

District 2 encompasses the Pelican Point area south of Gonzales, and part of Donaldsonville.

In other parish political developments during the week:

-- Johnny Berthelot won the Division E seat on the Gonzales City Council after opponent Terance Irvin withdrew.

Berthelot, registered as an independent, began his political career as an alderman. He previously served as mayor for 24 years, and a member of the state House of Representatives for eight year.

Irvin, registered as a Democrat, is a former council member who ran for mayor against Barney Arceneaux in the 2016 race.

-- In the race for the District 5 seat on the Donaldsonville City Council, two candidates remain after W.C. “Bill” Dawson withdrew.

Dawson, a former District 2 Ascension Parish Council member, was registered as a Republican. He served a portion of Donaldsonville on the parish council from 2016 to 2019.

In the running for the seat are: Thomas “Moose” Pearce and Michael Sullivan Sr.

Pearce is an independent, while Sullivan is a Democrat.

-- In the race for Constable 1st Justice Court, Andrew "Banana" LeBlanc III withdrew.

Registered as a Democrat, LeBlanc has been in the position since March 24, 1980. 

Over the weekend, LeBlanc shared a 40-year-old photo from The Donaldsonville Chief where he shook hands with his grandfather, former Donaldsonville Police Chief Charles Trepagnier. At the time, Chief Deputy Clerk Raymond Carbo swore him into office.

Remaining in the race are: Robert Gibson (no party), Jeffrey Henry Sr. (Democrat), and Murray Henry Walker (Democrat).