Pictured is a map of the City of Ville Platte showing the zones for street work. (Courtesy of City of Ville Platte)
Pro-Life activities get the green light; zones are approved for street work in Ville Platte
At Tuesday’s Ville Platte City Council meeting, Mayor Jennifer Vidrine announced she and Fr. Mitchell Guidry, pastor of Our Lady Queen of All Saints, came to an agreement on the annual Right to Life March. Several days ago, Guidry requested a permit for the Right to Life March from OLQAS to Sacred Heart Church. The march is held annually near the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case which legalized abortion. Vidrine denied the request according to the state guideline for COVID-19 safety.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Guidry apologized for some choice words he used for Mayor Jennifer Vidrine, saying “Things escalated to a point they shouldn’t have. My whole idea was that this was for us to support life, not to hate the mayor.” He added, “Thankfully, I think we all learned we can disagree with people, but we can do so respectfully. It’s sad to think that’s something we’ve lost in our country. We get so entrenched in our own ideas, behind our computers, that we lose sight of the fact that we’re talking to human beings here.”
Vidrine said she and Guidry sat down to talk on Tuesday. “In the atmosphere that’s going on today with everything that’s happening in the world, people have knee-jerk reactions,.” she said. “Sometimes we say or write things without thinking. I’ve been a Christian all of my life, and I will never be against prayer or religion. It’s just that the timing of this march is with COVID.”
Vidrine said, “The decision was made solely as a public health issue for public safety. It had nothing to do with religion, nothing to do with politics. It had to do with trying to protect the public from the virus.” She further said, “The numbers are at an all-time high. The march is considered a gathering, and we’re asked to avoid all gatherings. We were both trying to save lives.”
Guidry further said, “We come from different backgrounds and different faiths in Ville Platte, but there should be no reason for us to be divided.” Vidrine agreed, saying, “Let us be an example. If the people in Washington could sit down and talk like Father Mitch and I did today, a lot of things could be accomplished in a peaceful and loving way. It’s about humanity and trying to do the right thing. I’m a firm believer that prayer changes everything, and it did today. Prayer changed the tone of this whole situation with the march.”
Guidry said he has come to a compromise with the mayor and Fr. Tom Voorhies, pastor of Sacred Heart Church. Now the Right to Life event will be on the grounds of Sacred Heart Church on Sunday, January 24. Vidrine said she will be there to pray in solidarity for human life.
Further, Vidrine said this was not the only walk to be denied. The Martin Luther King, Jr. march was denied for the same reason, but a compromise was made to gather on the grounds of the Ninth Baptist Church on Monday, January 18.
In other business, some time ago, council members were asked to submit a list of roads in need of repair in their districts. At Tuesday’s meeting, Vidrine gave council members a composite map of the city with a list of streets in need of repair. The streets and their relative districts are: St. Marie - new construction (A); McArthur - rebuilt (A); Hickory - rebuilt from Park Street to Chataignier Road (D); Edward Knotoe - rebuilt (D, E); Demourelle - rebuilt (D); Northeast MLK - rebuilt (D, E); N.E. Rail Road - patched and overlayed (B); S.E. Rail Road - patched and overlayed (B, F); Jack Miller Road - rebuilt (C); Demonchervaux - rebuilt (C, F); Hickory from Chataignier Road to Jack Miller Road - rebuilt (D); Hickory from Jack Miller Road to Lithcote Road - patch and overlay (C); Fusilier - patch and overlay (C); Reed - patch and overlay (F); E. Washington - patch and overlay (B); W. DeSoto - patch and overlay (B); Magnolia - patch and overlay (A,F).
The repairs will be done with grant money and partly from city funds. Vidrine explained the pandemic delayed the repair work and continues to delay suppliers and engineers from gaining the necessary material they need. She added, “You should start seeing new street construction, repairs, and overlays very soon.”
More from the council meeting will be in the Sunday, January 17, edition of the Ville Platte Gazette.