Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux sits down to reflect on his key moments, regrets and public image during his time in office.
Photo by Louis Prejean
Below is a Q-and-A from our sitdown with Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux, as he reflects on his time in office.
Question: Taking it back to the night you were elected, October 24th 2015, can you tell us what that scene was like and what your feelings were when you found out you had won?
Answer: That’s a really surreal atmosphere because you are beholden to what the voters had done earlier that day. Until those votes come in, you really don’t know. It’s about as anxious a moment as I’ve experienced. It’s a unique type of night. That’s for sure.
Q: What can you tell Lafayette about how the new city and parish councils will work, as well as the pros and cons of this new system?
A: The reality is that nobody knows how it’s going to work. We hope that it works as wonderfully as could be to where the parish and the city recognize that their interests aren’t always aligned but they understand what needs to be accomplished to be a great city and parish. The reality, however, is that things to turn parochial. The parish feels like it’s having to carry more than its share. The city may feel the same thing. Once you have that divide it begins a bit more difficult to manage and the things I hope everyone remembers is that there is no perfect answer.
Q: What do you think people will say about your time as mayor-president?
A: There will be those that remember stuff that I did that they didn’t like. There will be others that remember some of the initiatives that they did like. I think the vast majority of folks will say ‘He never raised our taxes. He dedicated money for drainage. He’s given us a good gateway into Lafayette.’ I think, overall, there will be a lot of positives that will come out of these four years. I’m comfortable with what we were able to accomplish.
Q: What does Lafayette and the Acadiana area mean to you?
A: It’s this unique place. The rest of the state looks at Lafayette as this unique diamond. They say ‘Oh, Lafayette doesn’t need anything. They have all this great stuff going on.’ But it was like, no that’s our tax dollars and we deserve our share of the revenue. Everybody looks at us like we’re different but in a positive way. It reinforces what a great place this is.
Q: What advice can you offer to the next mayor-president?
A: Do your best to stay true to yourself. When you have conversations with the public, be honest and be sincere. Don’t try to spin it in a way because you think that’s what they want to hear. People want leaders that are honest. Whether they agree or disagree with you, they want a leader that’s being honest with them and telling them why they’re doing what they’re doing.
VIdeo Highlights from the Q&A
Q: Do you have any regrets as the mayor president, anything you wish you could have accomplished?
Q: What are some key moments that stand out to you when you reflect on your time as mayor-president?
Q: What would you say about the concerns surrounding the effects of the pay raises for the police department, and do you feel like it is a problem being left behind?
Q: How would you describe your time as mayor-president?
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