Lionel Johnson, Jr.
Mayor of St. Gabriel
As a St. Gabriel native and lifelong resident, I have always had pride in our community and our City. Our residents, both longtime and new neighbors, are fantastic people who embrace the pride, progress and possibilities of St. Gabriel.
Beyond the completed initiatives, people often wonder what physically goes on at City Hall. When St. Gabriel’s residents first elected me as Mayor and I walked in the doors of City Hall in July 2011, I thought I knew what the inner workings of City Hall were like. Even as a former council member, I had a huge learning curve. Looking back, I remember all the initial requests and questions that came into City Hall. For each, I had to immerse myself in the City’s processes to find answers.
Quickly, I learned that the City is much like a mechanical clock, with amazing numbers of moving parts that all need to work together smoothly to tell time. Each department has multiple functions, every staff member has many roles, and as Mayor, it has been my honor to learn more about as well as lead these layers of tasks involved in keeping the City running smoothly.
I look at the City differently now, and a simple walk down the street is a different experience these days. When I see traffic, I think about how to lessen the issue. When I see an open ditch or flooded yards, I consider what sources might be available to help improve drainage and create walkways. When I see an abandoned or dilapidated property, I consider how to transform it into a safe green space or even improved housing. When I hear about a new company interested in our area, my ears perk up and I immediately want to know the details and impacts.
Looking back, I believe we’ve made significant strides as a City as we celebrate our 20th anniversary. We’ve offered several community events to build an even closer community as we celebrate together. It is there that your many questions, suggestions, and concerns have helped shape my understanding of how this City can continue to be a great example of “A City on the Move.”
Looking forward, I’m excited that the progress is expected to continue. We’re constantly working to improve procedures within the city to increase efficiencies. Staff members are better organized, with clearer understandings of their roles and expectations. Our heightened focus on customer service will always be a priority. The future is bright, with City enhancements set to continue as we will see the completion of the levee promenade, expansion of the Community Center, renovation of the Senior Center, construction of a turning lane on Highway 30 and Highway 74, Bayou Paul sidewalk, new Police Department facility and more. I’ve been proud to work alongside our dedicated staff, City Council members and community residents in making our community better.
St. Gabriel, we have so many reasons to celebrate our progress and possibilities. To each of you who’ve asked a question, offered a suggestion, participated in an event, or explained your concerns along the way – thank you. I appreciate you.