Meet the parish President

Not Your Politician’s Politician

St. Charles Parish President Larry Cochran determined to keep region on right track

 

As a politician, St. Charles Parish President Larry Cochran is a bit different — in a good way.

Cochran is straightforward and doesn’t talk for the sake of talking. He’s not a career politician; rather Cochran is a blue collar guy who worked two decades as an electrician and network technician for the St. Charles School Board and spent 25 years as a volunteer fire fighter, the majority of that time serving as chief.

“I’m probably the most unassuming Parish president you have ever met, because this was never the plan,” Cochran says. “But when you see your neighbors in a time of need — going through the things I saw as a volunteer firefighter — that instinct to help and that leadership bubbles up. And so you look around and try to answer, ‘How can I affect the most change’?”

In November 2015, Cochran — who spent close to a decade on the St. Charles Council — defeated opponent Terry Authement in a run-off to replace departing Parish president V.J. St. Pierre, Jr. Cochran quickly appointed former parish councilman Billy Raymond as chief administrative officer and filled out the rest of his staff including several holdovers from St. Pierre’s regime.

During his time on council, Cochran played a part in the completion of the East Bank levee, the installation of guardrails along Airline Highway, turn lanes created on St. Rose Avenue along with continued upgrades and improvements to St. Charles’ overall drainage system.

Cochran is working to keep the Parish capable of handling the unpredictability of Mother Nature by emphasizing the drainage infrastructure even further and pushing for the completion of the West Bank Protection Levee.

“It’s levee, levee, levee,” Cochran answers when asked the biggest issues he’d like to address in the still-infant stages of his first term. “When you live where we do, that’s always an issue. But it’s also quality of life. It’s attracting businesses and conveniences that other areas like ours have and enjoy. And that doesn’t mean running out the small businesses.

It’s about strengthening them. It’s providing a quality of life so that we don’t have to take our dollars across parish lines.”

To bring industry and retail into St. Charles, Cochran plans to streamline the permit and license process, believing fewer hurdles to leap over will make the parish more desirable to businesses. Cochran also plans to be proactive in recruiting pillars of economic growth to the area, along with maintaining and nurturing the relationship the parish has with the Port of South Louisiana — the largest tonnage port in the Western Hemisphere. As Cochran said, “The Port of South Louisiana has always been vital to our parish because it’s really our connection to the rest of the globe.”

As Cochran strives to make good on all of his campaign platforms, he wants to do so with great transparency and communication. As his own website states, “Larry believes that the most important voice is the community’s voice.” So with that established, Cochran encourages interaction from his constituents during his tenure.

“It’s the people that make this place a great place to work and live,” says Cochran. “We’re rural, but we’re not. So as we grow and as we prosper, we’ll never lose those small-town ideals and community values. Things will change and we want them to change for the better, but as that happens, you don’t stray from who you are.”

 

By WilLiam Kalec

 

 

Categories: Maritime