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Bajoie named to fill Council Dist. B seat

11th June 2012   ·   0 Comments

By Zoe Sullivan
Contributing Writer

While the name is impressive, the Mayor’s Press Room is a small room in City Hall. On June 6, it was standing room only in anticipation of the mayor’s announcement of his appointee to fill Council District B seat vacated by Stacy Head. The event began behind schedule, but when it did, an impressive array of people including City Council President Jackie Clarkson and council members Cynthia Hedge-Morrell and Jon Johnson, filed into the press room from the secure door leading to the rest of the Mayor’s offices.

“I wanted them to find an individual who had very, very deep roots in District B,” Mayor Landrieu told the crowd. “We found a young lady who represented District B for 30 years, and the people that live in that area, actually voted for her, and so she stood the test of time.” Landrieu spoke at length about the qualifications that he had specified in the search for an interim council member, including academic and professional ones, as former State Senator Diana Bajoie stood at his side. Landrieu noted that Bajoie holds a master’s degree in health administration, “which explains the tremendous amount of work that she did as a legislator and a senator.” He also underscored her public service and integrity, making an allusion to the current tumult in the city council. “She is the perfect choice,” Landrieu concluded before introducing Bajoie.

Among Bajoie’s accomplishments mentioned was the ground work for the revitalization of the Oretha Castle Haley business corridor and a push for attention to women’s health issues. “I’m ready to go,” Bajoie told those assembled, assuring them that “I know we can make great things happen in this city.” The interim position will last for six months, and Bajoie will not be eligible to run for the post once that term expires.

“She was dreaming big dreams for us, before we were dreaming them ourselves,” Carol Bebelle, Executive Director of the Ashé Cultural Center, told the crowd. “We have lots of leaders, but she’s such a great servant-leader,” Bebelle praised Bajoie, describing how the senator’s work to help inject new life into the area.

“When I heard this announcement, I cheered,” said Dr. Mary Abell, “The one thing that she knows, that I appreciate so much about her, is that prevention and early detection and good health care begins in the community…and she has done it in beauty shops and barber shops and on street corners.”

Mayor Landrieu credited Bajoie’s work as a state senator as laying the ground work for “the greatest economic development engine that the city will see in a very, very long time.” Landrieu was referring to the controversial expansion to the LSU/VA medical center.

One reporters asked if Bajoie she could assure citizens that there would be no more stalled council business due to a lack of a quorum. Bajoie responded that she had worked in a legislature with “extreme views” and that “many times we’re trying to get to the same place, but we’re just going about it in different ways.”

This article was originally published in the June 11, 2012 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper

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