OPELOUSAS — The St. Landry Parish Council unanimously agreed Wednesday to the creation of a parishwide military honor guard to assist in funerals of veterans.
Lincoln Savoie, a retired U.S. Army investigator, said in an interview after the meeting that funding for the honor guard will come from private donations.
Savoie said he has received similar resolutions of support from the boards of aldermen of six of St. Landry’s 12 municipalities.
“I wanted to get a resolution from (the Parish Council). I consider it to be the 13th municipality,” Savoie said.
Savoie came before the council last year and asked for $10,000 in parish funding for an honor guard.
The council told him at a later meeting there was no parish funding available for the project.
Savoie said American Legion Post 514 in Opelousas later decided to sponsor the honor guard project and he volunteered to deliver that message to elected officials, including parish government.
“Post 514 will take in funding for the honor guard and set it aside in a separate account,” Savoie said. “It’s going to take money to train the rifle squad and the pallbearers that will serve at funerals for the parish veterans.”
He said the funding will be used to assist families with burials and provide a military-style burial for about 5,500 veterans who now live in the parish.
In another matter Wednesday, the council also voted unanimously to have Parish Attorney Chad Pitre research a lease the parish signed in 2014 to provide acreage for horses picked up by parish animal control.
Parish President Bill Fontenot said the lease for the property was recorded but parish government has not made any payments on the lease.
Fontenot also said the parish government has not paid to make any improvements on the property, located in the Swords area near Eunice.
Although the parish has not placed any horses on the property, Fontenot said, it has been leased recently by another individual for grazing cattle.
Lance Pitre, who served as the council attorney at Wednesday night’s meeting, suggested having the council research the terms of the original lease and then terminate it, if possible.
Also on Wednesday, the council accepted a report by Charles Cravins, who represents the council in matters regarding parish government and the St. Landry Solid Waste Commission.
Cravins presented each council member with a packet that he said contains the commission’s financial information and explains how the commission plans to fund extra household disposal carts for rural households.
Cravins said he wanted the give the council time to review the financial documents and then answer any questions at next month’s committee meetings.