ST. MARTINVILLE — The St. Martin Parish Council voted unanimously Tuesday to pass a resolution of remembrance and respect and to name the new Council on Aging center after state Rep. Sydnie Mae Durand, a former police juror, who died Oct. 11.
On hand to honor Durand’s memory were District Attorney Phil Haney, of the 16th Judicial District; state Rep. Mike Huval, R-Parks, who represents District 46, Durand’s former seat; state Sen. Fred Mills, D-Parks; many past police jurors and councilmen as well as municipal and parish employees who worked with Durand over the years.
“Tonight is special and it does not surprise me the room is packed,” Parish President Guy Cormier said. “It is special and heart-wrenching to be here to honor someone who served the parish so well for so many years.”
Haney said early in his career, he was assigned to the St. Martin Parish Police Jury ,and Durand was in a special group of jurors “who came together to get things done.”
“Back then, votes were 5-4 (split between St. Martinville and Breaux Bridge) on almost everything,” he said. “She always tried to bring people to compromise, and that led to a lot of 9-0 rather than 5-4 votes. She was visionary, compassionate and energetic. She was my friend and a friend to the community.”
Huval said the moment was a happy one, adding he “would not be surprised if Sydnie Mae was looking down on us, smiling.”
He said Durand held a special place as the first woman to serve St. Martin Parish in political office after being elected to the then-Police Jury.
Huval said Durand was always attending events in the community to be close to those she represented, and that did not change after she was elected to represent the parish in the state House of Representatives.
“She truly wanted to serve,” he said. “Even today in Baton Rouge, she is well spoken-of and remembered. … She will be missed.”
Mills, during his time at the podium, commended Durand’s son, Chip, and acknowledged he also gave up much for his mother to serve.
He also said her name being on the new Council On Aging Center is fitting because of her passion to help and protect the elderly and underprivileged.
“When we pass and see her name on the building, we should think of the service she lived,” Mills said.