While many in the LGBT community in Baton Rouge were anxiously awaiting the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage, as were others around the country, there doesn’t appear to have been a mad rush of couples seeking marriage licenses in the capital region.
In the first week since the ruling, just 25 same-sex couples paid a visit to court houses in the nine parish metro region seeking marriage licenses.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the largest number issued were in East Baton Rouge Parish, the region’s largest parish. Eighteen were issued between the Clerk of Court’s Office downtown and satellite office on Coursey Boulevard.
“There was not like a mad rush the first day,” said Fred Sliman, a spokesman for the clerk’s office. “It was spread out between the two offices over the past week and went pretty smoothly.”
Among the other parishes, Ascension Parish had issued three marriage licenses to same-sex couples as of late Thursday, while Iberville Parish issued two and St. Helena and Livingston each issued one. There were none issued in West Baton Rouge, Pointe Coupee and East and West Feliciana Parishes.
“I’m really surprised because I had quite a few people called me this week saying they would show up to get one,” Pointe Coupee Clerk Lanell Landry said Thursday.
In Iberville Parish, Deputy Clerk Amy Patin said the first of two couples to apply for a marriage license on Wednesday returned it Thursday for filing.
“They got married today at their house,” Patin said Thursday. “They wanted to go ahead and take care of it here before going to Florida and having a ceremony.”
St. Helena Parish issued its first and thus-far only same-sex marriage license to a lesbian couple on Tuesday, according to Chief Deputy Clerk Denise Godfrey.
She said people of the parish had been waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision, and her office has received inquiries about more licenses that may be issued in the coming days.
“We weren’t surprised. … It’s a pretty liberal community,” she said. “We’re all on board with (same-sex marriage.) … I think we’ll (issue) our fair share.”
New EBR superintendent still building team
Warren Drake says he still has five vacant positions he’s trying fill on the new organizational chart he developed that was approved by the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board last month, including two of his five top administrators.
The most prominent vacancy is the newly created job of assistant superintendent for academics, which oversees areas such as magnet schools and professional development. Next in importance is the chief of student support services, which oversees a handful of areas including transportation, information technology and school technology.
Unchanged are the positions of executive director of human resources and chief business operations officer, jobs long held by Millie Williams and Catherine Fletcher, respectively.
All four answer to the newly created deputy superintendent, Michelle Clayton, who was Drake’s longtime lieutenant when ran top-ranked Zachary public schools. Clayton has the biggest portfolio, overseeing school operations most directly.
Drake noted three other vacancies: director of high schools, chief technology officer, and JumpStart supervisor. The new superintendents said he interviewed two candidates for chief technology and hopes to make a job offer by Tuesday. He said he hopes to fill the other vacancies soon.
Drake also said he has already placed people he’s worked with before into two other jobs.
Shenoa Webb, who worked with Drake during his three years at the Louisiana Department of Education, is the new executive director of early childhood, replacing Bobbie Robertson, who recently retired. Tamara Johnson, who worked with Drake at both the state and in Zachary, is his new director of professional development.
Advocate staff writers Charles Lussier, Terry L. Jones, Rebekah Allen, Steve Hardy and Ellyn Couvillion contributed to this article.