As if any further proof is needed that you can fix anything with duct tape, Livingston Parish Councilman Tab Lobell took the oath of office Monday with his hand on a Bible held together with the familiar gray adhesive tape.

Judge Elizabeth Wolfe, of the 21st Judicial District, had attended church with Lobell and, knowing the duct-taped Bible’s importance to him, shared its history with those attending the inauguration ceremony.

Lobell was giving the sermon one Sunday at his church and apologized to the congregation for the appearance of his Bible, Wolfe said.

“He said, ‘Y’all have to excuse my Bible. It’s my favorite one,’” Wolfe recalled. “ ‘I’ve got all my verses underlined. I’ve got scratch marks. I’ve got notes. It was falling apart, and I was fixing to have to get a new Bible,’ he said, ‘so I just duct-taped it back together.’”

Wolfe said when Lobell called her about swearing him into office, she offered to let him use her husband’s Bible – a black, embossed version that Wolfe had rebound a few years ago.

Lobell thanked her, but said he thought he’d rather use his old favorite.

Singing judge’s talents noted as he retires

Retired Judge Bruce Bennett is now available to perform at weddings, but as an entertainer rather than officiant, 21st Judicial District Attorney Scott Perrilloux joked as Bennett passed his gavel to his successor recently.

Charlotte Foster, a former prosecutor, was recently elected to a seat on the 21st Judicial District after Bennett decided to step down. Foster asked the outgoing judge to perform at her swearing-in, having heard him in court.

“All the prisoners got happy when he sang,” the incoming jurist said at the ceremony.

“Always in recess, never on the record!” Bennett interjected from his seat.

In a deep baritone and with a wide vibrato, Bennett performed an acapella rendition of “America,” before Foster was presented with her gavel and robe. The former prosecutor said that she had never given much thought to acquiring judicial dress, and when presented with the trappings of her office remarked that her robe was, in fact, a choir robe.

Brusly’s longtime mayor decides to it’s time to step aside

Brusly Mayor Joey Normand made it clear this week he won’t be seeking a fifth term in office. He’s hoping the announcement will encourage others to step up as the town in West Baton Rouge Parish prepares for its next elections this fall.

“I am a person who needs something to fix. By the end of this term, the town of Brusly will have no major projects or issues to carry over into next term,” the mayor wrote in a statement he read at this week’s Town Council meeting.

Normand, who had been mayor for the past 16 years, has had to endure quite a bit on controversy for the past few years. Many blamed him for the downfall of the town’s former police chief who in 2014 was arrested twice for malfeasance in office.

The former chief’s supporters accused Normand of providing the evidence leading to the police chief’s arrest.

Earlier this year, Normand spoke publicly about some of the community backlash he said he and his wife have endured at the hands of those supporters. But Normand said this week all that ultimately had nothing to do with his decision to walk away from public service.

“By removing myself as a potential candidate, other potential candidates will be less hesitant to pursue this office,” his statement reads. “I will not under any circumstances be a candidate.”

Advocate staff writers Heidi Kinchen, Steve Hardy and Terry L. Jones contributed to this report