Currently, there is some friendly debate about what would be the best name for the new Mississippi River Bridge near the St. Francisville/New Roads area.

Audubon Bridge initially was chosen, probably because of its familiarity to our area.

Interest has developed in naming the project the Robert H. Barrow/John A. Lejeune Bridge because of these two men?s outstanding service to our country in the U.S. Marine Corps.

A third viable option must be considered seriously.

Any longtime resident of West Feliciana Parish or Pointe Coupee Parish will tell you that when they think of the St. Francis-ville/New Roads ferry, immediately the names Capt. Philip Morris Bennett Sr. and Jr. come to mind.

They were dedicated and committed men, not only to their jobs as captains of the ferryboat, but to God, their families and to all the many people who crossed the river under their care.

They were friendly, kind, generous, compassionate and loving men who viewed other people as their friends and neighbors.

At times, they could be seen exiting the pilot house to help someone change a tire, provide a bandage for a child?s scrape or cut, or just chat with the ?travelers? to make sure everything was OK. During those times, people actually looked forward to ?riding the ferry.?

If we need a name for an art gallery, Audubon would be a logical choice. If a military museum requires a name, then Barrow/Lejeune would be my choice. But for a bridge that ?ferries? people across the Mississippi River in the St. Francisville/New Roads area, then the name Philip Morris Bennett Bridge is a must.

Francis Rinaudo Jr., D.D.S.


St. Francisville