Former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard hasn’t yet completed the nearly four-year prison sentence he received after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges, but he already has lined up a new career with a nonprofit group whose stated mission is to “evangelize and disciple business and professional men in their Christian faith.”
After being transferred recently from a Florida prison camp to a New Orleans halfway house, Broussard will manage a satellite office in Kenner for Mandeville-based Life Resources Inc., which organizes Bible studies and prayer meals frequently headlined by local sports and political figures, according to multiple sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Williams Boulevard office has not opened yet, but the plan is for it to get into operation by the end of the month, after Broussard completes his orientation at the halfway house, the sources said.
If all goes as planned, Broussard will be able to move out of the halfway house by April and in with his 91-year-old mother, who requires care at her residence in Kenner. He would remain on probation until the end of his sentence, which is scheduled for Sept. 5.
The sources emphasized that Broussard — who couldn’t be reached for comment — has long been pious and interested in religious work.
“He’s a genuine believer,” one source said. “He didn’t just find religion after he was given his federal sentence.”
Another source said Broussard, 67, is in high spirits because the prostate cancer with which he was diagnosed several years ago is considered to be dormant and because he is approaching the end of his punishment.
“He wants to live a quiet life out of the public eye and to be left alone,” the source said.
A former Kenner mayor and Jefferson Parish councilman, Broussard took office as parish president in 2004. He resigned at the beginning of 2010 amid a federal corruption investigation and pleaded guilty two years later to charges of conspiracy, wire fraud and theft.
He admitted accepting $66,000 in bribes from a parish contractor and stealing $28,000 by arranging a no-show job for his then-girlfriend.
While serving time at a number of federal correctional facilities in the South, Broussard has emceed the prison Christmas show, taken continuing education classes, sung in a choir and taught other inmates.
He has failed in several bids to either overturn his conviction or shorten his sentence.
The director of Life Resources Inc., Barry Haindel, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. But a 1996 Times-Picayune profile said he began organizing gatherings centered around praying and reading the Bible to give busy professionals a break from demanding jobs and an opportunity to better understand their spirituality.
The first speaker at one of the groups Haindel started in Kenner was Broussard, then the city’s mayor.
Haindel in 2007 was listed as the media contact for the third annual Jefferson Parish president’s prayer dinner, which was headlined by Broussard.
Records show that Haindel and his wife, Elizabeth, donated $720 to Broussard’s campaign finance account between 2006 and 2008.
A relatively recent prayer breakfast organized by Haindel in Metairie featured Saints tight end Benjamin Watson, who is heading to the Ravens.
The Kenner building housing the Life Resources office that the former parish president will run is owned by Patrick Bossetta.
Bossetta was the chief of the East Jefferson Levee District when Hurricane Katrina struck the parish in 2005. He criticized Broussard’s decision to evacuate parish drainage pump workers ahead of the storm, an action that an unsuccessful class-action lawsuit later blamed for flooding in East Jefferson neighborhoods.
Then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco later removed Bossetta from his levee district post at Broussard’s request.
Broussard said he had Bossetta ousted for being too slow to notify parish officials about the fact a levee failure at the 17th Street Canal allowed water to inundate parts of Old Metairie and Old Jefferson after the storm. Bossetta insisted his ouster was an act of political retribution.
Broussard and Bossetta have since buried their problems and are back on friendly terms, a source said Wednesday.