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Third District Volunteer Fire Company operator Robert Gautreaux positions truck at the scene of a car flip accident in New Orleans, La. Friday, Dec. 23, 2016. Jefferson Parish Voters will vote in April on a millage that if passed would expand the Eastbank Consolidated Fire Department and wipe out the Third District Volunteer Fire Company.

Advocate photo by LESLIE GAMBONI

The Bunche Village Subdivision Civic Association will meet at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday for a discussion of the possible elimination of the Third District Volunteer Fire Department, which provides fire protection for the Bunche Village neighborhood.

The meeting will be held at the Williams Play Lot Gym, 7744 Mistletoe St., Metairie.

Jefferson Parish Third District Councilman Mark Spears and representatives from the Third District Volunteer Fire Department have been invited.

The meeting is to discuss the April 29 election that would increase a millage for fire protection.

The Third District Volunteer Fire Department operates four stations. If the April 29 measure passes, three of the stations would be merged into the East Bank Consolidated Fire Service and the fourth station, near Bunche Village, would close. That would eliminate the Third District Volunteer Fire Department. 

“The North Lester station is directly across from Bunche Village and has served our neighborhood with distinction," said Yevetta Chesser, the civic association’s recording secretary. "We are leery of not getting the same level of service from East Bank Consolidated. The association plans to vigorously fight this plan.”

For more information, call Chesser at (504) 214-4341.

Goodbye to Henry Trapani

I burst into tears when I learned of the Jan. 8 death of Metairie resident Henry Trapani, 97, former director of the Department of Citizens Affairs in Jefferson Parish.

Known by many as “Mr. T,” I first met him in 1984 when I was hired as the community news editor for the East Jefferson bureau of The Times-Picayune. As I learned my job and began to meet people throughout the parish, Mr. T was someone whose help and knowledge was invaluable to me.

As the guru of all things Mardi Gras, we had a great working relationship. He helped me immensely during Carnival and other times during the year with whatever information I needed for stories.

In one of his final interviews with me before he retired in 2003, Mr. T said that after seeing his first parade, Zulu on St. Charles Avenue near Lee Circle, he was hooked.

"I couldn’t believe my eyes," he recalled. "Here were grown men and women, scrambling for beads and putting their foot on a doubloon to claim as their own, even if they stepped on a child’s finger. Well, after a couple of glasses of champagne, guess what? I was going after beads and doubloons too, stepping on someone’s hand if I had to. I was hooked, and I have loved Mardi Gras ever since."

Mr. T was relatively small in stature and yet his demeanor could be tough. But he also was a sweetheart of a guy who adored his family, loved working with Carnival captains as well as government leaders and was proud to be a resident of Jefferson Parish.

Mr. T had a wicked sense of humor that could catch you off guard. And he had a vast knowledge on an infinite number of subjects.

Mr. T reached out to me after events in my personal life, lending a kind word and sound advice with sincerity, concern and warmth.

The Trapani family and so many of Mr. T’s friends and former colleagues are in my thoughts and prayers. I feel beyond fortunate to have known Henry Trapani. He was one of a kind, and without a doubt was someone who made a difference in my life.

Arbor Day event

Jefferson Beautification Inc. will hold its 19th annual Arbor Day celebration at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 19, at the Jefferson Performing Arts Center, 6400 Airline Drive, Metairie.

Thirteen trees will be planted and a bench dedicated in honor of area residents.

Two trees will be dedicated in honor of Peter and Mary Ann Muscarello of Metairie to recognize their contribution to LaSalle Park.

The remaining trees will be dedicated in memory of Rick Ankesheiln, formerly of Abita Springs; Bertha “Bea” Bajorek, Ryan Scott Carter, Jeanette Michel and Wilbert “Bert” Odem, all formerly of Metairie; Frank Lombardo II and George Maynard, both formerly of River Ridge; Jefferson Parish Det. David Michel Jr., formerly of Marrero; Rose Mogabgab, formerly of Lakeview; Maidee “Dee” Rodriguez, formerly of Jefferson; and Don Woods, formerly of Kenner.

The bench will be dedicated in memory of Aimee Marus, formerly of Metairie.

JBI is a volunteer, nonprofit corporation formed in 1990 to provide funding for tree planting and beautification projects on public green spaces in Jefferson Parish and to promote education and public awareness.

JBI matches funds with local residents to have memorial and honorary trees planted. A specimen tree can be planted for a donation of $200. Benches with engraved identification plaques can be installed in the park for a donation of $700.

For more information about the Arbor Day event or about JBI, call (504) 737-7583 or go to the website www.jeffersonbeautification.org

Eva Jacob Barkoff writes about the people and events in Jefferson Parish. She can be reached at ejbarkoff@gmail.com.