Some of the best Christmas presents are delivered each year by the U.S. Postal Service. But for the town of Madisonville, the post office was the gift this holiday season.
After several months of consternation over the possible downsizing of postal operations there, Madisonville got word just before the holidays that the lease for its post office is being renewed through at least late 2023. The news came from U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, who forwarded to Mayor Jean Pelloat a letter he received from a postal spokesperson dated Dec. 13.
“Facilities officials at our headquarters report that there are no current plans to relocate (the Madisonville) Post Office and that the lease is being renewed through September 2023,” a government relations representative for the USPS wrote to Scalise. The letter further noted that the USPS “understands the extent to which local communities rely upon and appreciate our organization.”
Though national postal officials never stated the Madisonville office was slated for downsizing, fear of that potential had circulated around town since at least October, and it was a hot topic on social media and during at least two town council meetings. Town officials implored Scalise to investigate, and they also reached out to U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, the latter of whom lives in Madisonville.
The hubbub may have started when visiting Postal Service workers recently measured mail sorting areas at the cramped 3,260-square-foot building on La. 21. Measurements supposedly were taken at the Mandeville post office as well, which was the rumored location to which many functions of the Madisonville office would be moved.
On three occasions between October and early December, a USPS spokesperson emphasized to local media that there were no plans to downsize or close the Madisonville facility, but that did little to squelch the town's anxiety. Scalise’s letter arriving just before Christmas, however, seemed to do the trick.
“Our efforts, and the efforts of our elected officials in Washington, D.C., (may have helped save our post office,)” Pelloat said. “All of them were active in the support of the post office. Now that a lease will be signed, we have time to decide what they need. But I don’t think we can afford to wait (on locating possible alternatives should they be necessary in the future.)
“We heard that maybe it was a 6,000 or 7,000-square-foot building (that the postal service needed to maintain full operations in town.) We have an opportunity to help secure a different location, a lease.”
While a move still may be necessary in the future, Pelloat said he’s glad to know that postal retail and mailing services in place now will remain in Madisonville.
“It’s a big plus for us,” he said. “That post office stays busy. Plus, it’s part of a town’s identity. It’s important to us as a community, and it makes perfect sense to have a (full service) post office in an area like Madisonville that’s growing so quickly.”