The St. Tammany Parish Council chose Slidell lawyer Michele Blanchard from a field of three applicants to represent District 13 in the southeast corner of the parish for the remaining five months of Richard Artigue’s term.
Blanchard is an announced candidate for the seat, along with Don Crowley, chairman of the board of St. Tammany Fire Protection District No. 1. He did not seek the temporary appointment.
Artigue, who represented the Slidell-area district for nearly two terms, resigned earlier this month to take a job as director of Slidell’s municipal airport.
Artigue said he wanted to serve out the remainder of his term but was prohibited by state law from serving in both positions.
Slidell Mayor Freddy Drennan did not want to leave the airport position open for another five months, he said.
Blanchard, who is active in the St. Tammany Chamber East, served as chairwoman of the committee that reviewed St. Tammany’s home rule charter and recommended changes to that 15-year-old document that will also be on the fall ballot.
The other applicants were John Cassisa Sr., a former contracts supervisor in the parish’s engineering department, and Scott Jones, a lawyer.
A fourth contender, attorney Deanna Hamilton-Lamz, withdrew at the last minute, according to Council Administrator Don Henderson.
The Parish Council, which had 20 days to choose a successor for Artigue, held a special meeting Wednesday to make its choice, offering each candidate an opportunity to speak. Jones did not attend the meeting.
Blanchard, who spoke first, described herself as a hard worker and self-made person who worked her way through college and law school.
She has lived in District 13 for 10 years and has two businesses there, a law office and a title company.
Follow Sara Pagones on Twitter at @spagonesadvocat.