John LeBlanc has been a regular at Zachary City Hall since summer 2018, when he started coming to City Council meetings to voice concerns about drivers speeding down his street.
Soon, he will trade his usual seat in the audience for one at the council dais.
“Who would have ever thought?” said LeBlanc, who won a runoff for the District 2 council seat Dec. 5. “I never thought this day would come.”
LeBlanc will serve on the council for the two years that remain in the unexpired term of his predecessor, Brandon Noel, who himself has a new job after the election: East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council member.
The election has brought an end to an interesting chapter in Zachary politics that began more than a year ago.
It all started in October 2019, when Noel announced he was moving out of District 2 and would have to give up the council seat he’d held since 2011.
The council held a special meeting to pick someone to hold the position until an election could take place — but the members couldn’t agree on any of the four people who showed up to offer themselves for the temporary job. That pool of candidates included LeBlanc as well as Beetle Fisher, who would ultimately face off in Saturday’s election.
The city then had to turn the decision over to the governor, who appointed Donald Morgan to the seat.
Another hurdle came when the city, which originally planned to hold an election in April, decided to put it off until November — when more items would be on the ballot — because it would cost less.
In the November election, LeBlanc, a retired firefighter, got 41% of votes; Fisher, a business owner, netted 30%; and April Hawthorne, a teacher, had 28%, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.
Finally, there was the runoff between LeBlanc and Fisher, both Republicans. LeBlanc won with 56% of votes.
LeBlanc was sworn into office during the council last meeting of the year.
Noel, a Republican and commercial lender, was elected to the District 1 seat on the Metro Council, beating Democrat and management consultant Eric Lewis. Noel will replace term-limited Trae Welch.
In addition to Zachary, Noel’s new district includes Pride, Port Hudson, Chaneyville and parts of Baker and Central.
LeBlanc and Noel have both said infrastructure issues top their list of priorities.
“Drainage, too many houses being built and traffic — those were the three main things that people talked about” on the campaign trail, LeBlanc said.
He also wants to try to direct more funding to public safety.
Noel has said he’d like to get the parish to open an early voting site in Zachary — the only municipality in East Baton Rouge Parish that doesn’t currently have one.