Ribbon cutting ceremony will announce new services coming to the parish

In an effort “to provide services to everyone in St. Charles Parish,” Alvina “Nena” Matherne’s efforts spanned years with the South Louisiana Human Services Authority to get them.

At 10 a.m. Monday, a ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Boutte to announce the arrival of a South Central Louisiana Human Services Authority’s mobile unit with a psychiatrist, social worker and primary care physician with services including primary care, medication management and crisis intervention.

Parish President Larry Cochran, 29th Judicial Judges M. Lauren Lemmon and Timothy Marcel along with Assistant Pastor Marilyn Biggs and the Rev. Charles Johnson will comment on the services coming to St. Charles Parish. The ribbon cutting will be held at 11 a.m. followed by tours of the mobile unit.

Diggs said this is the beginning of a dream that everyone seemed to share about helping in the parish, but came about from a casual meeting between Diggs and Matherne – and then “It was on.”

“We’re starting to get some of those services in the parish and I’d like to see us get more,” said Matherne, who sits on the authority’s board of directors. Both she and Diggs are retired teachers from the parish’s school system.

For Diggs, this answered a prayer she’d had three years.

The mobile unit will come to the parish twice a month to Mt. Zion’s Boutte Community Center Outreach Center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on September 16 and 30; October 14 and 28; November 4 and 25, and December 2 and 16.

In the church’s “witnessing” in the community, Diggs said she saw the need for mental health and drug abuse services.

Lisa Schilling, director, said Boutte will be the authority’s first location in St. Charles Parish.

“This is the first time we’re able to collaborate with the parish,” Schilling said of Mt. Zion. “They have some funding from the St. Charles Parish government for community outreach and we’re teaming up with their program to establish the primary care services. It’s called Help Home.”

Schilling said the federal government has funding with Medicaid, which is given to the Louisiana Department of Health Services and then distributed to the parishes designated by regions. St. Charles Parish is in Region 3 with the authority’s site in LaPlace.

A tutoring program and the Mobile Unit with a nurse practitioner will begin to see clients.

The authority is a public-private entity with sites in Houma, Morgan City, LaPlace and Raceland.

“It really has been a goal to do mobile services or to open a satellite clinic where we don’t have brick-and-mortar sites,” Schilling said. “This is a perfect time for us to be able to do that in St. Charles Parish.”

Who is the South Louisiana Human Services Authority?

  • Mission: To increase public awareness of and to provide access for individuals with behavioral health and developmental disabilities to integrated community based services while promoting wellness, recovery and independence through education and the choice of a broad range of programmatic and community resources.
  • Established in 2006 to provide developmental disabilities and behavioral health services to residents of Assumption, Lafourche, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Mary and Terrebonne.
  • Established in July 2006 by Legislative Act 449.


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