Voters will decide between a political newcomer and a former councilman as Republicans Willie Comardelle and Paul Hogan campaign for the District IV council seat.
Hogan served 12 years on the St. Charles Parish Council from 2008 to 2019, first as District IV Councilman and then as Councilman at Large for District B. The Des Allemands native is seeking a return, he said, to be a loud and effective voice for those in his community.
“I want to be there and stand up for the people,” Hogan said. “I’m experienced with government and regulation – I’m a stickler for the rules. I believe in them. The entirety of my time I was on the council, these people know where I stood. That’s the way it’s going to be if they wish to elect me back to be their representative again, like I have in the past.”
Hogan said flood protection still stands chief among the issues he’d like to fight for. Ditto for flood and home insurance rates.
“We’re still fighting this issue. Risk Reduction 2.0 is making flood insurance totally unaffordable, then you also have regular homeowner’s insurance. It’s driving people out to where they just can’t afford it,” Hogan said.
He also said he aims to spur movement on the planned boat launch and recreational area on Bayou Des Allemands.
“Chevron donated that property for a boat launch and in the four years since I’ve been out of office – really, longer, since the donation itself – there’s still no launch. I know it’s in the works, but I want to be there to push this along and make this a reality. That could be a crown jewel of St. Charles Parish, something like a Lafreniere Park, which is what I envisioned when I pushed for this as Councilman at Large,” Hogan said.
Hogan reiterated that – as always – he’ll call it like it is.
“If you like it, fine. If not – I don’t care,” Hogan said. “I don’t sugar coat anything. Never have, never will. I’ll be a loud voice fighting for the people of the community.”
Comardelle, a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard who served in active duty following 9/11, has deep local roots – and also family roots in public service, including his grandfather, stepfather and mother.
“I’ve always been really connected to the public sector,” Comardelle said.
He worked for more than 10 years with Dow Chemical before leaving to pursue a career in business development. Comardelle became a technical consultant for a worldwide coating manufacturer, and now serves as a business development manager for Five-S Group specializing in heavy civil construction and mass material supply supporting coastal restoration and economic developments across the Gulf South.
After learning that incumbent Councilman Nicky Dufrene would not be seeking re-election, Comardelle began mulling the option of running.
“Just knowing a lot of important projects are coming into District IV and, ‘OK, who is going to take over on this,’” Comardelle said.
He believes he’s a strong fit for the position due to his career experiences.
“My work specializes with levees and coastal restoration. I’ve worked in petrochemical, I’ve worked on grain barges, on the Mississippi River … I’ve done the oil field thing, the plant thing and now the civil thing. We do engineer work, federal work, private work – we do a whole lot.”
That’s turned him into a versatile leader, he said.
“I have an extensive background that shows I can work under stress and under pressure with a diverse team to achieve results,” Comardelle said. “I’ve done a lot of things that have prepared me to deal with adversity.”
He said when it comes to his community, he has skin in the game.
“I’ve coached in our recreation department. I have kids in three of the four schools in our district. I’m someone who lives in this community and wants it to thrive,” he said.
Among his goals are to support economic development along Hwy. 90 and rid blighted facilities, certify levees, to push the Des Allemands boat launch to completion and to battle rising flood insurance costs.