We are on the cusp of a New Year. While I, like many others, bid good riddance to 2020, I also know we are all stronger for having been through its ups and downs, and no matter what 2021 ushers in, we are ready to embrace it as well.
I am most proud of our citizens who sacrificed, put the needs of our most vulnerable before their own, and learned the art of how to disagree and still come together to stand against a common threat. We all learned a little grace and much more patience. We were unified, strong, and resilient as we juggled a global pandemic, a 550-plus year flood, and a record-setting 2020 Hurricane Season.
We were generous with our neighbors who took the brunt of the storm season’s blow, and we did what we had to do when faced with a direct landfall of our own.
Through all of this, Parish Government rolled forward and accomplished a great deal. In addition to our multiple emergency responses —we installed a cutting-edge flood protection tool — the FloodBreak Automatic Floodgate Mitigation System — the first of its kind in Louisiana to be installed in a residential area —in Slidell. We began the update to our comprehensive plan — New Directions 2040. Safe Haven has made tremendous strides and is set to fully open in 2021. The hard work of our employees at the St. Tammany Parish Animal Shelter forged new partnerships which led to a reduction in the Shelter population and welcomed new leadership. Over 1,700 animals have been placed through adoption, rescue groups, or reunification with their owners since the start of 2020.
We have completed millions of dollars in infrastructure projects. The Tammany Trace extension onto Camp Salmen is complete. Two phases of the widening if I-12 are underway. The Tammany Trace tunnel at Highway 59 is in the works. We are working through and finding solutions for an upcoming fiscal challenge.
I welcome you to read our retrospective, with a more comprehensive view of our accomplishments in 2020, here.
I wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year and a Prosperous 2021.
Should you have questions or if I may be of assistance to you in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Michael B. Cooper