News

Public Comment Sought for Parishwide Drainage Plan, President Cooper Announces

Parish President Mike Cooper announces the opening of the public comment period for the St. Tammany Parish Comprehensive Drainage Plan, the first parishwide drainage plan to assess stormwater runoff across the entirety of the Parish’s watershed basin.

The Plan is focused on evaluating the existing state of drainage in St. Tammany, including flood risk, water quality and development guidelines, and to recommend capital projects and potential policy changes leading to reduced flood risks and increased public safety and welfare.

“Planning for our needs both today and in the future will continue to be a driving force within my administration,” said President Cooper. “This Plan looks at the Parish as a whole, which has never been done before, and addresses vital needs. The participation of our citizens and stakeholders is incredibly important as we plan for the future with all of our goals in mind.”

To submit a comment related to flooding, drainage, and erosion or sediment control, please click here and follow the prompts. Open house meetings will be held in mid-November and January.

The Comprehensive Drainage Plan will identify strategies to mitigate existing flooding concerns and identify the areas of improvements within our drainage infrastructure required to address development. It is intended to be a living document, consistent with the goals set by the Louisiana Watershed Initiative, and subject to continuous updates.

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Revitalized Holiday of Lights Celebration Returns to Koop Drive in December

Parish President Mike Cooper, in partnership with the Tammany Trace Foundation, is overjoyed to announce the revitalization of the Holiday of Lights, a yuletide celebration in December on Koop Drive.

“The Holiday of Lights brought immense joy to our families for many years,” said President Cooper. “We are so excited to bring back the magic and jubilation, while giving our families a local celebration of the holiday season. I look forward to the festivities, including food, musical talents of our children, and of course, Santa Claus, returning to Koop Drive in December.”

The festivities start on Friday, December 2, 2022 with an opening parade at 6 p.m. Performances will take place on December 2, 3, 9 and 10.

“The Holiday of Lights has been a staple in St. Tammany Parish for more than two decades,” said Bruce Wainer, President of the Tammany Trace Foundation. “I am proud of the efforts taken to return the celebration to full glory. We welcome all families, friends and visitors to the Holiday of Lights to spread holiday cheer together.”

The Holiday of Lights will showcase the remarkable talents of the youth in our community. If you would like to register your choir, band or dance team to perform, please e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Tammany Trace Foundation is actively pursuing sponsorship opportunities. To donate, please click here.

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September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. This month, let's continue to raise awareness and destigmatize talking about mental health.

▶ If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, call or text 988 immediately.

▶ If you are uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can chat the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988lifeline.org.

▶ You can also text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.

?Need someone to talk to regarding your mental health? Thanks to a grant from Northshore Community Foundation, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) - St. Tammany is able to provide free online therapy for 90 days. Sign up at https://wellconnectedns.com/

St. Tammany Parish Government to Provide Sandbags, Ahead of Forecasted Pearl River Flood Stage

President Mike Cooper has announced St. Tammany Parish Government will begin sandbag operations in preparation for the Pearl River being forecasted to reach the Moderate Flood stage by early Tuesday, September 6, 2022.

The National Weather Service projections show the Pearl River near Pearl River gauge will crest at 17’ on Tuesday, September 6, 2022. At this flood stage, the River Gardens and the lower portions of Magnolia Forest subdivisions may be under threat of flooding.

Sandbags will be available beginning at 8 a.m. on Thursday, September 1, 2022 at:

Old Levee Board Property
61134 Military Road
Slidell, La. 70461


For reference, the forecasted river crest is comparable to May 3, 2020 when the Pearl River reached 16.8’ and caused minor flooding in low-lying areas. No homes were damaged during that event.

“We are monitoring the Pearl River very closely and as we are expecting heavy rainfall over the next few days, residents should take appropriate action,” said President Mike Cooper. “St. Tammany Parish Government stands ready to assist our citizens in the event of flooding. Citizens who live in the area should continue to remain aware of weather and river forecasts and stay vigilant.”

The sandbag locations will have sand and bags provided. Residents are asked to bring their own shovels, in case all provided shovels are in use. Sandbags are limited to 15 bags per vehicle.

 

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President Mike Cooper has announced the recipients of the 16th Annual President’s Arts Awards

President Mike Cooper has announced the recipients of the 16th Annual President’s Arts Awards, presented by the St. Tammany Commission on Cultural Affairs.

“Our artists are a vital piece of our beloved culture in St. Tammany Parish,” said President Cooper. “We are excited to honor those who greatly contribute to the arts. I want to personally thank the Commission for their hard work and commitment to the arts community. I look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of our esteemed honorees.”


The honorees are:

  • Performing Artist – Samuel Warren
  • Visual Artist – Carol Hallock
  • Literary Artist – Ted Jackson
  • Musical Artist – Erik Morales
  • Culinary Artist – Gary Darling
  • Patron of the Arts – Tim and Jan Lantrip
  • Outstanding Service Award – Dr. Arlette Delcham & Jean-Marie Desrosiers
  • President’s Award – St. Tammany Hospital Foundation’s – Healing Arts Initiative
  • Native Daughter Award – Shirley Thompson
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Dr. Ben Redwine

The event will be held at Northshore Technical Community College in Lacombe on Thursday, October 20, 2022.

“The Commission is excited to host the 16th annual event. It will be a celebration of not only the award recipients but also the abundance of artistic talent and love for the arts that exists in our parish, which encourages the arts to thrive in our community,” said Commission of Cultural Arts Chair, Laura Prisco.

For more information, please visit www.stpgov.org/cca. In 2021, the Commission announced the Creative Relief Northshore Fund, an emergency response initiative that provides funding for programs to address the needs of the arts community following an emergency or disaster. Those attending the President’s Arts Awards this year are encouraged to donate to the non-profit fund.

St. Tammany President’s Arts Awards is supported in part by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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St. Tammany Parish Moratorium on Zoning Density Extended Three Months

The St. Tammany Parish Council voted to extend the parishwide Zoning Density Moratorium for three months at its August Meeting.

“My administration will continue to examine and address the needs of our citizens,” said President Cooper. “Providing infrastructure that will improve all of our lives remains one of my top priorities. I appreciate the Council for continuing to limit high-density residential zoning applications so that we may continue to finalize and implement a sustainable roadmap for the future.”

Cooper initially proposed the parishwide Moratorium on Zoning Density while studies addressing critical concerns, including drainage, transportation and the wetlands, within the Parish are conducted. President Cooper provided the Council with an update on those respective plans, prior to the Council’s unanimous extension of the Zoning Density Moratorium.

The parishwide moratorium is for the submission of rezoning applications for Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) and high-density residential developments.

The Zoning Density Moratorium was initially approved by the Parish Council in May.

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St. Tammany Parish’s Animal Services receives prestigious award from national leader in no-kill movement

St. Tammany Parish Government’s Department of Animal Services has been recognized with the Touchstone Award from Best Friends Animal Society, a national animal welfare organization dedicated to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America's shelters.

The Department of Animal Services is a member of the Best Friends Network, which comprises more than 3,700 animal shelters, spay/neuter organizations, and other 501(c)(3) public charity rescue groups across the country working to save the lives of dogs and cats in their communities.

“This award is a testament of the hard work and dedication of our Animal Services team over the last two years,” said St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper. “I made a commitment to allocate resources and improve the services offered at our shelter, which has saved the lives of pets in St. Tammany Parish. Please join me in congratulating our staff, volunteers, adopting families and all individuals who helped make Animal Services a ‘no-kill’ shelter!”

Within two years, Animal Services has taken their live release rate from 45% to 97%, meaning that 97% of all animals who come through the shelter are saved.

Together, Best Friends and its network partners are working to achieve no-kill for dogs and cats nationwide by 2025. Reaching this goal will mean that every shelter in America is getting the community support it needs to save every dog and cat who can be saved. It means healing the animals who can be healed, treating behaviors that can be treated, and prioritizing public health, safety, and a high quality of life for both pets and people in our communities.

When a shelter is saving at least 90% of the dogs and cats that comes through its doors, that shelter is designated as no-kill.

St. Tammany Parish Government’s Department of Animal Services was selected for the Touchstone Award based on national shelter data and work from the calendar year 2021. National, state, and shelter level data can be found on the pet lifesaving dashboard published by Best Friends.

"It's incredible to see so many shelters around the nation taking dramatic steps to increase lifesaving,” said Brent Toellner, senior director, national programs for Best Friends Animal Society. “Whether it be through new programming, progressive leadership or better collaborative partnerships, these groups are showing that lifesaving success is possible regardless of a shelter’s size or location.”  

“While our day-to-day efforts to establish life-saving care for our pets are rewarding, this honor is incredibly humbling,” said Robert Bremer, Director of Animal Services. “Our staff have overcome monumental obstacles over the past two years; however, they remained devoted to saving the lives of our animals. We look forward to continuing the life-saving care that we have established for years to come.”

Toellner added: "It's going to take embracing all models of lifesaving, as well as maximizing collaboration with and support of each other to reach our goal of ending the killing of pets in shelters by 2025. But with so much progress being made, getting our nation to a point where it has finally put a stop to the unnecessary deaths of animals in shelters not only seems possible, but inevitable.”

Animal Services provides a safe, clean facility for stray animals and unwanted pets. The shelter offers a wide array of animals for adoption throughout the year. Adoption hours at the Animal Services Shelter are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

About Best Friends Animal Society

Best Friends Animal Society is a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters by 2025. Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from an estimated 17 million per year to about 355,000. Best Friends runs lifesaving programs all across the country, as well as the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary. Working collaboratively with a network of more than 3,700 animal welfare and shelter partners, and community members nationwide, Best Friends is working to Save Them All®. For more information, visit bestfriends.org.

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Parish Council Approves Rolling Forward Millages To Fund Vital Services

The St. Tammany Parish Council voted 13-1 to approve funding critical services and mandates by rolling forward four millages at its regular meeting Thursday evening.

“I am appreciative of the Council for their commitment to funding our responsibilities,” said President Cooper. “St. Tammany Parish Government is obligated to provide these essential services and preserve our community, while minimizing the impact on our citizens.”

The Council vote rolls forward Alimony 1 and Alimony 2 taxes, which are used to fund obligations required by state law. The public health millage, which is used to pay for inmate healthcare at the Parish Jail, and the animal shelter millage, which funds the Department of Animal Services, were also rolled forward.

This is not a new tax and will not exceed the maximum millage rate already approved by the voters.

The roll forward in unincorporated St. Tammany Parish would increase property taxes by $2.70 per $100,000 in home value. The roll forward in municipalities within St. Tammany Parish would increase property taxes by $2.00 per $100,000 in home value.

“Maintaining our quality of life, through funding our obligations and other commitments, will continue to be a top priority of my administration. Our citizens deserve efficient government operations and dedication to accountability.”

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Important Update from Safe Haven Crisis Receiving Center

The need for mental health services in St. Tammany Parish remains substantial. Not only has the statistics confirmed the need for assistance, but more importantly, our loved ones and neighbors continue to struggle.

In October 2021, the Safe Haven Crisis Receiving Center (CRC) officially opened its doors. The CRC, which is designed to provide identification, intervention and stabilization for those in a behavioral health crisis, is the first step towards recovery for our loved ones battling a crisis.

The CRC gives healthcare professionals, law enforcement and families an alternative to the emergency room or jail during a behavioral health crisis.

Start Corporation, who has operated the CRC since its inception, is no longer serving as the operator. At this time, the CRC is temporarily not accepting patients.

In 2021 alone, nearly 5,000 St. Tammany Parish citizens withstood a mental health crisis. 45 loved ones died from suicide. These numbers illustrate the continued need for a CRC within our Parish.

Though we are disappointed Start Corporation will no longer operate the CRC, we will continue working with our partners to identify improvements to our behavioral health system and we look forward to a new beginning.

While we are working through this transitional period with the CRC, the rest of the Safe Haven Campus will remain open and operational.  In 2021 approximately 5,830 individuals accessed services on the St. Tammany Campus.  Other service providers on the campus include: Florida Parishes Human Services Authority, NAMI St. Tammany and the St. Tammany Parish Public School System.

In the coming days, St. Tammany Parish Government will begin the process to seek out a new operator for the Crisis Receiving Center. We are expecting an expeditious process and look forward to making progress with our new operating partner, which will ultimately save lives in St. Tammany Parish.

Sincerely,

MICHAEL B. COOPER
Parish President

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    21490 Koop Dr.
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