Honoring outgoing LC Mayor Randy Roach - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Honoring outgoing LC Mayor Randy Roach

(Source: Jason Rivera/KPLC) (Source: Jason Rivera/KPLC)
LAKE CHARLES, LA -

Mayor Roach will forever be a major part of Lake Charles' history. Those who know him best say he's a very humble man who doesn't seek recognition.

But his Administrator John Cardone expects Roach to be remembered as one of the city’s greatest leaders.

Roach was a young lawyer when he became a state representative, working on many issues including coastal erosion and saving the wetlands.

He was first elected mayor in 2000 and has served 17 years. Cardone has been his administrator all those years.

"Probably one of Randy's strongest qualities is that he's a true public servant," said Cardone.

"His honesty, his integrity, his morals and work ethic. Just above and beyond what people would traditionally expect," he said.

Cardone says mayor has been a 24/7 job for Roach, whether he's offering words of reassurance in the face of a hurricane...

"It's not a time to panic. That's not what this is about. This is about doing things in an orderly way. And that's what we've done before. We've been there, we've done that, "said Roach at an emergency meeting in 2008 as the area prepared for Hurricane Ike.

And you could find him mentoring and encouraging youth.

"There are several young people in our community that were making a real big difference in those organizations and doing a lot of things for the communities all around Southwest Louisiana, so we thought it would be a good idea to recognize that," he said at an award ceremony in 2008.

He's been a part of the the fun times such as walking the plank each year for the Contraband Days Celebration.

And he’s recognized for his leadership throughout Southwest Louisiana from economic development to storm recovery and coastal protection.

"Cameron Parish is our best defense against a hurricane. Cameron Parish is the best defense that we have against a hurricane," said Roach in 2007 when the area was struggling to recover from Hurricane Rita and protect against future storms.

Cardone predicts generations to come will realize and and enjoy the fruits of Roach's efforts.

"Randy had a great vision for the City of Lake Charles. He was very committed, very dedicated to our city. He worked very hard at trying to bring everyone together and to make Lake Charles be the best it could be. I think the citizens of Lake Charles will reflect back one day and see that he was probably one of the greatest mayors that we've ever had," said Cardone.

If you have some memorable photos of Mayor Roach send them to us for our slideshow that we’re building on www.kplctv.com. The email address is newmedia@kplctv.com.

Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved.

And for more details on Mayor Roach's long career, the following biography has been contributed by City Hall:

Mayor Randy Roach was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana and graduated from LaGrange High School. He earned his undergraduate degree in accounting from LSU and his law degree from LSU in 1976.

Mayor Roach is married to Nancy Segur Roach, and together they have two children and six grandchildren.

From 1985 to 1987, Mayor Roach served as the assistant city attorney for the City of Lake Charles and represented the City in all phases of the Chennault Consolidation project. He drafted and presented federal and state legislation and conducted negotiations with Boeing Aircraft.

Mayor Roach served two terms beginning in 1988 as a state representative in the Louisiana Legislature representing District 36, which included part of Calcasieu and Cameron parishes. In the legislature, he served on the Civil & Law committee, the Ways & Means committee and was chairman of the Natural Resources committee and the subcommittee on Coastal Restoration.

He has served on the board of directors of Nature Conservancy of Louisiana, Samaritan Counseling Center, Louisiana Council on Child Abuse, Southwest Louisiana Mental Health Advisory Board, Southwest Legal Aid Society, Amerisafe, First National Bank, Louisiana Municipal Association, and Southwest Louisiana Red Cross.

Mayor Roach was first elected mayor of the City of Lake Charles in 2000 to complete the remainder of an unexpired term and has since been re-elected to four full terms. Mayor Roach is the longest serving mayor of Lake Charles and has worked closely with city and parish governments and other agencies to form partnerships and pool resources that benefit not only Lake Charles, but also the entire Southwest Louisiana five-parish area.

He was a strong voice for the creation of a Southwest Louisiana Partnership for Economic Development, and he worked with Calcasieu Parish Police Jury to create Lake Charles Ward 3 Recreation Board, resulting in the Multi-sports Complex, Skate Park and Adventure Cove.

In the weeks following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, under Mayor Roach’s ever-present leadership, more than 2,000 evacuees from New Orleans took refuge at the Lake Charles Civic Center. Less than a month later, Hurricane Rita ravaged Lake Charles. Mayor Roach and other area leaders quickly assembled a Hurricane Rita task force, which immediately began working to not only repair—but rebuild. A sense of community and collaboration helped drive the region’s recovery.

In 2006, Lake Charles voters approved a referendum allowing the City to issue bonds to fast track major road extension projects including Enterprise Boulevard, Power Center Parkway, Lake Street, and McNeese Street. The bond helped fund many public improvement projects like the Ryan Streetscape, Lakefront Promenade, Marina, and Gill Street extension, which have transformed the downtown and lakefront districts, enhancing walkability and spurring economic development. Roughly $21 million was used to fund water and sewer extensions and loopings throughout the city.  Over $3 million was spent on major improvements to a recreation facility in each of the seven council districts.

Under Mayor Roach’s administration, 1911 Historic City Hall was established as an arts and cultural center, the new Transit Center downtown was opened, major enhancements to the Lake Charles Civic Center have been made, and a new Lake Charles City Court building was constructed.

Throughout his tenure, he has encouraged cooperation with other entities and the State of Louisiana which led to cost-shared capital improvement projects such as the Cove Lane roundabout, Sale Road bridge replacement, and multiple Interstate 10 off-ramp improvements.

In addition to annual allocation for road improvement projects for each council district, Mayor Roach began annual allocations for city-wide projects such as asphalt overlay, sidewalk repair and construction, roadway striping, sewer line rehabilitation and lift station repairs. Since 2009, nearly $6 million has been allocated for drainage improvements.  

Current projects under design or construction include a $43 million wastewater treatment plant, Nelson Road water plant improvements and the Wastewater Treatment Plant “A” basin repair program.

Promoting quality of life for our community was of upmost importance to Mayor Roach.  Millennium Park was rebuilt by volunteers, Veterans Memorial Park was expanded and First Lt. Douglas Fournet Memorial was added. Tuten Park, Bark du Lac Dog Park, and Riverside Park and Community Center were opened. Mayor Roach was successful in securing two beams from the World Trade Center and with input from local artists and members of the community, the 9-11 Memorial was designed and constructed on the lakefront.

Community events such as Mardi Gras of Southwest Louisiana, Downtown at Sundown, Live at the Lakefront, Red White Blue and You, and Light Up the Lake Christmas Festival continue to grow, making Lake Charles not only a wonderful place to raise a family, but also a top tourist destination.

Site Selection Magazine recently called the area, the nation’s “biggest story in economic development today,” a testament to the vision of leadership of Mayor Randy Roach.   

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