The city of Jeanerette is shocked and saddened by the sudden loss of mayor Tim DeClouet. Declouet was 64 when he passed away Monday morning from complications due to pneumonia.
On Monday, two years ago, DeClouet began his dream job as mayor of Jeanerette. He had specific goals, and a vision for the future of the city he loved so much. Some of those goals became reality, and because of him, most people agree Jeanerette is heading in the right direction.
"The emotions for me, I'm all over the place," explains Alderman Zaphany Banks. Banks not only served alongside DeClouet, the two go way back.
Banks grew up next to DeClouet and would check on the mayor as we was in the hospital trying to recover from his illness.
"We spoke on Thursday," says Banks, "He was in good spirits, told me he'd be discharged from the hospital which he was later that afternoon."
Banks says DeClouet had goals and a vision for the future of Jeanerette. One of them being filling the old Jeanerette Mills building which he accomplished right before falling ill.
"We weren't operating in a deficit anymore. We're starting to see some good turn as far as economic development in the city," explains Banks.
Some would say alderman Kenneth Kerns was one of DeClouet's biggest critics. Kerns says even though they might not have agreed on everything, he respected the mayor and where he was leading the city.
"DeClouet turned out to be a popular mayor. So I think he fulfilled our expectations," says Kerns.
One thing Kerns will always remember about DeClouet is his flashy wardrobe. "He was some dresser," says Kerns. "I looked forward to the next meeting to see what he was wearing."
DeClouet's death also struck a nerve in the community, who were pleased and excited about the direction Jeanerette was headed.
"A big loss yes, but we're gonna have to move on. We're gonna be saddened, but we're gonna move on," says Deborah Harris.
It was something most of the alderman didn't really want to acknowledge Monday. But they must move on.
For the meantime mayor pro tem April Foulcard will serve as interim mayor until a special election for the vacant seat is scheduled.