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Councilmembers could be censured after feud caught on video during public meeting

1 month 2 weeks 5 days ago Monday, October 18 2021 Oct 18, 2021 October 18, 2021 11:00 PM October 18, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

UPDATE: The Ascension council approved a resolution Thursday to censure Orgeron after his outburst at the meeting Monday. 

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PRAIRIEVILLE- A councilmember at the center of a controversial move to unseat Ascension President Clint Cointment from overseeing the parish's drainage plans was escorted from a heated drainage board meeting by police and his colleagues Monday night. 

Video showed Corey Orgeron being removed from the the East Ascension Drainage Board meeting after he began shouting at some of his constituents and at least one fellow board member. The confrontation stirred as the council discussed hiring William Roux, who's filled Cointment's former role on an interim basis, as East Ascension Drainage liaison.

Orgeron's tirade stemmed from comments criticizing the board for removing Cointment from heading up the parish's drainage efforts. 

See raw video of the confrontation here

"Items F through K could have all been prevented if you had listened to the people on June 28. There were many people that asked you not to do those things, and you did it anyway. And now you're having to revoke it," one resident said. "So look at yourselves before you point fingers."

As Orgeron responded to those comments, the councilman went on a rant about the response to the board's actions over the past several months. 

"If you guys think that your actions of holding up colorful signs and calling people names on Facebook and making all kind of stupid pictures about people on Facebook... If you think that's what affected people up here, you're highly mistaken, and your egos are writing checks your butts can't cash," Orgeron said.

One person in crowd stood up, telling Orgeron "that's enough," but the councilman doubled down and got into a back-and-forth with the crowd. 

Orgeron: "You can sit yourself down."

Woman: "You can't talk to the voters like that.

Orgeron: "I just did."

One of Orgeron's fellow board members can be heard urging him to move on from the spat, but Orgeron insists he's "not finished" before shouting at another resident who heckled him.  

"I'm not gonna be threatened up here by some old guy over there. And I'm not gonna be threatened by some Facebook entrepreneur over there either," Orgeron said.

Despite continued pleas from his fellow officials to settle down, Orgeron traded words with yet another person in the crowd until fellow Councilmember Joel Robert interrupted the tirade.

Orgeron: "If you're not satisfied, that's fine. Use your voting powers and vote however you want. But don't think for one second that your stupidity on the internet is affecting-"

Robert: "Hey! Shut up!

Orgeron then got up from his seat and directed his aggression at Robert, prompting security and other councilmembers to usher him away. The board meeting then went into recess and returned—with Orgeron—a short while later without directly addressing the chaos that unfolded minutes earlier. 

"When Joel slammed his hands on that desk, I just flashed back and I jumped up to defend myself and I regret it. I regret getting to that point," Orgeron told WBRZ on Tuesday.

Councilman Aaron Lawler says both Orgeron and Robert could be censured. Robert was censured last year after he left a profane message on the parish attorney's voicemail

WBRZ reached out to Robert but has not heard back.

The board ultimately did not vote on the item that spawned the arguments. That item is being pushed back until next month's meeting.

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