Albertha Hasten, School Board member and activist, died Monday

Albertha D. Hasten
Albertha D. Hasten

WHITE CASTLE — Iberville Parish School Board member and community activist Albertha D. Hasten died in her home Monday, Desiree Hasten, her daughter, said Tuesday.

Hasten, 62, died at 2:42 p.m. Monday from heart failure, Desiree Hasten said.

“She was a voice of the people; a true public servant,” Desiree Hasten.

Albertha Hasten served on the Iberville Parish School Board for 17 years as the District N representative, School Superintendent Ed Cancienne noted in an email Tuesday afternoon.

Cancienne wrote that Hasten not only faithfully represented White Castle residents, “but all the residents of Iberville Parish.”

“Each of us not only grieves at the passing of a tremendous individual, but also for the loss her family suffers,” Cancienne said in his email.

Through her service as the president of the Louisiana Environmental Justice Community Organization Coalition, Hasten worked as a community activist fighting for environmental protection of low-income communities near industrial and petrochemical plants throughout the region.

In 2011, Hasten and the coalition led an effort to get steel manufacturer Nucor Corp., and other industries along the Mississippi River, to help residents living in Romeville to relocate after the residents raised questions about their health, concerns that they felt were related to the industries’ presence in close proximity to their community, according to reports.

Hasten also served as president of the board of directors for the Louisiana Environmental Action Network until July 2003, when she was removed by the board following a reported dispute between Hasten and another LEAN board member, according to reports.

Staci Chiasson, spokeswoman for Dow Chemicals, described Hasten Tuesday as a woman who “fought for what she thought was right.”

Chiasson said the two women’s paths had crossed professionally for the last 20 years. First, while Chiasson was a teacher in Iberville Parish and most recently during her career at Dow, Chiasson said.

“At times, she was for industry and at times she was against it. That’s what I loved about her,” Chiasson said. “No matter what side she was on, she just wanted the best for people.”

A colleague of Hasten’s on the School Board, member Dorothy Sansoni, said Hasten harbored a love for children and believed in the importance of education. Sansoni added that she and Hasten worked together for seven years to further their shared values through the Concerned Parent Group of Iberville Parish.

“We wanted everyone treated equally,” Sansoni said Tuesday. “When we became parent advocates, we tried our best to make parents understand the changing policies in schools and the importance of their children being educated. She is going to be dearly missed by not only her friends, but her community.”

Desiree Hasten said her mother’s wake is scheduled for 5 p.m. Sunday at the White Castle Community Center, at 32725 Bowie St.

Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday at the White Castle Community Center.

“There wasn’t a person she didn’t come in contact with,” Desiree Hasten said, “that she didn’t try to help.”