Westwego mayor looks forward to four more years

Just a few days after his re-election, Westwego Mayor Johnny Shaddinger used the word “excited” at least a dozen times when discussing his next term.

He said he’s excited about the host of projects the city is preparing to begin and working with new council members with whom he can forge relationships. Finally, the mayor says, he’s excited that he will no longer have to worry about a future mayoral candidate sitting on the council and blocking his attempts to get things done.

“I’m excited. I’m very excited,” Shaddinger said. “I’m grateful to the residents of Westwego.”

Shaddinger’s victory Saturday over longtime council member Ted Munch gave him four more years to put his stamp on the city. In addition, the council will have three new members in Norman Fonseca, Johnny Nobles Jr. and Garrison Toups. Toups has prior experience as a councilman but has been out of office for two years.

Shaddinger said he’s already itching to move forward with the new City Hall and a package water plant. Contractors should complete $1.1 million in improvements to the city’s sewerage plant by mid-June, he said.

Shaddinger plans to seek bids soon to make repairs to Westwego’s performing arts center and is finalizing plans for the city’s Musicians’ Hall of Fame.

Shaddinger said it’s a new opportunity for the city with fresh faces and ideas.

“I’m excited to work with all of the council members,” he said.

However, the changes mean a loss of decades of institutional knowledge thanks to the departures of council members Ted Munch and Melvin Guidry, and to a lesser extent, Ivy Rogers. Munch was the District 2 council member for 36 years, while Guidry represented District 4 for more than two decades.

Guidry had said he planned for this to be his final term. However, Munch said he wasn’t sure what his political future held. He said he plans to spend the next two months finishing up business in his district and enjoying his four grandchildren. He wouldn’t rule out a future run for office, but said it’s too early to tell.

“I’m going to give it some time and weigh my options,” Munch said. “You can always continue to help, even though you’re not an elected official.”