Council member faces 2 challengers for District 4 seat

The race for the District 4 Council seat in Westwego features one newcomer and two familiar faces, including one who says this is his last political campaign.

Incumbent Melvin Guidry is seeking re-election in the seat but is being challenged by fisherman Harris Carmardelle and former council member Garrison “Gary” Toups. If elected, Guidry would be serving his eighth term on the board and would automatically be the city’s longest-tenured council member.

Guidry said this campaign will be his last, as he plans to retire from his position as an oil field supplies salesman and the council around the same time. He wants to use one more term to finish several projects, in particular roughly $800,000 in improvements to the Louis Marrero playground that is supposed to be financed using state capital outlay funds.

“Hopefully I can see that come to fruition and finish,” Guidry said.

Guidry said he believes the district needs a familiar and steady hand as the city makes changes to how it handles its potable drinking water with a new package plant that would be the first of its kind in the state. He also wants to oversee roughly $1.15 million in improvements to the city’s sewer plant.

Guidry argued that he has a proven track record of success for the district, pointing to an $800,000 boat launch he helped get built with JEDCO, and a new passenger van he helped get purchased for the Westwego Senior Center. While it can be challenging to get things passed on the council, Guidry said he knows how to get results and doesn’t spend too much time bickering with his fellow board members.

“We don’t believe in complaining, we believe in getting results,” Guidry said. “Those are the types of things I like doing. … I don’t lay on the job. I’m very involved.”

Guidry’s challengers come from very different backgrounds. Toups served two terms on the council as the representative for District 5 before being unseated by Councilman Larry Warino and later losing to him in the next election. Toups, who is related to Guidry, was moved into the councilman’s district when the city redrew its district maps last year. He did not return several calls for comment.

Camardelle is a commercial fisherman and relative newcomer to the political scene. He did not return calls for comment but told other media sources that he believes the city’s business needs a fresh set of eyes.