Louisiana Institute of Higher Education


#29 “History of Local Government”

2004-2005 History Lecture Series Season – October 4th, 2004

Ron Chapman, Assistant Professor of History, Nunez Community College

Steven Estopinal, Former Chairman, Home Rule Charter Commission

David Gorbaty, Appeals Court Judge

Charles Ponstein, Former Parish President

Henry J. “Junior” Rodriguez, Jr., Parish President

Attendance – 103


Lecture Description


 Chapman gave an overview of the history of local government in St. Bernard Parish going back to the early days. He was followed by the “real” stories about running government. Dave Gorbaty, Appeals Court Judge, moderated a panel that included Steve Estopinal, former Chairman of the Home Rule Charter Commission, Charles Ponstein, former Parish President, and Henry “Junior” Rodriguez, current Parish President. They told of the pros and cons of the former Police Jury form of government, the current President/Council form of government, and the adoption of the Home Rule Charter that led to the change. The interchange provided the primary material that historians will be able to use as a basis for research. Additionally, it was a high-level civics lesson that could not be learned in any book or rehearsed speech. It should be noted that the informal question-and-answer period that followed might have been more informative than the panel discussion.