Lafourche Parish Councilman James Bourgeois is facing a number of legal challenges, most of his own making. The time has come for him to leave office and spare the public the embarrassment of his continued service.
Bourgeois was convicted earlier this week of falsely claiming to be a resident of the council district he represents.
The fact that he doesn’t live in his district should be enough to disqualify him from office. But the ongoing personal feud between him and fellow-Councilman Jerry LaFont continues to be a stain on his public record, one that the public would make his constituents much better served by another officeholder.
On Tuesday night, after the second day of his trial, Bourgeois was again arrested and charged with violating a protective order against him being near LaFont.
Bourgeois, according to the Sheriff’s Office, entered a restaurant where LaFont was already dining and refused to leave. This is the second time Bourgeois has been charged with violating the order, which was issued after Bourgeois allegedly threatened LaFont’s life following a council meeting in April. And most recently, when Bourgeois appeared in court Thursday morning, he was held in contempt.
Whatever the outcome is of these ongoing criminal charges, Bourgeois has outlived his usefulness on the council.
The people of Bayou Blue, Pointe-aux-Chenes and Raceland deserve a public servant who will represent their best interests on the council. And no one in Lafourche Parish deserves this ongoing public scandal that does nothing but divert the attention and resources of the council.
For the good of the district and the parish, Bourgeois should step aside and let someone else serve out the remainder of his term.
“We are certainly happy with this verdict,” District Attorney Kristine Russell said. “The constituents of District 5 in Lafourche Parish deserve to be represented by one of their own. The people of our parish are best served by those who live among us, and the jury’s decision vindicates that idea.”
All of that is true. Bourgeois should think about the best interest of the district he has fought to continue to represent. Instead, he should let someone who clearly lives in the district serve the people and allow the people of Lafourche to move past this ugly episode in local political life.
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