Billy Nungesser is Parish President in Plaquemines Parish Louisiana and serves with a passion for helping people and getting things done. He is not shy about moving to action and is not afraid to roll up his sleeves and pitch in, whether it is going to bat in Washington and Baton Rouge for the people of Plaquemines Parish or throwing sandbags to keep a neighborhood from flooding. Billy has been a man of ideas and action long before being elected Parish President however. He has a distinguished resume of service that goes back to 1983 when Governor David Treen appointed him to the Lake Pontchartrain & Maurepas Study Commission. In 1985, he served on the levee board and was awarded Crimestopper’s “Citizen of the Year” award. In 1986, he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the Republican Presidential Task Force. He also served on the Governor’s Advisory Board to the International Special Olympics. In 2004, as Chairman of the Plaquemines Parish United Way, Billy led a record breaking fund-raising campaign. The Nungesser team raised more than $237,000.00 for the people of this parish. Billy subsequently accepted the annual Leipzig Award for outstanding achievement. In 2004 and 2005, Billy worked diligently with other key leaders in Plaquemines Parish to form the Plaquemines Association of Business and Industry. He served on the Board of Directors throughout the organization’s formative years and remains involved as a charter member.
While working in the offshore catering business, Billy discovered an alternative use for metal ship containers. In 1991, Billy formed General Marine Leasing Company, delivering the first of its kind; business modified and outfitted containers that were specially improved for use as living quarters for offshore workers. Under his leadership, the company grew to employ more than 200 local workers and reached $20 million dollars in sales becoming the largest provider of portable buildings in the Gulf of Mexico.
Billy chose Pointe Celeste to build his home, where he developed a ranch to raise elk and cattle. Adjacent to his Elkland Ranch, he founded Pointe Celeste Therapeutic Riding Center. The center helps physically and mentally challenged individuals of all ages by offering horseback riding at no charge and bringing a therapeutic link that might have gone undiscovered if it were not for this connection. Billy has always believed in giving back to the community.
Sixteen months after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated Plaquemines Parish; President Nungesser took office following a successful election bid. As Parish President he has worked closely with local, state and federal officials, receiving record amounts of capital outlay money as well as record amounts of state and federal grant monies for much needed infrastructure projects within the parish.
When he took office President Nungesser found that 400 Project Worksheets had been authorized by FEMA for a total value of $109 million dollars. He knew right away that this did not represent nor reflect the scope of damage Plaquemines Parish had sustained as a result of these two hurricanes. Billy immediately began working with FEMA and the Corps of Engineers and to date successfully worked in Washington with FEMA and the Corps of Engineers to increase that number to 500 Projects Worksheets, obligated and approved at 100% - for a total of $322,515,667.56. Appeals in Washington D.C. resulted in project increases and improvements such as authorizing construction of 5 new pumping stations which had previously been scheduled for repairs only and the original FEMA obligation of $400,000 to rebuild the Port Eads Marina that was eventually authorized by FEMA for $12 million dollars are just two of the success stories his work has produced. Hard work and persistence have resulted in a new water tower in the town of Buras and five brand new community centers throughout the parish of Plaquemines along with numerous other projects and improvements.
President Nungesser is determined to rebuild and restore Plaquemines Parish, not only to where she once was, but better than ever before. He believes it is only fitting that the “Gateway to the Nation” should be an economic and residential hub of the State and that the Sportsman’s Paradise State is more than adequately represented by the parish known as the “Fishing Capital of the World.” With the help of the good people of Plaquemines Parish he will complete that goal and accomplish that task.
What standards should be used for college admissions?
This fall, LSU instituted a “holistic admissions” process for incoming students which relies more on essays and recommendations than on College Board test scores and grade point averages. Proponents of the move say it’s a better way to identify strong students while opening up opportunities for families not financially able to afford prep classes for standardized exams. Opponents say the move will increase student attrition and could endanger LSU’s flagship status. Examine the new standards from several different perspectives.
Louisiana Public Square looks for answers to these questions and more on “An Eye on Admissions” Wednesday, November 21 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE.
Louisiana Public Square can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Alexandria; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.