When Gonzales Mayor Johnny Berthelot and Police Chief Bill Landry turn the reins of government over to their elected successors Jan. 2, the curtain will come down on  two of the most stylish and effective governmental careers in parish history.


When Gonzales Mayor Johnny Berthelot and Police Chief Bill Landry turn the reins of government over to their elected successors Jan. 2, the curtain will come down on  two of the most stylish and effective governmental careers in parish history.

Known for his non-stop humorous quips in public and loose lips sink ships style of governing behind the scenes, Berthelot proved to be an outstanding government official. Voters, the ultimate judge of those in elective office, returned him to office eight consecutive terms.

During that time, the name Johnny Berthelot meant Gonzales almost as much as jambalaya means Gonzales.

His list of accomplishments can be measured in dollars and cents --- like the luring of retail giants Tanger Outlet Mall and Cabela’s to the city --- and in the more intangible realms of civic pride and the creation of an aura of leadership that was never questioned during his term.

Berthelot’s hand-picked successor, Barney Arceneaux, won a resounding victory in his own election. When Arceneaux steps into office Jan. 2, he can be confident there will be a reservoir of public support as he goes about filling the big shoes Berthelot leaves behind.

Bill Landry started 2008 by announcing to the police department that he would seek a fifth term as chief. A week before the Jambalaya festival he publicly announced his retirement.

The turnabout was due in part to the ailing health of his elderly parents, as Landry wanted to spend more time with them. When both parents passed within six weeks after the festival, the chief might have been expected to have second thoughts about his decision not to run. He instead said he was more at peace than ever about stepping into retirement.

Over 33 years in law enforcement, including three unopposed terms and 16 years as chief, Landry endeared himself to members of the press with colorful and accurate statements about crimes and events that happened in the city.  He worked on a number of cases that put Gonzales

in the national limelight, including his collar of “Ski Mask Rapist” Jon Simonis, the Shon Miller Jr. church slayings and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Like Berthelot, Landry endorsed the candidate voters chose to succeed him in office, Sherman Jackson. Jackson, the first black man to hold the police chief job in Gonzales history, won his election convincingly.

We join the City of Gonzales as it bids farewell to two of the most distinguished public officials in its history.


We thank them for their years of service and wish them the best in their future endeavors.