Council Chairman ready for future

Charlotte Guedry
Ascension Parish Council Chairman Chris Loar is seen at Oak?Grove Park in Prairieville. The beautification of the park has remained important to Loar since taking office in 2007.

Chris Loar is one busy man. He’s a husband to wife Jodi, a father to two girls, Evangeline (6) and Sinclair (2), and a full time Director of Information Systems with Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System.?Add to that  an advocate for Ascension?Parish as a councilman and now council chairman, and you’ve got a man wearing many different hats for our community.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Council?Chairman Loar and was able to uncover where his passion for Ascension?Parish stems from.

Loar is like so many of us who became involved in programs throughout school that allowed us to be an active part of our formative years. He served on Student Councils, moving on to Student Council President.

Loar, a graduate of LSU, moved to the parish in 1999, after he and his wife were looking for somewhere to settle as they decided on having a family.

“Ascension?Parish made perfect sense,” he said. “We wanted somewhere to lay down roots, and Ascension had great schools and good housing. We moved into the area right at the cusp of the boom.”

After setting into Ascension, Loar began taking a closer look at his surroundings after the birth of Evangeline.

“Her birth was the real trigger for me on wanting to do something to make the community a better one,” he said. “My entire life was suddenly all about her and my family.”

Most upsetting to Loar was the area of Oak Grove Park. He saw a future for his daughter here, and didn’t like what amenities that future held for her.

“I’d get so frustrated that sitting right there on Hwy. 42 was this unbelievable eyesore, and that was where I was supposed to take my daughter to play. I thought, we’ve got to be able to do better than that.”

Loar began paying attention to local politics and what was going on around him and other families in the community.

“Suddenly it wasn’t just about my own daughter anymore,” he said. “It was about all of the children in Ascension and the amenities available to them.”

Loar decided a bid for a Parish Council seat was in order, and when he ran in 2007, he beat the incumbent  by a 16% margin.

“That was a wonderful moment for me,” he said. “I feel like I represented then, and still do today, the growth and the people in this parish. I wasn’t from here, but Ascension was my home now, and it had to improve.”

One of his first missions when taking his council seat was the rebuilding and remodeling of Oak Grove Park. His young daughters were with him the day it officially reopened, and their hands and footprints are still there, encased forever at the entrance to the park.

“I get emotional when I see them,” he said. “Even today, I still get emotional. I did it for them, and it worked. I’m proud of that.”

Important to Loar is trying to figure out how to stay within the tradition of this parish with a rural flavor.

“I get it. I really do, “ he said. “I get the blending of the old with the new. I completely understand the desire for suburban amenities and services along with the peace and tranquility that rural living provides. I see that as possible for us.”

To those that know Loar, they often say he is a  focused man with a drive to see solutions.

“I care about results,” he said. “I am very passionate and driven to get things done. We should always be thinking in terms of results, not simply debating topics and issues without working on solutions.”

Loar is only in his second term on the Ascension?Parish?Council, and already his attitude to the service aspect of the role has seen him voted in as Council Chairman. He is seen by his fellow council members as someone with an innate ability to lead them to a better Ascension.

“I try to give the role everything that I possibly can,” said Loar. “I try to get things done. My whole thing, or reason, if you will, is the see results; to create good solutions for the people of Ascension. I try to do that in the best and most professional manner possible. We are a business. We are in the business of results. We are run like a business and need to be all about taking care of that business.”

When Loar threw his hat into the ring for his second term, he found that he was unopposed. How does that sit with this man of action?

“I hope it says that people were satisfied with what I did. I was able to deliver on some of the things I campaigned for, like Oak Grove Park. I like to think my community is happy with that.”

Loar genuinely feels that the eleven members of our current council have the opportunity of becomeing, “the best council in the history of this parish.”?He feels the group can and have been working well together, and all have  genuine affinity for their constituents.

“Take the issue of transportation,” he said. “We all owe it to the people of this parish to present a solution to some of our biggest growing pains, and we know that. People are tired of being stuck in traffic.?They’re fed up with the smells of raw sewage. It’s embarrassing that we don’t have a consolidated garbage and recycling pickup in place when our neighboring parishes do. Now is our time to seize the opportunity of making things right for the people of Ascension.”

As Loar moves forward in politics, he still holds on to the vision of doing it all for his young girls.

“I’d like to see them settle here when they’re older,” he said. “I want them to see good roads to travel on, good parks to take their own children to, I want them to see community services that don’t exist now. I want them to know that’s why I was gone all those nights. That is was for them. I want them to be proud of me.”