Meet the Council: District 10 Councilman John Cagnolatti

Halen Doughty
District 10 Councilman John Cagnolatti

District 10 Councilman John Cagnolatti goes above and beyond the call of duty for an elected official. In his first term in the Ascension Parish Council, he's already had to deal with the aftermath of a devastating flood and tackle traffic problems in one of the fastest growing parishes in the state.

Following the historic flood of 2016, Cagnolatti helped gut multiple flood-damaged homes in his district. Rather than sitting back and waiting for federal assistance, Cagnolatti and others rolled up their sleeves and got to work clearing out debris from flooded homes. He said other areas of the country may not know how to cope with disasters, but Louisianans came together without hesitation and helped one another rebuild.

He takes the same hands-on approach to helping constituents resolve issues. For instance, clearing drainage canals has been a concern for many Ascension Parish residents following last year's flood. Cagnolatti said he's gotten several calls from citizens on the matter. He said in every instance, he directs the complaint to the appropriate department, but he doesn't stop there. He follows up to make sure the problem has been taken care of and even checks back with the caller to make sure things are as they should be. Now that's dedication to the job.

Cagnolatti got his political start on the Gonzales City Council during mayor-turned-state-representative Johnny Berthelot's administration. He served on the city council for four years before successfully unseating an incumbent on the parish council. Prior to that, Cagnolatti worked on the Civil Service Commission for 12 years before serving as chairman of the board for another 12 years.

During his time on the Gonzales City Council, the new police station and Jambalaya Park were constructed, and plans were introduced for the Kids Cove Discovery Park. No stranger to getting things done, Cagnolatti puts those skills to good use on the parish council, working to improve transportation and put together plans for a parish sewer program. He was driven into public service by his desire to improve the parish.

"Just to serve the people, keep a good quality of life for people in the parish, that's what I'm about," Cagnolatti said.

Cagnolatti said he's enjoyed working with the parish council, though a larger governing body is somewhat different from the five-member city council. Sitting on a council with eleven members does have its challenges, but he said the members have good relationships, which makes for a great working council.

"I think that we're thinking alike. We're more cohesive as a council, and I'm thankful for that," said Cagnolatti,"We understand each other."

Maintaining and upgrading transportation infrastructure to meet the growing demand has been a priority for Cagnolatti in his first term. He's proud of the Move Ascension initiative the council has launched. He noted a partnership with the state department of transportation is vital because the parish is filled with state highways.

"We fell behind because of the growth that just started happening. Post-Katrina it boomed. From 2005, 2008 till now, it's been nonstop growth, and we don't have the infrastructure we need," said Cagnolatti, "and it's not all our fault because a large percentage of the roads people drive on are state highways."

After serving on the Ascension Economic Development Corporation for four years, creating jobs is still a key issue for Cagnolatti. He still serves on the board as a councilman. Although he doesn't vote on the AEDC anymore, he said any proposal that comes before the parish council will get his support if it improves the quality of life for parish residents. He said the parish has so much to offer.

"If it's not going to improve the parish and it's not going to benefit the taxpayers of the parish and my district, I'm going to question it," said Cagnolatti.

Cagnolatti said he's semi-retired and works about 20 hours a week at Brown Eagle Logistics and Packaging, specializing in marketing and business development. Between that and his work tending to the needs of the parish, he's got quite a lot on his plate. But he doesn't let that get in the way of time with his family.

Cagnolatti has been married to his wife Pam for 47 years. They have two children and four grandkids. His son Darrin is a firefighter for the City of Gonzales, and daughter Stacey is a nurse. He said he's thankful to have the whole family right here in Gonzales.

During his free time, Cagnolatti enjoys golfing. He's played since he was a young boy and even made an appearance on the team at Southeastern University, though as an alternate. He also likes to go fishing.

A true family man and dedicated public servant, the parish is lucky to have Cagnolatti on the council.

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