Mayor Barney Arceneaux in the spotlight

Charlotte Guedry
Mayor Barney Arceneaux stands outside of the Gonzales City Hall offices.

Mayor Barney Arceneaux has been a resident and public servant in Gonzales for 37 years. He has served Gonzales as Mayor since Jan. 2009. He has also served Gonzales as a patrolman, detective, Asst. Chief of Police and Chief of Police.

How did you become interested in a political career?

I was in law enforcement as a young patrolman. I worked my way up in the ranks, and I became interested in running for Chief of Police. When I won, it peaked my interest in politics. Later, I left law enforcement and worked for three agencies, supporting people looking to be elected. I got a taste for it, and it’s been in my blood ever since.

What do you enjoy most about your post, and what do you enjoy least?

What I enjoy most are the times when I can help someone. Those times are good days. Government is there to assist people, so it’s a great day when I can do so. What I like least is the current state of party politics. I don’t care if you’re a Democrat, a Republican, or an Independent, we should all be helping each other. Sometimes the divides make it hard to get anything done. I don’t like that at all.

What does a typical day consist of for you?

There’s really never a typical day, as things can change at anytime. However, there are meetings with supervisors, so we can all get a feel for the play by play of each, individual day. Then I tend to meet with area business leaders and constituents from the city. After that, it’s in to meetings, meetings, and more meetings.

Is there a specific achievement during your time on office that you are the most proud of?

I’ve only been in for two years, but in my campaign I made a promise to build a new law enforcement complex. Maybe it’s because of my background in law enforcement, but I honestly felt and feel it’s important for the city. I’m very proud that soon we’ll be breaking ground and the project will be underway. You can’t have successful law enforcement without a modern, functional and safe facility. I’m also proud that we are building two new parks. One of them will cater to residents with special needs, and will be right next door to the new law enforcement complex. The other will be on the south side of town, and will be for walking, jogging and biking. Oh, and there will be a dog park there, as well. This park is on an area of land donated to the city by a local businessman. It’s a long way off, but it’s coming.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to get into a career in politics?

Besides getting a good education, I’d say it’s wise to work in some type of government office first, at any level. That will be a tell-tale sign of whether it’s the right career for you. It’s a real eye opener into the world of politics. Once your elected to an office, you become completely accountable. So, seeing what government is all about can really let you know if you’ve got what it takes to complete the job.