Ascension Parish government bids farewell to communications director Martin McConnell

Michael Tortorich
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

During the May 5 meeting in Gonzales, Ascension Parish Council members wished Martin McConnell well upon his retirement as parish government's communications director.

The Ascension Parish communications department handles public outreach through its social media platforms and video programming through Ascension21. It also works closely with members of the news media.

McConnell served as communications director for nearly six years. He previously worked as director of sales and marketing for the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center.    

Martin McConnell, shown front center, was honored upon his retirement from Ascension Parish government. He is shown with former President Tommy Martinez and current President Clint Cointment. Ascension Parish Council members are, from left, Travis Turner, Alvin "Coach" Thomas, Corey Orgeron, Joel Robert, Dempsey Lambert, John Cagnolatti, Aaron Lawler, Teri Casso, Dal Waguespack, and Michael Mason.

Council Chair John Cagnolatti said he and McConnell have been lifelong friends.

"I want to tell you how much we appreciate and admire you for the service you've provided to the citizens of Ascension Parish. You have been a bright light in a lot of dull moments, believe me," Cagnolatti said.

District 1's Alvin "Coach" Thomas reminisced about McConnell's time serving as a council member, which was two terms from 2000 to 2008.

"We appreciate your service, Martin. You've done a great job. We're very thankful and grateful for the job you've provided for this parish," Thomas said.

Council members Teri Casso and Dempsey Lambert also wished McConnell well on his retirement.

"There's no such thing as failure. You either win, or you learn from your mistakes," McConnell said. "That's the way it is. It has been my genuine honor to serve the people of Ascension Parish, this administration, and the council."

He recalled how former Ascension Parish President Tommy Martinez, who was in attendance, hired him while working in the banking business.

"When I saw the dedication of the people and the things that we do for people, I knew this was the perfect job for me and the perfect way to end my career, to tell that story. To let the people know that these are the things happening for you. I really commend the current administration for making this a whole lot more open," McConnell said.

After thanking everyone, McConnell then received a standing ovation from those in attendance.

Parish President Clint Cointment asked if everyone could get a picture with McConnell, who usually handles photography in such a scenario.

"Who's going to take it?" Cagnolatti joked.