Park renamed to honor Clouatre

Kyle Riviere
The family of Roger Clouatre celebrates St. Amant Park being renamed in his honor. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

St. Amant Park will now be known as Roger J. Clouatre Memorial Park. It takes the name of a man that worked so hard to put his blood, sweat and tears into the facility for nearly 30 years.

It was more than a park for him. It was a place where the parish's children could go to have fun, build lasting friendships and create memories that spanned their lifetimes.

Though Clouatre passed away in 2001, his indelible legacy still shines bright at the park. Its luster became even greater on Dec. 22, when family, friends and parish officials gathered at the ceremony to officially rename the park.

Many of his relatives spoke about him--including one of his 10 siblings, Robert.

"This is a great tribute to Roger. For all the brothers and family members, we hope to walk in his footsteps," Robert said. "There isn't a day that goes by where I don't think about him. This is a great institution that was started with guys with chainsaws and tractors clearing out ground, and I'm proud to see that some of you guys are here today."

In 1968, St. Amant Properties Incorporated was born, and in 1970, construction of the park began. When completed, it became a haven for the parish's youth for more than two decades.

Unfortunately, in the 1990s, things became to fall apart. Robert Clouatre said that things went awry, and the facility wasn't functional.

But rather than tearing it down, community members banded together and fought to rebuild it. Roger Clouatre was there leading the charge.

"I'm proud to say that through the work of these guys, we're probably on our fourth generation of enjoying the park, and that's something I know my dad would be proud to know, and your dads and grandfathers, that this place is still functional, still vital and still serving the youth of Ascension Parish and St. Amant," Robert said.

Parish President Tommy Martinez was one of Roger's best friends. He also remembers how persistent he was in getting the parish to invest in the park back in 1995. Martinez thought it was only fitting that the place bear his name.

"He was a great human being," Martinez said. "I loved him like a brother, and that's why I brought up that we needed to name it 'Roger J. Clouatre Park,' and I'm really proud that the council decided to do that. I appreciate it, and I'm sure the family appreciates it."

William Clouatre, another brother of Roger's, spoke of the importance of the park. He said that it has always served as a "training ground for life," and it has helped kids expand their horizons.

To close out the ceremony, Roger's four children shared their memories of their father and the park. His daughter, Stephanie, left those in attendance with one endearing message.

She said, "He spent every minute of every waking moment of his life fighting for not only forming this land, but forming relationships and providing a better future for every child--not only in St. Amant, but in Ascension Parish. Let us remember, and let us do what Roger J. Clouatre would do, and let us get to work."