St. Martin Parish President Chester R. Cedars
April 9, 2020
6:45 P.M.



I remind you, the Parish website has been revised to provide a separate page for COVID-19 information and updates ( Therefore, as I reference prior reports/updates, it will be much easier to access them.


According to the LDH report released today at noon, the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the State is 18,283 and 702 deaths. The number of reported positive tests in surrounding areas continues to rise. The news for St. Martin Parish is extraordinarily sobering – the positive test results rose by 15, more than any other parish except Calcasieu which has three and one-half times the population of our Parish. Moreover, St. Martin Parish has more deaths attributable to COVID-19 than any other Parish in our area except for Lafayette Parish. The following is the count for our region:

  • Lafayette Parish: 303 cases, 11 deaths
  • Calcasieu Parish: 209 cases, 4 deaths
  • St. Martin Parish: 127 cases, 6 deaths
  • Iberia Parish: 108 cases, 5 deaths
  • St. Landry Parish: 90 cases, 4 deaths
  • Acadia Parish: 89 cases, 3 deaths
  • St. Mary Parish: 89 cases, 1 death
  • Evangeline Parish: 31 cases
  • Jeff Davis Parish: 30 cases, 2 deaths
  • Vermilion Parish: 22 cases, 1 death

The total reported positive tests in the above Parishes is 1,098; total deaths is 37. Therefore, this clearly is not the time for us to abandon the many mitigation measures which have been imposed, both locally and state-wide, in an effort to combat this virus. I shudder at how many more cases and/or deaths we may have if not for those restrictions. Additionally, today during a telephone conference with Dr. Tina Stefanski, we were advised that the cases in our Parish are community in nature, meaning that the results are not clustered in one specific area.


This morning, I conferred with our OEP, our Director of Public Works, and our public works supervisor relative to the prospective rise in water levels through-out the Parish. Our emergency plans were confirmed and are ready for immediate implementation if necessary. Moreover, I ordered that 4 additional self-service sandbags sites be provided in Stephensville and Belle River. Unlike the past years, public works employees will not be assigned to bag and distribute pre-filled bags of sand. The reason, of course, addresses the COVID-19 crisis and as such, we cannot expose our workers unnecessarily to the virus. Nonetheless, we have been offering multiple sites for sandbags for several weeks in anticipation of potential high water. Moreover, by increasing the number of sites, we will hopefully reduce the chances of residents congregating when filling bags. I attach a replica of the press release this date submitted:

Parish President Chester R. Cedars has announced that additional locations for sand bags in lower St. Martin Parish will be established. To minimize interaction among members of the public in securing sandbags, the following sites will be open to the public at all times:

Two separate sites will be located at Doiron’s Landing near the carwash;
One site will be located at the bus turn-a-round on East Stephensville Road;
One site will be situated at the corner of Stephensville Road and Landry Road; and,
Two separate sites will be across the road from the Belle River Fire Station.

As a result of the extraordinary circumstances associated with the COVID-19 crisis, all sites will be self-service. However, anyone with any disability or who cannot obtain sandbags because of lack of assistance from family or neighbors should contact the Parish’s OEP at 337-394-2808.

St. Martin Parish is constantly monitoring the water levels throughout the Parish, and our residents in Stephensville and Belle River are again encouraged to avail themselves of the self-service sand locations identified in this release.



I am truly convinced that the COVID-19 crisis will be a learning experience for all of us when all is said and done. I personally know that I will never again take for granted the opportunity to be with my family and friends and engage in those past-times I treasure. Moreover, it has not been pleasant having to make decisions which curtail people’s ability to move about, do business, and even worship congregationally. However, I have seen a strong community spirit evolve which makes this Parish second to none. As such, I repeat my message from yesterday:

This time of the year is very important to our community as we celebrate the Easter Holiday. There are many secular and non-secular events and activities which surround this most cherished holiday which include the crawfish boils with our friends, neighbors, and family on Good Friday, good spirited Easter Egg Hunts, and of course a congregant worship day on Easter Sunday.

Unfortunately, our lives will be much different this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictive measures which have been imposed in an effort to stymie the spread of this disease. In fact, we are now receiving reports of COVID-19 rapidly and aggressively spreading in our rural communities. Therefore, despite joyful and rewarding traditions we associate with Easter, we must resist the urge to engage in the usual gatherings and activities to which we have grown accustomed at this time of year. It is extremely important that we continue to practice social distancing, limit our gatherings to only a select few, and adhere to all of the other measures which have been imposed in order to stymie the spread of COVID-19.

As a Nation, as a State, as a Parish we shall prevail and get through this crisis. Indeed, next year we will be able to celebrate Easter in all the ways to which we have grown accustomed. Moreover, I submit that next year, as we recall the trials and tribulations of 2020, we will undoubtedly savor like never before the opportunity to enjoy our family and friends, and to worship at our chosen churches.

I wish all of you a Happy Easter.