For 30 years, Paul Catalon was the long-time alderman in Maurice. But his life was cut short six years ago when he passed away from cancer. His son, Troy, filled in his slot and then won the seat where he sat for four years. He was there a total of six years.
Due to the idea of possibly moving to Abbeville, Troy was unable to seek another term and possibly ending the Catalon tradition. But instead of ending it, he spoke to his sister, Phyllis Catalon-Johnson and put the bug in her ear about running for his seat.
Phyllis, 42, did not give her brother an answer right away. She has a busy schedule of her own and was not sure if she had time to juggle in a political office while running two day care and learning businesses in Maurice, coupled with owning a gift shop in Lafayette. After spending 12 hours taking care of other people’s children, she goes home and takes care of her husband, Eric, and their three boys, ages 18, 11 and a four-year-old.
In another words, she has a lot on her plate.
After doing a little soul searching and speaking with a husband who told her he backed her 100 percent with her decision, she decided to throw her name in the race.
She registered at the Clerk of Court’s Office last week and waited to see if only three people would register for aldermen’s race in Maurice.
At 4:45 p.m. on Friday, she called the clerk’s office and got the news that only three people had qualified. There are only three aldermen, so she was declared the winner without even campaigning. She joins Gary Villian and Darin Desormeaux, who are already aldermen.
“I was very excited,” said Phyllis. “I did not have to campaign.”
Phyllis is not the first female alderman. Only a few years ago, Marlene Theriot was an alderwoman with Paul Catalon. Barbara Picard, the former long-time mayor of Maurice, was the first female alderman in Maurice.
She will have to wait until January to take office.
“I want to get my foot in the door and learn what I can,” said Phyllis. “I am willing to learn.”
Like her father, Phyllis wants to help people in Maurice. Although he did not live to see his two children occupy the same alderman seat he sat in for years, Phyllis said he is not forgotten.
“He is always with me,” she said. “He would be pleased with my decision. I do not think he would be surprised because he knows I am a go-getter. The apple does not fall far from the tree.”