Apr 28, 2011 7:47 PM by Carolyn Cerda
The mayor of Loreauville and the Iberia Parish Council are taking some precautionary steps, in hopes of preventing the closure of the town's only post office. They've written letters to the United States Postal Service, opposing a recent USPS proposed regulation.
If approved, proposed regulation (39 CFR 241.1) would enable the Postal Service to convert smaller rural post offices, such as the one in Loreauville, to subordinate facilities, known as "stations" or "branches." These stations and branches are not protected under the law the way post offices are.
Current law entitles communities to due process rights whenever the USPS plans to close or consolidate their post office.
In addition, that would mean USPS could then close such branches without resident's due process, such as a town hall meeting.
Although Loreauville has less than 1,000 residents, having a post office is a big deal.
"Every time I come there's always a lot of people here," said one resident. "Especially in smaller towns, they're (the post office is) definitely used a lot more frequently than people realize."
"The post office in a small village is very important," said Loreauville Mayor Albert Broussard. "I mean, it's part of the community."
The Loreauville post office is currently not on a list to be closed. But, the Mayor says the letters were sent as a preventive measure.
"Who's to say that we're not next, that's our concern," said Mayor Broussard. "With their proposed changes, with their 'sleight of hand' they could almost guarantee a closure and that's what we want to prevent, those rule changes."
If the Loreauville office does eventually close, residents would have to drive 20 miles to the next nearest office which is in New Iberia. A thought that doesn't sit well with those who often use the Loreauville location to get mail, money orders, and other services.
"It's a little too hard for us to go all the way to New Iberia and back, and with as high as gas is right now," said one resident.
Another said, "Especially with the price of gas, and then drive 20 miles and 20 miles back, just to pick up your mail."
Another said that the drive to New Iberia would have to be a daily routine because, "Most of the people here get their mail from the post office it's very seldom they get it at home."
Mayor Broussard hopes to ease his constituents worries.
"The post office is here," said Mayor Broussard. "It may be here forever. It may not. But, the administration knows the value of it."