JEANERETTE, La. — 67 years. 67 years on the same job. Roland Babin has worked wonders and seen tons of great projects. All working for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD). And he retires at the end of July.
“I’m gonna’ be 86 in a couple of months,” says Babin. And how many years on the job for DOTD? “I’m gonna’ surprise you now. 67 years, June 2, 1955.”
It was initially a summer job, and 18-year old Roland Babin was looking to make some money so he could go to college. “I started with the construction crew,” he recalls, “and back then started off as a rod man—bottom of the bucket---making $180 a month (oh, you were a rich man!). Rich man, rich man!”
But Babin had a wife, he was starting a family, he was playing music with T.K. Hulin; and he grew to love the job on Louisiana’s roadways and highways in what became a 67-year vocation. In fact, Babin supervised crews in the late sixties and early seventies where a cloverleaf was being built, one that would connect 167 with the in-progress I-10 Atchafalaya Basin Bridge. “I supervised a survey crew where the cloverleaf is at now, and all they had out there was grass about as high as me,” he laughs.
For the past 20 years, Babin has overseen a veteran maintenance crews that covers eight parishes. It’s a group that has become just like family. “We all kind of get together and give advice to each other. I’m not a supervisor on the job most of the time—I don’t act that way--- give them a chance to tell me what do they think we ought to do here?”
67 years, I ask. What does that mean to you, Roland?
“It blows my mind,” he smiles. “I never could have believed I could do something like that for so long. But….I like the job.”
While we honor Mr. Babin on his 67 years, the consolation prize goes to his buddy Ted Marcentel. Ted will retire with 49 years on the job. So, 116 total years of great work, all in service of us and his roads.
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