St. Landry Parish government, the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office, and Opelousas Police Department have issued statements on the recent passing of retired St. Landry Parish Sheriff and Chief Deputy Laura Balthazar.
Balthazar passed away last week.
President Jessie Bellard:
"Sheriff Laura Balthazar was a respected community leader, advocate, and veteran of the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office. She was truly a role model to all in the parish. For her service to her parish and her community, we owe her a debt of gratitude. As a sign of that gratitude, I've ordered all St. Landry Parish Government buildings to fly the American flag at half-mast to honor her memory. We must remember Sheriff Balthazar in our hearts as she embodied what it means to be a public servant."
St. Landry Parish Government says they waited to release a statement on Balthazar's passing out of respect for the the family.
Sheriff Bobby J. Guidroz and the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office:
"Sheriff Bobby J. Guidroz and the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office are sad to announce the passing of former long time deputy, Laura Balthazar. Ms. Laura as many knew her by worked her way up the ranks working as the Secretary of the Chief Deputy, Head of Communications, Assistant Warden, Chief Civil and Criminal Deputy, and after the retirement of long time Sheriff Howard Zerangue, was the interim sheriff. She was the first African American women to hold the Assistant Warden, Chief Criminal Deputy, and the position of Sheriff.
Ms. Laura was hired on January 23, 1980 and retired on November 19, 2006. One of her most valued programs close to her heart was the senior citizens program called T.R.I.A.D. which is still being held today. In fact the T.R.I.A.D. program won a national award last year for the community service it provides to our senior citizens. Covid has stopped the service but it will continue after it is safe to meet again.
Her belief in God and her strength of character helped so many employee’s in their career in law enforcement and considered her their “at work mother.” Our hearts and prayers are with her family in this time of sorrow."
The Opelousas Police Department honored Balthazar's life and service to the parish in a Facebook post on Friday, February 5.
In that post, Chief Martin McLendon ordered that flags be flown at half-staff.
"Chief Martin McLendon issued an order for the flag of the United States to be flown at half-staff upon the death of Former Sheriff Laura Balthazar to show respect to her legacy," the post reads. "We honored her in life and will remember her in death. Please pray for the family of Ms Laura as she was affectionately called."
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