Attorney Kevin Blanchard is leaving his position as public works director for Lafayette Consolidated Government in mid-November to become general counsel for Southern Lifestyle Development.
Blanchard tells The Independent he had accepted the job offer before Saturday’s election for city-parish president, in which state Rep. Joel Robideaux defeated LCG Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley.
Appointed to the directorship by City-Parish President Joey Durel, Blanchard previously served as the first-ever chief development officer for LCG. He has been involved in the development of Lafayette’s Comprehensive Plan and the newly adopted Unified Development Code; he is a member of One Acadiana’s board of directors, chair-elect of the Leadership Institute of Acadiana and a former reporter for The Advocate.
SLD was formed by Robert Daigle, Rodney Savoy and Robert Gagnard, the original developers of River Ranch, Lafayette Parish's first traditional neighborhood development. SLD currently has 17 communities under various stages of development throughout the state, the company noted in a Wednesday press release.
"Robert and I started an informal discussion probably a couple of months ago, and it was a really good opportunity for me and my family, and so eventually I committed to him that after the election I would come and take that work," Blanchard tells The IND. "The opportunity to go and work for a company that has done such great work not just in Lafayette but across the state and has so much growth potential — that built River Ranch and is doing the sort of development we talked about during the [comprehensive planning process] and the [Unified Development Code] — being able to create that work was something I just couldn’t pass it up."
“Kevin brings to the table a wide range of experience that will be a great fit with our business model at a time when our company is enjoying phenomenal growth,” Daigle says in the release.
A well-respected LCG director, Blanchard plans to assist City-Parish President-Elect Joel Robideaux in the transition process.
"I’m excited about it, and we’re going to make sure that the transition goes smoothly; we’ll be working with Joel and his folks and I’m going to stay involved as best I can in the community," Blanchard adds. "We’re working hard right now to make sure that we keep all the plates spinning — [that] we don’t let any of the plates drop during the next three weeks."
State ethics law bars Blanchard from doing business with LCG for two years because of his soon-to-be former employment with local government. As a result, Blanchard says, he will be on the road often during that time assisting SLD with developments in Lake Charles, Gonzales, Monroe, Bossier Parish and elsewhere.
Blanchard adds that he's grateful to Durel for the albeit short stint helping Lafayette plan for its future.
"I’ve been truly blessed by my time working with Joey’s administration, both as a volunteer on the comp plan and the last couple of years of paid work," he says. "It’s one of those situations where I’ve had the opportunity to have a good deal of freedom to work on things I thought were important for the community that I think the community has bought into as well, whether it's the comprehensive plan or the Unified Development Code."