Up until a month ago Pearl River, LA was merely an exit sign on the freeway to Slidell. A road sign that passed by in the blink of an eye. The town hit my radar as a result of one of my wife’s friends, a young man was missing, and had been missing for a year. Would we at BNN do what we could to help?

It took less than an eye blink to say yes. I was not sure what help we could provide, but we jumped in and started. Subtlety has never been my forte. And one quick trip to the Pearl River area seemed to create a certain amount of havoc. We were stirring up a story that some people would prefer remain cold. What happened to Zachary Pittman on the night of June/24 2009?

That is a question that we do not yet have an answer to. But, we don’t give up easy.

A name that I keep hearing is Ricky Lavigne, it just so happens that his father is the current mayor of Pearl River, James Lavigne. He has been the mayor for 21 years, and most agree that in the early years he was a hands on person, these days it is a slightly different story. Not only has Pearl River skillfully avoided the computer age, town hall does not even possess an answering machine!

This is an election year, and in October the residents must elect a mayor. Will it be James Lavigne?

I had an opportunity today to talk with Lavigne’s major threat, Clayton Harper. It was to say the least an eye opening adventure!

In a scene straight out of The Dukes Of Hazzard, last Tuesday Boss Lavigne tried to get Clay Harper removed from the ballot. Of course this wild move did not succeed. The only person backing him was Alderman Marie Crowe. I spoke with her two weeks ago, and by her own admission:

I had not heard of the name Zachary Pittman until today, all I do is go to meetings every month or two and vote on land easements. I don’t know anything about the town business

Wow, thats the person I want to vote for!

I am still mulling over the huge amount of information that I received from Clayton Harper today. One thing is clear, Lavigne does indeed think of Pearl River as his own little piece of heaven. We are still investigating, but there are questions about cars, questions about about the Board running the Fire Department, and many questions about the town in general.

In some ways it is the Fire Board that is the most interesting. Some claim that the three FB Ladies are friends, they eat together, they shop together, they attend church together. Even worse, they vote together. The vote being whatever a certain mayor asks for! This is obviously hearsay, but I am beginning to pay attention.

I will have more on this Louisiana version of Peyton Place in my next article.

You can pick up a little info about this story in yesterdays radio program.

Simon Barrett

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