Thibodeaux, Claybar officially sworn in Friday

Published 10:57 am Saturday, March 30, 2019

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


In a crowded courtroom, Carl Thibodeaux Jr. was sworn in as County Judge after Lannie Claybar was sworn is Constable Pct. 1 on Friday.

“I told two commissioners as they came in, they finally made two good decisions,” 128th District Judge Courtney Arkeen said.

Claybar was the bailiff in Arkeen’s courtroom for many years.

“Lannie is an asset, a friend, a rock and always made us feel safe,” Arkeen said. “Since the first day, people have tried to steal him from us. The citizens of Precinct One won. I think he will excel as constable.”

Arkeen added Claybar would always be welcomed back.

Dawn Burleigh/The Orange Leader Orange County Judge Carl Thibodeaux Jr. thanks retired Judge Pat Clark after Clark swears him in as the county judge on Friday.

Before swearing in Carl Thibodeaux Jr., retired judge Pat Clark pointed out it was Thibodeaux’s wife’s birthday. The courtroom erupted in song as they sang Happy Birthday to her.

“He gets the ultimate present, he gets to return to the county,” Clark said before the swearing-in ceremony began.

After Thibodeaux was sworn in he said, “Another rodeo, back in the saddle.”

Thibodeaux was retired as County Judge for the last four years. During that time, he has served on West Orange City Council and then as West Orange Municipal Court Judge.

“For four years I lived without a clock,” Thibodeaux said. “In fact when I looked at the clock it still said 3 o’clock because I had not changed it yet. I do not look as this as political, it’s a job. It was my life for 20 solid years. Longer than that, since we moved here in 1971.”

Thibodeaux added he would put “every ounce of my being to the task at hand.”

“It is important to everyone working together as a team effort,” Thibodeaux said.

He also humbly thanked everyone for “putting up with me again.”

After a 29 minute long closed session, on Wednesday, Orange County Commissioners Court named Carl Thibodeaux Jr. as county judge after Dean Crooks resignation. Crooks served 10 months in the position.

“I appreciate the confidence you have in me,” Thibodeaux said on Wednesday. “People are quick to criticize, and I have been on both sides of the bench. You have appointed someone who truly in love with Orange County. I will give the job 110-percent.”

Thibodeaux added he had spoken with his wife and they felt he could help the county.

“I am tax abatement friendly,” Thibodeaux said. “Let’s get that right off the bat. There is a purpose for them and we need to use them. For 20 years, I fought Louisiana.”

Thibodeaux along with the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce was instrumental in bringing Tax Abatements to Orange County.

Lannie Claybar, with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and a bailiff with the 128th District Court, was appointed to take the position, on Wednesday, following the resignation of Chris Humble.

Dawn Burleigh/The Orange Leader Constable Pct. 1 Lannie Claybar gives 128th District Judge Courtney Arkeen a hug after she swears him in as the new constable on Friday.

Humble publically announced his resignation in Commissioners Court a week earlier and said he would start a new position on April 1, 2019.

Humble added he had spoken to Human Resources Lori Ardoin and to the now-former County Judge Dean Crooks concerning his resignation.

He will be Director of Safety and Security for the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation.

“I received many calls and emails in support of Lannie Claybar,” Commissioner Pct.1 Johnny Trahan said.

Claybar said he was honored to take the appointment.

“I thank Sheriff Merritt,” Claybar said. “I am humbled, grateful to accept this appointment.”

Claybar is what he referred to as a ‘multigenerational’ citizen of Orange County.

“Most of it in Pct. 1,” Claybar said.

Commissioner Pct.2 Theresa Beauchamp said, “Lannie is an officer and a gentleman.”