OMBA led by owners giving back to city

Editor September 1, 2017 Comments Off on OMBA led by owners giving back to city
OMBA led by owners giving back to city

I got linked in with the Old Mandeville Business Association (OMBA) after getting an e-mail from their new publicity director Margot Brignac, who happens to be a small businesswoman herself with her own coffee roasting company.

You can find her and try her great coffee at her Facebook business of “Flamjeaux.”

OMBA is a somewhat unique business group in that they have a broader focus than just supporting the business community in the area, which does focus a little more on the lakefront area and Old Mandeville, as it is known.

They allow residents of the region to join, along with any businesses, and still accept members from throughout the area—not just from Old Mandeville.

That is because the mission is to support the entire area—residentially and commercially—and if you go to the Mandeville lakefront much at all, you realize it is a cool area that deserves extra protection and support.

My wife and I live in Slidell, but we frequently make a Friday or Saturday night trip to Old Mandeville, enjoying dinner at one of the restaurants, then driving to the lakefront and sitting there. It is really a relaxing place and the city has done a great job improving it here and there. Just check out the Mandeville beach that Mayor Donald Villere recently created and opened!

I attended the business social recently and once again met many great people who are just like me—small business people who are enjoying the fruits of their risk to go it alone with their own business.

But I also saw so many people willing to give back to the community that is supporting them. They hold four main fundraisers a year, with the one coming up on Nov. 12—the Empty Bowl—as a special effort to support the Samaritan Center in Mandeville.

Last year they raised $35,000! Pretty impressive for a small group. The event will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. on that Sunday afternoon at the Mandeville Yacht Club and only costs $40 a ticket. You can e-mail Margot at for tickets.

The group also has the Girod Street Stroll in the spring, then back-to-back events on Dec. 8 and 9 with Sip of the Season Stroll, followed by the Christmas Past Festival. Sip of the Season is held from 5 to 9 that evening with 34 stroll stops where participants are given a cup for $20 to try a variety of specialty cocktails and drinks. Last year the event drew 1,000 people.

What I like about these groups is the people—they are truly committed to the community. And it’s why I encourage our readers to truly “Buy Local,” and give our local businesses a chance. You would be amazed how often they match prices from the big stores and provide great customer service besides.




As I make the rounds to area business and social functions it is easy to see there is an election coming up on Oct. 14. Suddenly there are plenty of candidates purchasing booth space at public events, walking the event and shaking hands, and making it clear there are decisions to be made soon, and they want your vote.

This is an unusual election since five positions must be decided on, and none of these elections were actually scheduled on a normal time frame. That is because a domino effect started when the Louisiana Treasurer John Kennedy won election as a U.S. Senator. When that seat opened up and had to be filled, La. Rep. John Schroder decided to run, vacating his state rep position and causing an election to replace him.

There are two elections for judgeships in the 22nd Judicial District Court. One is for District ‘E’ after longtime judge William Burris retired. His son, William Burris, is running for the seat against Jay Adair and Charles Wartelle.

In District ‘H’ of the 22nd Judicial court there is another vacated spot to fill after Allison Penzato won election to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals. This is an especially interesting seat with Alan Zaunbrecher of Covington pitted against Reggie Laurent of Slidell.

Laurent is making the point that “it is time” for an African American to win the first seat ever on the 22nd Judicial Court. He is from Slidell and has strong backing from that area, but Zaunbrecher is a veteran lawyer himself and has strong backing on the west side.

All 22nd Judicial Court positions involve St. Tammany and Washington parishes so you will probably see a big push by both men for the Bogalusa area votes. Keep your eye on the front page of our paper in the coming weeks.

Finally, there is an election for the St. Tammany Parish Council District 2 after former Councilman Dennis Sharp passed away. Dave Fitzgerald, Joe Freeman, Marvin Lawson and Clark Taylor are all qualified to run for that position.


Kevin Chiri can be reached by e-mail at

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