New DA building offers security, comfort and controversy
Since the old Pointe a la Hache Courthouse burned in 2002, the District Attorney’s Office for the 25th Judicial District has been on a journey to find a permanent home. That journey officially came to an end Aug. 14 after a yearslong fight and controversy that isn’t going away any time soon.
Current Plaquemines District Attorney Charles Ballay, who is finishing his second six-year term this year, is the DA that fought to get his office into Building 201 at the Plaquemines Government Complex in Belle Chasse. The approach to that building began in 2015 after the Parish Council approved plans to move the DA’s Office from a flood-prone, condemned building with only one operational restroom. It culminated with the cutting of a red ribbon, complete with giant scissors, at the Aug. 14 grand opening ceremony.
The interior of the DA’s new 13,000-square-foot building is certainly modern, but hardly decadent. An artsy, suspended halo fixture lights the lobby for visitors, where receptionists sit securely behind thick plexiglass.
“We have to be ready for anything,” says Ballay as he walks through the lobby, noting that the glass now protects his receptionists from inadvertent coronavirus droplets as much as more conventional projectiles.
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