With so many city projects completed and more underway, Ponchatoula is already leading lots of other cities much larger, but the recent hiring of a new employee is adding even more excitement to future plans.
Nobody loves a city better than its residents and that’s what Ponchatoula has in new Director of Downtown Revitalization, Faith Allen.
As part of the Allen and Melancon families long known for their community involvement, Ms. Allen could easily add “heritage” to her resume.
A graduate of St. Joseph Catholic School and Ponchatoula High School, she went on to SLU to earn her BA degree with a double major in Psychology and Dancing.
At SLU Graduate School she completed her MA degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, which being interpreted means, “Psychology in the Workplace”.
Another couple of plusses, while at SLU, she worked in the Archives at the Library with Dr. Samuel C. Hyde, Jr., for five years and did her internship at the Tangipahoa Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau. Her two jobs overlapped during her time at Tourism as the parish celebrated its 150th anniversary.
Everyone needs a life outside employment that helps in work and Allen’s is found in dance which she has been enjoying twenty years. Being a part of renowned Fellom Ballet in Hammond, she not only has studied but taught dancing and recently returned from New York City with the local dance troupe, B.C. Fields Dance Company. (She added being in New York City, while wonderful, caused her to appreciate Ponchatoula more.)
Presently, Ms. Allen is researching by-laws for the revitalization program with the state director and these will eventually be approved by the city attorney. Currently, she is developing applications for a Board of Directors to be composed of seven people and Mayor Zabbia as Ex-Officio and not a voting member. Four members are to be from Ponchatoula with financial ties or living there and three at-large members with businesses elsewhere.
She is developing a web site and wants to do a directory of businesses – “little stepstones toward bigger goals”.
Allen will be attending “Destination Downtown”, a three-day conference meeting in Hammond this September. Conference attendees will be coming from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas, and some will visit Ponchatoula.
She adds that the city cannot yet use the title “Mainstreet”, and “Downtown Development District” is a legal term that a municipality can use only after it is approved and passed by state legislation.
With her outgoing personality, education, and love of her hometown, Faith Allen is another bright light on the horizon of Ponchatoula’s future.