Matassa talks about his bad back, blames 'the news media' in statement on Vegas storm trip
GONZALES - Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa is firing back over reports that he and key members of his staff were outside the state throughout Tropical Storm Barry.
Matassa left Thursday for a conference with the National Association of Counties in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Multiple local and state officials spoke on air about preparations ahead of the storm. Ascension Parish officials held a press conference, but Matassa wasn't there.
A statement from Matassa's office Monday praised first responders for their actions during the storm and made an attempt to address his absence.
“Everything was in place with our emergency response personnel and our employees when I left for the conference,” Matassa said. “With the use of modern technology, I was able to stay in touch with everyone every step of the way. They did an awesome job.”
Matassa's statement went on to say there was little he could have done if he were here.
“All weather reports from OEP weren’t as bad as the news media reported,” Matassa's statement continued. “The only thing I could have done if I was there was fill sand bags, which I couldn’t do because of my back problems! I thank God and all the people of Ascension for their prayers. Truly, God has spared us this time!”
When a parish president is out of town for more than 72 hours, a designee must be appointed. It's unclear if Matassa did so. A news release says he'll be back in town Tuesday.
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