Sheriff gets roasted

Published 8:22 am Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The evening started out with a moment of silence for fallen St. John the Baptist Parish deputies and then a live rendition of “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool.” But after that, the “roast” of Washington Parish Sheriff Randy “Country” Seal took on a far less serious note.

With Ted Jones acting as emcee and regaling the crowd with his own humorous stories, some of which included high-ranking national dignitaries such as then-president Ronald Reagan, a panel of roasters took turns telling tales about the man of the hour.

Some of the recounted escapades were allegedly factual and a few might have really included a shred of truth, but that is unlikely. As is the norm for such events, most of the stories were a bit randy.

One early panelist mentioned the risk of roasting a sheriff. It’s a good thing that the people doing the talking included folks like the district attorney, a judge, a state senator, the secretary of state and even a U.S. congressman.

Despite the titles, the panel performed like a string of stand-up comedians.

The comics included a normally more serious Secretary of State Tom Schedler who undeniably kept his word when he told the Bogalusa Rotary Club Tuesday that they would see a “different side” of him at the “roast.”

Another, District Judge Peter Garcia, touched on something for which Seal is widely known. From his days as assessor, the sheriff has sent laminated clippings of stories or photographs to parish residents who were in the newspaper.

“My Chihuahua Rosita asked me to thank you for the birthday card and the laminated pictures of the pups,” Garcia said.

The judge also alluded to a time when Seal “was waving to a small herd of cows.”

On the subject of bovines, Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta spoke of an instance when Seal “was drinking milk and the cow fell on him.”

Closer to home, Chief Deputy Mike Haley bravely alluded to his boss’ education.

“You went to college to be a wit,” he said. “Unfortunately, you only got halfway through.”

He told Seal that he was “proud of the fact that you finally got a pistol and a bullet.” And he shared a self-aggrandizing press release recounting the sheriff’s single-handed heroics that Seal allegedly sent to the newspaper but that the paper refused to print.

Parish President Richard Thomas had already ragged the sheriff because “he likes to be out front.” He told of a time when a local contingent was out of state for a convention and Seal was repeatedly making himself the center of attention. When somebody asked Thomas if Seal was an assessor, he responded that, “He is…up in Monroe.”

U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander offered a story about a time when Seal was to be featured at a big event, but nobody showed up.

“Did you tell them Randy was going to be here?” he asked a promoter.

“No, but I’m going to find out who did,” the promoter responded.

The approximately 10 dignitaries had their fun at Seal’s expense, but the roast also included some kudos and kind words.

After regaling those in attendance with a long and amusing story about Seal’s lineage, State Sen. Ben Nevers got serious.

“Drug dealers better get ready to move out of Washington Parish,” he said. “We’ve got a new sheriff.”

But the overall tenor of the evening was fun, and when Seal stepped up to the dais when his buddies had finished, he rebutted their stories en masse, then started in with his own mini roasts of each of them in turn.