Who to watch: Rev. Thomas N. Bessix


Louisiana is home for many talented, intellectual, cultured, and politically savvy people. The staff and publisher of The Drum Newspaper have identified the people to watch in the new year. We introduce them to you here and encourage you to follow them along with us as we report on how they impact Ponchatoula, Baton Rouge, and the state. These are leaders in entertainment, business, education, and public policy—watch them.

Senior Pastor, New Gideon Baptist Church Executive Director, PICO Louisiana

Age: 40

Hometown: Maringouin, La

Moves made in 2013: 2013 was a very busy year. In the ValleyPark community, we cleared three vacant lots, painted and planted
fresh plants around the community entrance sign on Bawell, built entry ramps for two senior citizens and cleared trash from the street. We also started a free after-schoolstudy hall and a free summer enrichment program that offered a breakfast, lunch and a snack. We fed more than 500 people. Our men’s ministry is mentoring five teenagers.In 2013, PICO Louisiana worked across the state to bring awareness to Governor Jindal’s unfair tax plan of which he chose not to pursue because of PICO’s applied pressure, as well as other groups like ours.

What to expect in 2014: For New Gideon and the Valley Park community, we are offering more assistance to seniors, doubling the number of families we reach during community fellowships, and expanding our tutoring and summer enrichment programs. With PICO, we are raising a statewide campaign focusing on mass- incarceration and sentencing reform in 2014.*

Personal Resolution for 2014: Striving for excellence. Business/Company Resolution for 2014: Don’t lose focus on the mission.
Life/business motto: Striving for excellence.
What are you listening to? I have Maze featuring Frankie Beverly Live in New Orleans and Ty Tribbett in my CD changer now.
What are you reading? The Bible and The New Jim Crow Law by Michelle Alexander.