St. Landry Parish Waste Director Remembered for Innovation

Brandy Ledet Environment

Katry Martin, the innovative director of the St. Landry solid waste district, is being remembered as a dedicated public servant who has been recognized for his work across the nation and at home for his generosity and spirit of community.

He passed away October 10 at the age of 64 after a battle with cancer. He was buried October 14 in his hometown of Crowley.

During a long career as an elected and appointed public servant, Martin served as an Acadia Parish police juror, as an Acadia drainage board supervisor and as secretary-treasurer of the parish. He served since 2007 as the executive director of the St. Landry Parish Solid Waste Commission.

St. Landry Parish president Bill Fontenot characterized Martin as “a very close personal friend and a dedicated professional partner in governmental service.”

“Katry leaves a legacy of expertise and good works in St. Landry Parish that will forever provide an enhanced quality of life for our citizens,” Fontenot said.

Martin is credited with starting a system of collecting methane gas from the parish landfill and converting it into natural gas that can be used to fuel vehicles. It was the first fully operating system of its kind in the nation, and has become a national model. In recent years Martin traveled extensively to national meetings to explain and promote the collection and conversion process.

“Katry leaves a legacy of expertise and good works in St. Landry Parish that will forever provide an enhanced quality of life for our citizens.”St. Landry Parish President, Bill Fontenot
The St. Landry system is being used as a fuel source for nearly all of the waste commission’s vehicles, as well as a substantial part of the sheriff’s department fleet.

Additionally, the fleet of trucks that collects St. Landry waste and brings it to the parish landfill is powered by the gas generated by the waste that they bring.

The program also includes an environmental education component for St. Landry students that emphasizes the concept of energy from waste.

In 2016 Martin and his commission were cited by Energy Vision, a national environmental organization based in New York City, as “true national pioneers.”

Steve Wittmann, a representative of BioCNG, the developer of the system used by St. Landry Parish, has said the project here “is the most successful by far in fuel sales operations and expansion of any of [his company’s] projects.” He credited that success to Martin’s foresight and the waste commission’s “willingness to take a chance and see what could happen.”

“The passing of Katry represents a significant loss in so many ways,” according to economic development director Bill Rodier. “In our parish, we will be hard pressed to ever replace the character, leadership and progressiveness that he brought to the table and that has helped to move our area forward. He will be sorely missed.”

Martin was born September 8, 1953, to Benoit and Duiby Breaux Martin. He graduated from the University of Louisiana – Lafayette (then USL) with degrees in agribusiness and civil engineering and partnered with his father in operating a dairy farm for several years.

He was an active parishioner of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Crowley and a member of the Knights of Columbus Council 5499.

He is survived by his wife of twenty years, Lisa Leger Martin, four daughters, a step-son, three brothers, three sisters, and several grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Bonnita Perry Martin.

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The St. Landry Parish Solid Waste Disposal District provides residential and commercial solid waste collection and disposal, as well as operation of the St. Landry Parish Landfill and recycling centers for residents and businesses of St. Landry Parish, Louisiana.