The two faces of social media in local politics

By J. R. “Randy” Stelly/Opinion

Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or TikTok, nearly everyone today is using some form of social media to share and exchange information or content. That, of course, includes our local City of Natchitoches employees and elected officials. While I no longer reside in Natchitoches, I still consider it my home and I was grateful to see updates from newly-elected Mayor Ronnie Williams after Hurricane Laura on what streets or areas were being put back on-line with electricity. Even though Mayor Williams was using his personal social media pages, this is definitely a change from the previous City of Natchitoches administration. It’s social media presence was of little impact.

Everyone should agree that social media is a great way to provide information to thousands of people in a very short amount of time, but there are drawbacks to allowing the public to have such accessibility to one’s personal digital footprint, especially if the content isn’t as appropriate. I dare say this has been a hard lesson learned for newly elected City Councilwoman Rosemary Washington who posted several Facebook LIVE stories to address rumors circulating around town about her.

The following Facebook LIVE video was posted on Ms. Washington’s personal page of an interaction between herself and former 73-year-old Councilwoman Sylvia Morrow. I am appalled at the language Ms. Washington chose to use and even more so that she thought it was okay to broadcast her behavior to the whole world. Have we really fallen so low as a society that this is what qualifies as acceptable social behavior.


If we are to think of the City of Natchitoches as a business, then the elected officials are the face of our company. Because of that, shouldn’t they be held to a higher standard of ethical conduct and maintain themselves with professionalism? Most governmental entities have codes of conduct that their employees must adhere to when it comes to social media. Shouldn’t our elected officials be held to that same standard?

The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Natchitoches Parish Journal.  If you have an article or story of interest for publishing consideration by the NPJ, please send it to

35 thoughts on “The two faces of social media in local politics

  1. Ummmm this was highly embarrassing and yet I’m sure there are people who commented on this that really are not any better situated. This goes for the Black , White & Others .. Its real easy to sit in judgement when you think that nobody knows your secrets. The truth of this is this city like many others is a a crossroads , like this country. The subliminal call of MAGA has brought a few of y’all out of the closet , empowered some for a positive and may open the door for real inclusiveness in Natchitoches. Truth can be a bitter pill for those with egos and hidden agendas . I’m sure this episode is going to ignite a BACKDOOR power play by some who either view themselves as holy or an opportunistic village idiot seeking to pander race for their own selfless gain. Public service is exactly as it said for the people .. let’s see how this plays out.. I’ll be watching😂

  2. While everyone is bashing Rose Mary Washington-Elie for her obvious lack of professionalism and true characteristics of leadership. Where is the call to order for the criminal act of our Parish President when he actually put hands around a black mans neck. I know with C-19 putting the justice system behind schedule but boycott that restaurant, boycott that criminal, recall him. Rose Mary needs guidance and rehabilitation for her actions. She can still make a difference but I guess since she doesn’t have any proprietary interests in the historic district we can just disregard her. Yep, systematic racism at its finest here in the good ole boy south. If you are going to be a leader you might want to look behind you and make sure the group is still following you because eventually they will turn their backs and leave you. This is a good example of her needing to admit her wrongdoing and correct that behavior.

    • Typical response. It was two black women acting like idiots and the people are commenting are racist. Can you see their color from their replies or is it just because their are using proper English and not Ebonic slang? You know if Richmond was black you would be singing a different song. The ones that are always screaming racism are the most racist. “Tell ya mama dat”!

    • Personally I don’t care for either if them because I witnessed both of behaviors. Morrow literally made a special of herself during a dinner for the Bishops at our church because she felt that she was entitled to sit with them. Washington was an aide on the school bus a few years ago and referred to my daughter as nappy head; my daughter cussed her out and she literally got off of the bus and followed my daughter home and proceeded to knock on on my door. I didn’t condone my daughters behavior but I don’t play when it come to my children either. She knocked on my front door and I politely told her to get off my property or get dragged off. FYI that nappy head little girl is now in law school with aspirations of becoming a judge.

  3. Here is the City of Natchitoches’s newly elected city council member from district four, Rosemary Washington. How far we have fallen from Joe Sampite and his ‘I Love Natchitoches’ stickers. Every member of this community should be ashamed that ignorant fools like this live among us, much less are elected to represent even the worst our community has to offer. All of us should see people like this as malignancies to be cut out to save the whole of our suffering community.

    Rosemary Washington was elected by 733 supposedly registered voters in district four, as opposed to 546 voting for the shamefully corrupt James Below, whose political legacy lives on through the various board seats he, his relatives and innumerable cronies continue to occupy. Of course James (the Game) Below deserved to be defeated… but by this cretin?

    Anyone who stooped so low as to cast a vote for Ms. Washington is an absolute fool, inexcusably ignorant, or, as I hope was most often the case, simply to lazy to learn about whom they were voting after recognizing the unfitness for office of Mr. Below. None are acceptable excuses, of course, but laziness is the most easily corrected and one which we all fall victim to on occasion.

    I would encourage the voters of Natchitoches to watch this repeatedly. Burn it into your memories. Remind yourselves of this shameful episode every time this stupid woman or anyone else similarly embarrasses our city. Move to recall her and any others like her who present such a horrible image to the potential tourists upon whom our city relies. Most importantly, remember this during city elections going forward and elect people of character, intelligence and competence sufficient to serve the people of Natchitoches and its various districts with dignity and integrity.

    • My remark in paragraph 2 calling the voters in district four “supposedly registered“ was both unfounded and uncalled for. It implies failings among our Clerk of Court and Registrar of Voters. Both offices have been and continue to be run in exemplary fashions. I apologize to everyone in both offices for impugning the fine jobs they do.

      • I think you are mistaken. I know Mr. Below. He is a very fine Godly man and would have been great asset to our city council. He deserved to win and the voters in 4 should be ashamed.

    • Well I see a lot of people are out of the closet and as expected taking the failings of other to task .. but as I stated earlier.. y’all got secrets too 😂 but we will wait patiently for chickens to come home to roost 😂 then we will see if you like scrambled or sunny side up 😂

  4. Both of those women are a disgrace to the community. How Rosemary Washington was ever elected to the city council is beyond me. This should be an embarrassment to everyone who voted for her. She is certainly not portraying herself as an intelligent adult in this video. I agree that some action should be taken by the council.

  5. Elected and appointed officials should use official pubic websites and social media channels for public business, and the public should expect to find information there and not on private accounts. Save the personal stuff for your own facebook and twittering.

  6. Two women acting like fools. Sylvia Morrow should have never gone over to Ms. Washington’s house. She has caused more havoc in this town than anyone, and still got elected in the past. There are questions on her honesty as she was arrested for theft from a store, and still kept her City Council seat. Personally I was glad when she lost the election, and was hoping that would be the end of Sylvia in the news. I guess not.

    As for Ms Washington, she was wrong to allow Ms Morrow to draw her into a screaming match in the street. It did not put her in a good light. It did not make her look like a City Councilwoman. It drew her down to the level of Ms Morrow. Sorry, but they both looked like a couple of children having a fight in the street. It was one of the most ridiculous scenes I’ve seen in a long time. Ms. Washington, start acting like a professional City Council person. You did not gain any points by doing this.

    If this behavior continues, I recommend for City Council, someone who can act like a civil adult in a confrontation. The woman we saw in this video is not the type person we need on the council. We need someone who can keep their cool and think things through in a tense situation. We have already had one Sylvia Morrow, we don’t need another. Be your own person, but be a professional in all things. That is what I expect for City Council member. I want an intelligent, cool headed person who can win a disagreement with soft words, not a screaming banshee in the street.

    Shame on both of you!

  7. Never been more ashamed of living in this craphole town… Congrats to the brain dead idiots that elected her. The future has never looked more bleak.

  8. It’s CRAZY how this article is expressing Ms Morrows age. Just because she’s older she have the right to START arguments and not expect retaliation? The first curse work came from Ms. Morrow! The first hard hit came from her by telling the young lady that she can’t read. Ms. Morrow is very “hood”. I’ve also saw her in the news paper NUMEROUS times for THEFT of goods. Don’t paint this lady as innocent. Some times you can wake a lion!

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