Q&A: Serving Natchitoches via Cane River

Our Q&A Column is a way for us to highlight the interesting people within our community.

This week we talked with Cane River Waterway Commission Chairman Jim Rhodes.

Why Were You Interested In Your Current Role/Job in the Beginning?
We had relocated to Natchitoches for about three years and I had gotten around and met a lot of different people and made some really good friends. My wife had gone back to work and I was working with a local company (Rhodes Property) but still felt like something was missing. I had been involved with my neighborhood down south but just neighbors getting together to make the area a better place for our families. But wanting to become a part of the total community here I started looking for an opportunity to make our forever home a better place. I saw the advertisement for Cane River Waterway and applied. The rest is history.
What Are The Roles Of Your Position?
I basically have two roles on the Commission. First is as the representative for Natchitoches Parish Government. That is a pretty straight forward assignment. Second is as Chairman of the Commission. This is the one that really requires the most of my time and energy. As I am responsible for making sure the Commission is administered ethically and legally.
What Kind of Strategies And Mindsets Are Required For This Role?
Alot goes into this position. This calls for being aware of legal, monetary and ethical rules and laws. It helps to have an administrator that can handle the daily issues but at the end of the day it falls upon the Chairman to be the one that makes sure it all has been accomplished. It requires a forward thinking mindset but also one that looks back to the past to make sure the same issues don’t occur again. One has to be aware of budgets that to be kept current and potential cost overruns on projects.
How Do You Stay Motivated In Your Work?
The biggest motivation is having citizens from the entire Parish thank you for what we have done so far. And also its trying to make The City of Natchitoches and the Parish of Natchitoches a better place for our families and visitors.
Describe A Time When You Failed In This Role And The Lesson You Learned?
I don’t know if failed is the term I would use. But it would have to be when our pumping project was not successful. That was a years long project that I walked into the middle of which is not an easy thing to do. Fortunately other Commissioners were still on the commission and were able to help make the decisions as they came up. We are still pursuing this project and hopefully will succeed.
Tell me something fun that not many people may know about you. 
There are a lot of things in my past that I will never let become common knowledge. And there was plenty fun to be had. But not everyone is aware that I am a Tennessee Volunteer fan. And still am. I will cheer for LSU as long as they aren’t playing the Vols. But fun can be many things. I like to be with friends and family and enjoy each other. But to answer the question it would have to do with a high school talent contest. The particular skit was the 12 years of school and I was the 11th grade performer and it had something to do with a dress and shaved legs. But for me to explain it would take another interview.  
If You Could Time Travel, When Would You Go?
Time travel. If it was possible it would always be into the past. We don’t know what the future holds because we haven’t been there. I don’t ever want to know the future let it happen as it happens. History, especially early history has a lot of guess work in it. Somebody has filled in the blanks with their own ideas. I would really love to go back in time and be able to see what really happened. 
What’s Your Best Natchitoches Memory?
The cliche answer would be the birth of my five granddaughters here. But for the intent of this article, it would be the unveiling of Rue Beauport (downtown riverbank).
What Is The Best Piece Of Advice You’ve Received?
Listen to everyone’s opinion but when it comes time to make that decision make it your decision and use your heart or inner strength as the biggest part it will tell you what’s right. 
What Accomplishment Are You Most Proud Of?
That question has many answers. Strictly talking of my role with CRWC it would be all of the projects we have been involved in. Those include the riverfront, road repairs, Roque House renovation and all the others. But it is the feeling that we have taken the taxpayers money and used it wisely and for the betterment of the entire community. But on a personal side it would be the accomplishments that family has made in this community also. And convincing the best person in this world that I was worthy of her love.