Outgoing Abita Springs Mayor Greg Lemons will likely be as happy as anyone to see the calendar turn to 2019. The year 2018 did not end on a good note for small town’s mayor of the past six years.
Lemons was soundly defeated at the polls in the Nov. 8 election, losing to Dan Curtis.
A little more than a week ago, Lemons was beaten up in a bizarre incident near his home. The 71-year-old mayor suffered a swollen and blackened left eye and a bloodied nose at the hands of a stranger, he said.
Lemons, who filed a police report, said he was driving home from a party in his wife’s car around 10:30 p.m. on Dec. 21 when a motorist forced him into a ditch at St. Joseph and 11th streets near his home. Lemons said he rolled down the window and was still in the car with his seatbelt on when the man walked up and began punching him in the face.
“He gets out of the car and starts wailing on me,” Lemons said. “He hit me three times … I never saw the guy in my life.”
Lemons said he got out of the car to defend himself, and his attacker got into his vehicle and drove off.
He told a St. Tammany Parish sheriff’s deputy later that night that during the attack the man told him, “You’re going to die in this ditch,” according to a Sheriff’s Office incident report.
Lemons told the deputy that a short time before the incident he was driving north on Louisiana 59 in Mandeville when a motorist behind him was honking the horn and flashing his high-beam headlights, the report said. That motorist eventually accelerated and passed him.
Lemons doesn’t believe the beating had anything to do with the motorist on Hwy. 59. “I think it was a case of mistaken identity,” he said.
Monday (Dec. 31) was his last day in the mayor’s office, and Lemons said he has come to terms with that.
He said he has neglected his health for the past six years, including putting off a needed knee replacement. Now, he’ll also have time to turn his attention to his 42-foot Grand Banks boat and take some long-distance cruises.
“This turned out OK. I’m fine with it.”
As for being attacked, Lemons said, “It’s gotta be drugs, alcohol, depression or a mistake. I’ll just shrug it off as a bad mistake and move on.”