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Area ‘no longer risk,’ mandatory evacuation orders lifted around Bayou Corne sinkhole, officials say

Photo provided by WGBH -- The Bayou Corne sinkhole. (file photo)

Nearly four years after the Bayou Corne sinkhole appeared, Assumption Parish emergency officials on Wednesday eliminated all mandatory evacuation orders around the swampland hole but have not given a full all-clear for the small part of the largely vacated community where people still live. The move is the latest, most significant dialing back of parish evacuation… Continue reading →

Ex-rec director hired to maintain fields

The City Council awarded a $53,000 contract to a retired city recreation director this week to maintain the fields of Gonzales parks as part of a broader reorganization of its building and grounds program. Gonzales officials said the change is coming with the acquisition last year of the old Ascension College property between… Continue reading →

Volunteer Ascension kicks off school supplies drive

Advocate file photo by BILL FEIG -- Sherry Denig sorts through markers as Volunteer Ascension packs and sorts school supplies in 2015 for Ascension Parish schools.

Volunteer Ascension is collecting school supplies and uniforms this summer as part of the agency’s efforts to ensure area children are prepared for the upcoming school year. The nonprofit agency is collecting new and used school uniforms at Kean’s in Prairieville, SACS Western Store, Dutch’s Cleaners, LeJeune’s Cleaners and The Uniform Post. Volunteer Ascension’s 19th… Continue reading →

Fourth of July event expands to 2 days

Advocate sfile photo by CHARLES CHAMPAGNE    Fireworks on display over the Mississippi River during the 2015 Independence Day celebration in Donaldsonville. This year, fireworks will start at 9 p.m. Saturday at the South Louisiana Fairgrounds.

Renovations in Crescent Park have forced Donaldsonville officials to change its annual Independence Day celebration. Instead of celebrating the holiday on July 3 as in past years, the city’s celebration, now called Balloons & Boom, is expanding to two days and starts on Friday. Thing kick off at 6 p.m. Friday at the South Louisiana Fairgrounds… Continue reading →

Around Ascension for June 30, 2016

Country music stars, rides, vendors, a car show and more will be featured at the 2016 Cajun Country Jam on Friday and Saturday at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. Performers include Clay Walker, Joe Diffie, Lorrie Morgan, Jamie O’Neal and Andy Griggs, Chad Brock, Louisiana’s LeRoux, Rockin’ Dopsie Jr., The Gillis Silo… Continue reading →

Ascension Athletics for June 30, 2016

Photo provided by Lyle Johnson -- Ethan Smart, left, and Grant Bourque pose with the four bass weighing 12 pounds, 2 ounces that gave them a sixth place finish in the 2016 Costa High School Central Open on Toledo Bend and earned them a spot in the national championship.

The St. Amant Lady Gators that finished as quarterfinalists in the state playoffs had three players selected for the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Class 5A all-state teams. Infielder Kourtney Gremillion, a Louisiana-Lafayette signee, was chosen. Gremillion batted .610 for the season and added 13 home runs and 62 RBIs.… Continue reading →

AgCenter recognizes Garden Contest winners

The winners were recently announced in the LSU Agricultural Center’s Ascension Parish Home Vegetable Garden Contest. Five adults and three 4-H youth participated in the contest, horticulture agent Craig Roussel said. This year, the group added a school garden category in conjunction with the Greauxing Gardens school garden grant from PCS Nitrogen for 14 primary… Continue reading →

Swamp Pop Music Fest slated for July 15-16

Join the fight against cystic fibrosis with the 19th annual Price LeBlanc Toyota and Nissan Swamp Pop Music Festival, set for July 15-16 at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center’s Trademart building. The musical lineup on July 15 includes Kenny Fife & Bac Trac at 6 p.m., followed by Warren Storm Willie T and Cypress with Tommy McLain, and wraps… Continue reading →

Leadership Ascension graduates 21st class

Photo provided by Liz Laurent -- Leadership Ascension’s 21st graduating class includes, seated from left, Amy Velez, Jacey Waguespack, Cindy Babin, Kristina Cusick, Charla Johnson, Jackie Tisdell, Trinette Reynard, Tiffany Shelton, Sandra Perera and Suzette Richardson; and standing, Bill Riddle, Trevor Gautreaux, Kenny Foster, Josh Beck, Kevin Chenier, Lindsey Robinson-Jones, Amy Vidrine, David Curtis, David Roscher, Nick Daigle, John Troutman, Jerry Self, Kevin Johnson, Edla Hodgeson, Chris Irvine, Holly Slaughter, Allison Hudson, Amy Yarbrough, Leslie Jackson, Daniel Domangue, Blake Moran, Scott Bradshaw, Bruce Waguespack and Rick Bergeron. Not pictured is Nick Campesi.

Leadership Ascension, a program of the Ascension Chamber of Commerce, graduated its 21st Leadership Ascension class on June 14 at the Clarion Inn and Conference Center in Gonzales. The 35 participants worked in teams during the 10-month program to research and implement projects for the Ascension community. Projects included the Enough is Enough campaign educating… Continue reading →

Master Gardener registration open

Ascension Parish residents interested in becoming a Master Gardener can apply for the Ascension Master Gardener Class of 2016. The program is offered by the LSU Agricultural Center and is designed to recruit and train volunteers to help meet the educational needs of home gardeners. Classes will be taught from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays… Continue reading →

Discounted registration available for soccer club

Discounted registration for the Gonzales Soccer Club is available throughout July. Sign up online at gonzales Walk-in registration also is available from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. July 30 at Gonzales City Hall. Programs include: 3-YEAR-OLD LITTLE KICKERS: An introduction to the basics of soccer with activities to develop and strengthen… Continue reading →

Prairieville Primary students show off talent in show

Photo provided by Laurie Richard -- Mia Mercil, Brianna Gough, Chloe Cavell, Kiersten Harding, Reece Singleton, Kate Peytavin, Elizabeth Porche and Lily Rogers, from left, sang and danced ‘Enjoy the Show!’ for the opening act of the Talent Spectacular at Prairieville Primary School.

Prairieville Primary School students shared their talents during performances at the school’s Talent Spectacular this spring. Talents included singing, dancing, gymnastics, karate, guitar, piano and saxophone. Sound and light technicians were fifth-graders Christian Bock and Logan LaBorde. Backstage assistants were Zachary Chasion, Emily Dedon, Angelique Deville, Emily Diaz, Nathan Farmer, David Jimson, David Lloyd,… Continue reading →

Capital Area Human Services relaunches site

Capital Area Human Services has launched the redesigned, a website detailing the organization’s services and supports for residents with mental health, substance abuse or developmental disability challenges. “Our decision to redesign our website reflects our commitment to improve service accessibility in our region,” said Executive Director Jan Kasofsky. “We are ensuring that… Continue reading →

3 Ascension residents honored at graduation

Three Ascension Parish residents were honored May 23 during Our Lady of the Lake College’s commencement exercises in Baton Rouge. The graduates were among the 190 Our Lady of the Lake College students conferred master’s, bachelor’s or associate degrees during the college’s commencement ceremony at the Baton Rouge River Center Arena. Rachel St. Germain, of… Continue reading →

Gonzales Middle cheer squad attends camp

Photo provided by Lori Charlet -- Gonzales Middle School cheerleaders attending UCA’s Going for the Gold Cheer Camp include, front from left, Aryn Scott, Lyric Jackson, Meghan Bercegeay, Genesis Mendez and Taylor Winn; middle, Jashyra Ashton, Kyrah Anderson, Terrionte Duplessis, Nyla Jones and Sanniya Johnson; and back, Asia Washington, Breionna Mitchell, Jakayla Mack, Tamaya Lewis, Zorria Williams and Jaden Petit.

Gonzales Middle School’s Bulldog cheerleading squad participated in UCA’s Going for the Gold Cheer Camp, held June 4-7. The camp was attended by more than 600 cheerleaders and focused on improving cheer technique, boosting school spirit, team building and leadership, a news release said. The Bulldogs took home four blue ribbons, one red ribbon and the… Continue reading →

Splash Day held at St. Amant Middle

Photo provided by Kristin Dupuy -- St. Amant Middle School students stand under a spray of water provided by the St. Amant Volunteer Fire Department during the school's Splash Day on May 24.

St. Amant Middle School celebrated its second annual Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports program’s Splash Day on May 24. Splash Day is a celebratory event organized to commend the students of St. Amant Middle School who meet a set behavior criteria for the last nine-week grading period of the school year, a news release said. Members… Continue reading →

Gonzales woman gets day proclaimed in her name

Photo provided by Lester Kenyon -- Gathered for the proclamation of Shirley Bourque Day in Ascension Parish are, first row from left, Gabrielle Robert, Paula Robert, Brett Bourque, Clay Bourque and Marley Frakes; second row, Parish Council Chairman Randy Clouatre, Penny Amedee, Dianne Bourque, Connie Bourque, Neal Bourque, Parish President Kenny Matassa, Shirley Bourque, Les Bourque, Dawn Soileau, Stacy Stephens, Leslie Lambert and Shelley Frakes; third row, Shane Stephens, Vic Bourque, Paul Bourque, Coby Lambert, Kim Lambert and Parish Councilman Dempsey Lambert; and fourth row, Parish Council members Aaron Lawler, Bill Dawson, Teri Casso, Daniel ‘Doc’ Satterlee, Todd Lambert, John Cagnolatti and Benny Johnson.

Gonzales resident Shirley Bourque was honored with the proclamation of June 16 as Shirley Bourque Day in Ascension Parish. Parish President Kenny Matassa read the proclamation aloud during the Parish Council meeting in Gonzales. Matassa presented the proclamation to Bourque and named her honorary parish president for the day. Bourque’s five children, including Gonzales City Councilman… Continue reading →

Ascension All Stars win district tournament

Photo provided by Nolan Valenti -- The 12-and-under Ascension All Stars team includes, front from left, Neil Mcallister, Brennan Hunt, Jack Markey, J.T. Lambert, Chandon Guy and Antonio Lambert; middle, Kyle Frakes, Dax Powell, Tyler Royer, Ethan Babin, Jaedon Kinler, Cannon Strong and Kaden Powell; and back, coaches Chris Lambert, Nolan Valenti and Brandt Daigle.

The 12-year-old-and-under Ascension All Stars won the Cal Ripken District 2 Tournament held recently at Stevens Park in Gonzales. Brennan Hunt was chosen most valuable player of the tournament, a news release said. The team defeated Baton Rouge in round one, giving up three runs in four innings for a 5-3 win. The All… Continue reading →

Groups set dates for food distribution

The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, along with Ascension Parish’s Health Unit, will distribute food in Donaldsonville on July 12 and Gonzales on July 13. Distribution will be from 8 a.m. to noon July 12 at the Lemman Center, 1100 Clay St., Donaldsonville, and from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. July 13 at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center,… Continue reading →

Ascension Parish calendar for June 30-July 7, 2016

DISNEY PIXAR “CARS” END OF SUMMER PARTY: 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., Ascension Parish Library, Dutchtown. LOSS AND GRIEF SUPPORT MEETING: 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., St. Elizabeth Hospital, Sister Vernola conference room, 1125 W. La. 30, Gonzales. MAKE AND TAKE CRAFT: 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.… Continue reading →

Ascension pets available for June 30, 2016

Photo provided -- Clarabelle is a spayed female adult cat at the Gonzales PetSmart.

The Ascension animal shelter, CARA’s House, 9894 Airline Highway in Sorrento, is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday (closed from noon to 1 p.m. daily for lunch). It is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday for adoptions only. The fees are $100 for dogs… Continue reading →

Ascension Council on Aging for June 30-July 7, 2016

Cabbage and beef casserole, carrots, whole-wheat bread, chocolate oatmeal bar PILATES: 8:15 a.m. and 9:15 a.m., Gonzales Senior Center PIYO: 9 a.m., Donaldsonville Senior Center BINGO: 10 a.m., Donaldsonville. Sponsor is Canon Hospice ZUMBA GOLD: 10:30 a.m., Gonzales CAJUN NEEDLERS: 12:30 p.m., Gonzales July Fourth… Continue reading →

Ascension Parish bookings for June 16-23, 2016

The following people were booked into the Ascension Parish prison from June 16-23. ALMOND, KRISTI M.: 43, 37311 New River Canal Road, Geismar, illegal use of controlled dangerous substances in the presence of minors, prohibited acts/drug paraphernalia, possession of heroin. ANNY, RANDY J.: 51, 8168 Everette St., Sorrento, malfeasance in office, prohibited splitting… Continue reading →

St. Amant man killed in motorcycle wreck

Fire marshal, Ascension Parish deputies release video of man who may have torched a stolen car

Photo provided by Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office -- This man, walking into a St. Gabriel convenience store Tuesday, June 21, had been seen in a car stolen from a Gonzales-area neighborhood that same day, Ascension Parish sheriff's deputies said Friday. The car was later found burned behind the Mississippi River levee in St. Gabriel. Other vehicles on Lillie Valley Drive, where the burned car was stolen, were burglarized early Tuesday, deputies said.

Ascension Parish sheriff’s deputies and the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating why a car stolen from a neighborhood south of Gonzales was found burned this week behind the Mississippi River levee in Iberville Parish. Sheriff’s deputies provided surveillance video Friday of a man walking into a nearby convenience store who… Continue reading →

Assumption Parish man, 47, accused of molesting 6-year-old girl

Tommy Lishman

An Assumption Parish man admitted to touching a 6-year-old inappropriately and was arrested this week after an informant had warned authorities the girl was being molested by him, parish sheriff’s deputies said Friday. Tommy E. Lishman, 47, told Assumption deputies he inappropriately touched the girl on more than one occasion at… Continue reading →

With chlorine boost, Ascension bites back at brain-eating amoeba

Advocate staff photo by DAVID J. MITCHELL -- Craig Foglesong, owner of ICE Sales and Services, talks Wednesday about a chlorine injection system and new monitoring equipment that his company is installing at the Palo Alto water tower in Ascension Parish. The upgrades will allow parish government to more easily maintain chlorine levels in the Ascension Consolidated Utilities District No. 1 water system in west Ascension and prevent the brain-eating amoeba from reappearing in the water. The system had problems with the amoeba last summer.

Down a state highway just west of Bayou Lafourche where rows of live oaks arch over the road, contractors were installing upgrades Wednesday that Ascension Parish officials hope will prevent the brain-eating amoeba from reoccurring in their public water system to the north. Parish officials are installing a chlorine injection system… Continue reading →

Board to weigh selection process

With the Ascension Parish school district’s first senior class in its early college program set to graduate in May, the School Board will be considering a new policy that addresses how valedictorians and salutatorians will be selected. The Early College Option program at River Parishes Community College lets public high school students… Continue reading →

Cultural exchange turns into business trip

Photo provided by Karen Hatcher -- A street sign pointing the direction to Gonzales and the two other twin cities of Meylan sits at a Meylan, France, intersection.

Just weeks after returning from a trip to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the sister city or twinning relationship with the residents of Meylan, France, Karen Hatcher has turned her attention to planning to greet the French visitors next year. That’s how it’s been for 30 years, Hatcher said. The Gonzales Committee on Cultural Affairs, of which… Continue reading →

Around Ascension for June 23, 2016

Repticon slithers into the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The reptile expo features plenty of exotic animals, vendors and activities. One-day admission is $12 for adults and $5 for children ages 5 to 12. Two-day tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for ages 5… Continue reading →

Ascension Athletics for June 23, 2016

Photo by Rick Hickman/American Press -- St. Amant pitcher Blayne Enlow

St. Amant pitcher Blayne Enlow has been selected to bring his pitching skills to the USA Baseball 18U Tournament of Stars that will be held in Cary, North Carolina. The USA Baseball Tournament of Stars, presented by Major League Baseball, is made up of 108 of the nation’s best ballplayers who are considered for the 18-year-old-and-under… Continue reading →

Prairieville Primary raises money for heart group

Photo provided by Laurie Richard -- Some of the participants in Jump Rope for Heart at Prairieville Primary School include, front from left, Ainsley Orgeron, Brianna Gough, Helena Pearce, Summer Chamblee, Shelby Tircuit, Avery Geraci, Adalyn Daigle, Milan Beauchamp, Kayla Mercil and Elise Gautreaux; and back, Heather Young, Alex Delaup, Steven Allen, Vaughn Hicks, Aubrey Wells, Benjamin Crehan, Kelsey Brown and Dwain Hall.

Prairieville Primary School students raised $17,475.25 for the American Heart Association during the 2015-16 school year, beating the previous year’s total by $3,600.25. The money goes toward research into new procedures to help heart patients, a news release said Olivia Dellorfano raised the most money in the Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser in honor of… Continue reading →

Geismar, Gonzales Girl Scouts receive high honors

Photo provided by Jasmine Hunter -- Cadette Girl Scout Olivia Bradshaw, of Troop 10340 in Gonzales, second from right, guides girls in making healthy food choices.

Girl Scouts from Geismar and Gonzales have earned the highest awards for their scout level by completing a series of leadership challenges in preparation for their final community or “take action” project. The Bronze Award is for Girl Scout Juniors in fourth- and fifth-grade. Girl Scout Cadettes in sixth- through eighth-grade are eligible for the Silver… Continue reading →

Children learn football basics at summer camp

Photo provided by Bess Melancon -- Taking part in the St. Amant High School Gator Camps' youth football session June 6-9 are, first row from left, campers Seth Guedry, Maddox Melancon, Wes Melancon, Wesley Dykes, Jax Melancon and Tanner Oliver; and back row, St. Amant players Marco Lopez, Cameron Diez, Myles Douglas and Larson Fontenot. The camp was led by St. Amant coaches and varsity players.

The St. Amant Gator Football Camps kicked off a summer of football with its inaugural session June 6-9 for first- through eighth-graders. Coaches and varsity players facilitated two sessions a day of skills camp for local youths. Campers participated in a variety of activities and drills and also discussed positive character traits and team mentality.… Continue reading →

Local FFA students give lessons in leadership

Photo provided by Kiesha Nall -- Attending the Louisiana FFA Convention in Monroe, from left, are Evan Hebert, Tyler Woodward, 2016-2017 East Ascension FFA Chapter President Christian Rogers, 2015-2016 Past E.A. Chapter President Steven Jackson and Nicholas Wagner.

Five East Ascension High School students attended the Louisiana FFA Convention June 6-10 in Monroe. The students were accompanied by teachers Kiesha Nall and Kolby Gilbert. The students showcased their talents in teaching others how to be servant leaders by planning service projects and picking up litter around Monroe. The East Ascension FFA club… Continue reading →

Convent man gets promoted in Navy

Thomas Melancon

Fire Controlman 2nd Class Thomas Melancon, of Convent, was promoted to second class petty officer in June. He has been in the Navy for seven years and serves as Center for Surface Combat Systems Unit Dam Neck’s CD01 Computer Work Center supervisor in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Melancon is a 2009 graduate of Lutcher High School. His… Continue reading →

Waguespack, DMC face off in championship

Photo provided by Heath Guitrau -- Waguespack Insurance won the 2016 Gonzales Machine City Championship on June 13. The team includes, front from left, Khoen Tripode, Kane Guitrau, Jordan Rayborn, Brayden Zeller, Brooks Fogle and Jonas Ecker; middle, Zach Dotter, Gavin Higgins, Max Brodnax, Kale Guitrau, Braxton Billingsley and Cade Delaune; and back, coaches Kevin Higgins, Jeff Delaune, Heath Guitrau and David Dotter.

Waguespack Insurance played DMC for the Gonzales Machine Pitch Championship on June 13 at Bergeron and Gaudin Memorial Park in Gonzales. Waguespack was the visiting team and got off to a fast start in the first inning, a news release said. The scoring started when Gavin Higgins hit a triple to score Zach… Continue reading →

St. Amant Class of ’91 to hold July 9 reunion

The St. Amant High School Class of 1991 is holding a reunion at 6 p.m. July 9 at 14666 Bayou Terrace, St. Amant. Organizers are inviting teachers, coaches and staffers who were part of the classmates’ journey to graduation, a news release said. Educators can attend for free and no ticket is required. Class… Continue reading →

Gonzales High Class of ’66 celebrates 50th reunion

Photo provided by Olin Berthelot -- Members of the Gonzales High School Class of 1966 gathered for their 50th class reunion on May 14 include, front row from left, Sherrilyn James Gennaro, Anna Hurst, Phyllis Robert Part, Mary Grace Breaux Guitreau, Betty Sigmon Latuso, Toni Singletary Villar, Linnet Mayers Cagnolatti, Gay Lynn Harris Young, Sheila Arrington and Joan Lambert Gonzales; second row, Monica Gautreau Graham, Peggy Braud Gautreau, Sheila Johnson Halker, Carolyn Gautreau Keller, Rosalind Forsyth Poirrier and Gail Broussard Seitz; third row, Ronald Acaldo, Carl Singletary, Tommy Guitreau, Earl Lanoux, Johnny Cagnolatti, Clifford LeBlanc, Mike Anderson, Joe Fife, Leon LeBeau, Mark Lacour and Coy Daigle; and fourth row, Olin Berthelot, Ronnie Otts, Gerald Decoteau, Marvin Simpson, A.J. Guidry, Gene Gautreau, James Smithhart, John Painter, Robert Young, Gary Jordan, Benny Landry, Mickey Marchand and Ronald Braud.

Gonzales High School’s Class of 1966, the last to graduate from the school, gathered for its 50th class reunion May 14 at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Gonzales. The evening began with a social, followed by a dinner including jambalaya by classmate Mike Anderson, covered dishes, finger foods and desserts, all prepared by the classmates.… Continue reading →

Camp offers children lesson in slave culture

Photo provided by Rochelle Darville -- Erin Miller, Brelyn Delmore and C’skylar Irvin, from left, make shakerays during Bill Summers’ Klub K.I.D. camp at Ashland-Belle Helene Plantation.

Thirty-seven boys and girls from Geismar Caring Parents’ 19th summer camp recently participated in the Klub K.I.D. camp presented by historian and multi-instrumentalist Bill Summers. The children received lessons on drums, music producing and how to make shakerays. Summers talked about the history of music in the slave culture in Louisiana. The three-day camp… Continue reading →