The Advocate Ascension Replica Edition
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Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office hosts special weapons, tactical training for 16 SWAT teams

Advocate staff photo by ELLYN COUVILLION - SWAT team members from the Bexar County, Texas, Sheriff's Office compete Tuesday in a drill that has them rescue a "wounded" officer and take up positions to fire at targets. The drill was part of a statewide competition hosted by the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office.

SWAT teams from 16 law enforcement agencies along with U.S. Air Force security police and correctional officers competed Tuesday in special weapons and tactics exercises as part of a weeklong training conference hosted by the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office. The Louisiana Tactical Police Officers Association drew teams from police departments and sheriff’s offices around the state… Continue reading →

Why did FEMA reject Louisiana’s appeal for money for repairs after February tornado outbreak?

Residents whose property was damaged by one of the dozen tornadoes that tore across south Louisiana on Feb. 23 need not wait for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide financial assistance. The federal agency on Monday denied Gov. John Bel Edwards’ appeal for a major disaster declaration following the severe storms, the Governor’s Office said Monday.… Continue reading →

Rehearing request denied Monday for Ascension Parish justice of the peace removed from office in March

The state Supreme Court denied an Ascension Parish justice of the peace’s appeal Monday of the high court’s March ruling that he be removed from office over allegations of rude behavior and improper handling and abuse of the peace bond process. With the decision, Leroy Laiche Jr., 2nd District justice of the peace in Prairieville, is out… Continue reading →

Ascension starts charging sewer impact fees; been on the books for years, just never collected

Kenny Matassa

After months of agitation from members of the Ascension Parish Council over the passing of traffic impact fees on new development earlier this year, the new administration of Parish President Kenny Matassa quietly began collecting a new impact fee two months ago. The parish began in February charging sewer impact fees of $2,500… Continue reading →

Two people shot overnight in Baton Rouge, police looking for suspects

Two people were shot multiple times but are expected to survive after separate overnight shootings early Friday morning, Baton Rouge police said. A police spokesman said officers don’t have suspects in either shooting but both incidents remain under investigation. A 23-year-old man was shot twice in his leg shortly before 2:26 a.m. while he sat on… Continue reading →

Gonzales Cabela’s employee accidentally shoots himself in hand at store while showing customer gun

A Cabela’s employee accidentally shot himself in the hand Thursday afternoon while showing a handgun to a customer, Gonzales police said. The round from the .22-caliber gun went through the palm of the employee’s hand about 4:30 p.m. It ended up in the floor of the 165,000-square-foot sporting goods store near La. 30… Continue reading →

Plans for busy La. 30 corridor in Gonzales include possible roundabouts, lane widenings, new I-10 interchange

On the busy La. 30 corridor in Gonzales, traffic headed for Cabela’s, Tanger Outlets mall, St. Elizabeth Hospital and hotels must contend with workers and big rigs trying to reach Ascension Parish’s chemical industry on the Mississippi River. State highway officials for more than two years have been… Continue reading →

Ascension board reviews proposed rollout schedule for school projects

Ascension Parish School Board members are reviewing a proposed rollout schedule of design and construction on the first of several projects to be built with bond money from the property tax renewal voters approved earlier this month. Voters in Ascension Parish on April 9 overwhelmingly approved renewal of… Continue reading →

Donaldsonville man pleads guilty to manslaughter in 2015 shooting death on St. Vincent Street

A Donaldsonville man pleaded guilty Tuesday to shooting another man while they were with others on a front porch last year on St. Vincent Street. In a deal with prosecutors, Shawn Broom, 28, formerly of 504 Catherine St., Donaldsonville, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the shooting of 21-year-old Michael Stewart last year.… Continue reading →

Ascension Parish to start using outside engineering firm will review traffic and drainage plans

Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa is changing how the parish reviews new development in the fast-growing parish by going back to an older way of doing things. Matassa and his administration want to rely on an outside engineering company to review traffic and drainage studies required for new projects but say the… Continue reading →

Council to vote on rent hikes for civic center

The Gonzales City Council will vote on a proposed hike in rental rates for the Gonzales Civic Center at its next meeting, with increases ranging from $50 to $100 depending on the event. If approved at the May 6 meeting, the new rates would go into effect in the new fiscal year,… Continue reading →

Sorrento Lions Club reviving Boucherie Fest

Advocate file photo by GAVIN JACKSON -- Goose Salvadras and helper Brycen Ball watches as 2010 Miss Boucherie queen Emily Little tries some of their cracklin during the 2010 Boucherie Festival. The festival and its popular cooking contests return in October.

The Boucherie Festival is back. For the first time in six years, the Sorrento Lions Club is celebrating the festival upon which the town once staked its reputation as the “Boucherie Capital of the World.” The 2016 Boucherie Festival, sponsored by the Sorrento Lions Club, will be held Oct. 21-23,… Continue reading →

Library program explores local heritage

Advocate photo by CAROLINE OURSO  --  Nailah Smith, a member of Kumbuka, spoke to the children about the instruments used in Kombuka's performance during the Explore Your Heritage event at the Ascension Parish Library on Saturday.

Children and adults celebrated the cultures that helped to shape the area Saturday during the Ascension Parish Library’s Explore Your Heritage event in Gonzales. Activities ranging from music and dance to educational lectures on history and genealogy gave attendees of this first-time event engaging ways of learning about the particular cultures that have shaped both their… Continue reading →

Around Ascension for April 28, 2016

The annual Relay for Life of Ascension Parish kicks off at 6 p.m. Saturday at Cabela’s in Gonzales. More than 35 teams will raise money for the American Cancer Society’s efforts to end cancer. Food, games and other activities will end at midnight. Cancer survivors are invited… Continue reading →

Ascension Athletics for April 28, 2016

Photo provided by Millet Martin -- Sam Bergero, left,n and Andres Barletta with their 12.92 pound stringer of bass that gave them sixth place in the Louisiana High School Bass Tournament on Toledo Bend.

After opening up their playoff venture with a 15-6 victory over the Denham Springs Hornets, the St. Amant Lady Gators crushed the 10th-seeded Hahnville Tigers (23-8) 12-5 at home on Saturday. The Gators went on an offensive tear as the dynamic duo of Kourtney Gremillion and Abby McKey combined for three home runs, two doubles… Continue reading →

Classroom Spotlight: St. John Primary School second grade

Photo provided by Janis Ament -- Trena Pearson’s second-grade class at St. John Primary School in Prairieville includes, front from left, Logan Herndon, Peyton Moreau, Ella Young, Grey Maynard and Mattie Alexander; middle, Luke Thibodeaux, Celia Gordon, Aubrey Barnes, Hope Cockfield and Alex Amedee; and back, Ethan Blanchard, Glenn Gravois, Presley Lavergne, Cole McElroy, Claire Canova, Drew Tureau, Lila Robinson, Grace Polito, Cooper Williams and Pearson.

The Advocate’s Spotlight Classroom this week is Trena Pearson’s second grade at St. John Primary School in Prairieville. The students were asked: What do you want to be when you grow up and what does it take to prepare for that job? MATTIE ALEXANDER: “I want to be a… Continue reading →

Clinic announces winner of fitness challenge

Photo provided by Karen Sigur -- Winners of the Soza 60-Day Slim Down Challenge, from left, were Judith Roberson, Jerry Fairbanks and Angela Allen.

Jerry Fairbanks won this year’s Soza 60-Day Slim-Down Challenge at Soza Weight Loss Clinic in Prairieville. This year’s contest started with 20 contestants — 18 women and two men — with 15 making it the distance, a news release said. Winners were determined based on percentage of body weight lost over the 60-day… Continue reading →

Food Fest raises more than $10K

Photo provided by Jon Hirsch -- Gonzales Rotarians serve beverages March 29 at the annual Food Fest are, from left, Tom Pertuit, Mike Eades, Bill Myhand and Dale Sphat.

For the past 19 years, the signature fundraising event for the members of the Rotary Club of Gonzales has been its Food Fest. This year’s event, held March 29 at the Gonzales Civic Center, saw more than 500 attend to sample food from 39 area restaurants and vendors, said Food Fest Chairman Gary Laiche.… Continue reading →

Grant equals success at Apple Digital Academy

Photo provided by Jennifer deFrances -- Apple Digital Academy students, from left, Jose Cortez, Coby Gabriel, Baily Wilson, Derrick Jackson and Gage Weaver display some of the new calculators the academy received through an Ascension Fund grant.

Secondary mathematics teacher Sherice Palmer’s students at Apple Digital Academy have new calculators, thanks to a $1,000 grant provided through the Ascension Fund. The academy had no working graphing calculators for its three programs: Alternative Learning, Blended Learning and Ascension Parish Pathways. Along with the graphing calculators, the high schoolers also received scientific and other calculators for… Continue reading →

4-H club competes in shooting regionals

Photo provided by Carrie Brown -- Ascension Parish 4-H Shooting Sports Club BB team members include, front from left, Katie Swanson and Kinslei Scroggs; middle, Grant Marquis and Ayden Fatheree; and back, Jaxson Swanson, James Daigle, Andrew Poche’, Aiden Cole, Mason Pearce and McCullen Pearce. In back is instructor Jodi Daigle.

The Ascension Parish 4-H Shooting Sports Club competed in the 2016 Southern Regionals at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center, Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Range and Hunters Run Gun Club from April 7-10. Young guns ages 9 to 19 competed in shotgun, 22 rifle, air rifle, air pistol, archery and BB. All competitors had to place in the top 15… Continue reading →

LSMSA scores high at state ensemble assessment

Photo provided by Crystal Evans -- Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts mixed ensemble members include, front from left, Veronica Jimenez, Kathy Barrios, Emma Jochim, Genesis Lambert and Carrie Thomas; middle, Alese Jones, Sarah Green, Kamryn Chauncy, Tamika Simpson, Shona McCullough, Bethany Jenkins, Alyssa Kinchen and Al Benner, director of the mixed ensemble; and back, Marcos Cecchini, Jamin Kidd, Mitchell Metzger, Ian Sager and John Robken.

Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts mixed ensemble members earned an overall superior rating for performance and a superior rating for sight reading at state assessment for the second year in a row. Ian Sager, a junior from Geismar, was a member of the group.… Continue reading →

Jambalaya Fest begins work on new building

Photo provided by Obie Aguillera-Stephen -- Parish President Kenny Matassa and Gonzales Mayor Barney Arcneaux, center, join members of the Jambalaya Festival Association for a groundbreaking ceremony April 13 to celebrate the association’s new building at South Francois Avenue in Gonzales.

The Jambalaya Festival Association held a groundbreaking ceremony April 13 to celebrate the association’s new building on South Francois Avenue in Gonzales, a news release said. The nonprofit organization was founded in 1968 as a way to raise money for the Gonzales Lions Club and other nonprofits. It hosts the Gonzales Jambalaya Festival each year. Attending… Continue reading →

SLU Outstanding Grad is Prairieville woman

The College of Education at Southeastern Louisiana University honored an Ascension Parish student at its honors convocation April 21. Samantha Matherne, of Prairieville, was honored as an Outstanding Graduate in Social Studies Education during the program.… Continue reading →

LeBlanc’s named recipient of Mary Ellen Award

Photo provided by Ginger Cangelosi -- Brooke LeBlanc Knight, holding Reese Knight, Matthew LeBlanc, Randy LeBlanc and Rob Carlisle, CEO of Child Advocacy Services, from left, gather in honor of the awarding of the 2016 Mary Ellen Award to LeBlanc’s Food Stores and the LeBlanc family.

Child Advocacy Services recently presented the 2016 Mary Ellen Award to LeBlanc’s Food Stores and the LeBlanc family. The award is given yearly to an individual or business who exceptionally supports CAS’ mission to give voice, healing and security to children, according to a news release. Recipients are nominated by CAS staff and members of the board… Continue reading →

EA athletes place in Special Olympics meet

Photo provided by Debbie Ellis -- Students in Debbie Ellis’s class get ready to load the bus at East Ascension High School for the 2016 Special Olympics Capital Area athletic meet in Baton Rouge on April 28. Pictured, front from left, are Bridgette Wells and Daisha Bouton; and back, Micheal Allen, Michael Williams, B.J. Ramage, Ish’mael Wilson and Austin Simon.

Several students from Debbie Ellis’s class at East Ascension High School took part in the 2016 Special Olympics Capital Area athletic meet April 21 at Baton Rouge’s Woodlawn High School. Results included: MICHAEL ALLEN: first place softball throw, first place standing long jump and second place 100-meter run Continue reading →

Ascension pets available for April 28, 2016

Photo provided -- Grizabella is a very sweet senior. This toothless girl loves attention.

The Ascension animal shelter, CARA’s House, 9894 Airline Highway, in Sorrento, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Animals can be adopted any day but Wednesday. The fees are $100 for dogs and $70 for cats. The fee includes vaccines, microchip and spay or neuter. Owner surrenders and strays can be dropped… Continue reading →

Ascension Council on Aging for April 28-May 5, 2016

Ham with white beans, brown rice, coleslaw, mustard greens, cornbread, variety moon pie. PILATES: 8:15 a.m. and 9:15 a.m., Gonzales Senior Center. PIYO: 9 a.m., Donaldsonville Senior Center. BIRTHDAY PARTIES: 9:30 a.m., Donaldsonville and Gonzales. ZUMBA GOLD: 10:30 a.m., Gonzales. CAJUN NEEDLERS: 12:30 p.m., Gonzales.… Continue reading →

Ascension Parish police bookings for April 14-21, 2016

The following people were booked into the Ascension Parish prison from April 14-21: CANNON JR., LIONEL RAY: 35, 41415 Narvie Road, Gonzales, failure to appear in court, simple assault. DIETRICH, ANGELA DEFRANCES: 42, 18354 Fountain Hill Blvd., Prairieville, disturbing the peace/language/disorderly conduct, domestic abuse battery. EVANS, BOBBY JOE: 31, 324 Ida St., Gonzales,… Continue reading →

Ascension Civil Cases for April 4-8, 2016

Court cases filed in Ascension Parish between April 4-8. Amber Simon and Jason Simon v. Big E Transportation LLC, Westfield Insurance Co., Shelter Mutual Insurance Co. and Frank Robinson, damages. Cach LLC v. Veronica J. Emmanuel, monies due. Itria Ventures LLC v. Laithmm LLC dba Cafe Athenos and Jaber… Continue reading →

Public invited as DOTD reveals study Tuesday on possible improvements to La. 30 corridor in Gonzales

A long-awaited state feasibility study of the busy La. 30 corridor in Ascension Parish will be revealed in a meeting Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., state highway officials said. The state Department of Transportation and Development is considering a series of possible improvements to La. 30 in Gonzales, including roundabouts… Continue reading →

As Ascension case settled, Legislature looks at regulating drones over private property

Advocate file photo by MICHELLE MILLHOLLON -- State Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, talks to legislators in 2014 next to the drone he bought for less than $400 at a mall.

A lawsuit filed by an Ascension Parish man whose drone was shot down by a neighbor, who claimed it had repeatedly flown over his property, was settled out of court this month, according to court records. At the same time the suit has been settled, two drone-related bills have been introduced in the current… Continue reading →

Incoming Assumption Parish Sheriff plans to close youth detention center used by many southeast parishes

Advocate staff file photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- The Assumption Parish Youth Detention Center in Napoleonville.

A financially struggling detention center in Napoleonville that houses accused juvenile delinquents with pending charges in courts around southeast Louisiana parishes will need to close, as Assumption Parish Sheriff-elect Leland Falcon has been unable to secure the guarantees he says are necessary to keep the facility open. Falcon this week said he couldn’t get enough… Continue reading →

Peoples Water Service seeks delay in purchase by Ascension government while it addresses DHH concerns

Peoples Water Service Co. has asked for a 120-day extension of the deadline to close on its $6 million sale to the Ascension Parish government, parish officials said. Parish officials have been negotiating the purchase since last year under former Parish President Tommy Martinez. But Peoples Water came under intense regulatory scrutiny last… Continue reading →

Jury convicts Prairieville man of manslaughter in Good Friday crawfish boil shooting death

Robert Earl Cosey Jr.

An Ascension Parish jury found a Prairieville man guilty of manslaughter in a shooting death at a family Good Friday crawfish boil in 2013. Robert Cosey, 48, who shot and killed his wife’s cousin, Shedrick Diggs, had originally been booked on second-degree murder, said Tyler Cavalier, spokesman for 23rd Judicial District Attorney Ricky Babin.… Continue reading →

Amite River and diversion canal reopen Friday after high water closures

GONZALES — The Amite River and the river’s Diversion Canal in Ascension and Livingston parishes will reopen at 6 a.m. Friday to recreational boat traffic after high water forced the waterways’ closure last week, officials in those parishes said. Ascension and Livingston parish emergency response officials closed the Amite River and Diversion Canal on Saturday due… Continue reading →

Lawsuit filed against Ascension Parish court over “conviction fee” that partially pays for judge salary

Ascension Parish Judge Marilyn Lambert

Public interest lawyers who sued an Ascension Parish Court judge last year over how her court’s bail system unfairly affected the poor have now taken aim at a “conviction fee” she imposes on defendants found guilty of minor offenses. In a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday in Baton Rouge on behalf of Gonzales-area resident Richard Williams, the… Continue reading →

Facing a massive deficit, officials scrambling to keep Assumption Parish Youth Detention Center from closing

Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- The Assumption Parish Youth Detention Center in Napoleanville opened on June 28, 2013, the brainchild of Sheriff Mike Waguespack.

The Assumption Parish Youth Detention Center in Napoleonville, which last year housed juvenile offenders from more than 20 agencies, is in danger of closing unless enough agencies agree to contract annually for space at the center, the sheriff-elect said. The center, which opened in summer 2013 to replace one that closed in St. James… Continue reading →