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A few days after double murder, Donaldsonville leaders pray for peace, promote civic pride

Advocate staff photo by ANGELA MAJOR -- Donaldsonville residents raise their hands as the choir sings Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015, during a prayer service for the Donaldsonville community at Emmanuel Baptist Church.

In a day of unity and healing, Donaldsonville leaders, residents and those from nearby communities gathered at Emmanuel Baptist Church on Saturday morning to pray and sing hymns before heading out to pick up trash from the city’s roadsides. City councilman and Emmanuel Baptist pastor Charles Brown led… Continue reading →

Prairieville restaurant’s stolen sign recovered from landfill

An antique Esso sign was returned to its owners in January 2015, after it was stolen from a Prairieville restaurant in November  2014.

An antique Esso gas sign that was stolen from a Prairieville restaurant last November was returned to its owners on Tuesday, authorities said, and four people connected with the theft have been arrested. The sign, valued at $1,500, was recovered Tuesday from a landfill on Joor Road in… Continue reading →

Missing semi-automatic rifle mysteriously dropped off at the home of Sorrento’s police chief

Advocate staff photo provided by David J. Mitchell -- Sorrento Police Chief Fern Barnett puts a once-missing Bushmaster M4 semi-automatic rifle back into her department's storage locker late Thursday morning. Barnett said she realized by mid-January that the rifle had been missing at least for months from the Police Department. After Barnett called around and the missing gun was publicized in some media sources, she said someone dropped off the gun at her home 9 p.m. Wednesday. Ascension Parish sheriff's deputies took that rifle, two other Bushmaster rifles and all other guns in the department later on Thursday and put them in the sheriff's armory for safe keeping. g

Sorrento Police Chief Fern Barnett heard a knock on a door at her home about 9 p.m. Wednesday while she was reading, went to answer and saw the lights of a vehicle pulling out of her driveway off La. 22. She looked out and saw a Bushmaster M4 on a bench under… Continue reading →

Drug deal gone bad might be the story behind Ascension Parish double murder

Advocate photo by David Mitchell -- Shooting scene of double shooting on Latino Street, Donaldsonville.

DONALDSONVILLE — Two men who were gunned down Monday afternoon in front of a Latino Street mobile home may have been robbed in a drug deal gone wrong, the Ascension Parish sheriff said. Sheriff Jeff Wiley said Thursday that a small amount of heroin was found inside the home of Chad Nichols, 37, 178… Continue reading →

Assumption Parish deputy fired, accused of battery on wife, trying to disarm responding deputy

An Assumption Parish sheriff’s deputy was fired Tuesday after he grabbed and tried to disarm a deputy who had responded to his home Sunday on a domestic disturbance complaint, Sheriff Mike Waguespack reported on his Facebook page. Deputy Gary Ellis Jr., 30, 133 Daniel St., Pierre Part, had been drinking all night and got into an argument… Continue reading →

‘We’ve never had anything like this’ — Ascension deputies still working to solve two shooting deaths in Donaldsonville

Advocate staff photo by ELLYN COUVILLION - A memorial set up by a family member at the Donaldsonville home of Chad Nichols, who was slain there on Monday.

The stepfather of the man slain in his front yard Monday said Ascension Parish Sheriff’s detectives told him they feel confident the perpetrators will be caught. Marvin Gros, stepfather of Chad Nichols, said Tuesday that detectives are in touch with him regularly. “They’ve been keeping me abreast; all the detectives feel… Continue reading →

Top projects qualify for regional science fair

Advocate staff photo by Darlene Denstorff -- Horticulturist Jonathon Ducote, right, talks Friday with Prairieville Middle School student Calvin Jack about his science fair project. Calvin looked at how light affected plant growth.

Clipboard in hand, Christian Anderson moved from one science fair project to another Friday, paying careful attention to the details included in each presentation as he judged the projects during Prairieville Middle School’s science fair. All the while, Anderson, a recent LSU graduate and alumnus of Prairieville… Continue reading →

Board to vote on property purchase

At its meeting next week, on Tuesday, the Ascension Parish School Board will vote on whether to purchase a 6½-acre tract of property near Dutchtown High that would give students and faculty another route for getting on and off campus. Board members discussed the property at a workshop Tuesday evening. The… Continue reading →

Preserving food easy, but must be done safely

Advocate staff photo by CHRISTINE MORGAN -- Cynthia Clifton, area nutrition agent with the LSU AgCenter in St. John the Baptist Parish, teaches more than a dozen adults the essentials of canning and preserving food safely Jan. 20 at the Galvez Library in Prairieville.

Patrons interested in preserving their own food brought their ideas and fears to a lesson on proper food canning and fruit and vegetable preserving techniques Jan. 20 at the Ascension Parish Library’s Galvez Branch. Shelly Miller, of Gonzales, has canned her own food several times and said one can never be too… Continue reading →

Donaldsonville could see tax revenue jump

Ascension Athletics for Jan. 29, 2015

Photo provided by Adam Michelle -- Cory Brignac of Gonzales is pictured with one of the swamp bucks he killed this year in Maurepas Wildlife Management Area.

This weekend, qualifying for the LSU Indoor High School Meet took place at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s Indoor Qualifying Meet at LSU’s Carl Maddox Fieldhouse. In the Boys Field Division, long jumper Joshua Walker, of East Ascension, qualified with a third-place jump of 20-8¼. Zach Capello, of the Ascension Catholic Bulldogs, qualified in the boys… Continue reading →

Ribbon-cutting held for remodeled Oak Grove Community Center

Photo provided by Lester Kenyon -- Officials and area residents cut the ribbon Jan. 20 on the newly  remodeled Oak Grove Community Center located at the intersection of La. 42 and La. 73 in Prairieville.

State and local officials cut a red ribbon Jan. 20 to open the newly remodeled Oak Grove Community Center. The center, located at the intersection of La. 42 and La. 73, next to the parish’s spray park, has been undergoing renovations since its closing in late 2013. “I think this is a community project that everyone… Continue reading →

Health care forum CEO addresses Rotary Club

Photo provided by Jon Hirsch -- Cindy Munn, center, chief executive officer of the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum, meets with Gonzales Rotarians Fritz Englade Jr., left, and Mayor Barney Arceneaux during the club’s Jan. 20 meeting in Gonzales.

Cindy Munn, chief executive officer of Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum, talked about the Affordable Care Act during the Gonzales Rotary Club’s Jan. 20 meeting in Gonzales. The Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum was formed after Hurricane Katrina, Munn said. She said Gov. Kathleen Blanco saw the need for health care redesign after the hurricane… Continue reading →

Sheriff’s Office taking scholarship applications

Dawn Shivers

The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office is accepting applications for the Dawn Shivers Memorial Scholarship Fund. In addition, Sheriff Jeff Wiley said local students can apply for the Louisiana Sheriff’s Scholarship Program. Wiley established a Dawn Shivers Memorial Scholarship Fund in 2014 in memory of Dawn Shivers, a retired employee of the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office who… Continue reading →

Grant helps Ascension upgrade video system

Photo provided by Allison Hudson -- Gathering Jan. 7 for a donation presentation in Gonzales, from left, are Chief Deputy Tony Bacala, Sheriff Jeff Wiley and PCS Nitrogen representatives Garry Hiebert and Misty Bonfanti.

The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office received Jan. 7 a $75,000 donation from PCS Nitrogen to assist in funding an upgrade and expansion of the remote video system used by the Sheriff’s Office to monitor activity in selected locations in the parish. “I was overwhelmed by the generosity of this flagship Ascension Parish corporation and all the… Continue reading →

Flag football tourney aids advocacy group

Child Advocacy Services is looking for teams and support for its fourth annual Voices for the Children Bowl on March 7 in Hammond. The fundraiser is a flag football tournament for law enforcement, firefighters and corporations to benefit and support services for children. The Voices for Children Bowl was started by Hammond Police Department detective Corey… Continue reading →

Ascension Fund taking grant applications

The Ascension Fund is accepting grant applications for the 2015-16 school year. The nonprofit agency’s mission is to reward and inspire excellence in education. Ascension Parish public school educators are encouraged to apply, said Jennifer deFrances, executive director of the agency. The grants are open to all fields of study with the intent… Continue reading →

Assessor’s Office given financial report award

The Ascension Parish Assessor’s Office has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers of the U.S. and Canada. The award was given for the office’s comprehensive annual financial report, Nell Ervin, a spokeswoman for the Assessor’s Office, said in a news release. She said certificate is the “highest form… Continue reading →

4-H members attend livestock exposition

Photo provided by BELINDA CHAMPTON -- Jared  Barrilleaux, from left,Hannah Barrilleaux, Eden Schexnayder andMaci Schexnayder attend the North American Livestock Exposition with their livestock projects Nov. 8-21 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Four Ascension Parish 4-H members were selected to attend the North American Livestock Exposition. Hannah Barrilleaux and Jared Barrilleaux, of St. Gabriel, were chosen to bring their gray Brahman heifers, and Eden Schexnayder and Maci Schexnayder, of Donaldsonville, attended with their market lambs, a news release from the Ascension 4-H Junior Leader organization said. The show… Continue reading →

4-H Leader Club adopts families for Christmas

Photo provided by BELINDA CHAMPTON -- 4-H Junior Leader members, from left, Taylor West, Eden Schexnayder, Maci Schexnayder, Allie Daigle, Hannah Barrilleaux, Ava Landry, Jared Barrilleaux, Kole Guerin, Casen Decuir, Samantha Morin, Caitlin Marquis, Gabrial Trippi, Kassie deVeer and Eden Landry shop at Wal-Mart on Dec. 4 to buy gifts for needy families.

During the holiday season, teens with the Ascension 4-H Junior Leader Club wanted to give more, rather than receive, a news release from the organization said. Members voted to adopt families in need. After contacting the families, the 4-H Junior Leader Club of Ascension Parish purchased toys and other items for the families Dec. 4 at… Continue reading →

River Region Art to host swamp painting class

Artists can learn swamp painting with folk artist Mary Crochet at the River Region Art Association’s Depot Gallery, 1008 W. La. 30, Gonzales. Students will learn the techniques of painting different skies, swamp trees, cabins and water with reflections and other swamp foliage, a news release from the River Region Art Association said. Crochet has been… Continue reading →

Relay for Life wants to Paint the Town Purple

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Ascension Parish is offering an opportunity for businesses and local communities to show their support and raise awareness in the fight against cancer from April 10 to May 2 with the addition of the Paint the Town Purple fundraiser. Residents can purchase Paint the Town Purple T-shirts for $10… Continue reading →

Boosters honor Gators as parish champions

Photo provided by James E. LeBlanc -- James E. LeBlanc, center, president of the St. Amant Booster Club, presents Sunday the 2014 Ascension Parish Champions poster to St. Amant High School Principal Mia Edwards, left, and David Oliver, school athletic director and football coach, during St. Amant High School’s Football Awards Banquet.

St. Amant High School’s football awards banquet was held Sunday in the school’s commons area. About 29 seniors were honored for their achievements on and off the field, St. Amant Booster Club President James E. LeBlanc said. The Gator Athletic Department also honored coaches and their wives, the school administration, the Ascension Parish School Board, the… Continue reading →

Pelican Point Waves to meet with parents

The Pelican Point Waves will host a parent information meeting for new members and returning swimmers and their families at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Pelican Point Club House. Parents and swimmers will receive information on the upcoming season, schedules and practice dates, organizers said. This year, in addition to the competitive team, a beginning swim… Continue reading →

Ascension FFA, 4-H exhibit livestock

Photo provided by Belinda Champton -- The Ascension Parish Livestock Show was held on Jan. 16-17 at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.More than 90 4-H and Future Farmers of America members exhibited cattle, goats, sheep, swine, rabbits and poultry. Exhibitors gathered at the end of the show for a group photo.

The Ascension Parish Livestock Show was held Jan. 16-17 at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. More than 90 4-H and Future Farmers of America members exhibited cattle, goats, sheep, swine, rabbits and poultry. The animals were evaluated by a livestock judge on their composition and competed for overall champion Honors, a news release from organizers said.… Continue reading →

Galvez Primary names honor roll students

Galvez Primary School recently announced its honor roll for the second nine-week grading period. Students earning a 3.61 grade-point average or higher with A’s and B’s are named to the principal’s list. The principal’s list included: FIFTH GRADE: Anthony Avila, Abby Bruno, Lauren Crochet, Maria Crochet, Maggie Diez, Brayden Grant, Jordan Green, Rebecca… Continue reading →

Gonzales VFW seeking new veteran members

The Gonzales Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3693 is looking for “a few good men and women” to join the group in serving the local veteran community, VFW members said. The VFW is the largest veteran organization and is committed to serving veterans which have become the smallest population in the United States, a news release… Continue reading →

Railroad crossings to briefly close for repairs

Several Kansas City Southern railroad crossings will be closed in Ascension Parish through Saturday. The crossings at La. 74 and La. 429 and are set to close from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29. The La. 30 crossing’s closure is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, as is the crossing at… Continue reading →

Ascension Parish community photo gallery for Jan. 29, 2015

Photo provided by CARLA DUPLECHIN -- Church members gather for fellowship -- The Life Seniors from Life Church in Prairieville, first row from left, Thais Wallace, Narvie Cannon and AJ Nickens; and second row, Gwenta Tanner, Arnold Tanner, Gwen Nickens, David Nickens, Bud Nickens, Betty Pearson, Rita Boudreaux, Buck Duplechin and Carla Duplechin gather on Jan. 24 in the church fellowship hall for a fish fry and fellowship.

The Ascension Advocate this week includes photos from local civic, community and school groups and highlights recent events around Ascension Parish.… Continue reading →

Ascension Parish pets available for Jan. 29, 2015

A 1-year-old domestic longhair.

The Ascension Parish Animal Shelter, 9894 Airline Highway in Sorrento, is open from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday for viewings and pet adoptions. Animals can be adopted for $50. Animals can be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Fridays. For information, call… Continue reading →

Ascension Civil Court for Jan. 12-16, 2015

Court cases filed in Ascension Parish between Jan. 12-16. Us Bank National Association v. Aaron Jerome Spencer aka Aaron J. Spencer aka Aaron Spencer, Shannah Green Spencer aka Shannah G. Spencer aka Shannah Spencer, damages. Retailers Casualty Insurance Co v. Ascension Marine Inc, executory judgment.… Continue reading →

Ascension Parish Bookings for Jan. 15-22, 2015

The following people were booked into the Ascension Parish prison from Jan. 15-22, 2015. ARMSTEAD, DEMARLON: 36, 4353 Maribel Court, Baton Rouge, theft, simple criminal damage to property, simple burglary. BENNETT, JENNIFER MOTICHEK: 30, 15915 Cypress Pointe Lane, French Settlement, felony illegal possession of stolen things. BOYD, HUNTER KINSALE: 26, 3216 Ramey… Continue reading →

Ascension Parish calendar for Jan. 29- Feb. 5, 2015

SMART START BREAKFAST: 7 a.m., La Quinta Inn and Suites, 2816 Cabela’s Parkway, Gonzales. Sponsored by La Quinta Inn and Suites. Hot cup of coffee and networking. Free. SNOWY NIGHT: 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Ascension Parish Library, Galvez branch, 40300 La. 42, Prairievile. Prepare to meet winter head on with games and crafts about… Continue reading →

Ascension Council on Aging for Jan. 29-Feb. 5, 2015

Sliced roasted turkey with gravy, smothered potatoes, green peas, whole-wheat bread, pineapple tidbits, milk. PILATES: 8:15 a.m. and 9:15 a.m., Gonzales Senior Center. PIYO: 9 a.m., Donaldsonville Senior Center. ZUMBA GOLD: 10:30 a.m., Gonzales. CAJUN NEEDLERS: 12:30 p.m., Gonzales. Barbecue bone-in chicken, steamed cabbage, baked beans, whole-wheat… Continue reading →

‘We’ve got things rolling again’ — new Gonzales City Council restores funding requests killed by former council

Advocate staff photo by ELLYN COUVILLION - David Guitreau and Barbara Duhe, shown at their December 2014 swearing-in as interim Gonzales City Council members by Judge Alvin Turner of the 23rd Judicial District Court, fill the seats left vacant by a resignation and a recall that reconfigured the City Council.

With the first unanimous votes on major city issues in a year, the Gonzales City Council on Monday approved amendments that restored full funding to its general fund and capital outlay budgets. It means the Police Department will add new police units and buy the city’s first surveillance cameras and… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge jury finds for DuPont in trial

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Dupont plant on LA-44 in Burnside, La..

A six-member jury, after eight hours of deliberation, on Friday night found for DuPont in a failed whistleblower lawsuit, deciding there was not enough evidence that leaks from its Burnside plant constituted a substantial risk to the public and required reporting to EPA. Because of the verdict, plaintiff Jeffrey M. Simoneaux, of… Continue reading →

Ascension to seek approval for $450,000 debt if west bank voters renew drainage tax

The Ascension Parish Council on Thursday moved forward with two funding issues for drainage services on the parish’s west bank. But the funding rests on whether voters on May 2 decide to renew a 4.7-mill property tax to fund West Ascension Drainage District operations for the next decade. On Thursday, the council agreed to seek… Continue reading →

Petroplex answers ‘sue me’ challenge with lawsuit against St. James Parish

Challenged by St. James Parish officials to file suit, Petroplex International did just that Thursday, suing the parish over its decision last month to shut down construction of the company’s storage tank farm in Vacherie. The Baton Rouge-based company, in its suit against the parish and Parish President Timothy Roussel, is asking, among other… Continue reading →

Ascension Parish opens the door to more large-scale apartment complexes

For the first time since late 2006, Ascension Parish is poised for construction of two large-scale apartment complexes that will total more than 550 units once built, a shift for a parish that has prioritized single-family homes over rental properties. Manchac Lake Apartments and the Silver OaksContinue reading →

Parents sue former school coach, claim he duped son into taking steroids by calling them ‘protein supplements’

A former Donaldsonville High School strength and conditioning coach, whose résumé includes stints at LSU and Tulane University, “duped” one of his students into taking a regimen of steroids in a bid by the coach to regain his status in the coaching community, a new lawsuit alleges. The parents of the Donaldsonville… Continue reading →