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Three primary schools, middle school, planning for new high school to be included in bond proposal going to Ascension voters on April 9

Advocate staff file photo by BILL FEIG -- Ascension Parish School Superintendent Patrice Pujol in 2014.

The Ascension Parish School Board on Tuesday approved 14 projects — most of them designed to address overcrowding in the fast-growing parish — that it hopes will be accomplished with a $120 million bond proposal going before voters on April 9. Three new primary schools and a new middle school… Continue reading →

Ascension Parish resident shoots down neighbor’s drone, says wife felt like it was watching her

Advocate staff photo by CHARLES CHAMPAGNE    Atmosphere Aerial, professional drone video and photography company, put on a flight demonstration Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015 during the Mini Maker Faire hosted by the East Baton Rouge Library.

An Ascension Parish man hunting squirrels on his property Monday shot down a neighbor’s drone that had been flying over his home for several months, making his wife feel as though she was being watched. Aaron Hernandez, the owner of the drone, which was outfitted with a camera, said Tuesday he was flying his $1,200 remote-controlled… Continue reading →

Banquet’s creator lauded at annual dinner

Claude Babineaux

For more than 35 years, every Knights of Columbus Law Enforcement Appreciation Banquet was meticulously planned by Claude Babineaux. Babineaux, who died in January, was honored Sept. 30 as the founder of the banquet, which celebrated its 40th year of recognizing law enforcement officers with a dinner and awards ceremony in Gonzales. Babineaux’s reputation… Continue reading →

Candidates weigh in on issues

Oliver Joseph, District 1

Ascension Parish, experiencing growing pains thanks to a boom in petro-chemical expansion projects, faces pressing issues as voters go to the polls Oct. 24 to elect a new parish president, fill contested Parish Council seats and vote for assessor. In the state’s third-fastest growing parish and one in which voters haven’t passed a new tax… Continue reading →

Around Ascension for Oct. 8, 2015

The Awesome Art on the Bayou Arts, Crafts and Cultural Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on the banks of Bayou Francois in Gonzales, adjacent to Jambalaya Park. There is no charge to attend. Activities include a judged art show, arts and crafts booths, entertainment by… Continue reading →

Gonzales considers rewriting zoning laws

The city of Gonzales is looking at hiring a nonprofit organization to rewrite all of the city’s zoning ordinances rather than just a few at a time. In February, the Gonzales City Council agreed to pay the Center for Planning Excellence $20,200 to rewrite the city’s apartment zoning as a first step… Continue reading →

Ascension Athletics for Oct. 8, 2015

Lyle Johnson

Everybody got their money’s worth at the Rock Stadium on Friday night. It went down to the wire as Houma Christian pulled to within one point of Ascension Christian, 28-27. A missed two-point conversion decided the score as the Lions stopped Sam Trosclair short of the goal to hold on for the win.… Continue reading →

Dutchtown Griffins lose heartbreaker to Zachary Broncos 44-34

Advocate photo by BRIAN ROBERTS  --  Dutchtown running ack Fitell Bolding cuts upfield at the Dutchtown vs Zachary game Friday.

The Griffins put out a great effort at home on Friday night but the No. 8 Zachary Broncos (4-1) scored a late fourth-quarter touchdown to win 44-34. Dutchtown (3-2) gave up 15 early points but scored the next four times they touched the ball. Running back Fitell Bolding took to the ground… Continue reading →

Bragging rights up for grabs at annual Shout Out pep rally

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --  East Ascension football players and students cheer for their school as blue confetti falls during the 2014  St. Amant vs East Ascension Shout Out.

Get out your ear plugs for the loudest pep rally around. Fans of East Ascension and St. Amant high schools will come together at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center for the annual Shout Out, a community pep rally before the big cross-parish rivalry football game. The community pep rally decides… Continue reading →

Take Back the Night planned for Ascension

The Iris Domestic Violence Center’s annual Take Back the Night event for Ascension Parish will be held Monday, Oct. 26, at Jambalaya Park in Gonzales. The candlelight march gets underway at 5:30 p.m., followed by a candlelight ceremony at 6 p.m. “October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” said Executive Director Lynne Medley-Long. “Increasing awareness… Continue reading →

1st ACHS student earns National Merit honor

Natasha Kelly

Ascension Christian High School senior Natasha Kelly has been named a semifinalist in the 61st annual National Merit Scholarship Program, a news release said. Kelly is the first student from Ascension Christian to be named a semifinalist. She will compete for one of approximately 7,400 National Merit Scholarships. Scholarship winners will be announced in the spring.… Continue reading →

Gonzales teen advances to state pageant

Photo provided by Erin Husbands -- McKenzie Nassar, of Gonzales, left, is crowned Miss Louisiana Lagniappe Outstanding Teen on Sept. 20 during the Miss Southern Oaks Scholarship Pageant in Gonzales. At right is Ashley McGowan.

The Crowning Moment’s McKenzie Nassar, of Gonzales, competed in the Miss Southern Oaks Scholarship Pageant in Gonzales on Sept. 20. She advances to the state pageant April 9-10 in Monroe to compete for Miss Louisiana’s Outstanding Teen title. The state title holder will represent Louisiana at the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Pageant in Orlando, Florida,… Continue reading →

Stewards of Children training to be held

Darkness to Light will hold two Stewards of Children training sessions from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Nov. 2, at the Gonzales Public Safety Building, 724 W. Orice Roth Road. Stewards of Children is a program aimed at preventing child sexual abuse in the United States. Learn more at Continue reading →

St. Amant High School celebrates homecoming week

Photo provided by Tim Babin Portraits -- The St. Amant High School homecoming court includes, first row from left, Kourtney Gremillion and Erin Antie; and second row, Camille LeBlanc and Olivia Boudreaux.

It’s homecoming week at St. Amant High School. The homecoming parade leaves the school at 6 p.m. Thursday, traveling through the area and returning for a pep rally in the gold dome. The homecoming queen and king will be announced during the pep rally. The Gators face McKinley High School at 7 p.m. Friday in… Continue reading →

Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center hosts open house

Photo provided by Debby Vollmer -- Gonzales Gala 2016 committee members attending the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center open house in Gonzales on Oct. 1 are, front row from left, Sheila Savoy, Wendy Daigle, Tracie Waguespack, Paula Berthelot and Betty Arceneaux; and back row, Penny Saucier, Shannon Templet, Simone Henry, Karen Braud, DeEtte DeArmond and Melanie Boudreaux. Not pictured are Sheree Gauthier, State Rep. Johnny Berthelot, Debbie Babin, Ronnie Daigle, Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux and Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley.

Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Gonzales premiered its renovations and new technology at an open house on Oct. 1. Attendees learned about Agility from Elekta, an advanced cancer treatment system, then toured the facility. Medical physicist Daniel Neck explained how the integration of Agility with Elekta’s Infinity linear accelerator, or radiation delivery system, sets… Continue reading →

Gators’ cross country squad having record year

Photo provided by Tanya Whitney -- St. Amant Gators runner Brendan Outlaw, center, takes part in the Port Hudson Battlefield Run on Sept. 26. Outlaw set a personal record that he broke along with the school 2-mile cross country record at the St. Joseph’s Invitational.

The St. Amant High Gators cross country team is midway through the season and already has broken three school records, a news release said. On Sept. 19, St. Amant ran the LSU Invitational 5K High School race at Highland Road Park. Several athletes set personal records for the race. Four Gators broke the school record for… Continue reading →

Youth basketball signups are underway

Registration for the Parish of Ascension Recreation and Culture Youth Basketball League is underway. Sign up at the Westside Recreation Office, 300 Railroad Ave., Donaldsonville, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, email PARC Program Coordinator Ajia Morand Mitchell at or call (225) 473-3898.… Continue reading →

Speaker to discuss Islamic State at roundtable

Christopher Holton

Christopher Holton, vice president of education and outreach with the Center for Security Policy, will be the featured speaker at the next Ascension GOP Roundtable. The talk, sponsored by Ascension Republican Women, is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, at Carli-Co Café, 1506 N. Airline Highway, Gonzales. Holton will address the group on… Continue reading →

Ascension Parish calendar for Oct. 8-15, 2015.

TAI JI QUAN: 10:30 a.m., Ascension Parish Library, Gonzales Branch, 708 S. Irma Blvd. Also Oct. 15. CHAMBER MONTHLY MEMBERS LUNCHEON: 11:30 a.m., Clarion Inn & Conference Center, 1500 La. 30, Gonzales. Admission, $15 with RSVP, $20 at door without RSVP, $25 non-member. Sponsored by EFCU Financial. PAJAMA STORYTIME: 6:30 p.m., Ascension Parish Library,… Continue reading →

Ascension pets available for Oct. 8, 2015

This female adult Lab mix

The Ascension Parish Animal Shelter, 9894 Airline Highway, Sorrento, is open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday for viewings and pet adoptions. For information, call (225) 675-6557. Available this week are as follows:… Continue reading →

Ascension Parish Council on Aging for Oct. 8-15, 2015

Ham and lima beans, steamed rice, coleslaw, steamed spinach, cornbread, apple. 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. Meatball hoagie with Creole sauce, O’Brien potatoes, carrots, almond cookie.… Continue reading →

Ascension Parish Police Bookings for Sept. 24-Oct. 1, 2015

The following people were booked into the Ascension Parish prison from Sept. 24-Oct. 1, 2015. BYRD, NICK M.: 47, 2126A W. Coy Smith Highway, Mount Vernon, Alabama, violations of protective orders, domestic abuse battery. FARMER, NICHOLAS: 23, 43520 Elmo Cannon Road, Gonzales, domestic abuse battery, simple battery. FORSYTH, LEONARD: 35, 5166 Wildwood Drive,… Continue reading →

Ascension Parish Civil Court for Sept. 14-18, 2015

Court cases filed in Ascension Parish between Sept. 14-18. Crescent Bank & Trust v. April Butler, executory judgment. Joann Wall v. Robert Shingluer, Government Employees Insurance Co. and Anpac Louisiana Insurance Co., damages. Brenda Chihi, La. Department of Children and Family Services v. Mourad Chihi, UIFSA. Dana Jupiter v.… Continue reading →

Hot Air Balloon Festival turns a profit for second time since moving to Ascension Parish four years ago

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Pilots ignite their burners during the balloon glow, Friday, September 25, 2015, at the Ascension Hot Air Balloon Festival at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, La.

Ascension deputy: A bad day that led to plans to go out with friends ended in a domestic killing Friday

A fight Friday night over a man’s plans to go out with his friends ended when his girlfriend stabbed him with a kitchen knife, killing him, said Lt. Col. Bobby Webre, of the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office. Jonqualya Benton, 20, was booked into the Ascension Parish Prison early Saturday morning on a count of manslaughter in the… Continue reading →

Fertilizer plant reaches $2 billion settlement with U.S., state to clean up wastewater, stacks of solid wastes

Advocate staff photo by David J. Mitchell The west side of a large phosphogypsum stack for Mosaic Fertlizer's Uncle Sam plant rises Thursday afternoon along La. 3125 near Convent in St. James Parish. The stack is 187 feet high. An excavator can be seen on top of the stack while grass covers the stack's older, bottom layers. Phosphogypsum is a waste byproduct from processing phosphate rock to make fertlizer. Mosaic reached a $2 billion settlement with state and federal regulators to pay for the future closure and long-term care of this and several other stacks in Louisiana and Florida. The company will also pay $8 million penalties and change how it handles hazardous wastewater from its phosphate operations.

Mosaic Fertilizer has reached a $2 billion settlement with state and federal environmental regulators and the U.S. Department of Justice over funding for the long-term disposal of massive phosphogypsum waste piles and the treatment of 60 billion pounds of wastewater from its plants in Florida and St. James Parish, authorities and the company said Thursday. The… Continue reading →

St. Amant High barn set to open in October

Advocate photo by Kate Stevens -- St. Amant High School agricultural teacher Mandy Delaune hopes to turn the land next to her class' new barn into space for beekeeping and other projects.

A barn for St. Amant High School agricultural science classes and for members of the school’s Future Farmers of America chapter is finally under construction after years of patient fundraising and waiting. The 3,000-square-foot structure is coming up slowly after plans for the school’s Freshman Academy were decided and ground broken… Continue reading →

Balloon fest attendance reaches new heights

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Pilots ignite their burners during the balloon glow, Friday at the Ascension Hot Air Balloon Festival at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.

Craig Basden and Judy Reynolds are devoted fair-goers. The New Orleans couple set their alarm clock for 4 a.m. Saturday to travel to Gonzales for the 2015 Ascension Hot Air Balloon Festival. Basden and Reynolds made it to town in time to watch hot air balloon pilots drop weighted markers… Continue reading →

800 musicians take over Dutchtown High field for first Bandboree

Photo provided by Fran Renegar -- Members of St. Amant, Dutchtown, East Ascension, Denham Springs and Catholic high schools gather Saturday to play 'Amazing Grace' during the first Duckroost Bandboree.

More than 800 musicians from five area high school bands took the field Saturday at Dutchtown High School for the first Duckroost Bandboree sponsored by the St. Amant High School Band. Catholic, East Ascension, Denham Springs, Dutchtown and St. Amant high schools each presented halftime shows and gathered for a joint performance. The event was scheduled… Continue reading →

Around Ascension for Oct. 1, 2015

The Ascension 4-H Foundation is selling sweet potatoes and Bergeron peeled pecan halves for its second annual fall fundraiser. Sweet potatoes are $12 for a 10-pound box or $25 for a 40-pound box; pecans are $25 for a 3-pound box. Orders are due Oct. 20, must be prepaid and can be picked up… Continue reading →

Ascension Athletics for Oct. 1, 2015

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Ascension Catholic takes the field before their matchup against Southern Lab Sept. 24.

Ascension Catholic High School was one of two parish teams that began their district play last week. But Southern Lab’s Curtlan Williams played his part in spoiling the district opener as he took advantage of some nifty moves and good blocking to return three punts for touchdowns and helped lead the Kittens to a 46-7 victory… Continue reading →

Classroom Spotlight: St. John Primary School first grade

Photo provided by Janis Ament --  Kim Jones's first-grade class at St. John Primary includes, first row from left, Justin Brooks, Addyson Wheat, Callon Schiele, Evan Bass, Katherine Helfrich, Esther Jimson and Emerson Landaiche; second row, Hadley Tassin, Talen Kolb, Preston Dugas, Ayden Hue, Mazie Hinojosa, Marshall Goss, Adelynne Bradberry, Stella Klibert and Carson Landry; third row, Claire Angelo, Jonathan Heintz, Ella Englade, Brennan Booth, Marie Claire McCarty, and Madeline Gautreau; and fourth row,. Kim Jones and Teresa Landry, instructional assistant.

The Ascension Advocate’s Spotlight Classroom this week is Kim Jones’ 2015-16 first-grade class at St. John Primary School in Prairieville. The students were asked: If you could be anything in the whole wide world, what do you want to be when you grow up? CLAIRE ANGELO: “Police officer, because… Continue reading →

Gonzales mayor hosts CRPC meeting

Photo provided by Charlotte Guedry -- Gathered for a photo at the Capital Region Planning Commission meeting Sept. 21 in Gonzales are, from left, Gonzales Public Works Director Alvin Broussard, Gonzales Councilmen Neal Bourque and Harold Stewart, State Reps. Clay Schexnayder and Johnny Berthelot, Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux, former Gonzales Councilman David Guitreau and Ascension Parish Government representatives Ken Dawson and Lester Kenyon.

The city of Gonzales hosted a quarterly Capital Region Planning Commission meeting on Sept. 21 at the Gonzales Civic Center. Mayor Barney Arceneaux is a commission member, and Gonzales Chief Engineer Jackie Baumann is a Technical Advisory Committee member. Guest speaker Eric Kalivoda, deputy secretary with the state Department of Transportation and Development, discussed strategies used… Continue reading →

Dutchtown High plans homecoming festivities

Photo provided by Tim Babin Portraits -- Dutchtown High School 2015 homecoming court members include, from left, Courtney Toussel, Briana Bowie, Mary Podorsky, Hannah Robnik, Brooke Saltus and Berkley Parent.

Homecoming events for Dutchtown High School get underway with a parade at 6 p.m. Thursday. A pep rally begins at 1:15 p.m. Friday at the school. The homecoming football game kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday, with the announcement of the homecoming queen at halftime.… Continue reading →

Prairieville students qualify for TIP

Prairieville Middle School has announced seventh-grade students who qualified for the Duke University Talent Identification Program, or TIP, a news release said. The program provides the opportunity for students to take the ACT or SAT as an above-level test, giving them a greater insight into their abilities and a chance to preview a college entrance exam, the… Continue reading →

St. Theresa cheerleaders earn awards at clinic

Photo provided by Janis Ament -- St. Theresa Middle School cheerleaders earning UCA Cheer Ribbon Awards at a recent Universal Cheerleaders Association-sponsored clinic are, from left, Rachel Alonzo, Hope Bourgeois, Lea Arcemont, Emma Schexnaydre, Madison Douget, McKenna Ramsey, Madison Chaix and Sydney Mistretta.

Cheerleaders on St. Theresa Middle School’s 2015-16 cheerleading squads recently participated in a Universal Cheerleaders Association-sponsored clinic. The cheerleaders learned cheers, chants and a dance that they will incorporate into their routines. UCA Cheer Ribbon Awards were presented in individual categories to Rachel Alonzo, Most Energetic; Hope Bourgeois, Best Smile and Voice; Lea Arcemont, Most… Continue reading →

Cheerleaders to march in Thanksgiving parade

Photo provided by Janis Ament -- St. Theresa Middle School cheerleaders who will perform in the 66th annual Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade are, from left, Claire Moreau, Lea Arcemont, Emma Schexnaydre, Madison Douget, McKenna Ramsey, Madison Chaix and Claire Pizzalato.

Lea Arcemont, Madison Chaix, Madison Douget, Claire Moreau, Claire Pizzalato, McKenna Ramsey and Emma Schexnaydre, cheerleaders at St. Theresa Middle School in Gonzales, will join more than 300 elementary, junior high and high school cheerleaders and dancers from across the United States to perform in the 66th annual Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade. Participants are cheerleading and… Continue reading →