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Gonzales residents get a peek at a draft of the city’s new master plan

Provided by the Center for Planning Excellence - This illustration shows what the possible first phase of a commuter rail station development, including a platform and plaza, might look like for Gonzales one day.

The new master plan in development for Gonzales not only addresses land use and street design but also offers ways to attract higher-paying jobs and more affordable housing. At a public meeting on the master plan Wednesday night, Janet Tharp, associate planning director for Baton Rouge’s Center for Planning Excellence,… Continue reading →

St. James Parish Council gets 'extremely good' remarks on audit report

Developers close on $8 million land purchase for Conway Plantation mixed-use community in Gonzales

Provided by Southern Lifestyle Development - A community swimming pool, shown here in an artist's rendering, will be offered in the Conway Plantation development coming to Gonzales.

Developers of a mixed-use community coming to Gonzales closed on the $8 million purchase of the property Tuesday. “We are the proud owners of approximately 345 acres, and we hope to be in the ground this fall some time,” said Robert Daigle, cofounder of Southern Lifestyle Development, of Lafayette, which will build… Continue reading →

Gonzales man pleads guilty to defrauding nursing home operator

A Gonzales man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to defrauding his former employer, a Baton Rouge-based nonprofit that operates nursing homes in southwest Louisiana, of more than $208,000 over nearly three years, federal prosecutors said. Travis Templet, 36, who served as the controller for Elder Outreach Nursing and Rehabilitation, wrote 67 fraudulent checks to himself worth about… Continue reading →

Kool Kids Day honors legacy of siblings

Advocate photo by Darlene Denstorff -- This cutout of Sarai 'Ladybug' Lanus stood on the Jambalaya Park stage June 24 at the Kool Kids Day event in the park to honor the memory of Sarai and her brother, Daylon 'Duce' Lanus, who died June 24, 2014, when they were struck by a sport utility vehicle while fishing along Bluff Road in Prairieville.

Shayla and David Lanus’ mission to keep the memories of their two children alive continued last week as more than 400 people gathered to celebrate Kool Kids Day in Jambalaya Park on the anniversary of the children’s death. “They were always cool kids, and that’s how we’ll remember them,” said Michael Dunbar, a… Continue reading →

Radio Club loses longtime member

Advocate Staff Photo by CHARLES CHAMPAGNE    Ascension Amateur Radio Club member Rick Webre participates in a nation wide 24 hour competition with other Amateur Radio operators to test equipment, practice radio operation, and to make as many contacts over the air as they can Saturday.

All was quiet in the Ascension Amateur Radio Club’s trailer outside the Orice Roth Road Fire Station in Gonzales. Periodically, the radio crackled, and the ghostly sound of faraway voices would ebb and flow through the speakers, issuing a message and call sign. A licensed amateur radio operator would occasionally answer back with an acknowledgement of… Continue reading →

Around Ascension for July 2, 2015

Looking for a family-friendly way to celebrate early this weekend? Why not spend some time in Donaldsonville and check out the annual Third of July celebration and fireworks show in Crescent Park near the Mississippi River levee? The party starts in Crescent Park, 112 Crescent Park Drive, with the Avenue… Continue reading →

Ascension Athletics for July 2, 2015

Photo by Jamie Johnson --  My son Wesley holds a nice crab we caught fishing on the road in Delacroix.

Although it’s summertime and lots of folks are taking vacations and family gatherings, high school football is just around the corner as evidenced by the 7-on-7 competition this past weekend. Our first team we’ll take a look at is the Ascension Christian Lions that compete in Class 1A. The Lions have made steady improvements in the past… Continue reading →

Young bull rider heading to nationals

Photo provided by Kristi Gueho -- Ascension Parish bull rider Cody Martinez competes in March in the Southeast Louisiana Rodeo Association rodeo held at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center. He won the performance that night.

A cypress display case made by Dutchtown High School sophomore Cody Martinez’s great-grandfather holds the more than 30 belt buckles he’s won bull riding. He’s hoping to add at least one more in July when he heads back to the high school national rodeo finals. Martinez ended the rodeo season in third place in the state… Continue reading →

Prairieville Middle School plans summer registration

Prairieville Middle School will hold summer registration for students moving into the district and students who have not previously attended PVM or one of the area feeder primary schools. Registration times are 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. July 13; 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. July 20 and 22; and 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. July 27-31.… Continue reading →

Sorority, Donaldsonville join for Juneteenth

Photo provided by Tamiko Garrison -- Gathering June 13 at the Donaldsonville Juneteenth celebration are members of the Ascension Alumnae Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., front row  from left, Evelina Jones and Jevella Williamson and second row, Kristen Irvin, Tamiko Francis Garrison, Terry Joseph, Michelle Taylor, Hollis Baker Graves and Nancy Henderson.

The Ascension Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. joined Donaldsonville June 13-14 to celebrate Juneteenth in Louisiana Square. During the two days, chapter alumnae distributed information, “providing food for the mind and body,” a news release said. Donaldsonville has commemorated Juneteenth for the past 19 years. On June 19, 1865, the slaves in Galveston,… Continue reading →

Church forms gardening partnership to fill pantry

Photo provided by June Thomas -- Members of  First United Methodist Church of Gonzales started a community garden in August and recently harvested vegetables planted in the spring.

A partnership among First United Methodist Church of Gonzales, Ascension Master Gardeners and a horticultural agent resulted in a recent abundant harvest. That partnership was formed by church members after they were challenged by the Rev. Mark Goins to start a “cool impossible” mission in February 2014. Members of the congregation decided on a garden to… Continue reading →

Leadership program graduates 20th class

Photo provided by Ginger Davies -- Gathering to celebrate Leadership Ascension’s 20th graduating class June 18 in Gonzales, front row from left, are Jane Rabalais, Kim Melancon, Michelle White, Aleaha Morgan, Tevora 'Tee' Tabor, Tammy Williams, Danielle Dawson, Jada Mayon and Craig Beaman; middle row, Lorie Bercegeay, Justin Champlin, Khalli Hagan, Jo Broadway, Donna Gaignard, Eddie Smallhorn, Jaime Malveaux, Yvonne Pellerin, Edward Prejean, Joey Mayeaux, Phillip Wright and Sherrie Despino; and back row, James Flanagan, Ethan Babin, Tracey Zimmerman, Monica Marchand, Shannon Sing, Christy Burnett, Liz Canfield, Garrett Ganucheau, J.W. Smith and Jenny Heroman. Not pictured are Jason Bonaventure, Jeffrey Delaune, Trey Cline, Brant Mayer and Andrew Pecquet.

Leadership Ascension, a program of the Ascension Chamber of Commerce, graduated its 20th leadership class at Clarion Inn & Conference Center in Gonzales on June 18. This year’s class had 35 participants who were put onto teams to research and implement a project that would positively affect the Ascension community, a news release said.… Continue reading →

Sheriff hosts luncheon for World War II veterans

Photo provided by Allison Hudson -- Attending a luncheon for World War II veterans in Donaldsonville on June 24 are, front row from left, Bob Prejean, Virgil Joffrion, Joe Matassa, Andrew LeBlanc, Odon Templet, Herman Torres and Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley; and back row, Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office public information officer Allison Hudson, Ascension Parish President Tommy Martinez, Capt. Ricky Bergeron, Maj.Ward Webb, Lt. Col. Bobby Webre, Gonzales City Councilman Kenny Matassa, Wilson Waguespack, Floyd Ourso, Col. Paul Robert, Donaldsonville Mayor Leroy Sullivan and Maj. Kevin Hanna.

Sheriff Jeff Wiley and staff from the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office hosted a luncheon for World War II veterans at Café Lafourche in Donaldsonville on June 24. Eight veterans, some with their wives, shared their stories and enjoyed fellowship with one another, a news release said. Also in attendance were Parish… Continue reading →

Dancing for a Cause benefits Arc

It’s not too late to buy tickets for Dancing for a Cause, a fundraiser benefiting Community Opportunities — The Arc of East Ascension. The event, set for July 11, at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, features locals dancing with dance pros and instructors. Whitney Vann and Mark Dearman will serve as hosts for the fundraiser.… Continue reading →

Poker Walk slated July 14 at Gonzales Senior Center

Ascension Council on Aging will be sponsoring a Poker Walk starting at 9:30 a.m. on July 14 at the Gonzales Senior Center, 526 S. Irma Blvd. The walk will focus on the benefits of walking and continuing an active lifestyle as seniors age. At the walk, each senior participating will get a card at each station providing… Continue reading →

Ascension awaits winner of Principal of the Year

Photo provided by JACKIE TISDALE -- Jaimee Williams is a finalist for the state's principal of the year award.

On July 11, Ascension Public Schools will find out if it has back-to-back winners of Louisiana Principal of the Year. Pecan Grove Primary Principal Marjorie Meyers is finishing her year as the 2015 winner, and Gonzales Primary Principal Jaimee Williams is one of nine finalists for the 2016 honor. “We are blessed with hardworking, dedicated… Continue reading →

Ascension Parish Small Ball League wraps up season

Photo provided by Andrea Putnam -- Zoey Haydel, left, and Cami Appleton run the bases during practice for Ascension Small Ball on April 21.

Ascension Parish’s Small Ball League for 3- to 4-year-olds recently wrapped up its season. Twenty teams with approximately 12 girls and boys each began practice in late April and played from May through June. Many games were canceled due to thunderstorms or muddy fields at Paula Park. The children hit the ball off of… Continue reading →

Pelican Point Waves win swim title

Fresh off its seventh straight undefeated swim meet season, the Pelican Point Waves swim team of Gonzales defended its Bayou Swim League Championship on June 27 in Gramercy. The team was victorious against the Gramercy Marlins, Jefferson Terrace Jets, Westminster Sharks and Parkview Oaks Gators. The Waves scored 2,170 points to take first place, followed by… Continue reading →

Bulldogs gear up for football, cheer practice

The Ascension Bulldogs football team and cheerleaders will kick off practice for the 2015-16 season on Tuesday, July 14. Football is for ages 5 to 12 and cheerleading for ages 6 and older. A parent meeting will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, July 13, at Fellowship Church, 14363 La. 73, Prairieville.… Continue reading →

Pork roast fundraiser tickets available

Tickets are available for the annual Gonzales Firefighters Association Boston Butts pork roast fundraiser. The cost is $30, and the fundraiser is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 2 at Fire Station 10 on Orice Roth Road. Pickup times for roasts are at 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. , depending on the ticket… Continue reading →

Louisiana Youth League meeting set for July 18

The Louisiana Youth League’s annual meeting will begin at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, July 18, at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center’s vendor meeting rooms inside the arena. Lunch will be served. For food planning purposes, organizations should email Elmo F. LeBeouf III at dyfcl03@gmail.com by noon Tuesday, July 14, with the expected number of coaches, administrators and… Continue reading →

Pets available for July 2, 2015

This 14-month-old female Shih Tzu. She's housebroken and good with children.

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 (225) 675-6557.… Continue reading →

Ascension Parish calendar for July 2-9, 2015

LAP-SIT STORY TIME: 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., Ascension Parish Library, Gonzales, 708 S. Irma Blvd., Gonzales; and Dutchtown, 13278 La. 73, Geismar. TAI JI QUAN: 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Ascension Parish Library, Gonzales. BILINGUAL STORY TIME: 11 a.m. to noon, Ascension Parish Library, Gonzales. BOOK CLUB: noon to 1 p.m., Ascension Parish Library,… Continue reading →

Ascension Parish Council on Aging for July 2-9, 2015

JULY FOURTH SPECIAL: hot dog with chili on a bun, baked beans, coleslaw and fresh watermelon. PILATES: 8:15 a.m. and 9:15 a.m., Gonzales Senior Center. PIYO: 9 a.m., Donaldsonville Senior Center. RED, WHITE AND BLUE DAY: 10 a.m., Donaldsonville. Sponsor is Canon Hospice. ZUMBA GOLD: 10:30 a.m., Gonzales. CAJUN NEEDLERS: 12:30… Continue reading →

Ascension Parish Police Bookings for June 18-25, 2015

The following people were booked into the Ascension Parish prison from June 18-25. CARTER, SHANTAY: 27, 165 Freetown Lane, Belle Rose, disturbing the peace/violent and tumultuous manner/disorderly conduct, simple assault, fugitive-other Louisiana jurisdiction. GORE JR., JAMES E.: 55, 680 Princewood Court, Baton Rouge, three counts failure to appear in court. GRABLE, CHRISTOPHER CHAD:… Continue reading →

Ascension Civil Court for June 15-19, 2015

Court cases filed in Ascension Parish between June 15-19. Duray A. Oubre v. (individual on behalf of) Lori Thornton and My Lingerie Kiss, damages. River Parish Financial Services LLC v. Gina Tripode and David Tripode, promissory note. Pioneer Credit Co. v. Demetrice Winchester, executory judgment. Billedeaux Hearing Center LLC… Continue reading →

Major political shift in Ascension Parish underway as once Democratic bastion becoming Republican stronghold

The First and Last Chance Café in Donaldsonville has a storied history as one of the spots in the historic Mississippi River city where Democrats would gather to cut a political deal. Billy Guillot, 54, owner of the restaurant/bar that got its name because the bar and restaurant were the only stop on… Continue reading →

Assumption Parish starting to reap millions in back taxes owed discovered after the Bayou Corne sinkhole

Photo provided by WGBH -- A view from the air shows the Bayou Corne sinkhole in September 2014

One silver lining to the Bayou Corne sinkhole disaster is this: millions of dollars in back taxes being paid by companies operating on the salt dome where the sinkhole appeared nearly three years ago. Assumption Parish officials settled a property tax dispute this week with the fifth of seven companies operating underground caverns in the Napoleonville… Continue reading →

Donaldsonville man dies Friday after rear-ending 18-wheeler

A Donaldsonville man died Friday when he rear-ended an 18-wheeler that slowed to make a left-hand turn, State Police Troop A reported. Shortly before 11 a.m., Oscar Bennett III, 30, was driving south on La. 3089 in a 2008 Chevrolet Suburban behind an 18-wheeler driven by Carlos Julien, 57, when the tractor-trailer… Continue reading →

Ascension sheriff warns of rash of vehicular burglaries: ‘Lock your cars’

The Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office is looking for these people, seen in a security video, in connection with 48 vehicle burglaries in June.

Ascension Parish Sheriff’s deputies are looking for those involved in 48 burglaries of vehicles in the parish since June 1, said Sheriff Jeff Wiley. The sheriff said residents should lock their vehicles since the majority of those broken into have been left unlocked by the owners. Electronics, purses, wallets, cash, and weapons have been stolen from the… Continue reading →

Whew! Radioactive camera reported lost Thursday on Airline Highway finally found south of I-10

Advocate staff photo by ELLYN COUVILLION -- An officer with the State Police uses a Geiger counter alongside the La. 61 Grammercy exit off I-10 early Thursday afternoon to check for the presence of an industrial camera with radioactive material inside that was lost from a commercial truck somewhere along I-10 Thursday morning.

Updated at 8:50 p.m. — The search for a lost industrial camera containing radioactive materials ended at 7 p.m. Thursday when the camera was located on Airline Highway roughly 2½ miles south of Intestate 10. The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office said the state Department of Environmental Quality is now in the process of disposing of the equipment. A commercial truck… Continue reading →

Deputy details how inmates briefly escaped from Ascension jail in May

Two Ascension Parish Prison inmates who briefly escaped last month manipulated a lock to a recreation yard door, scaled an internal fence and then slipped through a gate to a second, perimeter fence on their route to fleeting freedom. Lt. Col. Bobby Webre, the sheriff’s chief of criminal operations, on Tuesday provided details… Continue reading →

Former Ascension Parish Health Unit employee admits stealing social security numbers, selling them to tax preparer

A former employee of the Ascension Parish Health Unit has pleaded guilty to stealing more than 400 Social Security numbers from a state database and selling them to a Baton Rouge tax return preparer who used them to file bogus IRS returns, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. Ta’Sha Thomas, 26, of Donaldsonville, admitted Monday in U.S. District… Continue reading →

Assumption deputies arrest two after finding drugs during search of home

Alex Cedotal

Two men were arrested Friday when a search of a Plattenville home by Assumption Parish sheriff’s deputies turned up heroin, synthetic marijuana, methamphetamines and crack cocaine, Sheriff Mike Waguespack said Tuesday. The Sheriff’s Office SWAT team and detectives with the Narcotics Division searched the home of Oscar Davis, 5771 La. 308 in… Continue reading →

City eyes water company purchase

Photos: Spartanettes host dance camp at EAHS

Advocate Staff Photo by CHARLES CHAMPAGNE    Nine and 10 year olds dance along to songs from Disneys 'Alladin' Friday during the Magical World of Dance Spartanette Mini Camps Show Off Night held at the East Ascension High School gym.

The East Ascension High Schol Spartanettes hosted a Magical World of Dance Mini Camp. Girls learned new dance moves during the weeklong camp and showed off their skills in front of friends and family at a Show Off Night event.… Continue reading →

Volunteer spirit strong in Ascension

ConnecTeens members have been fanning out all over Ascension Parish this summer, said Sherry Denig with Volunteer Ascension. Now in its 14th year, the program has grown fairly steadily, Denig said, with about 65 teens ages 12 to 17, completing service hours throughout the parish. “From playing games with special-needs kids and visiting… Continue reading →

Around Ascension for June 25, 2015

The River Region Art Association continues its plans to heat up the summer and fall with art shows. Click Art, the RRAA’s annual photography exhibit featuring youth and adult categories, is set for Aug. 19-29 at the Depot Gallery, 1008 W. La. 30, Gonzales. Competitors should bring up to three photos, framed and wired for hanging,… Continue reading →

Ascension Athletics for June 25, 2015

Photo provided by Larry Boyte and Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association -- Lawson Boyte, 12,  with his new state record blue catfish that weighed 114 pounds. This fish was selected as fish of the year by Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association Fish Records Committee in 2014 for the rod and reel division.

Two area athletes have been named to Louisiana Baseball Coaches Association All-State Teams. In class 5A, senior Tristan Babin, of East Ascension High School, made the first team as a utility player. A Nicholls State University signee, Babin pitched and played first base for the Spartans. In class 1A, sophomore Landon Clifton, of the Ascension… Continue reading →

Crescent Park to host holiday music, fireworks

Plans for the annual Third of July celebration and fireworks show are progressing in Donaldsonville, event organizer Missy Jandura said. “We like to say, ‘Come forth on the third,’ ” she said. “It’s a nice, small-town, family fireworks show. The music starts at 5 (p.m.), and the fireworks generally go about 9:20 (p.m.) or so,” Jandura added.… Continue reading →