Tennis courts named for 3 local pros

The Gonzales City Council on Monday named three new tennis courts after three of the sport’s pioneers in Ascension Parish.

Councilman Joe Waguespack surprised Gonzales residents Frank Thomas and Allen Guillot and St. Amant resident Gloria Berthelot by announcing the three newest courts at the city’s municipal park complex would be named in their honor.

Berthelot, who helped found the Ascension Tennis Association and served as its president for more than a decade, was “the driving force” for all improvements made at the complex, Waguespack said. The complex hosts high school matches, classes for children and league play for adults and children, he said.

Thomas and Guillot are two of the community’s premier tennis players and have been representing Ascension Parish at the U.S. Senior Olympics for years, Waguespack said.

Waguespack said Thomas “has whipped me more times than I can remember,” while Guillot, who served on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission for more than 30 years, “has worked for this city unselfishly” for many years.

“All I can say is every community needs and has so many people like this that are so unselfish, but those are the kind of people that make that community,” Waguespack said.

Guillot, who started playing tennis as a boy in Assumption Parish and continued playing throughout college at LSU and as an adult, was pleased with the surprise announcement.

“We saw the courts go up, and Mr. Frank and I play there every Monday, for sure,” Guillot said.

Thomas called the council’s move a “nice” gesture.

“I want to thank all those responsible for doing this,” Thomas said. “It was very nice of them to do that.”

Waguespack said a formal dedication ceremony would be scheduled at a later date, including signs bearing each of the courts’ names.

Berthelot, meanwhile, thanked Waguespack and other city leaders for their support of tennis through the years.

“Without your support, we would not be as successful,” she said.