Seniors dance with ‘Glitz and Glamor’

JoAnn Williams’ prom ensemble was like that worn by most going to their senior prom — a tiara and matching pearl earrings, bracelets and necklace and a flowing pink chiffon gown.

Williams, however, wasn’t a teen attending her high school dance.

The 67-year-old Gonzales resident was one of more than 150 over the age of 60 who donned fancy dresses and dapper suits Sunday for the Council on Aging’s fifth annual Senior Prom.

Williams took this year’s theme “Glitz and Glamor” to heart in making sure she dressed the part.

Like many at the dance, Williams didn’t attend her high school prom and sees the annual dance as a chance to relive her youth and enjoy “something I never had back then.”

Several years ago, Council on Aging Executive Director Darlene Schexnayder was looking for help hosting a formal dance for the residents who take part in her agency’s programs.

“That’s where we came in,” Rotary Club of East Ascension President Mike Buturla said. “We were happy to chip in, and we’ve been doing it ever since.”

Buturla said the dance is one of the largest and most popular projects his club hosts each year.

Lisa Bacala, a Rotarian who was in charge of this year’s dance, said it’s fun to watch the seniors enjoy an afternoon of dancing and socializing.

Buturla and Bacala assisted Schexnayder as they crowned the prom king and queen.

With a drum roll from the Something Blue Band, singer Jenny Heroman announced that Joyce Knockum, of Donaldsonville, and Bubba Cockerham, of Gonzales, were the royalty for the dance.

“I’m shocked,” Knockum said.

After waving to friends and posing for photos, the two danced as Heroman sang “I Hope You Dance.”

And, dance they did.

Williams and Matthews Brocks shared the dance floor with several couples and a few single ladies.

Alexis Logarbo, 9, and Rylie Buturla, 11, children of Rotarians, twirled around the dance floor with the seniors encouraging them to dance.

The band’s rendition of Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools” brought Cynthia Myles to the dance floor, as she showed off her fancy dance steps.

“They’re having so much fun, and that’s what this dance is all about,” Schexnayder said.

The decorations for the dance were left over from East Ascension High School’s Saturday night prom, Schexnayder said.

“They even order our crown and sash,” she said.

“It’s an opportunity for many to have something they didn’t have in high school, and we’re glad we can do it for them year after year,” Schexnayder said.