Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office Captain

No criminal incidents were reported during the annual Independence Day celebration on July 3 at Crescent Park, according to an Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office report presented during the Donaldsonville City Council meeting on July 9.

APSO District 1 Capt. Jeff Griffin told council members the event was well-staffed by officers who applied to work that night, which ended with a fireworks show over the Mississippi River.

Each year, the city and sponsors organize the Independence Day celebration one day before the Fourth of July so as not to interfere with events in larger cities.

The evening out features several vendors and is one of the largest annual events at the Ascension Parish headquarters, along with the Christmas celebration typically scheduled during the December holiday season.

The 2024 event included check presentations attended by local, parish and state officials.

The event, held along the River Levee Park in the city’s historic district, saw the sounds of The Michael Foster Project and Big Frank & Lil Frank fill the summer air.

Additionally, Juanita Pearley of the Donaldsonville Area Chamber of Commerce introduced the city’s pageant royalty.

The secretary of the council resigns

In other business, President Charles Brown shared a resignation letter from Council Secretary Ashley Gaignard.

He had served in the role for about three years following the retirement of veteran secretary Sandra Capone.

After discussing the appointment of an interim secretary, a motion was made to temporarily hire Jessica Folse until the vacancy could be advertised and interviews scheduled.

The council ultimately voted against the motion 3-2, leaving the seat vacant.

Donaldsonville helps Napoleonville with dealership fire

During the fire department’s monthly report, Deputy Fire Chief Trevor Cox said Fire Chief Travis Cedotal assisted the Napoleonville Fire Department with a large fire at the Barbera Chevrolet dealership on the night of June 26.

Several area fire departments responded to the fire at the dealership located along Highway 1 in the town of Assumption Parish, which is about 15 miles south of Donaldsonville.

Cox and the council also publicly thanked Tortorich Wrecker Service for towing and providing vehicles for fire department training sessions.

In recent years, firefighters have practiced extrication techniques in the parking lot of the Graugnard warehouse along Highway 1 South, which was the former location of Walmart.

Gonzales Weekly Citizen and Donaldsonville Chief, part of the USA Today Louisiana network, cover Ascension Parish and the greater Baton Rouge area. Follow them at and