St. Elizabeth’s Hospital donates to Leadership Ascension Community Park project

Staff Report
St. Elizabeth's Hospital donated $5,000 to the Leadership Ascension project Healthy Faces for West Bank Faces. Pictured from left are Charla Johnson, Jackie Tisdell, Scott Richard, and Sherrie Despino.

GONZALES – St. Elizabeth’s Hospital donated $5,000 to a Leadership Ascension project team, Healthy Spaces for West Bank Faces, that plans to build a community park in Donaldsonville this spring.  The park, located at the old Lowery Middle School site now owned by The Church of Donaldsonville, will include a playground designed by LSU Engineering students based on drawings and input from students at Donaldsonville Primary and Lowery Elementary. LSU is also expanding its partnership to include a complete site plan by a landscape architecture class.

     St. Elizabeth Chief Fiscal Officer Scott Richard presented the check to project team members Charla Johnson of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and Jackie Tisdell of Ascension Public Schools, as well as Chamber Executive Director Sherrie Despino.

     LSU’s Dr. Marybeth Lima and new project partner Dr. Bruce Sharky met with Leadership Ascension team members this week to plan the involvement of a landscape architecture class at LSU.

     Dr. Lima is the Cliff and Nancy Spanier Alumni Professor of Biological and Agricultural Engineering and director of the Center for Community Engagement, Learning, and Leadership at Louisiana State University (LSU).  Over the years, her students have designed and built over 30 playgrounds.

     Dr. Sharky is a Professor of Landscape Architecture at LSU. He has worked professionally in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Winnipeg, as well as in state government, and he had a private landscape practice in Anchorage, Alaska, for 15 years prior to joining the faculty at LSU.  His students will do a complete site plan for the park that will include the playground being designed by Dr. Lima’s team.

     Those wishing to partner or contribute to this project can contact project manager Jackie Tisdell at or (225) 210-7567. 

     All donations are tax deductible and can be directed to the “Leadership Ascension Foundation” with the memo “Heathy Spaces.” More information about the project can also be found on