Donaldsonville Fire Department undergoes extrication training

Michael Tortorich

Donaldsonville firefighters recently held extrication training exercises, Fire Chief Adam Gautreaux told the City Council during the June 8 meeting.

Donaldsonville Fire Chief Adam Gautreaux speaks to the Donaldsonville City Council during the June 8 meeting. Shown from left are Chair Charles Brown, Raymond Aucoin, and Lauthaught Delaney.

The first responders have been using the parking lot of the Graugnard’s warehouse on Hwy. 1 South, which was the former location of Walmart.

Gautreaux said each shift had their own car to work on extrication techniques. He thanked Tortorich Wrecker Service for providing the two vehicles.

“We were able to get a lot of experience,” he said.

The fire department has a new electric extrication tool, which runs off of a battery, and can be plugged into a generator. 

Gautreaux thanked CF Industries for providing a donation after he made a presentation to the company’s human resources department.

Additionally, he said the fire department is always looking for volunteer firefighters. They plan to utilize social media, and local schools to recruit new members.

In other matters:

-- The council voted to approve Sunrise Community Group’s July 3 event, which is set for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Rosenwald School.

Organizer Kurt Mitchell said the event will be in conjunction with the River Road African American Museum, and proceeds will be split among the two groups.

He said it will follow the same format as the previous event held at the school. It will include vendors, activities, and music.

-- Tamiko Francis Garrison updated the council on the Juneteenth Music Festival, which was held at the Frank Sotile Pavilion over the prior weekend.

Garrison said she and co-chair Allison Hudson have been putting together the event for the past 10 years, and they plan to “pass the torch” to a new group of organizers.

City of Donaldsonville employees assisted with the event, helping set up the stage and cleaning the facility.

Garrison’s parents, the late Janet and Bernard Francis, established the festival 25 years ago after learning about the celebration during a trip to Washington, D.C.

Additionally, 2019 and 2020 Miss Donaldsonville Juneteenth Skye Taylor has been selected to receive a national Juneteenth scholarship. It will be awarded by the Juneteenth Foundation in Washington, D.C., Garrison said.

Also, she said the New York Times will include the Donaldsonville festival in an upcoming article on Juneteenth celebrations around the country.

Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19 since that is the day in 1865 that federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to free the enslaved people there more than two months after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to end the Civil War.

Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a bill last week making Juneteenth a state holiday. Democratic Baton Rouge Rep. Larry Selders’ bill won final passage with a 37-0 vote after it had sailed through the House with an 87-0 vote.