Donaldsonville Fire Department earns Class 3 insurance rating

Michael Tortorich
Donaldsonville Chief
Donaldsonville Fire Chief Adam Gautreaux talks to Donaldsonville City Council member Lauthaught Delaney after the Nov. 9 meeting.

Donaldsonville Fire Chief Adam Gautreaux announced the city's fire department has improved to a Class 3 Property Insurance Association of Louisiana rating.

The PIAL fire protection classes are assigned on a number scale from 1 to 10. The highest rating is Class 1. Ratings are based on three main categories: fire department operations, water supply, and communications.

Speaking during the monthly report at the Donaldsonville City Council meeting held Nov. 9, the chief attributed the lease of the training ground on Hwy. 1 and the addition of a fourth person as key factors to the improvement.

Gautreaux said the fourth person helps get the trucks out faster, improving the department's response times.

Donaldsonville Mayor Leroy Sullivan congratulated the department on achieving the rating, which was last received in 2002.

"I think that is excellent for the City of Donaldsonville and it shows that our fire department is headed in the right direction," the mayor said.

Improving the rating could lead to lower insurance premiums.

Gautreaux said was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

In other matters:

-- Ascension Parish Recreation's Assistant Director Michelle Templet provided an update on recreation.

An adult softball league with four teams has begun, she reported. Teams play on Sundays at 2:30 p.m. at the fairground fields.

She said the adult basketball league was started last year.

Templet also gave a recap of the recent health event held at the Frank Sotile Jr. Pavilion, and a skate event that took place on Halloween. 

"We're looking forward to bringing more opportunities like that," she told the council.

Templet added that parish recreation expects to bring beach volleyball courts and programs for senior citizens.

"We're really excited about growing," she said.

According to Templet, the recreation program on the west bank of the parish was run by the West Ascension Recreation Commission prior to 2009.

The parish's recreation department then took over on behalf of the city, she said. The city pays $46,000 per year for recreation and allows programs to use city facilities.

Chair Charles Brown stressed the importance of recreation programs for youth.

"I'm grateful for what we are doing with the adult league, but we have to make sure to take care of the kids too," Brown said.

Templet said the recreation department's goal is to branch out with program coordinators.

"We want them to try to come together as one Ascension," she said. "We're all one."

The Frank Sotile Jr. Pavilion can be rented for $125 with an additional fee if the kitchen area is used. The Lowery school park can be reserved, as well as the Modeste and Lemanville parks in the rural areas on the west side of the parish.

She said reservations are used to avoid conflicts with dates and times at the parks.

Templet also pointed out that the recreation department has acquired the armory from the parish's Clerk of Court. No specific plans have been made for the property yet, but it represents another opportunity to expand.

Additionally, she said the "Lala" Regira baseball park's seating area was deemed to not be structurally sound when it was checked after Hurricane Ida. Templet said temporary seating may be used before the seating areas are repaired.

Ascension Catholic High School's baseball team uses the park for home games.

-- Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office Westside Capt. Daryl Smith Jr. reported on monthly activities.

He said every deputy in District 1, which represents the parish's west side, have fully operational body-worn cameras. 

Smith added that the district has three spare cameras in case any of the devices have issues, or if a reserve or part-time deputy needs one.

Beginning this year, Sheriff Bobby Webre implemented body-worn cameras across all three districts of Ascension Parish.