Community group works to stop violence

Michael Tortorich
Donaldsonville Chief
A community meeting to address violence opens with a prayer Nov. 9 at Donaldsonville City Hall.

Concerned citizens and officials gathered at Donaldsonville City Hall Nov. 9 to discuss ideas on stopping violent crime.

The organizers of the meeting, Sunrise Community Group, previously held a townhall meeting on violence at the Donaldsonville courthouse Aug. 10 as well as a Stop the Violence march and rally in the city Feb. 27

One of the organizers, Glenn Price, invited the Donaldsonville Chief to attend the meeting, where a discussion focused on solutions.

Donaldsonville Mayor Leroy Sullivan, city council members, Ascension Parish Councilman Alvin "Coach" Thomas, former councilman Oliver Joseph, Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office Captain Darryl Smith, and several citizens connected to the community attended the meeting.

Kurt Mitchell of the Sunrise Community Group shared 2022 year-to-date crime statistics from APSO showing a total of six homicides, including eight people reportedly shot. One included an apparent murder-suicide. Captain Smith clarified that the 35 reports of gun shots can include any time a projectile hits an object, not necessarily involving a person.

As the Donaldsonville population is an estimated 6,762, every crime is magnified in the relatively small city.

Mitchell pointed out that poverty and low income correlate with crime. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 45.2 percent of the population lives in poverty.

Thomas said he has pushed for more jobs, pointing out that more opportunities appear to be on the way. A project development company focused on energy decarbonization solutions is exploring a plan to build a large-scale hydrogen-ammonia production and export facility.

As discussed in previous meetings, many speakers emphasized the importance of letting the young people of the community know they are loved. Several echoed the sentiment of showing the youth that the leaders are united.

Gonzales Weekly Citizen and Donaldsonville Chief, part of the USA Today Network of Louisiana, cover Ascension Parish and the greater Baton Rouge area. Follow at facebook.com/WeeklyCitizen and facebook.com/DonaldsonvilleChief.