YEAR IN REVIEW: Top Ascension Parish news headlines of 2022

Michael Tortorich
Donaldsonville Chief
The Ascension Parish courthouse in Donaldsonville is shown in a file photo. Donaldsonville is the parish seat of Ascension Parish.

Take a look back at the top Ascension Parish news articles published by the Gonzales Weekly Citizen and the Donaldsonville Chief throughout 2022.

Ascension Parish Schools receives A on state report card

In November, Ascension Parish Schools Superintendent David Alexander announced in a letter the district earned an "A" rating for the 2021-22 school year.

The Louisiana Department of Education released the statewide district and school performance data.

City of Gonzales celebrates centennial festivities

The City of Gonzales celebrated its centennial with a weekend of festivities in April.

Prairieville High School set to open for fall 2024

In December, Ascension Parish Schools Superintendent David Alexander announced the new Prairieville High School, which would become Ascension Parish's fifth high school, is on track to open in the fall of 2024.

Gov. John Bel Edwards receives a painting from Donaldsonville artist Alvin Batiste.

Gov. Edwards celebrates Donaldsonville early childhood center; CF Industries donates $1 million

Gov. John Bel Edwards and area officials gathered at the newly renovated B. Lemann and Bro. building in Donaldsonville the morning of Oct. 6 to commemorate the beginning of the early childhood learning initiative, as well as announce a $1 million investment over five years from CF Industries.

Renovations at Ascension Parish Library’s Donaldsonville branch move forward

In September, the Ascension Parish Library provided an update on its renovation at its Donaldsonville branch.

Ranked second in the state: Ascension Parish hosts Louisiana Department of Education conference

In August, the Louisiana Department of Education selected Ascension Parish as the site to host a press conference announcing state testing results.

Combined across all grades and all subjects, 49 percent of parish students achieved Mastery or Advanced, ranking it as second in the state. Students with Disabilities had the highest percentage of achievement in the state, African American students were the third highest, and Economically Disadvantaged students were the fifth highest.

CF Industries announces planned $2 billion carbon-capture ammonia complex in Ascension Parish

In August, CF Industries Holdings, Inc., announced it is evaluating a site in Ascension Parish for construction of a proposed $2 billion blue ammonia production facility that would create 103 direct new jobs in the Baton Rouge region with an estimated average annual salary of $110,582 plus benefits.

Louisiana Economic Development estimated the project would result in 311 indirect jobs, for a total of 414 new jobs in the capital region.

BASF announces $19.8 million Geismar plant expansion

In August, BASF announced it will invest $19.8 million in its Ascension Parish manufacturing complex to increase production of the chemical intermediates HEP and NOP, which are part of the global supply chain for inkjets, dishwashing detergents, crop protectors, and automotive and electronic products.

Ascension Parish's Emma Benoit shares story on Dr. Phil show

In November, Emma Benoit of Ascension Parish appeared on the national television program Dr. Phil in hopes of reaching young people struggling with their mental health.

In a photo released to the Hallmark Channel website, a scene is shown from My Southern Family Christmas.

My Southern Family Christmas, filmed in Sorrento, shines with Louisiana holiday spirit

Ascension Parish residents will recognize familiar settings in the Hallmark movie My Southern Family Christmas as scenes were filmed at the Cajun Village and Coffee House in Sorrento at the corner of Hwy. 22 and Hwy. 70 from Sept. 21-23. A Baton Rouge neighborhood and Celtic Studios were also utilized.

DOTD celebrates start of construction on Hwy. 44 widening, roundabout project

In June, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. was joined by state and local officials to celebrate the start of construction on the Hwy. 44, Hwy. 941 widening and roundabout project in Ascension Parish.

Ascension Parish Council bans kratom sales in parish

In August, the Ascension Parish Council approved a ban of kratom sales during the Aug. 18 meeting held in Gonzales.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony held for Fish Bayou flood control structure

In September, area officials marked the completion of the Fish Bayou flood control structure with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Lemann Memorial Center grand re-opening celebrated in Donaldsonville

Leadership Ascension's D'ville Shooting Stars celebrated the grand re-opening of the Lemann Memorial Center in Donaldsonville the morning of June 11.

Donaldsonville Downtown Development District wins national award, reaffirms Main Street accreditation for 2022

In June, the Donaldsonville Downtown Development District was selected as a Top 100 National Award Winner of the 2021 Small Town American Civic Award.

Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office announces Donaldsonville task force

In June, the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office announced a task force between the office and the City of Donaldsonville.

Ascension Parish Lt. Mike Brooks sings a moving rendition of "God Bless America."

Ascension Parish's Mike Brooks delivers national anthem at Saints game

In September, a highlight of the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers game came before the teams kicked off as Ascension Parish's Mike Brooks delivered a powerful rendition of the national anthem.

Ascension Parish's Michael Hilton named Louisiana Middle School Principal of the Year

In July, the Louisiana Department of Education and Dream Teachers Louisiana named Lowery Middle School Principal Michael Hilton III the 2023 Louisiana Middle School Principal of the Year.

Ascension Parish's Jordyn Vicknair was the new teacher of the year.

Officials and dignitaries break ground on the Bayou Lafourche pump station capacity improvement project along the Mississippi River levee top in Donaldsonville the morning of Oct. 21.

Bayou Lafourche $96 million pump station project breaks ground in Donaldsonville

In October, Gov. John Bel Edwards, along with members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation and several elected officials, celebrated the groundbreaking of the $96 million pump station capacity improvement project in Donaldsonville where Bayou Lafourche connects to the Mississippi River.

The Greater Baton Rouge State Fair moves to Gonzales

The Greater Baton Rouge State Fair was Oct. 27 through Nov. 6 in Gonzales.

Plaque dedicated in memory of Ascension Parish Library director

A plaque in memory of Angelle Deshautelles was dedicated during an April 5 ceremony at the Gonzales library.

Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office releases 2022 special report

In November, the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office released a 2022 special report to share information on the department over recent years.

East Ascension begins demolition on main building begins

East Ascension High School students and staff watched as demolition began on the main building of the Gonzales campus the morning of Oct. 21.

Ascension Parish trans teen voted to Dutchtown High School homecoming court

Aria Williams, a transgender teenager, was among the students celebrated on the homecoming court for Dutchtown High School in Geismar in October.

Ochsner Health Center opens in Gonzales

In May, Ochsner Baton Rouge announced the opening of its fourth facility in Ascension Parish at 2400 S. Burnside Ave., Gonzales.

The Baton Rouge Redsticks of the United Football League will play home football games at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.

Lamar-Dixon Expo Center to host Baton Rouge football team

In December, Ascension Parish government announced an agreement between the parish and the Baton Rouge Redsticks of the United Football League to host Redstick home games at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.

Gonzales Jambalaya Festival returns

The 55th Gonzales Jambalaya Festival returned to Gonzales for 2022.

Gov. Edwards among Gonzales visitors during passenger rail route inspection

Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux welcomed Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, Federal Railroad Administrator Amit Bose, and Canadian Pacific, Kansas City Southern Rail, and Amtrak leaders during a visit in Gonzales the morning of April 20.

Gonzales couple celebrates 81 years of marriage, the longest in Louisiana

The Louisiana Family Forum announced Patsy and Gail Richardson of Gonzales have won the title of Louisiana's Longest Married Couple for 2022.

Boucherie and Balloon Festival returns to Sorrento after more than decade

The Sorrento Lions Club's 2022 Boucherie and Balloon Festival returned to its Sorrento location along Airline Highway after more than decade.

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.