The Crowley Post-Signal looks back at 2011

The past year was a year of big changes and big events for the city of Crowley, Acadia Parish, Louisiana, the United States and the world. It was full of highs–Edwin Edwards being released from prison and returning to Crowley to being honored at the Rice Festival–and lows–several sad and tragic deaths of notable city residents and military heroes. Some things changed while others stayed the same.

The Crowley Post-Signal has compiled a list of the major headlines from 2011 that it covered. They are the stories that shaped the year and the people of the area.

Here are the top stories of the Crowley Post-Signal for the year 2011:

January

6 - The first baby in Acadia Parish in 2011 was Miguel Cortes, who was delivered January 4 at American Legion Hospital. Miguel is the son of Marcial and Amalia Cortes of Duson. He came into the world weighing six pounds, 10 ounces. Dr. John Gonzales delivered the baby.

7 - U.S. Rep. Charles W. Boustany, R-La., was officially named chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight in the House tax writing Ways and Means committee.

14 - On the morning of Wednesday, Jan. 12, former Louisiana governor, Edwin Edwards, was released from federal prison. He arrived at a halfway house in Baton Rouge hours later and then headed to a relative’s home.

23 - The annual livestock show concluded Saturday with the annual livestock sale. Big winners were Lillian Gaspard, named grand champion of the steer division; Andrew Bellon, grand champion of the lamb division; Zach Breaux, grand champion of the hog division; and Marcus Briscoe, grand champion of the goat division.

27 - The Louisiana Rice Growers Association (LRGA) and the Louisiana Rice Council (LRC) held their annual joint meeting at the International Rice Festival Building in Crowley. The gathering listened to a variety of speakers and held business sessions.

30 - Several area businessmen, office holders and concerned citizens packed the banquet room at the Grand Opera House of the South to listen to Police Jury President A.J. Credeur, Superintendent John E. Bourque and Mayor Greg Jones give their thoughts on were the city of Crowley presently stands and what the future holds.

February

2 - The annual Pro-Life March could not be held due to inclement weather. But the Catholic Schools Week tradition of the Pro-Life Assembly held in Notre Dame High School’s gym, continued on to honor and acknowledge the innocent unborn.

6 - An ice storm moved into south Louisiana causing power outages, road closures and shutting down Acadia Parish schools and businesses.

16 - Tenth and 12th grade students from every Acadia Parish school visited the annual Career Connections Expo, which gave them a taste of what life after high school had in store for them.

20 - In a close race that saw several lead changes throughout the evening, Johnathan Perry, R-Kaplan, defeated his Democratic challenger, Nathan Granger, by collecting 10,179 votes (51.75 percent) to Granger’s 9,491 (48.25 percent) to occupy the District 26 seat vacated by Nick Gautreaux.

24 - The Acadian Technical College gave Crowley the chance to shine at the annual Region IV Student Government Association Conference. The presentation featured Crowley Tourism Coordinator Charlotte Jeffers and students from Crowley High’s multimedia class spotlighting the city’s features and history.

March

6 - One woman was killed and 12 other people were injured as a series of tornadoes passed through Acadia Parish on the morning of Saturday, March 5. Most seriously damaged was the town of Rayne where the fatality as well as most of the injuries were reported.

6 - The Krewe of Town Revelers 56th Carnival Ball and Pageant was staged and King Cimmer LVI Mark Anthony Constantin and Queen Cimm Rebecca “Becky” Broussard Lamm were crowned.

7 - Bad weather threatened to ruin Crowley’s Mardi Gras festivities, but by the time the parade rolled around, the skies started to clear, making for the perfect parade weather.

18 - “Edwin Edwards, Governor of Louisiana, An Authorized Biography” by Leo Honeycutt was named the winner of the 2011 Louisiana Literacy Award, chosen by state librarians.

25 - After serving as president and CEO of the Crowley Chamber of Commerce since 2005, Kayla Link announced her pending resignation to the chamber’s board of directors.

31 - The battle over redistricting lines finally came to an end, at least in the Louisiana House of Representatives. The proposal that was passed by the house shifts some of the Acadia Parish district lines slightly to the east.

April

5 - The Acadia Parish School Board recognized its students of the year for the 2010-11 year. They were, fifth grade - Julia Schexnider, Church Point Elementary; eighth grade - Olivia Robison, Evangeline Elementary; and 12th grade - Kelsey Douget, Iota High.

10 - Crowley Main Street and the Crowley Art Association held its second annual April Sketches and Kids Day Out, which featured children of Crowley and the Girl Scouts of Louisiana - Pines to the Gulf Troops for the Acadiana area, which had over 200 girls participating in the Sidewalk Chalk Drawing Contest.

12 - The Welcome House Shelter broke ground on their next project, a chapel to be built next to the facility.

17 - The Crowley Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors announced that it selected Amy Stansbury Thibodeaux as its new president and CEO.

19 - The Crowley Chamber of Commerce sponsored the city’s annual citywide cleanup day, promoting the theme “Keep It Clean, Keep It Green.”

May

3 - American flags and impromptu celebrations sprang up throughout the country and a sigh of relief befell its citizens as news broke late in the night Monday, May 1, that American soldiers had located and killed Osama bin Laden.

6 - At the invitation of State Rep. Jack Montoucet, members of the House of Representatives had the opportunity to attend French class. The classes were held every Wednesday morning throughout the legislative session after Montoucet broke into a French rant over redistricting.

10 - James “Jim” McKeiver was named the interim principal of Crowley High School by a unanimous vote of the Acadia Parish School Board members. McKeiver was formerly the disciplinarian at Ross Elementary.

15 - The order to open the Morganza Spillway was given after much debate to divert flood waters barrelling down the Mississippi River from the New Orleans and Baton Rouge area.

22 - After Iota held its commencement exercises earlier in the week, Crowley High, Midland High, Northside Christian and Notre Dame handed out diplomas to its crops of deserving seniors.

31 - Residents of the Bayou Bend area of Crowley were angry and wanting answers as oil, which had leaked from an abandoned oil tank, began to fill Bayou Blanc. Crews from the Department of Environmental Quality and the Coast Guard were put in charge of the cleanup.

June

7 - The school board named Paula Cutrer as the new principal at Ross Elementary and Katie Jolivette was named Church Point Middle’s new leader at the school board’s June meeting.

10 - Marine Cpl. Matthew Richard, 21, of Iota was killed in Afghanistan while on duty serving and protecting his country, something he had dreamed of doing since he was a child. Richard was killed by an IED.

16 - On the same day that one fallen hero returned home to be laid to rest, another former Acadia Parish resident and serviceman was killed. Staff Sgt. Nicholas Bellard, 26, formerly of Crowley died while serving in Iraq.

28 - The Crowley Post-Signal, whose website draws more than 25 million readers a year, announced it added an electronic edition of its regular paper.

29 - The Acadian Technical College held its graduation where 219 individuals were honored for earning various degrees. The ceremony was held at the Historic Crowley Rice Theatre.

30 - The LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station held its 102nd Annual Rice Field Day, to showcase innovations and share information pertinent to the rice industry.

July

5 - Artists of all ages were showcased and given awards for their placings in the 22nd Annual Rice Capital Juired Art Competition. The big winners were Mary Oakley, “Best in Show: Adult,” and Aaron Bertrand “Best in Show: Student.”

7 - Gov. Edwin Edwards’ house arrest ended to a slew of applause from across the country.

10 - The city of Crowley’s committee meetings drew quite the crowd as concerns over budget cuts reached a boiling point. The Crowley Police Department and Crowley Fire Department, as well as Crowley Main Street faced the biggest projected cuts. Tempers flared at the city council meeting a few days later as the budget issue finally saw some resolution.

27 - The International Rice Festival received a grant from Union Pacific Railroad form $10,000. An early boost for those charged with the Rice Festival’s planning all year long.

31 - An abundance of glitz, glamour and beauty at the 2011 Miss Crowley pageant, held at the Crowley Rice Theatre, was the scene of the crowning of three new queens, Junior Miss Crowley 2011, Brooklynn Miller; Teen Miss Crowley 2011, Gabrielle Heinen: and Miss Crowley 2011, Caitlin Clayton.

August

4 - After years of looking to repair the South Avenue H Bridge (declared unsafe in 2007 and subsequently closed), funding came through after being place on the state’s Capitol Outlay Program.

14 - Former Louisiana governor, Edwin Edwards, was named the grand marshal of the 75th International Rice Festival Grand Parade on the same night that the festival’s poster was unveiled. The original artwork won the annual poster contest. It was painted by artist Tony Bernard.

18 - Public schools across the parish opened their doors and welcomed eager students as the 2011-12 school year began. Several of the area’s private schools began their school years earlier in the week.

25 - Congressman Charles Boustany was in Crowley for a Town Hall Meeting where he talked with concerned citizens about problems in the nation’s capital as well as in Louisiana and more locally.

28 - It was announced by the office of U.S. Rep. Charles W. Boustany Jr., R-La., that the Acadia Parish Police Jury had been awarded a grant totaling $511,125 for improvements to LeGros Memorial Airport.

September

7 - A 21-year-old former Iota student walked onto the joint campus of Iota Middle School and Iota High School wearing a mask, a wig and a belt with knives and an ax hanging from it, causing the schools to placed on lockdown. No one was harmed in the incident, thanks in large part to quick and calm actions by the Iota Middle School principal.

11 - Americans across the country observed the somber 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States. Locally, there were memorials held by the Crowley Police Department and Crowley Fire Departments, among others.

20 - Farmers and agriculture industry representatives met with Congressman Charles Boustany to express frustrations with the increase burden of more federal regulations. Boustany told those in attendance that a bill was pending in the House that would roll back many of the EPA’s regulations.

23 - The Crowley Chamber of Commerce held their candidates’ forum where Acadia Parish Police Jury, clerk of court, assessor and state representative outlined their positions on the issues helping voters gain a better understanding when they placed their votes in October.

29 - The Crowley Garden Club, the city of Crowley and the Crowley Chamber of Commerce announced their partnership to help “Keep Crowley Beautiful” at a meeting with representatives form business, government, education, tourism and civic organization in attendance.

October

7 - A long summer of hard work neared completion in Maxie as the Maxie Gospel Tabernacle. The church that sits next to The Welcome House.

13 - Planning for Relay for Life of Acadia 2012 began as the Kick Off date was announced and the committee readied for another successful and busy year as the entire Relay for Life of Acadia looked to be revamped.

14 - The annual Rice Festival Community Blood Drive was officially set for Monday, Oct. 17 officially. The blood drive is held in honor of Bill Williams and Shel Kanter and awards early participant with Rice Festival related gifts.

18 - Thousands of people, ranging in age from very young to senior citizens converged on the Louisiana Oil and Gas Park in Jennings over the weekend as the Vietnam Traveling Memorial War made its way to the city.

23 - The city of Crowley welcomed pack streets, crowned new royalty and champions for the 75th International Rice Festival. Edwin Edwards was welcomed home, Macy LeBlanc became the 75th International Rice Festival Queen, Mary Ellen Herbert and Carson Armentor were named junior queen and king and the festival was very successful.

23 - Robert T. “Robbie” Barousse was re-elected as parish clerk of court, while “Jimbo” Petitjean was elected as parish assessor in two of the many elections held. Statewide, Gov. “Bobby” Jindal was easily re-elected as state governor.

November

3 - Breaux Bridge native Hunter Hayes returned to Cajun country and performed at Crowley’s Rice Theatre to an adoring crowd.

6 - The Crowley City Hall building was the scene of some fine art, cuisine and music for the third straight year as “A Taste of Crowley” continued to grow. The event is designed to highlight the cultural aspects of Crowley.

15 - After a not-so picture perfect start, the Lady Pios’ volleyball team found their way back to a familiar ending, state champions. Notre Dame claimed the 2011 LHSAA Division IV Volleyball Championship with a straight set victory over De La Salle.

17 - Midland won the 2011 LHSAA Class B Cross Country Championship, held at Northwestern State University. Individually, Michael Primeaux had another great outing, capturing his third cross country title.

20 - North Crowley Elementary’s Olevia Schefcik was crowned Crowley’s 2011 Miss Crowley Merry Christmas.

December

1 - Longtime Acadia Parish Assessor Russel Benoit passed away. Benoit held the office from 1983 to 2010, when he announced his retirement.

2 - Crowley began getting into the holiday spirit with Christmas in Crowley - “A Holiday Affair” once again taking over Parkerson Avenue. Attendees expressed their hopes that the event, which included pictures with Santa, Christmas carols and a light show, becomes an annual tradition.

6 - The Acadia Parish School Board approved several big personnel changes, including moving CHS Coach Tommy Tate to another school and promoting Josh Fontenot to head football coach. They also made sure that each school would have two administrators on campus all day by moving around several other employees.

11 - Many lined Parkerson Avenue Thursday night, braving cold weather to enjoy the 2011 Crowley Kiwanis Christmas parade highlighted by Santa Claus and 2011 Miss Merry Christmas Olevia Schefcik.

15 - A groundbreaking ceremony for the Glady Trahan Tennis Complex was held featuring city dignitaries, members of the center’s committee and members of the late Glady Trahan’s family.

Acadia Parish Today

Crowley Post-Signal
P.O. Box 1589, Crowley, LA 70527
Phone: 337-783-3450
Fax: 337-788-0949

Rayne-Acadian Tribune
P.O. Box 260, Rayne, LA 70578
Phone: 337-334-3186
Fax: 337-334-8474

Church Point News
315 N. Main St., Church Point, LA 70525
Phone: 337-684-5711
Fax: 337-684-5793

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