Local News Archives for 2014-09

District Governor Addresses Ville Platte Rotary Club


SEPTEMBER 30, 2014


      The Ville Platte Rotary Club today at their weekly meeting heard from District 6200 Rotary Governor Ezora Proctor of Crowley. She met with Club President  David Mayeaux and the local Club Board shortly before the meeting. She announced that there are 1.2 million Rotarians in more than 200 countries. The District Governor commended the local club for their community projects including: scholarships to LSU Eunice and Coreil Campus of Louisiana Technical College and supporting a youth Interact Club.

    Her husband shared the District wide Spouse campaign to begin a Literacy Nutrition program in Second Grade classes. Rev. James Proctor announced the project saying each club is challenged to donate books on healthy eating and fitness to second graders and providing students a healthy snack. The program attacks obesity and supports literacy.

    The District Governor along with Assistant Governor Yvonne Norman honored Club Member Brent Coreil with a Medallion of Honor for his service to Rotary for more than 40 years.

Evangeline Parish Library Held Grand Opening Today


SEPTEMBER  26, 2014

    The Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting of the new Evangeline Parish Public Library took place this morning. The program took place in the front of the library with Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel, emcee who introduced the many public officials, VIP’s and dignitaries. Among those who spoke were Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine, Mary Foster Galosso, Parish Librarian and State Representative Bernard LeBas.  There was a special flag raising and dedication by Fr. Mitch Guidry , Pastor of Our Lady Queen of All Saints and assisted by Fr. Jason Vidrine. The hundreds of visitors were given special tours of the new library facility. KVPI-FM did a live remote broadcast this morning during the grand opening.

Sheriff Eddie Soileau Addresses Ville Platte Rotary Tuesday


SEPTEMBER 23, 2014


    The Ville Platte Rotary Club , today (Tuesday) heard from Evangeline Parish Sheriff Eddie Soileau discuss a situation his department is facing after losing $300,000 in state funds . The cut in funds took place when his department failed to comply with certain state rules dealing with state prisoners. Sheriff Soileau said “I did not follow the mandates such as having a nurse and registered dietician on staff.” He said the state also wanted the department to have a working suicide prevention program in place.

   The state was paying the sheriff’s department nearly $25 a day to hold state prisoners as compared to the parish that pays only $3.50 a day for its prisoners. As a result of non compliance, all of the state inmates were removed from the parish jail.

   Sheriff Soileau said he could not afford to pay the additional expenses to comply with the state mandates.  Now with the loss of state funding, the sheriff said he will have to start cutting expenses by the first of the year. He warned the people of Evangeline Parish that the cuts could result in only having 2 deputies patrolling the entire parish. His department is planning to have some fund raisers such as raffles and BBQ’s to help purchase needed equipment for his department.

   He reported that it costs $10,000 to certify a deputy. He said once a deputy is certified, chances are he  leaves for a higher paying law enforcement agency. He said next year, the state will force law enforcement agencies to certify part time officers as well.

   The sheriff said “If you want law enforcement in Evangeline Parish, then we have to make some major changes. There is just no money to provide the services we need to do.”

   Rotarian Vic Slaven who invited the sheriff to speak told rotary members that the financial situation is critical with the sheriff department. Slaven’s C.P.A. firm handles the auditing services for the sheriff’s office.

   Also speaking at the rotary club was U.S. Congressman John Fleming who spoke about the military situation in Iraq and Syria. The congressman was asked by Rep. Bernard LeBas and Brent Coreil to work in helping us fund the four laning of US 167 between Ville Platte and Opelousas.

Ville Platte Police Searching for Burglary Suspect


During regular patrol on September 18, 2014 at approximately 3:15 a.m.  an officer in the area of the 600 block of Jack Miller Road observed a black vehicle parked in the area of local businesses.  As he approached the back of one of the businesses he observed a black male wearing a black hoodie and light colored pants running away from the building. The officer followed the suspect who then detoured through a field and between other buildings. The suspect evaded the officer.  When the officer returned to the building that the suspect ran from he also observed that the black vehicle was no longer in the area. An Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Deputy and other Ville Platte Police units arrived to assist in searching for the vehicle and suspect that had both fled the scene. Witnesses nearby stated that they observed a black Dodge Challenger traveling west from the area at a high rate of speed.  Dispatch was notified to contact the Eunice Police Department for K9 assistance in locating the suspect that fled on foot.  The K9 was able to pick up a scent and track the suspect but could not locate the suspect in the area any longer. 

During this time an Opelousas Police Officer observed a vehicle matching the description of the suspect vehicle. The officer turned around and attempted to locate the vehicle and was unable to catch up with it.  This search led the Opelousas Police Officer into the Ville Platte City limits and onto Tate Cove Road. 

The owner of the business arrived and the owner and officers made entry into the building.  They discovered that the suspect had made entry into the business and that the business had damage to an outer wall.  An undisclosed item was removed from the building but the suspect was caught off guard by the officer’s arrival and left the item on the ground as he fled. 

Chief Neal Lartigue would like to thank the Eunice Police Department for their assistance with the investigation and use of the K9 unit and also the Opelousas Police Department for their assistance in the chase of the suspect vehicle.

Anyone who may have information on the black challenger in the area of Jack Miller Road at approximately 3:15 a.m. or the suspect that fled from the officers, is asked to call in with this information. Chief Lartigue stated that this vehicle was traveling dangerously through the city and may have been seen by someone.  “If you know who this vehicle belongs too please call the department and share the information.”  Chief Lartigue continued, “This driver put many people in danger including citizens of the city.”  Call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313.  Your call will remain anonymous.

Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce Meeting


SEPTEMBER 17, 2014


     The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce today (Wednesday) voted to extend an invitation to Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue to attend the next chamber meeting to address concerns raised by Chamber members. Mark Buller announced that his office was broken into a few weeks ago for the third time where his office computers were stolen. His neighbor, Dr. Phillipe Vidrine office was burglarized just last week. Chamber members were notified that other offices  including pharmacies were burglarized. Buller said “I have the utmost respect for our police” but he feels more could be done. The chamber agreed to invite the police chief to express their concerns over the rash of business burglaries.

    In other business, the chamber received a report from Col. Mike Borrel on the Louisiana National Guard Education Program. Col. Borrel said there are three Youth Challenge Camps in the state at Camp Beauregard, Carville and in Minden. He said these are not boot camps or prisons. They are targeted to  assist at -risk 16-18 year olds. The camp lasts 22 weeks and the goal at the end is to have the youth join the military, get a job or go back to school.

    Louisiana is the only state that has three such youth challenge camps. He announced that 1400 students from the program  graduate out of a total of 8000 dropouts. Louisiana has one of the highest drop out rates of students in the country(over 8000) and one of the highest rates of juvenile incarceration.

     The camp teaches 8 core components including leadership, citizenship, academics, job skills, life coping skills, health and hygiene, community service and physical fitness.

     Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Camille Fontenot told chamber members:

--the Dirt Cheap will have its grand opening and ribbon cutting Wednesday Sept. 24 at 8:30am at the old Ville Platte Wal-mart location;

--announced the new library facility will open for business Monday Sept. 22 with a grand opening Friday Sept. 26;

And reported that the Mamou Cajun Music Festival is planned for this weekend at the Mamou Recreation Center.

Ville Platte Police Charge Suspect with Attempted First Murder

Chief Neal Lartigue reports two arrests for
attempted first degree murder and other charges.

On September 14, 2014 the Ville Platte Police
Department responded to a call where a person was being followed and shot at by
two suspects in a vehicle.  Officers
located the vehicle on East Jefferson Street and initiated a stop.  Upon approaching the vehicle the officers saw
a .45 caliber pistol and a large Ziploc bag with multiple smaller bags inside
containing a green leafy substance that they believed to be marijuana in plain
view.  Also in plain view was a black bag
containing a digital scale, an undisclosed amount of cash and another bag
containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana.  

Jamison Cortez Thomas, 25 of 512 South Stagg Street,
Ville Platte was arrested without incident and charged with attempted first degree
murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession with intent to
distribute a schedule I narcotic (marijuana), illegal carrying of weapon while
in possession of a controlled dangerous substance and possession of or dealing
in a firearm with obliterated number or mark.
Thomas was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail and later transferred
to the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office on a bond of $500,000.00 set by Judge
John Larry Vidrine.

Daquonnyie Thomas, 20 of 713 Parkview Apartment 107,
Ville Platte was arrested
incident and charged with attempted first degree murder, possession with intent
to distribute a schedule I narcotic (marijuana), illegal carrying of weapon
while in possession of a controlled dangerous substance and possession of or
dealing in a firearm with obliterated number or mark.  Thomas was booked into the Ville Platte City
Jail and later transferred to the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office on a bond
of $500,000.00 set by Judge John Larry Vidrine.

Chief Neal Lartigue reminds residents to report
suspicious and illegal activity to help keep offenders off of our streets.  Call the Ville Platte Police Department at
363-1313.  Your call will remain
anonymous. ************************************************************


Chemical Spill in Ville Platte


On September 12, 2014 at approximately 7:15 pm the Ville Platte Police Department responded to a call regarding a possible chemical spill. Upon arrival officers and Ville Platte Fire Department personnel detected a smell of ammonia in the area and began evacuating nearby residents as a safety precaution.  Louisiana State Police and Louisiana State Police Hazmat division were notified of the situation. The Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office also assisted with this incident. The Detective on call responded to begin an investigation.   The business owner reported hearing a noise and went outside to investigate.  When he went out of the door an unknown chemical hit his legs causing burns to both legs.  He was transported by family to Mercy Regional Medical Center.

Approximately 12 people were advised of a mandatory evacuation on East Washington Street and Railroad Avenue.  Others in the area of East LaSalle Street evacuated voluntarily.  Hazmat repaired the line and cleaned the scene and some residents were allowed to return to their residences that were not on East Washington at approximately 11:30 p.m.  Residents on East Washington were not allowed to return to their residences at that time due to the strong odor from the leak.   After Hazmat cleaned and cleared the area all residents but one were allowed to return home. 

Chief Neal Lartigue was on the scene during the incident and stated that he appreciates the assistance and fast response by everyone involved and that safety of residents was the first priority.  “People were evacuated for their safety and those not allowed to return to their residences that evening were kept away to protect them from inhaling fumes because a strong odor remained in the area.”

The cause of the leak is still under investigation.


Chief Lartigue asks residents to be aware of their surroundings and report suspicious activity by calling the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313.  Your call will remain anonymous.

Swamp Pop Museum Anniversary


SEPTEMBER 12, 2014


    The Louisiana Swamp Pop Museum celebrates its 4th anniversary this month. To celebrate the event, the museum will have an open house Friday Sept. 19 from 9-3. KVPI-FM Classic Hits 92.5 KVPI will be doing alive remote Friday morning with Jenn and Steph. Many swamp pop singers and musicians will be invited to attend the event. There will be no admission charge that day. Come view our musical heritage in the only museum that pays tribute to our unique South Louisiana music.

Sacred Heart Homecoming Activities


SEPTEMBER 11, 2014


     Sacred Heart High School has scheduled its 2014 Homecoming Festivities for Friday September 26. The school will honor the classes of 2015, 2005, 1995, 1985, 1975, 1965, 1955 and 1945. There will be a Homecoming Mass at 8:20am, Alumni Brunch at 9:30am in the High School Library, Pep Rally and Presentation of the of the Homecoming Court at 10:45am, Homecoming Parade at 4;00pm down Main Street at 4:00pm. The homecoming court is Sydney Buller, Natalie Earles,  Andee Fontenot, Ashley Fontenot, Ashley Hesnor, Hailey Lafleur, Morgan Manuel, Blakely McCoy, Ainsley McDaniel, Alex Pitre and Elizabeth Soileau. The Homecoming Game: Sacred Heart Trojans vs. Mamou Demons at 7:00pm. For more information call Kimberly LeJeune at 363-8050.

Ville Platte Mayo and City Council Recognizes Boys and Girls All Star Teams

September 9, 2014

The Ville Platte City Council held its meeting tonight (Tuesday) in City Hall.  The meeting was full and lively with children as Mayor Jennifer Vidrine and the City Council recognized the State Runner-Up Baseball 10 year old boys; National Runner-Up Softball 8 year old girls and the World Series Baseball 12 year old boys, along with coaches and parents.  All of the players were awarded a certificate and a “city pin”.  Judge Elect Chuck West and Candidate Gary Ortego treated all of the players to a pizza party after the presentation.

The Council unanimously approved the placement of a four-way stop sign at N. Chataignier and Lincoln, as well as Jefferson and Laran.  The original request was made to place one at N. Coreil and Jefferson; however, Councilman Taranza Arvie, advised the council his constituents did not want it placed there.

Mayor Vidrine advised they had applied for a grant regarding Keep Louisiana Beautiful and was awarded 10 new red trash cans to place around the city.  She advised they would keep applying for more trash cans and said “There is no excuse for having litter on the ground.  Please keep your trash at home and throw it away properly.  Don’t throw it out of your vehicles.  People need to understand that trash all over the ground affects businesses coming into our community.”  

A public hearing has been set for October 14th at 4:45 for discussion and input regarding a raise for Interim Fire Chief, Chris Harrison and Blake Perron as Assistant Fire Chief.  Mr. Harrison did not receive a raise when he took over as Interim Fire Chief.

There will also be a public hearing on October 14th at 4:30 to discuss the traffic jam congestion at Sacred Heart during the morning and afternoon.  Rob (T-Rob) Soileau presented a plan to the City Council but the Mayor and Council asked to hear from the parents who drop off and pick up children during the public hearing.

Mayor Vidrine reported expenditures for last month were $224,026.00.  That is an increase of $4,000 over the month before.

Also, she advises that they started accepting credit cards for payment of utility bills and that is going very smoothly.  In the next two weeks, you will be able to also pay your bills online.  

She stated they are still working with the Fire Marshall on the Boys & Girls Club and are still awaiting information from the I.R.S.  A lot of renovations needed to be done and they have to have a certain amount of money in the bank before they are part of the Boys & Girls Club of America.

In an attempt to negate crime in the city, Community Crime Cameras will be coming soon.

And, she happily reported that the remains of the Old Jungle/Rendezvous are completely cleaned up.

Ville Platte Rotary Club Hears from State Senator Eric Lafleur




    The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from State Senator Eric Lafleur report on a number of different topics of interest in the state.

    Lafleur explained the current controversy over the “Common Core” standards that the governor is suing for the state to get out of the standards. Governor Jindal, who once supported the standards, now feels the standards are an encroachment in to our schools by the federal government. Lafleur said Louisiana needs a minimum standard and he feels that common core is a good policy. There are 44 states that have adopted the same type of standards. Common Core has been supported by Business groups and the Chamber of Commerce, according to Sen. Lafleur. He also said that Superintendent of Education John White and the BESE Board are in favor of Common Core.

    In other issues, the senator said the legislature basically “kicked the can” down the road by using one time money and reserved funds to balance the budget. The senator predicted the next legislature session next spring , lawmakers will be refinancing debt and probably have road projects will have to be delayed because of a lack of funds. The senator was the special guest of Rotarian Jimmy LeBlanc.

   In other business, the club

reminded members that there will be no noon meeting next Tuesday. Instead there will be a fellowship activity Tuesday night at Dr. Jerry Veillon’s camp;

The club received a report from Larry Lachney on the Sacred Heart Interact Club. The club is working on the school prayer garden,  selling bricks for the garden and doing bingo games at nursing home. Interact is also planning to do another international project.

    The club also congratulated Larry Lachney who was named as Parade Marshal for the Louisiana Cotton Festival next month.

   Mayor Jennifer Vidrine thanked everyone for their support for last weekend’s benefit wrestling event for the benefit of the Boys and Girls Club of Ville Platte.

   Librarian Mary Foster Galosso announced that library staff is busy moving to their new library facility on west main. The Ville Platte Branch will open Sept. 22 with a grand opening planned Sept. 26.

Evangeline Police Jury discuss Condemned Properties

September 8, 2014

The Evangeline Parish Police Jury held its monthly meeting tonight (Monday) in the courthouse. The jury approved the Reddell-Vidrine Water Districts’ request to increase the stipend paid to board members.  The original stipend was set in 1967 and has not been increased since then.  The amount paid to board members was $50.00/meeting and to the President was $100.00/meeting.  The jury unanimously agreed to raise the stipend to $75.00/meeting for board members and $200.00/meeting for the President.

The jury awarded the bid for the Mamou Hospital Drainage Project at Savoy to E.B. Futch & Son, LLC of Eunice, with the low bid of $215,000.00.  According to Engineer, Ronnie Landreneau, the project could start in the next thirty days.

Public Works Director, Chester Granger, reported that three bills have been sent to local loggers for damage to chip-sealed roads and that it is being handled.  President, Ryan Ardoin, reminded the public that if you are caught tearing up roads, mud-riding and tearing up land, stealing rocks, etc., you will be prosecuted.  

Ronnie Landreneau reported that they will be accepting bids for the 2 contracts regarding parish road projects on September 30th at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. in the police jury room.  He requested a public meeting request for those bidding times.

Secretary/Treasurer, Donald Bergeron, was pleased to report that the 2% Sales Tax Collections were $316,221.95, an increase by 20.26%.

There was further discussion regarding the ongoing issues with condemned properties and the process the jury is going through to have the properties torn down, or cleaned up.  Mr. Bergeron reported that a hand full of people have contacted him after they received notice in the mail regarding the properties.  They will continue to move forward with responses to the landowners continuing the process to have the issues resolved.  Attorney Marcus Fontenot advised that people must have their due process and requested that the new letters inform land owners they will need to come and address the jury regarding the status of their property, and then the jury can make its’ decision regarding each one.  

Tournoi Eliminations Held Today at Industrial Park

Tournoi Eliminations

September 7, 2014


   The Tournoi Eliminations were held (today) Sunday at the Ward One Industrial Park  to prepare for the annual running of the Tournoi next month at the culmination of the Louisiana Cotton Festival. Here are the results: Marcus Guillory #1, Ryan Haller #2, Keith Saucier #3,  Austin Trahan #4, Rusty Lafleur #5, Chuck Manuel #6,  and Seth Manuel #7. Seth Manuel was transported to Mercy Hospital by Acadian Ambulance when his horse stopped during the elimination run. Retired Tournoi riders kept score and time during the trials Sunday.  These riders will join the top ten riders from last year’s Tournoi: Eric Guillory, Tournoi Champion,  Bryan Fontenot, Kent Saucier, Shane Trahan, Alex Haller, Paul Fontenot, Shane lee, Ched Fontenot, Cody LaFleur and William Fontenot. The annual running of the Tournoi will be held Sunday Oct. 12 at 2:00pm at the Industrial Park. KVPI FM will be broadcasting live at the Tournoi.

2014 Louisiana Cotton Festival Named


Cotton Festival Royalty Announced!


Members of the Louisiana Cotton Association are working on the 61st annual La Cotton Festival, which will be observed on October 7 through October 12, 2014.

They are pleased to announce the royalty for the 61st Louisiana Cotton Festival:

Mr. William Nunez the Chandler of LSUE will be crowned King Cotton 61st

Mr. Kary Lafleur with Karys Roux in Ville Platte graciously accepted duties of Colonel Cotton,

 Mr. Larry Lachney with Poppa Gattors seasoning will serve as the Grand Parade Marshal of Grand Parade of Cotton.

Monisieur et Madame Coton’ is Mr. & Mrs. Leonard Glenn Fontenot

Miss Kaelah Cobb is the reigning Queen Cotton 60th. She will crown her successor Saturday October 11at our Cotton Coronation starting at 4pm.

This year’s theme is “Cotton Country”

Members of the Cotton Festival Association would like to invite everyone to join them on October 7 through October 12, 2014 at the North Side Civic Center and have a Cotton Pickin Good Time!

Evangeline Parish School Board Adopts Budget

September 3, 2014

The Evangeline Parish School Board held its bi-monthly meeting Wednesday and  voted unanimously to adopt the proposed 2014-2015 Budget presented to them by Chief Financial Officer, Amy Lafleur.  Ms. Lafleur explained the budget reflects a 1.385 million dollar deficit, which is related to lower incomes received due to certain lack of funding and sales tax revenue decreases, but also due to other issues like rising insurance costs.

She also explained there will be upcoming “significant changes” regarding hospitalization and health insurance plans for all employees.  Open enrollment will be October 1st – 30th, and all employees and retirees should look for an email from her in the near future regarding the new changes and what his/her responsibilities will be regarding these changes.  There will be two meetings employees and retirees can attend regarding the new health plans:

Active and Non-Medicare members:

September 13th -      Country Inn & Suites in Pineville @ 10:00 a.m.

            Heyman Performing Arts Center in Lafayette @ 10:30 a.m.

Those with Medicare:

September 14th-    Country Inn & Suites in Pineville @ 9:00 a.m.

            Heyman Performing Arts Center in Lafayette @ 10:30 a.m.

Supervisor, Ted Soileau gave a PowerPoint presentation regarding the new “Jumpstart & Career Diploma Pathways” adopted by the State for all children who have entered high school as a freshman this year and those who will follow.  Current sophomores, juniors and seniors will not be required to use the new pathways.  Evangeline Parish is part of the Greater Acadiana Regional Team.  The team has adopted 17 of the 35 pathways the state approved and they include such pathways as Oil & Gas, Welding, Web Design, Nursing Assistant, Fashion Design, and ProStart, a culinary program.

The Pathways are designed to give the students a Jumpstart on entering the workforce and being able to fill High Demand/High Wage positions.  It was pointed out that Louisiana is slated to have more than 86,000 jobs upcoming from industrial projects.

Assistant Superintendent, Darwan Lazard, said there are “big changes on the way, and they are going to be costly.”  He also pointed out that these changes are mandatory and set by the state.

State Court Denies Residency Challenge in Basile Mayor's Race




      13th Judicial District Court Judge Thomas Fuselier on Tuesday ruled in favor of defendant, Mark Denette, a candidate for mayor in the Town of Basile.

     Basile Mayor Berline Sonnier last week filed a petition in court challenging the residency qualifications of her opponent, Mark Denette.  Sonnier through her attorney claimed that Denette did not meet the minimum one year requirement to seek political office. The petition claims Denette’s home was annexed into the Basile city limits eight months ago.

     In his ruling, Judge Fuselier read an attorney general’s opinion which states”  Inhabitants of an area annexed to a municipality are considered to be the category as inhabitants of the original territory for purpose of qualifications for holding office, voting and the like. I cannot declare the candidacy of Mr. Denette to be not qualified. We’ll have to have an election and let the voters decide.”

Rotary Club Hears Report on Recreational Facility




    The Rotary Club of Ville Platte met today (Tuesday) at noon and heard from Thomas Scully, Director of the Ville Platte Recreational Park.

    Scully said our youth leagues represented Ville Platte well in the various tournaments. Our Ville Platte 8 and under girls all star team placed second in the National Pony League Tournament in Youngsville.

    In the boys leagues, the Pitching Machine team went to District, the Te Ball team finished second in District and won the Sportsmanship award, our ten year old all star team lost in the state tournament and our 12 year old all stars finished fourth in the Dixie Youth World Series in Lexington, South Carolina.

    Scully said the Ville Platte facility was totally built without additional tax burden to local residents. It was a state grant thanks to the efforts of our state lawmakers:  State Rep. Bernard LeBas and Senator Eric Lafleur.

    He said there are a number of softball tournaments planned for the Ville Platte facility. He said the financial impact is considerable. For example, a 20 team tournament, using the formula that the money turns over three times in the community could bring in $430,000 to the community. “Let’s welcome our visitors to Ville Platte and show them a genuine hospitality that we’re known for” said Scully.

   Also speaking at the meeting was Chris Paul, a professional wrestler with Louisiana Championship Wrestling who is promoting a wrestling event this Saturday night at the Ville Platte High gym for the Ville Platte Boys and Girls Club.

   In other business:

--the club was notified that there will be a fellowship activity Sept. 16 at Dr. Jerry Veillion’s camp.


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The Louisana Swamp Pop Museum is operated by the City of Ville  Platte is open to the public every Friday and

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