Local News Archives for 2015-03

Ville Platte Rotary Club Hears from School Officials


MARCH 31, 2015


   The Vile Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from two semi finalists for State Teacher of the Year and State Principal of the Year. Superintendent of Schools Toni Hamlin introduced her three guests which included Vidrine Elementary School Principal Sherrell Tezeno .  Tezeno introduced her teacher, Brandi Marcantel, who is in the running for State Teacher of the Year.
    Brandi Marcantel is a fourth grade teacher  at Vidrine Elementary for the past three years and has been in the profession for nineyears. She is married and she and her husband are the parents of two children. She is totally dedicated to making sure her students achieve and she has 100 percent of her students passed their Leap test exams.

    Also Cherie Fontenot, principal at James Stephens Montessori School is in the running for State Principal of the Year. Cherie has been an educator for 20 years and for the past four years as principal.

Ville Platte Rotary Club Hears from Pine Prairie Energy Officials


MARCH 24, 2015


      The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from representatives of Pine Prairie Energy Center, a gas storage facility located in Easton. Among those attending speaking were Don Fontenot, Ed Benoit and Kyle Fontenot.

    Benoit offered a  audio visual presentation on Pine Prairie Energy  that is been in operation since 2006. The facility has five caverns, 4000 feet deep. The caverns can hold up to 46 billion cubic feet of gas enough to supply the gas needs of the entire state of Louisiana for one day. The facility is located over a huge salt dome which is nearly 2 miles wide. The company has 84 miles of 24 inch pipeline that goes to Eunice and elsewhere. The pipeline connects to such major companies pipelines as Tennessee Gas, Transco, Texas Eastern, Columbia Gas and Texas Gas.

    Pine Prairie Energy employs 19 people and has provided over 15 million dollars in taxes sinc ei began operations. The three were guests of Rotarian Eric Gil.

    Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine  said she is preparing a special gift basket to present to the Mayor of Paris, France when she visits our area on Monday.

Evangeline Parish School Board Meeting March 18, 2015

March 18, 2015

The Evangeline Parish School Board had its bi-monthly meeting tonight in the Media Center at Ville Platte High School.  The meeting room was packed with excited parents and students as the “Students of the Year” Awards were given out.  Linda Lafleur presented the awards to the following nominees and winners:

5th Grade:

Brooklyn Fontenot – Bazile High School

Ainsley Dutton – Bayou Chicot Elementary

Hunter Brown – Chataignier Elementary

Isaiah Noel – Mamou High School

Coreyan Johnson – Vidrine Elementary

Josie Guillory – Ville Platte High School

8th Grade:

Jaylen Thomas – Bazile High School

Jessica Cole – Bayou Chicot Elementary

Jada Guillory – Chataignier Elementary

Kiersten Goodley – Mamou High School

Chloe Tate – Vidrine Elementary

Jarden Bias – Ville Platte High School

12th Grade­:

Savanna Bergeaux (Not Pictured) – Bazile High School

Kaitlyn Chatelain – Mamou High School

Makayla Lenzy Hebert – Pine Prairie High School

Reygan Ann Jagneaux – Ville Platte High School


5TH GRADE: Ainsley Dutton – Bayou Chicot Elementary

8th GRADE: Kiersten Goodley – Mamou High School

12th GRADE: Savanna Bergeaux – Bazile High School

Superintendent, Toni Hamlin reported that “Testing” is going “Very Well so far”.  There have been reports in the media about children being able to “opt out” of the testing; however, Evangeline Parish has a very low percentage of that happening compared to other school districts. Evangeline had 1 at Pine Prairie High School, 1 at Chataignier and 19 at Bayou Chicot Elementary.  Ms. Hamlin said administrators have explained to parents that this is a tool they can use to see how their children are learning.  She also noted that the Schools and the District get a “0” for any student that opts out.  She also pointed out that even though opting out will never harm a child, it is not a guaranty that they will automatically promote to the next level.  There is still an academic standard in the Pupil Progression Plan that students must meet.  Student were asked if they think the ELA part of the test was “harder than they thought it would be or easier”.  She reports that students are saying it is “Easier than they thought it would be.”

The Board voted to approve a three year contract with First Student to handle transportation services.  Discussions were had regarding overloading on buses and children standing up.  Board Member, Wanda Skinner, questioned First Student and voiced concerns regarding calls she has received from parents regarding overcrowding on a couple of buses. Ted Soileau and First Turn responded and explained that they have been working on re-rerouting some of the routes to avoid this from happening. 

Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce March Meeting

The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce held its monthly meeting today at Nick’s on Main. 

Guest Speaker was Donald Bergeron, Secretary/Treasurer of the Evangeline Parish Police Jury.  He explained how far reaching the responsibilities of the Police Jury are.  From Libraries to Prisons and ditches and roads and everything in between.  He explained that the Police Jury is currently working with Congress to keep Tax Exemptions for Municipal Bonds.  If they did not have the exemptions, it would not be attractive to contractors interested in a project.  Mr. Bergeron explained part of the Road Work Project that Parish has been working on.  It is divided into the Northern Portion and the Southern Portion.  So far, in the Northern portion, they have laid 21 miles out of the 83 total miles and have spent 1.7 million dollars out of the total cost of 9.6 million dollars. In the Southern Portion, they have laid 12 of the 69 miles and spent 1.47 million dollars out of the total 9.3 million.  They will be moving into Phase II and then Phase III.

Angie Rozas with Cleco announced that this year’s Annual Banquet is going to be held on April 29th.  The Social will be from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. and the banquet starts at 7:00 p.m.  Clerk of Court, Randy Deshotel, announced this year’s theme will be “Casino Theme” and there will be a silent auction, cash bar and they are working on the entertainment. Tickets will be $40.00 and the Chamber will be sending out letters letting you know when they are available.  They will announce the following awards:

Man of the Year

Woman of the Year

Business of the Year

Business Person of the Year’

The deadline for you to nominate someone is April 3rd.  Please include a Bio of the person when you nominate them.


Rotary Club Hears from Computer Specialist


MARCH 17, 2015


    The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Boisy Pitre, a computer  specialist and software developer who resides in the Prairie Rhonde area. Pitre gave an interesting presentation on the history of computer technology and mathematics and how they are inter -related.  The first transistor was invented in 1947 and iBM invented the first personal computer in 1981. He felt the future of computer technology will be in wearables  such as watches to make it more personal to the user. The camera will show the emotional engagement of the user to be able to tell if you happy or sad. The new devices will also be able to improve your fitness and health such as measure your blood pressure, sugar levels and how your meal impacts your body chemistry. Boisy Pire was the special guest of Library Director Mary Foster Galosso.

Ville Platte Rotary Club Hears Smoked Meat Fest Officials


MARCH 10, 2015


     The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from representatives of the Smoked Meat Festival. Renee Brown and Eva Vidrine, who represent part of the new group of organizers who will be sponsoring the Smoked Meat Festival to be held June 26 and 27.

     It was reported that the sponsoring group from last year chose not to continue holding the festival so a new group was formed to keep the tradition of the festival continue. The  six member board contains some members from the Viet Nam Veterans organization.

   This will be the 23rd year the festival will showcase smoked meats. Most of the same traditions will remain including the smoked meat cook off, honoring veterans and giving back to the community. This year there will be a children’s area with a petting zoo along with the National Guard displaying a maze. It was also announced that the musical acts include Jaryd Lane, Geno Delafosse, Keith Frank and Ashton Dupre. The group is looking for corporate and business sponsorships and volunteers.

    In other business, it was announced that the Rotary District Conference is planned for April 16-18 in Crowley and the Ville Platte club will be participating.

    The club is planning to meet with the mayor and city officials to decide where to locate the new Rotary club signs at street intersections.

Evangeline Parish Police Jury March Meeting


The Evangeline Parish Police Jury held its monthly meeting tonight in the courthouse.  There was much discussion on some lingering issues in the parish.


Tempers were flared as the discussion of pay raises for the Justices of the Peace and the Constables of the parish were discussed.  Police Juror, Kenny Burgess, made a motion that they give a $150.00 a month pay raise to the JP’s and Constables.  After debating back and forth, the Jury voted against granting the pay raises.  President, Ryan Ardoin, pointed out that “Donald Bergeron has already said we are over budget.  We have given out loans and that money is tied up.”  Juror, Kenny Burgess, stated “Unbelievable.  We can give raises to the City Marshall/Constable in Ward 1, but we can’t give it to the rest of the Parish.”  Juror, Lamar Johnson, was vocal as he left the police jury room, upset at the decision.   Juror, Bryan Vidrine, was quoted saying “We have to stay in budget before we give out raises…this isn’t Washington D.C.”


As we have reported to you in the past, abandoned properties have been and were in deep discussion with the Police Jury this evening.  They received bids from three companies to demolish structures that lie on multiple properties.  If the Jury went ahead with the demolition of the structures through the companies that bid, the cost would then turn around and be placed as a lien against the property owner.  Then, if not paid, the property could go up for sale and the police jury would recover the money through that avenue.  The problem arose that some of these properties would not bring in near the money that it would cost to have the dwellings demolished, leaving the Police Jury in the red.  They discussed the possibility of demolishing them through the Public Works department, and Director, Chester Granger, was asked to visit the locations and put together a cost estimate of what it would cost the Parish to complete the work themselves.  The bids from the three companies ranged greatly but all were in excess of $50,000.00.  The Jury voted to put off action in the ongoing struggle until they receive the report from Mr. Granger.


The issue of Animal Control was raised as discussions about building a new animal shelter continue to be had.  President, Ryan Ardoin, suggested we “bring it to the people for a vote”, either a millage tax or a sales tax.  Kenny Burgess stated he was against a millage because then only homeowners would be paying the tax.  The Jury has been speaking with other parishes and organizations about the cost of building and maintaining a facility in the Parish.  Surrounding areas pay a wide range from $50,000.00 a year to $198,000.00 a year to maintain a facility.  They will have two guest speakers at the next committee meeting to provide more information to the Jury.  Jill Stevenson and Tim Benoit from Acadia Parish will present the information to the Jury.


Dwight Landreneau, Head of State Parks, spoke to the Jury and requested they enter into a Cooperative Agreement with Chicot State Park.  There has been a tremendous cut in funding and his office has had to let 116 people go from their employment.  He says they simply do not have the money to operate as they did in the past.  The Police Jury agreed to enter into the Agreement, which would aid the park by allowing employees, on down time, or as needed, to assist with duties and work at what Evangeline Parish calls “The Park”.  Mr. Landreneau pointed out that the park generates $3.5 million dollars for Evangeline Parish and it is vital that we keep it up and running.  He also said that residents who would like to volunteer at Chicot State Park or the Arboretum can call the main office speak with the office manager.  Also, if you have a business or if you would like to personally “Adopt” part of the park, please call as well.  There are many options you can help with.


The Police Jury voted to designate March American Red Cross Month in celebration of the Heroes  in Evangeline Parish who help those in need during the time of emergencies.  They come to the rescue through blood donation, helping soldiers communicate with love ones who are hurt, and prevent and eliminate human suffering during disasters.  Erica Williams with The American Red Cross spoke to the Jury and thanked them for the proclamation.  Locally, they have helped with 7 fires, 8 families in need, 345 parish residents have received CPR certifications, and 23 parish residents are American Red Cross Volunteers.  She asked for all of you to please register and volunteer with the American Red Cross.


Public Works Director, Chester Granger, brought up an issue he is currently dealing with.  While Contractor, Coastal Road and Bridges has been using Readon School Road, there has been damage done to the road.  They have been in disagreement about repairing the road and he reports that he and Mike Smith with Coastal have not been able to come to an agreement regarding the repairs that need to be done to the road.  He said “The repairs are unsatisfactory to our standards and he has until March 16th to have the repairs done.  We will keep you up to date on the matter.


There will be a public hearing on April 13th at 5:45 regarding abandoning a portion of Gallou Lake Road due to the purchase of the surrounding land by Dominick Brown from JT Miller.


Secretary/Treasurer, Donald Bergerson, reported that the 2% Sales Tax Collection for the month of January was $247,717.13.

Ville Platte City Council Meeting - March 3, 2015

The Ville Platte City Council

March 3, 2015


The Ville Platte City Council held its monthly meeting tonight at Ville Platte City Hall.  During Council Comments, Councilman Mike Perron, brought up the problems that the City is having with street cleaning.  He stated that the driver of the street sweeper is having problems with residents putting their trash boxes too close, if not on, the road.  This becomes a problem because the sweeper cannot pass without the driver getting out and moving the boxes.  Residents should know their trash boxes should be at least 1 – 2 feet away from the curb.  It was also noted that much of the trash that residents are disposing off are not the City’s responsibility to pick up.  It is the responsibility of the Solid Waste Commission.  Items such as sofas, stoves, air conditioners, refrigerators and other items should be put out in accordance with the specifications of the Solid Waste Commission, then residents are to call 363-7254 and ask that those items be picked up.  Mayor Vidrine stated “We are trying to clean up the City.  If you put your trash out too early and animals get into your trash and scatter it, you can be ticketed if it is not picked up.  This is your responsibility.”  There was also discussion of the problem with residents cutting limbs and raking leaves and other lawn clippings into ditches and gutters.  This becomes a problem with drainage and creates a headache to clean up. 


Mayor, Jennifer Vidrine, was pleased to report that expenditures for the City of Ville Platte for the month of February were $123,670.30.  That was down $95,953.47 from the month of January.  She, again, thanked the city employees, supervisors, in-house personnel for all of their efficient work, as well as business owners for following the purchase order process.


A concerned citizen spoke to the council regarding his unpleasant experience with SuddenLink in our area.  He has been unhappy with the connectivity service as well as the lack of answers he has received from SuddenLink regarding any possible upgrade in equipment.  The Mayor shared her additional concern with their service and stated she has spoken to two other companies to see what availability Ville Platte would have for another service to be offered.  She stated she was unhappy with the price of the service versus the amount of channels.  Another member of the audience in the council room stated he wanted to know why his service has not gotten better, yet he has received a $6.00 hike on his bill.


The City Council unanimously agreed to enter into a Cooperative Agreement with Head of State Parks, Dwight Landreneau, and Chicot State Park due to the cuts in funding that are happening.  The City will be aiding the park through the Experience Work program by providing workers, volunteers, machinery, etc., when needed. 

A Cooperative Agreement was also agreed to for Renee Brown and her group taking over The Smoked Meat Festival.  Mayor Vidrine thanked Renee and Jessie Muse, along with the rest of the volunteers, for taking over the event and not letting it go. 

Mayor Vidrine thanked Councilman Riggs for his generous donation of a “Ping Pong Table” to the Boys & Girls Club.


Also in attendance were Glen Fontenot and Charlie Manuel from the Ville Platte Lyons Club.  They also made a donation to the Boys & Girls Club.


Mayor Vidrine also made note of the article regarding KVPI, French Programming and Evangeline Parish in the New York Times.  She showed her framed copy and said it would be hung inside City Hall.


During the Mayor’s Comments, she took the time to state: “Publicly and personally thank the Council for all they have done for the City.  The Mayor’s name comes up a lot but the Council has so much to do with everything.  I thank them for their support and enthusiasm for getting things done.  A lot of cities have councils and mayors that do not get along and things do not get done.  But, the Council and I work together as 1 body to do the best for the City.”


She also thanked City Engineer, Ronnie Landreneau, for doing so much for Ville Platte on a daily basis.  She stated: “I don’t many people know the time, paperwork, research and all Ronnie does for Ville Platte.  I thank him from the bottom of my heart and appreciate all you and your staff do to get things right for our city.”


She lastly thanked our City Attorney, Eric Lafleur for all he does for our city and our area.  She stated: “We are very lucky to have a city attorney who is also a State Senator and we thank him for being there for us.”


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proud members of the L.A.B.

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Swamp Pop music

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

Saturday from 10:00a.m. to 3:00p.m. Come view the amazing artifacts, photos,records, Wall of Fame and hear the music.

Admission charge is $3 adults,

$2 seniors and $1 for children under 12.
The museum is located on

Northwest Railroad Avenue.