December 14, 2008- Yes, snow came to South Louisiana, and it appears Evangeline and St. Landry Parishes received the most snow in the Acadiana area; at least four to six inches, if not more in some areas. Thursday morning, residents discovered the beauty of snow as well as the problems associated with it. Government offices, businesses and schools closed due to the inclement weather and electrical outages Thursday morning. Cleco said approximately 10,000 of its customers statewide were without power. The southern towns of Ville Platte, Opelousas, Washington and Eunice and their surrounding areas had approximately 6,000 customers without service, but many had electrical power returned by noon. The Evangeline Parish courthouse (pictured here) was blanketed with the white stuff early Thursday. (Gazette photo by Carissa Hebert)
Looking Back: December 1988, 1998, and 2008
By: ALI MORAS
December 1, 1988
• Mrs. Rebecca (Becky) Whittington has been selected to lead this year’s Pine Prairie Christmas parade.
Whittington, a long-time resident of Pine Prairie, will be 1988 Parade Marshal for the annual event, sponsored by the Village of Pine Praire and the Pine Prairie Garden Club.
Mrs. Whittington is the wife of the late Boyd Whittington and is the mother of one son, Charles, of Opelousas. She also has a step-daughter, Mrs. Vera Mathis of Alexandria.
Whittington is a retired school teacher with 37 1/2 years in the school system having spent over 36 years of those years teaching in Pine Prairie.
December 4, 1988
• “I feel we’ve accomplished a great deal,” Pine Prairie Mayor Sidney Fontenot, Jr. told outgoing council members L.C. Deshotel and Barbara Chapman during Thursday night’s council meeting.
“I’ve enjoyed serving the last 4 1/2 years with you and feel the council and I worked as a team. I hope you continue your interest in our town and offer assistance to our new council members,” Fontenot continued.
• Two life-long natives of Ville Platte who have wholeheartedly given of their time and effort to improve the quality of life here were named 1988 “Man and Woman of the Year” last night in ceremonies sponsored by the local Lions Club.
A secret committee of community leaders selected Brenda Aswell Fontenot and Annison Fontenot for the top civic award.
They were selected from a slate of nine women and seven men, who had been nominated by various civic organizations. Certificates of appreciation were also presented by the Lions Club and Mayor Hottell Fontenot on behalf of the city to all those nominated for the civic distinction.
December 8, 1988
• The Chataignier Village Council Monday night voted to lower court costs from $65 to $40. Councilman Herman Malveaux pushed the motion through with Councilman Benny Fruge seconding the motion. The move was taken to bring the village’s fee more into line with those charged in surrounding communities.
In other action, the council agreed to purchase liability insurance coverage for council members and village employees. The insurance will provide $500,000 of liability protection at a quarterly cost of $916.
December 15, 1988
• Local food chain stores whole okra was .25, and whole sweet potatoes were .39.
December 3, 1998
• It was agreed upon by committee members for the Native Plant Heritage Garden Committee to seek support for its project by attending the Ville Platte City Council meeting on Tuesday, December 8.
The Native Plant Heritage Garden project is a proposed park which will feature native plants of this region. From preliminary discussions, it appears the site also will act as a home for the chamber of commerce. The project will be a tourist attraction as well as a place of beauty and a place to study the environment, according to the objectives of the project.
Committee members discussed features of the proposed park along with its value to the community. The plans for the park include a visitor’s center, parking area, prairie wildflowers, wetlands, bottom hardwood forest, upland hardwood forest, mixed pine hardwood, green house/ butterfly garden service storage area, pedestrian circulation, and outdoor classroom.
December 6, 1998
• Leon Skinner will retain his seat on the Evangeline Parish School Board which he won in a re-election bid in November. The State Supreme Court denied challenger Daniel Arvie’s writ asking the court to hear the case.
The election results were challenged last month by Arvie in a civil suit which claimed the election was fraudulent due to alleged election misconduct by Skinner’s wife.
District Judge Preston Aucoin ordered the first election null and ordered another election for December 5, because he stated the results of the November 3, election could not be certain due to the irregularities in the election.
• For five years, Arthur Sampson has served the community in Ville Platte as president of its local NAACP Chapter, and he believes he is ready to step down as president and donate his time toward projects geared toward the youth of this community.
“That’s the reason I got involved with the NAACP,” he said. “To try to do things in the community with the children.”
Although he won’t be serving as president, Sampson said he plans to continue as an active member of the organization. He is presently working on a life-time member status with the organization.
December 20, 1998
• At Champagne’s, ground pork was $1.69, and smoked ham was .79.
December 4, 2008
• The Ville Platte Housing Authority board, during its meeting Tuesday, December 2, asked its interim executive director, Grant Soileau, to contact HUD (Housing and Urban Development) in regards to the legality of allowing non-profit organizations to use housing units at no cost.
Board member David Ortego said the two programs currently using housing units, Y.E.S. and G.L.O.V.E., were great programs, and he would like to see them stay but questioned the legality of allowing them to stay at no cost. The issue initially arose after the board discovered significant expenses resulting from G.L.O.V.E.’s use of several utilities, including phone, Internet and cable services.
• The annual French language meeting of the Evangeline Parish Police Jury will receive an important visitor this year; Olivier Brochenin.
Brochenin, consult general de France a la Nouvelle - Orleans, first visited this parish for the Dewey Balfa Cajun and Creole Heritage Week held at Chicot State Park in April. The jury, with urging from Folk Roots President Gilbert “Winky” Aucoin, officially invited the consult general to attend the meeting and address the jury. Brochenin said he had been made aware of the meeting by Aucoin and gladly accepted the invitation.
December 11, 2008
• From the postponement of their desegregation case to supporters and the weather, Superintendent Toni Hamlin gave a brief, detailed report to board members present at Wednesday’s meeting, December 10.
The board received a continuance in their case with U.S. Magistrate Tucker Melancon this week. The trial, which began September 17, and was scheduled to continue Monday, December 15, has been moved Monday, January 26. This particular hearing in the case involves the fate of Ville Platte High.
She said her concern was the six-week wait because if the court decided to close the high school, they would have to address student assignments, transportation, and capacity issues.
Hamlin said each board member had received a copy of a letter from a group of concerned citizens. She said this letter is probably circulating through the community, and she wanted the board to be aware of it.
December 18, 2008
• At Champagnes, yams were .69, and seedless grapes were $3.99.