Gonzales Garden Club President Priscilla Monson presided over the club’s 50th Arbor Day Ceremony on January 20, 2017 at the new Jambalaya Festival Association Headquarters on Francois Street in Gonzales. Reverend Peter Harrington of Carpenter Chapel United Methodist Church gave an invocation, which he titled “ Fifty Years of Planting Arbor Day Trees”. Member Cathy Venable read a brief history of the Live Oak Society. Mayor Barney Arceneaux and Miss Gonzales Queen Holly Stelly spoke about their pride in the Jambalaya Festival Association’s contributions to the city of Gonzales.
Jambalaya Festival Association President Wally Taillon expressed his appreciation for all the fundraising efforts and charitable contributions that resulted in the completion of the new JFA Headquarters, remarking, “It took fifty years to get this building.“ After listing his busy association’s numerous charitable events and outreach activities throughout the nation as well as local humanitarian causes, Taillon expressed, “All our equipment can be stored here, in one place, a place to call home.”
Gonzales Garden Club members recounted their participation in past festivals. Lorraine Gautreau enjoyed the times when “all the friends gathered and danced on Burnside.” Myra Mire had been a judge in an early cooking contest, and Cathy Venable noted that her husband started the mini pot contest. She also remembered that there used to be an eating contest. Razzie Cagnolatti commented that her husband “won the beard contest three years in a row.” Ellen Richmond recalled that her very first visit to Gonzales was during a Jambalaya Festival; she enjoyed the city so much that she decided, “This is where I want to live!”
Member Loretta Ramirez presented a monetary gift to JFA President Taillon for the purchase of trees and shrubs for the building entrance. Member Mable Savoy thanked everyone for coming to celebrate Gonzales Garden Club 50th Arbor Day Program during the Jambalaya Festival Association’s 50th year of service to the community.