The first candidates for the empty seats on the Gonzales City Council have announced their plans to run for office in the special election to be held March 28 to fill two slots left vacant by a resignation and a recall.

Neal Bourque, an active volunteer with the SaveGonzales recall effort that targeted two Gonzales city councilmen, is running for the Division E seat left empty after councilman Gary Lacombe resigned in November, just weeks before he would have faced voters in a recall election.

Another candidate, Harold Stewart, owner of Stewart’s Barbershop in Gonzales, is running for the Division C seat left vacant after former Councilman Timothy Vessel was recalled by 75 percent of the vote on Dec. 6.

Others also are said to be interested in running for the two council seats, with qualifying set for Feb. 4-6.

The two new City Council members who are elected will be filling Lacombe’s and Vessel’s unexpired terms, which both end on Dec. 31, 2016.

In mid-December, Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux recommended, and the council approved, interim appointments of retired city employee Barbara Duhe to Vessel’s former council seat and general contractor David Guiteau to Lacombe’s former seat, until the March special election.

Supporters to submit Redemptorist plans

Redemptorist High School parents and alumni say they will submit plans to the diocese next week to save their school. A group of alumni and parents spearheaded the Save Redemptorist movement after Bishop Robert Muench announced a few weeks ago that the junior and senior high schools will close at the end of the school year. The alumni and parents requested Redemptorist’s enrollment and financial information by Friday, a deadline the diocese met.

Redemptorist alumnus Julian Bourgeois said they have created two plans to submit to the diocese by its deadline of Thursday. On the same evening, they are hosting a prayer rally at St. Gerard Majella Catholic Church.

The diocese has repeatedly said the decision to close the school is final, as low enrollment numbers have made it too difficult to keep open.

Advocate staff writers Ellyn Couvillion and Andrea Gallo contributed to this report.