The newly renovated George Washington Carver Park basketball court in Gonzales officially reopened April 9, with representatives from the New Orleans Pelicans and local and state officials there to celebrate the work.

Funds for the project came from a donation by the Pelicans and proceeds from the Louisiana Legislature’s annual HoopLA charity basketball game. Sen. Jody Amedee’s name was randomly selected out of the list of names of all legislators who participated in the game this summer, and he selected the court at George Washington Carver Park to be refurbished. The city of Gonzales also contributed funds to refurbish the court, located on West Toby Street.

“This is such a privilege for not only the city of Gonzales, but for the many young men and women of our community who utilize this park,” Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux said. “Recreation is a fundamental part of who we are as a city, and to see its growth in such a safe and friendly environment is a testament to how valued athletics truly are.”

Arceneaux thanked Amedee and the Pelicans for “all of the hard work and consideration that has gone into making this a reality for our youth.”

Pelicans in-arena emcee Nicole Collins hosted the court dedication event and mini-camp along with Pierre the Pelican and members of the Pelicans Dance Team. Arceneaux, Gonzales Police Chief Sherman Jackson, Amedee and Rep. John Schroder spoke about the dedication and were joined by Rep. Johnny Berthelot, a former Gonzales mayor.

“I remember being smoked by Hot Rod Williams on this very court,” Jackson said. “I grew up playing here and can’t wait to see the fun that so many of our area youth have on this court for many years to come. We’ll probably see one or two of you playing in the NBA one day, and you can look back and say it all started here at Carver Park.”

Amedee made the first shot on the new court, hitting the basket perfectly.

Close to 70 area youth attended the dedication, which included a mini-camp put on by the Pelican organization.

“This is a wonderful project that is much needed for our children and community,” Amedee said. “I am honored to be involved in this new facility and wish to thank the city of Gonzales and the New Orleans Pelicans for agreeing to contribute to the funding I received from the annual legislative charity event. This should be the finest basketball facility around.”

“We are proud to partner with our state legislature on both the HoopLA event and the refurbishment of the sixth new court at George Washington Carver Park,” Pelicans owner Tom Benson said in a release sent by the organization. “Our commitment to give back to local communities expands throughout the entire state of Louisiana and partnering with our local and state legislature gives us the opportunity to enhance and extend those efforts.

“We hope the children in Gonzales love their new court.”