The popular senior citizens dance held monthly by Ascension Parish government has been renamed in honored of one of its longtime organizers, the late Garney Gautreau.

Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa officially renamed the Ascension Parish Senior Sock Hop as the Garney Gautreau Senior Sock Hop in honor of Gautreau, whom Matassa called a community servant leader.

“Garney Gautreau was one of those special people that you meet in your lifetime who always spread a positive energy and spirit, and we all know we’ve felt it,” Matassa said. “His dedication to serving this community and parish will always be remembered. And I know he is sorely missed, not only by his close and loving family but by Ascension Parish as a whole.”

With family members present, Matassa read the parish certificate of dedication aloud June 16 during the Parish Council meeting in Gonzales. Gautreau died in March, shortly after retiring from Ascension Parish government as the parish recreation director.

Gautreau served in parish government since 2000. He also served on the Ascension Parish School Board for 26 years. As a lifelong resident of Gonzales, Gautreau coached little league football and baseball for 15 years.

“Some of the best times of my life were with Garney,” said close friend George Valentine, a former School Board member and former parish councilman. “He was such a good friend and was always there when you needed him.”

While director of the Ascension Parish recreation department, Gautreau believed people of all ages should have recreational activities available to them, so he developed the successful dance for senior residents. What started out as a monthly luncheon/dance in late 2008 with about 60 seniors in attendance quickly grew into an average of about 300 to 400 seniors each month.

Gautreau had to change the venue location from the St. Amant Park Recreation Center to the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center gymnasium. More than 600 seniors have attended the year-end Christmas-themed sock hop.

Gautreau’s son, Rick, accepted the parish certificate of dedication with his immediate family members present, including Gautreau’s wife, Eleanor.

“I just want to thank everyone for this most gracious gesture,” Rick Gautreau said. “It’s kind of ironic that he gets named after a dance, which is probably the only thing he couldn’t do.”