Agreement reached on Plaquemine Lock Site

Iberville Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso and Plaquemine Mayor Mark “Tony” Gulotta recently signed an agreement with the state Department of Culture and Recreation to keep the Plaquemine Lock Historic Site open in the midst of looming budget cuts.

The parish is assuming control and operation of the Lock Site under its Tourism Department and plans to keep the site open three days a week, and for tour groups on any other days needed.

The site’s new operating hours will be from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

The city and parish decided to step in after the state previously announced the Lock Site would close on March 15 due to state budget cuts. The announcement also meant the sole employee at the tourist attraction would have been laid off.

The city and parish had already been providing support to the Lock Site under a previous agreement with the state. The parish has funded a part-time tourism employee at the site for years, and Plaquemine paid for the facility’s electricity, grounds maintenance and repairs.

Ourso said in a news release the state will maintain ownership of the property and continue to provide liability and property insurance.

Officials managing the Lock Site say a record number of tourists visited the facility so far this spring: 521 visitors from March 1 to mid-April, including tourists from 37 states and four countries.

On April 23, Lock workers and volunteers greeted a World Wide Country Tours group of 211 bikers.

“We are very pleased with the increase in visits to the Lock, and very pleased with the efforts to promote the Lock by the Iberville Tourism Department,” Joyce Hebert, president of the Friends of the Lock, said in the news release. “We are optimistic that bigger things are to come for this historic beacon in downtown Plaquemine.”

The Plaquemine Main Street Program and Iberville Parish Tourism Department are now gearing up to host two live-music events at the Lock Site on May 16 and June 6. The band Unfinished Business performs on May 16 with Loose Endz following on June 6. Both performances are from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Bring your dancing shoes, lawn chairs and ice chests. For more information, call (225) 687-7158.

Teacher registration opens

The West Baton Rouge Museum has opened registration for the 2015 Teachers Institute Program — a three-day summer professional development series for K-12 teachers across various subject areas.

This summer marks the 9th year of the program at the museum.

The Teachers Institute will run July 14-16. This year’s theme is “Anthropology of Blues: Social Studies, Science, Math and History Integrated with Music.”

The Institute is limited to 25 participants. To register visit the museum’s website at


Submit news to Terry Jones at (225) 326-6627 or