The end of the year is a time for reflection and a look back at the events and people who impacted our lives. Let's take a walk down memory lane as we share our favorite stories of the year, the ones that made us think and appreciate life in Ascension Parish.

Last week we looked at January through June and this week we'll review July through December.


Who doesn't love a good 4th of July party. The folks in Donaldsonville celebrate Independence Day one day early each year with a Come 4th on the 3rd Celebration. The party featured food, bands, games and fireworks.

We cover many stories of volunteerism throughout the year and many of those stories are centered about Volunteer Ascension. In July, the nonprofit agency collected more than $37,000 in school supplies and donations, all of which were donated to area students. Its main drive is a Corporate Challenge Stuff the Bus day that invites businesses to donate supplies.


Community News Editor Darlene Denstorff traveled to Donaldsonville just before school started to attend a back-to-school refresher program at the Lemann Memorial Center. The evening event brings together current and retired educators and community leaders to go over classwork to prepare students for the coming school year. The city of Donaldsonville hosts the event.

Another popular back-to-school event is the Back 2 School N Style program at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center. Organizer Ynohtna Tureaud garnered the help of area businesses, stylists and barbers to get kids excited about going back to school.

Advocate photographer Hilary Scheinuk captured every spin, twist and sashay of the dancers at the annual Dancing for a Cause fundraiser benefiting the Arc of East Ascension.

The Ascension Parish Library teamed up with the Ascension Parish Sheriff's office in August to hold a Food Dear Factor challenge that had children and deputies guessing each gross thing they tasted.


Several area fire departments paid tribute to the firefighters and first responders who died as a result of terrorist attacks Sept. 11, 2001, on U.S. soil. In Gonzales, Fire Protection District 1 members gathered to remember where they were on that fateful day.


Pets and their owners donned costumes for the 30th annual 4-H Pet Show and Pumpkin Contest Oct. 8 at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. Photographer Sean Gasser captured the event, which features pumpkins and pets of all sizes.


The biggest pep rally of the year, known as the Shout Out, had students from rivals St. Amant and East Ascension high schools yelling as loud as they could for a chance to win a spirit stick and bragging right. This year, the Spartans won the Shout out and the Friday night football game.


December is a time to celebrate the holiday season. We're always happy when the Kansas City Southern Holiday Express trains rolls into town. Lines formed as people waited to visit the festive holiday train and Santa.