We all made a collective sigh of relief when the clock struck midnight ushering in 2021. After a record number of hurricanes visiting the state and a pandemic that managed to shake up our lives most of the year, we were all ready to say goodbye to 2020.
But, tragedy brings Louisiana residents together, whether it was collecting items for hurricane victims or coming up with new ways to celebrate birthdays, graduations or weddings, we all made the best of a difficult situation. The Louisiana spirit ended with some interesting stories and touching photographs on these pages in 2020.
Here are our favorite stories and photos from the year.
Walker High offers jobs to special needs students
Former Advocate writer Emma Kennedy shared a story about Walker High School's new program providing campus jobs for students with special needs. A PJ's coffee location at the school provided the first job for many of the students.
The chain coffee shop’s Walker High location opened with a limited menu in place until corporate officials could schedule a training day on-site, giving students the full rundown on how to be a barista.
Krewe of Denhan Springs celebrates the '80s
The Feb. 20 issue included photos from the Krewe of Denham Springs, which went back to the '80s for its Mardi Gras parade through the streets of the city.
Livingston library's Comic Con doubles
One of the Livingston Parish Library's most popular programs, Comic Con, opened its door Feb. 15 for its fifth event at the Denham Spring-Walker branch.
The event gives fans of the fantasy world of fictional characters found in comic books, theaters and social media a day to enjoy the genre.
Doyle girls basketball pick up championship win
The Doyle High girls basketball team went all the way, picking up a championship title in March, just before things shut down due to the coronavirus.
Pandemic alters but doesn't stop altar tradition
One of the first events impacted by the novel coronavirus was the St. Joseph's Altar celebrations at area Catholic Churches.
Precautions put in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus among people gathered in crowds did not deter volunteers at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church from hosting their annual St. Joseph’s Altar celebration. But it did cause the group to alter the manner in which the centuries-old tradition is observed.
Mounds of food were prepared for the large number of visitors who usually attend the event. However, instead of the visitors being able to witness the opening pageantry and then gather at communal tables to share food and fellowship, visitors were given plates of food to take home.
Pandemic closes schools, cancels sports
In mid-March, schools were closed and most activities were canceled after the governor issued a stay-at-home order in response to the novel coronavirus. Many stories included cancellation announcements and plans for the shutdown.
The shutdown brings new challenges
As the shut down continued, stores saw a rush on the sale of many items, including toilet paper. That caused the town of Walker to send out a news release asking residents not to flush baby wipes, paper towels and other options in an effort to prevent clogging the sewer lines around town.
Contributing writer Sonya T. Gordan visited area stores to check on supplies. While most stores had plenty of food, toilet paper, sanitizer and wipes were in low supplies. Shoppers had to adjust to social distancing policies.
Staff writer Ellyn Couvillion reported on the adjustments students had to make to online learning from home. It hit the Class of 2020 especially hard, since it started its high school year out of school after the flood of 2016 closed many area schools. Now, the class had to deal with the uncertainty surrounding a pandemic.
Teachers and administrators came up with new ways to connect with their students. On April 4, the Eastside Elementary staff took to the streets to celebrate spirit week with a drive-by parade. The faculty drove through their students' neighborhoods to wave and shout messages of support.
The Livingston-Tangipahoa Advocate went through some changes during, too. We changed our publishing day from Thursday to Wednesday to meet the challenges of the pandemic.
Denham Springs mayor talks about adjustments during pandemic
In May, contributing writer Vic Couvillion talked to Denham Springs Mayor Gerard Landry about the city's response to the pandemic. Six weeks into the mandatory stay-at-home orders and shutdown of many businesses and public services, the city’s employees maintained their positions and continued to serve the public, Landry said.
Landry said the city had been proactive in training its employees on how to continue service to the public while practicing recommended safe practices to keep the workforce and the public as safe as possible.
Little libraries come to the rescue
Despite the closure of libraries, area residents found free books to read at tiny, colorful libraries. In Tangipahoa Parish, the book houses, installed by civic groups, including the Boy Scouts, operate on a "take one, leave one" basis.
Denham Springs seniors take last ride
A flood delayed their freshman year. A pandemic closed their school two months before graduation, canceling prom and leaving a traditional graduation walk across the stage in limbo.
Denham Springs High School graduating seniors' celebrated the last official day of their high school career by rolling through the city in four parades celebrating what has been anything but a normal senior year.
Some return to normal
Walker Mayor Jimmy Watson announced May 13 that the city was to return to normal governmental activities and operations on May 18.
The mayor asked residents to comply with directives from the governor in order to protect themselves and the community. Masks and social distancing were needed everywhere we went.
In Albany, signs were placed in front of the new City Hall honoring the Class of 2020.
The 293 Live Oak High School graduating seniors paraded around the school to drop off books and equipment before picking up their caps and gowns on Wednesday, May 20.
That afternoon, the students drove around the community as friends and family waved and celebrated their accomplishments. Live Oak High School's graduation was delayed a bit, being held June 23 at Live Oak High School stadium.
Peaceful protests call for justice
A June 4 story reported that protesters, both Black and White, gathered June 2 to express their anger at the death of George Floyd.
The event joined countless others across the country to protest the death of Floyd, the Minneapolis man who died May 25 after a police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes while he was handcuffed on the ground.