On Monday morning, Dec. 5, City of Gonzales employees arrived at City Hall to see that festive displays set to be showcased during a lighting ceremony on December 6 had been destroyed by vandals.
Ornaments were taken from the city's tree and smashed on the ground. Lights for an elaborate display in Jambalaya Park had been ripped from fencing on the property and shattered. Bathrooms within the park had been vandalized.
"This is incredibly upsetting," said City of Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux. "Why anyone would intentionally set out to demolish a display that brings much joy to many people is beyond comprehension."
Mayor Arceneaux and City Clerk Clay Stafford have said that the Christmas Tree Lighting event will still take place, as city employees spend today ensuring its success.
"This event is not just the lighting of a Christmas tree," Stafford said. "It provides gifts to area children."
"For that very reason, we are doing everything in our power to fix what we can," Arceneaux added. "We still plan to roll ahead with our event. It's difficult to feel like celebrating when something like this happens, but we hope the community still feesl like coming out and being festive with all of us."
City of Gonzales Police were called and are investigating.
"This was a purposeful damage of property," said Chief Sherman Jackson. "And during the holiday season. What a sad thing to see. We will find the culprit or culprits, and we will charge them to the fullest extent of the law."
If anyone has any information, they are asked to contact the City of Gonzales Police Department by calling 225.647.7511.