Parish Council honors Vernon Schexnaydre at Aug. 19 meeting

Staff Report

A large crowd of former students, players, family and friends gathered at the Parish Council meeting on Thursday, Aug. 19 as Parish President Tommy Martinez and the council honored long-time resident, coach and educator Vernon “Coon” Schexnaydre.

Schexnaydre received a framed proclamation from President Martinez, declaring that Aug. 20 is “Vernon ‘Coon’ Schexnaydre Day” in Ascension Parish, making him an honorary parish president.

“Ascension Parish loves you,” President Martinez told Schexnaydre.

Sheriff Jeff Wiley, who played football under Schexnaydre at East Ascension High School, referred to him as “a living treasure of Ascension Parish.”

A native of Burnside, Mr. Schexnaydre graduated from Donaldsonville High School in 1942 before serving several tours of duty in World War II with the U.S. Army at Normandy, elsewhere in France and in Germany. He returned to receive a pair of degrees from LSU, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1948 and a Master’s of Education in 1962.

Schexnaydre served as a teacher and coach at Donaldsonville, old Dutchtown and St. Amant high schools before becoming athletic director and eventually principal at East Ascension Junior High School. He retired from the Ascension Parish School System in 1978 and is the owner and operator of Kno Jac House Movers.

Schexnaydre and his wife Barbara have nine children, including District 2 Parish Councilman Kent Schexnaydre, 25 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren. He is a member of the LSU Alumni Association, the Gonzales Rotary Club, the Retired Teachers Association and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Also honored at Thursday’s meeting were Ami Johnson, Fred Ficklin, Francis Gautreaux, Gerald Williams, Darren Martin, Davin Duplessis and Frankie Paulette.

Johnson, who works for the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, won the “Dancing for a Cause” competition on July 10 at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center, an event which raised more than $20,000 for Community Opportunities of Ascension.

Ficklin, Gautreaux and Williams work for Mosquito Control, and helped put out an electrical fire at their building on June 29 that was started by a nearby lightning strike. Martin, Duplessis and Paulette were commended for assisting the St. Amant Fire Department during a house fire on Aug. 7.

The next Parish Council meeting set for 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 2 in Donaldsonville.