Gonzales Fire Chief Tracey Normand crowned Dancing for a Cause winner

Lisa Yates, Editor

This year's Dancing for a Cause has come to end with Gonzales Fire Chief Tracey Normand and his partner Claire Broyles taking top honors in the competition: the 2012 Judges' Award. They danced a spunky jive that had the audience of more than 1,500 cheering wildly. “After we won, Claire was looking down at her trophy and told me this is the first time she'd ever won anything,” Normand said in an interview with Gonzales Weekly Citizen. “I was so proud to be a part of that for her. I got to know her, her daughter and her husband, as well as the other professional dancers. It's really a credit to the professional dancers that the show was as entertaining as it was. My part was small. I got recruited by Sharon Morris and was proud I got to be a part such a unique organization - COEA. The work they do for the physically and mentally is incredible and inspiring.” Two other couples also won big at the event. Mack Graves and his partner Courtney Black danced a sexy Samba and received the Shining Star Award for raising the most sponsorship dollars for the Arc - Community Opportunities of East Ascension. Charlotte Guedry and her dance partners Le'Brian Patrick and Leonard Augustus won the Fan Choice Award, receiving the most fan votes online combined with the most fan votes at the night of the event. They put on a crowd-pleasing performance to Christina Aguilera's song: “Burlesque.” “I am so humbled by being chosen as fan favorite,” said Guedry, who works as creative director for nStrumental Design. “I love this community and am so pleased to have made it my home. To be recognized by so many people, I cannot thank everyone who voted for me enough. And to have all the votes converted into dollars for COEA has been the icing on the cake. I'm overjoyed. I feel like winning fan favorite has been my birthday and Christmas all rolled into one!” Event chairman and co-founder Sharon Morris said she was grateful for the local celebrities and their professional partners. “Without the professionals and celebrities, there'd be no show,” she said. Morris said she was glad she didn't have to judge the competition. “Everyone did such a good job,” she said. “As far as I'm concerned, everyone's a winner for coming out to raise money for people with disabilities.” Judges for the event included: Alvin Turner, Jr., District Judge of the 23rd Judicial District Court; Czarina Walker, Founder and CEO of InfinityEDGE Software; Roy Quezaire, Special Projects Officer for Port of Louisiana; Michael Cauble, Sports Director for WBRZ News 2; and, Jenny Heroman, Producer/host for the Community Connection TV show on EATEL. The judges gave out special awards for each of the 12 celebrity couples, including: • Most Suave: Mack Graves and Courtney Black (Samba) • Most Sassiest: Allison Hudson and Le'Patrick (Cha-Cha) • Most Sultry: Christy Bourgeois and Peter Wischusen (Rumba) • Sexiest Beast: Mike Burtula and Johanna Collier (Paso Doble) • Most Daring: Trina Edwards and Leonard Augustus (East Coast Swing) • Highest Energy: Arthur Scanlan and partners Kris Cangelosi, Ryn Jones and Teresa Whitaker (Freestyle) • Hottest Legs: Glenda Shaheen and Peter Wischusen (East Coast Swing) • Most Stylish: Heather McClelland and Van Vo (Cha-Cha) • Most Memorable: Kelly Swarm and Jakob Martin (West Coast Swing) • Fastest Feet: Stephan Allain and Alyssa Kling (Fox Trot, or not) • Hottest Couple: Tracey Normand and Claire Broyles (Jive) • Most Surprising: Charlotte Guedry and partners Le'Brian Patrick and Leonard Augustus. Special guest dancers Jennifer Bagula and Zach Edmonston of the Arc of East Ascension received the Most Graceful Award from the judges and a standing ovation from the crowd. The soiree kicked off at 5:30 p.m., July 14, at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center with a VIP reception with guests dining food provided by Mike Anderson's Seafood Restaurant and other local vendors. Ascension Parish President Tommy Martinez served as the honorary chairman. Emcees Matthew Pryor and JoJo Newsom provided the entertainment along with special guest Charmaine Neville of New Orleans, who gave an outstanding performance. Morris, who co-founded the event with Anita Cann in 2009, said the competition helped COEA reach its fundraising goal of $100,000. She promised to thank all of the contributing sponsors in the next edition of Gonzales Weekly Citizen. “I am so proud of Ascension Parish,” she said. “The people are so kind, loving and giving. I'd like to thank them and all of our contributing sponsors for making this year's event a success.”