Businesses bridge parish gap

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Ascension Chamber of Commerce President Matt Pryor, Becthel Corporation’s Stephenie Ransonet (Joint Chamber Luncheon Sponsor), Donaldsonville Chamber Executive Director Becky Katz, luncheon speaker Lane Grigsby of Cajun Contractors, and Donaldsonville Chamber President Paul Landry, IV stand together after the luncheon at Palazzo Bernardo’s in Donaldsonville.

Just because Ascension Parish is divided by the Mississippi River doesn’t mean it isn’t united. Just ask the businesses in the Ascension Chamber of Commerce and the Donaldsonville Chamber of Commerce. The two chambers met on Aug. 13 for their annual “Joint Chamber Luncheon,” which hosted nearly 200 people from both sides of the river at Palazzo Bernardo’s in Donaldsonville.

Donaldsonville Chamber President Paul Landry, IV said the annual event continues to rid the parish of division amongst itself, but more importantly it’s a “great opportunity for communication.”

“We have to continue communicating because these people have their ideas and we have ours and we come together to get a better understanding as to why things happen,” Landry said.

Along with the two chambers, several dignitaries attended the joint event including Donaldsonville Mayor Leroy Sullivan, Ascension Parish Assessor Mert Smiley, Mike Eades of Ascension Economic Development, and Superintendent Dr. Patrice Pujol of the Ascension Parish School Board.

The luncheon was sponsored by Bechtel Coporation and the company’s Industrial Relation Manager Stephenie Ransonet accepted the sponsor’s award on behalf of the Gonzales location.

Ascension Chamber President Matt Pryor presented Ransonet with the award, and also introduced the speaker of the afternoon, Lane Grigsby of Cajun Contractors.

Grigsby spoke to the business and community leaders about the Common Core testing standard in public schools. While praising the Ascension education system, Grigsby spoke about his opinion surrounding the state’s hot topic.

After the luncheon, Pryor said although Grigsby didn’t speak much about business, he did speak on “something that will really affect business which is our education.”

“He spoke with a lot of passion about it and it was well received,” Pryor said.

“It’s always good to bring the west bank and the east bank together,” Pryor said. “It promotes business and promotes for one parish even though we have the river in between us we still have to remember that we’re one essential parish.”