Ascension residents turn to social media in time of social distancing

Michael Tortorich
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

During a time of social distancing, many are utilizing social media to keep in touch during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Facebook pages and groups have been created to provide networking opportunities among Ascension Parish residents.

Save Ascension Businesses, with some 800 followers, was created by St. Amant Fire Chief and Constable James E. LeBlanc as a platform to support local businesses during the economic downturn.

Local businesses are the heartbeat and backbone of small towns like our own, and they need our help in times like these,” the page’s pinned post read.

Daily posts feature a variety of businesses from around the parish, sharing special offers and inventory updates.

Louisiana has 437,437 small businesses, which account for 99.5 percent of the state's businesses, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The state has 917,466 small business employees, a representation of 53 percent of Louisiana's employees.

Aside from promoting small businesses in the area, others have been sharing general information of interest to locals.

COVID-19: Surviving in Ascension Parish was created to provide networking, resources, and moral support. It had more than 1,750 members over the weekend.

Mary Wesley Babin and Buddy Legnon serve as administrators for the group.

"Buddy and I have tried to keep this site very clean and informative," Babin said. "It's been a pleasure having everyone on this site."

One member has posted a prayer every day for members, she said.

Also, the group plans on holding a drawing for an Ascension Parish family or single parent currently unemployed.

"We will be giving away some seasoning, groceries, and essentials," Babin said.

Tara Broussard said the group is the only one she uses for local information on coronavirus.

Though some comments to posts have been snippy, overall she's found the group informative and encouraging.

"No group is perfect, and I don't expect it to be," she said.

Lori Thacker said she follows just one group to avoid an overload of coronavirus information.

"I've learned a lot about COVID-19 and how it's affecting my community. This is the only group like this I'm in," she said.

Jenny Brignac Kocke has been impressed with the level of civility of the members.

"It's probably one of the most civil ones in all of Facebook!" she said. "Which isn't an easy task. It's very informative, as well as helpful."

Lydia Brown also found the group's posts helpful.

"I get a lot of information here," she said.

Belinda Guillot and Cathryn Stanley both agreed that the group was a great resource.

"It keeps those in our area on top of the latest information," Stanley said.

This group is very informative, and I like that it’s local,” Kari Millet added.

Deanna Roberts Bourgeois has been checking in every day.

"Using technology to stay connected as a community can be powerful," she said.