Gonzales Boat Club to celebrate 50th anniversay Saturday

Staff reports

The Gonzales Boat Club will celebrate its 50th anniversay Saturday at the boat club facility located at 13311 Diversion Canal Road.

The focus of the boat club is to promote boating safety, clean waterways and boating education.

The event begins at 10 a.m. and will last till 3 p.m. There will be bands, food including jambalaya provided by the Jambalaya Festival Association, beverages, new boat displays on the water and off, an antique car display, an auction to benefit the St. Amant Fire Department, kids’ space walk, face painting, 50/50 raffle to benefit St. Jude’s Hospital, photo contest, door prizes and free givaways.

The club began as a 29-member organization in 1959 after Charlie Thomas called its first meeting at his Thomas Marine business.

Charter members, president Harold Gautreau, secretary Carol Gautreau, treasurer Teddy Ray Rushing, activity committemen Hilton Haydel, chairman of activity committee Caleb Mire, vice president Harold Mire, Donnie Mire, Dye Mire, Leroy Mire, Charlie Thomas, Ira Breaux, Junior Tallion, Earl Miller, K. G. Mitcham, Dale Purpers and others eventually met once a month at two camps along the Chinquapin Canal.

The ever-growing Gonzales Boat Club began needing a larger facility to hold their meetings and cookouts, so from 1967-71 the club began organizing boat races against the French Settlement Boat Club to raise mone for a new hall along the Diversion Canal.

The races drew people from Baton Rouge, Livingston and St. James parishes.

The cruises became a club favorite over fishing and the Gonzales Boat Club would crowd people on party barges once a month for joy rides on the water, sometimes on treks from Thibodaux to Grand Isle.

No matter how long it lives on the Gonzales Boat Club will have left its mark as a promoter of safe and cleaner waters in Ascension Parish.