DA’s Office makes special Christmas delivery to Pleasure Bend

Published 10:43 am Saturday, December 24, 2022

LAPLACE — Tucked away at the end of a long road lined with sugar cane fields, only accessible by traveling through Vacherie, the Pleasure Bend community is a part of St. John Parish that is often overlooked.

When Bridget A. Dinvaut was sworn in as the St. John the Baptist Parish District Attorney in January 2015, she made a promise that her office would never forget about Pleasure Bend. That Christmas, her staff connected with Catherine Aucoin and started a new Christmas tradition in which the DA’s Office provides presents for the children in the Pleasure Bend community each year.

During the initial years, the District Attorney’s Office would deliver an assortment of presents, unwrapped, and one child would enter the room at a time to pick out whatever gift they wanted.

Kathy Ponville, who now serves as the coordinator for the Christmas effort on behalf of the Pleasure Bend community, said the tradition shifted to something even more special during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“After COVID, it was easier to get a list of what every child wanted and bring them presents wrapped with their names and a little angel on it. I call all the families and meet them in one area at the lake, where they can pick up the gifts and they can open them there,” Ponville said.

While COVID-19 restrictions have loosened, Dinvaut’s Office has continued to deliver wrapped presents based off of wish lists personalized to each child.

According to Robin Bailey, executive administrative assistant to Dinvaut, the children’s wishes form an Angel Tree at the District Attorney’s Office. Every child receives a gift they wish for and one they don’t expect.
“Ms. Kathy gets us a list of names of the kids and what their Christmas wish is, and each child is granted two Christmas wishes. We put the name of each child on an angel for the Angel Tree, and on the other side, we put their wish. Everybody here at the office looks forward to pulling a name to make their Christmas wish come true,” she said.

According to Bailey, the number of gifts varies per year but averages around 30 to 35.

“We look forward to going out to see the kids every year. Sometimes, we don’t get to see them because they are still in school, but their parents or their grandparents are there,” she said.

Dinvaut recently traveled to Pleasure Bend on Thursday, December 15 to deliver wrapped gifts.

This year’s effort reached 15 children ranging in age from 9 months to 10 years old, according to Ponville.

“Pleasure Bend is really small and very few kids live there, so the District Attorney’s Office always wants to support them and get them something for Christmas,” Ponville said. “The kids were very thankful, and they look forward to this every year. To see the happiness in their eyes is a true gift.”