Chef John Folse Culinary Institute to hold Open House

THIBODAUX, La. — The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute invites you to attend its inaugural open house on Friday, May 4 at the Lanny D. Ledet Building.

Prospective culinary students will be treated to tours of the 33,000-square-foot state-of-the-art culinary facility, cooking demos, tastings and meetings with professors and the financial aid office.

Nicholls alum and Chef de Cuisine at Restaurant August in New Orleans Chef Ross Dover (B.A. ‘14) will hold cooking demonstrations at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.

Student-led tours will begin at 9 a.m. and run at the top of every hour until 2 p.m.

Located in the heart of Cajun and Creole Country, the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University offers an immersive culinary education combined with the full college experience at an affordable price. Nationally recognized faculty prepare students for a wide variety of career paths in the culinary and hospitality industry.  Upon graduation, 96 percent of Culinary Institute graduates land jobs.

Opened in 2015, the Lanny D. Ledet Building features six kitchens, three classrooms and a dedicated student study area and culinary library. It is also the home of the student-operated restaurant, Bistro Ruth, named in honor of New Orleans restaurateur Ruth Fertel, and the Bakery at the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute.

To RSVP for a tour, visit


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or


Nicholls Gospel Choir to perform “Safe in His Arms”

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls Gospel Choir invites the public to join them for their spring concert featuring consummate guest gospel artist and composer Minister E. Dwight Franklin, this week at the Mary and Al Danos Theater.

The theme of the concert is “Safe in His Arms” based on the 1986 song by Rev. Milton Brunson and was chosen based on the program’s repertoire.

The choir, led by Dr. Valerie Francis with Howard Nixon performing on the piano, is open to all students and the group performs a variety of gospel music, both traditional and contemporary, relating to the African American cultural experience.

Franklin has served as the Minister of Music in Louisiana, New York and Florida. He has conducted on the prestigious stage of Carnegie Hall in New York City. Franklin, who has also produced several gospel albums, serves as the Choir Director of Fellowship Baptist Church and pianist for Second Free Mission Baptist Church, both of New Orleans.

The free concert is will be at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 26.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, April 23, 2018

CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or

Nicholls Bayou Studies receives rare tree samples for study


THIBODAUX, La. — The Nicholls Center for Bayou Studies is studying recently discovered samples of cypress trees found near campus that could date back thousands of years.

The Center was invited to two separate cypress forest sites by two community leaders, Jake Giardina and Tommy Rouse. Rouse is clearing a former sugar cane plot for development near Bayou Lafourche adjacent to the Nicholls campus and within a pond he unearthed a cypress forest.

During an excavation closer to the country club, Giardina uncovered cypress trees with root material as deep as 25 feet below the present ground level.

Nicholls Center for Bayou Studies Director Dr. Gary LaFleur said the tree samples give the program a unique opportunity for research.

“This project is not just about aging some old trees, as much more significant is the trees’ relation to the geologic layer at which they were found. That is connected to our understanding the hydrology of the delta lobes (section of land) as they moved over the last 7,000 years, and that is also connected to the sociology of what peoples lived here while these trees lived here,” Dr. LaFleur said. “The Center for Bayou Studies seeks to bring together complex stories such as this, and lead scholarly research that can benefit Nicholls and others.”

Participating in the project were LaFleur, Anthony Giardina, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Dr. John Doucet, biology department head Dr. Quenton Fontenot and undergraduate biology students Jesse Dubose and Ciara Hebert.

LaFleur also reached out to LSU and Clay Tucker, who was recently part of a research group involved in studying an ancient cypress forest off the coast of Alabama. Tucker traveled to Thibodaux to receive samples that could help the team in their analysis of other ancient cypress sites.


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator,  985.448.4141 or

Nicholls student projects to be displayed as part of Expeaux

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University invites the public to view student research projects with topics ranging from the forensic analysis of a WWI-era pharmacy to the nautical origins of the first Acadian settlers in the parish as part of the 2018 Student Expeaux.

In total, Expeaux, which is a yearly display of student research and creative activity, will showcase around 70 projects. Nicholls Arts and Sciences Dean Dr. John Doucet said he expects the participation record to be broken for the second year in a row. Student projects are judged and receive awards in a variety of categories.

Dr. Doucet invites Nicholls faculty, staff, students and the community to view the projects from 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 25, in the Cotillion Ballroom in the Bollinger Memorial Student Union.

Expeaux gives Nicholls students the opportunity to show off their projects, receive feedback from the judges and learn from each others’ projects.

“It’s important for us to provide students opportunities to understand the benefits and rewards of research and creative work, as well as the skills necessary to manage projects,” Dr. Doucet said. “Students can now demonstrate to employers and graduate or professional school committees that they can manage projects to fruition, write about results, problem solve and be creative.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, April 18, 2018

CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator,  985.448.4141 or

Nicholls professors to work with Ascension schools on 80-year old time capsule

THIBODAUX, La. — Louisiana history scholars from Nicholls State University are working with Ascension Public Schools to identify, contextualize and preserve artifacts found in a recently discovered time capsule.

The school district discovered the copper time capsule behind the 1938 building plaque in the old Donaldsonville High School Auditorium while construction crews were working to convert the building to classroom space.

“We’re thrilled that the Ascension Parish public school system reached out to us,” said Jared Wells, public history coordinator and instructor of history and geography. “This is an exciting discovery that affords us the opportunity to both celebrate history and gain insight into life in South Louisiana 80 years ago.”

Nicholls history professors have been asked to assist the school district in identifying and preserving the items, providing historical context and advising best practices for the placement of a new time capsule.

“We are very excited about this find for our school system and the Donaldsonville community, and we can’t wait to work with the faculty at Nicholls State University,” said David Alexander, superintendent of Ascension Public Schools. “We want to be sure that we learn all we can with respect to the intentions of those that planted the capsule so that our celebration honors the history and carries forward the tradition.”

Anyone with information about the history of the time capsule is encouraged to send an email to

For more information about Ascension Public Schools, visit


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or

Nicholls alum, culinary rising star to deliver keynote speech

THIBODAUX, La. — New Orleans chef and Nicholls alum Michael Gulotta will deliver the keynote speech during the 102nd commencement ceremony at Nicholls State University.

Nicholls 102nd Commencement will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 19, in Guidry Stadium.

“This is an amazing feeling and such a tremendous compliment to receive from my alma mater,” Gulotta said. “You never think about this when you’re in school because you’re so busy trying to figure out what you’re doing with your life. Nicholls prepared me for the road that I have traveled and it’s an incredible honor to come back.”

Since graduating from the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls in 2003, Gulotta has worked under a bevy of internationally recognized chefs including John Folse, John Besh, Pete Vasquez, Marco Ballo and Karl Josef Fuchs.

He is the owner of two popular New Orleans establishments, MoPho and Maypop, and appeared on Food Network’s Iron Chef Gauntlet last year.

In 2016 alone, Gulotta was named New Orleans Magazine’s Chef of the Year, Food & Wine’s Best New Chef, received a Star Chefs Rising Stars Award and was a finalist for a James Beard Award. Also, MoPho was named Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurant.

“Chef Michael Gulotta is one of our most successful graduates and he’s a great ambassador for Nicholls,” Nicholls President Dr. Jay Clune said. “He’s reached this point in his career because of his hard work, his passion and his desire to do something different. These are qualities we hope our students have learned during their time on campus and will learn from Michael during his speech.”


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or

Nicholls Camerata string ensemble to play at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral

Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University

THIBODAUX, La. — The Nicholls Camerata will perform Wednesday in the picturesque setting of the St. Joseph Co-Cathedral.

The Camerata is a chamber ensemble comprised of members of the string program at Nicholls State University and they perform without a conductor. The program attracts students from all over the world and instruments being featured include violins, violas and cellos.

The event will feature the works of composers Georg Philipp Telemann, Manuel de Falla and Leoš Janáček. The Camerata’s musical repertoire ranges from the baroque period to modern.

The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, at the cathedral located at 721 Canal Blvd. Admission is free.


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or

Nicholls faculty to debate first year of President Trump

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University invites the community to campus next week as faculty discuss U.S. President Donald Trump.


President Trump’s first year in office will be the topic of debate at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, at Peltier Auditorium.

“College faculty are often stereotyped as far left radicals and while those professors certainly exist, you’ll also find faculty who aren’t so easily pigeonholed as being on the right or on the left politically,” said Dr. Paul Wilson, Department of History and Geography head. “I want students and others who attend to notice that faculty at Nicholls have varied political beliefs and the courage to defend and promote them in front of the public.”

Dr. Wilson, Interdisciplinary Studies Department Head Dr. Allen Alexander, finance professor Dr. Shari Lawrence, political science professor Dr. Rusty Thysell and political science department chair Dr. David Whitney will discuss four to five prepared questions, and then the audience will be allowed to ask questions related to the topic.

Panelists will engage in honest debate and not just simply support their political team, Dr. Wilson said.

Dr. Whitney said the topic was chosen due to the impact the U.S. President has on the everyday lives of the country’s residents.

“We live in a democratic republic and our representatives are a direct reflection of us. An informed, active citizenry is the best defense against tyranny and corruption,” Dr. Whitney said. “The event is important to Nicholls because it embodies the spirit of what a university should be about: open, rational debate with a variety of informed perspectives.”


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or

Nicholls athletics to hold 18th Seafood Extravaganza for scholarships

THIBODAUX, La. — The Nicholls State University athletics department invites the public to enjoy a night of delicious seafood to help raise money for student-athletes.

The 18th Annual Seafood Extravaganza presented by Bubba’s II Po-Boys will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 10, in the Cotillion Ballroom at the Bollinger Memorial Student Union.

The annual event features all you can eat seafood provided the primary sponsor, Bubba’s II Po-Boys, and a live and silent auction. Proceeds go toward student-athlete scholarships.

Other sponsors include Coca-Cola, Crescent Crown Distributing, Bacchus Wine, Kentwood Water and Chez Bakery.

Ticket options range from a single ticket for $100 and 10 tickets for $900. Sponsorship opportunities include the $1,500 Crawfish Sponsorship that includes 10 tickets, recognition during the event and a table tent with the company logo, and the $2,000 King Crab Sponsorship, which includes 20 tickets, a chance to sit with a Nicholls head coach, recognition during the event and the company logo featured on a banner and table tent.

To purchase tickets, visit or call the Nicholls Ticket Office 448-4790.

For more information on the event or about sponsorship opportunities, contact assistant athletic director for revenue generation Katie Callahan at 448-4010.


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or

Students to debate if gun control laws effectively curtail gun violence

THIBODAUX, La. — Next week Nicholls students will debate the controversial topic of gun control laws.

In the semesterly Nicholls Student Speech Forum at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, in Peltier Auditorium, debaters and some members of the audience will voice their opinions on the topic “Do gun control laws lesson gun violence?”

Nicholls faculty and students voted earlier this semester upon the Student Forum topic out of three choices, and the two debaters were required to be enrolled in or have completed Speech 101, audition and have been coached by speech faculty, including lead coach Dr. Rya Butterfield, who will also moderate the debate.

The student host of the event is James Leininger, a general studies Freshman from Houma, the pro speaker is Joshua Kesler, a biology sophomore from Gonzalez, and the con speaker is Benjamin Gautreaux, a Mass Communications sophomore from Gray. Leininger and Gautreaux are veterans.

As audience members enter Peltier Auditorium, they will be given a pre-vote slip to determine where they stand on an issue before the debate. Each debater will have 8 to 10 minutes to deliver a persuasive speech, with one student arguing the pro side and the other the con side. The floor will then open to the audience, where they will get a chance to voice their opinions, ask questions and raise concerns. Once the public comments are delivered, the speakers will have three minutes for an impromptu conclusion speech.

The audience will then be given a post-vote slip and results will be tabulated and released via the Nicholls Worth.

“The Speech Forum is one of the longest standing traditions at Nicholls,” Butterfield said. “It is a public forum style event hosted by the speech faculty for students each semester.”

The event, which typically draws 300 people, is free and open to the public.


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or