Nicholls Concert Choir to preview Carnegie Hall performance

THIBODAUX, La. — The Nicholls Concert Choir will perform on campus tomorrow the music the group will present later this month at New York’s Carnegie Hall.  

Admission is free but donations to help defray expenses for the trip to New York would be much appreciated.

Under the direction of Dr. Kenneth S. Klaus, Gloria B. Callais Endowed Professor of Music and director of choral activities, the choir will be performing the same music on Tuesday’s concert that they will perform in Carnegie Hall later in May plus a few additional selections. Nicholls collaborative pianist for the Concert Choir is Casey W. Haynes.

The performance will feature new work by senior vocal music education major James Rodrigue of Houma. His composition will include the Southern Folk hymn, “What Wondrous Love is This?,” the Catholic hymn “Stabat Mater” and concluding with another of Jesus’ seven last words, “My God. My God. Why have you forsaken me?” found in Matthew, Mark and Psalm 22.

Junior vocal education majors Alyssa Gaudet, of Thibodaux, and Rhea Grigsby, of Golden Meadow, will conduct “Kyrie” and “Agnus Dei,” respectively, by John Leavitt.

The concert will also include Mozart’s “Te Deum” and “Regina Coeli,” which Klaus will conduct in Carnegie Hall.

The concert is set for  7:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 8, at the Mary and Al Danos Theater.


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

Nicholls to hold public interview for finalist for provost

Dr. Sue Westbrook

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University has named a finalist in their search for a new provost and vice president for academic affairs and will hold a public interview at 2 p.m. on Thursday, May 10 in the Ridley Gros Auditorium.

The finalist is Dr. Sue Westbrook, dean of the College of Nursing and Allied Health, who has served as the interim provost and vice president for academic affairs since Jan. 5.

A search committee interviewed 16 candidates before whittling the number down to two semi-finalists and, now, a finalist.

“I want to thank the search committee for their hard work throughout this long process,” said Dr. Jay Clune, Nicholls president. “The provost and vice president for academic affairs plays such a crucial role in the education of our students, so it’s important that we make the right hire. I encourage everyone in the Nicholls community to come out to the interview and ask questions as we prepare to make an important decision for our university.”

After graduating from Northwestern State University, Westbrook worked as a nurse for three years before joining the Nicholls staff as an instructor. Over the course of the next three decades, she added graduate degrees, from Nicholls and the LSU Health Sciences Center.

She has served on the State Board of Nursing and was named one of The Great 100 Nurses of Louisiana in 2016.

Under Westbrook’s watch, Nicholls nursing graduates regularly pass the national licensure exam at rates greater than both the national and state average, and 100 percent of all recent graduates are employed.


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


Annual crawfish boil set to help PETSM students attend conference

THIBODAUX, La. — The Nicholls Department of Petroleum Engineering Technology and Safety Management invites you to campus next week to eat 900 pounds of crawfish to help its students.


The American Society of Safety Engineers Bayou Chapter will host its annual all-you-can-eat crawfish boil starting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 10, at the Colonel Soccer Complex. Proceeds from the event go to the Nicholls ASSE chapter to help pay for students to attend the premier ASSE Safety Technical Conference from June 3-6 in San Antonio.

“Students will be able to learn about the industry, see the latest technology and also network, as the conference has young professional and social events,” said Michael Gautreaux, PETSM executive director.

The ASSE is the world’s oldest professional safety society. ASSE promotes the expertise, leadership and commitment of its members while providing them with professional development, advocacy and standards development.

Tickets are $25. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Katie Leonard at 448-4739 or


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

Nicholls Education to Launch Applied Behavior Analysis Clinic

THIBODAUX, La. — The Nicholls College of Education plans for a summer clinic to provide behavior therapy to children, while also giving its graduate students an opportunity to engage with the community.


The Applied Behavior Analysis Clinic will start off small, offering part-time services to a few children, with plans to run full-time by the fall semester. The clinic will provide one-on-one behavior therapy for children with developmental disabilities and work closely with their parents and family members to help carry over treatment strategies outside the clinic.

“Overall, we would like the ABA clinic to provide quality experiential learning for our Nicholls students, while also expanding our relationships to other members of the greater community,” said Dr. Laura Darcy, clinical director and Nicholls assistant professor of teacher education.

Nicholls offers a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a High Incidence Disabilities Concentration with an ABA option. The program aims to prepare educators to implement intervention strategies to reach students with learning challenges. The ABA option prepares students to become licensed behavior analysts in Louisiana as well as achieve national certification.

“These services are in high demand, and there is a great need for quality providers in Southeast Louisiana,” Dr. Darcy said. “Becoming licensed as a behavior analyst opens many doors for our candidates in regards to their careers, which may take them from public schools to clinical and home therapy settings.”

To learn more about the clinic or if interested in enrolling your child, contact Darcy at 985-448-4321 or


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

Alexander-Soares to team up with popular cellist for free concert

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University’s Alexander-Soares Duo will perform a free concert on campus next week with a guest cellist who has toured with artists including Tony Bennett, Henry Mancini, Clay Aiken and Mannheim Steamroller.

University of Maryland-Baltimore County Affiliate Artist Gita Ladd will join the duo in concert. The program will include compositions by Spanish composer Joaquín Turina, Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla and Spanish cellist Gaspar Cassado.

“Gita is one of the most talented musicians I’ve ever gotten to work with. We are really fortunate to have musicians of the caliber of James and Luciana here at Nicholls,” said Dr. Jason Ladd, concert organizer and Nicholls instructor of music. “This collaboration will end up producing one of the most inspirational performances we’ve had in Thibodaux over the past few years.”

The Alexander-Soares Duo is made up of Nicholls string professor James Alexander and piano professor Dr. Luciana Soares. Their duo, formed in 2005, has performed throughout the world including at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Landeskonservatorium in Austria and the University of Chichester in England. The duo has been involved with festivals in Brazil, including the Chamber Music Festival Centro Sul e Vale do Salgado and the prestigious International Festival of Santa Catarina.

Gita Ladd, who has performed for several U.S. presidents, is the principal cellist of the Endless Mountain Music Festival in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, and regularly performs at the Kennedy Center and the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.

The concert is set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 2, in the Mary and Al Danos Theater.


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

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