NEW ORLEANS - Whitney Holding Corp. said Tuesday that it plans to buy $93 million-asset First Ascension Bancorp, the holding company for First National Bank of Gonzales, La., for $22.1 million.

First National has four branches in Ascension, Louisiana's fourth-largest parish. William L. Marks, chairman and chief executive officer of $5.8 billion-asset Whitney Holding, said the deal would double its market share there.

"First National Bank of Gonzales is well-known to us as a competitor," he said. The deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter, is the second that Whitney has announced in less than a month. On Aug. 8 it said it would buy Prattville Financial Services Co. in Alabama and its $170 million-asset Bank of Prattville.

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