Parish Council: From disagreements to dazed and confused

APC meeting Nov 20

The Parish Council appointed and reappointed several citizens to various boards at its meeting Monday night, Nov. 20. All but one were approved without discussion. The appointments passed were Kathy Carter and Arshundae Perry to the Natchitoches Parish Children and Youth Planning Board and Jill Morgan to the Natchitoches Parish Planning and Zoning Commission. Travis Guin was re-appointed to the P&Z Commission. William Dowden III and Marc Custis were re-appointed to the Natchitoches Parish Fire District 4.

The re-appointment of Vanue LaCour to the P&Z Commission was vehemently opposed by Director of Planning and Zoning Greg Lemoine. “Our work relationship has been contentious since the first day,” he said. “I do not want to work with this man anymore and I strongly urge the Council not to re-appoint him.”

Councilman Chris Paige said he found it distasteful to hear Greg bringing up his issues with LaCour and Parish President Rick Nowlin said he felt comfortable with the reappointment. However, when it came to a vote, Mr. LaCour’s reappointment died for lack of a second.

Tensions escalated at another point in the meeting, when Council members Rodney Bedgood, Paige and Patsy Ward Hoover voted down the adoption of the 2018 budget.

It all began when Councilman Doug de Graffenried proposed several amendments to the adoption of the ordinance for the 2018 budget.

Adjustments to line items for expenditures, whether by an increase or decrease, within any fund shall be restricted to not more than 10% cumulatively. Additional adjustments beyond the 10% shall require a budget amendment and council approval.
Any employee receiving a pay increase exceeding 4% since Aug. 31 shall not benefit from a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA).
Any employee who has received a pay increase exceeding 4% since Aug. 31 shall not qualify for an increase in pay during Fiscal Year 2018.

Council members passed the first amendment (Paige voted no). Bedgood, Hoover and Paige voted against the second and third amendments. It then seemed like no one really knew what they were voting on anymore and in a state of confusion Bedgood, Hoover and Paige voted down the 2018 budget.

When the error was realized, Paige quickly made a motion to reconsider. The 2018 budget was brought back to the table and passed with a unanimous vote from the Council.

Other agenda items included:
Introduction of ordinance to change zoning classification of a 34.683 acre parcel on Fulton Street from I-A Industry-Agricultural to R-1 Residence District for single family residences. Rhodes Property and Development is in the process of developing a subdivision on this land, but hasn’t decided on lot size or any other specifics at this time.
Introduction of an ordinance to make amendments to the 2017 Operating Budget
Change Jan. 15 meeting to Jan. 22 in observance of MLK Day
Change Feb. 19 meeting to Feb. 20 in observance of President’s Day
Allow Head Start Centers to close Friday, Feb. 1 so teachers can participate in training
Enter into a Professional Services Agreement with CivicSource for the administration of an online auction and sale of adjudicated properties


Natchitoches: Part of Louisiana’s First Cultural Shopping Trail

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Louisiana Tax Free Shopping for International Visitors (LTFS) announced the creation of the Louisiana Cultural Shopping Trail Nov. 18 in Natchitoches, in conjunction with the launch of the 2017 Holiday Trail of Lights.

Use the interactive map online at to discover the unique shopping experiences Louisiana has to offer, from outlet shopping in Bossier in north Louisiana, to the Front Street Marketplace on Natchitoches’ river bank, to the charming cottage boutiques in Covington’s historic district.

“This is a chance to promote cultural and local shopping to Louisiana’s out-of-state visitors,” said LTFS Executive Director Denise Thevenot. ”The shopping trail provides an opportunity for visitors driving through our state to get off the highway and discover Louisiana’s unique retail experiences.”

The trails offer something for all visitors, from antique or boutique shopping to viewing our culture through locally hand-crafted goods, tasting and sharing our culinary delights or gearing up for one of our many outdoor adventures. Stores do not have to be members of the Louisiana Tax Free Shopping program to participate in the shopping trail.

Louisiana Tax Free Shopping offers international visitors to the state the opportunity to receive cash refunds for sales taxes paid on tangible items purchased at participating tax-free stores and permanently removed from the United States. Visitors can apply for refunds at six locations throughout the state, including New Orleans, Metairie, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Bossier City, and Louis Armstrong International Airport. For more information:


AShopping Trail Map



NSU students complete internship at BOM

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Two NSU interns completed their last day of their service learning project at BOM before the Thanksgiving Holiday. BOM partnered with NSU’s Office of Service-Learning and allowed students to shadow different departments of BOM. Earlier this semester, two students interviewed BOM employees, Gretchen Dauzat, Dewayne Chelette, and Micah Foshee. After interviewing several businesses, BOTH interns chose BOM!
Northwestern State University is a responsive, student-oriented institution that is committed to the creation, dissemination, and acquisition of knowledge through teaching, research, and service. The University’s Office of Service-Learning assists the University with meeting one of its primary goals: “To promote economic development, community service, and an improved quality of life in the region”.

Through service-learning projects, students use theory and skills learned in the classroom to solve ‘real-life’ problems. The Office serves as a point of contact where the community and university can join together to identify needs and share resources.

A HUGE thank you to Stephanie Lambert, Jenny Crump, Kessler Barnes, Margaret Davison, Jacob Murchison, Luke Rasberry, Keith Miller, Logan Lambert and Mark Lipa for allowing this students to shadow you all this past semester!

Pictured above are Imani Ricks and Dalenesha Wimley.


Natchitoches native among ISE® North America Award Winners


T.E.N., a technology and information security executive networking and relationship-marketing firm, honored finalists and winners Nov. 16 at the 2017 ISE® North America Leadership Summit and Awards Gala in Chicago, Ill.

The ISE® North America awards recognize both information security executives and project teams for outstanding achievements in risk management, data asset protection, compliance, privacy and network security. Award program participants are located across the U.S. and Canada, and nominations were considered within four categories based on industry classification, including Academic/Public Sector, Commercial, Financial Services and Health Care.

“We were impressed by the many accomplishments and achievements of our executive and project nominees,” said Marci McCarthy, CEO and president, T.E.N. “The executives nominated include the industry’s brightest minds and many of the projects are major game changers.”

Mignona Cote grew up in Natchitoches and lives with her husband David Rodriquez on Sibley Lake. She took three of the most prestigious awards at TEN and ISE Programs – the ISE North America Leadership Summit and Awards. She won the ISE North America People’s Choice Award, ISE North America Health Care Executive of the Year and with her team won the ISE North America Healthcare Project of the Year.

Health Care Category:
Mignona Cote, CISO PayFlex; CISO Phoenix Data Services; SR Director Information Security for Aetna, was selected as the Information Security Executive® of the Year Award winner in the Health Care Category. Cote leads the Enterprise Risk and Compliance program at Aetna, where she is responsible for Security Awareness and training, as well as Policy Management. As the IT Compliance Officer, she also manages compliance risk and response to both industry and government inquiries.

People’s Choice Award
Mignona Cote, CISO PayFlex; CISO Phoenix Data Services; SR Director Information Security for Aetna, was also named the ISE® North America People’s Choice Award Winner. This award represents the nominee who best exemplifies information security leadership as voted on by peers in information security.





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Parish President Rick Nowlin has announced his intention to make appointments to the

following Natchitoches Parish Boards: Fire District No. 5 and Fire District No. 8. Any resident interested in serving on either board should submit an application to the Office of the President.

Applications may be picked up at the Natchitoches Parish Courthouse, located at 200 Church Street, or by contacting David Kees, Jr., Executive Assistant to the President, at (318) 352-2714, or by sending an email to



Super Junior Ranger Aida Frey Visits Natchitoches

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Kevin’s Gallery
Aida Frey of the Chicago area reached a major milestone in her 7 year and 45 state endeavor to earn a Junior Ranger Badge at every National Park Saturday, Nov. 18. She earned her 300th badge at the Cane River Creole National Park, and started on the next leg of her journey with her 301st Junior Ranger Badge at the National Center for Preservation and Technology Training in Natchitoches.

Frey attended a reception held in her honor at the National Center for Preservation and Technology Training (NCPTT) building on the NSU campus. Officials from the National Park Service presented her with her 300th Junior Ranger Badge and a variety of souvenirs. She is not resting on her laurels, while at the NCPTT, she earned her 301st Junior Ranger badge after touring the center’s facilities. This also marked the first Junior Ranger Badge awarded by the NCPTT. The NCPTT has also recently installed a cancellation station for the Passport to the National Parks program. Natchitoches Parish Journal writer Kevin Shannahan’s Passport to the National Parks was the 1st to be stamped, with Architectural Conservator Sarah Jackson doing the honors.

The Natchitoches Parish Journal wishes Aida Frey safe travels as she continues her quest to visit every National Park in our great nation!