Fire District No. 5 dedicates Engine 1 to the late Chief Nicholas

Members of NPFD 5 gathered with colleagues, friends and the family of the late Chief John Nicholas at the Lambre’s Gin Station on Nov. 18 to dedicate Engine 1 in honor of the dedication and service of Chief Nicholas to NPFD 5.

Chief Nicholas served the district in many capacities over the past 18 years, serving the last 12+ in the Chief’s role. He was tireless in the pursuit of the betterment of the services provided to the residents in Fire District #5 and was the driving force behind the acquisition of Engine 1. Engine 1 has the latest in pump and equipment technology and enables efficient and effective fire response.

A plaque to honor the memory of Chief Nicholas was also installed at Lambre’s Gin Station.
His legacy of dedication and service will continue to inspire those who serve NPFD 5.


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Natchitoches Christmas Festival: TICKET SCAM ALERT

Buying tickets from individuals for any Natchitoches Christmas Festival of Lights event puts you at risk of being deceived by online scammers.

BUY FROM PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS AT YOUR OWN RISK!

Anyone that wants a ticket to the Festival can get one on our official website or at a Festival ticket booth. Tickets to events such as “Cookies With Santa” are LIMITED and ONLY available on our website.

The Nov. 27 “Cookies With Santa” event is SOLD OUT! The next “Cookies With Santa” event is Dec. 11.

Please take this precaution to avoid Festival ticket scammers. Only official Natchitoches Christmas Festival of Lights tickets will be honored.

PRICE
Armbands are $10. Children 6 and under are free and do not require an armband. Anyone who wants a ticket should be able to purchase one.

WHERE TO BUY
Visitors can purchase tickets (armbands) online ahead of their chosen Festival event date, or purchase tickets (armbands) when they arrive.

Tickets (armbands) are only valid for the selected date purchased at checkout online, or at a Ticket Booth on the date of the Festival selected by the attendee.

The Festival will have multiple, visible Ticket Booths available near the Festival area (Front Street / Riverfront).

The 95th Natchitoches Christmas Festival of Lights is not under the same restrictions as last season, so there will be plenty of armbands (tickets) for anyone that wants to attend.

Festival tickets (armbands) can be purchased at the ticket booths with cash or credit cards. Card purchases can be made using visitors’ smartphones. There will be special Scan Codes available and visible at the ticket booths for a smartphone user to make their ticket (armband purchases).

BUYING TICKETS ONLINE
All who have purchased tickets (armbands) ahead of time online will need to visit a Festival Ticket Booth and present proof-of-purchase (printed or on their device) to retrieve their armbands before entry to the Festival area.

BUYING TICKETS AT THE FESTIVAL
Visitors that would like to purchase their tickets (armbands) when they arrive will need to visit a Festival Ticket Booth to make their purchase before entry to the Festival area.

NOTE: Ticket Booths open at 1pm on Ticketed Event Dates. Visitors can enjoy the Riverfront area before that time, but will require a ticket (armband) to remain in the area once Ticket Booths open.

CASH, CARDS, & SMARTPHONES
Festival tickets (armbands) can be purchased at the ticket booths with cash or credit cards. Card purchases can be made using visitors’ smartphones. There will be special Scan Codes available and visible at the ticket booths for smartphone users to make their ticket (armband purchases).

CONVENIENCE
Buying tickets online ahead of time is more convenient and will save visitors time when acquiring tickets (armbands) at the ticket booths when they arrive.

HAVE YOUR RECEIPT WITH YOU
Whether purchasing online or at the Festival ticket booths when they arrive, it is important for all visitors to retain copies (digital or physical) of their purchases on their person to eliminate any errors or confusion.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
You can find a full schedule of events here — https://www.natchitocheschristmas.com/schedule


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GOODNESS GRACIOUS

By Tommy Rush

When I first moved to Natchitoches from Alabama almost 19 years ago, I met an older couple who became immediate friends. Gerome and Frieda Henson had moved to Natchitoches from Alabama in the 1970’s. I always enjoyed my visits with the Hensons at their home on Lake Sibley.

I remember stopping by one day right before Thanksgiving and Mr. Gerome was preparing to cook a “Trash Can Turkey.” His “Trash Can Turkey” was a Henson Family tradition for many years and he told me how the tradition actually started when he was a small child. He walked me through every step of the process explaining how he used a tin trash can, ten pounds of charcoal and a turkey weighing approximately 10-12 pounds. He liked to call it his “Tin-Ten-Ten Turkey.”

I knew this would be something fun to do with my family, so on my way home I stopped by Kaffie-Fredericks Store to buy my first tin trash can. Since that Thanksgiving in 2004, I have become the Master Trash Can Turkey Cooker! Mr. Gerome would be very proud of me today. My entire family, especially my grandchildren, enjoy this fun family tradition that we have expanded to include not only Thanksgiving, but Christmas as well.

I know you are probably thinking by now that I should win the “Redneck of the Year” Award. Only a redneck from Alabama would be grateful for someone from Alabama teaching them how to cook a turkey in a trash can. It may even seem repulsive to some of you, but I have no doubt that once you try a trash can turkey, you will never eat a deep fried or oven baked turkey again!

Every Thanksgiving I remember the day Gerome Henson shared his trash can tradition with me. I’m very thankful for all the good memories my family has enjoyed over the years cooking our Trash Can Turkeys. I’m grateful for old friends like the Hensons who have since gone home to be with the Lord. I’m also grateful for a Savior and Lord who changed my trash can heart and gave me a new and higher purpose in life. He is the best “Turkey Cooker” of all! Have a great Thanksgiving Weekend!


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Second Hand Table

Way before the likes of Ebay, Facebook Marketplace and Craig’s list there was a relic that was distributed once a week called the classified ads. My parents were the type of humans who pounced on the paper as soon as it was printed just to see what was for sale. I distinctly remember it being separated into categories. Some of the notables were: cars, guns, furniture, clothes and homes for rent or sale.

If you have ever met my father then you are aware he was probably looking at the gun selections and my mother was consistently looking at furniture. Having to raise three children on meager salaries left very little money for the luxury of paying full price for anything. It wasn’t out of character for us to come home to a new-to-us piece of furniture or something that was purchased second hand.
On one particular day after I had already moved out of the house, I stopped by my parents’ house for a quick visit. When I walked in I noticed that my father, with a polishing rag in hand, was carefully making his was around a new-to-us table and chairs. He was methodically moving around and wiping as my mom directed.

“George, you missed a spot,” I can still hear her saying this in her soft but almost panicked and firm tone. And, then he would circle back until it met her approval.
I couldn’t help but notice the sparkle in her eye as she stared at this table. It was as if she wanted me to ask questions. So, I did.

She went on to tell me that it was a solid maple table made by the company, “Tell City”. She had wanted one of these tables ever since she got married and that everyone, she knew had this kind of table while growing up. She also explained that it was owned by the parents of one of the owners of a furniture store in Natchitoches so it had to have been well taken care of.

She was completely smitten and mesmerized by this table and I was so tickled to see the pure joy in her eyes as she explained how to tell if it was Tell City or not. As of today, I still have an eye for this distinct style of furniture. I never will forget our holidays gathered around that second hand table.

Many years after my mother passed away, I answered a call from a cousin to assist in the packing up of my aunt’s home while she made the transition to assisted living. That day many cousins showed up and helped pack and liquidate decades of memories. While she knew she could not bring all of her belongings with her, she wanted to make sure that everyone who purchased something from her home, knew where it came from and how well it had been cared for. It was possibly the sweetest estate sale of the century.

Over a two-day period almost everything had sold as she planned except for her dining room table and chairs. My cousin had mentioned that she did not want to part with it because it was solid maple and well crafted.

Uh oh, I knew exactly what this meant. I told my cousin that it was probably Tell City, and once she climbed out from under the table she looked at me with an affirmative nod. At the time I did not need a dining room table but I told her I would try to help them sell it. To no avail, a few days went by and I received a call from my aunt. I was tasked with telling her that I could not find anyone to purchase the valuable table so she asked if I decided if I needed one and If I did she would make me a really nice deal. I was silent for a moment as I was thoroughly thinking about it, then she quietly said, “Reeber, your mom always liked this table.” She has always called me,

“Reeber”, and I have always loved the way she says it. I could hear the sparkle in her voicewhen she offered me this treasure.

With those few words spoken all I could say was, “Sold, when can I pick it up?”

I couldn’t stand the thought of this second-hand-solid maple block-once loved by my mom-table going to another home other than my own.

This Thanksgiving It doesn’t matter if you gathered around a second-hand table that has held decades of memories in the past or celebrated around a new table with new memories to come.  As long as you were thankful and grateful. Breaking bread with family can happen in the best of times or the worst of times but there is nothing more precious than family.

“They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts praising God.”Acts 2:46


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An Angler’s Thanksgiving

Now that we have carved the turkey and taken a nap while watching the Dallas Cowboys traditional Thanksgiving Day game, we can now turn our attention to Christmas. But before we begin to think about jolly Ole St. Nick, let’s take a look at why I’m so thankful. No one appreciates more than me the opportunities I’ve had over the years to pursue and chase largemouth bass all across the southern United States. As a bass fisherman, I am truly blessed in so many ways. While I’m sure I’ll probably leave something out, here’s my list of what I’m thankful for.

1. My health… At the age of 60, and still in decent shape, I’m able to get in and out of my boat without busting my butt. I can still make that giant leap onto the front deck and drop the trolling motor in the water. I can fish all day and still feel pretty good the next day, as long as I’m taking my joint supplements and Aleve!

2. My boat… As a young man growing up, I looked forward to the day I would be launching my 20-foot Ranger bass boat with a 250 HP Yamaha engine on the back and the best Minn Kota trolling motor (Ultrex)… that with the push of a button will lock you down on a brush pile in the middle of the lake. It is a boat fully carpeted with awesome seats that rides like a luxury car and the best state of the art electronics that could probably help navigate your way to the moon and back.

3. The best rods and reels…. Another blessing is being a part of an awesome company like Daiwa. They have a tremendous line of rods and reels that I have used for the last six years, that just might be the best on the planet.

4. My relationships with certain companies…. Over the years, I’ve forged relationships with companies like Ranger Boats, Daiwa, SPRO, Gamakatsu, V&M, Seaguar fishing line and Santone Lures. Great companies that are staples in the bass fishing industry. What a blessing!

5. Great tournament organizations … I love competition and today anglers have a multitude of options to choose from. Organizations like B.A.S.S. and Major League Fishing (MLF) offer a wide range of tournaments for all skill levels from high school to college to professional. At no time in history has there been so many bass fishing opportunities that allow anglers to compete.

6. The best lakes in the country…. Take a pen and draw a 150-mile radius around Natchitoches, Louisiana, and you will have circled three of top 10 lakes in the country. Located right here in our own back yard are legendary lakes like Toledo Bend, Sam Rayburn and Caddo. But just outside that radius in East Texas sit Lake Fork, Lake of the Pines, Lake Monticello, and I’ll even throw in the Red River, just because of its history of hosting the Bassmaster Classic twice and a place I love to fish.

7. Friends and fellow competitors…. This is what makes tournament bass fishing special. The friendships and connections I have made through bass fishing is insane. While all of us want to win every time we launch our boats, there’s something special about the relationships you form with fellow anglers that cannot be explained. Just like any other sport, there are “clicks” or groups of guys that will help each other during an event like maybe sharing a technique they’re using or sharing information about a bait they’re getting bites on. Within each of these clicks though, is a word called trust. Bass anglers are a funny bunch when it comes to sharing info and before they will share, trust must be established. Just like a marriage, if trust is broken, that bond is severed forever.

One more thing, as an outdoorsman I’ve had the joy of watching some of the best sunrises and sunsets ever seen. God paints an awesome display each and every day on a giant blue canvas. There’s something special in the air on a tournament morning just before take-off with the sun rising in the east and anglers sitting on the water. It’s an indescribable feeling of how good God is and what a privilege it is to get to do what I do. I’m truly thankful for all of this, and so much more, that I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy during my long bass fishing career. Till next week, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to set the hook!

Steve Graf


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DON STAHL MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT at Lakeside

Lakeview Lady Gators took “The Swamp” to the Don Stahl Memorial Tournament this past weekend/ The Lady Gators started the season off in a community way by upsetting 4AMinden Tide to tipoff tournament play. Lakeview Lady Gators put up a whopping 64-24-point lead over Minden, with Jameisha Fisher leading the way with 18 points and 8 assists combined with Ju’Nyrria Powell also loading the stats with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds.

The 2 nd tournament game, the Lady Gators made their defensive presence known holding Doyline to 10 points, with the final score of 54 to 10. Led by 2-2A defensive player of the year Timberland Washington with an abundance of steals and great decision-making plays, teamed up with Trinity Browder who controlled the paint with both offensive and defensive rebounds, the Lady Gators advanced to the championship game.

In the final matchup, the battle of the undefeated (Arcadia, 3-0 and Lakeview Lady Gators, 2-0) took the floor in what was expected to be a tough fight. However, with Janaiya Fisher returning to the starting line-up, the Lady Gators jumped out to a 22-2 first quarter lead and didn’t look back, finishing the game with a final score of 72-29. Janaiya Fisher had 14 points to lead our Lady Gators and Sa’Niyah Marshall closed out the game with a double-double, 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Lakeview Lady Gators clinched the tournament. The All-Tournament Team consisted of top performers Jameisha Fisher and Ju’Nyrria Powell. Janaiya Fisher was named MVP. “I am very proud of the way the girls played in the tournament, yet there are still areas we need to improve in to reach our goals,” said Coach Dewaskie Fuller


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LPB HIGHLIGHTS LOUISIANA HISTORY: NEW DOCUMENTARY TO PREMIERE THIS DECEMBER ON NO MAN’S LAND

This December, explore the history of the Christmas bonfires on the levee and Louisiana’s Wild West past. Travel around Louisiana to see places found in The Green Book and learn about a soul icon that helped solidify our place on the musical map. This December, Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB) explores new stories and returning favorites throughout the month. 

Here are some of the highlights:

PAPA NOEL: THE LEGACY OF THE LEVEEE BONFIRES – Wednesday, Dec. 1 @ 7:00 PM 
This ritualistic Christmas Eve celebration, which dates to the 1800s, is told through personal interviews and storytelling sessions as the people of St. James Parish share a tradition that has been passed down generation after generation. Filmmaker Mark Niedelson was researching the bonfires when he ended up in the Gramercy police station. Unsure of what he had done wrong, Niedelson was greeted by the mayor, a man with a big smile and hands the size of baseball mitts! “He said, ‘Hi, I’m Ronald St. Pierre and I’m the King of the Bonfires!’ That’s when I knew I was going to be telling this story.”

IRMA THOMAS: THE SOUL QUEEN OF NEW ORLEANS – A CONCERT DOCUMENTARY 
Saturday, Dec. 4 @ 7:00 PM 
This captivating one-hour concert documentary highlights the successful life and career of the legendary New Orleans Soul Queen and Grammy-award winner Irma Thomas. Enjoy a candid interview with one of New Orleans’ most celebrated music icons as well as never-before-seen footage of Irma in concert with songwriter, producer and arranger Allen Toussaint. Irma’s close friends and contemporaries tell the story of her humble beginnings in Ponchatoula, her days living with her grandparents in Greensburg, how she sang in the Baptist church choir as a young girl, and how she quickly rose to national stardom. Says Irma Thomas: “’The Soul Queen’ is a nice title. I appreciate the thought and energy that went into that honor, but I don’t get hung up on the title. You know, I’m just Irma!” Encore: Monday, Dec. 6 @ 9:30 PM 

NO MAN’S LAND LPB Monday, Dec. 6 @ 7:00 PM It’s a story of outlaws, bandits, pirates and brave pioneers and it all happened right here in Louisiana in a place that was fittingly known as No Man’s Land. Slow to be settled, and marked by a pivotal moment in history, the Neutral Strip (as it was sometimes called) was used as an official buffer between Louisiana and Spanish Texas for years.  The film explores western part of the state as a separate folk region made up of groups – like Native Americans, remnants of early Spanish colonies, Scots-Irish pioneers, African Americans, and others – who, to this day, fiercely hold on to their multi-generational traditions and notions of identity. Emmy Award winning filmmakers Bill Rodman and Flo Ulmer-Rodman explore how No Man’s Land is best understood as a bastion for those cultural groups who wished to preserve the unique way of life they cherished. Encore: Thursday, Dec. 9 @ 9:00 PM

SAFE HAVEN: EXPLORING LOUISIANA’S GREEN BOOK LPB Tuesday, Dec. 14 @ 7:00 PM LPB brings this digital-first series to broadcast as we explore the Louisiana businesses and places found in The Green Book. The guide made travel possible for African Americans during the Jim Crow era. The program is hosted by LPB’s Kara St. Cyr, who traveled across Louisiana visiting historically significant businesses and places, from Shreveport to New Orleans and points in between.  Encore: Monday, Dec. 27 @ 8:00 PM

Along with these premieres, LPB will broadcast a number of returning favorites throughout the month.

  • Cajun Food Traditions Wednesday, Dec. 1 @ 8:30 PM
  • Unexpected Modernism: The Wiener Brothers Story Sunday, Dec. 5 @ 10:00 PM
  • The Spirit of a Culture: Cane River Creoles Monday, Dec. 6 @ 8:00 PM
  • Against the Tide: The Story of the Acadian People Tuesday, Dec. 7 @ 7:00 PM
  • T-Galop: A Louisiana Horse Story Wednesday, Dec. 8 @ 7:00 PM
  • Attakapas: The Cajun Story Thursday, Dec. 9 @ 7:00 PM
  • Louisiana’s Black Church: The Politics of Perseverance Saturday, Dec. 11 @ 4:00 PM

“We are excited to showcase these four new documentaries and some viewer favorites this holiday season,” says LPB Director of Programming, Jason Viso. “We are offering viewers a wide range of options that are both entertaining and educational.”

For complete program listings, visit www.lpb.org/schedule.


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Mac Braxton Tournament Was a Success

The 3rd annual Mac Braxton tournament kicked off at Lakeview on Nov. 22. The Tournament consisted of some teams from all over the area. The Boys teams were Southwood, Northwood-Lena, Atlanta, Montgomery, Lakeview, Captain Shreve, Atlanta, and Summerfield. The Girl teams were Red River, Atlanta, Summerfield, Montgomery, Lakeview, Jonesboro-Hodge, North Desoto, and Southwood. 

 
The Tournament is a round robin format, teams are matched up and play two to three games against competitive opponents. Over the years the tournament has grown and is a great token of appreciation to the late great Coach Braxton. Coach Braxton was a mentor and great coach embedded into Lakeview basketball history. 
 
“Every year we host this tournament so that alumni can come back and visit with old classmates,” stated Coach Brian Williams, Lakeview current coach. “To reminisce and walk these hallways again is a blessing. I feel that our students need to see the alumni and note that success comes from these halls and that basketball gym in a multitude of different fields.” 
 
Given the amount of people in the gym it seems that Coach Williams is fulfilling his vision. The games were packed and the people kept coming every night. This was a great atmosphere with the teams playing hard and the fans cheering their hearts out. 
 
“It is so much more than basketball,” stated Coach Williams. “We have alumni that pour into this school with their heart and soul, which shows a testament to how deep that Gator pride goes. We have alumni that give scholarships every year in the name of Coach Braxton, as well as constant donations to keep the basketball programs moving in the right direction. The most important thing that our alumni does, is show support by physically being there cheering and mentoring our kids, that is how you build a community of love.”
The Lakeview Boys did not let their fans down, they provided some exciting basketball with a combination of three victories. The Lakeview Gators open the tournament with Summerfield. Out sized as usual the Gators never flinched. They kept the pressure on and from the beginning Summerfield never stood a chance.
 
The speed defeated size once again with a final score of 85 to 38.

  • Alonzo Driver 16 points, Clifton Jones 13 points, Andre Sowell 12 points, Cameron Holden 10 points, Dayton Taylor 10 points
  • Clifton Jones 9 Rebounds, Dillon Pikes 9 Rebounds
  • Javonte Howard 5 Assists, Cameron Holden 4 Assists
  • Clifton Jones 5 steals, Alonzo Driver 4 steals, Cameron Holden 4 steals

The Lakeview boys faced a tall task the following night, to be precise a 6’9” tall task. Southwood, a 5A program, came to the gym with size that Lakeview does not see much. The Gators are small as is, but in this case, it was David vs. Goliath. Just like the biblical story, the outcome was the same. The Gators toppled the giant with some high-flying dunks and of course that Gator speed. The Gators forced 24 turnovers and surprisingly evened the rebounding battle 35 to 35. 

 
“We do have to get accustomed to that size,” stated Coach Williams. “There is a team in 2A that has that size, therefore the matchup with Southwood was early preparation for a possible matchup in the playoffs. Southwood did a great job of using the size to slow us down well below our pace. A few turnovers in the 4th and dunks to get the crowd involved put us over the hump. I thought that our young men stayed the course and fought hard.” 
 
The Gators defeated Southwood 63 to 58.

  • Javonte Howard 29 points, Clifton Jones 12 points
  • Clifton Jones 8 Rebounds, Dillon Pikes 8 Rebounds
  • Jamarcus Reliford 4 Assists
  • Alonzo Driver 3 steals, Dayton Taylor 3 steals

The Last game of the tournament was the test of all tests. Northwood-Lena Gators came into the game undefeated just like the Lakeview Gators. 

 
These two teams have history that dates back to Jr. High days for these players. Every game for the over the years has been close and decided on mistakes, with the victories being evenly distributed. Last year was the only exception to the rule due to the foul trouble of Northwood-Lena. 
 
The Gators, Northwood-Lena, had revenge on their mind. This has been an ongoing rival of who are the “Real Gators,” and this game was the tell all. Earlier this year in a jamboree in Northwood-Lena the two teams ended with a tie. 
 
“No winner, no real Gators,” stated Coach Williams. 
 
The game was everything it was hyped up to be, Northwood-Lena jumped out early, but Lakeview bounced back. Lakeview applied the pressure and overtime Northwood-Lena just could not sustain. Lakeview led from the middle of the 1st quarter until the buzzer sounded. The Lakeview depth was just too much for Northwood to handle. 
 
“The game was good, but I feel like the officials took the excitement out of the game,” stated Coach Williams. “Northwood shooting 42 free throws, 30 plus fouls called on us, 4 starters fouling out, and all in my own gym is amazing. I’m just glad we could overcome the officiating as well as our opponent. We will get to practice and make adjustments to our obvious fouling issue, because at the end of the day we ring chasing.” 
 
Lakeview defeated Northwood-Lena 80 to 73.

  • Clifton Jones 21 points, Alonzo Driver 14 points, Jamarcus Reliford 11 points, Cameron Holden 10 points
  • Clifton Jones 10 rebounds, Jamarcus Reliford 10 Rebounds
  • Jamarcus Reliford 4 steals, Cameron Holden 3 steals
  • Javonte Howard 5 assists

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Mentor Teacher Training Program to begin Jan. 24

An online Mentor Teacher Training Program will be offered through Northwestern State University’s Office of Electronic and Continuing Education and the NSU School of Education starting January 24, 2022.

This Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) approved mentor teacher training offered by the NSU School of Education prepares participants to earn the Louisiana Mentor Teacher micro-credential. The two-course training is offered online on a traditional semester basis, enrolling new participants each term. Courses will be taught by a current practitioner who has earned the state mentor credential.

In addition to the training, participants must pass the Bloom Board assessment to earn the micro-credential. The cost of the assessment is not included in the course fees.

For more information or to register, please call (318) 357-6355. Should there be a group of teachers from one district enrolling, please contact the Office of Electronic and Continuing Education for additional details.


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The National Holiday: Thanksgiving

When we think of Thanksgiving, we mostly think of the pilgrims at the first colonies in the Americas dining with the Native Americans they met when they landed. However, this was just the beginning. It was a long road to travel before Thanksgiving became an official holiday.

George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789, calling on Americans to express gratitude for the happy conclusion of the American Revolution and the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.

The National Holiday as we know it is thanks to magazine editor and prolific writer Sarah Josepha Hale, who launched a campaign in 1827. According to History.com, “Abraham Lincoln finally heeded her request in 1863, at the height of the Civil War, in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to ‘commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife’ and to ‘heal the wounds of the nation.'”

Lincoln scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November. Later on, Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. His plan was met with passionate opposition, and in 1941 he reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.

According to a blog by the Indianapolis Public Library, “Indigenous Peoples in America recognize Thanksgiving as a day of mourning. It is a time to remember ancestral history as well as a day to acknowledge and protest the racism and oppression which they continue to experience today. It is important to learn and remember the full history of colonization and the reality that it included centuries of genocide, the theft of land, and oppression.”


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MAYOR WILLIAMS TO REVIVE MAYOR’S YOUTH COUNCIL

Mayor Ronnie Williams has reignited the Mayor’s Youth Council which will begin meeting this January.

Before students were let out for the Thanksgiving break, Mayor Williams got a chance to meet them face-to-face to discuss the newly revived Mayor’s Youth Council. Mayor Williams, alongside Mary Ann Nowlin, set out to inform the students about what MYC is and does as well as how it is beneficial for those who participate.

A total of 25 students from local high schools will be chosen through an application process. Each participant must be a junior or senior in a public or private school in the City of Natchitoches, have a GPA of at least 2.5, turn in a completed application, and commit to attending scheduled meetings.

The City of Natchitoches Mayor Youth Council’s mission is to promote civic engagement and inspire the next generation of leaders by promoting participation in city government and volunteerism. The chosen students will work together in a culminating activity that advances and inspires change in the City of Natchitoches.

Applications can be picked up from the students’ school counselors or downloaded from the City’s website www.natchitochesla.gov. All applications are due to City Hall by the close of business Friday, December 10.


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Boys to Men Club: Nursing Home Community Service

The Boys to Men Club recently visited Natchitoches Nursing & Rehabilitation Center to perform community service.

Serving the residents with a bag filled with apples, bananas, water, raisins, and peppermints, the guys conversed and visited with patients to let them know that they were thinking about them during the holiday season. Some residents also received a bag with personal items such as soap, shampoo, mouthwash, toothpaste, lotions, and deodorant.

Dressed in jeans and matching yellow shirts, these guys showed up presentable & well-mannered, well-groomed, and ready-to-serve the residents.

Mr. Thomas stated that “I’ve informed these guys that we have to do ALL that we can, WHILE we can because we may be the only visitor that some of these patients ever get to see, especially during the holiday season. We will do this again sometime in the upcoming spring.”

The Boys to Men Club is a service organization that teaches life skills to 7th & 8th grade male students at NJH. For more information about the club, contact the club director Jermaine Thomas at jermaine.thomas@npsb.la.

Shown from l-to-r are Mr. Jermaine Thomas, LaGordian Brown, Khaelyb Creighton, Tony Johnson Jr, Michael Brown Jr, Daniel Hunter, Jayden Russell, Ashton Henry, Derrick Beaudoin, Dreylon Butler, Davonte Middleton, and Genard Wamber.


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Jay Cicero, leader of Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, will get 2022 Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award

NATCHITOCHES – Shreveport native Jay Cicero, the longtime President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, is the 2022 winner of the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award presented by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

Next summer during the Hall of Fame’s 2022 Induction Ceremony in Natchitoches, he will become the 22nd recipient of the Dixon Award since its inception in 2005, and will be enshrined in the Hall.

The Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award has been presented annually by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s 40-member Hall of Fame selection committee to an individual who has played a decisive role as a sports leader or administrator benefiting Louisiana and/or bringing credit to Louisiana on the national and international level.

It is named in honor of the 1999 LSHOF inductee, an entrepreneur and innovator who is credited as the key figure in bringing an NFL franchise to New Orleans, and the development of the Caesars Superdome, highlighting an array of sports-related endeavors.

Cicero’s selection was announced Wednesday morning by LSWA president Raymond Partsch III and Doug Ireland, the longtime chairman of the Hall of Fame. Cicero emerged from a ballot showcasing 23 noteworthy nominees for the Dixon Award.

With more than 35 years of sports management experience in Louisiana, including 24 years as president and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, Cicero has led efforts in the Crescent City to not only bring dozens of major sporting events to New Orleans, but to serve as the head of the local organizing efforts for those events.

He will be inducted 30 years after the GNOSF made its first big national splash as the organizing entity for the 1992 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials hosted at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans.

Cicero began his career in sports in group sales and marketing in his hometown for the Class AA Shreveport Captains in 1986. He first joined the Sports Foundation in 1990 as Director of Special Projects and Director of Sales for the 1992 Olympic Trials.

In February 1993, Cicero was named the first general manager of the Class AAA New Orleans Zephyrs, who had just moved to town from Denver. In 1995, he returned to the Sports Foundation as Vice President of Operations and was named President/CEO in June 1997.

As the President/CEO of the Sports Foundation, Cicero has served in numerous senior leadership roles, including as the executive director of the 2002, 2013 and 2025 New Orleans Super Bowl Host Committees and the 2008, 2014 and 2017 NBA All-Star Game Host Committees, as well as serving on the executive committees for Super Bowls, several NCAA Men’s and Women’s Final Fours, the annual R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, two WrestleManias and the College Football Playoff championship game.

Cicero grew up in a sports family. His father was a teacher and coached football and baseball at Shreveport’s Loyola Prep, formerly St. John’s and Jesuit, for more than four decades.

Cicero will be among the 2022 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Class headlined by nine “competitive ballot” inductees announced in September.

A pair of six-time Pro Bowl NFL linemen, New Orleans Saints’ offensive guard Jahri Evans and Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams, join the late Tony Robichaux, No. 1 on the wins list for state college baseball coaches, among a star-studded group of nine 2022 competitive ballot inductees.

The LSHOF Class of 2022 also includes two of the greatest women athletes in LSU history, three-time national champion gymnast Susan Jackson and two-time first-team All-America softball pitcher Britni Sneed Newman. Williams, who helped the Tigers’ football team win the 2003 national championship, is joined by another of LSU’s all-time great linemen, the late Eric Andolsek, and pro rodeo great Steve Duhon among the 2022 inductees.

Baton Rouge-Episcopal High School track and field/cross country coach Claney Duplechin enters the Hall next summer still active, with his teams capturing an astounding 64 LHSAA crowns in his career. Rounding out the Class of 2022 is the late Dr. Eddie Flynn, who as a Loyola-New Orleans student won the 1932 Olympic welterweight boxing gold medal for the USA, the last gold medal for an American boxer for 20 years.

Inducted next summer as winners of the LSWA’s Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism will be acclaimed north Louisiana writer, author and broadcaster Teddy Allen and central Louisiana writer, editor and publisher Garland Forman.

The 2022 Induction Class will be showcased in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum, operated by the Louisiana State Museum system in a partnership with the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. The striking $23 million, two-story, 27,500-square foot structure faces Cane River Lake in the National Historic Landmark District of Natchitoches and has garnered worldwide architectural acclaim and rave reviews for its contents since its grand opening during the 2013 Hall of Fame induction weekend.

The 2021 Dixon Award winner was retired NFL referee Terry McAulay, a Hammond native and LSU graduate. McAulay, now the rules analyst for NBC’s Sunday Night Football, is one of a handful of referees to work three Super Bowls.

The 2020 recipient was Joan Cronan, an Opelousas native and LSU graduate who became one of the most respected administrators in collegiate athletics as women’s athletics director, and then overall athletics director, at the University of Tennessee.

Other past Dixon Award recipients include the 2018 winner, Steve Gleason, the former New Orleans Saints player who has become globally acknowledged as one of the world’s leading advocates for people diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

In 2008, the Dixon Award went to world-renowned orthopedic Dr. James Andrews, a Homer native, LSU graduate and SEC champion pole vaulter.

Paul Hoolahan, executive director and chief executive officer of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Classic for 23 years, was presented the 2015 Dixon Award.

The 2016 winner was world-renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Julian Bailes, a Natchitoches native and LSU graduate who has become a leading figure in the field of sports-related concussion research and treatment.

Sue Donohoe, who served as the NCAA’s vice president for women’s basketball for 12 years, and also directed the men’s basketball NCAA Division I championship, was the 2017 recipient.

The 2022 LSHOF Induction Celebration is slated to kick off Thursday, June 23, with a press conference and reception. The three-day festivities include two receptions, a youth sports clinic, a bowling party, and a Friday night riverbank concert in Natchitoches. Tickets for the Saturday night, June 25 Induction Ceremony, along with congratulatory advertising and sponsorship opportunities, are available through the LaSportsHall.com website.

Adding to the 366 sports competitors currently enshrined, 21 winners of the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership award and 69 recipients of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism, there are 455 current members of the Hall of Fame.

The Induction Celebration weekend will be hosted by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, the support organization for the Hall of Fame. The LSHOF Foundation was established as a 501 c 3 non-profit entity in 1975 and is governed by a statewide board of directors. For information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Foundation President/CEO Ronnie Rantz at 225-802-6040.


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American Legion Auxiliary to operate Food Post during Christmas Festival to benefit local Veterans

The Gordon Peters Post, Unit 10, of the American Legion Auxiliary in Natchitoches encourages you to visit our Post located at the corner of Fourth and Saint Denis Streets (the old Tin House location) for gumbo, chili, hot dogs, drinks, etc. for sale at reasonable prices. Our Post will also be open for food sales on Saturday, Dec. 4, Christmas Festival Day, from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Parking is available on both dates at reasonable rates as well. All proceeds will benefit our local Veterans.


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33rd Annual Christmas Gala to be performed Dec. 1-3

01 Opening

The Mrs. H.D. Dear Sr. and Alice E. Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts at Northwestern State University will present the 33rd annual Christmas Gala Dec. 1-3 in the A.A. Fredericks Auditorium. Performance times are 7 p.m. each evening with a 9 p.m. performance on Dec. 3.

This will be the first time in three years a live Christmas Gala will be performed in the renovated A.A. Fredericks Auditorium. The 2019 Gala was moved off campus due to construction in the auditorium. Last year’s performance was virtual due to the pandemic.

Tickets are $15. NSU, BPCC@NSU and Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts students are admitted free with a current student I.D.

“The Christmas Gala is eagerly anticipated by both local audiences and our students who perform and work behind the scenes,” said Gala Director Brett Alan Garfinkel. “The School of Creative and Performing Arts works on the Gala year-round to be sure we provide a memorable event for the community.”

The Gala will feature performances by the NSU Jazz Orchestra, “Out on a Limb Improv” Troupe, the NSU Dance Company, NSU Percussion Ensemble, Demon Dazzlers, Demon Heat Colorguard, NSU Brass Choir, NSU Chamber Choir and the Natchitoches-Northwestern-Symphony Orchestra,

The Gala story was written by NSU students Olivia Hancock of Dubach, Mekayla Jenkins of Jennings, Mikiah Odom of Marshall. Texas, and Kaylon Willoughby of Hammond. Ensemble directors and conductors are Galindo Rodriguez, Robert Richoux, Kenneth Green, David Steele, Jena Elfer, Dr. Grace Edgar, Dr. Nicholaus B. Cummins, Dr. Douglas Bakenhus and Garfinkel. Choreographers are Pia Wyatt, Kirstin Riehl, Rebecca Morgan and Michael Lomeka.

More than 400 Northwestern State students, faculty and staff in the School of Creative and Performing Arts combine their talents to present the Gala as a kickoff to the Natchitoches Christmas Festival. Large crowds attend the Gala each year which is based on the long-running Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular.

Garfinkel said the Gala will combine popular parts from past shows along with new elements that are added this year. He said this year’s Christmas Gala will be a version of a Louisiana Nutcracker.

“A Fais-do-do will take the place of the usual Christmas Party,” said Garfinkel. “Instead of the Land of the Sweets in Act II the show will take a journey through the Land of Spices. The music and performance acts will have a Louisiana flare.”


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Fleur de Lis Christmas Craft Market – This Saturday

Fleur de Lis Christmas Craft Market is coming to Natchitoches on November 27th. The Fleur de Lis Christmas Craft Market will celebrate its 17th year in operation on Saturday, Nov. 27 from 9 am – 4:30 pm at the Natchitoches Events Center, located at 750 Second Street in Natchitoches. This event is free and open to the public.

There will be gifts for the whole family, from adults to children. Over 110 vendors from a four-state area will come to Natchitoches to sell their wares.

“The best part is everything offered at our craft market is handmade,” said organizer Cheryl Gianforte.


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Beware of Cold Calls Encouraging Medicare Beneficiaries to Switch Plans

The Louisiana Department of Insurance Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) urges Medicare beneficiaries to ignore unsolicited calls offering to help them switch to a different Medicare plan during the ongoing Medicare Open Enrollment.

Scammers try to generate commissions by booking Medicare beneficiaries into a new plan. Insurance agents are not allowed to make cold calls to solicit business, so agents sometimes engage outside marketers to call Medicare beneficiaries and promise to put them into “a better” plan. In fact, the call has nothing to do with placing someone in a more appropriate plan and may often result in the Medicare beneficiary ending up in a worse plan.

The Louisiana Department of Insurance SHIIP program wants Medicare beneficiaries to know that they should never get a call about Medicare from someone with whom they don’t already have a relationship. Medicare Open Enrollment runs through Dec. 7.

Medicare beneficiaries can protect themselves by doing the following:

Do not engage with unsolicited callers who want to talk with you about Medicare.
Do not give unsolicited callers your name, your Medicare identification number or your Social Security number. Scammers could use this information to make changes to your plan without your knowledge.

If you do get an unsolicited call about Medicare, ask the caller for their name and license number, then call Medicare or call our SHIIP program to report what you experienced.

If you discover that your plan has been switched without your knowledge, call the Louisiana Department of Insurance SHIIP program so that we can ask Medicare to change it back.

If you have questions about Medicare, call a trusted partner like SHIIP or the Senior Medicare Patrol.

If you have questions or are concerned you or a loved one may have been a victim of a scam, you can contact SHIIP at 1-800-259-5300 or the Senior Medicare Patrol at 877-272-8720.


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If you’re dead, why even take a shower?

Former Times sportswriter Jim McLain died a little more than three years ago, something I’d forgotten about until I saw him the other day in Shreveport.

It is not often you get to talk to your friends, in person, after they die. But Mr. McLain, a reporter for nearly 40 years and a member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame since 1995 when he was presented the Distinguished Service Award, is nothing if not durable. Even after he’d died, he’d gone about his business, pro that he is.

Turns out that, according to Jim, the only really good part about being dead and not knowing about it is the being, as he describes it, “blissfully unaware.” But once he found out he was dead, well, it was a bit of a different ballgame.

“I might not have known I was dead for several more weeks if I hadn’t gotten a call from my doctor’s office,” he said.

The woman was pleasant when he answered but confused when, after she asked his name, he identified himself as the proposed deceased. The doctor’s secretary even asked to speak to his wife, who verified she’d been cooking and washing clothes all week for the same 80-year-old she’d been married to for half a century.

Mrs. McLain had done that work for nothing, according to the government. A recent Medicare claim filed on behalf of Mr. McLain had bounced back with the notation that, according to the latest records, he was dead.

Sorry. But there you have it. Who said life, or death, was fair?

Jim suggested refiling the claim. Probably a typing error had occurred, he reasoned. But the following Wednesday after the mail arrived, he heard his wife yelling through the shower door, something about the Caddo Parish Registrar of Voters removing him – well, removing his corpse – from the voter rolls. “Hate to say it,” she said, “but it looks like this time, you really are dead.”

Thought No. 1 for Mr. Jim: “Wasted shower.” Thought No. 2: “The government has lost me and if I’m to be found, I have to send out my own search party.” Thought No. 3: “Why am I still hungry?”

He called his local Social Security Administration, hoping to avoid the fiscal pinch of missed checks and the like since, as the Medicare episode had taught him – and as the mutual funds people who wanted to settle his estate would soon tell him – the money gets sort of shut off or redirected once you start showing up dead. This happens to an estimated 14,000 people a year; if the Social Security Administration accidentally kills you, or lists you as dead, it’s good to let them know they have fumbled. You want to get off their Death Master File. You want to be, in the parlance of the agency, “resurrected” or “un-dead.” It’s not too much to ask, and in simplest terms, this is generally what is advised for you to do: go into the Social Security office with proper ID, the forms listing you as deceased, and prove that you have not “got dead.”

Turns out that in Jim’s case, an out-of-state funeral home had turned in his social Security number, obviously by mistake. The problem was quickly solved, a real shot in the arm to Jim but also for his loyal wife, who wasn’t doing all that cooking and cleaning for nothing after all.

Though he never found out how he died, Jim did find out when: March 12. “I have circled the 12th of March on every calendar since,” he said. “The Feds attempted to eliminate me once. They could try again.”

In the spare time that he’s been alive since retiring, Jim has written “Double Team Trap,” a Cold War spy thriller available online. If you pick up a copy he’s sure to sign it for you – if you can get to him before the government does. – August 24, 2014

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu


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Goldonna News Thanksgiving Edition

Writing the Goldonna News for the past year has been quite rewarding and I have met many new amazing people in the area. It has been pure joy for me. But I have to say that this past weekend when I decided to visit all three churches while they were having Thanksgiving meals proved to be the icing on the cake. Literally.

My first stop of the day was my dad’s church, River of Life. For over thirty years this congregation has been worshiping together and breaking bread together. Every one of the church members have their favorite meals that others cook and they are not shy about making requests. Sunday’s dinner on the grounds did not disappoint with its bounty of Thanksgiving traditional items. There was no shortage of casseroles, turkey, ham and enough desserts for each church member to have one of their very own. The congregation also shared what they were thankful for and had the chance to win a Christmas Daily Devotional. Michelle Morgan was the winner of the prize!

From there I made my way up the hill to Goldonna Assembly of God. The ladies were cleaning the kitchen and packing up the food. The whole church came together for Sunday Service and the Thanksgiving Feast. Soon after the dining hall was cleaned up they were prepping for the Christian group, The McClanahan’s to begin their singing. You could feel the love and excitement in the air. This was my first trip to the church with their renovated sanctuary. On my way out I asked one of the church members if the pews were new or painted…they were quick to brag on the new double padded pew cushions. I couldn’t leave without trying it for myself. They were exquisite and ready for a lengthy sermon.

This means that Brother Timmy can preach as long as he wants and the parishioners will not flee in the name of comfort.

As soon as I walked into my last stop at Goldonna Baptist Church, I instantly smelled home cooked food and church folk laughing and carrying on with one another. This is where I was politely coerced to sit and enjoy some pumpkin pie and great company. Truth be known they did not have to twist my arm very much. I quickly grabbed the pie, fork and plate like it was second nature. It was hard not to notice that it was mostly the men of the church who were cleaning up and serving, not saying the ladies were not doing their part….It was a blessing to see everyone involved.

While I was there I was able to catch up with my old neighbors from my days living in Goldonna and my new friend, Village Alderman, Reed Franklin. I may or may not have volunteered to drive a van of Senior Citizens to Branson in the near future. Needless to say it was a true blessing being in the presence of so many children of God.

All of the churches that I was blessed enough to visit had one common thread. They were small in numbers but loaded with brotherly love. If you are in the area and looking for a church you would feel welcomed and loved at every single one of them. I give them a solid rating of 10 for every rating system possible.

As the National holiday of Thanksgiving comes to an end later this week it does not mean that you cannot continue to live a thankful life. There are so many of God’s blessings that are showered on us daily and they deserve to be noticed all year round. Just driving down Main Street in Goldonna and gazing at the beautiful red Bradford Pear Trees will have you feeling very grateful for God’s beauty.

Don’t forget all things Christmas in the Park will be coming up next week and don’t forget the Saline Creek Christmas Tree Farm!

If you have news to share please email Reba Phelps at jreba.phelps@gmail.com


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