Memorial Wreath Presented at the Natchitoches Parish Veterans and Memorial Park

This weekend’s inclement weather and social distancing rules forced the cancellation of Natchitoches’ traditional Memorial Day ceremony that would have been held on Memorial day at the Natchitoches Parish Veterans and Memorial Park.

Despite these obstacles, the parish’s fallen veterans would not be forgotten. On Friday, May 22, veterans Ms. Dee Fowler and Mr. Jeremy Miller laid a wreath at the memorial fountain at the park that lists the parish’s war dead from WWI to the present day. Both veterans are former Army officers who are active in community and veterans’ causes. Ms. Fowler is the commander of the American Legion Gordon Peters Post 10 in Natchitoches, while Mr. Miller is active in both the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post. In addition, he is the president of the Veterans Park Committee.

The Memorial Day Program at the Natchitoches Parish Veterans and Memorial Park will continue next year and will feature the reading of veterans who have died since the last program. This Memorial Day let us remember the last part of President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

“…But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

To The Unfinished Work

By Kevin Shannahan

Several years ago I participated in the Bataan Memorial Death March held at White Sands Missile Range. It is a unique event, a full marathon across the New Mexico desert held to honor the soldiers who endured the Bataan Death March in WWII, many of whom were from New Mexico National Guard units. While the race takes place on an Army post and has a distinctly military flavor, there are people from every walk of life there.

I was thinking of the last time I participated in the march as I sat down to write this piece. The Bataan Memorial Death March is a truly eclectic event. There are people running it as one would a conventional marathon. There are soldiers running the marathon in uniform, boots and a 35 lb rucksack. Then there are people like me who hike the whole route without running.

The race is impossible to participate in without contemplating the relationship between America and her military, the men and women who serve, have served, and their families. I spent 11 hours passing, and being passed by, a variety of people. I was passed by a soldier whose prosthetic leg made a clinking sound as he marched at a furious pace. An hour later, I saw him by the side of the road sitting down, his leg beside him, in obvious pain as he massaged the stump. As I went over to see if he needed help, another soldier helped him to his feet . He put the leg back on, shouldered his rucksack and took off again. We were to pass each other several times that day in the same manner. I spent an hour or so with a group of older women who were talking about what a good time they were having that day. One could see women like them taking an early morning walk in any city in America except for one difference. They all wore t-shirts with a photo of a young man, a date and a place. Between them, they had lost 5 sons to our nation’s wars. Two of them had other children in the military. At that moment President Lincoln’s 1864 letter to Mrs. Bixby became more than a piece of history to me: “…laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom…” Many of the marchers’ rucksacks had photographs of friends and relatives pinned to them.

Social media will be briefly full of flags and military cemeteries. We will be piously reminded of the reason for the three day weekend. In a very real way, it is a good thing that the vast majority of the population has no real connection to the military. I would not wish us a return to the days of the Civil War or WWII in which the casualty lists were in the thousands and almost every family had a connection to the war.

President Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address laid out what we owe to the men and women who died in our nation’s battles “… It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

We owe them more than gratitude, much more than a shallow moment or two before we get on with the cookout, etc. We owe them to be better men and women. Make your life count. Be worthy. Be the kind of American worth fighting for.

Natchitoches Police seek Onterio Pier for homicide on Jackson Drive

The Natchitoches Police Department is investigating a homicide that took place Sunday night on Jackson Drive.

On May 24, 2020 around 11:06 p.m., officers with the Natchitoches Police Department responded to the 600 block of Jackson Drive in reference to someone being shot in the area. Upon officers arrival they located Latrice Thomas (B/F, 28 y.o.a. of Natchitoches) suffering from a gunshot wound. Latrice Thomas was transported to the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center where she was pronounced deceased from her injuries.

As additional officers were responding to the area they located Onterio Pier, the suspect, (B/M, 26 y.o.a. of Natchitoches) driving away from the 600 block of Jackson Drive. When officers attempted to stop his vehicle, Onterio Pier, led them on a vehicle pursuit and crashed in the 100 block of Harry Drive. Onterio Pier exited his vehicle and ran into a wooded area.

Onterio Pier is charged with Second Degree Murder.

The Natchitoches Police Department will release more details as they become available.

If you have seen Onterio Pier please contact the Natchitoches Police Department at (318) 352-8101 or Detective Trent Perritt at (318) 238-3914. Do not attempt to apprehend or detain this individual by yourself. Onterio Pier is considered to be armed and dangerous. Remember all information given shall remain confidential.

Officer John Greely
Natchitoches Police Department

NPD Press Release

The Story of James L. Womack – Combat Related Disabled Lawyer

By Willie M. Calhoun, MSG, ret USAR

In writing this story, I sadly admit to not having met Mr. James L. Womack. Therefore my original intentions were to visit those of the Sikes community who personally knew him. After the COVID-19 pandemic, I reverted to other means of communication to develop this story. We were able to retell a story that many in this area have already heard.

At its core, the James L. Womack story is of a man whom the late radio talk show host Paul Harvey would refer to as “a man who fell down and got up again.” This story would not have been possible without help from Mrs. Rita James, niece of Mr. Womack; Mr. Noah Peppers, friend of Mr. Womack; Mrs. Ethel Howell, Mr. Womack’s church member; and Mr. James Calhoun, a lawyer friend of Mr. Womack. Of course, I also credit my mother, Mrs. Vadie Lou Riser Calhoun, who I suspect tried to scare me with this story.

On this Memorial Day 2020, as we celebrate, memorialize, and honor the servicepersons who died in all wars, I ask that we also remember a group of servicepersons like Mr. James L. Womack. This group is classified by the Veterans Affairs Administration as combat related disabled. These veterans are often confused with non-combat related disabled veterans.

I first heard the James L. Womack story from my dear mother (madea) at about the age of 15. She and James were born and raised in or around the northeastern Winn Parish village of Skies, which accounted for her being familiar with his story. As the mother of a soon–to-be military draft eligible son, her motives for telling this story appeared ulterior. Of the several times she told the story, often she didn’t mention James was a lawyer, but always seemed to remember to describe his multiple combat sustained wounds, injuries, and disabilities.

Even though I believe this story was used as one of her many ill-fated attempts to dissuade me from volunteering for the Marines, she unwittingly sparked my interest in a military career that lasted for over 22 years. I now consider the James L. Womack story to be one of the most extraordinary, inspirational, and motivational of any combat related disabled veteran of this state and far beyond.

After returning from World war II, he indeed adapted to his current situation and overcame many obstacles to accomplish his goals and objectives during his life. By daily upholding the “adapt to and overcome” warrior creed, he became a great credit to his family, church, community, civic and professional organizations, and to his state.

James L. Womack was born on November 19, 1925. He attended Sikes High School and later Louisiana Tech. As with all World War II veterans, it’s likely he probably would have lived out his entire life without any significant event occurring. However, there were a series of events that changed the lives of James and all other able bodied young men of that era.

With almost the entire World (except America) engaged in hostilities, The Imperial Japanese Navy staged an unprovoked attack on a U.S. Naval fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii on December, 7 1941. The attack resulted in 2,403 American servicemen killed and 1,178 wounded and some equipment lost. The next day President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared November, 7 1941 as “a day of infirmary” and shortly after, Congress declared war on the Axis powers (Japan, Germany, and Italy). This declaration of war was followed by the largest mobilization of the U.S. military as of this date. All men from their 18th birthday until their 45th birthday were subject to military service, and all men from their 18th birthday until the day before their 65th birthday were required to register for the draft.

James L. Womack fit into the World War II stats in the following way; he was one of the 39% that volunteered and one of the 17.7 out of 1,000 that received non-fatal combat wounds.

Mr. Womack’s experiences while in WW II was relayed to his family on many occasions. Following is a story from Mrs. Rita (Mr. Womack’s niece). As a volunteer her uncle, with all other troops, was packed on a train going across France. This was after D-Day. Her uncle was by the door because he wanted to look out at the countryside. The train ride was rough and you had to hold on. One soldier was drinking and fell into her uncle and fell off the train. Of course the engineer was unaware of this and kept going. The soldier wandered around the countryside. A French family picked him up and he stayed with them. He fought with the French Resistance Army for at least a month and finally was transported to his outfit.

Mrs. Rita continued to explain that a German sniper had several soldiers penned down. Her uncle saw where he was hiding and shot through the tree, which killed the German sniper. He was very fortunate that our soldiers had armor piercing bullets that would go through anything from trees to a tank.

The following story, also told by Mrs. Rita, is one that was probably first told to her Grandparents by what is called a Casualty Assistance Officer team, most likely accompanied by some member of the Sikes community who was held in high esteem (most likely a clergyman). Mrs. Rita explained how, in a small town, the Germans were advancing so fast that her uncle’s unit pulled back. In an effort to slow the Germans down, three volunteers of the Army stayed and were setting up a land mine. Her uncle was one of the three volunteers. As one soldier knelt down to set up the mine, her uncle was looking over him as the mine exploded killing the solider who was kneeling and severely wounding her uncle. The other solider picked up her uncle and loaded him onto a transport vehicle. He was taken to a hospital and was eventually transferred to Walter Reed Hospital in Maryland. He lay there for two weeks before he realized he didn’t have any arms. Gangrene set up in one leg and he fought them about cutting off his leg. At one low point in his stay at Walter Reed, he managed to work his way up the stairs to the top floor and climb onto the balcony ledge- ready to jump. He said a prayer, “Lord if I can’t help anybody, I don’t want to live.” He said as he was standing there he knew he couldn’t jump. Also while in the Walter Reed Hospital, President Harry Truman came to visit her Uncle. He wanted to make a real “hero” of her uncle but her uncle didn’t want that. Even though he was a real hero, he didn’t really like that big a deal being made out of it.”

According to Mr. Noah Peppers of Sikes, Mr. Womack returned to his home village and his fiancee, Mrs. Geraldine Abrams, who promised to marry him. Once the war was over she kept her promise. They were married and he attempted to become a lawyer. There were obstacles to getting into law school. Mrs. Rita shared that it took 3 years to get into law school at LSU as they didn’t think he could possibly do the work since he could not see, but finally they accepted him. The students that were not doing well in class were made to read to her uncle. As they helped her uncle they also helped themselves because there were deep discussions in their reading sessions. Mr. Peppers also states that Mrs. Geraldine assisted her husband in reading as he could not see. In Mr. Womack’s obit, it states he graduated 4th in his class and was honored with membership in the Order of the Coif.

As one might imagine Mr. Womack’s work earned him many awards and recognitions in his life. Mrs Rita said that in 1976, her uncle was awarded the most accomplished Disabled Veteran Award. Throughout his career, he was on the board to start the Boy Scouts of America in Winn Parish and was a big supporter and member of the Kiwanis in Winnfield. He also implemented the Winn Sheltered Workshop for the disabled persons and started the Sikes Wolf Creek Guild in 1979 and it still goes on today. The James L. Womack story could not be completely told without exposing his appeal to celebrities and politicians. Mrs. Rita said that when the movie “Blaze” was being filmed in Winnfield, the actor Paul Newman wandered into her uncle’s office and struck up a conversation with him. They enjoyed a beer together and several times when they couldn’t find Paul Newman to do his part in the film, they knew to look around her uncle’s office. Paul Newman was so impressed with her uncle by him being an attorney with no arms and blind. Also, Mr. John McCarty of Quitman once told me that Governor Earl K. Long would always look up Mr. Womack when he passed through Sikes. The radio talk show host Paul Harvey, according to Mrs. Rita , made a comment that deserves repeating of Mr. Womack: James Womack, a man who fell down and got up again.

Memorial Day Memories: James Puckett, Hero

By Donald Gates

This being Memorial Day weekend I became a little nostalgic about my two years of service in the Army. All my service time was state side, so I never saw combat (although some of my experience as an MP came close). My thoughts turned to some friends who did see combat and I immediately thought of James Puckett, a high school friend. We attended Puckett High, a small rural school in Puckett Mississippi (I never knew of the ancestral relationship between his name and the town’s, if any). James and I often talked about our future. He was a year older (18) and a grade ahead of me.

The time was 1950 and the Korean War was at its height. One day he told me that he was dropping out of school and joining the Marines. I suggested he wait until he graduated and then join since a high school education might influence the possibility of advancement. But no, he was determined to go do his “part”. He told me he would see me when he came home on furlough after competing basic training.

About eight weeks later he did come home and rode his bike to my house dressed in his fatigues. We had a great discussion about his experiences, and I was somewhat envious. On leaving he said he couldn’t wait for Friday night when all the kids would gather at the movie house. Let me tell you a little about small rural towns in the 50s. Puckett had a population of 300 (The sign at the entrance to town said “Welcome to Puckett. Population 300 good friendly folks and a few old soreheads”). It had a movie house (to call it a theater would be a little grandiose). We thought it was great because before that, movies were shown in a tent. Movies were shown on Friday and Saturday nights (25 cent fee) and most school kids from town and surrounding area showed up well before movie time for socialization. In fact, many didn’t have the entrance fee, so it was the socialization that was the draw.

Well James walked up dressed in his dress Marine uniform and all the kids gathered round to hear him tell of his Basic Training experiences. He was so proud to be a Marine! I shall never forget the look of pride on his face that night and I believe the attention he received that night from all those young admirers helped him deal with what was to come.

James would have graduated with the 1951 Class of Puckett High School. He was killed in combat on November 29, 1950 in Korea.

Today there are many young men and women stationed all over the world who are dedicated to keeping us safe and preserving our way of life. On this Memorial Day may we all remember and honor those who are willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Do you often think about how blessed we are to live in this country where we are free to be all that we can be? Well you should!

LDH Update for 05/21/20; Natchitoches: 141 Cases/13 Deaths – Big Cases Jump

Defend Against COVID-19

Stay home. Follow the Governor’s Stay at Home Order. Only leave your home if it is necessary for essential work or for essential items.

Defend Against COVID-19. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Recognize the symptoms. Cover your cough. Wash your hands. Stay home especially if you are sick.

Maintain a Social Distance of 6ft. Social distancing means keeping 6ft. of physical space between yourself and others. This helps to prevent the spread of illness.

NRMC Releases Community COVID-19 Screening and Testing Chart

Over the past eight weeks, a skilled team of Natchitoches Regional Medical Center (NRMC) Associates volunteered their expertise to provide community drive-through screenings and testing for COVID-19 at the campus of Central Louisiana Technical Community College campus. This site is now closed since the need for drive-through screening is no longer needed, but more than 299 cars came through the site with 348 people tested. COVID-19 was detected for 29 people with 18 results still pending. (SEE CHART BELOW)

“I’d like to extend my sincerest thanks to the outstanding healthcare professionals for their efforts and dedication in making this drive through testing possible,” explained Kirk Soileau Chief Executive Officer. “Also special thanks to Campus Dean of CLTCC Laurie Morrow, City of Natchitoches Mayor Lee Posey, Parish President John Richmond, Senator Louie Bernard, Natchitoches Chief of Police Mickey Dove and Captain Brad Walker, Natchitoches Sheriff Victor Jones, Northwestern State University Police Chief Craig Vercher, Homeland Security Officer Mary Jones, Natchitoches Fire Department Chief John Wynn, and many volunteers for their assistance. This testing was truly a community effort as only Natchitoches can do it! Soileau noted.

Going forward, any community member needing screening and testing can visit the Walk-in Clinic on Keyser Avenue from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, or at the North Natchitoches Clinic in Campti from 8 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Within the next 30 days, NRMC will be offering rapid Antibody Serum Testing and rapid PCR viral testing through NRMC’s main hospital laboratory. Results will be available within one hour. If in the future should there be a resurgence of COVID-19 or other viruses, NRMC will be ready and able to offer immediate testing locally without relying on an outside testing laboratory.

Again, thank you to everyone for working together to protect the health of our community. We are Natchitoches Strong!


Filters and Fillers

By Reba Phelps

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom that was apparently was showing itself as fine lines and wrinkles on my face.

One day, during the cheerful and care-free days prior to COVID19, I found myself completely enjoying the scenery at the Mall of Louisiana in Baton Rouge. All alone, I was away at a meeting and was taking in the solitude and freedom of browsing at my own pace. I could linger in a store for hours and not buy a thing…. I had no one rushing me or complaining.

If you have been to mall within the last ten years you should be familiar with the micro-stores that occupy the middle of the walking isles. They are normally peddling anything from 5 minute massages to hair bows and monogrammed goodies. Sometimes there is artwork or home decor and even pots and pans. On this particular trip I noticed a skin care pop-up shop.

As I was strolling by I was stopped by a friendly salesman who complimented my skin. He told me I looked so youthful and must not even be in my thirties yet. I can spot a good salesman anytime I see one but this one had a sweet foreign accent and I just adored him right off the bat… so I indulged him. He asked what products I use and then went on to say that I must be so committed to my regiment because I looked flawless.

I was totally enamored with his whole sales pitch and bought into it hook, line and sinker. I found myself explaining my facial regimen to him, which barely consists of soap and water. He asked me to step inside of his mini-salon so he could see my skin in his special light. Once I entered he sat me in a chair and began his inspection in front of a lighted mirror.

He pointed to the lines around my lips and said, “you see these deeps lines around your mouth?”. I responded with a short head nod. Without hesitation he went on to say. “this is not from years of happiness and smiling, this is because your face has fallen over time.”

Just wow. I thought it was because I literally smile all the time. Nope. Not true. My face fell and it could not get back up.

He told me he had a cream to fix that. He then examined my larger than normal forehead and pointed out the many lines I have in that area. His special light was beginning to hurt my feelings and I believe it was creating lines that were not there before.

He hastily shared, “these lines are from years of neglect, sunshine, aging and not even surgery could repair this damage.”


But he had a cream to fix this too. He asked if he could wipe off my makeup and show me this magical potion. Before I could politely object he was smothering me with a wipe. He had taken off only half of my makeup so I could see the miraculous difference that his cream offered. He pulled out a spackle-type tool and went to work on my forehead. As he worked he explained he was filling the holes, defects and small cracks.

I honestly felt like a piece of drywall getting a new coat of paint.

Once he finished, my forehead felt like concrete. But, to his merit, he covered all of my imperfections. I was perfect. Or, at least half of my face was. Nonetheless, I am not one to spackle and fill my lines on a daily basis. I am too busy and uninterested so I knew I wasn’t going to buy his product.

I thanked him for his time and advised him I had to leave. He looked so depressed as I was gathering my purse and leaving his shop of horrors. He abruptly stopped me again and said, “I also have a special cream for the dreadful damage on you neck and I can get you an appointment at our spa upstairs for more intensive procedures.”

At this point, I knew that I was not as in deplorable shape as he made me feel and I did not want to spend money with a business that played on insecurities of women. I just gathered what was left of my dignity and walked away with my spackled and filled forehead.

My friends, we mean so much more to our creator than fine lines and wrinkles.

In world full of fillers and filters, that only offer temporary beauty to the outside, I hope you remember and cherish the fact that you were knitted in your mother’s womb to look just the way God wanted you to look. Society is the one who tells us that we should not look our age and that we would be much happier with the youthful glow that fillers and filters offer.

There is no doubt that God wants us to take care of our temple but I believe he is more interested in the condition of our spirit and the wisdom gained internally…..not so much concerned with the condition of our exterior.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know full well.” – Psalm 139:13-14

Natchitoches Parish Census Response Trails the State – Very Important!

The response to the 2020 Census by citizens in Natchitoches Parish trails the rest of Louisiana. At present the parish response rate is 44.5%. The national response rate is 59.8% and Louisiana’s overall response rate is at 54.2%.

This information was supplied by M’Lissa Harkins Smith, Census partnership specialist in North Louisiana. Harkins works in the North Louisiana Census office in Shreveport. Smith is originally from Natchitoches.

Here is the current situation:

National Response Rate: 59.8%
Louisiana Response Rate: 54.2%
Natchitoches Parish Response Rate: 44.5%
Ashland: 15.2%
Campti: 34.1%
Clarence: 23.7%
Natchez: 17.6%
Powhatan: 9.4%
Provencal: 8.6%
Robeline: 17%

This week the census takers started going out to deliver census packets in rural areas. The packets have a code so that people won’t be double-counted. The code corelates to the person’s physical address, and not a post office box. Census workers are beginning the process of going out to all rural areas in Louisiana to get an accurate census count.



St. Denis Art League presents King of 52nd Spring Festival Court: Jerry Pierce

Jerry Darrell Pierce will reign as King of the 52nd Spring Festival Court presented by the St. Denis Art League. He has served for 35 years as vice-president for external affairs at Northwestern State University.

A native of Springhill, Pierce was recruited as a football trainer for NSU and lettered for four years. He was an N Club officer, sports editor of the university newspaper and wrote for the Shreveport Times and other weekly and daily papers while in college.

He received a journalism degree in 1961 and joined the staff of The Times-Picayune in New Orleans. He became executive sports editor of the newspaper at age 24.

Pierce returned to Northwestern in 1965 as sports information director. He later served as news bureau director, assistant to the president, and on the journalism faculty before being named vice-president for external affairs.

In addition to writing and editing thousands of news releases and publications at NSU, he has written over 10,000 stories and articles of all kinds for The Natchitoches Times and other North Louisiana newspapers and statewide publications.

He has received numerous Louisiana Press Association awards for general interest columns, features, sports columns, editorials and news stories on deadline. He has also received awards from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association and College Sports Information Directors of America for news stories and sports publications.

Author of a book of columns published by the Association of Louisiana Electric Cooperatives, he also wrote the text for the 200-page coffee table book “Northwestern at 125” commemorating NSU’s 125th anniversary. He was co-editor of “Steel Magnolias Scrapbook” on the filming of the movie Steel Magnolias in Natchitoches and author of a chapter for a book on nationally renowned journalism educator Dr. John Merrill.

Pierce was responsible for bringing the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame to Natchitoches in 1972 and served as director and master of ceremonies for the program for nearly two decades. During that time, was named one of the 20 “Most Influential People in Sports in Louisiana” by The Times-Picayune.

He played major roles at Northwestern in establishing the Long Purple Line and N Club Hall of Fame and served as co-chair of the university’s Centennial activities in 1984 and 125th anniversary celebration in 2009. He was the university’s liaison with production companies for the filming of Steel Magnolias and Man in the Moon.

Pierce was involved in NSU gaining membership in the Southland Conference and later served as president of the conference. He was also as institutional representative to the Southland Conference and NCAA.

As NSU’s governmental affairs representative, Pierce has worked for years with legislators and other elected officials. He has represented NSU as after dinner speaker and master of ceremonies at hundreds of events across the state for decades and as host or guest on numerous radio and television shows.

His honors include membership in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame as recipient of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association in 2000; membership in the NSU N Club Hall of Fame as recipient of the Distinguished Service Award in 2018; recipient of the first Mac Russo Award for leadership in the LSWA and LSWA Life Membership Award in 1990.

Other professional recognition includes 50-year membership awards from both the Louisiana Press Association and CASE, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education; secretary-treasurer of Louisiana Sports Writers Association; membership in Blue Key National Honor Society, Society of Professional Journalists, and Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications.

He has been extensively involved in civic activities in Natchitoches through the years and has received the Natchitoches Mayor’s Award for Community Service; American Legion’s Natchitoches Parish Man of the Year Award; Natchitoches Parish Chamber of Commerce President’s Award; City of Natchitoches Achievement Appreciation Award and the Lieutenant Governor’s Louisiana Ambassador Award.

He was a member of the Chamber of Commerce’s first Ambassadors’ Club; Finalist for Chamber of Commerce Natchitoches Parish Man of Year; Kiwanis Club member and officer; Charter Member of Mystic Krewe de St. Denis Mardi Gras group; Member of Agitators social organization; Dignitaries and Publicity Committee of Natchitoches Christmas Festival; Member of First Baptist Church, serving as coach and counselor for youth sports programs and on budget, publicity and publications committees.

As an avid tennis player for more than 50 years, Pierce was a member of teams that won more than a dozen state championships, four 10-state regional tournaments and a national championship in 1998.

Pierce has provided substantial financial support to Northwestern State. He was recognized last year for more than 20 consecutive years of contributions to the NSU Foundation. He and wife Regina have established endowed scholarships at the university in athletics and academics.

He is married to the former Regina Bruce. Together, they have four children, seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Lear, Fulton complete graphic design project for Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program

Northwestern State University Associate Professor of Art History Phyllis Lear and NSU alumna Hannah Fulton recently saw a three-year graphic design project move toward its final step.

Lear and Fulton worked as graphic designers on a Comprehensive, Conservation, & Management Plan for the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP). The plan was recently approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has gone to press.

According to Lear, the plan is a document for environmental scientists working on coastal restoration projects in the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary. Scientists must follow the guidelines within the overall plan when developing their plans and scopes of service.

“I think it’s important to provide a pleasing aesthetic for these scientists,” said Lear.

After initially meeting with BTNEP staff to learn what they wanted, the designers were given text and photographs and then created infographics, charts, tables and other design elements.

“We then came up with basic layout templates. Hannah came up with some really great designs,” said Lear. “We immediately knew we would layout each chapter beginning with a double-page spread and ending with a double page spread. This way each chapter could be handled individually without affecting the preceding or following chapter.”

Communication between the designers who largely worked separately was vital to the project.

“We worked out a system and schedule on what needed to be done when and our responsibilities,” said Fulton. “The content would go from writers, to editors, then designers, design editing, and finally to the director for review and feedback. We all communicated goals and needs that needed to be met. We had a structure of having a chapter done roughly a week or so from each other.”

Lear and Fulton found that their talents meshed well. Lear, who does extensive freelance work, has a background as a practical visual artist with fiber as her major medium. Fulton has a strong aesthetic and working knowledge of graphic design software.

“This was a tremendously significant opportunity as I got to understand a different field of study and working with clients,” said Fulton, who is from Many. “I think there should be more opportunities where students apply their skills outside of their classes to gain more experience and a better understanding of their work.”

Fulton is working towards a Master of Fine Arts at the Louisiana Tech School of Design focusing on my studio art. She plans to graduate next May.

Lear feels the end product will stand out when compared to similar government documents.

“The document Hannah and I created is so aesthetically pleasing compared to similar government documents,” said Lear. “BTNEP did the right thing hiring an independent photographer, the photographs are stunning. Our layout design, charts and tables allow the reader to locate the information they are looking for quickly. There is a cohesiveness to the document as far as basic design elements or color, font and style are concerned.”

Musings From the Lake: Sharing a Truth

By Judy McIntyre

I am back! I took a “Stay-cation” –a Vacation at Home! And I fished and fished and fished! And I caught a lot of crappie, catfish, and pesky bream. My Stay-cation was a success! The crappie have moved out to the deeper water. Time to move on and let the crappie rest.

Today, I wanted to share with you a “truth” I learned, not by watching the lake, but by listening to a story about my youngest grandchild, Henry. Henry lives in New Hampshire. He is still waiting for spring! Henry goes to public school kindergarten, and his school system shut down because of the Corona Virus. The school had a plan to continue his education. His teacher continues to send weekly packets home for Mom to teach Henry. My daughter began to prepare Henry that the bus would not be picking him up anymore and that school would take place at home. He was not pleased. Henry is very sociable, and the idea that he would not see his friends and his teacher really made him sad. But the first day of school at home came. Henry’s mom had cleared out the downstairs toy room, and put Henry’s table and chair in the room. That morning she was very enthusiastic about how much fun this was going to be, but Henry was skeptical. After breakfast, Henry and Mom went to the new Home School room, and he looked at his table with disdain. Henry told his Mom. “We can’t start, something is not right.” His Mom replied, “What is it, Henry?” Henry said, “My desk doesn’t have my name taped to it in the corner on the top.” His Mom said, “…But Henry, I know your name!” He just stood there and looked at her. Henry is a force to be reckoned with, so his Mom went over to the school supplies on the shelf, found an index card, a marker, and some tape. And she wrote H E N R Y. and taped it to the front right corner, just as directed. His Mom has learned that some battles are not worth it. So once again, she invited Henry to sit down, and they would start. Henry sighed, “Mom, something is not right.” His Mom acted calmly, and replied, “What is it, Henry?” He announced that his school room needed to have a flag, and he needed for her to go out in the garage and get the flag! With her level of frustration growing, she stormed out to the garage, got the flag, and stood the flagpole up in the corner. She could see Henry was pleased, so she once more invited him to sit down and get out his spelling papers. Henry looked at her with astonishment! “No, Mom, you had to go get the flag so we could say the Pledge of Allegiance!” So he told her to stand and put her right hand over her heart, and they recited the pledge together. His Mom thought, Okay, now we can start, but once more her request to start was met with resistance. Henry was questioning if his Mom knew anything about school. His Mom was beginning to get very frustrated. Henry told her it was time for a moment of silence, and she should shut her eyes, so the two of them took their moment of silence. Henry probably prayed, “God help my Mom, ‘cause she doesn’t know anything about school.” And his Mom probably prayed, “God help me not to kill Henry! “ Okay, surely it was time to start school. But Henry said, “Nope.” With steam beginning to come out of her ears, his Mom looked at Henry and said, “Now what?” Henry said, “Well, Mom, it is time for the MORNING ANNOUNCEMENTS! The principal always does them, but we don’t have a principal here. Henry looked sad because the principal always had a joke for them at the end of his announcements. His Mom stuck her head out of the home school room, and yelled for her husband to come. They had a crisis. He was working from home, so he came running. He said, “ what is the problem?” His Mom relayed the problem they were having with “starting” school. His Dad walked in the school room and announced the most ridiculous announcements he could think of, and he told a dinosaur joke that sent Henry into fits of giggling. His Dad left, and his Mom just stared at Henry wondering what stall tactic he would demand next. Henry returned her glare, and then said, “Mom, I’m ready to start school!. And by the way, we don’t start with spelling. We start with sight words.” And the adventure of home school began! Let’s take a moment and think about what Henry needed in his day at school. He needed a routine. He needed a schedule. He needed structure in his day. My daughter reported they worked for the next 2 hours, and Henry never balked. He was happy and cooperative. And Henry was alive last time I checked.

My question to myself after hearing this story was: How has the Pandemic and the Stay-at-home Order affected my schedule? Has it affected yours? IT HAS WRECKED MINE! Grandchildren are so awesome, they teach us! We can all learn from Henry. We all need routines to be productive.

I love your comments. Keep them coming.


POSITION: Animal Control Officer

DESCRIPTION: Enforcement of the Animal Control Ordinance; maintain records and reports regarding impounded animals, animal bites, quarantines, investigations, citations and daily statistics; ability to operate Microsoft Word and Excel; clean and disinfect kennels and cages; provide animals with proper food, water, and medical care; must be available for after hours and weekend work.

EDUCATION: High School diploma or equivalent. Must be a licensed driver.

CONTACT: City of Natchitoches, Human Resources Department located at 1400 Sabine St. or P.O. Box 37, Natchitoches La 71458-0037. Applications may also be picked up upstairs at City Hall, located at 700 Second St., or you can download an application on line at

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: Applications will be accepted through May 29, 2020.



I would like to thank the citizens of Natchitoches for their part in adhering to the federal, state, and local directives intended to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic the last two months. These efforts and progress made in the fight against COVID-19 did not come without the great sacrifice on the part of many. Our local frontline heroes of health care professionals, police and fire have worked tirelessly to continue to keep the citizens of our community healthy and safe during this time. I would be remiss if I did not thank our everyday citizens who have stayed home, avoided crowds, and practiced social distancing, when necessary, to venture out in public.

Although I knew following the guidelines set forth by the federal, state, and local governments would be detrimental from an economic standpoint, the citizens of our great city remained vigilant, and I am truly proud of your efforts. It is now that I ask each of you to do your part in a different way, making sure the economic impact of COVID-19 is not worse than the virus itself.

As of May 15th, the Governor authorized the re-opening of businesses under the Phase One guidelines. These guidelines implement safe practices and restrictions specifically tailored to specific business types in order to be open. Our local businesses are open and ready to serve you and your family. I encourage you to shop, dine, and play at our local businesses. Continue to be smart, practicing social distancing and sanitation practices like washing your hands, not touching your face, and wearing a face mask where appropriate.

The City has decided Parc Natchitoches will remain open to the public as well as host baseball and softball tournaments on the weekends. Under the advisement of the Governor’s office and the Office of the State Fire Marshal, Parc Natchitoches will implement social distancing and increase cleaning methods during and in between games.

Unfortunately, the City’s league has been cancelled for the 2020 season after careful consideration for the participants in our community and the percentage of requests for refunds by participants and sponsors. We know the future of our city league is promising. Our hope is to have bigger numbers and an even stronger season in 2021.

It is during this time, I have felt very humbled to be Mayor of the City of Natchitoches. Because of our great citizens and great leadership, I truly believe our City is on track for a rapid recovery. You have stepped in to feed the hungry, supported local businesses, and put others before yourself during these uncertain times. I think we are strong, resilient, and better together. Thank you Natchitoches for being a city I am proud to serve. By us doing what we are supposed to do, soon we can get back to what we know Natchitoches is meant to be. We are Natchitoches Strong!