Danger: Parish Road Maintenance Forecast

Perhaps the most jarring item on the Parish Council agenda Monday night, Aug. 20, was a brief regarding a Parish road maintenance fund forecast Parish President Rick Nowlin requested Parish Treasurer Debbie Miley prepare for the next two fiscal years (2019 and 2020), along with a comparison to the highway fund budget last year (2017) and this year (2018). SEE DOCUMENTS BELOW.

Over the past few years, the Parish Government has dealt with the enormous problem of trying to maintain roads with the sounds it has available. Its efforts, for the most part have been directed to keeping as many roads passable as possible. Major improvements and/or asphalt overlays are simply beyond the Parish’s financial capability.

In addition, due to the frequent major storms experienced in the past three years and the cost of road repairs they made necessary, the Parish had had to expend large sums of money on projects not included in its regular maintenance plans. Even though FEMA has reimbursed the Parish for up to 75% of the cost on some of these projects, the cost to the Parish has been heavy and the reimbursements can take over a year to be received.

At the same time, operating costs have increased, especially in health care costs. This has put additional pressure on the highway fund.

The figures show that, at the present level of revenues for road maintenance, the highway budgets will continue to decline to dangerously low levels. In fact, by the end of 2019, the department balance carried forward into 2020 may not be sufficient to fund operations in early 2020. This means the Parish may have to start reducing its present level of road maintenance in 2019. This would be a disaster for the Parish. Even so, the Parish will make the reductions necessary to stay within the funds available.

The administration presented a plan that would not only improve the road maintenance effort but also provide funds for much-needed improvements to and re-construction of major roads. The plan includes both an ad valorem road tax to be collected and spent on a district basis and a sales tax plan for parish-wide improvements. Both are necessary to implement the scale of improvements truly needed.

If the tax measures fail to be approved by the voters, the Parish will have no choice but to scale back its highway repair work.

Nowlin understands the reluctance to support new taxes of any type. Taxes aren’t popular at any time. The problem the Parish faces is that, although most residents may say that the condition of the roads should be top priority, the amount of funds dedicated to roads is very small when compared to other local government functions. Specifically, the road tax represents less than 4% of the total property taxes paid every year.

Other agenda items included:

  • Appoint Joseph Jones and re-appoint Laney Wright, Ricky Sanders, Charles Roge, and Lamarr McGaskey to the Natchitoches Parish Fire District 1 Board.
  • Reappoint Johnny Nobles to the Natchitoches Parish Fire District 2 Board.
  • Appoint Mardy Summerlin for the Natchitoches Parish Tourist Commission.
  • Introduce ordinance adding CP-Tel as a cable franchise providing cable services to Parish residents outside the City.
  • Adopt ordinance for budget revision for the 2018 operating budget.
  • Adopt ordinance to amend the 2018 proposed budget revision submitted on July 23 requesting a transfer not to exceed $30,000 from the special projects line item in the highway fund 101 to a new fund for the Odra Levee Project.
  • Approve Natchitoches Regional Hospital request for a bond application and the supporting NPHSD bond resolution (SEE DOCUMENT BELOW).
  • Authorize Parish President to renew leases with John Deere for five motor graders.
  • Approve getting annual insurance quotes for Parish insurance.
  • Execute an agreement between owner and contractor with WL Bass Construction for the Hampton Road Improvement Project.

NPG-Financial Forecast_2788 (1)NPG-Financial Forecast_2788 (2)NPG-Financial Forecast_2788 (3)NPG-Financial Forecast_2788 (4)NPG-Financial Forecast_2788 (5)NPG-Financial Forecast_2788 (6)

Farm to Table: Foodways at Los Adaes

Foodways at Los Adaes

Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc. (CRNHA) will host a tour of the heritage garden at Los Adaes State Historic Site on Friday, Sept. 14 at 11 am featuring a talk on historic foodways as well as samples of period dishes.

From the archival records, it is known that the Spanish at Los Adaes had yearly struggles getting their crops to grow in the thick clay soil found in the region. As a result, they relied heavily on their beef cattle and trade with their Native and French neighbors to supply them with food. Even today, agricultural operations in the western part of Natchitoches parish is mostly limited to the raising of cattle. “We often look at historic structures or sites to provide us with a connection to a vanishing past. Yet we often overlook what appears on our plates, and forget to ponder how this dish came into existence,” remarked CRNHA Ranger Michael Mumaugh. “The Farm to Table presentation will allow visitors to look at heritage crops grown in the region as well as taste their unique flavor in a dish that is still being served today with modern ingredients,” continued Mumaugh.

Come out and explore the heritage garden at Los Adaes State Historic Site and learn about the crops that were grown, as well as meals that were eaten at Los Adaes. During the 30 minute program, samples of some of the dishes served at Los Adaes will be offered. Moreover, a majority of the ingredients came from the heritage garden! So come enjoy this cultural exploration of “farm to table”. School Groups are welcomed. We just ask that you call us before September 7th with a headcount. This is an outdoor program, so groups are also encouraged to bring blankets to sit on, as seating will be limited.

The program is free and open to the public. For more information, contact CRNHA by phone at 318-356-5555 or by email to MMumaugh@CaneRiverNHA.org.

Los Adaes SHS is located just off Highway 6 near Robeline at 6354 Highway 485.

College recognizes new Ed.D. cohort

Doctoral Students

From left are Dr. Bill Morrison, program coordinator, with students Neeru Deep, Rachel Snellgrove, Sandra Green, Tiffany Howard, Erica Calais, Bob Jordan, Colby Lasyone, Donyelle Clark, Kari Cook and Taylor Whitehead.

Northwestern State University’s Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development hosted a reception for this year’s cohort of students pursuing the Doctor of Education Degree in Adult Learning and Development. Graduates of the degree program will be qualified to assume advanced leadership roles in community college leadership, workforce development, post-secondary education, adult learning and development and scholarship. Concentrations are available in community college leadership and adult learning and workforce development.

Information on NSU’s Doctor of Education in Adult Learning and Leadership is available at https://education.nsula.edu/program-offerings/doctor-of-education.

Everyone has questions: get answers with FUMC’s Alpha Program

FUMC-Alpha Program

The First United Methodist Church in Natchitoches will start a new program called Alpha on Wednesday, Aug. 29 at 5:30 pm. The program combines dinner, a brief video, and group discussion to break the ice and answer the public’s questions about faith in a comfortable, stress free environment. It will run through Nov. 8 on Wednesday evenings at 5:30 pm. Members of the community are invited to come to one, a few, or all of the programs.

“People with questions need a safe space to ask them beyond our Sunday morning services,” said FUMC Pastor Doug de Graffenried. “The Alpha program gives members of the public an opportunity to interact with us and explore in their own comfort zones with no obligations.”

What is Alpha?
Alpha is a series of sessions exploring the Christian faith. Each talk looks at a different question around faith and is designed to create conversation. Alpha is run all around the globe, and everyone’s welcome. It runs in cafés, churches, universities, homes—you name it. No two Alphas look the same, but generally they have three key things in common: food, a talk and good conversation.

Food: Build community and get to know each other.

Video: Engage and inspire conversation. Usually around 30 minutes they explore the big issues around faith and unpack the basics of Christianity, addressing questions from Who is Jesus? and How can we have faith? to Why and how do I pray? and How does God guide us?

Group Discussion: Share thoughts and ideas on the topic. There’s no obligation to say anything and there’s nothing you can’t say (seriously). It’s an opportunity to hear from others and contribute your own perspective in an honest, friendly and open environment.

“Alpha is a great way to start a conversation about the church, beliefs, and what the church wants to do for our community,” said Lynda Hammett, director of communications and development at FUMC. “We want to invite everyone to join us and talk about the big questions in life – like is there more to life than this. This is a great place to learn more about Christianity. It’s the perfect group for someone who has never believed, is starting to ask questions, has been hurt by the church, is coming back into the church, or someone who has always been in the church. We want to engage our community and grow everyone’s knowledge.”

Community invited to join cemetery clean up

NSU Service.png
The community is invited to join Northwestern State University volunteers in a clean-up campaign organized by the Natchitoches Historic Foundation.

As part of NSU’s Demon Days, students taking part in the 1 of 7 Service Kickoff will help the NHF with a clean-up at the American Cemetery on Second Street from 1-3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24. 1 of 7 is a service initiative created by NSU Alum Kip Patrick to encourage individuals to spend one day per week engaged in service to others and the concept has been part of NSU’s Demon Days for several years.

Community members are encouraged to join volunteers by cleaning family plots and tombstones. The Foundation will have D/2 solution (while supplies last), the solution used on the White House, World Heritage Sites, and in VA cemeteries, free of charge, to clean tombstones. Participants are asked to bring basic lawn equipment such as rakes, hedge clippers, large lawn refuse bags, brooms, scrub brushes or other helpful tools.

For more information, contact Sid Hal at halls@nsula.edu or (318) 357-6951.

NSU announces partnership with Aspire Group ahead of Sept. 8 home opener


The Northwestern State athletic department has partnered with the Aspire Group in advance of the Demons’ Sept. 8 home football opener against Grambling.

The Aspire Group is a sports and entertainment marketing firm recognized around the world for its work in consulting, ticketing and partnership services. It will work in conjunction with the Northwestern State Athletic Ticket Office to sell tickets for the Demons’ home opener.

“Aspire has partnered with us to use a team of their best phone operatives to contact area alumni, lapsed season-ticket holders and others who have purchased tickets from us in the past to fill the purple chairback seats on Sept. 8,” NSU Assistant Athletic Director for Ticketing and Special Events Mike Jacklich said. “We are anticipating the best crowd we have had in the better part of a decade for our opener and our partnership with Aspire is a big reason why.”

While seats remain available for Grambling’s first visit to Natchitoches since 2008, Jacklich urged fans not to wait to purchase their seats.

Chairback seats on the west side of Turpin Stadium are available for $25 per game or for $115 for the entire five-game home season. The NSU ticket office also has general admission season tickets ($60) and VIP suite packages ($630) available for the season.

Following the home opener against Grambling, Northwestern State has four additional home games – Oct. 6 vs. Nicholls, Oct. 13 vs. Sam Houston State, Oct. 27 vs. Houston Baptist (Homecoming) and Nov. 10 vs. McNeese.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.NSUtickets.com or by contacting the NSU athletic ticket office at (318) 357-4268 or visiting the office in person inside the NSU Fieldhouse.

Track Adds Eight Distance Runners For The Upcoming Season

2018 Distance Recruits.jpg
The Northwestern State track and field program completed its recruiting class with eight distance runners added for the 2018-19 season.

Each gender will add four athletes each to their rosters.

With the departure of the highly decorated Joshua Wilkins this past spring, the men’s distance runners will be relatively inexperienced entering the 2018 season. The women enter a similar situation after graduating five distance runners from a year ago.

Among the men’s incoming recruits are Yannik Gerland, a transfer from the University of Mount Olive who will compete in the 3000 meter steeplechase. The German sophomore brings a wide range to the team with a 9:19.59 personal best in the 3000 steeplechase, a 1:54.85 in the 800, a 4:00.13 in the 1500 and a 15:26 in the 5000.

Keanna Osby of Shelbyville (Texas) High School, is expected to make an impact on the women’s side competing in the 400 and 800. She was described by distance coach Chris Sauer as one of the most talented girls he has ever recruited. Osby went undefeated in the 400 and 800 in her senior year of high school.

Thomas Daigle is also expected to boost talent on the men’s team, having finished second in the steeplechase at AAU club nationals in both 2016 and 2017. The Donaldsville High School product has posted personal bests at 6:36.60 in the 2000 steeplechase and 1:54.85 in the 800.

Rounding out the men’s distance class is Slavoski “Shun” Wright of Arlington, Texas and Clay Casner of Mansfield, Texas. Wright who prepped at Mansfield-Timberview High School, will compete in the 400 and 800, where he improved by seven seconds in his senior year. Casner, a Mansfield-Lake Ridge product, should help boost the steeplechase core, finishing second in the event at an AAU regional this summer.

The women are hoping the remaining three distance signees to have breakout freshmen years.

Kirstin Elrod of West Monroe only began running in her junior year of high school but has since dropped 18 seconds off her 1600 run. Emily Blanchard of from Hahnville High School traditionally competes in the 1600 but is looking to add the steeplechase to her repertoire.

Sauer said that he believes that Blanchard is even capable of breaking the school record given a few years in the event. Capping off the women’s class is Jade Talazac. The Belle Chasse product will compete in the 3200 and managed to shave an entire minute off her time last year in high school.

Candidacy Announcement: Steven Harris, School Board District 8, #63

Steven Harris MAIN GRAPHIC.png


To the stakeholders and citizens of District #8,

I would like to thank all of the citizens of Natchitoches Parish School Board District #8 for allowing me to serve as your school board representative for this past election term. I solicit your support for re-election as I would love to continue having ears to hear for District #8, a voice to speak for District #8 and hands to serve District #8 because I have a heart for the people of District #8. Having served on the school board for this past term, I am knowledgeable about both the challenges and progressions of the Natchitoches school system. Despite the struggles and hurdles the Natchitoches School Board continues to be up against, I remain optimistic about the future of our local public school system and the success of our children.

I realize that there are some who may not know me, so I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. I am the senior pastor of Abundant Life International Ministry in Natchitoches. I am also a native of Natchitoches Parish and a product of the Natchitoches Parish School System. After graduating from Campti High School, I decided to further my education at Grambling State University, where I majored in Sociology and Marketing. I later enrolled at Victory School of Ministry in Metairie as I decided to hone my gifts, skills, and knowledge in Evangelism and Church Administration.

I am a former board member for the Natchitoches Parish Council on Aging. Likewise, I serve on the Natchitoches Parish Jury Commission. My work background is sales and financial services. I am also a radio talk show host for “Natchitoches Blessings,” which airs Monday-Friday at 7 a.m. on the most popular local radio station, My 92.3 KNOC.

My family members also have strong ties to Natchitoches and desire for the students in Natchitoches Parish to have the best educational opportunities possible. My wife, Twana, has served parents and students in the Natchitoches Parish school district for the past 23 years. Three of our children have graduated from the Natchitoches Parish public school system and we have another child attending Natchitoches Central High School who is working toward graduation. My parents, Pastor Aill and Eva Harris, are also life-long citizens of Natchitoches Parish. My mother was employed by the Natchitoches Parish School System for over 30 years.

As a board member, I will continue striving for what I consider to be the “4 E’s” to success for our school system:

ENSURE that our children are safe and protected from the time that they get on the bus, until the time that they make it home.

EQUIP school personnel with the absolute first best tools and resources so that each student is offered a first-class educational experience.

EMPOWER our children to be positive functioning entities in today’s society and prepare them to effectively compete with their peers globally as it pertains to college, employment, military and other opportunities upon graduation.

ENVIRONMENT – Create an ENVIRONMENT in which all of our children, parents and school personnel feel loved, welcomed, and respected.

Though my chief responsibility will be to serve the citizens in District 8, I am genuinely concerned about the educational success of every child in Natchitoches Parish. I firmly believe that it is the responsibility of the local school system to provide all of our students with the best possible tools, resources, knowledge and opportunities which will position them to be successful in life. Finally, I would like to collaborate with businesses and organizations in Natchitoches parish to reward and appreciate our school personnel for their hard-work and dedication on a daily basis when working our youth.

Be on the look-out for my conference calls, which will allow me an opportunity to share our accomplishments as well as our future proposals that will allow our system to be on the cutting edge.

My contact Information is as follows:

Phone: (318)419-0802
Email: stevharris85@gmail.com
Facebook: Steven Harris school board District 8

On election day, vote for #63 Steven Harris for Natchitoches Parish School Board Representative District 8.

Election Date: November 6, 2018

Early Voting: Oct. 23-30, 2018

NSU master’s program in art ranked as most affordable in the nation

Masters in Arts

The Masters of Arts in Art at Northwestern State University was named as the most affordable online master’s of art in the country by gradschoolhub.com.

The Master of Arts in Art degree is an on-campus or a low residency online program. The on-campus version allows the student to interact with faculty and facilities. The online version allows the student to work from home. Most classes are available online, however the student is required to attend two three-week summer sessions or one semester at the beginning of their degree. The student will get to know the faculty and become familiar with the facilities which will foster a more personal online learning experience. At the end of the degree, the student will return to campus to set up an art exhibit.

“These rankings are an important recognition as we continue to grow our program,” said Department of Fine and Graphic Arts Department Chair Matt DeFord. “It shows that we can provide students with an outstanding program that is affordable. Credit goes to our faculty and staff as well as the Northwestern State administration for making all of this possible.”

The website used data from the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator. Each college or university in the rankings is a regionally accredited public or private institution. Additional weight was given to institutions that have earned National Association of Schools of Art & Design accreditation. NSU has had NASAD accreditation since 2000.

To learn about the Master of Arts in Art, visit capa.nsula.edu/art/art-degree-programs.

4th Degree exemplification

4th degree K of C

Forty-two members of the Knights of Columbus were exemplified into the Fourth Degree Aug. 11. Knights from the northern section of the State met in Alexandria for the ceremony. The event was sponsored by Msgr. Piegay Assembly, St. Francis Cabrini Church. The Fourth Degree is the highest rank in the Knights of Columbus and is the Patriotic arm of the organization. Pictured above are Sir Knight Mike Menou, Faithful Navigator of the Natchitoches Assembly, Dr. Nick Governale, newly installed member and Sir Knight Bobby Scott, also of Natchitoches.

Notice of Death – August 20, 2018

Notice of Death 2017



Beverly Ann Donaho
October 2, 1954 – August 19, 2018
Visitation: Tuesday, August 21 from 5-8 pm at Provencal Baptist Church
Service: Wednesday, August 22 at 12 pm at Provencal Baptist Church
Interment: Bellwood Cemetery

Fulton Thomas Thibodeaux
August 19, 2018
Service: Tuesday, Aug. 21 at 10 am at St. Henry Catholic Church in Lake Charles

Edith Telsee Farley
August 17, 2018
Arrangements TBA


Beverly Shields
January 25, 1943 – August 19, 2018
Arrangements TBA

St. Mary’s holds 44th Annual Steak Supper fundraiser

SMS Steak Supper 2018 (1)


Kevin’s Gallery

The Saint Mary’s School community held it’s 44th annual Steak Supper fundraiser and scrimmage on Aug. 17 at the school’s new football field. This event has become a beloved local tradition that brings Tiger supporters of every age together to enjoy a superb meal, see some hard hitting football action and raise money for St. Mary’s athletics.

The evening started with the traditional steak supper served in the school’s cafeteria. An intra-squad scrimmage of the elementary school aged players started the action, followed by the junior high team. The Tiger varsity squared off against Farmerville’s D’arbonne Woods Charter School at 6:00. The scrimmage featured each school doing a set number of offensive and defensive plays. A fired up crowd of St. Mary’s families, alumni and supporters filled the stands and sidelines.

The Steak Supper is the main fundraiser for Tiger athletics. St. Mary’s School fields teams in 10 sports for its 382 students, a truly remarkable accomplishment for a school of its size. Those teams have been perennial playoff contenders and have amassed an enviable record over the years. The Natchitoches Parish Journal extends its best wishes for gridiron success to the St. Mary’s football family this season. Go Tigers!

Local Families Raise Funds to Fight Cystic Fibrosis

Fight Cystic Fibrosis 2018 (4)

A group of local families from Natchitoches and central Louisiana gathered at an Alexandria home for a Stop & Shop to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Eight vendors sold a variety of items and services with a portion of the proceeds going to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The event also featured a silent auction. NSU Director of Choral Activities & Assistant Professor of Music, Dr. Nicholaus Cummins and Natchitoches Parish School Board music teacher, Whitney Cummins, provided musical entertainment. The young men of Alexandria Boy Scout Troop 6 provided manpower to help set up the event.

The Stop & Shop is a prelude to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s main fundraiser, the Great Strides Walk, to be held September 29th at Holy Savior Menard School in Alexandria. The walk is in its 30th and features games, music, a jambalaya cookoff, and family fun in addition to the signature walk.

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is dedicated to fighting this insidious disease that damages lungs and shortens lives. The foundation, and the people supporting it, are working for the day that cystic fibrosis is no more. To register for the walk, or to join the foundation, please contact Ms. Cassondra Guilbeau at cguilbeau@cff.org,

There is no need for any family to face having a child dealing with this diagnosis alone. There are families throughout the area who are in similar situations who can help.

Marthaville Good Ole Days Festival announces pageant winners

Marthaville Queens.jpg

The Marthaville Good Ole Days Festival pageant was held Aug. 11. The following girls were announced as winners:

Baby Miss-Adalynn Roberts
Toddler Miss-Anniston Tarpley
Teeny Miss-Ma’leah Alexander
Tiny Miss-Adleigh Terkel
Little Miss-Kaylee Jones
Petite Miss-Ella-Grace Greer
Deb Miss-Raven Ferguson
Junior Teen-Addison Martin
Teen Miss-Ashlynn Green
Miss Marthaville Good Ole Days-Erin Powell

Marthaville Queens 2