City of Natchitoches Early Childhood Education & Development: Phase 3 Reopening Process

The City of Natchitoches Early Childhood Education & Development will provide the following accommodations for Type III Child Care Center staff and families beginning Monday, March 8 after the Governor announced the move back to Phase 3.

All in office visits will only be for finger imaging such as:

  1. Child Care Criminal Background Checks (CCCBC) for Early Childhood employees and
  2. Tracking of Time Systems (TOTS) for families receiving Child Care Assistance (CCAP)

These visits will be completed by appointments only. All individuals must wear a Face Mask and follow all sanitation protocol steps prior to entry of the building. Only 1 person will be allowed to enter the office per appointment.

All Child Care Assistance Application (CCAP) submission assistance will continue by phone call appointments only.

To set an appointment for any of the assistance options listed above please contact Christina Friday at 318-238-7508 Monday -Friday between 9 am-2pm or by email at teachingtomorrownow@gmail.com.

CITY BUILDINGS REOPEN AFTER GOVERNOR MOVES STATE BACK TO PHASE 3

NATCHITOCHES – By order of the Mayor of the City of Natchitoches, on Wednesday, March 3rd, all city buildings will reopen to the public after Governor Edwards moved the state back to Phase 3.

Under these new guidelines, city buildings will reopen to 75% capacity and face masks are required for entry.

The Utility Service Center Lobby will now be open, but with limited capacity. Employees are still available to assist for all other services including collecting payments, disconnections, and transfers via the drive thru.

Utility payments can still be made in the following ways:
• Credit card payments can be made via telephone (VISA and MasterCard ONLY)
• Check payments can be put in the drop box located in the last drive thru lane

As always, the City offers online bill pay for our utility customers 24/7. To sign up for online bill pay, visit https://click2gov.natchitochesla.gov/Click2GovCX/index.html

For further information or questions regarding utility payments, please contact the Utility Service Center at (318)357-3830.

Whataburger holds groundbreaking ceremony at future site of Natchitoches location

Whataburger and the Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce held a groundbreaking ceremony on March 2 to celebrate Natchitoches’ first-ever Whataburger location at the future site of the restaurant at 902 Keyser Avenue, scheduled to open this May. The company’s mascot Whataguy was on hand for photo ops and attendees received gift bags filled with branded chips, cookies, water bottles, lanyards and face masks.

The brand will serve up its fresh, customized burgers, 24/7 top-notch customer service, famous Fancy and Spicy Ketchup, and orange-and-white-striped fun and once opened, the new restaurant will feature a state-of-the-art kitchen, double drive-thru lanes, large parking lot and an open dining room to best serve our guests. There will also be a custom interior mural featuring well-known, local icons.

“We’re honored to open this Natchitoches location and want to extend an especially big thanks to the Chamber for welcoming Whataburger into the community with open arms and celebrating with us today,” said David Cotham, G.V.C.S., Inc. Director of Operations. “We can’t wait to continue our tradition of serving great food and friendly service to our friends in Natchitoches, and look forward to opening our doors this spring.”

Whataburger will bring 100 jobs to the Natchitoches community and this month, the brand will begin hiring Team Members. Whataburger’s unique leadership curriculum trains all employees in a way that automatically puts them on the path to career advancement.

Those interested in working at Natchitoches’ new Whataburger restaurant or for more information on Whataburger’s competitive benefits and salaries, great opportunities for career advancements and other employee resources for growth and development, visit http://www.pleaseapplyonline.com/gvcs or text 44790.

Founded more than 70 years ago, Whataburger has grown to more than 840 locations across 10 states, operating 24/7, 364 days a year. The burger chain has gained a unique and loyal following on social media, with more than 2.1 million Facebook followers and 1.2 million Twitter followers. Fans and celebrities often find a way to make Whataburger food, swag and restaurant locations a part of their personal celebrations – including graduations, engagements, weddings, baby announcements and more.

About Whataburger

Whataburger has served up its fresh, made-to-order burgers and friendly customer service since 1950, when Harmon Dobson opened the first Whataburger as a small roadside burger stand in Corpus Christi, Texas. Today, the company is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 840 locations in 10 states and sales of more than $2.5 billion annually. Whataburger has 50,000 Family Members (employees) and more than 14 million customers who like to customize their Whataburgers just the way they like it. Newsweek ranked Whataburger second on its 2021 list of America’s Best Customer Service brands in the Fast Food category.


Oakland Plantation Illumination To be Held Saturday

On Saturday, March 6, Cane River Creole National Historical Park will host a memorial illumination event to remember and honor the people who were enslaved on Oakland Plantation. The FREE illumination event and self-guided tour will begin at 6:30 p.m. and end at 8:00 p.m. The tour will be outdoors, will cover about a half mile over uneven and unpaved ground, and will occur rain or shine. Participants are encouraged to bring a flashlight and dress appropriately for weather and walking conditions. Oakland Plantation is located at 4386 Highway 494, Natchez, LA.


Louisiana Moves to Phase 3, Statewide Mask Mandate Will Continue

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced on March 2 that Louisiana will move forward to Phase 3. This will bring most COVID restrictions back to where they were last September. Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate, which has been in place since last July, will remain in place. The Governor’s new order will last for 28 days and will expire March 31, 2021.

Overall, Louisiana’s percent positivity for COVID-19 tests is 5 percent, one third of the positivity rate six weeks ago. The state has completed more than 6 million COVID tests and administered more than 1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines.

“Since we stepped back into more increased restrictions more than three months ago, the goal has been to slow the spread and avoid overwhelming our hospitals, which we have done thanks to the hard work of many Louisianans,” Gov. Edwards said. “These Phase 3 restrictions will keep some common sense and lifesaving limitations in place while we work to continue keeping the case counts down and administering the vaccines to as many Louisianans as quickly as we can.

“As we are cautiously reducing some of the restrictions related to slowing the spread of COVID, it is even more critical that people take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and those around them. This includes wearing face masks, practicing social distancing, washing their hands frequently, staying home when they are sick or have been exposed and getting the vaccine when it is their turn. The last several weeks have been full of hopeful milestones, including a third COVID vaccine and the state administering more than one million doses. But we also know that COVID variants, which we know are more contagious, are active in Louisiana. In nearly a year of battling this pandemic, we have lost almost 10,000 of our fellow Louisianans, and many people have suffered greatly. It is incumbent upon all of us to do our part to help put this pandemic behind us and save lives.”

The majority of businesses, including restaurants and salons, will be able to move to 75 percent of their capacity and indoor gatherings and event centers will be capped at 50 percent of their capacity but limited to 250 people. Religious services will no longer have capacity limits, social distancing is strongly encouraged and masking will still be required.

Gyms and fitness centers will remain at 50 percent of their capacity, based on recent research from the CDC that raises concern about the spread of COVID-19 in these settings. Bars in all parishes will be able to open for indoor service at 25 percent capacity, not to exceed 250 people, but those in parishes where the percent positivity is 5 percent or lower for two consecutive weeks may have indoor service at 50 percent capacity, not to exceed 250 people. Alcohol sales still must end at 11 p.m. and no one younger than 21 years old can enter a bar. Patrons must be masked at all times except when consuming food or drink, and they must be served at socially distanced tables.

Live music will be allowed indoors under additional guidance provided by the State Fire Marshal. Indoor gatherings may operate at 50 percent capacity with a cap of 250 people. Outdoor events may operate at 50 percent of their capacity, with no cap on attendance, but six feet of social distancing must be practiced. Conventions, conferences, indoor sporting events and fairs and festivals may operate at up to 50 percent capacity with six feet of social distancing required, if they receive approval from the State Fire Marshal and the Louisiana Department of Health. Strict masking continues to be required for all gatherings and events.


Demon ‘bigs’ key in road finale matchup at New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS – There are not many opponents in the Southland Conference against whom the Northwestern State men’s basketball team holds a decided size advantage.

New Orleans, who the Demons face Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in Lakefront Arena, is one of them.

As Northwestern State (9-16, 8-6) readies for its final road game of the 2020-21 regular season – one that potentially could decide the No. 4 seed in next week’s Southland Conference Tournament – it will try to exploit that advantage with a group of bigs that has meshed at the right time.

The game can be heard on 95.9 FM and on the Demon Sports Network. Free streaming audio is available on http://www.NSUDemons.com and through the Northwestern State Athletics mobile app, which can be downloaded free for Apple and Android devices.

“It was important for us to get both (Jamaure Gregg and Larry Owens) going, along with Kendal Coleman,” 22nd-year head coach Mike McConathy said. “Kendal’s been going all year. He’s had a really good freshman year. Dalin Williams has started coming on. We have not missed much when we’ve substituted.

“They’re different types of players, but they’re getting rebounds and defending. We’ve seen a lot of growth, and we’ve been able to get (6-foot-11 freshman) Stavros (Polatoglou) in some, too.”

Although Northwestern State fell to Nicholls on Monday, the Demon frontcourt held its own with the Colonels. Gregg shared the team lead with 15 points while Owens and Coleman combined for 16 points and 15 rebounds.

In an 18-point win against Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday, Gregg and Owens each had 10 points as the Demons spread out the scoring and playing time.

In the first meeting this season between the teams, Northwestern State grabbed an 81-73 victory in Prather Coliseum on Jan. 27.

The Demons powered their way to 58 points in the paint against the Privateers (7-14, 6-7), a season high for Northwestern State and double NSU’s season average in that category.

That inside game helped the Demons shoot 58.8 percent on two-point shots against UNO, which has won three of its past four games, including an 88-72 win at Incarnate Word on Monday.

That win moved the Privateers within five points of the Demons in the Southland’s scoring system instituted for this season. Under that design, teams are awarded three points for a win and a single point for a game declared a “no contest.”

New Orleans’ Feb. 20 game against McNeese will not be made up, which keeps the Privateers within striking distance of the Demons in the league standings.

McConathy and the Demons are plenty familiar with the Privateers, who are coached by Mark Slessinger, an assistant on McConathy’s staff for 11 seasons.

“New Orleans has a brand of toughness,” McConathy said. “They’re going to show up, and it will be a tough, tough fight. Coach Slessinger does an excellent job with his team. They are equally as physical as Stephen F. Austin, and it’s going to be a battle.”

McConathy said he feels his team is in a better spot to match New Orleans’ toughness even more so than in the Demons’ victory earlier this season.

“I go back to our Nicholls game here (on Jan. 13),” he said. “I play it over in my head the number of Nicholls players who just took the ball from our guys. It happened against SFA the other night. Then, I saw some of our guys just go and take the ball from Southeastern. It’s a learning process for us, picking up what others are doing well and adding it to what we do.”

Photo: Credit: Brad Weimer/Nicholls Athletics


Marion Morrison’s Moniker

By Brad Dison

In 1907, Marion Robert Morrison was born to Clyde and Molly Morrison in Winterset, Iowa. Before his tenth birthday, the Morrisons moved to Glendale, California, where his father worked as a pharmacist. Marion excelled at Glendale High School. He was an overachiever who did well in academics as well as in sports. He played on the football team, was on the debate team, contributed articles to the school’s newspaper, and, in 1925, was the president of his senior class.

Marion’s impressive high school transcript earned him a football scholarship to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. The scholarship covered tuition, $280/year, and, because he was on the football team, his scholarship included one meal a day during weekdays. Eugene Clarke, a longtime friend and teammate of Marion, said “we sort of had to scratch around for our other meals and for all of our meals on weekends.” Eugene added with a grin, “We were always pretty hungry by Monday morning.”

Marion’s school work ethic was just as strong at USC as it was at Glendale High School. Marion and several of his high school friends joined Sigma Chi fraternity. During one college party, a fight broke out. Marion cleverly filled his mouth with ketchup. When several guys turned their sites on Marion, he put his fists up and allowed the ketchup to flow slowly from his mouth. Rather than hit Marion, the guys felt bad for him and let him go. Marion’s quick thinking all but ended the fight. Then, Marion started to laugh. Realizing they had been had, the guys started the fight anew with Marion as their main target.

During the summer between Marion’s sophomore and junior year, Marion went bodysurfing with friends in the Pacific Ocean. Surfers generally use a surfboard or some other type of floatation device to surf high waves. Bodysurfers, on the other hand, use no floatation device, but use only their bodies to ride the waves. Bodysurfers swim out into deep water and watch for a powerful advancing wave. The bodysurfers turn and swim back toward the beach. Once the wave reaches them, they hold their bodies in a rigid position with their backs slightly arched, which allows them to ride the wave. Marion bodysurfed a large wave only too well. He rode the wave into shallow water and struck the ocean floor with such force that it broke his collarbone. His afternoon of bodysurfing ended his football career and, more importantly, his scholarship. Marion was in financial trouble. He owed more money than he made at his various odd jobs. He owed his former fraternity money for membership dues in addition to room and board. Unable to afford tuition and fraternity fees without the scholarship, Marion was forced to drop out of college.

Marion had no prospects, no money, and no place to live. A friend of Marion’s convinced his parents to allow Marion to live in a small room above their garage until he got back on his feet. USC football coach Howard Jones helped Marion secure a part-time job as a prop man and day laborer at Fox Studios. Marion had no aspirations at acting. He just needed a job.

In 1928, Marion moved from behind the camera to in front of it when he landed a small movie roll. The small role came with a small pay increase. For two years, Marion played bit parts and an occasional lead part in a few mostly forgettable low budget films. In 1930, he got his first starring role in a movie which had a budget in excess of $1 million. Marion fit director Raoul Walsh’s formula for the part. Raoul wanted an actor who was six foot three or over, had no hips, and had a face which fit in a sombrero, characteristics which Marion had. Fox executives assigned an acting coach to help Marion develop his manner of speaking, walking, subtle movements, and other minor details. Marion detested the strict regimen and failed to take his acting coach seriously. Finally, the acting coach quit with a final harsh remark; “If you live to be 100 years old, you will never become an actor.” Raoul was unconcerned because he believed in Marion’s acting ability. The movie was a commercial flop.

For another decade, Fox executives demoted Marion back to low budget, mostly forgettable films, for which he received little pay. Whereas most big budget movies took months to make, many of the movies Marion appeared in were shot in just a few days. His movie career seemed at an end, but, because of the Great Depression, Marion was glad to have a job. He worked as often as he could, was always on time, always knew his lines, often performed his own stunts, and did whatever was possible to improve the picture. After working on several musical films which required him to lip sync due to his inability to sing, Marion made a single demand. He refused to “sing” on film. Marion was in no position to make any demands, but luck seemed to be on his side.

Legendary director John Ford had an upcoming project for which he thought Marion would be a perfect fit. Movie producers disagreed with Ford, but Ford argued that rather than getting a big star, which would be expensive, they could get Marion “for peanuts.” Ford failed to mention that he had watched several of Marion’s films and saw potential. Finally, the studio relented and Ford cast Marion. During filming, Ford purposefully treated Marion cruelly. Ford wanted to break Marion of his bad acting habits, and wanted the other, more established actors to feel sorry for Marion so that they would help improve his acting ability. Ford’s cruelty paid off as the film was nominated for best picture along with Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and several others. The best picture Oscar went to Gone with the Wind.

Despite not winning the Oscar for best picture, Marion’s status as an actor gradually improved, as did the budget for the films he worked on. Marion eventually became more than a movie star; he became an icon. Despite the fact that he died in 1979, more than four decades ago, Marion has always ranked in the top ten of “America’s Favorite Movie Stars” according to the Harris Poll. Marion is the only person who has never dropped off of the top 10 list since 1993, the first year the Harris Poll was published. Fox executives disliked the name Marion Morrison and decided on a new name. Marion suggested they use his childhood nickname, which they quickly rejected. For the rest of his life, Marion’s devoted fans called him “Duke,” the name Fox executives rejected. Fox executives settled instead on a moniker for Marion which has become symbolic of a tough, honest, all American man. They created the name… John Wayne.

Sources:
1. The Harris Poll. “Tom hanks is America’s favorite movie star….” Accessed February 15, 2021. theharrispoll.com/his-roles-over-the-years-have-taken-him-into-the-past-and-the-future-out-into-space-and-even-into-a-childs-toy-chest-and-this-year-tom-hanks-currently-in-theaters-as-attorney-jame/.
2. Jewell, Rick. “John Wayne, an American Icon.” USC News. Accessed February 15, 2021. news.usc.edu/15621/john-wayne-an-american-icon/.


Insurance Commissioner Donelon Directs Insurers to Give Customers Their Policies

Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon issued Bulletin 2021-03 reminding insurers of their obligations to policyholders as they work with consumers affected by the devastating 2020 hurricane season and impacted by last month’s extreme winter weather.

He told insurers they must provide copies of policies when policyholders ask for them and they must continue to engage with their customers even if those policyholders hire a public adjuster. He further reminded them that it was in their own interest to do so to avoid litigation.

Bulletin 2021-03, Commissioner Donelon’s third communication to insurers about good faith dealing with policyholders harmed by hurricanes Laura, Delta or Zeta, also counsels policyholders to do their best to provide the proof of loss documentation that insurers need to process their claims.

“We’ve heard from policyholders in the Lake Charles area that many people are still having trouble engaging contractors, crews and materials to make repairs on homes, businesses and places of worship damaged by hurricanes Laura and Delta,” said Commissioner Donelon. “I am committed to making insurers understand the extraordinary nature of the 2020 hurricane season and that working with policyholders is the only way forward for a strong recovery in the state of Louisiana.”

After a catastrophe, policyholders have an initial 180 days to file documentation of their claim known as a “proof of loss” with their insurer. Policyholders might have a few extra days to submit such documentation, including photos, estimates and receipts to their insurance companies if they were under a declaration of emergency and civil authorities were denying the insured access to the property after the event. There are other circumstances that may also extend that 180-day deadline.

The initial 180-day mark after Hurricane Laura was Feb. 23, just as policyholders were emerging from a deep freeze with extended power outages, making it difficult for many to focus on their insurance claim. The 180-day file date for proof of loss forms for Hurricane Delta is April 7, 2021, and Hurricane Zeta is April 26, 2021.

In addition to complaints about claim delays and looming deadlines, the Department is receiving complaints against insurers not providing full copies of policies as required in the Policyholder Bill of Rights (La R.S. 22:41). All policyholders are entitled to receive copies of their policies from their insurer in a timely manner. Any policyholders who are not receiving copies of their policies after requesting them should file a complaint with the Department of Insurance.

Insurers and agents were also reminded that public adjusters are not authorized to act as legal representatives for policyholders under Louisiana law and that the involvement of a public adjuster does not affect an insurer or agent’s obligation to communicate with policyholders. If a consumer is experiencing difficulty contacting their insurer or agent and is told it is because they have hired a public adjuster, they are encouraged to contact the Louisiana Department of Insurance immediately to file a complaint.

Even as Commissioner Donelon urged insurance companies to work with policyholders, he encouraged consumers to be aware of the deadlines and strive to meet them. Bulletin 2021-03 is ultimately a reminder that companies should act in good faith and fair dealing with their policyholders and are encouraged to grant leniency even as certain legal deadlines still stand. Policyholders who need to file a proof of loss should review their policy and contact their agent or insurer for guidance on the exact deadline per their policy.

Some consumers have told the Louisiana Department of Insurance that they have not been able to gather complete documentation of their losses because they are still trying to engage contractors or are still incurring additional living expenses while displaced from their homes. In those situations, the Louisiana Department of Insurance advises policyholders to do the best they can, advise their insurers of their efforts, keep them posted on the situation and follow up with additional documentation when it becomes available.

Agents and insurers also can advise what documentation will fulfill a policyholder’s proof of loss obligation. A sufficient proof of loss could include the initial damage claim, as well as photos, contractor estimates, receipts for temporary repairs and any other documentation reasonably required by the company.

Commissioner Donelon encourages policyholders who are having trouble with their insurance claims to call the Louisiana Department of Insurance for help at 1-800-259-5300 or file a complaint online at https://www.ldi.la.gov/fileacomplaint. A team of complaint specialists in the LDI’s Office of Consumer Services is working exclusively on issues related to hurricanes Laura, Delta and Zeta, and they stand ready to answer consumer questions and resolve complaints.


Northwestern State’s game against ULM moved to Wednesday (Tonight)

By Bud Denega, Sports Information Graduate Assistant

The Northwestern State softball team’s game against ULM is moved to Wednesday. The game was scheduled for Tuesday at 5 p.m. but was moved to Wednesday at the same time due to inclement weather.

The Lady Demons enter Wednesday night’s contest with a 5-2 overall record after a 3-2 showing at the South Alabama Invitational this past weekend. The Warhawks come in with a 3-6 mark.


OPPORTUNITY: GROUNDMAN LABORER

POSITION: Electrical Department – Groundman Laborer

QUALIFICATIONS: A working knowledge of principles and practices in overhead and underground electrical power line installation, maintenance procedures and operating/maintenance of substations including low voltage service work is desirable, trim trees and branches and assist the Right of Way Crew. Must work towards obtaining a CDL license. Overtime, standby and dependability is required.

EDUCATION: High School diploma or equivalent.

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 may download an application on line at www.natchitochesla.gov

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: Applications will be accepted through March 10, 2021

THE CITY OF NATCHITOCHES IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER.


Tech Giants Have Far Too Much Power and Must be Reined In

Royal Alexander/Opinion

The First Amendment prohibits government censorship but Leftist politicians and groups are attempting to accomplish the same thing with threats and bullying

It is now undeniable. We continue to see it daily. While the 1st Amendment won’t allow Congress and/or government to censor conservative speech, Leftwing activists and politicians are accomplishing the same thing by use of intimidation and bullying. We have witnessed in the last few months several such actions.

As we know, many large social media entities have banned well known and highly popular conservatives from their platforms. We’ve seen President Trump, himself, and numerous other conservative figures either temporarily or permanently censored and banned from Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat and virtually every other major social media platform. Many that haven’t been banned outright have had large numbers of their social media followers deleted. Apple, Google, and others have also now purged conservative speech and speakers from their platforms as well. This is the beginning of a punitive “de-platforming” push.

[I understand that companies like these are private companies but while they enjoy the enormous benefit of Section 230 legal liability protection from 3d party content under federal law (Communications Decency Act), they shouldn’t be allowed to selectively censor].

As Federal Communications Commissioner, Brendan Carr, noted “right now the greatest threat to free speech in this country is not any law passed by the government—the First Amendment stands as a bulwark.” Rather, he continued, “the threat comes in the form of legislating by letterhead. Politicians have realized that they can silence the speech of those with different political viewpoints by public bullying.”

What we know is that Big Tech censored and diminished the visibility of Breitbart News, for example, by some 99% in 2020. Big Tech accomplishes these purges by arbitrarily deeming conservative speech to be “disinformation,” “hate speech” or “authoritative” speech. Do you see how broad those categories are? Anything and everything could potentially be banned! This is accomplished by the tweaking of complex algorithms to either filter out or prominently display certain content as the software directs.

How does this not qualify as consumer fraud and a deceptive business practice? Large numbers of people signed up with these social media platforms, established accounts, posted pictures, bought ads, and cultivated followers but suddenly these companies pull the rug out from under certain customers. It’s a bait and switch. And, for that matter, what about the public accommodation laws? 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000a (a) states that “all persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, … and accommodations of any place of public accommodation … without discrimination…” These social media giants certainly “affect commerce.” For these reasons and others, I feel a solid legal argument can be made that the public accommodation laws should apply online as well as in person.

Big Tech has demonstrated a clear ideological bias, and Congress and regulators should take steps soon to ensure that the great legal and economic benefits these social media platforms were given in 1996—when these fledgling companies promised to be fair and impartial clearinghouses of all speech and content—are curtailed until a marketplace of ideas truly returns.


I Am My Brother’s Keeper

Curtis R. Joseph, Jr./Opinion

It is often through the most difficult of circumstances and the most trying of times that we learn life’s most valuable lessons. In the aftermath of committing one of history’s most heinous crimes, Cain is confronted with an opportunity for growth. By that, God presents Cain with the quintessential loaded question, “Where is thy brother, Abel?” At the time God asked the question, He knew full well what had transpired. He knew that Cain had slain his brother. Rather than seize the chance for redemption by owning up to his act, Cain opted, instead, to shirk any responsibility. His response has been etched in time. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” was his indignant reply.

The answer to this singular question speaks volumes about our society. Simply put, before we arrive at the question of what is just and proper for me to do as it regards my brother, I must first answer the question of whether I even owe a duty at all with respect to my brother. If the question of duty is not answered affirmatively, then the balance of the query is rendered moot. History is filled with examples of moments in time when strangers answered the question of duty affirmatively and they, therefore, acted with compassion, love and respect for their fellow man.

It has been said that adversity doesn’t build character; rather, adversity reveals character. Although the quote is typically meant to apply to individuals, it is equally applicable when speaking of nations. Given the current situation involving COVID-19, our collective character is certainly being revealed. For every healthcare worker or other manner of “essential” worker, who has accepted their call to duty and braved the risks associated with life during these times, there are scores of people who simply refuse to adhere to basic practices that are likely to decrease overall exposure to the virus. Simply put, these individuals have made a conscious, deliberate decision that they owe no duty to the rest of us. How can that be so?

As is typically the case, history can be our guide. For, it is written that there is nothing new under the sun. That said, as an example, I offer the Bank Holiday that was instituted from March 6, 1933 through March 13, 1933. The nation had been reeling for several years as a consequence of the Great Depression. The matter was only compounded by the ensuing run on the banks by customers who rushed to withdraw deposits for fear that the banks would not be able to function.

At the darkest hour, leadership entered the picture. Newly inaugurated President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, signed the Emergency Banking Act, which sought to restore Americans’ confidence in the national banking system. However, it required all banking to cease for four days beginning on March 9, 1933 and, thereafter, recommence on March 13, 1933. The proposed measures gained bipartisan support because the banking calamities were not Democratic or Republican issues. They impacted all Americans. Consequently, petty party disagreements took a back seat to governance for the greater good. Imagine that.

However, there is more to the story. On the evening of Sunday, March 12, 1933, only eight days into his presidency, FDR took to the radio to deliver the first of his “Fireside Chats” with the American people. In plain language for all to understand, FDR outlined why it was necessary to shut the banks down in order to rehabilitate them with an eye toward reopening them in a manner that would allow them to meet every customer’s need. Roosevelt also detailed the way in which the banks would phase in their reopening. Essentially, there was a phasing-in process that was somewhat similar in approach to the current phases we see with respect to COVID reopening (i.e., reasonable metrics to assess readiness).

More importantly, Roosevelt was able to communicate a sense of compassion for the plight of the common man, while also laying out his plan in a candid and honest fashion. He was, thereby, able to obtain buy in from the American people, who immediately began removing their money from their mattresses and, once again, depositing it in the banks.

I do not offer the Bank Holiday to in any way deify FDR, or to suggest a thorough understanding of the banking system. Rather, I offer it as an example to illuminate the fact that it sometimes takes leadership to point us in the direction where we listen to the better angels of our nature and own the responsibility of being our brother’s keeper.

In less than 14 minutes, during that first fireside chat, FDR appealed to the American people and reached them in a way that tapped a sense of unity that our country needs not only during times of war, famine or crisis, but one that must become prevalent if we ever hope to realize our true potential. Roosevelt captured the essence of oneness in the closing remarks of that first radio address, when he noted as follows:

“After all there is an element in the readjustment of our financial system more important than currency, more important than gold, and that is the confidence of the people. Confidence and courage are the essentials of success in carrying out our plan. You people must have faith; you must not be stampeded by rumors or guesses. Let us unite in banishing fear.  We have provided the machinery to restore our financial system; it is up to you to support and make it work. It is your problem no less than it
is mine. Together we cannot fail.”

This is the most strenuous test of our collective mettle during my lifetime. As FDR stressed, it is up to each of us to make it work. That said, please continue to be safe. We’re all depending upon it.


Lady Demons begin final week with New Orleans

A long season for Northwestern State women’s basketball enters the final stretch with the last two games of the year this week.

The Lady Demons (0-18, 0-13) host New Orleans on Wednesday night before closing out the 2020-21 season with Central Arkansas on Saturday.

Tipoff of Wednesday’s affair with New Orleans is set for 6:30 p.m. inside Prather Coliseum. The game can be heard locally on 92.3 FM with subscription video and free audio streams available at http://www.nsudemons.com.

NSU had one bad quarter in the loss to Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday. A more than seven-minute stretch of scoreless basketball allowed the Lady Lions to pull away enough to secure the road win. While the Lady Demons played a much improved second half, the deficit was too large and 0-for-11 mark from behind the arc didn’t allow for bulk points for the home team.

“Our shootaround before the game wasn’t very energetic,” first-year head coach Anna Nimz said. “I think all the small things like that add up to the game and what’s going to happen. We started off sluggish but came out and played a better second half.

“It still comes down to we’re a young team asking freshmen and sophomores to get these things accomplished. I think we’re capable of doing it and I really hope for their sake that we have a good final week.”

With the amount of minutes Erin Harris and Osha Cummings have put in this season one can easily forget that they are in just their first year of collegiate basketball. Both have been sparks at times for the Lady Demons through the challenging season, including the past three games.

Harris set and then reset her season best scoring output with 14 against Nicholls, then upping it to 15 against Southeastern. Cummings has led the team in rebounding in the past three games, averaging 8.0 board per game, matching a season best she set in the game at New Orleans on Jan. 27 each time.

It’s that kind of energy, effort, enthusiasm and confidence the Lady Demons as a whole will need to harness in the final two games of the season.

In the first meeting with New Orleans, the Lady Demons entered the fourth quarter with just a five-point deficit. A string of costly turnovers early in the period opened the door for the Privateers (5-14, 2-11) to turn a close game into a 15-point win, their first in conference play at the time.

Regardless of the game or the opponent the next two games for Nimz boil down to a handful of things, none of which center around the Xs and Os of basketball.

“If they can leave it all out on the court, control our heart, effort, energy, focus and pride in what we’re doing, the games can be ours,” Nimz said. “It’s not that we don’t have the ability to do that we just haven’t been able to do it. I told them if they can snag one of them, that’s what they’ll remember from a very tough, adversity-filled year. They’ll remember that one game.”

Photo Credit: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services