NSU’s own Jeffrey S. Girard named as State Achaeologist of the Year

Jeffrey S. Girard, regional archaeologist and assistant professor at Northwestern State University, was named as State Archaeologist of the Year at a ceremony held in Baton Rouge. The honor was part of the 2015 Louisiana Culture Awards presented by Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development.

Winners were selected from public nominations earlier this year in concert with the Louisiana State Arts Council, Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation, Louisiana Archaeological Survey and Antiquities Commission, Louisiana Folklife Commission and Council for the Development of French in Louisiana.

Girard has been regional archaeologist in the Louisiana Division of Archaeology and a member of Northwestern State’s faculty since 1989. He has been president of the Caddo Conference Organization since 2013.

GiradGirard is co-author of “Caddo Connections: Cultural Interactions within and beyond the Caddo World” and author of a chapter in “The Archaeology of the Caddo.” He has authored or co-authored nearly 30 articles or book chapters on the Caddo, colonial pottery and archaeology in regional, state, national and international journals. Girard earned a bachelor’s in archaeological studies and a master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Texas.

Press Release: NSU

NPSO – Arrest Made in Connection with Campti Arson

A joint investigation by the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office and Natchitoches Fire District #9 has led to the arrest of a Natchitoches Parish man in connection with a structure fire near Campti on Monday morning according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Office.

On Monday morning April 20th at approximately 8:30am, Natchitoches Fire District #9 and Deputies assigned to the NPSO Patrol Division responded to a reported structure fire in the 600 block of Cloud Crossing Road near Campti, La.  The structure owned by Jennifer Gorum was a total loss.

During the initial stages of the investigation, Campti Fire Chief Doug Rachal Jr. requested the assistance of the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office and NPSO Criminal Investigations because the fire appeared to be suspicious. Deputy Fire Marshal’s and NPSO detectives responded to the scene.  As the investigation progressed, detectives obtained information that led to a possible suspect identified as Freddy Perot, 25 of 762 La. Hwy 486, Campti, La.  Deputies say during the investigation, Detective Darrel Winder recovered items believed to be stolen from the residence approximately one mile away off of La. Hwy 486 hidden in the ditch.

On Monday morning, deputies located Perot while traveling on Cloud Crossing Road.    He was transported to the NPSO Criminal Investigations Division for interview purposes.safe_image

Detectives say while interviewing Perot, he confessed that he allegedly entered the back window of the residence and burglarized the residence taking the items that were recovered. Perot further stated that he intentionally ignited a fire which caused the residence to burn.

As a result of the investigation,  NPSO Detectives and Fire Marshal Investigators obtained sufficient evidence and probable cause to obtain criminal warrants signed by a Tenth Judicial District Court Judge for Perot’s arrest.

On Monday afternoon, Perot was booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with 1-count of Simple Burglary and 1-count of Improper Telephone Communications.

On Wednesday, Perot was arrested while in the Natchitoches Detention Center on a criminal warrant obtained by the State Fire Marshal for 1-count of Aggravated Arson in connection with the fire.
Perot remains in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center awaiting bond.

NPSO would also like to thank the citizens in that area that provided valuable information in the investigation.

Press Release: NPSO

Job Opening – Temporary Clerical Staff

ParishgovsealParish of Natchitoches is accepting applications for part-time temporary clerical staff for the finance office. Applications and Job Description may be picked up from the Parish of Natchitoches, Room 212 of the Natchitoches Parish Courthouse; 8:00 a.m. thru 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Parish of Natchitoches is an equal opportunity employer and a drug-free workplace. THE DEADLINE FOR RECEIPT OF APPLICATIONS IS MAY 8, 2015. All selected applicants are subject to a background check, pre-employment drug screening, and physical examination.

NSU-Fort Polk expand agreement

University will offer more degree programs at Leesville campus.

NSU-LeesvilleNorthwestern State University will expand its memorandum of understanding with Fort Polk by signing an addendum in which the university’s Leesville-Fort Polk campus will offer associate degrees in nursing and bachelor’s degrees in business administration, criminal justice, social work, hospitality management and tourism, nursing and general studies with concentrations in arts and communications, computer and natural science and social science.

The signing of the memorandum of understanding addendum will take place at 1:30 p.m. Monday, April 27 in the courtyard of the NSU-Leesville campus with Garrison Commander Colonel T. Glenn Moore and Northwestern State President Dr. James Henderson. Tours of the campus will be available following the signing.

The agreement allows NSU to streamline management of the Army’s postsecondary voluntary education programs and will offer courses at dates and times that meet the needs of military students, their families and Department of the Army Civilians and civilians at the Army Education Center.

“Northwestern State aligned programs to fill some of the education gaps that had been identified in the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk Education Needs Assessment. We now are approved to offer the programs,” said Jason Parks, executive director of NSU’s Cenla and Fort Polk campuses. “This extension recognizes the needs of students and the Fort Polk community.”

“We’ve enjoyed a long relationship with Northwestern State University in pursuit of broadening the educational opportunities for Fort Polk soldiers and family members,” Moore said. “I’m pleased that we are expanding this relationship. The additional programs NSU will offer right here at the Fort Polk campus are going to be a boon for our families in achieving their higher education goals.”

“We at Northwestern State are proud of our military-friendly history,” said NSU President Dr. Jim Henderson. “Northwestern State’s agreement with Fort Polk plays an important role in supporting economic development at the local, state and national levels. This agreement illustrates the university’s willingness to support our military by providing improved access to programs and services that will follow them in their military careers.”

Northwestern State and Fort Polk have had a relationship since 1968 when NSU established its Leesville campus on land donated by Fort Polk and agreed to provide education services to prospective or enrolled students at the army installation. As part of the agreement, NSU built classroom buildings, a library and administrative offices. Since then, Northwestern State has provided academic support to new and previously enrolled military students, family members, the Department of Army civilians and civilians at the Army Education Center.

“These services help prospective and enrolled students complete educational goals successfully,” Parks said. “We strive to teach as many courses as possible on evenings and weekends and often enough so that a student can complete a degree in minimum time.”

Northwestern State is a member of the Service Members Opportunity College Army Degrees (SOCAD) in which institutions like Northwestern State offer associate and bachelor’s degrees to soldiers, their spouses and adult children worldwide. The colleges have flexible policies that allow mobile soldiers and their families to complete degrees without suffering loss of credit and offer both traditional and distance-learning delivery tailored to military experience and training.

“We all know that military students, with their transitory lifestyles, face a variety of challenges in completing college degrees,” Moore said. “Thanks, NSU, for listening to what our soldiers want and need for themselves and their families.”

In case of inclement weather, the signing will take place in Room 1 Building 551 of Northwestern State’s Leesville-Fort Polk campus. The campus is located at 3329 University Parkway in Leesville.

For more information on the signing for the Memorandum of Understanding Addendum, contact Northwestern State’s Director of Informational Services Leah Jackson at (318) 357-4553 or e-mail jacksonl@nsula.edu. For information on the Leesville-Fort Polk campus, visit leesville.nsula.edu.

Press Release: Leah Jackson, Northwestern State University

Give Me Shelter – An Unfortunate Truth

One of the benefits of online media is the opportunity for a certain amount of anonymity. Here at NPJ, we get many requests to publish commentaries without disclosing the actual author. We’ve found that there are a lot of residents with interesting points of view or public awareness issues that warrant discussion. In that spirit, the review panel of the Natchitoches Parish Journal has created an online pseudonym called J. Q. Collectif and periodically we will post commentaries written by Parish residents that have been approved by the panel using the pseudonym. The views in the commentaries are not the work of NPJ and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of NPJ.

There are 3800 animal shelters and 1500 shelters for victims of domestic violence in our country. We previously called them “women’s shelters” until it dawned on us that women aren’t the only victims of domestic violence. It is reported that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner in their life time.


It is obvious that we prefer the puppies and the kittens to these hurting people.


Do we believe that the animals have the greater need? After all they are stuck in their situation. They can’t open the gate or the door and set themselves free. A victim of domestic violence is free to leave any time they wish. They can open the door and walk away. They can go shopping and not return home. The reasoning is victims of violence have less need because they have more choices. Really?

Where are all these suddenly freed victims of domestic violence going? Do hotels offer free rooms for victims? Do restaurants offer a victims discount menu? Reality is that some victims don’t leave because there is no place safe to go. Would you take in a victim of domestic violence? You could have a friend who is victim. We easily recognize abused animals, recognizing abuse in a person is not so easy. So, if you knew your friend was a victim, would you take them in?

In theory you would answer affirmatively, but in practice you would be afraid of discovery or the perpetrator moving the violence to your house in front of your family. Would you rather not deal with all that messiness?

It is cleaner caring for puppies and kittens. They heal up faster. They don’t carry scars and emotional baggage. They show gratitude to their liberators. Dealing with victims of violence is messy. They aren’t suddenly better because they have moved from the physical source of the violence. Their scars and wounds run deep and their pain pops up in unexpected ways.

Did you know that for the cost of helping one victim of domestic violence we can help 100 puppies? Cost analysis says that our dollar goes further helping animals. Puppies and kittens are cute. After they are treated, their wounds heal. They show love to their liberators and we feel good about ourselves.

Domestic violence happens in all socio-economic levels. It is not limited to those in poverty. Some perpetrators of abuse wear nice clothes, drive good automobiles, and have respectable jobs. They have every advantage yet wound others. We are bugged at a deep level that this abuse might be happening next door. We don’t want to be involved we simply wish for it all to disappear. That is one of the reasons raising money for this kind of shelter comes so hard. The issue is too close for comfort. It is easier to give to a shelter that helps four-legged creatures. They are cuter and our money is more efficiently used.

How do we help?

Must we close our eyes and pretend these hurting people are cute kittens or puppies?

Or maybe you should know that in 70% of abuse cases the family pet is also abused as a way of inflicting further emotional abuse on the victim. Isn’t it strange we pay to save a puppy but are slow to aid those of our own species?

If you would like to submit an anonymous commentary under the pseudonym J. Q. Collectif,
please forward it to: NPJNatLa@gmail.com.

Natchitoches Parish Fire District-9 Responds

HouseFire 40-20-15Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies and Natchitoches Fire District-9 responded to a structure fire in the 600 block of Cloud Crossing Road near Campti, La. on Monday morning at approximately 8:30am.  The structure owned by Jennifer Gorum was a total lost.  There were no reported injuries.  A joint investigation by the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office and Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office is being conducted into the cause of the fire.  The investigation is continuing.

Press Release: NPSO

NPSO Deputies arrest Natchitoches man in connection with stolen cellular telephone

A Natchitoches man wanted in New Iberia was arrested on Sunday evening in connection with the theft of a cellular telephone near Natchitoches according to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.

On Sunday evening at approximately 8:00pm, Deputies assigned to the NPSO Patrol Division responded to a reported theft in the 100 block of Bills Road near Natchitoches, La.  Deputies say while speaking with the victim, they learned that a Samsung cellular telephone valued at approximately $500 was stolen.  Deputies say with the assistance of the victim, they were able to identify a possible suspect as Davis Bradford, 38 of Bills Road, Natchitoches, La.

As the investigation progressed, deputies located Bradford walking on La. Hwy 6 West near Natchitoches.

Deputies conducted a criminal history background check learning that Bradford was wanted by Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office on outstanding bench warrants for Failure to Appear for Disturbing the Peace, Simple Battery and Aggravated Assault.

Deputies arrested Bradford without incident on the outstanding warrants, and while interviewing him in connection to the theft, he admitted that he stole the telephone but he threw it on the ground when deputies stopped to talk to him.

Bradford, was transported and booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with Theft under $500 and Failure to Appear in Iberia Parish.

Deputies returned to the location of the arrest, and recovered the telephone which was undamaged.  The stolen property was returned to the owner.  Bradford remains in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center awaiting bond. He will also be transferred to Iberia Parish at a later date and time.


Press Release: NPSO

JOB OPENING – City of Natchitoches


POSITION: Utility Service Center – Assistant manager
DESCRIPTION: Responsible for assisting and overview of utility billing, cash receipts, cashiers and collections. Will Assist Manager with overall operation of the Utility Service Center as well accounting, budgeting, adjusting utility rates, daily security issues and data processing tasks.

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 http://www.natchitochesla.gov

QUALIFICATIONS: Four year degree in Business Administration, Finance or other related field and four years of management experience or any equivalent combination of education and experience.

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: Applications will be accepted through May 1, 2015



Press Release: CON

LA 495 Cloutierville at MilePost 2.0 – CLOSED

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), advises the public that LA 495 in Cloutierville in Natchitoches Parish at milepost 2 is CLOSED due to a pipe failure. This location is currently under contract and will remain closed until the new structure is completed.

Permit/Detour section
There are no designated detours at this time associated with this project.

Safety Reminder
DOTD appreciates your patience and reminds you to please drive with caution through the construction site and be on the lookout for work crews and their equipment.

Additional Information
Call (318) 561-5100 or (800) 542-3509 or 511 or visit www.511LA.org for additional information. Motorists may also monitor the LA DOTD website @ www.dotd.la.gov, the DOTD Facebook page or the LA DOTD Twitter page, @Alex_Traffic for further information.

Project Contact
Jeff Connella, P.E.
Area Engineer
Natchitoches Parish


NSU reaches agreement with Community College

JimHendersonTwitterNorthwestern State University and the Central Louisiana Technical Community College will sign an articulation agreement that will allow students to transfer credits from the community college to their university transcript. Students will be able to transfer credits in biology, English, math, orientation, speech and other courses earned at the community college to equivalent university courses.

The signing will take place at Northwestern State at 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 22 in the President’s Conference Room on the third floor of Caspari Hall with NSU President Dr. Jim Henderson, Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Lisa Abney and CLTCC Acting Chancellor Jimmy Sawtelle.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with these students to help them to complete their Baccalaureate degree,” Abney said. “This agreement will make the transition from the Community College to Northwestern a smoother one for students. We’ve worked with CLTCC for several years regarding the evaluation of technical course credit, and this will further deepen our partnership.”

CLTCC serves students throughout Central Louisiana with campuses in Alexandria, Cottonport, Ferriday, Jena, Leesville, Oakdale and Winnfield.

“This landmark agreement in partnership with NSU will provide greater access to transferable credit for Cenla’s students,” Sawtelle said. “CLTCC is committed to serving our industries and students with a partner who shares in that vision.”

Northwestern State has similar articulation agreements in place with several other institutions.

Press Release: Northwestern State University


Winners of Essays for Egg…cellence Announced

On April 17th, 2015, the staff from Elite Radio Group’s 94.9 The River were on hand at the NSU Elementary School to present this year’s Essays for Egg..cellence Award to Erika Todtenbier and Ian Murchison.  Essays for Egg…cellence, now in its 10th year, is an annual essay competition that recognizes students in 4th, 5th and 6th grades who nominate their teachers for “Teacher of Egg…cellence.”  Mrs. Todtenbier was presented with a Kindle Fire HD, a plaque with the winning essay engraved on it.  Ian Murchison also won a Kindle Fire HD for submitting the best essay out of the 4,100 entry forms distributed throughout the Parish.  Ian’s class was treated to a party and a large selection of candy provided by Elmer’s Candy Corporation, who has been a major sponsor of the competition since its inception.  Elite Radio Group would also like to thank its other major corporate sponsors , First Federal Bank of Louisiana, Causey’s Pharmacy and Ivan Smith Furniture for another year of Eggs… cellence!

Bill Vance
Elite Radio Group

L - R Tommy Murchison, Ava Murchison, Gretchen Murchison, Erika Todtenbier, Vicki Murchison, Michele Waskom and Theresa Wilkerson

L – R Tommy Murchison, Ava Murchison, Gretchen Murchison, Ian Murchison, Erika Todtenbier, Vicki Murchison, Michele Waskom and Theresa Wilkerson


EGE page 1

Ponderings with Doug

dougthumbDo you know what it means when a preacher looks at his watch while preaching? It means absolutely nothing. Preachers are teasing you when they make a dramatic production of removing their watch and placing it on the pulpit before the sermon. They could be showing off their bling or showing how poor they are. The watch and the benediction are not connected. Even if the preacher actually looked, it won’t help. While preaching you lose the ability to process the meaning of time.

Jokes regarding long-winded-tiring-shrill preachers are legion. A Methodist preacher told his congregation the same thing Henry VIII told his wives, “I won’t keep you long.” He then preached so long that he violated the first law of homiletical dynamics. That law states, “The mind can only absorb what the backside can endure.” Being rump-sprung is a real medical condition resulting from belonging to a church with a long-winded preacher.

The two creative catalysts for my sermons are preaching the grace of Jesus clearly and beating the Baptists to the restaurants on Sunday. This Sunday we didn’t make it, we went into overtime because of all the people joining the church. Overtime in the Methodist church is a sign of revival! I should confess that we don’t sing fifteen verses of “Just As I Am” with every head bowed every eye closed. You must be quick in the Methodist church responding to the altar call. We don’t repeat verses, bridges or choruses. In our church we want you to come on down like you have been called as a contestant on the Price is Right; quickly!

We hold three services on Sunday morning, in case you are looking. There are signs the first service is nearing its starting time. The hall in front of the office is less crowded. The narthex outside of the sanctuary grows quiet. The choir walks past the office in preparation for the beginning of the service. When these signals occur I check the wall clock to verify the time is near. I’m like the starter at a track meet; I give the secret signal to the organist to start the Prelude.

Last Sunday, I looked at the wall clock and thought, “I wonder why everyone is early.” The service starts at 8:45 and my wall clock read 8:30. I continued my last minute fiddling with the sermon. I fiddle before the service starts and really work hard on the sermon during the offering. The silence in the narthex, the absence of traffic in the hallway and the murmuring from the sanctuary gave me pause. Maybe the wall clock was wrong. I looked at my watch. The service was about to begin without me!

Funny thing about those big wall clocks when the minute hand gets loose the clock can’t keep time. The clock on the wall is reading half past the hour right now because the minute hand is loose. Gravity keeps it pointing downward.

I wrote that last paragraph and wondered how many people reading this don’t know how to tell time with an old fashioned watch. Telling time, dialing a phone and cursive writing have gone into the basket of cute obsolete analog behaviors. If you are a digital reader, the wall clock points at the six all the time.

I recommend Jesus time.

Jesus lived mindfully. Living mindfully is living fully in the present moment. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Right now my body is participating in the production of this article. Eyes are reading the screen checking for mistakes, fingers are typing and the brain is directing the whole production. But hiding in my mind are the nagging remains of Sunday and the worries about tomorrow. I am not mindfully present in this moment. I’m wondering if my moment has room to acknowledge Jesus’ presence.

We try to measure time, save time, keep time, and manage time. We worry about being early or late and hope to be on time. Time marches on, but it can also stand still. How are you telling time? How are you living your time? In your life, has your minute hand become loose and it is later than you think?

The broken wall clock can be replaced time can’t. Jesus told His friends that right now is the only moment to live, live it abundantly.

19th Annual Natchitoches Jazz Festival 2015 has moved indoors

JazzFest2015The Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival – 2015 has been moved right up the hill to the beautiful Natchitoches Event Center. The schedule’s the same and will feature BADFINGER, BACK IN BLACK, BADD APPLE, AND MORE!  Saturday’s show in the Event Center will include .38 SPECIAL, MITCH RYDER, THE ELVIS TRIBUTE featuring Elvis band members DJ FONTANA and Sweet Inspiration ESTELLE BROWN, along with JOHNNY EARTHQUAKE AND THE MOONDOGS and THE SOUTHERN PLAINSMEN gospel trio.

For more information, please contact:

Valencia Sarpy Jones
Financial Services Professional
816 University Pkwy
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Weather Notice – Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast

The Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast will now take place at the First United Methodist Church on 411 2nd Street. In the case that it is storming on Saturday, the 5K run/walk will be CANCELLED. We will make the final call FOR THE 5K ONLY tomorrow, the pancake breakfast will take place rain or shine!!

In the case that the run is cancelled, registrants will still be able to pick up their t-shirts and enjoy the pancake breakfast at the church, any time from 6am-10am. Pancakes can even be picked up To Go. For questions about the 5K, you can call or text Haley Blount at 318.332.7770 or Carrie Hough at 318.617.2640.

2015 Kiwanis Pancake Flyer

Press Release: Kiwanis Pancake