Bond Commission approves Natchitoches Parish projects


Below is a press release from the State Bond Commission.  Please note that the projects listed are not for the Capital Outlay/Line of Credit approvals.  This press release covers the approval of projects requiring bonds and taxes.  Concerned about the lack of projects for the Parish of Natchitoches, NPJ contacted FP&C Director, Mr. Mark Moses and inquired about the Payne Subdivision, Fish Hatchery Rd. and Blanchard Rd.  projects.

NPJ is pleased to report the following approvals:

Payne Sudbivision – $500,000

Fish Hatchery Rd. – $125,000

Blanchard Rd. – $280,000

BATON ROUGE, LA – The State Bond Commission approved $308 million for projects statewide and approved more than $17.1 million in savings at its September 17 meeting, according to State Treasurer John Kennedy.

“We approved projects across Louisiana,” said Treasurer Kennedy. “Because of these approvals, Breaux Bridge will improve its water system, Baton Rouge will work on its sewer structure and Lafayette will build fire stations. These are vital projects.”

Among the individual projects approved were:

  • Ascension Parish, $18 million in Revenue Bonds for the Louisiana Community Development Authority’s East Ascension Consolidated Gravity Drainage District No. 1 Project: for (1) drainage improvements and (2) funding a reserve fund or purchase a reserve fund surety, if necessary.
  • East Baton Rouge Parish, $20 million in Taxable Revenue Bonds for the East Baton Rouge Sewerage Commission’s DEQ Project: for constructing and acquiring sewers and sewerage disposal works.
  • Lafayette Parish, $5.5 million in Public Improvement Sales Tax Refunding Bonds for the city of Lafayette: saving taxpayers $1 million.
  • Lafayette Parish, $27.3 million in Public Improvement Sales Tax Refunding Bonds for the city of Lafayette: saving taxpayers $3 million.
  • Lafayette Parish, $35 million in Public Improvement Sales Tax Bonds for the city of Lafayette: for (1) purchasing, constructing, acquiring, extending and/or improving public works or capital improvements and (2) funding a reserve fund.
  • Lafayette Parish, $30 million in Public Improvement Sales Tax Bonds for the city of Lafayette: for (1) opening, constructing, paving, resurfacing and improving streets, sidewalks and bridges, (2) constructing and purchasing street lighting facilities, (3) constructing and improving drains, drainage canals and subsurface drainage, (4) constructing and purchasing fire department stations and equipment, (5) constructing and purchasing police department stations and equipment, (6) constructing and purchasing garbage disposal and health and sanitation equipment and facilities, (7) constructing public buildings, (8) purchasing, constructing and improving public parks and recreational facilities and acquiring the necessary equipment and furnishings, (9) purchasing equipment for civil defense, (10) constructing, acquiring or improving any work of permanent public improvement, (11) purchasing and acquiring all equipment and furnishings for the public works, buildings, improvements and facilities and (12) establishing reserves.
  • Lafayette Parish, $1 million in Water Revenue Bonds for the city of Scott’s DHH Program: for constructing, acquiring and installing meters and other improvements and extensions to the waterworks system, including appurtenant equipment, accessories and properties.
  • Madison Parish, $4.9 million in Water Revenue Refunding Bonds for the city of Tallulah: saving taxpayers $366,977.
  • Orleans Parish, $98 million in General Obligation Refunding Bonds for the city of New Orleans: saving taxpayers $12,776,686.
  • Orleans Parish, $28 million in Multifamily Housing Revenue Bonds for the Louisiana Housing Corporation’s Village of Versailles Apartments project: for acquisition, rehabilitation and equipping a 400-unit residential rental facility in New Orleans.
  • St. Bernard Parish, $10 million in Taxable Utilities Revenue Bonds for the St. Bernard Parish Council’s DEQ Project: for constructing and acquiring additions, extensions and improvements to the sewer portion of the combined water and sewer system.
  • St. Landry Parish, $12.5 million in School Improvement Revenue Bonds for the Louisiana Community Development Authority’s St. Landry Parish Public School System: for acquisition, construction, renovation and equipping of public school facilities.
  • St. Martin Parish, $225,000 in Limited Tax Revenue Bonds for the city of Breaux Bridge: for acquiring vehicles and equipment.
  • St. Martin Parish, $2.7 million in Revenue Bonds for the city of Breaux Bridge, Sales Tax District No. 1: for water system improvements set forth in the Master Plan.
  • St. Mary Parish, $1 million in Limited Tax Bonds for the city of Patterson: for constructing and improving roads, streets, sidewalks and related easements and rights-of-way.
  • St. Tammany Parish, $5.5 million in Sales Tax Bonds for the city of Slidell, Fremaux Economic Development District: for (1) various capital improvements, (2) funding a reserve fund and (3) paying capitalized interest.
  • St. Tammany Parish, $800,000 in Limited Tax Certificates for Recreation District No. 11: for acquiring, constructing or improving parks, playgrounds, recreation centers and other recreational facilities, together with necessary furnishings and equipment.
  • Winn Parish, $2.5 million in Sales Tax Bonds for the Winn Parish Police Jury: for improving and repairing public roads and bridges.

The Louisiana State Bond Commission meets monthly to review and approve applications from parishes, municipalities, special taxing districts, and other political subdivisions of the State requesting authority to incur debt. For more information, visit

Two Natchitoches men arrested on drug and animal cruelty charges.

According to a Task Force Official, on the 9th of September Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to 4509 Highway 3278 to investigate an animal welfare complaint that was reported to the Natchitoches Animal Shelter.  Upon arrival, deputies were informed that the occupant, Dylan Brown, had hung a dog in his back yard recently and was possibly involved in growing marijuana.

Deputies then made contact with Dylan Brown and his brother, Dennon Brown, inside the residence.  While this occurred Deputies observed several marijuana plants being grown in one of the rooms.  At that time, Drug Task Force Agents were contacted and the Brown’s gave permission to search the residence.  During the search Deputies and Agents recovered 14 marijuana plants along with lighting apparatuses, cultivation supplies, a small amount of loose marijuana, and drug paraphernalia.  Agents estimate the street value of the 14 plants to be approximately $35,000.00.

As a result, the brother’s both admitted to their involvement in their growing operation.  Dylan further admitted to hanging the complainant’s dog because it had killed an indoor cat.  Both, Dylan and Dennon Brown, were then transported to the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center and were charged with the following:

Dylan Brown

Dylan Brown

• RS 40:966A Cultivation of CDS I Marijuana
• RS 40:1023 Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
• RS 14:102.1 Cruelty to Animals

Dennon Brown

Dennon Brown

• RS 40:966A Cultivation of CDS I Marijuana
• RS 40:1023 Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Contributing Agencies Include:
Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office
Natchitoches Drug Task Force
Natchitoches Police Department

Candidate withdrawal


I am withdrawing my candidacy for the District 3 Councilperson seat of the Natchitoches Parish Council.  I appreciate the opportunity the voters of District 3 have given me to serve them over the last three years, but the time has come for me to step aside.  Doug Degraffenried has qualified for this position and I firmly believe he is capable of leading the Natchitoches Parish Council for the next term.  Mr. Degraffenried will bring a fresh set of eyes and new ideas that are critically important to solving the challenges ahead.  Please support Doug and good governance at the local level!

Aaron Johnson
Councilman, District 3
Natchitoches Parish Council

Natchitoches Parish Port Commission Board Meeting

Natchitoches pairsh Port

Regular Meeting
Time of Meeting: 8:30 AM
Date of Meeting: September 21, 2015
Place of Meeting: Natchitoches Parish Port Commission


Roll Call

Approval of Minutes
Activity Report
Treasurer’s Report
Old Business Discussion regarding status of projects

ADA Expansion

Red River Flood Impacts

New Business

Executive Session
Personnel Matters
Litigation Matters
Potential litigation

Natchitoches Parish Port Commission v. DeBlieux & Kelly, Inc., Case No. 73,994B, 10th Judicial District Court, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana

Other Business


Football – NSU faces 2015’s biggest challenge Saturday at Mississippi State


STARKVILLE, Miss. – Northwestern State football coach Jay Thomas will be thinking about getting back into Southland Conference play at home next Saturday while his Demons take on their biggest challenge of the season Saturday at Mississippi State.

NSU (0-2) and Mississippi State (1-1) meet at Davis Wade Stadium in a 3:01 p.m. contest Saturday, carried to a national television audience on the SEC Network. The game broadcast will be on the Demon Sports Network, flagshipped by 100.7 KZBL in Natchitoches and including 710 AM KEEL in Shreveport, 105.5 FM KBKK in Alexandria and 103.1 KWLA in Many/Leesville. A free audio stream is available through

A week later, the Demons begin a string of eight consecutive Southland contests with a home game against Central Arkansas (0-2), which is off this weekend.

While the ultimate goal is to pull a stunning upset of a team that had the No. 1 ranking in major college football last season, and boasts one of the top Heisman Trophy candidates this fall in senior quarterback Dak Prescott, Thomas is at least equally determined to use Saturday’s visit to Mississippi State as a key evaluation tool.

“First and foremost, we go there to try to win a football game. Our guys have been on a big stage before and they won’t be intimidated. They know it’s a heck of a challenge and that excites competitors,” he said.

“As a coach, I’ve got to see the big picture, and this game is kind of a final checkpoint for us to evaluate how we operate and some players who could show us they should be in the mix as we get back to conference games after playing two straight bowl teams from last year,” he said.

The Demons fell 44-17, although they suffered dropped passes that would have provided two more touchdowns, last week at UL Lafayette. Mississippi State’s comeback fell just short in a 21-19 homefield loss to LSU.

Saturday’s game will see the Demons start a different quarterback for the third straight week. Sophomore J.D. Almond shined in his first collegiate experience in the second half at UL Lafayette and will open the game behind center for NSU. Thomas plans to get senior Stephen Rivers, junior Daniel Hazlewood and last week’s starter Joel Blumenthal into the game.

Defensively, NSU is trying to shore up a unit that has yielded big rushing totals in the first two games and faces its most daunting task against the SEC Bulldogs.

The Demons’ top tacklers are senior safety Chase Collins (19) and senior defensive end Leroy Armstrong (16), both Natchitoches Central products.

Rice faculty to present recital Sept. 30

Tim Pitts pic

Tim Pitts

Bassist Timothy Pitts will perform at Northwestern State University Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. Admission is free and open to the public. Pitts will be joined by pianist Charles Tauber. The concert will include works by George Frideric Handel, Johannes Matthias Sperger, Arvo Part, Paul Hindemith, Julius Goltermann and Girolamo Frescobaldi and Gaspar Cassado.

Pitts’ orchestral career began as a member of the Cleveland Orchestra after which he was appointed principal bass of the Houston Symphony, a position he held for 17 years. Pitts also served as principal double bass of Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra under the direction of John Williams.

An active chamber musician, Pitts has appeared as a guest artist with Bay Chamber Concerts, the Mainly Mozart Festival, Boston Musica Viva, the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, Strings Music Festival in Colorado and the Skaneateles Festival in New York as well as with the Los Angles Piano Quartet and the St. Lawrence, Jupiter, Takacs and Vermeer Quartets. He has collaborated with such artists as Menahem Pressler, Arnold Steinhardt, Christoph Eschenbach, Heinz Holliger, Robert McDuffie, and Roberto Diaz. As a member of the Houston Symphony Chamber Players, Pitts toured Germany and Japan, and appeared at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival.

Pitts has appeared as soloist with the Houston, Greenville, Savannah, Albany, and Mainly Mozart Festival orchestras. In April of 2006, Pitts gave the United States premiere of John Harbison’s “Concerto for Bass Viol” with Hans Graf conducting the Houston Symphony.

Pitts has presented master classes at the National Orchestral Institute, the New World Symphony, Boston University, Indiana University, the Glen Gould School, Colburn School and the Pacific Music Festival. His students can be found among the ranks of the world’s finest ensembles.

Formerly on the faculty of the Oberlin Conservatory, Pitts is currently a Professor of Double Bass at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. He plays on a historic double bass made by Domenico Busan of Venice made in 1771.

Since 2002, Tauber has been Staff Pianist at Rice University Shepherd School of Music and at the Aspen Music Festival and School. A graduate of The Juilliard School, where he studied with the eminent pianists Jerome Lowenthal and Joseph Kalichstein, Tauber has performed throughout the U.S. and abroad in such distinguished venues as the La Jolla Chamber Music Society, Dumbarton Oaks, Vancouver Recital Society and the Kammermusiksaal der Berliner Philharmonie.

As a proponent of modern music he has performed at the FOCUS! Festival at Juilliard, Summergarden at the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Guild of Composers in Merkin Hall, and the Charles Ives Center for Contemporary Music, where he participated in the premieres of six new piano trios.

Prior to his current appointments, Tauber worked as staff pianist at The Juilliard School.

Charles Tauber

Charles Tauber

Liner named Cenla campus manager

Kimberly Johnson

Kimberly Johnson Liner has been named campus manager for Northwestern State University’s Cenla campus in Alexandria.

Liner, a Northwestern State alumna, has been a staff member at the university since 2011 as a counselor in the Office of Counseling and Career Services and an advisor/instructor in the Office of Student Support Services.

“This is such an exciting opportunity and I look forward to working with all of the staff, faculty, and students at NSU’s Alexandria campus,” said Liner. “I also look forward to collaborating with other Learning Center for Rapides Parish partners and the surrounding community and businesses.”

Before joining Northwestern State’s staff, Liner was a clinician in the Region VIII Office of Behavioral Health in the Department of Health and Hospitals and a student services specialist at the Louisiana Technical College – Natchitoches campus.

As a counselor, she provided counseling services to university students, faculty and staff, served as an advisor to S.W.A.T., a student organization with a focus on health and wellness and coordinated and implemented a grant through the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.

In the Office of Student Support Services, Liner provided academic advising and support services to eligible students, assisted students with financial aid applications, planning questions and concerns and provided personal, career and academic counseling. Northwestern State students that participated in the SSS program have consistently graduated at a higher rate than their peers within the University

Liner earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and a Master of Art degree in Student Personnel Services. She is a licensed professional counselor and licensed marriage and family therapist.

Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Detectives attempting to identify Armed Robbery suspect


Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Detectives are attempting to identify an Armed Robbery suspect involved in the Armed Robbery of Sibley Lake One Stop on Monday evening in the 900 block of La. Hwy 504 in the Oak Grove community near Natchitoches according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones Jr.

Detectives say on Monday evening September 14th  at approximately 8:38pm, a unknown black male suspect armed with a blue steel semi-automatic handgun entered Sibley Lake One Stop robbing the cashiers of an undisclosed amount of cash according to Chief Investigator Greg Dunn.

The suspect fled on foot.

There were no reported injuries.

Refer to attached surveillance video photographs.

Sheriff Jones said detectives have been interviewing witnesses and reviewing surveillance video as the investigation continues.

If you have any information regarding this robbery, please contact the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office at 318-352-6432, or the NPSO Criminal Investigations Division at 318-357-7830.

All calls will be kept confidential.



High schoolers pen winning essays on Louisiana people

Brant Guerin of Greenwell Springs won first and Chelsea Franklin of Crowley won first and second place in the Louisiana High School Essay Contest held in conjunction with the Northwestern State University-sponsored Louisiana Studies Conference.  From left are Dr. Shane Rasmussen, conference chair;  Dr. Lisa Abney, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs;  Guerin, Franklin and NSU President Dr. Jim Henderson.  Not shown is third place winner Andrea Bradley of Ville Platte

From left are Dr. Shane Rasmussen, conference chair; Dr. Lisa Abney, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs; Guerin, Franklin and NSU President Dr. Jim Henderson. Not shown is third place winner Andrea Bradley of Ville Platte

Brant Guerin of Redemptorist High School in Baton Rouge won first place with an essay on “Pistol Pete Maravich” in the 7th annual Louisiana High School Essay Contest held in conjunction with the Louisiana Studies Conference at Northwestern State University.  This year’s contests theme was “Louisiana Time Machine” with the prompt “If you could meet and talk with any Louisianian from the past, present or future for one hour, who would you choose and why?”  Second place winner was Chelsea Franklin of Crowley High School for “The Mysteries of Huey Long.”  Third place went to Andrea Bradley of Westminster Academy in Ville Platte for “A Talk with A Madame.”

The winning essays were presented at the conference and will also be published in the Louisiana Folklife Journal, the Louisiana Folklife Center’s scholarly journal.

“The essays by this year’s contest winners are magnificent,” said Dr. Shane Rasmussen, director of the Louisiana Folklife Center at NSU and co-chair of both the conference and the essay contest. “These young writers have managed to capture in words just what makes the historical figures they imagine meeting both interesting and significant.”

Northwestern hosted the conference with the theme “ Louisiana Cultural Crossroads” with presentations and panel discussions that focused on aspects of Louisiana art, history, culture and literature.

“This year’s conference highlighted some of the many ways that folks in Louisiana have influenced each other at a variety of cultural crossroads,” said Rasmussen. “The significance of these influences upon Louisiana culture cannot be overestimated. Louisianans are stronger and better because of our diversity.”

Tony Davis for BESE 4

Joe Cunningham, III

Joe Cunningham, III

Joe Cunningham is a conservative commentator, Front Page Editor at, contributor to The Hayride, and a teacher in south Louisiana. You can find him on Twitter at @JoePCunningham and on Facebook at

Education has been undergoing quite the revolution in the last several years. Admittedly, in Louisiana, we’ve not been the most consistent at revamping our educational structure. As a teacher and a political commentator, all this talk of standards and Common Core and Bobby Jindal this and David Vitter that… well, it gets a little cumbersome.

The Common Core debate is so incredibly nuanced that, at times, we lose sight of what it actually is, does, and could do. This is because of various power structures, largely bipartisan I might add, that are committed to representing interests over people.

In Natchitoches and the surrounding parishes, we have a chance to try and elect someone to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education who isn’t a rabid supporter or a rabid opposer of Common Core State Standards (or whatever they will be called when the state is done rewriting them). There is an election coming up in which we have a chance to get a more active, thoughtful, and ultimately practical BESE group to get to work on revamping the education system in the state.

One member of the Natchitoches community is running for the BESE District 4 seat, and he is someone I know has the best interests of the education system at heart. Tony Davis, the President and CEO of the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce, qualified for the race last week.

If you don’t know, under Davis’ guidance, the Chamber has done a lot to increase educational opportunities in Natchitoches Parish. He secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to fund various STEM-related programs in the area, and has put into place a very pro-education mentality in the community.

Education reform is, of course, not something that just happens in a few years. But it’s time that we as a state went beyond the talking points of Common Core and actually began working on solutions. Tony Davis is the kind of man who can have that conversation, and he is the kind of man that would make sure students, their parents, and the education system all benefit when a solid plan is implemented properly.

It is paramount that the Natchitoches community supports Tony Davis for BESE 4 this year.