CAPA readying for 27th annual Gala


Northwestern State University’s School of Creative and Performing Arts will stage its most popular holiday production in Natchitoches.  The 27th annual Christmas Gala, a perennial holiday favorite in Natchitoches, will be presented Dec. 2-4 in A.A. Fredericks Auditorium.  Show times are 7 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with an additional 9 p.m. show on Friday. Matinee performances are also presented for area schools at 9:30 a.m. and noon Dec. 2-3 and 9:30 a.m. Dec. 4.

For many, the Christmas Gala has been a tradition to kick-off Festival weekend

“More than 12,000 see the gala in Natchitoches each year, and it is met with enthusiasm from all audiences. The school-age students particularly love the show, and we are hoping to bring together all of the audience favorites for this year’s production,” said Dr. Greg Handel, director of the School of Creative and Performing Arts.

Tickets to are $10 and can be purchased through the university website. Tickets can be purchased at the box office prior to each performance, but advance ticket purchases are recommended as the shows sell out quickly.  Northwestern State, BPCC@NSU and Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts students are admitted free with a current student ID.

Admission for the children’s show is $3. Those planning to bring groups to the children’s show should make reservations by calling at (318) 357-4483.

Each area of the School of Creative and Performing Arts will be part of the Gala including music, theatre and dance and fine + graphic arts, as well as new media, journalism and communication arts. The Gala will feature the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra, the NSU choirs, Northwestern State Department of Theatre and Dance, The NSU Jazz Orchestra, NSU Rockettes, NSU Percussion Ensemble, The Out-on-a-Limb Improv Troupe, and video and visual art provided by Northwestern State Department of Fine + Graphic Arts.

This year, the Christmas Gala will also be staged at Shreveport’s historic Strand Theatre with performances at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12.  Tickets are $10 general admission.  Tickets for NSU and BPCC students are free, but students must RSVP by Dec. 7. To purchase tickets or RSVP, go to and click on Gala.

Saturday’s Choice


Joe Cunningham, III

So, on Saturday, I’ll be in Natchitoches, chaperoning a school group that will be touring the area as part of a statewide STEM tour. As I type this, I’m sitting in a hotel room in New Orleans, listening to some of the kids from the group talking very loudly. In all likelihood, I’ll take breaks in writing this column in order to go tell them to calm down.

It will be weird coming to Natchitoches as a tourist and not as a returning as someone visiting my hometown and my family. I will be visiting the places I went to on field trips as a kid: the Fish Hatchery, Melrose Plantation, and Ft. St. Jean Baptiste. I’ll be, God help us all, in charge of kids. How messed up is that?!

The school I teach at in south Louisiana is a STEM magnet school. It is part of Lafayette’s Schools of Choice program, where schools have specialized pathways that students can attend, even if the school is not their base school. It is based on a lottery system, and our school in particular is growing like crazy because it’s not just a school with career pathways, but it’s a magnet school.

It is the very embodiment of one of the many ways we in Louisiana can promote school choice.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you need to vote for David Vitter, that David Vitter is the best choice for Louisiana, that David Vitter is the only way to save Louisiana. I’m not going to sit here and tell you to overlook his past indiscretions. That is going to be a monumental task for a lot of you.

But, I am going to ask you to take a look at our children. The ones in school. The ones who could use something better. There are not enough secondary schools in Natchitoches to create the same system we have here in Lafayette, but there are things that can be done to allow for school choice. If a school is failing your child (and yes, even as a teacher, I believe that it is very much possible for a school to do harm to your child’s education), you as a parent deserve a right to place them somewhere else where they can learn.

John Bel Edwards hates school choice.

He uses the fact that his wife is a public school teacher to tout how much he respects education. It’s an obvious play against Bobby Jindal, who is still greatly disliked for his education policies. But, Edwards has taken a ton of money from teachers’ unions, who are (as organizations) very much against the idea of school choice. They want the power to remain in the hands of teachers, and not in the hands of parents.

He has written anti-school choice legislation. He is going to implement education policies that will hurt your child’s chance to get a good education.

I’m not going to tell you to vote for David Vitter on Saturday. But, I beg of you, do not vote for John Bell Edwards.

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

Funeral for Dr. Randall J. Webb to be held Monday

Webb 2015

NATCHITOCHES – Funeral services for former Northwestern State University President Dr. Randall J. Webb will be Monday at 10 a.m. in Prather Coliseum on the NSU campus with State Sen. Gerald Long and Rev. Thomas Rush officiating. Visitation will be Sunday from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. in the Prather Coliseum arena. Arrangements are by Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home of Natchitoches.

Webb, 72, died Wednesday in Shreveport after a lengthy illness. He was the longest-serving president in the history of Northwestern State, holding the position for more than 18 years.

Under Webb’s leadership, Northwestern State received unprecedented national and international attention for its academic programs and student accomplishments. University facilities were renovated to better serve students and two record-setting capital campaigns took place.

He was honored with the title of President Emeritus in May 2015. Northwestern State had the largest graduating classes in the university’s history during Webb’s tenure. Webb expanded the university’s outreach by spearheading the development at NSU of the largest electronic education network of any university in Louisiana and oversaw the first two capital campaigns at NSU, which raised more than $65 million to enhance the university. He was named to the Southland Conference Hall of Honor earlier this year.

He is survived by his wife, Brenda Webb of Shreveport, his daughters, Tamara Gatewood and husband Reggie of McKinney, Texas and Lauren Simokaitis and husband Nick of Crestwood, Missouri, grandchildren, Tyler Joseph Gatewood, Ava Michelle Gatewood, Nicholas Adam Simokaitis, and Benjamin Webb Simokaitis; his mother-in-law, Louise Williams and brother-in-law Joel Williams and wife Sylvia.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Dr. Randall and Brenda Webb Endowed Scholarship, Office of University Advancement, 535 University Parkway, Natchitoches, LA 71497.

Northwestern State students will hold a candlelight vigil celebrating Webb’s life today (Thursday) at 5:30 p.m. near the Columns.

The Louisiana School for Math, Science, and The Arts in Natchitoches – Top 25 Best Public Schools in America


A great education doesn’t have to cost a fortune — especially in high school.

Niche, a company that researches and compiles information on schools, just released its 2016 rankings of the best public high schools in the country and The Louisiana School for Math, Science & The Arts in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana ranks number 9 in the United States!

The ranking looked at over 100,000 schools based on 27 million reviews from more than 300,000 students and parents. They rated schools in areas like academics, teachers, student culture and diversity, and resources and facilities.

Academics: A+
Student culture & diversity: B+
Teachers: A+
Resources & facilities: A+

Louisiana School for Math, Science & The Arts is a public, magnet, alternative school in Natchitoches, Louisiana. It has 298 students in grades 10-12. According to state standards, 95% of students at this school are considered proficient in math and/or reading.

715 University Parkway
Natchitoches, LA 71457
(318) 357-3174



Men’s Basketball & Baseball — Northwestern State signs versatile forward, two-sport star


Versatility describes Northwestern State’s recruiting haul Wednesday, the final day of the early signing period.

The Demons inked 6-foot-9 forward Tanner Hamilton (Texarkana, Ark.) and two-sport standout Tyree Thompson (New Orleans).

Hamilton averaged 29 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks per game during his junior season at Hooks High School in Hooks, Texas.

“Every time we’ve seen Tanner, he gets better,” McConathy said about the 205-pound Hamilton, who garnered All-State, All-Region and District MVP honors. “He has unlimited potential within our program. He is a gym rat that has made himself a great shooter.

“His ability to shoot behind the arc and attack the rim off the dribble will allow him to play four positions for us offensively. He is long and athletic, which really fits into our fast-paced style of Demon basketball.

Thompson starred on the basketball court and baseball diamond at Edna Karr High School.

In baseball, Thompson compiled an 8-4 record as a pitcher with a 1.75 ERA as a junior. Thompson struck out 101 batters in 84 innings. He’s used 319 career strikeouts to aid his five career no hitters and one perfect game. Thompson won the first 11 starts of his sophomore season with the help of a fastball that’s touched 93 miles per hour.

At the plate, Thompson batted .600 with seven home runs and 34 RBIs to garner all-district player of the year honors and an all-metro selection as a junior.

“Tyree has a skill set that you just can’t teach,” said NSU baseball coach Lane Burroughs. “His arm really turns and is extremely quick.

“He really knows how to spin the baseball, and he already has a feel for plus secondary pitches. We haven’t even touched on his extreme athleticism for a big man, and I want to congratulate the basketball coaching staff for finding a real gem and helping us with a true diamond in the rough.”

Hamilton will finish his career at Trinity Christian in Texarkana, Ark., after leading Hooks High to a 30-2 record.

“Defensively, he has the ability to block shots and impact shots as well with his length and athleticism. He can defend multiple positions, which fits into our philosophy defensively. Tanner is a young senior (just turned 17), so he has a frame that can be added to that will only enhance his abilities.”

McConathy had no shortage of praise for Thompson, either. NSU freshman Colby Koontz will also pitch for the baseball team, and McConathy doesn’t shy away from athletes who wish to pursue multiple sports.

Thompson averaged 10 points and six assists for a Karr squad that went 24-9. Thompson enters his third season as a varsity basketball starter this season.

“We have addressed an obvious need by signing point guard Tyree Thompson, and we are confident that his dynamic play-making ability, athleticism and versatility will fit extremely well with our style,” said NSU basketball coach Mike McConathy. “He understands pace and space and can facilitate an offense to help his teammates get easy shots or create for himself.

“Tyree has played with and against several Division I players in high school and AAU, and we are certain he will make the transition to college basketball with success as a freshman.”

Sons of Confederate Veterans’ Commander – LIVE on KNOC this Friday

Join Pastor Steve Harris and Thomas E. Taylor this Friday for a conversation regarding the festival parade and the City of Natchitoches.

RADIO – Natchitoches    7:15AM on My92.3 KNOC. & 1450 AM

Harrisand Taylor


On Saturday, November 7, I received word that our application to the parade was rejected for no reason at all. I called the mayor and he said that he changed his mind after “relentless pressure” from the concerned citizens.  I told him then that neither he nor the citizens were correct in their demand that the original Confederate flag be used and he agreed that none of them probably knew what they were talking about but he was making this decision anyway.

In making this decision the mayor has bypassed the wishes of the Historical District Business Association since changes to the parade structure is made by a vote of Front Street merchants. They were never consulted and a vote of them was never taken.  The mayor just arbitrarily made this decision on his own.  Political correctness ruled the day.

Yes, I did reject the demand to carry a historically incorrect flag in the parade. I did offer to carry other governmental flags but was told that any flag containing the Saint Andrew’s Cross was unacceptable no matter how correct it would be.  So you see?  The mayor cares not what is correct or even right, only that he appease a vocal group with an agenda.  That is what weak, uninformed and politically correct people do and I’m afraid that this decision will negatively affect the City of Natchitoches this year for sure and possibly for years to come.


Thomas E. Taylor
Commander, Louisiana Division
Sons of Confederate Veterans


Former president Dr. Randall J. Webb passes away at 72

Dr. Randall Webb


NATCHITOCHES – Former Northwestern State University President Dr. Randall J. Webb died Wednesday in Shreveport after a lengthy illness.

Webb, who was 72, was the longest-serving president in the history of Northwestern State, holding the position from July 1, 1996 to Dec. 31, 2014.

Northwestern President Dr. Jim Henderson said, “Tonia and I and the entire Northwestern family of students, faculty, staff and alumni extend to Dr. Webb’s wife Brenda, his daughters, grandchildren and other loved ones our heartfelt sympathy in this time of grief.”

He said, “We also express our deepest appreciation and gratitude for Dr. Webb’s service, leadership and meaningful and beneficial influence on the university throughout his lifetime.”

Henderson, who succeeded Webb as NSU’s president in January of 2015, said, “Dr. Webb’s legacy will be as a giant in the history of the university that he loved and as a prominent figure over two decades in state and national higher education circles.”

Calling Webb “an icon in the long history of Northwestern State University and the Natchitoches community,” Henderson noted that the University of Louisiana System honored Webb when he retired “with the prestigious designation of President Emeritus of Northwestern.”  He said NSU is considering other ways “to memorialize and perpetuate his permanent and positive impact on the university.”

Henderson said, “No president served Northwestern longer or with greater distinction than Randy Webb.  In his 18 years as head of the university, he expanded and enhanced academic and athletic programs, spearheaded the most successful fund-raising campaigns in the history of the school and was at the forefront of dramatic growth in enrollment and expansion and improvement of physical facilities.”

Jimmy Long of Natchitoches, a member of the University of Louisiana System that serves as Northwestern’s governing board, said Webb “guided Northwestern effectively and capably for nearly two decades, and his leadership enhanced and enriched the university.”

Long said Webb was “a successful president at Northwestern not just because of his experience and skills as a higher education administrator but also because of his deep love for the university and the long and close connection between NSU and so many members of the Webb family that graduated from the school through the years.

“State Sen. Gerald Long of Natchitoches praised Webb’s dedication to the university.

“I have never known a person more passionate about his calling in life,” said Sen. Long. “He was devoted to his school and was Northwestern State’s most loyal supporter. The level of leadership he provided Northwestern State can never be measured.”

Gerald Long met Webb when both were undergraduates at NSU and maintained a friendship for more than 50 years.

“I never had a greater friendship. It was deep, abiding and based on personal respect,” said Sen. Long.

Under Webb’s leadership, Northwestern State received unprecedented national and international attention for its academic programs and student accomplishments. University facilities were renovated to better serve students and two record-setting capital campaigns took place.

Enrollment reached record levels during Webb’s tenure as president and exceeded 10,500 for the first time in history in the fall of 2004.  Webb led NSU toward higher admission standards, which has resulted in students at the university having greater academic potential and aptitude. During Webb’s tenure, Northwestern State had the largest graduating classes in the university’s history.

Webb has also expanded the university’s outreach by spearheading the development at NSU of the largest electronic education network of any university in Louisiana.

Millions were obtained during Webb’s presidency for new and renovated facilities.  The new facilities include the Wellness, Recreation and Activity Center, Student Services Center and University Place I and II. Morrison Hall, the Family and Consumer Sciences Building, Williamson Hall, Russell Hall and Caspari Hall were completely renovated and restored.

A 1965 graduate of Northwestern in mathematics and business education, Webb earned a master of science degree in mathematics from NSU in 1966.  He received a doctorate in education from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1971 with a concentration in mathematics and research.

Webb was a member of the faculty of Longwood College in Farmville, Virginia, from 1966 until 1974.  He served as Director of Higher Education and Teacher Certification in the Louisiana Department of Education from 1974 through 1976.  He moved to Southeastern Louisiana University in 1976 and in 13 years there held positions as director of institutional research, EEO officer, registrar and member of the mathematics faculty.

He became Dean of Instruction and Graduate Studies and professor of mathematics at Northwestern in 1989.  In that position, he was responsible for campus-wide policy development, planning, advancement and review of both graduate and undergraduate programs.  Among his other duties were chairing the steering committee for NSU’s Self Study for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

He was active in the community as a member of the board of directors of the Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce and as a member of the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches, the Natchitoches Historic Foundation, the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Society, Rotary Club and the First Baptist Church.

Women’s Basketball — Northwestern State faces tall challenge, early tip at No. 11 Texas



AUSTIN, Texas – Northwestern State women’s basketball co-head coach Brooke Stoehr always puts together a challenging non-conference schedule with the hope of strengthening her team for the season’s stretch run.

One of the biggest, literally and figuratively, challenges of the non-conference season arrives Wednesday when Northwestern State faces No. 11 Texas at 11 a.m. in the Frank Erwin Center.

“It doesn’t get any easier,” said Stoehr, whose team plays its second game in four days in Texas after a 74-36 loss at SMU on Sunday.

“They’re extremely large. Any time you can expose your players to big-time environments where you’re competing against some of the best athletes in the country, it teaches and shows them this is how you have to play in order to compete at this level.”

Today’s game wraps up a stretch of three games in six days for Northwestern State (1-1), which defeated LeTourneau, 73-44, in its season opener Friday before falling to SMU on Sunday.

Stoehr cautioned against drawing any conclusions from the disparate outcomes in the first two games.

“It’s Game 2 of the season,” she said. “Just like I said last year after Game 2, it’s Game 2 of the season. We’ll continue to get better. We’ll use these first nine or 10 games to figure out who we are and how we need to play and what gives us the best chance to win so we’re ready when conference play starts.”

This marks the third straight season in which the Demons have traveled to Austin. In each of the previous two seasons, Northwestern State has reached the NCAA Tournament, lending credence to the success of NSU’s scheduling philosophy.

Much like SMU, which featured a pair of taller inside presences in 6-foot-5 Stephanie Collins and 6-3 Alicia Froling, the Longhorns will deploy a lineup that will provide NSU with a physical challenge.

Texas’ roster features seven players who stand 6-1 or taller, topped by 6-7 senior Imani Boyette. Boyette was one of six Longhorns who reached double figures in a season-opening 90-53 win against Texas-San Antonio on Saturday.

“This is the first time our freshmen have experienced this,” Stoehr said. “Our returners have been through it. We need to get (the freshmen) to learn to compete every single possession and that pace and that tempo.”

Wednesday’s game will be broadcast across the Demon Sports Network by reaching Tony Taglavore will handle the play-by-play action.

The Battle of Pleasant Hill Battle Committee statement on the Mayor of Natchitoches’ Confederate Battle Flag Ban:

Battle of Pleasant Hill

The Battle of Pleasant Hill Battle Committee was deeply troubled by the recent ban request from Mayor Posey to the Natchitoches Festival of Lights Committee concerning the flying of Confederate flags by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. As of today, Mr. Posey has decided to exclude and offend a group of people who have participated in the city’s parade for the past 25 years with no incident.

The flags the SCV fly are used in historical context. The main goal of the SCV is to preserve the history and memories of the Confederate soldier. Many do this by going to great lengths to display their uniforms and flags accurately. Flying the flags of the Confederate States of America is a major part of that historical display of respect for the men who chose to fight for the Confederacy, asking them to do otherwise is offensive to the members of the SCV and is not representing the historical context of the Confederate soldier.

As a committee that also goes to great lengths to preserve history, it was very troubling to us that our Battle of Pleasant Hill Battle Queen was told she was unwelcome to ride in the Christmas Lights Parade because on her crown is a flag of the Southern Cross and because of what our event represents. This causes an issue with our Battle Queen because she is required, per her contract, to ride in the Christmas Parade. After consulting with a Natchitoches Festival of Lights committee individual, we were told she could ride in the parade if she did not wear her crown or have any flag.

The Battle Queen’s crown is her calling card. It advertises to the public who she is. A ban on her crown would cause her to be singled out, embarrassed, and diminish her ability to represent her festival to the best of her ability. This is not a condition we feel is acceptable for our Battle Queen.

When the SCV LA Division Commander, Mr. Thomas Taylor, spoke with Mayor Posey on Thursday, November 12, 2015, we asked Mr. Taylor to represent our Battle Queen in his talks with Mayor Posey.  During that meeting the SCV were told they are unwelcome at the parade, but our Battle Queen would be allowed to ride in the parade with her crown, barring she did not carry a flag. This is still troubling to our committee because there is still a ban on Confederate flags. We are concerned for the safety of our Battle Queen and that she may be turned away from the parade because of her crown. We have been given no assurance from the Festival of Lights or the City of Natchitoches that if our Battle Queen attends they will be able to keep her from harm because of the flag on her crown and because of the nature of our festival.

As an event that is involved in a local historical battle, we feel it is disrespectful of Mayor Posey to allow our Battle Queens crown, but not the SCV, who attend our event and help us to reenact history for the public.
The Louisiana Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and The Battle of Pleasant Hill are organizations dedicated to preserving history for future generations to learn and enjoy.

The Battle of Pleasant Hill Battle Committee stands with the Louisiana Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The Battle of Pleasant Hill Battle Committee has agreed to accept another event’s invitation to a Louisiana festival where there are no restrictions on our Queen, where she is free to represent her festival to the best of her ability and is assured of her safety at that festival. As of this date, we will be reconsidering any future Battle Queens inclusion to the Natchitoches Festival of Lights Parade and Festival because of the ban on Confederate flags and the Louisiana Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. We hope the City of Natchitoches and the Natchitoches Festival of Lights would reconsider this ban for future events.

Katelyn Nichole Yates
November  17, 2015

Weather -A Four State Impact

Timing and Overview:

An intense squall line is expected to develop near the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and rapidly shift east into East Texas and southeast Oklahoma through the mid to late morning hours, and continue on into southwest Arkansas and northern Louisiana by late morning through the afternoon and early evening hours. This linear complex of storms will pose a primary threat of damaging straight-line winds while isolated tornadoes and large hail, while lesser threats, will also be in play.  An enhanced risk for tornadoes will be in play for our extreme eastern areas of north central Louisiana and southern Arkansas, which is a change from the previous forecast. Flash flooding will also be a concern due to the intense rainfall rates expected along the squall line as it advances eastward.

Four State Impacts: Tornadoes:  Isolated, possibly embedded within the squall line. Portions of north central Louisiana will see an enhanced risk for tornadoes.

Winds:  Some of the stronger, more intense storms embedded within the squall line may produce winds of 60-70 mph, which will likely down trees and power lines. Given that the soils remain near saturation from recent heavy rainfall, even sub-severe winds may uproot trees.

Hail:  Hail up to the size of quarters will be possible.

Rainfall:  Widespread 2-4 inches will be common (with locally heavier amounts), enhancing the risk for flash flooding.


WeatherOutlook 11-17-15

Sons of Confederate Veterans respond to Mayor Lee Posey

Natchitoches response SCVPage1

Natchitoches response SCVPage2


Thomas E. Taylor Commander, Louisiana Division Sons of Confederate Veterans

The Natchitoches Parish Journal received this submission from Thomas E. Taylor. The views and opinions expressed are those of Mr. Taylor and not necessarily those of the Natchitoches Parish Journal.  If you have an article or story of interest for publishing consideration by the NPJ, please send it to

The Three Stooges want a pay raise


One thing I’ve learned about the old police jury system, it was a great training ground for those inclined to the robbing of Peter to pay Paul. Though it was unmercifully unethical, it became commonplace. You see, what the good ol’ boys learned and haven’t forgotten is that the Parish operates on multiple Funds. There’s the General Fund and there’s the Road District 40 Fund and others.

Under the police jury system, it was standard procedure to take money from the General and transfer it to the Road District 40 Fund before the end of the fiscal year. When the new year began, the money was ‘repaid’ from the Road fund to the General Fund, which left the current year strapped for funds again. They did this repeatedly for the past few decades. It is in violation of the State’s budgeting laws for municipalities and they were cited in the annual audit each and every time…but that’s another story.

Today, three former police jurymen sit on the five-member Council: Bedgood, Paige and Salter. These three have completed their “training” on the jury system and have now tried to infuse their brand of “Leadership” into the current Parish Council. You see, these guys know that the Road District 40 is broke, but their pay ($500 for meeting about an hour a month) comes from the GENERAL FUND, and they have decided that “post-election” would be a good time to ‘tap’ that fund for a pay raise ($1,200.00 per month – an increase of 140%!).

Though one of them is not returning to the Council, two of the three will be back at the trough for another term and, given the way the same group chose to end their final term on the jury, it is expected they will unite and show all the citizens of Natchitoches Parish “what they can accomplish in spirit of unity.” A spirit that is and has been a rarity on anything that might have benefitted those who placed them on the Council to begin with.

Finally, Moe, Larry and Curly have brought out their act once again in hopes they bring the house down, or at least the Parish Council down. Make no mistake, that is their goal. Oh, you probably won’t see the “Curly Shuffle” or Moe slapping Larry, but the name-calling, “Nitwit” and “Imbecile” will likely fit in perfectly.

The Natchitoches Parish Journal received this submission from Dennis Coleman. The views and opinions expressed are those of Mr. Coleman and not necessarily those of the Natchitoches Parish Journal.  If you have an article or story of interest for publishing consideration by the NPJ, please send it to

Natchitoches Press Conference on Flag Ban


Here is Mayor Posey’s statement from today’s press conference concerning the decision made regarding the display of the Confederate Flag in this year’s Christmas Festival Parade.  The statement reads:

“On November 2nd, a letter was sent to the Christmas Festival Committee requesting they prohibit a public display of the Confederate Battle Flag in this year’s Christmas Festival Parade. If you are one of the citizens who is upset over this decision, here are the reasons for this outcome.

First and foremost, this request was not made due to any threats made by any individual or group of people. Personally, and after serious discussion with various interested parties, the decision was made because it was the right thing to do. The sincerity of those to whom this flag represents history, culture, and heritage was never questioned or doubted.

As Mayor, I am accountable to all citizens who live in our city, and for many the Confederate Flag is a symbol of hate, bigotry, violence, and division. This may be due in large part to the fact that the flag has, over the years, been sabotaged by hate groups and other individuals in our society whose horrific crimes have had as their backdrop this symbol of the Southern Confederacy.

To be clear, the City of Natchitoches has not banned the Confederate Flag from public display. In fact, in a meeting with representatives of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, we asked if they would be willing to march in uniform and carry the original Confederate Flag as opposed to the Battle Flag. They rejected this suggestion.

The Christmas Festival Parade should be a symbol of the Christmas Season and should be associated with peace, love, and unity. This occasion should be a time when we leave our differences on the doorstep and gather to observe and embrace ‘good will toward men.’

I am proud to be the Mayor of our city. I consider one of my greatest responsibilities to be the promotion of unity and togetherness among those I serve. I truly believe that our Christmas Festival should seek to bind us, not divide us. I wish each of you a Merry Christmas and wonderful holiday season.


Lee Posey, Mayor”


Photos: Kevin Shannahan

Hall of Fame – Billy Cannon’s Tuesday evening event at museum postponed due to weather


The risk of severe weather and forecast of heavy rain and thunderstorms Tuesday has forced the postponement of Tuesday evening’s scheduled appearance by the legendary Billy Cannon at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum.

Cannon, to date the only LSU football player to win the coveted Heisman Trophy, was slated to visit the museum from 5-7 Tuesday evening for a book signing and question and answer session open free of charge.

The appearance is being rescheduled for mid-December, providing those coming to Natchitoches opportunity to enjoy the lights and holiday spirit of Louisiana’s “City of Lights” along with being able to meet Dr. Cannon and get his new book personally inscribed.  The date for the event will be announced shortly. The fabled Christmas lights in Natchitoches will be turned on this Saturday night for the first time this year.

When rescheduled next month, the event will also include a question and answer session in the museum.

Cannon is one of over 60 LSU sports heroes enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

The museum is located at 800 Front Street, at the north traffic circle in historic downtown Natchitoches, recently chosen as the country’s “Best Small Town in the South” by voters. Free parking is available on Front Street, the riverfront or one block to the rear of the museum at the Natchitoches Events Center (750 Second Street).

For more information about the event and the book, contact:

Lisa Babin, Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation,, 318-458-0166;

Jennae Biddiscombe, Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum,, 318-357-2493;

Erin Rolfs, LSU Press,, 225-578-8282.



Rebel Flag

NATCHITOCHES – Mayor Lee Posey will hold a press conference today, November 16, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. at the Natchitoches Arts Center located at 716 Second Street in Natchitoches. The press conference will be in response to the decision made regarding the Confederate Flag.

Contact: Samantha Bonnette, City of Natchitoches
Phone:(318) 352-2746



The Natchitoches Christmas Festival Committee invites residents to get in the holiday spirit and shine brightly in the 2nd Annual Neighborhood Lighting Contest.  Judging will be completed by Miss Merry Christmas and the Christmas Belles on the evening of December 10, 2015.

From November 21 through January 6, downtown Natchitoches is illuminated with hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights. “The Neighborhood Lighting Contest is a great way to get everyone involved in the Christmas festivities,” stated Marian Keator, Neighborhood Lighting Committee chair.  “Since Natchitoches is the City of Lights, we hope that everyone will show their Christmas spirit and help light the way for the season!”

Homes will be judged on holiday lights and yard displays. Homes must be within the city limits of Natchitoches.  There is no entry fee for the contest.  Anyone interested in participating should email Samantha Bonnette at with their name, address and phone number.

All entries will be judged on the evening of December 10, 2015. A total of 12 winners will be announced. Winners will receive a lighted-spirit stick, yard sign and bragging rights.

For more information, please contact Samantha Bonnette at (318) 352-2746 or via email at

HDBA Xmas Logo

Leesville SNA raises money for Crisis Pregnancy Center

SNA donation Crisis Pregnancy Center

Under the faculty leadership of Debbie Hickman, Linda Nichols and Stacey Joslin, the Student Nurses Association (SNA) at Northwestern State University’s Leesville-Fort Polk campus held an Incrediball tournament to benefit the Community Pregnancy Center in Beauregard Parish. The tournament raised $1,200, presented to Crisis Pregnancy Director Theresa Allen.  From left are SNA officers Emily Vest, Secretary; Megan Taylor, vice President; Allen, Jessica McMickin, president, and Sherry Guajardo, treasurer.