Lions Club 2016-17 Scholarships Awarded


Jill Bankston, Associate Director of Development (NSU Alumni Association) recently spoke to the members of the Natchitoches Lions Club. Warner Lee, a senior at St. Mary’s High School, was recognized and congratulated by the club as a 2016-17 recipient of a $1,000 Lions Club scholarship. He will be enrolled at NSU this fall as a full time student pursuing a degree in nursing. Warner is currently serving as the President of the Natchitoches Leo Club. Lions President Brandon McKee introduced the students to the club. Nactchitoches Central High School senior, Christopher Gistarb, was also recognized and congratulated by the club as a 2016-17 recipient of a $1,000 Lions Club scholarship. Christopher will be attending NSU in the fall to pursue a degree in Electronic Engineering and psychology. Valerie McCoy, Christopher’s mother, also attended the meeting.

Natchitoches physician Dr. James D. Knecht to receive honorary doctorate from NSU

Dr. James Knecht

Dr. James Knect

Northwestern State University will award an honorary doctorate of humane letters to Natchitoches physician Dr. James D. Knecht at spring commencement exercises Friday May 6 at 10 a.m. The Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System has approved the awarding of the honorary doctorate.

Knecht has been instrumental in creating a solid foundation for the establishment of an extensive medical community in Natchitoches over the past 35 years.  He has maintained a widely recognized private practice in family medicine during that periodwhile also playing a major role in attracting new medical personnel, facilities and services to the parish.

Since joining his medical mentor Dr. Joseph Thomas’ family practice in Natchitoches in 1982, Knecht has earned a far-reaching reputation for prominence in the medical profession.   He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Practice and has served on the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Academy of Family Practice. Knecht has been recognized as a Diplomat of the American Board of Family Practice. He is a member of the Louisiana Medical Society and the Natchitoches Medical Society. Knecht has served as a member of the family medicine faculty at LSU Health Science Center in Shreveport.

Knecht has been a member of the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center staff since 1982 and serves as chair of the hospital’s Continuing Medical Education Department. He is considered a driving force in the substantial expansion and enhancement of thehospital over the years.

Throughout his medical practice in Natchitoches, Knecht has served as a physician for Northwestern State Universityathletic teams.   He has provided those services to the university since the early 1980s without pay, spending countless hours atathletic events in Natchitoches and numerous other sites and in treating injuries, conducting physical examinations and providingother medical assistance to Northwestern State student-athletes.

Knecht has also supervised internship and practicum experience programs for students at Northwestern State who wereworking toward degrees in allied health fields. He has been a mentor for dozens of high school and college students who wereinterested in careers in the medical profession.

Knecht has been active in local civic, cultural and historic preservation programs. He has been King of the St. Denis Art League Spring Festival and is a member of the Natchitoches Historic Foundation and Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Society. He is vice president of the Mystic Krewe de St. Denis and has served as captain.

Ponderings with Doug – April 29, 2016



Doug De Graffenried – First United Methodist Church, Natchitoches, Louisiana

The Apostle Paul encouraged the church to put on the whole armor of God. The armor consists of the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. I wonder if it is all color coordinated? The metaphors Paul would choose today would be very different, but the necessity for preparing for spiritual battle is more pressing than any time in memory. It is dangerous to be a Christian and to hold Biblical views on social issues.

If I were putting on the whole armor of God in my usual way on Sunday morning I would look quite the mess. Since I leave early for church I dress in very little light. I don’t want to disturb those girls who pile up in the bed once I leave it. There is one two legged girl and she is joined by two four-legged girls. They don’t like to be disturbed early on a Sunday. The other dressing challenge I have is that even in bright sunlight, I can’t tell the difference between black and navy blue. Someone has sorted by socks such that the black ones are in the drawer below the navy blue ones. I have no such short cut with my slacks. Sunday, my desire and intention was to wear black slacks.

This leads me to my clothing malfunction on Sunday morning. I preached four times last Sunday. I was invited to preach at the Lion’s Club meeting at the Civic Center. I gave them my best shot at 7:40 a.m. and then preached the usual three sermons at the church. By the time I got to the fourth sermon I was “not bad.” On my way out of the church, I was ambling with my bride toward the car.

She said, “I still can’t believe you wore that this morning. I am so embarrassed.” This was the second time I had heard those words.

I have previously confessed to my oval shape. I used to have six pack abs, but now I have a keg. In our early service I wear a pulpit robe. You can hide any body shape or any clothing malfunction under a robe. I look stately and dignified, as much as is possible for me. The other two services I am in street clothes. There are two liturgical clothing seasons for me. October to April is the sweater vest season. May to September is the Hawaiian shirt season. That is one of the joys of a contemporary worship service culture; I can wear comfortable, loose fitting clothes! An oval preacherand a tucked in dress shirtare the ingredients for clothing embarrassment. You can’t preach faithfully if you are worried about your dress shirt coming un-tucked. You can’t preach up a storm with your arms by your side. That is where you must keep them if you worry about “tuck-in-age.”

Sunday was likely the last of the sweater vest Sundays. The sin I committed was that my sweater vest did not match my slacks. My bride was on the front row in our contemporary service Sunday. She watched me preach up close and personal. When I joined her for the last song, she leaned over and said, “You don’t match. There is no blue in your sweater. You are wearing navy blue slacks and your sweater doesn’t match.” It was a multi-colored vest, having gray, maroon and black. Although there was no blue, there were plenty of complimentary colors to blue. After all, doesn’t everything match navy blue?

I told her, “But the gray in the sweater is a complimentary color and therefore I match.” It is so confusing because gray can be spelled properly“gray” or “grey.” You should look up the internet articles on “gray” they are fascinating. I was thinking about the complexity of gray, when she said:

“You do not match. I am so embarrassed.”

I said, “So the whole time I was preaching you were looking at my sweater?”

She said, “It was very distracting. I’m sure that your clothes were distracting many people who wondered, how could she let him out of the house looking like that?” I was just happy my oval shape was completely covered!

I am going to buy her a t-shirt that reads, “I love my colorblind husband.” Or “He got out of the house without my approval.” Or “He dresses himself.”

I am not fully color blind, I am clothing color challenged. I know that very soon my closet will have the slacks placed in such a way that I won’t have any doubt about navy blue or black.I would not be surprised if she introduces a scheme for matching my clothes. I have also learned that for some reason, the way I look seems to reflect on her abilities as a spouse. I’m glad she never saw me in college!

Sunday will begin the Hawaiian shirt season! Those shirts don’t match anything which is another way of saying they match everything.

Jesus doesn’t count our clothing sins against us, He looks into our hearts.

Thank God!

Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force Agents arrest a Natchitoches couple on narcotics trafficking charges.

According to a Task Force Official, On April 22, 2016 Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force Criminal Patrol Units arrested Patrice Brimsey B/F 27 on a traffic stop where they located marijuana in the vehicle that Brimsey was operating. During the arrest of Brimsey, Terrance Hamilton arrived on scene to inquire about the ongoing arrest of his girlfriend Brimsey. The NMJDTF currently had an active investigation on Terrance Hamilton for distributing illegal narcotics in the Natchitoches area and was detained pending further investigation.

Agents then learned that both Brimsey and Hamilton resided at 418 A McDobson Way. Agents then obtained a search warrant for the residence and seized approximately 91 grams (3.25 Ounces) of suspected crack cocaine, 76 grams (2.7 Ounces) of suspected powder cocaine, a digital scale, $14,407.00 U.S. Currency and other items used in the manufacturing and distribution of illegal narcotics.

The street value of the narcotics seized was approximately $10,000 dollars. Both Brimsey and Hamilton were placed in NPDC and charged with the following:

Terrance Hamilton
– Possession of CDS II with intent to distribute (Cocaine/Crack Cocaine)
– Possession CDS II manufacturing Crack Cocaine
– Possession of drug paraphernalia

Patrice Brimsey
– Conspiracy to distribute/manufacture CDS II crack cocaine
– Simple possession of marijuana
– Possession of drug paraphernalia
– Driving under Suspension
– Switched registration tags

The Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force would like to thank the Citizens of Natchitoches for their support. Many times an investigation begins with a simple phone call or tip from a concerned citizen. For this reason the Task Force encourages all citizens to report any crimes in their neighborhoods anonymously by calling 318-357-2248, The Natchitoches Police Department, or the Natchitoches Parish Sheriffs Office.

NSU student has two poems published in national journal

Shundrika SmithTwo works by Northwestern State University English major Shundrika Smith will be published in the next issue of Dark River Review, a national undergraduate student literary magazine produced by Alabama State University.

The poems, “Mystery of a Toga” and “Tall Tales” came out of class assignments for Professor of English Julie Kane.

“Having this opportunity is amazing,” said Smith, a senior from West Monroe. “I never thought my poems would be published. When I found out about the opportunity in Dark River Review, I decided to take a chance. This is a great start for me to be able to say I have been published.”

In “Mystery of a Toga, ” Smith talked about an item of clothing, a purple sweatshirt that had meaning to her.

“I called it a toga as a way of working in Greek mythology and characters such as Atlas and Cerberus,” said Smith.

“Tall Tales” was inspired by the series of Harry Potter novels. Smith said she was a big fan of the popular novels and used the poem to talk about personal relationships and their evolution.

As she has evolved as a writer, Smith says poetry has become the most meaningful form to her.

“I have written short stories and fiction, but I love the way I can express myself through poetry,” said Smith. I have found poetry to be more personal. It has allowed me to develop my own voice.”

Smith has been a junior editor for Argus, the campus literary magazine, writing opinions on works that were submitted and edited those that were selected.

Tommy Whitehead on “The Life and Times of Francois Mignon”


Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum
800 Front Street
Natchitoches, LA 71457
Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 6 p.m.
(318) 357-2492

In the fall of 1939, Melrose took on a new resident – Francois Mignon. Until his death in 1980, Mignon shaped the region’s cultural landscape – whether by writing for the Natchitoches Times or encouraging Clementine Hunter to paint her famous murals. Join Tommy Whitehead at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum as we explore the legacy of a man born in Cortland, New York as Frank Mineah who became Francois Mignon of Natchitoches, Louisiana.

FREE and Open to the Public.

Phi Alpha Theta inducts history students


The Northwestern State University chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society, held a ceremony for new members Tuesday to induct students who have excelled in the study and writing of history. Phi Alpha Theta promotes the study of history through the encouragement of good research, good teaching, publications and the exchange of learning and ideas among historians. Dr. Charles Pellegrin, associate professor of history, left, inducted new members Emory Rae Rachal of Moreauville, Ashleigh Daniels of Robeline, Kayla Ashford of Baton Rouge, William Keran of Natchitoches and Shaffer Kimball of Shreveport. NSU’s Pi Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta was founded in 1934.