NSU signed a memorandum of understanding with the Institute of Crisis Management Studies, Samarpan Academy, Nepal.

NSU MU Napal

NSU President Dr. Jim Henderson signed the agreement via WebEx early Wednesday, when administrators coordinated a nearly 11-hour time difference.

According to the agreement, the two institutions will promote academic cooperation through the exchange of research papers, teaching materials, syllabi and curricula. The agreement encourages both schools to partner in joint research and to collaborate in instructional and cultural programs and shared access to information networks. The institution may exchange faculty for teaching, lectures or workshops and may exchange up to two students per academic year for study in degree programs and participation in research, cultural activities, language learning and more. The agreement is effective for five years.

Northwestern State’s engagement with Nepal is the result of a relationship between two members of the faculty who became involved with the Empower Nepali Girls Foundation. Drs. Patrice and Michael Moulton and their son Bryce have worked with the Foundation for several years to provide scholarships for Nepali girls to attend school and raise awareness of child trafficking, hunger and gender equity.

Patrice Moulton, a professor of psychology at Northwestern State University, first learned of the Empower Nepali Girls Foundation through a colleague she met at a conference who talked about a grassroots foundation he established after a visit to Nepal where as many as 10,000 girls are abducted and sold into slavery every year. Patrice and Michael, who is a professor in Northwestern State’s Department of Health and Human Performance, have travelled to Nepal several times.

In Natchitoches, the Moultons have worked with First United Methodist Church, St. Mary’s School, Northwestern State ROTC and NSU’s Psi Chi psychology society with projects to benefit the Foundation. Their efforts became even more important after a devastating earthquake occurred in Nepal in April 2015 that killed thousands of people, flattened villages and reduced numerous heritage sites to ruin.

With its ancient culture and the Himalayas as a backdrop, landlocked Nepal was closed to the outside world until the 1950s. About three quarters of the country is covered by mountains. It is home to Mount Everest – the world’s highest mountain.

“NSU is very excited to partner with faculty and students at Tribhuvan University/Institute for Crisis Management Studies,” Dr. Patrice Moulton said. “We look forward to future student academic and cultural exchanges.”

How Not to Take Care of Your Parents’ Car

DarbyNPJ

Last week I wrote about some pretty serious close calls I’d had with automobiles in my younger days.

This week I’d like to relate some of my more foolish, but less dangerous, moments involving cars, namely vehicles belong to my parents. These were all my fault and the factors involved in the three incidents were stubbornness, thoughtlessness and — vodka — in that order.

First, my stubbornness. When I was at LSU, a bunch of friends decided to have a beach party. Well, the only thing resembling a beach fairly near the campus was the Mississippi River batture, that sandy area between the levee and the river.

The girl I was bringing was a first date. At the time I was driving a smoky old Simca Aronde, a little French sedan that badly needed a valve job. I wanted to impress the girl so I talked Daddy into letting me drive his pride and joy, a 1960 Ford Thunderbird.
The loan of the car came with a warning. “Son, do not drive that car over the levee. It’s built very low and you’ll tear off the muffler.”

“Okay, Daddy, I won’t,” was my well intended response.

However, when we arrived at the party site, all my buddies were driving their cars over the levee, so I’d be darned if I was going to make my lovely date trudge through the grass up the levee. So I carefully made my way up the incline in the T-Bird. Of course when I reached the top, that old levee just reached up and grabbed the muffler right off of that car.

“My gosh,” I thought. “Parents do know some things after all.”
That rather ruined the rest of the beach party for me and my new date must have wondered why the guy she was with was so gloomy on such a fun occasion.
I manned up to Daddy the next day, admitted what happened and ended up paying for a new muffler.

The incident involving thoughtlessness had to do with Mother’s 1957 Oldsmobile. She’d let me take it out for a Friday night ride with my buddies when I was in high school. We headed straight for Hopper’s Drive-In on Florida Street, THE place to see and be seen for teenagers in Baton Rouge in the 1950s.

We had innocently ordered burgers and cokes and were listening to rock and roll on the radio. I was a would-be drummer and I vigorously kept time to the beat by pounding my hand on the top of the padded dashboard. Of course, my high school ring cut a hole in the vinyl and I got a good talking to from Mother the next day.

Well, believe it or not, she loaned her Olds to me again. I was in college then and took my date dancing at a night club, a popular and what I thought was a sophisticated spot on Airline Highway.

So, it seems that that night my date and I decided to introduced ourselves to screwdrivers — a potent drink made up of vodka and orange juice. Because of the orange juice, it goes down smoothly and quickly. Before we knew it, we were very mellow. We got up to dance and we swayed and dipped, not in time to the music but under the control of the vodka.
We decided we’d better get on home before we got even more drunk, so we weaved our way outside to the Oldsmobile, with me promising myself that I was going to drive very carefully on the way home.

Well, I didn’t get out of the parking lot unscathed. I saw a tree in my rearview mirror as I was backing up. I thought it was a big tree far away. No. It was a middle-sized tree much closer. The loud thump of the back bumper hitting the tree was a dreadful sound.
That made me drive even more carefully for the rest of the night. But Mother was really mad about the new indented curve in her back bumper.

All of these mishaps were lessons learned. A teaching moment, as they like to say today. But boy I’d love to have that ’60 Thunderbird and that ’57 Olds right now.

LT. SUSAN JOHNSON NAMED AUGUST EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH

Employee of the Month - August 2016 Susan Johnson

Lieutenant Susan Johnson of the Natchitoches Police Department was named the Employee of the Month for August 2016. Lt. Johnson has worked with the Natchitoches Police Department for more than 30 years.

“Congratulations to Lt. Susan Johnson,” said Chief of Police Micky Dove. “We appreciate her hard work and years of dedication to the City of Natchitoches.”

“She is a very hard worker and loves working with the public,” added Kimberly Banks, Natchitoches Police Department Records Clerk. “She treats everyone with respect, but still enforces her job.”

Lt. Susan Johnson was presented with an Employee of the Month Plaque by Mayor Lee Posey and received a gift certificate to Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant for her hard work and dedication.

Northwestern State band loans drums to St. Amant High band

NSUdrumLoan

For any marching band, it all begins with the drum line. St. Amant High School’s band took a big step toward getting whole Wednesday when it received a loan of drums from Northwestern State University.

The university provided St. Amant, which is in Ascenion Parish near Gonzales, with nine snare drums, four sets of tenor drums (six drums each) and five bass drums that would have been sent to state surplus.

“I can’t put into words what this gesture from Northwestern means,” said St. Amant Director of Bands Craig Millet. “The first thing the band does is rally around the drum section. What starts things is the drum cadences. That is what gets the band pumped up.”

Northwestern State Director of Bands Dr. Jeffrey Mathews was closely following news of the flooding that devastated much of southeast and south central Louisiana. He immediately began contacting band directors to offer help.

“When something like that happens, everyone wants to do something,” said Mathews. “I called one band director in the area who told me what happened at St. Amant and we went from there.”

Once Mathews identified the need and how NSU could help, he worked with university and state officials to complete all required paperwork.

St. Amant High was closed after the recent floods. Students began classes Monday on a half-day platoon schedule at nearby Dutchtown High. Millet said about 90 percent of the band students had their instruments stored in the school’s band room. He is hoping to gather enough instruments to allow the band to perform at next Friday’s football home opener.

“I saw the students for the first time Monday and they are very resilient,” said Millet, who has been at St. Amant for 27 years. “They can’t wait to get back to play and practice. Our community has suffered but humanity has not because of the willingness of people to help.”

The donation was also meaningful to Spirit of Northwestern Marching Band member Madison Mayers, a 2016 graduate of St. Amant, where she was the band’s drum major last year.

“It is heartwarming that my new school (Northwestern) loves my former school (St. Amant) and wants to help,” said Mayers, a freshman biology major from St. Amant. “It was so great of Dr. Mathews to make the offer of percussion equipment to St. Amant.”

Mayers’ family had four feet of water in their home. They are staying with friends as they start the rebuilding process.

“I’m glad I have been able to focus on classes and band for the last couple of weeks,” said Mayers. “I know it will be very emotional for me when I go home.”

 

From the left: Graduate Assistant Donald Myers, Northwestern State Director of Bands Dr. Jeffrey Mathews, St. Amant Director of Bands Craig Millet. NSU band member and St. Amant alumna Madison Mayers and Northwestern State Assistant Director of Bands Oliver Molina.

BOM sponsors NJH-FRJS

BOM to FRJ-HIGH

BOM is a $200 sponsor for the Natchitoches Junior High-Frankie Ray Jackson School for the athletic sign sponsor fundraiser. From left are Chari Addison, Coach Scott Green, Gretchen Dauzat and Logan Lambert.

Axsom seeks donations and volunteers for continued relief effort

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Axsom is seeking donations for flood victims and volunteers for the next trip this Saturday Sept. 3. The trip will be a one-day blitz project. Volunteers can contact Steve Axsom at 318-554-9712. Supply donations can be dropped off at the Axsom office at 129 South Drive.

On a previous trip, the group of 11 volunteers worked through The Chapel Church in Baton Rouge, which had a list of 75 homes. The owners of these homes were in need of help, as they had no resources or family. One homeowner the group helped was an elderly disabled lady in a wheelchair who was living on her own.

Besides a few Axsom employees, Steve reached out to The Bridge Church in Natchitoches for volunteers.

The group completely gutted four homes on its last trip. They removed sheetrock, cabinets and everything else down to the studs so the building could dry out.

Local businesses including International Paper, Stine’s Lumber, Home Hardware and Family Dollar helped fill two trucks with cleaning supplies and work equipment.

“Every little bit helps,” said Steve.

Birthday party celebrates DAR member

Colleen's Birthday

Friends and fellow DAR members surrounded Dr. Colleen Lancaster at her 90th birthday party Aug. 30. As the Honorary Chapter Regent for the Natchitoches Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Chapter showed its appreciation for all the work she’s done. Rosie Finical decorated her home in the red and blue colors of the DAR. A similarly themed cake was served to guests as they honored Colleen for her patriotism and dedication.

“She’s a tough and sweet lady,” said Linnye Daily Clark.

Dr. Margaret Wheat Carter said Colleen has kept the Natchitoches DAR Chapter together over the years.

Colleen’s neighbor Martha Maynard and soon-to-be neighbor in 2 months, Markay Cunningham, commented on her dedication to their DAR Chapter.

“She’s a very determined and talented lady,” said Markay. “She follows through with what she decides to do.”

Martha agreed. “She’s a wonderful neighbor and supporter of the DAR. I admire her ability to get up and go no matter what.”

“She’s an amazing person who has accomplished a great deal in her lifetime,” said Wanda St. Andre. “Happy Birthday Colleen.”
Photo: From left are Diane Gunter, Emily Wofford, Linnye Daily Clark (in back), Mary White, Julie Callahan, Anna Airheart, Martha Maynard, Mary Linn Wernet, Donna Brewer, Arnetta Hyams, Rosie Finical, Wanda St. Andre, Billie Gibson, Dr. Margaret Wheat Carter and Dr. Colleen Lancaster.

Agents receive awards for service, projects at 4-H convention

Gwen Fontenot

The Louisiana Association of Extension 4-H Agents presented several awards recognizing members’ service and projects during its annual convention held Aug. 24-26 at the LSU AgCenter Grant Walker 4-H Educational Center in Pollock.

Gwen Taylor Fontenot, of Natchitoches Parish, received an Excellence in 4-H Volunteerism award. She also received Communicator Awards in the personal column, published photo and video program categories.

A Communicator Award for an educational package was presented to a team including Lauren Edwards, of Morehouse Parish; Laura Brumbaugh, of St. Martin Parish; Kim Jones, from the state office; Amy Long-Pierre, of St. Tammany Parish; Mark Carriere, of Pointe Coupee Parish; and Elliott Scroggs, of West Baton Rouge Parish.
Another team won a Communicator Award for an educational piece. They are Veronica Del Bianco, of the state office; Lola Boone, of Caddo Parish; Gwen Taylor Fontenot, of Natchitoches Parish; Lois Brister, of Rapides Parish; Leslie Moran, of the state office; Olivia Picard, of St. Tammany Parish; and Ana Iverson, of the AgCenter communications department.

Three agents who have worked for the LSU AgCenter’s 4-H Youth Development program for three to seven years received Achievement in Service Awards. They are Daniel Morton, of DeSoto Parish; Christina Zito Hebert, of Iberville Parish; and Nan Arthur, of Sabine Parish.

Distinguished Service Awards recognizing association members who have served more than seven years went to Esther Boe, of Avoyelles Parish; Adriana Drusini, of St. Mary Parish; and Kali Zammit, of St. Charles Parish.

Karen Martin, regional 4-H coordinator for northwest Louisiana, was presented a Meritorious Service Award, which is given to a previous Distinguished Service Award winner selected by others who have received that award.

Awards recognizing members for various years of service went to Leslie Moran, an extension associate in the state 4-H office, for five years; Kori Myers, an agent in St. Martin Parish, for 10 years; and St. Tammany Parish’s Amy Long-Pierre and Ouachita Parish’s Markaye Russell for 15 years.

Awards for 25 years of service went to Terri Crawford, regional 4-H coordinator for northeast Louisiana; Tina Goebel, regional 4-H coordinator for central Louisiana; Michael Lavergne, an agent in Beauregard Parish; and Hilton Waits, an agent in Vermilion Parish.

Those who received service awards will also be recognized at the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents conference, which will be Oct. 9-13 in New Orleans.

Other awards presented at the state convention include the Arton-Granger Award, which went to Iberia Parish agent Christy Oliver.

Friday evening Demon Watch Party set for NSU football opener

watch party

Northwestern State Demon football fans are invited to gather at Bon Ami, above The Landing Restaurant in downtown Natchitoches, for a Demon Watch Party Friday evening as the college football season kicks off with NSU playing a 6:30 contest at Baylor.

There is no admission charge for the Watch Party, co-hosted by the Demons Unlimited Foundation.

The doors to Bon Ami open at 6 Friday evening. Kickoff is 6:36 p.m. on Fox Sports Net, distributed in the Shreveport and Natchitoches areas on Fox Sports Southwest Plus.

Shreveport/Natchitoches Affiliate:
Fox Sports Southwest Plus
DirecTV 676-1
Dish 443 (SD)/9581 (HD)
U-verse 757 (SD)/1757 (HD)

Cable viewers:
Suddenlink 134/135
Comcast 511/732/1652

Outside of Shreveport/Natchitoches markets, please check local listings for cable TV availability.

St. Mary’s Pre K3 students celebrate Teddy Bear Tuesday

TeddyBear2016 (2)

St.Mary’s Pre K3 program had fun on a Teddy Bear Tuesday. Activities included making bear snacks, bear art, teddy bear awards and they even went on a bear hunt (He was found hiding in the cafeteria). Pre K3 students are Branch Smith, Jacob Wilson, Nikeo Collins, Hendrix Harrington, Moss Cain, Sam Dean, Aubree Rachel, Sutton Vandersteen, Hadley Mayeaux, Harper Armstrong, Zino Eleyea and Kennadi Starks.

 

NPJ contributes to Project Honor

NPJ Donation

Corey Poole, editor of the Natchitoches Parish Journal, presented Larry Paige with a check contributing to the Project Honor: Our Heroes Campaign. The project is an effort started by the Rapides and Natchitoches Parish communities to provide St. Michael visor clips to all law enforcement officers, first responders and firefighters.
St. Michael the Archangel is the Patron Saint of police officers.

Heading up the project in Natchitoches Parish, Paige asks that anyone interested in contributing to the project call him at 318-792-1660 or 318-352-6433. The medals are $9 each. Checks should be made out to: Mary’s Heart Catholic Gifts. This is where Paige is ordering the medals from.

Asbury United Methodist Church of Natchitoches recently held a special Worship Service

150 YEAR PROCLAMATION

“Rooted In Faith and Honoring Our Legacy” was the theme for the celebration, based on St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians where he admonished them, “…So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

The church was established in 1866 by a group of ex-slaves as Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church and for 150 years the church has been located at the corner of Fifth and St. Denis Streets, adjacent to the Natchitoches Historic District.

During the service, Rev. James A. Graham, who served the church for 23 years before his retirement, was recognized with the honorary title of Pastor Emeritus.

Mayor Lee Posey presented a proclamation to the eldest church member, Ruth Antee Thomas and other members of the church in honor of their 150th year including Lay Leader DeMelvin Johnson, Mayor Posey, Mrs. Thomas, Belinda Hearne, Judy Barnum and Travis Barnum.

Lodge presents juniors with Honesty and Integrity Awards

Honesty and Integrity Awards
Nine high school juniors were presented with Honesty and Integrity Awards Monday evening, Aug. 29 at the Phoenix Lodge #38 F&AM in Natchitoches.

The Honesty and Integrity Awards Program was instituted in 1977 by the Grand Lodge of Louisiana to recognize deserving youth who possess the qualities to become leaders of tomorrow. Lodges annually select deserving juniors from high schools in their regions.

Students included:

Aaron Foster: Natchitoches Central High School, son of Eddie and Reinette Foster
Leah DeFord: NCHS, daughter of Matt and Julie DeFord
Brooklyn Hampton: NCHS, daughter of Todd and Christina Hampton
Makenzie Methvin: St. Mary’s Catholic School, daughter of Karlton and Lisa Methvin
Thomas Scruggs: St. Mary’s, son of Connie and Sammy Scruggs
Marcus Shallow: LSMSA, son of Minkeo and Benjamin Shallow
Jacob Stultz: LSMSA, son of Rusty and Anne Stultz
Russell Stultz: LSMSA, son of Rusty and Anne Stultz
Samantha Wright: LSMSA, daughter of Lee and Theresa Wright

Worshipful Master of the Lodge, Steve Horton, welcomed friends and family to the open night at the Lodge for the award ceremony.

“We recognize those who we think are living a life as they begin that Journey, still in the East of their youth, not quite to the South of adulthood, maturity and say, live well your life and live it with honesty and with integrity,” he said. “We found nine who are and we congratulate them.”

Brother Keith Gates presented the students with their awards. Keith was born in Natchitoches, raised in Goldonna, and is proud to call the area home. He is a 2000 graduate of Lakeview High School and attended Northwestern State University. After law school, Keith returned home to fulfill his dream and opened Gates Law Firm in Winnfield. He is a member of the Goldonna Lodge, Hope Lodge in Lafayette and O.K. Allen Lodge in Winnfield.

Krew of Dionysos announces 2017 Royal Court

Captain

Past Captain Dennis Bryant & Captain Dionysos XIX – Pete Johnson

The Krewe of Dionysos held its Coronation Party to announce the new Royal Court Aug. 27. The event was held at the Ben Johnson Auditorium with live music provided by Identity Crisis. The theme for the upcoming season is, “Mardi Gras on Mt. Olympus.”

The new 2017 Royal Court is:
Captain Dionysos XIX – Pete Johnson
King Dionysos XIX – Dicky Moore
Queen Dionysos XIX – Debbie Moore
Duke of Destiny XIX – Kirk Soileau
Duchess of Destiny XIX – Charity McKinney
Duke of Decadence XIX – John Richmond
Duchess of Decadence XIX – Kathy Richmond
Duke of Dance XIX – JC Townsend
Duchess of Dance XIX – Nora Townsend
Duke of Desire XIX – Randy Williams
Duchess of Desire XIX – Soni Sers

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King & Quees Dionysos XIX – Dicky Moore and Debbie Moore

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Duke and Duchess of Desire XIX – Randy Williams and Soni Sers Duke and Duchess of Decadence XIX – John Richmond and Kathy Richmond

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Duchess & Duke of Destiny XIX – Charity McKinney and Kirk Soileau Duchess & Duke of Dance XIX – Nora Townsend and JC Townsend

Dark Woods Ranks High On List of Must-See Haunts

Top-31-promo

Newly christened into the Haunt industry for the 2015 Halloween season, Dark Woods Haunted Attraction was ranked #12 on the Top 31 Must-See Haunts List. Featuring some pretty phenomenal regional and national attractions, the national list is compiled by TheScareFactor.com. The site is dedicated to providing accurate and fair reviews of haunts, based on a collaborative effort of professional haunted attraction reviewers called “Scream Teams.”

Thrilled by the ranking, owners Jason and Mardy Summerlin said their haunt is so new; they haven’t even scratched the surface of the attraction and crew’s potential.

“This is incredible,” said Jason. “Any fan-based list is exciting, encouraging and beyond motivating. It speaks to the hard work, dedication and enthusiasm of our cast and crew. We couldn’t exist without them.”

Entering its second year of fear-inducing mayhem, Dark Woods is proud to announce its icon character for the 2016 Halloween season.

With the ringmaster away, Boogie is bringing a whole new brand of terror to the Big Top. He’s the masquerading maestro of mischief at the Dark Carnival 3D. Enter Boogie’s nightmare in this 3D Blacklight Haunt. Twist and turn through hallways and rooms full of crazed clowns and other denizens of the dark. Meet his band of merry misfits and carnival creeps.

Dark Woods will open select nights Sept. 23 – Oct. 31.

Victims will be immersed in an experience unlike any other, complete with state of the art special effects, sounds and lighting in the area’s first ChromaDepth 3D Attraction. Monsters are real and they come alive at night in the twisted halls of the Dark Carnival’s maze.

And remember, Boogie thinks mayhem is a laughing matter.

Dark Woods offers roaming creatures of the night, the return of many of last season’s favorite characters and mayhem guaranteed to give you a fright. If you came out for the 2015 Season and think you’ve seen it all, think again. Each season offers new chills and thrills, making the experience unique every time you enter the woods.

Dark Woods Haunted House is conveniently located at 4343 University Parkway (LA Hwy 6) 1.5 miles east of I-49, near Northwestern State University in historic Natchitoches, Louisiana.

Radio station contributes to Project Honor

Radio Donation

Pastor Steven Harris with My92.3 KNOC presented Larry Paige with a check contributing to the Project Honor: Our Heroes Campaign. The project is an effort started by the Rapides and Natchitoches Parish communities to provide St. Michael visor clips to all law enforcement officers, first responders and firefighters.
St. Michael the Archangel is the Patron Saint of police officers.

Heading up the project in Natchitoches Parish, Paige asks that anyone interested in contributing to the project call him at 318-792-1660 or 318-352-6433. The medals are $9 each. Checks should be made out to: Mary’s Heart Catholic Gifts. This is where Paige is ordering the medals from.

NHS begins successful partnership with Healing4Heroes

Gus 1

It all began with potential. The Natchitoches Humane Society saw potential in the dogs it cares for and began a partnership with Healing4Heroes to identify good candidates for the program. Healing4Heroes is a non-profit organization that connects wounded service members and veterans with certified service dogs.

Scott Stetson was asked to take a look at an adoptable dog, Augustus “Gus” the Great and see what the NHS could do. According to Stetson, Juanita Murphy moved mountains (ok, ok, dogs) to make room to get him in. A friend of the NHS sponsored Gus in honor of her father, who was a WWII veteran.

They thought Gus would go to Healing4Heroes a couple months ago but things didn’t quite align. Gus remained at Happy Tails, and an inmate with the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center worked with him quite a bit.

Gus was finally placed in the program in August. He was still in some culture shock when he first arrived in Georgia, where the program is based. Gus quickly adjusted and has graduated with honors. He is the first partnership success story between Happy Tails/H4H.

Stetson, who served 23 years in the Army, was exposed to military working dogs and developed a knack for assessing whether a dog will be successful with the special training the program requires.

“I could not be happier to have been a small part of all this,” he said. “I look forward to many, many more.”

Natchitoches and Mayor Joe

By Junior Johnson

JoeSampiteWe are so Blessed to live in such a beautiful and historic City such as Natchitoches. Beauty and history abound and is second to none in our State. Being the Oldest City in the Original Louisiana Purchase, founded in 1714, there is more history in our City and Parish than I can list in this story.

I ❤️ Natchitoches. Sound familiar? Our beloved Mayor Joe Sampite, who served the City of Natchitoches from 1980 to 2000, gave out thousands of little stickers with this slogan on them during his years in office. It is rumored, and probably true, that on a goodwill tour of Washington, D. C. once he would place one of these in the palm of every politician’s hand that he shook.

I personally saw a picture of Mayor Joe and Ingrid Croce in San Diego once in Croce’s Restaurant, where he was presenting her with Keys to the City after a memorial dedication in Natchitoches for her late husband Jim Croce who was tragically killed in a plane crash after a concert at Northwestern State.

Many people through the years have had an impact on our City but none more so than Mayor Joe in my opinion. He was the driving force behind getting the movie Steel Magnolias filmed here in Natchitoches. Although John Wayne and William Holden starred in the movie Horse Soldiers here in 1959, which is still popular today, it is the mention of Steel Magnolias that brings the City of Natchitoches to mind on the national level.

There are various means available that provide visitors an insight into the history of our City. Both Trolly and Buggy rides are available for City Tours with remarkable stories to entertain their guests. There are also Bus Tours throughout the Parish to the many beautiful Plantation Homes. Bed and Breakfasts abound in the beautiful Historic District and outlying areas of the City.

We are fortunate to have the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame permanently housed in a state of the art building that brings sports celebrities from around the world and they always speak highly of the hospitality they receive here.

Just a short drive from town is the Grand Ecore Visitors Center that has a wealth of information about our area dating back to the 1700’s. This beautiful facility is located on a bluff overlooking Red River and is near the site of Fort Seldes, which was built to police the southwestern frontier and guard the Red River during the Civil War. The Center is open to the public and admission is free of charge.

During my 32 year career working in the Oil & Gas Industry I was asked many times if perhaps I worked for the Natchitoches Tourism Bureau during my days off. I would usually laugh and ask why such a question. Virtually every reply would be, “Well you are always talking about how great Natchitoches is”………My only response would be, “You need to visit my City and you will understand why.”

I would NEVER compare myself to the amazing Mayor Joe Sampite, but we did have one thing in common.

WE BOTH ❤️❤️NATCHITOCHES

THREE NPSO DEPUTIES COMPLETE D.A.R.E. CURRICULUM TRAINING

DARE 08-16-16

The NPSO Youth Services Division is proud to announce the recent graduation of three of our SRO’s.

On Friday, August 19, 2016 in Opelousas, LA., Deputy Brian Turner, Deputy Tamara George-Pitts and Deputy Irvin Raphiel Jr., graduated along with 21 other law enforcement officers from the state of Louisiana and 2 from the state of Texas.

The 39th D.A.R.E. Officer training school was conducted by the Louisiana D.A.R.E. Training Center which consist of 8 veteran officers and 2 educators from agencies across the state of Louisiana.

Each officer attended an 80-hour session of Drug Abuse Resistance Education training, which centered on presentation skills, collaborative learning, learning modalities, classroom management, and facilitation skills. This training included the new D.A.R.E. Elementary “keepin’ it…REAL” and the D.A.R.E. Middle School “keepin’ it…REAL” curriculums.

The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office Youth Services Division consists of 13 certified School Resource Officers of which 9 are certified D.A.R.E. instructors. Sheriff Victor Jones has assigned these 13 officers to cover all elementary, Jr. High and 2 High Schools in the city and parish of Natchitoches.

For more information about the programs and activities offered by the Youth Services Division contact Chief Wendy Llorens @ 318-357-2239.

Pictured from left: Deputy Irvin Raphiel Jr., Chief Wendy Llorens, Deputy Tamara George-Pitts, Deputy Brian Turner, and Sheriff Victor Jones Jr.

Up a River Without a Paddle

By Ida B. Torn

Cane River Lake

 

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m not a “born and raised” resident of Natchitoches Parish.  I’ve come and gone and have come again. I’ve lived inside the limits of the City of Natchitoches, on its outskirts and in rural parts of the Parish. I’m a native of Louisiana but have lived in other states. I have found in my conversations with other people who are transplants to Natchitoches Parish that the property tax rates paid in this Parish are the lowest they’ve ever paid. Like me, they are also somewhat befuddled by the age-old Hatfield and McCoy battle going on between rural residents and residents of the City.

As expected, my last article drew ire from some folks who regularly voice their frustrations with everything Parish. One post in particular complains about the rural taxpayer’s money being spent on the multi-million dollar riverbank improvement project which is being funded in part by the Cane River Waterway Commission (“CRWC”). This observation is 100% spot on. Yes, we are overpaying into the Cane River Waterway! The CRWC is funded by a Parish-wide tax that was forced onto its residents by the State Legislature in 1982. The Commission is allowed by law to adjust its millage rate to as much as 6 mils. The CRWC votes annually what rate its millage will be for the coming year. The CRWC holds its regular monthly meetings on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 6:00 PM at its offices located at 244 Cedar Bend in Natchez.  I provide this information because the post mentioned above did not point out that Parish President Rick Nowlin had been working with Senator Gerald Long who introduced Senate Bill 240 (see below) that would have allowed the Parish Government to receive up to 3 mil of the CRWC’s ad valorem tax each year for the sole purpose of improving Parish roads.  The CRWC, upon learning of the proposed legislation, called a special meeting on March 31 to address the impact of the potential changes.  Mr. Nowlin addressed the CRWC and impressed upon them the need for the Parish to first look for ways to reallocate tax revenues before asking its residents to pay additional taxes (Click – NPJ coverage of meeting).  There wasn’t one single rural resident present at the meeting to support the Parish’s efforts to push the reallocation through legislation. The CRWC was vehemently against the legislation and it was dropped from consideration in the 2016 regular session.  The Parish and CRWC have since obtained an Attorney General Opinion (see link below) which outlines what criteria must be met in order for the CRWC to fund road projects within the Parish. The Opinion provides a very narrow path for funding of Parish road projects by the CRWC.

Now, let’s get back to the issue of the City vs. Rural argument. I’ve heard a lot of people say that they resent that they pay all of their sales taxes inside the City of Natchitoches and get no benefit from it. There are 8 other municipalities in the Parish, 4 of which also have their own sales tax (see below). Do you ever ask those municipalities why they don’t contribute a portion of their sales tax revenues to the Parish for road repairs?  After all, it is the Parish Department of Public Works who maintains the roads in all 8 of those municipalities.  Some people say that they now shop in Sabine or Winn Parish in protest.  Okay, good for you, but you still aren’t supporting a tax base that will get your roads fixed.

It’s time to let go of the animosity and join forces for the better of the Parish. This year, City of Natchitoches residents have a chance to approve a tax that will provide funds that will directly support maintenance of the rural roads of the Parish and also provide funds for improvements to their own road system. Please consider voting for the upcoming sales tax initiatives on the November 8 ballot.

The Natchitoches Parish Journal received this submission. The views and opinions expressed are 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 NPJNatLa@gmail.com.

SB240 Fiscal Note

TaxRate-Natchitoches Parish

SB2401SB2402

Attorney General Opinion Click Here -> Opinion 16-0070