City recognizes resident for 80 years of gospel singing

Worshipful voices filled the Arts Center at Monday night’s City Council meeting as Willie Mae Kennedy was recognized for 80 years of gospel singing.

Sitting at her home the following day, with her bible on the arm of her chair, Willie Mae said she was excited for the recognition, but it’s Jesus that’s kept her going these 80 years.
“He’s still letting me sing and praise him,” she said.

Willie Mae said her grandmother would carry her to church when she was 5-years-old to sing.

“I was singing before I knew what the songs meant,” she said.
Some of her favorite songs are “Going Up Yonder,” “Take the Lord with You,” “Amazing Grace,” and “There’s a Leak in This Old Building.” She teaches these old songs to the next generation, encouraging the youth by telling them to use their talents, what God gave them.

“If you do things that are pleasing in his sight, he’ll give you a long life,” she said. “And love everybody.”

She includes a long list of Natchitoches residents among her friends, including mayors Joe Sampite, Wayne McCullen and Lee Posey.

“I’ve been here a while,” she said with a smile.

Determined to keep moving, Willie Mae sings at churches throughout the area, the NSU Folk Life Festival (where she was inducted into the Hall of Master Folk Artists) and nursing homes in Natchitoches. She is the only original living member of the gospel group, the Gospelrettes of Natchitoches.

“It’s encouraging to the people I sing to and to me,” said Willie Mae. “I asked God what he wanted me to do in my old age and he said to go out and tell people about him and sing his praises.”

Willie Mae enjoys caring for others. She graduated from the Natchitoches Technical College in nursing and worked at the hospital for 15 years.

Her children are Ronald Kennedy Sr., who works for the City and is a member of TCS singing group; Michael, who is in a band in Houston; James; Robert; Darrell; Joyce Walker and Geraldine Curry. She also has over 40 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Magee’s hosts Give Back Nights to benefit NHS


Cheerleaders urged passers by to eat at Magee’s Patio Cafe to benefit the last Give Back Night for the Natchitoches Humane Society Sept. 27. For the past three Tuesdays Magee’s Patio Cafe has given the NHS 15 percent of its sales. Local cheerleaders from Natchitoches Central High School, Northwestern State University and St. Mary’s Catholic School helped collect donations and pull in passing vehicles.

Their enthusiasm was contagious, clapping and cheering each time a car pulled in or donated.

“Big thanks to George Celles and everyone here at Magee’s for hosting us,” said Debbie Tebbetts of NHS. “We’re so happy he let us and the local cheerleaders take over. All of the money we receive will go to the care of the animals at Happy Tails, the NHS facility. Right now we have over 20 animals at the facility and in foster care and we want the best for all of them. That is why I hope we make $1,000 by the end of this. We made $200 in donations alone one night, so I’m crossing my fingers.”

Anyone interested in making a difference in an animal’s life at happy tails can visit or the NHS Facebook page. The NHS urges pet owners to spay and neuter their pets.

NCHS senior earns welding certification at NWLTC

Chad Walker is a Natchitoches Central High School senior who started his second semester at NWLTC. John Young, NWLTC’s high school welding teacher, said, “Chad is an awesome person. Always on time, always ready to work. He gets in there and works from the time he arrives to the time class is out. I have never seen anyone work as hard as him, and it’s paying off.”

When Chad graduates from high school he will have earned his Welders Helper certification and will be a certified structural welder. His goal after graduation is to obtain a job and become a pipeline worker. He has already completed welding book 1 and completed the core curriculum. The beads he creates when he welds are solid and some of the best Young has seen in his many years of experience.

“Welding came naturally to me. It’s fun and I enjoy it,” Chad said when asked why he chose to pursue a welding career.

Stay Social, my friends


Thursday, Sept. 29
BOM Financial Services 10 Year Celebration & Ribbon Cutting: 5:30-7:30 p.m.
BOM Financial Services: 814 Washington Street

Friday, Sept. 30
Robeline Heritage Festival: 5-9 p.m.
Prayer and the National Anthem followed by Live Gospel Music, a Weenie Roast and Free Hayrides for the kids. Vendors will also be set up.

Saturday, Oct. 1
Natchitoches Classic Car Show: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Front Street and downtown riverbank

Caracters, Customs and Crypts Tour: 4-7 p.m.
American Cemetery

Doctors of Merci, live music by Snake Doctors: 5-8 p.m.
Merci Beaucoup

Pigs and Pearls-A Cochon de Lait: 6:30-9:30 p.m.
Prud’homme-Roquier House

Robeline Heritage Festival: 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.
10 a.m.- Prayer and the Pledge
11 a.m.- Heritage Parade will roll through downtown Robeline
Activities throughout the day
9-11 p.m.- Zwolle native and Nashville Recording Artist, Jerad Bridges

RFBC Color Run/5K/Walk: 8-9:30 a.m.
Robeline First Baptist Church
Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. in the RFBC gym and the course must be completed by 9:30 a.m. For information contact Brittany Procell at 318-332-5371 or Belinda Berry at 318-715-6060

Tom Sawyer Work Day: 9 a.m. – noon
Briarwood Nature Preserve, 216 Caroline Dorman Road in Saline

Tuesday, Oct. 4
Sensory Friendly Movie Night: 6-9 p.m.
Natchitoches Parish Library

National Night Out: TBA

Tour the American Cemetery and learn its history this Saturday


The Natchitoches Historic Foundation (NHF) will offer its Characters, Customs and Crypts Cemetery Tour Saturday, Oct. 1 from 4-7 p.m. at the American Cemetery on Second Street. There will be Mourning exhibits on display throughout the tour.

Visitors will be greeted by historic characters who played a role in the history of Natchitoches. They include Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, founder of Natchitoches, Dame D’Artigue, John Sibley, James Metoyer, and John Gideon Lewis. The tour includes a showcase of mourning memorabilia with commentary on the pre-Civil War traditions surrounding death and burial, interspersed between the “characters” sharing their life stories within the cemetery. Students from the Louisiana School For Math, Science and the Arts will assist with stories and entertainment during the tour.

The tour begins at the American Cemetery entrance, located just to the north of Holy Cross Church and parking is available across the street from the Cemetery. The tour is $10 for adults and $5 for students.
The American Cemetery is one of the cornerstones of the Natchitoches community. Established around 1737, the cemetery is only a few years younger than the town itself.

In addition to the annual cemetery tour Natchitoches Historic Foundation developed units aligned with the Louisiana State Social Studies Standards that will be given to participating teachers for use in 8th grade classrooms.  Eighth grade Louisiana History students from schools in Natchitoches Parish participate in a similar tour Oct. 5. Unit topics include the Great Raft, women in Natchitoches, the arts, and the history of the American Cemetery and the persons interred there.

Last year’s program for 8th graders was named the Outstanding Education Program for 2015 by the Louisiana Office of History and Culture in the Office of the Lt. Governor.
Proceeds raised from the tour will be used for historic preservation, restoration, and educational projects in Natchitoches.

Pigs & Pearls fundraiser is one of many planned by Service League


The Service League of Natchitoches will host its Pigs & Pearls “Cochon de Lait” fundraiser Saturday, Oct. 1 at the Prud’homme-Rouquier House. Tickets are still available but are going fast. For information call the Service League at 318-352-6723. It is all about favorites – good food, good music and good times. Proceeds go to the Service League to support restoration and maintenance of the Prud’homme-Rouquier House and other service projects.

The Service League’s 2016-2017 year started with the induction of new members including: Hillary Bennett, Angela Bolton, Meagan Bonnette, Kellie Cedars, Natalie Covher, Anna Dieter, Jaime Fontana, Amber Freeman, Cristy Gentry, Jenny Hancock, Claire Harrington Christina Johnson, Karen Lee, Misty Lester, Karen Loach, Kelli Lorenz, Lacy Merrill, Lauren Moreno, Susan Poston, Lauryn Sharplin, Crystal Slaughter, Jennifer Thornton, Nora Townsend, Kate Trichell and Aimee Walker.

The Service League depends on new membership to keep the organization fresh with new ideas for service opportunities in the Natchitoches community as well as fundraising work to maintain the Prud’homme-Rouquier House and other responsibilities.
President Susan Godfrey and Vice President of Service Mary Beth Van Sickle organized the collection of supplies for victims of the flooding in August in South Louisiana. Recipients were extremely grateful but the needs are great and much is still needed. New and gently used books will continue to be collected.

In times such as the flood, special service needs are met, but there are service projects that are additional service opportunities. This year the first project will provide chemotherapy patients at the local Natchitoches Cancer Center with “chemo bags” filled with items to help the patients feel more comfortable and to let them know that others care.

The annual mum sale, another Service League fundraising project took place earlier in September. Anyone interested in buying mums next year from the Service League, mark the calendar for early August and call the Service League at 318-352-6723 or email and the Service League will be glad to fill and deliver orders.

Shell Beach & Grand Ecore Pipeline

By Junior Johnson

Many people have memories of the old Shell Beach Bridge and Grand Ecore Pipeline from the 60s-70s, beyond what they were designed for.

During those days we were carefree, full of adventure and feeling indestructible. How we made it through is beyond me. I believe everyone has a Guardian Angel, most of the time.

As a student at Northwestern State College (NSC) in 1965, it didn’t take me long to find where the action.

Natchitoches didn’t have nightclubs and bars like larger college towns. We had Shell Beach, an unlikely place because it was a boat launch to Cane River Lake by a bridge. I was disappointed when I first saw the place after hearing so many stories. It didn’t take long to change my mind. It was the most “happening” place around.

At NSC women were told Shell Beach was “off limits,” and if seen there, they were subject to demerits and possible “Strict-Campus,” which meant they couldn’t leave Campus except with parents or for Church. House Mothers would send their Dorm Monitors to check out that terrible place to see if their girls were there.

There was one activity that was on the minds of everyone: jumping off Shell Beach Bridge. Why someone wanted to jump off a bridge didn’t make sense to me, but people did it.

There were two levels to jump from: the road and the top of the structure. The top seemed a “right of passage.” When one boasted they jumped off Shell Beach Bridge, the next question was always, “Road or Top?”

I watched friends make the plunge, but it never interested me. They would try to encourage me to jump, but I never found the courage. As a young man I was a bit embarrassed that I couldn’t accomplish what seemed to be easy for everyone else.

It didn’t take long to regain my self-esteem.

On the other side of town was the Grand Ecore Bridge crossing the Red River. On the opposite side of the bridge was a big gas pipeline. It was many times higher than the Shell Beach Bridge.

I’d heard stories of people walking across the pipeline, but assumed it was workers for the pipeline company. Surely no sane individual would do this just for fun.

Somehow I found the idea of walking the pipeline interesting.

After discussing the pros and cons, a plan was made. Armed with flashlights and nothing more, myself and two of Fraternity Brothers, slowly began our trek. For some insane reason I volunteered to be the leader.

About halfway from where our journey began, we noticed the ground seemed so far away. Our nerves began to get jittery. Soon we were over the water and noticed the wind picked up and there appeared to be a swaying action on the pipeline.

Trying to find humor in the situation I suggested we could jump. A round of laughter followed and one of my brothers said, “Well the fall would kill us so it doesn’t matter.”  There was no laughter then, only silence and a swaying bridge.

Our downward trek was much livelier and our confidence grew with each step. At the bottom platform, we said a prayer to God for watching over us on this foolish expedition. It took us almost two hours to make the walk.

To celebrate we went to our favorite spot, Duty’s Pizza House. We ordered several pitchers of beer and a couple of Russell Duty’s delicious pizzas, and began telling our story to all who would listen.

I never jumped off the Shell Beach Bridge, but I did walk the Grand Ecore Pipeline.

I suppose my manhood was intact.

Career Graduate Day to be held Tuesday


Northwestern State University hosts its annual Career Graduate Day Tuesday, Sept. 27 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Friedman Student Union Ballroom. The event is for juniors and seniors at Northwestern State.

NSU students can get information on career opportunities, full-time jobs, internships, graduate schools, volunteer opportunities and explore career paths.

Participants will include: Arkansas Tech University Graduate School, the Baton Rouge Police Department, Centurylink, ChiroCare LLC, Crest Industries, LLC, CSRA, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development at NSU, Grambling State University, Grand Prairie Police Department, Jean Simpson Personnel Services, KSLA-TV, Louisiana Workforce Commission, Paul M. Hebert (LSU) Law School, LSU and LSU-S Online Graduate Programs-Academic Partnerships and McNeese State University.

Also participating are the Mississippi College School of Law, NSU Graduate School/ Office of University Recruiting and Graduate School, PhysAssist Scribes, Inc. Pioneer RX Pharmacy Software, RoyOMartin, Southern University Law Center, State Farm, Tower Loan, Tyson Foods, Inc., the U.S. Navy, University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, USDA NRCS and Walmart Stores Inc.

Mayor hopes to re-open after school program in October


Gilda Johnson questioned the City Council at Monday night’s meeting, Sept. 26 about the re-opening of the after school program at the John Below Center in the Breda Town community. It was closed because of a lack of participation. Mayor Lee Posey said, that for the money the City is spending, there needs to be twice as much participation as when it closed (From around 20 kids to 40-50).

He hopes to re-open it by Oct. 15 and is trying to find volunteers to help with the program.
Program Director Delores Bivens assured the Council the Center has the numbers.
The Council recognized pageant queens. Greg O’Quinn, executive director of the Miss Natchitoches Pageant, began the pageant three years ago. The pageant represents the City while furthering education by providing scholarships to young women. In its second year, it adopted a second title: Miss Cane River and Miss Cenla last year. It is open to young women throughout the state.

Those recognized were:
Ana Deloach – Miss Cane River
Kelsey Wilkins – Miss Cenla
Caroline Colvin – Miss Cane River’s Outstanding Teen
Harper Armstrong – Little Miss Natchitoches
Lincoln Pearce – Miss Natchitoches
Ryia Williams – Miss Natchitoches’ Outstanding Teen

The Council also recognized Willie Mae Kennedy for over 80 years of gospel singing and Shirley Small-Rougeau for her outstanding community service.

Posey presented Leah Lentz with a proclamation declaring September as Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in the City.

Other agenda items included:
Ordinance amendment changing the zoning classification of 1202 and 1204 College Avenue from R-2 Residential to B-3 Commercial to sell used cars

Award bid for Hancock and Watson Street underground electrical service to Sunstream Inc. of Natchitoches for $150,000

Authorize a franchise in favor of Cane River Paddle & Pedal Sports, LLC to operate a rental boat business in Natchitoches

Award bid for Liquid Chlorine for the Water Treatment Plant to Brenntag Southwest Inc. of Houston for $680 per ton

Award bid for Water System Improvements – Phase I to Williams Equipment Services

Award bid for Water System Improvements – Phase II (2015/2016 Community Water Enrichment Fund) to ASB Utility Construction LLC of Alexandria for $154,421

Enter into a contract with Risk Services of Louisiana, Inc. for property insurance for the City

Advertise and accept bids for the Natchitoches Tennis Complex Expansion

Advertise and accept bids for the Hwy. 1 South and Hwy. 1 Bypass Substations Project

Execute Change Order No. 2 to the contract between the City and Regional Construction LLC for the City Park Walking Track and Parking Project

Execute Change Order No. 1 to the contract between the City and Pat Williams Construction LLC for the East Fifth Park Improvements

Execute Change Order No.1 to the contract between the City and Womack and Sons Construction Group Inc. for the Rue Beauport Sewer Main Rehabilitation

Symphony to present first concert of 2016-17 season Tuesday


The Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra will perform its first concert of the 2016-17 season Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall.

Dr. Douglas Bakenhus is musical director of the orchestra. Tickets are $10. Northwestern State University, BPCC@NSU and Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts students are admitted free with a current student I.D.

The program is “Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg” Prelude by Richard Wagner, Mozart’s “Symphony No. 34 in C Major,” Franz Schubert’s “Symphony No. 8 in B Minor Unfinished” and “Russian Sailor’s Dance” from “The Red Poppy” by Reinhold Gliere.

The concert is dedicated to Dr. Steve Horton, executive director of the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts. Horton, a member of Northwestern State’s faculty for 26 years served as vice provost, chief academic officer, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School and head of the Department of Journalism. He is a former president of the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Society and a supporter of the School of Creative and Performing Arts.

The work by Wagner is a story about a singer’s guild contest.

“These contests among members of the singer’s guild were quite common and were a popular form of entertainment,” said Bakenhus. “It has several themes including a love theme where the winner of the contest wins the girl. The work ends with all of the themes at the same time which is quite majestic.”

Bakenhus said scholars have been unable to determine why Schubert did not finish his “Symphony No. 8.”

“He contracted an illness while he was composing this symphony, but he later went on to complete another symphony,” said Bakenhus. “The first movement was cloudy while the second was sunny. Perhaps he wasn’t inspired to do anything else.”

The season will include a performance by the NSU Chamber Orchestra at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 6 p.m. The concert will feature Louisiana composers Kenneth Olson, Nettie Chenevert and Northwestern State faculty.

The annual Pops Concert will be on Monday, Oct. 31 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. The concert will feature Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” and Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King” along with music from the films “Harry Potter” and “Psycho.” The orchestra will be lead by a special guest conductor recently called up from the beyond.

On Nov. 30 – Dec. 2, the symphony will be part of the annual Christmas Gala in the A.A. Fredericks Auditorium.

The first concert of 2017 on Tuesday, Feb. 7 will feature oboist Leah Forsyth, a member of NSU’s faculty, performing Mozart’s “Oboe Concerto.” The program will also include Ravel’s “Mother Goose Suite,” Beethoven’s “Fidelio Overture” and “Huapango” by Jose Pablo Moncayo.

Winners of the annual NSU Concerto Competition will be featured in a concert on Monday, March 13. The orchestra will perform Dvorak’s “Symphony No. 8.”

The final concert of the season will feature the symphony with the NSU Symphony Chorus on Tuesday, April 25.

NSU participating in Turn Teal campaign


Northwestern State University is participating in Turn Teal Natchitoches, an initiative to educate the public about ovarian cancer during September, ovarian cancer awareness month. Ovarian Cancer is one of the deadliest of women’s cancers. Each year, approximately 21,980 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It is estimated by the World Health Organization IARC department that there are over 238,000 new cases diagnosed annually and nearly 152,000 deaths worldwide.

Earlier in the week, NSU’s Office of First Year Experience hosted a nail-painting session in the Student Union to provide ribbons and information to students and the NSU columns were lit in teal light. Motorists in downtown Natchitoches may also notice teal and white ribbons adorning the Church Street Bridge.

“Four years ago, Turn Teal collaborated with the City of Natchitoches and the Louisiana School for Math, Sciene and the Arts to bring awareness to our community about the severity of ovarian cancer,” said local Turn Teal organizer Leah Lentz, a counselor at LSMSA who lost her mother, Sue Gregory Coleman, to ovarian cancer. “Last year NSU joined the effort. We witnessed how conflict and loss can bring our community together, strengthen us and create incredible change for the better. Conflict often teaches us what we care about most is what really matters. Our community is at the heart of healing the impact ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.”

Also next week, LSMSA will host a coffee and awareness event in which NSU and city of Natchitoches administrators will join school principals from throughout the parish.

“We want to bring Turn Teal outside the city and into the whole parish to promote our partnership with our parish schools and community,” Lentz said. “We are going to share with our principals what we are doing to promote ovarian cancer awareness and hope they take it to their schools and participate next year.”

For more information on Turn Teal Natchitoches, visit the group’s Facebook page at or email Lentz at

From left are Smith, Turn Teal Natchitoches organizer Leah Lentz, Dawna DeBlieux and Ben and Dorothy Pratt.

Lions Club learns about Therapeutic Riding Program


Clyde Miley, pastor of the Red River Cowboy Church and Instructor Kathleen Woerman spoke to the Natchitoches Lions Club Monday, Sept. 26. Running for a year now, the church’s therapeutic riding program is currently serving 15 youth and adults with special needs.

The program lasts 12 weeks, with classes set for Monday nights.

“It’s extremely humbling to put someone on a horse and help them,” said Woerman. “It’s great to see them progress and grow and be social.”It took her four weeks to get one child riding. For those who use a wheelchair, the horse moves the person’s body in a way that feels like walking. It gives them confidence and they’re proud to be in the saddle.
The program welcomes sponsors of riders, as the program itself and horse upkeep is a costly expense. Volunteers are also welcome, and no experience with horses is necessary. The program is open to adults and youth ages 4 with special needs both mental and physical.

For more information on volunteering contact Heather LaGrange at 318-663-3847, for fundraising, contact Jessica Woodel at 318-332-7159 or for information on lessons contact Kathleen Woerman at 402-380-8699.

Grand Ecore Visitor Center Explores Basket Traditions of the Coushatta


In cooperation with the Williamson Museum of Northwestern State University, Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc. (CRNHA) has installed a new exhibit at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Grand Ecore Visitor Center. The exhibit explores the basket weaving traditions of the Coushatta Tribe of Elton and features a collection of baskets from the Williamson Museum.
Native American basket weaving has been a cultural staple for millennia. As one of the earliest known technological traditions, baskets were used for storage, gathering food, and transportation of goods. In Louisiana, early evidence of basketry can be found in the many earthen mounds which dot the state. These mounds were created through a process known as basket loading, a building technique which involves loading dirt and other materials into baskets and dumping them, one after the other, onto the pile.

Continuing this rich tradition of basket weaving are the Coushatta People of Elton. The tribe originally lived in the Tennessee and Alabama. As with many of the native peoples in the Southeast, the Coushatta eventually migrated to Louisiana due to a combination of pressures, including the arrival of Europeans as well as the governmental policies of the United States. The Coushatta brought with them their basket weaving techniques and unique styles. The earliest Coushatta baskets were woven from sedge grass, river cane, and other natural resources. Long-leaf pine straw began to become the weaving material of choice as other resources dwindled.

The Williamson Museum collection features a range of baskets from the collection of Dr. Ron R. Wilkinson of Dallas, Texas. A special thanks to Dr. Wilkinson, Dr. Hiram F. “Pete” Gregory, Director of the Williamson Museum located at Northwestern State University of Louisiana, and the Coushatta Tribe of Elton for allowing the display of this collection.

The exhibit is on display at the Grand Ecore Visitor Center from Sept. 28 – Nov. 27. For more information contact Steven Fullen at 318.356.5555 or

Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that manages the congressionally designated Cane River National Heritage Area. Its mission is to preserve and promote the cultural and natural resources of Cane River and encourage economic development by strengthening heritage tourism in the region.

Bill Powell of Marthaville – 1931 to 2016

Bill Powell, age 85, of Marthaville, Louisiana, passed away on September 25, 2016. He was born to Jesse Shelton Powell and Lelia Potter Powell on March 4, 1931 in Provencal, Louisiana.

Bill was a simple man, with an unshakable character defined by the things he treasured on this Earth. He believed in the Lord, hard work and his family. Life required something special from Bill, and this began with the passing of his father when he was 9 years old. The needs of his mother and younger siblings caused him to leave school to start stacking pulpwood to help make ends meet. He would spend the rest of his life as a logger. On May 19th, 1951, he married the love of his life, Betty Mae, and she would be at his side for the next 65 years. The first time he saw this pretty, freckled redhead, he said she was “as cute as a speckled pup under a red wagon.” Their courtship included syrup pull parties and going to church in his old pulpwood truck. As they began to build a life and family together, Bill and Betty were blessed with nine children and a grandson, Nolan Jr., they raised as a son. His pride and joy was his family, and he always put their needs before his. You would have difficulty finding a man who has ever done more for his family. He was a business owner, sawmill operator and landowner for over 65 years, and he set an example of solid values and tireless work ethic. Working from daylight to dark to provide for his wife and children caused his business to grow and taught that you can create something from nothing. Training mules and riding in covered wagons was something he loved to do in his free time, and his family and friends who accompanied him have many memories from the two trail rides a year he hosted. Bill was known for his generosity and his giving spirit touched so many people throughout his life. He was as tough as nails when it came to his dealings, but had a heart that would melt for those truly in need. He died in the peace and comfort of his home with his precious Betty Mae still at his side, surrounded by the family he loved so much. The story of Bill Powell is told in the good name and legacy that he leaves on this Earth.

Left to honor his memory is his loving wife of 65 years, Betty Mae Jenkins Powell; daughters, Loretta Griefzu, Lawanna Singletary and husband, Jason, and Laura Strahan and husband, Steven; sons, Marvin Powell, and wife, Teresa, Alton Powell and wife, Susan, Dana Dean Powell and wife, Patsy, Garland Powell and his wife, Anita, and Stacy Powell and wife, Dana; daughter-in-law, Yvonne Rawls Powell; 24 grandchildren, including the grandson they raised, Nolan Powell Jr. and fiancé’, Shawn Jessup; 40 great-grandchildren; 1 great great-grandchild; his two very special friends, Ira “Bootsie” Cochran and Sam Salim; and a host of family and friends.

Preceding Bill in death were his parents; his beloved son, Nolan Powell Sr. and an infant son; grandson, Casey Edward Powell; son-in-law, James Greifzu; sisters, Pearl Powell Richardson and Odessa Powell; and his brothers, Aubrey Powell, Jesse Powell and Melton Powell.

By Bill’s request, a simple graveside service honoring his life will be Monday, September 26, 2016, at 2 p.m. at Cedar Grove Cemetery, 4524 Cedar Grove Rd. Robeline, LA, with Bro. Glynn Howard officiating. Burial will follow. In lieu of flowers, he asked that donations be made to his favorite charity, St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital.

Katrina O’Con DNAP, CRNA presented her doctoral project at the 2016 AANA Annual Congress

Katrina O’Con, DNAP, CRNA, was selected by her faculty to present her doctoral project at the 2016 American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Annual Congress held September 9-13 in Washington, D.C. Her project, “Pharmacological Methods for Prevention of Pruritus Caused by Intrathecal Opioids in Patients Undergoing Cesarean Delivery”, was presented and discussed over a two day period with CRNAs from all over the country. Itching is a common complaint of women receiving spinal blocks for a c-section. From her findings, Dr. O’Con and her partners at NRMC have been able to make their patients more comfortable and have seen a decrease in the number of complaints due to itching.

Show Me the Money!

By Ida B. Torn


In 2006, the Parish Government began its fiscal year with a balance of $133,979 for the Department of Public Works (“DPW”) budget and it brought in $1,595,448 in total revenues for that year. In the ten years since then, the Parish has seen its ad valorem tax revenues for the DPW more than double from $405,659 to $1,047,703. It has also seen its ending balance increase from $226,338 in 2006 to $892,292 in 2015. At first glance, these numbers seem impressive and would more than likely cause some folks to ask why a new source of revenue is needed and give a false sense of security.  In order to understand what the Parish Government is facing, you have to drill down on the numbers.

Ad valorem revenues for the DPW have seen a decline for the last two years and, with the Parish Council voting not to “roll forward” on the tax values, this trend is likely to continue, especially when you take into consideration the effect that this year’s historic flood will likely have on property values in the coming years. The DPW saw its peak in ad valorem revenues in 2014 when it collected $1,056,238.

So, where has the rest of the money come from to bolster the DPW’s budget to an average of $3,758,750 for the last ten years?  There are three major sources.  First, the DPW receives funding from the Parish Transportation Tax, which went into effect on January 1, 1990 under Article VII, Section 27 the Constitution of Louisiana. The amount of funding allocated to the Parish Transportation Fund is determined on an annual basis by the Legislature. The amount distributed to each parish is calculated based on the formula set out in LA Revised Statute 48:756. Natchitoches Parish receives $10.82 per person and the Parish’s population is calculated on an annual basis by LSU’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness. R.S. 48:756 also allows for any excess funding to be distributed to the parishes on a per mile basis.  (This explains why past administrations were willing to take substandard roads into the road maintenance system.) Natchitoches Parish received its highest payment from the State’s Parish Transportation Fund in 2007 when it received $630,816.  Continued funding by the Legislature for the Parish Transportation Fund is tenuous considering that there must be excess gasoline and motor fuels revenues available in the State’s budget first. Keep in mind, the State is dealing with a massive deficit.

Second, the Parish receives federal funding funneled through the State which was established by the 106th Congress in an effort to continue to provide financial support to states and counties containing federal lands. The DPW has received less than $200,000 from this funding in the last three years.

The third source of revenue for the DPW is a transfer from the sales tax fund for the Solid Waste Department. These funds are available only if there are excess revenues for the support of the Solid Waste Department. The amount of excess funds diminishes with each manned site that the Parish opens.  The DPW received almost $2 million in both 2010 and 2011 from the sales tax fund due to the pipeline user fees collected in those two years. For the last two years, the Parish has only been able to transfer $600,000 from the sales tax fund to the DPW.

Up until 2013, the Parish was able to cushion the DPW with reimbursement funds from FEMA for damages incurred in 2005 from hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Reimbursements from these two storms were calculated at 100% and the Parish benefitted from a reimbursement scale for manpower and equipment use that was higher than the actual cost of its in-house rates. Since that time, FEMA has revised its reimbursement rates to only 75% and the Parish must contribute 25% of the costs incurred during the floods of 2015 and 2016.

At the Parish Council meeting held on Monday, September 19, the Parish presented its budget for 2017 and a forecast for the following 3 years.  Based on the Parish’s projections, it anticipates having at least $1 million dollars less in total revenues for the DPW than what it received in 2015. Without an increase in revenues, the Parish projects that the DPW will face a deficit by the year 2020.

Here is the Parish’s proposed 2017 budget and its 4-year forecast for the DPW:


NSU football legend creates Perpetually Purple scholarship

Supporting his beloved alma mater, and the Northwestern State athletic program, has been a passion of Glenn Talbert’s since he graduated in 1963.

So the creation of the Glenn & James R. “Bucky” Talbert Scholarship supporting NSU Athletics won’t raise any eyebrows among his friends, and anyone who knows of his devotion to NSU.

“Doing this has been on my bucket list for a while. Northwestern’s been good to me,” said Talbert, a longtime successful State Farm Insurance agent in Shreveport who is in the university’s Long Purple Line alumni Hall of Distinction, and the Demons’ Graduate N-Club Hall of Fame for his athletic accomplishments as a football player.

Talbert and his brother grew up in Moss Bluff, 10 miles north of Lake Charles, and were standouts at Gillis High School in an area now served by Sam Houston High School.

“Bucky came to Northwestern a year after I did, in 1960, and ran track. He was a good quarter-miler and ran on the mile relay team and in the open quarter,” said Talbert, who competed in football and track and field for the Demons.

“We were very close. He was 49 when he passed away, and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. I wanted to include him, and I called Martha Kay (Smiley), who was his wife then. She contributed the same amount I did.”

The gift is the latest to NSU Athletics as part of the Perpetually Purple endowed giving program managed by the Demons Unlimited Foundation.

The goal is to grow the endowment, through outright donations or deferred gifts, over the next five years from the current $1.7 million level to over $5 million. So far, gifts have come from former athletes and their families, supporters of the university and most notably, iconic retired president Dr. Randy Webb and his wife, Brenda.

To inquire about the Perpetually Purple program, contact Greg Burke (, 318-357-5251), or Haley Blount (, 318-357-4278). Information is also available on the website.

(Photo caption) Bucky Talbert, and Glenn Talbert at NSU’s first home football game after the scholarship was announced.