Career Graduate Day to be held Tuesday

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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

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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

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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

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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 facebook.com/turntealnatchitoches or email Lentz at llentz@nsula.edu.

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

Lions Club learns about Therapeutic Riding Program

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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

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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 sfullen@canerivernha.org.

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

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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

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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

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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:

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NSU football legend creates Perpetually Purple scholarship

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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 (burkeg@nsula.edu, 318-357-5251), or Haley Blount (blounth@nsula.edu, 318-357-4278). Information is also available on the NSUDemons.com website.

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

Cancer screening van will make a stop in Natchitoches

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The Cenla Medication Access Program’s cancer screening van will visit Natchitoches Parish Oct. 4-5 to offer area residents breast, colorectal and cervical cancer screenings.

The van will be located in the Walmart parking lot at 925 Keyser Avenue in Natchitoches from 9:45 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4, and from 8:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5. Services include free clinical breast exams, mammograms, Pap smears, pelvic exams and take-home colorectal cancer kits. Appointments are required and the last day to schedule patient appointments is Sept. 26.

Annual breast and cervical screenings are recommended for women ages 40-64, and colorectal screenings for men and women ages 50-64. Residents should contact the Cancer Screening Project to see if they meet income and insurance qualifications prior to making an appointment.

To request an appointment, call Cancer Screening Specialist Kayla Edwards at 318-767-3027 or toll-free at 1-855-767-3027. For more information, please visit the CMAP website, cmaprx.org.

New Head of La. Sports HoF Foundation has Lived His Life in Sports

By Joe Darby

ronnie-rantzRonnie Rantz is one of those lucky people whose jobs and personal pleasures have blended together into one enjoyable life.

As the new chief executive officer of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Museum Foundation, his luck is set to continue.

“I’ve been very fortunate to be able to work in a field that I love,” he said in an interview Thursday at the HOF museum. “I’ve never had to punch a clock or work 9 to 5. It’s been a fantastic life.”

Rantz, 44, was a pitcher with two LSU baseball national champions, the teams of 1991 and 1993. He played some minor league ball but recurring arm injuries ended his career on the field However, he had a great fallback — sports broadcasting.

“I had always wanted to be a broadcaster,” he said. “Even in high school, when I played baseball for Menard in Alexandria, I would sit in the dugout and pretend I was broadcasting our games. The other players got a kick out of that.”

And when he played for LSU, Coach Skip Bertman would sometimes allow Rantz to broadcast the games on campus radio when he wasn’t pitching.

Then, in partnership with Lynn Rollins, Rantz formed the Jumbo Sports Network in 1998, which became quite successful regionally and broadcast sports from several southern athletic conferences.

The highlight of that aspect of his career came in 2001, when LSU and Tulane played a super regional series at Zephyr Field in New Orleans, for the right to advance to the College World Series in Omaha.

“The stadium was sold out for all three games, the series had attracted nationwide attention and one of the suites in the stadium sold for $25,000 just for that series,” he said. “And it was our broadcasts that were televising the games.” LSU won the first game but Tulane took the next two to advance to Omaha.

A story involving Tulane Coach Rick Jones, a Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame inductee, is one of Rantz’s funnier memories from his broadcast career.

“Rick was very superstitious. If he found a penny on the ground and it was tails up he felt he had to turn it over so the head was showing. Well, the LSU team found out about this and dumped a whole jar of pennies in the Tulane dugout so Rick had to run around turning over half the pennies.”

Rantz, although a former LSU hurler, had a good relationship with Jones. He noticed one year that Jones was avoiding him before games. “I found out that after one pregame interview Tulane had lost the game so Rick considered it bad luck to talk to us before the game. He could talk to us after the game, but not before,” he said.

Rantz’s biggest thrill on the field was winning the 1991 College World Series, LSU’s first national baseball championship. “You know LSU had been to Omaha three or four times and had lost, so people were saying Skip Bertman couldn’t win the big ones. Of course that was ridiculous because Skip went on the become the greatest college baseball coach ever.

“But our win in 1991 got the monkey off Skip’s back. He could say, look, my system works. And the players who had been to Omaha and lost had something to prove, they kind of had a chip on their shoulders. We had a great team, Seven players went on the make the Big Leagues.”

The 1993 champions “were not the best team in college baseball that year, we just won. We won on the back of Mike Sirotka,” the star LSU pitcher who went on to play in the majors also.

Given his background, Rantz said he is eager to get started as the foundation CEO. He said that Lisa Babin, the outgoing head, “did a fantastic job. She got the museum going, she opened this building and put on an induction ceremony that gets greater each year.
“What I want to do us to upgrade things and work to change things that need changing. I don’t want to hear ‘this is the way we’ve always done it.'”

Rantz continues to work in broadcasting and he said every chance he gets he will plug the museum and Natchitoches on the air. He also plans to create a mobile museum in a bus or RV — a museum on wheels — to visit all around Louisiana. “We might send it to schools or maybe park it in the parking lot of Tiger Stadium on game day,” he said.

Outside of northwest Louisiana, a lot of the state’s residents don’t know the museum exists, he said. “We want to change that.” He said he is optimistic on Natchitoches’ future, with the new hotel going up across from the Events Center. That’s going to help a lot. More people will be going to the restaurants and shops here,” he said.

Rantz, who has been involved in numerous other enterprises and charities, will continue to be based in Baton Rouge but will visit the museum at least once a week. “I’ll be spending a lot of time here and I’ll be promoting the museum and Natchtoches when I’m not here.”