Early Voting as of October 31, 2016


Natchitoches Pairsh Early Voting 2016

Monday 10/31/16
1 290 132 16 438 74.74%
2 33 23 0 56 9.56%
3 42 6 1 49 8.36%
4 27 13 3 43 7.34%
392 174 20 586 100%
2,665 1,402 173 4,240
  • As reported by the Louisiana Secretary of State.  Shows In-Person and Absentee between October 25, 2016 through 6pm on October 31, 2016.  Their are some mail-in ballots that were received between September 1, 2016 and October 24, 2016 that are not shown in the daily totals.  They will be included in the Early Voting totals on Election Day.

Cane River Reading Series continues in November


The Cane River Reading Series at Northwestern State University will continue with readings by Laurie Ann Cedilnik and Glenn Shaheen from 6-7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4 in the Cane River Room of the Sylvan Friedman Student Union. The series is free and open to the public.

Cedilnik received her Ph.D. in English literature and creative writing from Western Michigan University and an MFA in fiction from the University of Houston. Her stories have been published in Epoch, Colorado Review, West Branch, Cimarron Review, Hobart and Black Warrior Review, among other venues, and was selected for the 2013 Masters Review by guest editor A.M. Homes. A native of Queens, New York, Cedilnik lives in New Orleans and teaches creative writing at Loyola University.

Shaheen is the author of the poetry collections Energy Corridor and Predatory, winner of the 2010 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize and runner-up for the 2012 Norma Farber First book Award, and the flash fiction chapbook Unchecked Savagery. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, The New Republic, The Cincinnati Review and elsewhere.

For more information on the Cane River Reading Series, contact Stephanie Masson at masons@nsula.edu.

Classic on the Cane Marching Contest to be held Nov. 5

The Spirit of Northwestern Marching Band will host the Classic on the Cane Marching Contest Saturday, Nov. 5 in Turpin Stadium. The contest begins at 9:30 a.m. and concludes with a performance by Spirit of Northwestern Marching Band at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $5 for entire day. The contest will be simulcast live on the website banddirector.com.

Thirty-five bands from throughout Louisiana and Texas will be showcased. The bands will compete in five classes based on the grade level of the school and size of the band. An overall Grand Champion will be selected along with second through fifth place overall. Other awards include first, second and third place in each class, best percussion section in each class and best auxiliary units in each class.

Bands in Class IA are Grant and Franklin Parish. Class 1B schools are Buckeye, Rosepine, Pickering, Merryville, Many, Logansport, DeQuincy and Winnfield. Those in Class II are Ruston, Jennings, Iowa, Tioga, Pineville, Byrd and Sterlington.

Bands in Class III are Benton, E.D. White, Zachary, Kerens (Texas), South Beauregard, Erath, Mabank (Texas), Acadiana, West Ouachita, North Vermilion and Central. Class IV participants are Sam Houston, Airline, Haughton, Marshall (Texas), Deer Park (Texas), West Monroe and Parkway.

Parish bridge on the Robeline-Provencal Road closed – effective today


Natchitoches Parish President Rick Nowlin announces the emergency closure of a bridge on the Robeline-Provencal Road, effective today.

This bridge crosses Coal Kiln Creek and is located approximately 3 miles west of the intersection of State Route LA-117.

During a regularly-scheduled inspection of this bridge, Parish officials discovered cracks in the majority of its timber stringers, which apparently are the result of traffic loads in excess of the 15-ton limit for which the bridge is currently posted.  Because of these critical deficiencies, the bridge must be closed to all traffic.

Parish officials are exploring various repair options so that the bridge can be re-opened to traffic until such time as it is permanently replaced under the Federal Off-System Bridge Replacement Program.  This project is currently scheduled for letting in the spring of 2018.

In the meantime, motorists may detour around the closed bridge site via State Routes LA-117, LA-6, and LA-120.

For more information, please contact the Parish Highway Department at (318) 357-2200.

St. Mary’s student receives Citizenship Award


In May, Mrs. Foshee and a group of 23 St. Mary’s students and parents visited New York City. They visited Radio City Music Hall and met a Rockette, toured the Top of the Rock, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Ellis Island, St. Paul’s Chapel, Wall Street, Chinatown, Little Italy, Harlem Drive, the Statue of Liberty, the 9-11 Museum and Memorial, Central Park and attended two Broadway shows.

School Tours of America presents a Citizenship Award to a student who exemplifies the qualities of integrity, service and leadership during a tour. This award was inspired by John F. Kennedy’s 1963 Inaugural Address challenging youth to assume the responsibility of American citizenship, “asking not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

This year’s award was presented to Mallory Lee. Pictured with Mallory is St. Mary’s Assistant Principal Andrea Harrell.

A Blood Feast

By Junior Johnson


The year was 1963 and our Country was inspired by President Kennedy’s concerns about physical fitness. New programs to help keep Americans get fit were a big part of John F. Kennedy’s administration.

One of the most popular areas of his fitness programs was the 50 mile hike. I was 15-years-old at the time and a great admirer of Kennedy. To make him proud I decided to make a 25 mile walk from my home in Cloutierville to Natchitoches.

I had an aunt who lived in Natchitoches and worked at the Don Theater. She said that if I made the walk she would treat me to a movie and food from the concession stand. I thought this was a wonderful idea since it was nearing Halloween and we did not do much Trick or Treating in the rural area where I lived. My aunt told me there was one of those “slasher and splatter” films called Blood Feast being featured at the theater.

On the morning of my adventure I rode with my dad to the main highway going to Natchitoches. This was about a mile from my house. He dropped me off at 5 a.m. on his way to work in the logging woods.

My mom had made me sandwiches, banana pudding, and kool-aid to snack on along the way, along with a canteen of water.  I stored this all in a backpack along with a fresh suit of clothes to wear that night at the movie theater. This will be important to remember later in the story.

As I began my walk along the side of the road in the dark watching the lights of my dad’s truck disappear I was excited. I knew that I had to pace myself for the 25 miles ahead of me but it was hard to do.  Soon I was putting miles behind me, but was slowed from time to time by cars who would stop to offer me a ride. I was proudly wearing my Cloutierville FFA Jacket so a lot of the locals were eager to help me. I would thank the driver and explain what I was doing for my President and would be on my way.

I completed my journey in nine hours. When I arrived in Natchitoches I called my aunt and she picked me up and we drove back to her apartment.  She told me how proud she was. It was around 4 p.m. and the movie was to begin at 7 p.m. I quickly took a hot bath and changed clothes.

The plans were for me to take the 10 p.m. Greyhound Bus back home. I would walk the mile back to my house from the main highway. We stopped by the Bus Station to purchase my ticket on the way to the movie theater.

True to her word my Aunt had a free pass to see the horror movie Blood Feast. After loading up with hot dogs and popcorn from the concession stand I took a seat in the dark theater anxiously awaiting the Blood and Gore.

The movie was everything I imagined it would be and more. I realize the graphics today are better than in 1963 but I was on the edge of my seat throughout the movie with the realism of what I was seeing. Every time the blood would splatter I would cringe. Other people in the audience would scream every time the slasher would take another victim. This was certainly better than any Trick or Treating…

When the movie finally ended I thanked my aunt and walked the short distance to the Bus Station to await my ride back home.

It was nearing 10 p.m. when I stepped off the bus for the final leg of my journey. It had been a long day but I was still pumped up from the excitement of Blood Feast.

The night was quiet as clouds passed across the moon allowing just enough light for me to see the road. I set out for home.

As I walked along images of blood and gore began going through my mind. I quickened my pace and became a little scared. I did not believe in ghosts and goblins but images of all that blood would not leave my mind.

As I walked along in the darkness I began hearing a noise like someone was walking beside me. I would stop and look around but could neither hear or see anyone. I could only think of that slasher.

I began my pace again a bit quicker this time and again I could hear something near me. I was really scared now and began to run. The faster I ran the closer the sound was.  I was only half way home and just knew that I was not going to make it. The slasher was going to get me.

Tired and out of breath I collapsed on the side of the road. As I did so the sounds stopped. It was then that I realized where the sound had been coming from.

The pants that I was wearing were made of corduroy and the lose material on the legs were rubbing together creating a noise as I walked.  I howled at the moon in laughter at my observation.  I was no longer tired or scared as I made my way home and collapsed in my bed. It had been a grand adventure.

Less than a month later, on Nov. 22, 1963 at 12:30 p.m. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States was assassinated in Dallas. I wept with the rest of the Country.


Museum event will feature Wuerffel Trophy winner

One of college football’s top individual awards, the Wuerffel Trophy, and an LSU standout who was the 2005 recipient, Rudy Niswanger, will be at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum in Natchitoches Wednesday, Nov. 2 from 5-6:30 p.m.

The event is a Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce “After Hours” event.  The evening includes free admission to the museum with a wine and cheese reception co-sponsored by FLASH (Friends of Louisiana Sports and History) and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation.

During the event the Wuerffel Trophy will be on display and Niswanger will greet visitors along with Northwestern State alumnus and former Demon golfer Tom Brassell, the executive director of the Wuerffel Trophy.

The Wuerffel Trophy, known as “College Football’s Premier Award for Community Service,” is presented annually by the All Sports Association in Fort Walton Beach. Named after 1996 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Danny Wuerffel, from the University of Florida, the Wuerffel Trophy is awarded to the player who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.

Niswanger, a Monroe native, was a 2005 LSU team captain and a second-team All-Southeastern Conference selection. Along with winning the Wuerffel Trophy, he was awarded the Draddy Trophy, now known as the William V. Campbell Trophy, given by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame to the college senior who best combines academic achievement, community service and on-field performance.

He played for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2006-10, starting 31 of 56 games in his pro career.

Niswanger will make brief remarks around 5:45-6 p.m.

His appearance comes during the week the LSU football team hosts Alabama in a prime-time contest Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.



Parish President Rick Nowlin has announced his intention to make appointments to the Natchitoches Parish Fire District #1 Board. Any resident of the District interested in serving on the Board may submit their name and contact information by mailing it to the Office of the President, P. O. Box 799, 200 Church Street, Natchitoches 71458-0779, or by calling Mrs. Lynda Vance, Executive Assistant to the President at (318) 352-2714, or by sending an email to admin@npgov.org to receive the application instructions.

Let’s Talk Sassafras: A Cane River Lunch and Learn Series


Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc. (CRNHA), will host a lunch and learn lecture entitled, “Sassafras: A Discussion on the Traditional Uses of the Ethnobotanical Resource” Friday, Nov. 4 from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the Grand Ecore Visitor Center.
Best known for its use as gumbo filé, sassafras is moreover a medicine plant used first by American Indians and subsequently by Cajun, Creole, African American, and Anglo folk doctors. Join lecturers Dustin Fuqua and Oswald Colson at the Grand Ecore Visitor center as they discuss the traditional uses of the ethnobotanical resource sassafras.

Lunch will be provided. The lecture is free, but space is limited. Please RSVP to Steven Fullen at sfullen@canerivernha.org or at 318-356-5555.

Beau Jardin filled with Halloween delights at Pumpkin Glow


Natchitoches HDBA held its 4th Annual Pumpkin glow Oct. 27. Over 90 pumpkins lined the walkways and stairs of Beau Jardin. Pumpkins were judged based on two categories: carved and painted.

Painted category winners: Sheila Davis and Anna Weaver (tied for 1st)
Carved category winners: Charlie Greaves – 1st place and Rita Fontenot – 2nd place
Honorable Mention: Joelee Savell

Entertainment for the evening was provided by Natchitoches Parish Council on Aging “Classy Steppers”, Natchitoches Flippin Athletics, Turning Pointe Dance, Elite Cheer-Nastics, Dazzle Dance Center, NCHS Maroon Line, NCHS Orchestra, NSU Middle Lab Orchestra and Natchitoches Magnet Orchestra.



Assistant Finance Director Shawna Straub was named Employee of the month for October. Shawna has worked with the City of Natchitoches for 11 years and was recognized for her attention to detail, willingness to work with all departments, and creative vision and grant writing skills.

“Shawna is a great asset to the City. She is thoughtful and smart and is always figuring out ways to help support the City’s mission and goals. She has spent endless hours writing grants,” stated Dallas Russell, Community Programs and Outreach Manager for the City of Natchitoches. “She is supportive of her co-workers, and she takes time to research best practices and is mindful of the big picture. I have enjoyed working with Shawna and have learned a lot from her.”

Director of Finance Patrick Jones added, “It was her creative vision that led to her recommendation to rededicate the water and sewer tax instead of proposing a new tax to have funds available to upgrade our streets, drainage and parks. With the approval by our voters to allow the rededication, her idea has become a reality. This source of funding will have a huge positive impact upon our city immediately and in future years.”

Shawna Straub was presented with an Employee of the Month Plaque by Mayor Lee Posey and received a gift certificate to Maglieaux’s for her hard work and dedication.

From left are Stacy McQueary, Corey Roberson, Jill Raynes, Lisa Borders, Steve Stinger, Mayor Lee Posey, Shawna Straub, Pat Jones, Edd Lee and Dallas Russell.

St. Mary’s announces its Terrific Kids for October

Kiwanis Terrific Kids for the month of October at St. Mary’s Catholic School on front row from left are Alayne Rachal, Ryan Theilen, Mia Hollier, Tenley Thorton and Jaxon Townsend. On back row are Kiwanis Reps Carrie Hough and Brandy Tilley, Mason Mathis, Kolby Lipa, Mason Melder, Anne Michelle Long, Tucker Johnson, Brianna McConathy, Braylee Fredieu and Assistant Principal Andrea Harrell.

The Spirit of Northwestern Marching Band-Musical Excellence Since 1911

By Kevin Shannahan


Kevin’s Gallery

When the 305 members of the Spirit of Northwestern Band (SON) take to the field, they are carrying on a 105 year old tradition. Founded in 1911, the band does 10-12 performances each year. In addition to their signature halftime performances, they also march in the Natchitoches Christmas Parade and perform at the annual High School Marching Band Competition.

The band members excel in the classroom as much as they do in performances. They represent a broad cross section of the university. Only about 35% of the band members are music majors with the balance spread across the various majors offered at NSU. The band boasts a higher retention rate than the university at large, a reflection of the discipline and work ethic needed to succeed in the band – and in life.

In addition to the marching band, Northwestern State University also features several other bands in the Spring semester. The basketball pep band entertains the fans at games and makes life interesting for the opposing team. The Wind Symphony, Wind Ensemble, Magale Concert Band and Fredericks Concert band all provide a high quality musical education for the students as well as superb entertainment for the community.


Special presentation stirred emotions, memories


Amid the pomp, ceremony and drama during last Saturday’s Northwestern State Homecoming football game at Turpin Stadium, a poignant presentation during a first-quarter timeout commemorated unforgettable memories.

NSU president Dr. Jim Henderson and Demon football four-year letterman Jack “Britt” Brittain Jr. took part in the brief, but especially for them, very emotional event.
It saluted not only the NSU football team’s stirring 30-27 triumph at Ruston in 2014 to knock off ancient rival Louisiana Tech, but memories of their fathers, teammates on the Bulldogs’ football teams after World War II.

It culminated a vision by Brittain during the winter of 2014, once he found out that NSU football coach Jay Thomas had the ball that kicker Chris Moore booted through the uprights for a game-winning 47-yard field goal as time expired. The game was the first meeting in 20 years between teams that first met in 1907 and collided for a half-century, through 1987, in the storied State Fair Classic battle in Shreveport.

NSU and Louisiana Tech had met only once since the State Fair Classic’s demise, that a close Bulldogs win in 1994 in Ruston. In 2014, the Demons scored 20 points in the fourth quarter to win.

Thomas had mulled options for the ball. He’d had supporters who wanted to pay a pretty price to buy it. He felt most likely, it should find a place on campus for all Demons to enjoy. Brittain came up with the best of both worlds.

“After discussing it, a donation was made with the condition that I would donate it back to the NSU family to be displayed so all can walk by and remember this epic battle,” said Brittain. “Everything came together so Dr. Henderson and I would honor the 2014 football team’s win over Louisiana Tech, while remembering all of those who played through the years in this great rivalry, including our dads.

“That 2014 Demon team never gave up,” said Brittain, “and we shall never forget.”

During the presentation, fans at Turpin Stadium were shown a photo from the 1947 State Fair Classic, showing Brittain’s father running at the goalline for a touchdown while Henderson’s father, Clem, in his No. 68 jersey, trailed the play after his blocking helped spring Brittain.

“We wanted to share that photo with everybody, because they were men who played for, and graduated from, Louisiana Tech, and loved their time there, but as their lives moved forward, both found their lives tied to Northwestern. Dad married my mother and moved here, raised his family here. Mr. Clem moved here when his wife, Mrs. Martha, came to work at NSU, and Jim graduated from here and ultimately became our president,” said Brittain.

“It was a very emotional moment for both of us, to be able to share the story of our dads and present that ball to Northwestern so Demon fans will always be able to treasure that great game in 2014, and future Demon teams will be inspired by it,” he said.

Thomas appreciated Brittain’s vision to make the presentation extra special.

“When Britt told me the story, there was no doubt. Case closed, that’s what we were going to do with the ball,” the coach said. “Their dads were great men, who made a difference in thousands of lives (Henderson was a career educator, Brittain an attorney and community leader), and they each became very supportive of Northwestern and their sons are Demons. Dr. Henderson and Britt have been so supportive of our football program, and everything at NSU. I can’t imagine this being any more fitting, or done any better.”


Robeline-Marthaville Water System Addresses System Issues



Robeline-Marthaville Water System, Inc. held its quarterly Board meeting this past Monday night at the First Baptist Church in Robeline to discuss numerous opportunities for improvement of the System.  Two of the five board members were not in attendance.  Several members of the System attended the meeting and heard presentations from the USDA; the Louisiana Rural Water Association; the System’s Engineer, Kenneth McManus of McManus Consulting Engineers; the System’s accountant, Nettles Brown of Waskom, Brown & Associates; and Natchitoches Parish President, Rick Nowlin.

The presentations provided that Robeline-Marthaville Water System, which is 38 years old,  is in need of critical maintenance to its structure and upgrades to its facilities.  The System is a member-owned non-profit organization.  The rates charged to customers for water are determined by the Board with assistance from La Rural Water and approved by the USDA.  Historically, the USDA (and formerly the La Public Service Commission) limited the rates that could be charged to customers to cover only cash expenses, note payments, required reserves, and a small contingency. There are no funds within the System to cover major acquisitions and/or repairs and maintenance.

Members of the System asked several pointed questions:

1.  How did the Board of Directors let the System get into this critical condition (apathy and/or not being informed by the prior system operator);

2. Why is the Board only meeting quarterly when there is a crisis that needs immediate attention;

3.  When can the System’s office begin using 21st century technology for payments and customer communications;

4.  Why does it take 3-1/2 people in the office to handle the business of 477 customers when Belmont Water System has 935 customers and they have only 1 part time office person;  and

5.  Is the System Engineer’s recommendation of a $3,000,000 upgrade to correct the System maintenance and facility deficiencies the right decision?

One option that was discussed was the purchase of the Ajax Beulah Water System and connecting the two systems, which would be a first step in correcting the poor water quality that currently exists for the System’s customers.  The purchase would cost $600,000 and would be funded via a loan through the USDA.

Other suggestions for improving the System included changing the Board meetings to monthly or semi-monthly to formulate and follow a written plan of action; obtain a second opinion from another qualified engineer (may reduce the cost of project as well as provide a better solution); and/or connect the System to the Belmont Water System thereby bringing 3 systems together to further reduce cost and provide quality water to all of the customers.

The members/customers of the Robeline-Marthaville Water System have taken the first step in asking for accountability and action by the Board.  We encourage them to continue to be a positive force to improve the System and the communities they represent.

NCHS FFA Agronomy Team Wins National Championship

By Aaron Beaubouef, FFA faculty sponsor


Four members of the Natchitoches Central FFA Chapter accomplished what no team from Louisiana has ever done: finish first in a National FFA Career Development Event. They placed first overall at the National FFA Agronomy contest at the 89th National FFA Convention Oct. 19-22 in Indianapolis, Ind.

“Their achievement is the result of a year of training. They practiced every day during school hours and five days a week after school, dating back to last November,” said NCHS Agriscience teacher and FFA Advisor Aaron Beaubouef. “The team also practiced during the summer months and attended research field days hosted by the LSU AgCenter to learn more about modern crop production. The team of Preston Tibbett, Bradley Scott, Dylan Daniels and Brooklyn Hampton are one of only 16 teams from Louisiana to ever place in the top four of a National FFA Contest and one of only five teams from Natchitoches Parish to achieve such an honor.”

Students competing in the Agronomy contest must identify over 100 plant and seed samples, 75 pieces of equipment, 35 insects and how to diagnose plant diseases. They must become proficient in grain grading, seed analysis, soil fertility recommendations, plant diagnostics, commodity evaluation and must be able to answer any question about crop production on a written exam. The Agronomy contest is the most comprehensive agricultural competition offered by the National FFA Organization.

Preston Tibbett was first place individually, followed by teammates Bradley Scott (second place individual), Dylan Daniels (fourth place individual) and Brooklyn Hampton (seventh place individual). All four members finished in the top 7 out of 152 students competing from all across the nation. Such an achievement places them in the top 5 percent of all students that competed. Each member earned a $1,000 scholarship.

“The accomplishments that NCHS FFA members have at the national level are even more impressive when you consider how much of a disadvantage they are at when preparing for the contest,” Beaubouef said. “The students from the Midwestern states that traditionally do well in the Agronomy competition are typically students that live on farms or whose parents are crop scouts, agronomists, plant pathologists, etc. Many other states have professional agronomists come in and train their teams. The students at Natchitoches Central typically have no such advantage; they start with zero background knowledge about row crop agriculture and out work their competition to achieve success. Also, Natchitoches Central’s team had only their FFA advisors to train them whereas every other successful team in the national contest has a professional in the field of agronomy or a faculty member with no teaching responsibilities coaching the team. No group of high school students in the country learned more about agriculture or trained harder for this competition than Preston, Bradley, Dylan and Brooklyn this year.”

NCHS FFA Champs from left are Bradley Scott, Preston Tibbett, Brooklyn Hampton and Dylan Daniels, with their Advisor Aaron Beaubouef.

Louisiana OMV will no longer accept cash effective Nov. 1

Effective Nov. 1, the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles will not accept cash for transactions. Acceptable forms of payment for transactions will be as follows:

Driver’s Licenses, Identification Cards, & Mobility Impaired Hang Tag Transactions:
Debit cards, credit cards, checks, money orders, and cashier checks

Reinstatement Transactions
Debit cards, credit cards, money orders, and cashier checks

Vehicle Transactions
Debit cards, credit cards, checks, money orders, and cashier checks

This policy will also apply when business partners purchase items from the Office of Motor Vehicles.

All information regarding this policy is posted on OMV’s website at http://www.expresslane.org. Citizens are also encouraged to take advantage of the OMV online services offered at http://www.expresslane.org.