Henderson talks about his transition, recommendations on upcoming leadership


Photo Courtsey of NSU

NSU President Dr. Jim Henderson submitted the following statement to the Natchitoches Parish Journal concerning his upcoming transition to the University of Louisiana System Presidency and some recommendations he’s made to the Board of Supervisors:

Since the announcement that I will move to the University of Louisiana System Presidency in January, I have sought advice and input from a number of faculty, staff, alumni, Leadership Team members, and other stakeholders about how best to ensure our university continues to progress. As I have long maintained, often in the face of healthy skepticism, the occupant of the president’s office receives far more credit than he is due for the university’s advances. The president can articulate a vision, and with a lot of help, implement a structure, establish systems, and foster a culture conducive to realizing that vision. The innovation, creativity, and work that achieve the vision come from you.

Marcia Hardy and Roni Biscoe continue to lead our strategic planning team toward completion of the multi-year framework. This document, together with our refined approach to budgeting, will be a roadmap that guides the university. They are real. They are actionable. In addition, one factor of this transition that will minimize disruption and help with continuity: my move is simply one step up on our reporting structure. I am not leaving our chain of command.

As we move forward, I want to let you know about three recommendations I have made to our Board of Supervisors:

Marcus Jones’ title will change to Executive Vice President as he assumes responsibility for the business and other internal operations of the university. VP of Business Affairs Carl Jones will report to Marcus.

Vickie Gentry, who has done a fabulous job as Chief Academic Officer, will assume the role of Provost. Her appointment to this position on an interim basis for calendar year 2017 will ensure strong leadership while providing our faculty, department heads, and deans continued ownership of our academic mission.

Chris Maggio will maintain his role as Vice President of the Student Experience and serve as Acting President until the ULS board selects a permanent president. Chris has been a valuable member of the Leadership Team. He will work closely with our Advancement and External Affairs teams to keep our external stakeholders energized as the Board of Supervisors finalizes and executes the search process for the new president.

Of course, these recommendations are subject to approval by the board.

I realize change can be stressful, and I greatly appreciate your patience and understanding during this transition.



Natchitoches Historic Foundation Christmas Tour of Homes



The Natchitoches Historic Foundation proudly announces the sites for the 2016 Christmas Tour of Homes available to tourists. Focusing on the expressions of the Christmas season, all of the sites for the 2016 tour are located in the Historic District.  Each day, the houses showcased are in walking distance from each other.  Experience the charm of historic Natchitoches during this annual holiday event.  Tickets are $20 per night, cash or check only.

Wednesday, Dec. 7 and 14, 5-8 p.m.

Donahoe House (358 Rue Jefferson)– Resplendent in holiday decorations for the Christmas season, the Home of Mr. and Mrs. Jared Dunahoe is a new structure in the Historic District on the site of the Levy-East Town recently destroyed by fire. Guests will enjoy the seasonal reminders of the traditions of the Dunahoe family as they tour this beautiful home.

Lemee House, circa 1830 (301 rue Jefferson)–Decorated with period Christmas greens and historical memorabilia belonging to members and friends of the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches. Guests will sip hot cider as listen to carolers as they hear about Christmas in the early 19th century.

Soldini House, circa 1847 (240 Rue Jefferson)–An addition to the 2016 Tour, the upside down Christmas tree in the parlor of Soldini and other period Christmas decorations will be highlighted by hoop skirted docents giving guests information about Christmas traditions of the family that has owned the house for more than 100 years.

Jefferson Street Townhouse, circa 1920s (230 Rue Jefferson)– The beautifully appointed Bed and Breakfast includes a wide veranda, eleven foot ceiling, hardwood floors, period antiques, and is lovingly decorated with organic materials for the Christmas season. The gardens surrounding the house are lovely, even during the colder months of the year.


Magnet recognizes Terrific Kids for November


Natchitoches Magnet School recognized its Kiwanis Terrific Kids for November. On front row from left are Gabe Bush, Nathaniel Young, RyAnn Dove, Bryan Chen, Bradin Smith and Malaya Osby. On middle row are Claire Thompson, Ethan Merritt, Kamira Walker, Hailey Walker and Allison Jett. On back row are Journee Parks, Brannon Kaiser, Jayme Day, Brian Young, Victoria Hatten and Principal Stephonie French.

City recognizes employees for years of service


10 Year Employees:
(l-r) David Stevenson, Irving Barfield, Timothy Pulley, Brandon Johnson, James Matthews, and Stephen Wilkerson. Not pictured are Joshua Isbell and William Turner

The City of Natchitoches recognized employees for their years of service at an Employee Appreciation Luncheon Nov. 23.  Mayor Lee Posey thanked each employee for their hard work and dedication to the City of Natchitoches.

Before the recognitions were announced, a moment of silence was acknowledged for those employees and retirees of the City of Natchitoches who passed away in the past year.  Those remembered included Bryan Wimberly (Utility Director), Sonya Conant (City Court) and John Harris (Community Development).

Retirees honored at the luncheon included Tommy Solomon (Utility, 16 years), Dwane Steadman (Utility – Sewer, 20 years), Harry Garsee (Utility – Sewer, 25 years), Connie Guy (Utility Annex, 28 years), and Bob Hayward (Utility – Electrical, 32 years).

Employees recognized for 10 years of service included Irving Barfield (Fire), Joshua Isbell (Fire), Brandon Johnson (Public Works), James Matthews (Utility – Electrical), Timothy Pulley (Fire), David Stevenson (Public Works), William Turner (Fire), and Stephen Wilkerson (Fire).

Employees recognized for 15 years of service were Sherri Edwards (Utility – Electrical), Rodney Jacobs (Purchasing), Larry Lucas (Public Works), Keith McDonald (Police), Kelly Parks (Police), Mark Perkins (Utility – Electrical), and Jessica Williams (Police).

Those celebrating 20 years of service included Renee Bennett (Utility), Lisa Borders (Finance), Nikeo Collins (Police), Ross Desadier (Police), David Dobson (Utility – Electrical), Robert Griffin (Fire), Albert Law (Utility – Sewer), Miranda Mayrand (Police), Billy Meziere (Police), Gayle Pattain (Public Works), Arnold Scott (Fire), Glen Tate (Public Works), and John Wynn, Jr. (Fire).

Recognized for 25 years of service were Rodney Achord (Utility – Electrical), Clinton Carpenter (Utility – Sewer), Lydia Lewis (Utility Annex), Chris Payne (Police), Alan Stanfield (Fire) and Brad Walker (Police).

Tim Crump (City Garage) and Donald Wafer (Utility – Sewer) were recognized for 35 years of service.


35 Year Employees: (l-r) Tim Crump and Donald Wafer


25 Year Employees: (l-r) Rodney Achord, Lydia Lewis and Brad Walker. Not pictured are Clinton Carpenter, Chris Payne, and Alan Stanfield.


20 Year Employees: (l-r) Glen Tate, John Wynn, Jr., Robert Griffin, Nikeo Collins, Ross Desadier, David Dobson, Renee Bennett, Lisa Borders, and Gayle Pattain. Not pictured are Albert Law, Miranda Mayrand, Billy Meziere and Arnold Scott.


15 Year Employees: (l-r) Sherri Edwards, Rodney Jacobs, and Kelly Parks. Not pictured are Larry Lucas, Keith McDonald, Mark Perkins and Jessica Williams



Retirees: Tommy Solomon.  Not pictured Dwane Steadman, Harry Garsee, Connie Guy and Bob Hayward.







Palmated 16-point goes down in Natchitoches Parish

By Patrick Bonin
Article courtesy of Louisiana Sportsman


Until a heavy-horned Natchitoches Parish buck stepped out into a shooting lane on his 1,500-acre lease near Ajax, Chris Ebarb never knew the deer even existed.
The 42-year-old Natchitoches hunter had lots of trail cam pictures of other bucks on the property, but not a single one of this mature 16-pointer with a palmated rack.

“It was a complete surprise,” said Ebarb, who works as an industrial maintenance contractor. “I never had a trail cam picture of it, but I found out my neighbor on the adjoining property has had pictures of it for about five years.

“He told me he’s only ever had pictures of him at night. He felt like the deer lived on our place, and would just come over to feed and then come back home.”

Ebarb got into his box stand overlooking three shooting lanes at 5:30 a.m. Nov. 6, and saw the tail-end of a deer moving from right to left in his right-hand lane as dawn broke over the thicket about 6:15.

“I suspect now it was him. He had made it far enough across to where everything was exposed but his head, but I didn’t take a shot because I didn’t know what it was,” Ebarb said.

He stayed focused on that lane, though, and about 15 minutes later the big buck attempted to cross back again.

“Initially, he had his head down. I saw the deer, and when he picked his head up I could see it was a buck,” he said. “When he turned his head to look toward me, I could see the big masses on each side, so I knew it was something out of the ordinary. It was out passed his ears.”

The deer was broadside in the lane at 150 yards, and Ebarb put the crosshairs of his .30-06 just behind the buck’s right shoulder.

“I actually hit him a little high,” he said. “He fell in his tracks, but he did some kicking and struggling so I went down to finish him off.”

That was when he got a closer look at the buck’s awesome rack: It featured heavy palmation, 16 points and an impressive 16-inch inside spread.

The deer — estimated to be 6 ½ years old — weighed-in at 200 pounds and green-scored 169 ⅝ inches at Simmons’ Sporting Goods in Bastrop.

Ebarb found out after killing the buck that his neighbor plants 40 acres of sunflowers and peas every spring, and attributed some of the deer’s mass to his efforts.

“We met because of this deer. We had mutual friends, but he and I hadn’t talked. His wife actually contacted me on Facebook when she saw the picture,” he said. “She messaged me and said, ‘Look, we’ve got five sons and they’ve been hunting that deer for years, and we recognized him from the trail cam pictures.’

“She asked if I minded bringing him by to let her boys see him.”

So Ebarb went to his taxidermist, and brought the buck’s horns over for his neighbors to check out.

There was no ill will because he shot the deer — in fact, the neighbor gave him a pair of the buck’s sheds from three years ago, and they’re now making plans to team up to try to grow more big deer on their properties.

“They’re very nice people. They were happy for me,” Ebarb said. “We’re talking now about planting spring plots at the same time together, so he can show me what he’s been doing.”

PHOTO: Chris Ebarb, of Natchitoches, poses with the big 16-point buck he shot near Ajax on Nov. 6.  Ebarb had never even seen trail cam pics of the buck, which green-scored 169 ⅝ inches at Simmons’ Sporting Goods in Bastrop.

Photo courtesy of Chris Ebarb

He Recalls the Day He Broke the Sound Barrier

By Joe Darby


Photo courtesy Louisiana Air National Guard Media Gallery

In one of many conversations I had with family over the Thanksgiving holidays, I was talking with my nephew Chuck about US Air Force planes.  Chuck’s dad was an Air Force officer.

And that conversation got me to thinking about one of the coolest days of my life.  The day I got to take control of an F-15 Eagle fighter jet and the day I went faster than sound — though not at the same precise moment.

About 30 or more years ago, an officer and a gentlemen with the Louisiana National Guard’s 159th Fighter Wing was preparing to retire. He was going to make one more ceremonial flight in his F-15.  As a reporter who had covered the Air Guard unit for a number of years, I was graciously invited to go along with Col. Castor (over the years I’ve forgotten his first name) on that flight.  We would use the F-15B model, a trainer airplane that has two seats but otherwise is identical to the standard fighter plane.

So I showed up at the Naval Air Station New Orleans, the 159th’s home,  ready and eager to accompany the colonel on his final flight in one of the world’s greatest fighter planes of all time.

Let me interject that aircraft’s record here.  It went into service in the 1970s and has seen its share of combat, in Iraq and other places in the Middle East with the US Air Force, as well as having been an important part of the Israeli air force.

It has shot down just over 100 enemy planes.  And guess how many F-15s have been lost to enemy air action.  None.  That’s right.  The magnificent Eagle has a circa 100 to 0 kill ratio.  It can’t get much better than that for a combat aircraft.

So, anyway, at the air base, I’m suited up for the flight, climb into the back seat of the F-15 and am briefed on what do to in case of an emergency.  The seat ejection handle is pointed out to me and I’m warned to keep my hands away from it.

We begin to taxi out to the runway for takeoff and I realize I’m nervously clutching something in the cockpit.  I look down and I realize I’m tightly grabbing the ejection handle!  If I had pulled that thing, Col. Castor and I would have been ejected skyward and because we were still on the ground, with no time for the parachutes to properly deploy we would have faced serious injury or worse.  I never mentioned that to the colonel and this is my first public confession of my potentially disastrous mistake.

But all was well and we took off into a beautiful blue sky and headed south.  Within minutes we were over the Gulf of Mexico and the colonel informs me we will break the sound barrier.  You may recall from old movies about how our earliest supersonic jets violently shook as they attempted to break the speed of sound.

Well, those days were long gone and the F-15 is so powerful that going to transonic speed is barely perceptible — maybe like running over a small tar strip on the interstate, if even that.

We waited until we got over the gulf so that the sonic boom wouldn’t disturb any folks on land.  He pushed the throttles forward, we went into afterburner and, there we were supersonic.

Then, as Col. Castor continues to put the plane through its paces for one last time, he asks me if I’d like to take the stick.  Well, of course I said yes.  I’ve wanted to be a pilot all of my life but it just never worked out that I had the time or money to get my license, so this was a chance of a lifetime for me.

I already understand how aircraft controls work and I gently put the F-15 into a left turn, while slowly climbing.  Then, the colonel asks me what is probably the most flattering question I’ve ever been asked.

“Have you flown before, Joe?”

“No sir, except for a brief orientation ride in a Cessna 182 a good while back.”

“Well, you handle this aircraft like you’ve done it before.”

At that, dear reader, my day was made.  Need I say more on that subject?

All too soon it was time to head back to base.  Fellow members of Col. Castor’s unit greeted him, fete him and held a party in his honor.

I had to get back to the paper to write the story, but my memory of the flight, and the colonel’s words to me,  put me in a real good mood for a long time.  I shove to the back of my memory what could have happened if I’d pulled that darn ejection handle, though.

Early Voting – 11-29-16


Natchitoches Pairsh Early Voting  11-29-16

Tuesday 11/29/16
1 169 41 6 216 73.99%
2 16 0 0 16 5.47%
3 22 7 1 30 10.27%
4 21 7 2 30 10.27%
228 55 9 292 100%
613 143 22 778
  • As reported by the Louisiana Secretary of State.  Shows In-Person and Absentee.


Phi Beta Lambda winners recognized

Phi Beta Lambda winners:


Three members of Northwestern State University’s chapter of Phi Beta Lambda received letters of commendation from Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards for their accomplishments at the organization’s national conference in Atlanta. Chapter Advisor Dr. Julie McDonald, left, presented the letters to Maggie Harris of Monroe, Katelyn Marchand of Gonzales and Michelle McIntyre of Bossier City, who were recognized for placing in the Top 10 in leadership competition. Phi Beta Lambda, the college-level arm of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) is the largest student organization in the world for individuals preparing for careers in business. At the convention, students and advisers participate in motivational general sessions, professional development and career planning workshops.

NSU hosting Crafts Guild exhibition

Northwestern State University’s Department of Fine + Graphic Art is partnering with the Louisiana Crafts Guild for an exhibition of fine crafts that will be on exhibit at the Orville Hanchey Gallery through Dec. 9. A reception will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1. The public is invited.

The Louisiana Crafts Guild is a juried organization of fine crafts artisans from throughout the state of Louisiana and the southern region of the United States. Because of the organization’s stringent jury requirements and dedication to excellence in fine craft, only three out of every 10 applicants is approved for membership. Members of the Guild are active in their community and give back by providing demonstrations to schools, churches, libraries and other organizations. Members’ generosity support community events, non-profit organizations and fundraisers.

The exhibition features scarves, carved chairs, jewelry, ceramics, woodwork and more featuring the best in Louisiana artisanship. All items are available for purchase.

Orville Hanchey Gallery is located at 140 Central Avenue on the NSU campus. Hours are 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m.-noon on Friday. For more information, contact Leslie Gruesbeck at gruesbeckl@nsula.edu.

Powhatan teenager steals John Deere combine for a joyride


A hit and run crash led to the arrest of a 17-year-old Powhatan teenager in connection with the theft of a John Deere combine near Powhatan Nov. 28 at 5:20 p.m., according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones Jr.

NPSO Patrol Division deputies responded to a reported hit and run crash on La. Hwy 504 near Sandra Street in the Oak Grove community near Natchitoches.

The caller reported that while traveling on Johnson Chute Road near Posey Road, in his 2010 Nissan Maxima, a large green John Deere combine struck his vehicle and failed to stop.

The caller followed the combine to Hwy. 1 traveling south, then on to Hwy. 3191, then south on Hwy. 504, turning right on the Eight Mile Loop, striking a road sign and breaking the rear axle.

Shortly thereafter the operator exited the combine and ran towards Sandra Street.
After deputies took him into custody, Carl Mobley Jr. stated he took the 2011 John Deere 977C STS farm combine without permission from Messenger Farm’s on Hwy. 485 near I-49 and traveled towards Natchitoches with the intent of joy riding.
Louisiana State Police say the Nissan Maxima received moderate damage to the driver’s side while the John Deere combine received moderate damage to the rear.
The combine harvester, valued over $180,000, is a machine used to harvest grains like wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, flax and soybeans. Instead of using separate machines for reaping, threshing and winnowing the grain, the harvester combines all these functions into one machine.

As a result of the crash and investigation, Carl Mobley Jr., 17, of the 200 block of North Railroad Street in Powhatan was booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center and charged with one-count of Unauthorized Use of a Moveable valued over $500.
Louisiana State Police also charged Mobley with Careless Operation, and Hit and Run.
Mobley remains in the Natchitoches Detention Center awaiting bond.

There were no injuries.

Deputies say due to the rear axle being broken on the combine, it was left at the scene overnight until it could be removed this morning. A Sheriff’s Unit remained at the scene all night to assist and warn traffic of the potential traffic hazard.


NSU thanks donors



The NSU Alumni Association and Foundation sent out special thanks to all the donors who made contributions as part of #GivingTuesday. Janice Bolton from Bolton Realty donated $5,000 to the School Readiness Project (NSU Child and Family Network Project) at the NSU Foundation! Pictured are Development Officer Tiffany Chasteen and Janice Bolton.

Another donor, Carly Clark, will be graduating in December with her Master’s of Arts degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education. She works at Nicholls State as the Student Activities Coordinator and SPA Advisor. Carly contributed to the Columns Fund.

“I am giving to NSU because it has given me so much,” she said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the education I earned at Northwestern State.”

Jeanne’s Country Garden donated to the NSU Foundation. This donation will support the NSU Columns Fund, a tax-deductible giving program that supports academic endeavors, scholarships and building renovations at NSU.

David and Bryan Stamey donated to the NSU Foundation. The Stamey’s have been connected to Northwestern State for years and were ecstatic to be a part of such an important day of philanthropy.

Britany Williams and her grandmother Marie Williams also contributed to the future of Northwestern State.

Britany says, “We’d like to help in any way possible. Northwestern State brings a lot of business to our store and because of that, we are grateful to be able to contribute back to their students.”

Mayor Lee Posey donated because, “It is important our community and others across the state of Louisiana support Northwestern State University. This university is thriving in many ways and continues to prove itself as a vital part of Natchitoches. Past, present, and future demons should be proud to invest in a university making huge advances on a local and national level. Join me and Fork’em Demons!”

Another donor, Dr. Paula Furr has been on NSU’s faculty full time since 2000 and now holds the title of department head for New Media, Journalism, and Communication Arts. When asked why giving back is so important to her she replied, “NSU has given a lot to me and my family. I started a second career after retiring from the Army. Sharing my professional experiences and helping students start their careers motivate me. Plus, students help keep me young!”

Donors Steve and Leslie Gruesbeck are both proud graduates and faculty members of NSU. Leslie has been a part of the Fine and Graphic Arts Department since 2006. Steve started at NSU in 2001 and has held many roles which include, academic advisor, coordinator of tutoring, Director of service-learning and is a faculty member in the Psychology Department.

When the couple was asked, “What does giving back to NSU mean to you?”, this was their response:

“NSU’s outstanding resources benefit our students and our community. Likewise, Natchitoches greatly enhances the college experience at NSU. When we were students here, these resources were invaluable to our educations. Giving back to NSU, whether through volunteering on campus and in our community or contributing to important initiatives like the Columns Fund, ensures our students and future students have the same. We’re proud to play a part in #GivingTuesday and to be a part of this great community.”

Natchitoches Christmas Season 2016 Schedule of Events



Wednesday, November 30 & Thursday, December 1, 2016

* 7:00 p.m. Natchitoches/Northwestern Christmas Gala, AA Fredericks Auditorium NSU campus. For additional information, ticket prices and to order advance tickets contact Teresa at 357-4522 or Ladell at 357-5773. or Click Here.

Friday, December 2

* 10:00 a.m. – 4:00p.m. – Fe’te de Hiver at Fort St. Jean Baptiste SHS, Celebrate Christmas 18th century style with historians, re-enactors and period merchants. $4 for persons over 12 & under 62.

* 7:00 & 9:00 p.m. Natchitoches/Northwestern Christmas Gala, A A Fredericks Auditorium NSU campus. For additional information, ticket prices and to order advance tickets contact Teresa at 357-4522 or Ladell at 357-5773, or Click Here.

Saturday, December 3

* 90th Annual Christmas Festival, Louisiana’s premiere holiday event.
Named by USA Today’s Readers’ Choice “Best Southern Small Town” in 2016. Enjoy our daylong festival filled with live musical entertainment, arts, crafts and food vendors, a parade and a magnificent fireworks show choreographed to holiday music over the riverbank of Cane River Lake.

Admission armbands are required for entry to Front Street & Downtown Riverbank. $10 Ages 12 & over. $8 for Advanced armbands- available for purchase November 1st.

* 7:45 a.m. – Natchitoches “City of Lights” 5K

* 10:00 a.m. – 4:00p.m. – Fe’te de Hiver at Fort St. Jean Baptiste SHS, Celebrate Christmas 18th century style with historians, re-enactors and period merchants. $4 for persons over 12 & under 62.

* 10:00a.m. – 6:00p.m. – LA Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum OPEN with FREE admission

* 1:00p.m. – Festival of Lights Parade

* 3:00 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. – Entertainment – Johnny Earthquake & The Moondogs – Downtown Riverbank

* 4:45 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. – Entertainment – Joe Stampley

* 6:00 p.m. – Fireworks over Cane River Lake
Sunday, December 4

* 10:00a.m. – 1:00p.m. – Fe’te de Hiver at Fort St. Jean Baptiste SHS, Celebrate Christmas 18th century style with historians, re-enactors and period merchants. $4 for persons over 12 & under 62

* 7:00 p.m. Community Carols and Chorus. First United Methodist Church Natchitoches. Join us for singing and celebration in hope of our coming Lord. FREE
Tuesday, December 6

* 7:30 p.m. “Lessons & Carols” Featuring Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 613 Second St FREE
Wednesday, December 7

* 5:00-8:00 p.m. Holiday Tour of Homes, hosted by Natchitoches Historic Foundation For Tickets Call: 800-259-1714 $, List of homes for tour – TBA
Friday, December 9 – Free admission to Front Street and Downtown Riverbank

* 3:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Holiday Kids Fest on the Downtown Riverbank $

* 5:00-8:00 p.m. Holiday Tour of Homes, hosted by Natchitoches Historic Foundation. For Tickets Call: 800-259-1714 $, List of homes for tour – TBA

* 5:00-8:00p.m. DJ on the Downtown Riverbank Stage

* 6:00 p.m. – First Baptist Natchitoches, 508 Second Street presenting their Christmas musical.

Saturday, December 10

* Admission to Downtown Riverbank beginning at 1p.m. – $6 Ages 12 & over. Advance armband will be available to purchase November 1st.

* 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Holiday Kids Fest on the Downtown Riverbank $

* 1:00-4:00 p.m. Holiday Tour of Homes, hosted by Natchitoches Historic Foundation For Tickets Call: 800-259-1714 $, List of homes for tour – TBA

* 10a.m.-6p.m. – Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame & Northwest Louisiana History Museum (Complimentary Admission for Saturday Holiday Tour of Homes Ticket Holders)

* 3:30 – 6:00 p.m. – Entertainment – Hank Staples & Thunder Creek- Downtown Riverbank

* 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. – Entertainment – Louisiana LeRoux – Downtown Riverbank

* 7:00 p.m. Fireworks over Cane River

Sunday, December 11

* 6:00 p.m. – First Baptist Natchitoches, 508 Second Street presenting their Christmas musical.

Natchitoches Historic District Business Association & the City of Natchitoches hosts the annual Natchitoches Christmas Festival. For additional information call 1-800-259-1714 or visit natchitoches.com

History of the Natchitoches Christmas Festival Exhibit at NSU

By Kevin Shannahan


Did you know that painting the windows of the then new Friedman Memorial Student Union and student-faculty Christmas caroling were once traditions at Northwestern State University? Monday, Nov. 28 marked the opening of an exhibit at NSU’s Cammie G. Henry Research Center chronicling the history of the Natchitoches Christmas Festival. In addition to items from earlier festivals, the exhibit also highlights NSU Christmas traditions from the past as well as those from Melrose Plantation.

The exhibit’s display cases house paraphernalia from years past such as NSU yearbooks, cards, letters and keepsakes from the past. The Natchitoches Christmas Festival was first held in 1926, with 1929 being the first year in which archavists were able to document the festival’s signature light display. The evolution of the light display and fireworks show into today’s thousands of lights and massive fireworks show can be seen through historical photographs and items.

The Cammie G. Henry Research Center is on the third floor of NSU’s Watson Library. It is open from 8-5 Monday through Thursday and from 8-noon on Friday.  Admission is free. Come over and see a unique collection that shows our region’s history.


Natchitoches native holds “YOU BELONG” sign in front of a mosque

By Justin Normand


I have had the most extraordinary weekend.

Like most everyone I know, I have been in a malaise and at a loss since Election Day. What to do? With myself? With my time? To make things better, or even just to slog through?
I had had the urge for a week or so to do this. Friday, I had a couple of spare hours in the afternoon, so I did.

I made a sign, and I drove to a mosque and stood out on the public sidewalk to share the peace with my neighbors. My marginalized, fearful, decent, targeted, Muslim neighbors.
Someone took a picture and posted it, and it’s been viewed millions of times, and shared across various platforms many hundreds of thousands of times.

This is extraordinary and humbling; mainly because what I did isn’t (or shouldn’t be) all that extraordinary.

For me, this wasn’t about expressing agreement; I remain Presbyterian, not Muslim.
It wasn’t about demonstrating my outrage to right-wing drivers driving down Esters Road in front of the mosque. I can never, and will never, change any of the haters. It’s not about them. Not this time, and not here.

This was about binding up the wounded. About showing compassion and empathy for the hurting and fearful among us. Or, in some Christian traditions, this was about washing my brother’s feet.

This was about my religion, not theirs.

And, it was about what I think I must do as an American when our way of life is threatened. Targeting people for their religion not only threatens our way of life, it is the polar opposite of our way of life.

Find a group marginalized by the haters in this current era we find ourselves in. Then, find a way to express your acceptance to that group in a physically present way, as opposed to a digital one.
I can assure you, from their outpouring of smiles, hugs, tears, hospitality, messages extending God’s love, and a bouquet of flowers, it will mean a lot.
My own religious tradition ascribes these words to my deity:
I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.
It is also in this vein that the words on the Statue of Liberty embrace, with eagerness and mercy, all who come to join us:
“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

These words bespeak the America we all remember, know, love, and are still called upon to be. Especially now.

Lastly, it worked. I felt better for the impact it had on my neighbors. They genuinely needed this encouragement. They need us.

They need all of us. They need you.

We ARE one America.

The Natchitoches Parish Journal received this submission. The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Natchitoches Parish Journal.  If you have an article or story of interest for publishing consideration by the NPJ, please send it to NPJNatLa@gmail.com.

Goldonna recognizes its Students of the Week


Goldonna Elementary and Jr. High recognized its Students of the Week for Oct. 14. On front row is Tyler Wood. On middle row from left are Tucker Ivy, Charlie Cox and Heidi Winn. On back row are Principal Kendra Sanders, Miley Coker, Jacob Hawkins and Rachel Hollis.

Lions Club serves up slices of thanks


Natchitoches law enforcement, veterans and firemen ate pizza for lunch Nov. 28 thanks to the Natchitoches Lions Club, Psalm Shield 91 Ministry and Louie’s Pizza of Many. Michele and Louis Smith, owner of Louie’s Pizza, and family members served up 40 homemade pizzas. Police officers, veterans, paramedics and other first responders got a “Slice of Thanks” for their hard work in the community and their service on a daily basis.


The Neighborhood has spoken: Council denies rezoning property on Stephens



The City Council denied the application of Karen Arthur to rezone her property at 241 Stephens Avenue from R-1 to R-1 Special Exemption to provide a part-time grooming service. When the ordinance was first introduced at a Nov. 14 meeting, it caused a lot of passionate debate among neighborhood residents, who were both for and against the rezoning.

Mayor Lee Posey and the council members each explained why they voted in favor of the denial. The bottom line was that the rezoning would allow a business to operate in a primarily residential area. The question the council asked was if they approve one business, how could they tell the next one no?

“If a similar situation arises and we allow one and deny another, then we could possibly have the decision forced on us and that could open the floodgates,” said Councilman Eddie Harrington. “This is something we have to take into consideration.”

Councilwoman Sylvia Morrow said she’d heard so many people say they don’t want a business in their neighborhood.

“I try and align my vote with what the people want,” she said.

While Councilman Dale Nielsen said he was impressed by Arthur’s business, he said the neighborhood had spoken. He estimated that he probably received more calls concerning the dog grooming business than he had over the approval of the brewery on Mill Street.

Councilman Don Mims said the Council’s vote impacts the whole City.

“If we pass this rezoning, then every neighborhood in the City is opened to home businesses,” he said. “People move to an area because they’re residential, family oriented areas.”

Other business included:

Presentation of Christmas Angels including Addison Boudreaux, Pre-K; Brinley Smith, K; Brinlee Berry, 1St; Sadie Summerlin, 2nd; Ella Jones, 3rd; Ainsley Armstrong, 4th; Abbie Rodriguez, 5th; Avery Summerlin, 6th; Anna Catherine Coleman, 7th; and Morgan Fatheree, 8th

Denial of rezoning of property at 460 Stephens Ave. from R-1 to R-1 Special Exception to operate an art gallery

Ordinance amending Chapter 13 of the City Code of Ordinances (Sections 13-16, 13-16.1, 13-43, 13-44, and 13-45) providing for a uniform Fire Code and a Fire Prevention Bureau

Award bid for the Natchitoches Tennis Complex Expansion to Quality Court Industries of Baton Rouge for $173,042

Ordinance approving the acquisition of 100 acres located in Section 83, Township 9 North, Range 7 West, from Evans Family LLC, Sidney B. Evans Jr. and Sibley Lake Realty Corporation for $1 million and acceptance of a donation for the remaining market value of $500,000

Cooperative Endeavor Agreement With NSU for an Intern Program for students in the Industrial Engineering Technology Program for volunteer work in the Utility Department to earn work experience

Enter into a contract with Cunningham Agency, Inc. for the Airport Liability Insurance for the City

Execute Change Order No. 1 to the contract between the City and Sunstream, Inc., for Hancock and Watson Underground Electrical Service for an additional $11,655, bringing the total to $161,655

Execute a Certificate Of Substantial Completion to the contract between the City and Womack and Sons Construction Group, Inc., for the Rue Beauport Sewer Main Rehabilitation

Ordinances introduced at the meeting included:

Acquisition of 11.67 acres in sections 70 And 71, Township 9 North, Range 7 West, From Charles Patrick Johnson and Kim Kelly Townsend Johnson, for $87,500

Execution of an “Agreement to furnish Utility Consulting Services to the City” whereby the City will contract for utility consulting from James R. Whitten

Purchase of 0.35 Acres in section 74, Township 9 North, Range 7 West, from HKO Properties, LLC, et al, for $15,000

Award bid for the Hwy. 1 South and Hwy. 1 Bypass Substations Project to Dis-Tran Packaged Substations of Pineville for $362,005

Award bid for the Rue Beauport Riverfront Project to Pat Williams Construction of Leesville for $3.8 million




A vehicle backfiring in the Goldonna community on Friday evening has led to the arrest of a Bossier Parish man on several outstanding criminal arrest warrants, felony drug charges and the seizure of illegal narcotics according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones Jr.
On Friday evening November 25th at approximately 8:40pm, Deputies assigned to the NPSO Patrol Division responded to reports of a black Ford pickup truck with overhead lights allegedly firing rounds from the vehicle while traveling on the Goldonna Road in Goldonna, La.

Deputies arrived in the area and while speaking with concerned residents were told they allegedly heard what appeared to be thirty-two shots fired from the vehicle.
Deputies began patrolling the area and shortly thereafter observed and stopped the 1999 Ford F-350 truck on Rice Road in Goldonna.

Deputies say while speaking with the driver of the vehicle and informing him of the complaint he identified himself as D. Keeney, handing them a La. Identification Card.
The driver reportedly informed deputies that he had been working on the vehicle and it was constantly backfiring.

A computer check revealed that Keeney’s driver’s license was suspended.
Deputies obtained permission to search the vehicle and no weapons were found.
Deputies then had the driver reproduce the backfiring which confirmed his story of the vehicle malfunction.

Deputies then began to look at the identification card and noticed the ID photo and driver did not match which led them to believe criminal activity existed.
As the investigation progressed, deputies asked the driver what his real name was in which he then identified himself as M. Johnson, he stated he was sorry and wanted in Shreveport on warrants.

Deputies still didn’t think the subject was being truthful, and placed him under arrest for Resisting an Officer by giving false information.

Deputies say while transporting the subject to the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center he told them again that he had some things to tell them, and then identified himself as Chad Everett Johnson.

A local warrants check revealed outstanding warrants on Johnson in Natchitoches and Bossier Parishes .

After arriving at the Natchitoches Detention Center, deputies asked Johnson if he had any illegal items on his person? He responded, that he had approximately one-gram of methamphetamine concealed in his underwear which he removed and handed deputies for evidence.

As a result, Chad Everett Johnson, 42, of the 3500 block of Bellview Road, Haughton, La. was booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with Resisting an Officer by giving False Information, Expired Drivers License, Possession of CDS II Methamphetamines-2nd Offense, Failure to Appear in the Tenth Judicial District Court on 9-14-16 for Possession of CDS II, CDS IV, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia , along with Criminal Damage to Property, Theft of a Motor Vehicle, Theft, and Criminal Obstruction of Justice.

Johnson is also wanted in Bossier Parish for No Drivers License.

Johnson remains in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center awaiting bond in Natchitoches Parish and transfer to Bossier Parish.

The vehicle was impounded.

Deputies R. Ross, Reserve Deputy R. Griffin and N. Brown made the arrest.