NPD responds to armed robbery call

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Natchitoches Police Department officers responded to an armed robbery call in the 400 Block of McDodson Way at 4:30 a.m. Nov. 27. Officers spoke to the victim who said that she when arrived home she was approached by a black male wearing a black hoodie and black pants. The male subject had a handgun and demanded that the victim give him money. The victim did not have cash but gave the suspect her purse and her cell phone. The victim was not injured and was able to get inside and call police.
The victim described the suspect being approximately 5’9” and weighing approximately 150 pounds.

Anyone with any information about this incident should call the Natchitoches Police Department Investigations Division @ 352-5609.

Downtown music will play year round, Holiday music for Christmas season

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Santa and his City helper approve of the music that will now fill downtown Natchitoches will Christmas cheer and rockin’ hits throughout the year. The Historic District Business Association (HDBA) funded the purchase of speakers that were installed by the City to add to the ambiance of the Natchitoches experience.

“It makes a big difference on the street,” said HDBA member Sandra Dickens. Music will play from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily. Christmas music will play during the holiday season and oldies will play throughout the rest of the year.

Elite Radio Group programs the music for the City of Natchitoches Radio Network.  If you or  your business would like to record a liner on the network, please call Sandra at 318-352-1993

Anyone who’d like to tune in and listen to the music from computers or mobile devices can click on the link below.

City of Natchitoches Radio Network – Christmas

City of Natchitoches Radio Network – Oldies

* If you can’t stream these channels, please call 318-354-4000 between 9am and 5pm; M-F. Ask for Bill.

A Place Like No Other

By Rogers W. Loche III, NSU Demon football senior, 2011

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When I first encountered Northwestern State University and the Natchitoches area, I didn’t initially realize the impact this place would have on my personal and professional life trajectory. See, I was a 19-year-old kid transferring from the University of Mississippi to play football for the NSU Demons. Upon my arrival, I was a bit regretful due to the fact I was giving up the bright lights of SEC competition and everything that came with it. However, through many experiences, I discovered the beauty hidden inside Natchitoches and Demon Football.

It’s my belief that there’s a learning opportunity available in everyday life. Although true, a person must possess an open mind to the experience in order to obtain a valuable lesson from it. I obtained a humbling lesson during my first day of practice. As I put on my cleats and strapped my shoulder pads, I said to myself, “These boys ain’t got nothing on me!”

A bit cocky for me to have had this thought? Sure it was. I was convinced that my skill-set was greater due to the level of competition I was coming from. Let me tell you, this thought didn’t last very long.

Shortly after team stretch and warm-ups, I heard the words “SUDDEN CHANGE” rip through the air.

The linebackers coach yelled, “Get in there, Loche!,” and without hesitation, I buckled my chinstrap and charged onto the field. I quickly went through my progressions and took off like a missile! My eyes widened as I quickly approached the tailback. My adrenaline skyrocketed as I knew I was about to make an everlasting impression. At full speed, I was prepared to make a form tackle and then… “BOOM!” I was pancaked by an offensive tackle. When I rolled over, I saw this huge shadow and the person said, “Welcome to the Southland Conference!” It was Demetress Bell, who at the end of that season, went in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL Draft to the Buffalo Bills.

I called this a “rude-awakening experience” and I said to myself, “These boys can ball!” I quickly became aware of the tradition, passion, and culture that encompasses Demon Football. The culture of the unwavering work ethic passed down from former NSU greats was the platform I used to tackle not only football, but my personal and professional life as well.

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Photos courtsey of NSU

LSMSA Art Gallery hosts reception for local artist William Beier

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Natchitoches, LA –A reception was held on Thursday, Nov. 17, in the lobby of the Center for Performance and Technology at the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts in recognition of the art work of local artist William Beier. Beier’s art work will be on display in the art gallery at LSMSA through Wednesday, Dec. 7.

The art gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Llorens, Hussey represent NSU on All-Southland Conference squad

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De’Mard Llorens walked onto the Northwestern State football team as a freshman in 2013, and ran onto the All-Southland Conference team as a first-team selection at running back.

Llorens, a senior for the Demons, led the Southland in rushing overall and in conference play this season. He was rewarded by the 11 head coaches and their sports information contacts, who voted on the all-conference squad.

Senior center Cameron Hussey was a second-team All-Southland pick. He was the top performer on an offensive line that paved the way for the Demons to average 204 yards rushing in league play, second in the conference.

Four other NSU players received honorable mention recognition: senior punt returner Shakeir Ryan, junior safety Austin Balthazor and junior kicker Eric Piccione, and sophomore offensive lineman Chris Zirkle.

Llorens (5-11, 213), a Natchitoches native and Natchitoches Central High School standout, led the Southland with an 85-yard overall rushing average in 10 games (12 yards better than the second-ranked runner) and a 99-yard average (nearly 17 yards ahead of No. 2) in eight conference contests. That included an abbreviated outing at Central Arkansas where on his second carry, he sustained a shoulder injury that benched him for the rest of that game and the next contest.

Eighteen men compete during No Shave November

no-shave-flyerThe No Shave Natchitoches fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and the Relay For Life of Natchitoches Parish is in full swing. This year, 18 men have committed to letting their beards grow for the month of November.

The ACS is asking the public to go online and vote for their favorite candidate. Visit www.relayforlife.org/letitgrownatchitoches to donate on their behalf. Voting ends Dec. 6.

These men will serve as Ambassadors for the American Cancer Society throughout this campaign and help direct others seeking to find information on early detection, cancer screening, and living a healthy life.

This initiative was created to raise awareness for cancer. Many patients lose their hair during treatment for cancer so with this campaign, awareness is raised and conversations are started.

Thanksgiving dinner served to over 150 Natchitoches area residents

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This year’s third annual ‘Come Give Thanks’ luncheon, organized by NSU alums Phillip Jean-Louis Jr. and Carlos Hartwell, was a success again. The volunteers stayed busy from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., feeding over 150 Natchitoches area residents, if not more. The food was awesome and people took home as many goodie bags as they could. Everyone left the skybox at the MLK Center with a smile. Jean-Louis and Hartwell expressed their thanks to the Zeta Phi Beta sorority for their time and all the other volunteers that helped make the event a success.

“We just want to thank everyone who donated, volunteered or helped out in any way,” they said. “The Gloria Project just gave everyone the opportunity to do what their hearts naturally desire, and that’s to be servants of the Lord.”

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Chicken on the Bone to Play Tonight on the Riverbank

By Kevin Shannahan

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The veteran New Orleans band “Chicken on the Bone” will bring its signature sound to the Natchitoches Riverbank Saturday, November 26th at 6:00. This year will mark the popular band’s third trip to Natchitoches for the Christmas Festival.
Third year lead singer Darren Paul summed up the band’s eclectic style “You never know what’s coming up next-Journey to Fats Domino.” Paul said he enjoys the small town atmosphere and that the fireworks display is amazing. John Heindel, the band’s other lead singer, likes Natchitoches’ small town atmosphere and said that the band loves its enthusiastic Natchitoches audience and considers its trip to Natchitoches a mini vacation after the hectic pace of the French Quarter. “We love it and counldn’t wait to get here. We’re here to make them scream, holler and smile.”

The Holiday Shuttle returns to Natchitoches

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For four weeks, beginning Nov. 26, the Leachman Links Holiday Shuttle will offer flat-rate service from the hotels out by the I-49 to downtown Natchitoches. The goal is to help alleviate some of the traffic congestion from downtown. This will allow more visitors and locals to enjoy the 90th Natchitoches Christmas festival. For more information email Kacey Rodgers at leachmanlinks@yahoo.com or find the Leachman Links Holiday Shuttle on Facebook for more details.

It Was a Hack Job. So Be Careful

joedarbyFor those of you who read my column this week, I want to let you know that my old friends who were supposedly stranded in the Philippines are safe and sound in Baton Rouge.
I’d gotten an email claiming that they were robbed in Manilla and desperately needed money to pay hotel bills and airfare home. As I suspected it was a scam.

I talked to my friend’s wife Friday and she said that not only did the hackers hijack their emails, they completely destroyed all of their computer files. She’s been told that it was probably done through Wi-Fi, very likely using her Kindle reader.

So, another lesson. In addition to hesitating before helping stranded “friends” overseas, be careful where you take your Kindle. The bad guys are out there waiting.

Authorities respond to LA. Hwy. 9 crash near Creston

truck-crashNatchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies, State Police, Natchitoches Regional Medical Center EMS and Natchitoches Parish Fire District #2 responded to a single-vehicle crash Nov. 25 at 7:02 a.m. involving an overturned loaded log truck on La. Hwy. 9 near the Weaver Cemetary Road near Creston.

The 46-year-old Ringgold operator of the 2016 Caterpillar truck was transported from the scene by EMS to NRMC with non-life threatening injuries.

“A Rockin’ Louisiana Christmas” concert in Natchitoches

 

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The brightness of the Christmas lights on the downtown Natchitoches riverbank, may be eclipsed by the dazzling stars performing at “A Rockin’ Louisiana Christmas” Dec. 21 at the Events Center. The concert is a benefit presented by the Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival and the James Burton Foundation.

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Grammy Award winner James Burton tops the bill and will be joined by his band mate from Elvis Presley’s TCB band, Estelle Brown of the Sweet Inspirations. Grammy Winning Cajun-Zydeco legends Wayne Toups and Jo El Sonnier will perform with Natchitoches’ own Johnny Earthquake and the Moondogs.

“This will be an incredible night of music, both holiday and otherwise”, said Rodney Harrington, lead singer of the Moondogs and Chairman of the Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival, said, “History will be made in Natchitoches.”

Sonnier said he’s looking forward to interacting with other artists. “I’m always thrilled to perform with James”, he said, “And now I get to play with another member of Elivs’ band, Estelle Brown, and also with my old friends Wayne Toups and The Moondogs. It’s going to be amazing!”

Toups said he expects lots of surprises at the show. “Man, you get that many talented people together, there’s no telling what’s gonna happen. Natchitoches ain’t never seen nothin’ like this.”

“When you think of Christmas in Louisiana, you think of Natchitoches,” Burton said. “I mean, they don’t call it the City of Lights for nothing. I’m so proud and honored that these talented artists agreed to come together to support my foundation and the Natchitoches Jazz Fest.”

Brown said fans can expect to hear some Elvis Christmas songs.

“Elvis loved Christmas and loved performing Christmas songs,” she said, “I’m blessed to be performing some of them with The Moondogs and the other amazing artists.”

Proceeds will benefit the James Burton Foundation (which provides musical instruments for kids in schools and hospitals) and the Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students with IDs, and active duty military. Children 12 and under are free.  Tickets can be purchased at area banks.

L.P. Vaughn hosts fundraiser for School of Fine Arts

By Kevin Shannahan

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The School of Fine Arts, hosted by L.P. Vaughn School held a fundraising 5K race Nov. 19 on the NSU campus. Twenty-five runners from the community enjoyed a run through NSU’s picturesque campus in perfect running weather. The School of Fine Arts is hosted by L.P. Vaughn, but is open to students from any school in the parish. It currently serves approximately 45 young musicians, singers and artists. The school is in its third year under the direction of L.P. Vaughn music teacher and founder Danny Von Kanel. The school teaches art, keyboard, drama, guitar, voice, piano, flute, trombone, trumpet, oboe, clarinet and violin. The courses are taught by local musicians and NSU students.

After the run, L.P. Vaughn hosted a fundraiser lunch at the school. The speaker was David Pickler, an attorney, businessman and longtime school board member and public school supporter from Memphis, Tenn. He spoke movingly about the role of public education in American society. Natchitoches Parish School Board members Steven Harris, Rhonda Guidroz, Emile Metoyer, Ralph Wilson and Joella Wilson joined Mayor Lee Posey in supporting the event. The event was also supported by NSU Greek and community organizations.