Creole Heritage Day filled with friends and fun

Photos by Marla Jones


In spite of the threatening weather, about 250 people attended the tour, dinner, and Zydeco dance at the Cane River Creole Heritage Day and Party event Jan. 21. Most came from all over Louisiana and from Texas. St. Augustine Historical Society President Dr. Mark Guidry said, “What an honor it is to be a part of a community that is so giving. Many thanks to all those who donated their time, treasure, labor, wisdom, and prayers to make this Creole Heritage Day and Party the best ever!”

Become Certified4Success with RoyOMartin-Plywood


RoyOMartin-Plywood is seeking committed, hard-working, and self-motivated employees to join its team. The company is now recruiting for its “Certified4Success” paid training program for production team members. A Certified4Success: A Hiring Event informational session will be held Tuesday, Jan. 31 from 3-5 p.m., at the Best Western Conference Hall in Natchitoches.

Candidates selected for the Certified4Success program will earn $12 per hour and receive customized, hands-on training on the skills needed to succeed in a fast-paced manufacturing environment where employees are encouraged to learn and grow. Training is scheduled to begin in March 2017 and will consist of classroom and hands-on instruction at the Chopin plywood plant and Central Louisiana Technical Community College’s Alexandria campus. Graduates of Certified4Success training can earn full-time employment as production team members at RoyOMartin’s plywood-manufacturing plant.

To be considered for Certified4Success, candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent and at least one year of continuous employment in an active, process-based work environment. Additionally, candidates must be drug free and able to come to work as scheduled.

For more information go online to

Musical “Next to Normal” to open Feb. 15


Northwestern State University Theatre and Dance will present the musical “Next to Normal” Feb. 15-19 and 21-24 in Theatre West. Show time is 7:30 p.m. except on Feb. 19 when there will be a matinee performance at 2 p.m. Pia Wyatt is the director.

Tickets to each show are $15, $12 for children and seniors. Northwestern State, BPCC@NSU and Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts students are admitted free with a current student I.D. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (318) 357-4483.

“Next to Normal”with book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey and music by Tom Kitt, takes an unflinching look how one suburban household struggles with crisis and mental illness. It is an emotional powerhouse that addresses a grieving loss, ethics in modern psychiatry and coping with suburban life.

The cast is Jessi Miller of Mansfield as Diana, Luke Matherne of Monroe as Dan, Marissa McMickens of Pineville as Natalie, Michael Carrier of Lafayette as Gabe, Denzel Dawson of Gray as Dr. Fine/Madden and Thomas Hadzeriga of Edmond, Oklahoma as Henry.

Annie Wright of Belle Chasse is stage manager. Assistant stage managers are Addison Hinson and Jade Duthu of Marrero and Nicholas Hebert of Larose.

NSU Alumni Spotlight: Brandi Brammer | Class of 1998

brandi-brammerBrandi Brammer is a 1998 graduate of Northwestern and currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee; where she is the Human Resources Business Partner at the leading entertainment and sports agency, Creative Artists Agency. CAA represents many of the most successful professionals working in film, television, music, video games, sports, theatre and digital content, and provides a range of strategic marketing and consulting services to corporate clients. They are one of the most progressive entertainment companies in the business.

Brandi manages the operations of CAA’s offices throughout the Southeast which includes over 250 employees. She is the lead recruiter and hiring manager for these offices. She was also recently honored for the second year in a row with the Women in Music City Award by the Nashville Business Journal.

Brandi began her career at CAA in the Los Angeles office in 2000 working in the music department. She then went on to serve as the Director of Events at the Academy of Country Music for four years beginning in 2003, where she produced and managed the events surrounding the Academy of Country Music Awards. Brandi rejoined CAA in 2007 to lead the HR team in the Nashville office.

Before earning her degree in HMT at Northwestern, she was involved with KNWD as the Promotions and Publicity Director, Phi Mu Fraternity, Pom Pom line, and assisted with sound and lights for some Theatre productions. She participated in the Disney college program and also studied abroad at the University of Nijmegen, in The Netherlands.

Brandi is originally from Crowley, Louisiana and loves to travel to Louisiana as much as possible.

 Class teaching theatre students how to market themselves

Theatre and Dance students at Northwestern State University are learning some of the best methods to help them stand out when they begin looking for professional jobs.

A group of students are taking a class, “Branding the Artist,” taught by actor and director Joe M. Hernandez. The three-week class runs until Feb. 2.

“The course is designed to provide students the opportunity to have the tools to market themselves in the theatre industry,” said Hernandez. “Throughout the course, students are learning the proper way to structure a resume for both the theater industry and for jobs outside of our industry.”

Students in the class are being asked to build a website, create business cards and a cover letter and establish a social media presence. They are also researching prospective companies that they are interested in applying for and discussing taxes for an artist.

“The most important elements of the course they’re writing an artistic statement and manifesto,” said Hernandez. “These two assignments that I just mentioned are the foundation for what they will build their entire brand.”

Hernandez earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Mobile and an MFA at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Hernandez has taught master classes at a number of colleges and universities on some of the material in “Branding the Artist,” but this is the first time has developed a full course.

“My hope is that this course is allowing the students to ask themselves the hard questions that many artists are afraid to ask,” he said. “For instance, when they look at themselves in the mirror they ask the question ‘What do they see?’ They ask, ‘Who am I?’ Self reflection as an artist is vital to the development of success in our industry in my opinion. Most importantly, we have to know who we are, what we stand for and what sacrifices are we willing to make to be successful in this industry.”

Hernandez said hopes the students walk away prepared to embark on the next chapter of their lives and equipped to go into an interview or audition with the materials needed to be successful.

“I hope that they walk out of the course a little stronger, a little wiser and a little more confident in who they are as artist than they were when they walked into the course for the first time,” he said.

PHOTO: Visiting theatre faculty member Joe M. Fernandez leads a class, “Branding the Artist” at Northwestern State University.

AgCenter to hold Master Cattleman Classes

The LSU AgCenter will hold NW Louisiana Master Cattleman Classes from Feb. 6 – April 17 on Monday nights, excluding Feb. 13, from 6-9 p.m. at the Valley Farmers Co-Op on Rapides Drive in Natchitoches. Tuition is $125, which includes all classes, materials and evening meals.

The Louisiana Master Cattleman program began in 2004, and it includes 10 three-hour lectures on aspects of beef production. The program is a commodity-specific program to enhance the profitability of beef producers by equipping them with important beef cattle best management practices. It also allows participants further integration into farm management/marketing components related to beef production. Upon completion of the Master Cattleman program, participants should be better able to increase farm profitability while being environmentally sustainable. Registration fees are charged for the class which generally cover teaching materials, meals, certificates, and a metal farm sign.

To become a certified Louisiana Master Cattleman, one must complete 30 hours of instruction which includes the national Beef Quality Assurance Certification. The 30 hours consists of 10 three-hour blocks of instruction on:

•Animal Health
•Breeding & Selection
•Animal Handling
•Beef Quality Assurance
•Pasture Agronomy
•Weed Management
•Economics & Marketing
•End Product
For more information contact Randall Mallet at 318-357-2224 or email

City sales tax remains flat


While the City’s sales tax collections were up 1.27 percent from December of last year, they’re only up .17 percent year-to-date. Finance Director Pat Jones said the flat sales tax over the last two years means the City hasn’t experienced any growth.

Jones said the City would like to see some growth because it would show tax collections are increasing. However, with the Christmas Festival being rained out and cold, Jones said he’s anticipating red in the sales tax on January’s report. Collections on December’s report reflect taxes collected in November and January’s report will reflect the taxes collected in December.

On the bright side, Jones said that while being flat is normally not good, Natchitoches is blessed compared to other cities across the state.

For the TIF collections, the City was 27.71 percent over December of last year. However, the year-to-date collections were down 13.20 percent. However, Jones said the City didn’t budget to spend everything it was budgeted to take in because it’s trying to build up funds to take care of some infrastructure needs in the TIF areas. The decrease from last year’s numbers means there’s less money for the City to put toward those projects.

See the full finance report below


Erath hunter drills huge 172-inch Natchitoches Parish 9-point

By Patrick Bonin
Article and photo courtesy of

chris-louviere-9ptChris Louviere shot his first buck ever — a 6-point — last November on his 550-acre lease near Lena in Natchitoches Parish.

That was exciting, but the 34-year-old Erath electrician’s second buck just two weeks later — nicknamed “Mr. Crabs” — was in a whole different league.

On an afternoon hunt on Dec. 6 at the 5-Shot Hunting Club, Louviere dropped a hammer 9-point that measured a whopping 172 ⅞ inches, which currently sits in first place in the 9-point category at Simmons’ Sporting Goods in Bastrop.

“I was sitting on the stand playing on my phone, and I heard some duck hunters down the road that started shooting like crazy,” said Louviere, who was in a ladder stand overlooking a field with a tree line 80 yards away. “So I looked to my right and when I looked up, he was looking to his right at what was going on.

“It was perfect. It gave me enough time to put my phone down and pick up my rifle.”

Within about 30 seconds, Louviere had sighted in the big buck standing 80 yards away and squeezed the trigger on his .30-06.

That started what would be an anxious next hour or so for the hunter — one filled with doubt, despair and then finally relief.

“I thought I missed at first because I saw the dirt fly and he didn’t move,” Louviere said. “He just stood there, turned my way and then jumped in the briars heading to the tree line. I sat in the stand for about 20 minutes thinking I missed him, so I grabbed my phone and texted my stepdad who was hunting in the stand next to me and told him they had a big boy coming his way.”

Louviere eventually went down to check for blood where the big buck had stood — and got more bad news.

“There was nothing on the ground,” he said. “So I got discouraged. I was going to go sit on the Mule until it was time to go in.”

That’s when things instantly improved. Just 10 yards further up, Louviere found what he was looking for.

“There were pieces of lung on the ground,” he said. “Once I saw that, I called everybody to give me a hand.”

His stepdad and a buddy came to help, and just 50 yards away on a solid blood trail, they found the big buck piled up short of the tree line.

“He was hiding right behind a big patch of briars,” Louviere said. “We walked in front of him three or four times and never saw him …. All I could do was jump all over everybody. I didn’t even know what to say. That was a special feeling to find that.”

Special indeed: Louviere’s 9-point had an 18 ¾-inch inside spread, with massive 6 ½-inch bases. The big buck was aged at 5 ½ years, tipped the scales at 195 pounds and green-scored 172 ⅞ inches.

He had gotten only one nighttime picture of the buck early in the season, but another hunter on the lease had been seeing the deer on camera regularly for two years.

Now, Mr. Crabs will grace his living room wall in Erath.

“I told my wife she was moving all the pictures off the wall and I’m putting him right dead center,” Louviere said with a chuckle. “I told her my first big buck is going in the front room. She said she’s letting me put one — but she’s not letting me put another.”

Planning is underway for the 43rd annual Melrose Arts and Crafts Festival


Members of the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches’ Steering Committee met recently to continue planning for the 43rd annual Melrose Arts and Crafts Festival set for April 22-23 at Melrose Plantation. Over 100 vendors from a four-state area will make available beautiful original works of art and crafts representing many and varied talents. The festival is always looking for new vendors; those interested may visit to submit a vendor application by April 1. For additional information call 318-379-0055. Pictured from left are Event Chairman Harry Thompson, Cheryl Rambin, Gayle Howell, Molly Dickerson, Anita Pierce and Virginia Crossno.

Retiring Assistant Chief of Police creates multiple positions and promotions

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Assistant Chief Cary Hargrove, who began employment with the City of Natchitoches Police Department in 1989, is retiring and as a result has opened up a chain of positions and promotions.

Chief of Police Micky Dove and his command staff upon evaluating the potential promotional and positional changes is pleased to announce the following:

Captain Harman Winters has been promoted from Captain over Administration to Assistant Chief of Police. Captain Christopher Payne, formerly the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Investigator, has been reassigned to Captain of Administration. Sergeant Keith McDonald has been promoted to Lieutenant and will assume the duties of shift commander on Shift A. Sergeant Jessica Williams, formerly the Juvenile Investigator, has been promoted to Lieutenant and will assume the duties of Internal Affairs Investigator.

Corporal Bill Connell has been promoted to Sergeant and will assume the duties of the Juvenile Investigator. Corporal Victor Pinkney and Corporal Bobby Beard have been promoted to Sergeant and will remain in the Criminal Investigative Division. Officer Brian Olliff has been reassigned to the Investigative Division and will start his new assignment immediately.

Chief Dove commends the hard work of the men and women of the Natchitoches Police Department and feels that these changes and promotions will continue our forward progress.

Pictured from left are Sgt. Bobby Beard, Capt. Brad Walker, Lt. Keith McDonald, Chief Micky Dove, Asst. Chief Harmon Winters, Lt. Jessica Williams, Sgt. Victor Pinkney, Sgt. Bill Connell and Capt. Christopher Payne.

NSU slates Signing Day luncheon Wednesday at Prather Coliseum


Other than game days, there’s no bigger event in college football each year than National Signing Day, coming up next Wednesday, Feb. 1.

Northwestern State fans can get the first look at the Demons’ 2017 recruiting class and enjoy lunch at Prather Coliseum Wednesday for $20. Video highlights of each of the NSU football signees will be shown while head coach Jay Thomas and coaching staff members discuss the class.

Season tickets for NSU’s five home games in 2017 will go on sale at the event. The Demons have five Southland Conference home dates, including FCS playoff team Central Arkansas for homecoming on Oct. 21.

The annual NSU Signing Day Luncheon will also feature insight into the Lady Demon soccer recruiting class from head coach George Van Linder, the Louisiana Coach of the Year for 2016.

Each guest will get a package of credentials spotlighting each new NSU competitor. Door prizes will be awarded.

Food will be served beginning at 11:45. The program will start about 12:15 and should wrap up about 1.

The NSU football staff will be featured guests on the annual Signing Day Special Demon Huddle radio show from 4:30-6:30 on 100.7 FM KZBL, the flagship station of the Demon Sports Network. The show, co-hosted by Patrick Netherton and Dustin Cross, will originate from Cane River Grill in Natchitoches, with supporters welcome to attend.

Register for the Sweethearts for a Cure Pageant Feb. 18

The Sweethearts for a Cure Pageant will be held Saturday, Feb. 18. This pageant is a fundraiser for the Cure on the Cane Queens Relay team. All proceeds from the pageant will be given to the American Cancer Society. This is a great beginners pageant and a CROWN ALL event!

Entry Fee: $55 for the first contestant $30 for each additional sibling.
PayPal address:

Registration 8:30-9:30 a.m.
Competition 10 a.m.

0–12 months – Infant Miss 13-23 months – Baby Miss
2-3 years – Toddler Miss 4-5 years – Tiny Miss 6-7 years – Little Miss 8-9 years – Petite Miss 10-11 years – Deb Miss 12-13 years – Jr. Miss 14-16 years – Teen Miss 17-23 years – Miss 21 years – up (married/divorced/moms)

***Dresses do not have to be valentine colored or themed***
0 months – 9 years – Sunday Best (custom or off the rack)
10 years – up – Evening Wear (floor-length formal)
*No fake hair or fake teeth. 0-3 years (NO MAKEUP), 4 years and up (age appropriate hair and makeup)*

Queens: Each queen will receive a custom queen crown, queen banner, and goody bag (0-9 years) or bouquet (10-23 years).
All other contestants: Each contestant will receive a participation crown, goody bag (0-9 years) or bouquet (10-23 years).
Photogenic: Each photogenic winner will receive a photo frame.
Side Awards: *These will be given in each division.* Each side award winner will receive a custom certificate for most beautiful, prettiest hair, best fashion, and prettiest smile.

For more information contact Michelle Armstrong 318.652.1660 or Hillary Severin at 318.471.9449.

Ponderings with Doug – January 27, 2017

DougFUMCDo you have a drawer below your oven? What is in the drawer? Are you using the drawer for the proper purpose?

My mom used the drawer to store her cookie sheets and such not. Right demands that you do as your mother did. Who influences your decisions and moral choices? How do you determine what is the right thing to do? When is doing the same thing someone else did, wrong? Do you have the facts, or second hand information? How do you know when someone is spouting urban legend, or misleading you?

Do you know the truth about oven drawers?

There is an old African tale about a man and his lamb. He fed it by hand and played with it every day. When hard times came he was forced to take his pet lamb to market, to sell it.

Now there were three thieves who heard of the man’s plan and plotted to take the lamb from him in a unique way.

Early in the morning the man rose and put the lamb over his shoulders, to carry it to market. As he traveled down the road the first thief approached him and said, “Why are you carrying that dog on your shoulders?”

The man laughed, “This is not a dog. It is my pet lamb. I am taking it to market,” he said.

After he walked a bit further, the second thief crossed his path and said, “What a fine looking dog you have. Where are you taking it?”

Puzzled, the man took the lamb off his shoulders and looked carefully at it. “This is not a dog,” he said slowly. “It is a lamb and I am taking it to market.”

Shortly before he reached the market, the third thief met the man and said, “Sir, I don’t think that they will allow you to take your dog into the market.”

Completely confused, the man took the lamb off his shoulders and set it on the ground. “If three different people say that this is a dog, then surely it must be a dog,” he thought. He left the lamb behind and walked to the market. If he had bothered to turn around he would have seen the three thieves picking up the lamb and going toward their home.

Maternal peer pressure caused me never to consider other options for the drawer under the oven. I realized like the man with the lamb, I’m giving into peer pressure in deciding the possibilities for that drawer. It can’t be anything but what my mother said it was.

Let’s go back to your oven. If your oven is as old as mom’s oven, then you are correct in placing pots and pans in the storage drawer. However, some of the newer ovens come with a warming drawer.

So the purpose of that lower drawer has changed. It would be silly to try and warm your food in a storage drawer and it might be dangerous storing your plastic lids in a warming drawer.

It is not your mother’s oven!

I need a center that holds when the world is flying off in a thousand different directions. I need a source of spiritual wisdom when the world claims that darkness is light and vice versa. I need to follow one who is not influenced by the whims of trendiness. In the middle of the chaos of change, I need the unchangeable. I need a source of truth that won’t tell me the lamb is a dog for ulterior motives.

The place I am going is where I always end up; Jesus.