Drug Task Force arrests Gorum man for narcotics related charges

Carter arrest

Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force agents arrested Brandon Carter, 30, on narcotics charges at his residence located at 254 Mora Gorum Road in Gorum March 21. Agents received a complaint that Carter was growing suspected marijuana plants at the residence.

NMJDTF agents obtained a search warrant for the residence and located a clandestine lab in a room where 10 suspected marijuana plants were being grown. Agents also seized paraphernalia used to cultivate marijuana plants.

Brandon Carter was placed in NPDC and charged with the following charges:

– Manufacturing CDS I Marijuana

– Creation of a clandestine lab

– Possession of drug paraphernalia

Carter’s bond was set at $21,000.

The Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force would like to thank the Citizens of Natchitoches for their support. Many times an investigation begins with a simple phone call or tip from a concerned citizen. For this reason the Task Force encourages all citizens to report any crimes in their neighborhoods anonymously by calling 318-357-2248, The Natchitoches Police Department, or the Natchitoches Parish Sheriffs Office.

MRC Media Group: Celebrate, Discover and Explore Natchitoches

MRC Fam Tour Photo

The Natchitoches Convention and Visitors Bureau hosted several Mississippi River Country (MRC) travel writers from Japan as part of the Mississippi River Country FAM Tour March 28. Participants included Saeko Okuya, Sachiko Minowa, Michiki Ono, Kana Sugiyama, Naco Ohta Sasho, MRC Japan Office Escort for Connect Worldwide and Alan Hamari, MRC Driver/Escort.

Upon arriving to Natchitoches, the group joined Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Arlene Gould and Marketing and Communications Coordinator Stephanie Rabb for a tour of Melrose Plantation. Writers learned about the Downtown Historic District during a walking tour provided by Logan Schlatre from the Cane River National Heritage Area. After lunch the group toured the Grand Ecore Visitor Center before departing for Vicksburg, Miss.


Ashland Mayor Gahagan Lee said the town is getting everything ready for their 27th annual Spring Festival. With more events planned than in years past.

The dates are April 7th and 8th. Vendor reservations are now being accepted. Call Ashland village hall at 318-544-0044 to reserve a booth.

There will be arts and crafts booths, also plenty of food vendors. And Mayor Lee adds there will be a parade starting at 10:00 am on Saturday. Activities include a cake walk, fishing rod casting and archery contests.

The Spring Festival will have live entertainment all day Saturday in Ashland. And Saturday night there will be a dance with Kevin Crawford and Highway 9. The dance begins at 7:00 pm.

Remember the dates, April 7th and 8th in the Village of Ashland.

Mark your calendars for the Native American Spring Festival at the Fort

Tribe of LouisianaThe Natchitoches Tribe of Louisiana will host its inaugural Spring Festival in conjunction with Fort St. Jean Baptiste’s spring encampment Saturday, April 1 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The staff at the fort and the festival committee will be dressed in colonial and Native American period attire. There will be Native American vendors, dancers, drums, story tellers, face painting, food, music, games and much more. All tribal members are invited to attend and meet your family. Admission to the Fort is $6.

Schedule of Events and Activities:

· Speak and interact with tribal elders

· Hear story telling of ancient tribes

· Observe colorful Native American Attire

· Taste authentic Native American Foods

· Explore the “Trail of Ancestors”

· Hear presentations on the history of the Natchitoches Indians.

· Purchase Native American high-quality crafts

· Traditional and contemporary Native American music

The celebration continues into the night in Campti with a Dance and music by the Playmate Band at the Fellowship Hall of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church. For information call 318-282-3559.

NSU Athletics co-hosts annual Kids Health Fest

2017 Kids Health Fair - track

Local sixth graders pose with Northwestern State track and field competitors De’Shalyn Jones, Taishia Holt and Jacorious Jeter Friday morning at the Walter P. Ledet Track Complex during the 11th Annual Kids’ Health Fest presented by the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office. About 600 students participated.

Deputy Merry Byers, the NPSO Community Services Division head, coordinated the event through the NPSO Youth Services Division. Some of the other agencies participating included the Natchitoches Fire Department, Natchitoches City Police, the NPSO S.W.A.T. team, Louisiana State Police, and NSU University Police, along with Natchitoches Regional Medical Center and other health care agencies and professionals.

Activities included the 15th Annual Fun Run sponsored by the NPSO, a tour of exhibits supported by local law enforcement agencies and area health providers. Students went through health screenings and played games, viewed safety demonstrations, and received prizes and snacks.

Northwestern State sets pair of camp dates in July


As part of its program-wide commitment to spreading the sport throughout the area, the Northwestern State volleyball coaching staff has announced a pair of camps that will take place in July.

NSU will host an All-Skills Camp from July 17-19 and a high school Team Camp from July 20-22. Both events will take place inside Prather Coliseum.

The All-Skills Camp is open to girls ages 12 to 18. The cost for the three-day camp is $200 for a commuter and $275 for a residential camper.

The All-Skills Camp is for players who are either new to volleyball or are experienced players who want to improve all facets of their game. Campers will learn about all aspects of volleyball, breaking down each skill and receiving a large number of repetitions. Campers will be grouped by age and skill level.

Lunch will be provided for all campers and residential campers need to bring sheets, pillows, blankets, towels and toiletries with them.

The Team Camp will focus on building competitive team skills, including offensive and defensive systems, transition situations and competitive scenarios.

There will be scrimmages and a camp tournament that will match up teams of comparable standing. There is a minimum of six and a maximum of 12 players per team.

There is an $80 non-refundable deposit for team registration as well as a $45 cost for each commuter camper and $90 for residential campers. Lunch is provided for each camper and residential campers need to bring sheets, pillows, blankets, towels and toiletries with them.

For more information or to register, log onto http://www.nsudemons.com and follow the links to the NSU Volleyball Camps page or call associate head coach Alicia Roth at (248) 860-1622.

Good news for Natchitoches: Infrastructure improvements and Amazon taxes

City Counil 03-27-17

While there were only two items on the City Council agenda Monday night, March 27, there are plenty of improvements underway in Natchitoches.

The City is working on three different water system improvements according to Purchasing Director Edd Lee. Workers are getting ready to rebuild and relocate the Sewer Master Lift Station.

There’s also preliminary work underway to put more equipment in the Bypass and Hwy. 1 South sub stations to get a loop around the City for electrical services. Once the loop is completed the City will be able to supply power instead of sections of the town being cut off when a vehicle or a strong storm takes out a utility pole.

“The rededication of a tax allowed us to put more of that money to work,” said Lee. The electricity work is a new project that will add to and increase the reliability for customers. The infrastructure work is replacing older water and sewer systems.

Work on 2016 City Streets Rehabilitation Project is 75 percent completed. Mayor Lee Posey said he expects all the work to be done within the next 3 weeks. Streets being worked on include Howard, Younger Blvd., Whitfield Drive, St. Maurice Lane, Ragan Street, Martin Drive, Oakland Drive, Jason Lane, Royal Street, Beau Fort Blvd., Bienville Street, North Street, Julia Street, Lake Street, Dixie Street, Berry Street, Northern Street, Westcourt Drive and Nolley Drive.

“I want to keep this going,” said Posey. “We hope to get more streets done in the next budget year.”

When Director of Finance Pat Jones delivered his budget report, he said there was $8 million reported that the state collected in January from sales taxes collected through Amazon. For the month, the City received $843.58.

“This is encouraging that it was finally worked out,” he said.

The General Fund and Utility Fund are both within their budgeted expenditures. The City sales tax collections were down 5.79 percent for February, but up 1.05 percent year-to-date. Jones said everything is flat compared to last fiscal year. The City TIF is down 6.03 percent from last February and down 10.97 percent year-to-date. Motor vehicle sales are up 3.74 percent for February and down 3.70 percent year-to-date.

Agenda items included:
·      Revoke dedication of a potion of Graham Street, declaring it abandoned and retaining an easement for public utility purposes
·      Introduction of ordinance adopting the millage rate for the 2017 tax year. The following millages are hereby levied on all property subject to taxation by the City: Public Safety Tax (9.730 mills), General Alimony Tax (6.840 mills), Total Millage (16.570 mills).

The next City Council meeting will be held April 10. The City offices will be closed Friday, April 14 for Good Friday. A public meeting will be held April 10 at 5:30 pm at the Arts Center on Second Street for the purpose of adopting the millage rate for the 2017 tax year.

NWS Shreveport confirms EF-1 tornado March 24 near Hagewood 

2017 Tornado-1

The National Weather Service in Shreveport conformed that an EF-1 tornado touched down near Hagewood March 24.

Rating: EF-1
Estimated Peak Wind: 105-115 MPH
Path Length /Statute/: 9.03 Miles
Path Width /Maximum/: 1.4 Miles
Fatalities: 0
Injuries: 0

Start Date: Mar 24 2017
Start Time: 11 pm CDT
Start Location: 4 NNW of Provencal
Start Lat/Lon: 31.7063 / -93.2166
End Date: Mar 24 2017
End Time: 11:09 pm CDT
End Location: 4 NNW of Natchitoches
End Lat/Lon: 31.8027 / -93.1265

Survey Summary: An EF1 tornado touched down on the southwest side of Hagewood, just west of Highway 117. Although the primary damage was snapped trees, two businesses at the intersection of Highway117 and Highway 6 sustained some damage. The first was a metal warehouse that lost some siding. Across the street, a pool supply business sustained some roof damage. There was also an I-beam structure behind the pool business that had several I-beams knocked down, including one that was blown over that had been attached to the concrete base. Several homes had minor roof damage, including one that had a corner of the roof lift enough for the ceiling to cave in. Several outbuildings were damaged or destroyed.

2017 Tornado-22017 Tornado-3

Power in Purple: Relay for Life Kickoff 

By Larry E. Ross

2017 Relay Event 1

Cancer. It is the scariest 6-letter word anyone could potentially hear in their lifetime. Luckily, there are ways to find support and healthcare to help those who are battling and for those helping friends or family fight the battle. The American Cancer Society (ACS) is there to help people find information on treatments, diagnosis, and even cancer itself.

ACS is a non-profit organization that raises money to help offer programs to those in this fight. There are several events every year to help raise this money and to show the community’s support of those who have fought and won, are still fighting, and those who have lost the fight but are there in spirit to help those who fight.

Relay for Life is one of the many events to help raise money. It is the largest world-wide fundraising events with approximately 4 million participants. This year Natchitoches Parish is stepping up its fight against cancer. This year, 15 people will wear purple, in some form or fashion, every day for the next month to help raise money. This campaign is called “Power in Purple.”

There was a kick-off party for the Relay season tonight at a local restaurant March 25. Attendees included a few the participants of Power in Purple and Mitzi LaSalle, the senior manager of ACS in Natchitoches and Alexandria, among other cities in Louisiana.

“When I heard this challenge back in the fall of last year, I thought ‘I don’t really wear purple that much, but this would be a very interesting challenge to take on,’” said Craig Caskey. “I slid Danielle a piece of paper during a meeting that said ‘I want to do this.’”

“We met over lunch and discussed the plan and who we could get involved,” Danielle Antoon said. Antoon is the local ACS representative for DeSoto, Winn, and Natchitoches Parishes.

The Participants of Power in Purple are:
Craig Caskey and Don Butler – Alliance Compressors
Rev. Steve McAllister – Westside Baptist Church
Dr. Martin Aviles – Natchitoches Women’s Care
Mace Morris – Natural Springs Garden Center
Dr. Mark Melder, Vanner Erikson, and Frank Hall – Northwestern State University
Keith Ducote – Gulf Coast Chemical
Reinnette Foster – USDA Rural Development
Chelsea McQuillin – Bank of Montgomery
Jason Edwards – Durham Bus Services
Amy Edwards – Fit-In-Time
Dr. Lakyn Baker – Walmart Pharmacy

There are over 20 teams participating in this year’s Relay for Life. The event will be held at the NSU Tailgate Field on April 28. It will begin at 6pm and will roll through the night until 2am on April 29. Prior to that, there will be a Survivors’ Dinner at 4:30pm.

For more information on Relay for Life visit: acsevents.org. If you or anyone you know is in need of any information on cancer, diagnosis, or treatment options please call: 1-800-227-2345 or visit: cancer.org. These lines are open 24/7. They are there for you. You will always have their support as well as many other people in your community, including myself. Fight and fight hard.

2017 Relay Event 2

Does Natchitoches Parish need a SPARC program?

By Nicholas Wright/Opinion

letters to the editor295Let me just start by mentioning that during the March 20th Parish Council Meeting, Parish President Nowlin stated that we need to update millage renewals because they are outdated. This is five days before Election Day, and yet nothing happened of it. All this while the Library sits on hundreds of thousands of dollars because they want a capital project that should otherwise be funded through capital campaigns like any good library. Weighted average and specific identification is in order. Hoover-gate is another matter altogether. Anyhow…

Growing up between Branson, MO and Natchitoches, LA gave me a unique southern experience. One I would not trade for the world. There is actually a lot of similarities between the two areas. It is almost eerie. I would be the first to argue that our Middle America has the best history compared to the 13 colonies or anywhere else. Getting straight to the point, Springfield, MO and Alexandria, LA have top-notch, one-of-a-kind, urban planning departments. You may have heard of these programs known by the acronym SPARC. These are not regular sports and recreation departments. These newer ones tie-in urban planning and development.

You have your typical sports and recreation programs, your social welfare programs, and the newer urban planning programs. There are also a whole slew of other ‘types’ that would exhaust the subject. A cursory search through the 50 states only produced the two of the type that I am expounding about. It would be wonderful to have this in Natchitoches. I understand neo-liberal development models may seem chilling, but let’s take a look.

Springfield, MO’s SPARC stands for School-Parks are Reaching Communities and was started in August of 1998 by McBride Elementary. It is a sort of greening form of development but also has its sports and recreation. Alexandria, LA’s SPARC stands for Special Planned Activity Redevelopment Corridors and was started in the late 2000’s by Mayor Roy. It is strictly urban development, with sports facilities and parks attached. These programs have been very successful in what they do. Alexandria also has a college coming into town under the program.

What sets Natchitoches apart from other places is that it is the heart of Sportsman’s Paradise. Our roads are a part of this Paradise. I would much rather get around in my truck and go hunting, hiking, camping, or fishing than visit a museum. If you are in a car, forget it. I think the majority would agree on that observation. A SPARC in Natchitoches would sound like Sportsman’s Paradise Access Rural Communities or Structurally Planned Access for Rural Communities. It should just get the consumer to the product without any issue. Natchitoches Parish should be the standard for a deteriorating national infrastructure.

As to funding, it should have been coming from millage. I think the majority would agree on that observation. I received a lot of great feedback on my last article about consolidation. It was not so much that citizens wanted consolidation, but that they (y’all) were in want of ideas. I do not think ideas will help until we have better leadership. We certainly have all of the ideas we could ever need, leadership is only a matter of time and not luck.

Nicholas Wright holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and is currently attending graduate school for Public Administration.

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.

Lions Club sponsors 4-H Fundraiser, member receives pin for his service


The Natchitoches Lions Club gave a sponsorship check to Sunny Arceneaux for the Natchitoches Parish Friends of 4-H Foundation’s Fundraising Banquet, which will be held Thursday, March 30 at Westside Baptist Church. Tickets are on sale for $35 per person or $60 per couple. There will be a live and silent auction at the event.

Lions Club President Tina Ragan presented Brandon McKee with a special 100-year commemorative pin to celebrate his service to the club.

Don’t forget to contact a Lions Club member to purchase tickets for the club’s upcoming Fish Fry Fundraiser set for Friday, April 7 from 11 am – 1 pm. Meals are $10.


2nd Annual Dylan Poche Memorial Bass Tournament – Official Standings


Dylan Poche Memorial Bass Tournament
Cypress Bend Park
March 27, 2017

CONTACT: Burt Poche
PHONE: 1-318-652-3176
eMail: lutherpoche@yahoo.com
TOLEDO BEND – The 2nd Annual Dylan Kyle Poche Memorial Bass Tournament was a great success. Held on the Toledo Bend Lake on March 25, 2017. Juddy Hamous and Christian Cain Hamous took home 1st place prize of $5000, weighing in at 21.79. Other payouts were given up to 12th place, along with numerous prizes.

Official Standings of the 2nd Annual Dylan Kyle Poche Memorial Tournament for Top 12 Winners out of 87 boats:
1st Cain Hamous and Juddy Hamous – 21.97
2nd Joseph and Dimple Clevinger – 19.39
3rd Dustin Boyt and Russell Sistrunk – 18.28
4th Michael Bedgood and Jerry Hester – 17.48
5th Chris Gordon and Allen Gordon – 14.71
6th Randy Despino and Robert Despino – 14.11
7th Daniel Campbell and Kaitlyn Campbell – 13.98
8th Kevin Harris and Billy Bonds – 13.97
9th Brad Hensley and Michael Kotz – 12.62
10th Craig Lewis and Cason Lewis – 12.30
11th Nicholas Ezernack and Evan Ezernack – 11.37
12th Lance Fontenot and Archie Dore II – 11.26
Big Bass – Juddy Hamous – 7.50

“We are so very thankful for all of the support we have received from everyone. I know Dylan was right there with us all today.”  – Dylan Poche Family


Attend Priscilla Shrier Simulcast

Priscilla Shrier

Robeline First Baptist Church invites women in Natchitoches and surrounding Parishes to attend a GLOBAL, one day simulcast under the teaching of well known Christian author and speaker Priscilla Shrier, with worship by Anthony Evans. This conference focuses on the power of prayer and learning to study God’s Word.

Robeline First Baptist Church will stream this simulcast locally on Saturday, April 8. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. with services beginning at 8:45 a.m. and concluding at 4:30 p.m. Entry is $20 per person, which includes goody bags, possible door prizes, snacks, refreshments and lunch. There will be no childcare available, but nursing mothers do have VIP access to the church’s nursery with live stream video footage of the conference when needed.

Parish Work – Rain Delay



With rain forecast for today, Natchitoches Parish President Rick Nowlin announces that the planned cross-drain replacement work on Morgan Quick Road will be rescheduled for a later date.

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

So, what was the message?

By Ida B. Torn

QuestionMarkMarch 25th offered the chance for a large segment of Natchitoches Parish residents to voice their opinion and only a paltry 14.8% of them seized the opportunity. I must admit that I was very surprised when the final election results showed that all four ad valorem tax initiatives passed with sizeable margins. So, I’m left to ask just what was the message being sent by the voters?

While it is painfully obvious that voter apathy continues to be a problem for our Parish, voter turnout actually increased over the last time the taxes were up for renewal on July 21, 2007, by about 60% across the board. Does the fact that I find those numbers impressive mean that my expectations are way too low?

In the span of 10 years, the support for the Library tax slipped from 81% to 67%. Does that mean that there was opposition in 2007 but no one cared enough to turn out to voice their opposition? Or did the overspending on the Campti branch start to tip the scale in the other direction? Or was it the campaign of the rural residents to have the taxes realigned between the Library and the road system that sparked the decline?

The Health Unit tax saw the biggest slide in support with a 16% decrease. Was the decrease due to the fact that most residents appeared not to know that the Health Unit tax has been supporting the expense of inmate housing for many years now or was it because there aren’t enough people in our Parish who understand just how vital the Health Unit is to our Parish?

The most hotly contested tax renewal on the ballot was for Road District 40, which saw a 13% decrease in support. It was the one tax that I felt most confident would fail considering all of the negative talk on social media. It just goes to show that, in order to accomplish a goal, you must be well organized and have a concentrated campaign. Clearly, the folks who wanted a realignment in the taxes were lacking in both and the majority of voters had less confidence in their plan than what they do the Parish Government.

In breaking down the 2017 election results and comparing them to the 2007 results, one message seems to come through loud and clear – the chasm between the “rural” Parish dwellers and the “urban” Parish dwellers is growing and the Parish Government needs to get to work on regaining the confidence of all Parish residents.

NSU’s Amir James wins national recognition from Hero Sports

After a week of online voting, Northwestern State junior sprinter Amir James has been named this week’s Hero of the Week in Division I men’s track and field after his brilliant performance last weekend at TCU.

James, who will compete Saturday at the UTA Bobby Lane Invitational in Arlington, Texas, ran the nation’s best 200 meter time, 20.56, last Saturday at the TCU Invitational. He was also second in the 100 with a 10.30, fifth in the country two weeks into the outdoor season.

James ran a leg on the Demons’ 4×100 relay team that registered a 39.92 clocking, ninth nationally. He and the other members of that team – Micah Larkins, George Flaviano and Ty Shilling – earned All-America honors in the event last June with a 15th-place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

Earlier this week, the Missouri City, Texas, product was voted by conference media relations personnel as the Southland Conference Men’s Track and Field Athlete of the Week.

Fan voting administered by Hero Sports picks top performers in NCAA sports weekly.

Natchitoches man arrested for narcotics related charges after citizen complaints

Braden pic

Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force received complaints from citizens in the Fairgrounds Area March 16 alleging that a male subject was selling suspected marijuana while in the presence of juveniles. Agents conducted an investigation into these complaints and were able to corroborate the information that was received. NMJDTF agents obtained a search warrant based on this information for a residence in the 100 block of Klaire Circle in Natchitoches.

When they arrived at the residence they detained one Tyland Braden (B/M/28) and conducted a search of his person. Agents recovered from Braden’s person a large cellophane bag that contained several smaller cellophane bags which contained suspected marijuana. The bags had an approximate weight of 74 grams (2.7 ounces).

After searching Braden, Agents searched the residence. Agents located one large bag that contained 4 smaller bags of suspected marijuana which weighed approximately 106 grams (3.78 ounces). Agents located another bag that contained several smaller bags of suspected marijuana which weighed approximately 50 grams (1.78 ounces). Agents recovered drug paraphernalia from the residence as well.

A total of approximately 230 grams (8.2 ounces) of suspected marijuana was seized from Braden’s residence.

As result of the recovery of evidence and the information provided by Braden and Braden’s girlfriend; Braden was placed under arrest for the following charges: R.S. 40:966A Possession with intent to distribute CDS I (Marijuana); R.S. 40:1023 possession of drug paraphernalia; and 14:91.13 Possession of CDS in the presence of juvenile. Braden was transported to the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center and booked.

The Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force would like to thank the Citizens of Natchitoches for their support. Many times an investigation begins with a simple phone call or tip from a concerned citizen. For this reason the Task Force encourages all citizens to report any crimes in their neighborhoods anonymously by calling 318-357-2248, The Natchitoches Police Department, or the Natchitoches Parish Sheriffs Office.


Rowing teams returning to Cane River and Natchitoches

UT rowers

The calming waters and scenic views of Cane River Lake don’t just benefit local boaters looking to soak up the sun.

For more than two decades, college rowing teams have made Natchitoches a spring break destination and a training ground as squads gear up for conference and national championships in April and May.

Five schools visited Natchitoches this year, including LSU, Texas, Wichita State, Oklahoma City and Central Oklahoma.

“Cane River Lake is a natural haven for rowing teams, especially for spring break,” said Jason Stelly, NSU’s rowing coach. “Teams can build up their speed and focus on rowing technique in the calm water.

“It’s a great setup because the city is willing to work with these teams. They don’t charge fees for using the river, and they can get deals on food and hotels, so it’s affordable.”

Texas coach Peter Rosberg says limited boat traffic on the 36-mile oxbow lake offers an ideal training location.

“I love it because you can go so long in one direction,” Rosberg said. “There’s so many miles, and you’re protected from the wind.

“I also love the setting with houses on the bank. Everybody is really friendly on the river and will wave at you. It’s really special. For the money we spend, it’s best deal I’ve encountered.”

Rowing teams are beginning to flock back to Natchitoches after water levels on Cane River Lake are becoming more consistent.

A combination of flooding and drought caused rowing teams to cancel in the last several years, and the uncertainty has impacted a decrease from the lake’s heyday with double-digit teams.

But the Cane River Waterway Commission is expected to complete a project by the end of the year which pumps water from Hampton Lake into Bayou Possiant, which flows into Cane River Lake. The project will help stabilize water levels.

Consistent water levels will bring a steady stream of tourism dollars from college rowing teams each spring.

Most schools bring a men’s and women’s team, which totals 50-65 rowers.

Natchitoches mayor Lee Posey introduced himself to a group of seven Longhorn rowers in a restaurant, and he said the city’s relationship with the college rowing community is an important one.

“They thought Natchitoches had a wow factor as a town, and they said it’s one of the best practice venues they’ve ever been to,” Posey said. “For us, it’s one of the neat pieces to our (tourism) puzzle.

“I’ve met people who visited as college rowers years ago that bring their families back to Natchitoches for trips.”

Constant access to the ideal practice venue benefits Northwestern State rowing.

Stelly said most college rowers come in with little or no experience, and the steady waters are a tremendous teaching tool.

“You get great, clean strokes, and you can teach proper technique,” Stelly said. “We have to adjust when we get on rough water with wind like Lake Lanier in Georgia where the national championships were held this past year.

“But we get a great start here on Cane River Lake.”

The NSU women won their first conference championship and finished second at the national championships this past season.

The conference consists of 66 schools ranging from Virginia to Florida to Texas.

Stelly credits Cane River Lake as an important part of that success.

“The water levels are much better now, and we’re seeing teams start to come back,” Stelly said. “In the past, teams have had to cancel at the last minute when water levels were really low or really high, and teams stop coming when that happens.

“We didn’t want to recruit teams back to Cane River Lake until we know water levels will be consistent.”

Sign kids up for Kids Day during Spring Break


The City of Natchitoches and the Community Counseling Center at Cane River Children’s Services partnered to provide community youth with a Kids Day, a structured, positive activity set for Wednesday, March 29 from 7:30 am – 12:30 pm at the MLK Recreation Center.

Kids Day is open to all youth ages 6 – 13 and will include activities focused on art, skill building and recreation. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Registration is $5 per child.

For more information contact Dallas Russell at (318) 2378-7508 or drussell@natchitochesla.gov.

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Discover Your State: Toledo Bend

By Corey Poole

Discover Toledo Bend

Natchitoches – Louisiana/Texas state line
Miles: ~ 50-70 (depending on what section of the Reservoir you’re visiting)

With over 1,200 miles of shoreline, Toledo Bend Reservoir has a host of activities, accommodations and dining selections to choose from. Stay at a resort or a number of other lodgings including lakeside cottages, RV Sites, State Parks and campgrounds. It’s more than a body of water: it’s an adventure and no two trips will ever be the same.

Once part of a 5,000 square mile “No Man’s Land,” filled with outlaws, pirates and rebels, Toledo Bend Lake has grown into a renowned fishing destination. It was ranked the #1 Bass Fishing Lake in the Country in 2015 and 2016 by BASS Masters Magazine.

The seeds of a big dream, planted in 1955, grew to fruition in 1969 when the Toledo Bend Reservoir was completed. Built as a $70 million economic development project for the Sabine River Area, both in Texas and Louisiana, it’s an all-encompassing destination resort in a rural area.

Whether it’s a business meeting, training workshop, golf getaway, fishing trip or wedding Toledo Bend surrounds visitors with its beauty and tranquility. Overlooking an 18-hole championship golf course and serene views of Toledo Bend is Cypress Bend Resort.

The resort offers a world-class experience with friendly service; delicious dining options to satisfy every appetite; scenic nature trails through vibrant gardens, tranquil forests and the shimmering lake; fishing packages starting at $126 per person; and spa services including massages, facials and body wraps.

Toledo Bend Lake Country is also popular as a retirement destination because of its relaxing scenery, proximity to modern amenities and abundance of activities from historic trails and sites to scenic drives and gardens. And don’t forget about what it’s famous for: fishing!

Toledo Bend is one of the many attractions that can be found in Louisiana North, also known as Sportsman Paradise. The cities/parishes that comprise Louisiana North offer exciting activities like great cultural attractions, superb festivals, tantalizing local restaurants, and one-of-a-kind shopping adventures. Natchitoches Parish is a part of Louisiana North.