Area businesses sponsor Grand Reopening of City Park this Saturday

City Park Sponsors
BOM, Alliance and Atmos are three sponsors of the City Park Grand Reopening set for Saturday, June 3 from 10 am – 1 pm.

The City of Natchitoches, Northwestern State University and the Natchitoches Parish Journal are co-hosting this event, which is free and open to the public. National Recording Artist Trini Triggs will be the event Emcee. There will be music in the City Park amphitheater, free food, T-shirt and prize raffles, activity booths, Zumba, face painting, inflatables and more.

Destination Downtown Natchitoches: Saturday, June 10

DD Natty Graphica

Visit Louisiana’s oldest City for its inaugural summer kick-off event, Destination Downtown Natchitoches Saturday, June 10 from 1-8:30 pm.

Schedule of Events:

Steel Magnolias House Tour
10am-1pm (Admission $5)
320 Jefferson Street
Tickets available at the door for purchase.

Prudhomme-Rouquier House Tour
10am-1pm (Admission $5)
446 Jefferson Street
Tickets available at the door for purchase.

Bloody Mary Tasting Event
Tickets go on sale at 11am and can be purchased by the stage in front of Exchange Bank on the North end of Front Street.
Tickets are $25 and will entitle you to a bloody mary served in a 12 oz cup from each of our 4 participating restaurants: Mayeaux’s, The Landing, Mama’s & The Pub

Live music starts at 2 pm.
Rivers Revue – 2-5 pm
Lisa Spann & Co. – 5:30-8:30 pm

Take advantage of face painting, lawn games (corn hole, jenga, etc.) and FREE inflatables for the kids!

Don’t forget your lawn chair!

Visit for a complete schedule of events.

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Family member reflects on closing business

By Jim Bob Key

Choates Closing

For many years, I soloed Ernest Charles’ piece, “When I Have Sung My Song I’ll Sing No More.” How true that statement rings for me as our family ends a near century of furniture, gifts, family, friends, and tradition as Choate’s Inc.

On Jan. 2, 1942, my father-in-law, L.J. Choate, opened Choate’s as a retail furniture store on the corner of North Street and College Avenue where the parking lot of Neebo stands today. His vision became our family’s mantra, and over the years expanded to include the largest collection of home interiors from the finest manufacturers. An extensive gift department and bridal and baby registry became of the trademarks of Choate’s; brides and mothers have made lifelong decisions that have passed generations of Natchitoches families and are now embedded seamlessly in tradition across the world.

Betty and I assumed the family tradition in 1970 when we moved the business to its current location on Highway 1 South, now South Drive. Our daughter, Pam, and now her son, Andrew, assumed the major part of the day-to-day operations following Betty’s death in 2008. Their vision transitioned Choate’s to reflect the choices of today’s young families. Also, I cannot forget Jimmy DeBlieux and Jane Johnson who both gave a significant part of their lives to the success of our business.

It has never been our desire to end this tradition. The long-term overhaul of South Drive did not position us to succeed. The proposed construction timeline was 12 months; it ultimately took 30 months to complete the job. We had no choice but to live through it. Though the roads look much better and are now better traveled, we were left without a navigable parking lot (a circle drive in the front), making it nearly impossible for our customers to patronize the store. We even struggle with deliveries.

We are indebted to our Natchitoches family, not to mention our families in the surrounding areas. You welcomed us into your homes, included us in your family celebrations, and you trusted us to make a home YOUR home. That feeling of accomplishment will travel with our family forever. Mr. and Mrs. Choate, Betty, Pam, Andrew and I thank you for that wonderful opportunity.

“…We’ve worked so hard to hold our dreams, just you and I. I could not share them again…”

I have sung my song, and I’ll sing no more.

Robinson Scholarship honors former head of Industrial Arts

Bill and Walter Robinson
A Sherman, Texas, orthodontist left a bequest to Northwestern State University to establish a scholarship named for his father, a long-time professor at NSU. Dr. William “Bill” Robinson, who graduated from NSU, established the Dr. Walter J. Robinson Endowed Memorial Scholarship that will be presented to a senior level student majoring in engineering technology who is selected on recommendation from department faculty. The scholarship honors Walter Robinson, who served on the faculty of the industrial arts department from 1945-1971, which included a time as department head.

Scott Robinson, grandson of Dr. Walter Robinson and son of Dr. Bill Robinson, said the ideal recipient would be “a student who shows the most promise, not necessarily the highest grade point average, because of their interest and motivation, coupled with a financial need for the scholarship.”

Dr. Walter Robinson and his wife Marguerite lived on Williams Avenue and Scott Robinson said he has many fond memories of visiting Natchitoches as a child, swimming in the Natatorium during the summer and enjoying the Christmas lights on Cane River. Members of First Baptist Church, Dr. Walter Robinson was chairman of the deacons, a Sunday school teacher and a member of the choir. He was also a 32nd Degree Mason, a Shriner and district governor of Lions International. In 1990, Dr. and Mrs. Walter Robinson moved to Sherman, Texas, to live closer to Dr. Bill Robinson, their only child. Dr. Walter Robinson passed away in 1999.

After completing his undergraduate degree at Northwestern, Dr. Bill Robinson graduated from Baylor University College of Dentistry in 1961 and served in the U.S. Army Dental Corps for three years. Afterwards he completed an orthodontic residency at St. Louis University and began a 37-year career as an orthodontist in Sherman, Texas. He received numerous professional awards and was a frequent guest instructor at the Baylor Department of Orthodontics. He was also involved with church and community and enjoyed supporting Christian ministry. He moved to Dallas in 2014 to live closer to his son and passed away Nov. 21, 2016.

“My Dad played the piano, the trumpet and enjoyed singing in choirs, mostly church choirs,” Scott Robinson said. “His mother, was a music educator and gave private piano lessons in her home. He was a member of the NSU band while he was a student. Being an only child, he was very close to his parents and as a NSU alum, wanted to remember his father who led the Industrial Arts department for many years.”

“On behalf of the NSU Foundation and the students we serve, I thank the Robinson family for celebrating their family’s legacy of service and education by giving back to NSU,” said. NSU Development Officer Jill Bankston. “This gift is also timely for our Department of Engineering Technology, a program that has shown strong growth in recent years and fills workforce needs for regional industry.”

For more information on supporting the NSU Foundation through scholarships or professorships, contact Bankston at (318) 357-4414 or email Information is also available at

Chapter 12 – Doctor Scruggs Arrives At Johnson Plantation

A fictional story by Junior Johnson


Deputy Moran decided to ride into Cloutierville and send a telegram to Sheriff Jones in Mississippi informing him that Captain John Winston was seen in Louisiana and was probably still in the area.

After the Battle of Monett’s Ferry during the War of Northern Aggression, the area had become a known haven for thieves, murderers, and outlaws of all description. Winston fit all of these categories.

It was well known in the area that there was a deep cave into the bank of Cane River simply known as Robbers Roost, and this was where the lowlife individuals would hold up while passing through. More than likely this was where Captain Winston and his group of thugs would hold up for the time being.

Pete had told Abslom and Levy of the snake when he made his break for freedom, so it was assumed that the old drunkard Doctor at Monett’s Ferry was where Winston would head to for treatment.

After he had sent his telegraph to Sheriff Jones, Deputy Moran planned to make arrangements with law enforcement officials in Cloutierville to come up with a plan to apprehend Captain John.

While they waited for Dylan to return with Doctor Scruggs, Aiden told his story of almost being hung for a crime that he did not commit before his brother Dylan had come to his rescue in heroic fashion. Pete and Noah were spellbound as Aiden told his story. His arm was feeling much better after being taken care of by the Lodrigue sisters.

Reverend Cryer’s fever had subsided somewhat since Grandpa Tony Lodrigue had treated him with his herbs and salve. He still had not regained consciousness, but his condition had not worsened. All everyone at the Johnson and Lodrigue compounds could do was pray and hope Dylan would soon arrive with Doctor Scruggs.

Meanwhile in the dingy old building at Monett’s Ferry, the Doctor had just finished explaining to Captain John Winston that he had a choice to make. Allow him to remove the leg or die. Winston did not like either option and asked for another bottle of whiskey.

Knowing there was nothing that he could do until Winston made his decision, the Doctor complied with his request. Time was a factor and a decision had to be made soon or he would die. Perhaps the whiskey would help make the decision easier.

It was mid afternoon when Dylan arrived with Doctor Scruggs. He was immediately brought to the room were Reverend Cryer was. He appeared to be resting comfortably which the Doctor was happy to see.

Doctor Scruggs began to lay out his tools to be sterilized before he began surgery to remove the bullet. This was going to be a tricky surgery because it was lodged near the heart.

As he finally began to work on Reverend Cryer, everyone moved away and only came forward when the good Doctor needed fresh towels and bandages. The others stood by silently in prayer.

It took Doctor Scruggs almost three hours before he was finally able to retrieve the bullet lodged near Reverend Cryer’s heart, and to stitch and dress the wound. All they could do now was wait, and Pray.

Since the events of the past two days had taken a toll on everyone, the Lodrigue women decided to make a good dinner with the food prepared for the homecoming of the Mississippi family.

Everyone sat around tables heaped with food and iced tea. Abslom Johnson offered a Prayer of Blessing for the food and a special request for the recovery of Reverend Cryer.

By the time he had finished the bottle of whiskey, Captain John Winston, in a very drunken state, told the Doctor to take his damn leg, but if he died, instructions were given his men to kill the Doctor.

With shaking hands the Doctor cut into Winston’s leg at mid thigh.

Notice of Death – June 1, 2107

Notice of Death 2017

Geneva Bell
Service: Saturday, June 3 at 1 pm at St. Peter Cemetery in Pelican
Interment: St. Peter Cemetery

Pamela Whorton
Visitation: Friday, June 2 from 6-7 pm at Faltine Baptist Church
Service: Saturday June 3 at 11 am at Faltine Baptist Church in Gloster. Remains will lie in state from 10-11 am
Interment: Faltine Cemetery

Demontre’ J. Lewis
Visitation: Friday, June 2 from 12-6 pm at Jenkins Funeral Home in Mansfield
Service: Saturday, June 3 at 2 pm at Higher Ground Ministries in Mansfield. Remains will lie in state from 1-2 pm

James Jackson
Visitation: Friday, June 2 from 12-6 pm at Jenkins Funeral Home in Mansfield
Service: Saturday, June 3 at 2 pm at Shady Grove United Methodist Church in Mansfield. Remains will lie in state from 1-2 pm
Interment: Shady Grove Cemetery in Mansfield

Charles Carroll
Visitation: Friday, June 2 from 6-7 pm at Jenkins Funeral Home in Mansfield
Service: Saturday, June 3 at 2 pm at St. Mark Baptist Church in Holly
Interment: St. Mark Cemetery in Holly

Betty Thomas
Visitation: Friday, June 2 from 7-8 pm at Jenkins Funeral Home in Mansfield
Service: Saturday, June 3 at 1 pm at the Memorial Seventh Day Adventist Church in Mansfield
Interment: Community Cemetery in Grand Cane

Elsie Greer
Visitation: Friday, June 2 from 8-9 pm at Jenkins Funeral Home in Mansfield
Service: Saturday, June 3 at 11 am at Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Mansfield
Interment: Williams Cemetery in Mansfield

Betty Jo LaCaze Wallace
April 17, 1947 – May 27, 2017
Visitation: Thursday, June 1 from 5-9 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Service Friday, June 2 at 1 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Interment: Weaver Cemetery in Flora

Clara Wood Suggs
July 21, 1950 – May 28, 2017
Service: Thursday, June 1 at 10 am at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Bethany Cemetery

Samuel Brown Mangham, Jr
March 19, 1930 – May 8, 2017
Service: Saturday, June 3 at 11 am at Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church
Interment: Wesley Chapel Cemetery

Sis. Linda Gail King
February 19, 1951 – May 23, 2017
Service: Saturday, June 3 at 11 am at the Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church, Hwy. 1226 in Clarence
Interment: Winnfield City Cemetery in Winnfield

Jean Marie Bauer
August 27, 1930 – May 24, 2017
Service: Saturday, June 10 at 11 am at The Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Natchitoches with a praying of the rosary prior to the mass at 10:30 am

Zula Bradley Lathon
February 15, 1928 – May 27, 2017
Arrangements TBA

Frankie D. West
July 18, 1950 – May 23, 2017
Visitation: Thursday, June 1 from 1-2:30 pm
Service: Thursday, June 1 at 2:30 pm at Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel

Eula Moody
May 24, 2017
Visitation: Saturday, June 3 from 9-11 am at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, June 3 at 11 am at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Lawrence Serenity Sanctum.

William Richard Green
April 05, 1955 – May 23, 2017
Arrangements TBA

Mary Casson
May 29, 2017
Arrangements TBA

Betty Raymond
May 30, 2017
Arrangements TBA

A Memorial Day storm to remember: Linemen work to restore power in Parish

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Restoring power after a catastrophic storm requires more work than simply flipping a switch. SWEPCO has restored power to approximately 10,938 customers in the Valley Area as of May 30 at 4 pm , down from a peak of 24,000 customers after Sunday’s storm, May 28. Approximately 6,295 customers remain without power in Natchitoches Parish, including Goldonna.

The NPJ visited the Goldonna area to check on residents and document storm damage. Don Wells said the storm ripped the roof right off of the Goldonna Baptist Church. It also damaged Goldonna Elementary and Jr. High School.

The estimated restoration times for the Natchitoches Parish area is Thursday, June 1 by 5 pm. Power may be restored prior to this. While some people may question why it’s taking so long, there’s simply that much damage. There were around 15 downed utility poles just within a few mile radius of Goldonna.

Sunday night’s storm packed winds of up to 60 miles per hour and downed power lines and trees across SWEPCO’s East Texas and Louisiana service territory. Two EF-1 tornados were confirmed by the NWS in the Longview area. Almost 800 men and women, including 501 line and 287 tree personnel, are working to restore power to SWEPCO customers.

SWEPCO has restored the main circuits from its substations. Now it is tackling the tough distribution lines along streets, in neighborhoods, alleys and backyards where crews can see major damage on poles, wires, cross arms and transformers.

Goldonna Mayor Verna Bedgood said it was scary. “It was a Memorial Day to remember,” she said. “When I came out of my house Monday morning all I could see was trees blocking the roads.” She and her husband, Parish Councilman Rodney Bedgood, said they’re blessed there was no damage to their house.

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