Cane River Waterway Commission – Public Notice


The public is hereby notified that as of May 30, 2017 The Cane River Waterway Commission has received notice that there was a sewer line break that will affect Cane River Lake.  As a precaution swimming, water skiing, or any in-water activity is prohibited until further notice.  The area is marked by two hazard buoys; One buoy is located at the beginning of the affected area downtown Natchitoches and the second buoy is located at the end of the affected area Parkway Drive .

Person(s) that choose to get in the water in that area do so at their own risk.  For more information and updates contact Betty Fuller @ 318-617-3235.

Betty Fuller
CRWC Commission Administrator

Emergency Declaration Issued – Rick Nowlin


The attached declaration was issued yesterday.  In addition to the stated problems resulting from the storm, we are receiving reports that a large number of parish residents may be without electrical service for the next 3 to 4 days.  Parish highway crews were called out Sunday evening as soon as the storm hit and worked all night and much of Memorial Day to clear roads of fallen trees.

Anyone wishing to report a blocked road or other hazard should call the Parish at the courthouse number (318-352-2714) to report the problem.  The highway department office does not have electric service at this time.

Rick Nowlin
Parish President

Emer Declaration - Weather 2017-05-291Emer Declaration - Weather 2017-05-292

City Camp offers kids 8 weeks of summer fun

City Camp_Main Graphic

Need something to do this summer? The Natchitoches Summer Day Camp is now enrolling. The camp is an eight-week program for youth ages 6-13. The camp will take place at Weaver Elementary in June and East Natchitoches Elementary School in July. The program offers academics, arts and crafts, sports and life skills activities as well as swimming lessons and field trips.

This year the Natchitoches Summer Day Camp will be expanding its hours and will offer programming from 7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. The fee is $45 per session for the first child and $40 for each additional sibling. Breakfast and lunch will be served each day. Students may sign up for as many sessions as they like, repeated attendance is encouraged.

The camp will offer four, two-week long sessions from June 5 to July 28, Monday through Friday.

Each session has a theme that acts as a common thread throughout camp classes.
Session 1, June 5 to June 16: Passport to Summer
Session 2, June 19 to June 30: Beneath the Stars
Session 3, July 3 to July 14: Under Construction (CLOSED JULY 4)
Session 4, July 17 to July 28: See Ya Later, Alligator

Sign up online at or go to the MLK Recreation Center located at 660 MLK Drive.

Questions? Call Dallas Russell at (318) 238-7508.

Summer Camp brochure 2017


Memorial Day Ceremony 2017

“…Embrace these, Father, and receive them, thy heroic servants into thy kingdom…”

From President Franklin Roosevelt’s remarks to the Nation on D-Day

Memorial Day 2017

Kevin’s Gallery

Citizens, veterans and their families from all over Natchitoches Parish gathered at the Natchitoches Arts Center on Memorial Day Monday, May 29th for the parish’s annual Memorial Day Service. The Lakeview High School Air Force JROTC Color Guard presented the flag and Mr. James Gay, a veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam, led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Sara Puryear Dunn performed a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem after which Mayor Posey delivered the Memorial Day remarks. Becky Ham and Ralph Johnson took turns reading the roll of area veterans who died during the year. Following the roll call and a moment of silence, Dr. John Dunn played Taps. Donna Masson presented an update on the improvements planned for the Veteran’s Park and on the progress being made in realizing them.

The ceremony is part and parcel of what Winston Churchill refered to as “the long continuity of our institutions.” It, and ceremonies like it across the country, bind us together as a nation. In the increasingly fractious country we find ourselves in, things like Memorial Day and its remembrances remind us of what is important.

Memorial Service roll call of Veterans and the playing of Taps:

Deceased Veterans – May 30 2016 to May 29 2017

Alford, Bobby
Ammons, John M.
Barton, Roy
Basco, Charles
Beaudion, Sr., Joseph
Boyd, Shelby C.
Bradley, Sr., John B.
Brown, Sr., James
Brown, Kenner R.
Bruning, James
Dale, Waymond L.
Dean, Leon
Doolittle, Sherman
Durr, Donald R.
Edwards, Jimmy
Flenniken, Noble E.
Foshee, Eddie C.
Foster, John
Gallien, Ledore
Gilbert, Raymond M.
Graham, David C., Sr.
Gray, Ruffin W.
Hargis, Ray
Harper, Grady M.
Hawthorne, H. G., Jr.
Holman, Thomas E.
Jenkins, Jr., Andrew
Kelly, Robert
Kirkland, Larry D.
LaCaze, Jr., Ashley
LaCaze, Robert R. L.
LaVasseur, Luther
Long, Sr., Jimmy D.
Laurent, Robert
Luczak, James
McBride, Jack. H.
McGehee, Virgil G.
McLaren, Douglas
Montgomery, Emery
Nelson, Earl R.
O’Bannon, Hubert
Pichon, Ernest
Prudhomme, Jr., Charles S.
Prudhomme, Mayo
Robertson, Sr., Elliott
Robinson, Jerry
Sers, Jr., Louis
Sluppick, George T.
Smith, Lewis
Sneed, Otis J.
Southerland, Thomas P.
Speer, Byron
Stanfield, Jr., Riley L.
Sutton, Kerlin C.
Thomason, Donald C.
Thompson, Joseph M.
Todtenbier, Ren
Winn, John S.
Young, II, David C.
Zolzer, Melinda

BOM donates to ACS

BOM to ACS 2017

BOM made a monetary donation to the American Cancer Society with the proceeds raised from the Watercolor Painting fundraiser hosted by our Ringgold Branch. Pictured left are Dewayne Chelette, BOM Staff Trainer; Tara McKenney, BOM Marketing Assistant; Danielle Cobb, ACS Rep.; and Brooke Latham, BOM Executive Assistant.

Driver education class to begin May 30

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Northwestern State University’s Office of Electronic and Continuing Education will offer a driver education course May 30-June 2 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This course will consist of 30 hours of classroom instruction and a minimum of 8 hours of practice driving (behind-the-wheel instruction). Those who complete the course will receive a certificate verifying successful completion. Those who take the course must be 14 years and 9 months old on or before the first day of class Proof of age is required.

For more information, call (318) 357-6355, (800) 376-2422 or go to


Paid Advertising

Hydrant Testing will be performed during June

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Natchitoches Fire Department personnel will conduct fire hydrant flow testing during the month of June. Testing will begin June 5. Please be advised, the opening of hydrants may result in water discoloration. Turning on faucets and allowing water to run for several minutes should aide in water clarity. The NFD apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause the citizens. For more information call 318-357-3860.

Mr. James Gay – the embodiment of the citizen-soldier

James Gay 052017

Mr. James Gay, a veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam led the Pledge of Allegiance at the Natchitoches Memorial Day Program as he has for the past several years. At age 90, he continues to serve his family, church and community with humility and quiet dignity. He is the embodiment of the citizen-soldier. In every generation there are men and women who answer our nation’s call.

The Natchitoches Parish Journal would like to take this opportunity to say our community is a better place for having you in it sir!

Memorial Day storm, 2017

Many Parish residents had their Memorial Day weekend interrupted with severe winds and heavy rains which uprooted trees and caused severe property damage.  Utility crews began working on downed utility lines even as the storm was moving across the Parish. Parish officials advise residents to take extreme caution for possible downed power lines, loose or hanging tree limbs or trees that may be at risk of falling.







Natchitoches residents remember loved ones on Memorial Day

leta Brown

Pictured at left is Alton Townsend Jr. and at right, Alton Lloyd Townsend.

Memorial Day is a time to remember Veterans who died while serving in the military. Below are three Natchitoches residents’ memories of loved ones who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Leta Townsend Brown has service men everywhere in her family. Her father, the late Alton Lloyd Townsend, was a pilot in the Army Air Corps in WWII, which later became the U.S. Air Force. His brother, the late Louis Claude Townsend, was in the Navy and his other brother, the late Larry “Hot Shot” Townsend, was in the Army. The last sibling is their sister Claudine Hart, who lives in Shreveport. She worked at Barksdale Air Force Base where she met her husband, who was a pilot.

Alton was a football player at Northwestern State University. He was attending First Baptist Church on a Sunday morning when they heard Pearl Harbor was bombed. Soon after the entire football team enlisted.

Alton’s plane, a B25G Bomber with a cannon in the nose, was shot down over China and he and the crew were captured by Japanese soldiers. They spent 22 months as POWs until WWII ended.

Here is his story:

Alton trained on the B25G in the states. He was assigned as a co-pilot for a mission in India during the Pacific Theatre. The pilot had no training on the plane, so when they made their first pass to drop bombs, they didn’t hit their target. The pilot decided to make another pass and the plane was shot down. The crew was captured and packed like sardines into rail cars as they traveled from China to Japan. While crossing the Sea of Japan their ships were bombed by Americans, unaware there were POWs onboard.

“My father was always a humble southern gentleman,” said Leta. “He passed away three years ago close to the age of 93. He felt he was doing his job by serving his country, and he was grateful to come back home.”

Leta’s husband Ron Brown served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam era. Ron’s father, the late Ron Calvin Brown, served in the Army during WWII and his brother, the late Charles Brown, served in Vietnam. Leta’s brother, the late Alton Townsend Jr., also served in the Vietnam War.

To Leta, Memorial Day stands for sacrifice. Her father always said liberty isn’t free.

“All veterans, those living and gone, pay a tremendous sacrifice to protect out freedom,” said Leta. “As a state employee it’s always a great tribute for me to go to a Memorial Day program.”

Ron and Eddie

Pictured at left is Billy Harrington and at right, Major Elmer O. McBride.

This Memorial Day Eddie Harrington will remember four great American heroes: Billy Harrington, Edward Monroe “Bugs” Allbritton, George Allbritton and M.Q. Dominy.

Eddie’s grandfather Billy was in the Army Air Corps in WWII with a B-26 bomber squadron. He met his wife Nancy, while stationed in England. By the time he retired he was working with A-10 tank killers.

Eddie’s maternal grandfather Bugs was in the Army and had the horrendous experience of being among the first to enter and liberate concentration camps.

George was a combat marine in the Pacific. M.Q. Dominy was in H.Q. in the 6th Army in WWII on the front in Europe. He personally met General Eisenhower, General Patton, General Bradley and British General Montgomery.

“These are just five heroes out of countless men and women who gave up so much, who gave their lives to do what is right, to fight pure evil, and to protect us,” said Eddie. “I could only strive to be half a man they were, and all of those like them.”


Dr. Ron McBride’s mother and father sacrificed beyond imagination during WWII. His father, the late Major Elmer O. McBride, fought in the Korean Conflict. He never spoke much about his time under Gen. Patton at the Battle of the Bulge.

“The atrocities he must have witnessed were unspeakable,” said Ron. He did share one thing:

As a 5th Army Captain he commanded an artillery unit. Patton would drive down the line to speed up progress for moving the largest mechanized army in history. He would blame the officers for the slow movement and break them down to Privates. When the word came down that Patton was on a tear the officers would try and hide to prevent conflict with him.

“Dad spoke freely about his other tours but just couldn’t speak about WWII,” said Ron. “He was my hero. He was a career military man who loved his country. I have never met a greater patriot than he. He was part of the ‘Greatest Generation’ in American history. I will always remember his love and dedication to country and never forget the contributions of all Americans during the darkest time in U.S. history.”

Ron said he believes that young Americans must read about the sacrifices Americans have made, especially in the military.

“They couldn’t enjoy the luxuries they have without the military and veterans who served to keep our country free and (except for 911 and the Civil War) the scars of battle in the homeland,” he said. “Memorial Day stands as a living testament for the sacrifices millions have made, and should be a reminder for young people that our country remains the greatest in the world because of their contributions.”

Earn This

By Kevin Shannahan

kevinS-ONEThere is a scene in Steven Spielberg’s superb “Saving Private Ryan” in which Tom Hank’s character, Captain John Miller, lay dying. The advancing German attack had just been stopped and the tide of the battle had turned. He pulls Private Ryan to him and utters a simple phrase “James…earn this…” It is one of the most powerful scenes in any movie I’ve ever seen. After Captain Miller dies, the scene shifts to the modern day as James Ryan, now an old man surrounded by his family, stands before Captain Miller’s grave wracked by doubts that he earned his life after the battle.

I was 37 when the movie came out in 1998. As I get older I appreciate “Saving Private Ryan”, more and more. When my grandchildren were born, I really understood the scene’s power. What made the movie great were not the battle scenes, not even Captain Miller’s dying injunction to “earn this” but the scene at the cemetery. In a few short minutes, the movie distilled the meaning of Memorial Day, one of our most misunderstood holidays.

For much of the country, Memorial Day is a 3 day weekend, a start to the summer, an occasion for sales and BBQ’s. Some television networks play nothing but war movies all day, something I’ve never understood. The day alternates between beach, BBQ, sales and mawkish “look at me” displays of cheap and easy patriotism from the popular culture. A popular song with the lyric “We’ll put a boot in your ass” is more fitting for a barroom brawl. The men and women doing the hard and dangerous work of keeping this nation’s enemies at bay deserve better. They deserve dignity, not posturing.

For a much smaller part of our nation, Memorial Day has a more personal meaning. They are the widows and parents whose hopes for the future were shattered by a knock on the door from an officer in a dress uniform. They are the children whose memory of a parent dims with time or is nothing but a photograph. They are a family in Alexandria, Louisiana whose portrait of a son in a Marine uniform sat on a side altar in the cathedral with a rosary draped over it.

In a way, it is a good thing that Memorial Day is not so well understood. I would not wish America a return to the casualty rates of the Civil War or World War II in which much of the nation had a very personal stake in the war.

Captain John Miller and Private James Ryan may be fictional characters in a movie, but they personify the values we should remember and honor on Memorial Day. We “earn this” every day. Every teacher who does his or her best to bring up the next generation, every parent who gets up to go to work to support a family and set an example for their children, everyone who does what he or she can to make the world around them just a little bit better honors the sacrifice of the men and women who made it possible. From the men at Lexington and Concord, to Joshua Chamberlain at Gettysburg, to Normandy Beach and the Korengal Valley, the men and women who died laid a sacred obligation on us. “Earn This.”

I do not begrudge my fellow citizens a day at the beach or grilling. I plan on enjoying some time off work myself. Hold your children a little tighter. Be a good wife or husband. Work hard and fulfill your obligations to yourself and others. Be a serious person, worthy of those who went before you.

Memorial Day

By Junior Johnson

Junior_Johnson's_DadAIronically in a time when Confederate monuments are being removed around the Country, people are preparing to celebrate Memorial Day. A day that we honor fallen veterans of ALL WARS.

In 1868 the very first observed Memorial Day took place. This was done by a proclamation by General John Logan. He served in the Mexican-American War and later with the Union Army.

This Memorial Day was to celebrate the sacrifices of Civil War Veterans, both Union and Confederate. More than 20,000 graves from both sides were decorated in their honor.

Over the years this special day honored all who died in American Wars, as well as veterans who served and are currently serving in the military.

I pray that there will come a time when we will not have to bury fallen heroes who gave their lives to protect us.

Many years ago I had the honor of visiting Arlington National Cemetery. Looking out over that sea of white crosses was a very somber and humbling experience for me.

Our Country has had some of its finest men and women shed their blood and lose their lives on foreign soil. They made the ultimate sacrifice to make our world a safer place to live in.

My Father, Harvis Johnson Sr., proudly served under General Patton during World War II. He was a young and innocent boy when he finished his training in Biloxi, Mississippi and traveled overseas to serve his Country.

Although his life was spared in that terrible War, he carried its memories the rest of his life.

I never served in the military, but had several of my high school classmates who did. Pictured at the top of this column is my dear friend Billy Spillman relaxing between combat missions while serving in Vietnam. Pictured at the bottom is my father Harvis Johnson Sr.

I make it a point to shake the hand of a person in uniform when I can and I encourage you to do the same. It means a lot to them to know that we care.

Give thanks to all who died and served our Country on their special day. We would not be able to enjoy the freedom that we have today where it not for their unselfish sacrifices.