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


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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.


More Than Just Numbers and Names

By Willie M. Calhoun (MSG, USAR, ret.)


This Memorial day (May 29), we will commemorate and honor America’s wartime dead of all wars. According to a PBS NewsHour article, their number is estimated to exceed 1 million. While this number may appear rather large when used alone, it’s not as large when compared to the U.S. population of 326 million.

If compared to America’s population, the number of 1 million would be comparable to the population of Rhode Island. In other words, over a million of our fellow citizens have died wartime deaths so that we can enjoy a large range of freedoms and rights that include individual rights, community rights, state’s rights, and of course U. S. citizenship rights. So, when we hear the phrase “so few gave all for so many,” we should remind ourselves of these numbers.

Still, there are smaller numbers of wartime deaths, but given the amount of time they occurred in; they deserve just as much attention. The above PBS article also indicated that over 7,000 American lives were lost within 72 hours (3 days) during the Civil War. Within 47 days, over 26,000 Americans lost their lives a single campaign during World War 1. Even I, as a Viet Nam veteran, was surprised to find that during that war, over 90,000 American lives were lost within roughly 20 years. Again, another phrase “freedom isn’t free” is often used while we commemorate and honor these wartime dead on Memorial Day.

We should also remember that Memorial Day is about more than the number of American wartime deaths. Alongside these numbers are individuals whose youthful deaths affected families all across America. After America’s first war, families were known to decorate the gravesite of the fallen. The laying of flowers or wreaths on grave sites continue along with the mournful sound of the bugle known as “taps”. The grief of family loss is captured in a song by the Statler brothers called “More Than a Name on a Wall” and by a photo taken at section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery showing a young lady lying on the grave of her fiancé.

Finally, on Memorial Day, we’ll make our annual but futile attempt to pay the immense debt we owe these dead American servicepersons. However, in our quest to pay that debt, we’re confronted with the issue of mortality and are forced to concede that, as stated in the Gettysburg address, “it is far above our poor power” to pay a debt to the dead. Humbled and frustrated, as a grateful nation, we turn to God and ask that he settle our debt with these honored dead American servicepersons.


Memorial Day Service will be held Monday


The Natchitoches Parish Veterans and Memorial Park Committee will host a Memorial Day Service Monday, May 29 at 3 pm to honor Natchitoches Veterans at the Park next to the Old Courthouse Museum. A program highlight of this traditional Memorial Service will include a roll call of these veterans and the playing of Taps. All area veterans, friends, and families are encouraged to attend this celebration of veteran’s service to the country.

Master of Ceremonies – Truman Maynard
Opening Prayer – Pastor Ralph Johnson
Posting of the Colors – Lakeview High School Air Force Jr. ROTC
Pledge of Allegiance – James Gay
Singing of the National Anthem – Sara Puryear-Dunn
Memorial Day Remarks – Mayor Lee Posey
Roll Call of Parish Veterans who died during the last year – Becky Ham & Rev. Frank Fuller
Moment of Silence & Taps – Dr. John Dunn
Update on Park Projects and Pavers – Donna Masson
Closing Comments from the VFW/American Legion and Axillaries
Closing Prayer – Elder Ron Brown
Following the ceremony, an open house will be held at the nearby VFW/American Post to honor area Veterans, friends, and families. Refreshments will be served.

Many thanks to the NSU Army ROTC, Lakeview Air Force Jr. ROTC, Natchitoches Central Jr. ROTC, VFW/American Legion and Auxiliaries, NPVAMP Committee Members, City and Parish Governments of Natchitoches, the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Natchitoches City Police, Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce, the Natchitoches Parish Journal, KNTS TV, Elite Broadcasting Company,  the Natchitoches Times, Park Sponsors and the Veterans community for making this program possible.

Inclement Weather Plan – Natchitoches Arts Center

Notice of Death – May 27, 2017

Notice of Death 2017

Walter Wade LeBrun
November 09, 1948 – May 25, 2017
Service: Saturday, May 27 at 2 pm at Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home in Natchitoches
Interment: Nativity Catholic Cemetery in Campti

Marilyn Florence Peterson Taylor
May 17, 1937 – May 25, 2017
Arrangements TBA

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
George Washington
March 28, 1944 – May 19, 2017
Service: Saturday, May 27 at 1 pm at the Agape Love Center Church, 1515 Texas Street in Natchitoches
Interment: St. Savior Baptist Church Cemetery (Cane River)
Visitation: Saturday, May 27 from 8 am – noon at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home, 318 North Street in Natchitoches

Terrence Gates
May 16, 2017
Visitation: Saturday, May 27 from 9-11 am at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel
Service: Saturday, May 27 at 11 am at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Fern Park Cemetery on Texas Street.

Clarence Forest
May 13, 2017
Service: Saturday, May 27 at 12 pm at Gaines Chapel AME, 842 Anita Street in Natchitoches
Interment: Breda Town Cemetery

Josephine Wyatt McCarty
October 13, 1932 – May 23, 2017
Visitation: Saturday, May 27 from 11 am – 1 pm at the funeral home
Service: Saturday, May 27 at 1 pm in the chapel of John Kramer & Son Funeral Home
Interment: Forest Lawn Memorial Park
Melinda Louise Millican Zolzer
October 01, 1950 – May 21, 2017
Visitation: Saturday, May 27 from 12-2 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 533 Second Street in Natchitoches
Service: Saturday, May 27 at 2 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church of Natchitoches
Interment: Trinity Episcopal columbarium

Joseph Patterson
May 19, 2017
Service: Saturday, May 27 at 10 am at Boone Funeral Home, 3903 Meriweather Road in Shreveport (next to Queensbourgh Lodge)
Interment: Forest Park West Cemetery
Knight Templar Honor Guard and Masonic Rites

Thomas “T-Boy” Green
May 20, 2017
Arrangements TBA
Frankie D. West
July 18, 1950 – May 23, 2017
Arrangements TBA

Eula Moody
May 24, 2017
Arrangements TBA

Dorothy Miller
April 16, 1936 – May 22, 2017
Arrangements TBA

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

NSU will host three Art Camp sessions

NSU-Summer Art Camp 2017

Northwestern State University’s Department of Fine and Graphic Arts will host three weeks of Art Fundamentals Summer Camps featuring a different theme for each week.  The half-day camps fun from 1-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

“Advanced Projects for Teens” will be May 29-June 2 for youth ages 12-18.  This week is designed for older kids looking to learn advanced art skills. The five projects
students will work on throughout the week are drawing, painting, printmaking, aluminum casting and life casting. These projects will be week-long projects taught by an NSU art professor and graduate student, similar to projects taught in classes at NSU.

“Under the Big Top” will be June 5-9 for kids ages 5-11.  This week’s theme will focus on art projects with subject matter of a carnival or circus. Students will  explore the animals that entertain the masses in a Big Top show. Daring circus acts, colorful
settings, and fun costumes will be subject matters we explore through beginning art projects.

“Seeing Dragons and Fairies” will be June 12-16 for students ages 5-11.  The mythology of fairy tales and stories have historically enriched children’s lives. This week students will explore the visuals of fairies, dragons and other fantastical creatures through the creation of art projects.

Campers can be dropped off as early as 12:30 p.m. and picked up as late as 5:30 p.m.  Tuition is $145 for each weeklong session and includes a snack and all materials.  A sibling discount of $10 per sibling is available.  A $10 discount is available for attending two or more sessions. Because the classes include painting and crafts, play clothes are recommended for campers.

For more information or to register, contact Leslie Gruesbeck at or Corbin Covher at or call (318) 357-5476.

2017 Art Camp

Tax are flat, but Natchitoches is holding steady

Tax Comission 2
When the March Tax Report was published in the NPJ on March 29, Natchitoches Tax Commission Administrator Jerry McWherter said everything was flat and it wouldn’t be going away, however Natchitoches was holding its own.

The story remains the same for the May Tax Report, which shows the numbers for April tax collections.

“There’s only so much money in the Parish,” said McWherter. “The economy has been stagnant over the last several years.”

He attributes this to the lack of new growth or new businesses. Just look at the recent closures of Maurices and Rite-Aid and the closure of Rue 21 scheduled for June 8.

Hotel/motel collections are usually down from January-March, but things should start picking up soon with the tourist season right around the corner.

McWherter said Natchitoches has maintained these flat trends for years now, but overall the City is doing okay as compared to other cities.

NTC Tax Commission Report 042017

SBA Certification Workshop-Natchitoches

SBA-Government Contracting2017
The Louisiana Small Business Development Center will host a Government Contracting workshop Thursday, June 1 from 1-3:30 pm in the NSU President’s Conference Room in Caspari Hall on the NSU Campus.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) will discuss Government Contracting and give an overview of the contracting certification programs, the benefits of the programs and the steps of acquiring the certifications to help you grow and sustain your business.
• 8(a) Certification
• Hub Zone Certification
• Women-Owned Small Business
• Veteran Owned Business

Speaker: SBDC Regional Director Dana Cawthon and Deputy District Director of SBA- Jo Ann Lawrence

There is no charge for this seminar, presented as a business service by the SBDC and SBA. Seating is limited so early registration is encouraged. Registrants are encouraged to register online at to ensure space availability. However, registrants may also call 318-357-5611 to register.

Register online at or call 318-357-5611 for more information.

NSU, LDCC will sign agreements

NSU Signing
Northwestern State University and Louisiana Delta Community College have developed credit transfer agreements to benefit students pursuing careers in manufacturing and forensic science.

Administrators will formalize the agreements with a signing at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 30 in Conference Center B on the first floor of the Louisiana Purchase building on the LDCC campus.

One agreement will allow Certificate for Manufacturing (C4M) students who complete LDCC’s program to receive seven hours of credit towards NSU’s associate and/or bachelor’s degree in engineering technology.  C4M is an industry-based certification recognized by the secondary system as well as business and industry.

A second agreement will allow completers of the Associate of Applied Science in Forensic Science at LDCC to transfer credits towards NSU’s Bachelor of Science in Biology with a Forensic Science Concentration.

Administrators say the agreements support workforce development initiatives by saving students time and money while encouraging them to continue to seek advanced degrees.

2017 NSU Freshman Connection Held May 25th -26th, A Firm Foundation For Success

By Kevin Shannahan


Kevin’s Gallery

The Northwestern State University Demon family welcomed 413 new members and their families at the first of several Freshman Connection sessions to be held throughout the summer at the picturesque NSU campus. The fast paced two day event featured campus tours, financial aid sessions, class registration, dorm assignments and breakout sessions exploring various aspects of college life. The sessions were led by handpicked current NSU students who either served as Freshman Connectors who led their color coded student groups or as VIP Volunteers who did the logistic work of making the event run smoothly. Thursday’s activities weren’t all serious, however. “Freshman Follies” on the Iberville Green featured fun games designed to let the new Demons have some fun, get to know each other-and get soaking wet. A tug of war and the traditional ping pong ball drop from a passing airplane made sure the students worked up an appitite for a jambalaya dinner at the dining hall.

The fun sessions do have a serious purpose. When the new freshmen leave the Freshman Connection, they have everything they need to hit the ground running for their first year at NSU. They have their classes, financial aid and dorm assignments all ready. They have met some of their new classmates and are familiar with the campus, what is expected of them and where they can get help. It it an excellent start to what we all hope will be a successful career at Northwestern State University.

This upcoming class is an impressive group of young people. They hail from every corner of Louisiana, as well as Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and a student from Alaska. The average ACT Composite Score for this year’s class is a fraction below 21, continuing a steady year by year improvement over the past few years. The Admissions Office expects approximately 1,500 students to arrive for the fall semester. That figure has been growing each fall for the past several years as well-a truly remarkable accomplishment.

The Natchitoches Parish Journal wishes to join the Northwestern State University community in welcoming these special young men and women to our university and its city.


Maggio selected to Committee of 100

Northwestern State University President Dr. Chris Maggio has been selected as a 2017 new member of the Committee of 100 for Economic Development, Inc.  C100 is an independent non-government business roundtable of senior corporate executives and university leaders in Louisiana that is regarded as a respected business voice on state issues impacting business and economic development. The business roundtable is an organization to which government, policy and media leaders turn for reliable, nonpartisan policy guidance providing access to some of the critical thinkers in business and academia in Louisiana.

Maggio became president of Northwestern State University on May 12 after serving as acting president since Jan. 1.  A lifelong resident of Natchitoches and a graduate of Northwestern State, Maggio has been a teacher, coach and administrator at NSU for nearly 30 years. He is a tenured associate professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance and had served as vice president of the Student Experience since 2015.

Maggio has been at Northwestern since 1988, when he was appointed women’s track and field coach.  He later served for nearly a decade as director of Admissions and Recruiting and director of Enrollment Services. Appointed as director of Alumni Affairs in 1999, he became director of Alumni and Development in 2003 and executive director of the NSU Foundation in 2005.  He served as Dean of Students and assistant provost for Student Success from 2007 until he was appointed assistant vice president of External Affairs for University Advancement in 2013.

Maggio is a 1985 summa cum laude graduate of Northwestern who was elected by fellow students in his senior year as Mr. NSU.  He earned a master’s degree in education from NSU and a doctorate in developmental education from Grambling State University. His extensive community service includes membership on the board of a local bank, the presidency of the Board of Directors for the foundation of the Natchitoches Parish Medical Center and membership on the city’s Recreation Commission and Economic Development Commission.

“Chris brings talent and great experience in the higher education space to the Committee of 100 that will be important to our purpose in making Louisiana a better place for our citizens and for business and industry,” said C100 Executive Officer Michael Oliver. “The Committee is currently engaged in seeking fiscal reform measures to make Louisiana a more competitive business environment for existing business as well as recruit new business and industry to Louisiana.”

For more information on C100 visit

Ponderings with Doug – May 26, 2017

DougFUMCMy daughter’s house is almost finished. It was heavily damaged in the August flood in Baton Rouge. We have been down several times helping them put their house back together. One of the ways we offered immediate help was to dog-sit the grand-dog Ruxin. Typical of this family, Ruxin is a designer dog. He is part this, some of that and the rest is a mystery. Ruxin is going home to Baton Rouge in June. We will be down to two dogs. Both of them are rescue animals. You could say they were “unplanned canines.”

We are experiencing mysterious canine behavior from one. She whimpers in the middle of the night until someone touches her, or more specifically scratches her belly. At first this was mildly cute. Now it is annoying. Dora has experienced lots of change in the past months. Bailey our big lab has gone on to the great fire hydrant in the sky. Then Ruxin showed up for an extended stay. I’m thinking I’ll get her some doggy Prozac so I can sleep through the night. When Tamara comes home on the weekends, Dora will see people preparing for bed and rush in and lay on Tamara’s pillows. She is finding out, as I did many years ago, there is another Alpha in the house and it ain’t us.

I also have served on staff with feline members of the domestic animal group. I have worked for a couple of cats. They hung around a long time, but were always over shadowed by the crazy canines.

One of the cats was my lawyer cat.

When we were in Arcadia and the kids were little, Andrew received a phone call from his friend Richard one night. I heard Andrew say, “Yes.” Then I heard him say, “Two.” He hung up. Not five minutes later, Richard’s dad, Russell Davis was standing on my back stoop with two kittens. Russell said, “Your son just ordered these from my son.” Russell is an attorney. Who am I to argue when an attorney tells me that possession is nine tenths of the law and I’m holding the feline bag?

After he noted I had legal possession, he jetted out of there.
I figured out the two questions to which I heard the answers. “Do you want a kitten?” The second inquiry from Richard Davis was, “How many?” Russell argued the next day that our children had established a legally binding oral contract regarding transfer of feline ownership and I was stuck with the kittens. Lawyers!

They were cute yellow kittens. I don’t know the official name for the cute yellow cats, but I suppose you cat lovers do. The cat we kept we named Boudreaux. It is really senseless naming a cat, because they won’t come when you call them. They only show up when you have tax papers in your lap or when you’re typing and they want to walk across the computer keyboard. Boudreaux stayed with us through three churches. He got old. One day he walked into the woods and we never saw him again. It was a sad day. If there could be a good cat, he was one.

I was reminded of that Wednesday night. I was at the office working late. I opened my office door to enjoy the cool May weather and I saw two yellow kittens standing in the driveway of our church office. They reminded me of those kittens that Andrew ordered. When they ran under Edwin Dunahoe’s law office, I knew they were lawyer cats. I wonder if the lawyer knows he has kittens. They are really cute. I might start feeding them. Maybe I can work a deal for one. They made me smile and think of a cute little boy, now a grown man, who once ordered two lawyer cats on the phone. I thanked God for the family He gave me.

Funny how some things that happen today are similar to something else that happened twenty five years ago. The writer of Ecclesiastes hit the nail on the head when he wrote, “There is nothing new under the sun.” I hope the things happening in your life give you a sense of gratitude for what God has given you.

Buddy Wood Joins Board of Directors for United Way of Northwest Louisiana

buddy woodUnited Way of Northwest Louisiana recently accepted Buddy Wood of State Farm as a 2017 board member. Wood has been recognized as an individual with a passion to improve his community. Out of the 27 board members that advocate on behalf of United Way NWLA, Wood is the only one to represent Sabine Parish – one of the outlying and more rural parishes this United Way serves.

Wood was born and raised in Natchitoches Parish and is a graduate of Northwestern State University. He has been an active member of the community. He is currently a member of the Rotary Club of Many while also an active member of the Sabine Chamber of Commerce of which he used to serve as president. Wood describes his involvement in the community as a return on investment.

“You have to give back to what has been given to you,” he says. “It’s a privilege for me to be able to do so.”

Wood will serve a minimum of one calendar year as a United Way board member. His duty in this role is to advance United Way’s mission of improving health, education, and financial stability for all citizens living in Northwest Louisiana while maintaining essential needs for those in crisis or struggling.

In addition to his community service, Wood has been recognized as a top performing agent with State Farm for more than 35 years. He and his wife have been long time residents of Many. Together they have three children and three grandchildren.

Christmas T-shirt deadline extended

Natchitoches Christmas Logo TM FINAL

HDBA has extended the deadline for the 2017 Christmas Festival T-shirt contest through June 1.

The contest is open to all high school students and undergraduate students currently enrolled and attending a school, university and\or college in Natchitoches Parish. For purposes of this contest, high school is defined as students currently in ninth through twelfth grade.

An award of $250 will be given to the winning designer.
Complete rules for the contest can be found at

Entries can be mailed or dropped off to Jill Leo at 311 Church Street, Natchitoches, LA 71457. If you have additional questions, you may call 318.652.7078.