BOM Purchasing Alexandria Branches from Lafayette-based MidSouth Bank

BOM announced on June 30 the signing of a definitive purchase and assumption agreement with MidSouth Bank pursuant to which BOM will acquire all of the assets and liabilities associated with the two branches of MidSouth Bank located in Alexandria, Louisiana.

Following the acquisition, BOM is expected to have approximately $350 million in total assets and approximately $300 million in total deposits. Terms of the definitive purchase and assumption agreement were not disclosed.

BOM has one location in Alexandria and 11 others in Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Grant, Natchitoches, Rapides and Sabine parishes. With the addition of MidSouth locations at 1423 Wimbledon Drive and 3412 Mac Lee St. in Alexandria, BOM will have a total of 14 locations.

“Bank staff at the two new sites will remain in those locations, making for a smooth transition,” said BOM President and CEO Ken Hale. “We’ll also offer two additional ATM sites in Alexandria, and we welcome MidSouth’s staff and customers into the BOM family. Our commitment to our local communities remains as strong as the day we were established more than 100 years ago.”

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017.

BOM was advised by the law firm of Fenimore, Kay, Harrison & Ford, LLP and Jeff Fair with American Planning Corporation. MidSouth Bank was advised by the law firm of Troutman Sanders.

About BOM
BOM was established in 1903 in Montgomery, Louisiana and has a strong tradition of supporting the northwest Louisiana communities in which it operates, combining hometown values with modern, full service personal and business banking products. BOM offers convenient locations throughout Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Grant, Natchitoches, Rapides and Sabine parishes. For more information, visit

About MidSouth Bank
MidSouth Bank offers a full range of banking services to commercial and retail customers in Louisiana and Texas. MidSouth Bank currently has 57 locations in Louisiana and Texas and is connected to a worldwide ATM network that provides customers with access to more than 55,000 surcharge-free ATMs. Additional corporate information is available at

PROJECT UPDATE: Church Street Bridge replacement in Natchitoches Parish

Church St Bridge UPDATE 062017

Today, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development released an update on the project to replace the Church Street Bridge in Natchitoches Parish.

Lafayette-based consultant C.H. Fenstermaker & Associates has begun the process of studying the area and surrounding community for environmental impacts within the scope of the project.

That process will include developing alternative concepts for the replacement of the Church Street Bridge, which was built in 1936, in addition to exploring options for maintenance of traffic during construction.

During the Environmental Assessment, public meetings and hearings will be held to gather input from stakeholders and residents and provide updates on the progress of the project. Those will likely be scheduled sometime during the next several months. We encourage the Natchitoches community’s comments and participation.

Currently, DOTD and the consultant are gathering input from various agencies, organizations, and individuals for consideration as part of the Environmental Assessment.

No decisions have been made regarding acceptance or rejection of any alternatives, as DOTD must follow a specific process set by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) which requires community input in the decision-making process. The adherence to this process is necessary in order to receive federal funding for a project such as the Church Street Bridge replacement.

Several alternatives were referenced in the solicitation of views which was sent to the Natchitoches community. The final alternative will be determined through the Environmental Assessment process which will take into consideration environmental, social, and economic impacts. DOTD is committed to not, in any way, prejudice any of the proposed alternatives for this important project.

Further information on the project will be issued as the Environmental Assessment phase progresses and dates for public meetings are set.

Utility improvements will soon decrease power outages

Keeping lights on

The Natchitoches Utility Department will increase the reliability of its electrical system, decrease the number of outages and improve power restoration time by creating a ring bus system.

The system will be completed by the beginning of 2018. Bids are currently out for breakers and control panels. Other essential parts are being manufactured. There’s also a massive amount of wiring required to install all of the components.

The ring bus system will create a complete circuit in the substations and distribution lines that exist in the City, according to Utility Director Charles Brossette. Currently, Natchitoches is fed its electricity by two Cleco lines. Substations include: Dixie, Hwy. 1 South, Bypass, St. Maurice, Sibley and the main Power Plant off of Texas Street. Cleco feeds the Dixie substation with 138,000 volts and the St. Maurice substation with 69,000 volts.

Each substation has four distribution feeders, which totals 21 distribution circuits in the City. Transmission lines connect all the substations in a loop. Breakers at each substation feed the electricity to the lines.

If a fault occurs on one of the lines, such as a fallen tree or curious animal, the whole substation will go dark. The way the system is currently set up, if something like this were to happen, two substations could be lost right off the bat.

The missing link is the line between the Hwy. 1 South and Bypass substations, which is currently only being used as an emergency tie with manual switches. By adding breakers and sectionalizing the 69,000 KB side of the line, the whole City won’t loose power as easily because other substations will be kept on.

Another measure being taken is the installation of pulse fault interrupters at Alliance Compressors, which connects the big plant to two power sources. They will also be installed at Pilgrim’s Pride. These switches are connected by fibre so they can talk to one another. They send a pulse down the line to test it. If something happens to one line of power, the pulse fault interrupters will detect it and switch power to a secondary substation. This will keep big plants in the City running if there are problems with some of the lines and will help get power restored to them faster.

Ring Bus System Mapelectrical stuff

Folklife Feature: Craig Vincent – Apprentice Accordion Builder

FolkFest - Craig Vincent

Craig Vincent grew up in Lake Arthur. He currently lives in Welsh. About 8 years ago Larry Miller (Bon Cajun Accordions) did some work on Vincent’s Hohner Accordion. As Vincent watched Miller work on the instrument, he was intrigued about how it worked and decided to make his own accordion one day.

In 2014 Vincent’s wire’s uncle, Ervin Lejeune (Professional Accordians) got Vincent off to a great start by sharing patterns and measurements with him. By the end of 2015 Miller helped Vincent finish the last couple steps on his first accordion, installing reeds and tuning. When he finished the instrument, Miller gave Vincent the opportunity to do an apprenticeship with him during 2016-2017.

Vincent will demonstrate accordion building Saturday, July 15 from 8 am – 5 pm at the Louisiana Folklife Festival inside Prather Coliseum on the NSU campus. For more information email or call 318-357-4332.

The 38th annual Natchitoches-Northwestern Folk Festival will be held July 14-15 in Prather Coliseum on the Northwestern State University campus. Festival hours are 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Friday and 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Tickets are $13 for an advance all-events pass through July 11. Advance tickets are free for children 12 and under. Tickets are available at the door for $6 for Friday night, $10 for all day Saturday or $6 for Saturday after 5 p.m.

Paid Advertising

NSU marks a decade as Boys, Girls State host

Boys State 2

Nearly 1,000 rising high school seniors from throughout Louisiana have again converged on the Northwestern State University campus for an intense week of learning about government and civic engagement.  This is the 10th year that NSU has hosted Louisiana Boys State and Louisiana Girls State, a summer leadership and citizenship program sponsored by the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary for high school students.

Winding ranks of young men and women marching across campus, chanting and singing has become a familiar sight as the concurrent programs utilize NSU classrooms, meeting spaces and dining halls. Participants – called citizens – are divided into parishes and elected to city, parish and state administrative offices where they draft bills and perform other government procedures to actively learn about patriotism, service and civic responsibility.

Boys State Citizen Ricky Bryant of Bossier City said his week has been amazing.

“We learned about government and we also learned how to accept each other and how we can apply our strengths together and create a strong brotherhood that nothing can break,” said Bryant who was Speaker of the House and worked on projects related to funding relief efforts in the aftermath of a hurricane, regulating medical marijuana and a less serious bill that prohibited citizens from stepping on cracks. “It’s relaxed but serious at the same time,” Bryant said.

Bryant was not the only citizen to mention brotherhood in his comments about the Boys State experience.

“It’s been amazing,” said Cameron Carter of Houma.  “I love the chanting, I love the brotherhood.  I am the only person from my school to be at Boys State or Girls State. When we were chanting, it brought us all together.”

Megan Guilbeau of Pineville, an experience public speaker who was running for governor, said that winning the office was not as important as the relationships she formed at Girls State.

“I’ve had the most amazing experience,” said Guilbeau who hopes to return next year as a counselor. “People talk about the magic of Girls State but I didn’t expect just how magical it is.”

In addition to the citizens, about 80 counselors and junior counselors participate in the program along with dozens of Legion and Auxiliary staff. Citizens and counselors agree that the Boys and Girls State experience is one that makes lifelong memories.

“Girls State influenced my major, which is political science,” said Nikki Stone of Chalmette, a Girls State counselor for three years who attends Loyola University and plans to attend law school.

Louisiana Boys State began in 1940, followed by Louisiana Girls State in 1941. Citizens are sponsored by an American Legion Post, local business or community-based organization. Both groups noted the positive relationship they have developed with Northwestern State as host to Boys and Girls State since 2007.

Users can follow each program on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. An awards convocation that begins at 1:45 p.m. Saturday, July 1 in A.A. Fredericks Auditorium is open to parents.

“We are proud to have hosted Louisiana Boys State and Louisiana Girls State since 2007,” said NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio.  “We welcome these young leaders and the NSU staff works very hard too coordinate logistics with the American Legion and Legion Auxiliary to ensure everything runs smoothly and each citizen has the best possible experience.”

Nominations open for Hall of Distinguished Educator

nsu-educators1 2017


Northwestern State University’s Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development Alumni Advisory Board is seeking nominations for the Hall of Distinguished Educators for 2017.

Nominees must have earned an undergraduate, graduate or doctoral degree from an NSU teacher preparation program, have at least 30 years experience and must have made significant contributions to the field of education and/or the larger community at a local, state, national or international level. Nominees can be living or deceased.

Nominations are also open for Distinguished Young Professional in Education, an award that recognizes an outstanding young professional who has made contributions in Pre-K through higher education or to the profession of education through teaching, research or community service.  Nominees must be 40 years old or younger, have at least 10 years of meritorious service to education and gained prominence in some areas of teaching, administrative achievement, contributions to research, leadership in professional associations, contributions to professional literature and outstanding community service.  Nominees should be of high moral character whose contributions have most fully expressed the spirit of service the award represents.

Inductees will be honored during a brunch and induction ceremony at the Teacher Education Center during Homecoming festivities.

The deadline to submit nominations is July 28.

Anyone who would like to nominate an outstanding College of Education alumnus who has had a distinguished career in education should send the nominee’s resume and other documentation outlining the reason for the nomination to NSU Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development, Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, LA 71497.
Nomination forms and additional information are available by calling (318) 357-6278.

Ponderings with Doug – June 30, 2017

Wednesday evening was awesome. I was at the office late. I was standing on my little back porch listening to nature. Creation was singing praises to God. Then I saw a sight I haven’t seen in years. Under the big tree in the office yard fireflies were lighting up. Fireflies were once everywhere. Now they seem to be a rare sight. I stood in silence, watching and listening. It was a transcendent moment a moment of wonder and awe. In a moment of time I was taken back to childhood and forward to the hope that is in Christ.

I can’t transport you into that moment, because I had it very much alone, but I was not alone.

Experiences of wonder and awe break up your routine.

George Carlin once made this comment on why he had such a congenital distrust of religious neophytes who claim to be “born again”: “They talk too much, pure and simple! When I was born, I was so stunned that I couldn’t speak for two years! If someone has a religious experience and shuts up for a couple of years, I will take him seriously.”

Wonder and awe stun and mute our spontaneous energies. They paralyze us so that we become reflective by conscription.

Amazement does the opposite. Amazement opens up the conduit to our emotions and usually to our mouths. When your friend starts, “we had the most amazing vacation.” Don’t you catch your breath because you are about to be assaulted with a verbal travel journal? Of course to go with the narration, pictures will be thrust upon you. Wonder and awe are spiritual and deep, amazement is visceral and shallow.

I take you to the Christmas stories in Luke. There are angels busy giving birth announcements. Zechariah the old man gets one and he is amazed. Zechariah, knowing about biological impossibilities voices appropriate questions, and Gabriel, seemingly unhappy with his questions, mutes him for nine months.

A short time later, same angel goes to the virgin Mary, with her birth announcement. She certainly knows about biological impossibilities, but she says nothing. She ponders the angel’s words in her heart. She is filled with wonder and awe by this news. Her wonder and awe keep her silent.

Wonder and awe are the biblical antithesis to amazement.

It is the difference between taking your breath away and taking your words away.

Are wonder and awe a part of your daily experience? When you listen to the voice of creation as the sun is setting? When you hear divine music? When you are touched by the love of another? When you see an American flag waving?

Where do you find wonder and awe? What takes your words away?

Help attaining benefits is a phone call away

According to the Social Security Administration, a person is disabled if he or she suffers from a mental or physical impairment that will likely result in death, or is expected to last for over a year and that individual is unable to do any job whatsoever full time.

Becoming disabled is understandably one of, if not the most difficult event in someone’s life. Fortunately, a disabled person may be eligible to receive financial benefits from Supplemental Security Income, known as SSI; Social Security Disability Insurance, called SSDI; or both.

C. Edward “Eddie” Harrington at The Harrington Law Firm represents SSDI and SSI claimants on a regular basis. He has a thorough and detailed procedure for developing the claimant’s case and Social Security record.

“Unfortunately, the majority of those who initially file for disability are denied,” said Harrington. “It appears most are even denied by Social Security without them even reviewing all medical records reported by the disabled individual. Many people just give up after denial, which is what Social Security hopes for. However, denial is not the end.”

If an application is denied at the initial determination and the individual disagrees with the decision, he or she must file an appeal within 60 days of the decision. After the appeal is filed, eventually a hearing will be held in front of a Social Security Administrative Law Judge. At this level it’s highly recommended legal counsel is hired for preparation and representation at the hearing.

“The appeals process can involve a lot of government forms, and the time and effort required can be intimidating,” said Harrington. “If you’re applying for SSI or SSDI benefits, or just received a denial of your application, contact an experienced Social Security attorney who is familiar with the system and can help relieve the burden of this often complex process.”

Results may vary.  If you’ve been denied for Social Security Disability call Eddie today at 318-352-5900 or visit for more information.

Paid Advertising

Natchitoches native, Jay D. Oliphant Jr., promoted to Region 3 Major


Louisiana State Police Superintendent Kevin Reeves promoted Jay D. Oliphant Jr. to Louisiana State Police Major over Region 3 Patrol June 27.  Prior to his appointment, Major Oliphant Jr. held the rank of Captain overseeing operations for Troop E in Alexandria.  Region 3 consists of Troop F in Monroe, Troop G in Bossier City and Troop E in Alexandria.

He began his law enforcement career in 1991 with the Natchitoches Police Department.  In 1994, he was hired as a Louisiana State Police Trooper at Troop E.  In 1997, he transferred to the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations Section before transferring back to Troop E in 2000.  In 2002, he obtained the rank of Sergeant, at Troop E, before transferring to the Louisiana State Police’s Narcotics Section.  In 2005, Major Oliphant Jr. was promoted to Lieutenant at Troop G in Shreveport and in 2008 transferred to the Louisiana State Police’s Bureau of Investigations/Shreveport Field Office where he served as the O.I.C. (Officer In Charge).  In 2010, he transferred to Louisiana State Police’s Bureau of Investigations/Alexandria Field Office where he served as the Executive Officer before being promoted to Captain over Region 3.  In 2013, he was transferred to Commander of Troop E in Alexandria.

A few of Major Oliphant Jr.’s career accomplishments include being a member of the Louisiana State Police’s Tactical/S.W.A.T. team for nine years, a counter-sniper for six years, a member of LSP’s Mobile Field Force, and a defensive tactics instructor.  Major Oliphant Jr. has also participated in numerous details over his career including the Hurricane Katrina detail in New Orleans.

Major Oliphant Jr. is the proud father of Kaitlin Oliphant and Jay D. Oliphant III.  He was born and raised in Natchitoches and currently resides there.  He is the son of Hattie P. Oliphant (Ware) and the late Jay D. Oliphant Sr. of Natchitoches.

Major Oliphant Jr. is delighted and feels very privileged to serve as the new commanding officer of Region 3.   He is looking forward to maintaining Louisiana State Police’s high level of professionalism and integrity. He brings with him 26 years of law enforcement experience, including numerous investigative skills and specialized training.

Troop E would like to congratulate Major Oliphant Jr. on his new appointment as the Region 3 Major.

NSU to close Tuesday for Independence Day

NSU Independence2017


Northwestern State University will be closed Tuesday, July 4 for Independence Day. Classes will resume and administrative offices will reopen Wednesday, July 5.

Watson Library and the Wellness Recreation and Activity Center will be closed July 4. The WRAC and Watson Library will reopen for regular hours on July 5.

Notice of Death – June 30, 2017

Notice of Death 2017

Susie Mae McElroy
January 19, 1949 – June 29, 2017
Arrangements TBA

Annie Blow
Service: Saturday July 1 at 11 am at New Friendship B.C.
Visitation:10-11 am
Interment: New Friendship Cemetery

Virginia Ruth Brasseaux
September 7, 1932 – June 25, 2017
Visitation: Wednesday, June 28 from 8:30-9:30 am at the John Kramer & Son Funeral Home
Service: Wednesday, June 28 at 10 am at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church
Interment: St. Joseph Cemetery in Cecilia

Allen Teddy Conlay
April 24, 1926 – June 26, 2017
Visitation: Friday, June 30 from 5-8 pm at Blanchard-St Denis Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, July 1 at 10 am at Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home
Interment: Cypress Creek Church Cemetery near Dodson

Vernon Carol Vines
June 16, 1955 – June 24, 2017
Visitation: Wednesday, June 28 from 10 am – 3 pm
Service: Wednesday, June 28 at 3 pm at Hurricane Creek Baptist Church of Dodson
Interment: Hurricane Creek Cemetery

Mr. James Earl “Bluster” Hoover
February 17, 1965 – June 23, 2017
Visitation: Saturday, July 1 from 9-11 am at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, July 1 at 11 am in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: St. Savior Baptist Church (Cane River) Cemetery

Joyce Renee Brister
September 3, 1956 – June 21, 2017
Service: Wednesday, June 28 at 10 am at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home in Natchitoches
Interment: Provencal Cemetery in Provencal

Dawn Brouillette
March 2, 1964 – June 24, 2017
Visitation: Thursday, June 29 from 5-8 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Rita Mae Parish Doolittle
November 7, 1928 – June 18, 2017
Service: Wednesday, June 28 at 3 pm in the chapel of Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Interment: Lambert Town Cemetery in Robeline

Act now or speak no evil later


It’s time for Natchitoches parish residents to take action. Councilman Doug de Graffenried spoke to the Walter P Ledet Coffee Club June 28. An ordinance was introduced at the Parish Council meeting June 20 that would create four new road districts.

The Parish isn’t hiding or misspending road revenue; it’s just not there. So it’s become a matter for the voters to take action or, or stop condemning the Parish government and its highway department for things that are beyond their command. The Parish is facing a $132 million problem to fix all the roads in its system.

If residents approve the creation of these new road districts, they will be assessed a 15 mill property tax. Over 10 years this tax would generate $34 million parish-wide. The money generated by this tax would only be spent in the area it was generated in. So any districts that don’t get approved would only have the money from the general highway fund and the road district 40 fund.

The districts that are approved will have over 80 percent of potential tax revenue in each road district, which would be available in 2018 (that’s $26 million to use on the roads).

The road districts would include the following wards:
1 – ward 1 (excluding incorporated City limits)
2 – wards 2,3 and 4
3 – wards 5,6,7 and 8
4 – wards 9 and 10

“This is just one of those responsibilities of owning property,” said Doug. “It’s an expensive proposition to fix the roads right.”


Tax Districts for 1-4 2017

NOTE:  The new tax districts follow the lines of WARDS 1 through 10.   That is the way the parish tax records are kept.

Bulletproofed for the summer


The summer heat is coming, and what do you depend on? Your Air Conditioner! You want to make sure you don’t have any breakdowns this summer and save money on your power bill! According to national statistics your air conditioner is responsible for 65% of your electric bill! How do you keep your house cool and comfortable?

Josh Axsom, manager with AxsomAir said “This time of year it is really important to have your entire AC unit checked out by a knowledgeable professional. It is much better to find any issue with your system before it breaks down and leaves you hot and miserable trying to get service during the busiest time of the year.”

AxsomAir offers “the $59 Bulletproof Special!” which comes with a NO BREAKDOWN GUARANTEE! That means our SuperTechs will thoroughly inspect your system to determine if it is in good working order before the hotter weather gets here following a 31 point checklist. If you follow our recommendations for your AC, we guarantee it will perform without trouble through the summer…or we will give you your $59 back.

Josh Axsom also advised “a simple cleaning and tune up of your AC can reduce electrical usage by 35%! We also recommend you change your air filters once a month to keep a clean less restricted air flow through your system.”

Your friends at AxsomAir are ready to help and get you “Bulletproofed” for the summer heat! Call 352-7777 to schedule your inspection and remember the NO BREAKDOWN GUARANTEE!

Paid Advertising



City Marshal Randy Williams wanted to inform the following people that they have outstanding bench warrants through the Natchitoches City Marshal’s Office. The names on this list did not pay their fines in full nor did they return to court on the court date they were sentenced to by City Court Judge Gahagan. These individuals will need to clear up their fines and bench warrant fees at the City Marshal’s Office located at 373 Second St. to stop any further actions:

Tommy Hayes, 1219 Virginia Ave, Natch, La – TBS
Latoya Finister, 500 North St #28, Natch, La – DP
Susan Johnson, 915 MLK Dr, Natch, La – TBS
Shumichael Moore, 233 Cherrie Loop, Natch, La – Exp MVI, NSB, TBS
Breonne Rainey, 216 Pierson, Natch, La – DP
Courtney Telsee, 708 Brahma St, Natch, La – No Insurance
Sarah Zeringue, 414 Sibley St, Natch, La – Obstructing Public Passages
Devonte Aaron, 845 Posey Rd/517 Sanford, Natch, La – (2) No DL, NSB
Vivan Clark, 190 Sorgee Rd, Natch, La – DWI, No Brake Lights, NCR
Marilyn Essex, 312 Howell St, Natch, La – Exp MVI
Krystle Gates, University Columns #511, Natch, La – TBS
Shaquita King, 806 Fifth St, Natch, La – (2) DP, Unlicensed Driver
Breana Brown, University Columns #511, Natch, La – TBS
Christopher Washington, 142 Washington Rd, Natch, La – LM, No DL
Erica Spearman, 1319 Philips St Apt 1, Natch, La – TBS
Nicole Pikes, 1318 Henderson, Winnfield, La – TBS
Calvin Newton, 728 4th St, Natch, La – Follow too Close
Anthony Jefferson, 1226 Phillips St, Natch, La – Remaining on Premises
Fredrick Anthony, 1501 Amulet St, Natch, La – DP
Mikal Zeno, 1815 South Dr Lot 1312, Natch, La – No DL
Katrice Brimsey, 500 North St K-4, Natch, La – Exp MVI

Trial (T):
Christine Charles, 2115 Winnona, Natch, La – Remaining on Premises
Dezerey Johnson, 804 6th St, Natch, La – (2) Criminal Mischief, DP, Improper Lights, Unlicensed Driver
Joseph Scott, 3800 University Pkwy, Natch, La– Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
Raven Vessell, NSU P.O Box 5106, Natch, La – SPOM
Josquin Duncan, 1413 Holmes St, Natch, La – TBS
Cory Lyons, 154 Miller Dr, Natch, La – SPOM

Paid Advertising

Dixie Darlings take fourth place at District 7 Tournament 

Dixie Darlings

The 2017 Dixie Darlings Natchitoches All Stars took 4th place in the District 7 Tournament this past week in Jena. On front row from left are Chloe Methvin, JG Riggs, Emme Errington, Maggie Sampey, Brilee Metoyer, Annalise Newton, Bayla Procell, Raychel Wilson, and Audrey Matt. On back row are Brooklyn Smith, Miracle, and Faith Phanor. Not Pictured are Head Coach Kristen Procell, Jeremy and Joni Riggs, and Josh Sampey.

Yes, God Surely Must Have Been on George Washington’s Side

joedarbyBy Joe Darby

I was watching a program on the American Revolutionary War the other day when I was reminded of what I think is one of the most extraordinary yet little known incidents in American history.

I want to tell you what happened.  But first, I must say that for many years I was a skeptic and didn’t go to church.  One of the things that helped get me back in the fold was my study of history.  It just became obvious that at many crucial moments in history, divine intervention was pretty evident.

I could cite stories from World War II and the Civil War, too.  You know, if some Confederate officer hadn’t lost a copy of Robert E. Lee’s secret battle orders, found by Union troops in Maryland in 1862, Lee would very likely have beaten the slow moving Yankee Gen. George McClellan and would have taken Washington D.C.  But, as painful as it may be to many Southerners, it’s pretty clear the north was intended to win the war and end slavery.

But I want to concentrate on what happened to George Washington and his army in the momentous summer of 1776.  First let’s set the scene.  Washington himself had miraculously escaped death on more than one occasion.  On a military expedition in the French and Indian War, he ended up with his coat just full of bullet holes and had a horse or two shot out from under him.  But the future leader of America was untouched.  Another time a British sniper had Washington in his sights, but the general had his back to the gunman, who thought it would be unsporting to shoot a man in the back.  It’s obvious that this man was meant to live on.

Now, to the summer of ’76.  The British had skedaddled out of Boston after they took very heavy losses at Bunker Hill and Washington had managed to place artillery on hills all around the town.

So the Brits left Beantown to the Americans and retreated to Nova Scotia to rest, refit and get reinforced.  Then, they moved on New York City.

On Aug. 22, just seven weeks after the colonies had declared their independence, 15,000 seasoned British troops began landing on Long Island.  To make a long story short, they overwhelmed Washington’s inexperienced troops in the Battle of Brooklyn and pinned Washington and his army with their backs to the East River.  If Washington and the Continental Army were captured or destroyed, it would all be over.  No independent United States.

Gen. Richard Howe could almost certainly have taken the Americans on Aug. 29, but he said, in effect, “Well, we can wait until tomorrow to get ’em.”  Miracle No. 1.

So Washington knows he has to evacuate his 9,500 men to Manhattan, a difficult task at best.  He had his men gather every boat, barge and sloop in the area and at first dark, a group of watermen-soldiers from Marblehead, Mass., began ferrying the Americans over to Manhattan.

The British had planned to sail their deadly ships of the line up the East River and shell Washington’s troops into oblivion.  But, lo and behold a very strong northerly wind comes up, keeping the ships out of the river.  Miracle No. 2

Then, as dawn approached, many men remained to be ferried across the river.  And of course Washington would be the last to go so he was very vulnerable.

Well, for some reason, a heavy fog comes drifting in, completely hiding the evacuation of the last of the Americans — and the general himself.  Guess when the fog lifted.  Just when the evacuation was completed.  Miracle No. 3.

Just lucky coincidences, some say.  Perhaps.  But that fog lasting until the ferrying was just over is enough evidence for me.

Crises remained for Washington to overcome.  He and his army ended up being driven out of Manhattan, with the loss of many men, and they retreated down to New Jersey, with it appearing that all might be lost after all.  But then this indispensable man crossed the Delaware River, won battles at Trenton and Princeton and put a whole new life and spirit into the Patriot cause.

Five years later, with the crucial help of French troops, he captured a whole British army at Yorktown.  And the rest, as they say, is history.  And this story, as I said, helped get yours truly back to church on Sundays.

Tips for enjoying a safe summer

Summer Safety Velocity 062017

It’s summer once again, time to trade in heavy coats and wool scarfs for shorts, sandals, and sunglasses.  Summer is a wonderful way to enjoy the company of family and friends in the warm and inviting venues of the deep south while hiking, camping, exercising or heading out to your favorite beach or lake.  Follow these important tips to avoid unpleasant events that could arise during summertime activities.

Dehydration: Bring adequate amounts of healthy liquids on outings. Bottled water and sports drinks replenish important electrolytes, an absolute necessity when spending time outdoors.  Sun, wind and high humidity conditions contribute to increased sweating which can cause dehydration. Alcoholic beverages increase the rate of body fluid loss, so drink in moderation. If you feel flushed, weak or disoriented after being outside seek immediate medical treatment. These symptoms can be a sign of a serious medical condition.

Sunburn:  You should never leave home without sunblock. Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or greater is recommended.  SPF 50 should be applied to the face, especially in young children and those more susceptible to sun damage.  Repeated sunburns are linked to certain types of skin cancers. Even “water proof” sunscreens should be allowed to dry completely on the skin before entering the water. Repeat application is recommended after several hours. If you’re sunburned, DO NOT apply drying agents such as alcohol, mentholated liquids, or butter.  Aloe based gels and creams are recommended. Some products come with topical lidocaine, which helps with temporary pain relief.  Motrin or Tylenol by mouth can also help ease discomfort.  A sever burn or a burn over a large surface area should be examined by a medical professional immediately.

Insect Stings:  Bites and stings are inevitable.  Most can be treated at home using antihistamine creams or lotions such as Benadryl or other similar over-the-counter products.  Wasp stings to the face, neck, or the ends of fingers or toes should be examined by a medical professional (particularly if significant swelling occurs).  In rare instances bites or stings can precipitate a life threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylactic shock.  This condition is a true emergency and 911 should be contacted immediately.  Symptoms of anaphylactic shock include rapid pulse, difficulty breathing, flushing of the skin, decreased consciousness, and profuse sweating.  Early intervention by paramedics can mean the difference between life and death.

Bumps, bruises and lacerations: Summer activities increase the risk of accidents ranging from small scraps, cuts and bruises to major traumatic injuries. Minor scraps (abrasions) can be treated with a store bought antibacterial ointment or spray such as Bactine or Neosporin.  Cuts (lacerations) should be evaluated by a medical professional to determine if stitches or staples are needed. Most lay persons are familiar with the technique of medical personnel using “super glue” to close shallow wounds.  THE GLUE USED IN MEDICAL FACILITIES IS DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY FOR WOUND CLOSURE.  INDUSTRIAL GRADE SUPER GLUE AND SIMILAR PRODUCTS CAN BE HARMFUL AND TOXIC TO THE SKIN. SERIOUS COMPLICATIONS ARISE WHEN WOUND CLOSURE WITH INDUSTRIAL GLUE OCCURS IN-HOME WITHOUT MEDICAL INTERVENTION.

Blunt trauma to the limbs (falls, direct blows with a baseball, bat, or collisions with immovable objects) can result in broken bones (fractures).  Anyone experiencing such an event should be evaluated by a medical professional.  The potential for fractures is high with certain traumatic events.  If swelling, decreased function, deformity or significant pain is present after an accident, medical care should be sought immediately.  X rays will determine the presence or absence of a fracture.  Keep the limb immobilized and elevated until you reach a medical facility.

Final points to consider: Summer outings can bring some of the most endearing memories for families to cherish.  Practicing safety and responsibility is the hallmark of joyful activities.  Have an awesome and relaxing summer, and enjoy all the wonderful things Louisiana has to offer!

If you have any questions contact Velocity Urgent Treatment Center and speak with a Health Care provider.

Paid Advertising

Notice of Death – June 29, 2017

Notice of Death 2017

Allen Teddy Conlay

April 24, 1926 – June 26, 2017
Visitation: Friday, June 30 from 5-8 pm at Blanchard-St Denis Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, July 1 at 10 am at Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home
Interment: Cypress Creek Church Cemetery near Dodson

Mr. James Earl “Bluster” Hoover
February 17, 1965 – June 23, 2017
Visitation: Saturday, July 1 from 9-11 am at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, July 1 at 11 am in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: St. Savior Baptist Church (Cane River) Cemetery

Dawn Brouillette
March 2, 1964 – June 24, 2017
Visitation: Thursday, June 29 from 5-8 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home


A bridge between progress and peace of mind

Bridge dividesA

Diane Dodd is worried about how the Highland Park Road Bridge Project could affect her property. She bought a piece of property at 1128 Williams from the Sibley family. Diane retired from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and moved to Natchitoches where her family is from. With deep roots in the Creole community, she said she always knew she wanted to retire on Cane River. She is currently building her dream home on Williams Avenue, despite the dark cloud looming overhead.

Unfortunately, she was unaware of the history of the lot, as it was considered as a site for a temporary bridge location.

In January, 2016 the City tried to execute an “option to purchase” for nine months for the property. When residents showed up to oppose the ordinance, the Council voted it down. In December, the Council voted down a resolution to commit funding for the Highland Park Road Bridge Project.

Brandi Bradford, a Williams Avenue resident, spoke before the City Council at its meeting June 26. Bradford lives next to the proposed site of a temporary bridge construction while Church Street Bridge is replaced. She voiced her concern over the impact the bridge would have on the safety and overall quality of life in the neighborhood.

Mayor Lee Posey said that it hasn’t yet been determined where the bridge will go and wherever it ends up, it will be a temporary bridge at best. However, he voiced his own opposition to putting a temporary bridge on the north side of the Church Street Bridge because he feels it would be detrimental to the downtown area.

According to DOTD, the environmental study process began in May and should take two years to complete. It’s so early in the process that there’s still no proposed location for a bridge, temporary or otherwise. DOTD is still a ways out from making any definitive decisions on possible bridge locations.

Alternatives haven’t officially been presented tot he public and there will be meetings to do so. It may not be for several more months or even a year from now, but the public will be given the opportunity to review proposals and give input.

Resident Bray Williams emailed a group of homeowners on Williams earlier this month concerning a “solicitation of views” letter he received from the Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD). DOTD is asking for the public to submit comments by July 7 (SEE DOCUMENTS BELOW).

Bradford said she feels there’s a discrepancy between DOTD project documents and what the residents are being told at Council meetings.

“If you read a Capital Outlay request from the City from October (SEE DOCUMENT BELOW) the description of the bridge is of a permanent one,” said Bradford. “All we’re asking is that the City ask DOTD to hold off on its July 7 deadline so a few alternative sites can be added to the environmental process.”

Williams said he fears that through all the talk of a temporary bridge, there’s no documentation that says as much. “I feel like this was never not intended to be a permanent bridge,” he said.”I’m against progress for progress’ sake. This seems to be a short-sighted solution.”

Council member Eddie Harrington said he doesn’t think a permanent bridge would need to remain after the Church Street bridge is expanded. What’s concerning is that, moving forward, DOTD paperwork describes the project as a permanent bridge construction.

Bradford said she’s talked to a few downtown business owners who are more concerned with the idea of a fourth bridge taking traffic away from the downtown area. She thinks more people need to be involved in discussions with DOTD to find more viable options, like building a bridge from Touline to the east side of the riverbank off of Williams Avenue.

“Putting a bridge in this location wouldn’t affect any homes and there’s already a fair amount of traffic in these areas,” she said. “This is better than bringing traffic into our residential area. We feel that because no other options are being considered, we’re being railroaded here. Otherwise this process is a waste of time and tax payer dollars in the long run. There are other options that won’t affect anyone’s property.”

DOTD 6-6-17 – North Williams Bridge Project

Capital Outlay Request Highland Park Road Bridge Project

Resolution 104 – complete copy




Parish President Rick Nowlin has announced the appointment of Mr. David Kees, Jr. to the position of Executive Assistant to the President of Natchitoches Parish.

Mr. Kees comes to the parish administration after spending nearly four years as a loan officer at Bank of Montgomery.

Prior to working for Bank of Montgomery, Mr. Kees was an office representative for a State Farm agent in Shreveport, a group service associate for the New Orleans Hornets, and a ticket office intern for the Texas Rangers.

In his announcement, President Nowlin stated that Mr. Kees has the professional and administrative qualifications to serve as his Executive Assistant, and that he is pleased that he accepted the offer to join the parish administration.

Mr. Kees stated that he is excited about serving the citizens of Natchitoches Parish by working with Mr. Nowlin and the Parish Council.

Mr. Kees, a native of Natchitoches, received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Centenary College of Louisiana in 2007, and his Masters of Science degree in Sport Administration from Nortwestern State University in 2010. He began his service as Executive Assistant on June 26, 2017.

PRESS RELEASE: June 28, 2017