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?