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.

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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


Parish landfill will close for July 4

TrashBagsNatchitoches Parish President Rick Nowlin announces that the Parish Landfill on Highway 1 North, as well as the compactor stations and enclosed bin sites Parish-wide, will be closed on Tuesday, July 4, in order to allow Parish employees to celebrate the Independence Day holiday.

All of these sites will re-open during their regular operating hours on Wednesday, July 5, 2017.

New President begins his term for Natchitoches Rotary Club

Rotary June 27_03901001

At the June 27 Rotary Club of Natchitoches meeting, Outgoing Rotarian President Fred Terasa (2016-2017) received a Past President Pin from current Rotary President David Zolzer (2017-2018). Terasa then awarded Zolzer the New Rotary Club of Natchitoches President Pin. Zolzer awarded Richard White with the Rotary President-Elect (2018-2019) pin. Rotarian Rick Hudson received the Distinguished Rotarian Service Award from Terasa.

Photos by Dr. Ron McBride

Parish Highway Fund 101


No, it’s not a play-on-words. The Parish’s annual budget is broken out by Funds. Each Fund is assigned a number. Ironically enough, the Parish’s General Fund, which is it’s “fail-safe” fund, is assigned Number 001. I hate to admit it, but I got a good chuckle out of that.

Parish residents may once again have an opportunity to put their money where their mouth is in November should the Parish Council vote to put the election of four (4) independent road districts on the ballot. In recognition of the need for better understanding of the Parish’s budget, I offer the following crash course on the Parish’s Highway Fund:

By definition, a budget is an estimate of income and expenditures for a set period of time. That being said, it may be necessary to adjust a budget for reasons such as an unanticipated increase or decrease in funding or an unforeseen increase in expenditures due to catastrophic weather events.

The Parish Department of Public Works is funded each year by revenues from the Road District 40 ad valorem tax, transfers from the Solid Waste Sales Tax Fund, the Kisatchie National Forest payment in lieu of taxes, road royalty payments from the State, and Special Fuel Tax refund payments from the State. There may also be revenues in the Highway Fund from FEMA reimbursements, which would be considered an irregular source of revenue. FEMA revenues should not be given weight when arguing for or against additional tax. In order to receive FEMA reimbursements, the Parish must incur damages from a federally declared disaster. FEMA reimbursements are calculated on only 75% of the expenditures incurred by the Parish. The Parish is responsible for the remaining 25% of storm damage costs.

Each year, a line item budget is prepared for the operations of the Department of Public Works. The budget for Highway Fund 101 is generally broken into line items for salaries and related employee benefits, training, offices expenses, road equipment rental and maintenance expenses, road maintenance materials (rock, asphalt, etc.), and funding for capital outlay and special projects.

It is imperative that the Parish Council pass the Ordinances that create the new independent road districts and place the districts on the ballot in November for Parish residents’ consideration. If you would like more information or would like to host an informational meeting, please contact me at ddegraffenried@npgov.org. You may also contact Ms. Sheryl Frederick, the Parish Council Clerk, at (318) 352-2714 or by email at cclerk@npgov.org.

Looking for Fresh? Come to Anderson’s Produce

RRPJ-Anderson TOP-17Jun28

The cantaloupes are fresh from the field, picked today at the peak of freshness. There are big juicy delicious watermelons too! And Farmer Anderson sends word that the butter beans are now ready. It’s all waiting for you at Anderson’s Produce and Plant Farm on Highway 174 in south Red River Parish.

Farmer Jason Anderson said, “The strange weather we had this spring resulted in an abundant crop of veggies. We’re picking every day and adding fresh tomatoes, peas, pinto beans, squash, and all of your favorites to our store.” When Anderson says it is ready now, he emphasizes that the season only lasts a short time. “Now is the time to serve fresh vegetables. It is also the time to stock your freezer for the rest of the year” added Anderson.

The harvest is plentiful and the prices are great. Plus Andersons will shell the peas, pintos and butter beans for you. This service will save you a lot of time.

On Saturday, Anderson’s Produce will be at the farmers markets in Natchitoches and Shreveport. So see them there if that is more convenient for you. Their stand is open Monday through Saturday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Give Anderson’s a call at 318-932-1432. They’re located on Highway 174 half way between I-49 and LA 1.

RRPJ-Anderson BOTTOM1-17Jun28

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NHS receives donation from 1,539 miles away

NHS CT Donation 062017

Stephanie Dolan and her family, who live in Connecticut, adopted Nala from the Natchitoches Humane Society in December. Soon after Stephanie read that the NHS had 52 dogs in its care and its plea for food donations. She recently organized a fundraiser at a country club in Connecticut, 1,539 miles away from Natchitoches, to benefit the NHS.

“We were amazed and feel so honored how caring people so far away would want to help our animals,” said NHS Representative Juanita Murphy. “It made me cry when she wrote and told me what they were planning.”

Pictured are Stephanie Dolan, Pam Pendleton and Nala.

Ladies for Law Enforcement membership now open


LLE Opening 062017

Pictured from left are founding members Danielle Conde- 1 year member, Lesha Waskom Etheredge- 3 year member, Dr. Haley Blount Taitano- 2 year member, Brittani Murphy Linebaugh- 1 year member and Julie Perkins Sers- 2 year member.

As the wife of a law enforcement officer, Lesha Waskom saw a need for improving the public’s relationship with its local police forces.

She and several of her friends founded Ladies for Law Enforcement (LLE), a non-profit organization, in May. The NPSO Law Enforcement Ball will be the organization’s main event. The NPSO Honor Guard has formerly run this event, but graciously let the LLE take it under their wing.

Waskom said LLE will add events in the future, all with the goal of improving the community’s perception of law enforcement officers.

“Events we put on will give the public a chance to meet these officers outside of their uniforms,” she said. “They’ll get to see them for the people they are and not just a badge.”

Membership is now open to anyone 18 years or older. Dues are $50 per year, which includes a half-price ticket for the annual ball, a $10 t-shirt, newsletters, meetings and the opportunity to have your voice heard in support of law enforcement. The first official meeting will be held in August (exact date TBA).

“I wanted to start at home, but I dream of it becoming bigger than Natchitoches,” she said.

Recently, the media has taken it upon themselves to be the jury and publicly convict officers themselves before any due process can be done. Instances involving altercations with police officers have become more widely viewed through social media and a few bad apples are ruining the public’s perception of anyone who wears a badge.

“Officers are being judged for the actions of a few men,” said Waskom. “But that’s not who they are. They took an oath to serve and protect and 99.9 percent of them take it seriously. It’s become more and more scary for officers themselves to go out and do their job knowing that the public’s perception of them is changing because of what they’re wearing. Seeing a large group of people come together with similar view to support our law enforcement would put more ease in my mind when I send my husband off to work.”

For more information email ladiesforlawenforcement@gmail.com or go online to https://www.ladiesforlawenforcement.com.


Chapter 17: Closing In On Captain John Winston

A fictional story by Junior Johnson

Junior Johnson - 06-2017

As the sun was going down on Cane River Captain John Winston’s two thugs were faced with a decision that could determine their lives.  They had enough of Winston’s gold to flee the area and possible safety, but the greed in them knew they might get more if they played their cards right.

When they left Robber’s Roost earlier that afternoon with a list of supplies to bring back everything seemed to be going well.  Upon seeing the crowd at the LaCaze Trading Post and hearing talk of the murdered Doctor and empty canoes that were brought in, things had changed.

They knowing if they returned with no supplies suspicion would be aroused by the outlaw leader, especially when he learned the news of the murdered Doctor.

It was decided that one of Winston’s cronies would return to the cave to steal more of Winston’s gold.  The other would scout the area and make arrangements for their getaway later that night.  He had no intention of spending any of the money on supplies.  He would wait at Antee’s Bar for his companion to return with the rest of Captain John’s gold.

Tony and John Levy’s journey to Isle Brevelle with Aiden, Dylan, and Pete had been a successful one.  After the boys told of Captain John Winston’s murderous deeds in Mississippi and Pete’s story of being kidnapped, David and Donald Roque were infuriated.  They immediately sent word to the other eight Rangers who worked the Roque Farms.

Within the hour everyone was assembled with supplies and weapons and they all returned to the Levy Plantation on CoCo Bed.  They arrived as the sun was setting on the cane fields.

Deputy Moran from Cloutierville hadn’t wasted any time either.  He had gathered 10 of his most trusted and talented men and they made camp on the riverbank between the Johnson and Lodrigue Plantation Houses.

Abslom Johnson and his son John Wesley, along with Dempsey and Harvis prepared a campsite between his and Levy’s homes, while Levy Lodrigue and the two Mississippi Deputies selected 10 volunteers from the Johnson and Lodrigue workforce to assist in the capture of Captain John Winston.

Lucille Lodrigue, along with her daughters had just finished preparing a big meal when Deputy Moran arrived with his men.

Wallace and Florine Van Sickle, along with their two oldest daughters Kay and Ginny were taking care of Reverend Cryer.  His condition had improved dramatically throughout the previous night and day, which allowed Doctor Scruggs a return trip to Cloutierville an assist his other patients.

Abslom gave his Grandson Noah the responsibility of gathering enough grain to feed the mens horses as they began to arrive.

Harold LaCaze and Andrew Hernandez asked Pershing if they could remain overnight at his Trading Post because darkness had arrived at Monett’s Ferry.  Pershing LaCaze was more than happy to accommodate.  Harold said that they would ride over to Antee’s Bar for a few drinks and hopefully get some information about the canoe owners, and the location that Captain John may be hiding.  This information they did not relate to Pershing.

After helping get the old Doctor’s body prepared for the Undertaker’s arrival, Harold and Andrew made their way to Antee’s Bar.

About the same time that one of Winston’s thugs was entering Antee’s Bar, the other thug had a big surprise waiting for him as he entered the big cave called Robber’s Roost.

Almost immediately after he entered the cave, two of the outlaw occupants jumped out behind him, and the leader of the outlaws appeared before him with a double barreled shotgun pointed directly at his head.

Reflections on Miss Louisiana Pageant

Photos and article republished courtesy of The Current Sauce
By Samantha Maiette, Reporter

Miss Louisiana Reflections

Though the 2017 Miss Louisiana Pageant is officially over and NSU contestants are not walking away with the title, the participants are leaving the experience with new friends, skills and memories that will prepare them for future endeavors.

Miss Northwestern Lady of the Bracelet Maria Rome walked the stage of Miss Louisiana 2017 for the first time this year. One of the most important lessons Rome took from her time at the pageant is to be herself, because opinions of others should not matter.

“It’s not about the competition between you and the other girls; it’s the competition between you and yourself,” Rome said.

In the next several months, Rome is looking forward to her time reigning as Lady of the Bracelet and venturing out into the community to serve others.

Miss Louisiana Port City Hannah Teutsch walked the stage of Miss Louisiana for the third time during this year’s pageant.

Teutsch and Rome’s opinions differ on whether or not to compete again in local pageants for the chance to return to the Miss Louisiana stage.

“I’m planning on competing in local pageants again to hopefully get back to Miss Louisiana,” Teutsch said. “[I want] to be even more confident in myself [so] I can just get on that stage and be better than I was before.”

Rome, on the other hand, is not totally sure about her decision to compete again.

“I’m thinking about trying to go back – maybe doing another preliminary pageant, [but] it’s not set in stone yet.”

Both Rome and Teutsch agree the Miss Louisiana Organization and their experiences helped them grow in different ways. For Rome, it was finding new friends during the pageant; for Teutsch, it was learning new ways to better prepare for life in general.

No matter what happens to these competitors in years to come, one thing is certain: their time with the Miss Louisiana Organization has created lasting memories and taught them skills that have prepared them to conquer the rest of their lives.