Notice of Death – June 28, 2017

Notice of Death 2017

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

Conine named interim VP for the student experience, dean of students at NSU


Frances Conine

Frances Conine has been named interim vice president for the student experience and dean of students at Northwestern State University effective July 3. The appointment is subject to approval for the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System and will be through June 30, 2018.

Conine has served as dean of students for the past four years. She will lead the Offices of Admissions, Recruiting, Financial Aid, Student Activities and Organizations, First Year Experience and Leadership Development, Judicial Services, Counseling and Career Services, Student Life, the Student Activities Board, Student Government Association, Greek Life, Health Services, Disability Services and Student Support Services.

“Frances has been at the forefront of our efforts to provide effective, meaningful services to students,” said Northwestern President Dr. Chris Maggio. “Her depth of knowledge about all areas that go into shaping the student experience will be valuable. She will provide outstanding leadership as we search for a permanent vice president.”

Conine said she would work to continue Northwestern’s State pattern of enrollment growth and increases in retention and graduation rates,

“My goals as interim vice president will be to focus on strategic planning, recruiting and retention, and supporting the great staff we have to reach their goals,” said Conine. “Access to higher education and student advocacy will continue to be my focus. As dean of students my goals have been to promote diversity and inclusion, to promote healthy life styles (particularly mental health) among out students, and to fulfill our obligations to Title IX and other legally mandated programs in higher education.”

Conine has been at Northwestern State since 1981, serving as coordinator of the College Success Program and educational coordinator of NSU’s Central Louisiana programs from 1986 to 1989. She was director of counseling and career services from 1989 to 1998, director of student services and judicial affairs from 1998 to 2011. In 2011, Conine was named executive director of student development and student conduct. She has been an adjunct faculty member in the College of Education and Human Development since 1996 and teaches University Studies each semester.

In 2004-05, Conine was selected as president of the Louisiana Association of College and University Student Personnel Administrators. She received the Air National Guard Center of Influence Award in 2010 for her influence on a member of the guard or their family during a deployment.

As dean of students, Conine helped launch NSU’s Center for Inclusion and Diversity. She has overseen efforts to ensure compliance with state and local laws regarding Title IX by implementing campus wide training, conducting climate surveys and developing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Natchitoches community and rewritten policy.

Under her leadership, Northwestern State created an Office of Student Accountability and Advocacy to help students understand rules and regulations and see that policies are clearly articulated.

Conine received a bachelor’s degree in sociology at Auburn University and a master’s of education from Delta State University.

Mobile Market and Portable Park Inaugural Season

Park and market

Join the City of Natchitoches for its inaugural season of the Mobile Market and Portable Park, which will be open to the public from 3:30-5:30 pm every Tuesday at Pierson and Mallett Park (701 East Fifth St.) and every Thursday at Ben Johnson Park (616 MLK Dr.) from June 6 – Aug. 24, with the exception of the July 4 holiday.

The mobile market will sell local, fresh produce; with many of the produce being grown in Natchitoches’ very own Community Garden. Community members young and old are encouraged to take advantage of the convenience of shopping for fruits and vegetables in their neighborhood or a neighborhood near them. For more information on the Mobile Market please contact Valerie Balthazar at (318) 328-4211.

Portable Park will offer a variety of games and activities designed to get children up and moving. Through games and activities the Portable Park will offer all ages the opportunity to learn new skills and tips on how to live a healthy, active lifestyle. Portable Park will be free of charge for anyone wanting to participate. For more information on Portable Park please call Brett Rodriguez at (318) 238-5490.

These projects are funded by a Healthy Behaviors Program Grant from The Rapides Foundation.

NPSO arrests Red River Parish woman on felony drug charges

NPSO-Casey Davis 2017

A Red River Parish woman on probation was arrested on felony drug charges by Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies during a traffic stop near Campti June 23 according to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.

NPSO Patrol Division stopped a 2009 Dodge pickup truck Friday afternoon on US-71 north of Campti for a traffic violation. They observed suspicious movement in the vehicle.

Deputies learned during a criminal background check, that the driver (identified as Casey L. Davis, 35 of the 700 block of US-71 in Coushatta) was on felony probation due to a prior felony narcotics conviction. Davis appeared uneasy, and with the prior suspicious movements in the vehicle deputies believed criminal activity existed.

During a search of the vehicle, deputies seized a small bag containing suspected methamphetamine, thirteen suspected alprazolam narcotic pills, syringes, and drug paraphernalia.

Deputies arrested Davis and transported her to the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center for booking. A female correctional officer conducted a search of Davis’ person, discovering a bag containing suspected methamphetamine concealed in her under garments.

Davis was charged with Possession of CDS Schedule II Methampetamine-2nd Offense, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Introduction of Contraband into a Penal Institution and Probation Violation. She awaits bond to be set, however, she also has a probation hold.

The seized narcotics will be submitted to the crime lab for analysis. Deputies say approximately 3-grams of suspected methamphetamine was seized. The vehicle was towed by a local wrecker service. Deputies say while interviewing Davis, she confessed to ownership of the seized narcotics. Involved in the arrest were: Deputies J. Augustus and S. Axsom assisted by Detective C. LaCour.

City Council learns about infrastructure upgrades in Natchitoches

City Council June 26 2017


The City Council held a public hearing at its meeting June 26 to discuss Water System Improvements and utility infrastructure upgrades. City Utility Director Charles Brossette presented Council members with a report on recent, ongoing and future upgrades in Natchitoches. Two of the upgrades were voted on by the Council.

Water Plant:
Treatment plant #2 scraper drive rebuild
Treatment plant #3 filter bay rehabilitation
Install influent and effluent flow meters to track and reduce water loss
Install backwash clarifier for all plants to reduce sludge discharge
Continued sludge removal at Chaplains Lake
Replacement of Lime feeder hoppers
Rehabilitation of Sibley Lake intake structure to repair cracks and install gates to better facilitate cleaning and future maintenance. Gates will allow water plant to better prepare for lake stratification (turn-over) by adjusting water intake depth.

Electrical Distribution:
Replaced underground primary cable and transformers on Hancock and Watson and at JW Thomas apartments
Built new distribution line on Hwy. 478 to I-49
Installed new underground primary cable and transformers in Bell Harbor and Country Club Estates subdivisions
Replaced underground primary cable and transformers on Parkway
Installed new distribution line to 911 Center on Public Safety Way
Install new 69KV breakers at Bypass, Hwy. 1 South, and Sibley Lake substations to facilitate ring bus feed
Replace overhead distribution system on Second and Amulet to underground
Convert Adelaide, Sirod and Henry from overhead to underground distribution

Water Distribution by Street:
Payne – replace 2” galvanized line with 6” PVC from Lake – Amulet
Pierson – please 1”/2” galv. with 6” PVC from Lake – Levy
Jordan – replace 1” galv. with 6” PVC from Pavie to Lafayette
Salim – replace 2” galv. with 8” PVC from Lafayette – Hill
Julia – replace 2” galv. with 6” PVC from Amulet – Lake
Holmes, Silver and Northern – replace 2” galv. with 6” PVC
Genti and Railroad – replace 2” galv. with 6” PVC
Hampton – replace 2” galv. with 4” PVC on East end
Robbins – replace 2” galv. with 8” PVC from University – Bossier
Roy – replace 2” galv. with 8” PVC from North Fifth – end
Behan – replace 2” galv. with 3” PVC from University – Bossier
Holmes Street – replace 2” galv. with 6” PVC from Stella – Amelia
12” line crossing Cane River from Jefferson – Williams at Keyser
Public Safety Way – install 400’ of 8” PVC and hydrant
Second Street – replace 6” galv. with 12” PVC from Lafayette – St. Denis

Sewer Collection:
Citywide manhole rehabilitation – Hwy. 1 South, Mill, Fairground, Amulet, Mandell, Welch, Hwy. 1 Bypass by Alliance Compressors, Culbertson, Corner of Grayson and Koonce, Mill (in front of the Fort), and more
Marylyn – lift station rehabilitation
Rapides – lift station replacement/enlargements
Martin – Replace force main (possibly bigger pumps)
Hwy. 1 Bypass – replace floor at lift station by Clayton Homes
Rehab Grand Ecore lift station
Public Safety Way – install 400’ of new 6” sewer line (911 Center)
New master lift station

Wastewater Plant:
Replacement of surge basin diversion gate
Replacement of bar screen conveyor
Repair thickener #2 rake drive reduction gear housing
Rehabilitation of effluent UV lights
Replacement of back-up generator fuel tank

Agenda items for the Council meeting included:
Award bid for two pulse fault interrupter, upright cross arm model, non-disconnect style

Approve Acquisition of a lot on the west side of Fifth Street from Rena Mae Thomas Clark for $34,500

INTRO – Award bid for the master lift station replacement (FY 2016 LCDBG: Sewer Rehabilitation)

INTRO – Award bid for raw water pump structure rehabilitation phase 2 for Sibley Lake
Approve application for grant funds from the FHWA Recreational Trails Program for Louisiana

Execute change order No. 3 to the contract between the City and Pat Williams Construction for the Rue Beauport Riverfront Project

NSU business students spend summer working as CSRA interns

CSRA Interns 2017

Students from Northwestern State University’s School of Business are working as interns this summer at CSRA’s Bossier City facility.  CSRA is an information technology services company that provides IT services to U.S. government clients in national security, civil government and health care and public health. From left are Spencer Sepulvado, Trevor Landreneau, Bruce Schimmel, Marquise Foster, Jessie Gabor, Jeremy David Jones and Brendan Gentry.  Gabor is a recent NSU graduate working in the external affairs office.  The other interns are current students in NSU’s Computer Information Systems program and are working with apps development and program control.  The 10-week summer program allows CSRA interns to gain hands on experience in the field of their interest. Interns also engage in a mentorship program and speaker series, volunteering activities and other fun events. The program was named a 2017 Top Internship by Vault.

Tyler Gatewood comes home

Tyler Gatewood has come home to Northwestern State University.  The incoming freshman from McKinney, Texas, plans to major in industrial engineering technology and was one of nearly 300 new students who attended Session 3 of Freshman Connection last week. Gatewood, son of NSU Alumni Tamara and Reggie Gatewood, is the oldest grandchild of the late Dr. Randall J. Webb, NSU’s longest serving-president, and Mrs. Brenda Webb of Shreveport.  In addition to orientation, class registration, advising and learning about campus life, Gatewood, second from left, also attended a lunch for new NSU Ambassadors that included Gabby Chapman of Ville Platte, a business major; Behrend Behrendsen of Natchitoches, a computer information systems major, and Blake Cook of Hornbeck, an electrical engineering technology major.  Ambassadors are student recruiters who act as hosts at open house days and conduct campus tours.  “I grew up around campus and want to carry on a legacy that’s been going on for many years,” Gatewood said.  “I looked at other schools, but I knew I wanted to come here. It’s great to finally be part of NSU.  It’s all I imagined it to be.”

Family’s calling leads them from Natchitoches to Arkansas

Fountian of Life Family to Ark 2017

“The chair is still there.” If you were at Fountain of Life Sunday evening, June 25, you know what that means. Matthew Pagels, Youth Pastor at Fountain of Life United Pentecostal Church in Natchitoches, shared excited news of his family’s new beginnings. He and his wife and their children officially announced that their lives in Natchitoches are transitioning to Hope, Ark.

“With a heavy heart, I am resigning my position at Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home,” said Matthew. “Our calling is now bringing us to New Life United Pentecostal Church in Hope, where we were unanimously voted in June 25 as lead pastors. If I have any obligations to you in Natchitoches, whether it be a wedding or a funeral, I will fulfill that obligation. We are 2.5 hours away, so its not too far to drive. We are excited at this new chapter in our lives, and can’t wait to see what God has in store. It’s hard to say goodbye to a lifetime of friendships, but thankfully, we don’t have to. If you need us, we will be in touch. I ask for your prayers, and trust God will bless the work we have done here to make it continue and grow!! God bless you all!”

North Louisiana 9-1-1 Directors meet in Natchitoches

911 meeting 06-2017

9-1-1 Directors from across North Louisiana converged on Natchitoches June 23 for their spring meeting.  The region includes some 27 parishes bordering the Arkansas state line on the north down to Sabine Parish on the Texas border and Concordia Parish on the Mississippi  border.  The group discussed a variety of critical  9-1-1 and public safety communications issues including legislative updates, the FirstNET nationwide public safety network, GIS 9-1-1 mapping issues and the recent submission of the Statewide 9-1-1 Report, and progress on the NATCOM project.  INdigital, which is an industry leader in the development of next-generation 9-1-1 deployment and operation and providing service and support to 9-1-1 systems across the United States also provided information on their systems and services.

Willis Carter, 9-1-1 Director for Natchitoches Parish, said that the severe weather that hit the area on last Friday was responsible for the lower than usual turnout, but he expressed appreciation to Mayor Lee Posey, and 9-1-1 Commission Chairman Micky Dove for offering a warm welcome to the group.  The next quarterly meeting will be in Madison Parish, the date, and time to be determined.

CAPA students spend summer performing professionally

TEXAS cast CAPA 2017.png
Patrons of Northwestern State University’s theatre program laughed along with the cast of “Nunsense II,” this year’s Summer Dinner Theatre production, but during the summer, many other students from the School of Creative and Performing Arts travel around the country and the world showcasing their talent.

More than 35 NSU students are participating in summer productions as close as Shreveport and as far away as Germany.

NSU has established itself as a fertile recruiting ground for companies and theatres looking for quality summer personnel, said Scott Burrell, head of NSU’s Department of Theatre and Dance.

“Cedar Point, the famous amusement park in Ohio, came to Natchitoches to interview students for their entertainment division and hired a number of ours,” Burrell said. “Other than Disney, Cedar Point is the largest operation like that in the country. It shows how talented our students are to secure those spots.”

Those working at the Sandusky, Ohio, amusement park include singer/dancer Marissa McMickens, vocalist/musician Jenna Blayke Cornett and audio technicians Myra Martinez and Briana Acosta.

Maddie Fry and Jesse Kortus will be crossing an ocean to work in Hamburg, Germany, at the International Performing Arts Institute Musical Theatre.

Three more Demons will make their way to New York as a costume designer (Mary Reed), intern (Luke Raines) and props artist (Lauren Guilliot).

A handful of students will take to the outdoors as participants in TEXAS Outdoor Musical in Canyon, Texas. Dancers include Charles Anderson Jr., Jayzen Boger, Taylor Young, Joey Carroll and Asher Van Meter.

“These students always show out, and we get feedback on how well they did and on how well they are trained,” Burrell said.

Christopher Davidson is a co-stage manager and props designer at the Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre.

Two students (Elizabeth Jones and Emma Rivet) will have tales to tell after their summer at the Canterbury Summer Theatre in Michigan City, Indiana.

Jones and Rivet won’t be far from Indiana counterpart Madalyn Mullins, who will be a props assistant in New Harmony, Indiana.

Savannah Thibodeaux will be a little south as a production stage manager in Prestonburg, Ky.

Several more jetted for the mid-East Coast to places like Flat Rock, North Carolina (Jhalon Thomas) and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware (Dwight Robinette).

The rest will work in theatres in Louisiana and Mississippi with the majority finding roles at Shreveport’s Little Theatre.

Many student musicians are traveling and performing as well.  Jolie Gonzales Masmela
will participate in the Miami Music Festival over three weeks June 28th – July 18.

“I was accepted as a participant in the Conducting Institute, so, I will be in the conducting workshop,” Masmela said.  “As a participant, I will be in intensive master classes with world-renowned teaching artists such as the great Maestro David Effron. We will have orchestral reading with Miami Music Festival Opera Orchestra, daily class sessions and we will perform an orchestral concert to be held July 14.”

A contingency of music and dance students, Francisco Ballestas, Ronald Rodriguez, Alanna Benoit, Chelsey Goldsmith, Logan Terrell, Luis Osorio and Addison Pellegrino, conducted masterclasses during a residency in Cartagena, Colombia, and performed in a sold out recital in Cartagena’s oldest theatre.

Burrell said no matter how far a student travels, summer experience is essential to landing professional jobs upon graduation.

“You want to leave here with resume credits,” Burrell said. “You can put that you have a degree on your resume, but that’s not going to cut it.

“Whether you’re doing shows here or shows elsewhere professionally, people want to know what experience you have on stage or back stage.”

For more information on NSU’s School of Creative and Performing Arts, degree programs and local performance schedules, visit

FUMC Service Spotlight: Nancy Peace

Nancy Peace FUMC 2017

First United Methodist Church in Natchitoches is excited Nancy Peace is back on the church staff. Nancy was the youth director at FUMC from 1984-1988. Her youth lovingly named her Mama Peace. Whenever you talk to her and she starts talking, 90 percent of the time the person she is talking about was in her youth group. She clearly has had a huge impact on many youth in the Natchitoches community and in the church. So clearly she’s going to be a huge asset to FUMC.

Nancy is a graduate of LSU in recreational therapy. While working at the Fort Polk hospital she met her husband Phillip. The lived in many cities and have two children Brad and Mandy. Nancy worked as a recreational therapist, teachers aide for the hearing impaired, and most recently retired from her family’s carpet business.

When asked why she likes to serve the church Nancy said, “This church has nurtured and blessed my family and provided a wonderful place to grow in our faith. We experienced love and support in good times and in times of loss. I feel part of every brick and feel every brick is part of me. Being able to serve this church is an honor. It feels like home.”

Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival set for July 14-15

Folk Festival crafts 2017


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.

“The 2017 Festival theme ‘Keeping Tradition Alive!’ celebrates the ways in which so many outstanding artists young and old are tapping into the power and artistry of the old ways, revitalizing and reimagining tradition as they make it their own,” said Dr. Shane Rasmussen, director of the Folk Festival and the Louisiana Folklife Festival at NSU.  “As the artists taking part in the 2017 Festival demonstrate, Louisiana folk culture is vibrant and diverse.”

The Southeast Tourism Society has named the 38th annual Natchitoches-Northwestern State University Folk Festival one of the STS Top 20 Events in the Southeast for July 2017.

The folk music of many culture groups will be featured, with Cajun music by Ray Abshire and Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, French Creole la la music by Goldman Thibodeaux and the Lawtell Playboys, Zydeco by Gerard Delafose and the Zydeco Gators and Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience, traditional Delta tunes by the Back Porch Band, bluegrass by the Clancey Ferguson Band, Texas swing by the Caddo Creek Band, and blues by Hezekiah and the Houserockers, the Wayne “Blue” Burns Band and Ed Huey.

Saturday’s activities include three stages of live music, Cajun dance lessons, dancing, narrative sessions, KidFest, a Cajun accordion workshop, and traditional crafts. Outside demonstrations include blacksmithing, working cattle dogs and horseshoeing. Traditional crafts such as wood carving, Czech Pysanky eggs, Spanish moss dolls, pine needle baskets and handmade furniture will be exhibited on Saturday only, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in Prather Coliseum.

Narrative sessions will be held throughout the day in the N-Club Room in Prather Coliseum covering topics including St. Joseph altars, country music in the Delta, the cajun accordion, Choctaw-Apache foodways, Choctaw wedding traditions in the Delta, blues in the Delta, preserving Delta material culture and zydeco traditions.

The Annual Louisiana State Fiddle Championship will be on Saturday, July 15 starting at 1 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall on the NSU campus. Late registration will be at noon. Fiddlers from around the state will compete for cash prizes in the championship and non-championship divisions.

Support for the Festival is provided by grants from the Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc., the Louisiana Division of the Arts Decentralized Arts Fund Program, the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lower Mississippi Delta Initiative of the National Park Service, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and Foundation, the Shreveport Regional Arts Council, the City of Natchitoches, the Natchitoches Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and Cleco.

For more information about the Festival or the Louisiana State Fiddle Championship, contact the Louisiana Folklife Center at or (318) 357-4332. For more information about Natchitoches, contact the Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 259-1714.

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Notice of Death – June 27, 2017

Notice of Death 2017

Johnny Issac Lincecum
August 8, 1941 – June 24, 2017
Service: Tuesday, June 27 at 2 pm at Jena First Baptist Church
Interment: Lincecum Baptist Church Cemetery in Georgetown

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

Dr. Melvin Henry Stevens
October 17, 1923 – June 23, 2017
Visitation: Tuesday, June 27 from 1-2 pm at Christian Outreach Center
Service: Tuesday, June 27 at 2 pm at Christian Outreach Center in Natchitoches
Interment: Wednesday, June 28 at 2 pm at Woodmen Cemetery in DeKalb, TX

Rita Mae Parish Doolittle
November 7, 1928 – June 18, 2017
Visitation: Tuesday, June 27 from 6-8 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Service: Wednesday, June 28 at 3 pm in the chapel of Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Interment: Lambert Town Cemetery in Robeline

Joyce Renee Brister
September 3, 1956 – June 21, 2017
Visitation: Tuesday, June 27 from 5-8 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Service: Wednesday, June 28 at 10 am at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home in Natchitoches
Interment: Provencal Cemetery in Provencal