Church St Bridge



The Louisiana Department and Transportation and Development
(DOTD) in conjunction with the Federal Highway Administration
(FHWA) is conducting a public meeting for the proposed
replacement of Cane River Bridge on Church Street Route LA 1-X
located in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. The purpose of the
public meeting is to provide information to the public and to obtain
input on the proposed project.

The meeting will follow an open house format. There will be a
continuous multi-media presentation about the project. Additional
project exhibits will be available for viewing. Representatives from
DOTD and its consultants will be at the open house to answer
questions and discuss issues related to the project. Comments
and suggestions will be invited from all interested parties to help
ensure that the study team addressed the full range of
environmental issues during the Environmental Assessment
process. Verbal comments can be recorded and written statements
can be submitted at the meeting. Written statements can also be
mailed to the address shown below, postmarked no later than
December 18, 2017, to be included in the meeting transcript.

The public meeting has been scheduled as follows:

Thursday, December 7, 2017
4:00 PM – 7:00 pm

Natchitoches Events Center, McCullen Hall B
750 2nd Street
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Should you require special assistance due to a disability in order
to participate in this public meeting, please contact DOTD
Environmental Section by telephone at (225) 242-4508, or at the
address above, at least five (5) working days prior to the public
meeting date.

Louisiana Department of Transportation
Environmental Engineer Administrator, Section 28
P.O. Box 94245
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9245


ULS Board to meet at NSU Friday


The Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System will hold its December meeting at Northwestern State University Friday, Dec. 1 at 1:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall.

The Board is the management body for nine higher education institutions: Grambling State University, Louisiana Tech University, McNeese State University, Nicholls State University, Northwestern State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, University of Louisiana at Monroe and University of New Orleans.

Members of the Board of Supervisors are Chair Alejandro “Al” Perkins, Vice Chair Mark Romero, James Carter, Dr. John Condos, Edward J. Crawford III, Lola Dunahoe, Pamela Egan, Thomas Kitchen, Jimmie “Beau” Martin Jr., Johnny McFerren, Shawn Murphy, Elizabeth Pierre, Benjamin Rice, Virgil Robinson, Robert Shreve and Winfred Sibille.

Northwestern State will have several items on the agenda for consideration including the appointment of a dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and a dean of the College of the Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development, a letter of intent for a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and a proposal to enter into a Grounds and Facilities Lease Agreement with the NSU Foundation.


Twelfth Annual Red Mass held in Natchitoches

red mass 2017 pic

The Natchitoches Parish Bar Association sponsored the Twelfth Annual Red Mass at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Church Basilica Nov. 21. Father Blake Deshautelle and Deacon John L. Whitehead officiated. Members of the Natchitoches Parish Association were involved with the mass. Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office assisted in the posting of the flags First responders from the State Police, Sheriff’s Office, Natchitoches City Police, Northwestern State Police, and the Natchitoches Fire Department presented their hats on the altar and received a special prayer. Judges and lawyers from around the State participated in the Red Mass.

Judges pictured and in attendance are:

Judge John Whitaker, Retired

Judge C. Wendell Manning, President District Judges Association

Deacon John L. Whitehead

Judge Desiree Duhon Dyess

Judge John Lee

Father Blake Deshautelle

Judge Glenn Fallin

Justice E. Joesph Bleich, Retired

Judge Fred Gahagan

Judge George Metoyer

Judge Anastasia Wiley

Judge David Deshotels

Judge Lala Brittain Sylvester

Judge Byron Hebert, Retired

Judge Eric R. Harrington, Retired

Judge Daniel J. Ellender

History of the Red Mass

The Red Mass is a service celebrated annually in the church for judges, prosecutors, attorneys, law school professors and students, and government officials. The Mass requests guidance from the Holy Spirit for all who seek justice, and offers the opportunity to reflect on what Christians believe is the God-given responsibility of all in the legal profession.

Its traditional name, the Red Mass, is derived from the color of the vestments that may be worn by the celebrants of the service and traditional scarlet robes of the attending judges.

The exact date of the first Red Mass is uncertain. The tradition of celebrating this service goes back many centuries in the ecclesiastical courts of the Roman Catholic Church in Rome. During the reign of Louis IX, a chapel was designed for and dedicated to the celebration of the Red Mass in 1245. In England, the custom of judges and lawyers attending the Red Mass annually in Westminster Cathedral began in 1310 and continued even during World War II.

The Red Mass came to the United States in 1928 in New York City. In the District of Columbia, Justice of the highest courts in the land gather for the observance of the Red Mass at the Washington Cathedral. At this special celebration, persons of all faiths and from all branches of government, foreign diplomats and other distinguished guests join together to ask God’s help in their roles as administrators of justice.

The first Red Mass in Louisiana was offered in New Orleans’ St. Louis Cathedral on October 5, 1953. The tradition spread throughout the state, including Shreveport, where the first Red Mass there was held in 1993.

We felt it was important to ask God’s guidance and blessings for the work of the judges and lawyers living and working in Natchitoches Parish and the surrounding communities, so the Mass was brought to Natchitoches in 2006, and celebrated. Since then, Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and Trinity Episcopal Church have alternated hosting the Red Mass and have included others who work in public service.


NSU to introduce Brad Laird as head football coach Thursday, public invited

Brad Laird Headshot

Northwestern State president Dr. Chris Maggio and athletics director Greg Burke will officially introduce Brad Laird as the Demons’ new head football coach Thursday afternoon at 1:30 in the ballroom of the Friedman Student Union in the middle of the university campus.

The public is invited to attend the event as Laird, 44, a 1996 NSU graduate and the Demons’ all-time passing leader, is formally recognized as head coach. He was named Nov. 20, on the first day of the university’s Thanksgiving holiday.

Since classes have resumed at the university, members of the NSU football team will be able to attend, a compelling reason why the introduction was not held last week.

Laird has been defensive coordinator for a total of seven seasons under three different head coaches at NSU – Scott Stoker, Bradley Dale Peveto and Jay Thomas. He was head coach from 2013-16 at his alma mater, Ruston High School, leading the Bearcats to some of their finest achievements in the past two decades since he was their quarterback.

In 1990, he was the quarterback as Ruston was an unbeaten state champion voted the nation’s No. 1 team in the USA Today Top 25 poll ranking high school squads around the country.

After his remarkable playing career with the Demons, Laird coached at some of the region’s most successful high school programs – Longview (Texas), Nashville (Ark.), Ouachita (Monroe) and West Monroe – as an assistant before joining Stoker’s staff in 2003. His defenses at NSU have set school, Southland Conference and NCAA FCS records.


Education is the Foundation: Outpatient Medical Center Inc. announces opening of School Based Health Center at LP Vaughn and NJH

OMC Education 2017 (3).png

Outpatient Medical Center Inc. (OMC Inc.) is excited to announce the opening of our School Based Health Center, at L.P. Vaughn Elementary and Natchitoches Junior High School.

School Based Health Centers (SBHC) are like a doctor’s office within a school and provide a great benefit to students and school staff. Research shows that SBHCs can help a student manage his/her illness at school and, therefore, decrease absenteeism from school and parents’ time away from work as well as fewer hospitalizations and trips to the emergency room. A student that is healthy and shows up to class is better equipped for academic success.

SBHCs provide three primary services in a school: primary care and preventive health services, first aid care to all students and school staff, and urgent care to anyone in need on school premises.

This SBHC will cover L.P. Vaughn Elementary and Natchitoches Junior High School as an extension of Outpatient Medical Center Inc’s Natchitoches Health Center. This project is funded in part by a Healthcare Access grant from The Rapides Foundation.

Parents, we are sending SBHC packets home. Please complete and return all SBHC enrollment authorization forms included in the packet to authorize your child to be treated at the SBHC.

We are focused and dedicated to keeping our children and our school administration healthy and whole. Because caring for you is what we do at Outpatient Medical Center Inc. Be well; be informed; be in touch and – be healthy.

Carl I. Walters II.

Chief Executive Officer

Outpatient Medical Center Inc.



SBHCs have been successful in addressing the health care needs of students from kindergarten through high school. In elementary school settings, SBHCs provide opportunities for preventive care, health maintenance, and the treatment of acute illnesses and injuries. As President of our Board of Directors, I am proud to support this effort in providing much needed health care resources to our precious loved ones.
– John Winston, President of Outpatient Medical Center, Inc, Board of Directors

I am proud to support OMC and it’s new leadership. I feel that we are addressing our mission of providing affordable comprehensive primary health care for all citizens both adults and children in our service areas. We are opening doors and promoting the general health of the communities we serve. As Vice President of Outpatient Medical Center’s Executive Board, I view this as a blessing for our communities, and I am elated to serve our citizens in the Natchitoches, Vernon, and Madison Parishes.
– Thomas Roque, OMC Board Vice President

I am very pleased and excited about the upcoming startup of the LP Vaughn School Based Health Center. This will be a great benefit to the students of LP Vaughn Elementary/Middle School and Natchitoches Junior High at Frankie Ray Jackson School that will ultimately have a tremendous positive impact across both campuses.
– Dale Skinner, Natchitoches Parish Superintendent

I am very excited about the opening of our school based health center! I think this will be a great asset to our school community as it will help provide our students and staff with health and dental services without having to miss many days of school to seek medical a en on.
– Kristie Irchirl, L.P. Vaughn Principal

As a former Chamber President, as a current economic development professional and as an elected member of the state’s school board, I’m delighted to see this initiative move forward through the cooperation of different en es in the community. It’s truly a team effort and will result in much be er health and educational outcomes for our students.
– Tony Davis, Natchitoches Community Alliance

This effort is a perfect example of community coming together to improve the health and well-being of our parish children. It took the collaborative support and vision of our Board of Directors; Mayor Posey; Natchitoches Parish Superintendent Dale Skinner, Mr. Tony Davis, President, Natchitoches Community Alliance; The Rapides Foundation; The Louisiana Primary Care Association; the Health Services and Resources Administration (HRSA) and countless other community stakeholders to bring this envisioned school-based health center to fruition. Students and staff of the L.P. Vaughn and Natchitoches Junior High School will now have on campus access to high-quality, medically-appropriate, cost-effective, personalized and professional healthcare services; a true commitment of our parish leaders to work together to improve the health and well-being of our valued parish school children and a huge community accomplishment we should support and be proud to have.
– Carl I. Walters II, OMC Chief Executive Officer

We are overjoyed to be able to offer this much needed service to our community students. We are confident that the addition of this School Based Health Center will promote the health of the faculty and students.
– Ruby Mitchell, Site Director

I am looking forward to providing care to the children and staff of L.P. Vaughn and Natchitoches Junior High School. The School Based Health Center’s goal is to keep our children healthy and to provide convenience for parents and staff while reducing absences from school and work.
– Mary Lancaster, Family Nurse Practitioner


Pick up the phone and call OMC today at:

Natchitoches Health Center: 1640 Breazeale Springs St., Natchitoches, LA 71457 1-800-268-5872
Leesville Health Center: 1603 B Boone St., Leesville, LA 71446 1-800-308-7569
Tallulah Health Center: 804 Beech St., Tallulah, LA 1-800-308-7566

OMC Education 2017 (1)OMC Education 2017 (2)

A Story of the Pearl Harbor Attack Hits Home

By Joe Darby


I recently watched a very heart-warming story on the Louisiana Public Broadcast system about a USS Arizona survivor whose family returned his ashes to the sunken ship at Pearl Harbor, where he will rest with his shipmates for eternity.

That special privilege is reserved for crewmen who survived the Japanese attacks on the Arizona, which was heavily damaged by the first wave of bombers on Dec. 7, 1941, 76 years ago next week.

But more than 1,000 of the crewmen went down with their ship and their remains have been on the stricken vessel since the day of the attack. Among those young men was a first cousin of my father.

I’d heard family stories over the years that we had a relative on the Arizona but I hadn’t known the exact connection to us or whether in fact the stories were true. I did remember the young man’s name, Ensign Walter Savage. .

Now I knew you could find just about anything on the internet so, sure enough, I looked up Walter Savage and I found the connection, including a family tree. He is also the subject of a special display at the USS Kidd Museum and Veterans Memorial in Baton Rouge.

Before I explain the connection, let me tell you a little bit about Walter. He was apparently an extraordinary young man. He was born in New Orleans in 1919 but grew up in Monroe. He finished high school at only 13 and after a couple of years of independent study, he went to LSU and graduated in 1938, when he was only 19.

He became the youngest CPA in Louisiana but had to wait until he was 21 to officially begin his career. Walter also loved music and was an accomplished musician.

But with war clouds gathering, he joined the Naval Reserve in June, 1941. He finished second in his class at the Naval Supply Officers’ School at Harvard University. The display at the naval museum in Baton Rouge speculates that if he had finished first or second, he may have survived but the second place finish slotted him for duty on the Arizona. He reported to that grand old ship on Oct. 27, 1941, just weeks before the Japanese attack. It also happened to be exactly one month before his little cousin once removed, yours truly, was born.

Walter was assigned as assistant paymaster aboard the ship and his duty station was in the decoding room. That space just happened to be next to the forward stack and when a Japanese bomb hit that stack and ended up detonating an enormous explosion, Walter was doubtlessly killed instantly.

The naval museum calls him the “first casualty of the war,” thus explaining the reason for the special display in his honor.

From his auspicious start in life, Walter would almost certainly have gone on to achieve much. But it was not to be. Like so many other young men of promise during World War II, he was never to return home.

Now, about that connection to us, which I had never known exactly until I looked him up on the internet.

It turns out that the connection was quite close. He was the son of Walter Savage Sr. and Theria (cq) Darby Savage. Theria and my father’s father, Joseph W. Darby Sr., were brother and sister. Thus, Daddy and Walter were first cousins. Daddy’s been gone for many years, but I certainly wish I’d asked him about any memories he may have had of Walter.

Who knows. under different circumstances, they could have been life-long buddies and I could have enjoyed listening to Cousin Walter’s tales of World War II. Maybe he would have given me a photo he took of the Arizona, as it was safely moored at Pearl Harbor.

As it is, without even knowing the details of Walter’s life or exactly how he was related to us, I have two small ship models of the Arizona. Now, when I look at them, they’ll be even more special to me.


Christmas Festival road closures

Christmas Road Closires


The following streets will close at the times listed for The Natchitoches Christmas Festival on Saturday, Dec. 2:

Front Street from Lafayette to Touline Street will close at 6:00 a.m.

Jefferson Street from Touline Street to Amulet will close at 6:00 a.m.

Jefferson Street from Amulet Street to university Parkway will close at 11:00 a.m.

Church Street Bridge will close to vehicles at 5:30 a.m.

Church Street Bridge will remain open to pedestrians until 4:30 p.m.

Church Street Bridge will close at 4:30 p.m.

Second Street from University Parkway to Lafayette Street will close at 11:00 a.m.

University Parkway from Boyd Street East to Rapides Drive @ Airport Road will close at 11:00 a.m.

Pine Street Bridge will close to vehicles at 11:00 a.m. but will remain open to pedestrians all day

Williams Avenue from Henry Avenue to St. Maurice Lane will close at 5:00 p.m. for fireworks


Register Now: Last week to sign up before deadline


The due dat to register for Natchitoches Recreation and Parks Department’s basketball is Dec. 4. In order for players to participate in the draft process, they must be signed up by Dec. 4. Registration fees are $40 per child. If someone registers after Dec. 4, the fee will rise to $50 per child, and they will not be able to participate in the draft process. Players will randomly be placed on a team.

Draft night information:
Location will be MLK Center.
5-8 year olds
Dec. 5 at 5:30 pm
9-14 year olds
Dec. 7 at 5:30 pm

They can register at the MLK Center during the week from 8 am – 4:30 pm or they can go online at to register online.


Heat the Town!!

AD-AxsomAir - Heat the town 2017

AxsomAir wants to extend a helping hand this Christmas season to homeowners with broken heaters through its 2nd annual Heat the Town program. The company will help those who may not be able to otherwise afford repairs to their units by offering Central Heating System checks, tune ups and repairs at no cost.

Nominations are required. If you know someone in need, send a private message to AxsomAir through Facebook with a short story describing the need of the nominee. Include a contact phone number so information can be gathered about the nominee. Nominations can also be submitted by calling 318-352-7777 or stopping by their office at 4150 University PkwyMonday-Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. The deadline to nominate is December 20, 2017.

“The Heat the Town program is something really special to all of us at AxsomAir,” said Matthew Axsom. “It’s one way we can use our talents and resources to give back to those in need. One of the hardest things our technicians run across is when they go to a home and the homeowners have no means to replace or repair a non-functioning or failing heating system. It really hits home.”

AxsomAir will perform all work, and will use new parts and materials to meet Louisiana state mechanical code requirements. Heaters will be repaired, except where costs exceed $500. At that point, the situations will be assessed on an individual basis.

This program wouldn’t be possible without the employees who run the calls and repair the units. “We’d like to especially thank the AxsomAir team who, in the Christmas spirit, has volunteered their time and pay to perform these services,” said Josh Axsom. We had a lot of fun with this program last year and were so blessed to give the gift of heat to some folks who really needed it!

AxsomAir would like to thank sponsors: Lennox Industries, Acme Refrigeration, Solar Supply, and the Natchitoches Parish Journal.

“We love the meaning of Christmas where God gave the most amazing gift of all, His Son Jesus, the Savior of the World,” said Josh Axsom. “At Christmas we symbolize this by giving gifts to each other and AxsomAir wants to give back by making sure the needy in Natchitoches have heat in time for Christmas.”

AxsomAir reserves the right to refuse service for any reason.

Paid Advertising


Meet the new coach at NCHS: Byron Keller

Meet Byron Keller

Natchitoches Central’s new Head Football Coach Byron Keller is hopeful he can do some great things when he officially starts when school resumes Jan. 8 after the Christmas holiday.

Keller is originally from Vacherie where he played football during his high school years at St. James. After graduating, he moved to Natchitoches to attend Northwestern State University to earn a degree in secondary education. He then returned home to take a position coaching football at St. James in Vacherie from 2005-2015.

While there he worked his way up the coaching ranks, starting as an assistant coach on the varsity level before moving up tp a coordinating position. He coached two championship games in 2007 and 2015, both losses.

He and his wife Rebecca moved back to Natchitoches in 2015. Rebecca wanted to be back in her hometown and Byron wanted an opportunity to be head coach of a football program. He fulfilled this goal at Lakeview where he currently works.

“I’m excited to coach the football program at Natchitoches Central,” he said. “I’m excited to coach a 5A team and to be in that 5A game atmosphere with the fans and the bands. I’m excited to accept this challenge and hopefully we can do some great things.”


Notice of Death – November 29, 2017

Notice of Death 2017

Linda Cyiark-Brown
February 8, 1952 – November 28, 2017
Visitation: Friday, Dec, 1 from 8-11 am in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel
Service: Friday, Dec. 1 at 11 am at Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: St. Andrew Baptist Church Cemetery

Lawrence Collins
Visitation: Friday, Dec. 1 from 6-7 pm at Jenkins Funeral Home in Mansfield
Service: Saturday, Dec. 2 at 12 pm at St. Peter Church Of God In Christ in Logansport
Interment: Lincoln Louisiana in Shreveport

Darrin Hobdy
March 12, 1970 – November 26, 2017
Service: Saturday, Dec. 2 at 2 pm at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel in Winnfield
Interment: Union Hill Baptist Church Cemetery

Mattie Erlyn Johnson
January 22, 1931 – November 26, 2017
Visitation: Thursday, Nov. 30 from 9 am – 1 pm at First Baptist Church of Lecompte
Service: Thursday, Nov. 30 at 1 pm at First Baptist Church
Interment: Pratt- Clearwater Cemetery

Hunter Gage Thomisee
November 14, 1996 – November 26, 2017
Visitation: Thursday, Nov. 30 from 9-10 am at Northside Baptist Church
Service: Thursday, Nov. 30 at 10 am at Northside Baptist Church
Interment: Mt. Zion Cemetery in Montgomery

William Coutee
September 14, 1959 – November 25, 2017
Visitation: Saturday, Dec. 2 from 9-11 am at First Baptist Church on Amulet Street
Service: Saturday, Dec. 2 at 11 am at First Baptist Church
Interment: Lawrence Serenity Sanctum

Music Minister Kendrick Kemp
November 18, 2017
Arrangements TBA

Barbara Brown Holden
November 27, 2017
Arrangements TBA

Georgia Ruth Walden
February 15, 1947 – November 26, 2017
Service: Thursday, Nov. 30 at 4 pm at Beulah Baptist Church

Rachel Gayle Mercer Wiggins
December 29, 1956 – November 24, 2017
Graveside Service: Friday, Dec. 1 at 3 pm at Mt. Union Baptist Cemetery
Service: Saturday, Dec. 2 at 11 am at the Chapel of the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home in Monroe


CLTCC Natchitoches campus is back open with community support


Central Louisiana Technical Community College celebrated the re-opening of the newly renovated Natchitoches Campus with a Ribbon Cutting and Open House Nov. 28.

Tony Davis, executive director of the Natchitoches Community Alliance, welcomed community members, elected officials, faculty members, students, and others to the reopening of a building that’s been through so much.

Laurie Morrow, dean of the CLTCC Natchitoches Campus, said everyone is thrilled to be back in the building, which was renovated after a flood in 2016.

“We lost a lot that day,” she said. “But we’ve never lost our spirit or commitment to our mission.”

“The faculty and staff could have thrown in the towel, but they stood their ground instead” said Jimmy Sawtelle, CLTCC Chancellor. “When this college joined the CLTCC system, we knew they brought a fighting spirit and today is evidence of that.”

Morrow recognized her faculty and staff members, but said the real ricks stars are their students who have been so patient and never lost confidence in the college or the goals they have their eyes set on.

Natchitoches Regional Medical Center CEO Kirk Soileau presented a check to Morrow, which funds a grant through the NRMC Foundation for new equipment at the college.

The Demons Dance for Puerto Rico Event Raises $1,000.00 for Hurricane Relief

Fundraiser - PR 2017 (3)

Kevin’s Gallery

The NSU Demon family was at its generous best Tuesday, November 28th as students got together and led an effort to raise funds to assist a still devastated Puerto Rico in its recovery from Hurricane Maria’s landfall in September. Three NSU students, Elisabeth Perez of Sulphur, Laura Guzman of Cartagena, Colombia, and Emily Bencosme of San Juan, Puerto Rico were instrumental in organizing Tuesday’s Demons Dance for Puerto Rico. They saw a need and rallied the university community to help. The festive event featured a food truck from a Shreveport restaurant, dancing, live music and Salsa dancing lessons.

These three young women embody Northwestern State University and their generation at its best. They saw their friends, family and fellow Americans in desperate need and did something about it. The event raised over $1,000.00 dollars that will be put to good use. Let’s not stop there!

The NSU Alumni Association’s Columns Fund is providing a way to help. Those who would like to make a donation can go to and click on Give, then Give Now. Gifts can be made to the Columns Fund and designated for Demons Dance for Puerto Rico. The funds raised will be then sent to, a fund created after Hurricane Maria by ConPRmetidos and Foundations for Puerto Rico, two non-profit organizations based in San Juan, Puerto Rico.


New NSU coach Laird names TVCC head coach Brad Smiley as offensive coordinator

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Brad Smiley, who has built the Trinity Valley Community College football team into one of the country’s most dominant junior college programs while steering a record-shattering offense, is joining Brad Laird’s new Northwestern State coaching staff as offensive coordinator.

Laird announced Smiley’s hiring on Monday. It is subject to the approval of the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System, which includes Northwestern.

Along with 11 seasons as head coach and two more (1998-99) as assistant coach at TVCC, the 44-year-old Smiley spent seven years at Tulane (2000-2006). He was a student assistant in 1995 at Baylor, and a graduate assistant in 1996-97 at NSU, helping the Demons capture the 1997 Southland Conference championship and an FCS playoff berth.

He was named the 2014 National Junior College Coach of the Year by American Football Monthly magazine and has four conference coach of the year honors. Smiley took over a TVCC program than won two games in 2006 and has won five straight conference championships and three regional championships.

Since 2013, Smiley’s Cardinals have a 48-9 record and have spent 63 consecutive weeks in the National Junior College Athletic Association Top 20, ranked in the top 10 for 21 straight weeks. He is the only coach in conference history to win five straight league championships.

Smiley’s 8-3 Cardinals, ranked 8th in the NJCAA, wrap up their season Saturday playing in the Heart of Texas Bowl.

“I couldn’t be more excited for Northwestern State University and our football program to get Brad Smiley back here,” said Laird. “He shares the same vision I have for NSU football. His career speaks for itself, the success that he’s had at every stop, especially building Trinity Valley into a national power with a dynamic offensive system.”

The Cardinals are averaging 41 points per game this season and have held a top 10 national ranking in total offense in nine of Smiley’s 11 seasons. TVCC led the NJCAA in touchdowns and scoring for three straight seasons (2014-16) and set six team and two individual NJCAA offensive records including yards per game (656.1 in 2015) and yards in a season (7,778 in 2014).

Smiley has a master’s degree in sport administration from NSU, with a bachelor’s in marketing from Baylor. His wife, Janna, is a Natchitoches native. His father, the late Dr. Barry Smiley, was the Dean of Business at NSU for 11 years.

“We’ve loved our years living in Athens, coaching at Trinity Valley, and there have been opportunities to move into Division I football. It was going to take the right place, and the right person, to get me to move,” said Smiley. “This is the perfect fit, the right time.

“The excitement and energy from (first-year NSU president) Dr. (Chris) Maggio and (athletics director) Greg Burke, and Brad, and the commitment to get the football program back to a championship level, is powerful,” said Smiley. “For any successful organization, to have all its leaders aligned with the same vision is paramount for success. It’s exciting and intriguing to see it at Northwestern.

“Brad and I cut our coaching teeth together at Northwestern in 1996, when we shared an office. I know his passion for the program, and the university. Mine’s exactly the same,” said Smiley, whose late mother (Shirley Pittman Smiley) and her seven sisters all graduated from NSU.

“You fold in the cousins and extended family, and we’ve just sold a lot of new season tickets,” he said. “Northwestern is a cornerstone in our lives.”

Smiley has recruited, coached and developed more Division I (FBS and FCS) players in the past seven years than any other junior college in the country. Twelve of his quarterbacks have signed Division I scholarships, with one in the NFL.

“They love playing in our system. We fit it to the skills of our players. A lot of guys get a chance to touch the football,” he said. “We want to run as many plays as possible.

This year, four Cardinals have thrown touchdown passes to 14 different receivers, while eight players have run for touchdowns.

At Tulane, he was the Green Wave’s recruiting coordinator for five seasons while coaching tight ends and assisting with the offensive line. He was part of an offensive staff that produced Tulane’s career passing leader (Patrick Ramsey), top two rushers (current New York Jets running back Matt Forte and former NFL back Mewelde Moore), and scoring leader (Lou Groza Award-winning kicker Seth Marler).

Smiley has also been TVCC’s athletics director for the past six seasons. He and Janna have two children, Ben (14) and Clary (12).

He is the first member of NSU’s new staff under Laird, who was named head coach last Monday.


2017 Natchitoches Treasures announced

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Dr. Ron McBride, L.J. Melder, Sr., Lusetta Rogers Anthony, Virginia Webb, and Wayne McCullen

A recognition ceremony Nov. 28 honored this year’s group of Natchitoches Treasures, an elite group of Natchitoches residents of retirement age who have made a lasting contribution to the community through their generosity, service, volunteerism and spirit.

The Treasures were selected by a committee of those who have previously been named as a Natchitoches Treasure. Natchitoches Treasures have been selected each year since 2008 from nominations received from members of the community.

The 2017 Natchitoches Treasures are Dr. Ron McBride, L.J. Melder, Sr., Lusetta Rogers Anthony, Virginia Webb, and Wayne McCullen.

The recognition ceremony highlighted the contributions made to the City of Natchitoches and the community by each newly elected Treasure, as well as pay tribute to those individuals named as Natchitoches Treasures in years past.

For more information about the Natchitoches Treasures, call the Main Street Office at (318) 352-2746.


Parish Offices to close Dec. 1 at noon

office closure

Parish President Rick Nowlin has announced that all Parish Government offices will close Friday, Dec. 1 at noon due to the expected increase in traffic associated with the Natchitoches Christmas Festival. Head Start centers in Natchitoches and Mansfield will also be closed to students, although Head Start employees will report for professional development training until noon. The closures will not affect the Parish landfill, limb pit, or bin sites, which will remain open for normal operating hours. Residents who have questions about the closures may call the Parish Government offices at 318-352-2714. President Nowlin hopes everyone has a happy and safe Christmas Festival weekend.



Find Christmas gifts for the whole family at Mason Salter’s


Looking for gifts this holiday season? Mason Salter’s, Natchitoches’ oldest fine furniture store now offers a large variety of gifts for the whole family.

With the holiday season approaching, Mason Salter’s is the perfect place to get all of your shopping done.

Christmas gifts include:
Handmade Christmas scented soap flowers, peppermint crisp and berry poinsettia, that make the season bright, one petal at a time
Soft and luxurious women’s cardigan wraps in assorted colors, including red!
Assorted holiday candies including peppermint taffy kisses, white chocolate thin mints and Texas chewy pecan praline
Christmas napkins to brighten your holiday table setting

Aside from the gifts perfect for sharing the holiday spirit, Mason Salter’s also has gift sections for infants, men, women and more.

New items featured in the store are Agate Apothecary Guild and Illuminaria candles. There’s also a new line of pizza boards and cutting boards made from European reclaimed wood.

Mason Salter’s also offers custom packaged gift baskets. Pick out your gift items or price range and the staff will create a beautiful presentation with it.

While this new shopping experience is exciting, don’t forget that Mason Salter’s has a renowned selection of fine home furnishings and decor to choose from as well. The store offers its customers personal service and a quality product.

Mason Salter’s is located at 365 Second Street in Natchitoches. For information call 318-352-6446.

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NPD accepting applications for upcoming Reserve Officer Training Academy

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The Natchitoches Police Department is currently accepting applications for its upcoming Reserve Officer Training Academy. Applications will be accepted through Jan. 15, 2018. The upcoming Reserve Officer Training Academy will start on Feb. 5, 2018 and will last approximately 8 weeks. Classes will be held Monday through Thursday beginning at 6 p.m. at the Natchitoches Police Department Training Center.

Cadets in the Academy will undergo training in search and seizure, building clearing, traffic stops, firearms and defensive tactics for example.

If you are interested in applying you can pick up an application at The Natchitoches Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division located at 416 Shady Lane or contact Reserve Commander Sergeant Jeff Townson at (318) 357-3852. Applicants must have a high school degree, be at least 18 years of age and pass a background check. This is a great opportunity for citizens to serve their community in a positive manner.


Man arrested for restroom voyeurism


Natchitoches Police Department officers were dispatched to Walgreen’s Nov. 24 at 9:15 pm in reference to a complaint concerning a male subject inside the women’s restroom. Upon arrival, patrol officers made contact with the victim, a female subject. The victim stated that a male subject entered the women’s restroom and filmed her in the restroom by means of placing a cell phone underneath the stall.

Patrol officers made contact with Jamel Toliver (B/M, 19 years old). A search was conducted of Toliver’s phone, and it revealed two recorded videos of the victim in the restroom. Toliver was placed under arrest and charged with video voyeurism.

Toliver was placed in Natchitoches Parish Detention Center; his bond is set at $5,000.


NCHS gets new Head Coach: Byron Keller

Byron Keller

Natchitoches Central High School’s Principal, Bill Gordy, announced Tuesday, Nov. 28, Byron Keller was hired as NCHS’ new Head Football Coach. Keller comes from Lakeview where he coached football.

“We were looking for someone who was strong and disciplined,” said Gordy.  “A coach who will bring new features to the programs.  We wanted something we haven’t had in the past and we’re looking forward to playing some good smash mouth football in the future.”