The weather outside was frightful, but that didn’t stop visitors and residents from filling Poete Street to enjoy the Natchitoches Historic Foundation’s 2nd Annual Christmas Along Poete Dec. 8. Area organizations including Les Amies and Fort St. Jean Baptiste SHS offered free crafts for kids from cookie decorating to corn husk dolls. Mrs. Claus read stories to children nestled on the porch of one of the historic homes located along the street. Christmas carols filled the air with song and NSU nutcracker dancers wowed the crowd with a special performance. Miss Merry Christmas and her Belles mixed and mingled to get everyone in the Christmas spirit.
The Natchitoches Christmas Angels caroled at some of the local businesses on Front Street on Dec. 7. Christmas Angels included Josilyn LaCour, Darvy Allison, Presley Trull, Campbell Morrow, Destanee Stewart, Cayla Anthony, Jesse Foshee, and Kadence Creamer.
More than 160 students at LSMSA participated in the annual science fair sponsored by the Department of Science and held on Wednesday, Nov. 29, in the school gym.
Awards were presented in physics, chemistry, biology, ecology and microbiology.
The science fair introduces students to the process and fun of science research and allows them to participate in a science competition.
First place in physics went to Jordan Byrd, a junior from Denham Springs, for his project “Ping Pong Physics.” Second place went to Shemya Mozeke, a senior from Homer. Her project was “Measuring Sugar Using Snell’s Law.” Third place went to Chelsea Franklin, a senior from Crowley, and Nautica Jones, a senior from St. Martinville. Their project was “Resonant Frequencies.”
Sam Konur, a sophomore from Thibodaux, won first place in chemistry. His project was “Magnesium vs. Acid.” Second place went to Jojo Deep, a junior from Natchitoches, and Jansen Jones, a junior from Natchitoches. Their project was “Capillary Action.” Third place went to Abigail Fischer, a junior from Livingston, and Victoria Sosa, a junior from Lake Charles. Their project was “Glow Stick.”
Winners in introductory biology were Kathryn Lee, a sophomore from Natchitoches, Pasha Parley, a sophomore from Campti, Brielle Bays, a sophomore from Coushatta, and Kaitlyn Thompson, a sophomore from Montz. Their project was “Using Caloimetry to Compare Energy Content.” Second place went to Allison Allsop, a sophomore from Montz, Linley Kennedy, a sophomore from New Orleans, and Katriane Creel, a sophomore from Shreveport. Their project was “Best by Fire.” Albatool Algawi, a sophomore from Breaux Bridge, placed third. Her project was “Veggie Straws versus Baked Lays.”
Emma Simpson, a senior from Shreveport, placed first in ecology. Her project was “Impact of Sediment Composition.”
Grayce Mores, a senior from Harvey, and Sofia Rivera, a senior from Covington, placed first in microbiology. Their project was “Ethanol’s Antimicrobial Properties.”
Each of the winners is now eligible to compete in the regional science fair to be held in the spring.
The 22nd annual Radio M*A*S*H event, which stands for “Make A Smile Happen,” raised over $15,700.00 in cash and toys for families in Natchitoches Parish. The event, held Dec. 8-9 in the Natchitoches Walmart parking lot, the Natchitoches Jaycees, Elite Radio Group (ERG), First Federal Bank of Louisiana, and other local individuals, businesses and organizations work together to gather toys and make a smile happen for children in the community.
The Master Gardeners of Natchitoches Parish had a guest speaker at their monthly meeting in November. Frances Boudreaux, Director of the Good Food Project of the Food Bank of Central Louisiana, gave an informative update on their activities.
According to Boudreaux, Natchitoches Parish is making great strides. She and Donna Capps, Development Manager, were happy to tell the group about the area schools they partner with – they have raised beds installed at five Natchitoches Parish schools and the Natchitoches Boy & Girls Club. Their sustainable gardening approach is especially helpful when teaching children how to grow their own food. Their goal is to change the cultural norms about what youth eat and to increase the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables by children. The Good Food Project also partnered to help install raised garden beds, complete with seeds and all-natural soil amendments at the Natchitoches Parish Council on Aging – beds that the Master Gardeners help maintain.
The Project is always looking for partners ready to help in the Food Bank’s 11-Parish service area. Local businesses who would like to donate tools, supplies, seeds, or funds are welcome, as are all volunteer efforts. Experience is not necessary, only enthusiasm is. Join them for Workday Wednesdays from 7:30 -11:30 am in the demonstration garden or call to schedule a volunteer time at a community partner garden. Activities performed by volunteers include weeding, watering, planting, harvesting, assisting with youth-centered garden activities, and serving as community garden leaders.
For more information on the Good Food Project, call 318-445-2773 or stop by their demonstration garden at 3223 Baldwin Avenue, Alexandria. For more information on Master Gardener activities or for daily tips on North Louisiana gardening, go to https://www.facebook.com/NatchitochesMasterGardener/
Pictured above are Robert Bamberg, Deborah Bechtel, Kathy Karnolt, Donna Capps, Glennelle Brown, Frances Boudreaux, Ruth Anderson, Elizabeth Richey, Mary Fosson, Mike Pierce, Maye Foster and Linda Cox.
My mother’s name is quite unique, which is why it is almost always mispronounced anytime she meets someone new. Her name is Ladda (pronounced lah-dah). Although that may seem odd it surely is not as difficult to pronounce as her maiden name, which is Sookjit. Just like her name, my mother’s story is one of a kind, and beautiful as well.
My mother was born and raised in a small village located in Thailand, called Ban Moungleeg, which is in a city named Surin. She grew up in a tiny two-bedroom house with six of her family members. There was no bathroom or kitchen inside of the house. If she ever needed to use the restroom she would have to walk about thirty feet outside, which is where the shabby little toilet was. There was no running water in the house, so taking a shower was not as simple as stepping into a stall and letting a stream of clean water pour down onto her. She had to walk for 20 minutes from her house to a pond and fill a large bowl with water, then carry it back and pour it into a rain barrel, which took about 10 trips to fill completely. Gathering water was no simple task, but it had to be done, and my mother did it with a smile on her face.
Just like many other families in her village, my mother’s family owned a rice farm, which they used as their main source of income. They sold rice to other families and saved some to eat with eggs laid by their chickens, or fish that they caught themselves. They walked to the rice fields every day. During the harvest they never left the fields, and they spent several restless nights there in a small wooden shed to make sure no one stole their rice. The profit from rice sales alone was never enough, so my mom did everything she could to help. At only 11-years-old, she walked along the busy streets of Thailand and sold noodles and curry. Little did she know that in 20 years she would be living the start of her very own American dream.
When my mother first moved to America she could hardly speak any English. It was virtually impossible for her to have a conversation. Although she had learned a bit of English in school, the ginormous language barrier that stood between her and everyone around her remained. She attended language school made for adults from foreign countries, but she learned mostly from watching TV and talking to friends that do not speak Thai.
One of the biggest differences between living in Thailand living in America is the abundance of opportunity. My mother states, “In Thailand there is so much difference between the rich and the poor. I feel like in America I can live life like everyone else.”
My mother has had to overcome a lot of obstacles and struggle to be where she is today. Even with all she has been through, she is nothing short of grateful for all her life experiences. “I am so lucky to have this opportunity,” she says. “I am like Cinderella.”
Source: Rivers, Ladda. Personal interview. 8 October 2017.