DA announces guilty plea and prison sentence in burglary

LeAndrew Evans

Natchitoches Parish District Attorney Billy Joe Harrington announced Dec. 22 the guilty plea and prison sentence in a burglary case.

Leandrew Evans of Natchitoches pleaded guilty in 10th Judicial District Court of count of simple burglary.

Evan pleaded guilty to forcibly entering the victims home, which was equipped with a video surveillance system. The video depicted three persons burglarizing the home, of which Evan was identified as one of the burglars.

During the plea hearing, Judge Desiree Dyess sentenced Evans to ten years of incarceration in the custody the La. Department of Corrections. The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Amanda McClung.

“Fortunately, the homeowner’s surveillance system provided evidence for this crime that facilitated the prosecution and conviction of the defendant. We encourage citizens to always keep a watchful eye for suspicious activity their neighborhoods and report any unusual activity to the police,” said District Attorney Billy Joe Harrington.



DA announces probation revocation for Andrew Wallace

Andrew Jacob Wallace
Natchitoches Parish District Attorney Billy Joe Harrington announced Dec. 22 that the 10th Judicial Court revoked the probation and the suspension of prison sentence for Andrew Jacob Wallace of Natchitoches during a probation revocation hearing.

In July 2014 Wallace pleaded guilty to simple burglary and subsequently sentenced to two years in prison, which was suspended if he successfully met the conditions of his probation requirements.

However, during his probation period, Wallace pleaded guilty in July 2017 to manslaughter and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. His felony guilty plea in the manslaughter case violated the conditions of his original probation.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Judge Desiree Dyess revoked Wallace’s probation and ordered him to serve the original two-year prison sentence consecutive to the 20-year sentence he is currently serving for manslaughter.

“The defendant is now sentenced to 22 years in total for his felony crimes,” said Harrington.

Notice of Death – December 22, 2017

Notice of Death 2017

Margaret Gilbert Hester
April 18, 1934 – July 5, 2017
Service: Was held Dec. 21 in Coushatta
Interment: Springville Cemetery in Coushatta

Marie Lively-Bridges
September 11, 1915 – December 21, 2017
Graveside Service: Saturday, Dec. 23 at 10:30 am at Spring Ridge Cemetery

Frances Wall
February 5, 1921 – December 19, 2017
Arrangements TBA

Shaneika Sibley
December 20, 2017
Arrangements TBA

Darcey Ann Orr
March 13, 1940 – December 21, 2017
Visitation: Saturday, Dec. 23 from 9-11 am at Southern Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, Dec. 23 at 11 am at Southern Funeral Home
Interment: Sanders Chapel Cemetery in Calvin

Willie F. Metoyer, Sr.
July 28, 1935 – December 17, 2017
Visitation: Saturday, Dec. 23 from 8:30-10:30 am at St. Augustine Catholic Church
Service: Saturday, Dec. 23 at 11 am at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Isle Brevelle
Interment: St. Augustine Catholic Church Mausoleum

Patsy Gay
December 18, 2017
Arrangements TBA

Jane Ann Giamano
February 16, 1939 – December 16, 2017
Arrangements TBA

Breon Jackson
July 16, 1986 – December 17, 2017
Service: Saturday, Dec. 23 at 11 am at the Northside Baptist Church in Montgomery

Mary McCall
December 17, 2017
Arrangements TBA


Natchitoches featured on ABC Screen in Times Square

Natchitoches CVB-Times Square


The Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) announced an impressive advertising campaign Dec. 21, which is airing in lively New York City just in time for the holidays.

From Dec. 15-21, the Historic Natchitoches will be featured on the spectacular 3,685 square foot ABC Good Morning America Screen in Times Square New York. This world famous electronic icon with its signature wavy LED ribbons catches the eyes of over 1.5 million tourists and residents daily, making it the perfect vehicle to spread the word about Natchitoches and wish them a happy holiday season from beautiful Natchitoches, Louisiana featuring a beautiful photograph of our famous Cane River Lake and the Natchitoches Christmas lights and fireworks.

This impressive branding venture comes in the wake of the newly completed rue Beauport Riverfront feature and during the 91st Annual Christmas Festival. While Louisiana has been a popular destination for New Yorkers for decades, recent events have made Natchitoches an even more popular destination.

“This is the third time Natchitoches been featured on a Times Square digital ad and the exposure to National and International visitors is very exciting”, said Arlene Gould, Executive Director at Natchitoches CVB. “The :05 second spot will run 120 times during the week of Dec. 15-21 in the midst of holiday shoppers on Broadway. The spots are actually added value to a print ad that was purchased for our Texas market.”

In addition to the dazzling digital ad featured in Times Square, the campaign will also promote Natchitoches in print in the January edition of Horizon Travel Magazine, which will also be inserted into the Wall Street Journal in the Southwest Region (Texas) to more than 226,000 readers from over 100,000 subscribers.

As an extra added value to the ad purchased, 21,240 – :05 second spots will be aired on 10 screens throughout Toronto and Ontario, Canada.

Natchitoches will be attending the New York Times Travel Show to promote Natchitoches in January, where over 8,000 travel professionals including 900 media professionals are expected to attend and over 560 exhibitors from across the globe and over 280 travel industry speakers and experts at the largest travel trade exhibition in North America.



Magnet students hold Christmas Program for parents

Magnet Xmas0810

Students at Natchitoches Magnet School sang and danced during the school’s annual Christmas Program Dec. 19. The Elementary program was held in the morning, followed by the Jr. High Program.

First graders sang “All I want for Christmas.” Each student had a giant tooth hanging on a necklace. Second graders performed “Christmas Don’t be Late.” Third graders signed the words for the song “Do you Hear what I Hear.” Fourth graders boogied to “Do You Know Blitzen.”

The 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade orchestra played “Christmas March,” “Jingle Pizzacato,” “First Christmas March,” and “Wenceslas.”

The JR. High put on a skit called “North Pole’s Got Talent. A panel of judges included:
Makayla Smith as “Holly Klume”
Bailey Barnhart as “Melody C”
Austin Dees as “Howie Can-Del”
Hunter Broadway as “Simon Growl”

Hostess Mackenzie Johnson, who performed as “Tyra Snowbanks,” had help from Santa Claus MC (Levi Endris) and Mrs. Claus MC (Bethany Milner).

Sydney Masson sang “You and Me at Christmas” as she played the guitar. Megan Helaire, Diamond Smith and Kamira Walker performed a skit where they put a unique and funny twist on the book Twas the Night Before Christmas.

The 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade classes performed commercials in between the acts.

Amia Brown sang “Silent Night,” but Jaylen Elie’s rendition of “Jingle Bells” failed to wow the judges. Jelilah Hooper, Shemaria Harris, Kaylee Fredieu and Ashlyn Below wowed the crowd with their dance routine.

Railey Tobin, Kacie Harper and Joshua Garcie harmonized on “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” while Deanna Fowler, Ce’Licia Vercher, ZaNiyah Patterson and Siera Spriggs sand “All I Want for Christmas is You.”Hunter Goings and Cailah Bush sang “White Christmas” and Isaac Young finished the program with a wonderful piano solo.







William “Bill” Fontenot named CEO of Cleco Corporate Holdings LLC


B. Fontenot-CLECO CEO.jpg

The board of managers of Cleco Corporate Holdings LLC announced William “Bill” Fontenot as the new chief executive officer on Dec. 21.

Fontenot most recently served as chief operating officer of Cleco Corporate Holdings LLC and interim CEO of Cleco Power. He will assume the role of CEO of Cleco Corporate Holdings LLC and all subsidiaries, including Cleco Power, as well as join the board of managers effective Jan. 1, 2018.

“Bill was selected following a competitive, nationwide search that began in March of this year,” said Peggy Scott, board chair and interim CEO of Cleco Corporate Holdings LLC. “His proven leadership abilities and diverse utility experience will lead our company forward.”

Scott will resign as interim CEO of Cleco Corporate Holdings LLC effective Dec. 31, 2017, and will remain chair of the Cleco board of managers.

Fontenot began his Cleco career in 1986 as an engineer and has worked in various capacities at the company including business development, commercial operations and utility operations. Highlights of his tenure include the management, development and restructuring efforts of generation projects valued at over $900 million, as well as leading the development and construction of the $1 billion power plant, Madison 3. For the last six years, Fontenot has served as chief operating officer overseeing generation, transmission and distribution asset operations and investment.

“I am humbled by the board’s selection and am thankful for the opportunity to lead Cleco, the company where I have worked for over 30 years,” said Fontenot. “With the help of our 1,200 loyal and dedicated employees, we will continue to safely serve our 288,000 customers while sustaining and growing the company.”

Fontenot serves on the boards of the Council for a Better Louisiana, Association of Edison Illuminating Companies, Southeastern Electric Exchange and the Central Louisiana Community Foundation. He is a member of AEIC Power Generation Committee, Central Louisiana Manufacturing Managers Council, St. Rita Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus.

Fontenot earned a degree in electrical engineering at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

Cleco is a regional energy company that conducts substantially all of its business operation through its primary subsidiary, Cleco Power. Cleco Power is a regulated electric utility company that owns nine generating units with a total nameplate capacity of 3,310 MWs and serves approximately 288,000 customers in Louisiana through its retail business and supplies wholesale power in Louisiana and Mississippi. For more information about Cleco, visit http://www.cleco.com.



Natchitoches youth collects Christmas cards and tabs for Ronald McDonald House Charities: 

Sean Stewart-2017.jpg

Jennifer Hill-Robertson’s son Sean, is an 12-years-old who loves getting mail. Each year he receives letters and Christmas cards from Natchitoches and all around the world.

For the past three years Sean has participated in a Christmas Card Campaign, collecting over 11,000 pieces of mail. This year he’s also collecting soda can tabs for Ronald McDonald House Charities as his 4H project.

Sean has Autism Spectrum Disorder, Bilateral Sensorineural hearing loss, and hypoparathyroidism. Because of his exceptionality and difficulty with social skills and pragmatics, Sean is often the target of bullying and is picked on by students at his school.

“I started this for him because he has been the object of teasing, bullying, and being picked on by his peers at school,” said Jennifer. “Since an incident occurred where he was hit in the face with rocks and broken pencils, he has asked me to help him get mail. It’s very hard for him to understand why children are so cruel. I want him to know that there are good people out there and not everyone is mean.”

Sean’s message is to send cards to others who need it. He has benefited from the cards campaign tremendously. He wants others to benefit as well. Anyone interested in sending Sean something can mail it to: Sean Stewart, P.O. Box 359, Natchitoches, Louisiana 71458.




Ponderings with Doug – December 22, 2017


Last Sunday night the Methodists put on a living nativity.

We had shepherds. We had Wise Men. The Holy Family with a real baby made an appearance. The children sang. Folks walked around talking and laughing. It was great.

The hit of the evening was the petting zoo. We had real animals. I didn’t have to put on a costume because there was a donkey present. There were goats and sheep present. There was also a lamb.

The evening was wonderful. Things happened over which we had little control. It was very much like the first Christmas must have been. It was life, unscripted.

When the folks were packing up their animals, the lamb escaped. In proper fashion the Methodists were methodical in chasing down the lamb. The ninety-nine were left in the trailer while the escaped lamb was rounded up.

In our preacher covenant group we were talking about the escaped lamb. Linda Clark, who leads our group, shared a wonderful passage of scripture for us to ponder. I needed the word that she had selected. The passage also reminded me of the Sunday night escaped lamb and the Lamb of God who has come into the world.

Imagine a world where:

The wolf will live with the lamb.
And the leopard will lie down with the young goat;
The calf and the young lion will feed together,
And a little child will lead them.
The cow and the bear will graze.
Their young will lie down together,
And a lion will eat straw like an ox.
A nursing child will play over the snake’s hole;
Toddlers will reach right over the serpents’ den.
They won’t harm or destroy anywhere on my holy mountain.
The earth will surely be filled with the knowledge of the Lord,
Just as the water covers the sea.
Isaiah 11: 6-9 (CEB)

Merry Christmas


NSU Writers: I Believe in Music

By Alex Harris, NSU Student


Genres grow and change every day and people compete to throw out the next big thing. Out of everything in this world, how has music managed to be such a huge aspect? How can it have so many influences on life? The answer is simple, people connect to it. I believe music is powerful and has a way of influencing a person’s mood. I remember there were times when I thought my world was going to crumble until I heard a song that somehow managed to make everything seemingly disappear.

I had to go through many hard times while growing up. One memory is when my parents got a divorce. It was especially hard because I was so young and I didn’t really understand how to handle it. I was alone, upset, and utterly confused most of the time but I always had something to take my mind off of things. I would think of the songs my mother and I would sing while riding around in the car, care free and dancing to the beat of the music even though we couldn’t move to the rhythm. Those memories brought me back to a better place and allowed me to get through not having my mother around.

Music also helps me feel strong. It keeps me going during workouts when I feel like I cannot move another inch. I even use certain music to my advantage, like when I used it during Taekwondo. It tied my forms together or sometimes even motivated me to push myself harder. I believe that music can push me to never give up. There is just something about the beat that motivates me to keep going,

For me, music has always been a way of expression. Sadly, I get a lot of comments, especially when my dad would get in my car and hear what station I left the radio on. He would always ask, “Why do you listen to that mess?” He never realizes that I can relate to what the songs are talking about. I can understand more from a song than things I read or see on television. They stick with me and remind me that there are good times hidden behind the dark.

I believe that music is powerful. It sends messages not only to my mind but to my heart. It breaks down meanings that are lost in the aspect of life. It opens up new doors for adventure. I never wanted to get up in front of people and be my true self so I hid in the corner with my head down. Now that I’ve been exposed to several genres, I’m more adventurous and feel free. I feel the beat coursing through my body and I move with the rhythm as the song plays. I get lost in my own head to where I don’t even care who’s watching.

Music has been the answer to so many things for so many years. Music brings people together no matter what their personal life is or backgrounds they come from. I’ve come to know several different people just by playing music or listening to the songs they decided to play even if it was on accident. I just hear something and instantly want to say, “Oh I love that song” or “Who’s the artist so I can listen to it later?” I’ll walk around and sing it with the people that first introduced me to it and we start throwing out new songs. I believe that music is powerful because it’s universal. All I had to do is have an open mind and a free ear to get exposed to so many different things music has to offer, and also what life holds.


NSU N-Club, La. Sports Hall of Fame great Charlie Hennigan passes away at 82

Hennigan obit grafic

Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame 1978 inductee Charlie Hennigan, a Northwestern State graduate who still holds two NFL receiving records and is in the top three of three more, passed away Wednesday at age 82.

Visitation will be held Friday from 4:30-5 at Darst Funeral Home (796 Russell Palmer Road) in Kingwood, Texas, with a celebration of life at 5 p.m. A graveside service will be Saturday at 3 p.m. in Bienville at the Campground Cemetery on La. Hwy. 507.

He was the father of seven: sons Chuck, Stephen, James and Taylor, and daughters Jordan, Shalom and Faith. He had two brothers, Ronnie and David Hennigan, and a sister, Rev. Sharon Hennigan Waters.

Hennigan starred for the Houston Oilers from 1960-66 after he and college teammate Charlie Tolar, also a Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame member, earned roster spots out of an open tryout. Hennigan made the All-Time All-American Football League Team and was along with Tolar chosen by fan vote as a member of the Oilers’ 25th anniversary All-Time Team.

A five-time AFL All-Star, Hennigan caught 410 passes for 6,823 receiving yards for the Oilers, scoring 51 touchdowns. One was the first in Oilers’ history, a 43-yard pass from George Blanda against the Los Angeles Raiders. He helped football and track teams at Northwestern State win a combined five Gulf States Conference championships and was enshrined in the university’s N-Club Hall of Fame in 1973.

A native of Bienville who played football and ran track at Minden High School, he still holds NFL records with three games of at least 200 yards receiving, in his astounding 1961 season, and seven consecutive games of at least 100 yards receiving that season. He set a pro single-season receiving record with 1,746 yards that still ranks third, topped only by Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice (1,848 in 1995) and Isaac Bruce (1,781, also in 1995).

In 1961, Hennigan had 82 receptions and 12 touchdowns in a 14-game season, averaging 21.3 yards per catch and 124 yards per game.

Hennigan is one of only four receivers in pro history to have four or more 200-yard receiving games. He ranks in a tie for second with Rice and Don Hutson, also a Pro Football Hall of Fame member, with four 200-yard outings in their careers. Lance Alworth had five.

For 34 years, he held the NFL record for most games with 100 receiving yards in a season (10), topped only by Pro Football Hall of Fame member Michael Irvin (11) in 1995.

In a column for Talk of Fame Network last year, veteran sportswriter Rick Gosselin noted Hennigan’s impact on pro football.

“You can say Bob Hayes changed the way the game is played with his speed. You can say Charley Taylor changed the way the game is played with his power. And you can say Jerry Rice changed the way the game is played with his precision and grace. But no wide receiver changed the way the game is played like Charlie Hennigan,” wrote Gosselin.

Amy Adams Strunk, controlling owner of the Tennessee Titans, released a statement on Hennigan. Her father, Bud Adams, was the Oilers’ owner.

“He was one of the finest players in our franchise’s history and a key component to our early championship teams, who still holds many of our receiving records. My father was particularly fond of Charlie, and I have enjoyed getting to know him through the years. His contributions to our team will never be forgotten,” she said.

Hennigan helped lead the Oilers to AFL championships in 1960 and 1961, and a championship game appearance in 1962. He had 26 100-yard receiving games in his Oilers career.

Dr. Hennigan earned his doctorate in education in 1967 from the University of Houston. He received bachelors (1958) and masters (1961) degrees in education from Northwestern State.

At Minden, he made the All-North Louisiana team in football and track, and was two-time state champion in the 880-yard run. He signed a track scholarship with LSU and was part of the Tigers’ 1954 Southeastern Conference championship mile relay team.

Hennigan wanted to play football, but wasn’t given that opportunity at LSU, so he transferred to Northwestern. He was an All-Gulf States Conference halfback and also played cornerback, helping the Demons win the 1957 and 1958 GSC championships.

He ran the 100-yard dash in 9.7 and set the school record of 47.2 in the 400-yard dash that stood for 19 years. Hennigan helped the Demons win GSC track and field championships in 1955, 1956 and 1957, falling a half-point shy of another in 1958 under coach Walter Ledet, also a Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame member.

Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end Jackie Smith, a Northwestern product, gives Hennigan much credit for helping him hone his pass catching stills. Smith was a 10th-round 1963 NFL Draft pick who worked with Hennigan at Camp Touchdown for Boys in Bryceland, near his hometown, a live-in summer camp for boys ages 7-14 from 1962-65.

Hennigan was a U.S. Army 2nd Lieutenant and a teacher and coach at Jonesboro-Hodge High School after a failed tryout in the Canadian Football League at the end of his college career.

He founded the Hennigan Institute, a learning center, in Houston. Hennigan designed and implemented counseling and educational programs for court-designated delinquent students, edited a phonetic reading program aimed for junior high students, and produced a 10-module self-discovery and goal-setting course entitled “Set Yourself Free.”

He published one book, a work of fiction entitled “Slick,” in 1975.



Notice of Death – December 21, 2017

Notice of Death 2017


Frances Wall
February 5, 1921 – December 19, 2017
Arrangements TBA

Shaneika Sibley
December 20, 2017
Arrangements TBA

Darcey Ann Orr
March 13, 1940 – December 21, 2017
Visitation: Friday, Dec. 22 from 5-9 pm and Saturday, Dec. 23 from 9-11 am at Southern Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, Dec. 23 at 11 am at Southern Funeral Home
Interment: Sanders Chapel Cemetery in Calvin

Ralph Howard Nolley
April 20, 1923 – December 16, 2017
Service: Friday, Dec. 22 at 10 am at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Interment: Oak Grove Cemetery in Natchitoches

Loree Sneed Jackson
October 26, 1929 – December 19, 2017
Service: Friday, Dec. 22 at 2 pm at the Warren Meadows Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Florien Cemetery

Kristyn Nicole Hoffpauir
June 2, 2002 – December 18, 2017
Visitation: Friday, Dec. 22 from 1-2 pm at Family Life Center of Atlanta Baptist Church
Service: Friday, Dec. 22 at 2 pm in the Family Life Center of Atlanta Baptist Church
Interment: Atlanta Cemetery

Willie F. Metoyer, Sr.
July 28, 1935 – December 17, 2017
Visitation: Saturday, Dec. 23 from 8:30-10:30 am at St. Augustine Catholic Church
Service: Saturday, Dec. 23 at 11 am at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Isle Brevelle
Interment: St. Augustine Catholic Church Mausoleum

Patsy Gay
December 18, 2017
Arrangements TBA

Joyce Morrison Rigdon
March 4, 1925 – December 18, 2017
Visitation: Friday, Dec. 22 from 9:30-11 am at Southern Funeral Home
Service: Friday, Dec. 22 at 11 am at Southern Funeral Home
Interment: Garden of Memories in Winnfield

Viva M. Amyx
February 14, 1916 – December 19, 2017
Service: Friday, Dec. 22 at 10 am at Kinner & Stevens Funeral Home Interment: Woodland Cemetery in Jena

Jane Ann Giamano
February 16, 1939 – December 16, 2017
Arrangements TBA

Breon Jackson
July 16, 1986 – December 17, 2017
Service: Saturday, Dec. 23 at 11 am at the Northside Baptist Church in Montgomery

Mary McCall
December 17, 2017
Arrangements TBA


Natchitoches’ Early Childhood system scores increase

EarlyChildScores 2017.jpg
Last year local Early Childhood Academically Approved programs in Natchitoches served more than 650 children under the age of 5 across 22 sites. The combination of seven Natchitoches Parish School Board schools, five Head Start programs, and 10 Type III Childcare centers were given a Network score of an overall “Proficient” rating. On a scale of 0 to 7, and with scores across the state ranging from 4.86 to 6.42, Natchitoches scored 5.77.

Act 3 groups Head Start, private Type III centers, and public-schools together to ensure all are preparing children for academic success. During the past school year, our Head Start centers went up 0.51 points, private Type III centers combined went up 0.42, and public-schools increased 0.15 points for a system improvement of 7% year-over.

Study after study recognizes the best opportunity to greatly enhance a child’s academic success exists in direct correlation with access to quality early childhood education. Louisiana Department of Education has taken these Performance Profile scores a step future to honor Early Childhood Programs that met their criteria for being recognized as one of the three Honor Roll sites: Excellence, Top Birth to Three, and Top Gains.

Natchitoches has Early Childhood sites that meet two of the three Honor Rolls.

-Top Gains (most improved scores): Breda Town HeadStart, Campti HeadStart, and A to Z 1 2 3 Preschool & Learning Center.

– Top Birth to Three (sites with the highest scores): A to Z 1 2 3 Preschool & Learning Center and Vaughn Early Learning Center

The Natchitoches Early Childhood Care and Education Network meets monthly with all program administrators and work as a team to ensure all programs are receiving assistance, professional developments, materials, and more. “We are extremely proud of all 22 of our programs and the hard work that it takes to ensure all children are receiving quality care and education.”

To learn more about these sites please visit http://www.louisianaschools.com