Lakeview hires new head football coach

Brandon Helms

Brandon Helms spent his first day on the job as Lakeview’s new Head Football Coach and Athletic Director Jan. 30.

“It was a busy day with a lot to do,” he said. “I’m excited about this opportunity to build the football program at Lakeview, which is something I’m very interested in.”

Originally from Arkansas, Brandon and his family have lived in Louisiana for 21 years now. He first worked for the Ouachita Parish School System before moving to natchitoches in 2006. He worked at Natchitoches Central High School for 9 years as Head Football Coach. Last year he worked at the Natchitoches Junior High as a teacher and athletic administrator.

The opportunity to coach at a large school like NCHS is what originally brought Helms to Natchitoches. Since then, he and his family have grown to love the town and now consider it their home.

“I want to start building Lakeview’s football program by focusing on the Jr. High first,” said Helms. “I want to be hands on with the players and establish who we are with the younger kids while making the high school program more competitive.”

Helms said he can accomplish this by getting more kids involved and encouraging more community involvement.

“Try to be better tomorrow than we were today,” he said. “I’m committed to seeing this program through. The school has been through a lot of coaches in the last 10 years. I want to see the football program become something the students, players and the school as a whole can take pride in.”


Jazz Fest is back: Get ready to have a Jazzin’ Good Time!


The 23rd Annual Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival will be held on the renovated downtown riverbank in Natchitoches Friday and Saturday, April 13-14, 2018 after a one-year hiatus and according to Festival Chairman, Rodney Harrington, this year’s event will feature the strongest lineup in the festival’s history.

“After taking the last year off during the riverbank renovation,” said Harrington, “we felt we needed to come back with the strongest lineup ever. We feel we have done that by booking not one, but two multi-platinum selling groups Starship featuring Mickey Thomas and the Ohio Players.”

Starship is a group that traces its roots back to the 60’s band Jefferson Airplane. When Jefferson Airplane split up in the 70’s, some of its members formed Jefferson Starship and the band hired Mickey Thomas as its lead singer. Thomas had achieved fame as the lead singer for the Elvin Bishop Group and you can hear his vocals on the #1 hit “Fooled Around and Fell in Love.”

With Thomas and former Jefferson Airplane icon Grace Slick handling the vocals, Jefferson Starship which later became just “Starship” proceeded to reel off a number of platinum-selling singles and albums which included the #1 hits “We Built This City,” “Sara,” and “Nothing Is Gonna Stop Us Now.”

The band’s show today is jam-packed with hits, spanning four decades, going back to Jefferson Airplane songs like “Don’t You Want Somebody To Love” and “White Rabbit” as well as all the Jefferson Starship and Starship hits which continued into the 1990’s.

Sharing the stage with Starship on April 14th will be the legendary multi-platinum selling Funk, Soul, and R&B band, the Ohio Players.

The Ohio Players who are members of the R&B Music Hall of Fame, were one of the most popular groups of the 70’s. At their height, they produced seventeen Top 40 hits which included the such #1 classics as “Fire,” “Love Rollercoaster,” and “Skin Tight.”

The Ohio Players are widely known for their high energy live shows, band leader and original member, drummer James “Diamond” Williams has a theory about why audiences come out to see the Ohio Players:

“Audiences want to see someone who has taken their life and their gift and perfected it. We can make music and create atmospheres and relate back and forth during the night. You feel good, you remember things that happened during a certain period of time, and it sounds like the record. And that’s what it’s all about. We are keeping the Funk alive.”

Harrington said that Friday night’s lineup will feature popular Grammy winning Zydeco artist Wayne Toups and his band Zydecajun along with the 80’s Hairband Tribute Group L.A. Roxx.

Local and regional favorites Johnny Earthquake and the Moondogs, Badd Apple, The Hardrick Rivers’ Revue, Trini Triggs, and several others will also be featured, as well as a stage that features only jazz music all day.

Harrington says the newly renovated downtown riverbank may be the real star of the show this year.

“The fans concert-going experience is going to be greatly enhanced by the new riverbank,” said Harrington, “especially the new massive covered stage and the amphitheater seating.”

“For the first time in the history of the festival, reserved seating will be available,” he continued. “That is why it will be more important than ever to purchase reserved seat tickets in advance, as there are only a limited amount available.”


BOM sponsors upcoming fundraiser to support LA Lions Camp

BOM_Kaseys Heart and Soul

BOM is a LOVE sponsor of the upcoming “Kasey’s Heart & Soul: Run, Walk, Roll & Roar” on Saturday, March 10. The race will include a 5K & 1 Mike Walk/Run as well as a Roar Challenge Course on NSU’s Campus. All proceeds from this fundraiser will be used to provide scholarships to graduating campers and to priced the needs of hosting the LA Lions Camp. In the picture from left to right: Wayne Ragan, Tina Ragan, Carrie Hough, Gretchen Dauzat, and Micah Foshee.



ADVANCE Celebrates 30 Years of Academic Excellence



Northwestern State University’s ADVANCE Program for Young Scholars is now accepting applications for qualified students. Proudly celebrating its 30th anniversary, ADVANCE is a collaborative program with Duke University’s Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) and Northwestern State.

ADVANCE is a three-week residential program administered by NSU from July 8 – 28 and offers a demanding and exciting curriculum for gifted or talented students who are currently in grades 7–11. The learning environment at the program motivates and challenges students to set them on a path toward a lifetime of high academic achievement.

Students enroll in a single course for three weeks of in-depth study. They attend 106 hours of class and cover an entire year’s worth of high school material or a semester of college level material. Course offerings include the humanities, mathematics, natural sciences with laboratory components and computer programming.

While the academic program at ADVANCE is top-notch, the residential program sets ADVANCE apart from other similar summer programs. The residential staff offers a wide variety of social and recreational activities to assist students in forming lasting friendships, strengthen the ADVANCE community and help all students have a great time. Last year, ADVANCE drew students from throughout Louisiana and six other states.

Admittance to ADVANCE is based on minimum ACT or SAT scores. If students have not taken an ACT or SAT, or their scores did not meet or surpass ADVANCE’s eligibility criteria, they may apply through the program’s Alternate Admissions Policy.

Dependents of NSU employees from all campuses receive a $250 tuition reduction.

Those who attended the program maintain a deep loyalty toward ADVANCE and want other prospective students to be aware of it. Former ADVANCE student and staff member Vera Herbert made a video that may be viewed at “I just wanted to make a video to show everybody that ADVANCE is an awesome place and that three weeks can really be the catalyst that can change your life, ” said Herbert, who served as the teaching assistant for the ADVANCE film studies class for four years and is a writer and producer for the hit NBC show This Is Us.

For further information visit or call (318) 357-4500.


Rotary Club learns about NSU activities


Dr. Greg Handel, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Director of Creative and Performing Arts at Northwestern State University, shared information about the college’s activities with the Rotary Club of Natchitoches at its meeting Jan. 30. The Spirit of Northwestern Demon Band is in need of new uniforms. If you would like to donate to this worthy cause contact Jeff Mathews at or call 318-357-4450 (Photo by Dr. Ron McBride).


Catholic Schools Week Spotlight: Emily Amberg


St. Mary’s Catholic School in Natchitoches is joining the celebration for National Catholic Schools Week by showcasing what makes education at St. Mary’s outstanding.

Wednesday’s Spotlight features Emily Amberg, a third grade student. Emily is eight-years-old. She is the daughter of Robyn and Landon Amberg.

Her teachers are Laura Friedel and Elizabeth Yopp. Her favorite teacher is Miss Friedel, who Emily has had as a teacher for second and third grade.

“I wish I could have her as my teacher again in fourth grade,” said Emily. “She’s funny and nice and always make her class laugh. She decorates her class fun and it makes us feel like there’s a party in there.”

Haley’s favorite subject is math because all the other subjects are really easy, but she likes the challenge math gives her. She wants to grow up to be a mom with two kids that’s a math teacher.

This year’s theme is “Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.” The theme encompasses the core products and values that can be found in Catholic schools across the country.

“Not only are we teaching students to become future servant leaders, faith-filled disciples and enriched citizens in our communities, educators are growing with them,” said St. Mary’s Principal Andrea Harrell. “In Catholic schools, we are all learners, servants and leaders. These shared qualities are what make Catholic schools work. They are what make Catholic schools succeed.”

The theme also focuses on key elements of Catholic education: faith development, academic excellence and dedication to service. These elements set Catholic schools apart from other educational options. They are why families make sacrifices to provide their children with Catholic education.

“St. Mary’s is awesome,” said Emily. “It’s the best school I’ve been to. We believe in Jesus and I want everyone to believe in him too.”



LouisCBenard 2018

Citing 24 years of public service as former Natchitoches Parish Clerk of Court, Louie Bernard announced today his intention to seek the District 31 Senate seat in October of 2019. The six-parish district includes all or parts of Natchitoches, Sabine, Red River, Winn, Grant and Rapides Parishes.

“For the past twenty-four years, it has been a privilege to serve the citizens of Natchitoches Parish as Clerk of Court. As a member of the Louisiana Clerks of Court Association, I established relationships with many citizens and community leaders throughout our region. I became acutely aware of the concerns many folks have with state government and how we can be better stewards of the tax dollars we are sending to Baton Rouge,” said Bernard.

“We must foster a positive economic climate that will attract businesses to our region. We can’t do that unless we have a skilled and trained workforce that potential employers will find beneficial to their specific needs. We should continue to invest in job skills training, our technical colleges and NSU to deliver a job-ready workforce right here in Disctrict 31”

“The State that we love so much has many solutions to find, not the least of which is developing a process to plan and approve a State budget without staring every year over what has come to be called, the ‘Fiscal Cliff.’ It is irresponsible to continue with temporary fixes to a permanent and systemic problem. I will be the first to tell you that I don’t have the ‘magic’ answer to this and other issues we face. I will tell you that I will bring a common-sense style of addressing those issues and, more importantly, I will work with anyone who is ready to roll up their sleeves to help Louisiana fix them once and for all. The ability to connect with people is important to accomplishment, not just on the campaign trail, but also in working with the other elected officials in Baton Rouge with whom your elected Senator will serve.”

Bernard is a life-long member of the First United Methodist Church in Natchitoches and a proud graduate of Northwestern State University. He has been married for the past forty-four years to Gayle Haworth Bernard. They have three children and four wonderful grandchildren

“I hope to meet as many of you as is possible on the very long campaign trail ahead. Perhaps we will not agree on every issue, but you can be assured of one thing… I will always… ALWAYS… take time to listen to what you have to say on any matter that is concerning to you. I ask for your support and your prayers in this endeavor.”

The election for Senate District 31 will be held in October of 2019. Bernard is seeking the office currently held by Senator Gerald Long who is term limited.

Notice of Death – January 30, 2018

Notice of Death 2017


DeEtte Wilkinson Tomka
February 16, 1944 – January 24, 2018
Service: Saturday, Feb. 24 at 11 am at Trinity Episcopal Church, located at 533 Second Street in Natchitoches
Interment: Trinity Bell Tower Columbarium


Barbara Miller Reich
July 15, 1933 – January 29, 2018
Visitation: Wednesday, Jan. 31 from 4-8 pm at the John Kramer & Son Funeral Home
Service: Thursday, Feb. 1 at 10 am at Mary, Mother of Jesus Catholic Church in Woodworth
Interment: Alexandria Memorial Gardens

Rev. Winston Perry Lowe
(August 25, 1923 – January 28, 2018
Service: Wednesday, Jan. 31 at 11 am at Many Church of The Nazarene
Interment: Friendship Nazarene Cemetery

Jennie Oxley Feazel
March 6, 1931 – January 28, 2018
Visitation: Wednesday, Jan. 31 from 12-2 pm at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home
Service: Wednesday, Jan. 31 at 2 pm at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Springville Cemetery

Eleanor Rodgers Wyatt
February 10, 1958 – January 28, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, Feb. 3 from 9:30-11 am at the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church
Service: Saturday, Feb. 3 at 11 am at the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church
Interment: Montgomery Community Cemetery

Dorothy Horton
Service: Wednesday, Jan. 31 at 11 am at the Wesley United Methodist Church
Interment: Benevolent Cemetery in Mansfield

Eula “Sherry” Francis Dennis
April 7, 1935 – January 26, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, Feb. 3 from 10-11 am at Aimwell Baptist Church in Zwolle
Service: Saturday, Feb. 3 at 11 am at Aimwell Baptist Church
Interment: Aimwell Cemetery


NSU ranked as state’s top school for veterans in liberal arts, general studies

Veterans Education

Northwestern State University has named Louisiana’s top university for veterans for liberal arts and general studies.

The ranking is available at developed the rankings to highlight institutions that offer quality outcomes in a specific major while also offering support to help veterans and active-duty military students thrive.

“We are honored to once again be recognized as a top university for veterans and hope that this continued distinction will encourage more individuals to pursue educational goals at Northwestern State,” said Dr. Darlene Williams, vice president for technology, innovation and economic development.

The rankings take into account 19 factors including that cover veteran affordability, population, flexibility and policies as well as overall college quality.

Northwestern State has been named a Military Friendly School seven times. The university has a campus at Leesville/Fort Polk and also offers classes at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City. The university has 39 degree programs available online through that serves veterans and active-duty personnel wherever they are.

The website also ranked NSU as the state’s top institution for returning adults.


Test prep course to be held throughout semester

test prep


Northwestern State University’s Office of Electronic and Continuing Education will offer a TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills) Boot Camp this spring. Sessions will be held on Feb. 2, 9 and 23 from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and April 3 and 5 from 8 a.m. until noon.

The class will be on the second floor of South Hall on NSU’s Natchitoches campus. The fee is $50 for those who pre-register and $75 on the day of class.

Students will receive study tips and a review of TEAS sections on reading, math, science and English.

For more information, call (318) 357-6355, (800) 376-2422 or go to