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.”