Natchitoches Knights of Columbus Council 1357 presented coats and jackets to East Natchitoches and LP Vaughn Elementary Schools Feb. 23. Over 60 like new previously owned and dry cleaned coats were distributed as part of their ongoing community outreach. Pictured above at LP Vaughn are KC Member Leslie Bayonne, Semaj Thomas, Titus Willams and Principal Kristi Irchirl.
Pictured at East Natchitoches are Sylvia Coutee, Zariyah Roverson, Khaled Shuaibi, back row Principal Dr. Alvin Brossette, Lyrica Thomas, Jamiya Logan, Skyler Davis, Jazavion Moses, Keron Jackson, Arnold Scott and KC Leslie Bayonne.
According to a Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force Official, Jerica Devon Kelly B/M 25, was taken into custody Feb. 7 in the parking lot of 1230 Old Robeline Rd. in the city limits of Natchitoches. NMJDTF agents were executing a search warrant at an apartment when agents approached the residence they noticed a subject in a vehicle parked in front of the apartment.
For safety reasons agents approached the vehicle to identify the subject and detected a strong odor of marijuana was coming from the vehicle. NMJDTF agents also saw in plain view small pieces of suspected marijuana on the clothes of the subject inside the vehicle.
NMJDTF agents detained the subject identified as Jerica Kelly who admitted to rolling a blunt which is a marijuana cigar . NMJDTF agents obtained a search warrant for the vehicle and located 104 suspected Ecstasy pills, 7.5 suspected Alprazolam Pills, $92, 35.6 grams of suspected marijuana, 83.3 grams of suspected synthetic marijuana and a digital scale.
Kelly was transported to the NPDC where he was booked on the following charges and issued an arraignment date of 5/7/2018.
Possession of CDS I (Marijuana) with intent to distribute
Possession of CDS IV (Alprazolam) with intent distribute
Possession of CDS I (synthetic marijuana) with intent to distribute
Possession of CDS I (Ecstasy) with intent to distribute
Possession of drug paraphernalia
Second or subsequent offenses
The Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force would like to thank the Citizens of Natchitoches for their support. Many times an investigation begins with a simple phone call or tip from a concerned citizen. For this reason the Task Force encourages all citizens to report any crimes in their neighborhoods anonymously by calling 318-357-2248, The Natchitoches Police Department, or the Natchitoches Parish Sheriffs Office.
Northwestern State University will host the finals of the state American Legion Oratorical Contest Sunday, March 4 at 1 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. Admission is free and open to the public.
Student winners from eight districts around Louisiana will compete for a $1,500 scholarship and opportunity to represent Louisiana at the national competition. This will be NSU’s fifth year in hosting the finals.
The contest exists to develop deeper knowledge and appreciation for the U.S. Constitution among high school students. Since 1938, the program has presented participants with an academic speaking challenge that teaches important leadership qualities, the history of our nation’s laws, the ability to think and speak clearly and an understanding of the duties, responsibilities, rights and privileges of American citizenship. The program has featured numerous politicians and prominent contestants over the years, including former president candidate Alan Keyes and Fox Business Network anchor Lou Dobbs.
Speaking subjects must be on some aspect of the U.S. Constitution, with some emphasis on the duties and obligations of citizens to our government. Speeches are eight to 10 minutes long. Three to five-minute speeches on an assigned topic also are part of the contest.
For more information about the contest, go to legion.org/oratorical/about.
The Central Louisiana Technical Community College Natchitoches Campus and Northwestern State University will host an open house for students interested in participating in the Advance Manufacturing Technician program in which students can earn an associate degree from NSU while taking classes and working part-time at a sponsoring manufacturing facility.
The Open House will be from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, March 1 at CLTCC Natchitoches, located at 6587 Hwy. 1 Bypass next to Natchitoches Central High School.
Through the AMT program, students work part-time at a manufacturing facility and take relevant courses part-time at CLTCC. After completing the program, the student has the option to apply the associate degree towards a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology at Northwestern State. Students gain not only work skills, but also soft skills in written and verbal communication, dress code and interacting with management. Program participants must meet eligibility requirements.
The program is supported by the Natchitoches Community Alliance Foundation and is made possible through agreements with five sponsoring manufacturers, Alliance Compressors, RoyOMartin, Pilgrim’s, Boise Cascade and Stella-Jones. Administrators estimate there are about 2,000 jobs in central Louisiana that need to be filled.
Daisy Marguerite Prudhomme
August 7, 1930 – February 12, 2018
Service: Saturday, March 3 at 1 pm at St. Charles Borromeo Chapel in Bermuda
February 26, 2018
Thomas Warren Stephens
October 11, 1926 – February 24, 2018
Visitation: Wednesday, Feb. 28 from 10-11 am
Service: Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 11 am at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home in Natchitoches
Interment: Oak Grove Methodist Cemetery in Natchitoches
Jewel Johnigan Niette June 30, 1934 – February 24, 2018
Service: Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 11 am at St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Spanish Lake
Interment: St. Anne’s Cemetery
February 20, 2018
Service: Saturday, March 3 at 10 am in the Evergreen Baptist Church Cemetery on Hwy. 71 in St. Maurice
The Natchitoches Dragon Boat Races, set for Saturday, March 3, have been moved to Chaplin’s Lake on the Northwestern State University campus, due to the closure of Cane River Lake in the aftermath of heavy rainfall.
All races will take place as planned at the new location, headquartered near the NSU Tennis Complex. Races will begin at 8 a.m. and continue throughout the day with vendors, music and activities for families and spectators. Spectator admission is free.
Dragon Boat teams consist of 20 paddlers (a minimum of eight must be female) and one drummer. The helmsman will be provided. The practice schedule for teams will continue as planned this week at Chaplin’s Lake.
The cost for each team to enter is $1,200. Sponsorships, which include a team entry, are $2,500. The cost for a vendor is $100.
For more information or to register, visit northwesternalumni.com and scroll to Dragon Boat Races in the Events listings.
Parish President Rick Nowlin declared a State of Emergency for Natchitoches Parish on Feb. 26 to ensure preparations will be adequate to deal with emergencies that threaten the lives and property of the residents. This declaration is effective immediately. (see below)
The National Weather Service issued a flood warning in connection with rising water levels of the Red River and its tributaries, with the potential for thousands of acres of land and numerous roads to be flooded.
A number of Parish roads were already compromised due to heavy rains, flooding conditions and/or washouts, making them unsafe for motorists. The Parish could experience additional damage to its roads due to flooding conditions and additional rainfall.
As of 3 pm Monday, the latest water level recorded at Grand Ecore on the Red River was 33.79 feet, which is above the 33 flood stage. Expected to crest Feb. 28 at 39 feet. In 2015 the Red River crested at 42.03 feet and in 2016 it crested at 41.89 feet when the Parish experienced major flooding. The water level during the current rain event is not expected to reach these previous crests.
At 38 feet the following flood impacts can be expected: Expect several hundred acres of floodplain inundated near the levees. Also expect major backwater flooding up through Bayou Pierre to between Powhattan and Evelyn, Louisiana. Also expect backwater flooding up through Iatt, Nantaches, and Black, Clear, and Saline Bayous.
At 40 feet the following flood impacts can be expected: Major backwater flooding problems will affect Bayou Pierre, Black and Saline Bayous and the Cane River Lake tributaries with thousands of acres flooded. Severe backwater flooding will spread upstream along Bayou Pierre through Powhattan and Evelyn, Louisiana. Also expect backwater flooding of Black and Clear lakes along with the closure of Louisiana highway 1226.
Hazardous Weather Outlook:
DAY ONE…This Afternoon and Tonight…
No hazardous weather is expected.
DAYS 2-7…Tuesday through Sunday…
Several rounds of heavy rainfall will return between Tuesday morning through Thursday evening as a warm front lifts northeast across the area late Tuesday, followed by an upper-level disturbance on Wednesday, then by a stronger upper-level trough of low pressure and surface cold front Wednesday night and Thursday. Periods of flash flooding will be possible during the
heavy rainfall events along with the threat of severe storms Wednesday evening and into the night.
FLOOD WARNING: Black Lake Bayou near Clarence, Louisiana.
* until further notice…or until the warning is cancelled.
* At 11:30 AM Monday The pool stage was 106.2 feet.
* Minor flooding is occurring and moderate flooding is forecast.
* Flood pool stage is 106 feet.
* Forecast…The lake will continue rising to near 108.0 feet by
Thursday evening. Additional rises remain possible thereafter.
* Impact…Secure boats and docks for high water. Expect flooded
trails and access roadways.
After numerous phones calls from concerned citizens, the NPJ decided to look into some questionable filings pertaining to James Rex “Kip” Fair, Jr., who passed away Jan. 7, 2018. The calls the NPJ received raised questions of negligence on the part of the Fair Law Firm and how many people it’s affected, those known and those yet unknown.
A hearing will be held Monday, Feb. 26 at 1 pm (today) in the Natchitoches Parish Courthouse regarding a Petition for Damages, filed Feb. 1, 2018, titled: Delta Bank versus James Rex Fair Jr., APLC et al.
The defendants include the Fair Law Firm (APLC), the Estate of James Rex Fair Jr., Continental Casualty Company, and Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company (APLC and Fair were authorized title insurance agents for Commonwealth).
According to the filing, Delta Bank retained the Fair Law Firm to perform a real estate closing consisting of an acquisition of a Burger King in St. Francisville and the refinancing of an existing Burger King in Baton Rouge.
On Nov. 20, 2017, $2 million was wired to Fair’s Client Trust account. On Nov. 29 a cash deed was executed to transfer the property in St. Francisville.
As the closing party, the Fair Law Firm had a duty to collect and safe keep the funds, but when lawyers were appointed to inventory the firm’s files, Delta Bank was informed the funds weren’t in the bank account they’d been wired to. Allegedly, evidence exists that the funds were transferred to an outside party.
The suit claims Fair was negligent on the following:
Failing to protect Delta Bank funds
Failing to deliver funds to proper party
Allowing funds to be delivered to parties not involved in transaction
Delta Bank also paid for a closing protection letter through Commonwealth, but claims it is entitled to indemnification because it never received said letter.
The Fair Law Firm had a Lawyers Proffessional Liability Policy through Continental, which requires said company to compensate Delta Bank for its losses.
A Petition for Damages filed on Feb. 16, 2018 involves TTT Properties versus Continental Casualty Company and James Rex Fair Jr., APLC. TTT Properties is represented by its Manager, Taylor Townsend.
Because a succession for Fair’s Estate hasn’t been opened, nor has a succession representative been appointed, APLC is unable to pay debts owed. Because of this, TTT Properties has a right of direct action against Continental.
On Feb. 20, 2015, TTT Properties hired the Fair Law Firm to perform all legal work to perfect a sale of a certain piece of immovable property from Fair Properties LLC to TTT Properties. Unbeknownst to TTT Properties, there was a second mortgage on the property in favor of Adolph Sklar Jr. and Ann Weaver Sklar dated July 31, 2013.
The filing alleges that Fair failed to obtain partial release of the mortgage executed by Fair Properties LLC from the Sklars. TTT Properties alleges that failure to properly perform the closing of this transaction has caused and will continue to cause damages and losses as it pertains to the ownership of said property.
Also, Continental is compelled to compensate TTT Properties for the losses it has suffered.
The Sklars filed for Executroy Process against Fair Properties LLC, et al, which was refiled March 23, 2017 to amend the original petition, titling it Supplemental and Amending Petition to Enforce Mortgage on Real Estate via Ordinaria.
The Sklars are asking for $4 million with unpaid and accrued interest of $3.3 million, a 1% keepers fee on any amount foreclosed upon, 18% interest from Feb. 1, 2017, reasonable attorney fees, a late payment of 5% on the amount due, and all costs of proceedings.
Another petition for Suit and Damages is titled: Ramson Edgar Cason, Et Ux versus The Unopened Succession of James Rex Fair Jr. This filing alleges that Fair, and now his unopened succession, is indebted to petitioners for $1 million and 10% per annum interest from Jan. 25, 2017. After Jan. 18, 2018, interest increases to 18% thereafter until paid. The suit also includes reasonable attorney fees and all costs of collection.
After watching the Parish Council meeting, I made the following observations:
Observation No. 1 – Chris Paige clearly thinks that you are stupid, that you don’t know how to read and that you can’t understand simple math. It is either that or Mr. Paige is a liar. I prefer to believe the latter! The most egregious lie of the night, which he couched as a wager, was that there are two people on Parish payroll whose salaries combined exceed 2 million dollars! I’m sorry, but anyone with even half a lick of sense should recognize that statement for the lie that it is. Even the good folks who seem determined to destroy our Parish by going back to a police jury form of government aren’t so gullible as to believe that lie! If you add up ALL of the salaries for the departments that the Parish Government has control over, you get $2,138,962!! And that includes the salaries for the Parish President and the Council members!
Observation No. 2 – The good folks who live on rural roads have selective memories where the condition of their roads are concerned. Go back and read the minutes of old police jury meetings to refresh your memory if you must, but the roads in Natchitoches Parish have been deteriorating for over 30 years now!
Under the police jury form of government, there was a Highway Steering Committee. The Committee was comprised of Police Jurors who were responsible for studying “any issue, matter or proposal relating to the operation of the Parish Highway department and/or the Parish road system prior to same being acted upon by the police jury as a corporate body.”
At its June 18, 2012 meeting, the police jury, upon recommendation of the Steering Committee, voted to cancel all previous backlog Work Requests at the Parish Highway Department for the years 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011!!! At that same meeting, Juror John Salter, who was the Parish Manager over the highway department, stated that “putting down gravel was about all the Jury could do in such a short time.”
Observation #3 – Another task of the Highway Steering Committee was the “approval for employment of persons recommended by the Director of Public Works for employment…”
The Parish employee who complained to the Council of being treated unfairly by the Parish Government started working for the police jury on June 18, 2012. Her recommendation for hiring wasn’t voted on and approved until the Council meeting was held at 4:00 p.m. that same day. The position she was hired for was not advertised and the highway department already had a secretary on staff. Why did the police jury find it necessary to create a job for this particular person? Could it be that Patsy Ward Hoover created the position for her? After all, the employee has been seen riding in the same vehicle as Mrs. Hoover in recent weeks and Mrs. Hoover, who was receiving an additional $400/month in pay, was the Assistant Parish Manager of the highway department at the time the employee was hired. If that is the case, Mrs. Hoover violated the Parish Code of Ordinances by using her position as a manager over the highway department and as a police juror to influence the Steering Committee’s selection and hiring of this particular person.
It’s time for the residents of this Parish to realize that people like Chris Paige, who is term-limited under the Home Rule Charter, only have use for us if we can help advance their personal agenda! It’s time to wake up and get educated!
The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Natchitoches Parish Journal. If you have an article or story of interest for publishing consideration by the NPJ, please send it to NPJNatLa@gmail.com.
Natchitoches Central High School made it to the playoffs again. The Lady Chiefs played Feb. 22 in round three of the LHSAA playoffs. They have been to the Top 28 the last two years and with a final score of 52 to 35, they’ve made it for the third year in a row.
The Lady Chiefs will play Capt. Shreve in the 5A Semi-Finals Thursday, March 1 at 6:15 pm at the Rapides Coliseum.
The Lakeview Jr.-Sr. High Band, under the direction of Denise Roper, performed in the “Rolling on the River” Concert Band Festival at Logansport High School on Friday, February 23, 2018. The band received a rating of Excellent for their performance at this event, and received trophies for their division 2 rating and festival participation.
Band members pictured above, on front row from left, are Diamond Miller, Kentrae Jones, Shaquera Reliford, Za’Chary Jackson, John Conley, Joshua Mattox, and Serenity Bush. On middle row are Amber Hembree, Shiann Harris, Joshua Graham, Stephan Prudhomme, Harli Thomas, Zoie Britt, Mathew Johnson, and John DeSoto. On back row are Kain Custis, Jennifer Williams, Myla Porter, Shaneta Williams, Simon Messengmba, Jo Porter, and Nicholas Wiggins.
The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN) herald its annual luncheon Feb. 24. APHN President Dr. Vicki Parrish made a special presentation honoring Gay and LJ Melder for their dedication to the organization for well over 50 years.
Dr. Mark Guidry gave a presentation on the legacy of faith and cultural spirit of Isle Brevelle.
Six new board members were elected to serve until 2020, which included: Wallace Berry, Dee Fowler, Sharon Huey, Connie Melder, Gretchen Murchison and Gina Puls.
Dr. Parrish then mentioned the below people for all the time they spend promoting and helping to keep APHN and its facilities up and running.
Past Presidents Council: Julia Hildebrand, Martha Maynard, Arleen Mayeux, Vicki Parrish and Sue Weaver
Board of Directors: Alma Alost, Lisa Bostick, Gary Cathey, Dr. Virginia Crossno, Elizabeth Dalton, Dr. Susan Dollar, Diane Doughty, Frank Douglas, Chris Evans, Harold Faust, Dr. Jerry Ferguson, Gayle Howell, Barbara Jackson, Eileen Kendrick, Jenny Massia, Sandra McCullen, Dr. Vicki Parrish, Anita Pierce, Lisa Prudhomme, Cheryl Rambin, Anne Stevens, Harry Thompson, Dawn Wells, Les Amies Representative Robin Flynn, and Natchitoches Parish Tourist Commission APHN Representative Marilyn McMurtry
Staff: APHN Facilities Manager Molly Dickerson, Melrose Bindery Manager Betty Metoyer-Roque, and Gardener William Stanton
Interpretive Staff: Pam Attridge, Mikayla Blue, Nicholas Ferguson, Susan Keller, Bayleigh Smith and Jo Ann St. Clair
Long Term Interpretation Committee: Dr. Vicki Parrish, Shiela Richmond, Elvin Shields, Cynthia Sutton, Mary Linn Wernet, Thomas Whitehead, Dr. Kass Byrd, Dr. Susan Dollar, Dusty Fuqua and Dr. Pete Gregory
Dickerson then presented the Melrose Facilities Report with the following statistics:
Accomplishments in 2017:
12,840 visitors to Melrose in 2017, which is a 6-year high and included 63 large groups
2017 Melrose Arts&Crafts Festival had 2,000 visitors and 74 artisans and was named one of the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Events
Fall Tour of Homes had a unique theme featuring underground cellars in historic homes, which led to a banner year for this event
800 third graders attended the annual Children’s Tour with 100 older students and APHN members serving as interpretive guides
Melrose Bindery Manager Betty Metoyer-Roque presented a “Faces of Tourism” award by the Natchitoches Tourist Office
Dr. Parrish wrapped up the luncheon by speaking on the younger generation’s increased use of technology. While this can be a good thing, it can lead to a yearning for a more meaningful connection to the community, their peers, and the role models around them.
“APHN is 75 years old,” she said. “We are a strong role model for the younger generations.” She said students at NSU often refer to APHN as the “Natchitoches Mafia” because they perceive the members of the organization as the people in town who get things done.
“You’ve been a role model and you didn’t even know it,” said Dr. Parrish. “They see us as devoted to our task. Each of us has a spark of life inside us. I challenge everyone here to set a spark off in everyone we meet.”
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. -Dr. Suess
On March 3, 2018 Louisiana State Police and NRA Certified Firearms Instructors will teach a Basic Pistol Class to satisfy the Louisiana requirements for you to receive your concealed carry permit. The class will begin at 9:00 AM at 4150 University Parkway for the classroom portion and conclude at the Natchitoches Shooting Range for live fire qualifications. The class will include fingerprinting and everything needed to get your concealed carry permit in Louisiana. The class is $85 however through a partnership with the Community Oriented Law Enforcement or C.O.L.E. Foundation all first responders and teachers will be offered a discounted rate of $50.
Firearms Instructor and President of the C.O.L.E. Foundation Josh Axsom said, “With the elevated risks that have become a reality in the recent weeks we want to make firearms instruction, training, and classes more affordable for our teachers and first responders!”
Topics to be covered include instruction on handgun nomenclature and safe handling procedures for pistols, instruction on ammunition knowledge and fundamentals of pistol shooting, instruction on handgun shooting positions, instruction on the use of deadly force and conflict-resolution, instruction on child access prevention, actual live range fire and proper handgun cleaning procedures.
The Louisiana Concealed Carry permit is now reciprocated by 39 states including all surrounding states.
The class size is limited so call Instructor Mason Troquille at (318) 265-0218 to reserve your seat.
St. Mary’s alum, Barry Guillet, will continue his internationally renowned motivational speaking tour on Saturday, March 10, starting at 6 pm during the St. Mary’s Second Annual, “Whatever Happened To…A Trip Down Memory Lane.”
Get ready for an evening of stories and lore from St. Mary’s alumni and former employees including:
Barry Guillet, Entrepreneur, Class of 1964
Henry Chandler, Celebrity Chef, Class of 1977
Dr. Chris Maggio, NSU President, Class of 1982
Mrs. Nona Bobo, St. Mary’s Librarian, 1973-2008
Guillet will wow the crowd with tales of his athletic prowess. During his freshman year, he tried out for the basketball team and did so well that his coach gave him half a uniform. He chose the jersey while his freshman teammate, John Emmett Prudhomme, got the trunks.
Guillet was also well known for his musical ability and was often praised by the Sisters of Divine Providence for his ability to play the victrola, a talent he used to deftly avoid his shorthand classes. Guillet later applied to the Juilliard School, but sadly, was not accepted.
An experienced pilot who flew during the Vietnam War, Guillet will demonstrate the proper way to fly an airplane.
The evening will feature Live Auction Items, Light Hor d’oeuvres, and a Cash Bar. Social Hour starts at 6 pm, and the program begins at 7 pm in the St. Mary’s Gym.
Tickets are $50 per person. Contact Susan Wright, 318-352-8394, firstname.lastname@example.org or Payne Williams, 318-352-6695, email@example.com.
“St. Mary’s was an incredible experience for me,” Guillet said. “I have a lot of respect for the school and no regrets that I went there. All jokes aside, I don’t tell many people I attended because I don’t want to sully its reputation.”
Disclaimer: The stories told in this article are fictional dramatizations based on true events.