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, email@example.com or Payne Williams, 318-352-6695, firstname.lastname@example.org.
“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.
Submissions for the 10th Annual Louisiana High School Essay Contest are being accepted until May 31.The essay contest is open to all Louisiana students in grades 9-12 regardless of type of school institution, including students in all types of private educational environments, as well as home schooled students.
The 2018 Contest theme is “Once Upon a Time in Louisiana.” Entrants are invited to address one of two options, but not both. The first option is a creative non-fiction essay in which they describe an experience that could only have happened to them in Louisiana. Personal reflections and experiences are perfectly valid as part of the essay content. Essays may be in narrative form if the student so chooses.
The second option is a folk or fairy tale set in a Louisiana setting. Students may make up their own tale or may base their tale upon those collected by famous tale collectors (such as the Brothers Grimm or Charles Perrault) or upon the adventures of a folk or fairy tale hero such as Anansi the Spider or Momotaro. Students should not retell stories based upon animated or live action films.
Essays should be approximately 1,000 – 2,500+ words, should have titles and should be typed (double spaced, 12-point font, standard margins). Entries should include a cover sheet with the student’s name, school affiliation, mailing address, phone number, e-mail address and the title of their entry. Entries may be submitted via e-mail to Dr. Shane Rasmussen, email@example.com or mailed to the Louisiana Folklife Center, NSU Box 3663, Natchitoches, LA 71497. “2018 NSU Louisiana High School Essay Contest” should be the subject line of e-mails. The deadline for contest submissions is May 31. Prize-winning students will be notified by July 15.
The prizes for the contest winners are $150 for first place, $100 for second and $50 for third. In addition, essay contest winners will receive a $200/per semester NSU scholarship with a value up to $1,600 if they attend NSU for four years. This award is in addition to other scholarship awards that the student may receive from Northwestern State. Winners must have at least a 20 ACT composite or 950 on the SAT, as well as at least a 2.0 GPA to be eligible. Essay winners need to submit proof of the award.
Winning essayists will be invited to read their paper at the 10th Annual Louisiana Studies Conference held at Northwestern State on Saturday September 22. The top three winning entries will also be published in the Louisiana Folklife Journal. Submission of an entry to the Contest entails granting permission to publish the essay in the Louisiana Folklife Journal. Entries may be subject to minor revision prior to publication. Additional information is available on the website for the Louisiana Folklife Center at Northwestern State at louisianafolklife.nsula.edu.
The NSU Louisiana High School Essay Contest is sponsored by Louisiana Folklife Center, the NSU Writing Project, the College of Arts, Sciences, Graduate Studies and Research, the Office of Financial Aid, and the Office of Recruiting at Northwestern State.
Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies and the Natchitoches Office of Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security are monitoring area roadways and the conditions of Red River in Natchitoches Parish as of Feb.25.
Stay tuned to forecasts from the National Weather Service and drive carefully.
Do not travel through flooded areas. Turn around-Don’t Drown!!
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
Visitation: Monday, Feb. 26 from 5-8 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
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 RED RIVER PARISH:
Sondra Britain Axline
November 22, 1936 – February 23, 2018Service: Monday, Feb. 26 at 3 pm at Bethel Cemetery
Northwestern State University will honor six graduates by inducting them into the University’s alumni hall of distinction, the Long Purple Line. The 2018 inductees are Monty Chicola of Alexandria, Dr. Philip Cole of Shreveport, Linda Day of Baton Rouge, Justice James T. Genovese of Opelousas, the late Col. Randall D. Keator Sr. formerly of Shreveport and Darryl Willis of Houston.
Honorees will be honored at a luncheon on March 23 at noon in the Friedman Student Union Ballroom. Tickets are $20. For more information, call (318) 357-4415 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since 1990, 125 NSU alumni have been named to the Long Purple Line.
Chicola is president of Real Vision Software based in Alexandria, a company he founded in 1992 after working as a programmer for 12 years. His company’s big break came when IBM saw the advantage of having Real Vision Software’s product along with IBM’s product covering mid-range businesses. They were later expanded to small businesses for IBM in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and Central America.
The company sells to businesses including banks, insurance companies, service bureaus, hospitals, government agencies, casinos, trucking firms, investment firms, manufacturers and utility companies.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science and accounting at NSU in 1980. Chicola was a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity where he served as president. He was a member of NSU gymnastics team and the Northwestern band. Chicola is president of the NSU Alumni Association and was an advisory, non-voting member of the search committee which selected Dr. Chris Maggio to be Northwestern’s president.
Cole graduated from Martin High School in Red River Parish then earned a bachelor’s from Northwestern in chemistry and biology. He went own to earn his M.D. from LSU Medical School in New Orleans. Cole received a master’s of health care management from the Harvard School of Public Health. He did his internship in general surgery residency and a colon and rectal surgical fellowship at LSU Health Science Center. Cole has 36 years of private and academic surgical practice. He is professor of surgery and public health and general surgery program director for LSUHSC and previously served as chief medical officer for Christus Health in Louisiana and Southeast Texas. Cole has served as president, vice president and secretary of the Louisiana chapter of the American College of Surgery.
In his career, Cole has published more than 40 national and international presentations of academic papers and book chapters. He serves as a deacon and member of the board of directors at Broadmoor Baptist Church. Cole was a member of the board of directors for LSU Health Science Center Foundation and chairman of the Investment Committee, the board of directors of Christus Health, Louisiana and the Juvenile Justice Committee for Caddo Parish. He is a Harvard University admissions committee interviewer and is on the LSU Medical School Admissions Committee. Cole has made more than 30 international medical mission trips.
Day served as executive director of the Louisiana Association of Educators for four years. She was a teacher in Caddo Parish. Day served as director of Louisiana Drug Policy and the Office of Drug Policy in the office of Louisiana Attorney General Richard Ieyoub.
Day served as commissioner to the Education Commission of the States, received the LAE’s Human and Civil Rights Trailblazer Award and was one of 76 delegates from the United States to attend the World Confederation of the Teaching Profession in Stockholm, Sweden. She was elected vice president of the National Council of State Education Associations in 1993.
Day earned her bachelor’s and master’s at NSU. She did additional graduate work at NSU, LSU, Centenary and Southern University.
Genovese has been an associate justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court since 2017. He was a practicing attorney for 21 years before serving as a judge in the 27th Judicial District from 1995-2004 and a member of the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal from 2005-16.
A 1971 graduate of Northwestern State, Genovese has been a panelist, speaker and lecturer at conferences and continuing education seminars on recent updates, professionalism, ethics, summary judgment, writs and appeals, practices and procedures of the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeals and judicial review in the Louisiana Supreme Court.
Genovese served on the Louisiana Supreme Court’s Judicial Council Appellate Court Work Point Values Working Group and the Trial Court Committee to Review the Need for Judgeships and as chairman of its Long-Term Subcommittee. He was the Supreme Court’s Appointee to the Juvenile Justice Reform Act Implementation Commission. Genovese is a board member of the Supreme Court of Louisiana Historical Society.
Keator, a highly decorated World War II veteran, earned his degree in 1939. The next year he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and after pilot training was assigned to the Philippines.
On Dec. 8, 1941, Keator and other members of the squadron intercepted Japanese fighter aircraft enroute to the Philippines. In the ensuing battle, he scored the first aerial victory in the battle of the Philippines, a feat which, along with another confirmed and a third probable kill, earned him the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest honor.
Life Magazine chronicled the exploits in its first issue following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the Louisiana Legislature passed a resolution honoring Keator for conspicuous gallantry in action. The next year he experienced a forced landing in the Pacific, a rescue by island natives and a last minute escape from Bataan in the face of advancing Japanese forces.
After the war, he pursued an illustrious career spanning 28 years and four continents. As an engineer in Air Force laboratories, he pioneered numerous systems used in military aircraft. He rose to the rank of colonel, commanding a 200-engineer organization providing support to the operational fleet at the time of his retirement from the military. Keator passed away in 1981.
Willis is an accomplished global senior executive with exceptional achievements leading businesses in the oil and gas industry. He has a proven track record of delivering growth and improving profitability for enterprises ranging in size from $1B to $5B in the United States, Russia, Asia and Africa. He has earned the reputation as an inspiring leader who develops people and builds high-performing teams. His leadership style, passion and deep knowledge of issues make his talents transferable to companies of various size, in early or mature stage, or reorganizing with new leadership.
He was selected to lead the Deepwater Horizon claims process for BP, became spokesperson for the company and provided expert testimony before Congress and state legislatures in Florida and Louisiana.
Willis served most recently as president and chief executive officer of BP Angola. Previously, he served as senior vice president and deputy head of subsurface for BP. In his distinguished 25-year career, his global technical and management experience includes subsurface, commercial, operations, strategy, safety, ethics and compliance, public affairs, supply chain, drilling, crisis management and technology across North America, United Kingdom, Russia, West Africa and Southeast Asia.
Willis earned a Master of Science in Management from Stanford University with concentrations in Managing Global Businesses and Social Responsibility, a Master of Science in Geology and Geophysics from the University of New Orleans and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry & Literature from the Louisiana Scholars College at Northwestern State.
Westchester– Northwestern State University transitioned its Shreveport and Natchitoches campus stores from Barnes & Noble to Follett Higher Education Feb. 22, bringing affordable course material options, fresh products and innovative store designs to the campus community.
With this new partnership between Follett and NSU, students and faculty at both locations will benefit from Follett’s expansive inventory of affordable course material choices. Cost-saving print options include used books as well as Follett’s text rental program that can save students up to 80 percent on titles when compared to purchasing new.
“As a partner in education, our mission is to help administrators shape and deliver a fulfilling campus experience,” said Clay Wahl, President of Follett Higher Education. “For students, this means delivering convenient access to affordable course material options so they can be prepared to succeed in class.”
Follett will also offer affordable open educational resources content and courseware by Lumen Learning. Additionally, students will have access to a diverse selection of digital learning technologies, including the Follett Discover platform, that help promote anywhere/anytime access to affordable materials within existing campus applications. New store services include Follett’s popular price match program, which helps ensure students get their materials at the lowest cost possible, and their year-round buyback Program, which allows students to sell back their used books.
Beyond course materials, Follett will refresh the store’s general merchandise offerings to be a one-stop shop for both classroom and campus life essentials. Customers can expect a custom product assortment that reflects local interests as well as national trends in clothing, gifts, supplies, technology and more. Exciting brands carried include Adidas®, Champion®, League® Collegiate Outfitters, Cutter and Buck® apparel, MV Sport® and more. The Natchitoches store will carry Apple® products. The full breadth of products and services offered can be explored both in-store and online through http://www.nsulashreveportshop.com (Shreveport) or http://www.bkstr.com/northwesternstateustore (Natchitoches).
Both the Shreveport and Natchitoches campus stores will receive complete renovations over the summer with the newly remodeled spaces unveiled for fall 2018.
The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) activated its Crisis Action Team (CAT) due to the ongoing threat of severe weather in some portions of the state and due to growing concerns about river levels caused by heavy rain in the region. Several inches of rain have already fallen this week in some locations. Louisiana is wrapping up the 2018 Severe Weather Awareness Week with our local, state and federal partners. We continue to urge the public to use the resources provided by emergency managers, the National Weather Service (NWS) and your local media to track possible severe weather this weekend. GOHSEP’s Crisis Action Team will monitor the conditions, provide situational reports to state and local leaders and help answer any calls for support from our local partners.
Here are NWS updates for each region:
Moderate to possibly heavy rainfall will be possible along and to the north of a warm front today. Additional rainfall amounts of one to three inches on the already saturated soils will result in rapid water runoff and possible flash flooding. A Flash Flood
Watch remains in effect through 6 PM Saturday.
An approaching upper level disturbance and associated cold front will bring additional rainfall for portions of the region on Saturday and Saturday night, and the threat for flash flooding will continue. Aside from the flooding potential, some of these thunderstorms will become strong or severe with damaging winds and tornadoes the primary threats. The severe and heavy rainfall threat will diminish from west to east late Saturday night into early Sunday.
Showers and thunderstorms will return Tuesday and linger through at least mid-week, possibly bringing more flash flooding, river flooding, and severe thunderstorms to our region.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) reports that nearly 1.2 million car crashes occur each year on wet pavement resulting in 5,700 deaths. AAA officials say if your vehicle shuts down while in standing water, do not try to restart it. That could cause more water to enter the engine and could cost thousands to repair. Also, if your vehicle stalls in a flooded area make sure that you abandon the vehicle.
Here are additional tips for driving on wet roads from AAA:
Check Tire Pressure: Make sure your tires have enough tread and are properly inflated. Worn tires with little tread are more likely to hydroplane. You can check this by inserting a quarter upside down into a tire groove. If you can see above Washington’s head it’s time for new tires.
Slow Down: Slowing down can be critical in stopping your car from hydroplaning. Drivers should reduce their speed to correspond to the amount of water on the roadway. Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you.
Avoid Cruise Control: The feature is great in dry conditions but when used when roads are wet it can cause you to lose control.
Low Visibility: Turn on your headlights to help you see better and allow motorists to better spot you. Avoid high beams because they may cause more distraction.
Visibility While Driving: If you can’t see the edges of the road or other vehicles at a safe distance pull off the road with your hazard lights on.
Avoid Flooded Roads: There is no way to tell how deep standing water is on a flooded road. Roads with too much water may flood your engine, warp brake rotors, cause loss of power steering or shorts in electrical components.
Visit http://www.511la.org for road updates during an emergency. Keep your phones charged and near you while the threat continues in order to receive potential emergency messaging.
If you already know me this may not come as a complete shock to you, I love people. I mean, I really love people. Put me in a long grocery store line, or a crowded waiting room and I will leave with a new Facebook friend and possibly an invite to a family BBQ.
I’m fairly certain I was like this as an adolescent. It carried over into my high school years where I spent numerous hours in Vice Principal Shirtee Evans’ office asking for repentance for my social sins. Little did I know that all of those interpersonal and leadership skills would lead to my future career.
Lucky me, there are career paths that actually encourage you to be social, network and make new connections without having to report to the Principal’s office. In the insurance industry you have the potential to meet hundreds of people in a years time…between customers, referrals, seminars and networking. It’s very rare to thrive in this world as a wall flower.
If you’re not careful you run an unusually high risk of not taking the time to smell the roses, so to speak. Some connections happen for a purpose and when we are so caught up in our own ambitions we can miss them.
One day I received a text from a colleague advising she had shared my contact information with a potential customer from South Louisiana and asked if I’d be willing to accommodate. Without hesitation I offered my services and called the referral. We went through the business motions like normal and it didn’t take me long to realize that this was a divine connection.
She was very business minded and intelligent and at the same time had this completely infectious joy about her that was indescribable. We hit if off immediately and I anticipated meeting her in person. The day before our meeting I couldn’t help but tell her that she had this special joy and peaceful spirit.
Being the extrovert that I am I didn’t hesitate to let her know how I feIt. I’ll never forget her exact words to me. She said, “Reba, you would never believe that tomorrow will be one year since I lost my precious son and God has been so good to me I have nothing to complain about.”
Her words hit me like a freight train because no mother wants to hear this story. No mother wants to live this story. If you didn’t know how great God was you may have even been a little confused or taken aback at the peace and confidence in her voice.
She went on to tell me about his beautiful life and how she always confessed positive things over his life even when he didn’t act in a positive manner. She spoke of his testimony and how he was blessed with his dream job prior to his untimely death.
We met in person the very next day and by this time I felt as if I were meeting a best friend I’d known for years. We had shared joy, sadness, and a common bond of motherly love. As if that weren’t enough, we even shared the same iPhone with the exact same matching cover!
Being in the insurance business for almost 25 years I choose not to lose sleep over the many overlooked divine coincidences. Instead I choose to cherish and recognize each and every new divine opportunity that comes my way.
Like Hebrews 13:1-2 tells us, “Let love of brethren continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.”
Cane River Bar and Grill will prepare boiled shrimp and blackened alligator for guests who attend Flavor of Louisiana, a celebration of Louisiana seafood and the culinary arts, set for 6 p.m. Friday, March 23. The event will take place indoors in Prather Coliseum where guests can enjoy music and cocktails while sampling seafood dishes prepared by chefs and restaurants from around the state.
From left are the Cane River Bar and Grill team Chris Page, June Young, Keitha Coleman, Gay Moore and Mazy Barkley with NSU Development Officer Brittany McConathy. Tickets to Flavor of Louisiana are $65 per person or $125 per couple. For more information or to make reservations, visit northwesternalumni.com/fol or call (318) 357-5213.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) issued a statement Friday, Feb. 23, that advises the public that effective immediately the following roads in Natchitoches Parish are closed due to flooding/ high water:
La 120, just west of the I-49 intersection
LA 478, south of the LA 120 intersection
No detours are available at this time.
Travelers can find information regarding road closures by visiting the 511 Traveler Information website at http://www.511la.org or by dialing 511 from their telephone and saying the route or region about which they are seeking information. Out-of-state travelers can access the system by calling 1-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511). Additionally, you can follow the Traffic Management Center on Twitter: (@Shreveport_Traf), (@Alex_Traffic), (@Monroe_Traffic). Motorists may also monitor the LA DOTD website @ http://www.dotd.la.gov.
During unfavorable weather conditions, motorists should drive using the following safety tips:
• Drive slowly and carefully.
• Avoid driving into standing or running water.
• Avoid driving while distracted.
• Avoid using cruise control when visibility is low or road surfaces are wet.
• Always allow for extra driving time.
• Reduce speeds when visibility is low.
• Make sure there is plenty of room between vehicles.
• Avoid using highway overpasses as tornado shelters.
Students at MR Weaver Elementary received certificates from the Natchitoches Kiwanis Club recognizing them for their character development, self-esteem and perseverance.
Pictured above on first row from left are Zariah Charles, Kylon Snow, Ryder Blanchard, Laykin Lloyd, Alice Harrington, Faith Howard, and Brayla Middleton. On second row are Jeremiah Coutee, Charles Wamber, Christlyn Collins, Levi Epperson, Mariah Pier, Asialyn McNulty, and Kyron Bolton. On third row are Myliah Bayonne, Garrett Settle, Heriberto Cabrera-Mendez, Joanna Laces, Jaliyah Armstrong, Mariah Houston, and Cassidy Rachal. On fourth row are Chase McDevitt, Aubrey Olivier, Braylon Paige, Gary Peterson, and Shanae Johnson. On fifth row are Rihanna Allen, Braelyn Gibson, Principal Sandy Irchirl, and Kiwanian Annette Rouque.
Student of the Month from Natchitoches Central High School (NCHS) Taylor B. Johnson was honored at the Rotary Club of Natchitoches Meeting Feb. 20. Taylor is a member of the NCHS National Honor Society, a Dual Enrollment Student, NCHS Varsity Cheerleader-4 years, 2 as co-captain, NCHS varsity soccer player-1 year, Homecoming court, 25 ACT, and member of SADD.
Pictured from left to right are NSU Assistant Director University Recruiting Ashlee Hewett, NCHS Counselor Wendy Byles, Taylor Johnson, Rotarian Student of the Month Chair Tommy Melder, and President Rotary Club of Natchitoches David Zolzer (Photo by Dr. Ron McBride).
February 20, 2018
ServiceSaturday, March 3 at 10 am in the Evergreen Baptist Church Cemetery on Hwy. 71 in St. Maurice
Charles J. “Chuck” Poehl, Jr.
February 14, 1949 – February 14, 2018
Private Burial: Saturday, Feb. 24
Deacon Joseph Brown, Sr.
February 12, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, Feb. 24 from 9:30-11 am at the North Star Baptist Church, located at 734 Hwy. 485 in Powhatan
Service: Saturday, Feb. 24 at 11 am at the North Star Baptist Church
Interment: Methodist Cemetery in Allen RAPIDES PARISH:
Richard Jacob Williamson
May 13, 1983 – February 20, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, Feb. 24 from 9-11 am
Service: Saturday, Feb. 24 at 11:30 am in Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church
Interment: Alexandria Memorial Gardens WINN PARISH:
Thomas Levi Williams
August 22, 1937 – February 21, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, Feb. 24 from 1-2 pm at at Laurel Heights Baptist Church of Winnfield
Service: Saturday, Feb. 24 at 2 pm at Laurel Heights Baptist Church
February 23, 1928 – February 14, 2018
Service: Saturday, Feb. 24 at 2 pm at Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Oak Ridge Cemetery RED RIVER PARISH:
Tommy Lane Lay
May 29, 1933 – February 21, 2018
Visitation: Sunday, Feb. 25 from 1-3 pm at Ashland Baptist Church
Service: Sunday, Feb. 25 at 3 pm at Ashland Baptist Church
Military graveside honors: Ramah Cemetery
Richard Jacob Williamson
May 13, 1983 – February 20, 2018