Nursing professor nominated for Nightingale Award

Danita Potter

Dr. Danita Potter, associate professor in Northwestern State University’s College of Nursing and director of NSU’s RN-BSN program, has been nominated for a Nightingale Award and will be honored for outstanding service and professionalism along with other nominees at the 17th Annual Nightingale Awards Gala Saturday, March 3. Sponsored by the Louisiana Nurses Foundation and Louisiana State Nurses Association, Nightingale Awards recognize the achievements of nurses across the state in a variety of categories. Individual and institutional categories are recognized annually.

As an honoree, Dr. Potter will be recognized in an opening processional. All nominees will be recognized with a certificate. One nominee in each category will be the recipient of the prestigious Nightingale Award, the “academy award” of quality service in the nursing and health care industry. The Nightingale Awards Gala will be at the Renaissance Hotel, Baton Rouge beginning with a cocktail hour and silent auction at 6 p.m. and the program at 7 p.m. Information on the Nightingale Awards can be found at

Earlier this year, Potter was named as a 2017 American Association of Colleges of Nursing Leadership for Academic Program Fellow.

Information on NSU’s College of Nursing and School of Allied Health can be found at


Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Training – Be Job Ready!

CDL Interest Meeting

The CDL program provides students with the necessary skills to begin driving a truck professionally. Students train on a state-of-the-art L3 Series truck driving simulator at the beginning of the course. After a few weeks of training on the simulator, students begin driving a real truck. The course is 240 hours.

Interest Meeting: March 8 at 5 p.m., 6587 Highway 1 Bypass, Natchitoches Campus

Requirements: 18-years-old or older, possess a valid current driver’s license, and pass a drug screen prior to enrollment.

For more information contact the Natchitoches Campus at 318-357-3162.


Master Gardeners of Natchitoches Parish need YOU!

By Marné Deranger

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The Master Gardeners of Natchitoches Parish need YOU! Specifically, they need six more people to sign up for the Master Gardener class.

The LSUAg Center will host their annual Master Gardener class starting April 2 at 3pm if they can get six more students to sign up. The 10-week course costs $150. For that fee, each student receives a stack of valuable reference material covering everything from soil to trees, bugs to berries, landscaping to disease diagnosis. Presenters are experts from across the state and become part of your network of advisors.

Master Gardeners are active in the community. They advise on city projects like the proposed Butterfly Waystation. They help build beautiful floral displays for downtown Natchitoches (Pansy baskets, tulips, and more). They advise and help maintain school and Counsel on Aging gardens. They host expert guest speakers. Most importantly, they support each other in their individual horticultural efforts. It is a group worth joining. It is a group helping keep Natchitoches beautiful.

Consider taking the class and joining the Master Gardeners of Natchitoches Parish. Sign up for the class by March 1, 2018 at the Parish Extension office at 624 Second Street or call 318-357-2224.

For more information or for daily tips on North Louisiana gardening, go to




MidSouth Bank: A Community-First Bank

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After spending more than 30 years working to define what it truly means to be a “community bank,” MidSouth Bank understands that it can only be as successful as the communities it serves. That’s why we’re more committed than ever to meeting the financial needs of customers throughout the Natchitoches and Sabine markets.

That’s especially true of the small business and commercial clients we serve in these areas – those companies that are the backbone of the local economy because they are the primary job creators. In 2017 alone, we loaned over $32 million dollars to local businesses involved in timber, farming, commercial real estate, oilfield services, construction, and manufacturing operations.

We’re continually investing in new technology to ensure our customers’ success allowing them to bank wherever they are. Many of our business customers utilize our accounts receivable financing, litigation financing, insurance premium financing, working capital lines of credit, and cash management products. All our customers find our eBanking options such as online and mobile banking, goDeposit, and smart phone payment options to be helpful during their busy days at home, work, or at their kids’ sporting events.

We decided long ago to invest in the Natchitoches and Sabine markets, and every day we better understand that there is untapped potential here. Our employees have decades of experience and knowledge of the two markets’ business communities and want to share in the success of the region. Our Regional President, Rhonda Jones, has 36 years of banking expertise — the last five years spent serving customers right here in our community.

In fact, under Rhonda’s leadership, we are accelerating our commitment to the area by reinvesting more resources into worthwhile projects throughout the community. Last year, we donated thousands of dollars to local organizations, secured numerous grants for low-income homeowners and provided attractive funding programs for multi-family affordable housing.

In short, we are committed to these markets, and we want you to bank with us!


Cane River Lake and Sibley Lake boat ramps Closed


Cane River Lake is currently at 99.0 MSL. Extreme Flood is 100.0 MSL. Pool Stage is 98.0 MSL.

Current Lake Status:

Cane River Lake is now Closed due to high water. Rain still in the forecast. It is extremely important that you monitor your property closely, check boats in boathouses frequently as you do not want them trapped causing property damage.

Making decisions should be based on information from the National Weather Service, Governmental Agencies, and your knowledge. Lake Levels will be available and posted as often as possible on the Commissions web site at Email Alerts will be sent as lake levels and/or conditions change. For information contact Betty Fuller @ 318-617-3235.

The boat ramps on Sibley Lake are also closed due to high water. A notification will be posted when the ramps reopen.



Ponderings with Doug – February 23, 2018


Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”

He should have warned that you shall know the truth and if you speak the truth people will not be very happy about it and in some cases they will crucify you. He told His followers that the world would hate them because the world first hated Him. Are you living as a Christian in such a radial counter cultural way that the world hates you? Or are you pretty much getting along with everyone?

You see we have bumped against the prime directive of our modern culture. People just need to get along with each other. I’m sorry, our world is headed toward hell and I’m not in the mood to get along with it. I would rather call it to repentance and back to godliness.

When I was in High School there were dozens of guns brought to school each day. They were in the gun racks of pickup trucks. No one brought a gun into school. No one shot up the place. We did other strange things like pledge allegiance to the flag. We read the Ten Commandments posted on the wall above the chalk board. We were taught right and wrong. We were taught respect for authority. We were taught when it meant to be good American citizens. We didn’t worry too much about rehabilitation because criminals went to jail. You broke the law, you went to jail. You broke curfew, the coach benched you. You talked back and you were suspended. There were rules and you don’t mess with the rules.

Teachers taught math, science, literature and P.E. They were not worried about our self-esteem. They wanted us to learn to think for ourselves and to reason out our answers. Colleges did not teach remedial courses, if you couldn’t pass the course, you failed. If you failed enough you went home. Some kids went home and decided that needed to suck it up and get with the college program. There were no “safe spaces” because the world is not a safe place and you’d better figure that out quickly.

There were consequences for dumb behavior.

Do you see where I am going with this? I think it is likely my flu medicine.

I grieve the loss of young lives at the Florida High School. It is insanity. It is evil. The young man who perpetrated the offense deserves the harshest punishment the state of Florida allows. It is horrible, but it is not surprising. If you remove all the boundaries from human behavior this is what happens. When you remove the idea of humans created in the image of God and precious to God, folks will treat each other accordingly.

I am no longer surprised by human sinfulness and selfishness. I am sinful and selfish. I can preach about sin, because I am an excellent sinner. I know that about myself. It is truth that is painful but will also set me free. You and I live in a sinful, selfish world. As Christians it is our obligation to point to a better way of living. We have an obligation to speak truth to power, or in this case cultural insanity and to show the world the better way of living found in Christ. The world will not like us for that. I think we should all sing “Onward Christian Soldiers” as the last hymn for Sunday and go out to battle the world!

Like I said, it is probably my flu medicine. I hope to be my usual light-hearted fluffy writing self next week. I guess the final straw for me this week is another Lucky story. He is fattening up. He is just a sweet little fellow. I took him to be neutered. I told him he was going to be tutored. The vet called and said that Lucky came through the surgery well. He also said that during the surgery they discovered and removed a BB from Lucky’s neutering zone. Who would do that to a puppy?

Good thing it is Lent. I can sit in sackcloth and ashes and mourn for our world.


Natchitoches early learning center to receive $20,000 grant

NCA Grant
NCA– The ten Type III centers in Natchitoches will receive full funding to implement new state requirements for background checks, to provide professional development for classroom curricula, and to offer CLASS-reliable training to all administrators. These funds were donated to the NSU Child and Family Network (NSU CFN), the resource and referral agency for Natchitoches Parish, via the School Readiness Tax Credit (SRTC); funds were raised through the NCA as the community liaison for the NSU CFN. The programs will be coordinated through the City of Natchitoches Early Childhood Education and Development (ECED) program, led by Amy Metoyer.

“I want to thank each business that uses the state’s tax credit; the opportunity to help these centers to provide safer environments, with increased professional development for teachers, and even more [CLASS-reliable] trained teachers, is extraordinary–and this shows the power of an important public/private partnership we have in Natchitoches,” said Tony Davis, NCA Executive Director.

The centers will receive full funding to ensure that all personnel in contact with children have an extensive background check, which will include Louisiana and Federal criminal records, several registry checks and a state checks for any residences in the past five years; all are new requirements from the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, or BESE. Teachers will be able to participate in extensive professional development for the Tier I curricula these centers utilize. Since teachers are evaluated on their use of the curriculum and their interactions with students (the CLASS observation), this funding will help to ensure that more administrators have an in-depth understanding of what is expected in each classroom of their facility.

The total costs to provide background checks for more than 80 staff, to offer professional development for the ten centers and more than 50 teachers for curriculum, and to ensure CLASS-reliable training for these centers, is anticipated to be between $19,500 and $20,000. These funds will help to ensure that children in early learning centers in Natchitoches Parish are taught in safe environments, with quality curricula, by teachers that understand how to best encourage the growth of each child through proper training.

This support is in addition to over $36,000 in benefits that the 10 centers have received from NSU CFN in the last year for Child Development Associate (CDA) credential training and coaching, curriculum purchases, and educational materials to support the curriculum. These funds were also from SRTC donations from local businesses, making Natchitoches Parish a leader in the state in assistance to early learning centers. If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Tony Davis at 318.352.7281 or email at

The mission of the NCA is to provide leadership and support for economic development and workforce solutions in and around Natchitoches parish; learn more at





City Marshal Randy Williams wanted to inform the following people that they have outstanding bench warrants through the Natchitoches City Marshal’s Office. The names on this list did not pay their fines in full nor did they return to court on the court date they were sentenced to by City Court Judge Gahagan. These individuals will need to clear up their fines and bench warrant fees at the City Marshal’s Office located at 373 Second St. to stop any further actions:

Genesha Franklin, 127 Amanda Dr, Natch, La – SPOM, No Insurance, Exp Registration
Lorenzo Lewis, 808 Dorothy St, Natch, La – TBS
Charolette Philyaw, 194 Yvonne St, Natch, La – TBS
Brian Rachal, 110 Sycamore Court, Natch, La – DWI
Robin Taylor, 276 Cherrie Loop, Natch, La – Exp MVI
Shawn Anthony, 9336 Hwy 1 South, Natch, La – No DL
Eleta Washington, 568 Grow St, Montgomery, La – NSB
Clifford Casson, 2692 Hwy 6, Natch, La – DWI
Byron Golston, 7616 Hwy 71, Natchez, La – TBS
Laquanda Joseph, 1414 Hwy 1 Apt 205, Natch, La – Exp MVI, Turning Movement
Christopher Jones, 716 Myrtle Dr, Natch, La – Switched Plates
Linda Kent, 100 Rolling Hills Loop Lot 10C, Coushatta, La – TBS
Henry Malancon, 308 Daffodill St, Goryville, La – No DL
Harold Peterson, 940 South Bend, Natch, La – Unlicensed Driver
Richard Smith, 233 Pierson St, Natch, La – SPOM
Rebecca Brewer, 374 Hwy 153, Natch, La – TBS
Matina Dorsey Jr., 831 Clarence Dr, Natch, La – No Insurance
Willie Easily, 298 Vienna Rd Lot 20, Natch, La – SPOM
Ryan Fowler, 1514 Amulet St, Natch, La – SPOM
David Hardwell, 618 Jackson Dr, Natch, La – DUS

Trial (T):
Elsie Booker, 1316 Washington St, Natch, La – Unlicensed Driver, Ran Stop Sign
Brittany Johnson, 119 South Bend Dr, Natch, La – Remaining on Premises
Sharon Morrow, 140 Gibson St Apt 2, Natch, La – Simple Battery
Trayvontrell Akins, 247 Lake Dr, Natch, La – TBS
Dane Olivero, 322 2nd St, Natch, La – Public Possession of Alcohol Under 21
Harold Remo, 106 Harry Dr, Natch, La – No Vehicle Registration
Demario Sykes, 311 East 2nd St, Natch, La – Simple Assault


Outpatient Medical Center Inc. and statewide FQHC Louisiana economic reports


Because caring for you is what we do at Outpatient Medical Center Inc.

· Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) provide integrated healthcare delivery services to anyone in the parish who desires to use such systems for their primary care needs – irrespective of their ability to pay for said services

· The nationwide FQHC network now represents the largest independent primary group in the United States

· The nationwide FQHC network cumulatively provides primary care services for over 26 million people nationwide

· The 34 Louisiana-based FQHC network cumulatively pump almost a half a billion dollars into our state’s economic engine

· Outpatient Medical Center Inc. is your community health center

· Outpatient Medical Center Inc. is one of the first FQHCs started in the state of Louisiana (thus we’re one of the oldest FQHCs in the state)

· Outpatient Medical Center Inc. has been on the front lines helping to keep our valued parish families whole and healthy for over 40 years now

· Outpatient Medical Center Inc. has been supporting our parish economc development efforts for over 40 years now

· Outpatient Medical Center Inc. continues to increase the amount of revenue we add to our parish economic engine

· Outpatient Medical Center Inc. is The Joint Commission Accredited

· Outpatient Medical Center Inc. is a NCQA Level 2 Patient Centered Medical Home recognized health system

· Outpatient Medical Center Inc. has secured over $700,000 in new funding; which will bring new services and jobs to our parish

· Outpatient Medical Center Inc. was just awarded another 3 year grant by the Federal government

Outpatient Medical Center - 2016 Value & Impact1Outpatient Medical Center - 2016 Value & Impact2Outpatient Medical Center - 2016 Value & Impact3


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Notice of Death – February 22, 2018

Notice of Death 2017


Sara Haynes Sanders
February 21, 1936 – February 15, 2018
Service: Friday, Feb. 23 at 1 pm at Memory Lawn Cemetery in Natchitoches

Mildred Snell
February 20, 2018
Arrangements TBA

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

Stanley Anthony Gisclair
May 7, 1928 – February 21, 2018
Service: Friday, Feb. 23 at 1:30 pm at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Fifth Ward
Interment: Our Lady of Lourdes Cemetery #1
Visitation: Thursday, Feb. 22 from 5-9 pm and Friday, Feb. 23 from 8 am – 1 pm at Kramer of Fifth Ward Funeral Home in Marksville

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

Lessie Lewis
February 23, 1928 – February 14, 2018
Visitation: Friday, Feb. 23 from 6-8 pm in Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel in Winnfield
Service: Saturday, Feb. 24 at 2 pm at Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Oak Ridge Cemetery

Tracy Wayne Green
April 22, 1945 – February 20, 2018
Service: Friday, Feb. 23 at 1 pm at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Martin Cemetery with a reception to follow at Martin Baptist Church


Board installed, businesses recognized at Chamber Awards Luncheon

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The Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual Awards Luncheon Feb. 21 at the Events Center. The New Chamber President welcomed the crowd.

“As I gain momentum with the Natchitoches Chamber, I look to define value in membership, and collaborative partnerships with allied organizations in the community…all for the greater good of the community,” she said. “Additional opportunities will be rolled out and a clearer understanding of the role the Chamber plays in any community will be more clearly defined. I thank you for your support as we move towards the future, embracing new ideas, technologies and initiatives and welcome any opportunity to partner with the Parish to exemplify our mission which is to “Foster a thriving community through transformative leadership, collaboration and innovation, and to bring the vision of the Chamber to life, which is to make Natchitoches the best place to live and work.”

The Chamber President then introduced the event’s title sponsor: Northwestern State University. President Chris Maggio spoke on the following areas that NSU is focusing on and improving upon: academic excellence, student experience, market responsiveness, and athletic prominence.

2018 Board Installment:
Ryan Todtenbier- Chair
Katrice Baker- Vice Chair
Kirk Solieau- Past Chair
Josh Manual- Treasurer

2018 Board of Directors:
Matthew Axsom
Haley Taitano
Melissa Collier
Van Erikson
Nicole Ezernack
Laura Lyles
Craig Caskey
Tom Matuschka
John Richmond
Mark Massia

Business Awards:
City Barbershop- Small Business of the Year
Axsom Air- Mid Sixe Business of the Year
Chateau St. Denis- Large Business of the Year
Velocity Care- New Business of the Year

NYP “40 Under 40” Awards:
Josh Axsom
Danielle Stamey
Laura Lyles
Maggie Harris

Ambassador of the Year: Kenny Thomas

Tony Davis was recognized as the former Chamber President for all the work he did for the business community. A variety of gift baskets were raffled off at the end of the event to a few lucky winners among the crowd.



Day one to one-hundred: A century of life

By Corey Poole

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“Good news travels fast, bad news travels faster.”

I have found that this saying doesn’t hold true in Natchitoches. In a town overflowing with culture and history, the residents are more apt to spread news of the wonderful things that happen here.

Case in point: I was covering an event when I was told that I had to drop in and meet Carol Wells, who was celebrating her 100th birthday on Feb. 21.

I’m not usually one to show up uninvited, but I follow news tips wherever they may lead me. So I drove over to the Tauzin-Wells house, historically known as the Buard-Wells house and properly named the DeMeziere House.

One thing you must know about Carol is that she has a passion for history and genealogy. She traced records for the construction of the house back to 1742. It was originally built by Athanase DeMeziere, a minor French noble who served as the lieutenant governor of Natchitoches in 1769. He first came to Louisiana in the early 1730s and in 1746 he married Marie Petronille Feliciane de St. Denis, daughter of Louis Juchereau de St. Denis.

Back to the party in this historic home, I walked up on the porch and introduced myself. The family immediately welcomed me and took me straight to a back room where Carol sat debating French versus English colonial fences with two fellow historians: family friend Carolyn Breedlove and Mary Linn Wernet, head archivist at NSU’s Watson Memorial Library.

Carol worked as the library’s head archivist after she received a master’s in colonial architecture from NSU in 1976. After her retirement she’s continued her genealogy research and has published 31 genealogical index books, mostly on her husband’s family.

Carol was originally born in Summerton, PA in 1918. She attended Penn State where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1940. She was also a founding member of a Phi Mu Chapter at the university. In 1942 she graduated among the first class of women Naval officers. She soon met her husband, Naval Lt. Tom H. Wells and had to resign because at the time the Navy didn’t allow women to serve if they were married.

After the war ended, the couple travelled around the world and had six children, one in every port, according to their son Chris Wells. In 1962 Tom retired and earned a PhD from Philadelphia University.

In 1964 they moved to Natchitoches and bought the DeMeziere House, beginning restoration and historical research. Tom passed away in 1971.

“I’m amazed Carol is still going strong in her research,” said Breedlove, a fellow Phi Mu alumna. “I’ve enjoyed her hospitality, fascinating conversations and the encouragement she’s given me in my writings. I think the world of her.”

One of Carol’s most enduring memories is coincidentally her earliest memory. When she was a little over 2-years-old her mother took her along to the poles. Women had just been granted the right to vote, and Carol’s mother was voting for the very first time.

“She called it ‘casting her ballot.’ We walked down to the corner grocery store and she left me sitting on the front step. The edges of that chunk of rock were worn soft with age.” said Carol.

She also remembers growing up in the city, hearing the gas lighter lighting the gas lamps along the street and the popping sound the lighter made.

One friend, Glenda Humphries, said Carol is “sweet as pie.” Her son Chris said, “It’s obvious how proud I am of her. I’m proud to know her.”

It was also obvious how endearing Carol is to the family and friends that gathered around her as she celebrated a century of life. There was plenty of food, fascinating conversations and champagne.

“I’m starting on my second hundred,” said Carol heartily. “Here’s to day one.”


Heavy rainfall, flash flooding predicted for Natchitoches area

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Parish President Rick Nowlin wants residents of Natchitoches Parish to be prepared for the possibility of severe weather over the next few days. The National Weather Service predicts parts of Northwest Louisiana will experience significant rainfall, as much as 3-6” in some areas, which could lead to flash flooding today and tomorrow. Additional rainfall is possible through the weekend. Drivers are urged to use caution when driving and avoid roadways that are under water.

Section 11.7 of the Parish Code of Ordinances place limitations on the use of Parish roads by heavy haulers when the roads are wet. Damages to Parish roads may result in fines and the business or person responsible having to pay for the necessary road repairs. The Parish requests the cooperation of all commercial haulers and residents over the next several days.



Sign up to participate in last Kasey’s Heart & Soul event

Kasey's Heart and SOul


This year’s Kasey’s Heart & Soul: Run, Walk & Roll will be the last, according to event organizers Tina and Wayne Ragan.

Registration is underway, with a Feb. 23 deadline to be guaranteed a race t-shirt and goodie bag with pre-registration fee (SEE DOCUMENT BELOW).

“It’s the seventh anniversary of Kasey’s passing and we thought it would be a good time to let this be the final event,” said Tina. “The support we’ve received through the years has been overwhelming. People have become a part of our mission even if they never visited the Lions Camp.”

All proceeds from the event will be used to provide scholarships to graduating campers from the Louisiana Lions Camp and to provide for the needs of hosting the camp.

The event will be held Saturday, March 10 at the NSU Collins Pavilion, featuring music, food and fun for everyone. Race day registration begins at 6:45 am. The 1-mile begins at 8 am, the ROAR begins at 8:30 am and the 5K begins at 8:45 am.

Awards for the 1 mile will be presented at 8:20 am, with awards for the other events at 10:30 am. Chip timing for the 5K and ROAR will be run by SportSpectrum.

“Kasey’s heart and soul has poured into every participant’s life and vice versa,” said Tina. “More than we’ve ever imagined. When you lose a child you want to keep their memory alive and we’ve been able blessed to do that and have it benefit the Lions Camp in the process. We’ve gained so much on an emotional level through this event.”

Registration Form

NSU E-Lab celebrates 101 Days of Kindergarten

101 days of kindergarten

NSU E-Lab kindergarten students celebrated their 101st day of school by dressing up like Dalmatian puppies. Pictured are Amy Fisher’s kindergarten class. Pictured above on front row from left are Corbin Achord, Vicky Molina, Liam Roberts, Alayjia Taylor, Korbyn Colbert, Madi Trichel, and Andrew Vickers. On middle row are Rayleigh Bertrand, Braylen Lacaze, Maddox Nolley, Brenyn Wilson, Leah Weber, Garrett Landry, and Aniyah Lacour. On back row are Guille Reynolds-Perez, Beck Adams, Anna Todtenbier, Riley Britten, Ava Peppers, Harper Trichell, Khloe Kaufman, Amy Fisher, and Jack Hudlow.


Memories of a Tragic Earthquake in Central America

By Joe Darby



I’ve experienced a number of hurricanes but being in the middle of an earthquake — even an aftershock — is pretty scary.

When a strong earthquake hit the picturesque country of Guatemala in February, 1976, the New Orleans Times-Picayune decided to cover the disaster because a good number of Central Americans lived in New Orleans. I quickly volunteered for the assignment because I’d visited Guatemala two years previously, on a junket for travel writers, and was familiar with the country. (I told you about that trip last week.)

The quake was centered about 100 miles northwest of Guatemala City and the death count would be a staggering 27,000 by the time all of the aftershocks were over. More than 90,000 were injured.

When I and a photographer checked into our Guatemala City hotel, we quickly realized the extent of the damage. The elevators were out so we had to walk up to our sixth floor room. Between the stairway and our room, a huge crack in the corridor wall, more than a foot wide, was open to the air. You could look out and see the street six stories below.

Our room was in a bit of a shambles and we couldn’t use the bathtub because the plaster ceiling had collapsed and filled the tub with debris. The restaurant was not serving and frequent aftershocks kept shaking the building, making it almost impossible to sleep.

We heard the worst destruction was in the smaller towns up in the mountains so we hired a car and driver and headed to a village, perhaps 20 or 30 miles outside of the capital.

When we arrived at our destination — and I regret I cannot remember the name of the town — devastation was everywhere. Almost all of the structures were built of adobe, which made them particularly vulnerable to the vicious quakes. One of the first things we saw as a man was searching through the ruins, calling for his missing wife, “Lydia, Lydia.” I can remember the poor fellow’s voice to this day.

The photographer and I climbed on top of a huge pile of rubble that used to be a house, in order to get a better view. Just after we had safely climbed down, a severe aftershock began shaking the ground beneath us, almost knocking us off our feet. I’m sure that if we had still been on the rubble pile we would have taken a nasty fall. But we had to explore more of the area, observing and using our driver as an interpreter for interviews.

The village church was roofless and as I peered inside, I saw a sight I’ll never forget. A statute of Christ still stood, but it had been decapitated

We were in the village for a couple of hours, gathering information and images, but we had to return to Guatemala City to wire the story and the photos back to New Orleans. On the way back to the capital, we came to a point on the road that had suffered a huge landslide, obviously caused by the aftershock. We barely had enough room to drive around the fallen rocks, just avoiding the edge of a cliff.

After filing our article, we had quite a difficult time getting a flight out, because so many people were trying to flee the country. But after missing several flights, we managed to get aboard one and return to the states.

The memories and experiences of that tragedy will live with me forever. As terrible as hurricanes are, at least we know when they are coming. Earthquakes strike with no warning. And completely devastate countless lives.

Next week I’d like to tell you about a couple of much more pleasant trips, to the great nations of England and France.


NSU alum presents photo exhibit of 1918 Shreveport

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A collection of photographs that depict commerce in Shreveport 100 years ago is on exhibit at Centenary College’s Meadows Museum. The century-old photographs were rescued from the trash by Edward Chopin of Shreveport, a retired educator, Northwestern State University alumnus and history buff. The collection, “A Glimpse of Shreveport from 1918,” will be on exhibit through April 27.

Chopin was helping friends to pack to move out of state, cleaning out their attic and discarding unwanted items when he noticed a burlap-covered scrapbook on the trash pile.

“It was a photo album prepared by the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce in 1918,” he said. Until the exhibit opening Jan. 25, they had not been viewed by the public.

“It’s a glimpse of Shreveport in 1918 and was some sort of mechanism to promote the city,” Chopin concluded. The pictures show working and environmental conditions and includes information on the city’s population and infrastructure in hand calligraphy.

“I do not know who the photographer was but he was extremely talented,” Chopin said. “The depth of field is phenomenal. Some pictures were taken in offices and you can look through the windows and get an idea of which building the photo was taken from.”

Many details reveal themselves after a first glance at a picture, he said.

“You might see workers in an industrial environment, but you can also see tools, the lack of safety equipment, children and women working and black and whites working side by side.”

Chopin has always had an interest in history, photography and journalism. His mother, Ann Chopin, worked for the Natchitoches Enterprise, the rival paper of the Natchitoches Times, and he worked there after school. One memorable event they covered was the Tennessee Gas Pipeline explosion in Natchitoches in 1965 that killed 17 people. The Chopins photographed the fireball that soared approximately 400 feet before the flow of gas was cut. The Natchitoches Times later bought the Enterprise and his mother wrote feature stories for other publications.

Chopin earned a degree in industrial education with a minor in journalism at Northwestern State in 1971 and a master’s in industrial technology in 1978. He retired after teaching 46 years in public schools and at Bossier Parish Community College.

The collection at the Meadows, Chopin said, provides a glimpse at a time in history that would quickly change with industrialism.

“The unique thing about the photos is that 99 percent are interior of people working. Every photo is labeled by the photographer. For instance, the labels in a wood manufacturing company indicate it was the millworks or the accounting office. A picture of the Southern Pacific Railroad shows the ticket office. You can see dates on the calendars and read the clock as to what time of day and what month it was,” Chopin said.

“A Glimpse of Shreveport” was created in conjunction with the Shreveport Historic Preservation Society and is partially underwritten by the Attaway Professorships in Civic Culture Program and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.

Admission to the Meadows Museum of Art is free and open to the public. Hours are 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. The Museum is closed Sundays and during all school holidays. Information is available at or by calling (318) 869-5040.


Pianist Angelica Sánchez to perform March 2



NSU- Pianist Angelica Sánchez will perform at Northwestern State University Friday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. Admission is free and open to the public.

Sánchez, who earned her master’s degree at Northwestern State studying with NSU Associate Professor of Piano Dr. Francis Yang, will play Ecuadorian folkloric dance for piano. After the performance at NSU, she will perform for the Embassy of Ecuador in New York City.

Sánchez is a professor at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Cuenca and leads research projects in the graduate department at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Cuenca where she earned her degree. As a performer, Sánchez has played throughout Ecuador, Argentina, Chile and the United States.

Sánchez was the pioneer in the implementation of Group Piano Laboratory for students of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Cuenca, as well as in the creation of piano programs for the Conservatory of Music José María Rodríguez.

Father and son arrested on attempted murder charges in connection with shooting

Father and Son

NPSO- A week-long investigation by Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies led to the arrests of a father and son in connection with a shooting incident near Natchitoches earlier this month.

NPSO Patrol Division deputies responded to a reported shooting in the 100 block of Evangeline Drive near Natchitoches on Feb. 11 at 2:55 am. The complainant informed them that three rounds were fired into the residence while one adult male, one adult female and children occupied the home. No one was injured.

Deputies learned that Owen “O.C.” C. Scallion, 17 of Goldonna, went to the complainant’s residence to retrieve personal items. The complainant allegedly asked Scallion to leave. Scallion loosened the light bulb under the carport, firing three rounds through the door into the residence. The bullets lodged in the wall.

Scallion’s father Jamie Desadier, 44 of Natchitoches, and the complainant were involved in a prior relationship. Scallion fled the scene in a silver 2000 Nissan Xterra, also allegedly occupied by his father.

NPSO 911 Dispatch Center issued a BOLO for the suspects and the vehicle.

NPSO Criminal Investigations Division detectives gathered evidence at the crime scene. Shortly thereafter, deputies stopped the Nissan on Lakeshore Drive. The driver was identified as Scallion. A passenger was identified as Desadier.

While talking to Scallion he returned to the vehicle, entered and fled the scene leading deputies on a brief pursuit on Lakeshore Drive, then to Bonnette Street, North 5th Street and onto Robbins Drive where he stopped and jumped out the vehicle, dropping a handgun on the ground.

Scallion then picked up the handgun, and fled into nearby woods. Deputies took Desadier into the custody without incident.

Desadier was booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center and charged with Accessory after the Fact to Attempted Second Degree Murder and Probation Violation. Bond was at $15,000 with a probation hold.

Deputies searched the area for Scallion and found footprints leading to a residence in the Washington Street area. The Natchitoches SWAT Unit responded. The Washington Street residence was searched, however, Scallion wasn’t found.

Deputies and SWAT members responded to a residence in the 200 block of Albert Conley Road in Goldonna on Feb. 13 at 8 am after a tip that Scallion was there.

When they arrived Scallion fled out the back door into some woods. Winn Parish Sheriff’s Office bloodhounds were put on stand-by to assist. Scallion surrendered 30 minutes later without incident.

Scallion was booked into the DC and charged with 4-counts of Attempted 2nd Degree Murder, 1-count of Resisting an Officer, and 1-count of Aggravated Assault. Bond was set at $80,500.

Chief of Investigations Greg Dunn said over the course of the past 10-days, detectives have been interviewing witnesses and gathering facts in the investigation to present the case to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. If you have any additional information contact Detective Victor Kay at 357-7830.

Notice of Death – February 21, 2018

Notice of Death 2017



Sara Haynes Sanders
February 21, 1936 – February 15, 2018
Service: Friday, Feb. 23 at 1 pm at Memory Lawn Cemetery in Natchitoches

Mildred Snell
February 20, 2018
Arrangements TBA

Earl Arthur
March 12, 1930 – February 20, 2018
Visitation: Thursday, Feb. 22 from 9-11 am at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home in Natchitoches
Service: Thursday, Feb. 22 at 11 am at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Interment: Memory Lawn Cemetery

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

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

Lessie Lewis
February 23, 1928 – February 14, 2018
Visitation: Friday, Feb. 23 from 6-8 pm in Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel in Winnfield
Service: Saturday, Feb. 24 at 2 pm at Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Oak Ridge Cemetery

Mineola “Missy” Oglesby
December 22, 1939 – February 19, 2018
Visitation: Thursday, Feb. 22 from 9:30-10:30 am at Southern Funeral Home in Winnfield
Service: Thursday Feb. 22 at 11 am at the Verda Cemetery

Kathy Jeanette Thomason
May 30, 1951 – February 18, 2018
Visitation: Thursday, Feb. 22 from 8 am – 2 pm at Mars Hill Baptist Church
Service: Thursday, Feb. 22 at 2 pm at Mars Hill Baptist Church
Interment will follow in Mars Hill Cemetery in Verda

Tracy Wayne Green
April 22, 1945 – February 20, 2018
Visitation: Thursday, Feb. 22 from 6-8 pm at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home in Coushatta
Service: Friday, Feb. 23 at 1 pm at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Martin Cemetery with a reception to follow at Martin Baptist Church