Entries being accepted for High School Essay Contest


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, rasmussens@nsula.edu 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.



Flooding I49.jpg

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!!

Notice of Death – Feburary 25, 2018

Notice of Death 2017

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

Mildred Snell
February 20, 2018
Service: Saturday, March 3 at 10 am in the Evergreen Baptist Church Cemetery on Hwy. 71 in St. Maurice

Sondra Britain Axline
November 22, 1936 – February 23, 2018Service: Monday, Feb. 26 at 3 pm at Bethel Cemetery



NSU names six alumni to Long Purple Line

LongPurple 2018


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 ericksonv@nsula.edu.

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.


NSU taps Follett to run two Campus Stores

Follette at NSU
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.


GOHSEP’s Crisis Action Team Activated due to Threat of Severe Weather, River Concerns



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:

NWS Shreveport:

Short Term:

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.

Long Term:

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.


Divine Coincidences

By Reba


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.”


CRBG at Flavor of Louisiana: Boiled Shrimp & Blackened Gator

CRBG Flavor 2018

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.


Road or Lane Status Emergency Road Closure: LA 120 and 478


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

Permit/Detour Section
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.


Kiwanis recognizes Terrific Kids at MR Weaver: February

TK_Weaver_FEB 2018.jpg


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.


Rotary Student of the Month: February

Rotary Club Feb20

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).


Notice of Death – February 23, 2018


Notice of Death 2017


Mildred Snell
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

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

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
Service: Saturday, Feb. 24 at 2 pm at Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Oak Ridge Cemetery

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


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 https://www.lsna.org/nominate.

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 nursing.nsula.edu.


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.