Bulletproof the Blue thanks Bolton Realty and others!

bulletproof sponsor2018 (1)

As the acclaimed first person law enforcement shooter event, Bulletproof the Blue, is only 4 weeks out the Natchitoches Rotary Club encourages you to get your tickets now – Just click this link:

Bulletproof The Blue Tickets

Josh Axsom, Rotary Committee Chairperson, said “Our sponsorship drive is going great! We are about 50% of the way there to our $15,000 goal! This is the final days of our sponsorship drive to get you and/or your business on our signs and event t-shirt. Support your local Law Enforcement through this event! Call me at 318-652-2225 ASAP for more details!!”

The Bulletproof the Blue Rotary committee would like to thank the following businesses for their support:

Silver Sponsor- Janice Bolton and Bolton Realty

Bronze Sponsor- Rodney and Eddie Harrington and the Harrington Law Firm

Bronze Sponsor- David McGraw and Keep Safe Storage

We are so grateful for the communities support for this event, said Josh Axsom, This event creates a positive environment for healthy conversations between members of the community and the law enforcement agencies that exist to serve and protect them. That is really exciting!

The Bulletproof the Blue Rotary committee would also like to thank Bronze Sponsors MidSouth Bank!

Natchitoches 9-1-1 District Releases 2017 Statistics

Natty 911


At their March 20th regular meeting, the 9-1-1 Commission received an overview of the Communications District’s 2017 activity. The Natchitoches Parish Communications District (Natchitoches 9-1-1) works hand-in-hand with law enforcement, fire, and Emergency Medical Service providers in all parts of the parish in a unified effort to provide a well-coordinated emergency response system.

During 2017 residents, visitors, and travelers in Natchitoches Parish called 9-1-1 a total of 22,504 times. 89% of these 9-1-1 calls originated from cell phones, and 96% of all 9-1-1 calls received were answered in 10-seconds or less. In addition to 9-1-1 emergency calls, our two call centers answered over 89,497 non-emergency calls.

In addition to providing the technology utilized by both the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office emergency call center, and the Natchitoches Police Department emergency call center, the 9-1-1 district also provides a parish-wide Emergency Warning System, which logged 58 activations in 2017. District staff processed 191 Address Applications, 250 address site inspections, and performed over 300 updates to the geographic information system used by first responders to locate emergencies within the parish. The Natchitoches Parish 9-1-1 system serves as the “Gateway to Public Safety Services in Natchitoches Parish.

Athletes Like Us

By Reba

Reba_Athletes_MAIN GRAPHIC
It would be deemed a “season-ending injury” even for the most powerful of athletes. A press conference would be called by the coaching staff to discuss how this injury could have happened. Contracts would be reviewed to see if the team owners could continue to pay the exorbitant salary. The whole team would see their hopes for the playoffs go down the drain.

But, for athletes like us this is not the case.

A single mom twisting her ankle in a small land mine that a destructive Jack Russell Terrier dug while mowing does not qualify for the extremes aforementioned. It was painful. I cried. I may have used several four-letter words I’ve been known to resort to at any given moment. I may have seen my whole life flash before my eyes on a highlight reel.

The whirlwind of anxiety that followed was immeasurable. Who would finish mowing for me? How would I drive? Would physical therapy be involved? How would my daughter get to and from various practices and her church activities? How would I make it to the gym everyday…if I were actually going to the gym everyday?

Athletes like us don’t have the option of a day off from parenting.

Prior to my divorce I never gave much thought to the daily workings of being a single parent. Frankly, I never thought I would ever become one. Even though my children have long since left the needy toddler stage there’s still loads of parenting and juggling to be done. When you add more than one child to the scenario the plot thickens. Try being in two places at one time. You will definitely have someone mad at you at all times.

Athletes like us come in all shapes and forms.

Some parents are single for a mere seven and seven hitch. Some parents are widowed. Some parents have been single parents since day one of the birth of their child. Some parents were abandoned by a spouse and left to pick up those remains, plus raise healthy and independent children. Whatever the true reason for living a life of single parenting, it can feel isolating if you don’t reach out to your friends and family for support.

Athletes like us are not very popular. There are no MVP awards in the parenting division.

Single parenting will not win a popularity contest with your children……If you’re doing it right. You are the soul source of the anguish they feel when they hear the word “NO.” When they hear the words “do you think I am made of money,” don’t expect a supportive answer. Don’t look for a round of applause when you have to break it to your child that we cannot have an Alpaca even if Planning and Zoning would allow for it.

Through the years God has blessed me with friends who are literally founts of wisdom and clarity when it comes to raising children. He has opened my eyes recently to look around at the different types of single parents I encounter and use them as my guide when I’m feeling anxious. I see tenacious ladies on a daily basis who choose not fall prey to their thoughts of pity and angst. They choose to focus on their children and raise them to be who God intended them to be. While it’s easy to compare your family to those with a true nuclear unit, we have to avoid that trap at all costs. No one wins that game.

God chose athletes like us to play two positions on the team. Mom and Dad.

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them- not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; Not Lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.

1Peter 5:2-3

LQHBA supports Rose Long Scholarship

LQHBA Donation

The Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association has committed to a donation of $5,000 per year for the next five years to the Rose Landry Long Scholarship, an award that benefits first-generation students attending Northwestern State University.

“Our Association has always been committed to promoting education for Louisiana youth,” said Tony Patterson, LQHBA executive director. “Since 2001, the LQHBA has now funded $524,000 in scholarships.”

LQHBA is the official authorized representative of the American Quarter Horse racing and breeding industry in Louisiana. The association provides a unified voice for communicating the advantages and rewards of breeding quarter horses and coordinates activities with breeding and racing agencies. LQHBA is recognized by the Louisiana Legislature and the Louisiana State Racing Commission as the official registry of accredited Louisiana-bred racing quarter horses.

“The LQHBA board of directors recently met with Senator Gerald Long and we are proudly committing a total donation of $25,000 at $5,000 per year to this wonderful cause. We are very honored to contribute to the Rose Landry Long Scholarship,” Patterson said.

The Rose Landry Long Scholarship was created last year to honor Mrs. Long, Senator Long’s late wife, who passed away April 30, 2017, following an 11-month battle with brain cancer. A native of Gueydan, Mrs. Long was the first person in her family to attend college, graduating from Northwestern State with honors in 1968. As a freshman at NSU, Mrs. Long met Gerald Long and two were married 11 months later.

Mrs. Long touched many lives through her civic involvement, through leading Bible studies and engagement with child and family resource centers throughout Louisiana. The Longs mentored many middle school, high school and college students and coaches through Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Mrs. Long served as her husband’s campaign manager when he ran for the State Senate and after his election was involved with the Legislative community, leading Bible studies, hosting prayer breakfasts and serving on committees that addressed moral and social concerns. She also chaired the Louisiana Legends committee for Louisiana Public Broadcasting and was recognized as the Public Broadcasting System’s Grassroots Advocacy National Volunteer of the Year. During her illness, she could often be found seeking out and praying with strangers in cancer treatment waiting rooms.

Sen. Long created the scholarship last fall, garnering state-wide pledges of support. Inaugural recipients, awarded for the Spring 2018 semester, were Elizabeth Schoubroek, a business administration major from Zwolle, and Rowdy Burleson, a criminal justice major from Evelyn. Recipients must maintain a 2.5 grade point average and must be full-time first generation students.

“We are building a generation of students who will be community leaders,” Sen. Long said. “Because of LQHBA, first-generation students that could not attend college will be able to.”

Information on the Rose Land Long Scholarship is available by contacting NSU Development Officer Jill Bankston, CFRE, at (318) 357-4414 or emailing bankstonj@nsula.edu.

NSU Math Department attends Math Conference

Math Conference

Northwestern State University’s Department of Mathematics attended the annual meeting of the Louisiana/Mississippi Section of the Mathematical Association of America in Lafayette. During the meeting, several students competed in a team competition and Haley Jorgensen of Bossier City entered the student research competition, winning the third place prize. The meeting marked the end of Dr. Frank Serio’s term as chair of the Section. Pictured are students and faculty, from left, Jonathon Villareal of Oberlin, of Austin Averitt of Bossier City, Dr. Leigh Ann Myers, Sara Vineyard of Shreveport, Shelby Ansley of Bossier City, Andrew Penfield of Many, Cherish Netter of Baker, Dr. Richard DeVault, Serio, head of the Department of Mathematics; Jessica Bass of Pleasant Hill, Jorgensen, Dr. Kathy Autrey, Dr. Nick Richardson, Melissa Kelly and Dr. Ben Rushing

Rotarians award Student of the Month to LSMSA student, Dr. Maggio speaks to club

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The Rotary Club of Natchitoches Student of the Month was awarded to Louisiana School for Math Science and the Arts (LSMSA) Senior Kiara Padilla on March 20. Her family has been stationed at Fort Polk for the past six years. She will attend Northwestern State University (NSU) in the fall majoring in Criminal Justice. Pictured from left are Rotary President David Zolzer, NSU Assistant Director of University Recruiting Ashlee Hewitt, Padilla, LSMSA Coordinator of Enrollment Services Michael Sumner, LSMSA Executive Director Dr. Steve Horton, NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio, and Rotarian Tommy Melder.

Dr. Chris Maggio, President of Northwestern State University (NSU) spoke to the Rotarians about the most recent activities at NSU.

Rotary March 200320_115738

New Media Showcase honors the late Robert Crew

New Media Showcase Winners


Several students were recognized and the late Robert Crew honored during a reception to mark the opening the inaugural New Media Student Showcase at Northwestern State University. The exhibit features the work of students and faculty in the Department of New Media, Journalism and Communication Arts, as well as photographs by Crew, a photographer and long-time administrator at Northwestern State.

Student work was juried for awards. Winners were Jasmine Frazier of Lewisville, Texas, first place; Hannah Morris of Haughton, second place, and Racheal Gaude of Ventress, third place. Jaci Jones of New Iberia won best in show.

Crew retired as executive assistant to the president of NSU in 2013. Before his appointment to the administrative position at Northwestern in 1997, Crew held several leadership roles in the Louisiana State Department of Education for 27 years. A Natchitoches native, he earned a bachelor’s degree at NSU in 1965 and a master’s in education in 1968. He was a member of NSU’s Hall of Distinguished Educators and twice received the university’s Nth Degree, which recognized meritorious service to the university and/or the community. Upon his retirement, the School of Creative and Performing Arts named the photography studio in his honor.

Crew passed away Jan. 14. In his memory, the Crew family established the Robert G. Crew Scholarship for students in New Media, Journalism and Communication Arts.

The exhibit, organized by faculty Emily Zering and Ron McBride, is in Gallery II in the new Creative and Performing Arts Building. Hours are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday.

For more information about the Department of New Media, Journalism and Communications Arts, visit nsula.edu/newmedia or email newmedia@nsula.edu.

NSU honors Long Purple Line inductees

Long Purple Line 2018


Northwestern State University honored 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. Randal D. Keator Sr., formerly of Shreveport, and Darryl Willis of Sunnyvale, California. Honorees were honored at a luncheon and induction program Friday in the Friedman Student Union Ballroom.

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 on 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. He 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 was recently appointed vice president of Oil, Gas and Energy at Google. Prior to that, he was president and chief executive officer of BP Angola and 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.

Another winner in the Mystery Sound Cash Contest on 94.9 The River


Genevieve Almaguer won $455 by playing the Mystery Sound Cash Contest, sponsored by AxsomAir, on 94.9 The River.

“We’ll do it all again Monday morning with a brand new sound and a brand new jackpot,” said Trini Triggs. Each weekday morning between 7-10 am, Trini will take calls from listeners who think they know what the mystery sound is.

The first caller to guess correctly will win the jackpot. But wait, it gets better! For each incorrect answer, $5 will be added to the pot. The River Line is 318-581-4025.

Student jazz group to hold jam session March 24



Northwestern State University’s chapter of the Louisiana Association of Jazz Educators will hold its first jam session Saturday, March 24 at 1 p.m. at the Alumni Plaza. There is no charge to attend and the public is invited to attend.

LAJE members will play songs including “Impressions,” “Autumn Leaves,” “Blue Monk, “Freddie the Freeloader,” “Take the A Train,” “Blue Bossa,” “Song for My Father,” “Mr. P.C.,” “Four” and “Scrapple from the Apple.”

NSU recently formed a chapter of the Louisiana Association of Jazz Educators. Faculty members Galindo Rodriguez and Dr. Paul Forsyth are faculty sponsors.

Notice of Death – March 23, 2018

Notice of Death 2017



Shirley Daniels
March 22, 2018
Arrangements TBA

Anna White
September 16, 1950 – March 20, 2018
Arrangements TBA

Rosie Young
March 26, 1956 – March 20, 2018
Service: Saturday, March 24 at 12 pm at First Baptist Church on North Street
Visitation: Saturday, March 24 from 10:30 am – 12 pm at First Baptist Church on North Street
Interment: Lawrence Serenity

Joseph Steele
February 9, 1957 – March 17, 2018
Service: Saturday, March 24 at 11 am at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Lawrence Serenity Sanctum

Janie Rachal Allen
March 19, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, March 24 from 1-2 pm at the Agape Church, located at 1515 Texas Street in Natchitoches
Service: Saturday March 24 at 2 pm at the Agape Church
Interment: Mt. Olive Baptist Church Cemetery off Hwy 6

Rickie Westfall
March 9, 1956 – March 22, 2018
Services: Saturday, March 24 at 2 pm at Warren Meadows Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Mt. Carmel Cemetery

Donald Bernard Leone
October 28, 1940 – March 21, 2018
Service: Saturday, March 24 at 10 am at St. Joseph Catholic Church
Interment: St. Joseph Cemetery

Norma Jean Westmoreland James
August 3, 1928 – March 21, 2018
Visitation: Sunday, March 25 from 4-8 pm and Monday from 8:30-10 am
Service: Monday, March 26 at 10 am in the John Kramer & Son Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Alexandria Memorial Gardens

Robert “Bob” F. Gray
March 26, 1950 – March 19, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, March 24 from 10 am – 1 pm at Philadelphia Baptist Church
Service: Saturday, March 24 at 1 pm at Philadelphia Baptist Church, Horseshoe Drive
Interment: Flatwoods Cemetery, under the direction of John Kramer & Son Funeral Home

Dorothy “Dot” Chatelain Vanlangendonck
June 12, 1925 – March 21, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, March 24 from 8:30-9:30 am at the John Kramer & Son Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, March 24 at 10 am at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church
Interment: Alexandria Memorial Gardens

Louise W. Thomas
Service: Saturday, March 24 at 11 am at Deliverance Temple in Coushatta
Interment: Starlight Cemetery in Armistead

Gloria Gay
Service: Saturday, March 24 at 2 pm at Deliverance Temple in Coushatta
Interment: Springville Cemetery in Coushatta

Clytie Washington
Service: Saturday, March 24 at 11 am at Old Zion Baptist Church in Grand Cane
Interment: Old Zion Cemetery

Carolyn Elaine Miller
December 30, 1956 – March 21, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, March 24 from 6-8 pm at the Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home
Service: Sunday, March 25 at 12:30 pm at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Coulee-Bethel Cemetery

Sara Ann Harrison Garrett
November 3, 1939 – March 21, 2018
Service: Saturday, March 24 at 10:30 am at First Baptist Church of Coushatta
Interment: Mount Zion Cemetery

EMERGENCY BRIDGE CLOSURE: Hwy. 117 in Natchitoches Parish

bridge closed

Hwy 117; Natchitoches Parish
Bridge No. 1140204611
Control Section 114-02

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) advises the public that effective immediately the bridge on LA 117 over Relief Slough, located approximately 0.91 miles north of the LA 117/LA 118 intersection, is closed to all traffic. Due to the uncertainty and complexity of the repairs, the length of time required to complete the repairs is undetermined at this time.

Permit/Detour section
Northbound traffic will be detoured to LA 118 West to US 171 North to LA 6 East to LA 117.

Southbound traffic will be detoured to LA 6 West To US 171 South to LA 118 East to LA 117.

Safety Reminder
DOTD appreciates your patience and reminds you to please drive with caution through the construction site and be on the lookout for work crews and their equipment.

Additional Information
Call (318) 561-5100 or (800) 542-3509 or 511 or visit http://www.511LA.org for additional information. Motorists may also monitor the LA DOTD website @ http://www.dotd.la.gov, by selecting MYDOTD, the Way to Geaux Application for iPhone or Android devices, the DOTD Facebook page or the LA DOTD Twitter page, @Alex_Traffic for further information and details.

First United Methodist Church Holy Week Schedule

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First United Methodist Church of Natchitoches would like to invite everyone to all of the Holy Week activities to prepare for Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Maundy Thursday, March 29 – Join us in the Sanctuary at 6 pm for a service of Holy Communion.

Good Friday, March 30 – Join us for a unique experience walking through the stations of the cross and a prayer labyrinth. This experience will be available to everyone from 10 am – 6 pm in the gym. There will be a special family time from 10-11:30 am. Come by for a quiet personal experience looking at the seven last words of Christ, walking through the prayer labyrinth, and other activities for adults and children.

Easter Sunday, April 1 – Join us for 1 of our 3 services. 8:30 am service is a traditional service with a choir located in our Sanctuary. Services at 9:30 am and 10:45 am are contemporary with a band playing songs that you would hear on the radio. They are located in Crossroads Worship Center.

For more information go online to http://fumcnla.org/holyweek18/.

First United Methodist Church of Natchitoches is located at 411 Second St. There is a parking lot on the side of the church and also plenty of parking all around the block.

For more information on FUMC go online to http://www.fumcnla.org, call the church office at 318-357-8296, or email info@fumcnla.org.

When Was Your Last Eye Exam?


For many people, good vision means good eye health, but that may not always be the case. Regular eye exams can catch problems before it’s too late. If you are age 40 or older and have not had a recent eye disease screening, The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends making an appointment for an eye exam. Prevention is the key. It is an essential step toward preserving vision and keeping eyes healthy, and there is no better time than right now! (AAO.org)

By 2020, 43 million Americans will be at risk for significant vision loss or blindness from age-related eye diseases, such as cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and macular degeneration — an increase of more than 50 percent over the current number of Americans with these diseases. Despite the statistics, many Americans are more concerned about weight gain or back pain than they are vision loss. (AAO.org)

The first step in preventing vision loss is to get a baseline eye exam at the age of 40. This is the age when early signs of eye disease and changes in vision may first occur. For individuals at any age with symptoms of, or at risk for, eye disease (such as those with a family history of eye disease, diabetes or high blood pressure), the AAO recommends seeing your eye doctor to determine how frequently your eyes should be examined. Based on the results of the initial screening, your eye doctor will prescribe the necessary intervals for follow-up exams. (AAO.org)

To schedule your regular eye exam, contact your Natchitoches Hometown Eye Care Team – Louisiana Eye & Laser. Drs. Cheryl Stoker and Brett Bennett along with Drs. Karren Laird Russo and Michael Redmond will be happy to manage your eye care needs. Call 318-352-0444 to see how you can achieve better vision and better eye health.

Louisiana Eye & Laser is located in Natchitoches at the corner of Keyser Avenue and 1055 Parkway Drive (Suite B).

Campus literary magazine honors students for best writing, photography, fine arts

Argus Winners


Seventeen Northwestern State University students were selected as winners of the Argus Language contest sponsored by Argus, the campus literary magazine. The contest recognized student work that expressed its own language through poetry, fiction, non-fiction, photography and artwork.

First place in poetry was awarded to Allie Atkinson of Berwick for “Cleanse.” Maggie Harris of West Monroe was second for “The Good Walmart Sweater” while Nicholas Jones of Bossier City was third for “Color Me In.”

Casey Alfultis of Zachary, received first in fiction for “The Heart Tailor.” Harris was awarded second for “The Garden of Portraits” with Skylar Guidroz of Port Barre in third for “Procrastination and Imagination” and Ruben E. Smith of Clayton getting honorable mention for “Old New Mexico Blues.”

In non-fiction, Bruce Craft of Baton Rouge won first for “Fifteen Minutes with Freaks for Jesus and the Snake Lady.” Christian Frost of Metairie was second for “Good Old Saint Expedite,” Ashante Knox of Natchitoches was third for “Now You’re Speaking My Language and Craft received honorable mention for “Why My Son Won’t Eat With Me.”

Sean McGraw of LaPlace finished first in photography for “Air Show” with Kailey Wisthoff of Lake Charles earning second for “The Beach is Calling.” Emilee Landry of Slidell was third for “darks and lights” and Alexis Trosclair of NewIberia was the staff pick for “The Sea Speaks.”

In fine arts, Laura Scronce of Maringouin was awarded first for “Winding Road.” Ariel Bailey of Natchitoches won second for “Yin and Yang” and was the staff pick for “Sea Dragon.” Maddie Manuel of Woodworth received third for “The Mighty Kraken.”

The honored works will appear in the 2018 edition of Argus, which will be published later this spring. Katie Rayburn of Pineville is the editor of Argus.

Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival Lineup Announced

Festival Lineup

Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival Chairman Rodney Harrington is not short on superlatives when describing the lineup for the 22nd annual event which will be held on April 13-14 on the newly renovated downtown Natchitoches riverbank.

“Quite simply,” Harrington said, “it will be The Greatest Weekend of Music in Natchitoches History.”

The fun begins on Friday, April 13th with the traditional Festival opener the NSU Jazz Orchestra, followed by the Louisiana Swamp Donkeys. Also featured Friday night will be perennial Zyedco/Cajun favorite, Wayne Toups, along with “The World’s Greatest 80’s Tribute Band,” LA ROXX.

Saturday will feature a wide variety of music on four stages located around the downtown riverbank area and will culminate later that evening with performances by the hit-making groups Starship featuring Mickey Thomas and Ohio Players, both performing on the brand new main stage.

Harrington says that while the appearance of these headliners in Natchitoches is amazing, there are so many more reasons to come to the Festival earlier in the day and hear some great music.

“I think the whole town is abuzz with ‘Maggie Mania’,” Harrington said when referring to Nashville Country music star, Maggie Rose, who will be performing on the main stage at 3:35 p.m. “Everywhere I go, people ask me what time Maggie is playing and are so excited to have her in Natchitoches.”

Rose, whose single “Pull You Through” is charting on Country music radio and television, has toured with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Martina McBride, and many others. She has been named by CMT, “One of the Next Women of Country.”

For Aerosmith Fans, Pandora’s Box, dubbed “The Ultimate Aerosmith Tribute” will be performing on the main stage just before Maggie Rose comes on. Kicking off the main stage Saturday will be local favorites The Hardrick Rivers Revue, followed by Gregg Martinez and The Delta Kings.

Harrington said that his band, Johnny Earthquake and The Moondogs, are particularly excited to have the legendary Rick Derringer performing with them again, and that a late addition to the lineup makes Derringer’s appearance even more special this year.

“Rick was a huge hit when he played the Festival four or five years ago, so I guess you could say he is back by popular demand.” Harrington continued, “This year also joining us will be Jon Smith, one of Rock & Roll’s greatest and legendary saxophonists.”

Harrington went on to say that Derringer and Smith were bandmates in Edgar Winter’s White Trash band during the late 60’s and early 70’s, and Smith has gone on to an illustrious career performing with such luminaries such as The Doobie Brothers, Boz Scaggs, Johnny Winter, Toto, and Sarah Vaughn.

Harrington promises that, with over twenty bands performing on four different stages, there will be something to appeal to almost every musical taste. “There will be Rock & Roll, Country, Zydeco, Cajun, Blues, Funk, and, of course, Jazz and R&B,” he said. “In fact, the Beau Jardin Stage features nothing but Jazz all day, so the hardcore Jazz aficionados would never have to leave that spot,”

Natchitoches’ own country music star, Trini Triggs, will once again serve as Master of Ceremonies and will perform at various times during the Festival and as always, local groups including Billy O’Con and Badd Apple, Cane River Soul, and Breaktime for Frances will be spotlighted. Of course, there will be plenty of food and activities for the kids with lots of inflatables.

One new feature at this year’s Festival is the addition of limited reserved seating in the new amphitheater in front of the stage.

“Oh, the reserved seats are going to be fantastic,” according to Harrington. There are just over 500 reserved seats and Harrington says that many of them have been sold leaving just over 200 available for sale. Personal chairs will not be allowed on the riverbank but will be allowed at all outer stages and in a limited area on top of the riverbank.

“If you want to be insured a primo place to sit at the Festival, you better order your reserved tickets today!” Harrington concluded. “There is no doubt they will be sold out before Festival weekend.” Reserved seats can only be purchased online.

For ticket information, a full lineup and more information about the 22nd Annual Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival, go to http://www.natchjazzfest.com

Ponderings with Doug – March 23, 2018


I told you about Lucky the dog. He was an emaciated puppy that I met as he was licking chewing gum off the parking lot of the bank in Gibsland. He adopted us by breaking into our house and curling up on the floor at the foot of the bed. We took him to the vet and he has all the shots. He was fixed and now barks in a higher vocal range. He has put on weight and looks healthy.

We forgot!

We forgot what it is like to have a puppy in the house. Our other two dogs are six years old and have mellowed. They sleep, eat, play for a minute and go outside and do their doggy thing.

If only Lucky would follow the script.

He has earned his new last name. He is now Lucky Luciano.

I have a small metal trashcan in which the dog food is stored. This can has minimal clearance under the cabinet. It has a crawfish tray on top acting as a lid. If I used the real lid the handle wouldn’t allow it to fit under the cabinet. On three sides this trash can barely fits under the cabinet.

Lucky has figured out how to grab the handle of the trash can and slide it from under the cabinet. He taps the lid and knocks it on the floor. Depending on his mood he will run outside with this crawfish tray, or he will deposit it in the chair in the den. After he has finished playing with the modified lid, he has a snack. At other times, he will knock the trash can over, so the other dogs can feast along with him.

Lucky must know that I love snow. The other day I came home and Lucky had decorated the den so it would look like snow had fallen. He found the most susceptible pillow and ripped it open and spread the contents around the room. I have attached the picture of this event. You can see Lucky, the snow and the crawfish tray in the chair. He had a busy morning.

Let’s not forget shoes. I have been removing shoes with impunity for years. Sometimes I put them up. Sometimes they stand where I came out of them. Lucky loves shoes. He loves the lining in the bottom of the shoes. He likes the rip them out and chew on them.

He enjoys hiding my shoes. He has even taken a shoe outside to play with it.
He likes to clean my bedside table. He has run off with the TV remote. He grabbed my glasses and ran off with them. My pristine lenses now have dog teeth marks in them. He jumps on tables as a short cut to the other dogs when he is playing. I have become a more judicious house cleaner. Anything on the kitchen cabinet is a candidate to become floor covering. He has this thing about mail. He even chewed up the agenda for the next Parish Council meeting. It gave him indigestion.

The dog is a pest!

Not really, Lucky is a puppy. He is full of energy. He is full of play. He is clumsy and amusing. I don’t know what kind of dog Lucky is, but he is on his way to being one spoiled dog.

We will survive the puppy stage. Lucky will learn NO. He will learn to stay off the furniture. He will learn because the other dogs have learned. He will become well trained and less playful. He will outgrow some of his exuberance. He will become a good dog!

I wonder if the church accidentally takes all the joy out of following Jesus. I wonder if it would be better if we encouraged the playful, joyous stage of following Him. I see too many Jesus followers that appear to be ground down by “doing church.” What if we gave up doing church and became the church? Might that tack return the joy of our salvation? Perhaps our problem is that we say NO too often to those who are very young in the faith. We are too consumed with growing good Christians. What would the world be like if we aimed for joyous, loving, playful Christians?

I wonder!


Lucky Luciano

Convicted felon charged with possession of a firearm after traffic stop


An officer with the Natchitoches Police Department Patrol Division attempted to perform a traffic stop March 19 at 3:20 pm on a blue 1985 Chevrolet Impala on Hwy. 3110 near Hwy. 1 due to a traffic violation. As the officer approached the vehicle, it accelerated and fled northbound on Hwy. 1 (South Drive). The vehicle approached stopped traffic on South Drive and turned onto Saida Street. The vehicle then swerved into a ditch, where the driver, identified as Rynell Jefferson (B/M, 29), fled from the vehicle.

Jefferson was apprehended after a brief foot pursuit. A search of the vehicle he abandoned resulted in a recovery of suspected marijuana and a .38 caliber revolver. The handgun showed to have been reported stolen during a vehicle burglary in October 2017.

Jefferson, who is a convicted felon, was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of Firearm in the presence of CDS, possession of a stolen firearm, possession of schedule I, second or subsequent offense, possession of drug paraphernalia, flight from an officer, resisting an officer, speeding, stop sign violation and reckless operation of a vehicle.

Jefferson was placed in Natchitoches Parish Detention Center; his bond is set at $60,250.

NSU business students raise awareness for Natchitoches Coalition on Homelessness

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The Northwestern State University School of Business demonstrated commitment to its Natchitoches community March 20 by organizing and leading a fundraising drive in support of the on-going efforts of the Natchitoches Coalition on Homelessness. As part of the management outreach program, the senior project focuses on providing business support to local businesses or organizations. The project team members selected the Coalition on Homelessness and offered the coalition their assistance and support.

“Our students are pleased to partner with the Natchitoches Coalition on Homelessness and offer their business development and management services to a leader providing meals and shelter to those in need in our community,” said Dr. Marcia Hardy, management course professor and project advisor. “The Coalition Board and students are looking forward to more opportunities and engagement between the two groups.”

Lydia Doucet, a student working with the coalition said, “A little goes a long way, and we are trying to make a difference for the surrounding community of the school we attend.”

The Executive Director for the coalition, Helen Obioha, said, “These young professionals are providing business, marketing and financial planning recommendations and much needed service assistance. This effort directly benefits the mission of our coalition and their contributions will go a long way toward supporting our mission here in the community.

If you are a community business interested in partnering with NSU business students for professional business advice or service assistance, please contact Dr. Marcia Hardy 318-357-6982 or hardym@nsula.edu.