2018 Natchitoches Relay for Life

By Kevin Shannahan

Relay for Life 18_5670
Kevin’s Gallery

The Natchitoches Relay for Life, a beloved community tradition since 1998, was held on the NSU football tailgating field April 27. This year’s relay featured 40 teams and several hundred people representing every facet of our community, from the Sheriff’s Department, Natchitoches Regional Medical Center, to local businesses, churches, and sororities. This year’s event also visited by Star Wars Characters and Ghostbusters as the 501st Legion, a group of Star Wars enthusiasts who dress as their favorite characters, and The Louisiana Ghostbusters who kept the evening free of ectoplasm.

The crowd was entertained by bands and performances by local dance schools. In addition, the teams competed in fun events such as a truly inventive scavenger hunt throughout the night. The evening’s entertainment culminated in a fireworks display.

The Relay for Life is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, the nation’s leading non-governmental organization devoted to fighting and eradicating this insidious disease. According to Ms. Danielle Cobb, Senior Community Manager for the Society, the Natchitoches area has a goal of raising $150,000.00 this year with $50,000 to be raised at this year’s Relay event.

The Relay for Life is an event that remembers cancer survivors as well as those who succumbed each year. More importantly, it is a celebration of their spirit and of life.

The Natchitoches Parish Journal is donating tonight’s photography. The album is not photo protected and anyone may download the files for free. The Relay for Life is welcome to use any they wish. If you do download a file from the Relay, please consider making a donation to the American Cancer Society in lieu of payment.

NSU master’s in English ranked in top 10 in two surveys

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Northwestern State University’s online master’s program in English has been ranked in two national surveys for quality and affordability.

The master’s in English was ranked fifth for affordability by onlineu.org and sixth for value by guidetoonlineschools.com. The two websites are part of SR Education Group which has published more than 240 degree-level ranking reports.

The Master of Arts in English at NSU offers concentrations in literature, folklife/southern culture, generalist, teaching English to speakers of other languages and writing and linguistics.

“These 2018 national awards demonstrate both the academic strength and the economic value that our master’s degree in English program offers to students,” said Jim Mischler, Ph.D., head of the Department of English, Foreign Languages and Cultural Studies. “We provide a high-quality program at a low cost, and our graduates go on to successful careers in a wide variety of industries, including data analysis, technology, public relations and management careers, as well as the traditional English vocations in teaching, professional and technical writing and law.”

Guidetoonlineschools.com ranks bachelor’s programs that offer at least 10 programs online.

Tuition rates were manually researched and reflect the lowest tuition rate available at the specified degree level. Out-of-state tuitions were used unless in-state tuition is offered to all online students. Academic strength scores were calculated using standardized average SAT and ACT exam scores with respect to the total points possible. Tuition data and academic strength scores were then entered in an internal algorithm to determine value scores and rank order.

Onlineu.org determines a base level degree requirement for each subject. This degree level requirement reflects, per subject, which degree is most important for employment within a given subject.

To be considered for these subject rankings, schools need to be regionally accredited and need to offer at least one fully online degree in a given subject for the degree level that was required, or higher. Tuition rates were manually researched and reflect the degree level requirement tuition if offered, or the next level tuition cost. Out-of-state tuitions were used unless in-state tuition is offered to all online students.

Program data including available degrees, tuition rates, and details about program coursework were collected from official school websites, reflecting data for the 2017-2018 school year. This data was collected in July of 2017. Acceptance rates, programmatic accreditation, and profit status of schools were collected from official websites of the accreditation agencies or from the National Center for Education Statistics.

For more information on Northwestern State’s master’s program in English, go to english.nsula.edu. To learn about online programs at NSU, go to nsula.edu/ensu.

NSU awards New Media Scholarships

New Media Scholarship winners

Northwestern State University’s Department of New Media, Journalism and Communication Arts hosted a recognition program to honor outgoing seniors and name recipients of departmental scholarships. From left are Department Head Dr. Paula Furr with Ashley French of Leesville, recipient of the Gen. and Mrs. Erbon Wise Scholarship; NSU alum Javonti Thomas, Cinnamon Player of Pineville, recipient of the Javonti Thomas Multimedia Scholarship; Rebekah Aultman of Mangham, recipient of the Norman Taylor Dowty Scholarship; Madison Morrison, of Hineston recipient of the Thomas Whitehead Sophomore Journalism Award; Jacob Bennett of Anacoco, recipient of the Rondray Hill Memorial Scholarship, and Professor Emeritus Tom Whitehead.

Mutel is Southland Player of the Year, Iwaniuk named top newcomer

Northwestern State tennis standouts earned two of the four individual awards on the All-Southland Conference team announced Wednesday with junior Polina Mutel as Player of the Year and sophomore transfer Ela Iwaniuk chosen Newcomer of the Year.

In voting by the league’s coaches and sports information departments, Mutel and Iwaniuk also won first-team All-Southland singles honors while Mutel and senior Polina Ivanova were first-team in doubles. Sophomore Judit Castillo was a second-team all-conference singles pick and Ivanova received honorable mention recognition.

It’s only the second time in 31 years of Southland Conference membership that NSU competitors have won either Player of the Year or Newcomer of the Year. The only Lady Demon previously named Southland Player of the Year was Ljudmila Pavlov in 1994. More recently, Martina Rubesova claimed the Newcomer of the Year title in 2010.

Mutel’s dual first-team honors marks the ninth time this century, and the 14th time since NSU joined the Southland in 1987, that a Lady Demon has earned first-team status in singles and doubles on the annual All-Southland team.

The Lady Demons (14-8) begin play in the eight-team, single-elimination Southland Conference Tournament in Beaumont, Texas, Friday morning at 10 as the No. 3 seed facing Abilene Christian (13-8), which edged NSU 4-3 in Abilene on March 30.

Mutel, a native of Yaroslavl, Russia, was 16-4 overall in singles, and won All-Southland first-team honors with her 10-1 record at No. 1 in the league. She earned first team at No. 1 doubles with Ivanova after they were 10-0 in conference matches, 16-2 overall. In 2016 as a sophomore, Ivanova made the All-Southland second team at No. 1 doubles with Natalya Krutova.

“I am very happy for Polina Mutel to be recognized as the Southland Conference Player of the Year,” head coach Patric DuBois said. “What a great award and a tribute to how hard-working Polina is and how much she has improved.

“To go from playing No. 3 singles a season ago to playing No. 1 with a 10-1 record and No. 1 in doubles with a 10-0 record is simply an amazing improvement. This highest individual award in the conference is well-deserved by Polina, who has also played through injuries all year at this high level.”

Iwaniuk, 13-8 overall in singles, was 9-2 at No. 4 in the Southland. Transferring from the University of Tulsa, the Konarskie, Poland native has adjusted perfectly with the Lady Demons, also claiming a Player of the Week award in the eighth week of the regular season.

“I’m very proud of Ela Iwaniuk to be named the Southland Newcomer of the Year, “DuBois said. “She has been a tremendous teammate and has fit in since day one. She has steadily improved all year and played her best tennis during the conference season when it mattered most.

“Ela’s hard work, tenacity and ability to execute under pressure has earned her such an award,” he said.

Castillo, a Teruel, Spain native, is 13-4 overall in singles with a 9-2 Southland record at No. 5.

Ivanova, from Moscow, Russia, holds a 13-7 overall singles mark at No. 2. She went 9-2 in the Southland to earn honorable mention all-conference singles status coupled with her first-team honor in doubles.

Additionally, her career singles record of 54-26 places her ninth in Lady Demon singles wins. Friday’s conference tournament match will present the opportunity for her to move up to eighth.

“I am very proud of all the awards earned by each NSU tennis player,” DuBois added. “Each of the ladies works very hard each day on the court, in the weight room and in the classroom which makes awards such as these so special.

“In general, we have a young team, so to have four of six players recognized in singles and have the top doubles team in the Southland bodes well for our future in a very strong and competitive league. We have to continue working hard and improving each day to consistently compete at the high level required to be successful in this conference.”

This weekend, NSU is aiming for its third Southland Tournament championship of the decade and its seventh berth in the championship match since starting a remarkable run in 2010.

Photo Credit: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services

BOM sponsors St John the Baptist Catholic Church Fair, schedule included

BOM to MASS 2018

BOM is proud to sponsor the St John the Baptist Catholic Church Fair in Cloutierville! Pictured left are Henry Rachal, BOM, Martha Conde, Church Fair Rep, and Jannie Lacour, BOM. The fair will be held May 5-6 at St. John’s Hall on Hwy. 491 in Cloutierville.

Saturday events include:

2K Fun Walk beginning at 8:30 am

Food served at 11 am including BB lunches, meat pies, tamales, gumbo, and cakes
Sweet Shop at 11 am
Country Store at 11 am
Mass at 4 pm
Hamburgers at 5 pm
Trail Ride at 5:30 pm
Crawfish Boil from 5-7 pm
Prize Bingo at 5 pm
Kid Games at 5 pm
Music by Doc Couty from 5-12 pm with free dance

Sunday events include:

Mass at 8 am
Food served at 11 am including fried turkey with all the trimmings, meat pies, tamales, gumbo and cakes
Sweet Shop at 11 am
Country Store at 11 am
Hamburgers at 11 am
Kid Games at 12 pm
Music by DJ Doc Couty from 12-4 pm
BIG Money Bingo at 1 pm
Prize Bingo at 3:30 pm
Raffle Drawing at 5 pm

St. Mary’s will once again hold its Spring Fling

Spring Fling


Spring Fling is a family friendly fundraiser for St. Mary’s Catholic School. Saturday, May 5 from 10 am – 6 pm there will be plenty of activities for kids to enjoy. Among these are slides and bounce house combos, velcro wall, and an inflatable obstacle course. Live entertainment along with games, a cakewalk, horse rides, face painting, a dunking booth and many other fun games will be available! A concession stand will offer pulled pork sandwiches, jambalaya, sno-cones, cotton candy and many other goodies. $20 will get an armband for the inflatables for all day fun! Tickets are $1 each for games and concession items.

The day will kick off with a 5K Tiger Trot at 8 am. Registration is available at 7 am at the school or at http://www.smstigers.org.
Gates open at 10 am with games, inflatables and concession items
Local entertainment will begin at 11 am and continue throughout the day
Mass will be held in the school gym at 5 pm
Basket Raffle will be held at 6 pm

Raffle tickets can be purchased for $5 per ticket at local businesses, or at the school’s front office. Baskets can be viewed online at http://www.smstigers.org.

THe 5K Tiger Trot Registration is $30. Awards will be given to the top two male and female adults and top two male and female youth (18 and under).

Notice of Death – April 29, 2018

Notice of Death 2017



Lvinia LaCaze Coutee
October 8, 1932 – April 26, 2018
Service was held May 5

Rosanna Blake
April 25, 2018
Arrangements TBA

Robert Anthony Guillot
July 21, 1943 – April 26, 2018
Visitation: Monday, April 30 from 8:30-9:30 am at the Kramer of Fifth Ward Funeral Home
Service: Monday, April 30 at 10 am at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church
Interment: Our Lady of Lourdes Mausoleum

Brandon Nicholas Meginley
September 27, 1977 – April 26, 2018
Visitation: Monday, April 30 from 10 am – 2 pm at the John Kramer & Son Funeral Home
Service: Monday, April 30 at 2:30 pm at St. Margaret Catholic Church, Boyce
Interment: Gorum Cemetery

Louise Bohrer Brisbois
October 17, 1934 – April 27, 2018
Visitation: Monday, April 30 beginning at 8 am at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church in Alexandria
Service: Monday, April 30 at 10 am at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church
Interment: Forest Lawn Memorial Park

James William “Jimmy” McKaskle Jr.
July 31, 1944 – April 26, 2018
Arrangements TBA through Southern Funeral Home

Versie Lee Hunter
Visitation: Tuesday, May 1 from 1-6 om at Jenkins Funeral Home
Service: Wednesday, May 2 at 11 am at Jenkins Funeral Home in Mansfield
Interment: Northwest Louisiana Veterans Cemetery

LSMSA Presents “The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged)”

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Kevin’s Gallery

The Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts presented The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged) at the school’s Black Box Theater April 19-22. The production, with tongue firmly in cheek, dealt with the complete canon, from Henry VI through The Two Noble Kinsmen in a somewhat… abbreviated… fashion. One of the highlights of the play was their treatment of Othello, summarized in a rap complete with a Public Enemyesque touch.

The talented students of the LSMSA Theater Department put on two productions each year. They are quite well done and belie the young ages of the actors and backstage crew. The Natchitoches Parish Journal congratulates the cast and crew on a successful run and is looking forward to their next event.

LaCap Senior Spotlight: Leah DeFord

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LaCap Senior Spotlight recognizes Leah DeFord, a senior at Natchitoches Central High School, as an outstanding high school senior. She is the daughter of Matt and Julie DeFord.

Leah is President of the Beta Club at Natchitoches Central and has served as vice president of the Youth Art Council of America (YACA). She is also a member of the National Honor Society.

She maintains a high 4.0 GPA and is enrolled in 5.0 classes, which are honors and gifted classes. She participates in the Talent Program where she plays piano and violin. She also played at Carnegie Hall with the NCHS Orchestra when she was in the 9th grade.

Leah volunteers for service projects through her youth group at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The Phoenix Lodge #38 F&AM in Natchitoches presented Julie with an Honesty and Integrity Award on behalf of the Grand Lodge of the State of Louisiana.

Her hobbies include reading, art and cooking. She also works at the Trinity Episcopal Preschool. She has six siblings, the eldest of which is currently on a mission trip in Italy.

Leah plans on attending Northwestern State University on a full scholarship to major in graphic art.

LaCap believes it takes good grades, community involvement, and hard work to make a successful leader. Leah DeFord is being recognized for these qualities.

LaCap is committed to improving our community’s well-being by offering financial and volunteer support to organizations that enhance the quality of life through programs for youth, education, and financial literacy.

La Capitol Federal Credit Union has two locations in Natchitoches: 311 Keyser Avenue and 926 University Pkwy. Call 318-357-3200 or go online to lacapfcu.org for more information.

Kiwanis recognizes Terrific Kids at Cloutierville: April

Kiwanis TK Cloutierville April 2018

Students at Cloutierville Elementary received certificates from the Natchitoches Kiwanis Club recognizing them for their character development, self-esteem and perseverance. On front row from left are McKinzy Bolden, Douglas Phillips, Kayleigh Lester, Kendrick Carpenter, and Piper Sanders. On second row are Jamie Hannegan, Klarissa Cedars, Alexz Beaudion, Jospeh McDowell, and Kiwanis member Henry Rachal. Not pictured are Layla Brown and Lashardae Grigsby.

Lakeview recognizes Air Force JROTC Cadets at Awards Banquet

Cadet Leadership

Lakeview High School’s Air Force JROTC (AFJROTC) unit hosted 218 cadets and guests at their annual awards banquet and cadet change of command on April 20. Major Bob Kellogg, USAF (Ret), Lakeview’s Senior Aerospace Science Instructor, hosted the event to recognize unit and individual accomplishments and transfer the top cadet leadership position. This school year, Lakeview High School Cadet Corps consisted of 91 Cadets (30% of the school). Overall, the cadets performed over 2,600 hours of school/community service (28 hours per cadet) and 48% of the cadets were involved in at least two additional school activities. The cadet corps also posted an overall 3.29 grade point average (9% above the school average) and a discipline rate that is 95% above the school average. Senior cadet leadership also managed 10 Leadership Development Requirement Teams outside of their normal Aerospace Science and Leadership Education classes. Cadets participated in Drill Team, Color Guard, Saber Team, Marksmanship, Academic Team, Kitty Hawk Honor Society, POW/MIA Team, Physical Fitness Team, Recruiting Team, and a Green Team. Freshman cadets conducted an over-night curriculum in action trip to the USS KIDD WWII War Memorial/ Louisiana State Capitol in October 2017, and senior cadets are currently planning an end of year, 3-day field trip to the National Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida for May.

Honored attendees of this year’s banquet included Dale Skinner (Superintendent, Natchitoches Parish School Board), Eugean Garner (Natchitoches Parish School Board, District 7), Pastor Steven Harris, Natchitoches Parish School Board, District 8), William Hymes (Lakeview Jr./Sr. High School Principal), Jennifer Martin (Lakeview Jr./Sr. High School Assistant Principal), Sergeant Kevin Lewis (Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputy and Lakeview School Resource Officer), and Lona Frazier, Lakeview’s AFJROTC Supporter of the Year. This year, over 25 national awards/medals, and over 450 unit level awards and ribbons were presented to the cadets by sponsoring organizations.

Cadet Salem Johnson

CADET SALEM JOHNSON: Cadet Salem Johnson was promoted to Cadet Captain and assumed command of the Lakeview HS Air Force JROTC Cadet Corps. She is the daughter of Ruby Johnson, and a graduate of the 2017 Air Force JROTC Cadet Leadership Course. She is a member of the Drill Team, served as the Leader of the Cadet Recruiting Team, and is a former Flight Commander. She is the 2018 President of Lakeview’s FFA Chapter, is a member of their Floriculture Team that placed 1st in the 2018 State Competition, a member of the National Honor Society, and Beta Club. She is the recipient of the Air Force Sergeant’s Association national medal, 15 unit ribbons, and maintains a 4.0 GPA.

Cadet Leadership

CADET LEADERSHIP:  Lakeview’s Air Force JROTC Cadet Leadership for the upcoming school year 2018-2019 from left to right are Cadet Captain Salem Johnson (Cadet Group Commander), Cadet 2Lt Ke’Aira Thomas (Cadet Group Deputy Commander), Cadet 2Lt Nicholas Wiggins (Cadet Operations Squadron Commander), Cadet 2Lt Joshua Graham (Cadet Operations Squadron Deputy Commander), Cadet 2Lt Zack Favela (Cadet Support Squadron Commander), and Cadet 2Lt Anna Smith (Cadet Support Squadron Deputy Commander).

Cadets of the Year

CADETS OF THE YEAR: Lakeview HS Air Force JROTC Cadets of the Year Awards were presented to the following: Cadet Senior Airman James Earp, Cadet of the Year (Freshman); Cadet Captain Salem Johnson, Cadet of the Year (Sophomore); Cadet Ke’Aira Thomas, Cadet of the Year (Junior); and Cadet Major Mason Harper, Cadet of the Year (Senior).

Cadet Trophies

CADET TROPHIES: Lakeview HS Air Force JROTC awarded trophies for academic and physical fitness performance to the following: Cadet Senior Airman Destinee Britt (Outstanding Physical Fitness, Jr. Female Category), Cadet Airman First Class Cameron Taylor (Outstanding Physical Fitness, Jr. Male Category), Cadet Airman First Class Alexia Adams (AFJROTC Academic Award, Jr. Category), Cadet Master Sergeant Hunter Thomas (AFJROTC Academic Award, Sr. Category), Cadet Senior Airman James Earp (Overall Academic Award, Jr. Category), Cadet Captain Tyler Sullivan (Outstanding Physical Fitness, Sr. Male Category), and Cadet Airman First Class Makayla Cook (Outstanding Physical Fitness, Sr. Female Category), and (not photographed) Cadet Technical Sergeant Karmen Jarriett (Overall Academic Award, Sr. Category).


LA Sports Hall of Fame hosts Special Olympics exhibit

Brave Olympics
Since 1968, Special Olympics has provided year-round sports training and athletic competitions for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Through sports, Special Olympics builds character, self-esteem, and pride in athletes, while changing negative perceptions about people with intellectual disabilities in society. The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum will host an exhibit entitled “Brave in the Attempt: Special Olympics in Louisiana.” This exhibit explores the history of this unique organization in Louisiana, highlighting the stories of the talented athletes, coaches, volunteers and administrators who helped built it.

The exhibition opens with a reception from Saturday, May 5 from 6-8 pm. It will be on display until Jan. 12, 2019. The public is invited to this free opening event.

For more information call 318-357-2492.