Lions Club supports Special Olympics, learns about Jazz/R&B Festival

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Hannah Gaspard spoke to the Natchitoches Lions Club at its meeting April 9 about the upcoming Special Olympics, which will be held at NSU April 10. She accepted a check from the club toward the event.

Valencia Sarpy Jones spoke to the club about the 23rd Annual Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival, which will be held April 13-14.

Special Olympics Louisiana will host a track and field meet on the campus of Northwestern State University at the Walter Ledet Track and Field Complex. The event provides an opportunity for those with intellectual disabilities to compete in various track and field competitions. NSU student, staff and community volunteers are coordinating the event, which brings athletes from Natchitoches, Red River, Sabine and Winn parishes to compete for a gold medal and advance to state competition in Hammond in May.

Opening ceremonies will begin at 9 a.m. and will include the signing of the Unified Champion School designation. Competitions will begin at 9:45 a.m. The community is invited to join the festivities and cheer on the competitors who value the experience of competing against their peers, building friendships and having fun, organizers said.

The Jazz/R&B Festival will be held on the renovated downtown riverbank in Natchitoches after a one-year hiatus. Friday night’s lineup will feature popular Grammy winning Zydeco artist Wayne Toups and his band Zydecajun along with the 80’s Hairband Tribute Group L.A. 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. Local and regional favorites Johnny Earthquake and the Moondogs, Badd Apple, The Hardrick Rivers’ Revue, Trini Triggs, and several others will also be featured, as well as a stage that features only jazz music all day.

For ticket information, a full lineup and more information about the 22nd Annual Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival, go to