Ponderings with Doug – June 29, 2018

You can’t drive forward while looking in a rear-view mirror.

You can try and many do.

Ministers spend lots of time in cars driving to various places. I enjoy my automotive world. With technology, I can hear the phone ring despite playing my radio loud enough to change my heart rhythm. I play the radio so loud because I don’t hear well after all these years of playing the radio very loud in my car. The vehicle allows the phone call to interrupt my musical moment. I never miss a phone call while driving. When I am alone, the air-conditioning is on the “freeze out” setting. I want to make sure that my glasses fog up heavily when I exit the vehicle. If I can’t see at all, the air conditioning was cold enough. I also look for sermon illustrations while I am driving. Jesus is certainly watching, but I am too! When I raise the phone while driving, I’m not texting. I am photographing.

This morning driving to work, I had the radio loud and the air conditioning on “freeze out,” while I observed the world. In front of me was a black mustang convertible. There was a girl in the car. I could tell because she had her rearview mirror cocked in the “installing make up while driving” position. We sat at the light and I watch as she applied some ointment, powder, or treatment to her face while the light was red. Because of the angle of the Mustang rear window, I could not tell if she continued applying make-up while driving. She was going “my way” and I did note she was an excellent driver and I’ll bet a super multi-tasker.

I have witnessed full facial make-overs while the person was driving the car. I have seen men put on a tie, send a text message, and read the newspaper at the same time while driving on the Interstate. But I am fascinated by the women who can put on that eye makeup stuff while driving. I have seen mascara going on while the nice lady was driving the car and making a cell phone call. I am amazed. They are doing all of this while looking backwards. The road they are traveling is out the front window!

But really, you can’t drive forward looking in a rear-view mirror. Jesus said, “If you put your hand to the plow and look back you are not worthy of the kingdom.” Jesus was saying you need to keep your spiritual focus and your life looking forward. If you look back to regrets, mistakes, slights, hurts, sins, or even successes you will miss the beauty of this day.

You didn’t know your car was spiritual, did you?

LDWF Agents Participating in Operation Dry Water This Weekend

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Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement Division (LDWF/LED) agents will take part in Operation Dry Water from June 29 to July 1.

During the Operation Dry Water weekend, LDWF agents will be out in force patrolling state waterways for impaired boat operators.

“We are always on the lookout for impaired boat operators, but this weekend it will be more of a focused effort. We are in full support of this national campaign and will do our part in removing impaired operators from the waterways this weekend,” said Major Rachel Zechenelly, the state’s boating law administrator. “We know this will be a busy weekend and we want people to have fun on the waterways. However, we please ask everybody on the water to wear a personal flotation device and have a sober operator.”

Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time. It can increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion. Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs and some prescription medications.

Alcohol is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating incidents. Louisiana had 19 boating fatalities in 2017, with alcohol playing a role in three fatalities or 16 percent. Nationwide, statistics from 2017 reveal that 19 percent of all boat incident fatalities listed alcohol as a contributing factor.

Impaired boaters caught this weekend can expect penalties to be severe. In Louisiana, a DWI on the water carries the same penalties and fines as on the road and includes jail time, fines and loss of driving and boating operator privileges.

Anyone cited for a DWI on the water or on the road will lose his or her driver’s license and boating privileges for the specified time ordered by the judge in the case. Also, each offense of operating a vehicle or vessel while intoxicated counts toward the total number of DWI crimes whether they happened on the water or road.

In Louisiana a DWI can be issued to anyone operating a moving vessel or vehicle while impaired. First offense DWI carries a $300 to $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

Operation Dry Water was started in 2009 and is a joint program involving the LDWF/LED, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) and the U.S. Coast Guard. More information is available at http://www.operationdrywater.org .

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at http://www.wlf.la.gov. To receive email alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.



Parish President Rick Nowlin has announced his intention to make appointments and reappointments to several boards and commissions. The boards and commissions are as follows:

Natchitoches Parish Fire District No. 4
Natchitoches Parish Library Board of Control
Natchitoches Parish Tourism Commission
Any resident interested in serving on a board or commission should submit an application to the Office of the President.

In addition, any current members of these boards and commissions whose terms are expiring may apply for reappointment. Applications may be picked up at the Natchitoches Parish Courthouse, located at 200 Church Street, or by contacting David Kees, Jr., Executive Assistant to the President, at (318) 352-2714, or by sending an email to dkees@npgov.org.

Notice of Death – June 28, 2018

Notice of Death 2017

Barry “Peetie Wee” Sias
November 10, 1959 – May 31, 2018
Service: Saturday, June 30 at 2 pm at the First Baptist Church in Natchitoches
Interment: Jackson Square Cemetery

Jesse R. Howell
February 2, 1948 – June 10, 2018
Service: Saturday, June 30 at 2 pm at Hickory Grove Cemetery in Vowells Mill

Rev. Welkin Smith
June 24, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, June 30 from 10 am – 12 pm at the Greenville Baptist Church
Service: Saturday, June 30 at 12 pm at the Greenville Baptist Church in Clarence
Interment: Old Morning Star Baptist Church Cemetery in St. Maurice

Gracie Williams
June 25, 2018
Service: Saturday, June 30 at 11 am at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Lawrence Serenity Sanctum


Kathleen Earl Bruce
September 25, 1935 – June 27, 2018
Service: Friday, June 29 at 2 pm at Georgetown Baptist Church
Interment: Georgetown Cemetery


Nelwyn Rhodes Harris
September 19, 1917 – June 24, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, June 30 from 9-11 am at the First United Methodist Church of Alexandria
Service: Saturday, June 30 at 11 am at First United Methodist Church of Alexandria
Interment: Greenwood Memorial Park


Margaret Sue “Maw Sue” Stewart
January 31, 1942 – June 27, 2018
Service: Friday, June 29 at 11 am at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Union Hall Cemetery

Lynnquithis January
Visitation: Friday, June 29 from 6-8 pm at Jenkins Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, June 30 at 11 am at Florien Auditorium
Interment: Pilgrim Star Cemetery

Bertha Lee Perry Jones
Visitation: Friday, June 29 from 1-6 pm at Jenkins Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, June 30 at 2 pm at Northwest Auditorium
Interment: St. Mark Cemetery in Wemple

Levert Duncan
Visitation: Friday, June 29 from 6-7 pm at Jenkins Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, June 30 at 11 am at Northwest Auditorium
Interment: Shady Grove Cemetery in Mansfield

Leon Kelly
Visitation: Friday, June 29 at 11 am at Jenkins Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, June 30 at 11 am at New Bethlehem Baptist Church in Gloster
Interment: New Bethlehem Cemetery

Region 3 Major Oliphant Jr. Promoted to Deputy Superintendent of Patrol

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Alexandria – On Tuesday, June 26, Lieutenant Colonel Jay D. Oliphant Jr. was promoted to Louisiana State Police Deputy Superintendent of Patrol. The promotion goes into effect Friday, June 29 at 6 am. The position became available when Lt. Col. David Staton retired.

Prior to his appointment, Lt. Col. Oliphant Jr. held the rank of Major of Region 3 and Captain overseeing operations for Troop E in Alexandria. Region 3 consists of Troop F in Monroe, Troop G in Bossier City and Troop E in Alexandria.

He began his law enforcement career in 1991 with the Natchitoches Police Department. In 1994, he was hired as a Louisiana State Police Trooper at Troop E. In 1997, he transferred to the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations Section before transferring back to Troop E in 2000. In 2002, he obtained the rank of Sergeant, at Troop E, before transferring to the Louisiana State Police’s Narcotics Section. In 2005, Lt. Col. Oliphant Jr. was promoted to Lieutenant at Troop G in Shreveport and in 2008 transferred to the Louisiana State Police’s Bureau of Investigations/Shreveport Field Office where he served as the O.I.C. (Officer In Charge). In 2010, he transferred to Louisiana State Police’s Bureau of Investigations/Alexandria Field Office where he served as the Executive Officer before being promoted to Captain over Region 3. In 2013, he was transferred to Commander of Troop E in Alexandria.

A few of Lt. Col. Oliphant Jr.’s career accomplishments include being a member of the Louisiana State Police’s Tactical/S.W.A.T. team for nine years, a counter-sniper for six years, a member of LSP’s Mobile Field Force, and a defensive tactics instructor. Lt. Col. Oliphant Jr. has also participated in numerous details over his career including the Hurricane Katrina detail in New Orleans.

Lt. Col. Oliphant Jr. is the proud father of Kaitlin Oliphant and Jay D. Oliphant III. He was born and raised in Natchitcohes and currently resides there. He is the son of Hattie P. Oliphant (Ware) and the late Jay D. Oliphant Sr. of Natchitoches.

Lt. Col. Oliphant Jr. is looking forward to maintaining Louisiana State Police’s high level of professionalism and integrity. He brings with him 27 years of law enforcement experience, including numerous investigative skills and specialized training.

Decrease in Overall State Sales Tax Rate Effective July 1

Natchitoches Tax Commission Administrator Jerry McWherter advises retail stores to remember to reprogram their registers to comply with the new state tax rate. This is a state tax only and will not affect the Parish taxes. It will make the new retail rate for the City 9.95%.

Act 1 of the 2018 Third Extraordinary Session of the Louisiana Legislature has amended La. R.S. 47:321.1(A), (B), and (C) reducing the sales tax rate for this tax imposition from 1 percent (1%) to forty-five hundredths of one percent (0.45%). This tax in the amount of 0.45 percent is levied upon the sale at retail, the use, the consumption, the distribution and the lease or rental of an item of tangible personal property; and upon the sale of services. The 0.45 percent state sales tax is in addition to the sales taxes already levied pursuant to La. R.S. 47:302, 321 and 331. This tax is to be collected by the dealer and wholesaler as provided by Chapter 2 of Title 47 of the Revised Statutes.

Beginning July 1, 2018, the overall state sales tax rate will be reduced from 5 percent to 4.45 percent. If a dealer charges and collects state sales tax at the rate of 5 percent on or after July 1, 2018, then the dealer must remit the excess sales taxes collected to the Louisiana Department of Revenue. Excess sales taxes collected are reported on Line 8 of the Sales Tax Return Form R-1029.

Beginning July 1, 2018, the overall state sales tax rate for the sale at retail, the use, the consumption, the distribution, and the storage to be used or consumed of steam, water, electric power or energy, natural gas, or other energy sources for non-residential use (“business utilities”), will be 2 percent (2%) levied pursuant to La. R.S. 47:302. The exemptions for steam, water, electric power or energy, natural gas, or other energy sources for non-residential use in La. R.S. 47:305(D)(1)(b),(c),(g) and (h) will apply to the sales tax levies in La. R.S. 47:321, 321.1 and 331.

The new tax rate of 0.45 percent levied pursuant to La. R.S. 47:321.1 and the sales tax rate of 2 percent on business utilities imposed pursuant to La. R.S. 47:302 will sunset on June 30, 2025.

Horizontal view of an open cash register drawer asa a cashier makes change.

Get Free LA Civil Law Legal Advice at the NPL

Civil Class Lawyer


The Natchitoches Parish Library’s (NPL) will be partnering, for the third year, with the Louisiana Civil Justice Center (LCJC), on it’s annual “Justice Tour.” Thursday, June 28, from 10 am – 12 pm, free legal advice to the public, with no sign-up necessary, in the NPL’s Third Floor Meeting Room. However, participants are asked to bring their valid Louisiana ID and any documents related to their issue.

Building upon the success of last year’s tour, LCJC will host civil legal clinics at libraries in 15 different parishes. The clinics, which are open to the public, will allow residents to speak with an attorney about a wide range of civil legal issues including divorce & custody, consumer debt, housing, successions, and disaster recovery, offering advice, legal documents, and referrals free of charge. In addition to holding free legal clinics, LCJC will meet with representatives of community organizations to discuss the main legal challenges facing each parish and build awareness about the services that LCJC offers.

“With poverty comes inequality, and with inequality comes injustice,” remarked Jonathan Rhodes, Executive Director of the Louisiana Civil Justice Center. “The Justice Tour will bring lawyers to the parts of our state that are in the greatest need with the goal of ensuring justice, equality, and prosperity for all.”

At the close of this third tour, LCJC will have visited more than half of Louisiana’s parishes in 3 years and provided hundreds of families with free legal services in their time of need. In addition to providing direct services to those who need it most, the Justice Tour calls attention to the need for more legal services in rural areas and supports local organizations by sharing critical information about existing resources and encouraging them to refer individuals and families to LCJC’s free legal hotline throughout the year. In recognition of its success in raising awareness about barriers to justice in rural Louisiana, the tour was honored with the Louisiana State Bar Association’s 2016 “Legal Services Innovation” award.

For more information regarding this event you may visit the NPL’s Facebook page or call Alan Niette, Community Outreach Coordinator, at 318-357-3280.

Suppose Your Photo Ends Up on the Wall of a Restaurant?

By Joe Darby

Have you ever been in a Cracker Barrel restaurant and noticed all of the old photo portraits on the walls? Or have you gone into an antique store and seen lots of smaller personal photos of people, many of them obviously taken 80, 100 or 140 years ago?

That’s kind of sad, in a way. A portrait photo, which was certainly of some importance to people, say, in 1905, ends up abandoned so to speak. It’s now used as a decoration, or is for sale as a simple object representing the past, like an old vase.

Not too long ago we were eating in the Cracker Barrel just north of Alexandria and were seated next to a wall. The large portrait photo of a young man stared down on us. While waiting for my meatloaf, I became sort of fascinated by the guy. From the look of his clothing, I would guess the picture was taken about 100 years or so ago.

I tried to put together in my mind a personality for him. His face was in fact rather hard to read, but I thought I detected a certain level of seriousness, mitigated by a dry sense of humor. He was probably a good husband, but not overly affectionate, and a kind father but rather strict. He was likely respected by the people he worked with, but he probably wasn’t the first guy they would think of when they wanted to relax with a couple of beers.

Or maybe I was completely wrong in my assessment of the young gentleman. He might have been the most out-going, funniest chap you’d ever want to meet. Or he might have been a world-class grump, whom people would run away from when they saw him coming.

I’ll never know, that’s for sure. But my point is, the poor guy’s image ends up on a wall, where an endless procession of strangers will likely glance at him and go on eating their fried chicken or roast beef lunches, not caring a hoot who he was.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t fault Cracker Barrel for using old photos as decorations and I do really like the nostalgic antique objects they have in their eateries, everything from old shovels to 19th century telephones.

But why does a family get rid of relatives’ photos in the first place? Obviously because the person in the picture either had no more direct descendants or their great-grandchildren just didn’t care any more.

I cherish my old family photos. Among my favorites are one of grandfather Darby graduating from Tulane medical school around 1904. Another is of Mother as a very cute flapper in the late 1920s.

When I was getting the idea for this column, I looked up at a nice large photo of my sister Joan, who died of cancer at 49 about 36 years ago. The picture is on my bedroom wall and she looks quite pretty, reminding me a lot of Princess Margaret of Great Britain, the Queen’s late sister.

But Joan had no children and after her passing her husband went back to the Pacific Northwest where he was from. So I wonder what will happen to Joan’s picture after I’m gone. Realistically, it’s not highly likely that one of my daughters will want it. They were quite small when Joan passed away. But Becky, my oldest, takes pride in family and she just may want to keep it. I hope so.

Anyway, you understand my concern. Unlike the ancient Chinese, I don’t think we need to worship our ancestors. But I think we need to cherish their memories and give them respect.

Gosh, I wonder if, after my girls have gone, my picture will be looking down on someone eating meatloaf 50 years from now.


Fourth of July

The City of Natchitoches invites you to celebrate Independence Day at the 4th of July Firework Celebration Wednesday, July 4, 2018 at 9:00p.m. on the downtown riverbank. The Fourth of July Celebration will feature a spectacular fireworks show over Cane River Lake. Admission is free and open to the public.

The downtown riverbank will be closed to motorists all day on July 4. Those attending the July Firework Celebration should make plans to park on Front Street or elsewhere within the Natchitoches Historic District.

In preparation for the fireworks show, the Church Street Bridge will close to all traffic, including pedestrians and motorists, at 8:30 p.m. In addition, Williams Avenue from Whitfield to Henry Avenue will also close at 8:30 p.m. The roadway and bridge will reopen after the fireworks show is completed.

For more information, please call the Natchitoches Main Street Office at (318) 352-2746.

Providence Counseling Group opens Natchitoches office

Elizabeth Peterson-Providence


Providence Counseling Group provides counseling and therapy services for children, adolescents, adults, couples, families, and groups in Shreveport and now, in Natchitoches in its new location at 915 Third Street.

The motto: PER ANGUSTA AD AUGUSTA means, THROUGH DIFFICULTIES TO GREAT THINGS. This is what the therapists and staff of Providence Counseling Group believe counseling is all about.

“We work as a team,” said Elizabeth Peterson. “We strive to help our clients navigate through difficult circumstances and personal struggles to reach their full potential.”

The benefits of counseling are far reaching and exceed what most expect. While research has shown that counseling is effective in helping people manage and overcome depression, anxiety, grief, relationship problems, etc… the benefits extend far beyond these traditional ones. Counseling has proven to be remarkably effective in helping individuals struggling with common, every day issues such as life changes, interpersonal conflict, low self-esteem, work stress, and difficulty choosing a college major/career path, to name a few.

“Our experienced clinicians draw from a variety of therapeutic techniques and approaches to assist clients in achieving their treatment goals,” said Peterson.

Counseling provides individuals with a safe and objective environment where they can openly express their thoughts and feelings. Counselors and their clients often explore more than the presenting problem, ultimately resulting in the clients gaining insight into themselves, personal empowerment, and self growth.

Services include:

Communication Skills
Parenting Skills
Legal Problems
Court Ordered Therapeutic Intervention
Anger Management
Court Ordered Psychological Evaluation
Bipolar Disorder
Conflict Resolution
Marriage Counseling
Court Ordered Behavioral Assessment
Conduct Disorders
Parent/Child Conflict
Post-Traumatic Stress
Personality Disorders
Family Conflict
Personality, Interest, Aptitude Evaluation and Recommendation for Students, Individuals, and Corporations

“What I feel makes Providence Counseling Group unique is our holistic approach,” said Peterson. “By this I mean looking at the big picture and considering our clients overall health and well-being to be the product of mind, body, spirit, and emotions.”

For more information or to schedule an appointment contact Elizabeth Peterson, LPC-S, NCC at 318-464-5325 or ehptersonlpc@gmail.com.

Tax Commission Report: June

Tax Comission 2
Natchitoches Parish is maintaining level tax collections, according to Natchitoches Tax Commission Administrator Jerry McWherter. There’s no large increases or decreases and everything is staying at +/- 2% on either side of even.

Collection rates are consistent as well as streams of revenue. Vehicle sales also did very well. School Board collections are up, but this is due to the new tax that went into affect last July so all collections show as increase over the last year, but McWherter says the Tax Commission is seeing a consistent rise in the collections.

NPD requests public assistance identifying Felony Theft suspect


NPD Patrol Shift B officers were dispatched to 536 Keyser Avenue (Posey’s Sports Center) in reference to a felony theft on June 26 at 3:15 pm.

An unidentified male entered the business on June 20 at 11:05 am and asked for a quote on clothing. While employees were working, the male removed seven baseball bats from the store, with a total value of $2,100. The subject concealed the items by means of stuffing them inside his pants.

The individual provided a name of “Chris Michaels,” and a hometown of Opelousas to employees. At this time, this identification information cannot be confirmed as truthful.

If you can help identify this subject, please contact NPD at 318-352-8101.

Approved for release by Chief Dove Date: 6/27/18

Road or Lane Status: Closure of LA 119: 1.1 north of LA 1 junction at Derry



The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), advises the public that as of June 27 at 9 am, LA 119 is closed 1.1 miles north of the La 1 junction at Derry. The closure is due to a slide that has encroached upon LADOTD right of way, from the adjacent owner, which is now threatening the integrity of the roadway. The roadway will remain closed indefinitely, until a project can be designed and constructed to fix the slide.

Permit/Detour Section
The roadway will be closed to all traffic. The detour is as follows.

Northbound traffic on LA 119 will detour on LA 1 north, to LA 493 north, back to LA 119.

Southbound traffic on LA 119 will detour on LA 493 south, to La 1 south, back to LA 119.

Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame holds Golf Classic during Induction weekend

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ALEXANDRIA – A week away from the Sunday, July 1 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Golf Classic at OakWing Golf Club in Alexandria, there are only a few team or individual slots still available.

The four-person scramble format includes an option to form a three-golfer group teamed with a Louisiana sports star, including Hall of Fame members. All golfers will enjoy a tremendous meal prior to the 1 p.m. tee time, and copious amounts of food available on the course during play, along with refreshments.

Golfers will receive a Titleist Gift Box valued at over $100, a Hall of Fame logoed polo shirt, an LSHOF Golfer Ditty Bag, and additional benefits.


Registration begins at 11:30 in the clubhouse at OakWing, which is part of the Audubon Trail series of top Louisiana golf courses. David Toms, the 2001 PGA champion and a 2018 LSHOF inductee, calls OakWing “the best golf course in Central Louisiana.” It is located near Interstate 49 and adjacent to the Alexandria International Airport, featuring a par-72, 7,043-yard layout that is both challenging and fun, blending the natural beauty of bayous and lakes with towering tree-lined fairways with rolling hills and undulating greens.

Online registration is available at LaSportsHall.com. The 2017 tournament drew a capacity field of 36 entries.

The event is the final piece of the 2018 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration that begins Thursday with the La Capitol Federal Credit Union Kickoff Reception, free of charge from 5-7 p.m. at the Hall of Fame museum at 800 Front Street in Natchitoches. That will follow the media-only Hall of Fame press conference carried live to 18 states at 3 p.m. on Cox Sports Television.

Friday’s slate begins at noon with the LSHOF 70’s Disco Bowling Bash presented by BOM at Country Lanes in Natchitoches.

Friday evening’s big concert, the LSHOF Rockin’ River Fest presented by Rapides Regional Medical Center, is on the Cane River Lake downtown stage at the Rue Beauport riverfront and begins at 6, running to 10:30, with registration required on the LaSportsHall.com website for the VIP Taste of Tailgating tent presented by MidSouth Bank from 7-10:30. Grammy Award-winning Cajun musician Wayne Toups is the featured performer, beginning at 8:45 and pausing for introduction of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018 and fireworks at 9:30.

The Championship Saturday Saints and Pelicans Junior Training Camp, presented by the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, begins at 10 a.m. on the Northwestern State campus. It is filled to the 200-kid capacity.

The main event, Saturday evening’s Hall of Fame Induction Dinner and Ceremony presented by State Farm Insurance Agents of Louisiana, has a few tickets remaining. It begins at 5 p.m. with a 6 p.m. start for the dinner and ceremony, which will be carried live on Cox Sports Television.

For more on the entire induction weekend, visit the weekend events page at the official online home of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.