JOB OPENING: LSMSA Media Services Assistant (Opened Until Filled)

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LSMSA seeks applicants for a part time position to provide press and media coverage of LSMSA stories and events.

Duties of the LSMSA Media Services Assistant include writing and disseminating press releases that highlight the LSMSA experience in accordance with the school’s Strategic Plan; assisting in theimplementation of a comprehensive and integrated communications strategy; and maintaining a consistent presence of unique stories. This person will need to collaborate professionally with administration, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and guests to develop and disseminate well-written news stories for print publications as well as new media. Superior grammar, spelling and copy-editing skills are a must.

The successful candidate should communicate exceptionally well both orally and in writing; be creative; show initiative, have the ability to work independently and on a deadline; handle multiple projects at once; be organized and articulate; and possess excellent news judgment.

While this person will primarily focus on developing news content, experience in new media, reporting/writing, marketing, advertising, photography, and/or design is desired.

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Please send a standard application, cover letter, resume, contact information for three references, and a work sample to

In accordance with state and school policy, the LSMSA Media Services Assistant will need to successfully pass a background check and drug screening before working with students.

The Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts is a public, residential high school for high- performing, highly motivated sophomores, juniors and seniors. Consistently ranked among the highest in the nation, the school offers a unique living-learning environment for 360 students from across Louisiana.

FRJSTC Announces Name Change and Important School Information


Frankie Ray Jackson, Sr. Technical Center will open the 2018-19 school year as the Natchitoches Parish Technical and Career Center. According to Principal Bobby Benjamin, the name change has been in the works for years.

“We first introduced the idea of changing the name of our school a few years ago,” he said. “This is the name that was chosen during that time through a survey given to parents, students, and teachers. To us, it represents our purpose in the Natchitoches Parish School System.”

With an annual increase in School Performance Scores (SPS), a graduation ceremony, and an increase in the number of courses offered at the school, NPTCC is here to serve the students of the community.

NPTCC will be open for registration on Aug. 1-6 from 10 am – 3 pm. School administration is asking that parents be patient during this process as students will be asked to take a brief test, which will be used to help increase their potential for academic success. The school will also host its Open House and Ice Cream Social on Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018 from 5 pm to 6:30 pm. For more information call (318)357-9410.

Notice of Death – July 29, 2018

Notice of Death 2017



Jewel Mathis
July 29, 2018
Arrangements TBA


Tommy Ray Crouse
September 16, 1964 – July 27, 2018
Visitation: Monday, July 30 from 8-11 am
Service: Monday, July 30 at 11 am at Southern Funeral Home
Interment: Old Union Cemetery in Joyce


William Wesley May
April 20, 1947 – July 26, 2018
Service: Thursday, August 2 at 2 pm in the chapel of John Kramer & Son Funeral Home
Visitation: Thursday, August 2 from 12-2 pm at the John Kramer & Son Funeral Home


Laura Jane Partridge
January 30, 1940 – July 28, 2018
Graveside Service: Sunday, July 29 at 3 pm at Thomas-Wren Cemetery

Family honors its heritage during reunion at Oakland Plantation

Helaire Reunion 2018

The Helaire family gathered at Oakland Plantation July 21 for a reunion. Family members came from across Louisiana and the US. They also celebrated their matriarch Elvira Helaire Davis’s 103rd birthday.

Ancestry: Hilario was a young African who was captured and brought to the Americas by Longlois, a plantation owner near Cloutierville. Hilario met Jeanne, the property of John Pierre Emmanuel Prud’homme at Bermuda Plantation. By 1809 Hilario and Jeanne had a son named Hilaire, who was the first of many generations of Helaires to be born on Bermuda Plantation. The Helaire roots through Jeanne probably go back to the very founding of the plantation itself. Hilaire married Felis and they went on to have seven children. The family remained enslaved at Oakland until the end of the Civil War. Bermuda Plantation was renamed Oakland Plantation after the Civil War. The last Helaires left the plantation in the early 60s.

Terrance Helaire has come to the reunions, held every two years, since 1984. He loves seeing the growth in the family, from the children to the grandchildren. He also loves keeping in touch with everyone.

“Before Facebook and Instagram, these reunions are what’s kept us close,” he said.

Henry and Berneda Smith have traveled from Indiana ever since the Helaire family reunion was held at St. Matthews. Henry’s great grandfather was Felix Heliare. In the 50s Henry, who was born in Bermuda, said his family would come to Oakland Plantation all the time. He even got vaccinated there. Now he brings his grandchildren to visit the plantation during the reunions.

“I want to keep the tradition and family ancestry going when I’m gone so the generations after me will have a story to tell,” he said.

Yokota Strong said the younger generations are just starting to learn about their heritage. The reunion allows them to connect and come together to embrace and learn more about their family’s history.

He’s thankful that the National Park Service, which operates Oakland Plantation, has maintained what they could of the Helaire family’s heritage.

“The National Park Service understands the importance of preserving everyone’s history,” said Chief of Interpretation Barbara Justice. “It’s always an honor meeting descendants of these families and it’s an honor to share their stories with the American people. We also hope they’ll share their stories with us during these reunions so the National Park Service can learn even more about their history.”

Ivan Smith Furniture in Natchitoches fulfills area teacher’s wish list

Ivan Smith Adopt a teacher 2018

Ivan Smith Furniture in Natchitoches is proud to take part in the Adopt-a-Teacher Program. Dane Terrell presented Mrs. Lawanda Smith with her “Wish List” of school supplies for her classroom. Lawanda is a second grade teacher at Provencal Elementary.

“Lawanda makes a difference in the lives of children in our community,” said Terrell. “We want to be there to support her throughout the school year.”

If you, or your business, is interested in adopting a teacher in Natchitoches Parish call 318-352-5889.

NCHS to conduct enrollment for 2018-2019 school year

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Natchitoches Central High School will conduct enrollment for the 2018-1019 school year on Aug. 2-7. Enrollment forms may be found on the NPSB and NCHS web pages. All parents are encouraged to ask questions about the requirements for graduation in Louisiana.

Natchitoches Central High School administration, faculty and staff would like to welcome back students for this school year. A very special invitation is extended to the new freshman class with enrollment on Aug. 7 from 8 am – 12 pm. Seniors will register on Aug. 2 from 9 am – 12 pm. Juniors will register on Aug. 3 from 9 am – 12 pm. Sophomores will register on Aug. 6 from 9 am – 12 pm.

NCHS has a School Based Health Center located on the campus. Registration is available on Aug. 2-7 from 9 am – 12 pm. Services are provided at no cost to the student. The staff at NCHS Health Center are able to provide a multitudes of services to students.

The high school experience at NCHS includes student participation in extra-curricular activities that enrich student’s growth toward graduation. There will be a fall athletics meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 7 at 6 pm in the atrium. All student/athletes and parents are encouraged to come. The new NCHS Athletics Handbook will be available. Topics discussed will be procedures involving eligibility, schedules and sportsmanship.

The first day of school for all NCHS students will be Monday, Aug. 13. There will be an open house on Tuesday, Aug. 21 beginning at 6 pm.

Fountain memorializes LSMSA alumni

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A key part of the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts’ landscaping plan is now in place. A new fountain now adorns the school’s Quad and memorializes LSMSA alumni who have passed away.

“As our LSMSA family grows, we also inevitably lose members as well,” said Nolan Huguet, one of the donors for the fountain. “For the past eight years, I have been trying to make sure we have a meaningful and acceptable way to memorialize those that we have lost. The new memorial fountain is a beautiful and serene way for us to reflect on those past friendships that have ended way too soon.”

The fountain was paid for by the school’s Foundation.

“The Alumni Memorial Fountain is a beautiful place for quiet reflection. Our students, faculty and staff spend a lot of time in the Quad, and the sound of cascading water provides a sense of calmness for all of us who are so busy with day-to-day work and classes,” said Angela Robinson, executive director of the Foundation and an alumni of the school. “And for alumni who return to campus for reunions and other events, it will be a peaceful place to gather with classmates to remember friends who are no longer with us.”

Thorn LaCaze, now LSMSA’s senior external affairs director, was head of the school’s Foundation when the fountain idea was first floated.

“The memorial fountain is a place for alumni classes to reminisce about their LSMSA experiences and share stories about their beloved classmates, but it’s also a place that supports future alumni by providing a tranquil study space and outdoor meeting area,” LaCaze said. “It has been several years in the making, but I feel it is a very meaningful addition to an already beautiful and historic campus.”

It is situated on the side of the Music and Arts Building, which was originally built as the Natchitoches Trade School and is familiar to some LSMSA alumni as the Annex. That building is on the National Register of Historic Places, along with the school’s High School Building and Gymnasium, and the fountain’s design had to take that into account.

Sharon Gahagan, a member of the LSMSA School Board since the school’s inception, called the fountain “an exceptional addition to the quad” and hopes it will be enjoyed for years to come. She also noted that the building, completed in 1938, was designed by the same architects that built the State Capitol building in Baton Rouge, and that the fountain and renovations to the building have been sensitive to its history and to the building’s place on the National Register.

“The fountain was installed the week of graduation, so many of our students were already gone,” said LSMSA Executive Director Steve Horton. “So I believe it will be pleasant surprise for everyone when we return in August. It was nice to see those who were here for Reunion Weekend in May naturally gravitate around the fountain for photographs.

The school will continue working on the landscaping plan over the next several years.

The Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts is a public, residential high school for high-performing, highly motivated sophomores, juniors and seniors. Located on the campus of Northwestern State University, the school offers a unique living-learning environment for more than 300 students. It is regularly recognized as one of the top high schools in the country.

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Notice of Death – July 27, 2018

Notice of Death 2017


M. E. “Reb” Allen
September 21, 1944 – July 27, 2018
Service: Saturday, July 28 at 11 am at Coldwater Baptist Church in Hagewood
Interment: Coldwater Baptist Cemetery
Visitation: Saturday, July 28 from 9-11 am at Coldwater Baptist Church

James Alexander Metcalf
June 15, 2018
Service: Saturday, July 28 from 4-5 pm at the Natchitoches Historic Foundation (Old Cunningham Law Office), located at 550 Second Street in Natchitoches

Prentice Austin
May 25, 1931 – July 17, 2018
Arrangements TBA


Tommy Ray Crouse
September 16, 1964 – July 27, 2018
Visitation: Sunday, July 29 from 5-8 pm and Monday, July 30 from 8-11 am
Service: Monday, July 30 at 11 am at Southern Funeral Home
Interment: Old Union Cemetery in Joyce

Gladys L. Starnes Fluitt Herrod
September 4, 1930 – July 25, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, July 28 from 8:30-10 am at the Southern Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, July 28 at 10 am in the Southern Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Garden of Memories Cemetery in Winnfield

Judy K. Graham
November 13, 1961 – July 24, 2018
Service: Saturday, July 28 at 10 am at Christ Temple Pentecostal Church in Jena
Interment: Graham Cemetery

Evelyn Estelle Mitchell
September 12, 1937 – July 24, 2018
Service held July 27

Helen M. Brown
April 3, 1947 – July 23, 2018
Service: Saturday, July 28 at 11 am at Morning Star Baptist Church in Winnfield


Connie S. White
Service: Saturday, July 28 at 11 am at Bethel Baptist Church in Many
Interment: Negreet Cemetery


Col. (Ret.) Lucian Joseph Grass
November 22, 1927 – July 25, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, July 28 at 10-11 am at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral
Service: Saturday, July 28 at 11 am at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral Catholic Church
Interment: Alexandria Memorial Gardens


Gavin Reggie Rawls
June 13, 2018 – July 26, 2018
Visitation: Sunday, July 29 at 1 pm at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home
Graveside Service: Sunday, July 29 at 2 pm in Holly Springs Cemetery in Martin

Willie Mae Thomas
August 25, 1942 – July 23, 2018
Service: Saturday, July 28 at 3 pm at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Bethany Cumberland Cemetery

Alberta Dortlon
June 11, 1927 – July 25, 2018
Service: Saturday, July 28 at 10 am in Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home Chapel in Coushatta
Interment: Our Lady of the Rosary Cemetery in Black Lake

Huey Grant Jr.
Service: Saturday, July 28 at 11 am at Red River Church of God in Christ in Coushatta
Interment: St. Mark Cemetery in Allen


Mayo Youngblood
Service: Saturday, July 28 at 11 am at Mary Evergreen in Grand Cane
Interment: Mary Evergreen Cemetery
Shirley Sykes
Graveside Service: Saturday, July 28 at 10 am at Mt. Mariah Cemetery in Kingston

JE Whitaker
Service: Saturday, July 28 at 2 pm at St. Mark Baptist Church in Grand Cane
Interment: St. Mark Cemetery

Arthur Williams
Service: Saturday, July 28 at 2 pm at Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Mansfield
Interment: Mt. Olive Cemetery in Mansfield

Father, Grandmother Arrested for Negligent Homicide in Campti Fatal Fire

Adams and Vanzant

The Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal, with assistance from the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, has made two arrests in connection with a fatal fire in Campti that claimed the life of a 10-year-old boy.

Billy D. Adams Sr. (DOB 7/3/82), of Natchitoches, was booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center Friday, July 27 on one count of Negligent Homicide in the fire-related death of his son Billy D. Adams Jr.

Adams Sr.’s mother, Regina Vanzant (DOB 6/12/64) has a warrant issued for her arrest on the same charge. She will be booked into the Natchitoches Parish Jail pending her current incarceration on unrelated charges in Jackson Parish.

Adams Jr. was located in a bedroom in the remains of a structure fire on Carter Street in Campti in the early morning hours of Friday, July 20. Adams Sr. and Vanzant admitted to investigators that they left the child unsupervised while they were under the influence of drugs. The Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office has determined Adams Jr.’s preliminary cause of death as smoke inhalation.

Adams Sr., who evaded authorities from the time of the fire through Monday, July 23, also admitted to investigators that, within the past month, he had connected exposed wiring from the structure he and the child were living in to his mother’s trailer next door without following safety codes or legal requirements for installing a power source.

As a result, investigators have deemed the cause of the fire Undetermined with the Inability to Rule Out Electrical Malfunction.

Adams Sr. and Vanzant have bond set at $750,000 each.

The LAOSFM wants to express its appreciation to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office for its assistance in investigating and locating these two suspects.


NRMC CEO receives award at LA Hospital Association Summer Conference

NRMC Mentor and Servitude Award 2018

At the Louisiana Hospital Association Summer Conference, Kirk Soileau, Chief Executive Officer of Natchitoches Regional Medical Center, received the LA ACHE Rick Hensult’s Mentor and Spirit of Servitude Award for career community service, mentorship of emerging leaders and visionary leadership.

“I am humbled to receive this award and am blessed to be part of a great organization,” said Soileau. “I could not have accomplished this work without a visionary Board of Commissioners, a supportive CHRISTUS System Leadership Network, an outstanding NRMC Leadership group, and an amazing team of associates inspiring excellence everyday.”

Pictured above are Colletta Barrett, FACHE LA Chapter President 2016-1018; Soileau 2018-2020 LA Chapter President Elect; and Diane Yates, FACHE, LA Regent.

Students receive NCIF scholarships

NCIF Scholarships-2018 (1)

Six eminently deserving young people from our community received a boost for their college careers Thursday, July 26 as the Natchitoches Community Improvement Foundation, Inc, awarded each of them a $1,000 scholarship at the Martin Luther King Recreation Center.

Ms. Laura Porter, a rising sophomore at Dillard University, and a past recipient of a scholarship from the foundation, spoke to this year’s scholars and their families. Ms. Porter is majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry and is planning on a career in research.

Earning scholarships were: Antonio Aaron, Joshua Below, De’Jon Blake, Taylor A. Johnson, Tomas Parker, and Brian White. The Natchitoches Parish Journal wishes to commend them for their hard work and perseverance. We look forward to seeing good things from them as they go on to the next step in their lives. Well done ladies and gentlemen!

Sprout program feeds kids lunch and creativity

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The Natchitoches Parish Library, the Natchitoches Lions Club, the Natchitoches Mobile Market, and special guests teamed up over the summer to present a weekly kids program at the library called “Sprout.”

The last Sprout programs for the summer will be held TODAY, July 27 and Friday, Aug. 3 at 11:30 am inside the Natchitoches Parish Library.

The program features fresh produce from the Natchitoches Mobile Market and a free lunch with the Natchitoches Lions Club. In addition to the weekly program, the library features children’s book and “Literary Bites” – a recipe or sample inspired by the book!

Ponderings with Doug – July 27, 2018


Words are dangerous.

We have become a visual culture. Moving pictures transport truth. The written word is falling behind. Publishers, both print and digital worry that your attention span doesn’t last much past the headlines.

Headlines, especially on the Internet, have become clickbait. Headlines that promise secrets or salacious details turn out to be ads for Amway or some other dubious product. Then who cares about what the Kardashians are doing? Who died and left those yahoos as important people? Come on culture you can do better. Get some new role models to use your words on.

But I want you to ponder the printed word. These precious articles that many of us slave over for your entertainment and enlightenment. They are dangerous because words can be misunderstood and misinterpreted.

Consider the word “run.”

I have given up running, but I ran for office. My refrigerator runs and even though I don’t. I enjoy running to the refrigerator for the running water it supplies. The other day I ran to the sporting goods store to look for running shoes that provide comfort as I walk. I have only tipped the top of the ski run when it comes to the word run. The only run I know little about is the run in my hose. Actually, my hose is a garden hose, my wife wears the kind of hose that have runs. I know I’m just running on at the mouth and likely giving you a case of the runs.

As I write or speak the word, I encode the message. Through hearing or reading, you receive the message then you decode it. What if your decoding is different from the message I encoded? There is a whole lot of space to foul up. What happens to the written or spoken word when we add in double speak. Let me run this by you.

In 1950 Claude Pepper ran against George A. Smathers. Smathers was known for his twisted oratory, especially in front of crowds he considered bumkins. I was reminded of this campaign, last night in a Board meeting at the Methodist Church. We have very serious and studious meetings.

Campaigning against Pepper, Smathers said:
”Are you aware that Claude Pepper is known all over Washington as a shameless extrovert? Not only that, but this man is reliably reported to practice nepotism with his sister-in-law and he has a sister who was once a thespian in wicked New York. Worst of all, it is an established fact that Mr. Pepper, before his marriage, habitually practiced celibacy.”

It would be like me accusing some members of the Parish Council of being gross masticators.

We twist words for our own advantage.

We need fixing!

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

With a word God created, with the Word he saved us.

It just takes a word…