LSMSA smashes donation records

LSMSA smashes donation records

It’s been another record year of giving at the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts. Preliminary totals show that more than half a million dollars was raised by the school’s Foundation for the fiscal year ending June 30.

“I think we all understand the difficult financial situation our state has faced in recent years,” LSMSA Foundation Executive Director Angela Robinson said. “Support from our donors has helped bridge that gap between what the school receives from the state and what it actually costs to provide a 24/7 living-learning experience for our students.”

Of the $547,039 dollars raised, $365,572 came from alumni of the school. The class of 1998, which held its 20-year reunion this year, lead the way in giving, raising $53,090. For the seventh year in a row, the class of 1992 had the highest participation rate.

“More than 75 percent of the Foundation’s funding comes from donations, and alumni dollars make up more than half of that. We are incredibly grateful for the support of our alumni, parents, employees and friends of LSMSA. The overwhelming generosity they show each year is evidence of the life-changing impact that LSMSA has on its students,” Robinson said.

It was also a record year for giving from the Foundation’s annual Phonathon, which raised $109,951. And for Giving Tuesday, 116 donors gave $42,159.

“The school would be seriously impeded by having to operate with just the funds awarded by the state,” LSMSA Executive Director Steve Horton said. “Without assistance from theFoundation, several students would not be afforded the opportunity to have the LSMSA experience, our student body would not have the student life program it currently enjoys, ourfaculty would not be able to compete nationally as scholars or be able to maintain currency in their professional development.”

Donor dollars help LSMSA fund projects big and small. Donations pay for college application fees, dorm supplies, textbooks, new desks, computer equipment and much more. Donations to the LSMSA Foundation are tax-deductible.

“Without the Foundation’s support, LSMSA’s mission would never be met,” Horton said.

The LSMSA Foundation develops and manages resources to enhance the work of LSMSA.

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.

Bolin Family Scholarship targets Singer High School students

Dr. John Bolin
A student from Singer High School who plans to study at Northwestern State University will benefit from a scholarship established by a Singer High School alumnus and his nephew. Dr. John Bolin of Lafayette and his nephew Laurent Charles “Chip” Lutz created the Bolin Family Scholarship for a freshman entering NSU with a 3.2 or better grade point average. Applications are open to any major.

Bolin graduated from Singer High School in Beauregard Parish in 1959 and was honored by the school recently with induction into the Singer High School Hall of Fame, at which time the school also retired his basketball jersey. Bolin was an All-State basketball player who held the school record and the state Class C scoring record in his senior year when his team won 40 games. The school also invited him to be grand marshal of the Homecoming parade.

The Bolin Family Scholarship honors Dr. Bolin’s parents Otto and Dorothy Susan Cooley Bolin, and his sister, Doris Elaine Bolin Lutz. The mother and daughter earned bachelor’s degrees at NSU at the same time in 1954 after Dorothy Bolin, who held a two-year teaching certificate from NSU, returned to complete her four-year degree. Both had careers as teachers.

Dr. Bolin graduated from Northwestern State in 1963 with a degree in biology education, but “never taught a minute in the classroom” other than his student teaching at Natchitoches High School. His wife, Jeanne Johnson Bolin, is the daughter of J.W. Johnson, who was an esteemed professor at Northwestern State. Dr. Bolin is also the nephew of H. Alvin “Cracker” Brown, for whom NSU’s Brown-Stroud baseball field is named.

As a student at Northwestern, Dr. Bolin was state president of the Baptist Student Union and was a member of Blue Key. He and Mrs. Bolin married just before he went to medical school when they were 18 and 21. Mrs. Bolin had taken classes at NSU as a high school student and completed her degree at the University of New Orleans when she was 20. Dr. Bolin’s peers in residency voted him top resident his first and third year. The Bolins have two children and five grandchildren, one of which is also a graduate of Northwestern State. Most of Dr. Bolin’s career as a surgeon was spent in Lafayette, where he worked from 1972-2013.

“Dr. Bolin has long been a supporter of Northwestern State and he is one of my favorite people,” said NSU Development Officer Kimberly Gallow, a Lafayette native. “It is especially meaningful that he and Mr. Lutz chose to honor the teachers in their family by supporting a Singer High School student.”

For information on creating or contributing to a scholarship, visit or contact Gallow at (318) 357-4414 or

Pictured above are Dr. John Bolin, his wife Jeanne Johnson Bolin and NSU Development Officer Kimberly Gallow.

NSU students get discount for Saturday’s LYP Conference

NSU STudents.png

It’s not too late to register for the Louisiana Young Professional Conference, held by the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce and the Natchitoches Young professionals. Best of all, there’s a special conference registration discount for Northwestern State University students! You can attend the first Louisiana Young Professionals Conference this Saturday, July 28 for only $20! If you want to attend, email from your official NSU student email account to sign up!

Notice of Death – July 26, 2018

Notice of Death 2017


Marjorie Ann Norsworthy Harmon
December 17, 1932 – July 23, 2018
Service: Friday, July 27 at 1 pm at Bellwood Cemetery in Bellwood
Visitation: Friday, July 27 from 10 am – 12:30 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Lloyd David Rachal
October 1, 1927 – July 24, 2018
Visitation: Friday, July 27 at St. Augustine Catholic Church.
Service: Friday, July 27 at 11 am at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Isle Brevelle
Interment: St. Augustine Mausoleum

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


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
Visitation: Friday, July 27 from 5-9 pm at Kinner and Stevens Funeral Home in Jena
Service: Saturday, July 28 at 10 am at Christ Temple Pentecostal Church in Jena
Interment: Graham Cemetery

Lottie Lorene Cockerham
April 26, 1933 – July 25, 2018
Service: Friday, July 27 at 10 am at Pritchard Baptist Church in Jena
Interment: Hawthorne Cemetery in Little Creek

Evelyn Estelle Mitchell
September 12, 1937 – July 24, 2018
Arrangements TBA through Southern Funeral Homes

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


Herman Green
Service: Friday, July 27 at 2 pm at Tabernacle of Love in Zwolle
Interment: Garden of Memories in Zwolle

Connie S. White
Visitation: Friday, July 27 from 2-6 pm at Jenkins Funeral Home
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

John Cleveland Hoyt
March 4, 1948 – July 13, 2018
Visitation: Friday, July 27 from 9:30-10:40 am at Smith’s Landing in Lecompte|
Service: Friday, July 27 at 11 am at Holy Comforter Episcopal Church in Lecompte
Private Interment: Wilmer Memorial Cemetery in Lecompte


Willie Mae Thomas
August 25, 1942 – July 23, 2018
Visitation: Friday, July 27 from 6-9 pm at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home
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
Visitation: Friday, July 27 from 5-9 pm in Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home in Coushatta
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.
Visitation: Friday, July 27 from 6-7 pm at Red River Church of God in Christ in Coushatta
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
Visitation: Friday, July 27 from 6-7 pm at Jenkins Funeral Home
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
Visitation: Friday, July 27 from 1-6 pm at Jenkins Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, July 28 at 2 pm at St. Mark Baptist Church in Grand Cane
Interment: St. Mark Cemetery

Arthur Williams
Visitation: Friday, July 27 from 1-6 pm at Jenkins Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, July 28 at 2 pm at Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Mansfield
Interment: Mt. Olive Cemetery in Mansfield

Natchitoches resident races toward the finish line

Connor Balthazar (3)

Racing horses has been in Connor Balthazar’s family for as long as he can remember. His great grandfather JB Balthazar and his grandfather Andrew Balthazar bred, trained, and raced quarter horses and some of his uncles were jockeys.

Connor first started riding about 8 years ago when his father Darryl Balthazar bought their first horse. After turning 18 Connor worked toward earning his jockey license, which he received in January 2018.

To earn his license, Connor had to prove himself. He had to work different horses in front of the officials (stewards) of the race track, who approved and signed off on his license. Other jockeys had to vouch for Connor that they’d seen his experience grow and that he was ready to be a jockey himself.

“It’s an adrenaline rush,” he said. It’s really hard to describe the feeling you get from it, but there’s nothing to compare it to.”

His very first race was scary and Connor admitted he was really nervous. His confidence grew by his second race and he ran third, which he felt was a big accomplishment. He’s raced in 26 races since then, running in the circuit around Louisiana.

January-March: Louisiana Downs in Shreveport

April-June: Delta Downs in Vinton

August-September: Fair Grounds in New Orleans

October-December: Evangeline Downs in Opelousas

While it’s a competitive and dangerous sport, Connor said several jockeys have helped mentor him along the way. Fellow jockeys Donell Blake and Antonio Alberto have taught him a lot. He said the jockeys all want to do good, but they want to see everyone else do good as well. Connor is still young and there’s a lot for him to learn before he can make it big in the industry.

Some of the best advice he’s received was from his family, who told him to relax, not be nervous, and just let things fall into place. So far it’s worked out well for him. Conor’s been in the money (1st-4th places) in about half of his races.

He works part time in the mornings galloping and breeding horses for Natchitoches resident Ocie Charles. He also races some of Ocie’s horses at the tracks. In the afternoon he works with his family’s 23 horses.

Besides all this and the time he spends jockeying, Connor is a full-time student at Northwestern State University majoring in business. He is on the dean’s list and is a member of Kappa Sig. His dream is to one day open his own store selling tack, feed and other supplies and equipment for jockeys.

Have you heard BluVudoo?


You may not have heard the smooth stylings of BluVudoo yet, but you will. The band began playing around Natchitoches, Shreveport and Alexandria two months ago. They play Jazz, Funk, R&B and Blues.

Group leader, lead male vocals, and sax player Alexander Guillory got started playing music with the Hardrick Rivers Revue and Johnny Earthquake and the Moondogs. He is lead alto for the NSU Jazz orchestra and is majoring in music education.

Alexander initially brought the group of college friends together to jam and perform in the community.

You may know they by their previous name: Sleepy Tea Quintet, but the group members felt it no longer matched their sound. BluVudoo is a branch off of the main party band Alexander started: Purple Staircase.

Every member of the group has their own personality, which makes for a diverse group of musicians. It’s definitely a good representation of NSU’s College of Creative and Performing Arts at work.

Eric Neely started playing music in band in sixth grade. He chose to attend NSU because he felt it had more diverse opportunities. Eric said he picked up the string bass about a year ago and “boom here we are.” He plays at the First United Methodist Church on Second Street.

Lead female vocalist Sussette Housel has over 90 hours in music performance. She can sing in six languages including Celtic and used to live and perform with groups in Los Angeles. She’s also a NSU alum.

Austin Pierre was introduced to the drums by his dad at age 5. He’s currently majoring in music education at Northwestern State University. He played in jazz band in high school and also plays for Purple Staircase.

AndrewBoyd plays vibraphone in the NSU jazz orchestra. He plays drums and keyboard for Purple Staircase and BluVudoo. Andrew’s grandfather has a music room where he fell in love with music and instruments.

Upcoming gigs and performances include:
Every Saturday on Front Street from 7-10 pm
Sept. 28: Natchitoches Parish Fair from 6-8 pm
Oct. 27: Smoking on the Red in Campti from 2-4 pm

Construction to begin on I-49 in Natchitoches Parish

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD), advises the public that on Friday, July, 27 construction will begin on I-49 in Natchitoches Parish. This work will be located in the northbound and south bound lanes of I-49 between ½ mile south of its interchange with LA 120 and 1 mile south of its interchange with LA 485.

The intent of this project is to replace all existing pavement striping and reflectorized raised pavement markers within the described project limits.

The contractor will be required to maintain thru traffic at all times, but periodic lane closures and delays can be expected. This work requires a mobile construction zone, so the public is advised to remain alert to construction signs and changing roadway conditions.

The project was awarded to the low bidder, Highway Graphics LLC, in the amount of $623,950. The work associated with this project should take approximately 45 working days to complete.

Permit/Detour section
Thru traffic will be maintained and there will be no detour routes for this project.

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.

UPSA program ranked best in nation; two other programs in top 10

NSU Top 10.png
Northwestern State University’s Bachelor of Science degree in Unified Public Safety Administration was named the best overall law enforcement program in the nation and the second most affordable by

The Masters of Arts in Art was ranked fourth by and fifth by The Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems was ranked eighth in the country by the

The degree program in Unified Public Safety Administration prepares students for professional careers in fire and emergency medical service administration, law enforcement administration, emergency management administration and related public safety careers.

“We are proud and honored by this ranking,” said Unified Public Safety Administration Coordinator Jack Atherton. “Graduates of this program make significant contributions to the field of public safety in Louisiana and beyond.”

The Master of Arts in Art degree is an on-campus or a low residency online program. The on-campus version allows the student to interact with faculty and facilities. The online version allows the student to work from home. Most classes are available online, however the student is required to attend two three-week summer sessions or one semester at the beginning of their degree. The student will get to know the faculty and facilities which will foster a more personal online learning experience. At the end of the degree, the student will return to campus to set up an art exhibit.

“These honors are a recognition of our wonderful art faculty and graduate school staff,” said Department of Fine and Graphic Arts Department Chair Matt DeFord. “They are dedicated to these students that come to us from around the country seeking to further their art practices and careers.”

The degree program in Computer Information Systems is a combination of business and technology. Students can enter careers such as software developer, systems analyst, network analyst, security analyst and many other information technology fields. Students take required class in software development, network design & hardware, database systems, web development, systems analysis & design, and advanced systems development. They also choose one of five concentrations: application development, networking and systems management, web development, core programming and cyber security. NSU offers the CIS degree program online, on-campus and through a competency-based program.

“These rankings provide external validation that our program provides an excellent value to our students,” said Coordinator of CIS Curtis Penrod. “We work hard to make sure our curriculum meets the needs of industry through conversations with alumni, industry partners, and other groups. By ensuring a relevant curriculum related to workforce needs, we ensure students are prepared for their post-graduate life. These rankings show we are doing a good job in that area.”

Each college or university in the rankings is an accredited public or private institutions. The rankings are based on an institution’s quality, reputation, affordability, value and student satisfaction.

The websites used sources including the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Post-secondary Education Data System, College Navigator, U.S. News and World Report’s reputation score and the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Northwestern State cheerleaders win eight awards at competition

2018 camp.jpg
Northwestern State University’s cheerleaders were big winners capturing eight awards at the Universal Cheerleaders Association’s recent regional competition at the University of Texas at Austin.

NSU won first place awards in fight song competition, game day competition and timeout competition and second in sideline competition. Northwestern State won the Traditions Award, Leadership Award and Program Improvement Award. NSU’s mascot, Vic The Demon, was named mascot camp champion.

Members of the cheerleading squad are Gavin Acor and Austin Averitt of Bossier City, Annalise Austin of Winnfield, Courtney Bergeron of Houma, Albert Hewitt, Joe Bradley and Alicia King of Shreveport, Jasmine Ealy of Little Elm, Texas, Selena Ferguson and Morgan VanBuren of Pineville, Terrence Green and Chloe Lambert of Prairieville, Tobias Jones and Colt Shankle of Haughton, Tre Jackson of Lafayette, Gabe Vargas of New Llano, Char’Tarian Wilson of Greenwood, Rylee Wyer of Natchitoches, Elise Vidrine of Napoleonville. The cheerleaders are coached by Amy Stepp, Chase Stepp, Christian Broussard and Kiley Bell.

Garden Series: Cucumber Beetles

Cucumber Beetles

Cucumber beetles are very common in this area, and will damage almost any plant that is grown in the garden. As their name suggests, they damage cucumbers, however, squash, melons, tomatoes, corn, beans, and other cucurbits also get attention from these beetles. There are three different types of cucumber beetles: spotted cucumber beetle, striped cucumber beetle, and banded cucumber beetle.

Cucumber beetles feed on foliage, flowers and the rinds or pods of many vegetables and fruits. The worm-like larvae live in the ground and can damage roots of vegetables or tubers such as sweet potatoes. They can also enter the rinds of melons that contact the ground. The damage often appears as holes chewed in leaves or chunks bitten out of fruit/vegetables rinds and pods. However, the most significant damage caused by cucumber beetles are the diseases they can transmit, specifically by the striped cucumber beetle.

The striped cucumber beetle is a yellow beetle about ¼ inch long with three straight black stripes on its back. These beetles, like the other types of cucumber, chew holes in leaves and fruits/vegetables. However, when they feed, they can transmit bacterial wilt. The bacterium that causes this disease overwinters in the gut of striped cucumber beetles, and infected bugs can transmit it to plants via saliva when it feeds. There is nothing that can be done to save a plant that has bacterial wilt. If wilt is suspected, a simple at home test can confirm it. Cut the stem of the infected plant and mash the ends with your fingers. Next, press the ends together then slowly pull them apart. If the juices have a “roping” effect, that is a positive result for wilt. The bacteria in the plant’s sap cause the roping effect.

The spotted cucumber beetle (also known as the southern corn rootworm) and the banded cucumber beetle closely resemble each other. Both are about the same size as the striped cucumber beetle. The spotted cucumber beetle is yellow and has twelve black spots on its back while the banded cucumber beetle is green with yellow horizontal bands across its back. Both of these beetles are found throughout the garden on most plants, and chew holes in leaves, pods, and fruits. The damage from these tends to be a more of a nuisance than a problem, however in large numbers they can be problematic.

There are a number of chemicals available to control cucumber beetles. Products containing carbaryl, bifenthrin, permethrin, malathion, or imidacloprid are recommended by LSU. As with all pesticides, pay close attention to the label, especially the pre-harvest interval (the amount of time you must wait after spraying before harvesting). Also, keep pollinators in mind when you spray. For summer crops, pay special attention to any instructions about temperature requirements.

For more information contact Randall Mallette, County Agent, at the local LSU AgCenter Extension Office 318-357-2224.

NPD Arrests Rape Suspect


The Department of Children and Family Services contacted the Natchitoches Police Department June 30 to report a possible sexual battery of a 14-year-old girl.

Investigators spoke with the victim who advised that from May to June 2018 Julius Rachal, 24, allegedly had sexual intercourse with her on several occasions without her consent. The investigation concluded with a signed warrant for Rachal’s arrest.

Julius Rachal was arrested on July 24 and charged with 3rd degree rape. Rachal was released on a $50,000 property bond on July 25.

Due to the victim’s age no further information will be released.

Approved for release by Chief Dove

What Is Our Future Relationship Going to Be With Machines?

By Joe Darby

joedarbyEarlier this week I was waiting in a doctor’s office so I started looking through a copy of Smithsonian magazine, to which I had subscribed many years ago but hadn’t read at all recently.

The issue was chiefly devoted to the future of Artificial Intelligence machines, abbreviated AI, and the relationship of human beings to such devices.

The magazine contained a number of different articles on the subject and I didn’t have time to do much more than scan through them. But what I read I found quite disconcerting. Unsettling. Heck, it was downright scary.

The consensus of the experts seemed to be that we will become ever more addicted to our electronic devices. You already see everyday how people are totally absorbed in their smart phones or tablets or whatever. It’s not unusual to see a group of young people sitting around a table, each with a smartphone in their hand, ignoring each other. These devices are already changing our social practices, and not for the better.

The magazine predicted what life might be like in 2065, which for today’s teenagers will be here before they know it. The articles said that we will become increasingly reliant on AI machines, as they begin to take over doing more and more things for us. The AI devices will be able to make decisions on their own and we will rely on those decisions, ranging from what we will eat to who we should have a romance with.

They will become our big brother or big sister, guiding us through life. And speaking of romance, it’s a given that AI machines, resembling very attractive human beings, will be used as sexual partners at some time in the future. That will certainly isolate us even more from our fellow humans. Why socialize when you can have a relationship with a beautiful, completely compliant entity who never nags you? One expert said that these “sexbots” could even result in a population crash because less people will be having babies.

There even might be what the experts call Total AI Zones, where everything is controlled by the machines. People who dread having to make tough decisions on their own could live in those zones and just put their lives in the hands of the robots.

I wish I had had more time to read the articles because this is a subject that we need to know more about and to try to prepare for. But, this trend may be inevitable, unstoppable, given how addicted we are to electronic devices already. It’s a trend I have been resisting myself, as have a small amount of other folks. I don’t even have a smart phone. That amazes some people.

So, naturally, the magazine’s predictions are all terribly frightening to this geezer. Will human life really change so drastically? No one 20 years ago could have predicted how social media would dominate our time, so maybe the Smithsonian predictions are true. I won’t be around in 2065 to find out, thank goodness. But there are lots of folks alive today who will be. Hold on, it’s going to be a heck of a ride.