Safely Preserving Historic Fire Extinguishers

By Jack McLaughlin and Carrie Mardorf

Fire Extinguishers


Staff at Cane River Creole National Historical Park have had their fair share of fire extinguisher trainings and are used to seeing modern-day fire extinguishers throughout the park. However, when it came to antique fire extinguishers in the park’s museum collection, a level of uncertainty set in.

Through a series of inventories and safety walk-throughs in early 2018, the park found a unique trio of historic fire extinguishers in the museum collection – two small red grenade type Tetco® extinguishers and one large silver Pyrene® extinguisher. Unsure about the chemical contents inside, staff contacted museum curators and regional safety experts for guidance but no one was sure that the contents could be safely emptied without damaging the historic objects.

For Jack McLaughlin, the park’s structural fire protection intern, the challenge with the three fire extinguishers presented an opportunity of a lifetime. Hired through the National Interagency Fire Center, he jumped at the chance to work with the park’s cultural resources staff to find a solution. Jack did some initial research on the extinguishers and made a scary discovery. “Like my college professor would say, the extinguishers contain a lot of methylethyl bad stuff,” he joked.

It turned out that the main agent in the Tetco® extinguishers was carbon tetrachloride, a substance that could smother fire but when exposed to high heat also turns into phosgene gas, which was used as poison gas during World War I. The Pyrene® extinguisher had a “soda-based” agent that was propelled by sulfuric acid, similar to a baking soda volcano except with sulfuric acid instead of vinegar.

In order to make sure staff who encountered these extinguishers stayed safe, Jack teamed up with Gremillion E L & Son Fire Extinguishers in Alexandria, Louisiana to safely dispose of what was inside. Park museum staff carefully packaged and padded each extinguisher for transport to Alexandria. Then working under the careful guise of Gremillion’s experts, Jack was able to safely discharge each fire extinguisher, while preserving the original containers for the museum collection.

Surprisingly the two Tetco® extinguishers still had some pressure and were discharged outside and then placed in bags to collect the remaining liquid agent. The pin on the grenade-style Tetco® extinguishers turned out to be more of a pull-tab, which popped off rather easily at the right angle. The Pyrene® extinguisher was able to be opened by unscrewing the top and the contents emptied. The sulfuric acid, suspended in a glass container, was no longer active having been neutralized with age.

“I felt like I was on an episode of Pawn Stars when they go out and test whatever it is they may buy. Talk about an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch these extinguishers do what they were made to do but also in a manner that we can preserve them for future generations,” Jack said after his experience and seeing other antique extinguishers Gremillion had on display.

Afterward, the extinguishers were carefully rinsed with tap water to remove any remaining chemical agents and returned to the museum collection.

Jack has been employed at Cane River Creole National Historical Park since June and is working to update the park’s structural fire management plan, among many other things before his internship ends in August. He is currently finishing his degree in Fire Science Technology and balancing his career with the Marine Corps Reserve and love of firefighting.

ROTC Activation Sept. 6

Northwestern State University’s Department of Military Science will hold an activation ceremony for the 69th Demon Battalion beginning at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6 on the Kyser Hall Brickway. The annual program ushers in the new academic year and establishes the new battalion and its leadership.

A reception will follow the program. The Demon Regiment and the Louisiana Army National Guard Recruiters will provide a gaming truck as well as vehicles and equipment on display. The public is invited.

For information on ROTC at Northwestern State visit

Employers invited to participate in Part-Time Job Fair

Job Fair
Area employers are invited to participate in a Part-Time Job Fair sponsored by Northwestern State University’s Job Location & Development Office. NSU’s second annual Part-Time Job Fair will take place from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5 in the Sylvan Friedman Student Union Ballroom.

Registration is free and employers can register online at:

“The Part-Time Job Fair is a great opportunity for employers to support NSU, connect with students and get the word out about their businesses,” said Karen Loach, Job Location and Development Officer. “Even if employers don’t have any current positions open, this is a great chance to meet potential candidates for any future part-time jobs or internships.”

Collecting resumes in advance of hiring can make filling vacancies a much quicker process, Loach said.

“Last year we had a great student turnout with about 170 students coming through during the two-hour fair,” she added.

For more information, employers can contact Loach at or (318) 357-5430.

Rhodes sponsor inaugural Tapped-Tober event in Natchitoches

Rhodes to Tapped-Tober 2018
Rhodes Properties and Development is extremely excited and proud to sponsor the 2018 Tapped-Tober Craft Beer & Wine Festival. This inaugural event will be held Saturday, Oct. 13 from 12-10 pm on the downtown riverbank in Natchitoches. The Rhodes thank the Northwestern Louisiana Cancer Center and the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center Foundation for asking them to be a part of this amazing event to raise money for such a great cause.

Natchitoches’ very first Craft Beer and Wine Festival will feature Craft Beer Vendors, Home Brewers, Wine tasting, Live Music, Kid’s Zone, Food Trucks, A VIP tent and fun for the whole family.

LRTA and TRSL directors to speak to local teachers

Retired Teachers Meeting

A meeting of the District 8 Retired Teachers Association and the Natchitoches Parish Retired Educators will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 6 pm in the atrium of Nachitoches Central High School, located at 6513 Highway One South Bypass in Natchitoches. Both active and retired educators are encouraged to attend. Guest speakers will be Dana Vicknair, Director of the Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana (TRSL), and Rodney Watson, Director of the Louisiana RetiredTeachers Association (LRTA), Important updates will be given concerning retirement and legislative issues concerning both retired and active educators in Louisiana.

Vicknair is the director of the Teachers’ Retirement system of Louisiana which has more than $19 billion in assets and serves more than 180,000 members. She joined TRSL in 1995 and was chief financial officer for six years before her appointment as director in 2018. Before joining TRSL, Vicnkair worked as an accountant for the Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System (LASERS) and was responsible for the oversight of membership eligibility, contribution reporting, contribution refunds, and service credit purchases. Vicknair received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond. She is a member of the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) and has served on its Committee on Retirement and Benefits Administration. She is also a member of the organization, Women in Management.

Watson is the Executive Director of the Louisiana Retired Teachers Association, a membership organization representing the interest of the retired teachers of Louisiana. He was appointed to this position in 2015. Watson holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Louisiana State University Shreveport, with master’s plus 30 hours from LSUS and Centenary College. He started his teaching career in Bossier Parish, then served in administrative positions in Bossier and Caddo Parishes. In 1993, Watson joined the Louisiana State Department of Education, rising to the position of Confidential Assistance to Superintendent Cecil Picard. He later served as interim superintendent of Caddo Parish Schools and Louisiana Assistant Superintendent of Education of the Office of Educator Support. After his retirement, Watson held teaching positions at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and at Tulane University. He holds membership in many professional organizations, including the Louisiana and American Societies of Association Executives and the Association of State Retired Teacher Executives.

Membership in LRTA is not required to attend. Both retired and active teachers are encouraged both to attend and to join LRTA. Dues for retired teachers are $30 per year and may be deducted once annually from retirement checks. Dues for active teachers (associate members) are $12 per year. Again, however, membership is not required to attend this meeting.

The District 8 Retired Teachers Association includes the parishes of De Soto, Natchitoches, Red River, Sabine and Winn.

NSU First Lady launching 2nd year of service project, will collect art supplies


First Lady Service Project
Northwestern State University’s First Lady Jennifer Maggio will be collecting art supplies for classrooms as the second year of her service initiative, Forks Up for Literacy, begins.

“Teachers use artwork to help teach language arts, so we are looking for things like finger paints, washable paints, pipe cleaners, craft sticks, paint brushes and art smocks,” she said.

Maggio will again have a collection site at Collins Pavilion during tailgating on NSU home football game days with help from Purple Jackets honor society, the Alpha Beta Alpha library club and other volunteers. Donors can bring items to the tailgate prior to home football games and drop them off at the Pavilion.

Since last September, Maggio collected about 5,000 books for the Forks Up for Literacy children’s book drive that were distributed to schools and youth centers throughout the region. The number far surpassed her original goal of 1,884, which corresponds to the year of NSU’s founding.

Maggio is also networking with the first ladies at other institutions in the University of Louisiana System and hopes to incorporate service initiatives on Saturdays that NSU hosts Grambling, Nicholls and McNeese for home games.

Maggio began the Forks Up for Literacy last year in conjunction with the investiture of her husband, Dr. Chris Maggio, as NSU’s 19th president. Her focus on service has been an intrinsic part of life, continuing from her years as a teacher and school administrator. As first lady she has actively engaged with student groups and others to encourage them to assist with needs in the community.

For more information on Forks Up for Literacy, contact Maggio at

Notice of Death – August 26, 2018

Notice of Death 2017


Mertie Bell Davis
August 31, 1922 – August 24, 2018
Service: 10 am Monday, August 27, 2018 at Hickory Grove Congregational Methodist Church in Robeline
Location: 8673 LA-6, Robeline, LA 71469.


Mary L. Pattain-Mitchell
May 26, 1942 – Aug. 21, 2018
Arrangements TBA

Frederick Evans
June 8, 1964 – Aug. 22, 2018
Arrangements TBA

Mildred Sherman
Jan. 17, 1927 – Aug. 21, 2018
Arrangements TBA

Beverly Shields
January 25, 1943 – Aug. 19, 2018
Arrangements TBA

NPD investigates shooting

Jeremy Burton

At approximately10:20 p.m. on August 25 the Natchitoches Police Department received a 911 call reporting gunshots being fired in the 1400 block of Holmes Street. Officers and Investigators arrived and found one victim with two gunshot wounds to the right arm. He was transported to Natchitoches Regional Medical Center where medical staff also discovered multiple stab wounds. The victim was airlifted to Rapides Medical Center and is listed in critical condition.

Investigators spoke with witnesses who advised the incident started with subjects fighting. One of the subjects went into a residence and retrieved a gun and shots were fired.

Investigators identified the subject as Jeremy Burton, 31, of Natchitoches.

Burton was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a firearm and discharging a firearm in the city limits. He was placed in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center.

It is early in the investigating and more arrests are expected

This investigation is ongoing at this time. We release more information as it becomes available.

If anyone has information in reference this case please contact the Natchitoches Police Department directly at (318) 352-8101 or you may contact Detective William Connell of the Natchitoches Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division at (318) 238-3911.

All calls shall be kept confidential.

Approved for release by Chief Dove Date 8/26/18


Notice of Work Session.png

The City of Natchitoches will hold a work session Monday, Aug. 27 at 4:30 pm at the Natchitoches Arts Center, located at 716 Second Street. The purpose of the work session is to discuss the Garbage and Recycling Contract. All persons interested are encouraged to attend.

Cynthia Sutton Retires After 10 Years as President and CEO of CRNHA, Inc.

Cynthia Sutton

The Board of Directors of Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc. (CRNHA) has announced the retirement of Cynthia Sutton after leading the organization as President and CEO for over 10 years.

“I have enjoyed the last 10 years living in Natchitoches and leading this remarkable organization,” remarked Sutton. “The time that I have spent at CRNHA has shown me how vital partnerships are to building a vibrant and sustainable Cane River region,” continued Sutton.

“Cynthia’s leadership has been extraordinary,” said Payne Williams, CRNHA Board Chair. “During her time at CRNHA, Cynthia has developed partners and champions for the Cane River National Heritage Area across the country, within Congress, multiple state and local administrations, and with hundreds of heritage partners across the region,” continued Williams.

Sutton joined CRNHA in March 2008, bringing with her 16-years of experience in not-for-profit management and museum direction. During her tenure as President and CEO of CRNHA, Sutton was instrumental in building innovative private public-partnerships across the region, including with two of the region’s most prized attractions, the Los Adaes State Historic Site and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Grand Ecore Visitor Center.

Sutton has also worked tirelessly to build relationships with local partners, like the City of Natchitoches, serving as Chair of the Natchitoches Tricentennial Commission and sharing her expertise on numerous City initiatives like the Natchitoches Parks Initiative in 2016-2017 and the Natchitoches Riverbank Redevelopment Project.

“When I became mayor, I was unaware of the immense role of the Cane River National Heritage Area in the Natchitoches community. Thanks to her partnership and vision, many projects you see around town can be linked to Cynthia and CRNHA,” remarked Mayor Lee Posey. “The City of Natchitoches would like to thank Cynthia for her time, efforts, and support of the Natchitoches community. I found in Cynthia a true jewel and forever friend. We wish her the best and God bless,” Posey continued.

During their August board meeting, the CRNHA Board of Directors announced the selection of Rebecca Blankenbaker to serve as Executive Director. Blankenbaker will begin Monday, August 27th.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetBlankenbaker has most recently served as Director of Public Outreach and Communications for Cane River National Heritage Area and has eight years of experience working with community leaders, heritage attractions, and local stakeholders to create authentic and sustainable heritage tourism products in Central Louisiana.

A native of New Orleans, Blankenbaker holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in history and a Master’s of Arts in Heritage Resource Management from Northwestern State University of Louisiana. She has managed the Cane River National Heritage Trail, a Louisiana Scenic Byway, and serves as the only Louisiana representative on the Board of Directors for the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail Association. In 2018, Blankenbaker was the recipient of the Louisiana Travel Association’s Rising Star of the Year Award, an honor recognizing an up-and-coming young professional in the tourism industry who has demonstrated qualities of leadership, entrepreneurship and creativity.

Called to Coach – Micah Coleman

By Reba Phelps

Reba_Called to Coach - Coach Micah Coleman (1)
The late spring time usually means several things. The weather is warming up, the flowers are blooming, school is winding down and last but not least it’s spring baseball and softball. This is when our community depends on the parents who have been deemed organized, talented and patient enough to coach our precious descendants. While visiting the baseball fields it has become a habit of mine to watch kids at multiple fields while our game is in progress. You cannot help but notice when there is intense excitement happening right behind you.

On this particular day I noticed audible hoopla behind me and turned around to further investigate. The first thing I observed on the field was my neighbor, Coach Micah Coleman, wiping dirt from a crying tee-baller’s eyes as he rounded third base. This small act completely touched my soul. Knowing Coach Coleman and his intense love for his own children and love for his basketball team it should not have surprised me at all.

A few days later I ran into Micah and relived that precious moment and even complimented him on the act of humanity. He smiled and quickly corrected me by saying, “Oh no, I needed that dirt out of his eyes so he could see and be able to make it to home base and score that run!”

Even though this statement totally made every parent in earshot laugh there was no surprise in the competitive nature of his response.

Coach Micah Coleman has a proven record of winning championships. His record speaks for itself having multiple state championships under his belt. But, his roots run deeper than his recent successes.

As a child, on any given day he could be found at a local field watching one of his 34 cousins play ball…if he wasn’t playing himself. Micah is no stranger to a game that includes a ball and a scoreboard. He knew at a very early age that he wanted to coach. He had many role models as a child who were teachers, principals and coaches. Choosing a career was an easy task for him. His dream job even included coaching college basketball.

Well, that was until he assumed the Head Coach position at Natchitoches Central High School.

Coach Coleman always felt a calling to coach but never felt that true peace that he’s had since he started coaching at NCHS. This is where he really started to cultivate his strong conviction to teach young men how to be leaders and not just winners. Sometimes he and his coaching staff are the only consistent masculine figures in some of the students lives and they do not take this job lightly. These students are his family.

When I asked Micah how he incorporates his own family with his coaching career he told me, “I was so fortunate to marry a woman who loves what I do and welcomes my whole team just as her own. My kids don’t know any different and think it’s completely normal to live at the gym and always have extra kids around.”

Through years of experience, trial and error and a love for his team he has found the right balance and compassion to meet students right where they are and build on what they have. Some might say he has been successful at turning out college basketball players but he is more humbled by the fact that he is turning out men who have the same conviction to be leaders and true men of God.

Billy Graham once said, “A coach will impact more young people in a year than the average person does in a lifetime”.

This rings true as the family like atmosphere has bred success for the NCHS Basketball program and has earned them recognition statewide. Coach Coleman runs a tight ship and each spot on the team is earned with handwork and consistency. The basketball season will soon be upon us and I hope you can find your way to the Indian Tee Pee to watch Coach Coleman and his whole team. He will be the excited one in a jacket and tie pacing on the sidelines.

“If all that my young men have learned from me is how to dribble a ball and win a game then I have failed at my job,” says Coleman.

Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6


NPD arrests Natchitoches woman for bomb threat made to local restaurant

Kaitlynn Raggio

The Natchitoches Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division’s, High Tech Crimes Unit arrested a suspect in connection with an alleged bomb threat which occurred over Social Media. The police department was contacted by an employee of a local restaurant chain who stated that a former employee had made threat(s) over social media in which she stated that she was going to blow up the business. Based on the information provided direct evidence was recovered which revealed the alleged threat. A warrant for the arrest of suspect was then obtained.

Investigator(s) from the High Tech Crimes Unit then located and arrested Kaitlynn Raggio, 19 of 806 Rikard Lane in Natchitoches, on one count of R.S. 14:40.1 Terrorizing. Raggio was later transported to the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center where she awaits bond.

If you have any additional information in regards to this investigation please contact Detective Victor Pinkney at (318) 357-3817. Remember all information given shall remain confidential.

Community members join Demons Days cemetery clean up

By Samantha Maiette

Demon Day Clean 2018 (1)

Community members and NSU students volunteered their time at the American Cemetery in partnership with the Natchitoches Historic Foundation Aug. 24.

Each year, NSU students take part in the 1 of 7 Service Kickoff, a service initiative which encourages individuals to spend one day each week in service to others. This initiative is held in conjunction with NSU’s Demons Days and is one of several locations students can volunteer their time at.

“The cemetery is so important,” said Hillary Bennet, VP of Marketing for NHF. “People come from all over to see this cemetery because it’s so important to the history of the United States.”

This year, students are helping to clean up the American Cemetery to help the Natchitoches Historic Foundation in preparation for their annual cemetery tour. The tour will be held Oct.12.

Bennett describes the students as “excited about being there” and that this year “they have so many they don’t even know what to do with them.”

American Cancer Society Tribute of Hope: Dustin Dauzat

Dustin Dauzat.jpg
One of the American Cancer Society’s Tributes of Hope is Dustin Dauzat. Dustin is a Branch Manager and Loan Officer at Bank of Montgomery in Natchitoches. In 2010, Dustin got news he never imagined he would. After abnormal levels in his blood work were detected, removal of the left side of his thyroid revealed that Dustin had cancerous spots on his thyroid. He immediately had the right side removed-having two surgeries in two weeks. “That was tough for me. I was newly engaged, 25 years old and couldn’t process why this was happening and what my future would look like,” Dustin stated. He has been an advocate for the American Cancer Society since the discovery, serving on the planning committee for the Relay For Life event in Natchitoches. “When the conversation comes up or if someone wants to know why I am so passionate about Relay For Life, it is because I want anyone that has heard YOU HAVE CANCER to know that they are not alone.”

We are so excited to be able to recognize Dustin with this honor at our Belles and Beaus Gala on Saturday, September 15th at Melrose Plantation. Join us for live entertainment, great food, a live and silent auction and the opportunity to recognize our deserving honorees. Visit or call 337-237-3797 for ticket information.