Three Fire King Coffee Cups

By Reba Phelps

Blessed 1


If you’re friends with me on any type of social media then you’re probably aware of my love for coffee and my even bigger love for my coffee club. Coffee club is a diverse group of friends, and friends of friends, who randomly gather at different homes to enjoy each other’s company. Sometimes coffee club lingers until lunch time and sometimes it’s much shorter due to other obligations. Sometimes we miss a few weeks but we always gather again.

The Coffee Club does have a strict code of conduct that must be adhered to. There is no makeup allowed. Pajamas are preferred. If you show up looking any fancier you shall be roasted the entire time. Children are welcome but quickly learn they’ll be bored to tears so they gather and enjoy their own coffee and donut time. The last and most important rule states that if you’re not present for any reason ye shall not be informed of all of the fun that was had in your absence.

Must be present to enjoy.

On occasion there will be pictures posted on social media but only the black and white kind. The black and white photos are very forgiving of the make-up-less face and the unattended hair.

On one particular day, one of my best friend’s grandmothers made the comment that she too wanted to have coffee with the coffee club. Her rules were a bit different from ours though. We must come to her. Yes, we must bring our Fire King cups to her front porch in Red River Parish. The coffee cups were purchased on Ebay once we discovered that we all had mutual heartstring connections to these historic cups.

Blessed 2So, over the hills and through the woods to grandma’s house we went with our Fire Kings in tow.

Once we arrived at her home you couldn’t help but notice the most amazing aroma. She’d made a huge pot of tomato gravy and it’s well known that it’s one of her specialties.

When the coffee was poured and we gathered on the porch it began to rain. It began as one of the most peaceful mornings in coffee club history. A few sips in my friend went inside to retrieve an old box of pictures. There was an amazing story with every photo memory that left that box. My friend teased her grandmother mercilessly about her style during the 80’s. Her hair was an easy target as well. The laughing stopped when grandmother shared a “Glamour Shot” of my dear friend from the early 90’s.

We laughed until we cried.

Some of the photos brought back humorous memories of different family members. They also sparked conversation of Prom dresses that took many pay checks to purchase. It then lead to conversation of how this grandmother always put her family first. She worked overtime and endless hours to provide for her children and grandchild, my friend.

But, also out that very box came stories of a scary and failed first marriage for my friend’s grandmother and how she escaped. She went on to tell us that when she married she said, “I will instead of I do.” There is a big difference in the two.

Later on, there was the story that no parent wants to live through. The tragic and untimely death of a child who left behind a toddler to be raised by various family members. More pictures described the years of custody battles over my best friend and the horrid conditions in which adults fought over where she would reside. During this bitter battle she told us that she sat down and wrote a scathing letter to family members who were mistreating her granddaughter. But once she had the opportunity to present it to them all she could say was, “I love you and I am praying for you.”

The intricate details of love and loss had our eyes filled with tears and our hearts breaking. Even though my friend lived the story she was on the edge of her seat as well. Every now and then her grandmother would ask for permission from my friend to continue the story. Our friendship has always been an open book so she did not hesitate with her permission to proceed.

At the end of all of these stories Maudie looked at us both and said, “Someone always has it worse don’t they?”

There was not much more we could say at this point. Yes, someone always has it worse.

Three vintage coffee cups, three women and three completely different paths in life. The visit was not about the cups or the pictures. It was about a mutual love for family and friends. The visit was about teaching a younger generation that you can only survive loss and hard times by keeping your faith. She taught us that when God has his hand on your life you have no choice but to succeed and live at peace.

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among thee.”

Mathew 18:20

Free Legal Advice Offered at Lawyers in Libraries

Lawyers with Libraries

The Natchitoches Parish Library (NPL), in partnership with the Louisiana State Bar Association (LSBA) and the Louisiana Library Association (LLA), is presenting its fifth annual “Lawyers in Libraries statewide program on Oct. 22, 23, and 24 at the NPL. Free individual consultation will be provided by local attorneys on civil issues (no criminal) in 15-minute intervals from 10 AM to 1 PM at the NPL. There will also be seminars each evening from 6 PM to 7PM. The first seminar will be Divorce Law, on Oct. 22, followed by Domestic Violence Protective Orders, on Oct. 23, and finally Criminal Conviction Expungements, on Oct. 24. The seminars are open to the public and will include a Q&A session.

It is recommended that those interested in a consultation sign up for a time slot beforehand to guarantee they are seen; while walk-ins are allowed registered participants are given priority. To schedule a free consultation on your non-criminal legal matter, call the NPL at 318.357.3280 ext. 1, or message via the NPL’s Facebook page; you may also sign up in person at the Second Floor Circulation Desk.

“We are seeing so many Natchitoches Parish residents represent themselves in court on issues involving domestic violence, housing, custody, child support, and other core needs. ‘Lawyers in Libraries’ helps the self-represented litigant to identify legal options, regardless of financial circumstance,” explained District Court Judge, Desiree Duhon Dyess.

Judge Lala B. Sylvester continued, “Knowledge is power, and the more self-represented litigants know about their legal issue, the more confident they will be in court which could be an intimidating experience.”

“Public libraries are natural starting points for people in search of information and services,” said Alan Niette, NPL Community Outreach Coordinator, “and our staff is happy to provide direction to available resources, including for legal matter, but we cannot offer legal advice. We are extremely excited each year to work with our local lawyers to host the ‘Lawyers in Libraries’ program to our patrons.”

The annual statewide “Lawyers in Libraries” program celebrates its fifth year of service to the public during the week of October 22, 2018. The Supreme Court of Louisiana and the LSBA support this annual volunteer attorney project held during National Pro Bono Celebration and thank the LLA for its ongoing involvement. The program has grown consistently since being launched in 2014 and has assisted over 3,000 Louisianans and reached patrons in ever parish in the state. “Lawyers in Libraries” is a partnership between the LSBA, LLA, Law Library of Louisiana, LSU Law Library, legal aid partners, local bar associations, and other community partners.

Three Northwestern State players reach singles finals at ULL tournament

By Jonathon Zenk, Sports Information Graduate Assistant


Freshmen Maria Skyba and Antonia Blattner, as well as junior Ela Iwaniuk, went unbeaten Friday and gave the Northwestern State Lady Demons tennis team three singles finalists at the Ragin’ Cajuns Invitational hosted by UL-Lafayette.

The trio each won both of their singles matches to earn a trip to the finals of their draws.

“I was pleased today with our tenacity and process in all of our matches,” head coach Patric DuBois said. “All four players competed as we expect, and we executed at a high level today.”

Fresh off her flight victory last weekend in the Rice Invitational, Skyba prevailed despite splitting sets and won both of her singles matches in order to reach the finals of Draw 1 at the Ragin’ Cajun Invitational. Iwaniuk, the 2018 Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year, dominated in her two matches, winning both in straight sets to advance to the finals in Draw 2.

It took Skyba pro sets to win each match, including a come-from-behind 3-6, 6-0, 13-11 win against Floriane Picaut of the host school.

In her first tournament as a collegian, Blattner won the final four sets after dropping the first set of her first match, rallying past Louisiana Tech’s Claudia Oravcova 2-6, 7-5, 10-4. She defeated Morgan Forshag of UL-Lafayette 6-3, 6-1 to advance to the finals.

In addition to the 7-1 record in singles, the day started with a pair of doubles wins. The freshman duo of Skyba and Blattner won 6-4 over Incarnate Word and the pair of Iwaniuk and junior Judit Castillo also won their match 6-4 over Stephen F. Austin to advance to the second round of the doubles bracket.

Castillo bounced back from a loss in the first round of her draw to win her second match against Incarnate Word’s Brandelyn Fulgenzi.

“Our goal tomorrow is to build on today’s process and play at a high level Saturday,” DuBois said.

The tournament will finish up on Saturday with the two doubles rounds, followed by the finals in singles.

Here are the Friday results for NSU’s entries in the Ragin’ Cajun Invitational:

Draw 1
Maria Skyba (NSU) d. Floriane Picaut (ULL) 3-6, 6-0, 13-11
Maria Skyba (NSU) d. Jasmin Buchta (Lamar) 6-3, 1-6, 10-3

Draw 2
Ela Iwaniuk (NSU) d. Victoria Kareh (UIW) 6-3, 6-2
Ela Iwaniuk (NSU) d. Darinka Tiboldi (SFA) 6-4, 6-2

Draw 3
Kaja Ljubic (SFA) d. Judit Castillo (NSU) 6-4, 6-3
Judit Castillo (NSU) d. Brandelyn Fulgenzi (UIW) 6-3, 6-2

Draw 4
Antonia Blattner (NSU) d. Claudia Oravcova (LTU) 2-6, 7-5, 10-4
Antonia Blattner (NSU) d. Morgan Forshag (ULL) 6-3, 6-1


Draw 1
Judit Castillo/Ela Iwaniuk (NSU) d. Kaja Ljubic/Darinka Tiboldi 6-4

Draw 2
Maria Skyba/Antonia Blattner (NSU) d. Jelena Dordan/Sara Djurdjevic (IUW) 6-4

CREDIT: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services

HHR Rentals cuts ribbon at its new office location on Hwy. 1 Bypass

HHR Rentals ribbon cutting

The Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting for HHR Rentals Sept. 26 at its new office location at 5771 Hwy. 1 Bypass.

K. David “Zack” and Andrea Zachary moved to Natchitoches and started their equipment rental business in 2016. It soon became obvious there was need for these services in the Natchitoches area and they soon outgrew their original location.

Their new office location has been open for two months now and Zack plans to expand the business even more. HHR Rentals will also offer tools as well as its larger equipment.

Working in Natchitoches? Go online to It’s a one-stop shop for information about permits, emergency services and the general surroundings and facilities throughout the Natchitoches area.

Coming soon to the HHR website is a Partner’s page, where residents will be able to find information on contractors and tradesmen in the area who rent from HHR Rentals.
For more information call (318) 238-7368 or email:

LaCap Senior Spotlight: Tyler Nichols

Senior Spotlight 09-2018

LaCap Senior Spotlight recognizes Tyler Nichols, a senior at Natchitoches Central High School, as an outstanding high school senior.

Tyler is a member of Future Farmers of America, where he helped set state records at State Agronomy Career Development Event and State Farm and Agribusiness Management Career Development Event (first place titles at both). He will also be competing at the national level in Farm and Agribusiness Management this year.

Tyler competed at Literary Rallies as a state competitor in Biology I (2016), Advanced Math (2018), and Chemistry (2018).

He is an active member of the NCHS Swim Team, and a member of the Beta Club and the National Honor Society. He is a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist and he has scored the Highest Composite ACT Score of 35.

LaCap believes it takes good grades, community involvement, and hard work to make a successful leader. Tyler Nichols is being recognized for these qualities.

LaCap is committed to improving our community’s well-being by offering financial and volunteer support to organizations that enhance the quality of life through programs for youth, education, and financial literacy.

La Capitol Federal Credit Union has two locations in Natchitoches: 311 Keyser Avenue and 926 University Pkwy. Call 318-357-3200 or go online to for more information.

50 Man Machine will perform at Red River Revel

50 Man Machine 2
50 Man Machine, an art, music and theatre performance ensemble, will perform at the Red River Revel Arts Festival in Shreveport from 3-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29. Performances will be at the El Dorado Performing Arts Depot Stage.

Students from Northwestern State University’s School of Creative and Performing Arts who will participate include Osvaldo Ferrer Miranda and Hollis Ervin, fine art graduate students; M. E. Breithaupt, Julian Shum, AJ Dempsey, undergraduate art students; Laura Guzman Rodriguez, theatre and dance; Kenyon Johnson II, and spring 2018 graduates Michael T. Dick and Bonny Bacoccini, music.

The performance consists of live painting on an 8’ x 17’ mural panel in collaboration with live music and movement based on the 50 Man Machine theme, according to Collier Hyams, professor of new media.

“The 50 Man Machine began at The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, Mass MOCA, in Building 1 as my iEAR MFA performance art and installation piece about education, identity, hope for the future and freedom,” Hyams said. “It became a unique world fusion music and art ensemble.”

The group’s eponymous album met with great success spending three months in the CMJ music charts.

“50 Man Machine taps an indescribable vein of musical internationalism,” according to New York’s Metroland, an alternative weekly that covered art, music and culture.

The group is led by Hyams and Oliver Molina, assistant professor of music with musicians Craig Lacour and Silas Collar accompanying the ensemble.

Louisiana Second in the Nation for Personal Income Growth in 2nd Quarter of 2018

Income Growth

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released a report Sept. 25 showing that personal income in Louisiana grew faster than every state in the nation, with the exception of Texas, in the second quarter of 2018. Personal income in Louisiana grew at a rate of 5.9 percent, outpacing the national average of 4.2 percent.

“Last week, we announced that the state ended the last fiscal year with a surplus. Today, the Bureau of Economic Analysis confirmed our assumptions – Louisiana’s businesses are doing better and people are bringing home more in their paychecks. This is excellent news, and just another sign that Louisiana is moving in the right direction. Our economy is growing, more people are working, and we have a stable budget structure for the first time in many years. While this is all positive news, we still have more work to do, but there is no denying that the momentum we have in Louisiana is real.”

NSU students pursue study abroad opportunities


Study Abroad NSU 2018
Two Northwestern State University students will spend the Spring 2019 semester at the Université de Angers in northwestern France, through NSU’s study abroad program.

Ruben Smith of Clayton has never travelled outside the United States and is learning to speak French while Ilyanna Warlen of Shreveport speaks fluent French and has visited that country many times. Both hope the experience will broaden their horizons and enhance their education.

Smith began thinking about studying abroad during a French 1010 class with Dr. Benjamin Forkner, who coordinates study abroad initiatives in the Department of English, Foreign Languages and Cultural Studies.

“After a few weeks of class, I started to find I had a desire to learn more about this culture, this language and I even went so far as meeting the French students who exchanged from Angers,” Smith said. “We became friends right away and we even discussed me going to France for a semester.

Smith, a sophomore, said he didn’t think he could afford a study abroad until he learned that the exchange provides for the same tuition and fees, with the exception of housing, to be paid through Northwestern. As an English major concentrating in film studies and professional writing, he plans to take courses that apply to his degree and would like to take a translation class. He has been studying the French language, enunciation and grammar.

“I come from small-town Clayton, Louisiana, where the biggest thing that happens there is the mail being delivered,” Smith said. “I’ve never flown, driven or sailed outside the United States, so this is going to be an experience for me. A lot of firsts are to be explored out there, and I believe France to be the perfect place for me to do just that. I’m glad Dr. Forkner is persistent in getting me to go to France, and I think it’s an affordable way to explore the world and get college credits while you’re at it.”

Warlen is seeking an experience away from home with true independence. She plans to teach abroad after completing her degree and hopes to get a taste of what it is like to live abroad alone.

“My mother is French, so I have experience speaking French and I have been to France many times. I also took four semesters of French here at Northwestern,” she said. “I have traveled to France many times with my family but we would visit the south of France and we would always stay a month. During this trip I will be in France from January to June. It will be the longest time I have spent out of this country.”

Her plans include taking multiple English courses for her major, translating French to English, studying grammar, taking a few history classes and traveling.

“It will be interesting to see France’s point of view for America’s history and England’s,” she said. “I plan to visit the castle in Anger. I plan to get a pass so I can visit the castle as many times as I am able.”

The city of Angers was first mentioned by Ptolemy around AD 150 and was for centuries a stronghold in northwestern France. The Angers metropolitan area is a major economic center in western France, particularly active in industry, horticulture, and tourism. Angers enjoys a rich cultural life, made possible by its universities and museums. The Université de Angers was founded in 1356, closed down in 1793 and reestablished in 1971. The university has about 20,000 students.

In recent years, NSU has developed agreements with several international institutions to promote foreign study, student and faculty exchange and teaching/research collaborations in many disciplines. Semester, year-long and short summer study opportunities and tours abroad are available. Administrators say the lifelong benefits are far-ranging and have positive effects on student development and post-graduation opportunities. Students immersed in a foreign language and culture greatly accelerates language learning and going abroad allows students to discover new interests.

“Study abroad is very important,” Forkner said. “In college, students can travel more easily, so it is an opportunity almost impossible to replicate after graduation. Studying abroad generally is a catalyst for increased self-confidence, as students become more independent, mature, and, increase their decision-making skills.

Students are also exposed to a new cultural and learning environment, helping them adapt more easily, Forkner said.

“This experience also gives them new perspectives on the global community and intercultural communication, which makes it easier to interact/work with people of different cultural backgrounds. It also shows future employers a strong willingness to learn and take initiative.”

For both students, living and learning in France next year will be a memorable experience.

“I depart for France in January, and I just know that there’s a whole world of French culture waiting for me out there,” Smith said.

OMC partners with NE Delta HSA Outpatient Medical Center, expands services in Louisiana’s Delta

OMC Partnership

Northeast Delta Human Services Authority (NE Delta HSA) partnered with Outpatient Medical Center Inc. to expand much needed behavioral and primary healthcare services in one of America’s most impoverished areas.

In the United States, over 34 million adults have both a primary and mental health and/or substance disorder (AHA, 2012). This issue is exacerbated by the rurality of individuals who are in need of services and are among our most vulnerable populations. NE Delta HSA’s behavioral health clinic in Tallulah, La, will serve as a direct resource and referral to the Outpatient Medical Center for individuals who are in need of mental health and addiction services.

“Every Louisiana citizen deserves quality behavioral and primary healthcare no matter where they live,” said Dr. Monteic A. Sizer, NE Delta HSA Executive Director. “In order to meet complex societal challenges, we must communicate, collaborate and innovate.”

As a result of combining efforts, NE Delta HSA and Outpatient Medical Center Inc. will be able to further leverage efforts and provide an array of comprehensive treatment and prevention options. NE Delta HSA currently has formal agreements in place with the majority of the region’s rural hospitals and federally health qualified (FQHC) organizations.

“We are excited to partner with NE Delta HSA,” said Mr. Carl Walters, II, Outpatient Medical Center Inc. “Our newly formed partnership is consistent with our commitment to provide our patients an even greater array of medical, dental, vision and behavioral health services.” Outpatient Medical Center Inc. will serve as a referral and resource for individuals seen at the Tallulah Behavioral Health Center who presents with a primary care or dental need. Mr. Walters added, “Our newly-formed inter-agency partnership will help ensure our valued Madison (and surrounding) parish families have access to the high-quality; cost-effective; culturally-sensitive coordinated medical and behavioral health services they deserve.”

NE Delta HSA has made it a point to work across racial, political, income, denominational and governmental lines in order to solve problems on behalf of the region’s people. Helping to find a solution to major behavioral and primary healthcare gaps is no different. Literature on integrating mental health and primary care services through proper assessment and referrals indicates a strong increase in access to care, patient-provider satisfaction, and cost control.

“At NE Delta HSA, we are focused on solving problems,” Dr. Sizer said. “We understand the complexities of human relationships and disproportionate impacts caused by those strained relationships and broken social systems. However, I believe galvanizing around quality healthcare and expanding life opportunities for all can get us closer to that one Louisiana we have dreamed about.”

To learn more about our behavioral and primary healthcare work, contact Wellness and Prevention Services Director, Dr. Avius Carroll, at 318-362-5230 or via email

Cane River Lake Update

Lake Pool Stage: 98.0 MSL
Low Water Lake Closing: 96.0 MSL (Ordinance 2 of 2011)
High Water Lake Closing: 99.0 MSL (Ordinance 2 of 2011)

Current Lake Level: 96.7 MSL

On Oct. 6 there will be a regatta, St. Denis Head Race, held on the north end of the lake. The lake will be closed from Keyser Bridge to the north dam on Oct. 6 for the race. Keyser Bridge south, including Point Place and Shell Beach Landings will remain open to boating traffic.

Magnolia Minute – Weekend: Jermey McCormic

Watch today’s Magnolia Minute to learn more about Fort St. Jean Baptist with Jermey McCormic


If you, your business or a member of your non-profit organization would like to appear on The Magnolia Minute, then contact us at the email or number below!

The Magnolia Minute
Natchitoches Parish Journal
318-354-4000 #6

Notice of Death – September 28, 2018

Notice of Death 2017


Beulah Williams
September 28, 2018
Arrangements TBA


William Foster Walker IV
January 6, 1976 – September 23, 2018
Private service scheduled

Pearl McGee Miller
November 12, 1916 – September 25, 2018
Visitation: Friday, September 28 from 4-8 pm and Saturday, September 29 from 8:30-9:30 am at the Kramer Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, September 29 at 10 am at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church
Interment: Alexandria Memorial Gardens


Gene Leo Hubley
July 5, 1931 – September 27, 2018
Visitation: Sunday, September 30 at 5 pm at Warren Meadows Funeral Home in Many
Service: Monday, October 1 at 11 am at St. John The Baptist Catholic Church
Interment: St. John The Baptist Catholic Cemetery

Northwestern State hosts Fall Elite Camp on Oct. 6

4-5 Donald Pickett, Kellye Kincannon.jpg


Youth softball players are invited to attend Northwestern State Softball’s Fall Elite Camp on Oct. 6 in the Lady Demon Softball Complex.

Campers (7th grade-12th grade) can learn hitting, pitching and defensive fundamentals from current NSU coaches and student-athletes.

The camp runs from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and costs $100.

Campers will need to bring a bat and glove with all other necessary equipment. Pitchers must bring their own catcher.

To register online or for more information contact assistant coach Amanda Locke at 318-357-6009 or email at