Turn on the Holidays November 17

Turn on the Holidays

The City of Natchitoches will “Turn on the Holidays” on Saturday, Nov. 17! In preparation for Turn on the Holidays, the downtown riverbank will be closed to all vehicular traffic beginning at 6 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17. The Church Street Bridge and Williams Avenue from Whitfield Drive to Henry Avenue will close at 6:30 p.m. to all traffic and will reopen after the conclusion of the fireworks.

For more information on the Natchitoches Christmas Festival and Christmas Season, visit www.NatchitochesChristmas.com.


Lt. Governor recognizes two of the oldest businesses in Louisiana for their years of customer service

Governor Exchange Bank

Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser presented proclamation to two businesses in Natchitoches. Often, new businesses receive all the recognition, and Nungesser wanted to start recognizing the older businesses that have been a part of their communities for generations. The proclamations honor the businesses, the families, and the employees. These Natchitoches businesses are the first to receive this special recognition from the Lt. Governor.

Community banks are a big part of the community and Exchange is one of the oldest banks in the state of Louisiana. In 1892 it became Natchitoches’ first bank when it opened its doors on Front Street.

We stand on the shoulders of those who come before us,” said Exchange Bank President Mike Newton. “It’s very true. A lot of people have had my role and other people within the bank have supported us to get to this point. We like the past, but we like the future even better.”

The other business to be recognized was Kaffie Fredericks.

Governor_Kaffie


NATCHITOCHES SHERIFF’S DEPUTY COMPLETES ALEXANDRIA REGIONAL POLICE ACADEMY

NPSO Training Alex 2018 (1)

Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Dakota Pleasant completed the 83rd training session of the Alexandria Regional Police Academy in Alexandria on Thursday afternoon November 15, 2018 according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones Jr.

Graduation exercises were held at the Alexandria City Hall.

Academy Keynote Speaker was Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy.

Class participants attended 17 weeks of training totaling over 600 hours in areas of law, patrol activities, vehicle stops, firearms, report writing, narcotics, DWI enforcement, defensive driving, physical training, defensive tactics, ethics, first aid, chemical weapons, etc.

19 law enforcement officers from Alexandria Police Department, Grant Parish Sheriff’s Office, Winn Parish Sheriff’s Office, LaSalle Parish Sheriff’s Office, Ball Police Department, Pineville Police Department, Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office and Camp Beauregard completed the academy.

Deputy Pleasant will return to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office for additional in-house training in policy and procedure, report writing, National Incident Command Systems, communications training and assigned to a Field Training Officer before they are released to patrol and other duties in Natchitoches Parish.

Sheriff Victor Jones, Chief Doug Rachal, Captain Tony Moran, Asst. Chief of Youth Services Siggie Silvie, Sgt. Sammy Ragan, Administrative Assistant Sandra Moreau, Deputy Stuart Wright, family and friends attended the graduation services welcoming Deputy Pleasant to the NPSO team.

Congratulations to Deputy Pleasant.

Deputy Pleasant worked at the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center as a corrections officer prior to attending the academy.

We thank Alexandria Mayor Jacques M. Roy, Chief of Police Jerrod King and the entire APD Regional Police Academy Staff for their integrity and professionalism during the academy session.

NPSO Training Alex 2018 (2)


Demons rally once again in 2nd half, win 35-23 at SFA for season-ending 3rd victory in 4 games

NSU 5 Shelton Eppler
#NeverYield has not only been the 2018-19 hashtag for Northwestern State athletics, but it’s notably been how the Demons football team has rolled in its late-season surge in Nacogdoches, Texas.

Thursday night, NSU got a kickstart opening the second half, a 94-yard kickoff return touchdown by redshirt freshman Myles Ward, igniting a “flat” squad and launching a rally from nine down to a 35-23 season-ending victory over rival Stephen F. Austin.

The win was the first at SFA since 2008 for NSU, ending its first season under head coach Brad Laird with three triumphs in the last four games, with the only loss by two points on the road. The Demons (5-6 overall, 4-5 in the Southland) mounted comebacks in each of those contests, outscoring the Lumberjacks 28-7 after halftime to win the annual Battle for Chief Caddo, the largest trophy in sports, for the second straight year.

The hill to climb Thursday night could have been much steeper if not for a remarkable effort by NSU’s Purple Swarm defense with its backs close to the goalline. The Demons staged two goalline stands, stopping SFA (2-8, 2-7) at the 2 early in the game and at the 1 late in the third quarter to retain a 21-16 lead.

While the Demons had a nightmarish first half offensively, suffering four turnovers – three interceptions, two on balls deflected into midair downfield – the Purple Swarm limited the Lumberjacks to field goals of 43, 22 and 32 yards, along with the goalline stand, after those miscues. SFA’s 16-7 halftime advantage was not nearly what it could have been.

Then in 14 seconds, the Demons’ deficit was all but erased. Ward, who sustained a thigh bruise in last week’s 37-34 double overtime upset of 18th-ranked McNeese, didn’t expect to play, but his replacement, senior Rashaun Croney, was shaken up in the first half and Laird called upon Ward to resume his kickoff returner duties.

“I knew we needed something to get us going,” said Ward. “I saw the hole, took advantage, and it worked out great.”

“What a dynamic play, a game-changing play, by Myles Ward and our kickoff team,” said Laird. “We were flat coming out in the game for some reason, and I really didn’t do a good job at halftime to get us going. That lit the fuse for us.

“These guys will battle. They’ve done it all year and they’ve become really good at it here in the last month.”

The Demons took the upper hand on a pair of touchdown connections between receiver Jaylen Watson, one of 13 NSU seniors, and junior quarterback Shelton Eppler. In its second offensive series, Northwestern was punted down at its own 3, but quickly marched 97 yards in seven plays, with Eppler hitting Watson for the last 20 midway through the third quarter.

Then just over two minutes into the fourth, on NSU’s first snap of the final period, Watson ran a post pattern, took a rocket from Eppler near midfield and outran defenders for a 75-yard score, his 10th receiving TD of the year, tying Al Phillips (1968) for second in school history behind teammate Jazz Ferguson’s 13.

SFA used a 49-yard end-around pass to set up its only second-half score with 8:44 remaining, a 5-yard run by Dominic Williams, but the Demons immediately responded. Junior Jared West bolted 51 yards on the first play, and capped the six-snap, 62-yard drive with a 5-yard scamper to reopen the 12-point advantage with 5:25 remaining.

NSU opted not to score at the end of the game, after taking over on downs at the SFA 6, running out the final 2:20 on four snaps.

The Demons ran for a season-best 182 yards, with West getting 98 on 20 calls and sophomore Stadford Anderson adding 88 on 19 tries. Eppler went 8 of 11 after halftime for 156 of his 295 passing yards, finishing 20 of 31 with the three first-half interceptions but the pair of second-half TDs to Watson, who had a career-best 123 yards on four grabs.

NSU got 11 tackles from junior safety Ryan Reed and 10 by junior linebacker Dylan Wilson, while the Purple Swarm notched five sacks, two each by senior end Obinna Iheoma and sophomore nose tackle Damian Thompson. The Demons had nine tackles for lost yards, with junior O’Shea Jackson adding a pair to those by Iheoma and Thompson.

Meanwhile, Eppler was sacked just once and NSU had only two negative yardage plays until the final snap, when Eppler trotted backwards 10 yards and ran off the last two seconds.

All that remained was for the resilient Demons to race behind the north end zone and reclaim Chief Caddo after another against-all-odds comeback, this one successful on the road after a near miss erasing a 20-point hole at Abilene Christian two weeks earlier in a 49-47 defeat.

Senior offensive lineman Frank Boudreaux explained why he and his teammates #NeverYield.

“It’s just that fight,” said Boudreaux. “We know we have talent, we know we have athletes, and we have great confidence in our coaches. When stuff doesn’t go our way, we know we can even it out and come out with the win at the end.

“Not every senior (at NSU) has had the privilege of going out like this, beating McNeese and then winning at SFA. I think I’m at peace with my career. I feel great about it,” he said, “and I’m looking forward to seeing what goes on here in the future.”


30th annual Christmas Gala to be performed Nov. 28-30

NSU Christmas Gala
The Mrs. H.D. Dear Sr. and Alice E. Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts at Northwestern State University will present the 30th annual Christmas Gala Nov. 28-30 in the A.A. Fredericks Auditorium. Performance times are 7 p.m. each evening with a 9 p.m. performance on Nov. 30.

Tickets are $15. NSU, BPCC@NSU and Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts students are admitted free with a current student I.D.

More than 300 Northwestern State students, faculty and staff in the School of Creative and Performing Arts combine their talents to present the Gala as a kickoff to the Natchitoches Christmas Festival. More than 10,000 people attend the Gala each year which is based on the long-running Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular.

Gala Artistic Director Michael Rorex said this year’s performances are part of the celebration of the 30th year anniversary of the Mrs. H.D. Dear Sr. and Alice E. Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts. According to Rorex, the program will incorporate popular pieces from years past such as the non-singing monks who will be back with the “Hallelujah Chorus.” There will be an addition to the Toy Soldiers presentation and the NSU Men’s Chorus will have a new piece to present as part of the celebration.

“‘One Solitary Life’ will be extra special this year and the closer of ‘Jingle Bells’ with the entire cast that is phenomenal,” said Rorex. “But most important, the opening of the show is titled the ‘Many Moods of Christmas’ and will be the most spectacular opening ever for a Christmas Gala.”

The Gala opening will include the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra, the NSU Spirit of Northwestern Marching Band, the NSU Dance and Ballet ensemble, the NSU Choirs, NSU musical theatre students and all the beauty of lights and colorful backdrops on stage.

“The Christmas Gala is an opportunity for the School of Creative and Performing Arts to shine in front of appreciative audiences,” said Rorex. “The Gala has become a tradition for many area families. Preparation for the show takes place year round. The overall experience is something our students never forget.”

Tickets can be purchased online at capa.nsula.edu. For more information, call (318) 357-4522.


Cub Scouts make donation to NSU Food Pantry

Scouts Donation 2018

Cub Scouts from First United Methodist Church’s Pack 60 participated in the annual “Scouting for Food” program. This program began in 1985 in the St. Louis Area Council and has since become an annual tradition for all Cub Scouts. Pack 60 has participated since the program’s national inception. Each participating scout earns an optional patch. The collected donations were divided between NSU’s Food Pantry and F.U.M.C.’s Food Pantry located at The Wesley Foundation. “This annual program helps educate our scouts on food insecurity as well as how they can help alleviate it within our community.”


Closure of Intersection of Front Street and St. Denis Street

Road Repair

The City of Natchitoches would like to advise the public that the intersection of Front Street and St. Denis Street will be closed Monday, November 19, 2018 – Tuesday, November 20, 2018 to repair a water leak located under the street. During this time water service in the area may be interrupted for short periods of time, but will be restored as soon as possible.

During this closure, traffic may detour around the work site via the adjacent network of City streets. When traveling near the work zone, motorists are advised to exercise caution and to observe all warning signs and flagger instructions.

For questions relative to this temporary closure, please call the Mayor’s office at (318) 352-2772.


Blind percussionist overcomes obstacles to excel

Greg Dodge

The ‘clack, clack, clack’ of the Northwestern State University snare drums means it’s almost show time for Gregory Dodge.

Dodge is positioned on the home sideline with his mallets and drum sticks in a precise location, on a wooden table attached to a vibraphone in the NSU front ensemble section.

The junior can feel the excitement of the thousands in Turpin Stadium awaiting the halftime performance of the Spirit of Northwestern, NSU’s marching band.

He can hear the cheers, he can touch the turf and he can smell the savory meats of nearby tailgating.

But he can’t see. He can’t see the drum majors standing atop the podium that spring the band into action with the motion of their arms.

He can’t see the concert bass drum, the gong or the suspended cymbal that he strikes.

Dodge, who is blind, relies on the clacking of sticks on drum rims to signal the field show is about to commence.

“I’ve always enjoyed being out in front of people in performances,” said Dodge, a Dry Prong native who wrapped up his third season in marching band with last Saturday’s football game against McNeese. “I love the feeling of performing like that.

“It’s a lot of work, and it’s not always easy, but the rewards are well worth all the effort. And I’d be lost without the drum line — I wouldn’t know when to start. This year, I have a hit on measure one, count one, so I have to have that.”

His vision is non-existent except for being able to detect the presence of light in his left eye. He uses a long, white probing cane to maneuver around campus.

Before the drum taps, Dodge, who describes himself as “musically inclined” from a young age, said it was the sound of toy musical instruments that spurred his interest.

Dodge learned to play the recorder in elementary school by memorizing music like “Hot Cross Buns,” but it was a visit from the junior high band that cemented his musical path.

“The junior high band would come on a tour of schools and play a small concert,” Dodge said. “I thought those instruments were a lot better than the recorder — I thought they had the most amazing sound ever.”

Dodge recalls a sixth-grade music test in which he listened to 41 different instrument audio clips — exactly 41 — to determine which instrument he’d like best.

He tried all of the instruments, eventually settling on the trombone. He didn’t score any points on the trombone in his “test.”

“I was drawn to the sound of the trombone, and the concept of the slide is really cool,” Dodge said. “There wasn’t complicated fingering patterns with valves, although I remembered those too because our band director drilled it into other players’ heads.”

Dodge learned to read music by listening. He listened to his bandmates beside him play the part, and he could copy what they did and eventually sync his part with the rest of the band.

“In junior high, the music was pretty easy,” Dodge said. “At (Grant High School), it was more complicated, but I had a really good trombone player beside me when I was a freshman, and that was beneficial.

“Eventually, my band director would record my parts on a CD that I could take home and listen to. I could easily hear my part, then hear it in context when the rest of the band plays.”

That method of learning continues to the present, where Dodge also plays trombone in a spring semester concert band.

Instead of a CD, members of the band can email him audio files of his part that he can access on his phone.

Dodge said he has a “decent memory,” but he wouldn’t call himself “an elephant.”

“Memorizing music parts are kind of second nature for me, and I have a musical ear,” Dodge said. “I listen to talent competitions on TV, and I analyze it from a music theory point of view what that person does.

“The moment somebody sings a note out of tune, it hurts my ears. That’s why I like ‘The Voice,’ because they let only people who can sing well on that show.”

Dodge learns his front ensemble parts just by directors or other ensemble members telling him what part of the song the strikes occur and on which instrument.

“They’ll me that I have a bass drum and gong hit at measure five … so it’s really not that hard to get since there aren’t different notes,” Dodge said. “In the second show of my freshman year, one of our new graduate assistants told me that I had a ‘bong’ hit at measure five.

“I was thinking, ‘Wait, I didn’t realize it was that kind of show, whoa.’ I mean the song was, ‘Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting,’ by Elton John, so I wasn’t sure. He clarified that a ‘bong’ hit meant bass drum and gong. There’s usually more of an effect when you hit them together.”

Oliver Molina, assistant director of bands and leader of percussion, said Dodge is a valuable member of the front ensemble, which includes stationary percussion instruments that are too big to march with like xylophones and marimbas.

“Greg is a fun guy who will tell you about his love of football,” Molina said. “He definitely adds a sense of humor to the group and adds musical impact to the show.”

Back at Grant High School, Dodge contemplated marching with the band. But he settled for being a front ensemble member on the field and playing trombone in the stands.

“It is possible for blind people to march, but we had a new band director who had no experience of teaching a blind person to march,” Dodge said. “I had planned to march my senior year, but one of the (front ensemble) guys missed our last competition of my junior year.

“The band director told us to not load his stuff, but I said that I knew his part because I’ve listened to it long enough. None of it interfered with my part, so I played it. That’s the reason I decided to stay in front ensemble even into college.”

The communication major said he considered marching in college, but he didn’t think it was fair to make more than 300 other band members learn to march with a blind member.

“That’s not necessarily the easiest thing in the world, and I figured it would be a bit annoying to try to do all that,” Dodge said. “It’s too much of a hassle for me to learn to march.

“Honestly, I’m perfectly happy in the front ensemble. One of my personal beliefs is that you can never truly succeed in life by taking the easy way out. Sometimes you can make it a little easier and that’s fine, but I definitely try to challenge myself and strive for excellence. That’s not just in band but in college, too.”


Northwestern State signs diverse, six-member class

NSU signs diverse 2018.jpg

A mix of power, speed and defense adorns a six-player signee class as Northwestern State softball added to its family Wednesday.

The Lady Demons picked up four Texas natives and a pair of Louisianans to open the softball signing period.

“We’re really excited about them because of the talent and athleticism in this class,” said NSU coach Donald Pickett. “We added depth that we really needed, and there’s a lot of versatility in this class.

“We can put a lot of good players on the field at once. We filled some needs with great players as we try to take this to the next level.”

Middle infielder Samantha Rodriguez is a ranked prospect by Extra Inning Softball, checking in at No. 105 in the organization’s “Extra Elite 200.”

Rodriguez, a two-time all-district player at Summer Creek High School in Houston, won golden glove and silver slugger awards.

“Rodriguez is a very good middle infielder who knows the game and can really play,” Pickett said. “She’s a coach on the field.”

Pineville High’s Kacee Mertens brings speed who can play a multitude of positions. Mertens was a three-time all-district selection who was honorably mentioned for the Louisiana Class 5A All-State team twice headed into her senior season.

Outfielder Savannah Bartay of Brenham, Texas, will also supply speed as a two-time all-district performer from Brenham High School.

“Kacee is a well-rounded utility player who has speed on the bases,” Pickett said of the high school infielder, who scored 91 runs and 61 RBIs through her first three seasons. “Savannah also brings top-notch speed to the lineup that should help us.”

Fellow Brenham High teammate Kat Marshall is one of several NSU signees that produces pop with her bat.

The catcher/first baseman is a three-time all-state performer in Texas who was selected to the All-Greater Houston Area team as a junior.

Other signees whom Pickett expects to add power are Many High’s Keely DuBois and Mt. Pleasant (Texas) native Jordan Dickerson.

DuBois is a two-time all-state shortstop who compiled 107 RBIs and 15 home runs in her first three seasons, posting batting averages above .500 in each of the last two seasons.

Dickerson was the District MVP and the Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore and junior, respectively, for a Mt. Pleasant squad that was bi-district champions.

“We wanted a little more power in our lineup, and we definitely think we did that,” Pickett said. “We added players that can be great on offense and defense.

“(Marshall) is a big middle-of-the-lineup kid. DuBois and Dickerson are both kids that can bring a lot of power, too.”

Wednesday’s six signees are added to shortstop Nicole Skerlong, who won player of the year honors among Mississippi junior and community colleges as a freshman. Skerlong signed with NSU this past summer.

CREDIT: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services


LOCAL HEALTHCARE LEADER AND NAVY VETERAN DELIVERS KEYNOTE ADDRESS AT VETERAN’S DAY CELEBRATION

Walters Greets Vets 2018
Residents, friends, staff, family, and guests gathered at Natchitoches Community Care Center to honor our nation’s veterans, past and present. Pastor James B. King of Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church gave the invocation. Ms. Georgia Locke led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance. A lovely poem was recited by Ms. Elizabeth Johnson, followed by the singing of America the Beautiful. Mrs. Dawn Brewer introduced the keynote speaker, Mr. Carl I. Walters II, Chief Executive Officer of Outpatient Medical Center, Inc.

Carl I Walters II grew up in a military family. He is the eldest son of Carl and Betty Walters. His father served two tours of duty in Vietnam as a U.S. Air Force pilot. The elder Walters was shot down twice over Vietnam and lived to tell the tale both times. It is from this type of early emotional and psychological strengthening that molded Mr. Walters to go to college and earn a degree in Healthcare Administration and later to go through rigorous officer training in Newport, Rhode Island.

Mr. Walters went on the serve as the Head of Outpatient Services at Naval Hospital Millington, Tennessee. He later served as Commanding Officer of Camp Schwab and Commanding Officer of Camp Hansen Medical Clinic, both in Okinawa, Japan. Mr. Walters chose to begin the next chapter of his professional life by leaving the Navy with an honorable discharge on December 31, 1991.

Walters addresses Vets 2018
Mr. Walters spoke to the residents, staff, and guests of the importance of remembering those who sacrificed so much that we all could live in peace and sleep at night under a blanket of freedom provided by those sacrifices. “From World War I through the Iraq War, hundreds of thousands of brave men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice. We should never forget or take for granted what they gave for us. Nor should we ever forget the sacrifices our service members make on a daily basis so that we may live freely and conduct our lives as we choose.”

Mr. Link Martin, administrator of Natchitoches Community Care Center welcomed all guests and introduced Ms. Elizabeth Anderson who pinned veteran pins on all veterans in attendance to include residents, the guest speaker, and visitors.

npj_paid_content150


Notice of Death – November 16, 2018

Notice of Death 2017


NATCHITOCHES PARISH:

Preston Davenport
November 4, 2018
Arrangements TBA

Ebony Davis
February 9, 1990 – November 7, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, November 17 from 10-11 am in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home in Natchitoches
Service: Saturday, November 17 at 11 am in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: St. Andrew Baptist Church Cemetery in Derry

Carolyn (Conna) Glass Cloutier
August 5, 1934 – October 24, 2018
Memorial Service: Saturday, November 17 at 1 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Natchitoches


City receives new website, widget and Christmas set pieces

Chairman Van Erikson updated members of the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission (NHDDC) on marketing plans for the City at a meeting Nov. 15. With the launch of the new City website scheduled for around Nov. 30 (natchitochesla.gov) the NHDDC is looking to fund the implementation of a widget (up to $6,500) through a company called Visit Widget.

The widget provides an RSS feed which pulls in events from other business and organization calendars so they can be found all in one place. There’s an App component as well, which would help visitors plan their trip to Natchitoches based on what events are coming up.

It also offers geo fencing, beacons and push notifications. Beacons would alert visitors to ongoing special inside stores as they walk by them. Push notifications would alert them to any schedule changes for events or festivals.

“This widget and App system would help out with a lack of finding information in real time,” said Van. “It would make Natchitoches more accessible to visitors.”

In other news, Sandra Dickens with the Historic District Business Association (HDBA) informed the commission of snafu that occurred with the reindeer for the Turn on the Holidays event this Saturday.

The Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner wouldn’t allow the reindeer to cross state lines, so the HDBA had to find one that was a “Louisiana resident.” Turn on the Holidays wasn’t the only event that was affected by this.

Janna Jenkins let everyone know that Bloomin’ and Art Along the Bricks will be moved to March 23.

Jim Rhodes said the Cane River Waterway Commission approved a $60,000 feasibility study for dredging Cane River Lake north of the Church Street Bridge. Residents may notice a barge in the river, but it’s just collecting soil samples as part of the study.

Edd Lee mentioned that the City brought the Clementine Hunter zinnia set piece out of storage and installed it in City Park on the corner of Amulet and Second Street. The manger scene set piece on the riverbank was rebuilt for this year’s Christmas Festival and new set pieces include one for the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts (LSMSA) and the Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC).


Aspiring entrepreneurs compete in Inferno Pitch

Inferno Pitch Winners.jpg
A team of students whose idea is to develop a device that creates a way to prevent drivers from driving after they have been drinking or stop them from driving while drinking were named winners of Northwestern State University’s inaugural Inferno Pitch, an entrepreneurial and business competition intended to provide NSU students with experience in developing a commercial product from inception to pitching the product to investors.

Alba Maloff Johnson and Matthew Broekman pitched the IDP Tech concept to a panel of judges in a format similar to Shark Tank in which aspiring entrepreneurs make business presentations to a panel of investors who then choose whether to invest as business partners.

Each team of students did extensive research and presented their ideas to the panel of judges as well as a large audience.

With the first place finish, Johnson and Broekman won $3,000, a scholarship to Louisiana Startup Prize 2019, a scholarship to the Patent Academy and six months of professional services from the Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program.

Second place winners are the team of Brooke Smith, Kamamalu Nishihira-Asuncion, Kennedy Cullen and Kortney Greer for Safe Shackles, a product that can be used to detect Sexually Transmitted Infections. Second place includes a $1,000, a scholarship to the Patent Academy and six months of professional services from the Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program.

Third place winner Joshua Johnson pitched In the Field Communication, a communication device that helps officers move from the vehicle to outside the car. Third place prize is $500, a scholarship to the Patent Academy and six months of professional services from the Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program.

“We had a wonderful turnout for our inaugural Inferno Pitch Business Plan Competition,” said Dr. Carmella Parker, an organizer of the event. “We believe that our partner, Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program, was extremely pleased with our efforts to make this a successful event. Additionally, our faculty and our students enjoyed the Top 5 presentations and are looking forward to seeing the next year’s Final Pitch.”

The Inferno Pitch was sponsored by the Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program (EAP), a division Biomedical Research Foundation (BRF). BRF, is a public/private partnership between BRF, the Caddo Parish Commission and the City of Shreveport to diversify the regional economy, create jobs and expand the area’s tax base by providing services to innovative startups that have high growth potential. Since EAP began in July 2014, the program has screened more than 690 startups and provided services to more than 220 companies.

We are extremely appreciative of our contestants, faculty members, staff members, as well as our industry and business mentors and guest judges.

More information about the Inferno Pitch is available at infernopitch.com. Information on EAP is available at http://eapla.com/team/.

Pictured above: Dave Smith, Executive Director of the Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program, left, and Caryn Chalmers, junior financial analyst for EAP, right, congratulated the team of Alba Maloff Johnson and Matthew Broekman, winners of Northwestern State University’s inaugural Inferno Pitch, a business competition for NSU students.