LSMSA: An Evening of Voice

LSMSA-An Evening of Voice 2018 (2)
Thirteen students from the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts (LSMSA) participated in an Evening of Voice Thursday, Nov 29th at the school’s center for performance and technology recital hall. The students performed a variety of vocal pieces accompanied by LSMSA Senior Lecturer of Piano Dr. Charles Jones.

This superb evening of music was the capstone of a semester of hard work under the tutelage of LSMSA Senior Lecturer of Voice and Chorale Lisa Benner. Each student had to perform several songs from memory in front of an audience.

In any area of endeavor, from academics to theater, voice and dance, the young people attending The Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts are proof positive that our state’s children are the equal of those in any other state. Give them a challenge. They will rise to it. Well done ladies and gentlemen!

LSMSA-An Evening of Voice 2018 (1)

Political Signs

By Reba Phelps

Reba_Yard Signs


23 Things I Learned While Campaigning For Office:

1.) Walking into David O. Stamey’s office for a reason other than printing yet another birth certificate replacing the many ones I have lost, proved to be the scariest day of my adult life.

2.) Deciding which one of my Government names to put on an official ballot was just as confusing as the day I graduated high school. When they announced the name, “Jennifer Rebecca Reba Procell,” everyone looked around, including me. This does not include the many nicknames accumulated over the years.

3.) People instantly question your sanity once you announce wanting to serve in a public office.

4.) Being a self professed talk-a-holic I found myself absolutely speechless when it came to asking someone for their support.

5.) It is the most humbling experience to ask for someone’s vote and have them say “no” right to your smiling innocent face. This only happened twice, every other person I met said they were voting for me and I completely believed them.

6.) My predecessor told me to be prepared because I would probably lose 25 pounds or more walking all of the neighborhoods. This was not the case. People fed me. People fed me a lot.

7.) Running for office opens you up to a whole new set of automated calls, junk mail and live telemarketers wanting to sell you anything from a political sign to logo underwear with your face proudly printed on them.

8.) Three months of campaigning seemed to last forever. Not to be too dramatic but this is clearly 21 months in dog months.

9.) There were days when I questioned my own sanity for running for office.

10.) There were some days when I needed a pep talk and a glass of wine. Or three.

11.) I thoroughly enjoyed watching my friends argue over who was going to be in my cabinet. This never got old. According to them, I have a Marketing Director, Surgeon General, FBI Director and still looking for an Attorney General.

12.) While campaigning, I made a promise to myself to always tell the truth and not just what people wanted to hear.

13.) To the sweet person who pledged their support if I promised to fix the roads in our parish…. I just couldn’t lie about it. School Board doesn’t have asphalt. I am so sorry.

14.) People can be so incredibly kind. There are so many good people in our parish.

15.) I met hundreds of people that I have never in my life seen or met before. It was the lottery jack pot of a “people persons” dream.

16.) I have always been a praying person but campaign prayers doubled my prayer life.

17.) If you run for office and need a sounding board or people reader. Come get my 12 year old. When we left houses she would tell me if they liked me or not. She took great joy in telling me, “I am pretty sure you interrupted their dinner and they hate you!”

18.) When I purchased my voter list for my district it truly hurt my heart to see that so many people have never voted or haven’t in many years.

19.) God put so many wonderful friends in my path to help me every step of the way. I was never short of God’s blessings during this whole process.

20.) I learned that you can still put God first in campaigning.

21.) People say once you get elected you have enemies for no apparent reason. This is not the case. I have had more random support and excitement over the school board changes than you could ever imagine.

22.) Once elected, the first piece of mail received that says, “Honorable Reba Phelps,” totally felt like a typo. “Servant” would be a far more humble title.

23.) I learned that you can stay true to your spiritual roots and true to yourself while running a campaign, being a single mother and working full time.

Campaigning was truly a life altering experience for me and my family. There were so many spiritual lessons learned along the way that helped me grow as a person and I feel like God put people in my path that possibly learned something from me. I truly look forward to serving the community in a deeper capacity.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, Rather, in humility value others above yourself.”
Phillipians 2:3

Early Voting – as of November 29, 2018



Natchitoches Pairsh Early Voting

Thursday 11-29-18 (Only)
1 69 36 2 107 79.25%
2 5 3 0 8 5.95%
3 7 2  0 9 6.62%
4 9 2  0 11 8.18%
90 43 2 135 100%
Totals 10-01-18 through 11-29-18
433 198 16 647
  • As reported by the Louisiana Secretary of State.  Shows In-Person and Absentee.


Election Day is December  8, 2018

Ballots – Natchitoches Parish

Special Election – Secretary of State
Kyle Ardoin – R
“Gwen” Collins-Greenup – D

PRECINTS 1-01, 1-05A, 1-08 and Part of 1-05
Member of School Board – District 2
Thurman J. Baptiste, Sr. – D
Tan’Keia Palmer – D

PRECINTS 1-10B, 3-01, 03-02, 03-03, 03-04 and 03-08
Member of School Board – District 9
Beverly J. Broadway – R
Carroll E. Daniels – D

PRECINTS 2-01 and Part of 02-05
Fire Protection District #8 Proposition – Millage Renewal

National VFW Auxiliary President to visit Natchitoches

Sandi VFW

National VFW Auxiliary President, Sandi Kriebel, will make her Official Trip to Louisiana Nov. 28-30, which includes a stop in Natchitoches on Friday Nov. 30. The public, especially any veterans, is invited to attend the reception.

The schedule for Sandi’s visit to Natchitoches is as follows:
3 pm Laying of Wreath at Veterans Memorial Park
3-6 pm Welcome to Louisiana Reception at VFW Post 1962 400 Saint Denis St.

Kriebel, of Ellicott City, Md., was elected National President of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) of the United States Auxiliary at its 105th National Convention in Kansas City, Mo. on July 25.

A Life Member of Yingling-Ridgely Auxiliary 7472 in Ellicott City, she joined on the eligibility of her father, A World War II and Korean War US Army Veteran. She served the organization in several capacities, including Auxiliary and District President, and as Department (state) President, for which she earned Outstanding President of the Year in her membership group in 1996-1997.

On the national level, she served as National District Council Member, Eastern Conference Chairman for the Americanism and Membership Programs, and National Director for the Cancer Aid and Research, Hospital and “Buddy” Poppy Programs. She was also a National Patriotic Instructor. Sandi is also a Life Member of the VFW National Home for Children and a member of the Military Order of the Cooties Auxiliary (MOCA).

In her spare time she enjoys collecting thimbles and cameo broaches, watching old movies and spending time with her family: husband Paul, three grown children (including a son who is a 100-percent disabled veteran who served in Desert Storm), seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Two NSU students present research at regional conference

NSU Students

Two Northwestern State University students recently presented research at the Southcentral branch meeting of the American Society of Microbiology held at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. The meeting was attended by students and faculty from throughout Louisiana, Arkansas. and Mississippi.

Jordan Bringedahl of St. Francisville, a senior double majoring in biology and applied microbiology and chemistry minor, presented her work “Identifying Leptospira interrogens in ferral hog populations using MALDI-TOF.” Noah Baudoin of Shreveport, a senior majoring in applied microbiology with an environmental sciences concentration, presented his work on the degradation of acetaminophen under aerobic conditions. Bringedahl and Baudoin are members of NSU’s chapter of the American Society of Microbiology.

Both students work with Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Christopher N. Lyles, who also presented research on the plausibility of pathogen proliferation within elevated storage facilities. Alumnus Thomas Phillips, a current graduate student at Nicholls State University, presented his work on the biodegradation of the pesticide metribuzin.

Ponderings with Doug – November 30, 2018

I spent Thanksgiving at the Gibsland camp. My in-laws are moving into the Gibsland camp in May. I’m squeezing an extra room into the house. It will be a beautiful room. It is a man cave that is turning into a she shed which will make it a manshe cave.

We had no kids for Thanksgiving. That means we had no grandkids. In our twenty-nine years of marital bliss this was only the second Thanksgiving we have spent without family present. It was a relaxing, thankful day. The perfect day was clouded by an unfinished assignment.

My construction assignment was to hang sheet rock, float it and tape it so the painter (my bride) could paint it. Have I mentioned that I am terrible with sheet rock? Floating and taping sheet rock takes artistic skill. It is the highest of artforms. The walls were going to look terrible. I would be embarrassed by my efforts. There was not enough mud to fix my mess.

None of my skilled friends were available to bail me out. I looked for all manner of wallPonderings with Doug construction options. I even considered vinyl siding on the inside. I opted for tongue and groove pine boards. Sixty twelve-foot pine boards hanging out of my short bed pick up truck. The boards were in Ruston. Even with the hypotenuse of a right triangle working for me, I still had five feet of boards hanging out the back of the truck.

I could see the accident going viral. “Interstate closed by preacher who lost his load. Splinters everywhere.” However, I made it back to Gibsland without board incident. It was a Black Friday miracle.

I was all snuggled back in my house ready to complete my project.
The nail gun died. I am no good at hammer and nail either. A nail gun was vital for my construction success.

On Black Friday, I made three trips between Gibsland and Ruston. The manshe cave is taking form. I’m much better at sawdust than sheetrock!

The project distracted me from my usual Black Friday news watching. I like to judge the mood of the season by the stories coming from the media about the Black Friday shoppers. Were we waiting in line all night to be the first in the store? We were pushing and shoving each other at the door? Were crowds big and loud or small and disappointing? What is the hot item this shopping season? News this week says crowds were smaller than previous years. Are we seeing the end of Black Friday? One could only hope.

What caught my ear came from one of the Shreveport stations. The news girl was talking about the small crowds outside of Best Buy. She noted that maybe people were not shopping “the old-fashioned way” any longer.

When did it become “old fashioned” to walk into a store and purchase an item? Have we become so Amazon-ed that we don’t know how to “browse,” “window shop,” or “just look?” I like walking down Front Street and going in all the stores and being old-fashioned in my Christmas shopping. There are some great deals downtown. Maybe it bugged me because I am a pre-Amazon shopping dinosaur and I’m unapologetically old-fashioned in many ways.

I threw up my hands and went back to work on my manshe cave. I resolved that at church we are going to have an “old fashioned” Christmas. I nailed that last board with resolve to hang on to “old-fashioned” for as long as I could.

CLTCC Saved Students $106,000 in Textbook Costs for 2018 by Using OER

Open Educational Resources
During a press conference at the Main Branch of Rapides Parish Library downtown, Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC) announced on Nov. 29 that the college’s use of Open Educational Resources (OER) for transferable general education classes and other first-year classes has saved students $106,000 in textbook costs. The savings was calculated based on the number of students enrolled in these particular classes in the spring, summer and fall of 2018.

The adoption of OER is a college affordability initiative designed to support the selection of no-cost textbooks for various classes and degree programs. These openly licensed learning resources include textbooks, media, videos, articles, and more students can access for free.

Textbooks and supplies can cost students between $450 and $600 each year. In some situations, when expensive textbooks are required, some students never buy them.

“We have been piloting OER since spring 2017, and we are happy to announce the cost savings to-date,” said Jimmy Sawtelle, Chancellor of CLTCC. “Because we’re utilizing OER, students enrolled in our transferable general education classes and other first-year classes such as Freshmen Seminar don’t have to purchase textbooks. These students can access free textbooks from a mobile device, tablet or computer. They can also use the general use computers at their local library.”

CLTCC’s general education classes such as biology, history, and psychology can be transferred to any public college or university in Louisiana. Scholarships in the amount of $250 also are available for general education courses on a first-come, first-served basis.

Interim Manager of the Main Branch of Rapides Parish Library, Jonathan D. Westbrook, also announced a free tutoring service available to anyone with a valid library card. “Live one-on-one help is available from kindergarten to college at You can get help with homework, prepare for a test or get helping finding a job,” said Westbrook.

STAND-OFF ENDS: Jadarrius Deon Wilson into Custody

Jadarrius Deon Wilson



Natchitoches SWAT took Jadarrius Deon Wilson into custody. Wilson is being transported to the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center for processing. There are no injuries.

No weapons were found during a search of the residence.

Sheriff Victor Jones thanked the SWAT Unit, and all deputies involved in the stand-off for their professionalism and patience in the 5 hour ordeal. UPDATE: Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies, Natchitoches SWAT and SWAT Negotiators are engaged in a 3-hour stand-off in Payne Sub-Division just off of La. Hwy 6 East near Natchitoches involving a suspect wanted by the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office on several felony charges according to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.

The stand-off began this afternoon at approximately 2:59pm when Sheriff’s Detectives and Natchitoches Drug Task Force Agents went to a residence in the 200 block of Michelle Drive in Payne Sub-Division in an effort to serve felony warrants on 24-year-old Jaddarious Deon Wilson signed by a Tenth Judicial District Court Judge for Simple Kidnapping, Illegal Possession of a Firearm by a Person convicted of a Felony, Aggravated Flight from an Officer, Theft of a Motor Vehicle, Violation of Protective Orders, Domestic Abuse Battery, Aggravated Criminal Damage to Property and Simple Criminal Damage to Property.

UPDATE (6:37PM):

Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies, Natchitoches SWAT and SWAT Negotiators are engaged in a 3-hour stand-off in Payne Sub-Division just off of La. Hwy 6 East near Natchitoches involving a suspect wanted by the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office on several felony charges according to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.
The stand-off began this afternoon at approximately 2:59pm when Sheriff’s Detectives and Natchitoches Drug Task Force Agents went to a residence in the 200 block of Michelle Drive in Payne Sub-Division in an effort to serve
felony warrants on 24-year-old Jaddarious Deon Wilson signed by a Tenth Judicial District Court Judge for Simple Kidnapping, Illegal Possession of a Firearm by a Person convicted of a Felony, Aggravated Flight from an Officer, Theft of a Motor Vehicle, Violation of Protective Orders, Domestic Abuse Battery, Aggravated Criminal Damage to Property and Simple Criminal Damage to Property.
The charges stem from a November 1, 2018 alleged kidnapping incident involving a female acquaintance that led to a pursuit, then Wilson abandoning and fleeing from the vehicle.
Deputies searched the area that night and were unable to locate Wilson, however, they continued the search and discovered him at the residence this afternoon.
Deputies say when they arrived at the residence, Wilson called 911 reporting that he would harm himself or law enforcement if they attempted to enter the residence.
Wilson is currently barricaded in the residence alone.
There are no hostages.
Local residents in the area have been evacuated for their safety while the scene is active.
SWAT Negotiators have been on the telephone with Wilson for the past 3-hours attempting to get him to surrender to law enforcement.
There is a heavy law enforcement presence in the area; and we ask that citizens stay out of the area for safety reasons until the scene is safe.


A standoff between law enforcement officers and JaDarrius Wilson is in progress in Payne Subdivision. The suspect barricaded himself inside a residence. There are no hostages. No further information is available at this time. The NPJ will post as more details are released.

The Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office originally posted on social media about Wilson on Nov. 9. The Natchitoches man is wanted on several criminal charges in connection with a disturbance that led to the kidnapping of a Natchitoches woman on Nov. 1. Deputies recovered the kidnapping victim unharmed, but were unable to locate Wilson.

Notice of Death – November 29, 2018

Notice of Death 2017


Mable Gistarb
November 28, 2018
Arrangements TBA


Ellen Lucille Thompson
April 28, 1918 – November 27, 2018
Service: Friday, November 30 at 11 am at Colfax Baptist Church
Interment: Colfax Cemetery in Colfax

James P. Hollier Sr.
February 15, 1937 – November 26, 2018
Visitation: Friday, November 30 from 4-8 pm at the Kramer Funeral Home and Saturday, Dec. 1 from 10-11 am at St. Rita Catholic Church
Service: Saturday, December 1 at 11 am at St. Rita Catholic Church
Interment: Greenwood Memorial Park


Jerry Johns
December 18, 1947 – November 27, 2018
Service: Friday, November 30 at 10 am at Old Union Baptist Church
Interment: Old Union Cemetery


Barbara Richardson Peterson
August 9, 1935 – November 29, 2018
Arrangements TBA


Opal Woodard Loftin
November 18, 1922 – November 28, 2018
Visitation: Friday, November 30 starting at 5 pm at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home Chapel in Coushatta
Service: Saturday, December 1 at 1 pm at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Social Springs Cemetery in Ringgold

Lionell “Jaws” Demery
October 11, 1981 – November 25, 2018
Service: Saturday, December 1 at 11 am at the New Mount Olive Baptist Church in Coushatta
Interment: Springville Cemetery of Coushatta

Louisiana District Attorneys Association Meets in Natchitoches

District attorneys from throughout Louisiana convened in Natchitoches Nov. 28 for the Louisiana District Attorney’s Association monthly meeting.

Natchitoches Parish District Attorney Billy Joe Harrington hosted the meeting to “show my fellow DA’s our beautiful city during this special time of the year.”

Echoing the sentiments in welcoming the district attorneys included remarks from Sheriff Victor Jones, Parish President Rick Nowlin, Senator Gerald Long, and Reps. Kenny Cox and Terry Brown.

LDAA Executive Director Pete Adams and incoming Executive Director Loren Lampert conducted the business meeting to discuss issues relating the administration of criminal justice and law enforcement in Louisiana.

“We had numerous district attorneys drive in from across Louisiana to be here today to see this beautiful community and to attend our meeting. We discussed upcoming legislative topics and how they will affect our offices’ programs and other criminal justice agencies,” said Adams.

Lampert, who will replace Adams as executive director in 2019, said “members were delighted to come to Natchitoches to see the Christmas lights and enjoy the warm hospitality provided.”

“I wish to thank Northwestern State University for hosting us today. We had a great opportunity to showcase our university and our parish to the district attorneys,” said District Attorney Harrington.

The Louisiana District Attorneys Association is organized by the 42 district attorneys in Louisiana whose mission is “to improve Louisiana’s justice system enhancing the effectiveness and professionalism of Louisiana’s district attorneys and their staffs through education, legislative involvement, liaison, and information sharing.”

In addition to their main role of prosecuting criminal cases, district attorneys also focus on victim services, children’s advocacy, highway safety, juvenile justice, and child support enforcement.

The Natchitoches Parish District Attorney’s Office is located at the parish courthouse on 2nd floor. Citizens are encouraged to contact the office at 318-357-2214 if they are in need of services.
Pictured above, LDAA Executive Director Pete Adams addresses district attorneys at the LDAA meeting held at the NSU Fieldhouse.

Rhodes Realty announces Mario Fox as new associate broker

Mario Fox Associate Broker


Born and raised in Natchitoches, Mario Fox is a former Sergeant of the United States Army and Paratrooper of the 82ND Airborne Division. Mario believes in the core values of Integrity, Discipline, and Competence. Following his distinguished career in the military, Mario decided to pursue his lifelong interest in real estate.

As an associate broker Mario will focus on expanding the Rhodes Realty’s brand. With offices in Alexandria, Lafayette, Monroe, and a secondary Natchitoches office on South Drive, Mario will focus on increasing their presence in the other markets they serve, and adding more structure to the company.

“This will help us better serve our clients,” he said. “With multiple offices and agents we can divide and conquer as we help our team learn and grow.”

Mario also recruits and trains new agents. Anyone interested in joining the Rhodes team as a realtor can contact Mario directly.

Mario Fox
Realtor/Associate Broker
Office: (318) 238-3733
Cell: (318) 581-6516

Mario earned his broker’s license after 4 years as a realtor, which is also a requirement toward earning a broker’s license. He took a 150 hour course, followed by a state and national broker exam.

“It’s always something I wanted to do,” said Mario. “I never commit to anything unless I’m prepared to give it my all. My goal when becoming a real estate agent four years ago was to get my broker’s license. To do it in four years has been surreal to me.”

Rhodes Realty Owner Justin Rhodes said, “We can’t be more excited to announce the promotion of Mario from agent to broker. He has been an extremely valuable asset to our team since he came aboard and we can’t wait to see where he is headed!”

Mario is appreciated by his clients for always taking time to learn and understand their real estate needs and he makes the achievement of their goals his top priority. He feels that communication is essential to a successful relationship and prides himself on always being available and accessible to his clients.

“I’m excited to now be on the operating side of a multi-million dollar company,” said Mario. “I saw this opportunity with Rhodes Realty, which was one of the big factors for me to leave Washington DC.”

As a passionate member of the Rhodes Realty brand, Mario takes full advantage of the company’s tremendous resources to best serve his clients. The firm’s world-class marketing platform gives the homes he markets unrivalled exposure and the company’s research based approach to buyer representation ensures his home buyer clients find the ideal home and obtain it for the best price possible.

When the work day comes to an end Mario most values family time with his wife and four beautiful children and he enjoys a mix of excitement and relaxation from snowboarding, skydiving, traveling, golf, and an occasional great cigar.

Melder named head of the Department of Criminal Justice, History and Social Sciences

Mark Melder.jpg

Dr. Mark O. Melder has been named head of the Department of Criminal Justice, History and Social Sciences at Northwestern State University. The Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System has approved the appointment.

A graduate of Northwestern State in with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Melder earned a Master of Arts and Doctorate in Sociology at Louisiana State University. Melder has been a member of Northwestern State’s faculty from 2007-10 and since 2014. He was coordinator of the master’s program in homeland security since June 2017 and acting department head since April. Melder has also been on the faculty of LSU and Louisiana Tech.

“I am honored to have been selected by my departmental colleagues and the university and system to lead the Department of Criminal Justice, and Social Sciences,” said Melder. “We offer a number of diverse degrees and serve over 500 majors in our 5 undergraduate programs and our masters program, and I look forward a bright future with our department and our university.”

Melder’s research interests are domestic and international militia groups and intimate partner homicide. His master’s thesis examined the motivations of militia members to join and remain active in a militia group and led to an article published in the Journal of Deviant Behavior “The Moral Careers of Militia Group Participants: A Case Study (2014).”

Melder’s doctoral dissertation, “The Anomaly of Racial Variance in Female Perpetrated Spousal Killing,” examined the phenomenon of intimate partner homicide, specifically women who kill, attempting to explain the racial differences in domestic homicide rates.

He is working on research in post-traditional students learning styles and continuing to research domestic and international terrorism.

The Department of Criminal Justice, History, and Social Sciences offers bachelor’s programs in resource management, criminal justice, history and unified public safety administration, a master’s in homeland security and a Pre-Law and Paralegal Studies Certificate of Completion Program and a Public Policy and Administration Program Certification. A post-master’s Global Security and Intelligence Certification is available along with an Adult Learning and Development concentration in Homeland Security offered in conjunction with the Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development.

For more information on the Department of Criminal Justice, History and Social Sciences, go to

Student chorus groups to perform at LSMSA Fall Concert

Senior Lecturer of Voice and Chorale Lisa Benner conducts the school chorus at the 2017 concert.

The Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA) will be holding its annual Fall Concert on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 3:00 p.m. and Monday, Dec. 3 at 6:30 p.m. Both performances will take place at the school’s Center of Performance and Technology Recital Hall. The two showings are free and open to the public.

The event, hosted by the school’s Music Department, will feature a mix of secular, sacred, jazz, and holiday tunes. Both the LSMSA Mixed Ensemble and Chorale will be performing at this event. Both groups will be accompanied by Michael Young of Natchitoches.

LSMSA’s Music Department regularly hosts musical events like the Fall Concert. For a more in-depth look, visit

Early Voting – as of November 28, 2018



Natchitoches Pairsh Early Voting

Wednesday 11-28-18 (Only)
1 70 27 3 100 81.30%
2 5 0 0 5 4.06%
3 3  3  0 6 4.87%
4 6 5  1 12 9.77%
84 35 4 123 100%
Totals 10-01-18 through 11-28-18
343 155 14 512
  • As reported by the Louisiana Secretary of State.  Shows In-Person and Absentee.


Election Day is December  8, 2018

Ballots – Natchitoches Parish

Special Election – Secretary of State
Kyle Ardoin – R
“Gwen” Collins-Greenup – D

PRECINTS 1-01, 1-05A, 1-08 and Part of 1-05
Member of School Board – District 2
Thurman J. Baptiste, Sr. – D
Tan’Keia Palmer – D

PRECINTS 1-10B, 3-01, 03-02, 03-03, 03-04 and 03-08
Member of School Board – District 9
Beverly J. Broadway – R
Carroll E. Daniels – D

PRECINTS 2-01 and Part of 02-05
Fire Protection District #8 Proposition – Millage Renewal

Natchitoches Celebrates 92nd Annual Christmas Festival this Saturday

Christmas Festival_Wayne Toups

The 92nd Annual Natchitoches Christmas Festival will take place Saturday, Dec. 1 in downtown Natchitoches. The Natchitoches Historic District Business Association and the City of Natchitoches will usher in the holiday season with children’s activities, entertainment, parade, food vendors, and fireworks. Louisiana musical artist, Wayne Toups will serve as the Natchitoches Christmas Festival Parade Grand Marshal and he will headline entertainment for the day as well.

The Christmas Festival parade will begin at 1 p.m. at the corner of Jefferson Street and University Parkway. The parade featuring approximately 80 entries including floats of reigning Queens including Miss Merry Christmas and the Christmas Belles and marching bands, dance lines, parade Grand Wayne Toups and Santa Claus. The parade will also feature two new floats this year. The parade will travel along Jefferson Street to Front Street, turning left onto Lafayette Street and Second Street, and ending at University Parkway.

Musical entertainment begins at 2:45 p.m. with a performance by Louisiana Sidemen, followed by headliner Wayne Toups. High-energy showman, Toups has long been dubbed “The Cajun Springsteen.” He has recorded more than a dozen albums and toured to more than 20 countries. His songs have been heard on such film soundtracks as Steel Magnolias and Dirty Rice.

At 6 p.m., the festivities will be capped off by a spectacular fireworks display over beautiful Cane River Lake and the lighting of thousands of lights.

Admission to the festival is $8 for adults (12 years of age and older) in advance and $10 for adults (12 years of age and older) at the festival gates. Children under age 12 are admitted free to the festival. Armbands may be purchased day of the festival from ticket booths located throughout the Downtown Historic District beginning at 6:30 a.m. Discount armbands may be purchased in advance at the following area businesses: Bank of Montgomery, City Bank & Trust Company, Exchange Bank,  La Capitol Federal Credit Union and Hampton Inn & Suites.

All festival vendors inside the gated area will require tickets to purchase food and/or merchandise. Tickets may be purchased from all ticket booth locations as well as at automated ticket machines on festival day. Tickets may be purchased in advance at any pre-sale armband locations.

For more information on the 92nd Annual Natchitoches Christmas Festival, please visit

How He Spent His Thanksgiving

By Joe Darby


Well, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Yes, I realize that greeting is exactly one week too late.

But I wanted to write about Conna Cloutier’s memorial service last week, so I’m talking about Turkey Day this week, if you’ll beg my pardon. I’d like to tell you about our Thanksgiving, which was probably somewhat like a lot of yours, but perhaps still worth sharing.

We drove down to Jackson, La., about 30 miles north of Baton Rouge, to be with family. My niece Bonnie runs the Old Centenary Inn there and it was the center of our activities. However, she had a full-up guest list so we had to find other accommodations. There was literally no room at the inn.

Our part in the Thursday celebration was to bring a nice desert. I bought a very nice tray of cheese cake, of all different types. Looked quite yummy. But about two thirds on the way there, we realized we forgot it. The tray was still in our fridge back home!

But we were lucky to come upon a Piggly Wiggly store in one of the little towns hugging the Mississippi River north of New Roads. So we went in and bought a nice chocolate cake and a lemon pie. We were Thankful for little super markets in small towns.

When we got to the Jackson area we checked into our alternate accommodations, quite a nice place really. We went on to the inn and had a lovely pre-Thanksgiving supper with part of the family. More would show up the next day, of course.

When we got back to our rooms we discovered a fine white powder covering a small table in the suite’s living room. I’m not really paranoid (I promise) but my first crazy thought was, could this be anthrax, laid out by a lone mad terrorist? Well of course it wasn’t. We later learned the suite had just been renovated and the powder was doubtless sheetrock dust blown out of the heating vent. We were Thankful for the absence of lone mad terrorists at our temporary home.

The next day’s meal, the traditional one of turkey and dressing, was simply delicious, as it always is. Bonnie, her sister Debbie and husband Chuck deserve A+ in preparing that meal. The company was great too, with the presence of many third generation youngsters, mostly young ladies, descended from my late sister Patsy and her husband Charley. Charley, by the way, is 91 and still pretty darned spry. We were Thankful for sweet relatives and spry old men.

My daughter Becky is a supervisory nurse in the New Orleans area and was not in Jackson but she called, of course, and informed me she had gotten the results of a DNA genealogy test. She’s mostly English, then Scots and Irish with a fair touch of French. Just about as I’d thought. We were Thankful for all of our ancestors who were responsible for us being here.

Bonnie and Chuck drove Mary and me back to our suite because I can’t drive after dark on twisty, country roads. We were Thankful, again, for sweet relatives but Chuck did seem to enjoy driving my Dodge Challenger coupe. We talked about fast cars all the way back to our suite.

So, we returned home safely the next day, Friday. It was a fine three days. I truly hope yours was as nice. We are Thankful for good, patient readers.

Car named Aurora celebrates 30th annual Gala

Aurora the Art Car.jpg
A car named Aurora will greet guests attending Northwestern State University’s 30th annual Christmas Gala this week. The Mazda RX-8 art car parked in front of A.A. Fredericks Auditorium was completed specifically for the Gala celebration to commemorate the Christmas Gala and the thousands of spectators who have been entertained by it over the years.

“Scott Burrell [assistant director of the School of Creative and Performing Arts] and I began talking about the possibility of creating a design to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Gala earlier this semester,” said Collier Hyams, professor of art. “I designed it loosely based around the Gala theme.”

The design theme is centered around the Aurora Borealis Northern Lights presented in Pop Art Ben-Day dot style made famous by Roy Lichtenstein with Dr. Seuss influenced Christmas trees, Hyams explained.

“I borrowed the cut paper snowflake idea from one of our design class projects and the Zipper is unzipping like a sweater to reveal a darker layer showing the Gala Logo. This is a nod to Clark Kent transforming into Superman showing the big S logo. The purple mouth section is a nod to the Jaguar and Ferarri LeMans racecars of the 1950s and 1960s. The purple lips are also for my daughter Juliet and purple for NSU. If I had to name her she would be ‘Aurora.’

The car will be featured in the Natchitoches Christmas Parade Saturday, Dec. 1 with participants in Gala, including actors, dancers, musicians and artists. The parade rolls at 1 p.m. in downtown Natchitoches.

Contributing to its completion were Professor of Art Leslie Gruesbeck, who headed up interior decorations; NSU Graphic Designer Beth Mann, who created the Gala 30th anniversary logo, and Larrie King, graphic designer and NSU alum, who designed the 30th anniversary logo for NSU’s School of Creative and Performing Arts.

The project was made possible by CAPA, NSU Christmas Gala, NSU Facilities and Mazda North American Operations. Pixus Printers of Lafayette printed the design.

The car will remain in front of A.A. Fredericks through the end of the semester.

The NSU Christmas Gala will be performed through Nov. 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 still available through 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. For more information, call (318) 357-4522.

Northwestern State athletics pleased with generous response on Giving Tuesday

Gameday (2)

Northwestern State athletics supporters were in a generous mood on Tuesday, donating more than $15,000 on the nationally celebrated Giving Tuesday.

More than 100 donors gave either to NSU’s Demons Unlimited Foundation or to a specific sports program.

“We want to thank all the Demon family, friends, and fans who stepped up on Giving Tuesday to donate,” said Mike Jaworski, the director of development and engagement. “We are so appreciative of all the support we get throughout the year, and to see this much generosity in one day is truly amazing.

“The best part about Giving Tuesday was we had a lot of new fans become first-time donors. The more people that can see the importance of events like this, the more we can continue to grow the NSU Athletic Department.”

The DUF supports athletic scholarships, the purchase of textbooks, facility enhancements and recruiting efforts among other areas to help NSU operate a Division I athletics department with 14 sports.

The NSU softball team won the fundraising challenge by raising more than $1,250 from 26 donors.

Three other programs topped the $500 mark Tuesday, including volleyball, soccer and baseball.

“I would also like to thank all of our athletes who helped out and spread the word of Giving Tuesday through text, social media, and word of mouth,” Jaworski said. “Our athletes are our biggest advocates, and to see their enthusiasm and effort behind Giving Tuesday is very exciting.”

Fans can continue to make donations throughout the year by visiting and clicking on the “Donate” tab for different giving options.