Multiple Fireworks Retail Stands Shut Down Due to Illegal Sales

State Fireworks Stand Shutdowns

The State Fire Marshal’s Office has issued cease and desist orders to eight fireworks stands in five parishes for illegal fireworks sales over this holiday weekend.

Following tips to the SFM, deputies investigated and confirmed illegal sales at retail stands in Sabine, Lafayette, Acadia, St. Martin and Iberia parishes. In addition, a large warehouse in Acadia Parish, found to be storing hundreds of thousands of dollars in suspected illegal fireworks, was also shut down and cited.

“These actions taken by our deputies are a reminder to consumers and retailers that the SFM is actively verifying compliance with Louisiana laws,” said State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning, “When questionable sales and operations are brought to our attention, we investigate thoroughly and take action swiftly, if necessary.”

More than 350 retail fireworks permits have been issued for the 2018 Christmas/New Year’s season, as it is state law for wholesale and retail fireworks business operators to be appropriately licensed by the SFM. The sales season extends through January 1.

We advise families to be mindful of whether the stand they are purchasing from has been permitted by this office. The SFM encourages reporting any suspicious or illegal selling of fireworks to 1-800-256-5452 or by visiting our website,

In addition, deputies have also spent the weekend investigating complaints about planned New Year’s Eve events with questionable occupancy and use. Some of those investigations, including in the New Orleans area, have resulted in either cease and desist orders for portions of the event or have been determined to be unfounded.

Turkey Season Lottery Hunt Applications for 2019 Now Available


Dec. 27, 2018 – The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
(LDWF) is accepting applications for the 2019 turkey season lottery
hunts on state wildlife management areas (WMAs). The deadline to
submit applications is Feb. 8, 2019.

Regular turkey lottery hunts will be held on nine WMAs this spring.
Youth lottery hunts will be held on 11 WMAs.

The application forms for these WMA hunts for adult and youth hunters
are now available on the LDWF website at . The forms list all lottery hunt dates and locations.

The 2019 wild turkey season will open April 6 on private lands in
three designated areas with varying end of season dates as follows:
Area A, April 6-May 5; Area B, April 6-28; and Area C, April 6-21. For
a detailed map, CLICK HERE

The statewide youth and physically challenged hunter weekend for
private lands will be March 30-31. To access additional information on
turkey season, review the 2018-19 Louisiana Hunting Regulations
booklet at

For more information, contact Cody Cedotal at or

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with
managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For
more information, visit us at To receive recreational
or commercial fishing email and text alerts, signup at

LaCap Senior Spotlight: Claire Elizabeth Guillet

LaCap SS_Claire Guillet

LaCap Senior Spotlight recognizes Claire Elizabeth Guillet a senior at St. Mary’s Catholic School as an outstanding high school senior.

Claire has attended St. Mary’s for 14 years. She is the daughter of Chris and Lisa Guillet and has three siblings, Michael, Ella and Henry.

Claire has been a member of the Tiger Line dance team for 4 years and currently serves as co-captain. She is a 4-year member of FBLA and was a state qualifier for two consecutive years in parliamentary procedures. She is also a 4-year member of FCA, currently serving as vice-president, as well as 4-year member of the Leo Club, serving as secretary her senior year. Claire is also a member of Beta Club and National Honor Society.

Claire is a member of the St. Denis Art League Spring Festival and served as an usher in 2017. She will be a Maid in the Mystic Krewe de St. Denis and has been presented as a Princess and Lady in Waiting. Claire is also a member of the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Church.

After high school, Claire plans to attend Louisiana Tech University and major in Psychology with a focus in Counseling. She will further her education by pursuing a graduate degree.

LaCap believes it takes good grades, community involvement, and hard work to make a successful leader. Claire Elizabeth Guillet 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.

Gov. Edwards’ Statement on Government Shutdown, Impact on Louisiana

Office of the Governor
Gov. John Bel Edwards called on Congress and the Administration on
Dec. 27 to work in a bipartisan manner to end the government shutdown.
This week, FEMA announced that insurers cannot issue new flood
insurance policies or renew policies during the government shutdown.
Louisiana currently has approximately 501,000 homeowners who depend on
a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policy. Of that total, an
estimated 40,000 policies renew monthly, but are currently unable to
renew under FEMA’s rule issued as a result of the government shutdown.

“The real life consequences of the federal government shutdown
continues to grow with each passing day,” said Gov. Edwards. “Today,
Louisiana is being inundated by torrential downpours which makes
FEMA’s decision to disallow the renewal or issuing of new policies
through the National Flood Insurance Program a real concern to
thousands of families in our state. In addition, the Violence Against
Women’s Act has lapsed and thousands of federal employees are spending
the holidays without pay. There are very real ramifications to this
government shutdown, but there appears to be a lack of urgency in
Washington to forge a compromise. This is unacceptable, and it’s time
for those in Congress and the Administration to come together to find
a bipartisan solution to end this shutdown.”

Hot-shooting No. 13 Texas takes down Northwestern State


AUSTIN, Texas – The Northwestern State women’s basketball team started
strong and finished the same way Saturday afternoon.

In between, however, No. 13-ranked Texas made things tough on the
visiting Lady Demons. The Longhorns used big scoring advantages in the
second and third quarters to score a 104-66 victory inside the Frank
Erwin Center.

Despite the final score, the Lady Demons (5-6) found plenty of positives.

“There are a lot of things we have to improve on, but there are a lot
of areas wher we’re seeing a lot of growth,” third-year head coach
Jordan Dupuy said. “We forced them into more turnovers than we had.
That’s a huge step for us. We had more assists than turnovers. That’s

The Lady Demons played as good a first quarter as they have against
any Power Five conference opponent this season. NSU hit 6 of its first
10 shots and used back-to-back buckets from freshman RaVon Nero to
pull within seven points (25-18) after the first 10 minutes.

The quick start continued for Nero, who tallied 18 points on 8-of-11
shooting, her seventh double-figure scoring output in the first 11
games of her career. Following a one-point debut at Arkansas, Nero
averaged 14 points per game in NSU’s final three matchups with Power
Five foes Oklahoma, Alabama and Texas.

“Ray was doing the things she can do and that we ask her to do,” Dupuy
said. “Look at the efficiency of her minutes. She played 19 minutes
and had 18 points. You can say, ‘Oh, she needs to play more.’ On that
flip side, if she plays 25 to 30 minutes, she’s playing more when
she’s tired and trying to stretch those minutes out, and she isn’t as

The Lady Demons were efficient offensively, shooting 48.3 percent from
the field. Despite that accuracy, the Longhorns (10-2) were even

Texas shot 54.5 percent and grabbed 24 offensive rebounds, leading to
a 31-rebound advantage (47-16) against Northwestern State. Those
rebounds led to 37 second-chance points for Texas, which enjoyed a big
day from the 3-point line as well.

The Longhorns connected on 12 of 19 3-pointers (63.2 percent) with
Danni Williams (5-for-7) and Sug Sutton (4-for-4) leading the way.

“You have to pick your poison,” Dupuy said. “You can choose to keep
them out of the paint or run them off the 3-point line. We chose to
try to keep them out of the paint. Coming in, they only had two
players shooting over 30 percent (from 3-point range). Today, they
just hit.”

Texas put six players in double figures, led by Destiny Littleton’s 22
points, thanks to an 11-for-11 performance at the free-throw line.

In addition to Nero, Libba Gilliam reached double figures for
Northwestern State, hitting all three of her 3-point tries and
finishing with 10 points.

“Us shooting 48 percent on the road at a Power Five team is huge,”
Dupuy said. “Our bench outscored their bench. There are some things we
have to get corrected quick, but we are going to stay positive. There
were a lot of positives to come out of today’s game.”

Northwestern State returns to action Wednesday when it opens Southland
Conference play at Nicholls on Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. at
Stopher Gymnasium.

Notice of Death – December 30, 2018

Notice of Death 2017


Sarah Harrell Fredieu
December 10, 1954 – December 27, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, January 5 from 2-3 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, January 5 at 3 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Thomas O. “Tommy” Harrison, Jr.
March 24, 1928 – December 28, 2018
Service: Monday, December 31 at 2 pm the First Baptist Church of Montgomery
Interment: St. Maurice Cemetery


Mary Elsie Farman
February 14, 1925 – December 27, 2018
Service: Monday, December 31 at 10 am at St. Rita Catholic Church
Interment: Alexandria Memorial Gardens

Richard Gadel
October 9, 1936 – December 19, 2018Visitation: Friday, January 4 from 4-8 pm and Saturday, January 5 from 8:30-10 am at the John Kramer & Son Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, January 5 at 10 am at Mary, Mother of Jesus Catholic Church
Interment: Alexandria Memorial Gardens

Josephine James
July 15, 1932 – December 27, 2018
Service held Dec. 30


Spelling It Out

By Kevin Shannahan/Opinion

Just as I was trying to remain somewhat hopeful about the state of education in our parish, the great spelling kerfuffle of 2018 erupted. So much for cautious optimism. From what I’ve been able to gather, a teacher was caught red handed in one of our elementary schools teaching spelling – as a separate subject. Things got a tad complicated from there. In the halcyon world of modern curriculum design, teaching children how to spell is best done in context, with errors corrected as they arise rather than teaching spelling in isolation. Evidently, the old ways lead to no end of problems and these lists of spelling words, further compounded by homework and weekly tests, were an impediment dooming the children to a year of drudgery. One can’t have that.

The teacher, an honorable title I have always preferred to the pretentious “educator”, sent a note home to the children’s families that stated that, as spelling was no longer to be taught in the Natchitoches Parish Schools, she would no longer be giving spelling homework or spelling tests each week.  After the social media explosion, accusations back and forth, and yet another addition to the growing list of dubious robo calls, one might be tempted to dismiss the whole sad sequence of events as a tempest in a tea pot. Such is not the case.

That is how I thought of the whole affair, as a tempest in a teapot, until I clicked on the link for the Louisiana Department of Education’s K-12 Student Standards for English Language Arts. The following paragraph is on the second page.

“Students in Louisiana are ready for college or a career if they can read, understand, and express their understanding of complex, grade-level texts. This means students should be able to pick up any text, such as a picture book, newspaper article, or painting, understand what the text means, and be able to speak or write about the ideas they learned or challenge from the text and why.”

I’ll leave aside, for the moment, how one is supposed to understand the text on a painting. A student is ready for, not second grade, but college or a career if they can understand a PICTURE BOOK? That is the lofty standard these “educators” hold out to for our state’s children?

The whole controversy presents a false choice. I was in third grade in 1972 in St. Ambrose School in Endicott, NY. Most of the school’s students were no more than a generation removed from the working class immigrants that staffed the factories of our parents’ and grandparents’ time. It was not a wealthy school. We had spelling words. We had homework. We had spelling tests. Spelling, as well as grammar, was an integral (for some odd reason, I remember that word from a spelling word list) part of the curriculum. Teaching spelling need not, nor should it be, an either/or choice.

Our parish’s schoolteachers (another honorable title, quite refreshingly absent from the dreck that is the K-12 Student Standards for English Language Arts) should be treated like professionals. I’m still flabbergasted that I am writing an editorial defending the assignment of spelling words to third graders. Years from now, a former student will be on the jobsite or in a college classroom and will thank that teacher who laid a foundation for success.

Water Main Replacement Project Creates Detours

East Natchitoches Water Main Replacement Detour Map

The City of Natchitoches would like to advise the public David Lawler Construction, Inc. will be working on the East Natchitoches Water Main Replacement project between St. Clair and St. Maurice at Fifth Street to include Whitfield Drive, Sirod Street, and Adelaide Street from January 3rd – 5th, 2019 weather permitting.

During this time, motorists are asked to find alternate routes around the construction site. The City of Natchitoches appreciates the public’s patience while these improvements are being made and reminds everyone to please drive with caution near the construction site.

State Fire Marshal Offers Fireworks Purchasing, Use Tips

Firework Tips 2018
More than 350 retail fireworks permits have been issued for the 2018 New Year’s season, as it’s state law for wholesale and retail fireworks business operators to be licensed by the State Fire Marshal in order to open up shop. Sales extend through January 1.

We advise families to be mindful of whether the stand they are purchasing from has been permitted by this office.

In addition, we’d like to inform families of the types of retail fireworks that are and are not considered legal in the State of Louisiana. Legal items can be readily identified by a safety warning on the packagingwith labeling that includes either “1.4G” and/or “UN
336.” Consumers should refrain from purchasing, and report to the SFM, loose or unpackaged fireworks with no label.

The SFM encourages reporting any suspicious or illegal selling of fireworks to 1-800-256-5452 or by visiting our website,

To those citizens of the State who intend to use fireworks during the upcoming holiday, the SFM offers the following fireworks safety suggestions:

· Always read and follow the label directions carefully. · Always have a garden hose or water bucket nearby for medical emergencies and/or to douse spent or misfired fireworks.

· Adults should always supervise fireworks activity.

· Fireworks should be placed on a hard, smooth surface prior to ignition. NEVER light fireworks in your hand.

·Light one firework at a time, and move away quickly after lighting.

· Never point or throw fireworks at people, pets, cars, or buildings.

· Keep fireworks away from small children.

· Do not alter or make your own fireworks.

· After displays, never pick up fireworks that may be left over.

“Celebrating what each New Year can bring to us and our families can be a safe experience,” said State Fire Marshal Chief H. “Butch” Browning. “But it’s up to each of us to make safety a priority during those celebrations, especially when fireworks are involved.”

After eight-day break, Lady Demons back in action at No. 12 Texas

030 NSU 24 Kira Bonner.jpg

AUSTIN, Texas – The last time the Northwestern State women’s basketball team returned to action after an eight-day layoff it produced one of its best efforts of the season at Alabama.

Armed with that knowledge, the Lady Demons will try to replicate that when they come back from their second week-plus of December to face No. 12 Texas at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Saturday’s game can seen on the Longhorn Network, while streaming audio is available on or through the new Northwestern State Athletics mobile app, which can be downloaded free through the Apple Store or Google Play. Tony Taglavore, in his 11th season, will handle the play-by-play call of the game.

“I would hope we gained some confidence against Alabama we can bring to Austin,” third-year head coach Jordan Dupuy said. “We want to play a certain way and being able to turn our opponent over has to be the mind-set no matter who we are playing.”

Northwestern State (5-5) bounced back from its 14-point loss at Alabama on Dec. 16 with an 82-56 win against Central Baptist on Dec. 21. The Lady Demons forced 32 turnovers in the win against the Mustangs, bumping their national-leading average to 28.2.

Turning over Texas (9-2) will be a challenge as the Longhorns commit 15.9 turnovers per game.

The Longhorns will pose a challenge on the backboard as they lead the Big 12 in total rebounds (495) and rank 14th nationally in rebounds per game (45.0). Texas also hauls down an average of 14.2 offensive rebounds per game, a mark that stands fifth nationally.

“Texas has so much size and quickness,” Dupuy said. “The biggest concern is stopping their transition game and keeping them off the glass. Making them a half-court team and only allowing one shot is critical. That is also the most difficult challenge for any of their

Northwestern State also can cull some positive thoughts from its most recent trip to the Frank Erwin Center. On Dec. 13, 2017, the Lady Demons fell 68-44 to then-No. 8 Texas, holding the Longhorns to their lowest point total of the season at that point.

Northwestern State did so by slowing the tempo, something Dupuy said also affected his team.

Through three games against Power Five conference opponents in 2018-19, the Lady Demons have been much better offensively, averaging 60.6 points per game in those outings. In Dupuy’s first two seasons, Northwestern State averaged 41.1 points per game in seven games against those opponents.

Part of that improvement has been achieved by turning defense into offense. In games against Arkansas, Oklahoma and Alabama, Northwestern State has forced an average of 22.7 turnovers per game.

Dupuy has said forcing turnovers and playing aggressive defense has defined his third edition of the Lady Demons, something that will need to continue despite the second long break of the month.

“The difference this time with our long break between games is we were still practicing,” Dupuy said. “We had the break thrown in (this time), and you have to shake off the holiday cobwebs. We have to understand we are down 15 before we even step on the floor, so playing with a sense of urgency for 40 minutes is a must.”

Photo Credit: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services


Parish President Rick Nowlin has announced that the Parish Government
offices will be closed Tuesday, January 1, 2019 for the New Year’s Day holiday. Additionally, the Parish landfill and bin sites will be closed Tuesday. Parish offices will be open for normal operating hours on Monday, December 31, 2018, and will reopen for normal business hours on January 2, 2019 after the holiday. Questions about
Parish closures can be directed to the Parish Government at (318) 352-2714.



BATON ROUGE- Louisiana is ranked No.8 in the nation for creating an
integrated, efficient early care and education system to support children and families, according to a recent report by the Bipartisan Policy Center. The report, which includes all 50 states and the District of Columbia, highlights states’ specific approaches to
organizing and administering early childhood education programs and ranks them in terms of their relative success in consolidating program administration, establishing advisory councils, implementing quality measures and deploying available funds.

“States generally have wide latitude in the way they choose to organize, manage, and fund [early childhood education] programs on the ground,” the report notes. “Better program integration and coordination at the state level is thus important, not only because it promotes the efficient use of public funds but also because it bears
directly on families’ ability to access the resources they need.”

Louisiana is lauded in the report for:

Managing five programs serving children under one agency to improve
efficiency and allow for better alignment of eligibility and monitoring requirements and quality improvement activities; and Creating a quality rating and improvement system that is mandatory for all publicly funded early childhood education providers to ensure
quality of care for all children.

VIEW THE REPORT: Louisiana-State-Fact-Sheet-2

LDWF Stocks over 8 Million Fish Across the State in 2018

Fish Restocking
Baton Rouge – This year, in cooperation with the USFWS Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery, the City of Shreveport’s Cross Lake Fish Hatchery, and LDWF’s Rockefeller Refuge, the Inland Fisheries Hatchery Program stocked over 8 million fish into 59 waterbodies around the state. Species stocked include Florida largemouth bass, northern
largemouth bass, hybrid striped bass, channel catfish, bluegill, redear, black crappie, threadfin shad, golden shiners, and triploid grass carp. These fish species are stocked to enhance sport fishing through improving the genetics of largemouth bass by stocking the
Florida largemouth bass, enhancing waterbodies where natural reproduction is limited or non-existent, improving the forage base available for sportfish, to, or to improve sport fishing access. The Florida subspecies of largemouth bass grow larger than Louisiana’s
native Northern largemouth bass, so they are stocked with the goal of increasing an angler’s chance of catching a larger than average largemouth bass.

In addition to the fish releases, the Red River Waterway Commission (RRWC) with stocking 90,000 advanced Florida largemouth bass fingerlings purchased for the Red River by the RRWC.  These fingerlings were stocked into the five pools of the Red River to
enhance the largemouth bass populations in the Red River.

LDWF’s fish hatcheries primarily stock fish in the spring and early summer, then again in the fall, when fingerlings are large enough to be handled and water temperatures are conducive to fish stocking.

The LDWF Inland Fisheries section is responsible for the monitoring and management of the state’s freshwater resources. These efforts include sportfish population monitoring and management, providing boating access through aquatic vegetation control, sportfish
production and stocking through the hatchery system, and aquatic nuisance species monitoring and outreach.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at To receive email alerts, signup at

Notice of Death – December 28, 2018

Notice of Death 2017


Vernon Jordan
September 27, 1928 – December 21, 2018
Service: Saturday, December 29 at 11 am at Memory Lawn Cemetery in Natchitoches


Lloyd H. Ford
April 29, 1940 – December 27, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, December 29 at 5 pm at Union Baptist Church in Belmont
Service: Sunday, December 30 at 2 pm at Union Baptist Church
Interment: Old Pisgah Cemetery


Mandy Payne
July 14, 1944 – December 28, 2018
Arrangements TBA


Ray Leonidas Brown
December 8, 2018 – December 26, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, December 29 from 5:30-9 pm at the Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home
Service: Sunday, December 30 at 1 pm at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Tanyard Cemetery



Johnathan Rogers Jr

An investigation by the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office Criminal
Investigations Division led to the arrest of a Natchitoches man Dec.
26 at 8:15 pm in connection with the shooting death of a Montgomery
man and shooting of another according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff
Victor Jones Jr.

After several hours of processing the crime scene, analyzing evidence,
interviewing the suspect and witnesses, and consulting with
Natchitoches Parish District Attorney Billy Joe Harrington, Sheriff’s
Detectives arrested Johnathan Rogers Jr., 21 of the 200 block of
Independence Drive in Natchitoches. He was charged with 1-count of
Manslaughter in the shooting death of Michael R. Burks, and 1-count of
Aggravated Second Degree Battery in the shooting of Marquise Holmes.
Rogers was booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center where
he currently remains without bond.

NPSO Patrol Division deputies responded to reports of shots fired on
Dec. 26 at 1:56 am in the 100 block of Cherie Loop in Payne
Sub-Division off of La. Hwy 6 East in the Grand Ecore area near

Deputies arrived on scene, discovering two males suffering from
gunshot wounds, one deceased, the other in serious condition lying in
the yard of a residence.

Michael R. Burks, 22 of Montgomery, was pronounced dead at the scene
by Nachitoches Parish Asst. Coroner Steven Clanton.

Marquise Holmes, 21 of Montgomery, was transported from the scene to
Natchitoches Regional Medical Center and later transferred to Rapides
Regional Medical Center with serious injuries.

According to Chief Investigator Greg Dunn, several detectives with
assistance from the Natchitoches Parish District Attorney’s Office
spent several hours determining the facts in this case which led to
these charges.

The shooting was the result of an altercation between the suspect, the
deceased, and the gunshot victim.

Sheriff Victor Jones said the investigation into the shooting is
continuing and other arrests are possible as it progresses forward.

Involved in the investigation and arrest were: Detectives assigned to
the NPSO Criminal Investigations Division, NPSO Patrol Division,
Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office and Natchitoches Parish District
Attorney’s Office.

If you have any information please contact Detective Jared Kilpatrick,
NPSO Criminal Investigations Division at 318.357.7830

Date set for annual NSU Baseball Auction

NSU Baseball Sponsorships RiccaKunert.jpg

Nothing whets a baseball appetite quite like dingers and dinner.

Six days before the 2019 college baseball season begins, the Northwestern State baseball team will offer both to its alumni, fans and supporters.

The annual Demon Baseball Auction, presented by Maison Louisiane, is set for 6:30 pm. Saturday, Feb. 9, inside the NSU Student Union Ballroom. Earlier that day, all Demon baseball alumni will have the chance to take part in a Home Run Derby at Brown-Stroud Field.

“We have had a tremendous turnout the past two years with our current setup,” third-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “We look forward to having another great night where our players and staff can meet with and thank our supporters and their families.

“The Home Run Derby will be an exciting way to start the day with us being able to bring back a lot of guys who helped lay the foundation for this program.”

The 2019 NSU team will be in attendance to mix and mingle with fans and supporters, who will enjoy a catered meal and will have an opportunity to bit on numerous auction items, including travel packages, sports memorabilia and more.

All Demon baseball alumni will be recognized at the event as well.

Corporate sponsorships are available for $500 and include a reserved table with eight seats, a mention of the sponsor in the program insert, a verbal thank you during the event, an exclusive gift from the NSU baseball team and premium event seating.

Individual seats are available for $25. Proceeds from the event will benefit all areas of the Northwestern State baseball program, which broke ground earlier this month on a refurbished press box and the addition of a pair of suites at Brown-Stroud Field.

For more information on becoming a corporate sponsor, contact assistant coach Chris Bertrand at 318-357-4716 or via email at

Ponderings with Doug – December 28, 2018


There are two kinds of travelers.

There are those that pack two days ahead of departure, prepare a meticulous itinerary, map out the roads they will take, the stops they will make, and the timetable they will keep. These kinds of travelers pack first-aid kits, extra socks and underwear, and tuck energy bars, fruits, and water bottles into every aperture they can find in their luggage. Their cell phones are fully charged, and they have re-charging cords for every electronic device they carry – all with car adapters as well.

Then there are other kinds of travelers. You scrape clothes off the bedroom floor and chair (some clean/some not), stuff it into a backpack, grab keys and go. No toothbrush? Pick one up on the road. No map? More fun to just head in some general direction (“north”) and see what comes their way. Side roads, cut-offs, short-cuts, long-cuts, and detours are all part of the adventure. For these travelers there may be an ultimate destination in mind. But wherever they find themselves they are never “lost” – just getting where they are going by a different route.

These two types of travelers can also be described as “traveling with children” and “traveling without children.”

Anybody know what I’m talking about?

Leonard Sweet tells this story about traveling with children.

“I recently took my two youngest kids (12, 10) on a trip to South Africa. The flight from Washington, D.C. to Johannesburg is the second longest flight in existence (the longest being a flight from Singapore to LA). We carefully packed necessities and contingencies and tried to be prepared tourists. With two kids in tow we wanted to be responsible and ready, come-what-may. And we were.

Except for one small problem: they lost our luggage. We had to go off into the wilds of the African bush with none of the “stuff” we had prepared. One quick stop to get underwear and toothbrushes and off we went on a five-day safari.

Guess what? We survived just fine. Not only that, but when we finally arrived back home we had a suitcase full of clean clothes. It’s amazing what you can do without. It’s amazing how little we really need to go through life. You can fly half-way around the world and if you are open to the hospitality and generosity of others, you really don’t need all that “stuff.” You really don’t need life’s “stuffing.””

For most of us it is not “doing without” things that frightens us. It is doing without power. It is doing without knowledge. It is doing without control. That is what is scary about New Years.

Here is my suspicion: this is why resolutions are permanent fixtures on the New Year’s scene. You know, those resolutions to better ourselves–eat less, run more, drink little, smoke nothing. As the “Year That Was” turns into the “Year That Is Not,” we make New Year’s Resolutions, less to change our behaviors or improve ourselves in some way, and more to convince ourselves that we already have power and control over a year that spreads out before us like a 365-day-long question mark.

By making resolutions we face the fear and panic of the future by pretending the New Year will bring us exactly what we tell it to.

The truth is…none of us know what awaits us in 2019. We can make plans. We can arrange itineraries. We can pack luggage. But no one can predict the future. No one can say for certain what 2019 will bring.

The truth is . . . .

NCHS Boys Basketball: I-49 Shootout Schedule – TONIGHT!

The Natchitoches Central Chiefs will host their annual I-49 Shootout at Prather Coliseum Friday, Dec. 28. The annual shootout combines teams from North Louisiana playing teams from South Louisiana. It will be a great afternoon/evening of High School basketball.

2:00 pm Saline HS vs Haughton HS

3:30 pm Capt. Shreve vs Live Oak HS

5:00 pm Montgomery HS vs South Beauregard HS

6:30 pm Hicks HS vs Summerfield HS

8:00 pm Natch. Central vs Dutchtown HS

*First team listed will be Home and will wear white.

Please arrive no later than an hour before scheduled time.
Admission: $8