John Richmond

Parish President Rick Nowlin is pleased to report that the Parish Council has approved the appointment of Mr. John Richmond as the new Director of Public Works. As Director, Mr. Richmond will be responsible for all activities of the highway and solid waste departments. He is expected to begin his service with the Parish in early January.

Mr. Richmond is a native of Alexandria, Louisiana, and has lived in Natchitoches approximately seven years. During the past year-and-a-half, John has been employed by Regional Construction, LLC., a local road building company, where he managed road construction projects across Louisiana. Prior to moving to Natchitoches, John was employed as a Vice President with Shaw/CBI where he was responsible for oversight of construction and finance with budgets of more that 1.4 billion.   Mr. Richmond earned a degree in Construction Engineering Technology from Louisiana Tech University and a Master’s degree in business administration from LSU.

Mr. Richmond was appointed to the position following the advertisement of the opening on three separate occasions over the past year. Interviews were conducted with qualified candidates and he was the unanimous choice of the interview committee. His combination of education, work history and knowledge of construction activities and his supervisory experience made him the right choice.

Mr. Earl Townsend has been serving as the interim director while the Parish sought a new director. He will continue with the Parish for a temporary period to assist Mr. Richmond as he takes over the department. Mr. Townsend previously served the Parish as the director until his retirement in 2013.

The Parish is pleased to appoint Mr. Richmond as our new Director of Public Works and are confident that he will lead the department with distinction.

Notice of Death – December 21, 2018

Notice of Death 2017


Claudia Lester-Bynog
September 7, 1956 – December 20, 2018
Visitation: Sunday, December 23 from 3-9:30 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Service: Monday, December 24 at 11:30 am at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church of Natchitoches
Interment: Bay Springs Cemetery in Chopin

Peggy Jean LaCaze
Service: Saturday, December 22 at 2 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Interment: Fern Park Cemetery in Natchitoches

Robert Demetrius Griffin
June 02, 1995 – December 13, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, December 22 from 10-11 am at the Asbury United Methodist Church
Service: Saturday, December 22 at 11 am at the Asbury United Methodist Church

Derrick Sharold Brown`
May 13, 1982 – December 14, 2018
Service: Saturday, December 22 at 11 am at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel in Natchitoches


Patsy Ruth Funderburg
November 12, 1933 – December 20, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, December 22 at 9 am at First Baptist Church of Pleasant Hill
Service: Saturday, December 22 at 10 am at First Baptist Church of Pleasant Hill\
Interment: Spring Ridge Cemetery


Mary Louise Carson
January 2, 1927 – December 20, 2018
Service: Wednesday, December 26 at 12 pm in the Chapel of Kramer Funeral Home
Interment: Forest Lawn Memorial Park
Visitation: Wednesday, December 26 from 8:30 am – 12 pm in the John Kramer & Son Funeral Home Chapel

Nicholas Scott “Nickey” Lemoine
February 6, 1965 – December 19, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, December 22 from 8-10 am at the John Kramer & Son Funeral Home in Alexandria
Service: Saturday, December 22 at 10 am in the chapel of John Kramer & Son Funeral Home

Nadine Edna Haas Larsen
February 11, 1929 – December 17, 2018
Service: Saturday, December 22 at 2 pm at St. James Episcopal Church in Alexandria


Jerry Wayne Leslie
January 02, 1942 – December 20, 2018
Service: Thursday, December 27 at 12 pm in the Chapel of Southern Funeral Home in Winnfield
Interment: Beech Creek Cemetery near Olla

Enola Chreene Crumholt
December 25, 1930 – December 19, 2018
Service: Saturday, December 22 at 12 pm at Chreene Cemetery in Stanley

2018 NCHS Football Awards Night – A Celebration of Hard Work, Excellence and Character!

By Kevin Shannahan

NCHS Awards 2019 (1)


Kevin’s Gallery

The NCHS atrium was transformed into a banquet hall as the Chiefs’ football team and trainers held their annual awards night Thursday, Dec 20th. NCHS head football coach Byron Keller began the event by welcoming the players, trainers and their families. The Chiefs then enjoyed a superb dinner of jambalaya and sides.

Coach Keller began the program with the academic awards. The young men were on the honor roll, academic all state, first and second team all district and district honorable mention.

Mr. Lennis Watson introduced the trainers. These young men and women are an integral part of the school’s athletic program. They are extensively trained in CPR, recognizing, preventing and dealing with injuries and caring for the athletes in their charge. Mr. Watson and the trainers provide an extra margin of safety for athletes in every sport. Over the years, several of the trainers have gone on to careers in physical therapy and sports training.

The assistant coaches presented awards to the outstanding offensive and defensive players, the offensive and defensive MVPs as well as the coaches’ award given to the player who exemplified character, dedication and selflessness. Lastly each senior player and trainer was called forward and presented with souvenirs of their time with the team.

This night was about celebrating the accomplishments of a superb group of young men and women. Watching the ceremony, I could see much more. This is the first year of coach Keller’s hopefully long career at the helm of the Chiefs. The change is palpable. A culture of discipline, accountability and excellence on and off the field is taking shape. Coach Keller and his assistants are more than coaches, they are examples to the boys of how men should conduct themselves. They are firm, but not abusive. They carry themselves with dignity and decorum. They are using football to build men.

The Natchitoches Parish Journal is looking forward to the Chief’s 2019 season. Go Chiefs!



District Attorney Billy Joe Harrington said today that Ervin Leanard Walker was sentenced by the 10th Judicial District Court to 17 years in prison. The sentence was the result of Walker’s trial conviction of illegal use of a weapon during a crime of violence.

Walker, 53, of Natchitoches was convicted for a 2017 shooting incident in a parking lot of a business on Keyser Avenue.

10th Judicial District Court Judge Lala Sylvester presided over the trial and sentencing.

NCHS Boys Basketball: I-49 Shootout Schedule

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

4H Club brings Christmas to Fairview Alpha and Goldonna students

4H Club 12-2018 Lakeview

Members of the Lakeview Jr/Sr High School’s 4H club participated in their first annual Pictures & Peppermints event on Dec. 14. Santa, Mrs. Claus and his “Elves” visited Fairview Alpha and Goldonna students to have their picture taken with Santa, tell them their Christmas wishes and received a candy cane attached with a note from Santa. The day was enjoyed by both the 4H members and the students.

Pictured on front row from left are Emily Corley, Kallie Ayres, Ashlie Key, Zoie Britt, Asharia Smith, Liberty Collins, Jorryn Harris, and Holtz Helms. On middle row are Mrs. Claus (Sherry Helms), Lashanti Prudhomme, Allie Hill, Allison Anderson, Sarah Jones, Jaydean Fenn, Josie Ayres, Aky’a Chatman, JaMichael Burgess, Trinity Browder, Chelsey Winslow, and Lauren Custis. On back row are Cameron Toussaint, Austin Smith, Destiny Williams, Cami Faircloth, Edward Smith, Charley Litton, Daniel Holland, Randell Slaughter, Hailey Poydras, Elizabeth Poydras, Nyla Carter, Brenton Cherry, Josh Mattox, Destinee Britt, and Santa Claus (Brandon Helms).

Ponderings with Doug – December 21, 2018

After all these years in Natchitoches, I am spoiled by the wonderful decorations.

Can you believe that not every town decorates for Christmas like we do?

Here’s what happens in the Gibsland metroplex. The Christmas decorations are attached to the light poles. One decoration per light pole. The decorations are snowflakes, Santa, angels, snowmen, boxes with bows and ribbons, candy canes, candles, and bells. The decorations are on both sides of Main street in Gibsland proper.

Last year on MY pole, the municipal Christmas decorations hanger attached a snow flake. The snow flake had blue lights. The lights are never off, day or night they are glowing brightly. My snow flake didn’t light up. Someone didn’t reset the circuit breaker on the pole plug. I was tempted to prop my ladder against the pole and fix the problem. I said tempted. I enjoyed looking at the snow flake, imagining what it would be like if the blue lights worked. The disappointment of last Christmas was tempered by the hope of the Christmas decorations this year.

This year, the decoration dude placed all the decorations by their respective poles and then went back and hung them on the pole.
This year I have a candy cane. The candy cane has red and white lights.
The candy cane is not hanging but propped against the bottom of the pole. The candy cane municipal Christmas decoration has been propped against the bottom of the pole for two weeks now.

As I survey Main Street, I note that the decoration dude started south of town and worked his way north on Main Street. As he went, he decorated all the poles on the right side of the street. On the left side of the street, many of the decorations remain propped at the bottom of the poles. Maybe the decoration dude was an arch conservative and only decorated poles on his right. Maybe he worried that decorating poles on the left would give assent to liberalism.

Maybe the dude’s wife had a baby and he never got back to the other side of the road. Maybe his truck broke down or his knee buckled. He might have forgotten, after all, half the town’s decorations are propped against poles. Maybe this is the year of unhung decorations in Bienville Parish and I didn’t get the memo.

I hope the authorities in the Gibsland metro area don’t pay this guy for the job. He did a half way job.

I was excited about the municipal decorations at the camp this year. I had resolved to climb up and make sure the circuit breaker was in the ON position. I was planning to enjoy the decoration on my corner.

Alas, it was not to be!

Isn’t that just like some Christmas plans?

Two points to ponder and I’ll let you go. First, for some folks the light of this season simply doesn’t shine. They don’t feel the love and joy of Christmas. Their hearts are broken, and the memory of loss or brokenness is too close. We can surround those folks with love and care. Remember, don’t practice theology without a license, be a quiet caring friend. You don’t have to give answers or explain the ways of God or of life. You can be a silent presence and that is adequate.

Second, I think the broken Christmases are the ones we remember. I already remember my two Christmases as a camp owner. The city decorations didn’t work on my light pole or never got hung. We remember easily, the time when the gift wasn’t right, the batteries weren’t included, or the plans went astray. We remember the times when things were not Norman Rockwell simple. We remember because of a spiritual connection to the first Christmas. The very first Christmas was all fouled up. Joseph explaining Mary’s condition, the trip to Bethlehem, the relatives that didn’t have room for a couple of cousins and the birth in the barn.

Christmas is about our brokenness and disappointments. It is about your Christmas decoration propped against the pole. It is about looking forward to a better time and a time when “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Doug FUMC - Christmas decoration


Ben Johnson Center International Paper

Ben D. Johnson Educational Center (BDJ Center) received $15,200 in grant funds from International Paper Red River Mill. The grant to the BDJ Center will be used towards the Legacy Youth Workforce Development program. The program will begin March 2019 and will serve young people ages 16-24 who are out of work and out of school by teaching occupational and life skills training with support to overcome social barriers. The program will utilize our food service business, Legacy Café, as a hands-on training environment.

The Ben D. Johnson Educational Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization located in Natchitoches, Louisiana and founded in honor of the late Ben D. Johnson whose holdings represented one of the largest minority-owned enterprises in the state. More importantly though was Mr. Johnson’s legacy of a lifelong commitment to community. The Ben Johnson Educational Center will utilize a social enterprise structure to serve the community with a Youth Workforce Development Program, Legacy Café, Teaching Farm & Green Market and a Shared Community Kitchen/Business Incubator.

“We are grateful for the financial support to address this critical community need,” said Founder and Board Chair Claire Prymus.

The mission of Ben D. Johnson Educational Center is to build community in Natchitoches and give access to social and economic success for all of its residents.

Founded by Claire Prymus in honor of her late uncle, the Ben D. Johnson Educational Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a commitment to building community and providing access and opportunities for residents in Natchitoches, Louisiana.

Pictured above from left are Victoria Lemane, Mill Communications Manager; Dallas Russell, Executive Director BDJ Center; and Mike Carroll, Mill Manager.

Lakeview FFA places in Leadership Development Events

gracie- area

Gracie Niette placed 1st in Area II in Geaux Teach Ag.

Lakeview FFA members recently competed in Leadership Development Events (LDE) and placed at the Area and State level. Emily Windham competed and placed 3rd in the Employment Skills LDE, which consists of creating a resume and cover letter, filling out a job application, a phone interview and mock personal interview with a panel of possible employers. Salem Johnson competed and placed 3rd in Area in the Gulf of Mexico speaking contest. The Gulf of Mexico LDE is designed to promote citizen concern and student awareness of the problems facing the Gulf of Mexico and the states that border the Gulf. The program is also designed to involve students in preparing and delivering a speech related to those problems. Gracie Niette competed in the Geaux Teach Ag LDE placing 1st in Area and 3rd in the State. The Geaux Teach Ag LDE involves students in preparing and delivering lesson plans based on a topic in the field of agriculture. The National FFA Organization is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

emily- area

Emily Windham placed 3rd in Area II in Employment Skills

9-1-1 Addresses Office Holiday Schedule

Natty 911

The Natchitoches Parish 9-1-1 Communications District addressing office will be closed on Monday, December 24 and Tuesday, December 25 in observance of Christmas. It will reopen on Wednesday, December 26, resuming our regular schedule.

The 9-1-1 Commissioners and staff extend best wishes for a Happy, Safe, and very Merry Christmas!

Willis Carter, Director

Natchitoches Parish 9-1-1 Communications District

Notice of Death – December 20, 2018

Notice of Death 2017



Peggy Jean LaCaze
Visitation: Friday, December 21 from 5-8 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, December 22 at 2 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Interment: Fern Park Cemetery in Natchitoches

Robert Demetrius Griffin
June 02, 1995 – December 13, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, December 22 from 10-11 am at the Asbury United Methodist Church
Service: Saturday, December 22 at 11 am at the Asbury United Methodist Church

Derrick Sharold Brown`
May 13, 1982 – December 14, 2018
Service: Saturday, December 22 at 11 am at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel in Natchitoches


John Michael Carroll
May 27, 1977 – December 13, 2018
Service: Friday, December 21 at 10 am at Warren Meadows Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Fisher Cemetery


Nadine Edna Haas Larsen
February 11, 1929 – December 17, 2018
Service: Saturday, December 22 at 2 pm at St. James Episcopal Church in Alexandria


Enola Chreene Crumholt
December 25, 1930 – December 19, 2018
Service: Saturday, December 22 at 12 pm at Chreene Cemetery in Stanley


School Board Member- Elect Donates to Teacher Luncheon

Reba to Parent Action Committee.jpg

Natchitoches Parish School Board Member-Elect, Reba Phelps, made a donation to the Parent Action Committee Teacher Christmas Luncheon at NSU Middle Lab School. The luncheon was held Dec. 18 and is held every year in appreciation for the teachers and their dedication to the students. Pictured with Phelps is Jamie Hogg, who was a teacher for seven years and knows the importance of making teachers feel appreciated and loved. Other PAC members Stephanie Dyjack and Gretchen Murchison assisted with the luncheon to make it as special as possible and can be seen around the school regularly volunteering in different capacities. School Administration and the teachers were very appreciative of all of the parents who donated their time and gifts to make this event memorable.

Shaving Every Day is a Pain in the Neck – and the Face

By Joe Darby


It’s one of those things that guys just have to do. Well, most of the time.

Our genes and our male hormones make it so. We have facial hair and if we’re not to look like total cavemen, we have to do something about it.

As you are well aware, many guys these days have beards. But the great majority still shave their necks and upper cheeks. The point is, though, that every day, or almost every day, we have to put on the lather, pick up the razor and clear at least part of our faces of fuzz.

Now I’ll admit that my shaving only takes about three minutes. That’s certainly not a lot of time, but to me it gets old, having to go through the process every day, day after day.

I also realize that you ladies, most of you, go through the makeup routine daily and that takes more time than shaving. And you probably freshen up the makeup several times throughout the day. So I know that guys are not the only gender with annoying rituals that we must perform. (And let me say here that most of us guys do appreciate your efforts with makeup. Y’all look really nice!)

Perhaps I get irritated (no pun intended) at the daily shave simply because it’s something I must do. Oh, I do skip a day now and then, if I’m not going anywhere, but that just means that when I finally do shave, it makes for a much more scratchy ordeal.

Funny that I’m tired of shaving now, because, like most lads, when my whiskers started to grow and I needed to start shaving, I felt like I was really becoming a MAN! I was probably about 16 at the time, a time when boys are eager to be a MAN and to be able to show it through facial hair.

When I began shaving I started using the popular Gilette safety razor of the time. After a while I tried an electric razor, which I found irritated my skin and didn’t give me a real close shave anyway. So I went back to the good old blade razor, which I’ve used ever since.

I was clean shaven until my late 20s, when I grew a mustache. Then, in 1972 I was in a pretty bad auto accident and cut my chin when my head hit the sheering wheel. (That was in the days when seatbelts were just lap belts. They stopped you from going through the windshield, but didn’t prevent your upper body from being slammed forward.)

The scar was so bad that I couldn’t shave over it and I had to grow a goatee. And once I had the goatee, I said, why not go all the way and grow a beard. So I did, and it was quite a beard if I do say so myself.

Photos of how I looked at that time are kind of embarrassing to me now. I mean, my beard was a typical 1970s beard, a fat one, sticking out like I’d just put my finger in an electrical outlet, or something. I later trimmed it into a much more neater one and I think it looked okay.

But then I decided to go back to the goatee, just covering the chin. Some folks today refer to my chin growth as a beard. I don’t bother to correct them. I suppose technically it could be called that, Anyway, because of that scar underneath, I’m pretty much stuck with the goatee for life.

And I suppose that’s all right. Nature decrees that the male of the species will have facial hair. And it’s up to us to make what we will of it.