Master Gardeners: February Meeting Announcement

The Master Gardeners of Natchitoches Parish will hold a Tulip Planting Activity Meeting for the month of February and the public is invited. We will be meeting Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 9 am at the City “Barn” across from the intersection of Touline and 6th street. We will not be having our regularly scheduled meeting for Wednesday, Feb. 13. Our activity is part of the ongoing beautification program for the City of Natchitoches and we will be planting a variety of colorful tulips in pots to be displayed around town. If you would like to participate please wear appropriate clothing for the weather, waterproof shoes or boots and bring your gardening gloves as we will be outside.

The Louisiana Master Gardener Program is a volunteer development program offered by the LSU AgCenter. Master Gardeners are highly trained and provide proven, research-based educational programs to Louisiana residents as well as volunteering their time and talents to aid in community beautification projects.

For more information or for daily tips on North Louisiana gardening, go to Gardener/.


Engage Federal Credit Union has been the premier financial institution for our members for over 43 years. That’s because we’re owned by our members! That’s why we truly understand the financial needs of families and small businesses in the greater Natchitoches and surrounding areas.

One way Engage helps our members is to provide loans for those who are unable to get a loan from traditional banks. Because we’re a federally certified CDFI credit union, Engage has the mission to help individuals achieve financial stability and build wealth.

The credit union is pro-active when it comes to stopping the dangerous practice of borrowing from expensive payday or auto lenders. “Engage actively combats harmful lending practices every day. Unlike credit unions where interest rates are capped at 25%, it’s not uncommon for fringe lenders to charge borrowers over 400% APR”, explains Kathy Deloney, CEO. Engage offers payday alternative loans and wheels to work loans for individuals strapped with high-cost interest rates. These types of loans can trap borrowers in a never-ending cycle of debt. At Engage, our knowledgeable staff works closely with every borrower to review credit scores and answer questions about budgeting. We make sure that your loan works to help you achieve your financial goals.

Individuals who visit our branch at 256 HWY 3175, Natchitoches and close on a loan of at least $1,000.00 will be offered a spin on the new Prize Wheel! Prizes include promotional items such as ball caps, charging stations, water bottles, umbrellas, Bluetooth speakers, and $100 cash!
Apply for a loan online at or call us at 318-238-7762 to find out how we can help you!

NCHS Powerlifting competes at Leesville Meet

The Natchitoches Central Powerlifting boys team traveled to Leesville on Jan. 26 to compete in the Leesville HS Invitational Powerlifting Meet.

The Chiefs were represented by 10 lifters, who racked up 36 total points. Of the ten who participated, 6 medaled in either first or second in their respective weight classes.

Bringing home the hardware for the Chiefs are as follows:

1ST PLACE- Rodney Robinson – 165#

1ST PLACE – Patrick Dessources – 242#

1ST PLACE – Tucker Henderson – 198#

2ND PLACE- Jamicha Howard – 198#

2nd PLACE – Jacoby Timms – 220#

2nd PLACE – John Waskom – 181#

JV Boys/Girls will be traveling to Buckeye High School on Feb. 2 to compete.

Pictured on front row from left are Rodney Robinson, Tucker Henderson, John Waskom, Jamicha Howard, Jacoby Timms and Patrick Dessources. On back row are James Burrell, Devin Hudson, Christian Driver, and Naji Helaire.

Interstates Raise Your Blood Pressure? Try a Backroad for a Relaxing, Quiet Drive.

By Joe Darby

If you’re heading north or south, to Shreveport or Alexandria, and you’re not in a big hurry, you might want to try good old La. 1 instead of the Interstate.

On the Interstate, as you know, you’ll be beset by speeders, looming 18-wheelers, slow-pokes that force you to pass them and other unpleasant challenges to your serenity and safety.

On good old La. 1, you’ll find few of those problems (except perhaps for the slow-pokes), along with time to look at the countryside and enjoy the ride. I keep referring to the highway as good old La. 1 because I have a true affection for that long-traveled road.

If Route 66, stretching from Chicago to California, can be called America’s “Mother Road,” I think one could make a case for La. 1 being Louisiana’s “Mother Road.” It runs from Grand Isle, down on the Gulf of Mexico, to the extreme northwest corner of our state, traversing 12 parishes along the way. It’s our longest numbered highway. And it does, of course, pass right through Natchitoches.

La. 1 was put together during the early 1930s, under Gov. Huey P. Long, as a continuous route from north to south, connecting smaller patches of unpaved, more or less local roads. The highway would not be paved along its entire length until 1949, when the section in lower Lafourche Parish was finally given a hard overlay.

But, enough of its history. I like it because its traffic is light, it is, as I said, relaxing, and it brings back what auto travel was like years ago. It is a good way to get to Shreveport or Alexandria, I think.

But of course there’s so much more to it than our own local area. We often take La. 1 from Alexandria to New Roads, where we cross the Mississippi River on a (relatively) new bridge to visit family in East Feliciana Parish. That drive takes us through Marksville and other small towns along the Red and Mississippi Rivers. Make sure you obey each little town’s speed limits and you’ll be all right.

Years ago I would often drive the lower portion of La. 1, heading out from New Orleans and picking up the highway at Raceland to go down to Grand Isle. I wasn’t a fisherman but rather I was covering Jefferson Parish government for the New Orleans Times-Picayune so I would sometimes have business in that little island community.

Down there, La. 1 follows alongside Bayou Lafourche, where you’ll go through one small Cajun town after another, with scores of shrimping and fishing boats tied up along side the roadway. The scenery is interesting but, again, make sure you obey the speed limits. They have made a fine art out of speed traps.

So, putting it all together, I suppose I’ve traveled pretty much all of La. 1 at one time or another, but never in one continuous drive.

There are lots of other great backroad highways in Louisiana also. Let me mention US 71, which we recently took from US 190 near Krotz Springs to Alexandria. The different scenery and landscapes along that road are amazing. You go from swampland to open prairies with both cattle lands and farm lands to gently rolling hill country.

The state puts out a nice brochure and map on Louisiana Trails and Byways, which details scenic and historic backroads all over the state. Maybe I’ll talk about some of them in the future.

Allow me to end by repeating my suggestion that, when you have the time, take La. 1 or some other good old Louisiana highway. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

St. Mary’s students give back

A central apsect of Catholic education is learning the importance of service to others. On Monday of Catholic Schools Week students at St. Mary’s Catholic School brought items as a part of a school wide “Baby Shower for Jesus” that will be donated to the Womens Resource Center. Pictured in front row from left are McCall Methvin, Avery Williams, and Camille Lindsey. On middle row are Presley White, Alayna Rachal,Addi Rhodes, and Noah Severin. On back row are Preston Martinez, Kadence Creamer, Lainey Bennett, Tripp Philen, Carissa Kautz, and Ella Hollier.

Student Government Organization at LSMSA celebrates Arbor Day in new program

On Friday, Jan. 25, the Louisiana School for Math Science and the Arts’s (LSMSA) Student Government Organization (SGO) hosted an Arbor Day celebration in the school’s courtyard.

While Arbor Day in Louisiana is celebrated the third Friday in January, the event was postponed due to inclimate weather.

At the beginning of the ceremony, SGO President Will Heitman (’19) told the story of the first Arbor Day. Following, members of each of the sophomore, junior, and senior classes planted individual fruit trees in the courtyard before enjoying refreshments.

The group hopes to make this an annual event.

LSMSA boasts more than 50 student clubs and organizations. Visit to join next year’s incoming class.

BOM Sponsors CASA Awareness Social

BOM is a sponsor of the 2019 CASA Awareness Social. This year’s event will take place on March 12 from 6-9 pm at the Natchitoches Events Center. First Lady of Louisiana, Mrs. Donna Edwards, will be the keynote speaker.

Pictured from left are Jenny Hendrickson, Mary Hooper, Iris Lily (Advocate Supervisor -CASA), Jack Duty (Executive Director – CASA), Logan Lambert, Reba Phelps, Dewayne Chelette, Lyn Christophe. For more information about the CASA of Central LA visit

Call for Proposals for LitCon April 12-13

Northwestern State University’s third annual LitCon is currently seeking proposals for panels, individual performers and book and art fair participants for its 2019 conference, taking place April 12 and 13 in Natchitoches. The event is hosted by the Creative Writing Faculty in the Department of English, Foreign Languages and Cultural Studies, and will be held in The Orville J. Hanchey Gallery on Northwestern’s main campus.

“LitCon seeks to bring the energy and atmosphere of pop culture conventions to the realm of humanities festivals and academic conferences, creating a hybrid experience centered around the joy and evolution of our collective arts and practices,” said Dr. Rebecca Macijeski, Creative Writing Program Coordinator. “This conference is for visual artists, writers, writing programs, independent and academic publishers, academics, students and fans. As a growing regional conference, we’re excited about the idea of an inclusive celebration of the humanities, fan culture, poetry, literary fiction, genre fiction, graphic novels, scriptwriting, comics, illustration, visual and performing arts and more, with each discipline treated as equally exciting both culturally and academically.

“Our hope is that anyone practicing in these or related fields, whether academically, professionally, or as a fan or hobbyist, feels welcome participating in this environment. Thus, we seek proposals that touch on any of these related fields. We are open both to traditional academic paper and panel proposals, as well as innovative approaches that adapt the feel of a pop culture conference.”

Additionally, there is a small number of spaces available for book and art fair participants. The book and art fair will operate from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Tables are free, but space is limited. All money generated from sales go toward the artist.

Submissions are due March 1, 2019.

Individual proposals must include an abstract (200 words or less) and a 50-word program-ready bio. Panel proposals must include a panel description (150 words or less, program-ready) and a 50-pword program-ready bio for each participant (3-5 participants per panel). Book and art fair proposals must include a table description (150 words or less) describing how the space will be used (book and art sales, demonstrations, etc.), as well as a 50-word program-ready description of your table.

The LitCon Board is made up of the Creative Writing Faculty in the Department of English, Foreign Languages, and Cultural Studies. Panel submissions will be assessed in a timely fashion, with every effort made to have notice to prospective participants by March 15.

Desired proposals include individual authors and artists working in various media and/or formats seeking an audience for their work, showcases of writing groups and programs, both academic and otherwise; papers and proposals on fan culture, form and theory of creative writing and/or visual art, the intersection of pop culture and academic culture, and the pedagogies of these various topics; independent publishers, art collectives, and other institutions seeking to connect with fans and students and other humanities-related offerings that may not be listed here

An individual may submit up to three proposals. The conference cannot fund presenters.

Presenters do not need to be affiliated with any particular institution or organization.

Send all proposals to Proposals are due March 1.

Northwestern State’s Jazz Ferguson receives invite to NFL Scouting Combine

After shining in his one season as a collegiate starter at Northwestern State, receiver Jazz Ferguson will have the chance to step on the grandest of NFL stages leading up to the NFL Draft.

Ferguson received an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine, which will take place in Indianapolis from Feb. 26-March 4.

He is the first Demon to be invited to the Combine since Deon Simon in 2015. Simon’s impressive showing in front of personnel representing all 32 NFL teams led to him being drafted in the seventh round by the New York Jets and is currently a member of the Green Bay Packers.

“This is Jazz’s chance to show the NFL guys what he showed us each Saturday night,” said NSU coach Brad Laird. “This is a big opportunity for a guy who started one season in college, and there’s no doubt it can help him.

“The exposure he can get at the Combine, not just showing what he can do catching the football but in other things like the interview room, it enhances his chances of being drafted. He’ll get more exposure than when he was at NSU or LSU, and this is a great opportunity to show what he’s about on and off the field.”

Ferguson declared for the NFL Draft in early December, forgoing his senior season.

The 6-foot-5 receiver earned four different All-America honors as a junior during a season in which he compiled 1,117 receiving yards on 66 catches, scoring 13 touchdowns and averaging 101.5 yards receiving per game.

The St. Francisville native earned All-America nods from The Associated Press, Stats LLC, Phil Steele and Hero Sports.

“I went back and forth every day, trying to make the right decision. I went with my gut. My family, my brother, my teammates, the coaching staff, they’re all behind me and it felt way better to go ahead and make the call now than to continue to struggle with it,” Ferguson said on Dec. 4 when he announced his decision to enter the NFL Draft.

“I came here (NSU) and changed my life for the better. One of our trainers, Miss Ashley (Leggett), told me when I got here I had a dark cloud over my head, but I’ve come a long way since then. I’m a really good football player, but the biggest improvement is that I think I see the bigger picture. I’m emotional about football, I care about my teammates, I look for the best in everybody else and I try to set the right tone for the team.”

After transferring from LSU and sitting out one season at NSU, Ferguson set six school records while earning All-Southland Conference and All-Louisiana Offensive Player of the Year honors in 2018.

He ranked in the NCAA FCS top 20 in four stats — sixth in receiving touchdowns, ninth in receiving yards, 14th in receiving yards per game, and 20th in receptions per game (6).

Ferguson’s six NSU records includes touchdown catches, receiving yards per game, 100-yard receiving games (six), touchdown catches in a game (three against Abilene Christian).

He made splashes against big-time opponents, including a 71-yard touchdown at Texas A&M that was part of a 129-yard performance.

Ferguson also produced two of his most productive games – 138 yards and 112 yards with two touchdowns each – against Southland Conference stalwarts Sam Houston State and McNeese. He caught the game-winner to topple the Cowboys in Turpin Stadium.

Ten Demons have been drafted since 2002, including three in the first five rounds.

David Pittman (2006, Baltimore Ravens) was the last NSU player to go in the first three rounds.

Of the 36 Demons drafted, John Stephens (1988, New England Patriots) was the highest pick ever, going 17th overall.

PHOTO CREDIT: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services

Notice of Death – January 30, 2019


Vina “June” Walker
June 24, 1933 – January 28, 2019
Visitation: Friday, February 1 from 5-9 pm at Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home in Natchitoches
Service: Saturday, February 2 at 11 am at the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Chopin
Interment: Emmanuel Cemetery


Barbara D Wildman
March 27, 1932 – January 26, 2019
Service: Sunday, February 3 at 2 pm in the chapel of John Kramer & Son Funeral Home

Chamber President speaks to Rotary Club


Newly-elected Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce President Laura Lyles spoke to Rotary Club of Natchitoches on Jan. 29. She updated the group on the A+Coalition, Leadership Louisiana, and the possibility of a Natchitoches Home and Garden Expo. Pictured from left are Rotary Club of Natchitoches President-elect Josh Axsom, Lyles, and Rotarian with the Program Josh Manual (Photo by Dr. Ron McBride).

Kiwanis recognizes Terrific Kids in grades 1-2 at LP Vaughn


Students in grades 1-2 at LP Vaughn received Terrific Kid certificates for the month of January from the Natchitoches Kiwanis Club recognizing them for their character development, self-esteem and perseverance.

Pictured on front row from left are Skyla Mims, Leelann Beaudoin, Kaileigh Newton, Keenan Fisher, Henry McShappard, Jace LaCour, Kadian Turner, Jadarius Demease, and Kyron Mitchell. On back row are Kiwanian Heather Martin, Bryson Holman, Ja’Rihana Davis, Melodie Rice, Kaniyia White, Noah Grant, Liberty Carter, Ashira Matthews, Malique Jackson, and Assistant Principal Cori Beth Manuel. Not pictured are Christlyn Collins, Heriberto Cabrera, Asialyn McNulty, and Braylon Soileau.

Funds Needed to Save Badin-Roque House


Driving down Highway 484 through Isle Brevelle, you might not notice an unassuming bousillage house set back from the road. The Badin-Roque House has a rich cultural history dating to the 1700s. It’s also in danger of being lost forever.

The house has great significance to Cane River Creoles of Isle Brevelle. In the early 1800s, the house was purchased by Nicolas Augustin Metoyer (1768-1856), the founder of St. Augustine’s Catholic Church. A devote Catholic, Metoyer was a prominent and respected planter who was the first-born of a Frenchman and a former slave whose 10 children are the ancestors of Isle Brevelle’s Cane River Creoles. The house was used as a convent and later as a Catholic schoolhouse.

The structure also has a rich architectural heritage. It’s only one of four surviving examples of poteaux-en-terre (post-in-ground) construction in the US. The style of building is very rare due to the rate of decay in the buried ends of the posts. Badin-Roque is no exception—the building is currently in poor condition.

It wasn’t much of a surprise when the Louisiana Trust for Historic Places named the Badin-Roque House as one of Louisiana’s most endangered historic properties in September. The St. Augustine Historical Society was already working to come up with a plan to preserve it.

In 2017, the St. Augustine Historical Society partnered with Cane River Creole National Historical Park and the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) to apply for funding through the Lower Mississippi Delta Initiative. An evaluation of the structural integrity was conducted in April 2018. They found a significant amount of decay and rot, particularly on the vertical posts that extend into the ground. The report also found insufficient storm water drainage that allows water to pool at the base of the building, furthering decay of the post foundation system.

Along with the findings and recommended treatment, the completed preservation plan provides cost estimates for repairs in the range of $145,000. However, with the help of some additional funding from the Lower Mississippi Delta Initiative, those costs have been lowered.

“We were incredibly fortunate that some last-minute partnership funding became available for this project. We used those funds to purchase a large quantity of cypress lumber, prune adjacent trees, and complete pest control for termite and carpenter bees,” said Carrie Mardorf, Superintendent of Cane River Creole National Historical Park.

With those costs already covered, the St. Augustine Historical Society is now fundraising through a GoFundMe page, specifically set up for the Badin-Roque House repairs. The hope is that local residents, community businesses, historic preservation professionals, and the Creole community can all come together to provide the needed funding.

“Since 2013, the SAHS has been seeking a way to save Badin-Roque,” says Dr. Mark Guidry, President of the St. Augustine Historical Society. “I am forever grateful for the leadership of Carrie Mardorf and the assistance of Sarah Marie Jackson of NCPTT, in getting us the preservation study. We now have a clear road map of what needs to be done to save the house. In an era where grants are few and limited, we will reach out to all our partners to save St. Augustine’s first Convent – a place of local, statewide, and national significance.” Dr. Guidry concludes, “It’s time to raise money to prevent collapse. We want it here for the future generation to know their history and heritage.”

“This project was truly a partnership effort. There were a lot of people who came together to make this project happen, and we all want to see it succeed. We’re hopeful that this momentum can continue to build so that the repairs can be completed in the near future,” said Mardorf.

To donate to the Badin-Roque GoFundMe page, go to and search for Badin-Roque or donate directly at You may also contact SAHS Fundraising Campaign Leaders: Tommy Roque, Sr., Anita Metoyer Evans, and Dr. Rand Metoyer. All donations will be used to support its repairs and maintenance.

For more information, you may contact the President of St. Augustine Historical Society at or the Superintendent of Cane River Creole National Historical Park at


Pictured above: SAHS Board of Directors stand with Carrie Mardorf after its October 2018 meeting when the Preservation Study of the Badin Roque Houses was presented to the Board. Left to Right: Dr. Mark Guidry, SAHS President, Clyde Roque, Theresa Demery, Carrie Mardolf, Gloria Jones, Van LaCour, Vera Severin, and Gail Jones. Photo Courtesy of Ethel Marie Guidry.