Eyeing second straight win, Lady Demons host New Orleans

As the Southland Conference women’s basketball season nears its halfway point, Northwestern State coach Jordan Dupuy and his team are walking a fine line.

The Lady Demons are in a tie for ninth place, one game behind the cut line for the eight-team conference tournament in March. With eight of their final 11 games against teams under .500 in conference play, the Lady Demons could be tempted to look ahead toward a possible trip to the Merrell Center in Katy, Texas.

However, as Northwestern State prepares to host Southland foe New Orleans at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dupuy said he wants his team’s focus squarely on the immediate future, not on the next six weeks.

“It’s something you have to look at the big picture, but you have to strictly concentrate on what’s in front of you,” he said. “Enjoy the win (Saturday against Southeastern Louisiana), but they’ve already been back in the weight room. We have to carry that onto the practice floor. We’ll take it one step at a time, one game at a time and let the conference schedule play out the way it needs to. Hopefully it shakes out to where we’re playing in Katy.”

The Lady Demons (7-11, 2-5) snapped a four-game losing streak with a 58-47 win against Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday. The 47 points were the fewest allowed by Northwestern State since holding New Orleans to that same number on Jan. 30, 2018.

In that game, NSU held All-Southland guard Randi Brown to two points to earn a season split of the series with the Privateers. Coming off their best defensive performance of the conference season, the Lady Demons will face a UNO (5-12, 1-7) team that is trying to find its footing without Brown, who averaged 22 points per game as a senior.

“When you take a player like Randi Brown out of the mix, they’re still finding their identity on offense,” Dupuy said. “She could get them a bucket, get them a shot, create. They’re missing that player, but (coach) Keeshawn (Davenport) will have them ready to play. They’re going to defend, mix it up, play multiple defenses in the half court. Once they get their defense going, they’re better on the offensive end.”

Northwestern State also mixed up its defense against Southeastern Louisiana, helping lead to a turnaround on that end of the floor against the Lady Lions.

“We changed some things up as far as personnel,” Dupuy said. “We had both our point guards (Sami Thomas and Gabby Bell) in at the same time, which gave us more stability from a ball-handling and decision-making standpoint. They were very good at the front of our press, kept them contained.”

While the Lady Demons’ defense contained Southeastern Louisiana, freshman RaVon Nero continued to spark the Northwestern State offense.

Nero led the Lady Demons in scoring for the second straight game – and sixth time this season – and had 12 of her 16 points in the second half as Northwestern State did something it had not done previously this season.

By erasing a four-point Southeastern Louisiana lead entering the fourth quarter, the Lady Demons picked up their first win this season in a game they trailed entering the final 10 minutes.

In order to pick up their first back-to-back conference wins since Feb. 4-9, 2017, Dupuy said the focus must remain on the defensive end.

“We have to keep the same defensive intensity,” he said. “You can throw records out when you’re in conference. Which team is the most ready to play, the toughest team on the court, will win. We have to make sure our preparation is what it needs to be.”

Wednesday’s game can be heard on 97.5 FM KDBH in Natchitoches and via streaming audio at http://www.NSUDemons.com/watch. Audio and video streams of the game can be found at http://www.NSUDemons.com and through the new Northwestern State Athletics mobile app, which is available for download through the Apple Store or Google Play. Tony Taglavore, in his 11th season, will handle the play-by-play call of the game.

Photo Credit: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services

Big Girls Don’t Cry

By Reba Phelps

Crying is a sign of weakness. Shedding tears means you are not in control of your emotions. No use crying over spilled milk. Real men don’t cry. There’s no crying in baseball. Big girls don’t cry.

We have all heard the analogies and can probably agree that crying is one of the most judged responses to human emotion. In most cases, It is perfectly acceptable to be mad, silent or aloof but If you cry you are labeled as a “cry baby” or a “basket case.” On the flip side, if you never cry you may be labeled “hard hearted” or “detached.”

Personally speaking, I was always a self proclaimed Tin Man. I was so detached and uninformed that I often truly felt like I had completely overcome whatever tragedy was at hand…. as long as I did not shed a tear. I always assumed that crying made you weak. In my opinion, crying made you appear as if you could not cope with the ups and downs that life threw your way.

No tears. All must be well with my soul. Right?

In April of 2011 I received that one phone call that no child ever wants to receive. My mother had suddenly passed away while at home. I remember the phone call and feeling immediate hurt and sorrow but there was no time for a breakdown. I was tasked with assisting my father notifying family members and then planning a memorial service that would be fitting of her exceptional life.

The days that followed were crammed with meeting with the funeral home, ordering flowers, writing the obituary, coordinating family coming in and fielding phone calls from friends and church members.

There was literally no time to dwell on how my life would be forever changed without a mother much less having time to cry about it. I was in robot-business mode and it was working for me. I had this completely under control. The funeral came and went. The family came and went. The tears never came.

I returned to work the next week and anticipated a normal day. The first item of business that morning was a good friend visiting my office with a beautiful orchid and sweet card. She apologized for not making the service and told me she loved me. I cried and I cried and I cried. She apologized for catching me at a bad time and began to really feel bad for making me cry. I didn’t even have the courage to tell her I didn’t cry at the funeral so I let her think she made me cry.

What kind of weird heart of stone robot doesn’t cry at your own mother’s funeral? I even cry at other people’s mother’s funeral.

Fast forward to January 2019 as I sit in my Aunt’s lovely home in Shreveport surrounded by my amazing cousins and aunt’s from my mother’s side of the family who were raised with her from birth. They were sharing story after story of their childhood that included my mother. Touching stories of them shelling peas together, attending Mass together, running and playing on my great grandparents land. Hilarious stories of my mother being called “money bags” because she always had money. Stories of the cousin hierarchy that had them separated by age classes. They also shared sidesplitting stories of cousin bullying and practical jokes.

Guess who was focused on the floral wallpaper with blurred vision due to tears filling her eyes? Guess who had to excuse herself from the table and retreat to the bathroom to save her dignity?

You probably guessed correctly. It is the same girl who thought she was a champion of controlling emotions because she didn’t cry during the one time it was perfectly acceptable and expected to cry. So now, she cries during the most inopportune and unexplainable times.

Folger’s Coffee holiday commercials. New born baby photos on Facebook. Sappy movies. Conversations with friends. Daily Devotionals. Every Sunday at church. Beautiful music and beautiful scenery.

Yes, big girl cries all the time now.

I can almost hear my High School Typing Teacher, Coach Trahant, uttering the words, “pay me now or pay me later.” I never understood that much until later in life. But, when we deny ourselves the most basic instinct of crying it builds up over time and spills over into every area in our lives. His saying could easily be interpreted into, “better cry a little now or a whole lot later.”

There is strength in tears. There is healing in tears. There is wisdom in tears. There is peace in tears. There is stress relief and toxin release in tears. Listen to your body and cry when you need to cry.

The shortest and most simple scripture in the Bible confirms that it is okay to cry.

“Jesus wept.”

John 11:35

Lakeview students perform in District II Honor Band concert


Two Lakeview Jr.-Sr. High School students performed in the annual Louisiana Music Educators Association District II Honor Band concert at Tioga High School on Jan. 26. In order to earn a place in one of the honor bands, students had to compete against the top young musicians from around Central Louisiana on an audition consisting of scales, prepared music, and sight reading.

Sophomore Kain Cutis was the second chair euphonium player in the Cavalier Senior High Honor Band, and his high placement also allowed him to compete in the second round of auditions for the All-State Band. He is the first Lakeview Band student to achieve such an honor. He was also one of the outstanding band students shown on the District Honor Band news segment that Alexandria television station KALB broadcast on Jan. 26. Kain is a fourth year Band student at Lakeview, and this was his second year performing with one of the District Honor Bands. He has also performed with the Cotton Country regional honor band in 2017, and the Louisiana Bandmasters Association All-Star Honor Bands in 2017 and 2018. He participates in the Natchitoches Parish Talented Music Program, and is a private student of Mrs. Kelsey Wright McDonald.

The Cavalier Senior High Honor Band was under the direction of Dr. Serena Weren, Band Director at Loyola University in New Orleans. The selections this band performed included concert band classics such as The Florentiner March (Fucik, arr. John R. Bourgeois) and Three Ayres from Gloucester (Hugh Stuart), and more recent compositions such as Melodious Thunk by David Beidenbender.

Eighth grader Stephan Prudhomme was the fifth chair trombone in the St. Denis Junior High Honor Band, which was under the direction of Mrs. Michelle Hastings, the Band Director at Oslo Middle School in Vero Beach, Florida. Their program consisted of the theme from The Avengers (Silvestri, arr. Longfield), Norland March (John Edmondson), A Childhood Hymn (David Holsinger), Handclap (arr. Vinson), and Joy (Frank Ticheli). Stephan is in his second year of band at Lakeview. This was his first performance with an honor band.

Both students are members of the Lakeview Junior-Senior High School Band, which is under the direction of Ms. Denise Roper. Ms. Roper has been a member of both LMEA and LBA for 27 years, and currently serves the District II Band Directors Association in the office of Recording Secretary.

Farm Bureau Player of the Week

Farm Bureau Player of the Week for St. Mary’s High School Girls is Mackeazie Lipa.

MacKeazie is a freshman guard. She had a tremendous game against Logansport last week. Both teams entered the game undefeated in district play, but MacKeazie’s outstanding game helped lead them to victory. She lead the team with 24 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists.

Notice of Death – January 29, 2019


Thomas “Tom” Erwin Foshee
January 1, 1948 – January 26, 2019
Visitation: Tuesday, January 29 from 5-8 pm at Blanchard St Denis Funeral Home in Natchitoches
Service: Wednesday, January 30 at 2 pm at Blanchard St Denis Funeral Home
Interment: Memory Lawn 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


Emma Jo Jenkins Carpenter
January 3, 1930 – January 27, 2019
Service: Thursday, January 31 at 11 am in the chapel of Southern Funeral Home of Winnfield

Parish Council holds brief meeting, appoints residents to boards

The majority of agenda items for Monday night’s Parish Council meeting on Jan. 28 were the fllowing board appointments and re-appointments:

Monty Trichel, Troy Gardner, and Cecil Wade Ebert to the Natchitoches Parish Fire District 9 Board
Doris Kochinsky, Dallas Russell, and Ramona Guin to the Children and Youth Planning Board
Gary Conlay to the Northwest Louisiana Human Services District
Ricky LaCour to the Natchitoches Parish Tourist Commission
James Anthony to the Water Works District 2 Board
Ronald Payne to the Natchitoches Parish Planning Commission

Council member Patsy Ward Hoover objected to the appointment of John Morgan to the Fire District 1 Board. She said there were two other applicants (Chris Posey and Brian Benefield) who turned their applications in December of last year (Morgan turned in his application at a later date). Hoover’s reasoning was that the applications that were turned in first should have been considered before Morgan. However, Parish President Rick Nowlin chooses an applicant to nominate to the Council based on their qualifications.

Rodney Bedgood abstained from the vote and Hoover and Chris Paige voted No to appointing Morgan. After some debate Russell Rachal made a motion to bring the appointment back up. The Council revoted with the same outcome, so the Parish President will work to bring forward another nomination at the February meeting.

In other business, an ordinance was introduced to remove Benjie Colvin Road from the parish road system.

Other agenda items included:

Approve permanent change in polling place from the Kisatchie Community Center to the Kisatchie Baptist Church

Approve resolution to hold an election in Fire Protection District No. 1 on May 4 to authorize the levy of a parcel fee therein

Advertise for public bids for the first phase of the Payne Subdivision Street Improvement Project upon receipt of authorization to advertise from the State of Louisiana Facility Planning and Control

City Council meeting short, “value added” fee discussed


There was only one item on the agenda for Monday night’s City Council meeting on Jan. 28. It was to execute a change order to the contract between the City and Regional Construction LLC for the 2017-208 Street Rehabilitation Program, Phase 2.

Before the meeting was adjourned Council member Eddie Harrington asked for an update regarding a resolution from a November meeting requesting the Natchitoches Tax Collector Jerry McWherter provide a written explanation on taxes owed by Chateau St. Denis:

Why sales occupation on a TIF tax were not collected on a period of November 18, 2016 through June 31, 2018.
If taxes are determined to be owed to provide a plan for payment of the amount due or negotiate a settlement of the amount due.

The Natchitoches Parish Tourist Commission made a public records request for certain information from the Natchitoches Tax Commission on Jan. 4.

The attorney for the Tax Commission stated in a response to the Tourist Commission that when McWherter was first made aware of the hotel’s “value added” package fee he contacted other jurisdictions like New Orleans. Through his research he determined whether or not the fee was taxable or not. His conclusion at the time was that the fee was not subject to sales and use tax.

He later, based on added information including an opinion from the Attorney General’s Office, changed his mind and in June of 2018 he advised the hotel that the fee was taxable and they should start collecting taxes. The attorney also advised McWherter that to try and reclaim any of the back taxes wouldn’t be prudent considering he originally told the hotel they didn’t have to collect taxes on their “value added” fee.

The next City Council meeting will be Monday, Feb. 11.

West to Chair State Public Relations Association Board of Directors


Kelli West, the Director of Marketing & Communications for the Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau, is the 2019 President of the Public Relations Association of Louisiana (PRAL).

Statewide membership in PRAL consists of nearly 300 public relations students and professionals who work at all levels in many industries, from small businesses and major corporations to government agencies, educational institutions, nonprofits and public relations firms. There are five regional chapters of the state organization including New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Acadiana (Lafayette), Central (Alexandria), and Northwest (Shreveport).

PRAL membership also includes membership in the Southern Public Relations Federation (SPRF), which brings Louisiana public relations practitioners together with professionals in Alabama, Mississippi, and the Emerald Coast of the Florida Panhandle.

PRAL is managed by a volunteer board of directors with representatives from each of the five member chapters. The board meets quarterly to plan activities and give strategic direction to the organization based on member feedback. From the board, five representatives also sit on the SPRF board. As president, West is one of the five to serve on the SPRF Board for 2019.

West served on the local board of the Central Chapter since 2012, and on the state board since 2014. On the local level, West served as Programming Chair, Membership Chair, Vice President, President, and Past President. On the state level, West served as Chapter President Rep, Vice President of Awards and Student Services for 4 years, President-Elect, and now President.

She plans to visit all five regional chapters this year and work with the Vice President of Student Services and Awards to establish a statewide awards program for all five chapters to participate.


St. Mary’s Powerlifitng Update


The St. Mary’s Powerlifting team joined 240 lifters at Leesville High School this weekend, Jan. 26-27, for an invitational meet. Despite going up against several 5A schools, two freshmen out lifted the competition.

AK Jackson may be a Freshman, but this is her second year lifting with the Tigers. Last year as an 8th grader, she placed 4th at the state level! In this meet, she earned another 3rd place medal, beating out a 5A competitor by 35 pounds.

Following in her fierce footsteps is fellow Freshman Chloe Nash. Chloe has only been lifting for two months, but has already proved that strong things come in tiny packages! She placed 2nd in her weight class at this meet, and you will see her on the podium again.

Every single lifter (six girls, four boys) had at least one personal record (PR) on Saturday. As the team begins their preparation for the Regional meet, things are looking great for St Mary’s Powerlifting teams.

Mark your calendars. The Regional meet is Feb 22 (girls) and 23 (boys) as Bolton High School in Alexandria. The State meet will be held in the Rapids Parish Coliseum, also in Alexandria. The girls will compete on March 15th and the boys on the 16th.

Pictured on first row from left are Chloe Nash and Kylie Bennett. On second row are Coach Hannah Whatley and Hannah Deranger. On third row are Anna Kate Jackson, Chloe Cremeans and Sarah Thibodaux. On fourth row are Jace Miley, Thomas Watkins, Will deVargas and Cole Fisher.

ULL Reps visit with students at Lakeview


Representatives from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette (ULL) visited with students today to tell them all about what their university has to offer. Students were given valuable information regarding housing, scholarships, financial aid, campus life and they were invited to tour the campus.

Pictured on front row from left are Ke’Aira Thomas, LaTia Beavers, Stephani Bradley, Jaylon Lewis (ULL), Nicole Nillette (ULL) Salem Johnson, Anna Smith, Emily Windham, Julie Baldwin, Shalynn Matthews, Hunter Thomas, and Zarious Lewis. On back row are ShaQuera Reliford, Dillon Longino, Jalen Benn, Joe Gallien, Nicholas Wiggins, Zack Favela, Karmen Jarriett , SherMarcus Page, Jaquan Bobb, Devin Ballard, and Joshua Long.

Chick-fil-A opens with ribbon cutting

A crowd of students and representatives from Northwestern State University, Sodexo, the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce, the city of Natchitoches and Chick-fil-A Inc. gathered for the long-anticipated grand opening of the new Chick-fil-A Express located at 912 University Parkway Monday, Jan. 28. The restaurant is adjacent to the NSU Marketplace bookstore across from NSU’s Eugene P. Watson Memorial Library. Restaurant hours are 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays. Students are able to use their declining balance at Chick-fil-A. The Chick-fil-A Express offers a variety of breakfast and lunch items, chicken sandwiches, nuggets, sides and more.

Chamber President Laura Lyles expressed her excitement that both students and community members will be able to access and enjoy Chick-fil-A at it’s convienient location.

NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio said the students wanted more food options and while it wasn’t decided through a scientific survey, Chick-fil-A rose to the top. The university put a lot of partners together to make this happen including auxiliaries, food service, Nsu Foundation and more. The project soon expanded to improving book store services with a new campus marketplace next door.

“This is where history meets the progress of NSU,” he said. “We’ll continue to develop this corridor as we continue to expand our services at Northwestern.”

Chick-fil-A Rep Ken Miller said the company is looking forward to the opportunity to be a part of such an exciting time for NSU and the Natchitoches community.