NSU Creative Writing Faculty Reading

By Holly Penta

Northwestern State University’s Department of English, Foreign Languages and Cultural Studies held a Creative Writing Faculty Showcase on Feb. 21, which was open to students and the Natchitoches community. Around 40 people attended to listen to poems and excepts of novels and to ask the authors questions.

Dr. Rebecca Macijeski, the coordinator of the NSU Creative Writing Program, was the first reader. She read poems from her project centered around a fictional 1930s fiddle player named Virgil. The poems told the stories of his adventures and gave Virgil mythological elements and abilities. One of these poems did not have a written title, instead it had a pictorial title of a train to represent the symbols homeless people during the Great Depression used to communicate. She also read some poems from the point of view of Death, imaging that Death is a woman.

Next, Professor Shae Montgomery read. His poetry contained interesting and literary takes on “The Munsters” and “The Adams Family.” He delves deep into the minds of the characters, exploring emotions largely ignored on screen including class, race, and gender throughout a whole book’s worth of poems. Then he read a few poems based on his difficult experience living in Nebraska, from the point of view of a character named Snake. Some of these poems were shared out loud for the first time at the reading.

Third, Professor Oona Zbitkovskis, author of Peculiar Poems for Pint Size Provocateurs read humorous poems intended for children. They were full of riddles and rhymes and made all ages of the audience laugh. Zbitkovski thinks “writers are completely obsessed with the idea of finishing things” even though revisions and drafts are an important part of the writing process, so she read some unfinished poems. These were a completely different genre of poems, full of proactive images and curses.

Dr. J. Andrew Briseño was the final reader. He read an excerpt of his novel Down and Out which is about a reality tv show based in Paris, Ark. The first excerpt described the dilapidated town, one unlikely to have a reality tv show based on it. The next except was from much later in the novel, from when the show was already on season 2 or 3. The town seemed to be overly invested in the show, and the characters had standard catch phrases and their own merchandise.

This department and faculty plan to have a reading once a semester, so be sure to keep an eye out for upcoming dates. This reading in particular was in celebration of the new Creative Writing concentration within the English Department that will start in Fall 2019. Next semester, there will also be two sections of the Introduction to Creative Writing class offered. Some other new classes are being developed including one that will focus on studying the creation of visual art and writing together.


KREWE OF DIONYSOS PARADE ROLLS THROUGH NATCHITOCHESMARCH 2

The City of Natchitoches would like to advise the public the Krewe of Dionysos Parade will be rolling through Natchitoches on Saturday, March 2nd beginning at 6:00 p.m. The parade will travel through East Natchitoches and the Natchitoches Historic District creating rolling street closures along the parade route.

The parade route is as follows: Depart River South Common Parking Lot  South Drive  Keyser Avenue  Jefferson Street  Front Street  Washington Street  Texas Street  Second Street  Ending at Intersection of Church and Second Streets

The City of Natchitoches encourages all motorists traveling near the parade route to exercise caution and follow law enforcement instructions. Spectators are encouraged to

For more information, please contact the Mayor’s office at (318) 352-2772.


Natchitoches Soil and Water Conservation District: Tree and Shrub Sale March 13-15

By Holly Penta

The Natchitoches Soil and Water Conservation District Annual Tree and Shrub Sale will be held on March 13-15 from 9 am – 5 pm daily on the vacant lot on the corner of Saint Clair Avenue and Williams Avenue. Brandy Hinds, the District Administrative Assistant and Red River Resource Unit Earth Team Coordinator of the NSWCD, said the proceeds will assist in the outreach and education of the community to provide conservation education to landowners. It’s for a worthy cause and over 500 people are expected to attend during the three-day event. Saplings and shrubs are limited, so be sure to get there early. A wide variety of plants will be available including native plants, fruit trees, Irises and Leyland Cypresses, which are new to the sale this year.

For more information about pricing and plant availability call 318-357-8366 ext. 3 or email benny.dobson@la.nacdnet.net or brandy.hinds@la.nacdnet.net.


Cypress Trophy added to the Northwestern State-Southeastern Louisiana series

NSU- Southland Conference softball series don’t need much extra spice in a league that gets more competitive each season.

But the Northwestern State-Southeastern Louisiana rivalry series added a little lagniappe in the form of the Cypress Trophy, which will be awarded to the winners each season.

Southeastern alumni Dickie Whitson and Cameron Barr created the River Bell (SLU-Nicholls football) and the Pontchartrain Bowl (SLU-UNO baseball), and the pair fostered the idea behind the Cypress Trophy between SLU and NSU softball.

Whitson and Barr were on hand to introduce the trophy to the NSU softball team Monday. SLU visits March 29-30 with the winner being the first to engrave their name on the trophy.

“We want these players to have a trophy that their proud of and that they can celebrate with and have fun with,” Barr said. “We wanted to add a female sport to the mix, and softball is one of the most popular sports around, and it’s fun to watch.

“It’s not a (Southland Conference championship), but we wanted to add a little something extra to this series that players can look forward to.”

Wes Koon and John Sammons, SLU alumni of the Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity, designed the trophy. Koon did the glasswork and design, while Sammons completed the woodwork.

Whitson and Barr said they want to give each university a cypress tree to plant to symbolize the rivalry.

“We think these other trophies have added something of value to our other series,” Whitson said. “We’re also thinking about creating a trophy for a soccer series as well.”

NSU leads the all-time softball series 79-38, but the Lady Lions won all four meetings in 2018.

The football and baseball trophies have taken root. The SLU-Nicholls footballs series is now called the River Bell Classic, named after the trophy. The SLU-UNO baseball Pontchartrain Bowl is four years old and was created to welcome the Privateers into the Southland Conference two years after joining the league.

SLU and Nicholls are on opposite sides of the Mississippi River. SLU and UNO are separated by Lake Pontchartrain.

Barr said there wasn’t an easy physical attribute to name the softball trophy after, but cypress trees occur across Louisiana and the trophy can be made out of cypress wood.

Photo Credit: Matt Vines/NSU Photographic Services


Notice of Death – February 25, 2019

NATCHITOCHES PARISH:

Robert E. Comeaux
October 23, 1956 – February 18, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Donald Ray Coleman, Sr.
May 24, 1940 – February 24, 2019
Visitation: Tuesday, February 26 from 5-9 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Service: Wednesday, February 27 at 10 am at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Interment: Davis Springs Cemetery

Burl Dean Lee
December 18, 1938 – February 21, 2019
Service: Tuesday, February 26 at 2 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Interment: Weaver Cemetery in Flora

Regis Metoyer Jr.
October 28, 1924 – February 22, 2019
Visitation: Thursday, February 28 from 8-10:30 am at St. Anthony of Padua Church on Fifth Street in Natchitoches
Service: Thursday, February 28 at 11 am at St. Anthony of Padua Church
Interment: St. Augustine Catholic Church Mausoleum

Yolonda N. Morrow
February 22, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Mary Jane Bonier
February 19, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Doris Washington
February 15, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Beulah Helaire Jackson
February 15, 2019
Arrangements TBA

SABINE PARISH:

Belinda L. Gauthier
February 7, 1954 – February 24, 2019
Service: Friday, March 1 at 1 pm at Calvary Baptist Church in Many

Glenda West Tackett Zick
March 7, 1947 – February 23, 2019
Service: Tuesday, February 26 at 2 pm at the First United Methodist Church in Many

RAPIDES PARISH:

Deborah Hooper Lafleur
November 17, 1967 – February 23, 2019
Service: Tuesday, February 26 at 10 am at Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church
Interment: Alexandria Memorial Gardens

RED RIVER PARISH:

Gene Russell Franks
May 7, 1948 – February 22, 2019
Visitation: Tuesday, February 26 from 5-7 pm at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home in Coushatta and Wednesday, February 27 from 1-2 pm at Boxwood Church of Christ, located at 123 Boxwood Church Road in Merryville
Service: Wednesday, February 27 at 2 pm at Boxwood Church of Christ
Interment: Bivens Cemetery in Merryville


Literary Rally at NSU – Smart Kids Doing Smart Things!

By Kevin Shannahan

Northwestern State University hosted over 1,000 students from 45 schools from throughout the region for the Northwest Louisiana Literary Rally. The Louisiana High School Rally, an academic competition held throughout the state since 1909 with the regional competition being held at NSU for over 20 years, is an academic competition in which high school students compete by taking exams in a variety of subjects taught in high school. The Northwest Louisiana Rally held at NSU featured 49 different tests ranging from Agriscience I to Calculus II as well as competitions in Drama and Music. Natchitoches parish was ably represented by students from Natchitoches Central, Lakeview and St. Mary’s. Students who earn qualifying scores on their test or performance will advance to compete at the state literary rally at LSU in Baton Rouge on April 6, 2019. In addition, seniors who win an event at the regional or state rally are eligible to earn an honors stipend to NSU or the Scholars’ College.

The Natchitoches Parish Journal wishes to commend the faculty members of all of our parish’s high schools whose hard work and guidance made it possible for these sharp young men and women to attend the rally. The High School Literary Rally is a truly wonderful event. It is a joy to see young people from throughout Louisiana competing at a high academic level. We would also like to commend Northwestern State University for their unflagging hospitality and logistical support over the years in hosting the regional rally. Lastly, the Natchitoches Parish Journal wishes all the best to our parish’s students who will go on to represent our parish at the state rally in Baton Rouge.


State Health Department Encourages Louisiana to Catch Beads, Not the Flu This Mardi Gras

Baton Rouge – Flu season is reaching its peak in Louisiana, with flu activity spiking over the last week. Because of this, the Louisiana Department of Health is encouraging Louisianans to catch beads, and not the flu, this Mardi Gras season.

Throughout the country, data is showing that most states are reporting widespread flu activity and Louisiana is no different.

“With parades beginning to roll, large amounts of people will be gathering to enjoy Mardi Gras and it is even more important for people to take steps to protect themselves from the flu,” said Dr. Frank Welch, immunization director for the Louisiana Department of Health. “The first step and best way to do that is to get your flu shot.”

The flu causes approximately 500 deaths and nearly 3,000 hospitalizations each year in Louisiana. However, in Louisiana last year, there were more than 15,000 hospitalizations and more than 1,600 deaths from the flu. Of those more than 1,600 deaths, five were pediatric deaths.

Getting vaccinated not only protects you from the flu, but it also protects those around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, Welch said.

“A flu shot is your best defense in both reducing your chances of getting the flu and spreading it. No one wants their Carnival season ruined by a nasty bout of the flu,” Welch said. “While the flu vaccine is not perfect and some people who get vaccinated may still get the flu, the vaccine may make the illness milder.”

The Louisiana Department of Health offers these reminders to help keep people from spreading the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you have cold symptoms or have fever greater than 100.3, stay away from others until you have not had a fever for 24 hours.-
  • Call your doctor immediately to see if an antiviral medication is appropriate for you. –
  • If you are sick, do not visit vulnerable loved ones who may be receiving care in a hospital, nursing home, cancer center or other setting.-
  • If you are sick, do not kiss babies, pregnant women, grandparents and others who may be at a higher risk of getting sick.-
  • Cover your cough and sneeze.-
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth.-
  • Wash your hands frequently.-
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

    Flu Shot Facts

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Louisiana Department of Health recommend a yearly flu shot for everyone over 6 months of age who does not have a complicating condition, such as a prior allergic reaction to the flu shot.

A flu shot is especially crucial for people who may be at higher risk for serious complications. This includes babies and young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions and people 65 years and older.

The flu shot is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, who can pass on antibodies to their babies that will help protect them.

The flu shot starts to offer partial protection immediately, but takes about two weeks to offer full protection.

While receiving your flu shot, inquire about other vaccinations that you may need.


Krewe of Wag-uns to celebrate Mardi Gras March 2

The Natchitoches Humane Society will hold its Krewe of Wag-uns Children and Pet Parade Saturday, March 2 at 3 p.m.

Parade Route:
Bank of Montgomery, South on Front Street to Touline Street, Left to Downtown Riverbank Stage

There is a $10 entry fee per family. Register your pet to be eligible for CELEBRITY STATUS: “King Rex Rufus” and “Queen Mutt A Gras.”

3 PM PARADE ROLLS
2 PM – Registration
2:45 PM – Parade Line Up Begins at Bank of Montgomery – 814 Washington Street in Downtown Natchitoches

Award Categories:
Best Float
Best dressed Pet
Best Dressed Child

~ Golf Carts are permissible if driven by an adult
~ Children may ride scooters, bicycles, wagons but must be accompanied by an adult
~ No ATVs permitted
~ BYOB – Bring Your Own Beads to throw during the parade.


Obit: Burl Dean Lee

December 18, 1938 – February 21, 2019

A service to celebrate the life of Mr. Burl Dean Lee will be at 2 pm on Tuesday, February 26, 2019, at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home with Sister Linda Chance and Brother Mike Honzell officiating. Burial will follow at Weaver Cemetery in Flora, LA. The family will receive friends from 5 pm until 8 pm on Monday, February 25th at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home.

Those honored to serve as pallbearers include Monty Trichel, Ron LaBorde, Doyle Waddle, Billy Spillman, Jimmy Martin, and Brad Walker. Honorary pallbearer will be J. W. Smith, Jr.

Burl, 80 years of age and a resident of Black Lake, passed away on Thursday, February 21, 2019, at his home with family and friends surrounding him. He was born on December 18, 1938, to Burl and Lillie Carnahan Lee in Rosston, AR. He was preceded in death by his parents, two infant daughters, Dana Suzanne Lee and Denise Susan Lee; a sister, Dorothy Jean Brossette; a brother, Douglas Lee and an infant brother, Wane Lee.

Burl was a 1957 graduate of Cloutierville High School and entered the US Airforce in 1961. He was honorably discharged in 1965 and attended LSU while beginning his life-long career in law enforcement. He served the City of Natchitoches as Police Chief for many years and later worked for the Natchitoches Parish Sherriff’s Office. He enjoyed a lifetime of making music with his family and friends. He could play most any instrument but always excelled at playing the drums. His other pastimes included playing softball, golf and later in life horseback riding. He often commented that the beauty of nature is best appreciated while riding a horse. Burl was a perfectionist at everything he began; he always wanted to do it to the best of his abilities. He will be dearly missed by his family and friends.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Bobbye Russell Lee; a son, Richard Dean Lee and wife Patti of Senoia, GA; and dear friends, J. W Smith, Jr. and wife Faye of Natchitoches; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

The family would like to extend their sincere gratitude to the staff of Hospice of Natchitoches for allowing Burl to spend his final days at home and especially hospice nurse, Melissa Britten and dear friend, Becky Miley for being available to help with all the day to day responsibilities. Your care for Burl during such a difficult time will always be appreciated.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Burl’s name to Natchitoches Humane Society, P. O. Box 7405, Natchitoches, LA 71457 or to Natchitoches Hope for Paws, P.O. Box 2552, Natchitoches, LA 71457.


Demons spring practice begins March 7, Delaney Bowl March 30

When the 2019 Northwestern State football team kicks off spring practice March 7, 41 lettermen, including 13 starters, return from a squad that provided plenty of excitement and accomplishment in coach Brad Laird’s first season.

Only 16 letterwinners are not back to pursue the Demons’ first winning record since 2008 and first playoff appearance in 15 seasons.

NSU will go through 15 practices, including full scrimmages on March 16 and March 23, before wrapping up spring ball with the 30th Annual Joe Delaney Bowl spring game on Saturday, March 30 at Turpin Stadium.

“The first thing you want to determine during spring practice is what is this 2019 team going to be about? What’s our identity?” said Laird. “We started in January with our strength and conditioning program, and what we’ve seen so far has us really excited about what lies ahead, beginning March 7.”

Led by stalwarts like All-America safety Hayden Bourgeois, prolific quarterback Shelton Eppler and productive running back Jared West, NSU could make 2019 a breakthrough season.

But those and the other returning starters – seven on defense, for a Purple Swarm unit that was 12th nationally with 26 turnovers forced last fall – must work to retain their spots.

“Having a good core of guys with experience in the conference, in some tight games, is always encouraging as you go into a new season. But we don’t want anybody to get comfortable where they are now,” said Laird. “The competition we’ve started in our strength and conditioning program is going to lead to competition in those 15 practices. One thing we understand as coaches and players is that competition will bring out the best in you and I look forward to seeing that in those practices.”

The Demons coaching staff is counting on new and inexperienced players to emerge during March’s practices, but the veterans will take the lead in setting the tone in spring ball.

“The opportunity for young guys to step up, whether they redshirted last year or played in a limited role, is there,” said Laird. “It’s also important to see the guys who did play last year show us how much they’ve progressed since the end of the season. Once we’ve seen them through 15 practices, we’ll have a good idea of what this team is going to be about.”

Before spring drills begin, the coaching staff is assessing strategy and approaches used in 2018, when the Demons finished just three points shy of a winning record. NSU won three of its last four, sweeping nearby rivals McNeese and Stephen F. Austin for the first time since 2004, and posted a 49-48 win at Lamar, which recovered to earn an at-large FCS playoff berth.

“Our league produced three playoff teams last year, and two of them, Lamar and Incarnate Word, got to postseason for the first time ever. The Southland Conference is extremely competitive year after year,” said Laird. “Our goal is to be one of those surprise teams next fall and that means getting better in every aspect.

“We’re looking at what we did well last year, and what we need to correct to decide who we’re going to be offensively, defensively and on special teams. There will be a lot of similarities but there will be changes, as we look for things we can do better as coaches, not only schematically, but in how we teach, and organize practice,” he said. “We’re excited about the preparation for spring practice.”

The spring practice plan will send the Demons out to work in Turpin Stadium on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday for four straight weeks, except for the first one when they begin drills on Thursday, March 7. Weekday practices will begin at 4 p.m. with the Saturday sessions set for 10 a.m., and all are open to the public.


CDW Announces Spring 2019 Training Offerings

Community Development Works, a program of The Rapides Foundation, is offering free skill-building trainings for Cenla residents and nonprofits. Spring workshops and webinars begin in March and include a variety of topics, including grant writing, business planning and managing workplace stress.

All workshops and webinars are available free of charge. Workshops take place at The Rapides Foundation Building, 1101 Fourth St., Alexandria. Webinars can be accessed from most devices using the GoToWebinar app. Register at www.communitydevelopmentworks.org.

The trainings are geared toward nonprofit staff, board members and volunteers, and for people interested in starting a nonprofit. Spring trainings are presented within three topic areas: the Start-Up Series for Nonprofits, the Grant Writing Series and the Staff Development Series. Participants have the option of attending all workshops in a series, or choose only the workshops or webinars that interest them.

Spring workshops and webinars are as follows:

Start-Up Series for Nonprofits training courses: To Be or Not To Be a 501(c)(3); Cultivating Individual Donors; Business Planning: Models for Nonprofits; and How to Inspire, Engage, and Retain Your Donors Through Communications.

Grant Writing Series training courses: Basic Grant Writing; Advanced Grant Writing; and Introduction to Finding Funders.
Staff Development Series courses: Managing Workplace Stress; Mindfulness in the Workplace; and Personal and Professional Influence – Understanding and Developing It In Classic Ways.

To register or for details about the training offerings, call Community Development Works at 318-443-7880.


Sign up for Mardi Gras Madness Camp March 4-8

The City of Natchitoches Community Programs will hold a Mardi Gras Madness Camp March 4-8 from 7:30 am – 3 pm at the MLK Recreation Center, located at 66 MLK Drive. The camp is open to children ages 6-13. The cost is $30 per child and $25 for each additional sibling. Youth will participate in recreation and visual and culinary art classes. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Register online at CityofNatchitoches.MaxGalaxy.net or in person at the MLK Center. For more information call De’Andrea “Coach De” Sanders at 318-214-7911 or email dsanders@natchitochesla.gov.


Notice of Death – February 24, 2019

NATCHITOCHES PARISH:

Burl Dean Lee
December 18, 1938 – February 21, 2019
Visitation: Monday, February 25 from 5-8 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Service: Tuesday, February 26 at 2 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Interment: Weaver Cemetery in Flora

Regis Metoyer Jr.
October 28, 1924 – February 22, 2019
Visitation: Thursday, February 28 from 8-10:30 am at St. Anthony of Padua Church on Fifth Street in Natchitoches
Service: Thursday, February 28 at 11 am at St. Anthony of Padua Church
Interment: St. Augustine Catholic Church Mausoleum

Yolonda N. Morrow
February 22, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Mary Jane Bonier
February 19, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Doris Washington
February 15, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Beulah Helaire Jackson
February 15, 2019
Arrangements TBA

SABINE PARISH:

Glenda West Tackett Zick
March 7, 1947 – February 23, 2019
Visitation: Monday, February 25 from 5-7 pm at Warren Meadows Funeral Home in Many
Service: Tuesday, February 26 at 2 pm at the First United Methodist Church in Many