Demons expect plenty of scoring in 30th Annual Joe Delaney Bowl Saturday at 2

NSU Head Coach Brad Laird

Northwestern State’s spring football practice concludes Saturday afternoon at 2 with the 30th Annual Joe Delaney Bowl in Turpin Stadium, with lots of scoring expected.

But that’s not an indictment of the Demons’ Purple Swarm defense, said head coach Brad Laird.

The offense will be the Purple team while the defense will make up the White squad. Last year’s Delaney Bowl went to the White, 87-70.

Bumps and bruises, especially up front offensively, prevented the coaching staff from trying to split up the units among two evenly-matched teams, so Laird and his coaches reverted to the scoring system used last year.

“Not having the opportunity to divide the roster evenly, you still want to compete, so we had to come up with a scoring system that rewards the defense. They’ll get points for stops, three-and-outs, turnovers, sacks and basically any impactful play,” he said. “You should see a lot of points on the board but that won’t necessarily mean the offense dominated.

“From what we’ve seen all spring, I do expect we’ll watch some really good competition Saturday afternoon.”

At the end of the first quarter, Laird will pause the game to issue the 2019 “Legendary Link” awards to three former players and retiring Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones. The “Legendary Link” is presented at the Delaney Bowl annually to people who have been impactful on the Demon football program.

College Football Hall of Fame and Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame member Gary Reasons, whose No. 34 jersey is one of five retired at NSU, heads the 2019 list. Fellow N-Club Hall of Fame player David Wright and former linebacker and strength coach Gary “Mojo” Morgan are the other former players being recognized.

“We can’t thank these men enough for what they have done and continue to do for Demon football, but this is one way we can express our gratitude,” said Laird.

They were introduced Friday morning at the Triple B Invitational golf tournament at Demon Hills, involving supporters and former players, and at a Friday evening social hour in Natchitoches.

Before the 2019 Demons went through a 6 a.m. practice Friday, their 14th of 15 in spring ball, Laird set the tone for his team’s approach this weekend.

“In our team meeting Friday morning, the two things we emphasized were ‘compete’ and ‘finish.’ From Day One we’ve talked about competing, and we have position battles that continue to be unresolved. We have to show in each drill and each snap that we are competing as hard as we possibly can.

“We had two practices left in spring ball when we talked to the players, and now the last one is the 30th Annual Joe Delaney Bowl spring game. We want to see our guys better Day 15 than they were Day One.”

While position battles continue throughout the roster, Laird spotlighted one group on each side of the ball to watch in the Delaney Bowl.

“Going into the spring we were of course looking to see how our receivers would develop, considering our graduation losses there. We’ve seen some progress,” he said. “We’ve had some guys miss time because they’re hurt, can’t go (Saturday), and that gives other guys the opportunity to step up.

“Defensively you look at cornerback, where we have some guys back and we have some young ones who are pushing older guys. We’re not only developing depth but we’ve got some really good battles underway on the depth chart. That’s a position that has been fun to watch all spring.”

There is no admission charge for the Delaney Bowl, which will award the most valuable players for both teams in a post-game ceremony on the field.


LANE CLOSURE ON WILLIAMS AVENUE FOR WATERLINE INSTALLATION

The City of Natchitoches would like to notify the public the northbound lane of Williams Avenue from the Church Street Bridge to Sirod Street and also from Saint Maurice to Bird Avenue will be closed to traffic on Monday, April 1st for Lawler Construction to install a waterline.

The road closure will not begin until all school traffic has passed and is expected to be completed by the end of the day.

During this lane closure, traffic may detour around the work site via the adjacent network of City streets. When traveling near the work zone, motorists are advised to exercise caution and to observe all warning signs and flagger instructions.

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


Rayburn Smith – Superior Livestock Cattle Auction April 4-5 in Natchitoches

LIVE from the Natchitoches Event Center

Superior Livestock will auction 57,100 head of cattle at the Gulf Coast Classic Cattle Auction April 4-5 beginning at 7:30 am at the Events Center in Natchitoches. This year the sale encompasses two days because there’s too many cattle for a single day, according to Superior Livestock’s Regional Representative for Louisiana, Rayburn Smith.

A sunrise begins at 7:30 am, and the auction will begin at 8 am. Over 500 cattlemen from across the country will attend the live video auction which will feature calves on cows, feeder cattle, weaned cattle, and bred stock cattle. All cattle will remain on the farm until delivery.

This event is called the “Gulf Coast Classic” because it features Southern cattle. The sale includes around 14,000 cattle from Louisiana, around 8,000 from Florida, and many from other regions. This includes:

350 holsteins
14,675 yearling steers
10,300 yearling heifers
11,875 weaned calves
19,050 calves on cows
850 bred stock

The auction is usually held in larger cities like Fort Worth. Bringing this many people from states like Montana, South Dakota, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana is great for the City of Natchitoches

The cattle auction is being broadcast live online at SuperiorLivestock.com.

For more information, please contact Rayburn Smith at (318) 471-2773 or Emily Smith at (318) 471-2771.


Flavor of Louisiana raises $77,000 for student scholarships

Northwestern State University’s third annual Flavor of Louisiana, the university’s popular spring seafood extravaganza, was a resounding success, according to organizers. The March 22 event drew about 750 guests and raised more than $77,000 for student scholarships and academic programs.

“We are tremendously grateful to our guests, to our sponsors and to the 100-plus volunteers who helped make our event memorable,” said Jill Bankston, CFRE, director of Development. “It took a lot of teamwork to pull together an event of this magnitude, but the positive feedback we have received and the success of the event made it all worth the effort.”

In addition to dozens of booths featuring seafood dishes prepared by chefs from throughout the region, academic departments organized booths that featured raffles, silent auctions and items for purchase to raise money for their individual programs.

Matt DeFord, chair of the Department of Fine and Graphic Art, said he and his colleagues raised about $500 through raffles and sales of original art.

“It was amazing,” DeFord said. “We plan on using the funds to benefit a student in the form of a scholarship.”

For the last three years, Flavor of Louisiana has been presented in partnership with the Louisiana Seafood Board which donates all the seafood items for the chefs to prepare. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser has been a supporter of the event since its inception and this year was the recipient of a special honor. Northwestern State President Dr. Chris Maggio presented Nungesser with the Nth Degree to recognize meritorious service to the university, to the city of Natchitoches and the state of Louisiana.


The Preacher’s Wife and the Punch Bowl

By Reba Phelps

Many, many moon’s ago I accidentally discovered a talent for making punch. My punch was so popular and in such high demand that it was requested any time I helped host a shower. In fact, I dare say I was heavily recruited to host showers because of my amazingly delightful punch. I made this concoction for wedding showers, baby showers and even a few political parties.

I chose the wording, “accidentally discovered,” due to the fact that I stumbled upon a pretty awesome and awe inspiring recipe one time and decided to recreate it. I spent an afternoon acquiring the ingredients and picked a party in which I would debut this drink. On the eve of making my first batch I was disheartened to realize that I had missed purchasing one ingredient. Being the resourceful and lazy person that I was I scoured my cupboard looking for a suitable replacement.

I will not disclose the ingredient as this may be trademarked and mass produced one day in the near future.

My punch had quickly taken on a life of its own. I made different versions but it all boiled down to two different choices. Baptist punch or Catholic punch. I pretty much knew ahead of time which version someone might request.

Sometime around the holidays my sweet and precious mother requested my punch. Being the comedian that I was I asked her which version she preferred. She doesn’t always appreciate my humor or shenanigans so she just gave me her famous eye roll. This clearly meant I should only serve the Baptist Christian version at our family Christmas celebration without the sinful additives.

When the time came closer she mentioned to me that she would not be able to partake of my famous punch because of the struggles she was having with her diabetes. So, she was making adjustments to her dietary needs. No punch for Eva Gail.

With this new found information I took this as a clear sign from heaven that I was free to serve any punch that I saw fit. After all, the family gathering was at my house. The rest of us didn’t have dietary restrictions nor did we have the religious pressure of only serving the Baptist version.
Catholic punch it was. Ladened with an ungodly amount of champagne. The first sip would sting a little but the more you drank the better it would feel later.

The big day came and I reminded my brother, sister and our children that the punch was not for the young in age but only the young at heart. The children paid zero attention to the punch bowl so we didn’t worry about underage consumption.

Everything was going off without hitch until Eva Gail uttered the ill-fated words, “Reba, I think I will try some of your famous punch.”
I am not sure why so many years after this occurrence that I can still hear her saying those words, but they literally echo in my mind from time to time.

My first reaction was one of love and care. I gently reminded my mother that she was diabetic and should not partake of the sugary drink that was sure to make her glucose climb. She then gently reminded me that she was my mother and she had given me an order that should be carried out expeditiously.

My second reaction was one of pure desperation. Eva Gail would be eternally disappointed that I served Catholic Punch at a Baptist gathering. I very casually responded that I wasn’t entirely sure if we even had any left. She wasn’t buying it due to the fact that the punch bowl was clear and she was not blind.

Doing as I was told I poured the punch. She drank the punch. She requested seconds.

With every tiny sip she took my anxiety increased ten fold. It wasn’t her glucose that had me concerned it was the champagne consumption. Her holy body was not used to alcohol at all. By cup number three she was having a great time. She laughed at jokes that were not funny. She even made jokes that were not funny.

I am not sure that I ever fully confessed my sin of spiking the punch to the Preacher’s wife. But, that year was deemed the best and least stressful of all of our family gatherings.

Not saying you need alcohol to deal with family but……….

There is just something special about family gatherings. There will be arguments. There will be disagreements and disappointments. Not all families get along perfectly and there is always someone stressing over something immaterial that will not even matter in five years. Kids grow up too fast. We lose family members before their time and family gatherings change from year to year. The more time we can focus on our loved ones the less time we will have to focus on our differences.

God gave us the family we have and there is truly nothing we can do to change that fact. Whether we are drinking the Catholic punch or the Baptist punch we are all God’s children.

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” Galatians 3:26


Natchitoches man arrested on narcotics and weapons charges

Agents from the Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force and Louisiana Probation and Parole arrested a Natchitoches man on narcotics and weapons charges.

According to a Task Force official, NMJDTF Agents assisted the office of Probation and Parole with a compliance check on March 25 at an address in the 1200 block of Sara Street. Agents from Probation and Parole had received complaints from concerned citizens in reference to possible drug activity that was taking place at the residence.

Agents from Probation and Parole assisted by agents of the NMJDTF made contact with Roy Freeman Jr. at his residence located on Sara Street. During the compliance check, Agents located suspected synthetic Marijuana, suspected high grade Marijuana, and 75 suspected Ecstasy tablets. During the compliance check Agents also located two handguns, $727, and items commonly used to package and distribute illegal narcotics. Upon further investigation, Agents discovered that one of the firearms had been reported stolen.

Freeman was placed under arrest and booked for the following charges:

3 Counts Possession of Schedule I with Intent to distribute.

2 Counts Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

1 Count Possession of a stolen firearm.

2 Counts Possession of a firearm in the presence of a controlled dangerous substance.

1 Count Possession of drug paraphernalia.

Freeman was issued the district court date of 05/06/2019, and placed in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center with a Probation hold.

The Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force would like to thank the Citizens of Natchitoches for their support. Many times an investigation begins with a simple phone call or tip from a concerned citizen. For this reason the Task Force encourages all citizens to report any crimes in their neighborhoods anonymously by calling 318-357-2248, The Natchitoches Police Department, or the Natchitoches Parish Sheriffs Office.


Kiwanis Club learns about Legacy Cafe, receives Distinguished Club recognition

The Kiwanis Club of Natchitoches had a great program on March 28. Dallas Russell with the Ben D. Johnson Educational Center was the guest speaker. Kiwanians and guests learned about the The Legacy Café and the Ben D. Johnson Educational Center located on 400 Martin Luther King Drive in Natchitoches.

Did you know that through the Legacy Cafe initiative, the Legacy Youth Workforce Development program was created? This initiative will provide students a training environment in an employment skills training and job placement program for the nearly 20% of young people between the ages of 16 and 24 in Natchitoches Parish. These individuals are considered “disconnected,” meaning out of work and school.

The goal of this program is to prepare the young people for employment in any sector where they can earn a living wage and receive benefits. Once trained, these individuals will be looking to work with local businesses in our area to take on internships to further their experience.

The Kiwanis Club of Natchitoches was recognized as a Distinguished Club for the 2017-2018 year. Pictured below are Kiwanis Lieutenant Governor for our district, Dion Boyett and current Kiwanis President, Rodney Boswell.

The Kiwanis Chili’s Give Back night will be on Thursday, April 4 from 4-10 p.m. Be sure to mention “Kiwanis Club of Natchitoches” when ordering while dining in or making a to go order and Chili’s will donate 10% of your ticket total to our club.


Two Natchitoches men arrested on narcotics charges

Agents from the Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force Agents arrested two Natchitoches men on narcotics charges.

According to a Task Force official, NMJDTF Agents arrested Deandre Wardsworth, and Joe Carter on March 28 following a narcotics operation that took place at residences located in the 100 block of Reba St and the 400 Block of McDobson Way.

During the operation, Agents of the NMJDTF executed simultaneous narcotics search warrants at these two locations. This operation stemmed from a long term narcotics investigation that was launched in February of 2019 by the NMJDTF. During the preliminary investigation, Agents developed information leading them to believe Wardsworth and Carter were distributing illegal narcotics in the Natchitoches area. During the search of the residences, located on Reba Street and McDobson Way, suspected illicit narcotics were recovered. Agents recovered 904 suspected Ecstasy tablets and 130 suspected Alprazolam pills. Agents also located materials commonly used for the purposes of packaging and distributing illegal narcotics.

As a result of the recovered items located during the operation, suspects Deandre Wardsworth, and Joe Carter were both placed under arrest.

Dearndre Wardsworth was charged with the following offenses:

1 Count simple possession of Marijuana.

1 Count Possession of Schedule I (Ecstasy) with Intent to Distribute.

1 Count Possession of Schedule IV (Alprazolam) with Intent to Distribute.

At the time of Wardsworth’ s arrest it was determed that also had three active bench warrants for Failure to appear through the City of Natchitoches for the charge of Simple Possession of Marijuana, and two bench warrants issued by the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office for Failure to pay fines for child support.

Joe Carter charged with the following offenses:

1 Count Possession of Schedule I (Ecstasy) with Intent to Distribute.

1 Count Possession of Schedule IV (Alprazolam) with Intent to Distribute.

Both Carter and Wardsworth were placed in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center to await bond.

The Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force would like to thank the Citizens of Natchitoches for their support. Many times an investigation begins with a simple phone call or tip from a concerned citizen. For this reason the Task Force encourages all citizens to report any crimes in their neighborhoods anonymously by calling 318-357-2248, The Natchitoches Police Department, or the Natchitoches Parish Sheriffs Office.

Press Release


Community robotics team successful at first competition

A Natchitoches community robotics team mentored by engineering technology students at Northwestern State University participated in its first-ever competition, ranking 21st out of 60 teams and tying for the highest-ranked rookie team. The Bayou Regional Competition took place at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner March 21-23.

Currently in its first year, the team is made up of local high schoolers and is part of an international organization called FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) that has 3,802 teams in 28 countries, according to Patrick Sprung, an industrial engineering technology major who took a lead in organizing the team.

“We are a community team, meaning that we have high school students from the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts and Natchitoches Central High School. They are the youth competitors. The NSU Engineering Technology department provides build space for the team and our ET students and faculty are the mentors that help guide the youth members in the construction of the robot,” Sprung explained.

“This is a win-win situation for everyone involved,” Sprung said. “The high school students get to learn new concepts of engineering, technology, coding, 3D modeling and teamwork through working together and being guided by the NSU student mentors. The NSU mentors are also able to reinforce some of the concepts they’re learning in the classroom, machine tools, 3D modeling, programming, supervision, project management, etc., by teaching the high school students what they know.”

In its first competition, the team did amazingly well, Sprung said.

“I am so proud of the team. Our final record for the 2019 Bayou Regional Competition was 5 wins-4 losses. Our robot was also ranked first in the alternate group during the final qualifying matches,” Sprung said. “When teams would come to scout our robot, affectionately named Dante, they would always ask how many years we have been around; and then were astounded by what the students had built for rookies compared to other first-year teams. Many judges, friends, mentors, parents and passersby commented and expressed their excitement and astonishment at how well our team built Dante and was operating him.”

“Our college student and high school students all seemed to have a wonderful experience, meeting the other groups of industrious people all competing but in their own unique ways. It’s almost indescribable unless you’ve been there and have an affinity for this sort of subject and competition.”

Sprung participated in FRC (First Robotics Challenge) competition when he was in high school and proposed the idea to NSU classmates about starting a team. In addition to filing paperwork and consolidating people and funds, he faced challenges in educating students about the FIRST organization and accommodating two different school systems.

During competition, a rocket repair simulation, Dante’s job was to pick up a hatch panel to patch a hole in the rocket ship. The team worked feverishly between matches to make modifications, Sprung said.

Competitions are usually held during the spring semester with the build season running Jan. 5-Feb. 19 leaving the team with six weeks to build a fully functional robot. In the wake of success at their first competition, the team hopes to build recognition and gain community support through sponsorships.

“We always need new mentors and youth members,” Sprung said. “It’s only our first year, but the potential is there for this team to become a beacon for STEM education and make a major impact on our community. We hope to take our robot on a tour around our community at some point and show off what he can do, and hopefully get more students involved.”

The team meets at 3 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays in Williamson. Hall Room 112 with labs open for use when needed. For more information, contact Sprung at psprung039565@nsula.edu.

Pictured above:

The Demon Robotics Team that participated in its first-ever competition are, front row from left, Karan Baker, Jackie Jacoby, Jaiden Stark, Ariell Shield and Dr. Jafar Al-Sharab. On the middle row are Kayla Tyler, Riley Louviere, Donavan Dowden, Ethan Begnaud, Breyonna Thompson, Patrick Sprung, Caleb Vining, Edwin Perez and Dr. Shahriar Hossain. On the back row are Kenneth Darcy, Mason Bulot, Matthew Bailey, Eli Tomlin and Seth Baggett. Not shown are Kayla Marceaux, Word Lindsey and Orlandan Williams


Rotary Club learns about Natchitoches Historic Foundation

The President of the Natchitoches Historic Foundation (NHF) Dr. Cathy Seymour spoke to the Rotary Club of Natchitoches on March 26 about the many NHF activities that support Natchitoches. Pictured from left are Rotary Club of Natchitoches President Richard White, Seymour, Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN) Donna Yacoe, and Rotarian with the Program David Zolzer (Photo by Dr. Ron McBride).


NSU Pi Kappa Phi alumnus throws out first pitch for Washington Nationals on Opening Day

Dusting off his record-holding pitch, Pi Kappa Phi alumnus Billie Roy Cook threw out the Opening Day first pitch for the Washington Nationals on Thursday.
The 82-year-old graduate of Northwestern State University fired the ball across home plate, right into the mitt of catcher Kurt Suzuki, before a sell-out crowd of 42,263 fans erupted into applause.

An announcer introduced Cook, who turned down offers to play in the major leagues in order to join the Army as an officer. Cook served two tours of duty in the Vietnam War with the 101st Airborne Division, earning the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, Presidential Citation, two Bronze Stars and seven Battle Stars.

Cook, nicknamed the ‘Iron Man’ by NSU’s Current Sauce newspaper, played semi-pro ball for the Homer Oilers and previously received offers to play in the majors for the Giants, Tigers, Athletics, Yankees and Cardinals.

A three-time all-conference pitcher for NSU, Cook posted an 8-1 record in 1956 and led the nation in wins in 1957 after compiling a 10-1 record and earning most valuable player honors in the conference. His 29 victories from 1956-1959 remain a record at Northwestern State, where his number 10 is retired on the outfield wall of Brown-Stroud Field.

Cook joined the Beta Omicron Chapter in 1956 prior to the chapter’s official chartering, but was unable to initiate due to outside responsibilities. Though he maintained contact with other members of the Founders’ Generation Group later in life, he officially initiated into Pi Kappa Phi at NSU in 2003. At that time, Pi Kappa Phi’s ‘Star and Lamp’ Magazine said Cook’s nearly 50 year pledgeship may be among the longest in the fraternity’s history.

Cook married his high school sweetheart from Natchitoches, Mary Ellen LaCaze Cook. They have four sons and more than a half-dozen grandchildren living near them in Smithfield, Virginia.

https://www.facebook.com/Nationals/videos/1060493817467125/


Natchitoches Junior High faculty and staff host Leap Night

Natchitoches Junior High School hosted Leap Night on March 25. Parents and students were invited to attend a fun family style event to get the children excited about the upcoming Leap Tests. The night included games, prizes, test tips, food fun for all members of the family.

The students were encouraged to bring family and have them sign in. The class with the most guests in attendance would win a donut party.

Leap Night was well attended with many parents and students. Natchitoches Parish School Board Members were also in attendance and enjoyed fellowship with teachers and students. Leap testing is quickly arriving for the district and the schools are actively encouraging the children.


Notice of Death – March 29, 2019

NATCHITOCHES PARISH:

Bobby Crowley
May 15, 1947 – March 27, 2019
Service: Saturday, March 30 at 10 am at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Interment: Provencal Cemetery

Dr. Donald Edwin Ryan
July 01, 1935 – March 15, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Willie Marie Wallace
March 24, 2019
Visitation: Saturday, March 30 from 9-11 am in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home in NatchitochesService: Saturday, March 30 at 11 am in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Lawrence Serenity Sanctum on Breazeale Springs Street

Mildrage Mallory`
March 23, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Willie Williams
March 16, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Dennis L. Raybon
March 08, 1955 – March 19, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Maria Sanchez
February 27, 1929 – March 5, 2019
Arrangements TBA

RAPIDES PARISH:

Bert Sallivan Jones Jr.
April 29, 1953 – March 27, 2019

SABINE PARISH:

Sharon Lee Green
August 12, 1944 – March 27, 2019
Service: Saturday, March 30 at 10 am at Warren Meadows Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Union Baptist Cemetery in Florien

WINN PARISH:

Gloria Jean Desadier Shows
November 24, 1939 – March 28, 2019
Visitation: Saturday, March 30 from 5-9 pm and Sunday, march 31 from 10 am – 2 pm at Zion Hill Baptist Church in Tannehill
Service: Sunday, March 31 at 2 pm at Zion Hill Baptist Church
Interment: New Jerusalem Cemetery

Wanda Cheryl Vines
January 26, 1951 – March 28, 2019
Visitation: Saturday, March 30 from 6-9 pm and Sunday, March 31 from 11 am – 2 pm at Hurricane Creek Baptist Church
Service: Sunday, March 31 at 2 pm at Hurricane Creek Baptist Church
Interment: Hurricane Creek Cemetery in Dodson

Puckett Willis
August 17, 1924 – March 27, 2019
Service: Saturday, March 30 at 3 pm at First Baptist Church of Winnfield
Interment: Sikes Cemetery

Andrew Wiley Warren Sr.
March 02, 1938 – March 25, 2019
Visitation: Saturday, March 30 from 10-11 am at Calvin Baptist Church
Service: Saturday, March 30 at 11 am at Calvin Baptist Church
Interment: Sanders Chapel Cemetery

Billie Waters
March 22, 1955 – March 23, 2019
Service: Saturday, March 30 at 11 am at New Jerusalem Baptist Church

RED RIVER PARISH:

IB Hayes
December 02, 1926 – March 27, 2019
Service: Saturday, March 30 at 12 pm at the Hayes family plot behind the Zion Baptist Church in Fairview Alpha

Paula Pearson Nolen
April 01, 1940 – March 29, 2019
Visitation: Saturday, March 30 from 6-8 pm at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home
Service: Sunday, March 31 at 2 pm at Magnolia Baptist Church
Interment: Wesley Chapel Cemetery