EZ-RYDR coming to Natchitoches

EZ-RYDR is a subscription-based ride share service that puts safety first with thoroughly-vetted drivers and other features. This start up company launched in Oxford, Miss. in October, 2018. It’s now operating in Starkville, Miss., Ruston, and will be in Natchitoches as soon as a fleet of drivers can be established. This could be as soon as a few days, according to CEO and co-founder Kyle Staude.

Kyle started EZ_RYDR with three other co-founders: CTO Jeff Tindall, Marketing Director Austen Cain, and VP Brad Beard. Also on board are advisors Jay Worthy and Tom Pecora.

Staude said they plan to offer their services within Natchitoches City limits initially, but plan on expanding throughout the Parish. Of course, rides will cost a bit more to the outer areas of the Parish, but isn’t it worth it to avoid a DUI?

“We’re a car service that cares,” said Staude. “Our focus is on the underserved and often times overlooked rural college towns. We want to bring a sense of community to what we do.”

EZ-RYDR is currently recruiting drivers for the Natchitoches area. For more information go online to ez-rydr.com or https://www.facebook.com/ezrydrllc.

Kiwanis Pancake Festival serves up FREE pancakes to community, 5K and Color Run included

The Kiwanis Club of Natchitoches is excited to hold its annual Kiwanis Pancake Festival & 5K Saturday, April 27 at the Collins Family Pavilion at NSU. The pancakes will be FREE to all guests. Yep, we said FREE PANCAKES! You are not required to participate in the 5K to enjoy the pancakes. The community is invited to come out and enjoy a nice hot breakfast!

The Pancake Festival will also offer a wide array of events including: a pancake eating contest, pancake flipping contest and a free Kids Zone that includes painting and bounce houses. The breakfast itself will include delicious pancakes, sausage and your choice of beverage (milk, coffee or orange juice).

The Pancake Festival will host its first color run as a part of the Pancake Festival this year! Along the route, there will be volunteers throwing color at those who want to participate. If you don’t want to get hit with color, you’ll just run to the left of the volunteers.

Cost to run in the 5K is $30 for children 12 and under and $25 for everyone else. Registration will begin at 7:30 am. Sign up & pay online at https://runsignup.com/Race/LA/Natchitoches/KiwanisPancakeFestival5K.

One hundred percent of the proceeds raised from this event will be used to support the many programs and projects in the local club including: Terrific Kids, K-Kids, Key Club, Circle-K, Boys & Girls Club water day and many others.

“Our club also takes the time to honor a Lawman of the Year, Teacher of the Year, Fire Fighter of the Year and a Layperson of the Year and we could not be more proud of our hard work and support from the community,” said Lee Waskom.

If you are interested in learning more about Kiwanis, The Kiwanis Club of Natchitoches meets on the second and fourth Thursday of every month at the NSU Rec Complex at noon. If you would like more information about Kiwanis, visit our website at kiwanisclubnatchitoches.com.

Chris Roper Golf Tournament April 27

Northwestern State University will host the 37th annual Chris Roper Memorial Golf Tournament Saturday April 27 at Northwestern Hills. Proceeds from the tournament are used to fund two scholarships awarded each year to two deserving students who are enrolled in the Health & Human Performance Department. Currently, each student receives the $3,000 scholarship for one year. Students have to be either juniors or seniors.

Tee time for the tournament will be at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. The four-man scramble will include prizes for first, second and third place teams, closest to the hole, long drive and door prizes. The entry fee is $75 per person, which includes cart, green fees, lunch and beverages. Those unable to attend may consider a tee sponsorship which is $50. Tee signs are placed on different tee boxes around the course. Lunch will be served at 1 p.m.

For more information contact:

Danielle Cobb @ (318) 357- 5513

Jill Bankston @ (318) 357-4241

Run Baby Run increases awareness of WRC, need for volunteers

The Women’s Resource Center will hold its 9th annual Run Baby Run on Saturday, May 4. Run Baby Run is a walk/run to increase awareness of the Women’s Resource Center and the services they are able to provide for free to women and their families in the community. This year, the WRC would like to raise awareness of their need for volunteers. Over the past year the center has lost some long-time volunteers because of relocation and health issues. Christian women with a heart for ministering to the young women of the community are needed.

There will be a 1 mile and 5K event, both starting at the front of the First Baptist Church on 2nd Street.

Registration/check in for both events will begin at 8 a.m. Run Baby Run is open to all ages and for children under five there will be no charge. In addition to the 1 mile and 5K there will be a balloon release in honor of all the boys, girls, and unborn children served by the WRC.

The pre-registration deadline has been extended to April 23.
5K = $25 pre-registration, $30 after deadline
1Mile = $20 pre-registration, $25 after deadline
Both 5K & 1M = $35 pre-registration, $40 after deadline
Virtual Runner = $15
Children under 5 years old = FREE
Kids, Strollers & Pets welcome!

Registration can take place online at http://www.wrcfriends.com/run or entry forms may be picked up at the WRC at 107 North St., Natchitoches.

The WRC is a non-profit pregnancy help medical clinic that serves over 400 women ever year in central Louisiana, most of whom are in unplanned pregnancies. All services are free which include prenatal education, lifestyle skills, ultrasound, material assistance, childbirth education, and life affirming options counseling.

For further information on costs and/or pre-registration call 318-357-8888.

Natchitoches Community Improvement Foundation Votes to Increase Funding to Public

By Edwin Crayton/Opinion

In the past year, the public and even a few of its own board members have asked the Natchitoches Community Improvement Foundation (NCIF) to increase the amount of money it gives in grants and scholarships. Well you could say their prayers were answered on April 9, 2019 at the second quarterly meeting when NCIF voted to increase grants in the next cycle to $51,000. Contrast that to past years where NCIF which has 1.8 million to distribute to the public has given just $28,000 total in grants yearly. The grants and scholarships will be given in three areas: economic development, education and recreation. Additionally, the foundation voted to increase scholarships from $6,000 to $12,000. At the meeting, I mentioned that I wish they were giving more—like $100,000 yearly, considering the tremendous needs of this area. Yet, I also acknowledged to the board that it was a step forward.

Those interested can get information by writing the Natchitoches Community Improvement Foundation, P.O. Box 606, Natchitoches, LA 71458. Applications will be due June 14, 2019.

“Freely you have been given, freely give” –Jesus in Matthew 10:8

Save the Date for A Southern Tradition: Kentucky Derby Pre-Party

Get your tickets now for an exclusive fundraising event for the Northwestern Louisiana Cancer Foundation’s Van Initiative. Dress to Impress in your Derby Best for the Kentucky Derby Pre-Party, set for Friday, May 3 from 5:30-8:30 pm at the local brewery on Mill Street. Awards will be presented for the Best Dressed Couple and the Best Derby Hat.

Tickets can be purchased in person at the brewery or at the Northwestern Louisiana Cancer Center.

Individual tickets: $55
Couples tickets: $100

Admittance includes:
Entry into an Exclusive, Limited-Capacity Event
An Exclusive Beer Sampling Hour from 5:30pm-6:30pm
A Donation to the Northwestern Louisiana Cancer Foundation’s Van Purchase
A Gourmet Southern-Style Buffet From Your Favorite Local Restaurants
Live Music Entertainment
Games and Much More

Sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact The Northwestern Louisiana Cancer Center for more information.

The Northwestern Louisiana Cancer Foundation provides financial assistance to Northwest Louisiana cancer patients. The NLCF pays for transportation to/from treatment and lodging during treatment. There are no salaries or benefits paid from the money raised. NLCF members are all volunteers.

“While our first fundraising event was extremely successful, we are still short the money needed to complete the van purchase, which is needed to help transport patients to and from cancer treatments,” said Sarah Stewart, director of the Northwestern Louisiana Cancer Center. “Please make plans to join us for this fun event where 100% of proceeds raised will go directly to the purchase of a van for transporting patients in the NWLA area back and forth to cancer treatments. This includes Campti, Clarence, Goldonna, Many, Zwolle, Winnfield, and so many more towns in Northwest Louisiana.”

If you are unable to attend this event and would still like to contribute to the van purchase, make a donation: https://www.paypal.me/NWLACancerFoundation

A huge thank you to our volunteer Committee: Kelly Krouse, Patricia Franks, Emily Zering, Brooke Lathem, Justin Krouse, Daniel Page, Eliza Behrenson, Kayla Dowden, Angie McKnight, and Sarah Stewart. This would not be possible with each and everyone of you!

Anyone interested in volunteering may contact Sarah Stewart at 318-464-3850 or email sstewart@nlcc.live.

Seven named to CAPA Hall of Fame

The Mrs. H.D. Dear Sr. and Alice E. D. Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts is welcoming seven new members to the CAPA Hall of Fame for 2019.

This year’s honorees are Burt Allen, Robert Alost, Joel Ebarb, James Ford, Richard Jennings, Shirley Jennings and Rivers Murphy. The latest group of inductees are being honored at various Creative and Performing Arts events throughout the spring semester.

Allen, who was hired in 1983, was director of choral activities at NSU for 32 years. He is responsible for laying the foundation for the outstanding choral program at NSU.

Allen was the first NSU faculty member to appear in Carnegie Hall, and the NSU Chamber Choir under his direction is the only NSU ensemble to appear there in a solo performance.

Allen was the first to lead an NSU musical ensemble on a European tour. He was the first CAPA faculty member to successfully author an externally funded grant, followed by several others, totaling more than $350,000 which created the first music computer labs, purchased a number of Yamaha Disklavier pianos and funded a class piano lab and multimedia capabilities for several classrooms. He initiated the local tradition of performing the Candlelight Service of Lessons and Carols in Natchitoches.

He retired from Northwestern State in 2015 and continues to be active in the choral music field. Allen serves as the artistic director for the Red River Chorale in Alexandria.

Alost was Northwestern State’s president from 1986 to 1996. Over that 10-year period, he led the university to an unprecedented period of growth, laying the foundation for future progress in all areas. Enrollment at Northwestern State increased from 5,272 to more than 9,000 while he was president. Alost was the president at the initial organization of the Department of Creative and Performing Arts. He was also instrumental in establishing the budget in the area of scholarships which has been so important to the development of CAPA programs.

Before becoming president, he served NSU as a faculty member, department head and dean. Alost was co-founder of the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts and director of the school from 1982 to 1986.

He was inducted into the Northwestern Alumni Hall of Distinction, the Long Purple Line, in 2005. Alost was named a Natchitoches Treasure in 2018.

Ebarb is professor of theatre in the Patti and Rusty Rueff School of Design, Art, and Performance at Purdue University. He serves as senior associate dean for undergraduate education and international programs in the College of Liberal Arts. Previously, he served as chair of the Department of Theatre from 2011-2015, and Director of Undergraduate Theatre Studies from 2009-2011. Ebarb began his career at Purdue in 1997.

His teaching, research, and creative endeavor are focused primarily in costume design for the entertainment industry. Ebarb has costume design credits throughout the United States and internationally. He is an accomplished puppeteer, occasional director and playwright and novice performer.

Ebarb is a popular speaker and presents a series of lectures and workshops using theatre techniques to improve skills in teaching and interpersonal communication. He is an award-winning educator and was a 2011 recipient of the Charles B. Murphy Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching, Purdue University’s highest undergraduate teaching honor.

Ebarb is an alumnus of NSU’s Eta Omicron chapter of Theta Chi Fraternity.

Ford was a local businessman and community leader who was gifted with a beautiful operatic voice and who tirelessly gave to the community. A 1955 graduate of Louisiana State University (LSU) School of Music, he then married Jo Ann Breedlove of Natchitoches. After serving in the U.S. Army as a Korean Conflict helicopter pilot, he returned to Natchitoches where he was in the residential and commercial construction and development business for 33 years.

Ford had leading roles in numerous NSU productions and was a bass soloist with the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra and NSU Chorus. Ford also performed at Pops Concerts, several benefit concerts with opera star Eugenie Chopin Watson and at numerous weddings, funerals and special events, often with tenor Jim Bob Key.

From 1959 to 1971 Ford was music director at First United Methodist Church and also served on the Board of Stewards. He was active in local civic clubs served on the City Bank & Trust Co. Board of Directors. Ford served on the Natchitoches Industries and Chamber of Commerce Boards, Cane River Development, Inc. president and Associated General Contractors for Central Louisiana president.

Ford was president of the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Society for 1971-72. A November 2000 concert in his honor was presented by the NSU Symphony Orchestra and Choirs, performing Faure’s “Requiem.”

Richard Jennings joined Northwestern State’s faculty in 1971, teaching horn, serving as a band director and teaching music education courses. He served as a piano accompanist for his horn studio and recruited for the entire music department. In the early 1980s, he became music department head, and was instrumental in the building of the Fine Arts Annex. Richard Jennings met with architects daily and lobbied for many changes to the building plan that have proved to be essential to the success of the facility. He was responsible for the addition of the 40-rank Reuter organ for Magale Recital Hall. He convinced the architects to install doors big enough to fit a piano through each of the rehearsal halls, and, imagining the years of moving pianos and marimbas, he also convinced them to pave over the stairs and instead build a ramp to access backstage Magale Recital Hall.

Another proud accomplishment was serving on hiring committees that brought in a round of distinguished and successful music professors that grew the department into what it is today.

Richard Jennings was president of the Louisiana Bandmasters Association in 1966-67 and was elected LBA Bandmaster of the Year in 1967. He was inducted into the Louisiana Music Educators’ Association Hall of Fame in 1992. He served on the Board of the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Society throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s and beyond.

After his retirement from NSU in 1994, he taught class piano and piano lessons to non-majors for several years.

Shirley Jennings taught harp, violin, and piano for the music department at Northwestern State University from 1971 to 2015, and also served in the Registrar’s Office for many years. She taught adjunct harp, violin and viola at the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts. She also maintained a large and vibrant music studio out of her home where she taught hundreds of students to play harp and violin. As a performer, Shirley Jennings was engaged by the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra, the Natchitoches/Northwestern Symphony Orchestra, the South Arkansas Symphony and many other regional orchestras.

She was a member of the Louisiana chapter of the National Music Teachers Association, serving as state harp chair from 1995 to 2007, and receiving their Distinguished Service Award in 2011. Shirley Jennings was a member of the American Harp Society, the American String Teachers Association and the American String Orchestra Association. She was the director of the NSU Harp Ensemble for many years, featured annually at the NSU Christmas Gala. She was the Faculty Sponsor for the NSU chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota.

Murphy joined Northwestern State’s faculty in 1966 and retired in 2004. He has worked in a number of media including sculpture, stained glass, printmaking, design, drawing, crafts and glassblowing. Many of Murphy’s works have appeared in exhibitions or are in private collections throughout the United States and Canada.

Murphy was a member of a state task force on arts education in the state public schools and another task force which developed a test instrument for the evaluation of art-talented public school students.

He was the sculptor of a creation to honor playwright Bobby Harling, the author of the play and screenwriter of the film “Steel Magnolias,” and the artist and designer of a special commemorative coin to honor country music singer Roy Acuff on the 50th anniversary of his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

Murphy was the recipient of the Louisiana Art Education Association’s 1990 Outstanding Supervision/Administration Art Educator of the Year Award.

Supporting Goodwill® on Earth Day benefits environment, fosters economic growth

Earth Day is the perfect time to reflect on how you can positively impact the environment and create a healthier planet. One way to do this is by donating to and shopping at Goodwill Industries.

According to a recent Forbes article, fast fashion, while convenient, is harmful to our environment and the planet. The rapid mass production that most retailers undergo creates a surplus of inventory, much of which ends up in landfills. Nearly 13 million tons of clothing are sent to U.S. landfills every year. That’s enough to fill an entire football stadium 14 feet deep. While sitting in landfills, clothing leaks toxic chemicals and dyes that contaminate soil and groundwater.

By donating and shopping second-hand at Goodwill, you’re taking a stand against fast fashion and practicing a sustainable lifestyle that helps the environment. Shopping at Goodwill gives items a second life and gives people a second chance by providing skills and job training as well as placement opportunities for those facing challenges to finding employment.

In addition to clothing, you can shop for items such as furniture, electronics, home décor and more. Reuse keeps items out of landfills and helps slow production. Last year alone,

On Earth Day, Goodwill will collaborate with sustainable fashion influencer Rachel Cole to spread awareness about how shopping at Goodwill fosters a sustainable lifestyle. The nonprofit also collaborated with Buzzfeed producer and home décor influencer Ashley McGetrick during Earth Week. She provided a step-by-step visual guide to transform a vintage record player into a jewelry box, encouraging reusing and recycling through secondhand shopping at Goodwill.

In addition to benefiting the environment, supporting Goodwill also helps people in your community. Eighty-seven cents of every dollar spent at your local Goodwill stores across North Louisiana goes toward creating employment and job training opportunities in your community. Last year, more than 700 individuals werer placed into sustainable employment.

About Goodwill Industries of North Louisiana

Goodwill is a nonprofit leader in providing education, training and career services for people with disabilities, such as physical or mental disabilities, lack of education or work experience and homelessness. Goodwill is ranked 11th on the Forbes 20 Most Inspiring American Companies list, the only nonprofit to be included. Since 2010, Goodwill Industries of North Louisiana helped place more than 50,000 individuals people in jobs.

Goodwill Industries of North Louisiana’s, 11 retail locations provide not only affordable goods and services, but also jobs for those in need and revenue to support Goodwill’s charitable mission. Goodwill also multiple job resource centers, equipped with job-search experts, computers, Internet access and telephones. Goodwill believes that work has the power to transform lives by building self-confidence, independence, creativity, trust and friendships. Everyone deserves this chance. 

ROTC awards, commissioning programs set

Northwestern State University’s 69th Demon Battalion U.S. Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps will host its annual spring awards ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, May 2 at the Teacher Education Center’s Middle Lab School Auditorium.

The event is open to the public. A reception will follow.

The Battalion will also host a Commissioning Ceremony for four graduating students who will take the Oath of Commissioned Officers to serve as Second Lieutenants in the U.S. Army. The ceremony will be at 1:30 p.m. Friday, May 10 at the TEC Auditorium.

Commissioning are Cadets Dominitra L. Charles, Logan T. DeOre, John A. Ham and Karl J. Marzahl. Cadets commissioning will also be recognized during 3 p.m. commencement exercises on May 10.

For more information, contact Sid Hall at (318) 357-6951

Frank and Darbonne break school records, Larkins improves national standing at LSU Alumni Gold

The Northwestern State track and field teams closed the regular season schedule on a very high note Saturday with Kelsey Frank breaking a 20-year-old school record in the javelin and Reagan Darbonne raising her own school record, as NSU claimed three gold medals and eight podium finishes at the LSU Alumni Gold meet in Bernie Moore Track Stadium in Baton Rouge.

Frank, a senior, won the javelin with a heave of 168-5, erasing the 166-9 school record held by All-American Regina Roe since 1999. The Oberlin native, who had pushed her personal best to 163-5 last Friday at the Leon Johnson NSU Invitational, moved into the nation’s top 20 this season as she threw nearly 14 feet past the second-place finisher Saturday, Florida’s Megan Reed.

Senior two-time All-American sprinter Micah Larkins also impressed with a win in the section A 100 meter dash finals, tying the nation’s fourth-best time of 10.10 (with a 2.8 mph wind). The Haughton High School product beat out six professional runners in his victory, clocking the second-fastest time of his career behind a wind-aided 10.02 last year at the Texas Relays. It’s the fifth-fastest 100 ever by a Demon, with the wind (over 2.0 mph) denying him the chance to lower the school record of 10.12 he shares with Justin Walker.

Sophomore Markeit Steverson Jr. claimed his first gold of the outdoor season in the men’s long jump with a leap of 23-11.

Darbonne, a sophomore, raised the Lady Demon pole vault standard in consecutive weeks. The Hackberry native broke the school record at the Leon Johnson NSU Invitational with a height of 13-2 ½ before besting that at 13-3 ½ to claim second Saturday.

Head track and field coach and throws coach Mike Heimerman, who coaches NSU’s throwers, was especially pleased with his javelin star, redshirted last year after winning the 2017 Southland Conference title.

“Kelsey threw great. Anytime you can break a record that’s that old, it’s an awesome feeling,” said Heimerman. “I think she can still improve her distance even more.”

Junior Natashia Jackson picked up a silver in the women’s section B 200 with a time of 23.94 (4.2 mph) in a field of 38 competitors, falling just short of Texas A&M Commerce’s Eboni Coby (23.78, 2.7 mph).

German transfer Yannik Gerland improved from this past weekend’s performance with a third-place finish in the men’s 3000 steeplechase, setting a personal-best 9:26.39.

Freshman Slavoski Wright also picked up a bronze in the 800 with a career-best 1:52.78 among 30 competitors.

NCAA Indoor long jump champion Jasmyn Steels was in action in the women’s invitational division where she finished third overall and second among college athletes with a jump of 20-8 ½. Kenyattia Hackworth (unattached) was first overall at 21-8 while Yanis David (Florida) took second at 21-0.

Junior Brooke Petkovich took fourth in two events. In the morning, the Kenner native jumped 18-5 in the long jump before producing a 38-10 ½ in the triple jump later in the afternoon.

“It was a great meet overall. Micah and Speedy (Jackson) led the way, our jumpers always do good too,” said Heimerman. “Today shows that we can compete with the best in the SEC, ACC, and so on. Our kids are ready for conference and we’re excited to put on a good show.”

NSU takes a week off before hosting the 2019 Southland Conference Outdoor Championships May 3-5 at the Walter P. Ledet Track Complex.

NSU Pi Kappa Phi alumnus graduates ‘Top Gun’ of Harris County Sheriff’s Office training academy class

Nick Nguyen, an alumnus of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, has graduated with top honors from the Harris County, Texas Sheriff Office training academy.
Nguyen was among 44 new deputies joining the ranks of the Houston-area law enforcement agency on April 9, 2019.

Recognized for his marksmanship skills, the U.S. Army veteran was named ‘Top Gun’ of Class B2 2018.

In addition to his duties as a deputy, he will also serve in the sheriff’s office honor guard, which provides representation at funerals for retired and active duty personnel and makes appearances at parades and other public functions.

Nguyen initiated into Northwestern State University’s Beta Omicron Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi in 2010.

Notice of Death – April 22, 2019


Frederick Lacy
April 05, 1967 – April 21, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Narvy Lewis
April 10, 2019
Arrangements TBA


Carl Dean Leone
July 5, 1960 – April 19, 2019
Visitation: Sunday, April 21 at 5 pm at Warren Meadows Funeral Home in Zwolle
Service: Tuesday, April 23 at 10 am at First Baptist Church of Noble
Interment: St. Joseph Cemetery in Zwolle

Glenda Quayhagen Rogers
October 4, 1939 – April 19, 2019
Visitation: Monday, April 22 at 5 pm at Warren Meadows Funeral Home in Many
Service: Tuesday, April 23 at 2 pm at St. John The Baptist Catholic Church with Father Richard Norsworthy officiating
Interment: St. John The Baptist Catholic Cemetery


Melba Bradford Little
May 18, 1937 – April 18, 2019
Visitation: Monday, April 22 from 9-10 am at the Southern Funeral Home of Winnfield
Service: Monday, April 22 at 10 am in the chapel of Southern Funeral Home of Winnfield
Interment: Oak Grove Cemetery in Rhinehart