NSU Football: Laird’s message the same after encouraging showing at No. 4 LSU

A couple of firsts were tangible Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.

In the 12th football meeting between Northwestern State and LSU, the Demons scored their first two touchdowns against the Tigers. The first such score – Quan Shorts’ 17-yard catch from Shelton Eppler – gave Northwestern State its first lead against No. 4 LSU at 7-3.

Shorts’ catch and Eppler’s second touchdown pass – a 26-yarder to wide-open tight end David Fitzwater in the second quarter – came in front of the largest announced crowd (100,334) to see a Northwestern State football game in person.

And they came in an environment many outsiders believed would prove a challenge for the Demons to handle.

“I knew the environment wouldn’t be too big for our players,” second-year head coach Brad Laird said. “I told the players in the team meeting (Sunday), I’m probably more encouraged watching the film than I was after the game, because you’re able to see the one-on-one matchups our guys had success with. The preparation they put in showed. They responded from last Saturday to this Saturday in a positive way in terms of the mental focus and mental makeup that happened Sunday through Friday.”

A week after losing to Midwestern State in its 2019 home opener, the Demons delivered a first-half performance that put Northwestern State just 17 yards away from a one-score game at the half.

Northwestern State’s offense was in gear early, outgaining LSU 114-63 in the first quarter, and compiling two 75-yard touchdown drives in its first four possessions.

For the second time this season, Northwestern State played disciplined football on the road, committing just three penalties. In the season opener at UT Martin, the Demons were flagged nine times but mostly for “effort penalties.”

NSU was hit with one false start despite the decidedly pro-LSU, six-figure crowd.

“There’s a routine you get into on the road,” Laird said. “You’re together with each other. As much as we’re together on the road, you’ve got to look at how our guys and how our coaches prepared. That’s the bottom line. We talked about it, having seven penalties at home a week ago where you think you’d be comfortable to playing in front of 100,000 people and having one mental penalty. It goes back to the mental focus and being locked in and how we can be successful when we do that.”

The Demons got another strong performance from quarterback Shelton Eppler, who tossed his 30th and 31st career touchdown passes, moving into third in school history. The defense also set up a potential score late in the first half as Dylan Wilson collected his first career interception, jumping a Joe Burrow throw deep in the LSU end of the field.

Despite all the positives gained, including scoring NSU’s most points against a Power Five conference team since 2007, Laird said his message to his team remains the same as it was seven days ago.

“It’s about Sunday through Friday,” Laird said. “We’ve said that since Day 1. The only thing that changed today is they saw what we’re capable of when we do that. We didn’t finish, and we weren’t consistent in the second half, but you’ve got to give the No. 4 team in the country credit. We played hard and there are mistakes we have to clean up, but we did it with great excitement, great effort and great mental focus.”

Photo Credit: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services

Sharpco Hotels Group celebrates International Housekeeping Week

Sharpco Hotels Group concluded their celebration of International Housekeeping Week with an employee appreciation luncheon held at Best Western Natchitoches. Hosted every year, during the second full week of September, International Housekeeping week honors the contributions these professionals make throughout various industries.

“Housekeeping is the foundation of our company, the unsung heros. International Housekeeping Week gives us an opportunity to put a spotlight on their hard work and say thank you.” said Jay Sharplin, Owner of Sharpco Hotels Group.

The company celebrated their employees each day with special gifts and prizes to show their appreciation. Sharpco Hotels Group employees over 50 housekeeping professionals throughout their 5 properties; Best Western, Comfort Suites, Days Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Holiday Inn Downtown Alexandria.

Louisiana First Lady Donna Edwards visits LSMSA construction site

LSMSA welcomed First Lady Donna Edwards to the campus to get a peek into the progress of the new residence hall construction. Tony Mcdonald, project superintendent for Ratcliff Construction in Alexandria, Executive Director Dr. Steve Horton, LSMSA Board of Directors Chair Sharon Gahagan, LSMSA Chief of Staff John Allen and LSMSA Project Supervisor Chuck Stoker led the delegation through the two acre construction site and answered questions of First Lady Edwards and her staff.

Mcdonald explained to the group how auger piles were being completed, where the pile caps were being placed, how subsurface drainage was being completed, and how forming for Wing B was being installed. He said that Ratcliff plans to pour the slab for Wing B by the end of the month.

For more information on the project and to follow its progress visit www.LSMSA.edu/ResidenceHall.

Join NRMC’s Award-Winning Team of Champions

Join Natchitoches Regional Medical Center on Thursday, Sept. 26 from 9-11 am for its Fall 2019 Recruitment Fair. There are a wide range of positions available from Clinical to Non-Clinical, Licensed to Non-Licensed. There are even Volunteer opportunities available to anyone who is interested. Senior Level Management, Department Managers, and Staff from ALL Departments will be available to meet and greet.

NRMC is always looking for great candidates to join its TEAM of CHAMPIONS! For more information or if you would like to submit your resume, call or email:

Randee Knapp
NRMC Professional Recruiter
(318) 214-5819

Boys to Men Club receives donation

The Boys to Men Club received a donation from CityBank and Trust of Natchitoches. Donations made to the club are greatly used to benefit the clubmembers and fund some of the activities that the guys perform.

Pictured from left are Club Director Jermaine Thomas and CityBank employee Kimberly Ball.

The Boys to Men Club expresses thanks to the bank and is grateful for any donation that is received. If you would like to contribute to the club, contact the club’s director, Jermaine Thomas, at 318-238-0066 during school hours.

Library loans “Steel Magnolias” collection to CVB

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the release of “Steel Magnolias” this year, the Cammie G. Henry Research Center at Northwestern State University has loaned out some of its materials to the Natchitoches Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Located at 780 Front Street, Suite 100, the display was curated by Assistant Archivist Sharon Wolff and installed by volunteer student Elliot Davis. Available for viewing for the next few months, fans of the film will also be able to find another small display on the third floor of the Watson Library.

Additional material is kept in the Cammie G. Henry Research Center and is open to the general public. For questions about the display downtown, contact the Bureau at 800-259-1714. 

Uncovering Louisiana Civil War History and a Digital Look at Shreveport-Lunch and Learn at Grand Ecore Visitors Center

Twins Mark and Mike Mangham of Shreveport’s Twin Blends Photography gave an interesting presentation on area history at the Grand Ecore Visitors Center Saturday September 14. The brothers, both lifelong history buffs, gave a presentation of their efforts to document and preserve area history. They spoke of their hunt for relics from the naval component of General Banks’ Red River Expedition of the Civil War.

They are also interested in more recent history, particularly of the Shreveport area. One of their more interesting techniques is to blend older photographs of an area with what the same place looks like now. The viewer can then more easily relate to the older photograph and the changes through the years. The examples shown in the presentation were the result of their looking through literally thousands of old photographs in the LSUS archives, many of which are negatives rather than prints, to find the ones of the area or building they needed. After seeing their presentation, a trip through downtown Shreveport will have you seeing things as they were in earlier days.

Twin Blend Photography’s presentation was part of the Cane River National Heritage Area’s “Lunch and Learn” program which presents interesting talks on different historical events in the local area. Past presentations have included Natchitoches in WWI, the Neutral Strip and no man’s land that was just to our west and the great logjam of the Red River.


New book co-edited by NSU faculty member examines teacher representation on stage and in film

A new book co-edited by Dr. Richard St. Peter, assistant professor of theatre at Northwestern State University, will be released next week. The book, “Teacher Representations in Dramatic Text and Performance,” was co-edited by Dr. Melanie Shoffner and is published by Routledge.

Shoffner is a professor of education at James Madison University. St. Peter is in his second year on the Northwestern State faculty.

The book examines representations of the teacher on stage – in both theatrical performances and dramatic text – in order to demonstrate how these representations have shaped society’s perceptions of educators in and out of the classroom and should be of interest to graduate and postgraduate students, academics and researchers in the fields of teacher education, drama and theatre education.

At the heart of this book, according to St. Peter, is the interaction between theatre and teacher education.

“By considering how dramatic portrayals reimagine, reinforce and/or undermine our understanding of the teacher’s personal and professional roles, this volume bridges the gap between truth in dramatic literature and truth in the classroom,” he said.

Chapters critically explore the personas embodied by fictional teachers in well-known works such as “Educating Rita,” “School of Rock” and “The History Boys” and illustrate how educators might use dramatic literature and performance to interrogate entrenched ideas about the student-teacher dynamic. By bringing together a diverse set of contributors from the fields of teacher education and theatre, this book takes a critical look at performance, text, society and culture to promote a new understanding of teaching and learning.

The book is available at CLICK HERE

Lakeview Gators Are on the Move!

By Kevin Shannahan

Kevin’s Gallery

The Lakeview Gators are no longer the perennial doormats of the parish football scene. This season is shaping up to be the breakout one for the team under second year coach Brandon Helms. From their scrimmage to their upset victory against longtime rival St. Mary’s and 60+ point shellacking of Ringgold, the Gators are on a roll the likes of which hasn’t been seen at the school in many a football season. Week 2’s game against Rapides parish’s Northwood-Lena Friday, September 13 was to prove the Gator’s newfound prowess on the gridiron to be no fluke. A relentless Lakeview team delivered a decisive 64-14 victory over the Northwood-Lena squad. Fifty of those points were scored before halftime. You read that right. The score was 50 to zero at the half. The Lakeview Gators are now the only high school team in the parish to have emerged victorious in every game this season from their scrimmage through this week’s contests.

The Lakeview school community has a lot to celebrate off the field as well. A happy group of former Gator athletes, elected officials and candidates for office joined Principal William Hymes in a ribbon cutting on the 50 yard line for the school’s new track and field complex. The school’s old cinder track has been replaced with a new state of the art surface. The football field also received numerous upgrades. Gator baseball and softball fans will be able to watch the games in brand new baseball and softball fields. Not all of the campus investments are in athletics however. Lakeview will shortly debut its new Culinary Arts Center. The state of the art facility will enable interested students to leave high school with a nationally recognized industry certification as well as their diploma.

In other Friday night gridiron action, Coach Byron Keller’s NCHS Chiefs defeated powerhouse Many High 21 to 12 and the St. Mary’s squad gave up a hard fought contest against Cedar Creek 33 to 7.

The Natchitoches Parish Journal wishes all of our parish’s teams a safe and successful season!

Natchitoches Police investigate homicide on Pearl Street

The Natchitoches Police Department is investigating a homicide that took place Sunday afternoon on Pearl Street.

On September 15, 2019 around 4:00 p.m., officers with the Natchitoches Police Department responded to the 300 block of Pearl Street in reference to someone being shot in the area. Upon officers arrival they located Daniel James Beaudion (B/M, 33 y.o.a. of Natchitoches) suffering from a gunshot wound.

The Natchitoches Police Department will release more details as they become available.

If you would like to report suspicious activity or an emergency please contact the Natchitoches Police Department at (318) 352-8101 or if you have additional information in regards to this investigation please contact Detective John Wynn at (318) 357-3811. Remember all information given shall remain confidential.

Anonymous Tips by Smartphone:

You may also provide tips that will be anonymous via our Tipsoft Product. Simply send the tip by using your smartphones (download the free application) or by texting (Text-A-Tip) to CRIMES (274637). Use NPDTIPS before typing your message. 

Officer John Greely
Natchitoches Police Department
Release Date: September 15, 2019