2019 WRC Gala

Kevin’s Gallery

Several hundred supporters of the Natchitoches Women’s Resource Center gathered at the Natchitoches Events Center for the Center’s annual Celebration of Life. The popular fundraiser, now in its 13th year, featured an enjoyable dinner, fellowship and a speech by pro-life figure Sean Carey.

The Women’s Resource Center, an integral part of our community since 1989, serves 400 to 500 women each year. The center assists women from the moment they realize they are pregnant through their child’s first year. The expecting mothers receive pre-natal vitamins, baby supplies such as car seats, diapers, baby clothes and other items. The center does more than help with baby supplies, however. The mothers to be are offered classes in parenting, healthy relationships,car seat installation, budgeting and much more. The WRC is there to assist with every aspect of a new mother’s life. Above all, the women know that they are not facing the situation alone. The volunteers of the Women’s Resource Center are there to help and support them.

The Natchitoches Parish Journal is donating tonight’s photography. Anyone may download any they wish. If you do see a photo you like, please consider a donation to the Women’s Resource Center in lieu of payment. The Center is a force for good in our community. Let’s help them out!

Natchitoches Parish President and Council Candidates Square Off at Chamber of Commerce Forum

A group of about 50 concerned citizens were joined by an internet audience in watching tonight’s Parish President and Parish Council candidate forum Thursday, September 26 at NSU’s Magale Auditorium. The forum was sponsored by the Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce and NSU’s Student Government Association. Members of NSU’s Student Government Association also assisted with the event set up, ushering and timekeeping. Chamber president Laura Lyles emceed the evening’s program. Each candidate was allowed a 3 minute introduction, after which they each answered questions from the chamber and from audience members. The candidates answered questions on the condition of the parish’s roads, Head Start, fostering economic growth and how they planned to address these and other issues should they be the one elected.

These forums are an excellent opportunity to meet and evaluate the men and women hoping to earn your vote. Take advantage and come out to meet them and hear what they have to say in response to your questions. Make your voice heard and your vote count!

NSU Football: All-American tight end Justin Aldredge to be Saturday’s Demon Great of the Game

Justin Aldredge’s family ties led him to Turpin Stadium for his college football career. His on- and off-field performances made him one of the best tight ends in school history.

A 2011 All-American, Aldredge has been named the Exchange Bank and Trust Demon Great of the Game for Saturday’s 6:05 p.m. game against Southeastern Louisiana. He will be recognized during the first quarter of the game against the Lions, which will air on CST. For those outside CST’s footprint, the game can be seen on ESPN3.

The grandson of NSU All-American Corwyn Aldredge Sr., Justin Aldredge made a name for himself, earning second-team FCS All-American honors as a senior from the Beyond Sports Network after catching 39 passes for 514 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Those numbers produced first-team All-Southland Conference and second-team All-Louisiana honors for Aldredge, whose receptions and yardage totals ranked him in the top 10 in the Southland Conference that season.

A two-time All-Southland Conference performer on the field, Justin Aldredge’s All-American season made him and his grandfather the first pair of family members to earn All-American honors as NSU football players. After playing linebacker as a freshman, Aldredge shifted to tight end and caught a pass in 32 of his 33 starts on offense, including a string of 15 straight to finish his career.

Justin Aldredge excelled away from the field as well, graduating magna cum laude in business administration and accounting with a 3.9 grade point average. He earned first-team Capital One Academic All-America honors as a senior and was a first-team ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-District VI selection as a junior.

A Demon Great of the Game is spotlighted at each home football game. In its first six seasons, the Great of the Game presented by Exchange Bank and Trust has honored 30 outstanding figures in the 111-year history of NSU athletics. Aldredge joins former NSU track and field All-American javelin thrower Latrell Frederick as this season’s Demon Great of the Game honorees.

Exchange Bank and Trust has been a key supporter of NSU Athletics throughout its long history as the oldest financial institution in Louisiana.

Natchitoches Fire Department Investigations Division Makes Arrest in Arson Case

The Natchitoches Fire Department Investigation Division was called to investigate a suspicious fire in the 1500 block of Mandell Street.

On September 14, 2019 around 7:00 a.m., firefighters with the Natchitoches Fire Department responded to the 1500 block of Mandell Street in reference to a house fire. Upon firefighter’s arrival they located multiple areas of the house where an apparent accelerant was used to set the fire.

The Natchitoches Fire Department Investigation Division arrived on scene and determined that the fire was intentionally set. Investigators spoke with several witnesses that stated a male set the fire and fled the scene in a vehicle.

Natchitoches Fire Department Investigators obtained an arrest warrant for Carl Johnson Jr. ( 21 y.o.a, B/M of Natchitoches) for 7 counts of Aggravated Arson.

Carl Johnson Jr. was arrested without incident and placed in Natchitoches Parish Detention Center.

If you have additional information in regards to this investigation, please contact Investigator Kory Leo at (318) 357-3860. Remember all information given shall remain confidential.

Ponderings with Doug – September 27, 2019

James Mitchell is a hero at First Methodist Church. He was the youth director here way back in the 1980’s. James is now the pastor of our largest Methodist church in Mandeville, Louisiana. I was the Executive Pastor at the church with James before I came to Natchitoches. I have known James and his wife Delaine forever! We all started this journey about the same time.

Delaine and I are both comics and James is the straight man. On Thursday nights we all went to dinner. It was a ritual. Always at 6:30. Always Italian food. It was such an important ritual that I convinced their son Patrick that he ought to attend the University of Alabama. Patrick graduated with his Master’s degree from that institution last year! Roll Tide!

On the Thursday nights before I was to preach on the following Sunday,
Delaine would bet me a dollar that I couldn’t work a certain word into the sermon that Sunday. It had to flow naturally. It could not disrupt the sermon. It could not disrupt the people listening to the sermon. Once she bet me ten dollars, I could not work the word “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” into the sermon. I was preaching on Nebuchadnezzar, so “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” was no problem. James Mitchell just shook his head.

There are words that preachers don’t get to use in our public discourse.

I have used this word once in a funeral meditation and I am about to use the word again in this article. The word is bra. If you are squeamish stop reading here.

I used the word once at a funeral. The guy I was burying was a character of renown. He rode a Harley to church every Sunday. His tattoos had ink of their own. He lived life rough. He had a rough-hewn faith too. He believed Jesus consumed wine abundantly and could have won any bar brawl. He offended those of a more delicate faith with his Sunday School pronouncements.

He died suddenly. His family asked me to do the funeral. They wanted me to talk about his Mardi Gras Krewe and costume. The most important part of his Mardi Gras costume was the sequined bra. Previously, I had never uttered the word “bra” in public. Three sentences into his funeral meditation, the word bra was uttered from that pulpit and the stained-glass windows did not shatter.

The other day I ordered a couple of books. They were typical of the books I order. The books were so small that Amazon put them in one of their large envelopes. I opened the envelope and dumped the contents out on the sofa in front of God and my in-laws! Out tumbled my two books and one bra.

Guys fear this. Some of my friends have had unexplained bras pop up in glove compartments, under front seats of cars or between sofa cushions. An unidentified bra will get a male in knee-deep kimchee every time.

What in the world? Who ordered this bra? Did Amazon make a mistake? Was there a special, order two books and get one bra? I was flummoxed.

My wife walked in and laughed. She said, “You were using my Amazon account for your books again. You didn’t check the shopping cart before you placed the order, did you?” I was doubly caught.

NO. I did not check the shopping cart. I was ordering books and don’t know a thing about Amazon shopping carts! I do know that being sneaky never seems to pay off.

An unexamined shopping cart led to an incriminating bra.

Honesty is the best policy.

According to Kris: Fall into Fashion Part 3

By Kris James

TGIF Stylers! Congrats you have made it through the week and almost made it through my four-day Fall segment. Now it’s time to let your hair down. We’ve established that Fall style is the most fun style. Somehow, the idea of treating yourself is especially alluring in the Fall. As I said weeks ago for kids, it’s all about back-to-school excitement, and for Stylers, it’s game time. So, instead of pulling out the same pile of reliable heavily pilled sweaters from your storage, why not resolve to test drive something new?

I recently saw Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which is a Quentin Tarantino film. Set in the late 60s and early 70s, the film serves is an homage to Western cinema in New Hollywood and the fashion in the movie was amazing. I already had a love for the 70s era but it wasn’t until I saw this movie that it gave me the confidence to try to push my style. For a long time, 70s style was rudely mocked for its bad taste, its many shades of brown and its large amount of body hair. But after seeing Brad Pit and Leonardo DiCaprio in this film I automatically knew this was a perfect fit for me. I’m down with the flares, cowboy boots, double denim, silk shirts, animal print, and leather jackets.

To get your imagination going, I decided to ask a few stylers about the style moves they’re most excited to pull off this fall.

“I’ve never paired a print blazer or jacket with a different print scarf. That seems to be a hard style for me to consider because I was raised to never mix prints. I was also always told that black and brown doesn’t match but I’ve overcome that fashion No No through the years.”  – Tammy Metoyer

“You pair a quality wool overcoat with a nice sweater and tailored trousers and you’re killing the game. I do think that it’s such a different look that it will take people around here a while to adjust to it, however it’s a very common look in the bigger cities. That’s the great thing about fashion. You always have the opportunity to be that trendsetter.”  -Mario Fox

“I’m ready for hats! I love the wool Panama style hat which is perfect for fall. Meghan Markle wore one recently and I’m obsessed with her! Every girl needs a good fall hat to go with her favorite pair of booties!”  – Micah Foshee

Pi Kappa Phi member named ‘Mr. Northwestern State University’

Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity member Char’Tarian has been named 2019 ‘Mr. NSU,’ the highest honor a Northwestern State University student can receive. Wilson, along with ‘Ms. NSU,’ Shelby Sullivan, were selected by the student body as part of a continuing tradition dating back to 1956.

The Student Government Association holds elections for the honor each fall semester, with Mr. and Ms. NSU being presented at a home football game. These two outstanding students can be seen at other campus events and activities throughout the year.

“Words can not express the emotions that are running through my head at this moment,” Wilson said. “Northwestern State University has given me so much: opportunity, friendship, challenges, confidence, memories to cherish for a lifetime and so much more. This place holds a special place in my heart and my love for those three columns shall ‘ever reign.’”

Wilson, a senior biology major, plans to obtain a Masters in Physician’s Assistant and enter the medical field.

Char is very involved on campus, having served as Secretary of Pi Kappa Phi, Event Coordinator of the Student Activities Board, Vice President of the NSU Interfraternity Council, President’s Leadership Program, Demon Days Committee, Spirit of Northwestern Marching Band, NSU concert band, NASA JOVE research program, Alpha Lambda Delta First Year Honor Society, Freshman Connection, and NSU Cheer.

He was elected to the NSU Homecoming honor court and was 2018 NSU Homecoming King. In 2018, he was inducted into the NSU chapter of Order of Omega and in 2019 was selected for Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

Wilson, who was named to Pi Kappa Phi’s 2019 Ad Astra Society recognizing the top one percent of students nationwide, has attended both Pi Kapp College for Chapter Officers and Pi Kapp College for Emerging Leaders. He is also a recipient of both the David D. Morgan ‘Extra Mile’ Scholarship and the Morgan First Generation Scholarship.

Wilson joins three other Pi Kapps as recipients of the ‘Mr. NSU’ honor: Jake Bryan in 2012, L.C. Cathey in 1960 and Roland McKneely, Jr. in 1961.

NSU Football: Davis brings end to touchdown drought in style

It took Akile Davis one game in a Northwestern State football uniform to surpass his reception total in four years at BYU.

The road to his first collegiate touchdown catch was three weeks longer, and it marked an odyssey that spanned more than 1,000 days between in-game visits to the end zone.

Davis put an end to his scoreless drought at Houston Baptist this past Saturday, hauling in a pair of scores from quarterback Shelton Eppler.

“I was really excited,” said Davis, who finished with three catches for a team-leading 68 yards. “There was a lot of emotion. At my previous school, I was there four years and never caught a touchdown, so it felt really good. I wish we had come out with the win. I would rather have no touchdowns and a win.”

Davis, who came to Northwestern State as a graduate transfer in the summer, ranks second on the team in receiving yards (187) and touchdown catches (2) and third in receptions (14).

He credited the culture around the Demons program with helping him assimilate quickly after his July arrival, which brought him much closer to his hometown of DeSoto, Texas than he was in Provo, Utah.

The decision to play roughly a four-hour drive from home paid off this past Saturday.

“It felt good coming back close to home,” Davis said. “My parents and everybody came to the Houston Baptist game. Being in Utah, they were able to make about one game a year. It’s great knowing if I need anything, they’re there.”

FATHER VS. SON: Second-year Northwestern State head coach Brad Laird knows about coaching alongside his father.

Laird coached under his late father, former NSU assistant coach Billy, at Nashville (Arkansas) High School, so he has an appreciation for what Demons quarterback coach Anthony Scelfo faces Saturday when Northwestern State faces Southeastern Louisiana, coached by Frank Scelfo, Anthony’s father.

The Scelfos, who coached together at UTSA for two seasons before Anthony came to Northwestern State and Frank took the Southeastern Louisiana head coaching position prior to the 2018 season, meet for the second time at 6:07 p.m. at Turpin Stadium. Southeastern Louisiana held off Northwestern State, 24-17, a season ago in Hammond in the first meeting between the Scelfos.

“To have the opportunity to coach with your dad or coach against him, he’s had the opportunity to do both,” Laird said. “You have the opportunity as a son to develop under your father in more ways than one – one how you were brought up and, two, in your professional career. Professional is the best way to describe both of them. What Anthony gets is very honest from Frank.”

Although the Scelfos are on opposing sidelines, their relationship reminds Laird of the one he shared with his father.

“The time that Anthony and Frank had, you can’t get that back,” Laird said. “There’s always a lot of things you share during your childhood, but from a professional standpoint, it brings a whole new perspective.”

NCHS Boys and Girls Basketball Fish Dinner Sale

Boys and Girls Basketball at Natchitoches Central High School will hold their 12th Annual Fried Fish Dinner Sale in conjunction with Homecoming Festivities on Friday, Oct. 11. Fish Dinners will be available for purchase from any boys or girls’ basketball players selling individual tickets or we will deliver to your business or work with a prepaid order of 5 or more plates. The lunch deliveries will be from 11 am – 1 pm on Friday, Oct. 11 or you can pickup your dinner plate at Turpin Stadium on NSU’s campus that evening from 5-7:30 pm. Dinners are $12 each and contain lot of fried catfish, french fries, fried bread, and a dessert.

All proceeds from the sale go to supporting boys and girls basketball at NCHS.

If your business would like to help support these great young men and young women by purchasing dinners for lunch delivery you can contact Coach Micah Coleman at (318) 228-9819 or simply email him at mcoleman@nat.k12.la.us

Again, all deliveries must be pre-paid and pre-ordered.

Notice of Death – September 26, 2019


Thomas Ferrel Marr
December 24, 1952 – September 25, 2019
Visitation: Saturday, September 28 from 12-2 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, September 28 at 2 pm in the Chapel of Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Interment: Beulah Methodist Cemetery

Mary Dee Williamson Green
June 06, 1914 – September 22, 2019
Visitation: Monday, September 30 from 1-2 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Service: Monday, September 30 at 2 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Interment: Memory Lawn Cemetery in Natchitoches

David L. Junot
September 9, 1956 – September 23, 2019
Visitation: Friday, September 27 from 5-8 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home of Natchitoches

Margaret Joyce “Jo” Goepfert Hargis
April 1, 1927 – September 23, 2019
Service: Saturday, September 28 at 11 am at the First United Methodist Church in Natchitoches

Richard Johnson
April 13, 1982 – September 21, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Donald Harris
September 20, 2019
Service: Saturday, September 28 at 2 pm at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel

Curtis Huntley
September 21, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Effola Zeno Ivey
September 18, 2019
Service: Saturday, September 28 at 11 am at the Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church near Clarence

Elijajuan Walker
February 28, 1986 – September 15, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Robert W. Neuman
September 14, 1930 – September 09, 2019
Service: Saturday, October 5 from 4-6 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home. Reception: Saturday, October from 6-9 pm at 202 Bird Avenue


Gerald “Jerry” David Redner
November 11, 1935 – September 19, 2019
Service: Saturday, September 28 at 10 am at St. Rita Catholic Church


Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies, Natchitoches Parish Fire District #8 along with mutual aid assistance from Bienville Fire Districts #6, #7 and La. Department of Agriculture and Forestry responded to a structure fire on Sept. 25 at 2:41 pm in the 100 block of Oil Field Road near Ashland according to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.

The residence reportedly owned by Jacqueline Moore was a total loss.

There were no reported injuries.

The fire also spread into nearby woods causing concern for area residents on Five Forks Road and adjacent areas however the fire was contained and reportedly under control around 4 pm with the assistance of Bienville Fire Units and LDAF.

NSU Basketball: Northwestern State tickets on sale starting today

Northwestern State basketball fans can purchase men’s and women’s basketball season tickets starting Wednesday, announced Mike Jacklich, assistant athletics director for ticketing and special events.

Tickets can be purchased by going online at nsudemons.com or by calling the ticket office at 318-357-4268.

The Demons and Lady Demons tip off the season with a rare home nonconference doubleheader on Nov. 5. The men host long-time in-state rival Centenary at 5:30 p.m. before the Lady Demons take on LeTourneau in the night cap. The event also serves as the season ticket pick up party complete with team autographs, kids’ activities and a meal (for season ticket holders).

Courtside VIP seating on the sideline, which includes access to the hospitality meal and free popcorn and drinks, is $505 for 29 home games. That includes a $350 gift to the Demons Unlimited Foundation.

VIP tickets include seating in the lower level purple chairbacks and hospitality meal access is $380. That includes a $250 DUF donation.

Reserved seating (sections S and L) is $130 and general admission tickets are $90.

Flex pack deals offer 10 general admission tickets to any home game or combination of home games for $55.

NSU men’s coach Mike McConathy enters his 21st season and will help the Demons navigate 14 games in Prather Coliseum this season, including welcoming Conference USA foe Rice to town on Nov. 12.

The expanded Southland Conference schedule also features a rare December league game with Lamar on Dec. 21.

NSU women’s coach Jordan Dupuy is in season four as the Lady Demons will play 15 home games, including opening conference play at home against Sam Houston State on Dec. 18.

Grambling and Jackson State highlight the Lady Demons’ five non-conference home games. NSU opens the season with three home games, finishing the homestand with Jackson State.

I Hope This is an Above Average Column

By Joe Darby

I suppose that, on the average, most of us would consider ourselves more or less an average guy or an average gal (though all of our children are above average, of course).

Average is a word that we use fairly often, I think, but what does it really mean. It can mean something that’s typical as in, “The average American likes hamburgers.”

Or it can mean the mathematical odds of something happening, as in “if you flip a coin, half of the time it will come up heads and half of the time it will come up tails.”

Or it can denote exact statistics, such as “John Smith’s batting average is .302 for the Yankees this year.” That means that 30.2 percent of the time that Smith has come to bat, he has gotten a hit. But unlike the odds of flipping a coin, a batting average doesn’t predict what Smith will do for the rest of the year. He could go on a hitting streak or go into a slump and not get a hit for 10 games in a row. Then his “average” would have changed drastically.

Then, I’ve always wondered how the law of averages, as they call it, almost always, always seems to prevail. It seems to me that once in a while, circumstances would change and the law would be broken, but it hardly ever is.

For example, let’s say a restaurant on Front Street averages 25 customers on Friday night. But for some reason, on one particular Friday night, 125 people decide to go to that restaurant. You can imagine the chaos, as well as the joy of the restaurant owner, though they might run out of food by 8 p.m. But that kind of thing doesn’t really happen because of the good old law of averages.

And let’s say that there’s a very important City Council meeting, which is expected to draw a large crowd. But it just so happens that all of the people who intended to go either feel sick or have an important obligation that prevents them for going to the meeting. So, there the City Council members sit, and no one shows up for the vital meeting.

I know those examples are kind of stretching it, but I do believe that it’s rather amazing how the law of averages controls our lives.

Averages also tell us how things are. The average height of the American male is five feet, nine inches. (I would have thought it would be a little taller, but that’s the numbers the Internet gave me.) But the actual number of American men who are 5-9 would certainly be in a minority if you counted all of the other men who are not, in fact, 5-9.

As alluded to in the example above about flipping a coin, averages can also tell us what the odds are of placing certain bets. If you go to a casino and play the roulette, the odds will always be against you. For example, if you bet the ball will fall on an even number, or on a red (as opposed to black) number, you might think your odds of winning would be 50 percent. But there are two slots on the wheel that are neither red nor black, nor odd or even. So your odds of winning on such a bet are 18 out of 38, less than half.

If you want to bet on a long shot, but increase your potential winnings, you could bet on a single number, say 21. But your odds of winning that bet are only one in 38. Of course, you’d win big if 21 came up.

Today’s technology allows the experts to do all kinds of things with chances and odds. Every time you look at a predicted path of a hurricane, you are looking at the end results of all kinds of weather data having been entered into the computer, which then calculates the odds of the storm taking any given path. Those paths often vary widely in a storm’s early life, but they generally come together and, more often than not, they are right.

I had recently read an article on chances and odds and, as you can see, it kind of fascinated me. I hope these bits of info give you something to think about also.

According to Kris: Fall into Fashion Part 2

Good morning stylers! I promised four articles this week and I’m a man of my word. This one is more for my gents but don’t worry ladies. I’ve got some great tips that you can pass onto your guy friends.

With Fall here and the fair in town, nothing puts me in a better mood. There’s a simple explanation. For us fashion-forward folk, Fall is an opportunity to step our style game up in more ways than one. The cooler temperatures allow for layering without all the sweating. It’s a lot more fun than trying to wear the bare minimum of fabric so you don’t melt into a puddle in the August heat. But there’s more to it than just being able to throw on something other than a Hawaii collar shirt (to be fair this tread not going anywhere just yet). The other great thing about Autumn is that you get to embrace all the styles the fashion world has to offer. And it’s a lot! This men’s Fall fashion essentials guide is meant to serve as only a reference and is based on my personal opinions.

Leather Jacket

Nothing screams badass like a well-fitting leather jacket and a pair of dark denim pants. It’s the definitive backbone of the rugged Americana style, with fashion icons like James Dean and Brad Pitt at its forefront.

Silk Shirts

Two of the biggest things happening this fall? Camp-collar shirts and pajama shirts, both of the long-sleeve variety. I’m personally a fan of the pajama shirt, and I can’t wait to try the full look.

Fleece jacket

It’s cozy, comfy, and predicted to be more popular than ever this fall.

The Iconic Rugby Shirt

Pretend you’re a Kennedy kid and wear one of these to throw the ball around after Thanksgiving dinner and pose for family photos. I promise this is one style shirt you want regret.

Leather Belt

Fall means it’s time to hang up the flimsy canvas belts you may have been using for the summer. I used to wear cheap belts from department stores until I switched to ones made of higher quality leather and more durable hardware.

Pleated Chinos

If you’re anything like me, you probably swore off pleats sometime in the last decade. I was done with them after I graduated and I threw mine away. But something interesting is happing. There’s a new light at the end of that tunnel, so you should think about changing course. The pleated chinos are more flattering than ever.

Denim Western

The yeehaw agenda isn’t going anywhere. And you can be down for trying this trend without looking like a lost tacky cowboy. Everyone looks dope in a western shirt.

Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Candidates Square Off at Chamber of Commerce Forum

By Kevin Shannahan

A group of over 50 concerned citizens were joined by an internet audience in watching tonight’s sheriff’s candidate forum Wednesday, September 25 at NSU’s Magale Auditorium. The forum was sponsored by the Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce. Members of NSU’s Student Government Association assisted with the event set up, ushering and timekeeping. Chamber president Laura Lyles emceed the evening’s program. Each candidate was allowed a 3 minute introduction, after which they each answered questions from the chamber and from audience members. The candidates answered questions on detention center funding, the Happy Tails program, the reserve deputy program, the challenges facing the parish and the sheriff’s office and how they planned to address them should they be the one elected.

Running for the office of Sheriff of Natchitoches Parish are, in alphabetical order: Steve Pezant, Steve Rachal and Stuart Wright. There will be another chamber of Commerce candidate forum Thursday, September 26 at NSU’s Magale Auditorium for those running for Natchitoches Parish President. It will likewise be broadcast over the internet.

These forums are an excellent opportunity to meet and evaluate the men and women hoping to earn your vote. Take advantage and come out to meet them and hear what they have to say in response to your questions. Make you voice heard and your vote count!

Chamber to Host Moderated Parish President and Parish Council Candidate Forum: TONIGHT


The Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce will host a public, moderated candidate forum for Parish President and Parish Council candidates on Thursday, Sept. 26 from 5:30-7:30 pm at Northwestern State University’s Creative and Performing Arts Annex, in Magale Recital Hall, located at 143 Central Avenue.

Every candidate received a letter inviting them to attend their respective forum. With their letter, they also received a questionnaire, and a request to submit their answers back to the Chamber. Each candidate’s response were posted and are available to view at natchitocheschamber.com/candidatesrespond.

This forum is free and open to the public. It will follow the same format as the School Board Candidate forum that was previously hosted by the A+ Coalition, an initiative of the Chamber. Each candidate will be given the opportunity to speak for three minutes. The audience will be given the chance to submit written questions to the candidates at the beginning of the event. Questions will be presented by the moderator, and to keep the forum fair, each candidate will have an allotted amount of time to respond to the questions posed. There will be a timer with a signal card to keep each candidate on track.

The Chamber is hosting this forum with the intent of promoting civic engagement and civic literacy. The Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce helps foster a thriving community through transformative leadership, collaboration, and innovation.


The Chamber is hosting this forum with the intent of promoting civic engagement and civic literacy. The Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce helps foster a thriving community through transformative leadership, collaboration, and innovation.

Natchitoches native pursues long-anticipated career in law enforcement, receives brother’s duty rig

By Corey Poole

When she was 15-years-old Carey Hamblin decided to become a police officer. Her brother became one first with the Alexandria Police Department. He was killed in the line of duty when Carey was 19-years-old. This was about the time Carey was old enough to start her own training.

After his death Carey put her dreams on hold for her family’s sake. She got married shortly after and had a daughter. She worked for a while as a dispatcher at the Leesville Police Department while she was pregnant. The idea was that it would jumpstart her career and she’d get into patrol.

Things didn’t work out and after a divorce, Carey moved home to Natchitoches Parish. After getting remarried and having her third child she decided to be a stay at home mom. During this time she earned a degree in accounting.

“As I’ve gotten older my dream of a career in law enforcement keeps coming back,” said Carey. “Through my life my mom has always warned me about impulse buying. If you’re questioning if you should buy something leave it at the store and if it’s still there when you come back it’s supposed to be yours. I’ve been leaving a career in law enforcement “at the store” for all these years.”

Carey quit her job in February, 2019 to pursue a career in law enforcement. Carey’s husband offered his support so she could dedicate 100% to pursuing her dream. She started applying in January as far out as Alexandria and kept getting turned down. According to Carey, the law enforcement community wanted to protect her parents, who have been hurt enough by her brother’s death.

“No one understands the dangers more than me and I’m willing to face that,” she said. Her mother supported her and pushed her to do it because she knows it’s what Carey wants to do.

“I am so proud of her and I am excited for her to live her dream,” said Carey’s mother Patricia Carruth. “She has worked hard and I know she will train hard. I feel she has a Gift of Service and a Desire To Protect, covered with an Understanding of Sacrifice.”

Captain at the Ringgold Police Department and Chief of Police for the Village of Natchez Michael Gillie saw how hard Carey was working and recommended her to his boss.

“I believe that things happen at certain times for certain people for certain reasons,” he said. “Carey has wanted to be in law enforcement for too long to be denied. Life is full of opportunities and I’m glad she’s gotten a chance to be successful and do what she loves to do.”

Gillie will be Carey’s FTO (field training officer) and partner at the Ringgold Police Department. Carey was given a badge with the number 9 on it. She did a bit of research and this is the number of fulfillment, wisdom, and enlightenment. It’s connected to one’s higher purpose and life mission.

“It gave me chill bumps,” said Carey. “It’s been 21 years since I decided that this is what I want to do and it’s just now coming to fruition for me. I have to believe there’s a reason for that. Maybe now is the time I can really appreciate it.”

To make the moment even more special, Patricia presented Carey with her brother’s duty rig.

“I’m going to use it until I can get my own,” said Carey. “When my mom handed it to me she told me to take care of it. It’s been a struggle to get to this point. I’ve been commissioned but I’m still training. Police Academy will come later.”

Carey’s brother Jeremy “Jay” Carruth has two daughters Noelle and Margaux, now 19 and 24, and one has expressed an interest in going into law enforcement. They were 2 and 7 when he was killed. Carey said she wants them to start their career with their father’s duty rig.

A lot of family members of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty keep memorabilia locked away forever, and never even look at it again. Some think of these items as bad luck charms. Some just can’t handle the emotions. However these items mean so much to other family members. Carey’s niece has lots of friends that are surviving children of officers that are now adults and have NEVER received anything from their parents belongings. Sure they get life insurance payments and such, but many would prefer items they used at work or in daily life.

“If it means this much to me I can’t imagine what it would feel like for them to put that belt on,” said Carey. “It would feel like a hug from their dad.”

Carey’s mother has been volunteering with Louisiana Concerns of Police Survivors since Jay died.

“We’ve seen the families and sometimes they’re already in law enforcement or they try to get it,” said Carey. “The people who have the hardest time getting in is siblings. I think everyone deserves a chance and an opportunity. I think my mom would be more upset if I was killed in an auto accident and never got the chance to be in law enforcement. I’ve wanted this so bad for so long. I feel like I’m in the right place. It feels right. I’ve had many jobs in different fields and nothing has ever filled that empty spot.”

Carey’s ultimate goal is to work for the Louisiana State Police.

Clementine Hunter Day will be observed with museum conversation

The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum will host “The Legacy of Clementine Hunter” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1 at the museum, 800 Front St., Natchitoches. The event will feature a conversation with Tom Whitehead, co-author of “Clementine Hunter: Her Life and Art,” as the inaugural Clementine Hunter Day is observed throughout Louisiana.

Earlier this year, staff from the Creole Heritage Center at Northwestern State University spearheaded an initiative to establish Clementine Hunter Day with a resolution that was approved by the Louisiana Legislature.

Whitehead will discuss Hunters’ life from the 1930s until her death in 1988 at age 101. Hunter painted thousands of scenes of plantation life in Louisiana’s Cane River region. Whitehead drew from archival research, interviews and a close relationship with the artist to produce the first comprehensive biography of the self-taught painter who attracted the attention of the world.

Whitehead is professor emeritus of journalism at Northwestern State.

For more information on the Clementine Hunter Day, call (318) 357-2492.