Natchitoches’ First United Methodist Church Continues a Decades Long Tradition of Community Service This Thanksgiving

A group of dedicated volunteers from First United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church, Cane River Children’s Services, and the community made and delivered over 350 Thanksgiving dinners for ill and elderly area residents who might otherwise miss out on a Thanksgiving meal. Local businesses Grayson’s BBQ and Maglieaux’s pitched in to help, donating hams and turkeys for the meals. A group of volunteers assembled the meals while a team of drivers made deliveries to residents in every corner of the city and surrounding area. Each dinner was decorated by a drawing of a Thanksgiving turkey made by children from FUMC and their friends.

Fireworks Display and Street Closures for this Saturday, November 30

The City of Natchitoches would like to advise the public of the following street closures for the Natchitoches Christmas festivities for Saturday, November 30, 2019.

Front Street from Church Street to corner of St. Denis Street will be closed starting at 6:00 a.m. Saturday, November 30th. Vehicular traffic will still have access to turn onto St. Denis Street from the southbound lane.

Church Street Bridge and Williams Ave. from Whitfield Ave. to Henry Ave. will be closed beginning at 6:30pm on Saturday, November 30, 2019 in preparation for a 7:00pm fireworks display on the South end of the Riverbank

All streets will open upon conclusion of the fireworks display once the Fire Marshal has given the all clear.

In preparation for these events, the Downtown Riverbank will be closed to all vehicular traffic beginning at 6:00 a.m. on Friday, November 29th through the conclusion of events on Saturday, November 30th.

6th Annual ‘Come Give Thanks Food Drive’ feeds over 300 families

The 6th Annual Come Give Thanks Food Drive, held on Nov. 24 in the Natchitoches community, was close to perfection according to organizers Carlos Hartwell and Phillip Jean-Louis Jr.

“The feeling of being a blessing to others will never get old,” said the two Northwestern State University alum.

They were able to bless 300 families this year with a complete take home Thanksgiving Meal, including a frozen turkey with all the trimmings. Carlos and Phillip hold this event each year so more people can enjoy Thanksgiving in the comfort of their own home. On top of these meals, about 150 attendees also enjoyed a warm bowl of gumbo.

“The moral of the story is, always give back to your family,” said Phillip. “Everyone is your family. Give back any way God has Blessed you to do so. With words of encouragement, a helping hand, an ‘I love you’ to someone. Take care of your Soul. When you give back to others, you are feeding your own spirit with the nutrients to live a happy, peaceful life. This year owes us nothing.”

At then end of the day, they could never pull this event off successfully without the help of others like Rhodes Realty, Pearl Walker, and many more.

“Special special thanks to all the volunteers who helped make this event happen,” said Carlos. “We could not have done it without y’all!”

NSU Calendar of Events

NSU– Here is a look at the week of Dec. 1-7 at Northwestern State University.

Dec. 1- Jan. 12, 2020 – Registration for spring semester through NSUConnect

Dec. 2 – University reopens after Thanksgiving holiday

Dec. 4 –Natchitoches-NSU Multicultural Christmas Concert, Treen Auditorium, Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts, 6 p.m.

Dec. 4 – Women’s basketball vs. Grambling, Prather Coliseum, 6:30 p.m.

Dec. 4-5 – Christmas Gala, Natchitoches Events Center, 7 p.m.

Dec. 5 – ROTC Fall Awards Program, Teacher Education Center Auditorium, 4 p.m.

Dec. 5 – Columns Café Asian-inspired dinner, Room 225 Family and Consumer Sciences Building, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Dec. 6 – Christmas Gala, Natchitoches Events Center, 7 p.m., 9 p.m.

Dec. 7 – American Indians Crafts Day, Williamson Museum, Room 208 Kyser Hall, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Ponderings with Doug – November 29, 2019

Last week I missed our staff meeting. Here is what happened. The worship director sent me a text that she had been murdered. The church business administrator did it. Obviously, the staff was exploring a murder mystery role playing game in my absence. Knowing the staff, it was a team building exercise!

I was amused that the business department and the music department had some kind of role playing upset! Any pastor who has done this for more than 20 minutes has been caught in the middle of one of those squabbles. The artist meets financial reality or financial reality doesn’t understand why we are doing all these special services at Christmas.

In our case, it was a fun role-playing activity. The staff role playing exploit did make me think of an old list of job descriptions for a church staff.

Lead Pastor

* Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound
* More powerful than a locomotive
* Faster than a speeding bullet
* Walks on water
* Dictates policies to God

Executive Pastor

* Able to leap short buildings in a single bound
* Almost as powerful as a locomotive
* Just as fast as a speeding bullet
* Walks on the water (if the sea is calm)
* Talks with God

Children’s Pastor

* Leaps short buildings with a running start
* Prefers toy trains to locomotives
* Faster than a speeding B-B
* Walks on water (if she knows where the rocks are)
* Talks with God if special request is approved

Worship Pastor

* Can climb over a small building
* Falls off of locomotives
* Can fire a speeding bullet
* Swims well
* Is occasionally addressed by God

Youth Pastor

* Runs into small buildings
* Recognizes a locomotive two out of three times
* Owns a squirt gun
* Knows how to use the water fountain
* Mumbles to himself

Church Secretary

* Picks up buildings and walks under them
* Knocks locomotives off of the tracks
* Catches speeding bullets in her teeth
* Freezes water with a single glance
* When God speaks, says, “May I ask who’s calling?”

– Author Unknown but very likely was the Church Secretary!    

A good laugh will help that Turkey and Dressing settle and get you ready for what comes next.

Remember this will seem like a short Christmas season, so enjoy it fully and quickly!

Remembering Nov. 22, 1963

By Joe Darby

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to you all. When you read this I should be, if the Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise, in South Louisiana with family, getting ready to eat some of the best turkey and dressing that you could ever want. I sincerely hope that you, me and all of us have a wonderful day.

Now, to my column for this week. I actually should have written this piece last week. It would have been more timely. But it occurred to me recently that another Nov. 22 had rolled around. And that is one of those dates that, if you are old enough, you will remember for the rest of your life what you were doing and where you were when you heard the news.

I’m talking, of course, about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy — Nov. 22, 1963. And I can’t believe that it’s been 56 years since it happened.

I was a senior at LSU and I had gone home for lunch and was watching the noon news when CBS broke into the local program and announced that Kennedy had been shot. I was a great admirer of Kennedy at that time and I was both grief stricken and very angry. I got up from my chair and punched a door jam, almost breaking my hand.

In mid afternoon, I picked up my girlfriend from the law building, where she had a government class. I could see by the expression on her face that she knew what had happened.

My reaction was not very wise or mature, but I drove to our favorite lounge and proceeded to get pretty drunk. While the girl and I were sitting in a booth talking, some guy at the bar said he was glad Kennedy had been shot. Many southerners hated Kennedy because he was a supporter of civil rights for blacks.

My girlfriend must have seen the rage on my face because she grabbed my hand and said “Let it be.” Getting in a fist fight would not have solved anything.

The TV networks gave extensive coverage to the events of the next four days, which are kind of a blur in the memory. But many things stand out. The arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald, Oswald’s shooting by Jack Ruby, the funeral procession which included the riderless horse, the muffled beat of the drums and little John John saluting his father’s casket.

So that was my personal experience of the assassination and its aftermath. My opinions have changed about some things over the years, which I’ll get to in a moment, but those four days were in fact pretty traumatic for a young Louisiana kid who thought Kennedy was the great hope of the nation.

Now, my admiration for Kennedy has diminished somewhat over the years. He had absolutely no regard for his wedding vows and recklessly slept with many women, including a girl with ties to the Mafia and another one connected to Soviet intelligence.

Also, it may be likely that Kennedy’s father, with the help of the Mafia, stole votes in Illinois that allowed Kennedy to defeat Richard Nixon.

For many years I dismissed all claims that Oswald had not acted alone, that there must have been some kind of conspiracy to murder the President. I had faith in the Warren Report, which came to the conclusion that Oswald acted alone. I never have, and still don’t, like conspiracy theories. But I’ve read some books that are pretty persuasive that the mob just might have had a hand in the killing.

I’m not real firm on that opinion. I just don’t know. We may never really know. Or some evidence might pop up years from now that will reveal what really happened. In any case, Nov. 22, 1963 will stick in my old brain until it’s no longer functioning.

CITY OF NATCHITOCHES: Assistant Recreation Director

POSITION: Assistant Recreation Director – Recreation Department

DESCRIPTION: Assists the Recreation Director in performing a variety of complex professional and administrative work in planning, developing, scheduling, directing and implementing a year round, city wide recreation program.

QUALIFICATIONS: Bachelor of Science degree from an accredited university in Recreation or Parks Administration or other related field and at least 6 months related experience.

CONTACT: City of Natchitoches, Human Resources Department, located at 1400 Sabine St. or P.O. Box 37, Natchitoches, LA 71458-0037. Applications may also be picked up upstairs at City Hall located at 700 Second St. or may be downloaded at


Applications will be accepted through December 9, 2019

The City of Natchitoches is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.

St. Mary’s students donate to Cane River Food Pantry

St. Mary’s students responded tremendously to a request for donations to the Cane River Food Pantry! Boxes of canned vegetables, sweet potatoes, rice, pasta, beans, canned meats and peanut butter were pack and delivered to the food pantry last week. CRFP is part of the Feeding America program and feeds 240 families every month!

Pictured from left are Jessica Spear, Tracie Key, Adam Parker, Kolby Lipa, Russ Hillhouse, Logan Watson, Nathan Slaughter and Anna Thibodaux.

Two LSMSA Students Visit Duke University for Summer Research

Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA) students Acacia Coker (’20) of Zachary, Louisiana and Sara Mixon (’20) of Lake Charles, Louisiana spent their summer vacation in North Carolina conducting research under two Duke University School of Medicine professors in oncology and virology.

The students worked with graduate students in their efforts. Coker’s group studied the Epstein-Barr virus and the genetics of its proliferation, while Mixon’s group worked to determine ways for increasing a tumor’s responsiveness to radiation through oxygenation.

“Even your evenings weren’t free,” said Mixon, “many of us read science literature at night.”

However, their time in Durham wasn’t all work.

“They took us to the mall and out to eat a few times,” she continued.

The opportunity to conduct research in North Carolina was provided by Dr. Micah Luftig, a 1994 graduate of LSMSA and associate professor of molecular genetics and microbiology at Duke University, in the virology lab. Funding for the research was provided in part by the LSMSA Foundation.

Coker and Mixon took a class through LSMSA’s sister school, the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM), to qualify for this opportunity. Once they were in the program, most of their days and nights were spent working at the university or preparing for their next day’s activities.

NCSSM’s 2019 Summer Research Internship Program lasted 6 weeks, with a one week break for the Fourth of July. At the end of the program, attendees presented their findings to the group.

Notice of Death – November 28, 2019

David A. Terry
November 18, 1948 – November 26, 2019
Visitation: Thursday, December 5 from 12-1 pm at the Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home in Natchitoches
Service: Thursday, December 5 at 1 pm at the Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Interment: Memory Lawn Cemetery in Natchitoches

Harvis Williams
November 27, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Mr. Denarda Bush
January 28, 1990 – November 24, 2019
Visitation: Friday, November 29 from 6-8 pm at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home, located at 318 North Street in Natchitoches
Service: Saturday, November 30 at 2 pm at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Campti Community Cemetery

Harrell Roberson
March 17, 1924 – November 24, 2019
Visitation: Saturday, November 30 at 1 pm at Blanchard-St Denis Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, November 30 at 2 pm at Blanchard-St Denis Funeral Home
Interment: Memory Lawn Cemetery

Ora Coutee
November 26, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Minister Kelvin Porter
November 22, 2019
Visitation: Saturday, November 30 from 9-11 am at First Baptist Church, located at 1116 Amulet Street in Natchitoches
Service: Saturday, November 30 at 11 am at First Baptist Church
Interment: St. Paul Baptist Church Cemetery in the Bermuda Community

Claude Neal Rachal
July 30, 1952 – November 20, 2019
Visitation: Saturday, November 30 from 9:30-10 am at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Cloutierville
Service: Saturday, November 30 at 10 am at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church

Kenneth Wyatt
November 24, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Isaac Newson
November 23, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Edwin Kirkendoll
November 20, 2019
Service: Saturday, November 30 at 11 am at the Mt. Sinai Baptist Church in Campti
Interment: Campti Community Cemetery

Gerald Carter Beasley of Many, Louisiana
January 16, 1950 – November 26, 2019
Visitation: Friday, November 29 at 5 pm at Warren Meadows Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, November 30 at 10 am at Zion Hill Baptist Church in Negreet
Interment: Zion Hill Cemetery

William Dean Callens
July 2, 1968 – November 22, 2019
Visitation: Tuesday, December 3 at 10:30 am at Old Pisgah Baptist Church
Service: Tuesday, December 3 at 2 pm at Old Pisgah Baptist Church
nterment: Belmont Cemetery

Tony Darren Larche
September 23, 1968 – November 26, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Nathane Dean Callens
March 14, 1991 – November 24, 2019
Visitation: Tuesday, December 3 at at 10:30 am at Old Pisgah Baptist Church
Service: Tuesday, December 3 at 2 pm at Old Pisgah Baptist Church
Interment: Belmont Cemetery

Ira Wayne Noland
July 6, 1936 – October 19, 2019
Visitation: Saturday, December 7 from 10-11 am at Kramer Funeral Home

William “Billy” Antoine Rogers
September 29, 1950 – November 22, 2019
Visitation: Friday, November 29 from 5-8 pm at Liberty Baptist Church
Service: Saturday, November 30 at 3 pm at Liberty Baptist Church
Interment: Thomas-Wren Cemetery

Roger Allen Longino
December 30, 1968 – November 24, 2019
Visitation: Friday, November 29 from 5-10 pm at Union Hall Baptist Church on Hwy. 71, south of Coushatta
Service: Saturday, November 30 at 10:30 am at Red River Elementary School
Interment: Union Hall Cemetery

Janice Bolton recognized as 2019 Louisiana Realtor of the Year at National Association of Realtors Convention

Janice Bolton of Bolton Realty in Natchitoches was recently recognized at the general session of the annual convention of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® in San Francisco for being the 2019 Louisiana Realtor of the Year. REALTOR® of the Year recognizes those who have served not only the real estate profession but also their communities. Since 1956, the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® has been honoring the state REALTORS® of the Year during the annual REALTORS® Conference & Expo in November. This year’s keynote speaker was “Magic” Johnson. Bolton was chosen from approximately 15,000 members in Louisiana. NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® has approximately 1.3 million members. App 20,000 REALTORS® attended the convention.

Bolton has served the industry as local association President, local MLS committee, state Regional Vice President, state Executive Committee and various other committees and task forces. She has also served her community as President of Natchitoches Chamber Board of Directors, President of Keep Natchitoches Beautiful, President of Cane River Children’s Services, President of LSMSA Parent’s Organization, City Planning Commissioner, and currently serves on the A+ Coalition and Ben D Johnson Center boards.

“It was a tremendous honor and thrill to represent Louisiana at the national convention and meet so many dedicated members of our industry”, said Bolton.

Pictured above are Bolton and John Smaby, 2019 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® President.

If you see Janice, please tell her congratulations!

Natchitoches-NSU Multicultural Christmas Concert to feature Hardrick Rivers

The Louisiana Folklife Center is pleased to announce the 11th Annual Natchitoches-NSU Multicultural Christmas Concert! The concert will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, December 4 at the Treen Auditorium, 715 University Parkway, on the campus of the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts.

The event is free and open to the public, but attendees are invited to bring donations to support Cane River Children’s Services.

Since the age of 13, Hardrick Rivers has been playing the blues. After playing with several bands through the years, Rivers formed his own group in 1994, the Rivers Revue Band. Rivers is an annual headline performer at the Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival and performs throughout north and central Louisiana. He is a former band director at Red River High School in Coushatta. In 2017, he was recognized by the Lt. Governor of Louisiana and the Louisiana Folklife Commission as a Louisiana Tradition Bearer. Constantly practicing and honing their style, the Rivers Revue remains one of the premier bands in the Natchitoches area after more than 20 years.

For more information, please contact (318) 357-4332.

The concert is sponsored by the Louisiana Folklife Center, the NSU Center for Inclusion and Diversity, and the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts.


Parish President Rick Nowlin has announced that the Parish Government offices, including the Parish landfill, will be closed Thursday, November 28th and Friday, November 29th in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday. The landfill will reopen at 7:30a.m. on Saturday. Parish-wide bin sites and compactor stations will be closed Thursday and will reopen at 6:30a.m. on Friday.

Questions about Parish closures can be directed to the Parish Government at (318) 352-2714.


Dec. 30, 1968-Nov. 24, 2019

Lt. Roger Longino, 50, of Coushatta passed away suddenly at his home in the early morning hours of Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019.

He was born Dec. 30, 1968, in Natchitoches to Gene and Evelyn Blanchard Longino of Coushatta.

Visitation will be Friday, Nov. 29 from 5-10 p.m. at Union Hall Baptist Church on Hwy 71 south of Coushatta where Roger was a lifelong member. Funeral services will be Saturday, Nov. 30 at 10:30 a.m. at Red River Elementary School. Bro. Jeff Shows will officiate the service assisted by Bro. Weylon Gauntt and Bro. Matt Endris. Burial will follow in the Union Hall Cemetery.

Roger is survived by his parents; brothers, Michael Longino and wife Karen and Brad Longino and wife Katie; significant other, Sonya Marie Cole and her children; nieces and nephews whom he loved as his own children, Dillon “Bubba” Longino, Kelsey Arredondo and husband Dainey and their children Amelia, Alise and Arthur Lane, Katie Marie Longino and son Walker, Tristan Niette, Tori Niette Morgan and husband Austin and son Steele, and Sophie, Izzy, Gabby and Lauralye Longino; aunts and uncles, Len and Billie Sue Blanchard, Wayne and Carrie Longino, Elaine and Bobby Cloud, Marie and James “Jimmy” Elliott, Robie and Glynda Longino and Tonie and Vickie Longino; his law enforcement family at Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office; his school family at Red River Elementary School; and numerous cousins, coworkers, school children and friends.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Manboy and Dorothy Blanchard and Ruffin and Opal Longino; and aunt, Jackie Longino.

Roger devoted his life to helping others and was the epitome of the public servant. He loved his job as a deputy with the Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office for 27 and one half years where he earned the rank of lieutenant. He worked in many capacities at the sheriff’s office; dispatcher, patrol deputy and shift supervisor. He received the Dean’s Award and the sharpshooter award at the at BPCC 51st police academy and was honored as Officer of the Year in 2000-01 by the local VFW.

Roger touched thousands of lives, most importantly, the youth. For over a decade, he protected the children of the parish as a school resource officer and D.A.R.E. officer at Red River Elementary where he also pitched in to coach football.

He worked tirelessly at the Fairview Ballpark for many years helping mold children’s lives by coaching and mentoring them. He was a counselor at times and an advocate often. Roger always enjoyed volunteering as a fireman, rescue operations or just helping when in need.

Roger was a 1986 graduate of Red River High School, taught hunter education courses, was an avid sportsman and had a special passion for fishing. He was director of the Red River High School B.A.S.S. team and captained boats at numerous tournaments.

Roger never had a bad word for anyone, was always there for his family, worried over every family member and friend and was selfless in all his endeavors. He was the person who would give up his vacation to captain a boat in a high school tournament in Mississippi for boys he’d never met, the one who checked on family members regularly and the one who got hugs or high fives from every RRES student, every year.

He shared with Sonya Cole some of the happiest times of his life.

He lived life to the fullest and set a great Christian example to all.

Pallbearers will be Ben Wood, Lenn Wood, Scott Phillips, Melvin Massey, Brad Longino and Evan Morgan.

Honorary pallbearers include Shane G. Hubbard, Brandon Foster, Jacob Rodgers, Tracy Scott, the RRHS fishing team and the RRPSO deputies.

Flowers may be sent to or donations made to Union Hall Baptist Church or to a charity of your choice.

Natchitoches Junior High Schools Compete in Nineteenth Annual LSMSA Math Competition

More than 180 junior high school students flocked to the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts’ (LSMSA) campus for the school’s 19th annual Middle School Math Competition. Five Natchitoches Parish schools participated in the event, with two of them placing among the top five.

Team A of NSU Middle Lab placed second in the team competition with Team A of Natchitoches Magnet School placing fourth.

Teams consisted of no more than 12 students and included representatives from each of the schools’ best and brightest pupils. The tests did not follow a set curriculum, focusing instead on concepts with which the students were already familiar, such as algebra, geometry and other areas of mathematics.

The overall winner of the event was Caddo Middle Magnet. Subsequent overall winners were: 2nd place, Montessori School for Shreveport; 3rd place, Natchitoches Magnet School; 4th place, Grace Christian School; and 5th place, Pitkin High School.

In the individual tests, top placing students were:

First, Anjali Veerareddy of Mantessori School for Shreveport
Second, Shamyant Boda of Caddo Middle Magnet
Third, Sophie Chen of Caddo Middle Magnet
Fourth, Aashni Shah of Caddo Middle Magnet
Fifth, Ysabella Gilbert of Grace Christian School

In the team tests, the winners were:

First, Caddo Middle Magnet, Team A
Second, NSU Middle Lab, Team A
Third, Montessori School for Shreveport, Team B
Fourth, Natchitoches Magnet School, Team A
Fifth, St. John Berchmann’s Cathedral School, Team B

Other schools that participated in the event were Natchitoches Jr. High, Lakeview Junior High, Mansfield Middle School, St. Mary’s Catholic School, East Ouachita Middle School, Ruston Jr. High, Cope Middle School, D’Arbonne Woods Charter School and Sterlington Middle School.

NSU Pi Kapps elect 2020 Beta Omicron chapter leadership

Several members of the Beta Omicron Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity at Northwestern State University have been elected to serve on the 2020 executive council.

These officers will be responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the chapter and developing a long-term strategic plan over the next calendar year. Their goals will focus on building brotherhood through character enhancement, leadership development, academic achievement, commitment to service, lifelong friendship and social experiences.

Members of the student chapter elected the following slate of leaders in November: Archon Colton Campbell, Vice Archon Jacob Norris, Treasurer Jakob Bass, Secretary Jacob Dunson, Warden Nicholas Olivares, Historian Javier Garcia, Chaplain Matthew Raybon, Philanthropy Chairman Andrew Dubriske, Risk Management Chairman Diego Maldonado, and Standards Board Chairman Steven Gardner.

These men have a unique opportunity to not only contribute to Pi Kappa Phi’s shared mission but also to create change and build brotherhood within their chapter. The group will travel to Dallas, Texas on January 17-19, 2020 to participate in Pi Kapp College for Chapter Officers, the fraternity’s officer training institute.