The 2020 Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet-Celebrating Economic and Community Excellence!

Kevin’s Gallery

Over 300 people from every corner of our parish and surrounding area came to enjoy fine food and company at the 2020 Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet held Thursday, January 16 at the Natchitoches Events Center. The Chamber, in its 101st year, is comprised of 280 businesses of every size and description. In addition to their mission of promoting economic growth, the chamber works tirelessly to promote education and to build a better community for all of us. The evening was a chance to reflect on the accomplishments the chamber has achieved over the past year, see a glimpse into future projects and celebrate the hard work of its membership.

Chamber President Laura Lyles acted as the evening’s emcee, assisted by several other chamber members who presented the the awards in the various categories.

Chamber of Commerce office administrator Marilyn Mullikin was recognized for her 40 years of service to the chamber and community.

The Natchitoches Young Professionals “Four Under 40” were recognized. Stewart Carnline, Craig Caskey, Chris Lyles and Sarah Stewart Nelson each received a plaque.

Michah Foshee was named the Chamber of Commerce’s Ambassador of the Year.

Stanley Salter garnered the Lifetime Achievement Award

Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant, a longtime local favorite was chosen for the Town Favorite Award.

The Non-Profit of the Year was CASA of Central Louisiana.

The Cane River Brewing Company won the New Business of the Year Award.

Magnolia Spa and Wellness won the Small Business of the Year Award.

Earning the Mid-Sized Business of the Year Award was Maggio’s Package Liquors

French Market Express took top honors as the Large Business of the Year.

The Natchitoches Parish Journal is donating tonight’s event photography. Downloads are enabled. If you do see a photograph you like, please consider a donation to the Chamber of Commerce’s A+ Coalition, a superb project of the Chamber’s designed to improve educational opportunities for our parish’s children.

Five Ways CRNAs Provide Safe and Effective Anesthesia Care for Every Patient

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) will be educating the public about the role CRNAs take in providing safe and effective anesthesia care for every patient during the 21st annual National CRNA Week celebration taking place January 19-25, 2020.

CRNAs’ emphasis on safe, effective anesthesia care highlights one of the many hallmarks of nurse anesthesia; in fact, it is the motto of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA). Five ways CRNAs make a difference every day include:

Safety First: CRNAs are highly trained anesthesia professionals who safely administer more than 49 million anesthetics to patients each year in the United States, according to the AANA 2019 Practice Profile Survey.

Rural America: CRNAs are the primary providers of anesthesia care in rural America, enabling healthcare facilities in these medically underserved areas to offer obstetrical, surgical, pain management and trauma stabilization services. In some states, CRNAs are the sole providers in nearly 100 percent of the rural hospitals.

Military Presence: Nurse anesthetists have been the main providers of anesthesia care to U.S. military personnel on the front lines since WWI. Nurses first provided anesthesia to wounded soldiers during the Civil War.

Practice Settings: CRNAs practice in every setting in which anesthesia is delivered: traditional hospital surgical suites and obstetrical delivery rooms; critical access hospitals; ambulatory surgical centers; the offices of dentists, podiatrists, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons and pain management specialists; and more.

Cost-Efficiency: Managed care plans recognize CRNAs for providing high-quality anesthesia care with reduced expense to patients and insurance companies. The cost-efficiency of CRNAs helps control escalating healthcare costs.

“It is an honor and a privilege to take our patients through anesthesia and a safe surgical experience,” said Louisiana Association of Nurse Anesthetists President Katrina Vice O’Con, DNAP, CRNA. “Surgery and anesthesia can be intimidating, but we stay with our patients, administering their anesthetics and watching over their vital signs – advocating for them throughout surgery. We take great pride in being there for every heartbeat.”

For more information about the role and value of CRNAs, visit the AANA’s website at

Dr. Katrina O’Con, CRNA is President of LANA, participates in local, state and national advocacy efforts to educate the public on CRNAs and the mission of safe anesthesia. She was a founding member of the Society for Opioid Free Anesthesia and served in the US Navy Reserves having earned the rank of Lieutenant. Dr. O’Con is a staff nurse anesthetist at Natchitoches Regional Medical Center.

About the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists
Founded in 1931 and located in Park Ridge, Ill., and Washington, D.C., the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) is the professional organization representing nearly 54,000 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) and student registered nurse anesthetists across the United States. As advanced practice registered nurses and anesthesia specialists, CRNAs administer more than 49 million anesthetics to patients in the United States each year and are the primary providers of anesthesia care in rural America. In some states, CRNAs are the sole anesthesia professionals in nearly 100 percent of rural hospitals. 

NRMC Foundation grant contributes to LSMSA students’ wellbeing

The Natchitoches Regional Medical Center (NRMC) Foundation recently gifted $3,000 toward wellness initiatives at the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA). The grant was received by the LSMSA Foundation.

The LSMSA Foundation, a non-profit extension of LSMSA, works to support the school by offering enrichment opportunities, equipment, and resources to enhance classroom instruction.

The funding from the NRMC Foundation will help the school’s Fitness Center purchase necessary inventory, including equipment for boxing, weightlifting, volleyball, disc golf, flag football, table tennis and soccer. The grant will also help the school purchase related items ranging from medical supplies to field paint.

Tom Matuschka, vice president of business development and philanthropy at NRMC, an LSMSA Class of 1990 graduate, and the father of a 2018 LSMSA graduate, says that funding was provided to LSMSA because the school’s proposed project went hand-in-hand with the NRMC Foundation’s overall objective.

“It is our pleasure to continue to assist LSMSA with refurbishing and improving the student health and fitness center,” stated Matuschka. “The LSMSA student, faculty and staff are very important to Natchitoches, and as a Parish Hospital Service District, it is our core purpose to care for our community. The NRMC Foundation exists to advance community wellness, and we hope that everyone at LSMSA will use the health and fitness center on a regular basis.”

Jacob Spielbauer, lecturer of Health and Physical Education at LSMSA, has been overseeing the Fitness Center at the school and believes the grant will improve the well-being of students and faculty alike.

“We are grateful to the NRMC board for providing us with this grant,” said Spielbauer. “The funds truly impact students’, faculty and staff’s awareness of physical activity and fitness by helping us offer more opportunities in the Fitness Center at LSMSA.”

The Fitness Center was established to encourage healthy habits in students while also providing them alternative coping skills for their often strenuous course-loads.

“The link between physical fitness and academic performance is strong,” said Spielbauer. “When we are more alert, we perform better both in and out of the classroom.”

Physical education courses at LSMSA include yoga, boxing, weight training and karate, as well as other traditional physical education courses. The Fitness Center is open and free to all students who attend the school. For more information about LSMSA’s Health and Physical Education Department, visit

Pictured: NRMC Foundation Board Member Marion Johnston, LSMSA Executive Director Dr. Steve Horton, LSMSA Foundation Executive Director Angela Couvillion, LSMSA Coordinator of Athletics and Recreation Coach Dale Clingerman, LSMSA Lecturer of Health and Physical Education Jacob Spielbauer, and NRMC Vice President of Business Development and Philanthropy/Foundation Executive Director Tom Matuschka.

Student of the Year winners announced

Student of the Year Winners, chosen on Jan. 16, are Nathaniel Young for 5th grade, Keara Nelson for 8th grade, and Zane Harper for 12th grade. Finalists in the competition were:

Brooklyn Richards- 5th grade at East Natchitoches
Alison Key- 5th grade at NSU Elementary
Nicholas Egans- 8th grade at Natchitoches Jar. High
Kimora Hardwell- 8th grade at Natchitoches Magnet
Skylar Campa- 5th grade at Fairview Alpha
Braden Hardaway- 5th grade at Goldonna
Elizabeth Hightower- 8th grade at Goldonna
Abigail Rodriguez- 8th grade at Marthaville
Sarah Marbut- 5th grade at Marthaville
Ava Holland- 5th grade at Provencal
Emily Penrod- 8th grade at Provencal
Emilee Vaughn- 12th grade at NP Technical and Career Center
Ariel Joseph- 8th grade at Lakeview jr. High
Salem Johnson- 12th grade at Lakeview High School

Zane is a senior at Natchitoches Central High School. He lives in the Black Lake community with his parents jared and Patrice Harper. He is involved in FFA, the NCHS Orchestra, Beta Club, LEO Club, National Honor Society, and represented the school at District and State Literary Rally and Louisiana Boys State. Zane plans to pursue a degree in music composition and biochemistry.

Kera is a student at NSU Middle Lab School. She wants to become a psychiatrist when she grows up. It combines her love of science, her desire to help others, and her passion for art.

A student at Natchitoches Magnet School, Nathaniel enjoys making paper crafts, baking desserts, playing soccer and tennis, exploring Natchitoches history and much more. Nathaniel hopes to own his own bakery someday.


An Ashland couple awakened by their barking dogs early Wednesday morning led to the arrest of a north Natchitoches Parish man in connection with two break-ins according to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.

On Wednesday morning, January 15, 2020 at approximately 3:07am, Deputies assigned to the NPSO Patrol Division responded to reports of a burglary in progress in the 1900 block of La. Hwy 153 near Ashland, La.

The caller reported that she and her husband were awakened by their barking dogs at approximately 3:00am, when they bayed an individual that broke into their exterior kitchen building.

The suspect was being held at gunpoint until deputies arrived.

At one point, the suspect took his clothes off and was standing outside the building with only his underwear on.

Deputies say they arrived on scene and placed the suspect under arrest without incident.

Ashland City Marshal Fred Holland also responded to assist deputies.

Deputies also learned during the investigation, that another residence in the 1900 block of La. Hwy 153 had been burglarized.

Taken were jewelry, liquor and other miscellaneous items valued over $350.

The items were recovered.

Caleb B. Sapp, 29, of the 100 block of Pemberton Lane, Campti, La. was transported and booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with 2-counts of Simple Burglary.

Sapp is also on felony probation due to a prior felony narcotics conviction.

A Tenth Judicial District Court Judge has set bond at $5000, with a probation and parole hold.

Deputies say the homeowner’s did an outstanding job providing them with accurate information, a suspect description and holding the burglar until deputies arrived on scene.

Deputies T. Pledger, Sgt. J. McDonald, Lt. B. Powell, Reserve Deputy P. Ray and Ashland Marshal F. Holland responded to the scene.

PBD will host Chinese, Hindi language and culture lectures

Northwestern State University’s chapter of Phi Beta Delta, the honor society for international scholars, will host a Chinese and Hindi language and culture lecture series in February. The series will offer insights into the Chinese and Hindi greetings, language and culture. Lecturers will be Dr. Weiwen Liao, assistant professor in NSU’s School of Business, and Neeru Deep, instructor in the Department of Psychology.

Anyone interested in these topics is welcome to participate with questions and discussion. Classes will be held from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Feb. 4 and Feb. 11 in the Natchitoches Room of Russell Hall. Organizers hope the class will expand participants’ knowledge and understanding of Chinese and Hindi culture and encourage interest in international study.

The registration fee is $10 per hour for NSU, LSMSA and BPCC@NSU students and $25 per hour for all other participants. Proceeds will support scholarships for NSU students participating in international studies.

To register online visit Registration is also available at the door.

For more information, contact Dr. Marcia Hardy at (318) 229-6807.

CVB supports NSU HMT Scholarships

The Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau presented a check to the NSU Hospitality Management and Tourism Department for the Chef James Lasyone Culinary Scholarship and the Jo Ann Lasyone Tour and Travel Scholarship funds on Wednesday, January 15, 2020.

Pictured are NSU HMT faculty Valerie Salter and Landon Amberg, HMT student and CVB intern Anne Cummins, HMT student Cameron Cherry, HMT faculty Connie Jones, CVB Executive Director Arlene Gould, and HMT faculty and Chef John Carriere.

Pianist Manuel Matarrita to feature Latin American composers in Jan. 23 recital

Pianist Manuel Matarrita will perform at Northwestern State University on Thursday, Jan. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. The concert is part of the Louisiana Piano Series International. Tickets are $15. Students are admitted free. Dr. Francis Yang and Dr. Christine Burczyk Allen are the organizers of the Louisiana Piano Series International.

He will perform works by Beethoven and Latin American composers German Darío Pérez, Evencio Castellanos, Wim Statius Muller, Beatriz Lockhart Mario Ruiz Armengol and

Remo Pignoni.

Matarrita is one of the most active Costa Rican pianists, as a soloist and collaborative musician. A two-time winner of the National Music Prize of his country (2012 and 2015), his performances have taken him to the most important venues in Costa Rica, as well as to other stages throughout Central America, the United States, Italy, Spain, Serbia, Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Peru, Brazil and Argentina. Matarrita studied at the University of Costa Rica, the University of New Orleans and Louisiana State University.

He is a professor of piano at the School of Musical Arts at the University of Costa Rica. He is currently the president of the Costa Rica Chapter of WPTA (World Piano Teachers Association). As a result of his special interest in Spanish and Latin American music, Manuel has published the book “Canciones populares costarricenses” as well as the recordings “Una milpa y buenos güeyes” “Confidências,” “Evocación” and “Flores del corazón,” which are all available in the major digital platforms. He was also the winner of the first prize in composition of the WPTA-ARGENTINA Piano Composition Competition in 2018.

Mattarita says popular music heritage has always been a prolific source of inspiration for artists. Consequently, Latin American vernacular dances have served as an attractive medium in which composers have displayed their creative vein, evoking their musical ancestors. The second part of his program offers a short but significant tour throughout some dance genres present in the piano repertoire of Latin America, shown here in works by authors from Colombia, Venezuela, Uruguay, Argentina, Mexico, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Curaçao and Costa Rica. Some of the rhythms recreated in these compositions, such as the waltz, certainly emanated from the European tradition, but they are musically colored with a particular way of expression, different in each country. Other regions, such as Argentina, offer a vast and inexhaustible spectrum of native and peculiar rhythms. The recital will also include an original composition “Desvaríos sobre La Botijuela,” which is a tribute to this Latin American tradition of piano dances and some of its most recognized exponents.

Lakeview announces Honor Roll

Lakeview Jr.-Sr. High School Honor Roll
Jr. High – 2nd Nine Weeks
High School – 4th Quarter

7th Grade Principal’s List

Riley Martin, Eleya Saba, Makaylan Taylor, Sydney Thompson, and Timberlyn Washington

7th Grade A Honor Roll

Janaiya Fisher, Jamiyah Logan, Carl Myart, Emily Rhodes, Juan Rosales-DeLaFuente, Krystal Session, Caiden Washington, and Jaylinn Williams

7th Grade B Honor Roll

Victoria Adams, Kendall Bush, Skylar Demery, Ja’Rena Hall, Nykeria Henderson, Ryan Hubbard, Noah Johnson, Bailey Jones, Taylor LeBrun, Zion Marshall, Alexia Moore, Keelan Moss, A’Alijah Peace, Sa’yna Pearson, Trace Prudhomme, Andrea Rushing, Lillian Todd, Shanyvia Whitaker, and Sa’Khia Williams

8th Grade Principals List

Adrian Davis, Ariel Joseph, and Delwin Maloch

8th Grade A Honor Roll

Jarid Bradley, Christian Coker, Le’Briana Daniels, Josharia Harvey, Braylee Layfield-Bruce, Alyssa Smith, and Hayden Weaver

8th Grade B Honor Roll

Nasser Ali, Brandon Below, Madison Broadway, Ja’necia Brumfield, Treston Carter, Penelope Connell, Jorryn Harris, Holtz Helms, Anthony Hernandez, Sy’Rai Joseph, Aisha Mozeb, Tasnem Mozeb, Brooklyn O’Bannon, Donovan Reliford, Teriana Willis, and Braden Woods

9th Grade Principals List

Trinity Browder, Allision Cherry, Za’niyah Grayson, Sammya Rachal, and Hannah Walsworth

9th Grade A Honor Roll

Colby Creamer, Hailey Poydras, Jennifer Williams, Kaelin Bruce, Raina Nobles, and Tevin Thompson

9th Grade B Honor Roll

Akira Bonner, Serenity Bush, Lauren Custis, Quincy Easily, Rebecca Gallien, Tanner Gardner, Clifton Jones, Jamie Lee, Cameron Litton, Taron Lofton, Austin Martin, Dillon Pikes, Sa’niyah Marshall, Martesia Powell, Stephan Prudhome, Bayleigh Quick, Randell Slaughter, and Dayton Taylor

10th Grade Principals List

Megan Corley, Kayla Smith, and Chasity Thompson

10th Grade A Honor Roll

Amari Austin, Josie Ayres, Zoie Britt, Aky’a Chatman, Liberty Collins, Cami Faircloth, Emma Hatten, Duston Humphries, Ashlie Key, Kaitlynn Long, Kandice Palm, Elizabeth Poydras, La’shanti Prudhomme, Dominick Rachal, Cartina Reliford, Tyler Telsee, Destiny Williams, Riley Williams, and Chelsey Winslow

10th Grade B Honor Roll

Brendon Allen, Ahmad Ardison, Jamichael Burgess, Haley Carney, Raymond Connell, Morghen Demery, Jadean Fenn, Jameisha Fisher, Jaidon Fowler, Jumarcus Logan, Ahmed Nasser, Mahdi Shuaibi, Breana Smith, Tukevion Waldrup, and Gage Ybarra

11th Grade Principals List

Alexia Adams, Brenton Cherry, Amber Hembree, Averianna Slaughter, Jason Smith, Shaliyah Smith, and Cole Yelverton

11th Grade A Honor Roll

Patrick Beaudoin, William Breshers, Taylor Coutee, Jeffery Custis, Joshua Mattox, Emma McDonald, Ingerlisha Nicholas, Carissa Noel, Jo Porter, Zenobia Poydras, Derrick Rock, Ethan Smith, Tierra Stacks, and Larry Vaughn

11th Grade B Honor Roll

Kara Alford, Amari Ardison, Layla Below, Destinee Britt, Shakayla Browder, Alaysia Demery, Zachery Gorham, U’Donis Jones, Olivia Litton, Carleigh Lofton, Mykel Slaughter, Cameron Taylor, and Ce’Azia Triggs

12th Grade Principals List

Takia Ardison, JaQuan Bobb, Savanna Collier, Kadon Cook, Zackari Favela, Chayton Friday, Gracie Niette, Jh’Kolby Roberson, and Airamya Williams

12th Grade A Honor Roll

Julie Baldwin, Ka’Bri’an Bonier, Makayla Braswell, Nate Braden, Keshawn Jefferson, Shermarcus Page, Myla Porter, Nick Wiggins, and Emily Windham

12th Grade B Honor Roll

Elizabeth Anderson, Al’donn Beavers, William Brew, Makayla Cook, Zaria Edwards, Aalondra Garner, Ashanti Garner, Angel Hayes, Altorio Holden, Ethan Nelson, Mackenzie Phillips, Raphael Rosales-Delafuente, Se’annia Pattain, Anna Smith, Lance Smith, Hunter Thomas, Landon Vaughn, Jasmine Williams, and Shaneta Williams

Notice of Death – January 16, 2020

Ronald Dale Smith, Jr
February 19, 1984 – January 12, 2020
Visitation: Sunday, January 19 from 5-9 pm at Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home
Service: Monday, January 20 at 11 am at Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home
Interment: Memory Lawn Cemetery

Audrey Ann Ravard
April 15, 1947 – January 08, 2020
Visitation: Friday, January 17 from 8-9:30 am at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Isle Brevellle
Service: Friday, January 17 at 10 am at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Isle Brevellle
Interment: St. Augustine Catholic Cemetery Mausoleum

Fredia Williams Trichel
February 13, 1948 – January 10, 2020
Visitation: Friday, January 17 from 5-8 pm and Saturday, January 18 from 8-11 am at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, January 18 at 11 am at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Interment: Clearlake Cemetery near Goldonna

Ida Mae Roy
January 11, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Louis Fair Hyams III
October 2, 1955 – November 30, 2019
Service: Saturday, January 18 at 1 pm at Immaculate Conception Basilica with reception immediately following the service at Merci Beaucoup Restaurant

Claudia Moore Triche
July 27, 1949 – January 09, 2020
Visitation: Friday, January 17 from 9-10:30 am in the Crossroads Worship Center of the First United Methodist Church in Natchitoches
Service: Friday, January 17 at 11 am at The First United Methodist Church
Interment: American Cemetery in Natchitoches

Audrey Ann Ravard
April 15, 1947 – January 8, 2020
Visitation: Friday , January 17 from 8-9:30 at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Isle Brevelle
Service: Friday, January 17 at 10 am at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Isle Brevelle

Sherman O. Gilbert
January 9, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Robert Wilmer Simmons
October 1, 1917 – December 31, 2019
Service: Saturday, Januray 18 at 11 am in the Verda Baptist Church, located at 2688 Highway 122 in Verda

Leon Lamar Wren
July 31, 1951 – January 14, 2020
Service: Friday, January 17 at 12 pm at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Union Hall Cemetery