NCA Executive Director Tony Davis to assume role with Washington, D.C.-based Manufacturing Institute

Tony Davis, co-founder and first Executive Director of the Natchitoches Community Alliance Foundation, Inc. (NCA), will be leaving the post as of February 7, 2020 to assume the position of Senior Director, Workforce Initiatives for the Manufacturing Institute (MI). The Manufacturing Institute, the social impact arm of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), drives programs and research to promote modern manufacturing and jump-start new approaches to growing manufacturing talent. The NAM is the largest manufacturing association in the United States; the powerful voice and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States.

Mr. Davis’ work at MI will focus on support and national expansion of the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing (FAME) Career Pathway, which includes the Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) program. GeauxFAME is currently the only Louisiana affiliate and consists of six central Louisiana employers partnering with Central Louisiana Technical and Community College and Northwestern State University to produce AMT’s.

“I have proudly worked to increase the impact of this program since helping to bring GeauxFAME together several years ago; during this time, I have also watched this program expand across more and more states. My work over the past several years with Chambers, economic development groups, workforce programs, and state-level policy has prepared me well for this new challenge,” says Tony Davis, “and I look forward to helping FAME expand across the entire country.”

The NCA Board will discuss next steps and update stakeholders and the community.

“Tony has been a great resource to the NCA and our community; he has helped lay the foundation from which we can now build. We are grateful to him for his work over the years and wish him well in this new role,” says NCA Chair Ryan Todtenbier.

The mission of the NCA is to provide leadership and support for economic development and workforce solutions in and around Natchitoches parish; learn more at

Parish Council approves next steps to assume Payne Subdivision Sewer System

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The Parish Council held a Special Called Meeting Thursday evening, Jan. 30 to consider authorizing the Parish President to take the next steps necessary for the Parish of Natchitoches to accept the donation of the Payne Sewer System from Total Environmental Systems, Inc.

The ordinance was the only item on the agenda and it passed. There were many residents from Payne Subdivision and other districts of the Parish that came to speak before the Council. Some were for and some were against.

In the end, it seemed everyone agreed that the Parish needed to take care of its residents and give them a chance to fix a failed sewer system.

One of the first things that will have to be done is the creation of a board to oversee the Parish Sewer District No. 2 and set up billing for future maintenance and taxes for the district to raise funds for general upkeep.

Council Member Jim Kilcoyne said this particular case isn’t setting a precedent. It would be called District No. 2 because there is already a sewer system under the Parish. He also said the ordinance does not obligate the Parish to accept the donation. There’s still time for the Parish to back out. The ordinance also states the Parish won’t be funding any more money into the system.

Ponderings with Doug – January 31, 2020

It is all a matter of perspective.

My perspective is that it is really a matter of confirmation bias.

Confirmation bias is, “a type of cognitive bias that involves favoring information that confirms your previously existing beliefs or biases.

For example, imagine that a person holds a belief that left-handed people are more creative than right-handed people. Whenever this person encounters a person that is both left-handed and creative, they place greater importance on this “evidence” that supports what they already believe. This individual might even seek “proof” that further backs up this belief while discounting examples that don’t support the idea.

Confirmation biases impact how we gather information, but they also influence how we interpret and recall information. For example, people who support or oppose a particular issue will not only seek information to support it, they will also interpret news stories in a way that upholds their existing ideas. They will also remember details in a way that reinforces these attitudes.”

Perhaps you have heard someone utter the phrase, “don’t confuse me with the facts.” That is a person recognizing their confirmation bias. Your confirmation bias can grow so large it becomes known as a blind spot. In 2020, I’m working on as many visual references as I can. Watch your confirmation bias so you avoid blind spots in 20/20.

Let’s ponder the upcoming season of Lent.

Did you know the Filet of Fish sandwich at McDonald’s is a response to falling hamburger sales in Lent? Actually, McDonald’s sold a Hula burger on Friday for a while in heavily Catholic areas. The Hula burger was a grilled pineapple ring and cheese on a bun. Tasty! Another franchisee came up with the Filet of Fish for the heavily Catholic areas. Guess which sandwich had the better sales?

For my free church readers, Lent is not what is in the dryer, your jeans pocket or your belly button. Lent is a season of spiritual preparation for Easter. The church has observed this season of penitence and preparation since the 1100’s. The season of Lent lasts 40 days. And for all of you worldly Protestants out there, Sunday does not count!

In my unofficial survey the two things given up most often for Lent are chocolate and Cokes. Those would be two good choices if you planned to give them up permanently. The idea of Lent is to create a new habit or a new way of living. Again, this is all in preparation for Easter. Remember Easter, the empty tomb, opened a new way of living for all who follow Jesus.

Now back to our previously mentioned confirmation bias. People have given up making New Year’s resolutions and practicing Lenten Disciplines because they tell themselves, “I can’t do it. I can’t make meaningful changes in my life.” Rather than try, just preempt the season and give up early.

I want to suggest a two-part Lenten Discipline. The first twenty days of Lent let’s become aware of confirmation bias in our lives. We all have them. Write down what you believe about any topic or relationship. Be aware of how you filter out contrary information regarding your bias. The second twenty days of Lent, pick one place you have a confirmation bias and change your mind.

How would your marriage be different? How would your family be different? How would Natchitoches be different? How would your church or faith be different? How would you be different?

What’s that you say, “I can’t change?”

Did I hear your confirmation bias?

Natchitoches Police identify second suspect in double homicide on Short Seventh Street

Release Date: January 30, 2020

The Natchitoches Police Department is asking the public for assistance in locating the suspect, Daerieon Latchie (B/M, 17 y.o.a, weighing 150 pounds, around 5’6” of Natchitoches).

An arrest warrant has been issued for Daerieon Latchie who is charged with two counts of First Degree Murder and two counts of Attempted First Degree Murder.

If you have seen Daerieon Latchie please contact the Natchitoches Police Department at (318) 352-8101 or Detective William Connell at (318) 238-3911. Do not attempt to apprehend or detain this individual by yourself. Daerieon Latchie is considered to be armed and dangerous. Remember all information given shall remain confidential.

Release Date: January 28, 2020
Update: Natchitoches Police identify suspect in double homicide on Short Seventh Street

James Petite Jr

The Natchitoches Police Department is asking the public for assistance in locating the suspect, Jessie James Petite Jr. (B/M, 21 y.o.a, weighing 135 pounds, around 5’7” of Natchitoches).

An arrest warrant has been issued for Jessie James Petite Jr. who is charged with two counts of First Degree Murder and two counts of Attempted First Degree Murder.

If you have seen Jessie James Petite Jr. please contact the Natchitoches Police Department at (318) 352-8101 or Detective William Connell at (318) 238-3911. Do not attempt to apprehend or detain this individual by yourself. Jessie James Petite Jr. is considered to be armed and dangerous. Remember all information given shall remain confidential.

Original Story: Natchitoches Police investigate double homicide on Short Seventh Street

Release Date: January 28, 2020

The Natchitoches Police Department is investigating a double homicide that took place Monday night on Short Seventh Street.

On January 27, 2020 around 10:17 p.m., officers with the Natchitoches Police Department responded to the 900 block of Short Seventh Street in reference to a disturbance. Upon officers arrival they located Larry Batiste (B/M, 41 y.o.a. of Natchitoches), Hiram Phillips Jr. (B/M, 35 y.o.a. of Natchitoches) and a female suffering from gunshot wounds. Larry Batiste and Hiram Phillips Jr. were pronounced deceased as a result of their injuries. The female was transported to the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center and later to a hospital in Shreveport where she is listed in severe condition.

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 William Connell at (318) 238-3911. Remember all information given shall remain confidential.

Newly ranked Lady Demons, Demons head to Houston G5 & Super 22 Invitational

With a national ranking in hand for the Lady Demons, the Northwestern State track and field team returns to action in the University of Houston G5 & Super 22 Invitational beginning Friday.

The Lady Demons entered FloTrack’s national rankings at No. 23 as they prepare for the two-day meet, which opens at 2 p.m. Friday inside Houston’s Yeoman Fieldhouse. The Lady Demons are one of two non-Power Five teams in the rankings.

“I’m very confident with this team,” head coach Mike Heimerman said. “It’s a talented group and a fun group to be around. These girls like getting after it. They have a goal to do something that hasn’t happened at Northwestern State, winning a conference championship.”

This weekend marks the midpoint of the indoor track and field season for Northwestern State, which has five meets scheduled ahead of the March 1-2 Southland Conference Championships.

It also brings about one of the most wide-ranging fields the Demons and Lady Demons will see during the indoor season.

“There are schools from Arizona, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana,” Heimerman said. “There’s a wide range. You have teams from Conference USA, the American, Sun Belt and the Southland. There are a lot of schools and a lot of great competition. We’ll have an even better measuring stick than what we’ve had.”

This weekend’s measuring stick places the Demons and Lady Demons against some of the top Group of Five teams in the nation, including host Houston, Southern Miss, Grand Canyon, UTSA, Florida International and Rice among others.

NSU also will see numerous Southland Conference rivals in the competition. Among SLC squads making the trip to Houston are Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston State, Lamar and Houston Baptist. State schools in the meet include Louisiana Tech, UL Lafayette, Grambling and Southern.

In addition to its performance-based credentials, Northwestern State’s inclusion in the meet was buoyed by the relationship associate head coach Adam Pennington has established with Houston coach and nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis.

“Carl Lewis is probably the most high-profile track athlete outside of Usain Bolt,” Heimerman said. “It shows how good Adam has been in coaching those events. That’s how Carl Lewis noticed him. We were recruiting the same athletes, and we beat Houston for a few of them. They beat us on some of them, but what coach Pennington’s done with Northwestern State’s sprints has put them on the national map. That’s why he stood out. That’s the type of talent and coaching talent we have here at Northwestern State.”

The G5 & Super 22 Invitational marks the first competition for Northwestern State since the Lady Demons won the Texas A&M Ted Nelson Invitational and the men authored a top-five finish on Jan. 17.

NSU set four meet records during that time and produced a sweep of the Southland Conference Women’s Track and Field Athletes of the Week honors with sprinter Natashia Jackson and long jumper Jasmyn Steels collecting those.

Steels set her third consecutive meet record at the Ted Nelson, which took place in her hometown of College Station, Texas. This weekend’s meet brings Jackson and several other Demons and Lady Demons back to their hometown.

“Everyone loves to compete and show off in front of friends and family,” Heimerman said. “We have quite a few kids from the Houston area. I’m expecting a lot of big things from our Houston kids, because it’s the first time we’ve run at Houston in the past four or five years.

“As far as Speedy (Jackson), when doesn’t she have a good meet? You know you’re getting 100 percent, 100 percent of the time. I can guarantee that with that young lady.”

Photo Credit: Jameria Smith/NSU Athletics

NSU Calendar of Events

NSU – Here is a look at the week of Feb. 2-8 at Northwestern State University.

Feb. 2 – Guest recital featuring Cain Budds and the Corrales String Quartet, Magale Recital Hall, 3 p.m.

Feb. 4 – Phi Beta Delta Chinese and Hindi language and culture lecture series, Natchitoches Room, Russell Hall, 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 4 – Faculty recital featuring D’nissa Hester, Magale Recital Hall, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 5 – Men’s basketball vs. Abilene Christian, Prather Coliseum, 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 5 – Faculty recital featuring Malena McLaren, clarinet, Magale Recital Hall, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 7 – NSU voice concert, Magale Recital Hall, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 8 – Demon Baseball Auction, Friedman Student Union Ballroom, 6:30 p.m. social hour, program at 7:15 p.m.

Parker awarded Phi Beta Delta Scholarship

Annabelle Parker of Shreveport has been named as the first recipient of the Phi Beta Delta Scholarship Award. The scholarship was presented by Northwestern State University’s Eta Mu Chapter of Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars.

This scholarship was awarded for the Spring 2020 semester to support NSU students participating in international studies here on campus or in academic studies abroad. Parker is a junior accounting major in the School of Business at NSU and is attending the University of Alicante in Spain this semester.

Parker said she is looking forward to being immersed in Spanish customs and learning the language hands-on and admiring the historic sites found throughout Alicante.

“I aspire to push myself to new limits while living in Alicante and become a well-rounded and considerate business professional,” said Parker.

Dr. Sharon Joy, president and chapter coordinator for Phi Beta Delta, said she and chapter committee members are proud of Parker’s international endeavors.

For more information about Phi Beta Delta or the upcoming scholarship fundraiser in February, “Chinese and Hindu Language and Culture Lecture Series,” please contact Joy at or Phi Beta Delta Fundraising Committee Chairman Dr. Marcia Hardy at

Northwestern State picked to finish sixth in Southland Conference Preseason Poll

The Northwestern State softball team was picked to finish sixth in the Southland Conference preseason poll by the league’s coaches and sports information directors.

The Lady Demons have eight returning starters in the offensive lineup and three of their four pitchers returning from a team that finished sixth in the 2019 standings.

NSU received 152 points in the poll, trailing No. 5 Southeastern by 25 points but having a clear 30-point margin on No. 7 Central Arkansas.

Stephen F. Austin (11 first-place votes) edged Sam Houston State (10 first-place votes) for the top spot by seven points.

McNeese, picked third, and No. 4 Nicholls also received first-place votes.

 Coaches and SIDs Poll (first place votes)


Stephen F. Austin (11)



Sam Houston State (10)



McNeese (1)



Nicholls (2)



Southeastern Louisiana



Northwestern State



Central Arkansas






Abilene Christian



Houston Baptist



Texas A&M-Corpus Christi






PHOTO CREDIT: Gary Hardamon/NSU Photographic Services

Single-game NSU baseball, softball tickets on sale

Single-game tickets for Northwestern State softball and baseball are on sale now through the NSU Athletics Ticket Office.

Single-game adult general admission tickets for the 24 Lady Demons softball games are available for $8 while VIP seating can be purchased for $15. Prices for youth tickets are $5 and $15, respectively.

Northwestern State opens its home season Feb. 14 by hosting the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission Lady Demon Classic from Feb. 14-16. The home opener is set for 12 p.m. Feb. 14 against Murray State.

The Demons will host 35 baseball games at Brown-Stroud Field.

Individual general admission tickets are on sale for $10 while VIP seating run $20. General admission youth tickets are available for $5.

The Demons’ home opener is set for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 14 against Wichita State.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call the NSU ticket office at 318-357-4268.

Fish Fry this Saturday to raise funds for upcoming Autism Awareness Walk

Voices 4 Autism will hold a Fish Fry Fundraiser on Saturday, Feb. 1 from 10:30 am – 3:30 pm at the corner of Texas Street and Hwy. 1 in the parking lot. This event will raise money for Voices 4 Autism’s inaugural walk to raise awareness for autism, which is scheduled for April 4. Fish Fry plates are $10 and include fried catfish, a roll, homemade potato salad, a slice of cake, and choice of water or soda. Orders of five or more can be delivered. For information call 318-529-0638.

People Powered Fair Maps Campaign on Redistricting

Dear Editor:

The League of Women Voters of Louisiana (LWVLA) is taking part in “People Powered Fair Maps,” a national campaign on redistricting sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS). All fifty states plus Washington, D.C. are participating in this campaign.

After the Census in 2020 is complete, every state will redraw boundaries for both state and congressional districts. It is important that Louisianans be made aware of and educated on the issues involved in Redistricting, such as:

-Prohibiting district lines from being drawn to intentionally favor or impede a political party or incumbent,

-Making transparent the criteria for drawing district maps,

-Requiring public engagement in the redistricting process.

The League of Women Voters of Louisiana will work with other non-partisan organizations, legislators, and volunteers to help get the message out to all citizens. LWVLA will host house parties, offer training sessions to various groups, and promote letter-writing campaigns to inform the public on redistricting.

The People Powered Fair Maps campaign will celebrate in a “National Day of Action” in mid-February sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the United States.

Hilda Walker Thomas, President
League of Women Voters of Louisiana

Kilroy Was Here

By Donald Gates

I was going thru some old pictures my Uncle Claude had sent me when he was stationed in Germany during World War II. One picture showed him sitting on his tank holding a Nazi flag he had taken following his Second Armored Division capturing a German town. On the wall, behind his tank, was a drawing by some GI of a figure that became symbolic of our armed forces protecting America and our way of life.

Kilroy was a funny little guy with a big nose peering over a wall. He was found everywhere American troops were stationed and continued to show up in Korea and Vietnam, but his popularity has, unfortunately, declined in more recent wars. Due to his association with military service, Kilroy is often referenced as a point of nostalgia, pride, and camaraderie among veterans as well among some civilians. The popular press sometimes alludes to Kilroy was here as a cultural touchstone for US soldiers’ experiences in the far-flung wars of the 20th century, especially World War II.

Kilroy was not some monster size soldier clad in armor and holding numerous weapons, with glaring red eyes ready to destroy anything that got in his way. To me, he was a simple little fellow who is saying, “America was here to set you free from tyranny and protect the American way of life”.

Isn’t it wonderful that we live in a country where the Kilroy’s have kept us free to live a life only limited by our own drive, ambition and work ethic? This is the greatest country the world has ever known! We are free to worship as we please, express our views as we please, to move from place to place as we please. And to be, as the Army recruitment motto says, “Be all you can be”.

Have you thought lately about how blessed we are to be citizens of this great country? Well, you should! Thank you, Kilroy. I hope you stick around for a long time.

Notice of Death – January 30, 2020

Laurence John Bonnett
February 8, 1956 – December 23, 2019
Services to be held at a later date

Gregory Randle Singletary
July 03, 1992 – January 18, 2020
Visitation: Saturday, February 1 from 10 am – 2 pm at Provencal First Baptist Church
Service: Saturday, February 1 at 2 pm at Provencal First Baptist Church
Interment: Hickory Grove Cemetery in Vowells Mills

Hiram Phillips, Jr.
November 7, 1984 – January 27, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Carol Adkins Williams
November 07, 1950 – January 26, 2020
Visitation: Saturday, February 1 from 11 am – 1 pm in the chapel of Blanchard-St Denis Funeral Home in Natchitoches
Service: Saturday, February 1 at 1 pm in the chapel of Blanchard-St Denis Funeral Home

Larry “Thigh-Thigh” Batiste
September 3, 1978 – January 27, 2020
Arrangements TBA

John Gill “Bud” Rachal
October 10, 1949 – January 17, 2020
Service: Saturday, February 1 at 11 am at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, located at 911 5th St. in Natchitoches

Jessie Mae Thomas Manning
March 5, 1942 – January 24, 2020
Visitation: Friday, January 31 from 5-8 pm at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home, located at 318 North Street in Natchitoches
Service: Saturday, February 1 at 11 am at the Friendship Baptist Church

James Pickett
January 25, 2020
Arrangements TBA

John L. Brooks
January 25, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Billy Gibson
December 25, 1950 – January 19, 2020
Service: Saturday, February 1 at 12 pm at The Camp, located at 1026 Hampton Road in Natchitoches

James Moody
January 17, 2020
Service: Saturday, February 1 at 2 pm in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel

Mary Kirkendoll
May 6, 1949 – January 24, 2020
Service: Saturday, February 1 at 1 pm at the New Zion Baptist Church in Winnfield