City Council denies St. Maurice Subdivision application a second time

UPDATE: Rhodes Attorney Issues Statement regarding this vote:

The Natchitoches City Council voted to deny an appeal from Rhodes Properties and Development at its meeting Monday night, Jan. 27. The appeal was for the Council to review a decision of the Natchitoches Planning and Zoning Commission at its Dec. 3 meeting that denied the application regarding the St. Maurice Subdivision. The Council voted to uphold the Commission’s decision, except for Council Member Sylvia Morrow.

The overall reasoning behind the decision was the preservation of the neighborhood’s character.

“Every homeowner has spoken to that [the character of the development] and that speaks volumes to me,” said Council Member Eddie Harrington. Several area residents spoke about their concerns for drainage, traffic congestion, the Rhodes’ trustworthiness, and decreasing property values.

Attorney Jared Dunahoe spoke for the Rhodes brothers. The gist of his argument was that after the Rhodes prior appeal was denied for its first application for the St. Maurice Subdivision project at a Council meeting on Sept. 13, the Rhodes brought everything into compliance with ordinances. They changed the design from a gated community to one on a public street with a 60 foot right-of-way instead of the initial 50 foot they had planned. The lots sizes (7,200 sq ft) meet the minimum required, although according to the Council many lots in the area are 20,000-21,000 sq ft on average. The new application also had one less house (27 lots) and the retention pond was removed.

Dunahoe said the changes Rhodes made before reapplying bring them in 100 percent compliance.

“Tonight’s decision is about will Natchitoches be a City that follows the rules…or will we move the goal post just to achieve a desired result. They’ve followed the rules and they should be allowed to continue with their project.”

Other agenda items included:


Amend Ordinance No. 64 Of 2001 By Changing

Zoning Classification Of Property at 1504 Gold St. from R-3 Residence Multiple Family to R-3 Residence Multiple Family, Special Exception to operate Save the Children Head Start.

Amend Ordinance No. 64 Of 2001 By Changing

Zoning Classification Of Property at 219 Williams Ave. from R-1 Residential to R-1 Residential, Special Exception to operate a Bed & Breakfast.


Authorize The City To Lease A Portion Of A Building Located At 200 Rapides Drive To Youth & Families Empowerment Services, LLC.

Approve The Acquisition Of The Hanger Located On Lot 3 Of The Natchitoches Regional Airport From Harold G. Foster And Laurie M. Berry, For The Consideration Of $13,000.

Amend Ordinance Number 042 Of 2019 Which Said Ordinance Approved The Acquisition Of A Tract Of Land Situated On The Western Right Of Way Of Sixth Street In The City Of Natchitoches, From Eagle Distributing Of Shreveport, Inc., For The Total Consideration Of $400,000.

Amend the 2019-2020 Budget to Reflect Additional Revenues And Expenditures.


Authorize The Mayor Of The City Of Natchitoches To Award The Bid For The Natchitoches Event Center Roof Replacement Project.

Authorize The Mayor Or His Designee To Advertise An Airport Hanger Lease For Maintenance Shop, Establishing The Terms And Conditions For Said Lease Which Will Include Obligation Of Lessee To Provide An Experienced Aircraft Mechanic And Aircraft Mechanics Shop For Fixed Wing And Rotor Wing Aircraft, Authorizing Mayor To Execute Lease After Due Advertisements And Compliance With Law.


Authorize The Mayor To Execute A Certificate Of Substantial Completion To The Contract Between The City Of Natchitoches And Ratcliff Construction Company For The Natchitoches Sports & Recreation Park.

Authorize The Mayor To Enter Into Contract With Travelers Casualty And Surety Company Of America For The Public Official Schedule Bond For The City Of Natchitoches.


The next scheduled City Council meeting will be Monday, February 10, 2020.

Purple Pizzazz Pom Line clinic Feb. 1

Northwestern State University’s Purple Pizzazz Pom Line will hold a clinic for dancers age 3 years through 8th grade beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 1. Following a morning of practice, participants will perform with the Purple Pizzazz during the Demons’ doubleheader in Prather Coliseum.

Participants will learn a dance routine and cheers to support the Demon basketball teams. Games will begin at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The cost to participate is $30, which includes NSU swag and lunch. Drop-off is at the Health and Human Performance gymnasium on Tarleton Drive. Dancers will walk to Prather for the games at 12:30 p.m. Approximate pick-up time is 4:30 p.m.

Spots should be reserved by Friday, Jan. 30 and a medical release form is required. Parents can fill out the registration form the day of the clinic. For more information contact Ashlee Hewitt at or call (318) 357-4615.

Rhodes Properties and Development: Project Coordinator

Job Title: Project Coordinator-Full Time

JOB DUTIES include, but are not limited to: Coordinate regularly scheduled meetings with buyers, clients, agents and construction staff. Ensure all necessary subcontractors and suppliers have any and all necessary information available to them to allow the projects to continue on schedule. Create, approve, and order all specific materials associated with each project. Inventory materials as they get delivered, and store in warehouse. Maintain inventory of warehouse. Follow jobs on company construction software, and ensure schedules are up to date. Enter all selections on company construction software, and keep correct updated information. Maintain showroom organization.

SKILLS REQUIRED: Strong organizational, problem-solving, and time-management skills. High level of initiative. Ability to work independently and as part of a team. Ability to communicate effectively. Ability to coordinate multiple ongoing projects.

Please email resumes to or fax 318-238-3735, Attn: Ali Rhodes.

Bobby’s Barrel

Robert “Bobby” Leach was a daredevil. Originally from Cornwall, England, he moved to Canada at some point and got a job as a stuntman in Barnum and Bailey’s Circus. In his early 50s, Bobby owned and operated a lunch counter and souvenir stand near Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada, but he thrived on the attention his life-threatening feats brought him. He once told reporters, “I fear nothing.” He had made four trips through the dangerous rapids at Whirlpool Falls, the last of which nearly killed him. He had made “a number of balloon ascensions” in homemade balloons, he rode over the Seneca Falls in a barrel, and leapt off the Rainbow International Bridge 200 feet above the Niagara River with a homemade parachute. Newspapers reported that his net worth since his daredevil days began had risen to between $20,000 and $30,000, an enormous amount in the early years of the twentieth century.

Bobby had another goal that would exceed anything he had done before. His next feat was to go over Horseshoe Falls, the largest of three waterfalls which collectively form Niagara Falls, in a barrel. If he succeeded, he would be the first man to survive the trip. Ten years earlier, Mrs. Anna Edson Taylor became the first human to survived the trip. Unlike Anna Taylor, who used a wooden barrel for her trip, Bobby helped design and build a steel barrel for his trip over the falls.

Bobby’s plan was hindered almost immediately. Authorities in Niagara Falls, New York, and Ontario, Canada, both refused to allow Bobby to launch his barrel from their cities. Undeterred, just after 1 p.m. on July 25, 1911, the 53-year-old Bobby tied his barrel to a motor boat and launched it several miles upriver from Horseshoe Falls. Strong winds and choppy water pounded the boat and barrel, but Bobby was determined to continue. At a point about three miles above Horseshoe Falls, Bobby climbed into the barrel, released the rope, and sealed the hatch on the barrel. There was no turning back. Bobby was now at the mercy of the river.

Spectators watched as the barrel slowly made its way toward Horseshoe Falls. A mile above the Falls, the barrel reached the rapids. Over and over, the barrel smashed into and bounced off of the myriad of rocks in the rapids. At 3:13 p.m., the barrel tumbled over the falls and disappeared into the churning water below. Spectators held their breath and wondered if Bobby had survived. Less than a minute later, the barrel bobbed up to the surface of the water. Newspapers reported that the force of the impact tore both ends off of the barrel, but it was still afloat.

Spectators stood in stunned silence for almost twenty minutes while the barrel drifted a safe distance away from the falls. There were no signs of life from Bobby’s barrel. Frank Bender, a local resident, swam out to Bobby’s barrel with a rope. He tied it around the barrel and held on as a team of men pulled the Barrel to shore. The men struggled to open the hatch. They all wondered if Bobby had survived, though none would say it aloud. When the hatch gave way, they peered in. Blood streamed down Bobby’s face from a deep gash and his right leg was sprained, but Bobby was alive!

On the following evening, Bobby spoke with a reporter about the trip. His first words were “no more,” when the reporter asked if he planned to take another trip over the falls. Bobby told the reporter, “The drop over the falls was not so bad, but that through the upper rapids was frightful. It seemed as though the barrel turned over a million times. The nearer I approached to the falls, the more the barrel turned. Once, when I struck a rock, I thought it was all over. A big dent was stove in the barrel and a couple of quarts of water came in. I prepared to die. But the water merely washed through the air holes. It was striking the rock that hurt my leg. The big drop over the falls was nothing in comparison to the rest of the trip. I felt no sensation, certainly no pain, going down, and there was very little bump at the bottom. All I have to say is that nobody’s got anything on me, so far as going over Niagara Falls is concerned. But—never again.”

Adopting the nickname Professor, Bobby went on a worldwide speaking tour and told of his many life-threatening, death-defying feats. The people were most interested to hear Bobby tell the story of his trip while showing a film of his barrel going over Horseshoe falls. He answered questions and posed for pictures, all for a small fee. People flocked to his presentations. While returning from one such showing in Christchurch, New Zealand, Bobby slipped, fell onto the street, and broke his leg. Within a short time, his leg became infected with Gangrene. Penicillin and other antibiotics were not yet available. Doctors did the only thing available to them at the time and amputated the infected leg. The infection, however, had spread throughout his body. On April 26, 1926, in an ironic twist of fate, the man who had survived a trip over Horseshoe Falls, who had survived four trips through Whirlpool Falls, who once predicted that the water would probably “get him” one day, died as a result of slipping on an orange peel.

Kiwanis recognizes kids at NSU ELab

Students at NSU Elementary Lab School received Terrific Kid certificates from the Natchitoches Kiwanis Club for the months of December and January recognizing them for their character development, self-esteem and perseverance.

Pictured on front row from left are Evie Hawkins, Elise Armstrong, Davis Forsyth, Crosby Marcotte, Jayden Lodrigue, and Landry Erikson. On middle row are Katelyn Mitchell, Brinley Smith, Cadance Achord, Corbin Achord, Addyson Lacaze, Garrett Landry, and Whitni Dunagan. On back row are Katherine Shivers, Sahil Patel, Westin Key, Caleb Bynog, Adam Demery, Gabriel Parrie, Walkerton Kiracofe, Caron Coleman, and Henry Rachal.

Candidacy Announcement: Christopher Petite for City Council District 3

My name is Christopher Petite. I am honored to announce my candidacy for District 3 City Council. I was born and raised in the City of Natchitoches. I am a graduate of Natchitoches Central High School, class of 2003. I am married to Charlotte Preylo-Petite and we have four children. I am a member of My Father’s House church. I am a father, a coach, a person of integrity, authenticity, and am down to earth. I have a passion for helping others. I look forward to becoming the voice of those in the community to share and represent their thoughts and concerns.

This job is not about me. It is to serve others, to solve problems in the community and to improve the lives of others. I believe that in order to have a thriving community it is of the utmost importance that we change our mindset and begin to understand that in order to bring about change we must start with ourselves.

As councilman, it is my duty to serve and to operate in a fashion that displays the best interest of the people in the District 3 community. Also, keeping in mind that while my focus is to serve the people of District 3 it is nevertheless vital to understand what happens in the city of Natchitoches is felt by all districts. I believe that working together as one unit is vital to achieving success. Unity is the key. I look forward to working effectively with the mayor and other council members to solve problems through collaborative efforts.

Key Areas of Focus:

Work with law enforcement agencies to make our neighborhoods safer

Provide assistance to the elderly or those who are less fortunate

Create job opportunities

Committed to developing more positive programs for the youth of District 3

To the citizens of District 3, I humbly ask for your vote & support, I can be reached at (318) 581-7642. Feel free to call or text if you have any questions or concerns. It is with great honor that I desire to serve the citizens of District 3. I look forward to accomplishing great things in the near future. Thanks

New owners announce change in business name

N & A, Inc., Consulting Engineers and Land Surveyors, a local professional services company, would like to announce the firm has been acquired by new owners. The new owners are Kyle Howard, Brandon Thornton and Jarod Taylor. Together they have nearly 50 years of service in the firm.

In concurrence with the ownership transition, the new owners have chosen to change the firm name to Delta Consulting, Inc. The office locations and phone numbers in Natchitoches and Jena will remain the same.

With high regard for the engineering skills and knowledge of the previous owner Mr. R. L. “Rick” Nowlin, P.E., the new owners are pleased that going forward Mr. Nowlin will remain a valued senior engineer and consultant.

Delta Consulting, Inc. – Professional Engineers & Land Surveyors are here to provide you with outstanding service and support for any task your project requires.

Natchitoches Office
740 Front Street
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Jena Office
3150 N. First Street
Jena, LA 71342


The City of Natchitoches would like to notify the public that on Wednesday, January 29th the Church Street Bridge will close from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The City’s Utility Department will be taking down the Christmas lights on the bridge during this time and will close the bridge to thru traffic for the safety of the workers and motorists.

The City of Natchitoches appreciates the public’s patience during this time.

McLaren recital set for Feb. 5

A faculty recital featuring Malena McLaren on clarinet and Chialing Hsieh on piano will be held at Northwestern State University on Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. Admission is free and open to the public.

The recital will feature works by Gerald Finzi, Miguel Yuste and Serge Rachmaninoff.

McLaren is the department chair of music and professor of clarinet at Northwestern State. She is a D’Addrio artist and has performed orchestrally and as a chamber musician throughout the United States, Mexico, England, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, England and Spain. She performs regularly in solo and chamber music recitals and is a core member of the Rapides Symphony Orchestra.

McLaren was invited to perform and present her research at the 2015 ClarinetFest in Madrid, Spain and at the 2018 ICA ClarinetFest in Belgium. She was also asked to adjudicate the Young Artist Competition at this year’s ClarinetFest in Reno, Nevada. Her scholarly works include two articles in the International Journal, The Clarinet.

In July 2007 she received the second-place prize in the International Clarinet Association’s Research Presentation Competition at the ClarinetFest in Vancouver, Canada. McLaren has performed in recital at the 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014 International ClarinetFest conferences and as a member of Trio de Llano at the 2009 National Flute Association Conference in New York City. In 2011 she received the Magale Endowed Professorship to perform and conduct archival research in Madrid, Spain. She served as coordinator of the International Clarinet Association Annual Research Presentation Competition from 2014-2016 and is the current Louisiana State Chair for the ICA.

McLaren received the Bachelor in Music Education and Master of Music degree in Clarinet Performance at The University of New Mexico where she studied with Keith Lemmons. Malena also studied with James Gillespie at the University of North Texas, where she received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Clarinet Performance with a minor in musicology.

An avid performer of contemporary music, Hsieh is devoted to promoting new piano solo and chamber works. Hsieh has been a featured pianist on seven CDs for the Centaur, Innova, Enharmonic and Ballpark labels. She joined NSU’s faculty in 2016 as an assistant professor of collaborative piano. In the summer, she is the piano instructor at the Lutheran Summer Music Festival and Academy and the Sounds of Summer Institute. Hsieh earned her bachelor’s degree from the National Taipei University of the Arts and a master’s and doctorate in piano performance at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music.

Notice of Death – January 27, 2020

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

Yvonne Miller
October 23, 1943 – January 22, 2020
Visitation: Friday, January 24 at 5 at Warren Meadows Funeral Home in Many
Service: Saturday, January 25 at 10 am at Warren Meadows Funeral Home
Interment: Oxley Cemetery

Janice Sue Stout
June 25, 1956 – January 26, 2020
Service: Tuesday, January 28 at 2 pm at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home Chapel

Foster Mom: The Truth

By Lynda Hammett

The truth has to come out… My name is not Melanie Wilson.

When I decided to write these articles I was afraid. I was afraid who would find me online. I was afraid I would get unwanted attention. I was afraid family members of my babies would find me and be able to track us down.

Most people I know have figured out these articles are mine. They have called me Melanie at church and caught me off guard. I have also been out in public and talked to people about foster care and they have asked if this article was mine.

I have decided I cannot be afraid if I want to be a voice and make a change for foster children. I need to be bold enough to be seen and to be heard.

Recently I have been on social media raising money for CASA and that is what has sparked this decision. If you have seen the video and read these articles I figured most people would put two and two together.

So here is the truth…. my name is Lynda.

I have loved writing these articles and sharing my experiences with everyone. I write these articles to inform more people about the foster care system. I also write these articles to get more people fired up about fighting for our children or to listen to that feeling in your tummy saying you should be a foster or adoptive parent as well.

It is scary to put my picture out and my name into the world but I can’t be afraid of others. Our children deserve someone who will be bold and I am going to be bold.

I will continue to write these articles… now under my own name. I also started a Facebook page so you can follow along throughout the week. I will be sharing other articles on the page, information, and ways everyone can help foster care children. The page is called Foster Mom Natchitoches.

I can’t thank everyone enough for reading these articles and wanting to know more about foster care and how you can help.

I’m excited to be called by God to be bold for these children. We have a lot of work to do but I’m ready!