LDH Update for 05/28/20; Natchitoches: 157 Cases/13 Deaths

Defend Against COVID-19

Stay home. Follow the Governor’s Stay at Home Order – Phase ONE. 

Defend Against COVID-19. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Recognize the symptoms. Cover your cough. Wash your hands. Stay home especially if you are sick.

Maintain a Social Distance of 6ft. Social distancing means keeping 6ft. of physical space between yourself and others. This helps to prevent the spread of illness.


Department of Health issues COVID-19 Nursing Home Report – LOCAL UPDATE

Nursing homes are required to report positive COVID-19 cases to the Department of Health. The Department is working with each individual facility to increase testing of residents with and without symptoms; to minimize infection; and to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The greatest risk for nursing homes is COVID-19 spreading within facilities and among vulnerable residents. A nursing home with residents who have tested positive for the illness is not a threat to the general public.

The Department is following recent CMS requirements and only certified adult care facilities are required to report the information in this report.

This information is as complete and accurate as possible. It will be reported weekly on Mondays. In addition, the Department is sharing aggregate totals for other adult residential facilities, which are not certified. This information will be shared on Mondays through a Department news release.   Local Chart below (05-25-20 amd 05-18-20)

 

For FULL Statewide reports, just click the link below.


What’s It Like Now: Natchitoches Parish Clerk of Court’s Office

A lot of the operating procedures have changed for the Natchitoches Parish Clerk of Court’s Office to deal with the coronavirus and the state’s reopening guidelines under Phase 1. What what does it all mean and what does it actually look like for Clerk of Court David Stamey and his staff members?

The Natchitoches Parish Journal wanted to provide readers with a window into the world of the Clerk’s Office and how operations have adapted. The Courthouse as a whole is requiring citizens to wear masks upon entering the building. Temperatures are also being checked at the main entrance and upstairs before anyone enters the courtroom.

There’s now a waiting room set up in the hallway outside of the Clerk’s office, which has been doing death certificates, passports, birth certificates and marriage licenses throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. They’ll continue to limit the number of people in the office until the state enters Phase 2 or Phase 3.

But work continues and, sitting in his office with paperwork spread across his desk, Stamey said they’d already issued four marriage licenses and six birth certificates by 11:15 am, which is a lot for one day.

With many offices shut down during the stay-at-home order, one man drove to Natchitoches from Port Allen to get a copy of his birth certificate so he could accept a job and get his family on the work insurance. People have driven in from Rapides, Winn, Bienville and other parishes for marriage licenses. Stamey said he issued four in one day for people from Rapides Parish.

They’ve even issued around 5 passports for people planning to travel in July.

Another change the Clerk’s office has experienced is an increase in the amount of civil suits being filed because there weren’t as many while things were slowed down. But it’s been frantic at times. Stamey is currently back scanning to put more conveyances online so attorneys and oil and gas abstractors can do their work without coming to the courthouse.

Now throw in the fact that the election is coming up on July 11 with runoffs set for August 15. It’ll be a big election including the presidential preference, Natchitoches mayor, city councils members and city councilman at large. Stamey also has minute clerks that go to the 10th Judicial District Court with the judges and there’s four criminal deputies working at the same time.

Criminal, civil and conveyance filings fo through the Clerk’s office, which usually provides certified copies. Now these filings must be dropped off and the Clerk’s office is mailing out the certified copies, which has extended the process.

Stamey said banks, mortgage institutions and title companies have been flexible through all of it and it’s been much appreciated. Attorneys have also done a lot of fax filings, so it’s business as usual at the Clerk’s office. Only methods of operation have changed.

“It’s kind of crazy how all of this is happening at one time,” said Stamey. “People are still scared and as long as the number of cases continues to rise we’ll try to keep our distance and give them space when they come in. We’re all just trying really hard to work together.”


Silence Won’t Work

By Reba Phelps

“In a world full of hate be a light….” were the lyrics of the Christian song I was just listening to while preparing supper for my little family. The image shown above has been burned in my mind constantly since this happened. There is no light in this image. I cannot get over the lifeless look on George Floyd’s face and the effortless disregard for life on the other face.

I normally dedicate time to finishing my weekly “Blessed” article for the Natchitoches Parish Journal on Thursday evenings, but my heart was just not in it. I couldn’t even focus on its completion thinking about how our country is hurting and how we are not living in equality.

Being raised by a preacher who visited every African American church in Natchitoches Parish with kids in tow (me and my siblings) and welcomed the very same preachers at his own church in Goldonna…..this image literally brought me to my knees. My dad was not a popular preacher in Goldonna during the late 80’s and early 90’s due to this decision but he showed his children what the love of the Lord looks like and how we were born to worship with all of our brothers and sisters. Not just the ones who had the same color of skin that we did. My dad and mom didn’t see color and that’s the way they raised their children.

This picture originally struck me because it was in black and white….if you scrolled quickly by you would almost believe it was taken during the violent and brutal days of the Civil Rights movement. Oh how I wish this was an archaic image of the way America used to be. Oh how it hurts me that we are still having brutality like this in 2020. Will we still be having these conversations with our grandchildren?

When does it stop? Please pray for our country. Pray without ceasing. I stand with my friends. I kneel to beg God to save our country.

#georgefloyd #icantbreathe

Ecclesiastes 5:8
If you see oppression of the poor and denial of justice and righteousness in the province, do not be shocked at the sight; for one official watches over another official, and there are higher officials over them.


Foster Mom: #WorldFosterDay

By Lynda Hammett

#WorldFosterDay

Sunday, May 31 is World Foster Day!

World Foster Day is a great way to spread awareness about foster care. I have loved writing these articles and sharing my story to help spread awareness.

Here are just a few feelings about foster care……

BLESSED – I am beyond blessed to be these sweet babies’ momma even though it is only for a short amount of time. Everyone tells me how much of a difference I made in their little lives but I’m truly the one who has changed. They have taught me the joy of smiles in the morning, rocking to sleep, and love that lights up their entire face when I walk through the door.

SAD – Yes I am sad because we have to even have foster care. Children do not asked to be born but they surely don’t deserve for parents not to step up. I’m sad that drugs have caused so many children to be put in foster care. I’m sad to see families torn a part. I’m sad when adults don’t make the correct choice for the kids. I’m sad how broken the system is.

JOYFUL – When I was the youth director at church I taught a lesson about the difference between happiness and joyfulness. Happiness is fading and changes based on what you want at the time. Joyfulness is lasting and comes from God. Foster care has reinforced this idea so much. There are happy times don’t get me wrong but happiness fades but I have always felt joy. I feel joy every time I look into their eyes, see pictures, or think about the different things we did or they accomplished.

Foster care is not for everyone. God called me to do this and I can only do it because He called me. But EVERYONE can help foster children.

Today is World Foster Day so do something for a foster family you know this week. I can tell you getting a simple note of “praying for you” always seemed to come when I needed those words and made a huge difference. Order a meal and drop it off at a foster family’s home. Make a donation to CASA or Unite Ministries – both are great organizations that help foster children. Or simply take a picture like mine and post it with #WorldFosterDay in the status.

I would not be the woman I am without being a foster mother and I can not thank my family, friends, my dance studio families, my church family, and even complete strangers enough for the love and support they have given to me and my babies.

Do something today or this week to bless a foster family or bring awareness to foster care!


12th annual Louisiana Studies Conference format may be altered

The Louisiana Folklife Center and Northwestern State University have high hopes that this year’s Louisiana Studies Conference will be able to be held in person on its scheduled dates of Sept. 18-19. The conference committee is closely monitoring the ongoing pandemic and is aware that uncertainties related to the continued impact of COVID-19 might potentially necessitate altering plans for the 2020 Conference.

In the event that a face-to-face conference is not a viable option, the conference will shift to a virtual delivery format via WebEx. In a WebEx format the conference would be held on Sept. 19 and Sept. 26 with individually consecutive presentation sessions rather than the usual concurrent sessions. Presenters will be given notice via email by Aug. 18 confirming whether the conference will be a face-to-face or virtual event.

The committee is now accepting presentation proposals for the upcoming conference. The 2020 theme, “Losing Louisiana,” is dedicated to exploring the ways in which Louisiana’s cultures, environment, languages and peoples are facing threats to their survival on a variety of fronts. What dangers do these threats pose to people, culture, and the environment? What solutions might be implemented to counter these threats? How can Louisiana pull back from the brink of disaster? Presentation proposals on any aspect of this theme, as well as creative texts and performances by, about, and/or for Louisiana and Louisianans, are sought for this year’s conference.

“Although we are especially interested in proposals that deal with the theme of ‘Losing Louisiana,’ all papers, creative writing and short performances (dance, music, or theatric) that address any aspect of Louisiana studies are welcome,” said Dr. Shane Rasmussen, conference chair.

Proposals are being solicited for 15-minute presentations from scholars at all career stages as well as graduate students. Creative work (film, creative non-fiction, short fiction, and poetry) is welcome. Undergraduates are invited to submit, provided they are working with the guidance of a trained scholar. All undergraduate presenters under 18 years of age must be accompanied to the conference by a parent or legal guardian. Conference registration is free for all faculty, staff and students affiliated with Bossier Parish Community College, the Louisiana Scholars’ College, the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts, the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, and Northwestern State University, as well as State and National Park Service personnel situated in Natchitoches Parish.

Abstracts (300 words max.) for scholarly proposals, creative writing, films and short performances (dance, music or theatric) should be sent as e-mail attachments to Rasmussen at rasmussens@nsula.edu. Presentations should run no longer than 15 minutes. Applicants should briefly detail the audio / visual tools (laptop, projection screen, data projector, DVD player, etc.) or space (the stage in the Magale Recital Hall will be provided for short performances) each presentation will require, if any.

Applicants should also include a separate cover page with your name, affiliation, mailing and e-mail address and the title of your presentation. E-mails should be entitled Louisiana Studies Conference Submission. Each submission will receive an e-mail acknowledgement within one week of having received it. Those who do not receive an acknowledgment should resend their submission.

The deadline for submissions is July 1. Accepted presenters will be notified via e-mail by July 15, if not before.

The interdisciplinary conference will be accept proposals from the following disciplines: American studies, anthropology, architecture, archival studies, communications, craft, creative writing, criminal justice, cultural studies, cultural tourism, dance, design, education, English and literary studies, environmental studies, ethnic studies, fashion design, film studies, fine arts, folklore, gender studies, geography, heritage resources, history, interior design, journalism, linguistics, media studies, museum studies, musicology, music performance, philosophy, photography, political science, preservation studies, psychology, queer studies, religious studies, Romance languages, social work, sociology, theatre and vernacular architecture.

Read broadly, scholars could consider the following possibilities for presentation topics relating to the theme “Losing Louisiana.” Louisiana, its cultures, history, literature, peoples, places, etc. should be an intrinsic aspect of the proposed presentation. For example, “thematic motifs in Southern literature” in itself would not be an appropriate presentation topic proposal for the Louisiana Studies Conference, while “thematic motifs in 21st century Louisiana short fiction” or “thematic motifs in the contemporary legends of Evangeline Parish” would both be highly appropriate.

The following list of suggestions is not meant to be comprehensive: archaeology, architecture (including vernacular architecture), archives, borders. the brain drain crisis, built environments, cemeteries and graveyards, climate change, coastal erosion, conservation, COVID-19, crafts, cultural drift, dancehalls, disruptions, documentation, economies (including cultural economies), ethnicities, foodways and folkways – past, present, evolving; frontiers (cultural, geographic, musical, mythic, narrative, etc.), historical landmarks and sites, language loss, legacies, literatures, Louisianan identities, main streets, monuments, murals, Native American spaces, the Neutral Strip, pandemics (preparedness, responses, effects, etc.), preservation, quarantines, raising consciousness, religion and spirituality, solutions, state and national parks, traditions and unsustainability.

A selection of scholarly and creative work presented at the conference will be solicited for publication in the “Louisiana Folklife Journal,” a peer reviewed academic journal produced by the Louisiana Folklife Center and edited by Rasmussen. Additional information is available on the website for the Louisiana Folklife Center at Northwestern State University: https://louisianafolklife.nsula.edu/

Conference co-chairs are Dr. Lisa Abney, faculty facilitator for Academic Research and Community College Outreach and professor of English at NSU; Jason Church, materials conservator at the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training; Dr. Charles Pellegrin, professor of history and director of the Southern Studies Institute at NSU; Rasmussen, director of the Louisiana Folklife Center and professor of English at NSU, and Sharon Wolff, CA, assistant archivist at NSU’s Cammie G. Henry Research Center.

The conference is co-sponsored by the Louisiana Folklife Center, the Northwestern State University Department of Fine + Graphic Arts and the Northwestern State University College of Arts, Sciences, Graduate Studies and Research.


NPSO: NATCHITOCHES MAN ARRESTED ON FELONY DRUG CHARGES; ECSTASY (MDMA) SEIZED

A short vehicle pursuit has led to the arrest of a Natchitoches man on felony drug charges that resulted in the seizure of suspected ecstasy and marijuana on Tuesday evening according to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.

On Tuesday evening May 26 at approximately 11:30pm, Deputies assigned to the NPSO Special Task Impact Patrol Unit attempted to stop a 2002 GMC Yukon on La. Hwy 3175 (North Natchitoches Bypass) for a traffic violation.

The operator of the vehicle failed to stop leading deputies along the North Natchitoches Bypass on a short pursuit before losing control, leaving the road and coming to a rest in a ditch.

Deputies identified the operator of the vehicle as 26-year-old Richard J. Stampley III of Natchitoches.

Deputies arrested Stampley without incident.

Upon coming in contact with Stampley, deputies smelled a strong marijuana odor.

Stampley is on parole due to prior felony convictions in Natchitoches Parish.

During a search of the vehicle, deputies seized a bag containing suspected marijuana, a partially burned marijuana blunt and another package containing 109 suspected ecstasy tablets.

The seized narcotics have a potential street value of approximately $1100.00 dollars.

Several drug arrests recently have resulted in the seizure of suspected ecstasy according to Sheriff-elect Stuart Wright.

Ecstasy (MDMA) is a synthetic, psychoactive drug chemically similar to the stimulant methamphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline.

Richard J. Stampley III, 26, of the 100 block of Mary Drive, Natchitoches was transported and booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with Possession of CDS I Ecstasy with Intent to Distribute, Possession of CDS Schedule I Marijuana-2nd or Subsequent Offenses, Resisting an Officer by Flight, Reckless Operation of a Vehicle, Parole Violation and traffic offenses.

Deputies believe the seized narcotics was intended for distribution in the Natchitoches area.

Natchitoches Multi-jurisdictional Drug Task Force Agents assisted in the investigation following the arrest.

Stampley remains in the Natchitoches Detention Center.

The seized evidence will be submitted to the crime lab for narcotics analysis.

Sheriff Jones stated we are pleased to take some of these illegal narcotics off the streets and out of our communities before it may reach the hands of some of our young adults and potentially harm someone.”


DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE ANNOUNCES SENTENCING IN CRIMINAL CASE

District Attorney Billy Joe Harrington announced today the disposition of recent criminal case in the 10th Judicial District Court.

Jimmy Ray Thomas, Sr., 46, of Natchitoches, was sentenced by Judge Desiree Dyess to ten years of incarceration at hard labor with the Louisiana Department of Corrections.

Thomas had previously pleaded guilty to aggravated second degree battery. The guilty plea was the result of a May 2019 incident in which he was charged by Natchitoches City Police. The incident involved an altercation in which Thomas stabbed the victim several times, causing serious injuries to the victim. At the sentencing, the victim made a victim impact statement to the court.

The case was prosecuted by First Assistant District Attorney, Cloyd Benjamin, Jr.


Northwestern State administration wins national award for sponsorship activation

Prospective student-athletes aren’t the only ones who like to announce their collegiate affiliation via the popular National Signing Day.

Northwestern State athletics recreated the signing day feel as they welcomed corporate partners to “sign” their sponsorship agreements in public and mingle with other corporate partners at an event this past July, earning the department the gold medal in the “sponsorship activation” category in the 2020 National Association for Collegiate Marketing Administrators “Best Of” virtual annual awards show Wednesday.

NSU also brought home a bronze medal in the single event sales campaign category for its promotional plan for the NSU-LSU baseball game that generated the second-largest crowd in Brown-Stroud Field history.

“To receive this level of recognition from NACMA is a tremendous honor – one that has not been achieved until now – for Northwestern State University and its athletic program,” said NSU Director of Athletics Greg Burke. “I am proud beyond words of our hard-working external staff which invests an incredible number of hours and expends an immeasurable level of energy to make a difference for our student-athletes, coaches and fans day in and day out.

“They’ve raised the bar and it’s going to be fun working with them to achieve even greater heights in the future.”

The signing day event was successful in many ways, including producing the department’s most engaging social media content of the year. A Facebook post included a photo album of the event, reaching 8,500 viewers and 840 different engagements with sponsors linking their own photos to the post.

The twist on National Signing Day was lauded by the national newsletter College AD’s “The Nightcap” that college athletic directors and administrators receive.

The event not only recognized current sponsors in a public way but induced four new sponsorship agreements.

“To be recognized by our peers at the national level is a tremendous honor,” said Dr. Haley Taitano, associate athletics director for external affairs. “I’ve always known that we are blessed to have a diversely qualified staff, but for our fellow athletic administrative professionals to see and recognize our hard work, creativity, ingenuity and teamwork speaks volumes about the passion and commitment we as an external staff have to each other, to our student-athletes, to our fans and to NSU.

“I am very proud of our team for a) putting forth these nominations and placing NSU in the spotlight and b) executing events that others observe and want to emulate.”

What the Northwestern State baseball team did to beat LSU in the 2019 regular season, the NSU administration matched to produce one of the most lively atmospheres ever seen at Brown-Stroud Field.

The administration capitalized on one of NSU baseball’s most successful postseasons the previous year (an NCAA Tournament Appearance in which the Demons beat San Diego State and nearly knocked off LSU) by creatively generating space for the second-largest crowd to see an NSU home baseball game.

Brown-Stroud Field has 651 seats, but fans streamed into portable seating sourced from local high schools, makeshift VIP areas, lawn seating and a temporary student section along the left-field line to draw 3,240 fans.

The intimate venue successfully housed a crowd more than five times its actual capacity not just because of additional seating but with the help of barbecue and pizza food trucks, extra concession areas and beer dispensaries.

The LSU game brought in more than $36,000 in ticket sales – the next highest NSU home contest brought in a little more than $1,000. The Demons showcased a stadium that underwent a $500,000 renovation that included new VIP seating and a new press box.

NSU featured a tiered ticket sales strategy, starting with tickets being sold first to season ticket holders. That resulted in more than doubling season ticket sales from the previous campaign.

The sizable attendance figure was drawn despite the original playing date being rained out. The game was played a month later.

NSU was one of only two Southland Conference members to be recognized with an award.

CREDIT: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services


Lott Oil Donates 22,000 Gallons of Gasoline and $7,500 in Chevron Fuel Gift Cards to Regional Healthcare Heroes

Launching Cares A Lott initiative, Lott Oil partners with 13 regional hospitals and testing sites to provide gasoline and Chevron fuel gift cards to healthcare workers during COVID-19 pandemic.

Since its founding in 1965, Lott Oil Company, Inc., has been dedicated to giving back to the Louisiana community, home to its corporate headquarters in Natchitoches, LA. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company was inspired by the “Feeding Our Heroes” initiative, driven by community volunteers in Natchitoches, to support medical personnel who are helping family members, friends, co-workers and customers on a daily basis. This inspiration helped launch the Cares A Lott initiative which led to Lott Oil partnering with hospitals and testing centers in various communities across Louisiana.

The current Cares A Lott mission centers around providing essential goods to local healthcare heroes who are ensuring local communities are cared for during these tough times. By providing goods like gasoline and fuel gift cards, co-sponsored by Chevron, Lott Oil hopes to provide a stress reliever to the doctors, nurses and hospital workers who are caring for COVID-19 patients. “Lott Oil relies on and appreciates the support we get from our local communities, and anytime we get the opportunity to return the favor, we try to do just that. We thank our healthcare heroes for keeping us safe during these trying times and are grateful to Chevron for helping us with our most recent Cares A Lott initiative,” said Lott Oil owner, Buddy Lott.

The first events under the Cares A Lott initiative launched in April at 13 hospitals and testing centers in various cities throughout Louisiana, including Alexandria, Natchitoches, Shreveport and Coushatta and thus far have resulted in over 22,000 gallons of gasoline and $7,500 of Chevron fuel gift cards donated to healthcare heroes.

“We have experienced many wonderful expressions of support from community organizations during this pandemic, and Lott Oil‘s offer of a free tank of gas for employees was among the most popular,” said Jaf Fielder, Chief Operating Officer of Willis-Knighton Shreveport-Bossier. “The Cares A Lott initiative recognized the work of the entire Willis-Knighton family of employees who are dedicated to providing quality healthcare for our community, and coming during National Hospital Week made it even more special. We appreciate Lott Oil and everyone who came out to make this special for our employees.”

Cares A Lott will continue throughout June in other areas of Louisiana, including Many and Mansfield.


Caravan to celebrate NCHS 2020 graduates

The parents of the class of the 2020 graduating class at Natchitoches Central High School will hold a caravan in celebration of the seniors on Friday, June 5 at Parc Natchitoches at 6 pm. Family and friends are asked to begin arriving at the park between 5:15-5:30 pm so they can be parked before the seniors arrive. Graduates are asked to arrive at the park no later than 5:45 pm as the caravan will begin at 6 pm sharp. Everyone is also asked to stay in the designated areas only as the parking lots are the only part of the parking lot being utilized for this event. Please keep all trash in vehicles so the park stays clean. Please bring chairs to sit in and cheer the graduates on. Small gifts may also be brought to give to the graduates as they pass, but please nothing too big that would hold up the flow of the caravan. Please be respectful of everyone’s personal space and respect the park rules. The goal of this event is to have dun to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduates.


CITY OF NATCHITOCHES OPPORTUNITY – ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER

POSITION: Animal Control Officer

DESCRIPTION: Enforcement of the Animal Control Ordinance; maintain records and reports regarding impounded animals, animal bites, quarantines, investigations, citations and daily statistics; ability to operate Microsoft Word and Excel; clean and disinfect kennels and cages; provide animals with proper food, water, and medical care; must be available for after hours and weekend work.

EDUCATION: High School diploma or equivalent. Must be a licensed driver.

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 you can download an application on line at http://www.natchitochesla.gov

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: Applications will be accepted through May 29, 2020.

THE CITY OF NATCHITOCHES IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER.


CLTCC Announces Four-Day Work Week During Summer Semester

Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC) will begin its four-day work week for the summer on Monday, June 1. The four-day work week schedule will end Friday, August 7.

Employees will work four, 10-hour days, Monday through Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. All campuses will be closed on Fridays including Alexandria, Ferriday, Huey P. Long (Winnfield), Lamar Salter (Leesville), Natchitoches, Rod Brady (Jena), Sabine Valley (Many), and Ward H. Nash-Avoyelles (Cottonport).

The four-day work week is for the summer only, and it coincides with the start of the college’s summer semester classes. CLTCC will resume normal operating hours Monday, Aug. 10 in preparation for the start of fall classes on Monday, Aug. 17. Enrollment for the Summer and Fall sessions is ongoing.