A Letter of Apology to the Residents of Natchitoches
Dear Natchitoches Residents,
I sincerely apologize to the residents of Natchitoches, Mayor Williams and my fellow council members for my language in the video shared repeatedly on Social Media and now featured in the Natchitoches Parish Journal. You deserve to know the full story around this matter. I have been the victim of constant harassment by former Councilwoman Sylvia Morrow for weeks and I do not deserve this. Yes, I am a councilwoman, but I am also a human being. Her behavior is unacceptable to me and it should be unacceptable to this community.
On the evening this video was recorded, Ms. Morrow had come by my house to continue her intimidation and harassment. She has repeatedly followed me from stores and harassed me. She came back to my house the following day yelling profanities out of her car window at me. She continues to drive by my house and has followed me to work. Even though I have moved on from this incident to refocus on my work in the community, she continues to harass me. As late as Tuesday, she called the police saying I drove by her home while I was at my own home having dinner with my husband and nephew. She has lied on so many occasions about me. I have talked to my pastor and attended meditation classes to help me get through this situation.
I work every day to make sure the residents of my district get what they need and have been busy planning a Community Clean Up, scheduled for Oct. 31. On the day, this incident happened (Oct. 14), I had spoken to several city employees concerning trash in my community, as well as the leaking trash truck causing a horrible smell throughout my neighborhood. I spoke to a supervisor and he assured me the truck seal would be repaired. I had also spoken to someone at the housing authority concerning the piles of trash at one of the local apartment complexes. This is what each day looks like for me – working for the community.
Again, I am grateful to the residents of Natchitoches for trusting me and I want to make it clear that I am here to work for you. Our streets will be cleaner, we will have economic development in our community and we will restore pride in our community for everyone. I will work every single day to do my best for you. That is my promise.
Rose Washington-Elie Councilwoman District 4
Note: The Letter was received Unsigned by email with a confirmation by phone.
As I have previously stated we have been quarantining lots of students, teachers and staff. This is not because of positive COVID cases. In some cases, it is because of a positive case. At other times, it is due to exposure to a positive case or someone exhibiting COVID like symptoms.
Whenever this occurs, we discuss the matter with the Louisiana Office of Public Health and then, based on their expert recommendations, we quarantine staff, students, and teachers. Because of federal privacy laws, specifically HIPPA, you will only be informed when you or your student has been in contact with a positive case or when your child has to quarantine. We are NOT allowed to give ANY identifiable information about positive cases or quarantines. This includes the name of a school where a quarantine occurs. The most we can provide is a total number of cases.
We are putting all positive cases into the LDH database. Those total numbers are shared with the community and local media at our monthly board meetings. At the last board meeting held 2 weeks ago, we told the entire community that we have had 8 adults and 9 students test positive since the beginning of school. We will continue to be as transparent as possible. We assure you that there are no outbreaks in our schools. Quarantines, even when it is a large number of people, does not mean there is an outbreak. It may not even mean that there is one positive case.
You have every right to know what is going on in your district. I promise you that we will continue to keep you apprised of the situation as we continue the 2020-2021 school year.
Together We Can!
Grant Eloi, M.Ed. Superintendent Natchitoches Parish Schools
GULF SHORES, Ala. (Oct. 12, 2020)—It is with honor that the publishers and editors of ConventionSouth, the national multimedia resource for planning events in the South, present Natchitoches Area Convention & Visitors Bureau with a 2020 Readers’ Choice Award.
“ConventionSouth readers and fans have voted to decide the best meeting sites in the South, and it is no surprise to us that Natchitoches Area Convention & Visitors Bureau has been selected to receive our annual Readers’ Choice Award,” said ConventionSouth Associate Publisher Ashleigh Osborne. “The value in receiving this prestigious recognition is that it comes from the United States’ top meeting professionals who hold events in the South. These planners demand the highest level of customer service and quality facilities, and they have contributed in determining that Natchitoches Area Convention & Visitors Bureau indeed displays the commitment to professionalism, creativity and service that they require.”
Natchitoches Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is among 380 convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs), meeting facilities and hotels located across the South to receive this year’s Readers’ Choice Award. Throughout the year, meeting professionals nominated the meeting sites they believe provide exemplary service for group events. The nominated sites are then compiled onto an online ballot where meeting professionals and fans are asked to vote for the best of the best. With over 8,000 voters participating in the selection process and the highest social media interaction to date, this has been the most successful and engaging year yet!
Since creation in 2001, this is the fourth time that Natchitoches Area Convention & Visitors Bureau has received the award, making it an even greater honor to present it with a 2020 Readers’ Choice Award. Natchitoches Area Convention & Visitors Bureau will be featured as an award recipient in the December 2020 Awards Issue of ConventionSouth magazine. This exciting issue will also showcase some of the most talented meeting professionals in the nation as ConventionSouth also presents planners with its annual “Meeting Professionals To Watch” designation. “Featuring peer advice and trade secrets from our Meeting Professionals to Watch in 2021, our Awards Issue is one of the most popular must-read resources within the meetings industry,” Osborne said.
Celebrating almost 40 years as a leading meeting planning resource, ConventionSouth magazine is based in Gulf Shores, Ala., and is distributed to more than 18,000 meeting professionals located across the country who book meetings held within the South, according to Osborne.
Come explore Cane River in Natchitoches, Louisiana, during a Spooktacular Open Paddle on Saturday, Oct. 31.
Bring your kayak, paddleboard, canoe, or pirogue for an adventure on Cane River Lake. Whether you’re a frequent paddler or just getting into the sport, we’d love to invite you to relax, explore and make new friends!
There are several options to choose from: travel up to the North dam for a 6.4 mile roundtrip paddle, travel south a bit for a 3.2 mile roundtrip paddle, or stay closer to downtown Natchitoches and enjoy the day with a shorter paddle. It’s all up to you!
Check in begins at 7 a.m. and we’ll start launching at 8:30 a.m. Drop your kayak off at the North ramp of the downtown riverbank area for easy access to Cane River. Parking is available within walking distance throughout the downtown area. For kayak rental information call (318) 527-0066.
We encourage all our paddlers to dress in your Halloween best. We’ll have a contest for the most spooktacular outfit. The winner will receive a gift car to a local restaurant.
Stick around after the paddle for all the shopping and dining Natchitoches’ Historic District has to offer. It’s all within walking distance of the riverbank.
Since our open paddle is happening on Halloween Day, other fun events will be taking place! The Natchitoches Farmers Market will be set up on the downtown riverbank from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. and offers local produce and handmade items. The Farmers Market’s Kids Club will be handing out $5 worth of veggies FREE to children ages 3-13.
There will also be a pumpkin carving and painting contest put on by Natchitoches Parish 4-H. Check your entry into the competition at the Farmers Market by 10:30 a.m.
The City’s trick-or-treat event, “Witch Way to Main Street,” will be held on the downtown riverbank from 9-11 a.m. This event is FREE and open to the public. Children must be in costume and accompanied by an adult to participate. Candy and prizes will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Natchitoches police officers will be on duty to ensure children’s safety.
With everything going on, this is the perfect opportunity to practice social distancing, bring your family to Natchitoches, enjoy our family-friendly Halloween events, and explore the oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase.
This could be your next day trip or staycation! In all of Louisiana, no other place is as unique as the Cane River Country. Located in Central Louisiana on Interstate 49, you will find the original French Colony in Louisiana. Established in 1714, Natchitoches (Nack-a-tish) retains its European flavor through its architecture, heritage and lifestyle.
Rob Robertson, a 2000 graduate of Northwestern State University’s School of Business, has been appointed senior vice president, divisional territory executive for mortgage with PNC Bank, a position he began Sept. 30.
Robertson joined the PNC Bank team as a territory senior executive covering North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Texas. He has more than 20 years of financial services experience, most recently as executive director, senior lending manager overseeing the mid-Atlantic expansion market for JPMorgan Chase. Before that, he held senior leadership roles at Wells Fargo and GMFS.
Robertson has extensive leadership experience as a culture-centric builder, change agent and P&L leader. Robertson “is passionate about building and coaching a successful team, as well as building the foundation and culture of caring. His leadership skills and ability to develop a winning culture has played a key role in his success serving in many different geographies during his leadership journey, moving from Georgia to Florida and from Florida to Virginia,” according to Pete Boomer, mortgage distribution executive.
Robertson and his wife Nneka have two children, Bryson O’Connor and Boston Olivia. Robertson believes that “to whom much is given, much is required” and is honored to give back and provide mentorship. In the past, he has supported his children’s schools, served as a volunteer coach and motivational speaker and is an ordained deacon. He was a featured speaker at NSU’s annual J. Walter Porter Forum hosted by the School of Business, which encourages ethical standards in business practice.
Robertson played with the NSU Demon football team and was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens to play full back for two seasons in 1998-2000 and was roommates with former NFL Offensive MVP Priest Holmes. When his three years with the NFL were over, he completed his degree in business at NSU. He holds certifications in business analytics from Cornell University, executive leadership development from the Center for Creative Leadership, strategic communication management professional certification from The Complete Approach and transformational leadership certification from Wells Fargo.
Robertson has earned several honors over the years. He was inducted into NSU’s School of Business Hall of Distinction and also named an all-century Top 100 permanent football team captain. He has been nominated for the N Club Hall of Fame and is active in the NFL Players Alumni and the Ravens Legends. He is also involved with a diversity and inclusion mentorship program.
“I will always be a part of the fabric at NSU,” Robertson said. “NSU gave me a chance to have an education, and I am humbly grateful for that.”
Pizza Hut is the new official pizza partner of Northwestern State athletics, and the restaurant chain wants to celebrate with Demon students.
The first 500 students to visit the Pizza Hut Pop-Up event on Monday will receive free pizza and other giveaways provided by Pizza Hut and NSU. The event will take place on the Kyser Brickway from noon to 1:30 p.m.
“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our new partnership than by giving away my favorite food,” said Dr. Haley Taitano, NSU’s deputy athletics director. “We’re very excited about the new promotions involving Pizza Hut, and we think our fans will love them, too.”
During the three-year agreement, fans will have the opportunity to buy Pizza Hut products at select NSU home sporting events, and attendees at home football and men’s basketball games can receive exclusive discounts at Pizza Hut following a Demons win.
Additional new promotions and giveaways are in store for the spring of 2021.
Pizza Hut has one Natchitoches location on 801 Keyser Ave, and local franchisee Jesse Arnold said a second location is planning to open near campus this coming spring.
“We couldn’t be more excited about this new partnership between Pizza Hut and NSU Athletics,” Arnold said. “Nothing goes together like great pizza and great sports.
“We’re very proud of our Pizza Hut team in Natchitoches, and they are poised to deliver hot, safe and fast pizza to the entire community, especially NSU students. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our new partnership than by giving away some of our iconic pizza.”
For information on how to become an official partner of Northwestern State Athletics, contact Taitano at (318) 357-4278.
The Bridge Church of Natchitoches dropped of donations of food items to the Northwestern State University Food Pantry to help students who struggle with food insecurity. From left are senior level nursing student volunteers Trayvon Snow and Sarah Makin with church representatives Justin and Heather LaGrange. The church plans to engage its congregation in collecting items for NSU’s Food Pantry on a monthly basis. Staffed by volunteers, the Food Pantry distributes non-perishable food, toiletries and personal hygiene products, cleaning supplies, t-shirts and other items for NSU and BPCC@NSU students. Donations are always welcome.
To obtain a list of needed items, donors should contact Director of Student Affairs Reatha Cox at email@example.com or Professor of Social Work Dr. Denise Bailey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Monetary donations are also accepted through the NSU Foundation.
Are you looking for an opportunity to get involved and make a difference in your Parish? Now is the perfect time! The following boards and commissions have vacancies or members with expiring terms:
– Fire District #1 (Cloutierville area) – Fire District #2 (Goldonna area) – Fire District #5 (Natchez area) – Fire District #6 (Natchitoches area) – Fire District #7 (Robeline area) – Fire District #10 (Powhatan area) – Water Works District #1 – Hospital Service District – Saline Lake Game and Fish Preserve Commission
Residents interested in serving can submit an application to the Office of the President. Board members with expiring terms who wish to continue serving should apply for reappointment.
Applications may be picked up at the Natchitoches Parish Courthouse, located at 200 Church Street in Natchitoches, or by contacting David Kees, Jr., Executive Assistant to the President, at (318) 352-2714, or email@example.com.
Two duly elected members of the Parish Council have requested the Office of the District Attorney to issue an Opinion regarding voting procedure. As NPJ first reported on October 20, 2020 at 6:55 am, the vote for removing an item “from the table” may be a violation.
Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or TikTok, nearly everyone today is using some form of social media to share and exchange information or content. That, of course, includes our local City of Natchitoches employees and elected officials. While I no longer reside in Natchitoches, I still consider it my home and I was grateful to see updates from newly-elected Mayor Ronnie Williams after Hurricane Laura on what streets or areas were being put back on-line with electricity. Even though Mayor Williams was using his personal social media pages, this is definitely a change from the previous City of Natchitoches administration. It’s social media presence was of little impact.
Everyone should agree that social media is a great way to provide information to thousands of people in a very short amount of time, but there are drawbacks to allowing the public to have such accessibility to one’s personal digital footprint, especially if the content isn’t as appropriate. I dare say this has been a hard lesson learned for newly elected City Councilwoman Rosemary Washington who posted several Facebook LIVE stories to address rumors circulating around town about her.
The following Facebook LIVE video was posted on Ms. Washington’s personal page of an interaction between herself and former 73-year-old Councilwoman Sylvia Morrow. I am appalled at the language Ms. Washington chose to use and even more so that she thought it was okay to broadcast her behavior to the whole world. Have we really fallen so low as a society that this is what qualifies as acceptable social behavior.
WARNING – VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED
If we are to think of the City of Natchitoches as a business, then the elected officials are the face of our company. Because of that, shouldn’t they be held to a higher standard of ethical conduct and maintain themselves with professionalism? Most governmental entities have codes of conduct that their employees must adhere to when it comes to social media. Shouldn’t our elected officials be held to that same standard?
The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Natchitoches Parish Journal. If you have an article or story of interest for publishing consideration by the NPJ, please send it to NPJNatLa@gmail.com.
Stanley Bert Eisen was born on January 20, 1952 in New York City. On that day, doctors and nurses immediately realized Stanley had been born with a congenital deformity known as Microtia. The deformity prevented his ear from forming properly and left him deaf in his right ear. Rather than being deaf in his right ear, it would be better stated that he was deaf on his right side because there was no right ear. Stanley was born with a stump where his right ear should have been.
Stanley recalled that he had a “less than optimal childhood.” His parents refused to acknowledge that Stanley had a deformity. Rather than explaining his deformity and that he was half-deaf, his parents simply ignored the issue altogether. Stanley recognized his deformity at an early age when people would stare at the right side of his face. Stanley looked into mirrors and compared his left ear and the stump on the opposite side. He knew he was different. Stanley had trouble hearing on his right side but his family never spoke of his half-deafness. Stanly recalled, “I was an angry, dysfunctional kid with a real image problem and a hearing problem that put me under constant scrutiny. My family’s way was, ‘Everything’s OK. Forward, march.’ But the idea that you make someone stronger by ignoring their pain shouldn’t be called ‘tough love.’ It should just be called ‘no love.’”
Stanley also struggled to fit in at school. Being deaf on his right side, Stanley found it hard to tell from which direction sounds originated. When everyone else responded to a sound by looking in a certain direction, Stanley usually looked the other way. In a crowded room, he had a hard time differentiating people’s voices. All of the voices sounded like jumbled up gibberish. Because of his deformity the other students at his school treated him cruelly. They teased and bullied him endlessly. Stanley struggled with depression and social isolation. He became a loner as his distrust of people grew.
Stanley found solace in music. His parents listened to classical music, which Stanley loved. Stanley aimed his good toward the speakers and eagerly absorbed everything from Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach, to Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe, and Stephen Sondheim. On February 9, 1964, the Beatles played the Ed Sullivan Show in what were the early years of the British Invasion. Twelve-year-old Stanley watched in awe. The Beatles wore their hair long, which quickly became fashionable. Stanley realized that wearing his hair long would hide his deformed ear and it was in style. Once his hair grew long enough, strangers stopped staring at his deformity. “What I found over the years,” Stanley said, “was that what you deny and cover up doesn’t cease to exist, and even if you can hide something from the public, you can’t hide it from yourself.”
Stanley became an artist. Through the years, he has earned millions of dollars off of his artwork which includes portraits, abstracts, and logos. Art collectors around the world proudly display his work among their collections. The prestigious Wentworth Gallery still sells his original artwork in their galleries. Stanley’s work in the arts afforded him the required surgeries to rebuild his disfigured ear. In 1982, 30-year-old Stanley had fiver surgeries in which doctors removed cartilage from one of his ribs and constructed a new right ear. Still self-conscious, Stanley kept his hair long, which was in style in the 1980s.
In 1988, Stanley saw the London company perform Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. He claimed that that show changed his life. Stanley said “I had this momentary revelation, an epiphany where I went, ‘Wow, I can do that.” For ten long years, Stanley dreamed of playing the part of the Phantom, a disfigured musical genius who was in love with a young protegee whom he had trained. Finally, in 1998, Stanley got an audition to play the Phantom in the Toronto, Canada, production of The Phantom of the Opera. In its ten-year run at the Pantages Theatre, the play had sold more than seven million tickets at $135 each for decent seats. Stanley felt a personal connection to the Phantom. He explained, “Here’s somebody who has a disfigurement that they’re covering and they’re trying to reach out to a woman, and, as much as they want to do it, they don’t know how. Well, that pretty much summed up my life…”
To play the part of the Phantom required multiple auditions for singing, movement, and acting. Stanley realized that this audition process was probably his only shot to play the Phantom. Stanley prepared as best he could. He had seen the play numerous times and knew the songs by heart. There was no need for Stanley to worry. Stanley passed the audition and got his coveted role. For the first time since the 1960s, Stanley cut his long hair. He had a month of rehearsals and voice lessons six days a week to prepare for the production. Stanley told a reporter that playing the part was “the hardest work [he had] ever done.” The critics, doubtful at first, thought he brought something special and new to the character. Once his stint with the Toronto company ended, Stanley returned to his artwork.
His most recognizable piece of art is well known around the world. He was the artist who created the logo for the band KISS with its lightning bolt s’s. He created the artwork for several of their album covers as well. He was also one of the four artists who created KISS. Stanley adopted the first name of one of the Beatles, the band he watched on the Ed Sullivan Show so long ago. For the last half century, the world has known Stanley Bert Eisen as Paul Stanley.
Sources: 1. The National Post (Toronto, Canada) March 12, 1999, p.4. 2. The Windsor Star, March 12, 1999, p.16. 3. The Star-Phoenix, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada), May 26, 1999, p.29. 4. Calgary Herald, May 27, 1999, p.48. 5. Lansing State Journal, June 27, 1999, p.40. 6. The Leader-Post (Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada) January 3, 2001, p.20. 7. New York Daily News, April 7, 2014, p.34. 8. The Daily Item (Sunbury, Pennsylvania), April 13, 2014, p.B2. 9. The Vancouver Sun, April 25, 2014, p.42. 10. WentworthGallery.com. “Paul Stanley.” Accessed June 14, 2020. wentworthgallery.com/stanley.html.