By Tommy Rush

I hope you and your family are beginning your Christmas Day with a lot of love and joy. I realize everyone has different family traditions, but our family since grandchildren have entered the picture, enjoys opening and exchanging gifts on Christmas morning. When 14 people gather in one space to exchange and open gifts and when 7 of those people are 10 years old or younger, things can get pretty interesting. I’m not sure if I could describe the scene by using the words “peace or still.”

It’s amazing how many different emotions can be in a room at one time. There is laughter, gratitude, surprise, impatience and almost always there’s someone sad or crying over something lost in the pile of empty boxes and wrapping paper. The next several hours usually involve looking for batteries and reading instructions. Occasionally there’s a few more tears or disagreements with the grandchildren until one of the moms or dads say the magical words, “all of you kids go outside!”

Your Christmas morning may be a lot different. I realize that our family Christmas will change with every passing year and that is why I am enjoying the one we are experiencing today so much. But the one constant that will never change for my family is the awesome blessing that two thousand years ago, a baby was born in Bethlehem and the world has never been the same. The reason we celebrate Christmas is because God gave us His great love through the gift of His Son, Jesus.

The Love of God in Jesus is what Christmas is all about! In our times of sadness, times of joy, times of peace and times that sometimes seem more chaotic than peaceful, we find rest in the amazing love of God. I know that my family blessings are a gift from God. The day I placed my life in His hands and received by faith His grace and forgiveness, my life changed forever. And I’m convinced that God’s love has the power to change your life. Jesus will save your soul and fill your life with the joy and blessings that makes life worth living. I pray today that if you have never accepted the gift of God’s love and grace that you will do so on this beautiful Christmas Day. I promise that you will never be the same.

Merry Christmas Morning!

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A Christmas Reflection

By Royal Alexander/Opinion

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, many of us will pause to reflect on this past year. It has been a difficult one for sure, at times excruciating; perhaps the most difficult year many of us have ever experienced. And, perhaps one of our most fervent wishes is that 2021 be nothing like it.

There remains a heaviness across the nation; a sense that tensions in an already sharply divided country have only been exacerbated by a pandemic that has forced major changes in every aspect of our lives as well as enormous economic dislocation, civil unrest, multiple hurricanes, and a national election that many view as illegitimate.

However, on the bright side is the indisputable fact that Americans are, and America is, strong and resilient. We are intrinsically hopeful and reflexively optimistic and much of that belief flows from our faith in God. The rest of it stems from the fact that we realize we are blessed to live in the greatest country in the world—and that tomorrow will be better because there is no better place than America to make it so.

I don’t know what will be necessary of us to begin to heal our country, but I am certain that it is going to require a power much greater than our own. I hope for a time we can all slow our hectic paces and reflect on the most profound birth, and gift, the world has ever known. From there may we, relying on what Lincoln referred to as the “better angels” of our nature, prayerfully and hopefully find a way to begin again.


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

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A Christmas Miracle

By Brad Dison

On Christmas Day, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. We decorate our homes with Christmas lights, Christmas trees with ornaments on every branch, yards and yards of garland, festively wrapped packages with ribbons and bows, holiday scented candles, and a plethora of bright and shiny objects which evoke fond memories of years gone by and which build new memories. We eat turkey, ham, a variety of casseroles, baked rolls, various vegetables, and then we gorge ourselves with pies, cookies, fudge, and other delights. We certainly eat more food than is our usual allotment with the excuse being that it happens justonce a year. We sing along to our favorite Christmas carols by Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Brenda Lee, Burl Ives, and a host of other artists. We remind all children who are within earshot to be good so Santa Claus will leave them lots and lots of presents. We visit family members, some of whom we only get to see at Christmas. It is a most joyous season.

Somewhere in the overabundance of decorations there is often a small nativity set. Sometimes the nativity set is of a more traditional design with lifelike representations of the Christ child, Mary, Joseph, the three wise men, an angel, and various animals. Other times it is of a more modern design such as Charlie Brown and the whole Peanuts gang. Regardless of its outward appearance, there is always a representation of Mary, Joseph, and a babe, our savior, Jesus Christ, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. The significance of nativity sets among Christmas decorations is that they pay tribute and remind us of the miracle which has shaped the lives of all Christendom, the birth of Jesus Christ.

On December 24, 1979, Mrs. Austin was in her ninth month of pregnancy. She began having contractions. The excitement of their family’s Christmas celebration went into overload whenMrs. Austin announced that the time had arrived. She was having strong and regular contractions. The baby was coming. The Austin family was delighted by the prospect of having a Christmas eve baby, maybe even a Christmas day baby. The Austins transferred their Christmas celebration from their festively-decorated home, complete with nativity set, to their sparsely-decorated local hospital in Swindon, England, about eighty miles west of London.

The whole family watched the second hand sweep ever so slowly on the hospital’s large wall clock. The nearer the time got to midnight, the more intently they watched the clock’s minute and second hands. When the second hand slowly swept its way around for the last time before midnight, the Austin family realized that they would not have a Christmas eve baby. Finally, at fifteen minutes past midnight, the Austins’ new baby gave out his first cry. The Austins were the proud parents of a healthy 9 pound 2 ounce baby boy.

Their little miracle may not have been as monumental to all of mankind as the miracle that happened on Christmas day almost two thousand years earlier, but, to the Austin family, it was a miracle nonetheless. Some people referred to the Austins’ son being born on Christmas day nothing more than a simple coincidence, while others expressed their belief that it had some greater significance. You see, Mrs. Austin, who interrupted the Austin family Christmas celebration to have a child, was named Mary, after the biblical mother of Jesus Christ. Her husband was named after the biblical Joseph and just happened to be a carpenter. The baby boy who was born on Christmas day to Mary and Joseph, a carpenter and his wife, was named after his father, Joseph Charles. His initials are J.C.

1. Calgary Herald (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), December 26, 1979, p.65.
2. Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Mississippi), December 27, 1979, p.2.

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Sports on Call: Preview of the Football State Championship

Northwestern State University and the City of Natchitoches will host the Louisiana State High School Football State Championship games at Turpin Stadium on the Campus of NSU December 27-30. The games were moved from the Superdome in New Orleans to Natchitoches because of Covid related attendance restrictions in the City of New Orleans.

Dr. Chris Maggio, President of NSU and Demon Athletics Director Greg Burke were instrumental in attracting this exciting event and incredible economic opportunity for Natchitoches and the surrounding area. Natchitoches will host 18 teams over the four day span of scheduled games. Teams from each region of Louisiana will participate and the fans, bands, pep squads and support staff from each team will descend upon this area and enjoy the magical Christmas Season that Natchitoches is known for nationally.

For more information regarding the schedule of games visit

For tickets to the games visit

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“Voices 4 Autism” Children Receive Christmas From Local Doctors

The Family Doctors of Natchitoches partners, Dr. John Hogg and Dr. Jack Fair, provided Christmas presents for 13 children associated with the “Voices 4 Autism” organization. Each child made a wish list of presents with the most popular requests being bicycles, LOL dolls, video games, blocks, puzzles, and books. The age range of the children was nine months to 14-years-old.

“Voices 4 Autism” is a Natchitoches parish non-profit that was founded in early 2019 by its president, Ms. Lela Harvey. Ms. Harvey is a fierce advocate for autism awareness and acceptance due to her own personal story with the disorder. Both her son, Johnathan, and her granddaughter, Palmar, have autism.

Johnathan, who is 35, was diagnosed with autism in 1987 at a time when little was known it. He is completely non-verbal and also suffers from a severe seizure disorder. Ms. Harvey is his primary caregiver and has been advocating on his behalf for fair education and medical treatment over the past three decades. She started “Voices 4 Autism” to continue to be a real voice for both children and adults who suffer from the spectrum disorder, and to lend support to their parents and caregivers.

If you are interested in becoming involved with or providing support for the “Voices 4 Autism” organization, please call (318)529-0638, like them on Facebook, or follow them on Instagram.

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A Time to Reflect on Christmas Eve Pasts

December 24th, 2020

As a child growing up in East Texas, I can remember the anticipation of Santa making his annual visit to the Graf household. There’s something special about being a kid and still believing the man in the red suit is coming to MY house tonight. I remember trying to decide what time to go to bed? Would I finally be able to get a glimpse of the man himself? What would really happen if he saw me? Is it true that if he see’s you awake, he won’t leave any presents? Would I get all the gifts I had asked for? Was I good enough for the whole year or just the month of December? All day you had the anxiety of Santa’s coming tonight!

Now that all those questions have been answered, let me continue by taking you back to my days as a young boy. My Christmas lists were always long and full of your typical boy toys…G.I. Joe, bicycle, BB gun, football or basketball, bow and arrows, my first wrist watch and oh and fresh underwear that mom thought I need every year! Then one year I got the best gift ever…my first shotgun! It was at this Christmas my dad decided to hand me down his old Remington Wingmaster 870 20 gauge shotgun that his dad gave him. To this day, nothing has ever topped that and probably nothing ever will. It was then official, at the ripe old age of 10, I was a hunter now with my own shotgun! Nothing else in the world mattered that day other than how quick I needed to get to the woods and kill a few squirrels or maybe sneak up over the dam on one of our ranch ponds and pot shot a duck or two. Over the years I’ve killed a many a squirrel, a buck or two, lots of ducks and even a few dove and quail with that gun. The full choke barrel is not the best for dove or quail but I’ve made it work. Today, 49 years later that gun is still as special too me as it was the day I got it. Not because of all the wildlife I’ve taken with it, but the fact that my dad and granddad used this same gun to put wild game on their tables. Every time I pick up this gun for any reason, I feel that special bond between me and the two men that held it before.

Well let us fast forward 50 years later. Today it’s still amazing to me the spirit of Christmas is still alive with anticipation but it has a whole different meaning now. Our kids are all grown and gone but they all make it home for Christmas and we’ll reminisce about Christmas’s gone by. As a parent you always wanted to get your kids what they asked for and most of the time, we made that happen. You hope as a parent that you did a good job of making their Christmas’s special. But during all our time looking back, not one time did they mention a gift they had received or not received. We tried to teach our kids that Christmas is not about the gifts you receive but more about spending time with family and friends. Today, the gifts are nice and all but we’ve decided it’s more important in how we spend this time together. Playing games with cousins and grand parents and the most important part…eating! Now I’m not a sweets guy, I’m more about the turkey and dressing but for the rest of my family, it’s all about the dessert table. That’s right, I said dessert table… that’s got more sugar on it than a sugar cane field can grow in one year. But with each passing Christmas, we have learned to appreciate still getting everyone together.

But this Christmas, things will be a little different, Covid 19 has invaded our world and turned it upside down. Even this past Thanksgiving we were not able to get together like we have before. Social distancing has become the new norm and we will find different ways to celebrate even if we can’t all be together. But, by not having this special time together, maybe it will make us appreciate it more when we all get the vaccine and can once again come together as family. In the mean time, we’ll have to find other ways to communicate like Zoom meetings and face timing each other in order to celebrate this Christmas season. Who knows maybe letter writing will make a return. Probably not because we’re too lazy now to do that and most of the young people today can barely write their name thanks to computers. I’ll wrap this up by saying “Merry Christmas” everyone and I hope each of you have a special holiday season! To all the anglers out there, “Don’t forget to set the hook!”

Steve Graf
Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Show

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NCHS Principal’s Christmas Message

I would like to wish all of our Natchitoches Central High School parents, students and friends a safe and happy Christmas and holiday season.

I would like to acknowledge the contribution of staff, parents and students to NCHS in 2020.

Walt Disney once said, “You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful ideas in the world, but it requires people to make the dream a reality.” This is certainly the case as a principal. The reality is that the learning experiences and projects that have taken place this year could not have happened without a great deal of commitment and support from our staff, parents and students.

The staff is to be applauded for the way in which they have embraced the changes caused by the Pandemic that have altered everyday life in our world. They have implemented the challenges of conducting school in the Pandemic era. I am privileged to be a part of a school with highly capable and committed teachers and support staff. There has never been a time when being a teacher has been more demanding or challenging. To our teachers and support staff, thank you for your energy, passion and enthusiasm. It is a privilege to be able to witness the joy that comes with the understanding or satisfaction of solving problems and living new adventures in learning by the Chief family.

The teachers are privileged each day to participate in their students’ academic journeys. They recognize and applaud just how hard their students work. They celebrate their students’ achievements whether they be great or small.

This year we have celebrated many successful school events such as the Class of 2020 graduation conducted in July on the turf of Turpin Stadium. These seniors missed a lot of joy that is included in the last months of a normal Senior year. I have anguished over the loss of special memories for the Class of 2020. Best wishes for this exceptional group of young adults. The success of this event would not be possible without staff, parents and students working together collaboratively.

When I reflect on my time as principal of what I consider to be the most awesome school in the state of Louisiana, I have many memories. The road has had bumps and many challenges along the way. The rewards have far outweighed the challenges. All of the experiences of this year have contributed to making our staff and students stronger.

Merry Christmas to all and have a safe and happy holiday season.

Bill Gordy

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Demons fall as Washington State toes the line

PULLMAN, Washington – The Northwestern State men’s basketball team defended as well as it has all year Wednesday afternoon against Washington State.

While the Demons played solid defense, Washington State did as well and utilized a large advantage at the free throw line to slip past Northwestern State, 62-52, inside a fanless Beasley Coliseum.

“I think we had better ball movement in the second half,” head coach Mike McConathy said. “We got really solid play out of a host of guys. We had to mix it up on some. LT (LaTerrance Reed) did a good job. Dalin Williams was extremely active. We got so far down and battled back. I told them (at halftime), tonight you’ve scored 16 and last night you scored 17.”

For the second straight night, as they closed out a stretch of three games in as many days, the Demons (1-10) scuffled offensively in the first half and found themselves down, 27-16, at the break after shooting 18 percent (6 for 32) from the field.

Washington State (8-0) fared only slightly better offensively, hitting just 35.7 percent (10 for 28) from the field in the first half and then going 8-for-27 (29.6 percent) in the second half.

The Cougars were able to maintain their double-figure lead by caravanning to the free throw line. Washington State got to the line 35 times, 28 more than Northwestern State, and the Cougars converted. Washington State hit 23 its 35 tries, including a streak of 13 straight to open the second half.

That pronounced difference at the line helped the Cougars overcome a Demon defense that did not allow a field goal across the final 4:41 of the game. At that point, the Cougars had a 56-46 lead.

Washington State kept the Demons off balance as well, switching to a zone late in the second half.

“That was the turning point in the game,” McConathy said. “We were rolling, coming back and they went to the zone. They got really, really big. They sat their smaller guards. We didn’t have a guy who could operate and get a bucket in the paint. Their length really bothered us all night. LT had a great driving shot where he challenged the big guy, but we didn’t get enough of them.”

The Demons appeared to cut the lead to six with a little more than a minute to play when it was ruled Jovan Zelenbaba touched the ball in the cylinder. After a short review the call stood, keeping Washington State up nine.

For the second straight game, the Demons enjoyed a strong start to the second half as Trenton Massner and Jairus Roberson connected on 3-pointers.

Northwestern State hit 52 percent of its shots early in the second half before running out of gas.

Roberson knocked down four 3-pointers for the third straight game, finishing with a team-high 14 points. He was the lone Demon in double figure while Efe Abogidi paced Washington State with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Larry Owens just missed a double-double for Northwestern State, scoring nine points and grabbing a season-best 10 rebounds.

Behind twin 12-rebound performances from Abogidi and Andrej Jakimovski, the Cougars outrebounded NSU by 11, leading to a 21-8 advantage in second-chance points as the Demons dropped their final non-conference game of the season.

“Think about the improvement we made against high-quality teams,” McConathy said. “We got great growth out of Larry Owens. Dalin Williams’ play today, he was very active. I thought Jamaure Gregg battled. Slim (Roberson) and Trenton did some good things. Carvell gave us a lift. If we come out and play like we did in the second half of the last two games, we’ll be good.”

The Demons are off until Jan. 2 when they conclude a season-long, six-game road trip in their Southland Conference opener at Houston Baptist. Tipoff for that game is set for 7 p.m. inside Sharp Gymnasium.


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Position: Water & Sewer Department – Maintenance Mechanic I

Description: Performs a variety of semi-skilled maintenance work and operates a variety of equipment in the construction, operation, repair, maintenance, and replacement of City water, sewer and storm drainage facilities and systems.

Qualifications: Must be able to acquire a LA Water or Sewer Operator Certification. Applicants that already have certification are preferred and will be eligible for an increased pay rate.

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, Natchitoches, LA or you can download an application at

Deadline: Applications will be accepted through January 6, 2021.


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Notice of Death – December 23, 2020

Jayen Smith
September 11, 2001 – December 23, 2020
Service: Arrangements TBA

Phillip A. Johnson
May 26, 1954 – December 21, 2020
Service: Saturday, December 26 at 11 am at Gorum Cemetery

Lois Kerry
January 21, 1961 – December 20, 2020
Service: Monday, December 28 at 12 pm at Emmanuel Cemetery, located at 2260 Emmanuel Road in Chopin

Joseph Antee
December 22, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Willie Brown
January 8, 1965 – December 21, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Bobby Jean Parker
August 9, 1955 – December 21, 2020
Arrangements TBA

McTavish Raymond
June 22, 1972 – December 21, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Richard Williams
December 17, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Sophia Willoughby Washington
December 15, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Elijah Calhoun
February 11, 1960 – December 11, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Martha Ann Esters
July 13, 1951 – December 22, 2020
Service: Sunday, December 27 at 1 pm at Southern Funeral Home

Faris Cooper Wyatt
February 27, 1931 – December 20, 2020
Service: Saturday, December 26 at 2 pm at the Southern Funeral Home Chapel

Elsie Pauline Harrison
September 02, 1935 – December 21, 2020
Service: Sunday, December 27 at 1 pm at Thomas-Wren Cemetery

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Sports on Call: LIVE preview of the LSHAA Football State Championship – This Morning!

Join David Stamey, Billy West and Doug Ireland this morning at 7am right here on the Natchitoches Parish Journal for a LIVE discussion of the upcoming High School Football State Championship.

Our Guests include:
Dr. Chris Maggio
Eric Held
Ronnie Williams
Greg Burke

The Louisiana High School Athletic Association State Football Championship will be played right here at Turpin Stadium December 27 through December 30th in beautiful Natchitoches.

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Ronnie’s Collision Center has roots in Natchitoches community with 22 years in business

Ronnie’s Collision Center is the product of a dream and a whole lot of hard work. Ronnie and Karen Poche opened their business in 1998 after Ronnie retired from 30 years of dirt racing Super Late Models. Though he traveled across the country to compete, he and Karen stayed firmly planted in their hometown of Natchitoches.

Ronnie Poche’s shop, DBA Ronnie’s Collision Center, is still operating at 209 Ralph Street in Natchitoches.

Ronnie got his first taste of mechanic work at a young age. His passion was passed down from his father, who Ronnie would help in the shop behind their home. When he started driving, he continued working on vehicles.

“It was always our dream to own our own business,” said Karen, who worked for Dr. Brazeale for 46 years. When the Collision Center opened, she doubled down on managerial work to run the front desk at the shop as well.

They also made plenty of time for family, which includes their two daughters and three grandchildren.

“It’s kept both of us pretty busy but we’ve continued to work hard,” Karen shared.

When they first opened, there were very few collision centers in town. Ronnie thought he could fit the bill for the mechanic industry and build a better life for his family in the process. Today, Ronnie’s Collision Center offers collision repair and body work, expert painting, and windshield repair and replacement. It helps that they have wonderful employees that work as a great team, certified technicians and a great manager, Johnny Overstreet. The Collision Center is fully insured and work is guaranteed.

When a customer picks up their car, they’re often surprised to find it washed and detailed.

“We take pride in our services and the cars that leave our shop,” said Ronnie. “It’s just one more part of the quality of work we do.”

Through the years, Ronnie and Karen have enjoyed living in Natchitoches and being a part of the community. The Collision Center has been a member of the Chamber of Commerce since 2007, and a sponsor of Natchitoches’ annual Classic Car Show. They also support Northwestern State University and other local businesses in an effort to grow the local economy.

“Our business has grown every year, but for us it’s about more than that,” said Ronnie, who has trained countless employees through the years with the necessary skills to excel in the mechanic field.

“It’s part running a business and part educating the next generation to carry on the torch,” he added.

And when you’re running a business you’re in charge of everything from setting the rat traps to making sure every customer leaves satisfied.

Ronnie knows cars from the ground up, ask any customer.

Taking things a step further, Ronnie’s Classic Rods operates in the back of the shop with the help of John “Red” Wallace, a top notch classic car technician. This allows Ronnie to pursue his love of cars in two ways. While the Collision Center is full throttle on repairing vehicles, Ronnie’s Classic Rods breathes new life into classic cars.

“It’s important for us to see the smile on our customers’ faces when a job is finished,” said Karen. “It’s especially rewarding when we run into people on the weekends or after hours and they come up to us and thank us for how great their car looks. It means the world to us.”

Ronnie’s Collision Center is still located at 209 Ralph Street, serving customers from 8 am – 5 pm, 5 days a week.

For more information call 318-352-5959. All insurances are accepted. Call today for a free estimate.

Demons’ remarkable second half throws scare into No. 1 Gonzaga

NATCHITOCHES – The time of the game was the same as was the opponent.

The Northwestern State men’s basketball team’s performance on either side of halftime could not have been more different.

Facing the No. 1 team in the country for the second straight night Tuesday, the Demons shook off a dismal first half to deliver a virtuoso second-half offensive surge before falling 95-78 to No. 1 Gonzaga inside the McCarthey Athletic Center.

“We decided to play basketball,” head coach Mike McConathy said of the differences in the two halves. “We let some guys sit and watch who didn’t come out ready to play. They decided to come and play. It helped that Slim (Jairus Roberson) came out hot. It helped that Larry (Owens) was really good the first 1:41 of the second half. We fed off that.

“Defensively, they missed some shots. We made some shots. We held them to eight offensive boards versus 18 a night ago. We still left a lot on the table. The stat of the game is we had one turnover in the second half.”

Trailing 43-17 at the half, the Demons (1-9) produced a remarkable final 20 minutes of offense, shooting 60 percent (24-for-40) from the field in the second half.

Northwestern State was even more efficient from 3-point range, connecting on 10 of 13 long-range shots in the second half while committing only one turnover. NSU’s 61 points were the most scored against Gonzaga (6-0) in a half since 2010.

That offensive efficiency allowed the Demons to trim their 26-point halftime deficit to 11 with 6:58 to play, and it came from up and down the NSU roster.

Jairus Roberson sparked the second-half uprising, sinking his first three shots of the half en route to a 15-point second half in which he went 4-for-6 from 3-point range. After playing just three minutes each in the first half, Roberson and Trenton Massner (14) combined for 29 of the Demons’ 61 second-half points.

“It was by design, because I didn’t think they came to play,” McConathy said. “Jairus was amazing. He was 4-for-6 from 3. He made his first three shots of the second half. Then it got tough, and they started face-guarding him. What it did was it opened up driving lanes everywhere else. It was a heck of an effort. I’m really proud of the guys.”

Gonzaga built its 26-point halftime lead by overwhelming the Demons inside and taking advantage of 16 first-half NSU turnovers.

The Zags tallied 34 points in the paint in the first half, outscoring the Demons by 30 in the first 20 minutes. The 16 NSU turnovers turned into 17 Gonzaga points.

NSU reduced that advantage to 12 in the second half, but Drew Timme proved to be the difference.

Timme sank 10 of 15 shots, finishing with a game-high 25 points.

“We didn’t have an answer for him,” McConathy said. “When we made our run, they’d just throw it into him.”

For the second half, the Zags had little answer for the Demons. In addition to Roberson and Massner, Owens had eight of his 10 points in the second half while Jovan Zelenbaba added 11 of his 14 in the second half.

Zelenbaba was a perfect 4-for-4 from 3-point range as the Demons shot 50 percent from long distance, connecting on a season-best 12 3-pointers.

Five Demons finished in double figures, a season high. In addition to Roberson, Massner, Owens and Zelenbaba, Gregg chipped in 11 points.

“It was pretty special, considering who you’re playing,” McConathy said. “When we went really, really small, Jamaure (Gregg) and Larry did an unbelievable job in the post. Larry was a beast down there. Brian White came in and gave us something that created a problem. They had a guarding down issue. Yeah, you got beat by the best team in the country, but you went out and competed.”

The Demons conclude a stretch of five games in six days with a 4 p.m. Central matchup at Washington State on Wednesday. That will be the first meeting between the Cougars and Demons.

Photo: Jamaure Gregg takes a shot during NSU’s loss to No. 1 Gonzaga on Tuesday night. Credit: Torrey Vail/Gonzaga Athletics


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Demon great Gary Reasons to serve as CST analyst for LHSAA Prep Classic

NSULA– Gary Reasons first made a name for himself on the playing field at Turpin Stadium.

A three-time All-American and College Football Hall of Fame inductee based on his exploits as a Demon, Reasons will enjoy another homecoming when the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s Prep Classic takes place on the Northwestern State campus Dec. 27-30.

Reasons will be the color analyst for all nine Louisiana state high school championship football games that will be replayed on Cox Sports Television. A two-time Super Bowl champion with the New York Giants, Reasons has served as the color analyst on numerous television broadcasts involving his alma mater.

“What a tremendous honor it is to be broadcasting all nine LSHAA state championship games this year, and it is extra special that this year the games will be played at Northwestern State,” Reasons said. “I remember seeing Natchitoches and Demonland as a high school athlete and I know the players competing, fans attending, and those viewing our telecasts will enjoy the games, the scenics we’ll show, and hopefully some of my personal thoughts on what should be a tremendous slate of games.”

Reasons will be joined on the broadcast crew by Jeff Palermo (play by play) and Ronnie Rantz (sideline).

Like Reasons, Rantz shares Natchitoches ties, serving as the President and CEO of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation. The foundation provides financial and marketing support to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum, located in downtown Natchitoches, while also hosting statewide events that raise awareness of the brand of the hall.

The four-day Prep Classic kicks off with two games Sunday – the Class 2A championship between Many and Kinder at 1 p.m. and the Division I championship between C.E. Byrd of Shreveport and Catholic-Baton Rouge at 6 p.m.

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Entrepreneurial couple offers cleaning services

Brian and Teri Lewis’ faith brought them to Natchitoches over a year ago from Detroit, Mich. When it came to finding employment, their path was clear. Looking for a way to work for themselves, Brian and Teri found there was a niche market for cleaning services, focusing on windows.

“We strive to not use any harmful chemicals in our process,” said Brian. “Using water fed technology where possible gives windows a spotless finish.”

However, their skillset extends far beyond glass surfaces.

This husband and wife team offers residential and commercial cleaning from the outside, to the inside. They will clean a home’s exterior from the driveway to the gutters. Get the most out of your solar panels by having them cleaned properly to allow for maximum light absorption. They’ll even dust those too-high-to-reach ceilings. Say goodbye to that pesky mold in your shower with Let’s B Clear’s shower door cleaning services.

Is your honey-do list a mile long? Let’s B Clear offers light carpentry and electrical work in case you need to check off installing a new light fixture or repairing that cabinet drawer that always sticks.

Their business is going well so far and is allowing them to be self supported and work with a flexible schedule. They’ve enjoyed getting to know their new home and now they’re ready to get to know you! Call now to set up a one-time cleaning, schedule your regular cleaning, or customize a plan that better fits your schedule.

“It’s our desire to give the best service possible,” said Teri. “We strive to go above and beyond for our customers. No matter if it’s a home or a business, we give 5 star service to all.”

Call Let’s B Clear at 318-431-0303 to receive your FREE estimate or go online to for more information.

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State Fire Marshal Offers Safety Tips Ahead of the New Year Holiday

BATON ROUGE- As another fireworks sales season begins, the State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFM) wants to encourage all Louisiana residents to not only be safe when using fireworks, but knowledgeable when buying them and prepared if considering attending a public fireworks display during this pandemic.

Ordinarily, the SFM would encourage families to choose to enjoy public fireworks displays over creating their own. However, many public fireworks displays are either being canceled or altered due to the concerns over COVID-19. In the event a public display is still being offered in your area, and your family is considering attending, make sure every member of your household wears a face covering, aim to provide your own seating and ensure that seating is spaced six feet from the nearest individual or group of individuals.

If your family has, instead, chosen to purchase fireworks in order to stay safer at home, ideally with only the members of your household, know that there is no prohibition on the sale of retail fireworks at the state level as a result of COVID-19. However, state law does still require wholesale and retail fireworks business operators to be appropriately licensed by the SFM in the parishes and municipalities where they are legally allowed. The sales season extends through January 1.

A retail fireworks business falls under the Modified Phase 2 guidance for “Shopping Malls/Retail Stores,” which details requirements such as a maximum limit of 50% of the total capacity of the structure or tent while maintaining a social distance of six feet between employees and customers, the wearing of face coverings by employees and customers as well as explicit sanitation requirements. The full guidance can be accessed on For businesses that operate with counter sales only, where fireworks are displayed and sold from behind a counter, requirements include maintaining a distance of six feet between customers and the wearing of face masks by employees and customers, especially when interacting. Owners should also maintain access to hand sanitizer for employees and customers engaged in sales which require the handling of money, credit cards, etc.

Lastly, we want everyone to enjoy fireworks in the safest way possible. According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), fireworks started an estimated 19,500 fires in 2018, including 1,900 structure

fires, 500 vehicle fires, and 17,100 outside and other fires. These fires caused five deaths, 46 civilian injuries, and $105 million in direct property damage.

To avoid becoming part of these statistics, the SFM advises:

Detonating devices at least 200 feet away from structures, vehicles and rubbish
Never allowing children to light fireworks
Never operating fireworks while impaired
Lighting devices one at a time and monitoring embers released with a bucket of water or hose nearby
Discarding detonated items by wetting them down to prevent reignition and not disposing of them in a trash container immediately

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Parish Holiday Closures

All Parish Government offices, as well as the Parish landfill, will be closed Thursday, December 24 and Friday, December 25 in observance of the Christmas holiday. Bin sites in the Parish will close only on Friday, December 25. Questions about the closures may be directed to the Parish Government offices at 318-352-2714.

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Gov. Edwards Extends Modified Phase Two Order to Slow the Spread of COVID during Louisiana’s Third Surge

Gov. John Bel Edwards extended his modified Phase Two order on Dec. 22, including Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate, to January 13, 2021, as hospitalizations have exceeded the level reached during the second surge in July.

The Governor also declared an emergency for the elections in February, March and April of next year, per a request from the Secretary of State.

“While we have seen minor improvements, no one should feel good about our current COVID situation in Louisiana. We have too many new cases, too many people in the hospital and, sadly, too many Louisianans continue to die of this illness. Just this week, we reported the highest number of deaths since July. Aggressive mitigation is recommended by Louisiana’s public health experts and the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and it is absolutely critical that all of our people take every action they can to slow the spread of COVID,” Gov. Edwards said. “All Louisianans are at risk, but those who are 65 or older or who have health conditions that make it more likely that they will have severe COVID complications should be incredibly careful in the coming days and weeks and should avoid any indoor place other than their home where there is not universal masking.

“I cannot stress this enough: the holidays this year simply cannot look the same as they have in previous years,” Gov. Edwards said. “Having holiday parties where people from various households gather together, especially indoors, is dangerous and could lead to the spread of COVID and the loss of family members and friends. This year has been tragic and sad and we finally have the hope of better therapeutics and a vaccine, which means the end of the pandemic is in our sights. Now is not the time to let down our guard simply because it is Christmas or New Year’s Eve.”

Gov. Edwards’ extended order will be in place through January 13, 2021.

Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate remains in place. Louisiana’s COVID-19 restrictions include the below:

All Louisianans are encouraged to avoid gatherings of individuals not part of their households.
All businesses, private and public sectors, are encouraged to use remote work where they can.
All restaurants are limited to 50% of their indoor capacity. Restaurants should move as much dining outdoors as they can. Social distancing is required.
For bars in parishes above 5% positivity, bars are closed to indoor sales and consumption but open for outdoor consumption at tables only and at 25% capacity, with a maximum of 50 people. Social distancing is required. Take-out and delivery will still be available.
Retail businesses may open at 50% capacity, except for essential businesses, as defined by federal guidance from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
Gyms may be open at 50% of their capacity.
Places of worship will remain at a maximum of 75% of their capacity or the number of people who can physically distance with at least six feet between each immediate household, whichever is less.
Barber and beauty shops, and nail salons may open at 50% of their capacity.
Movie theaters may open at 50% of their capacity.
Indoor gatherings at event/receptions centers are limited to 25% capacity or up to 75 individuals.
Outdoor gatherings at event/reception centers are limited to 25% capacity or up to 150 individuals when strict physical distancing is not possible.
All sporting events will be capped at 25% capacity.

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Notice of Death – December 22, 2020

Louise Posey Booty
July 02, 1938 – December 19, 2020
Service: Wednesday, December 23 at 11 am at the First Baptist Church of Coushatta

Barbara Nell Jordan
June 04, 1949 – December 20, 2020
Service: Tuesday, December 29 at 2 p.m. at Rocky Mount Church

Joseph Antee
December 22, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Bobby Gene Dalme
May 22, 1938 – December 19, 2020
Service: Wednesday, December 30 at 10 am at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Eva Lee Antilley Beasley
September 25, 1927 – December 20, 2020
Service: Wednesday, December 23 at 2 pm at Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home

Willie Brown
January 8, 1965 – December 21, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Reva Darlene Dalton
August 10, 1959 – December 18, 2020
Service: Wednesday, December 30 from 5-7 pm in the chapel of Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Clyde Shoemaker
February 04, 1934 – December 19, 2020
Service: Wednesday, December 23 at 10 am at Hickory Grove Congregational Methodist Church in Robeline

Bobby Jean Parker
August 9, 1955 – December 21, 2020
Arrangements TBA

McTavish Raymond
June 22, 1972 – December 21, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Richard Williams
December 17, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Sophia Willoughby Washington
December 15, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Elijah Calhoun
February 11, 1960 – December 11, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Faris Cooper Wyatt
February 27, 1931 – December 20, 2020
Service: Saturday, December 26 at 2 pm at the Southern Funeral Home Chapel

Cheryl Caskey Walters
September 20, 1949 – December 20, 2020
Service: Wednesday, December 23 at 2 pm at Gloryway Church

Mary Fitzgerald
May 22, 1940 – December 19, 2020
Service: Wednesday, December 23 at 10 am at Corinth Tabernacle Cemetery

Sherri Stroud Davison
February 29, 1948 – December 19, 2020
Service: Wednesday, December 23 at 11 am in the St. Maurice cemetery

Glenn Curtiss McElwee
September 26, 1927 – December 21, 2020
Service: Wednesday, December 23 at 3 pm at Bethany Cemetery in Coushatta

Elsie Pauline Harrison
September 02, 1935 – December 21, 2020
Service: Sunday, December 27 at 1 pm at Thomas-Wren Cemetery

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Goldonna Road Fund – 1% sales tax proposition to be on ballot in March

Residents of the Village of Goldonna will have an opportunity on March 20, 2021 to vote on a 1% sales tax for a term of 10 years for the purpose of maintenance, repair and improvement of roads, including attendant drainage and traffic controls.

A resolution to put the proposition on the ballot was passed by the Mayor and Board of Alderman at the Village’s November 9 meeting and was approved by the State Bond Commission on December 17. If passed, the sales tax will go into effect on July 1. It is anticipated that the tax will generate approximately $18,589 annually with all monies collected going directly to the maintenance of roads within the Village of Goldonna.

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