NATCHITOCHES PARISH (February 27, 2021)- The State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFM) has arrested a Natchitoches man for a fire that occurred at the commercial building where he was operating his mechanic and tire shop without permission.

Robert Hull, 50, was issued a misdemeanor summons for Negligent Arson on February 25.

On the afternoon of October 6, Natchitoches Parish Fire District #9 responded to a report of a commercial fire located in the 2700 block of US Highway 71. One injury was reported in the fire. The SFM was then requested to assist with determining the origin and cause of the fire.

After an assessment of the scene and collecting witness statements, deputies determined the fire was caused by a mixture of ignitable vapors from a vehicle being worked on and an electrical spark from nearby equipment operating at the same time.

Deputies learned Hull, the business owner, and his son, were working inside of the building after being directed by the building owner not to be inside nor conducting the type of operations they were.

Following a local law enforcement agency recently charging Hull with Criminal Trespassing in the case, SFM deputies issued the misdemeanor summons for Negligent Arson.


The City of Natchitoches’ Distribution System would like to notify the public the Boil Advisory issued for Waterworks District 1, Highway 6 West and the I-49 corridor on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 has been lifted. The Louisiana Department of Health collected a sample of water from the area on Thursday, February 25, 2021 and notified the City of Natchitoches on Friday, February 26, 2021 the water was safe for human consumption and use.

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

NHDDC learns of plan for traffic island at corner of Front and Lafayette Streets

The Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission held a brief meeting on Feb. 25 that was full of information on upcoming events. This is cause for excitement as the calendar fills up with events confirming dates.

One particular piece of information that seems to be long overdue is the construction of an island with a raised curb at the corner of Front and Lafayette Streets. The Historic District Commission approved the scope of the project and the City received a permit from the state. Construction will move forward once the City contracts out the work. The goal of the island is to prevent people from running into the condos, like they’ve done frequently in the past

Event dates include the following:

March 6 – NSide View Day (Almost 250 students signed up, which is great. Allowed to bring 2 guests with them. We’re encouraging them to go downtown before the football game at 6 pm.)

CAPA starting to resume shows
Slowly getting back to business as usual.

Tourist Office:
Office is now back open to the public.
There are 49 teams schedules to play tournaments at Parc Natchitoches this weekend if they don’t get rained out.
May 7-8 – Sale on the Trail

Los Adaes is closed due to damage from winter weather.
Walking Tours are taking place Wed-Sat at 10 am and 1 pm

Moving into their new warehouse facility.

March 6 – Reading on the River, hosted by the Service League
March 13 – Bloomin’ on the Bricks and CAPA on the Cane (No Art Along the Bricks this year)
March 20 – Mayor’s Fitness Council working on an event (More details will be released)

There are two weddings booked for Beau Jardin in March and April

April 16 – NSU Steel Bank Concert on the riverbank
April 24 – Farmers market will kick off and run through July 31
April 25 – Concert on the Cane presented by the NSU Band
May 21-22 – Natchitoches Jazz and R&B Festival

Feb. 27 – NYP Pub Crawl
March 10 – Picnic in the Park in place of monthly luncheon at City Park featuring a legislative update
March 27 – Home & Garden Expo

April 17-18 – Melrose Arts & Crafts Festival


By Tommy Rush

On a trip to the grocery store last weekend, I saw something no one wants to see happen to another person. A lady slipped on the icy parking lot and fell hard on the pavement. It was difficult being only a few feet from her, but not being able to stop the fall from happening. It felt as though it happened in slow motion. As she began losing her balance on the ice, several people reacted, but we were unable to stop the fall. It was evident she was hurting, but thankfully no bones were broken. We all know from experience the pain of a hard fall. Maybe I should say the hard stop!

Even when there’s not ice, it’s easy to fall. Sometimes we step wrong or fail to see a hole. Some falls happen when we get careless and don’t watch where we’re walking. Last week I was reminded that once a fall starts, it’s hard to stop and it usually ends in pain. It was tough to see the lady fall, but it was a blessing to see people responding so quickly to help her. Over and over she told us how embarrassed she was, but grateful for everyone’s kindness and help.

We can all relate especially if we’ve had the experience of falling and needed someone’s help to get up off the ground. Few things are more embarrassing than physically falling in public. It’s interesting how we almost immediately look around to see if anyone saw us take the tumble. It’s also interesting how we immediately begin telling everyone that we’re ok. Taking a spill on ice and pavement always hurts, even when our pride is hurt more than our body. You probably have a good story to tell from a personal experience. Hopefully you also have a good story of the person or persons who picked you up when you needed help. It’s good to know there are good people who are willing to help, if we are willing to let them! Even Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, “Two are better than one… for if either of them falls, the one will be there to lift up his friend. But woe to the one who falls when there is no one to lift him up.” A compassionate friend or stranger is an awesome blessing when we need a helping hand.

The same is true when a person falls morally or spiritually. If you have ever tried to live for Christ, then you know we walk on some slippery and slick ground everyday. We live in a world where it’s easy to fall. Paul said in Ephesians 5:15 “Be careful how you walk, not as unwise but as wise.” One translation uses the phrase “Walk circumspectly.” That means walk with your eyes wide open, looking around, paying attention. We are to be careful as we walk in the world. Why? Because everyone knows the pain of falling. We have all hit the ground hard at some point in life. Actually, we are all fallen people living in a fallen world and we need each other. Even more we need a Rescuer! The One who came to our rescue has a name. Jude 24-25 gives an awesome promise of God to all who will take His hand and by faith trust Him, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, dominion and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.”

Perspective is Everything

As I sat there with a racing heart and a nervous sweat in full motion it seemed to take forever for my high school English teacher to deliver her first graded paper of the year. Like most teachers, their reputation proceeds them. This one was known to be tough as nails and seemed to take great joy in the power that the red ink pen in her hand evoked. Rumor had it that she rarely gave a grade above a C and she did not put up with any humor or shenanigans in her class. The best of the best students barely skated by and warned every student that came behind them.

Simply put, she could fail you and you would have a repeat Senior year or a summer school enrollment. I knew without a doubt that I had poured my heart and soul into this paper. This would be the paper that would set the tone for the entire year and I had full confidence that I would earn the C that appeared to be her best grade.

I sat in my seat and looked straight ahead trying not to use my peripheral eyesight to see her exact location. Breathing in and out just trying to stay alive… she then appeared out of nowhere to slap the paper down on my desk. It was face down, and she gave me a very stern side eye at the very same time. There appeared to be something on her mind as she walked away. Not being able to wait for another second I flipped the paper over to see a large red “B” on the top of my paper with a small handwritten note beside it.

It was a blur of teary eyes and pure joy as I clutched the paper tight and celebrated my victory. Everyone around me was silently comparing their grades and I proudly showed off my kill. I had the highest grade within a two-seat radius and I wasn’t even concerning myself with her handwritten note until all of the high fives were delivered. My new pride and confidence radiated for the rest of the day.

There were not many occasions where I was actually proud to show my parents my work but, in this case, I knew they would be thrilled. When I handed the paper over to my mother, she applauded the hard-earned grade but she had a look of concern and advised me that my teacher was accusing me of cheating.

Keep in mind, at this point, I still had not read the handwritten note. I was too mesmerized by my grade.

My mother read the note out loud, “You are much smarter on paper than you are when you speak”.

Well, I just perplexed at my mother’s doubt and unbelief and I had no clue because she was being a negative Nancy. I knew I did not cheat and I was well aware of the man hours that went into this paper. From that day forward I chose to tell myself that I was a good writer. So much so, that the world’s biggest critic thinks that I can do this.

What was probably meant as an, “I have my eye on you comment”, truly made me feel as though I could write good sentences. And, sometimes even put them together to make a decent story. I completely chose to take her words as a compliment and build on top of it. From that moment I ventured out and started believing in myself and my abilities.

There is no doubt in my mind that my teacher’s words were seeds planted that eventually grew into a love of writing. It would have been so easy to be offended by her words and then make the decision not to learn and grow in her class. In our daily lives we are faced with so many decisions on a daily basis. The perspective we choose to respond with can change the trajectory of our lives. If you are always looking for and expecting the worst in people, you will surely find it. If you are always looking for and expecting the best in people you will find that as well.

“Your perspective will either become your prison or your passport” – Steven Furtick

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable…. if anything is excellent or praiseworthy…think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8

Opportunity: Auto Body Technician

Title: Auto Body Technician

Battery Warehouse INC. d.b.a. Tony’s Body Shop & Collision Center & Towing Service in Natchitoches, La is looking for a full-time, experienced Auto Body Technician to join our team. We are dedicated to serving our customers by providing exceptional service in a timely manner.

Applicants must be able to work at production shop pace and demonstrate concern for quality in accordance with dealer and factory standards.

Apply in person:

2170 Hwy 6
Natchitoches, LA

Soccer finally returns home, hosts Nicholls on Friday

NATCHITOCHES — When the Northwestern State soccer team takes the field Friday at home against Nicholls at 7 p.m., a new player, of sorts, will make her home debut. It’s not a new NSU player, per say, but the way this individual is performing makes it seem as though that’s the case.

Last season, junior Kalee Williams faced one of the most difficult events an athlete can face. When playing in a Southland Conference tournament semifinal match, Williams tore her ACL, which ended her season.

It was a long road back, and to say Williams has returned to the field with a heightened level of hunger would constitute a large understatement.

“It has definitely been fueling me,” Williams said. “I want to get back there, and show everyone that I’m ready for this. I’m ready for this challenge.”

Williams has netted four goals through the first four games of the season. She scored all of three a season ago.

Williams has changed positions. That shift, combined with and self-proclaimed underwhelming 2019 season, has her playing at an All-Southland level.

“I felt that last season I didn’t get what I wanted to get out of it.” Williams said. “I’m just taking up this new role that they’ve put me in, playing forward, and taking it game by game and doing as best as I can each game.”

Williams netted her fourth score of the season in the Lady Demons’ 2-0 victory at Houston Baptist on Sunday. That weekend was supposed to entail a Friday night match at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, but adverse weather in the region postponed the game against the Islanders.

And yet with all the potential distractions swirling around the game against the Huskies, NSU did what its done all season — win.

“I’m really proud of the group as a whole with how they’ve dealt with adversity and situations and circumstances like that,” said co-head coach Jess Jobe. “In some instances, we’ve gotten used to it. It has been one of those years where we are fired up and really excited any time we get to play.”

The 4-0 record NSU boasts currently isn’t one of simplicity. It has won matches in a variety of ways.

There have been 2-1 victories over Conference USA foes, 3-0 shut outs of Sun Belt opponents and 1-0 slugfests against Southland rivals.

“We are really praising our team for being able to face whatever challenge — and no matter what comes our way — being prepared and being able to flex a little bit,” Jobe said. “It’s a great sign. It’s a sign of maturity, even for a young team. It’s a sign of our leadership stepping up, and keeping our group focused, and keeping us heading in the same direction.”

Aside from Williams, sophomore Olivia Draguicevich and freshmen Kyle Nolen and Delaney Wells have also scored this season. Defensively, it has been the Acelya Aydogmus show. The junior goalie has won back-to-back Southland Conference Goaltender of the Week honors.

She has logged three consecutive shutouts, and boasts a GAA of .33. Aydogmus hasn’t surrendered a goal since the first half of the season-opening match at Louisiana Tech, a span of 332 minutes.

Aydogmus made one save to register a shutout against Nicholls last season in what was a 4-0 victory for NSU. The Colonels sit at 0-4 in 2021 and have yet to score a goal this season.

However, that lack of success doesn’t have NSU looking past its Friday night opponent.

“Nicholls is another team that has a target placed right on our backside,” Jobe said. “They want to come in and have an opportunity to change their outlook, change some recent results and get some momentum, so we have to be really aware of those things. We have to take our opportunity to be prepared, and make sure we are putting in the work to put our best foot forward.”

Northwestern State is 25-2-2 all-time against, which is the most victories NSU owns over any one opponent.

Photo Credit: Joshua McDaniel

Is Pre-Fishing A Waste of Time?

As I have pointed out before, tournament bass anglers are a strange bunch. We are constantly trying to outsmart, over think and over complicate how we should be catching fish. Growing up as an athlete, baseball was a sport that I truly loved, and to be good at it, took practice and lots of it. A lot of time spent in a batting cage, taking ground balls, catching fly balls and working on base running. As someone once said, “practice makes perfect.” But in bass fishing, that’s not always the case. You can spend or waste a lot of time practicing and catching fish days before an event only to have to disregard everything you put together due to a major change in weather. So many times, in my fishing career, I’ve had to adjust or abandon my game plan for a tournament. Which brings us to the question, “Is pre-fishing a waste of time?”

Well, my first reaction would be “yes” but then I think back over time how important my practice time was for me having a high finish. But so many times due to variables out of my control like a front coming through, high winds, temperature change, heavy rain, the lake rising can all contribute to a change in fish behavior. Mother Nature and what she can throw at a bass angler, can be brutal. But just like any other sport, bass fishing is a game of adjustments and sometimes due to how we caught them during our pre-fishing time, we tend to try and force the fish the bite the way they did in practice. This is major mistake when you’re competing in a tournament because bass are worse than women, they are constantly going through mood swings. (Sorry ladies)

For me the benefits of pre-fishing are getting out on the water and checking out the areas of the lake you want to fish. Looking at watercolor, is it muddy, stained or clear; what’s the water temperature and seeing what the bass are relating to. Are they on wood cover like cypress trees or maybe brush tops and laydowns off the bank? Are they in vegetation like hydrilla or coon tail moss, are they under lily pads or our newest invasive species of aquatic vegetation… Salvinia?. Are they on boat docks? Are they in the backwater or on main lake points? Now most of these questions can be answered basically by what time of year it is as to where the bass should be.

As you can see, bass fishing is more science than luck especially for a tournament bass angler. But the time you spend pre-fishing or practicing, can be crucial in determining when, where and how you will catch them on tournament day. But this is where a word that I used earlier comes into play, adjustments. Bass fishing is a constant game of adjustments and the angler that does this the best on tournament day, will be the most successful. More times than not, the conditions in which you found fish in practice, will not be the conditions you face on tournament day. So, is pre-fishing a waste of time? Well, the time of year has a lot to do with this in that with spring fishing, there are constant weather changes and fronts are more frequent making it hard to plan too far ahead for a tournament. But during the summer months, the weather is a lot more stable, and the fish are a lot more predictable as to where they will be. The fall can also be pretty easy to find fish in that bass tend to migrate up the creeks this time of year.

As you can see, pre-fishing can have it advantages. It all depends on what time of year it is. To hear more fishing tips, tune in to Tackle Live every Monday on our Facebook page at 12:30 CST as we discuss the latest news and tournament results from Toledo Bend, Sam Rayburn and other great bodies of water found right here in the Ark-La-Tex region. Until next time, don’t forget to set the hook!!

NSU Food Pantry gets $10,000

The Northwestern State University Food Pantry received a huge boost of support from a Northwestern graduate, whose $10,000 donation will fund the purchase of non-perishable food items, toiletries, cleaning supplies, kitchen tools, cutlery, sanitizer and support materials for the Food Pantry, which serves all NSU and BPCC@NSU students free of charge.

Mike Knotts, a 1986 graduate, is a long-time supporter of Northwestern, having served as NSU Foundation board member and committee chair. For many years, he hosted NSU’s Bossier Parish recruiting receptions for incoming students and their parents. He is a member of the NSU Columns Fund and a contributor to the Mack & Jonell Knotts Annual Scholarship and other special projects for the NSU Foundation.

Knotts’ son, Nick, a first year NSU student, was present for the surprise presentation at Wednesday night’s basketball game.

“Mr. Knotts took a tour of the pantry on one of his recent visits to campus and was moved by what our students are doing for their fellow students,” said Reatha Cox, director of Student Affairs, who coordinates volunteer and community impact projects. “He is also proud of his son, Nick, who volunteers and assists with pantry projects.”

The NSU Food Pantry was established by social work students in 2015 to address food insecurity on campus. The food pantry is staffed by more than 50 student, faculty and staff volunteers who participate in training to teach the importance of courtesy and confidentiality.

“Many college students are first-generation students with families of modest incomes,” said Denise Bailey, professor of social work and faculty advisor for the Food Pantry. “Our mission is to combat food insecurity at NSU by providing temporary emergency assistance in the form of healthy, culturally appropriate non-perishable food items to students in need. Our vision is that no student at NSU be impacted by hunger due to the lack of ability to afford food.”

The Food Pantry has been a vital resource, especially in light of events over the last year when students were financially affected by COVID-19, multiple hurricanes, the recent winter storm, and other unexpected expenses, Cox said. During university breaks and other closures, prepackaged bags were placed for collection outside the Food Pantry, which is located on the south side of Trisler Power Plant across from Magale Recital Hall on NSU’s Central Avenue. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m.-noon Friday.

Bailey said she was amazed by the donation.

“The ongoing generosity of those who understand the need for and support of the NSU Student Food Pantry is always appreciated,” she added.

Donations to the Food Pantry are always welcome. To obtain a list of needed items, donors should Cox at or Bailey at Monetary donations are also accepted through the NSU Foundation. Donors can visit and support the NSU Food Pantry in the Make A Gift section and specifying the NSU Food Pantry.

Photo: Check Presentation:
NSU alum Mike Knotts presented a $10,000 donation to NSU Food Pantry student volunteers during Wednesday’s basketball game. From left are Director of Student Affairs Reatha Cox, Andrell Green, Sheridan Duet, NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio, Nick Knotts, Mike Knotts and Jessica Mullican.

Photo: Bailey and Mariah:
Student volunteers Bailey Willis of Opelousas and Mariah Cador of Oscar stocked shelves at the NSU Food Pantry, which is open to all NSU and BPCC@NSU students. In addition to food items, the pantry also provides toiletries, cleaning supplies, sanitizer, kitchen tools and cutlery at no charge.

NPSO investigates inmate death

Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office investigating the death of an inmate at the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center

On February 25, 2021 inmate Vernell Brooks, 38, of Natchitoches, was found unresponsive by Corrections Officers in his cell at approximately 12:52 AM between routine monitoring.

Once Brooks was discovered, first responders from NRMC, NFD, and NPDC Medical Staff were immediately notified while Officers began conducting CPR. Upon their arrival, CPR continued as Brooks was transported to the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center where all attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. An autopsy was then ordered to determine the cause and manner of death.

According to Sheriff Stuart Wright, Investigators from the Corrections and Criminal Investigations Bureaus, along with Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office, are conducting a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding Brooks death.

Further information will be released upon the conclusion of this investigation.


Natchitoches restaurant to open this spring; will bring 100 jobs to community

Whataburger and the Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce will hold a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, March 2 to celebrate Natchitoches’ first-ever Whataburger location at the future site of the restaurant at 902 Keyser Avenue, scheduled to open this spring.

The brand will serve up its fresh, customized burgers, 24/7 top-notch customer service, famous Fancy and Spicy Ketchup, and orange-and-white-striped fun and once opened, the new restaurant will feature a state-of-the-art kitchen, double drive-thru lanes, large parking lot and an open dining room to best serve our guests. There will also be a custom interior mural featuring well-known, local icons.

“We’re honored to open this Natchitoches location and want to extend an especially big thanks to the Chamber for welcoming Whataburger into the community with open arms and celebrating with us today,” said David Cotham, G.V.C.S., Inc. Director of Operations. “We can’t wait to continue our tradition of serving great food and friendly service to our friends in Natchitoches, and look forward to opening our doors this spring.”

Whataburger will bring 100 jobs to the Natchitoches community and this month, the brand will begin hiring Team Members. Whataburger’s unique leadership curriculum trains all employees in a way that automatically puts them on the path to career advancement.

Those interested in working at Natchitoches’ new Whataburger restaurant or for more information on Whataburger’s competitive benefits and salaries, great opportunities for career advancements and other employee resources for growth and development, visit or text 44790.

Founded more than 70 years ago, Whataburger has grown to more than 840 locations across 10 states, operating 24/7, 364 days a year. The burger chain has gained a unique and loyal following on social media, with more than 2.1 million Facebook followers and 1.2 million Twitter followers. Fans and celebrities often find a way to make Whataburger food, swag and restaurant locations a part of their personal celebrations – including graduations, engagements, weddings, baby announcements and more.

About Whataburger
Whataburger has served up its fresh, made-to-order burgers and friendly customer service since 1950, when Harmon Dobson opened the first Whataburger as a small roadside burger stand in Corpus Christi, Texas. Today, the company is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 840 locations in 10 states and sales of more than $2.5 billion annually. Whataburger has 50,000 Family Members (employees) and more than 14 million customers who like to customize their Whataburgers just the way they like it. Newsweek ranked Whataburger second on its 2021 list of America’s Best Customer Service brands in the Fast Food category. Visit for more information.


The City of Natchitoches’ Distribution System would like to notify the public the Boil Advisory issued for the Natchitoches city limits with the exception of Highway 6 West and the I-49 corridor on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 has been lifted. The Louisiana Department of Health collected a sample of water from the area on Wednesday, February 24, 2021 and notified the City of Natchitoches on Thursday, February 25, 2021 the water was safe for human consumption and use.

At this time, samples have been collected and we are awaiting results for Waterworks District 1, Highway 6 West and the I-49 Corridor. Untilfurther notice, customers in those areas should still adhere to the boil advisory. The public will be notified when the boil advisory is lifted.

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

Notice of Death – February 25, 2021

Dorothy Fay Martin
May 19, 1932 – February 25, 2021
Service: Saturday, February 27 at 2 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Vernell Brooks
April 29, 1982 – February 25, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Ray H. Allen
March 22, 1933 – February 23, 2021
Service: Saturday, February 27 at 11 am at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Brother Christopher Willis Jr.
September 17, 2009 – February 23, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Mattie Mae Casson
August 6, 1961 – February 16, 2021
Service: Saturday, February 27 at 11 am in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel

Nathaniel Scott
February 19, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Ada James
February 15, 2021
Service: Saturday, February 27 at 1 pm in the Bethlehem Baptist Church Cemetery in Atlanta

Alvin Smith
February 16, 2021
Service: Saturday, February 27 at 2 pm in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel,located at 318 North Street in Natchitoches

Barbara Ann Veuleman
January 24, 1943 – February 25, 2021
Service: Sunday, February 28 at 2 pm at Friendship Nazarene

Jackie Rivers
November 3, 1958 – February 21, 2021
Service: Friday, February 26 at 10 am at St. Joseph Catholic Church

Audrey Mae Patton Peavy
March 31, 1939 – February 24, 2021
Service: Saturday, February 27 at 1 pm at Garden of Memories Cemetery in Winnfield

Stafford Bill Moses
February 16, 2021
Service: Saturday, February 27 at 11 am in the Winnfield Funeral Home Chapel, located at 117 MLK Drive in Winnfield

Wanda Sue O’Bryan
April 08, 1944 – February 22, 2021
Service: Saturday, February 27 at 11 am at Bethlehem Baptist Church Cemetery in Calvin

Sandy (Lysander) Allen Webb
October 17, 1951 – February 22, 2021
Service: Friday, February 26 at 11 am at Springville Cemetery in Coushatta