On March 18 and 19, 2021 the Lakeview Powerlifting Team competed at the LHSPLA State Championships on the ULM campus in Monroe. Emma Hatten, Destinee Britt, Zoie Britt, Jagloria Ford, Serenity Bush, Addy Seay, Evan Baker, Tanner Gardner and Derek Kirts all qualified for state at the Central Regionals in Pineville in February. These lifters worked very hard and with great perseverance to overcome the lockdowns and school closures leading up to this season. At the state meet, Tanner Gardner finished 2nd in the state in the boys 132 pound class. Emma Hatten finished 3rd in the state in the girls 97 pound class. DJ Kirts finished 5th in the state in the boys SHW class while Serenity Bush and Addy Seay finished 4th and 5th in the girls SHW class. All the lifters scored points and contributed to respectable team point totals. Coach John Tabarlet, in his third season of bringing powerlifting back to Lakeview, is trying to help his lifters look beyond state to national and world competition. He insists that the talent is present at Lakeview and within a few years, Lakeview lifters will begin to take the stage all over the USA and in every corner of the globe. He is amazed with the youth of this team and the unbelievably bright future ahead. “This group of lifters is one of the most special in my 33 years of coaching powerlifting. I have been an assistant coach on 11 national collegiate championship teams and 6 world teams at the IPF worlds. I was also the head coach of a high school national championship team in another national federation. I have coached all over the country and all over the world but I had to come to Campti, LA to find this bunch of awesome kids. They are like family to me and to each other. They are special.” The Gators plan to lift in the USAPL High School Raw State Championships in late April. This will be a chance to establish a USAPL total and put themselves on the USAPL radar. People that don’t know them yet will know them then and the opportunities to go nationwide and worldwide will soon follow. “I feel like an old man sometimes but I am an old man who knows the path and knows the people who own the path that leads to worldwide competition. I tell my lifters that right now they wear lifting shirts that read L H S. But these kids that I coach deserve to trade those in for shirts that read U S A. As long as I’m still loading bars and wrapping knees, my kids will get that chance.”


GORUM-A Gorum man was airlifted to a Shreveport hospital following a single-vehicle crash near Gorum on Monday evening according to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.

On Monday evening March 29 at approximately 7:25pm, Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies, Louisiana State Police, Natchitoches Regional Medical Center EMS, and Natchitoches Parish Fire Protection District #1 responded to NATCOM 911 Center reports of a single-vehicle crash involving injuries on La. Hwy 119 approximately 1-mile south of the Longleaf Trail Scenic Byway near Gorum, La.

Responding EMS and fire units arrived on scene shortly thereafter finding the sole occupant of the vehicle suffering from head and shoulder injuries requesting medical air support.

Air EVAC Lifeteam medical helicopter was dispatched to the scene.

Deputies say 72-year-old Charles Larry Carter of Gorum, La. was operating a 1995 Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck traveling southbound on La. Hwy 119 approximately 1 mile south of the Longleaf Trail Scenic Byway near Gorum when he apparently left the roadway on the right side then overcorrected crossing the northbound and southbound lanes. The vehicle then left the road on the left side traveling a short distance striking a tree head-on coming to a rest.

NPSO Deputies and NPFD #1 set-up a landing zone for the helicopter on La. Hwy 119 near I-49.
Carter was transported from the scene by EMS to the landing zone then airlifted by Air EVAC to an Alexandria hospital with moderate injuries.

Troopers assigned to LSP Troop-E Alexandria investigated the crash.

NSU student wins La. National Guard Best Warrior Competition

Northwestern State University student Evan Chapman of Mesquite, Texas, was awarded the 2021 Louisiana Army National Guard’s Best Warrior Award (soldier division) that included 12 graded events and 33 hours of competition. SPC Chapman is pursuing a degree in electronics engineering technology and plays saxophone in the NSU Jazz Orchestra, the Spirit of Northwestern Demon Marching and concert bands.

“To my knowledge, I am the only Army Bandsman in history to win and advance from the State Best Warrior Competition,” Chapman said. “I am preparing as best I can and am very much looking forward to winning the Regional Best Warrior Competition. If I win, I will advance to the National level and have the chance to meet the president.”

In the competition, Chapman won the Essay, Day Land Nav, Confidence Course and the Twelve Mile Ruck March. He will compete in the Region 5 competition in May.

“I am thankful and honored to have won the competition,” said Chapman, who is back in school following his normal schedule, but will be expected to go on orders again in the near future to prepare for the regional competition, which includes five states. The competition will take place the week after Chapman completes final exams.

“I am doing my best to have all work and assignments completed. I will get it done,” Chapman said.

“His dedication to duty sets him apart from his peers,” said First Sergeant Ted Beagley, U.S. Army Band. “He is a great credit upon himself, the Army National Guard and the United States Army.”

“He went through rigorous physical and academic challenges in order to come out on top in this military competition,” added Col. Jeff Mathews, director of bands and associate professor of music in the School of Creative and Performing Arts.

HMT senior completes internship, begins career at Arbor Day Farm

Northwestern State University graduating senior Tia Dixon is finding her feet outside her comfort zone and ready to launch her career in hospitality. Dixon just completed an experiential learning internship at the Lied Lodge and Conference Center affiliated with the Arbor Day Foundation in Nebraska City, Nebraska, and began work as a full-time employee March 28.

A senior majoring in hospitality management and tourism, Dixon has worked at the Natchitoches Convention and Visitors Bureau, which could have counted as an internship, but she wanted to experience a place where she knew no one. The Oakdale native arrived in snow-covered Nebraska – 13 hours from Natchitoches — in January and in a short time had experienced two blizzards and temperatures at -35 degrees F. But Dixon adjusted quickly and found a welcoming circle of friends among her new coworkers.

“I was nervous at first. I didn’t know if people would be friendly,” she said, “But there are quite a few people from Louisiana there. I love the company. There was a pretty close team at the Visitors’ Center in Natchitoches. That’s important. People I work with here make it fun.”

The Lied Lodge and Conference Center is part of the Arbor Day Farm, 260 acres of natural beauty and historic significance. The complex also includes the Arbor Lodge State Historical Park, birthplace of the Arbor Day and a national historic landmark; Tree Adventure, a nature-themed attraction, and other educational and leisure points of interest.

Dixon’s main job is working the front desk, checking people in and out and answering questions for guests. She has also been able to shadow sales associates who organize banquets and other events and has assisted with housekeeping and helping with reservations. The center also has an events coordinator on staff and Dixon has been able to sit in on planning meetings with her.

“I’m a little all over the place, but I wanted to get as many experiences as I can,” said Dixon, who originally was not interested in working in a hotel. “I really wanted to do events, but I also wanted the internship to turn into a full-time job.”

Several of her HMT friends were interning at lodges around the country. An internet search led her to the Arbor Day Foundation Center, a popular destination for residents of Nebraska and surrounding states. Although COVID-19 restricted conferences and group gatherings, the Lodge has continued to have healthy occupancy among leisure travelers. The center is a popular summer wedding destination and has an indoor pool and spa that attracts visitors through the fall and winter.

“People seem more comfortable as the COVID vaccine has become widely available. Our dining room has limited occupancy. Families come for the Tree Adventure and there are events at the Arbor Mansion,” she said.

Dixon said a rewarding aspect of working at the Lodge is the extra steps staff take to provide exceptional customer service.

“When people call to make a reservation for a special occasion, a birthday or anniversary, we will write a note that everyone signs and see that they have a birthday cake or flowers. We make the guests to feel very special. With every guest I’m reminded why I wanted to be a hospitality major.”

She’s also found that part art of hospitality is learning how to sooth unhappy guests, think quickly and solve problems. Fortunately, she said the staff at the Lodge promotes a team atmosphere, from her front desk coworkers to the vice president who knows her by name.

“It’s a great group of people,” she said.

An outgoing person who makes friends easily, Dixon was involved in many organizations at NSU, including Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority, Student Government Association and College Panhellenic Council. She was a Freshman Connector, Demon VIP and worked in the Office of Greek Life. She is planning a short visit to Louisiana in April and will return in May for graduation when she will collect her things for a move to Nebraska.

“Fall 2020 was challenging because of the hurricanes and finding an internship, but I’m very blessed,” Dixon said.

Easter Sunday is fast approaching and Goldonna is getting ready to have their very first Community Egg Hunt

The Goldonna Community Egg Hunt will be held Saturday April 3, 2021 from 10:00am until 1:00pm at the City Hall. This event is free and open to the public. The children will be broken up into 0-3, 4-6, and 7-12. There will be a scavenger hunt for the children 13 years and above. Prize eggs will be hidden as well. The event will have games, food and pictures. This is the first annual community egg hunt but they are hoping to make it an annual event that all of the residents look forward to.

If you see a committee member be sure and thank them for their time and efforts, they are very excited to share this event with the community. Rebecca Harrison, Briannia Bedgood, Brittany Bedgood, Cynthia Bedgood, Karsyn Sanders, Nichole McGee, Stephanie Goss, Tyrie Coleman and Reba Phelps.

This year I wanted to reach out to some the area residents and share what they love most and cherish about the Easter holiday. I had the great pleasure of speaking with this amazing group of eager celebrators and I am so grateful they took the time out of their day to share with me.

Gayle Cloud
“My favorite thing about Easter is to attend sunrise service to celebrate the sacrifice that Jesus made for all of us, and then to spend the day celebrating with my family”.

George Procell
“The most important thing about Easter for me will always be celebrating the resurrection of our savior. Not a bunny or colored eggs. Just Jesus”

Kami Bedgood Dobson
“My favorite thing about Easter is sunrise church services. I have always loved them!”

Mayor Jennifer Smith
“I love seeing the joy on the children’s faces and the excitement of them seeing what the Easter Bunny has delivered to them through the night. But more importantly, how my Savior gave his life for me! His sacrifice made it possible for me to have eternal life with him. His amazing love”

Boogie Bedgood
“One of my most memorable Easters was certainly last year. We had Easter as never before. The churches were closed. Families were all at their own homes due to Covid. I had always been very involved in my church this time of year as well as getting together with friends and family. Last year was very different. There would be no learning of new Easter songs, no new Easter “frock” no huge gathering of friends and family no big fixing of Easter lunch etc. There were none of the “frills”of Easter past.

This was a day that was set aside to reflect on the true reason we celebrate this most holy time. We sat in the quietness of our home and read The story of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and shared our gratitude for what Jesus had done and continues to do in our lives. We prayed and was so thankful that in such a dark time in our country we still had ‘The Light.” My heart felt something different that day. I suppose it was the joy of the resurrection power of Jesus Christ! What a day! You know it just doesn’t take much to celebrate if what you are celebrating is worth the celebration!”

The community churches will all be having Easter Sunday Services on April 4. The Goldonna Baptist Church will have a sunrise service that begins at 7:00am with a breakfast to follow and an egg hunt for the young children. The Easter service at River of Life Church will begin at 10:30am. The Goldonna Assembly of God Church will have their Easter service at 11:00. If you schedule it just right (leave early or show up a little late) you may be able to make all three services!

If you have news to share please email Reba Phelps

NSU Middle Lab Junior Beta: State Convention

NSU Middle Lab School’s Junior Beta club, led by Jennifer Hudson and Michelle Shirley, participated in the Louisiana Junior Beta State convention virtually this year. Three 8th grade students placed in the top of our state, qualifying to compete at the Junior Beta National Competition this summer in Disney World. Gracie Moore placed 4th in the photography division, Adam Guillet placed 4th in the State Math Assessment division, and Hannah Worsham placed 2nd in the state Jewelry making competition.

Pictured, left to right, are Adam Guillet, Gracie Moore, and Hannah Worsham. Below are pictures of Hannah’s custom necklace and earrings as well as Gracie’s beautiful photograph.

Bullpen keeps Demons close, sets up Elkins’ winner against LSUA

NATCHITOCHES – A line of thunderstorms forced the Northwestern State baseball team to wait 90 minutes to start its game against LSUA on Tuesday night.

It took much longer for the Demons to find the clutch hit they were seeking, but ultimately, Jeffrey Elkins delivered.

Elkins’ two-run single sparked a four-run seventh inning rally that lifted the Demons to a 7-3 win against the visiting Generals at Brown-Stroud Field.

“I was just trying to find a hole and get runners in and win a game, something we’ve all been longing for,” said Elkins, a sophomore outfielder who recorded game-winning hits against LSU and Nicholls in 2019.

Elkins’ hit put the Demons (10-12) ahead for the first time and helped Northwestern State snap a four-game losing streak. It was the work of the NSU pitching staff, which was put in a tough situation just five pitches into the game, that kept the Demons close enough for Elkins to deliver another clutch hit.

Starter Josh Banes threw five pitches before exiting the game and turning the ball over to Reed Michel, who responded with four innings of shutout relief and a career-high six strikeouts.

Nik Millsap (1-0) followed and allowed two runs (one earned) in three innings, earning his first career win and tying a career high with four strikeouts.

“I’m really competitive, and Reed set the bar really high,” Millsap said. “I knew I had to go in and keep filling it up. It’s always nice to come back after some tough outings to get out there and have a good one for once.”

With Michel and Millsap limiting the damage, the Demons eventually broke through against a Generals squad that was playing its second game in 16 days.

LSUA also lost its starting pitcher in the first inning as Keith McKigney exited with an arm injury. Much like Northwestern State, the Generals got strong relief from Austin Manuel and Hunter Meche, who combined for 3 2-3 innings of shutout relief.

The Demons, however, feasted against a trio of right-handers, taking advantage of three Jacob Norman wild pitches in the fifth to score a run and four walks from Slone Greaves and Brandon Noel in the seventh.

Noel took the loss for the Generals, an NAIA member who played the game as an exhibition, allowing two runs in 2-3 of an inning.

The Demons drew seven walks and had three hit batters while LSUA pitchers uncorked six wild pitches.

“We found a way to win, which is a good thing we can say about this game,” fifth-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “We overcame an injury to the starting pitcher, which is always tough. Some guys came in and threw the ball well to keep us close when we were scuffling, and we got the big hit. Jeff got a big hit with the bases loaded and two outs. We found a way to win. Now we just have to keep building and getting better.”

The Demons return to action Thursday when they open a four-game Southland Conference series at Abilene Christian. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. at Crutcher Scott Field.

Northwestern State 7, LSUA 3
LSUA 100 010 100 – 3 8 3
NSU 000 010 42x – 7 7 2
W – Nik Millsap (1-0). L – Brandon Noel. 2B – LSUA, Kobe Baker. Highlights: LSUA, Alex Orenczuk 2-4, RBI; Louis Morgan 2-4, RBI. NSU, Daunte Stuart 2-2.
Records: LSUA 13-12; Northwestern State 10-12.

Photo: Credit: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services

Magale Foundation, alumnus Anthony Robinson named to CAPA Hall of Fame

Alumnus Anthony Robinson and the Magale Foundation will be the 2021 inductees into the Mrs. H.D. Dear Sr. and Alice E. Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts Hall of Fame at Northwestern State University. Formal inductions will be held at a later date.

The Magale Foundation supports higher education, social services and the performing arts. It was created by John F. and Joanna Magale and has supported the School of Creative and Performing Arts for more than three decades. Joanna Magale was a 1926 graduate of Louisiana State Normal College and was a teacher in Arkansas. Gifts from Joanna Magale and the Magale Foundation established the Joanna Magale Endowed Professorship in Creative and Performing Arts and the Joanna G. Magale Scholarship Fund. The Magale Recital Hall is named in honor of Joanna Magale.

“Throughout the last three decades, the Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts has been able to recruit and reward some of the nation’s most talented and gifted students through the monetary support of the Magale Foundation,” said Scott Burrell, director of the School of Creative and Performing Arts. “When these select students are looking at other possible schools, it sure helps to have the additional incentive of the Magale scholarship to offer. As well, we have many students who may need just that extra little monetary assistance to get them their degree and become successful graduates of our school and university.”

The Magale Endowed Professorship was among the first established at Northwestern State and led to the creation of additional endowed professorships in the School of Creative and Performing Arts by other donors. Interest from the endowed professorship supports faculty research and development and enhances the reputation of the School of Creative and Performing Arts and Northwestern State.

“The Magale Foundation is deeply honored to be included in the Northwestern State University School of Performing Arts Hall of Fame,” said Michael Epley, the chair of the board of the Magale Foundation. “It has been our pleasure to further the intent of our founders, John and Joanna Magale, by providing financial support to aspiring students of music. We are proud to have contributed to Northwestern’s excellent program in music and the arts.”

Up to 50 NSU students benefit from the Magale Scholarship Fund annually. The fund has assisted more than 1,000 music and performance students since its creation.

Robinson, a 1975 graduate in music education, has had a successful career as an educator and musician along with military service. He spent 30 years with the Marshall (Texas) Independent School District where he was director of bands, junior high band director and assistant band director/percussion specialist. Since 1993, he has also worked as a percussion instructor at East Texas Baptist University.

“Mr. Robinson is a true hero,” said Burrell. “He is to be commended for his distinguished military service to our nation. A superb musician and gifted educator, Anthony has touched the lives of many in his lengthy career. CAPA is very honored to name him as one of our most notable alumni.”

Robinson attended Crepe Myrtle Junior/Senior High in Pineville where he was the Louisiana Interscholastic Athletic and Literary Organization (LIALO) State Champion snare drummer. LIALO was an organization which brought together African-American schools to promote athletic and academic achievement through competition and collaboration. He attended Pineville High School as a senior.

“To borrow a phrase from my Basic Military Training Squadron: ‘I entered NSU unknown and exited identified,”’ said Robinson. “In 1971 I entered an institution not knowing what was in store for a kid from the Smithville community of Pineville.”

At Northwestern State, he found a caring faculty that wanted to see him succeed.

“I did not know the instructors, I did not know much about the music department and I did not know a lot about music in general,” said Robinson. “I was an 11-year product of Louisiana’s dual school system. However, I switched to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) system in 1970 by attending Pineville High School and becoming a PHS band member. None of this was a major factor at NSU. The teachers were genuinely interested in helping me learn to master my craft (teaching and performing) and prepared me to provide a positive, long-term service to humanity. Being recognized and inducted into the CAPA Hall of Fame is a reflection of my appreciation to those wonderful instructors who prepared me for the many services I have provided and continue to provide.”

An active professional, Robinson has served as guest conductor for Louisiana’s District VIII Junior High and ninth grade bands and is widely known in Texas for his service to the Texas Music Educators Associations’ All State Bands and Orchestras. This service began in 1990 and has only been interrupted three times: twice for military service (Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom) and the COVID-19 pandemic.

After retiring from Marshall in 2007, Robinson has continued teaching as a percussion specialist for bands at Pittsburg, White Oak, Henderson and Spring Hill along with Wiley College.

He has maintained a 28-year music ministry to nursing homes and hospitals in the east Texas area. In 1995, he established the first ever Colonial Fife and Drum Corps in Marshall, the East Texas Ancients Fife and Drum Corps. The Corps led Shreveport’s Holiday In Dixie parade for four consecutive years.

“I worked with Anthony Robinson in both the civilian and military aspects of his career,” said Director of Bands Dr. Jeffrey C. Mathews, a colonel who is chief of Air National Guard Bands for the National Guard Bureau. “He is a consummate professional and a man of integrity. His accomplishments and high standards epitomize the characteristics of a CAPA Hall of Fame member.”

Robinson’s military service began in 1978 with Detachment 1, 307 RED HORSE Squadron of Barksdale Air Force Base where he served for 17 years in Air Force Reserve. His service includes two years with the 98 Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron of Barksdale Air Force Base., one year at headquarters, 307 RED HORSE Squadron of Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio and 14 years with the 531st Air Force Band located at the NAS/JRB of Fort Worth where he was principal percussionist/first sergeant.

The Unsinkable Ship

By Brad Dison

It was the largest ship afloat. At over 800 feet in length, nearly three football fields long, it was a floating city. Its engineers used cutting edge technology in every facet of its design. It was considered to be the fastest and safest ship afloat. Each officer aboard the ship was hand-picked based on his prior service record and on a rigid seamanship examination which focused on sea currents, tides, geography, and wind. Its crew was also hand-picked based on the strictest of criteria. The ship boasted two brass bands, two orchestras, and a theatrical company. It had a company of physicians and fireman in case of emergencies.

Engineers designed the ship with nineteen water-tight compartments which could be closed in thirty seconds by simply turning a single lever. Engineers designed the doors of the water-tight compartments in such a way that they would close automatically if they came into contact with rushing water. The ship could stay afloat even if as many as nine of the nineteen compartments flooded. Many people, including its designers, builders, and owners, considered the ship to be unsinkable.

Engineers designed the ship specifically for passenger traffic with every known convenience and comfort imaginable. Every possible amenity was made available to first-class passengers, fewer amenities for second-class passengers, and even fewer for third-class. The likelihood of the ship being destroyed by fire was unimaginable because the ship would not transport combustible cargo. Due to all of the ship’s safety features which rendered it practically unsinkable, the ship carried only twenty-four lifeboats, the number required by law. Cumbersome lifeboats detracted from the travelers’ views of the ocean. Similarly, the ship carried only the number of cork lifejackets required by law. Only about two dozen circular life-buoys decorated the decks of the ship. The buoys were almost considered decorations rather than life-saving devices.

Engineers determined that the ship was safest when traveling at full speed whether in calm waters, in fog, or during storms, for at least four reasons. First, if the ship struck another vessel, the force of the impact would be distributed over a larger area if it was traveling at full speed. Due to the strength of the ship’s construction, the other vessel would sustain the brunt of the damage. Second, due to the ship’s speed, weight, and construction, it would almost certainly destroy the other vessel, probably cut it in two, if traveling at full speed while only receiving damages that could be easily remedied with a paint brush. Traveling at only half speed, the ship would sustain more damages to its bows. Third, at full speed the ship could more easily steer itself out of danger than at half speed. Forth, in case of striking an iceberg, the ships bows would only be crushed in a few feet further at full speed than at half speed. At most, only three of the water-tight compartments would flood, which left six to spare before the ship was in danger of sinking.

On a cold, April night, the ship sailed at full speed in a dense fog in the North Atlantic Ocean. In the bowels of the great ship, members of the black gang, crewmen who garnered the nickname because they were covered with sweat and coal dust, moved coal by shovel and cart into one of the numerous furnaces. The passengers, oblivious to the workers toiling away below, enjoyed a variety of music, food, and other forms of entertainment. Some passengers sat in steamer chairs along the decks in the chilly, salty air.

In the crow’s nest, the highest lookout point on the ship, a single crewman struggled to spot any sign of danger in the thick fog. Most of the passengers were well asleep by this point. “All’s well,” the crewman shouted from the crow’s nest at exactly 1 a.m. At 2 a.m., the crewman in the crow’s nest called out “All’s well,” again. He yelled the same at 3 a.m. A few minutes after 3 a.m., the crewman in the crow’s nest yelled that there was something ahead that he was unable to make out. In the thick fog, the crewman could only make out the faintest outline. He yelled to officers below that it must be another ship. The crewmen tried to turn the ship to avoid a collision, but it was too late. Then the crewmen saw that it was not another ship but a large iceberg. The ship made only a slight shudder when it struck the iceberg. Most of the passengers were unaware that they had struck anything. The ship’s crew was only slightly concerned because the ship was unsinkable.

Conditions on the ship quickly spiraled out of control. Water quickly filled one water-tight compartment after another. The ship began to list. Passengers were awakened by the numerous sounds of plates, glasses, and a host of other items as they crashed to the floor. They scurried to the ship’s decks to see what had happened. Few passengers donned life jackets, and even fewer made it into the less-than-adequate number of lifeboats. The ship sank slowly into the frigid waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. Most of the passengers and crew perished in the sinking of the unsinkable ship.

People around the world know the story of the Titanic, and how the ship sank after it struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean with an enormous loss of life. However, the story you read above was a work of fiction, a novella by Morgan Robertson. The name of the ship in Robertson’s novella was not the Titanic. The fictional ship he created was called the Titan. His book, originally entitled Futility, seemingly recounted the events of the wreck of the Titanic. However, Robertson’s Futility was published … in 1898, fourteen years before the Titanic sank.

Source: Robertson, Morgan. Futility. Rahway, N.J.: The Quinn and Boden Co. Press, 1898.

Gov. Edwards Eases Some COVID-19 Restrictions, Keeps Statewide Mask Mandate

Some restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana, including strict occupancy restrictions for bars and restaurants, will be eased this week following sustained improvements in COVID-19 hospitalizations and vaccinations, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced on March 30. Social distancing of six feet will still be required in businesses and Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate remains in place.

“At this point in the pandemic, our three best tools for slowing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping our hospitals operational are vaccinations, masks and distance,” Gov. Edwards said. “Right now, we have fewer people hospitalized with COVID-19 than we did this time last year, and we have a greatly improved supply of three highly effective and safe COVID-19 vaccines, which are available to everyone 16 and older in Louisiana. While COVID-19 and its variants remain a major public health risk, using the tools of vaccination, masking and distancing, we can keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. At least 20 states and one region of Louisiana are experiencing an increase in cases and hospitalizations, likely because of the U.K. variant. We aren’t yet out of the woods.

“Vaccination is the best way we have to put this pandemic in our rearview mirror. While we work to vaccinate even more of our neighbors, now more than ever it is critical that people wear facemasks when they are in public and keep six feet of social distance between them and anyone who isn’t in their immediate household,” Gov. Edwards said. “Today we are taking an important step forward, but all of us play a role in making sure our cases don’t spike again. Get your vaccine now that it’s your turn and help your friends and family members get their shots as well. Working together, we can bring back Louisiana.”

The Governor’s updated public health emergency order keeps requirements for six feet of social distancing in all businesses, as well as other mitigation measures deemed necessary by the Louisiana Department of Health and the State Fire Marshal.  The order runs for 28 days and expires on April 28, 2021.

The Governor’s updated order removes the limitations on when bars and restaurants may serve alcohol, defaulting to local ordinances. People younger than 21 are still not allowed inside bars and bars are only allowed to provide patrons with socially distanced seated service, under the new order.

Salons and beauty shops, gyms and fitness centers, malls and casinos also will not have capacity limits, though social distancing and the mask mandate remain in place along with any other additional measures that may be required by the State Fire Marshal.

Businesses and venues that host larger gatherings, like reception halls, will remain capped at 50 percent of their capacity, with a maximum gathering size of not more than 500 people indoors and strict social distancing. Outdoor events will be capped at 50 percent capacity and social distancing is also required. Some events may require prior approval by the State Fire Marshal. 

Indoor and outdoor sporting events will be limited to 50 percent of their capacity, with social distancing. Masks are required under all circumstances.

Northwestern State falls on the road at Louisiana Tech

By Bud Denega, Sports Information Graduate Assistant

RUSTON — The Northwestern State softball team stepped outside of Southland Conference play Tuesday at Louisiana Tech. The Lady Demons couldn’t keep their winning streak alive, falling 3-0 at Dr. Billy Bundrick Field.

The loss drops NSU to 15-8 overall, while the win improves Louisiana Tech to 10-13.

The non-conference affair provided an opportunity for some reserve players to receive valuable game reps. And many of them showed well.

That list starts with freshman starting pitcher Kenzie Seely. Making just the second start of her career, Seely went a career-best 4.2 innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits with four strikeouts.

Sophomore Bronte Rhoden came on in relief and worked 1.1 innings of scoreless softball.

The starting lineup featured a few new faces. Senior infielder Maggie Black, freshman outfielder Laney Roos and freshman designated hitter Marissa Reed all got the start. Roos had the best game of the three, logging one of NSU’s three hits.

The Lady Demons were led offensively by freshman infielder Keely DuBois. She enjoyed her second multi-hit game of the season and fourth of her career.

The Lady Techsters scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the fourth inning on an RBI double from Amanda Gonzales. Madie Green capped the scoring with a two-run single in the fifth.

Northwestern State returns to Natchitoches and Southland Conference play — where it currently holds a 9-0 record — this weekend. The Lady Demons host Central Arkansas for a three-game series beginning Friday at 3 p.m.

Photo: Chris Reich / NSU Photographic Services

2nd Amendment, Gun Rights Poised to Return to Supreme Court

Royal Alexander/Opinion

The latest legal challenge concerns a New York law governing licenses to carry concealed handguns in public but there are potentially a host of others as well

The U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to strengthen and expand 2nd Amendment rights after a decade of no action on the issue. The Court has several current opportunities to further address the scope of its Heller decision that generally pose one legal question: how far may states go in restricting the individual right to carry guns outside a home.

These various legal challenges have worked their way up to the Supreme Court and now require at least four members of the Court to vote to grant the application to hear the cases.
These challenges include the New York law as well as multiple other cases nationally presenting distinct legal issues.

The Supreme Court has not directly addressed the issue of gun rights since its landmark rulings in 2008 and 2010. The 2008 Heller decision held that the right to keep and bear arms was both a collective (military and law enforcement) right as well as an individual right. The 2010 McDonald decision simply held that the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment extended to the states and municipalities the 2nd Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms.

Several months ago, the Court considered a different prohibition by New York City that kept gun owners from transporting firearms to ranges or second homes outside of the city but then decided not to hear the case after NY City officials repealed that prohibition, rendering that case moot.

During its 10-year break, the Court’s inactivity allowed a number of questionable gun laws and regulations to be passed and then remain law. These included, for example, a suburban Chicago ban on semi-automatic weapons, a variety of prohibitions across the country against carrying guns in public, age limits for carrying guns in Texas and requiring citizens to disable or lock up guns when not in use in San Francisco.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, as a federal appeals court judge, dissented from a 2019 opinion that banned convicted felons from owning a gun. That Kanter case involved a man, Rickey Kanter, who had pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud. Judge Barrett wrote in her dissent that the gun ban went too far because it was being applied to someone who had not been convicted of a violent crime, only mail fraud.

In her dissent, then-judge Barrett wrote that “history is consistent with common sense: It demonstrates that legislatures have the power to prohibit dangerous people from possessing guns. But that power extends only to people who are dangerous. Founding-era legislatures did not strip felons of the right to bear arms simply because of their status as felons.”

Still other gun rights issues now pending before the Supreme Court involve a Pennsylvania man who pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in 2005 who is challenging the ban on purchasing or owning a gun. In another, a Pennsylvania woman who pleaded guilty to making a false statement on her tax returns sued over the ban. Also, the frequently reversed U.S. 9th Circuit recently upheld a Hawaii gun regulation that limits the ability of citizens to openly carry guns in public.

Further, in yet another New York State case, two residents sought a license to carry guns outside their home but were denied because they supposedly didn’t meet the state’s requirement that they have a “special need for self-protection” above and beyond what’s required by the general public. (That standard is so broad I doubt many of us could meet it but undoubtedly our right to self-defense is a “special need” for millions of us!).

Our Constitutional rights are rights that are “fundamental to the Nation’s scheme of ordered liberty and deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.” None of those rights are more important than the 2nd Amendment and the Court should strive to further enshrine and protect it.

DSNAP Approved for 23 Parishes Affected by Winter Storms

Virtual Application Period Will Run in Two Phases Beginning April 5, Will Follow Alphabet Schedule

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has received federal approval to begin virtual Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP) operations in 23 parishes severely affected by the winter storms on Feb. 15-18, 2021. The application process will run in two phases between Monday, April 5, and Saturday, April 17, 2021, and will follow an alphabet schedule according to applicants’ last names.

DSNAP provides food assistance to eligible households who do not receive regular SNAP benefits and who need help buying groceries due to lost income or damages following a disaster. The state must request that the federal government initiate DSNAP but can only do so after the president activates the Stafford Act and approves the parish for Individual Assistance (IA). Each IA-approved parish must also request DSNAP before the benefits can be provided to eligible residents of that parish.

The 23 parishes that requested and were approved for federal Individual Assistance and DSNAP due to extensive power outages, water outages and other damage from the February ice storms are: Avoyelles, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, Catahoula, Claiborne, Concordia, DeSoto, East Baton Rouge, Franklin, Grant, LaSalle, Madison, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, Webster, West Carroll and Winn.

Residents who received SNAP benefits in February 2021 are not eligible for DSNAP and should not apply. Residents who began to receive SNAP benefits after February 2021 may be eligible.

What Applicants Need to Know
Due to ongoing concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic, DSNAP applications will be handled by phone and benefits cards will be mailed to approved applicants.

Residents in the approved parishes will be assigned a day, based on the first letter of their last name, to call the LAHelpU Customer Service Center to apply and be interviewed for DSNAP. On their designated day, residents will call 1-888-524-3578 (select language, then press 3-3-1), between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. See Application Schedule below for assigned dates.

Translation services are available for individuals whose primary language is not English.
Residents are encouraged, but not required, to take the following steps before calling to apply and be interviewed for DSNAP:

Pre-register online first. Step-by-step instructions for this can be found at
Download the LA Wallet mobile app for identity and residency verification. 

Residents who pre-registered or applied for DSNAP since March 2020 do not need to pre-register again.
When residents call to apply and be interviewed for DSNAP, a worker will verify the applicant’s identity and residency, and obtain information about their income, resources and disaster-related expenses. Most applicants will be told on the phone immediately after completing their application and interview whether they have been approved to receive DSNAP and, if so, the amount of benefits they will receive. Applicants will also receive a letter by mail, confirming the eligibility decision made on their application.

Applicants may name an Authorized Representative (AR) to apply for DSNAP benefits on their behalf. The head of household must authorize the person to serve as AR on their behalf, and the worker will need to speak to the head of household to confirm that they agree for the AR to speak on their behalf.

Elderly and disabled applicants who cannot complete the phone application process can apply at their local DCFS office.
Application Schedule

Residents should call the LAHelpU Customer Service Center to apply and be interviewed for DSNAP on their designated day (according to the first letter of their last name) or on the A-Z days, which are open to all residents in the approved parishes for each phase.

Phase 1
Parishes: Avoyelles, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Catahoula, Claiborne, Concordia, DeSoto, Franklin, Grant and Ouachita
Monday, April 5 – Residents with last names beginning with A-F
Tuesday, April 6 – G-M
Wednesday, April 7 – N-S
Thursday, April 8 – T-Z
Friday, April 9 – A-Z (All residents in Phase 1 parishes)
Saturday, April 10 – A-Z (All residents in Phase 1 parishes)

Phase 2
Parishes: Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, LaSalle, Madison, Natchitoches, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, Webster, West Carroll and Winn
Monday, April 12 – Residents with last names beginning with A-F
Tuesday, April 13 – G-M
Wednesday, April 14 – N-S
Thursday, April 15 – T-Z
Friday, April 16 – A-Z (All residents in Phase 2 parishes)
Saturday, April 17 – A-Z (All residents in Phase 2 parishes)

Community Foundation of North Louisiana awards $16K in Scholarships

The Community Foundation of North Louisiana – Clay Abington Donor Advised Fund, has awarded $16,000 in scholarships to students attending the Natchitoches and Sabine Valley campuses of Central Louisiana Technical College (CLTCC). With each campus receiving $8,000, scholarships were awarded based upon financial need, instructor recommendation, and program of study.

“We are infinitely grateful for community partners, such as Mr. Abington, that aid our students and college. Support of this kind reduces the financial burden to the student; thus, allowing them to focus heavily on their academics. The result is a well-skilled, growing workforce,” stated Sabine Campus Dean Gwen Taylor Fontenot.

Established in 1961, the Foundation works to promote philanthropy and improve the quality of life. The Foundation partners with donors to help them achieve a legacy, support nonprofit organizations, and act as a convener. Overseeing more than $150 million in assets, the funds are managed by the Foundation and invested for the community’s benefit, returned to the community in the form of grants.

“I am a big believer in what CLTCC is doing and in doing what I can to prevent any barriers from people learning a trade or earning a credential,” said Clay Abington. “I’m from this area. I grew up in Many and I live in Natchitoches, and it seems our area is in need of more men and women who want to learn a trade. A four-year degree is fine – as it was for me – but it’s not for everyone. We need trades people to grow and maintain our infrastructure and keep this part of the country vibrant.”

Natchitoches Campus Dean Laurie Morrow said, “We are grateful to the Community Foundation and Mr. Abington for recognizing and supporting Career and Technical Education. CLTCC is committed to continue providing relevant skills training to build a skilled workforce in our communities. The generous donation will help lift the financial burden for students who are eager to enter the workforce.”

Natchitoches students receiving scholarships are: Amie Bolton, Manufacturing; Slade Bievnenu, Manufacturing; Joshua Lucky, Manufacturing; Camryn Mitchell, Welding; Colby Stewart, Welding; Trevor Waldrup, Manufacturing; and Kenwick Jewitt, Welding.

Sabine Valley students receiving a $1,000 scholarship are: Miranda Allen, Patient Care Technician; Johnathan Fountain, Welding; John Bercier, Destrick Holmes, Zachary Malmay, Ethan Parrie, Phillip Sarver, and Patrick Woods, Electrician Technology.

Notice of Death – March 30, 2021

Barbara Ann Delphin Balthazar
January 21, 1927 – March 27, 2021
Service: Wednesday, March 31 at 11 am at St. Augustine Catholic Church

Mildred Braden Anthony
March 27, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Mary Lee Bradford
March 25, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Garry Augustus Cole
October 14, 1942 – March 25, 2021
Service: Saturday, April 3 at 1 pm in the chapel of Blanchard-St. Denis

Mike McCart
April 11, 1961 – March 21, 2021
Service: Monday, April 5 at 7 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Van Thomas Barker, Jr.
January 03, 1945 – December 26, 2020
Service: Friday, April 9 from 5-6:30 pm in the chapel of Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Hazel Mae Faircloth
April 15, 1932 – March 29, 2021
Service: Thursday, April 1 at 10 am at St. Joseph Catholic Church

Mary Lee Sproles Ortego
May 29, 1949 – March 18, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Edward Marion Scallion
July 28, 1943 – March 25, 2021
Service: Wednesday, March 31 at 1 pm at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home Chapel

Special Called City Council meeting approves resolution tabled at March 22 meeting

The City Council held a special called meeting Monday morning, March 29, to take a resolution from the table after Council member Rosemary Washington made a motion to table the item at the Council’s regular meeting on March 22. The Council approved the resolution, which was to execute a second change order to the contract between the City and DSW Construction for building renovations of the new National Park Service Warehouse for the Cane River Creole National Historical Park, located at 760 Sixth Street.

At the March 22 meeting Washington said she wanted to table the item until the Council could tour the facility so she could “see the progress of it” before approving the change order. A tour took place on March 25.

NCHS Lady Chiefs Softball Team plays Parkway Lady Panthers TONIGHT!

NCHS Lady Chiefs-Softball District Championship Game on Tuesday, March 30. The Lady Chiefs are 5-1 in district 1-5A and have a 15-6 overall record.

With a win over Parkway Lady Panthers tonight the NCHS Lady Chiefs Softball team will at least clinch a tie for the District 1-5A championship.

This could be the first district championship for the lady chiefs in many many years.

Game time is 4:30 pm for JV and 6 pm for varsity. Wear your maroon and come out and support these ladies in their quest for a district title.

Admission is $7 at the gate and the game will be played at Parc Natchitoches.


CAMPTI-Four juveniles avoided serious injury while one juvenile suffered moderate injuries in a single-vehicle rollover crash on La. Hwy 480 near Campti early this morning according to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.

This morning at approximately 12:46am, Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies, Louisiana State Police, and Natchitoches Regional Medical Center EMS responded to NATCOM 911 Center reports of a single-vehicle rollover crash on La. Hwy 480 near John Foster in the Campti area involving possible entrapment and injuries.

Natchitoches Parish Fire Protection Districts #3 and #9 along with NPSO Rescue were paged out to assist.

Deputies arrived on scene shortly thereafter, discovering no entrapment.

Five juveniles were in the vehicle.

One juvenile was suffering from what appeared to be moderate non-life threatening injuries, while four others were suffering from minor lacerations and bruises.

Deputies say the juvenile suffering from moderate injuries was transported from the scene to Ochsner LSU Health in Shreveport for evaluation and treatment.

Troopers assigned to LSP Troop-E investigated the crash.

The names of the juveniles are not being released.

Demons host LSUA on $2 Tuesday

NATCHITOCHES – When Bobby Barbier looks across the Brown-Stroud Field infield and into the third-base dugout Tuesday, he will see a familiar, friendly face.

Barbier’s Northwestern State baseball team hosts LSUA in the Demons’ lone home mid-week game of the 2021 season, bringing together a pair of former Northwestern State teammates who now are head coaches for a 6 p.m. first pitch on “$2 Tuesday.”

All general admission tickets for Tuesday’s matchup are available for $2 while concessions specials include $2 nachos and hot dogs as well as $2 Michelob Ultra Spicy Pineapple Seltzer, Cucumber Lime Seltzer and Pure Gold beer. Additionally, there will be $2 T-shirts and additional NSU items available as part of the Demon Garage Sale.

“It will be good to have those guys here,” Barbier said. “(LSUA coach) Steven Adams, we call him Skunk, has been a good friend of mine. We played together here.”

The former teammates will meet for the second time as head coaches. Northwestern State grabbed a 6-3 win on April 17, 2019, a game in which seven current Demons started or pitched, including pitcher Peyton Graham, who earned his first career win against the Generals.

While the mid-week game is a rarity this season for the Demons (9-12), it could not have come at a better time for NSU, which has dropped four straight after a weekend sweep at the hands of South Alabama.

“It will be good for us to get back out there right away,” Barbier said. “These four-game (Southland) series leave a lot of time to think about them. There’s more time to prepare but more time to have that sour taste in your mouth. After a tough weekend, it will be good to get out and compete again.”

The matchup marks the second Southland Conference opponent for LSUA, which was 12-12 entering a Monday afternoon contest against Champion Christian. The Generals fell to McNeese 16-6 on March 16.

Barbier’s friendship with Adams helped the programs rekindle their rivalry in 2019 and Barbier said he hopes to continue to play LSUA in future seasons.

“Hopefully, it expands our footprint,” Barbier said. “We want to get people from Alexandria here for more games, and we’re not opposed to playing down there. We have that vision. It was supposed to happen this year, but because of COVID it didn’t happen.

“When I played here, we always played Centenary in Shreveport, or we’d go and play Louisiana College or someone in Alexandria. It’s good to play teams in your region. It lets new fans see the product.”

The Demons are expected to start junior right-hander Josh Banes (1-1, 6.52) while LSUA has yet to name a starter because of their Monday game against Champion Christian.

Boys to Men Club Donation

The Boys to Men Club at NJH received a donation from NSU’s Creole Center. Pictured from left to right are Boys to Men Club Director Jermaine Thomas, NSU Creole Center Director Mrs. Loletta J. Wynder, Markita Hamilton, and NJH Principal Dr. Charles LaFollette.

Mr. Thomas says, “The club operates strictly on the generosity of people donating, and it’s people like this who make it possible for these guys to perform various activities away from the school.”

The Boys to Men Club is a service organization for 7th & 8th grade youth males enrolled at NJH. If you would like to donate or contribute to the success of this club, please contact Mr. Jermaine Thomas during school hours at (318) 238-0066 or email