Update: Natchitoches Police Department finds missing person with public’s help

The Natchitoches Police Department has located Lewis Evans Jr. and he has been returned safely to his home. We would like to thank the public for the assistance received to help find the missing person.

If you would like to report suspicious activity please contact the Natchitoches Police Department at (318) 352-8101. Remember all information given shall remain confidential.

Original Story: The Natchitoches Police Department is asking the public for assistance in locating a missing person

The Natchitoches Police Department is asking the public for assistance in finding a man that has been missing for over a week.

On April 28, 2021 around 9:37 a.m., officers with the Natchitoches Police Department were dispatched to the 400 block of Shady Lane in reference to a missing person. Officers were able to make contact with family members who said that Lewis Evans Jr. (B/M, 80 y.o.a., standing around 5’10”, weighing 152 pounds of Natchitoches) has been missing since April 21, 2021.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Lewis Evans Jr. please contact the Natchitoches Police Department at (318) 352-8101 or Detective Terry Johnson at (318) 357-3858. Remember all information given shall remain confidential.

Update: Natchitoches Police arrest another individual for seven counts of Principal to Attempted First Degree Murder

The Natchitoches Police Department has arrested Promis Johnson (B/M, 21 y.o.a. of Natchitoches) for seven counts of Principle to Attempted First Degree Murder for a shooting that occurred earlier this month on Jackson Drive. Promis Johnson has been booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center where he is awaiting bond.

Original Story:
Natchitoches Police arrest individual for seven counts of Attempted First Degree Murder

The Natchitoches Police Department has arrested an individual for seven counts of Attempted First Degree Murder for a shooting that occurred on Jackson Drive.

On April 6, 2021 around 7:30 p.m., officers with the Natchitoches Police Department responded to the 600 block of Jackson Drive in reference to gunshots in the area. Upon officers arrival they located a juvenile who was suffering from a single gunshot wound. While officers were speaking with witnesses they were notified that the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office located the suspect vehicle in the 100 block of Keith Drive.

Kwane Roberson (B/F, 23 y.o.a. of Natchitoches) has been arrested for seven counts of Attempted First Degree Murder and she was placed in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center.

The juvenile was transported to the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center where they are listed in stable condition.

If you would like to report suspicious activity please contact the Natchitoches Police Department at (318) 352-8101 or if you have additional information in regards to this investigation please contact Detective William Connell at (318) 238-3911. Remember all information given shall remain confidential.

NSU hosts Red River Special Olympics, Exceptional Festival

Northwestern State University hosted the 2021 Red River Special Olympics Games and a Very Exceptional Festival April 27, drawing dozens of athletes and artists from the surrounding area to participate in a morning of track and field sports, arts and crafts and field games, supported by teachers, parents and friends.

Athletes and artists representing East Natchitoches, Fairview Alpha, Goldonna, Lakeview High School, L.P. Vaughn, Marthaville, Natchitoches Central, Natchitoches Junior High, NSU Elementary Lab and Provencal participated.

The event was hosted by NSU’s Presidential Leadership Program, Special Olympics Louisiana and its board of directors. NSU First. Year Experience, University Police, Student Government Association, Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society and Residential Life also helped make the event a success, following its cancellation in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. NSU students, student-athletes and coaches and seniors from St. Mary’s High school offered assistance.

Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office provided lunch for athletes, artists, teachers and coaches.

The motto of Special Olympics, which inspires thousands of communities to support the organization, is “Let me win. But if I cannot win let me be brave in the attempt.”

Diversity: Performative or Real Progress?

By Nadia Johnson, NSU Communications Major/African American Caucus Secretary

As I drive along the highway heading back to college from a long vacation, I glance at billboards along the road. I often use them as checkpoints along my journey to measure how long I have until I reach my destination. As I’m nearing Exit 138 outside of Natchitoches, I do a double take. Something, more specifically someone, has changed. Two Black student leaders stare back at me, in the space where two white students had been previously placed. I can’t help but wonder on the remainder of my drive if this change is a sign of real progress ― or performative action.

In the past, I joked with my friends that my generation has done nothing to leave a mark on the Earth but make the warning labels on Tide pods slightly bigger. Compared to the outspoken and powerful, revolutionary, passionate generations before me, my generation felt lazy in comparison.

The summer of 2020 turned the world upside down. I witnessed thousands upon thousands of young protestors of every race, in every city, in countries all over the world, rain or shine, march in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. They were relentless making their voices heard after the shocking murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd just to name a few. The outpouring of support from passionate and persistent young people was staggering, but the real surprise was the immediate amount of support from companies and organizations, many of which had previously been silent on such issues. Their willingness to step up left many hopeful for a better future, including me.

Seven months later, on Jan. 18, 2021, I laced up my shoes and took it to the streets for the annual MLK Day March held to honor the life and memory of one of the most influential civil rights leaders in the world, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. But this time, I wasn’t just participating. I was leading.

The night before the Natchitoches March for Justice and Peace, I knew I would be getting all the work-out I’d need for the week since the march started at Northwestern State from Caspari Street and ran all the way to the Dr. King monument near Texas Street and MLK Jr. Drive. At first, all I could think about was whether my new shoes would be comfortable to walk in. Then, the thought of all my duties upon arriving at the march became a little overwhelming. All those concerns instantly evaporated when I pulled into the parking lot. Hundreds of people – students, locals, city officials – were present and ready to march. Only one thought came to my head ― I hope someone brought a megaphone.

Turns out I didn’t need it.

As I marched alongside my fellow African American Caucus members on Martin Luther King Drive, signs high and voices loud, it took a lot of inner strength not to cry. Children of all ages gathered outside their houses, waving and cheering. It was like we were superheroes to them.

I’m pretty sure my family down in New Orleans could hear shouting those chants. Too often, our experiences are minimized, and our voices silenced. Not now. Not today.

I basked in the feeling of euphoria and pride for the rest of the day. I drove home fulfilled, the sun shining bright, not a cloud in the sky, feet aching like I’d just run a marathon. I was on the phone with my parents before I could even take my shoes off and prop my aching feet on the coffee table.

“It was awe-inspiring,” I said to my family. “We’ve done this march for years and I’ve never seen that many people! There were even reporters from the local news stations, so you know I tried my best to get on TV.”

My father jokingly replied, “When you get good like me, the camera will find you, not the other way around. But, seriously, I’m proud of you. I know you were working hard, I’m glad you got a great turn out, and I hope you keep it up. This is an experience you will remember and share for the rest of your life.”

While it was the most fun I’ve had all year, I was disappointed about one thing; we didn’t get more participation from white people, especially those in powerful positions on campus and around Natchitoches. This was their chance to literally walk the walk.

To establish real progressive change, you must continue to walk the walk. Stay consistent, stay persistent, and have open ears and an open mind. Progressive actions that advocate change are developed through constant, conscious efforts to advance your goal and promote diversity and inclusion, concepts that have been a trend for far too long. A trend is a sign of significant development or change, but the defining characteristic of a trend is that it is ultimately finite.

You can replace billboards, you can rename the Iberville stage to honor the first Black students to integrate Northwestern State, and you can put out as many diversity statements as you want, but if the image behind closed doors does not match the image being portrayed to the public, authenticity is absent and trust between the establishment and the people is broken. Diversity and inclusivity are about more than just the token person of color in the room. It’s about creating a space to include different voices and perspectives so that everyone feels seen, heard, represented, and appreciated. Diversity cannot be a trend; it has to be a way of life.

The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Natchitoches Parish Journal.  If you have an article or story of interest for publishing consideration by the NPJ, please send it to NPJNatLa@gmail.com.

Natchitoches Police arrest individual for threatening to blow up police station

On April 27, 2021 around 12:07 p.m., Police Communication Officers with the Natchitoches Police Department received a phone call from an individual stating they were going to blow up the police station. The Criminal Investigations Division and the High Tech Crime Unit were notified and they were able to locate the residence where the bomb threat was made in the 500 block of North Street. As a result of their investigation they were able to identify Brandon Daniels (B/M, 20 y.o.a. of Natchitoches) as the suspect.

Brandon Daniels was located and placed under arrest without incident. He is charged with one count of Communicating of False Information of Planned Arson and was placed in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center.

Communicating of False Information of Planned Arson is a felony and carries a maximum prison sentence of not more than fifteen years.

If you would like to report suspicious activity please contact the Natchitoches Police Department at (318) 352-8101 or if you have additional information in regards to this investigation please contact Detective Terry Johnson at (318) 357-3858. Remember all information given shall remain confidential.

NSU’s Living Library focuses on LGBTQIA+ experiences

Northwestern State University’s Eugene P. Watson Library hosted the Spring 2021 edition of Watson’s Living Library Collection: Everyone Has a Story with panelists sharing their deeply personal experiences as individuals or parents of individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+.

From left are moderator Dr. Greg Handel and panelists Claire Prymus, Samuel Wright, Krislyn Mardis, Dr. Frank Serio, Maggie Welch, Brett Garfinkel, Sharon Wolff, Andy and Christine Ferrell, Emily Adams and Lee Whitney. The Living Library showcases the diversity of communities by validating life experiences of individuals via round table discussions, interviews, question and answer panels, live recordings, speakers and panel events.

The Living Library’s educational impact is in using a social approach to educate students, breaking down silos on campus via multi-disciplinary presentation, enhancing the library collections and creating an inclusive environment to accept diverse communities.

Natchitoches Police Department asks public for assistance in locating missing person

The Natchitoches Police Department is asking the public for assistance in finding a man that has been missing for over a week.

On April 28, 2021 around 9:37 a.m., officers with the Natchitoches Police Department were dispatched to the 400 block of Shady Lane in reference to a missing person. Officers were able to make contact with family members who said that Lewis Evans Jr. (B/M, 80 y.o.a., standing around 5’10”, weighing 152 pounds of Natchitoches) has been missing since April 21, 2021.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Lewis Evans Jr. please contact the Natchitoches Police Department at (318) 352-8101 or Detective Terry Johnson at (318) 357-3858. Remember all information given shall remain confidential.

The Story of an Oodle, Doodle Poodle and How She Helps an Old Geezer Get Through the Day

By Joe Darby

Let me introduce you to Baby. She’s a little 12-pound fuzzy ball of love with a poodle ancestor somewhere in her past along with a lot of other unknown pooches. My vet would doubtless describe her as a poodle mix. I call her an Oodle or a Doodle Poodle, simply because I like the way that sounds when I say it out loud.

You may have seen my column two weeks ago in which I wrote about how I had to place my dear wife Mary in a nursing home because of advanced dementia. So, having Baby, with all of her incredibly affectionate, loving ways, goes a long way to helping me tolerate my loss.

I’ve had dogs pretty much all of my life — two or three dozen, probably. I loved all of them but some, of course, stand out as being particularly great canines. Maybe it’s just because of what’s going on in my life, but as of right now, I would have to rank Baby as my No. 1 dog of all time.

She shows love like a small, loving child does. She is not content to hop up in my lap and get the back of her neck scratched. No. She likes to rest her entire body and head against my chest, literally cuddling, and coming as close as a dog can to giving a hug. As much as she gives love, she is also a needy little pup and thrives on love and affection shown to her, also.

We got Baby from Hope for Paws, towards the end of 2019. Mary was still aware and alert, but the signs of her dementia were rapidly becoming more noticeable. But she instantly fell in love with Baby. Baby loved her too (and it should be admitted at this point that, from what I can see, Baby pretty much loves everybody.)

And as time went on, Baby spent more and more time in Mary’s lap. You know, they say dogs can sense when a person is ill and our Oodle Doodle Poodle certainly showed special affection to her Mama.

The way this all came about was that, after we had lost a previous dog, we had gone several months without one, because having to see our beloved pets’ lives end was becoming more and more painful. I have five dogs buried in my backyard right now. Anyway, we were missing having a little four-footed friend around the house, so I began looking at the website of Hope for Paws, a Natchitoches rescue outfit that places homeless dogs with loving families.

Most of the pups shown at that time were large dogs, many of them pit bulls, and Mary and I preferred a small dog, one that could comfortably snuggle up in our laps. Then a picture of a little curly haired white dog, with black spots around her eyes, caught my attention. She was named Sadie. So, long story short, I made some calls and Sadie’s foster mom, Carla Salard, brought her by our house. It was love at first sight and before you could say Oodle, Doodle Poodle, it, Sadie had joined our household.

Mary and I always liked to name our own dogs and the moniker Baby just popped in my head for some reason. For one thing, when pronounced out loud, it sounds like Sadie, and that would minimize any confusion for the dog when we called her. So, Baby it was.

As you may have gathered from my above remarks, the pup has been a perfect fit for me. I call her, in a child-like voice I use just for her, “Da sweetest little dog in da wuld.” (The sweetest little dog in the world, in everyday English.)

She loves to go for walks or rides in the car and when she sees me with her halter, she goes crazy, wiggling so much that it’s difficult for me to get the thing on to her body. She’s also a very vocal little dog and actually squeaks with delight as we prepare to go out. She makes the same sound when I come home from an outing on my own. Or, truth be told, she makes the same sounds when a guest comes in the door. As I said, she loves everybody.

If she gets a little bored she will find her little green rubber bone squeaky toy, jump up in my lap and challenge me to a game of keep away. She lets me win, because that way, when I get the toy, she knows I will throw it across the room and she madly dashes after it and then back onto the couch with me, where the game begins all over again.

She loves people food, of course, and eats her dog food only after letting it sit in her bowl for a while. I usually let her have the last small bite of a meal, or let her lick a plate. But iIf I leave a hamburger or candy wrapper in a waste can, the moment I turn my back, she dives into the can to see if there are any remnants for her to scoff down. Also, one time, I stupidly left a large pack of M&M chocolates on my bedside table. I left the house and when I got home I had a pretty sick dog on my hands. She had to stay overnight at Dr. Joey’s clinic. But I learned my lesson. Candy — and even gum — is now left in places that Baby can’t get to.

I let her sleep with me, of course, and she likes to snuggle. So much so that I have to be careful not to roll over on top of her. But, right now, I don’t know what I’d do without her. Some folks say we should call our dogs “non-human companions,” rather than pets. I think that’s kind of silly, because Baby doesn’t know anything about the definition of “pet” or “non-human companion.” But she is, in fact, my companion, my pal, my little friend. I’ll say it one more time. I don’t know what I’d do without her.

Blessed: The Burning Bush

If you close your eyes and imagine a thirty day calendar, I can tell you the numerical dates of each day for the next three months. My mind eats, sleeps and breaths a calendar while making sure that everything is accounted for on the appropriate date. Attention must be paid so no balls are dropped.

Being a single parent who works three jobs (I love saying that because I consider none of the three actual work), a calendar has become part of my DNA. It is also somewhat of a security blanket. My mind is consumed with schedules for church, family time, drop offs and pick ups for sports and social events for my daughter, meetings, and the occasional doctor’s appointment for her or a random hair appointment for myself.

There is so very little room for deviating from my calendar because something.

On this particularly cloudy and overcast day, my schedule was packed. But, I was feeling blessed because I was relying on someone else to take my youngest for a sports physical at her Pediatrician’s office in Ruston. I really do not think that I have missed more than a hand full of doctor’s appointments since both children have been born, so mommy guilt was not rearing it’s ugly head.

Just as I was finishing a meeting in Grant Parish I was notified that my blessing had backed out of their commitment. The blessing no longer felt like a blessing. I now had to rush back to Natchitoches, keep a hair appointment that had already been moved a time or two, make the doctor’s appointment and get the child back before Volleyball practice started.

On the ride to Ruston, as my daughter fell asleep, it gave me time to pray and seek God about my stress. Yes, it was partially self-induced, I was mostly angry at myself for allowing me to rely on someone who has not always been the pillar of consistency. Was I trying to do too much? Would I ever have good hair? Would I ever make it to a gym again? Am I a bad mother? How does a single mom with multiple children handle life?

I was truly feeling like a poor planner who could not rely on anyone other than herself. This was going to be an epic pity party once I found the time to enjoy it.

During that drive, I literally prayed that God would send me a sign that I was going to be okay and that all of the tiny tasks set before me in this life would get accomplished. This was more like a desperate plea from an emotionally stressed woman who was questioning her role in life. I just needed a sign. One small sign. Or, a burning bush.

When the appointment was over I felt a slight burden being lifted. Life was looking up and the sun was beginning to peek through the clouds. It was truly becoming a beautiful day.

As we were leaving the clinic I spoke to a few of the patients sitting outside waiting on their group transportation. One particular lady with a fragile smile caught my eye. She kept staring at me so I simply said, “Isn’t it a beautiful day?”

She quickly replied, “Come here, I need to tell you something.” I obeyed and headed in her direction.

She went on to say, “Beauty is everywhere you look if you slow down to notice it.” I agreed with her and was just starting to move on when she asked me if I had a twin. Perplexed at her question and with a puzzled look, I verified that I was not a twin.

With so much intention and wisdom in her eyes she firmly said, “So that means you came into this world alone and you are equipped to handle anything that comes your way all by yourself, you don’t need anyone else.”

On any other regular day that I had not freshly prayed for a burning bush sign, I would have merely appreciated her wit and moved on. This was so much more than wittiness. This was my burning bush. This precious woman had no idea how much my soul needed these words. God was letting me know that his grace was sufficient for me and always there for me. God didn’t send me a burning bush that day. He sent a woman full of strength, knowledge and confidence to know that God always shows up on time. He is never late.

I am still realizing that the more I rely on my calendar and my own strength, that I am not allowing any room for trusting that my Savior will take care of my concerns and meet my needs as they arise.

“So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”. – Isaiah 41:10

Legacy Youth Workforce Development Program Host Its 4th Graduation Ceremony

The Ben D. Johnson Educational Center (BDJ Center) hosted its fourth graduation ceremony for students in the Legacy Youth Workforce Development Program. After receiving sixteen weeks of professional development, culinary training, and applicable life skills education, three graduates are closer to brighter future opportunities. Honorees are Torroneisha Bowers, Raven Phillips and Emilee Vaughn. These students started the program with several barriers to employment and were able to remove those barriers with the help of the BDJ Center staff.

These students are now trained in food service and customer care, they can budget their finances, manage their time, communicate, handle their affairs, set goals, plan for their future and go on to be self-sufficient members of our society. All they need are opportunities from employers in this community. If you are interested in placing one of their graduates, contact the BDJ Center.

The LYWD Program was created to combat the unfortunate circumstances that many young adults in Natchitoches Parish find themselves in. Nearly 47% of the population in Natchitoches lives below the poverty line, which compared to the national average of 13.1%, is shocking. The largest portion of those living in poverty in Natchitoches are those between the ages of 18-24, and these are the individuals the BDJ Center aim to transform in their workforce development training program.

JoAnna Cooper, the Executive Director of the Ben D. Johnson Educational Center said “we believe the LYWD Program is essential to the youth of Natchitoches and our community. We provide an option for young adults and we set them on the path towards a sustainable life, free of barriers. The Legacy Youth Workforce Development Program’s staff provide a safe place for young people to learn and to grow. We meet them where they are, then help to guide them where they need to be for success. Everyone deserves a chance.”

Student Emilee Vaughn stated “I’ve learned a lot from the Legacy Workforce Training Program. I received my ServSafe Certification and I’ve improved my communication skills. I would recommend the training to other youth who want a career in food service.”

If you know anyone who might benefit from the BDJ Center’s training program, learn more about their programs contact them via phone (318) 460-7460.

Public School Pre-K Pre-Applications and Registration Support

Beginning May 4 the Natchitoches Parish Early Childhood Network will be offering limited in-person appointments to assist families with completing the 2021-2022 Public Pre-K Program Pre-Application process.

These appointments are optional. Applications can be completed online at http://www.teachingtomorrownow.com and all documents can be uploaded directly yo the application. Appointments are available on the following dates as listed below. To schedule an appointment, visit our website http://www.teachingtomorrownow.com.

Natchitoches Magnet School Applications must be completed and submitted to the Natchitoches Magnet School. This form can be filled out online or an application can be picked up at the Natchitoches Magnet School.

Please note:
All appointments will take place at the Natchitoches Parish School Board Office, Title I Media Center, located at 310 Royal Street in Natchitoches. Visitors should report alone (with the exception of translators). All visitors must report to the office for Covid-19 protocols. Facial coverings (masks) are REQUIRED for all visitors. For questions contact our office at 318-352-2358.

NSU will relax restrictions for spring commencement

Northwestern State University will relax restrictions planned for spring commencement exercises, following Governor John Bel Edwards’ announcement Tuesday that large public buildings can open to 100 percent occupancy if all individuals are wearing masks.

Ceremonies will take place at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 5-Friday, May 7. The ceremonies will be live streamed at http://www.nsula.edu.

Armbands will not be required to attend any of the six commencement ceremonies and graduates will not be limited to the number of guests in attendance. Everyone must wear a mask to enter the building. Guests will be directed to their seats and families who wish to sit together must enter the building together. Saving seats will not be allowed. Guests are asked to remain seated for the duration of the ceremony if possible.

Graduates will enter the main door of the Coliseum and will be escorted to their seats. There will be no graduate procession. Guests for graduates with last names beginning with A-L should use entrance and exits on the east side of Prather Coliseum, the side facing the tennis courts. Guests for graduates with last names beginning with M-Z should use entrance and exits on the west side of Prather Coliseum, the side facing the Kappa Sigma House. ADA accessibility entrance is on the West side. Graduates and guests should plan to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to each ceremony.

“We are pleased that our graduates will be able to share their special day with family, but we do ask that everyone attending commencement ceremonies continue to wear masks indoors and be courteous to others in attendance,” said NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio.


By Tommy Rush

It’s easy to feel dumb these days. Recently, our “Smart TV” came on by itself and after a few minutes went off. I’m sure it had something to do with one of the two remotes that we must use to turn it on and off. On the hand, it may have been the cloudy weather interrupting the satellite waves from the dish on our roof and the satellite sending signals somewhere a million miles away in space. Whatever the problem, our “Smart TV” has been doing some really dumb things lately.

I find it interesting today that we have access to over 300 television channels, but there never seems to be anything worth watching. It seems like the “smarter” the TV’s become, the worse the programs are getting and the dumber we get by watching them. My eight year-old granddaughter helped me with TV issue. When she disconnected her brother’s game box and reconnected the satellite box and reset the WIFI the problem was solved. Like I said, it’s easy to feel dumb when 60 year olds are asking 8 year olds for help.

It’s amazing how many personal gadgets and devices we have today. Recently I noticed my daughter holding her watch up to her computer. When I asked her what she was doing, she told me that it automatically transferred her daily schedule into her watch. I’m so confused I don’t know if I should look her in the eyes when I’m talking to her or just talk to her watch.

Personally, I still prefer the simple things in life. I enjoy sitting on the back porch with a cup of coffee and watching the sun go down more than seeing a picture of a sunset on a Facebook post. I still prefer to send a letter by mail than sending an email. Don’t hear me wrong, I’m not against technology or all the many ways devices have made life easier over the years. I love the ability to FaceTime family members who live far away and see their face. I’ve even been known to order a thing or two on Amazon, when someone is around to assist me.

There’s definitely a lot of positives, but that’s not the point. The point is that I just prefer things simple! I guess that’s why I like the gospel – it’s simple, but it’s powerful. The Bible tells us in Romans 10:9-10, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes resulting in righteousness and with the mouth he confesses resulting in salvation.” Whether you are a 60 year old or 8 year old, it good to know that God made it simple for all who are willing to believe.

Angler’s Perspective: An Anglers Learning Curve

As a young fisherman growing up in East Texas during the 70’s, there wasn’t a lot of material available on how to be a better angler. Sure, you could go down to the local library and maybe find a few books to check out but nothing that really made you sit up and take notice. Then came along Bassmaster Magazine, oh my Lord, are you kidding me? Wow…I mean it was the greatest thing to ever happen to bass fishing!

Finally, a monthly publication dedicated to nothing but bass fishing. It definitely shortened the learning curve of my generation. It had full color sketches of baits and techniques, how to fish wood, how to fish hydrilla (grass), and even how to make the proper cast. It had tips and pointers on how to catch fish under all conditions. It gave the results of all B.A.S.S. (Bass Angler Sportsman’s Society) tournaments and how the pro anglers caught their fish. It even had “best times to fish” calendar for every day of the month based on the moon phases. I mean are you kidding me, the moon phases. Who knew the moon had an impact on when a bass would feed or not feed. This was pure science for those of you that think bass fishing is all luck. Leave it to Bassmaster Magazine to be the educational leader of the outdoors world. I would literally sit by the mailbox near the end of each month just waiting for mine to be delivered. Nothing lit my fire for reading more than Bassmaster Magazine! It’s probably responsible for correcting my dyslexia issue I had in my early elementary years. That’s how good Bassmaster Magazine was and still is today.

Then came VHS tapes and so many videos that showed live footage of catching bass. Videos showing live underwater footage of bass in their natural environment. They had one called “Big Mouth” that showed an angler fishing a crankbait with two sets of treble hooks and a bass inhaling the lure and spitting it out and the angler never knew he had a bite. It was insane to think a bass could actually do this! Videos took bass fishing to a whole other level. They had professional bass fishermen like Bill Dance, Virgil Ward, John Fox, Ricky Green, Bobby & Billy Murray and one angler who many consider to be the best angler ever Roland Martin doing video presentations. “How to” videos designed to shorten your learning curve and make you a better angler. Of course, if you had a VCR to play your VHS tapes, you were considered wealthy. But once they became more affordable, everyone had one. You could even go to Blockbuster Video Store and rent these bass fishing tapes. How cool was that?

For today’s anglers, it’s a whole other world with the amount of bass fishing videos, books and magazines available. Oh, then came this thing called the internet which has more information than hundreds of thousands of libraries. It’s an information highway that has given anglers of today the ability to look up any topic about every facet of bass fishing. There are even videos from average anglers that like to share their fishing experiences and information via GoPro cameras. So, the learning curve for today’s anglers has been cut in half. Instead of taking years to accumulate knowledge like it has for my generation, today’s generation can learn the same amount of information in just a few weeks. But there’s one thing I’ve learned over my 40 plus years of bass fishing experience: there’s no replacing time on the water. No book, no video and no internet can replace time on the water. This is how an average angler can become a great angler. Till next time, don’t forget to set the hook!

Steve Graf
Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Show
And Tackle Talk Live

NSU Pi Kapps celebrate Beta Omicron Chapter’s successes, Rose Court, alumni at annual formal

Members of the Beta Omicron Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity at NSU and their dates celebrated the accomplishments of the chapter and individuals at the annual Rose Ball formal, a long-cherished tradition of the fraternity.

Held April 24, 2021 at NSU’s Sylvan Friedman Student Union, the evening began with welcoming remarks from student chapter Archon Matthew Raybon.

Following a catered meal, several members were honored for their dedication in the last year. The chapter’s ‘Mister Pi Kappa Phi’ award was given to Alphonse Engram for best exemplifying the values of the Fraternity and unmatched overall dedication as a brother. Javier Garcia was named ‘Active Member of the Year,’ while Jay Rowling received ‘Associate Member of the Year.’ Raybon was recognized for his dedication to chapter leadership with the Kroeg Award. Jonathan Jimenez received the Mixson Award for excellence in campus involvement. The Fogarty Award for dedication to academic achievement went to Andrew Dubriske.

Graduating seniors Ben Butcher, Diego Maldonado, and Alphonse Engram imparted wisdom and shared favorite memories from their experiences in Pi Kappa Phi.

Each year the Beta Omicron Chapter selects the fraternity sweetheart, known as the Rose Queen. This honorary title is bestowed upon one woman who embodies class, character, and elegance. Chandler Milligan was crowned the 2021 Beta Omicron chapter Rose Queen. Others named to the court include: Morgan Landry, Claire Schouest, Naysia Jones, and Halle Mahfouz. 2020 Rose Queen Chloe Farrar presented Milligan with a bouquet of red roses, the official flower of the fraternity, while members and alumni performed the traditional serenade, ‘The Rose of Pi Kappa Phi.’ Milligan is the granddaughter of the late Beta Omicron Chapter alumnus Robert Crew and Jacque Crew, who is an honorary rose of the fraternity.

The Beta Omicron Chapter Distinguished Alumnus Award is given each year to an individual for their personal achievement, outstanding service to the Fraternity and community, involvement in the life of the university, and serving as a model for lifelong brotherhood. The 2021 ‘Alumnus of the Year’ is Robert Broadwell, who serves as director of housing for the Beta Omicron Alumni Chapter. A 1972 initiate of the Beta Omicron Chapter, he served in numerous roles as a student leader, including involvement in intramural sports, recruitment, and campus activities. Broadwell graduated from Northwestern in 1975 with a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Arts and quickly became a leader in the healthcare industry. After a successful career of 32 years with Baxter Healthcare, he retired as Regional Manager of Infusion Systems. He has been a longtime volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America and Troop 6 in Alexandria. He became a leader, high adventure trip planner, and took his sons and their fellow scouts on trips to New Mexico and Canada. Since retiring from the medical sector, he has taught himself to play guitar, and enjoys fishing, hunting, and trips with friends. Over the last 20 years, he has been an active alumnus, serving as an advisor to the student chapter and playing a critical role in organizing alumni. He has been an important consultant and supporter of numerous alumni and student chapter efforts, having a direct hand in nearly every success of our organization in that time frame. Broadwell has served as president of the Beta Omicron Chapter Housing Corporation and was a key player in the purchase and operation of our previous chapter house on University Parkway. He also served in leadership roles with our 50th and 60th anniversary reunions and activities. Over the last two years, he led our effort to design, finance, and construct the new $1.1 million Beta Omicron Chapter house along Chaplin’s Lake. He invested countless hours working with the architects, contractors, and vendors to meet the needs of our student residents and ensure the project was completed on time and within its budget. This project would not have been the overwhelming success it achieved, had it not been for the expertise and guidance of this award’s recipient. He is married to his high school sweetheart, the former Pam Pitman. This summer, they will celebrate their 44th anniversary. They have two sons, Patrick and Thomas who is a Pi Kapp from our LSU chapter.

Two grant proposals worth $138,000 approved

Two faculty grant proposals from Northwestern State University worth $138,303 have been approved for funding by the State Board of Regents through the Regents Support Fund.

The proposal, “Enhancement of Methods Course Offerings through the Acquisition of Musical Instruments” by Dr. J. Mark Thompson, professor of music – low brass in the Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts, was funded for $110,228.00. Assistant Professor of Music – Music Education Dr. Mitchell Davis is project director and co-principal investigator for the grant project. “Enhancement of Automation, Robotics and Operation Research Infrastructure for Engineering Technology” by Associate Professor of Engineering Technology Dr. Xinjia Chen received $ 28,075.00.

Thirty-two proposals were funded at the state’s public and private universities. The proposal by Thompson and Davis was number three overall and Chen’s was ranked ninth.

Northwestern State has a long history of preparing students to become music educators. There are 102 students enrolled in a music education track containing instrumental music. Each student must complete the sequence of methods courses necessary to train them how to perform and teach each instrument necessary for success as a P-12 music educator.

“To be most effective in this task, it is essential to have sufficient numbers of each instrument on hand in order to give students adequate access to learn how to perform and teach them,” said Thompson. “The current inventory is not sufficient either in numbers or condition to fully support the classroom needs.”

Davis pointed out that on average, each methods course has an enrollment of 18 students and this number has grown steadily as our overall music enrollment has increased.

“The average age of each instrument is about 25 years, with several over 60 years old,” said Davis. “Routine maintenance has been performed as needed, but student-line instruments are not designed to have a significant lifespan.”

According to Thompson, in the recent accreditation process, the National Association of Schools of Music concluded that the procurement of instruments for music education classes was a matter that needed immediate attention and should be of highest priority.

“The acquisition of these instruments will enable NSU to more effectively prepare music education students and satisfy accreditation-related concerns,” said Thompson. “An additional benefit of this grant is that it allows Northwestern State to incorporate modern band instruments into the methods curriculum.”

Chen’s grant will allow the Department of Engineering Technology to create a cutting-edge laboratory of automation, robotics and operation research (AROR) as an enhancement to its engineering technology program, which currently enjoys full ABET accreditation. Chen said engineers and technologists with expertise in AROR are extensively needed by industry as they can play crucial roles in making manufacturing processes significantly more productive and safer.

“With such a state-of-the-art laboratory of AROR, we will significantly enrich our curriculum and engage our students in various design and capstone projects from local and regional industries, as suggested by the Industry Advisory Committee and required by ETAC of ABET for accreditation,” said Chen.

Faculty in the Department of Engineering Technology plan to work closely with students to pursue theoretical and practical research in frontier topics such as optimization the performance of automatic and intelligent systems, while managing the risk of system failure due to uncertainties, according to Chen.

“This will drastically improve the image of our programs and help to attract more students to pursue engineering technology in our department,” said Chen. “This laboratory can also be used by industrial engineering technology students, as automatic control and artificial intelligence is an essential filed of industrial engineering technology. The laboratory will allow our department to make a giant leap forward in training our students with the most needed cutting-edge technology and opens many doors for their employment and technical careers.”

Northwestern State’s Landry named finalist for Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete Award

Northwestern State receiver Gavin Landry has been chosen as a finalist for the Doris Robinson Scholar-Athlete award presented by STATS FCS, the organization announced on its Twitter account.

Landry is one of 13 finalists for the honor, which will be announced on May 5.

The Doris Robinson Award, named for the late wife of legendary Grambling football coach Eddie Robinson, honors an FCS student-athlete who excels in classroom, in the community and beyond.

Landry is the Southland Conference representative and will compete with honorees from each of the other 12 FCS conferences.

He’s the lone nominee from a Louisiana school, the state which Doris and Eddie Robinson called home.

Landry graduated with a 3.93 GPA in business administration this past May.

The senior receiver was a four-year member on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and a four-year member on the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Leadership Team.

On the field, Landry worked his way into a starting role this season, accounting for 227 yards on 17 catches and a touchdown in six spring games.

The White Castle native also threw a 25-yard touchdown this season.

In 2019, Landry was well on his way to his best season with 243 yards on 26 catches and two touchdowns before his missed the final four games with an ACL tear.

For NSU, it’s the second straight year in which a Demon has been named a finalist. Offensive lineman Chris Zirkle was a finalist in 2019.

Opportunity: Secretary


LOCATION: Central Office

QUALIFICATIONS: High School Diploma or equivalent, Associate or
Bachelor’s Degree preferred, excellent communication
skills, and proficiency in computer skills.

SALARY: According to Parish Salary Schedule



Linda Page, Personnel Director
Natchitoches Parish School Board
P. O. Box 16
Natchitoches, LA 71458-0016
(318) 352-2358

DEADLINE: Monday, May 3, 2021; 4:00 p.m.

APPLICATIONS: Application packet should consist of a letter of
application, resume’, official transcript, and two
letters of reference.


OPPORTUNITY: Custodian – Police Department

POSITION: Custodian – Police Department

DESCRIPTION: Must follow directions given by immediate supervisor in the daily care and maintenance of Police Department. This position requires that typical custodial duties be performed both inside and outside the Police Department facilities.

QUALIFICATIONS: Must possess a LA driver’s license.

CONTACT: City of Natchitoches, Human Resources Department located at 1400 Sabine St. or P.O. Box 37, Natchitoches, LA 71458-0037. Application may also be picked up upstairs at City Hall located at 700 Second St. or downloaded online at http://www.natchitochsla.gov

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: Applications will be accepted through: May 5, 2021