Northwestern State’s weekend schedule changes at Central Arkansas because of expected rain

CONWAY, Ark.– The Northwestern State baseball series at Central Arkansas has moved games up because of expected rain.

The Demons will play a doubleheader Friday starting at 3 p.m. which will consist of a seven-inning and a nine-inning game.

Decisions about the remaining two games will be made after Friday’s doubleheader.

NSU (21-17, 15-9 Southland Conference) is on a five-game winning streak after taking the Houston Baptist finale and sweeping Nicholls in a four-game set.

The Demons are in a tie for third place in the league and will be facing 11th-place UCA (14-21, 9-15).


Notice of Death – April 29, 2021

NATCHITOCHES:
Scott Alexander
December 29, 1974 – April 27, 2021At his request, he did not want a funeral, and to quote his favorite movie Tombstone, “Well…bye”.

Carolyn Faye Glover Roberts
June 17, 1945 – April 28, 2021
No service arrangements listed

Lawson Boyett
February 16, 1932 – April 29, 2021
Service: Saturday, May 1 at 2 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Chuck Raymond Foshee, Sr.
February 17, 1943 – April 28, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Camille Hoover
April 24, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Harry Graham
April 24, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Amari Clark
April 28, 2002 – April 22, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Donnie Ray Armstrong
February 1, 1953 – April 18, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Rickey Lane Smith Sr.
October 7, 1968 – April 17, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Thelma Jean Morris
April 16, 2021
Arrangements TBA

SABINE:
Joanna McComic
April 19, 1971 – April 25, 2021
Service: Friday, April 30 at 2 pm at Warren Meadows Funeral Home Chapel


The Chiefs Take Care of Business at the Class 5a Regional Track Meet!

 

Kevin’s Gallery


The NCHS Chiefs Track and Field Team made a tremendous showing among the 22 teams at the Class 5A regional track meet held at NSU’s Track Complex Wednesday, April 28. The Chiefs fielded a nine-person team, each member of which was in the top 4 in the District for that event. NCHS athletes brought home 5 medals and will send 5 athletes on to compete at the State Finals. Braylin Demars set both a NCHS and Regional record for the 400 Meter dash with a blazing fast time of 47.67 seconds.

The Chiefs are under the leadership of Coach Jacorious Jeter, 2019 alumni of the Northwestern State University Track and Field Team. Coach Jeter is establishing a solid record of excellence in his first full year of coaching, having lost much of 2020 to COVID. Olympic Hopeful, All-American and NCAA Long Jump Champion Jasmyn Steels is coaching the boys and girls in jumps and hurdles.

The Natchitoches Parish Journal wishes to congratulate Coach Jeter, his staff, and the young men and women of the NCHS Track and Field Team on a most successful meet! Best of luck at state!


Farm Bureau awards “Rookie Agent of the Year” to Kyndal Harrell

Kyndal Harrell, insurance agent, was contracted with Farm Bureau in April of 2019. She completed her first full year in 2020 and was awarded “Rookie Agent of the Year” in the state of Louisiana. Kyndal has accomplished many other outstanding awards since becoming a Farm Bureau Agent. She has over 10 years of experience in the insurance and financial industry.

We asked Kyndal how it feels to become Rookie Agent of the Year?

“It is such a rewarding accomplishment to receive,” she said. “Not only did I work my tail off in 2020, but in my efforts, I protected so many of my friends, family, and neighbor’s lives and assets. Insurance is truly an industry where you can succeed by serving others. I’m grateful for the support of my community because my job doesn’t exist or thrive without them. I pray to continue helping our people and have an even better 2021!”


NSU calendar for May 2 – 8

Here is a look at the week of May 2-8 at Northwestern State University.

May 2-8 – Registration for summer, fall semesters

May 2-6 – Final examinations for spring semester

May 5-7 – Spring commencement exercises, Prather Coliseum, 10 a.m., 2 p.m.

May 7 — ROTC Commissioning Ceremony, Student Union Ballroom, 4 p.m.

May 7-8 – Softball vs. Southeastern Louisiana, Lady Demon Diamond

May 7-9 – Baseball vs. McNeese, Brown-Stroud Field


Lady Tiger’s Senior Trio advance to State Championships

The St. Mary’s Track & Field team competed at the 1-1A Regional Championships on April 27. The Lady Tigers came in 5th place as a team.

Three Lady Tigers will finish their season at the LHSAA State Track & Field Championships on May 6 at the Bernie Moore Track Complex at LSU.

The three Seniors, Maggie Gilmore, Jensen Parker, Maggie Wheat, began their track journey in 6th Grade at their first junior high meet at Lakeside Junior/Senior High School and that was the same venue for their final Regional Meet. Classmates since Kindergarten the girls have been an integral part of the athletic success of St. Mary’s during their high school careers.

All three were members of the State Championship Basketball team, Cross Country, & Track & Field teams.

Gilmore and Parker were members of the Indoor Track Team. Gilmore and Wheat qualified for the State Tennis Championships being held in Monroe this week.

Maggie Gilmore competed in four events at the Regional Meet. She claimed a victory in the High Jump, 2nd in the Triple Jump, 4th in the Long Jump, and 9th in the Discus. She took home the Field MVP for the highest point total in field events.

She was State Runner-Up in 2019 and finished 6th in 2017.

Jensen Parker won the 800 Meter race at regionals and will return for the 3rd time after finishing 3rd in 2018 and 5th in 2019.

Maggie Wheat finished in 2nd place in the 3200M and will be making her first trip to the Championships. She also finished 4th in the 1600M

Cameron Bienvenu finished 4th in the javelin.
Gabby Godfrey finished 5th in the 300M hurdles and 10th in the 100M
Anna Kate Jackson finished 11th in the 800M
AnnaMarie Mclung finished 11th in the 200M
Sophia Hogg finished 7th in the 1600M

The Tigers had 4 participants in the Regional Meet.

Andrew Godfrey finished 11th in the 1600M and 10th in the 3200M
Colton Cross finished 11th in the 300M hurdles and 10th in the 100M hurdles
Mason McCart finished 7th in the 1600M and 6th in the 800M
Chalin Gandy finished 5th in the Pole Vault


Updated pesticide mobile licenses & business app

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) has updated its mobile application. Now, users can look up private and commercial pesticide applicators, aerial and ground owner operators, agricultural consultants, structural pest control businesses, licensees, and technicians; and restricted use pesticide (RUP) dealers and salespersons, said Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M.

“The original goal of having this mobile app was to make it easier to verify landscaping and horticulture professionals. Now we have expanded that list to include pest control professionals which should be helpful to both the public and our inspectors out in the field,” added Strain. Users can verify a license, a certification, business permit, or even file a complaint.

Insect activity increases as the days and nights become warmer during the spring and summer months. This is the time of year when termites swarm. Homeowners who experience pests (termites or other insects) in and around their home should contact a licensed pest control professional to identify and control the pest. “The mobile app is a convenient tool to easily check the credentials of persons representing themselves as a pest management professional.” added Strain.

Farmer cooperatives and businesses must have a RUP dealer license to purchase and sell these pesticides. These licensed dealers must verify that a person has the required certification to purchase a RUP. The app makes it quick and easy to verify certifications of pesticide applicators purchasing these restricted use pesticides.

In addition, the mobile app includes a form for filing a complaint against a pesticide applicator or business. The form can be completed and submitted electronically. The department receives these complaints immediately providing a quicker response to your complaint and/or concerns related to a pest control issue or pesticide application.

The app, called LDAF Business App, may be downloaded free at the iTunes and Google Play stores. It was first introduced in January 2018.

For those without access to a mobile device, license verification will still be available on the LDAF website at http://www.ldaf.state.la.us or by calling 225-925-3770.


NSU seeking nominations for new alumni awards

Northwestern State University Alumni Association invites nominations for three new alumni awards, two that will recognize distinguished service and one for volunteerism toward the Alumni Association.

The new awards are Outstanding Young Alumnus/Alumna Distinguished Service Award, Outstanding Alumnus/Alumna Distinguished Service Award and NSU Alumni Association Volunteer of the Year Award. The awards are intended to recognize alumni whose accomplishments significantly benefit both society and the NSU campus, advancing the common good and inspiring others to address challenges with insight and creativity.

These new honors will awarded in addition to the Long Purple Line distinction, which will continue to serve as the highest honor the university bestows on alumni.

Criteria for nominations is as follows.

Outstanding Young Alumnus/Alumna Distinguished Service Award – The Outstanding Young Alumni Distinguished Service Award is given to a young alumnus/alumna who has exhibited their dedication and loyalty to Northwestern’s programs and mission. The candidate must demonstrate:

An early record of distinguished service to Northwestern; and
Continued interest in serving the university in his/her life as a volunteer, donor and /or advocate.
The recipient must be an alumnus/alumna of NSU.
The recipient must have attained alumni status within ten years.
The recipient must be forty or younger at the time of the nomination.
Outstanding Alumnus/Alumna Distinguished Service Award – The Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award is given to an NSU Alumni who has exhibited his or her dedication and loyalty to Northwestern’s programs and mission. The candidate must demonstrate:

A record of distinguished service to Northwestern; and
Continued interest in serving the university in his/her life as a volunteer, donor and /or advocate.
The recipient must be an alumnus/alumna of NSU.
The recipient must have attained alumni status greater than ten years.
The recipient must be forty or older at the time of the nomination.
NSU Alumni Association Volunteer of the Year Award – The Volunteer of the Year Award is given to a person who has exhibited his or her dedication and loyalty to Northwestern’s programs and mission. The candidate must demonstrate:

Membership in the NSU Alumni Association
Continued interest in serving the university in his/her life as a volunteer, donor and /or advocate.
Exemplary record of volunteer time, talents, and service to the NSU Alumni Association
Active involvement with a chapter, alumni interest group, affiliate program, NSU Alumni Board, or other forms of volunteer service to Northwestern State University
Nominations may be made by any alumnus or alumna, by any alumni chapter, or by any member of the faculty or staff of University. The selection committee is composed of the two immediate past presidents of the Alumni Association, current president of the Alumni Association, one member of the Demons Unlimited Board of Directors, the Director of the Alumni Association and the SGA President.

The deadline to submit applications is midnight July 31, 2021. For more information and to access a nomination form visit https://www.northwesternstatealumni.com/awards/.


Baseball – Steady staff guided Demons through Barbier’s absence

Just moments before a pivotal four-game Southland Conference series this past weekend, the Northwestern State baseball team was without its head coach.

Bobby Barbier departed Brown-Stroud Field minutes ahead of Saturday’s 2 p.m. series opener against Nicholls, dealing with a non-COVID-19-related medical issue that ultimately kept him from coaching any of the four games against the Colonels.

Instead of panic and uncertainty bearing down on the Demon dugout, the NSU coaching staff leaned on its familiarity with one another and the culture they and Barbier have established to produce the Demons’ first four-game sweep in Southland Conference play this season.

“I’m not at all surprised,” Barbier said ahead of NSU’s Tuesday afternoon practice. “Bert (assistant coach Chris Bertrand), (assistant coach) Spencer (Goodwin) and even (volunteer assistant) Dan (Hlad) have been around me and us for a while. I would like to think if we take any part out of our organization – including myself – it would continue to run smoothly. We hope to build something that runs smoothly, even if you lose a part here or there.”

To the untrained eye, nothing changed for the Demons in their weekend sweep of the Colonels.

Although Barbier was not physically present, he was not far the remaining members of the Northwestern State staff’s minds – in both baseball and physical terms.

“You take inspiration from Bobby’s type of leadership,” said Bertrand, who has coached alongside Barbier since the latter was named head coach in June 2016. “You have seen that style be a proven winner since he’s taken over. You want to be yourself and you want to try to believe in your convictions and run it the way you want to run it, but at the same time, you want to make sure you don’t really get to the point where there’s so much change – or so much outside-the-box thinking – the players begin to feel like you don’t have a grasp of what’s going on. You don’t want them to ever feel there is a sense of panic or a sense of worry.”

That goes double for the Demon pitching staff, because Barbier doubles as the NSU pitching coach as he has for four of his five seasons in charge of his alma mater’s baseball team.

Hlad joined the Demon coaching staff in January, but he was familiar with Barbier’s system and thinking from his two seasons at Northwestern State. A right-handed pitcher, Hlad spent the 2017 and 2018 seasons with the Demons, starting the 2018 Southland Conference Tournament championship game.

Hlad has shadowed Barbier perhaps closer than any other assistant in the past three-plus months, putting him in a pivotal position when Barbier was unavailable for the four games.

“(Calling pitches) is probably the most impactful part of the game,” Barbier said. “What impacts pitch to pitch is the guy calling those pitches. One thing about Dan, he’s prepared. He watches those hitters on video like he’s the one who will be calling pitches and thank goodness he does, because I wasn’t able to do it.”

Like a successful starting pitcher, Hlad mixed and matched from his memory bank and showed a deft touch handling the Demon pitchers.

“(Having been a player under Barbier) was massive,” Hlad said. “Just being around when I was playing and being able to be around him more as a coach, learning from what he does and seeing what he does with the pitchers now and what he did with us when I played, I blended those tendencies and followed the plan with what he’s done in the past. It was a lot of what he did and trusting what he did. That’s why he’s been successful with the pitchers, myself included, for the five years he’s done it. It helped me be more comfortable, even though I was a little nervous that first inning.”

The trio of Bertrand, Goodwin and Hlad – along with graduate manager Trevor Wren – leaned on each other and their inherent personality traits to navigate an uncertain set of back-to-back doubleheaders that could go a long way to determining Northwestern State’s postseason fate.

The Demons and Colonels entered this past weekend’s series tied for fourth place in the Southland Conference standings at the midway point of conference play. In the face of the unknown, the Demons responded with their best performance of the season.

“In the moment, you try to simplify everything and realize we’ve got to take care of business,” said Goodwin, who played for and has been a graduate manager and a volunteer assistant under Barbier. “The change was big – your leader’s not there. The one thing coach Barbier has instilled in me as a player — and working my way up as a coach – is the ability to adjust and be flexible. That’s what we did as a staff.”

Bertrand highlighted the staff’s ability to communicate with one another as part of the reason for the smoothness of the weekend.

Staff communication is at the heart of the culture Barbier has built in his five years as a head coach with the Demons and the mantras that built “The Demon Way” prominently echoed about the first-base dugout this past weekend.

“When you listen to him talk to every new team at the beginning of the year, the first team meeting is always talking about the standards of the baseball program,” Bertrand said. “He talks about playing the way we play. The first practice of the fall always involves him telling us, ‘Hey, guys, we’re going to talk to them about how we want to play.’ Coming back from the long Christmas break, yes, we’re preparing for the season, but he tells them we’re going to play how we want to play – not to be results-oriented, but to focus on how we want to play. Over a five-year period of time, it becomes ingrained.

“That’s instilling the culture. For those of us who have been around – I say those of us because Spence heard it as a player and as a coach working up the ranks, Dan heard it as a player and as a coach working up the ranks – Lenni (Kunert), Tyler Smith, Peyton Davis, those guys have heard it for five years, six years for some. When you have a group like we have of cohesive coaches and veteran players, ‘The Demon Way’ becomes ‘The Demon Way’ under Bobby Barbier.”

Photo: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services


Demon football golf tournament Saturday still has openings

Golfers can still sign up to play Saturday in the annual Triple B Invitational Golf Tournament supporting NSU Demon football on Saturday afternoon at Oak Wing Golf Club in Alexandria.

Even non-golfers can participate, either with sponsorships or by attending and enjoying plenty of great food and fun with head coach Brad Laird, the Demon coaching staff, former players and NSU supporters from all generations.

It’s a fundraiser helping support recruiting efforts during the spring and summer by the NSU football staff. Check-in begins at noon with tee time 1 o’clock at Oak Wing, located next to Alexandria International Airport just two miles off I-49.

Oak Wing is regarded as one of the state’s upper echelon golf courses, with the staff headed by renowned PGA teaching professionals Craig Campo and Robbie Gueringer. The 18-hole track is in supreme shape with slick, smooth greens and carefully maintained fairways providing a fun and fair challenge for golfers of all ability levels.

For easy online registration, visit NSUDemons.com/TripleB which provides details on various packages ranging from team or individual entries to sponsorship opportunities. Telephone inquiries can be made to coach J Pond at 979-777-6744.

Participants will receive plenty of Demon gear and gifts, along with enjoying plenty of food prepared by local tailgating experts and refreshments and fun games all around the course.


OPPORTUNITY: Water Treatment Plant Operator

POSITION: Water Treatment Plant Operator

DESCRIPTION: Performs maintenance work in the operation of the water treatment plant.

QUALIFICATIONS: A Louisiana Department of Health Operator Certification is preferred or be willing to work towards certifications in water treatment. This position will require a work schedule of 12 hour rotating shifts.

CONTACT: Human Resources Department located at 1400 Sabine St. or P.O. Box 37, Natchitoches, LA 71458-0037. Applications may also be picked up downstairs at City Hall located at 700 Second St. or you may download an application on line at http://www.natchitochesla.gov

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS:

Applications will be accepted until position is filled.

THE CITY OF NATCHITOCHES IS AN EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER.

Notice of Death – April 28, 2021

NATCHITOCHES:
Camille Hoover
April 24, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Harry Graham
April 24, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Amari Clark
April 28, 2002 – April 22, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Donnie Ray Armstrong
February 1, 1953 – April 18, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Rickey Lane Smith Sr.
October 7, 1968 – April 17, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Thelma Jean Morris
April 16, 2021
Arrangements TBA

SABINE:
Joanna McComic
April 19, 1971 – April 25, 2021
Service: Friday, April 30 at 2 pm at Warren Meadows Funeral Home Chapel


Natchitoches Police seek public’s help in identifying suspects from Wal-Mart theft

The Natchitoches Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying three suspects that removed a lost cell phone from Wal-Mart.

On March 26, 2021 around 9:04 p.m., officers with the Natchitoches Police Department were dispatched to Wal-Mart in reference to a lost cell phone that was taken from the store. Officers were able to review video surveillance and observed three unknown white females remove the lost cell phone from the electronics department and leave the business.

If you recognize or know these individuals 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.

John Greely
Public Information Officer
Natchitoches Police Department

 

Release Date: April 28, 2021


NPSB Natchez Town Hall Meeting

The modest crowd entering New Birth Missionary Baptist Church was greeted at the door by Pastor, Rufus Sowell, he has been a crossing guard at various Natchitoches Parish Schools for years. With having so many grandkids in the school system, he was happy to open the doors of the church to the community at large for a productive and informative meeting.

The Town Hall meeting was attended by: Provencal Principal, Jennifer Martin, School Board Members; Emile Metoyer, Russ Danzy, Billy Benefield, Reba Phelps, Dorothy McGaskey, Rhonda Guidroz and President Steven Harris. Director of Communications, Chynna Paris was also in attendance.

NPSB Superintendent, Dr. Grant Eloi, opened the meeting much like he opened the previous Town Hall Meetings. But, this time he said, “We really opened a can of worms, didn’t we?”

He was met with much laughter and agreement.

Dr. Eloi and Mr. Lee Waskom began the official presentation that included how schools were funded and where the mandated spending had to happen according to law. The same powerpoint presentation that was presented to Provencal and Marthaville accompanied this meeting as well. The same concerns were addressed up front which included the location of the “potential high school”. They also went into great depth of what all had to happen prior to considering a high school.

After the presentation the floor was opened up for questions from the community members. The crowd was very quiet and listened intently to everything being presented. After a bit of silence, the first question of the evening was asked.

Community member, Monique Sarpy, asked, “If there was to be a high school what are the areas being discussed.”

Dr. Eloi advised that there was initially a thought of Water Well Road and possibly Highway 6. He reiterated that they were listening to the community and taking their concerns to heart.

Community member, Jed Cain, asked about the taxing districts and the district lines for schools. Mr. Lee Waskom approached the Powerpoint on the wall to show Mr. Cain and the crowd how the lines were currently drawn and the reasoning for such. It was a mutual agreement these lines could serve a better purpose being redrawn at some point.

April Matt, Employee at the Health Center for Marthaville and Provencal, stood up to acknowledge the Water Well Road location is very convenient for those who live in the South area of the Parish. She uses the Water Well Road to attend both of the schools when she is working.

This lead to another conversation that included the fact that Water Well Road was located on 640 acres of School Board owned property land, had access to adequate water and electrical needs. It also is not located in a flood zone. It was also mentioned that the Natchitoches Central High School is landlocked. There is no adjoining property that the Board owns so that would limit and expansion in that area.

Everyone who wanted to speak had their chance to address the Board or Dr. Eloi. The Town Hall was adjourned and Board Members, as well as Eloi and Waskom, stayed around to visit with parents and community members.


ULS President Jim Henderson finalist to take over at LSU

After two days of interviews with eight semifinalists, the LSU Presidential Search Committee reportedly met for three hours behind closed doors for three hours before on Tuesday night announcing its three finalists to replace former LSU President-Chancellor F. King Alexander.

One of those finalists is Jim Henderson, former Northwestern State University President and current President of the University of Louisiana which oversees both Grambling State University and Louisiana Tech University in Lincoln Parish.

Droegemeier was the director for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy for part of President Donald Trump’s term while Tate is the provost at the University of South Carolina.

Louisiana Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, who was interviewed Monday, did not make the cut for finalists. LSU Interim President Tom Galligan on April 20 withdrew from the permanent presidential search.

LSU has been searching for a new permanent president since Alexander announced in late 2019 that he was taking a similar post leading Oregon State University.

The search committee has indicated it is hoping to deliver to the LSU Board of Supervisors a recommendation by Friday.


Goldonna News – April 28, 2021

The northern end of Natchitoches Parish has a league of their own. The Dusty Cut League has been around for decades and is the most competitive of softball leagues around. Participating in the Dusty Cut League for the 2021 Season is Goldonna, Readhimer, Fairview and Creston has two teams this year. Season kicks off, or throws the first pitch, on May 3rd. T-ball games will begin at 5:30. 8–10-year-olds will play at 6:30. 11-13 year olds will play at 7:30. Last, but certainly not least, the 14–17-year-olds will play at 8:30.

Below you will find an entire schedule for the season. All teams will play each other twice, once at home and once away. There will be a tournament schedule available soon. On a personal note, if you have nothing to do and you are in the area, I encourage you to go sit a spell and enjoy these games. There is always so much talent on the field and the whole community always shows up.

Goldonna Elementary School is currently getting ready to administer the Leap2025 test for 3rd-4th grade. Testing will begin on April 28 and run until May 5th. Principal Cori Beth Manuel would like to gently remind parents that all children need an adequate amount of sleep the night before, a healthy breakfast and please do not be tardy. Most importantly, perfect attendance during testing is strongly encouraged.

Christmas in the Park Committee hopes to begin meetings next month. There is still room for you if you are interested. Contact Mayor Smith for the many ways you can pitch in. No matter how small, you are needed!

The Goldonna Cemetery Memorial will be held on Friday, April 30. If you bring a dish and a lawn chair you can join the crowd for lunch at 11:30. If you are not to attend the meeting but would like to make a contribution for the upkeep of the historic cemetery, please make checks payable to, “Goldonna Cemetery”. Checks can be mailed to:

Goldonna Cemetery Fund
PO Box 263
Goldonna, LA 71031

There will be online donation information coming soon. Be on the lookout. Every little bit helps, no donation is too small for this effort.

If you have news to contribute, please email Reba Phelps at jreba.phelps@gmail.com


Local Leaders and Businesses Now in Charge of Policies Requiring Masks in Louisiana

Following months of sustained improvement in COVID hospitalizations and an increase in the supply and availability of vaccines, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that some mitigation measures will be eased and, starting Wednesday, April 28, the statewide mask mandate will be lifted.

Mask policies in Louisiana will be set by local leaders and business owners. Under the Governor’s new public health order, masks will still be required on public transit and in state government buildings, K-12 schools, early childhood education centers, colleges and universities, and healthcare facilities.

More than one in four Louisianans are now fully vaccinated, including two-thirds of those 65 and older. The state of Louisiana joins the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal and medical officials in recommending that people wear masks in public or when they are with unvaccinated people outside of their households.

All Louisianans 16 and older have been eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine for more than a month and Louisiana was one of the first states to broaden vaccine eligibility to the full population. The three safe and effective COVID vaccines are widely available in Louisiana.

“Many Louisianans have been wearing masks for more than a year now and the statewide mask mandate has been in place for nearly 10 months. We know masks work – the science is clear and we’ve seen the positive impact in our own state. It’s intuitive for people to protect themselves with masks in higher risk situations, and this important mitigation measure should continue. But we have many more tools for slowing the spread of COVID than we did even a few months ago, including better treatments and, most importantly, several highly effective and safe vaccines,” Gov. Edwards said. “I want to be clear: this is not the end of wearing masks in public, as COVID-19 and the spread of variants are still a real threat in our communities. Louisianans should respect each other and businesses and places where masks will be required as we move into a new phase of slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. I will continue to wear a mask in government buildings and in public, especially when I do not know if someone around me has been vaccinated, and I encourage everyone to do this as well.”

The order the Governor signed Tuesday also eases restrictions on live music and allows some businesses, like salons, to re-open their waiting areas. Outdoor events will no longer have crowd limitations.

Social distancing and masking are recommended by both the state of Louisiana and the CDC.

Lifting of the mask mandate does not affect the COVID-19 liability protections that were enacted by the Louisiana Legislature which require businesses and schools to follow the recommendations of state and federal health authorities, all of which recommend continued mask wearing.

For theaters, event spaces, festivals and fairs and other outdoor events, there will be no limitations on outdoor capacity. Indoors, a facility may choose to operate at 75 percent capacity while enforcing six feet of social distancing or at 100 percent capacity with masking required and enforced.

For indoor sporting events, capacity is limited to 75 percent of capacity with social distancing, or 100 percent capacity if a mask mandate is enforced at the venue. Capacity will not be limited outdoors.

For live music, new regulations will require 10 feet of space between the stage and the audience and crowds must be seated. Bars will still only be open to those 21 and older.

State agencies may choose to opt-out of the mask mandate for state-owned buildings in writing to the Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and also must inform people entering the building that masks are not mandatory. All state agencies in the Governor’s cabinet and under the Governor’s authority will keep their mask mandates.

The Department of Health additionally will issue a state health officer order that will mandate masks in all health care facilities.

MASKING RECOMMENDATIONS

The Louisiana Department of Health recommends that the public follow the “Two out of Three” rule to keep themselves safe during COVID.

When in doubt about whether to wear a mask at a certain activity where people outside of a person’s everyday household will be present, they can stay safe by:

Making sure everyone around them is vaccinated, or Maintaining the 2 out of 3 Rule: To lower risk for COVID-19, make sure the activity meets two out of the following three conditions.

Outdoors, Distanced and Masked:

Outdoors + Distanced = No Mask Recommended
Outdoors + Not Distanced = Mask Recommended
Indoor + Distanced = Mask Recommended

Residents can call the Bring Back Louisiana COVID-19 vaccine hotline at 1-855-453-0774 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. The hotline can help residents schedule vaccine appointments, find vaccine providers in their area and connect people with medical professionals who can answer vaccine-related questions.


Better in the second half: Mourning the stranger who showed me the way

By Trinity Velazquez, The Current Sauce Editor in Chief

I cried for hours.

This isn’t real. I’m not reading what I’m reading. This is insane.

You might assume I was crying about a family member dying.

But I wasn’t. I was crying about the death of a person I had never met.

Carley was my friend. She didn’t know it, but she was. I loved her.

Carley McCord wasn’t just any sports journalist. To me, she was THE sports journalist. Watching her on TV after football and basketball games, all I felt was excitement. She worked for Cox Sports Television and ESPN3, and she was an in-game host for the New Orleans Saints.

She graduated Northwestern State University and got her first broadcast job in Cleveland as an in-house reporter for the Browns. CBS Radio Cleveland hired her for a morning show. After two years, she moved back to Baton Rouge to continue her broadcast career in her hometown.

“You know, she graduated from NSU with a Communications degree,” I used to tell my family.

She was living proof that I could be successful. Looking at the news on Dec. 19, 2019, my proof was gone.

I don’t know how long I sat on my bed. Time was frozen. I couldn’t feel anything but shock and sadness.

Turn your phone off. Stop crying. She didn’t even know you existed.

The worst thing about looking up to a famous person is that you get to know her through a screen. You watch her interviews and short segments on camera, but she’s only a spectacle.

Except Carley wasn’t a spectacle. She was a person. I looked up to a real person, a real role model. I looked up to Carley the way some people looked up to Princess Diana. They knew Diana was a real person because of her genuine smile and honest heart. They knew her without having to know her. I saw Carley the same way.

You aren’t family. Her family. Her father-in-law must be somewhere in Atlanta wondering how he can coach.

Carley was on a private plane, with friends. She was going to the Peach Bowl in Atlanta to watch LSU play Oklahoma. Her father-in-law, Steve Ensminger, was LSU’s offensive coordinator. The plane crashed shortly after takeoff in Lafayette.

But I’m not family. Why does it feel so wrong to cry over someone you don’t know? Why am I crying for someone I don’t know? You shouldn’t be this sad.

But I was. I knew enough about her to know the grief I was feeling was OK. I think she would say that.

Time was frozen, but my house was full of life. My little sisters ran up and down the hallways. My mom made dinner. My dad got ready for the LSU game.

The LSU game where Carley was supposed to be. The game she was on her way to when she died.

I can’t watch it now, I don’t want to.

My dad was in my doorway talking to me, but he was blurry, somehow.

I can’t watch the game. I don’t want to.

Carley would want me to. Carley would want me to take mental notes of plays so I could ask about them in interviews, just like she did.

But I’m not Carley. I’m still learning who I am. I can’t know how to be someone else when I haven’t figured out how to be me.

I’ve never been in the same room with Carley, but I’ve imagined what meeting her would be like. She would be excited when she learns I attend her alma mater. She would jump up and down a little when I tell her that after I graduate, we’ll have the same degree.

I won’t get to see this scenario play out in real life. I won’t get to see Carley on the sidelines after games. I won’t get to see her again.

Rachel O’Neill, Ph.D., a clinical counselor in Ohio, writes in Teen Vogue that grief after a celebrity’s death is common because we form personal attachments to celebrities: “Even though we don’t actually know celebs in person, they can still play important roles in our lives.”

Carley did. She proved I could live my dream of being a beloved journalist while working in the city I call home.

If you’re experiencing grief, O’Neill says, it’s important to give yourself space to feel it.

Neeraj Gandotra, MD, chief medical officer at Delphi Behavioral Health Group, tells Teen Vogue that mourning a celebrity is an opportunity to take inventory. He also says talking about grief is essential after experiencing loss.

My loss for Carley is real, and it’s OK. Grieving the death of a person I’ve never met doesn’t make me crazy. It makes me vulnerable, which is also OK.

Carley would want me to be OK.

The first half of the game was ending. I wasn’t paying attention. I was looking at the TV but I didn’t see a single play.

I heard Carley’s voice in my head, loud. “It’s okay, we’ll do better in the second half. We’ll do better later.”

It’s been a year since she died. I find a little comfort in knowing she died before the horrors of 2020. She left the world while families could still gather and the world was OK.

I’ve done better in the second half. I follow sports more closely now. I watch LSU and Saints games. I go to Pelicans games when I’m home. Sometimes the first half flies by, but I do better in the second half.

Carley was THE journalist during my journalism education. From watching her success, I knew the kind of success I wanted.

Now I’m about to start my journalism career. The journalist I want to embody is the person I am meant to be.

“We’ll do better in the second half.”

I’ll do better in the second half.


Softball — Missed opportunities haunt Lady Demons in 15-inning loss to Louisiana Tech

NSU 11 Kenzie Seely

NATCHITOCHES – A defensive miscue ultimately cost the Northwestern State softball team in extra innings Tuesday night against Louisiana Tech.

However, the Lady Demon offense was just as culpable in the 3-2, 15-inning loss to the Lady Techsters at the Lady Demon Diamond.

Northwestern State (19-17) stranded 21 runners in the game, including leaving the bases loaded four times on the night.

“We have to be better situational hitters,” head coach Donald Pickett said. “I felt like we dominated game for the most part. They got the one hit with two outs (in the seventh inning). We were down to the last strike to win the game. The problem is, we should not have been up only 2-0 at that point with two outs and two strikes in the seventh inning. We had way too many opportunities to score.”

While the Lady Demons had chance upon chance to capitalize against Louisiana Tech starter Audrey Pickett, the Lady Techsters (19-24) found little success against NSU right-hander Kenzie Seely.

Seely, a freshman making just her fourth start, handcuffed the Lady Techsters through 6 2-3 scoreless innings before Kylie Neel turned in the most pivotal at-bat of the game.

With runners on the corners and two outs, Neel battled Seely for 11 pitches – surviving a very close call on a 2-2 pitch on the inner half – before depositing Seely’s 12th pitch of the at-bat in the right-center field gap for a game-tying, two-run double.

Seely escaped further damage by inducing a Lindsey Edwards groundout to end the inning. Seely worked a career-long seven innings scattering eight hits and striking out three.

“Kenzie’s got a chance to be great here,” Donald Pickett said. “She has a lot of great things going for her. She’s a competitor. I’m really proud of her. In this wild year, losing all these games (to weather), she hasn’t had the innings she deserves to have. She keeps doing that, she’ll be big for us down the stretch.”

E.C. Delafield (9-3) relieved Seely after Jordan Manning led off the eighth inning with a double. Delafield escaped that jam and kept things tied until the 15th inning when Zoe Hicks led off with a single, took second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a two-base error to put Louisiana Tech ahead for the first time in the game.

Hannah Koenig (1-3), who relieved Audrey Pickett after the Louisiana Tech starter threw 227 pitches in 12 2-3 innings, set down Northwestern State in order in the 15th to earn her first win of the season.

The quiet final inning stood in contrast to most of the game for the Lady Demons, who put at least two runners on board in seven of its 15 offensive innings.

Northwestern State converted those opportunities into two second-inning runs thanks to an RBI single from leadoff hitter Laney Roos (2-for-6) and a bases-loaded walk drawn by Keely DuBois (2-for-6).

Those were the only runs for NSU, which left 21 runners on base despite a combined 10 hits from the top four spots in its order – Roos, Kaitlyn St. Clair (3-for-7), Cayla Jones (3-for-8) and DuBois.

“I don’t know if we were just anxious, trying to swing too big,” Donald Pickett said. “We’ve got to get back to shortening those swings, using the middle of the field and having quality at-bats to put it together. We got going a lot with two outs tonight. We’d get runners in scoring position with two outs and couldn’t get that big hit. We also had just one extra-base hit (Hayley Barbazon’s two-out double in the ninth). A couple of extra-base hits would have opened things up. We have players who are capable of doing that, but tonight, it didn’t happen.”

Northwestern State returns to action Friday when it travels to Lake Charles to face McNeese in the opener of a three-game Southland Conference series. First pitch in Friday’s single game is set for 6:30 p.m.