A shots fired call in Cedar Grove Sub-Division near Natchitoches has led to the arrest of a convicted felon and seizure of a semi-automatic handgun according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Stuart Wright.

On Sunday afternoon May 2 at approximately 2:47pm, Deputies assigned to the NPSO Patrol Division responded to NATCOM 911 Center reports of shots fired in the Pecan Court area of Cedar Grove Sub-Division south of Natchitoches.
Deputies immediately responded to the area.

Deputies say while in the area, they observed a male walking with a weapon in his hand.
When he observed the sheriff’s unit, he attempted to conceal the weapon from view.
Deputies identified the person as 31-year-old Ricky A. Culbert Jr. of the 100 block of Pecan Court, Natchitoches.
Deputies say while speaking with Culbert they collected a Hi-Point 9mm semi-automatic handgun.

A local warrants/criminal history background check revealed Culbert was a felon having been convicted of Simple Burglary.

Culbert was placed under arrest, transported and booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with Illegal Possession of a Firearm by a Person Convicted of a Felony.

Deputies say while interviewing Culbert he admitted to possession of the firearm and firing it a couple times.
Deputies have responded to complaints of shots being fired in Cedar Grove in the past. If you observe suspicious activity in your community, say something, contact the NPSO at 352-6432. Please attempt to provide accurate vehicle and person descriptions along with what type of suspicious activity is observed.

Culbert has been released on $15,000.00 bond set by a Tenth Judicial District Court pending his court appearance.

The weapon is currently being held as evidence for criminal proceedings.

Sgt. D. Dorsey was assisted by Deputies C. Olliff and S. Axsom.

Louisiana should end stimulus checks

It seems in Natchitoches Parish the stimulus checks are having a negative impact on the willingness of the workforce to work.

This morning, a local reader sent the two photos regarding the inability of a retailer on Keyser Avenue in Natchitoches, Louisiana to open for business. Their sign seems to speak volumes!

On the National news yesterday, a reporter asked the President if he thought the stimulus package was hurting local business with respect to an unwilling labor force. The President responded, “not that I have seen…”

This look at “free cash for all” just might just be a sneak preview of a government program being tested now in some parts of the country called Universal Basic Income (UBI). UBI is a government program in which every adult citizen receives a set amount of money on a regular basis. The goals of a basic income system are to alleviate poverty and replace other need-based social programs that potentially require greater bureaucratic involvement.

In March 2021, a Quinnipiac University poll found that 68 percent of American adults were in favor of the free cash stimulus proposal with 24 percent opposed to it, but that sentiment seems to be changing here in Natchitoches Parish. Today, the Journal visited a few local businesses that were open and found they all said the same thing: “We don’t need any more free checks; we need employees to open and operate.”

As one Senator told reporters, “If you give people more unemployment insurance, well, they’ll be grateful but they won’t work, and you need people to work. That’s what makes the economy go.” The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has indicated its concurrence. U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive vice president and chief policy officer Neil Bradley said in a statement on Friday, “The disappointing jobs report makes it clear that paying people not to work is dampening what should be a stronger jobs market,” .

“One step policymakers should take now is ending the $300 weekly supplemental unemployment benefit. Based on the Chamber’s analysis, the $300 benefit results in approximately 1 in 4 recipients taking home more in unemployment than they earned working.

The States of South Carolina and Montana have already announced cutoff dates in June for their participation in the federal unemployment program. Perhaps the time has come for the State of Louisiana to join their ranks and get our businesses booming again.

School Board hears about new Natchitoches Virtual Academy

Christie Irchirl presented information to the Natchitoches Parish School Board at its May 6 meeting about the Natchitoches Virtual Academy, which the district plans to start up for the next school year.

The motto is to connect, customize and complete.  This means connecting the home based school with the virtual instruction to customize their learning, their location and their ability and completing grade progression and high school credit for students in Natchitoches Parish.

Three programs under the NVA umbrella:

Full time virtual- selective admissions for self motivated students with proof of/maintaining at least C average, attendance, and proof of access to high speed internet. Students must agree to stay in the program for at least one semester.

Accelerated learning- This program is still in the works. This would be a one class per semester program in addition to their traditional course load. The student would have to have teacher and principal recommendations to participate. Full-time face to face and full-time virtual students will be eligible to participate in this option.

Short term virtual- This program would be tailored to students who have been placed in the virtual program for reasons including medical issues, expulsion or IEP process or for other reasons.

At the board’s April 6 meeting Superintendent Grant Eloi gave the board a heads up that the NVA would be coming up as an agenda item. He said there’s a need for a virtual schooling option

Creating this program for Natchitoches Parish would help students who are homebound, students who are expelled, students who are behind in their coursework, students who want to accelerate because maybe they are working toward an associate’s degree and they want to get ahead on a class that they think they can do online, and then also students who have a true hardship.

Board members recognized the NCHS Lady Chief’s softball team for their season accomplishments

NCHS Lady Chiefs softbal

Dr. Grant Eloi and the Board honored Keara Nelson and Lisa Bellow for the opportunity to present Keara’s painting to State Superintendent, Cade Brumley at last month’s BESE meeting.

NSPB Keara Nelson and Lisa Bellow

Other agenda items included:

Approve summer school pay increase for school food service workers and managers for summer 2021 only
Approve school board member and superintendent travel to Southern Region Conference in Mississippi
Approve one-time employee COVID compensation, pending LDOE budget approval
Approve C.I.R. teacher recruitment stipend, pending LDOE budget approval

Natchitoches resident arrested on narcotics offenses near Hagewood

According to a Task Force Official, on April 28, 2021, Agents of the Natchitoches Multi Jurisdictional Drug Task Force were patrolling HWY 6 West near Hagewood when they conducted a traffic stop on a black Cadillac for illegal window tint. The driver, who was the only occupant of the vehicle, was identified as Jason Jefferson 25 of Natchitoches, LA. At the time of the stop, it was determined that Jefferson was not licensed to operate a vehicle and that the window tint registered at 4%. The legal limit for window tint in Louisiana is 40%.

During the traffic stop Agents informed Jefferson of the reason for the stop. After developing reasonable suspicion that a crime was being committed. Agents utilized their narcotics detector canine, Misty to conduct a free air sniff around the vehicle. Agents received a positive alert from K9 Misty on the vehicle and a subsequent search resulted in the seizure of 102 suspected Oxycodone pills that were concealed in the interior of the vehicle. Oxycodone is a Schedule II Controlled Dangerous Substance.

Jefferson was arrested for the following charges:

Possession of CDS Schedule II (Oxycodone) w/Intent to Distribute
Illegal Window Tint
No Driver’s License

Jefferson was booked and placed in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center to await bond.

The Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force would like to thank the Citizens of Natchitoches for their support. Many times an investigation begins with a simple phone call or tip from a concerned citizen. For this reason the Task Force encourages all citizens to report any crimes in their neighborhoods anonymously by calling 318-357-2248, The Natchitoches Police Department, or the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Mom’s Last Email

By Reba Phelps

Some of my newly met friends may not have had the pleasure of meeting my mother face to face before she departed this earth and went on to glory. She was a praying woman who was a talented writer, quick witted and very endearing to anyone who met her. If she had been born in another time I am very certain she would have invented the game of Scrabble. She loved words and was even known to use the four letter variety on occasion. Even though she was a preacher’s wife.

She loved Jesus but she would cuss a little.

If you never met my mother you probably may not have known that she was disabled later in life and was an amputee who was bound to a wheelchair. This wheelchair did not keep her from living her life and fulfilling her many missions. Once she gained access to the internet and email, it opened up a whole new world for her. She loved sending encouraging emails, anecdotal spiritual stories, and Bible studies. I also knew when she was sitting at her laptop. My email alerts would start dinging.

Even though I loved her emails, she would get really testy if I didn’t read them as quick as she sent them. I knew I would be quizzed at some point so I tried my best to always reply so she would know I was keeping current. My dad once explained to me that her being able to call, email and browse the internet was the equivalent of her being able to walk. At this point I tried to boost my mother-daughter customer service response times.

Four days before my mother passed away she emailed me for the very last time. I didn’t see it until after she had passed away. There was a reason I did not see it until after her passing. The Lord knew it would be much more powerful after she was no longer here. The title of the email was, “Shirley and Marcy”, and I will share that story below.

A mother was concerned about her kindergarten son walking to school. He didn’t want his mother to walk with him.

She wanted to give him the feeling that he had some independence but yet know that he was safe.
So she had an idea of how to handle it.

She asked a neighbor if she would please follow him to school in the mornings, staying at a distance, So he probably wouldn’t notice her.

She said that since she was up early with her toddler anyway, it would be a good way for them to get some exercise as well, so she agreed.

The next school day, the neighbor and her little girl set out following behind Timmy as he walked to school with another neighbor girl he knew.

She did this for the whole week. As the two walked and chatted, kicking stones and twigs,Timmy’s little friend noticed the same lady was following them as she seemed to do every day all week.

Finally she said to Timmy,

‘Have you noticed that lady following us to school all week?
Do you know her?’
Timmy nonchalantly replied, ‘Yeah, I know who she is.’
The little girl said, ‘Well, who is she?’
‘That’s just Shirley Goodnest,’ Timmy replied, ‘and her daughter Marcy.’

‘Shirley Goodnest? Who the heck is she and why is she following us?
‘Well,’ Timmy explained, ‘every night my Mom makes me say the 23rd Psalm with my prayers, cuz she worries about me so much.
And in the Psalm, it says, ‘Shirley Goodnest and Marcy shall follow me all the days of my life’, so I guess I’ll just have to get used to it!’

May Shirley Goodnest and Marcy be with you today and always.

Some years later I forwarded this email to a dear friend of mine and he told me that this was a message from my mom that was letting me know that she would always be behind me, watching over me along with the Lord. This email has brought me so much comfort every single time that I look at it.

Messages like this make me so grateful that I had a mother who served God with all her heart, soul and her email account. There is not a Mother’s Day that goes by that I don’t think about the legacy of love and serving others that she left behind. There is no doubt in my mind that she is definitely dwelling in the house of the Lord forever.

Happy Mother’s Day, Eva Gail.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” – Psalm 23:6

Road Closure: Texas Street Underpass

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, (DOTD), advises the public that Wednesday, May 12, 2021, LA 1X Business (Texas Street UPRR Underpass), in Natchitoches, Natchitoches Parish, will be closed for pavement repair. This job is expected to last four working days.

Permit/Detour Section

Motorists should proceed with caution and use adjacent side streets of Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and Sixth street to bypass this area.

Safety Reminder
All construction activity is weather dependent and may be rescheduled in the event of inclement weather. DOTD appreciates the motoring public’s patience and reminds drivers to please exercise caution when traveling through work zone areas and be on the lookout for work crews and their equipment.

Additional Information
Motorists can access the latest updates on real-time traffic and road conditions using the 511 Traveler Information System by dialing 511 from their telephone and saying the route or region on which they are seeking information. Out-of-state travelers can call 1-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511). Travelers can also access this information by visiting the 511 Traveler Information Web site at

Natchitoches Lions Club Postpones Mother’s Day Rose Sale for 2021

The Natchitoches Lions Club was unable to secure roses for its annual Orin Foster Memorial Mother’s Day Rose sale. The club’s supplier reported that along with labor problems due to Covid there were also weather problems. Club members are so thankful for the support of this fundraiser through the years and look forward to normalcy next year. Since 1982 this has been a major fundraiser for the club. Thanks to the entire community for supporting this project the past 39 years. The Rose Sale will be back next year.


By Tommy Rush

My wife grew up in Bullock County Alabama. Her grandparents lived on a small 200 acre family farm and their home has always been the primary gathering place for my wife’s entire family. For many years “Papa and Mama Dykes” grew cotton and raised cattle, but later on they became peanut farmers and eventually planted the majority of their land in pine trees. My wife’s grandfather passed away a few years ago, and he actually died in the same house that he was born in 93 years earlier.

For the first 25 years of my marriage, the entire Dyke’s family would gather every Sunday at Papa and Mama Dykes for Sunday lunch. The Dykes were blessed with five daughters and twelve grandchildren and a host of great and great-great grandchildren. My children still love to talk about the memories of going to “Mama Dykes” on Sundays after church. It was more than a meal, it was an experience! Some Sundays it seemed as though 40 to 50 people were gathered together. Because I was the young preacher in the family, I was always called on to give the blessing for the meal. After you fixed your plate, you would find a spot on the porch, in the yard, at the barn or in the house to eat. I honestly never understood where all the food would come from or how there was always enough to feed everybody, but the table never became empty.

The Dykes were giving people. It did not matter who came to lunch, they were always welcomed at the table. They had “pea patches” that neighbors could come and pick peas from. Every Fall, Papa Dykes made Cane Syrup for family and friends. My wife and I never left her grandmother’s home without a sack of vegetables or beef from the freezer.

I’m writing this article as I’m watching my wife till her garden. I see her grandmother in almost everything she does. She loves not only planting a garden, but she loves having her grandchildren beside her playing in the dirt. The best crop her grandparents ever grew was not their corn, peanuts or cotton. The best crop they ever produced was their daughters and grandchildren! My wife’s grandparents had their values straight and I will be forever grateful to them for that. Mama Dykes taught her daughters and granddaughters how to be strong, giving Jesus-loving, Jesus serving women. And I got to marry one of them! Jimmie Leigh Dykes was a very small lady physically, but her heart and devotion to her family was huge! As I watch my wife in her garden this morning, I’m grateful for her grandmother and the “crop” she planted, watered, weeded and cared for every day of her earthly life-her family!

On this Mother’s Day Weekend it’s good to remember that children are, in God’s words, and this is in Psalm 127, “a heritage from the Lord…a reward from Him” (Verse 3). More than any other crop in your life, they will be the measure of how well you have lived. Your children really are your most important crop!

St. Mary’s Tiger Golf Team Competes In State Tournament

A 10th place individual finish by senior Dane Files wasn’t enough as the Tigers came up short at the 2021 LHSAA Allstate Golf State Championship. The boys tournament was held at “The Wetlands “ in Lafayette May 3-4. Senior Ben Smiley , junior Hunter Willis, and junior Aiden Evans also competed well. Junior Cole Fisher shot his best round of the year on day two and the Tigers improved by thirteen strokes but it wasn’t enough.

This year the Tigers had a 1st place finish in District, 4th place finish in regionals, and 7th place finish at state. This was the 10th consecutive year the boys have qualified and played in the state tournament.

NSU concludes regular season at home against Southeastern Louisiana

By Bud Denega, Sports Information Graduate Assistant

There are a multitude of layers packed into the Northwestern State softball team’s home series against Southeastern Louisiana.

The three-game set — which commences Friday with a doubleheader at 4 p.m. — is the final one of the season, making it Senior Day for five Lady Demons. It’s also the battle for the Cypress Trophy, and that comes with added importance, as Southland Conference seeding implications are present.

“It’s really big,” head coach Donald Pickett said. “Whoever wins this series puts themselves in a really good situation going into the tournament — not only from a seeding standpoint but also a momentum standpoint.”

NSU sits fifth in the conference standings at 20-19 overall and 14-10 in league action. The Lady Lions are positioned fourth at 26-19 overall and 13-8 in conference play.

The Lady Demons could vault into the top four with a sweep of Southeastern Louisiana. That would give them a first-round bye and keep them out of the single-elimination portion of the bracket.

While that’s a big storyline surrounding the series, NSU is focusing on the micro.

“At the end of the day, it’s not one person that’s going to help us get to a seed or help us get to the NCAA tournament, it’s how we can come together and really play for each other,” senior outfielder Elise Vincent said. “At the end of the day, we have a job to do, and push past those emotions.”

The emotions she’s referring to will be shared by her and four other teammates. Vincent, Hayley Barbazon, Emma Hawthorne, Kaitlyn St. Clair and junior E.C. Delafield will be celebrated following the single game Saturday at 12 p.m.

The entire series will stand as one to honor those five, and with that can come a mix bag of feelings. Pickett has seen both sides of that coin.

He has seen seniors and teams want to do so well and utilize the emotion of Senior Day and try too hard, only to have it backfire. Pickett has also seen that emotion act as fuel for a weekend full of memories and success on the diamond, and he expects that to be the case against the Lady Lions.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in (our seniors),” Pickett said. “They’ve been around here along enough, so they understand we have to get some things done this weekend to put ourselves in a good situation next week. That was a goal they set out for themselves, and I know they are working hard to attain those goals.”

The last half decade has seen the Lady Demons win 116 games. More than half of those have occurred on the Lady Demon Diamond, and the five departing players will look to build on the impressive 60-28 mark at home during that stretch.

“There’s always excitement when you’re playing, especially at home,” Vincent said. “But it’s also going to be a little sad, so it’s going to a little bittersweet. I want to focus on what we can do to better each other. That’s the emotion I want to focus on.”

Delafield has done it all for NSU this spring. She’s hitting .304 with seven doubles, two home runs and 19 RBIs. Delafield is also stout in the circle, boasting a 9-4 record with a 1.99 ERA and 86 strikeouts.

St. Clair is also hitting north of .300. She owns a .303 average with five doubles, four homers and 13 RBIs.

Freshman infielder Keely DuBois leads NSU offensively. She lays claim to a .325 batting average with a pair of doubles, one home run and 15 RBIs.

Audrey Greely paces the Lady Lions. She has a .378 batting average with three homers and 21 RBIs. Four other SLU players hold a batting average over .300.

Heather Zumo represents the Lady Lions’ best pitcher. She’s 15-5 with a 2.17 ERA and 134 strikeouts.

As stated, the Cypress Trophy will be on the line this weekend. NSU has dominated the all-time series, 82-38, and swept SLU the last time the two met in Natchitoches in 2019.

With this weekend also being graduation for NSU, any fans associated with a graduate can purchase $5 tickets with a graduation cap in hand.

Photo:  Chris Reich / NSU Photographic Services

BOM congratulates Logan Lambert on promotion to Senior Accountant and Assistant Vice President

BOM is pleased to announce the promotion of Logan Lambert to Senior Accountant and Assistant Vice President. Logan has been with BOM for six years. He is a graduate of Northwestern State University with a degree in Mathematics, and he will also be attending Graduate School of Banking at LSU this spring. Logan and his wife Mallory have been married for three years, and they have a four year old daughter named Chesleigh. They are members of His Church in Pineville, LA. Logan was recently appointed to the Executive Committee Board for the Natchitoches Young Professionals. Outside of work he enjoys spending time with his family, cooking and hunting. Congrats, Logan!

He’s About to Take a Major Step to Stop His Rapidly-Expanding Waist Line — Maybe

By Joe Darby

Like an alcoholic who, hoping for reform, pours a half-full whiskey bottle down the kitchen sink, I am contemplating taking a profound step in my battle of the (tummy) bulge.

I have a bag, still two-thirds full, of those delicious miniature Hersey candy bars sitting on my kitchen counter. You know what I’m talking about — those little inch and a half long Krackles, Mr. Good Bars, Milk Chocolates and Dark Chocolates. Gosh, how I love them all.

I eat them in a certain way. I don’t mix them up, just reaching in the bag for a handful and devouring whatever my fingers come up with. No, I search out five or six Mr. Good Bars or Milk Chocolates and eat those in one sitting. Next time, I’ll go for a different type. That way, my gourmet palate doesn’t get confused by mixing the taste of a Krackle with a Dark Chocolate, for example.

So, because I’m heavier now than I’ve ever been in my life, I’m actually thinking about throwing the entire remaining contents of my candy bag away! And good riddance too!

But, of course, these mini bars are not the only good tasting delights with which I have been indulging myself lately. I also sometimes buy a big, big bag of M&Ms. I like them a lot too and it’s amazing how easily and quickly they go down when I’m sitting watching TV or reading. There’s also a cheese-cake brownie that I buy at one of our local super markets that is just an absolute joy to the tongue. And of course a quart of chocolate ice cream, that special picker upper for tired old men, can usually be found in the freezer.

I’m also a popcorn lover, but I’m not content with eating the unadorned contents of a microwave bag. The popcorn, I believe, is not ready to eat until I have slathered it with one of those liquid artificial butter concoctions that probably run up my cholesterol count with every bite I take.

And then there are the various cakes, frozen pies, restaurant desserts, etc., etc., that I also enjoy.

But, as momma used to say, actions have consequences. Yeah, they do. I had the Covid virus last October and completely lost my appetite, which was really a rather good thing. I went from 248 to 232 (I’m 6-1″ tall). I looked better and my clothes fit much nicer also. But then, after I had to place my wife Mary in a nursing home because of advanced dementia, I have been compensating with pleasure foods.

I slowly started to put back on the pounds that I had lost when I had the virus. But I have now reached a new, unwanted, peak of pounds. My bathroom scale has registered as much as 252, although last night it was 250. But that weight is entirely too much for my old legs. I can feel the difference and my clothes are fitting ridiculously tight.

But I’m not going to go out and buy a new wardrobe, because I am confident I can beat this. As I said at the beginning of the column, I am seriously thinking of tossing out my bag of candies. I might also throw out the chocolate ice cream in the fridge and not buy any more such stuff for a long time. When I’ve thought about losing weight in the past, I would always decide to “just finish what I have in the house now, because waste is a terrible thing.”

But my strong inclination to throw out my sweets shows, I hope, a new resolve to get this fatty thing under control. As I sit here, finishing up this column, I intend to go to the kitchen and do the deed. Well, at least I hope I do.

Soldiers-The Journey Begins!

By Kevin Shannahan

Every year, about 30 young men and women start their journey into the military at the US Army Recruitment Station in Natchitoches. Before the prospective soldiers are sent to basic training, they are given a short introduction into military life and the skills they will need to master in order to be successful.

Each week, Staff Sergeants Clint Lawrence and Tiffany Gourdon teach classes on first aid, land navigation, customs and courtesies, the 24 hour clock and the phonetic alphabet. They also lead the future soldiers in physical training, getting them ready for the rigors of their future profession.

As I near my sixtieth birthday in a few months, I look back and realize that some of the best years of my life were spent wearing this nation’s uniform. I was cold, hot, tired, soaking wet and occasionally downright miserable. I would not trade any of it for anything. Forty years or so from now, those young men and women will hopefully look back and think the same.

There are superficial differences between the military of my day and now, but the important things remain the same. Young men and women still step up to test themselves. Good NCOs like Staff Sergeants Lawrence and Gourdon will be there to teach them and drive them to do more than they thought possible. Along the way, the young soldiers will discover the deep satisfaction to be found in doing difficult and important work for their nation and of being a part of something larger than themselves.

The Natchitoches Parish Journal wishes to commend the young men and women of our community who have volunteered to stand watch on America’s ramparts. May God keep his hand over you on your journeys. Godspeed soldiers!

St. Mary’s hoping to overcome frustrating loss by taking two today in playoff

Kevin’s Gallery

The St. Mary’s baseball team had more than its share of frustration Thursday evening in the first game of a best-of-three LHSAA Class A quarterfinal playoff series with visiting Catholic-Pointe Coupee – and still almost won.

But this is a brand new day, says Tigers’ coach Brooks McMinn, and St. Mary’s is still alive and kicking, needing two wins this afternoon to reach next week’s state tournament in Sulphur.

The teams tangle at 4 o’clock at Cracker Brown Field in the east Natchitoches recreation complex. A St. Mary’s win will set up a winner-take-all third game likely starting around 7 this evening.

“I’m glad it’s a two-out-of-three series,” said McMinn. “Our opportunity is still in front of us. We’ve got to shake off (Thursday night) and regroup. We get to play, and a lot of teams are sitting home now.”

Fifth-seeded Catholic-Pointe Coupee rallied to win with three runs in the top of the seventh Thursday night. By then, fourth-seeded St. Mary’s (28-7) had been denied three runs on two questionable calls at the plate – two runs erased in a bizarre sequence ending the Tigers’ fifth inning.

With two out and a runner on second, a Tigers’ hitter swung and missed on a two-strike pitch picked out of the dirt by the visitors’ catcher. He rolled the ball out to the mound when it appeared he should have thrown to first to complete the final out, by rule, when a third strike is not fielded cleanly by the catcher.

The Tigers didn’t abandon the field, but rounded the bases, believing the ball was still in play. Both runners scored. But the plate umpire ruled the strike was caught, and the inning was over. McMinn challenged the call, and after discussion, the umpiring crew agreed, ruling the runs scored and the inning would continue.

Then after protests by the Catholic-Pointe Coupee coach, the umpires reverted back to the original call – inning over, no runs scored. Instead of being up 6-3, St. Mary’s led 4-3 going to the sixth.

The Tigers were turned away at home in their next chance. In a “bang-bang” play at the plate on a passed ball, a Tiger tried to score from third base but was ruled out. CPCHS used a pair of walks and a couple of hits to score the winning runs in its final at-bat, and St. Mary’s couldn’t answer.

“The controversial calls didn’t go our way,” said McMinn. “But we also hurt our own cause by making four errors, something we hadn’t done all spring.”

The teams each posted two runs in the first inning. The visitors pushed ahead 3-2 before Patrick Vienne clubbed a two-run home run in the bottom of the third.

“Our kids fought,” said McMinn. “We weren’t at our best but we battled. We didn’t get overwhelmed by the other team, we just had some bad breaks. No reason we can’t come back and get it done (Friday).”

Kiwanis Club of Natchitoches host Kiwanis International Executive Director

Kiwanis Club of Natchitoches welcomes Stan Soderstram, Kiwanis International Executive Director. Kiwanis Club of Natchitoches was honored to host Stan via Zoom. Stan presented about how the Kiwanis organization navigated the pandemic, and despite the shutdowns, many Kiwanis Clubs opened in new areas. Kiwanis has bright future ahead!

Kiwanis announces October 9, 2021 as the new date for the annual Kiwanis Pancake Festival and Color Run.

“Kids need Kiwanis, in our community and in communities around the world. “Our club believes in children and wants to provide all kids with an opportunity to thrive, prosper and grow.”

The Kiwanis Club of Natchitoches, , welcomes new members who want to serve their community. For information on becoming a member or on attending one of their weekly meetings, contact Craig Caskey at

About Kiwanis International

Founded in 1915, Kiwanis International is a global organization of clubs and members dedicated to serving the children of the world. Kiwanis and its family of clubs, including Circle K International for university students, Key Club for students age 14–18, Builders Club for students age 11–14, K-Kids for students age 6–12 and Aktion Club for adults living with disabilities, annually dedicate more than 18.5 million service hours to strengthen communities and serve children. The Kiwanis International family comprises nearly 558,000 adult and youth members 82 nations and geographic areas. 

Angler’s Perspective: Preparing for a Tournament

Wow…where to start? This is a very broad subject and there are a lot of variables. The first thing is “Where’s the tournament?” Let’s start here and work our way through the process. Once I know where I’m headed for my next event, then I start to search for recent tournament results that have taken place and other results that occurred during the same time of the year that I’ll be there. I’ll search the top professional fishing organizations like Major League Fishing (MLF) which has the BFL and Toyota Series results, B.A.S.S. Elite Series and Opens, American Bass Angler or ABA Opens and Top 150 Series results along with anything else I can find from local club tournaments to open events.

Next, I need to try and determine what bait I need and how I’m going to attack the lake, which is mainly determined by the time of year. Is it late winter, early or late spring, early or late summer or is this a fall event? Each of these so-called “times of year” will help you decide what baits you probably need to pack. This is where YouTube videos come in handy as I try to watch and compare how they caught them during the same time of year that I’ll be there. But you can’t always go by this as more often than not, Mother Nature will throw you a curveball with bad weather which changes everything. There are other variables as well, such as is the lake water level on the rise, stable or falling. This has a big influence on where the fish will be set up and will help give you an idea as to how you might catch them.

Next, it’s time to pack and load everything, and I mean everything but the kitchen sink….only because the cabins we stay in already have one of those. Now some guys take the bare minimum while others like me pack heavily. After all, I was a Boy Scout and our motto was, “Always be prepared.” Now depending on, once again “time of year” will determine if you bring clothes for both mild temperature days or the possibility of a major cold front passing through. Also never forget your rain suit as this can be a true lifesaver. It just might be the most important thing you can bring. After this, time to load the truck. Clothes, cooler for cold stuff, computer, snack bag (essential), water, bait tubs (I have three), extra spools of new fishing line in various sizes, dip net, towels and boat cover. I also bring a utility box that has pliers, line conditioner, extra hooks, extra tungsten weights, scissors, extra dipping dye or dye pins which I prefer over bottled dye. And I always have a bottle of one of the greatest inventions of our time….neutralizer that comes in handy when you spill a bottle of dipping dye in your boat. This stuff is amazing at how it will completely breakdown and take out any dye color you spill on your carpet or boat hull.

There’s an old saying when it comes to fishing, “You should have been here yesterday, the fish bit really well!” It never fails that every time I go to a tournament, someone always makes this comment in some form or fashion. That’s why tournament fishing is such a mental game. Just like any other sport, it requires a lot of mental preparation. Some days it seems every decision you make is always the right one and then there are times when you never make the right decision. Which is what tournament bass fishing is all about! Bad decisions allow for doubt to creep into your mental psyche and this can cause an angler to what we call “spin out.” When this happens, you’re pretty much done, and your fishing day is over. Anglers who conquer the “spin out” syndrome, usually do very well on tournament day.

As you can see, there’s a lot to this tournament preparation thing. Sometimes you can over prepare and at other times, you’re never prepared enough and just when you think you have it all figured out; something happens that throws you off your game. Then there are those rare days when it all comes together and believe me, there’s not a better feeling in the world when you know exactly where to go and how you’re going to catch them. So, if you ever get into tournament bass fishing, make sure you’re prepared and do your homework if you want to step into the winner’s circle. Till next time, don’t forget to set the hook!

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

Altered schedule, promotion-filled weekend set for Demons’ series against McNeese

As the Northwestern State baseball team heads down the stretch of Southland Conference play, it is beginning to look like what its head coach envisioned.

The schedule, once again, will not.

The Demons open their penultimate home series of the season with a 3 p.m. doubleheader, hosting longtime rival McNeese in a matchup of the two most recent Southland Conference Tournament champions. The series also includes a 2 p.m. Saturday single game and a 1 p.m. Mother’s Day matinee on Sunday.

The second game of Friday’s doubleheader will not start before 6:30 p.m. as the Demons will host former All-American Danny Bob Turner’s jersey retirement ceremony at 6:15 p.m. between games. Game 1 of Friday’s doubleheader will be a seven-inning game while the nightcap will be a traditional nine-inning affair.

“We always say we want to be a team that plays much better at the end of the season than at the beginning,” fifth-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “This team is trending toward that.”

Despite a bumpy weekend series at Central Arkansas this past weekend, Northwestern State (22-20, 16-12) is in firm control of its postseason destiny with 12 conference games remaining.

NSU enters the weekend holding the No. 4 seed in the tournament, which begins May 26 on the campus of Southeastern Louisiana University. McNeese (21-23, 14-13) trails the Demons by five points in the Southland standings, which give teams three points per win and a point for a game that is canceled because of COVID-19 issues. The Cowboys played just three games in their Southland-opening series against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi because of COVID issues within the Islanders program.

The slim difference between the Demons and Cowboys is unsurprising given the teams’ recent history.

Each team has taken a pair of 2-1 series victories in the past four matchups while they have split a pair of Southland Conference Tournament matchups since 2016.

“We’ve always played each other tough,” Barbier said. “The games have been tight. We’ve had tournament games that have been tight. (McNeese head coach) Justin (Hill) and I have been close since he coached me here. They have an older team and have had success in this league. They have guys who have won a championship and some who have won more than one. It will be a good test for us.”

The Demons have a handful of players remaining from their 2018 SLC Tournament championship roster, but it has been a relative newcomer who has been a stabilizing force in the NSU rotation.

Left-hander Cal Carver made four appearances – including two starts — in the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season after transferring from Wichita State.

In his first full season in a Demon uniform, Carver leads the team in victories (5), innings pitched (64.0) and complete games (3) while standing second in strikeouts (67).

“Cal has been a guy who has improved from the moment he got on campus,” Barbier said. “He competes with four pitches. We’ve talked about how Kirk (catcher Austin Kirkpatrick) does a really good job calling his games. They work really well in the second game of a series. That’s such an important game, because it’s a bounce-back game if you get beat in the first one. If you win, you’ve got a chance to grab two games really quickly and set the tone for a long day of baseball because it’s usually the first game of a doubleheader. He’s been fantastic, and hopefully he can continue to be that way down the stretch.”

The four games at Brown-Stroud Field this weekend will be accompanied by a plethora of promotions.

Any 2021 Northwestern State graduate who attends any game this weekend with their cap can purchase $5 tickets for friends and family members as Brown-Stroud Field is opened to full capacity for the first time this season.

Sunday’s series finale is a Bark in the Park game where fans can bring their dogs to the game. Ahead of the final game of the series, mothers of the current Demon players will throw out the first pitch.

Series Probables
Friday: McNeese RHP Bryson Hudgens (0-1, 4.05) and LHP Will Dion (5-4, 3.88) at Northwestern State RHP Johnathan Harmon (4-2, 4.53) and LHP Cal Carver (5-4, 3.09)
Saturday: McNeese LHP Jonathan Ellison (3-3, 3.47) at Northwestern State RHP Levi David (2-5, 3.91)
Sunday: McNeese RHP Ty Abraham (2-2, 5.31) at Northwestern State RHP Donovan Ohnoutka (2-1, 2.33)

Opportunity: NPSB District Coordinator of Maintenance

POSITION: District Coordinator of Maintenance Department

• High School Diploma (college degree preferred)
• Experience managing teams (general contractor experience preferred)
• Knowledge of plumbing, carpentry, electrical, HVAC and construction blue prints
• Experience in purchasing of construction materials and supplies
• Basic knowledge of operating computer software
• Experience with maintaining vendor relations and processing invoices
• Additional criteria as the Director of Business Affairs may establish

SALARY: According to Natchitoches Parish Salary Schedule


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

DEADLINE: Thursday, May 20, 2021; 4:00 p.m.

APPLICATIONS: Application packet should consist of a resume’, transcripts or diploma, and a letter of reference from former or present employer.

NSU calendar

Here is a look at the week of May 9-15 at Northwestern State University.

May 9-15 – Registration for summer, fall semesters

May 9 – Baseball vs. McNeese, Brown-=Stroud Field, 1 p.m.

May 13-14 – Advising for 11-week summer session