Angler’s Perspective – Find Your Own Fish!

With more anglers on the water today than in the previous 20 years, one thing has become very apparent. A lot of anglers cannot find their own fish! Now let’s address the main problem…overcrowded lakes. It is insane, the number of boats on our area lakes and waterways compared to twenty years ago. The recent pandemic is also a major contributor to this issue as well. Boat’s sales soared in 2020 with many people not working and schools being shut down. A big majority of Americans all across the country took to the lakes and outdoors which is a great thing! Nothing bad can come of getting folks, old and young alike, out in the great outdoors. I mean what’s the worst thing that can happen?

Well let me give you an idea and a few examples. First, overcrowded boat ramps! It amazes me at how seven days a week, you have to wait in line just to launch your boat. Just two short years ago, you could go to any boat ramp Monday thru Thursday and NEVER have to wait to launch or worry how far you’ll have to park your truck and trailer after you launch your boat. Many of today’s lakes, especially Sam Rayburn or sometimes at Toledo Bend, it might be necessary to request an Uber just to get back to the ramp after parking your truck and trailer. Several times this past year I’ve seen people parked almost a mile from the ramp they launched at. It’s insane!

Now that we’re on the water and ready to go fishing, now let’s crank our motor and head to our favorite spot. Oh wow… guess what, after you run 5 miles up the lake dodging jet skiers and pleasure boaters who have not had a boater safety course, you arrive at your favorite spot, and someone is already there. It’s the same person who saw you yesterday catching fish there. Shocker…but that’s exactly how it is today. There are more people scouting and spying on other anglers like detectives trying to solve a murder mystery. I mean I’ve seen guys using binoculars and watching other anglers at a distance only to wait until they move and then swoop in and mark that location with their electronics so they can return on another day. Tournament anglers are especially targeted and it’s even worse if you have an advertising wrap on your boat. But one thing I’ve done several times just to throw off would be scouts and detectives, is to fake hook sets and I’ve gone as far as to pretend I just caught a fish by leaning over the side of the boat and acting like I’m releasing a fish. It’s quite amusing to watch who moves into the area I just left. I think anyone who has a pair of binoculars in their boat is pathetic.

Next, are what I call “GPS robbers.” These guys are the worst and most unethical anglers on the water. If they see a well-known angler, guide or pro, they will ride up and down the lake looking for these good anglers and will shut down and idle towards the area they are in and hit their GPS button on their electronic units to mark the spot so they can come back later after the angler leaves. While I have never shot anyone before, this is the one thing that I might consider as a consequence for anglers who practice this technique.

Bass fishing is hard enough today with so many anglers competing for a limited number of fishing spots. It just makes an angler mad when you have people on the lake spying on other fishermen and looking to raid their best spots, especially the guides who work very hard to build a reputation for catching fish. This is how they make a living, and it affects their pocketbook when other anglers pull up on their best spots and catch fish. If you are one of those who needs help finding fish, hire a guide and let him show you how to read your electronics so you can find your own fish. It’ll be the best money you ever spent and well worth your time. Till next time, find your own fish and don’t forget to set the hook!

Steve Graf
Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Show



POSITION:​  Public Works – Beautification Worker

DESCRIPTION:​  Responsible for operating various types of equipment such as lawn mower, tractor, weed eater and other equipment required to maintain the City’s grounds, streets and right of ways. Must also be willing to perform other duties as assigned.

QUALIFICATIONS:  ​Must have the ability to read and write; understand and follow instructions. Must have a valid Driver’s license.

CONTACT:​  City of Natchitoches, Human Resources Department

Located at 1400 Sabine St., or P.O. Box 37, Natchitoches, LA 71458-0037. Applications may also be picked up upstairs at City Hall located at 700 Second Street or may be downloaded at

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: ​ Applications will be accepted​through: June 9, 2021


Plein Air Painting Class

Cane River Creole National Historical Park will host a FREE plein air painting class at Magnolia Plantation on Saturday, May 29. The class will take place from 10 am to 12 pm and is limited to ten participants. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 318-352-0383 x316.

Come experience plein air painting in your park! Plein Air is French for “outdoors.” Join local professional artist Annabel Jones at Magnolia Plantation for this special free class. No painting experience is needed, and all supplies are provided. Magnolia Plantation is located at 5549 Highway 119, Derry/Cloutierville, LA. Due to a road closure Magnolia Plantation can only be accessed from the southern end of Highway 119 via LA Highway 1.

Free admission Saturday at 2 for LSU baseball hero, Olympic medalist Warren Morris, at LSHOF museum

Twenty-five years ago, Warren Morris hit a home run to win the College World Series for the LSU Tigers.

Then he hit the world stage, as a member of Team USA in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Morris, an Alexandria native and resident, will share memories of both experiences Saturday afternoon at 2 o’clock in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum at 800 Front Street in Natchitoches.

Admission is free to hear Morris field questions about his baseball career, which carried him to the major leagues, and his perspective on the Olympics. The second baseman helped the United States earn a bronze medal and is the final Olympian to visit the museum this month in a four-part “Olympic Glory” series.

Morris was an unlikely hero for LSU, because after a breakout sophomore season, he had been sidelined for most of his junior year with a broken bone in his wrist and was not nearly 100 percent when he returned for postseason play. But with two out, the tying run on third and LSU trailing Miami 8-7, Morris lined the first pitch he saw inches over the right field fence for his only home run of the season, giving LSU the 1996 College World Series championship almost exactly 25 years ago – June 8, 1996.

The homer is considered the greatest moment in College World Series history and ranks highly on any list of great Louisiana sports moments. It is featured in the LSHOF museum’s “Great Moments” film.

Morris had starred the previous summer for Team USA, and remained on the squad for the Olympics in Atlanta, an experience he says was as stirring as the CWS game-winner. Those who attend his appearance this Saturday afternoon will find out why he feels that way, and will be able to ask questions and meet him.

Five-time Olympic volleyball player Danielle Scott entertained the audience last Saturday afternoon at the museum. Earlier speakers in the Olympic Glory series were 1972 USA Olympic boxer Tim Dement (May 15) and two-time Olympic medal-winning high jumper Hollis Conway (May 8).

Photo of Morris in USA Olympic jersey – USA Baseball

Northwestern State’s Steels leaps to NCAAs in long jump, Jackson sets record to reach 400 finals

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Long jumper Jasmyn Steels didn’t leave anything to chance Thursday as her first jump of 21-2.75 vaulted her to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore.

Steels placed seventh in a deep group of regionals jumpers with eight athletes reaching at least 21 feet at North Florida’s Hodges Stadium.

Her second attempt came in at 20-5.75 before she fouled her third attempt.

“I know she was working on a few things approach wise, but she did exactly what she needed to do today,” said NSU coach Mike Heimerman. “I think she experimented on her second and third jumps, but I know she’s ready to jump big in Oregon.

“Only getting three attempts at regionals, it’s kind of like making the finals in a normal format. It’s stressful even for the most savvy of veterans, but she’s been on the biggest stages. She knew how to handle it, and she did it to perfection.”

Back in 2019, Steels placed second in the NCAA East Regionals with a mark of 20-5. That distance would have just missed the cutoff to go to nationals in 2021.

At the 2019 nationals, Steels unleashed her personal best and NSU record of 22-0.25 to take silver.

With one of the nation’s fastest 400 meter runners (South Carolina’s Aliyah Abrams) in the lane to the outside of her, senior Natashia Jackson smashed her own program record to qualify for the region finals.

Jackson clocked a 52.55, nearly six-tenths faster than her 53.14 that won the Southland Conference title, to finish third in her heat and automatically qualify for Saturday’s finals.

“Just an awesome race,” Heimerman said. “Her and (Coach Adam Pennington) talked about running her race, and (Jackson) executed it to a perfect T.

“It’s the first time she’s really run her race this year. I’ll never bet against Speedy, and I’m really excited to see what she’ll do in Saturday’s final.”

The Houston native ran out of lane eight with Abrams in lane nine, placing 10th overall in the 48-runner field. Abrams’ 52.21 ranked third overall.

Jackson, who was named the SLC Women’s Track Athlete of the Year earlier Thursday, will run in her second regional final in the 400 meters in her career as she seeks her first NCAA Championships as an individual.

She’ll toe the line in just one individual event Saturday after not advancing in the 200 meters.

Jackson closed quickly and surged past three runners at the finish line, but she finished fifth in her heat and 29th overall with a 23.62. The time is just one-tenth off her personal mark.

“I think she was a little gassed from the 400 and came out a little tight,” Heimerman said. “But she still almost set a PR.

“She’s always going to compete to the end, she just didn’t have quite enough left in the tank. But she’s going to do everything right from eating the right foods to doing the proper warmups to be ready for Saturday’s 400 meters.”

Hurdler Janiel Moore set a personal record in the 400 hurdles at 59.98. Moore finished sixth in her heat and 34th overall in her first NCAA East Preliminaries appearance.

In the 100 hurdles, Moore came within a tenth of a second of her personal best (13.52) in the 100 hurdles, clocking a 13.60 to finish seventh in her heat.

Moore finished 38th in the 48-runner field. She outperformed her rankings (40th in the 100 hurdles and 48th in the 400 hurdles).

“She ran a really great 400 hurdles, and she set a PR despite overstepping a little on hurdle six and getting out of step,” Heimerman said. “Janiel is very happy she broke a minute, but she knows she can still run faster, and that gives her confidence that she belongs on this stage.

“The high hurdles (100 hurdles) also had positives, and she got close to a PR. Now that she’s competed on this stage, it’ll get some of those butterflies out for the 4×400 on Saturday.”

Jackson will take part in the 400 and the 4×400 relay with Moore, Diana Granados and Erin Wilson. Steels will try to go 2-for-2 to the NCAAs with the triple jump.

The NSU men return to action in four events Friday.

Triple jumper Quindarrius Thompson will make his third career attempt to reach the NCAA Championships at 2:15 p.m. He ranks 30th in the region with a 51-2.25.

The running events begin with the 4×100 relay, featuring Kie’Ave Harry, Kennedy Harrison, Javin Arrington and Tre’Darius Carr. Their 39.80 ranks 14th in the East Region with the top 12 advancing.

Harry toes the line in the 100 meter finals at 6:05 p.m. before Kennedy Harrison bolts in the 200 meter finals at 7:10 p.m.

Harry finished 23rd overall with a 10.27 and was the last runner to advance on time in Wednesday’s prelims.

Harrison clocked a 20.90 and finished 22nd overall in Wednesday’s prelims.

Notice of Death – May 27, 2021

Charles Dewayne LaCaze
July 27, 1965 – May 25, 2021
Service: Friday, May 28 at 2 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home in Natchitoches

Thomas “Tommy” Lonadier
February 20, 1968 – May 19, 2021
Service: Saturday, May 29 at 2 pm at Pace Recreational Center, located at 2138 Hwy 1226 in Natchitoches

Elnora Gillie
April 14, 1950 – May 23, 2021
Service: Saturday, May 29 at 2 pm in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, located at 318 North Street in Natchitoches

Henry Keith
May 22, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Earl Tucker Sr.
August 25, 1960 – May 22, 2021
Service: Saturday, May 29 at 11 am at the Evergreen Baptist Church, located at 8260 Hwy 71 in St. Maurice

Carl Smith
June 21, 1955 – May 21, 2021
Arrangements TBA

L. J. Smith
May 23, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Henry Braxton
May 18, 2021
Service: Saturday, May 29 at 11 am at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel

Margaret Carter Cooper
November 2, 1961 – May 10, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Phillip Lloyd Gillis
March 13, 1968 – April 29, 2021
Service: Saturday, May 29, 2021 from 1-5 pm at the home of Ryan and Bekah French Home, located at 1615 Williams Ave. in Natchitoches

Pauline Lee Shaw
December 31, 1923 – May 25, 2021
Service: Friday, May 28 at 10 am at Fort Jesup Cemetery

Justin Toby Morvan
January 8, 1986 – May 26, 2021
Service: Saturday, May 29 at 2 pm at Pleasant View Baptist Church

Earl Wayman “Sam” Tarpley
October 1, 1939 – May 26, 2021
Service: Saturday, May 29 at 10 am at Siloam Baptist Church

Kevin Ray Jordan
December 14, 1963
Service: Saturday, May 29 at 11 am at Southern Funeral Home

American Cemetery Tour starts in June

The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History museum will offer an American Cemetery Walking Tour on the first Friday of each month from 11:30am- 12:30pm. Tours will begin at the American Cemetery’s 2nd Street entrance, next to the Holy Cross Church.

The purpose of this tour is to familiarize visitors with some of the notable people from the area buried in the American Cemetery, the oldest cemetery in Natchitoches. Over the years, planters, businessman, politicians, and educators have all made their mark on Natchitoches and the surrounding area. The markers in the cemetery tell stories of the region’s people and act as an outdoor museum dedicated to their legacy. Free and open to the public.

Weather and Staff Permitting.

Please visit our website or call (318) 357-2492 for more information.

Young alum creates Gorham Minority Social Work Scholarship

A recent Northwestern State University graduate has created a scholarship intended to assist minority students pursuing a degree in social work. The Gorham Minority Social Work Scholarship will be presented to a sophomore, junior or senior level student majoring in social work with a 3.0 or better GPA.

Donor Terrell “TJ” Gorham Jr., LMSW, said he hopes the annual scholarship will inspire each recipient to give back and positively impact the community. Since graduating in 2016, Gorham has pursued the behavioral health and substance abuse side of social work and noticed a lack of resources for minorities in the field in the areas of academic support, access to quality field training and opportunities to learn what the field has to offer.

“My goal is to change that,” he said. “My ideal recipient would be someone that is willing to pay it forward and think outside of the box, someone who is willing to challenge social injustices unapologetically, and advocate for those without a voice with passion. I feel we do ourselves a disservice when we do not give back whatever resources we can provide to those that come behind us in this field. The goal is to evolve and become better clinicians, and professionals in this field for the betterment of our respective communities.”

A native of Alexandria, Gorham was Mr. NSU 2016, was elected to the honor court and was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Order of Omega, the National Panhellenic Caucus, Helping Hands and the African American Caucus. A Dean’s List student, he also was involved with the Student Government Association and Student Activities Board.

“While in undergrad, I was put into a position to absorb so much knowledge about the field,” Gorham said. “My professors have been such a positive influence on me over the years, and I want to continue to show my appreciation by carrying myself in a professional manner.

“I want this scholarship to provide financial assistance, but overall I want this to motivate and encourage the recipient to give back to the field in some form or fashion. In doing so, I pray that this approach impacts communities in a positive manner,” Gorham said.

Information is available by contacting the NSU Foundation office at (318) 357-5699.

“What is an SAE?”

Written by Katie Bedgood, Lakeview FFA

SAE stands for supervised agricultural experience. An SAE is part of the agricultural education three component model which also includes classroom/laboratory and FFA. SAE gives students work experience in different agricultural careers. There are many different types of supervised agriculture programs which include placement/internship, ownership, entrepreneurship, research, school-based enterprise, and service learning.

SAE is not only giving students work experience, but students also use their SAE to gain recognition for their FFA chapter by completing a proficiency award application that logs the student’s hours, skills, and monetary value. Students can do anything for their SAE project from having a YouTube channel sharing their experiences in agriculture and FFA to raising cattle. To vermicomposting to flying drones.

My personal SAE is agriculture communications. I write and educate people about FFA and agriculture education. I chose this as my SAE because after competing in the Creed Speaking Leadership Development Event, I decided I wanted to continue learning about our organization and sharing that knowledge with others. This SAE project could eventually lead to a career in journalism, public relations, and marketing.

Is profanity-filled rap music fit for Christian ears?

By Edwin Crayton/Opinion

I recently read a news report that puts rap at the top of music genres in America. About that time, I read another news item from Barna Research that reported over 73% of Americans polled said they are Christians. How does a music form that relies heavily on profanity become, basically the leading style of music in a country where most people claim to be “Christians?” The numbers suggest that a whole lot of people who say they are Christians are buying a whole lot of it? Why does it matter? To God apparently it matters a good deal, if you believe your Bible. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:29: “Let no filthy communication proceed out of your mouth.”

When he physically walked the earth, Jesus warned those he ministered to that they should be careful about what they allowed to enter into their hearts and minds. Thoughts matter. In Matthew 5:28 Jesus is quoted as teaching that just thinking about having sex with someone you are not married to is a form of adultery. The prayer he taught his followers to pray even states at some point, “lead us not into temptation.” God knows we humans are imperfect, weak beings and that we can all be lured into hurtful, even dark behavior, often by the mere suggestion, presented to us in the most attractive manner at the most opportune moment. That has been the successful longtime strategy of the Devil. James 1:14-15 reads, “But each one is tempted when by his own evil desires, he is lured away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” In other words, be careful what thoughts you allow into your heart and mind—they bear fruit. Deadly, soul crippling, rotten fruit. I know from personal experience and many mistakes. Recently, I’ve been checking out rap/hip hop. Listen to the seductive lyrics in a few popular songs. Polo G rhymes, “Uh, I won’t love a (curse word), after we (curse word), she can’t get near me. Only (curse word) I give a conversation to is Siri.” Or what about D Savage’s “Locked In”: “Robbin’ niggas if I ever go broke. I want that money and power, let’s go (hey, hey) Walked in with a m____f____roll. Hop out with that m_____f_______.” You get the basic concept here. This is routine for the category. The template for a hit seems to be: 1) Use the N word frequently. 2)Disrespect women, write lyrics that portray them as sex objects. 3) swear, swear and then swear some more. 4)Talk about sex and violence a good deal. 5)Brag and boast.

On Sundays, many teens and young college age adults sing songs of praise to God. But Mondays through Saturdays is this what their playlist probably looks like? Sure, young people always listen to rebellious music and my generation was particularly guilty. But that doesn’t make it right does it? The amount of profanity has obviously gone up and keeps escalating. Some are tempted to defensively call the profanity in rap art and free speech. In some ways, they are right. But is that also a bit of a cop out? Truth is, music is also instruction. A child’s first lessons are often songs: “This is the way, we wash our face” was once a popular lyric. Look at the verse from James (1:14) again. Notice how it warns that desire gives birth to actions? For instance, if I think about a hot, gooey cinnamon roll, before long, I can taste it on my lips. Moments later I am at the store or pastry shop buying some. In a similar way, what this music tempts me to do, I just might do. The Bible says, “you can tell a tree by the fruit that it bears.” What fruit does profanity in rap music bear? As rap has become a top music genre, profanity has become more accepted in American society. TV shows have had titles such as “Cook your a – – off.” Characters in movies routinely spit out four letter words. Social media is populated by people who cuss almost every other word. Coincidence? Is all rap or hip hop filled with profanity? Not necessarily. But profanity is the norm.

What can you do if you are Christian and are concerned about your child? Well, it is not hopeless. If you are a Christian you have divine help: God. James 1:5 reads, “If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask God. But the catch is, we actually have to listen to what God says. He has already made it clear in his Holy Word that profanity and vileness do not have a place in the life of a Christian believer and that they eventually harm and perhaps will destroy the soul if left unchecked. Read daily what the Holy Bible says then do what it commands: (Suggestions: 1 Corinthians 6: 18, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Matthew 5:2 8, Luke 6:46), Afterwards, take the time to teach your child to do likewise. Turn off music and entertainment content laced with profanity. The “off” button is the most helpful invention in modern communications technology because when you really get right down to it, the best way to stop profanity and filth from invading and polluting your heart and mind is to stop it from getting past your ears in the first place.

Demons see one-run streak end in first-round loss to Southeastern Louisiana

HAMMOND – For the first time in more than a month, the Northwestern State baseball team felt the sting of a one-run game that went against it.

Evan Keller’s solo home run in the eighth inning snapped a 1-all tie and lifted Southland Conference Tournament host Southeastern Louisiana to a 2-1 win against the Demons in the a first-round game Wednesday night.

The sixth-seeded Demons (27-25) will face No. 2 seed New Orleans at 12 p.m .Thursday in an elimination game. SLU (31-22) advances to play McNeese at 7 p.m. in the championship bracket.

“It was a good ballgame,” fifth-year head coach Bobby Barbier said. “Their guys pitched great. Our guys pitched great. It came down to them getting one up and getting a home run there. We didn’t get the big hit when we had runners on base.”

Down to their final strike after reliever Trey Shaffer (3-3) retired the first two hitters in the ninth, the Demons loaded the bases on a Jake Haze walk, a Marshall Skinner single and a Larson Fontenot hit by pitch.

After Shaffer fell behind Daunte Stuart 2-0, he recovered to even the count before getting Stuart to hit into a game-ending fielder’s choice as the Demons saw their eight-game win streak in one-run games come to an end. Northwestern State fell to 13-8 in one-run games this season, dropping their first such decision since a 3-2 loss to Lamar in game two of an April 11 doubleheader.

Northwestern State starter Cal Carver and Southeastern Louisiana starter Will Warren matched each other pitch for pitch through the first six-plus innings.

Carver allowed a first-inning run on a Gaby Cruz sacrifice fly before settling in and retiring 11 straight Lions before Rhett Rosevear’s leadoff single in the fifth inning.

While the Demon offense scratched out a run as Cam Sibley scored on Warren’s third-inning wild pitch, the Demon defense backed Carver with big play after big play.

Carver threw wildly trying to pick off Rosevear, but Stuart chased down the errant throw and threw a one-hop strike to Jake Haze at third, which allowed Haze to tag out Rosevear as he overslid the bag.

Still in a 1-1 game an inning later, Lenni Kunert turned a line-drive into an inning-ending double play off a failed SLU hit and run.

“That first inning, I was sweaty, and I lost my grip on the change-up,” said Carver, who allowed two hits and one run in 6 2-3 innings. “I was able to get the grip down, and Austin (Kirkpatrick) called it a lot. (Jake) Haze had a big play in the third inning that was reviewed. That was huge.

“Daunte picked me up on my mistake and threw it from the bullpen to third base on a one-hopper. Lenni made a big-time double play on a ball a guy smacked. You know when you have that defense behind you, it makes you settle in on the mound.”

Even armed with the momentum after those key plays, the Demons were unable to scratch another run off of Warren and Shaffer.

Warren began to tire in the sixth, loading the bases with two outs on back-to-back walks by Jeffrey Elkins and Cameron Horton. However, Kunert flew out to right field to stifle the threat.

Sibley led off the seventh with his second hit, a line-drive double to left-center. He never moved from second as Warren and Shaffer escaped.

Southeastern did what the Demons could not, score against the bullpen as Keller homered off NSU reliever Drayton Brown (2-3), who had entered in the seventh inning and snuffed out a Lion threat with a strikeout.

“That was a good, clean baseball game between two good teams,” Barbier said. “You hate to be on the losing end of that one, but we’ve just got to come out (Thursday). A couple of plays go different ways or a couple of balls find holes, and it’s a different game.

“We have to come out and fight (Thursday). I told them, ‘A lot of times, that game, you lay down for it, because you have to get up early, you’re in the loser’s bracket.’ I think we’ll come out and fight. We’ve got arms down there.”

Southeastern Louisiana 2, Northwestern State 1
NSU 001 000 000 – 1 4 1
SLU 100 000 01x – 2 3 0
W – Trey Shaffer (3-3). L – Drayton Brown (2-3). 2B – NSU, Cam Sibley. HR – SLU, Evan Keller (3). Highlights: NSU, Sibley 2-4, 2B.

Records: Northwestern State 27-25, Southeastern Louisiana 31-22.

Photo: Randy Bergeron/SLU Athletics

Northwestern State’s Dancetovic honorably mentioned on All-Louisiana Tennis Team

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State senior Emilija Dancetovic completed the trifecta of honors Wednesday when she was honorably mentioned as part of the All-Louisiana tennis team, the Louisiana Sports Writers Association announced Wednesday.

It’s the first All-Louisiana honor of her career.

Dancetovic already earned All-Southland Conference and Southland Conference All-Academic honors for her efforts in her final season.

The Serbian native had a breakout season, finishing 11-6 in singles dual play with a 6-2 mark against SLC competition.

Ten of her singles matches (7-3) came in the No. 5 slot.

Dancetovic drastically improved her singles results in her final campaign, but she continued her excellence in doubles play with a 9-2 mark.

She finishes her career with 47 career doubles wins, 14th all-time in NSU history.

2020-21 LSWA All-Louisiana Tennis Team

First Team
Paris Corley, LSU
Lina Hohnhold, New Orleans
Angela Charles-Alfred, Xavier
Ank Vullings, New Orleans
Taylor Bridges, LSU
Madalina Grigoriu, ULM

Second Team
Safiya Carrington, LSU
Putri Insani, Southeastern Louisiana
Floriane Picaut, UL Lafayette
Alexia Romero, Louisiana Tech
Lailaa Bashir, Xavier
Kyra Akinnibi, Xavier

Honorable Mention: Farah Baklouti, Xavier; Nina Geissler, LSU; Emilija Dancetovic, Northwestern State; Samantha Bucykx, LSU; Salma Abdelrahim, New Orleans; Lea Alguacil, New Orleans; Ilana Tetruashvili, Louisiana Tech; Lucy Carpenter, Loyola

Player of the Year: Paris Corley, LSU
Newcomer of the Year: Lina Hohnhold, New Orleans
Freshman of the Year: Valentina Largacha, Xavier
Co-Coaches of the Year: Alan Green, Xavier; Burzis Kanga, New Orleans

SWEPCO employee achieves 50 years of service

Computer technology has changed dramatically over the past 50 years, and perhaps no one knows that better at Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) than Vera Severin.

Severin, an advanced metering infrastructure coordinator within SWEPCO’s Valley District, started her career at Valley Electric Membership Cooperative (VEMCO) in 1971 working with keypunch – a data entry machine used to input everything from payroll to billing. Over the years, Severin’s role changed with emerging technology – from early IBM machines to desktop computers – and her growing set of skills moved her quickly into management to oversee key projects such as the installation of CAT 5 computer network cables, more commonly referred to as Ethernet cables, and Automated Meter Reading devices.

“I enjoy working every day and that’s why I’m still doing it,” said Severin, who celebrated her 50th work anniversary on April 19. She is one of three current SWEPCO employees to reach that milestone and the 9th longest currently tenured employee at American Electric Power, SWEPCO’s parent company. “I’ve had a lot of interesting jobs over the years and been a part of some great projects. To me, going into computers was the best thing I ever did.”

The Natchitoches, Louisiana native – who lives on the same farm that has been in her family since 1889 – got her introduction to computers while working at her first job out of high school in Los Angeles, California.

At the time, in 1964, Severin said Northwestern State University in Natchitoches wasn’t fully open to people of color, and so she and a couple friends decided to move to California to continue their education.

“I had an aunt who lived out there, and I went to night school and got my first job working at Karl’s Shoe Company (owned by actress Debbie Reynolds’ second husband, Harry Karl) as a switchboard operator,” she said. “They offered a program to go to City College at night, and so I took some computer classes.”

The shoe company had a computer department, and Severin soon transitioned from a telephone switchboard operator to working computer keypunch. Years later, when she returned to Louisiana in 1971, that skill would be instrumental in her landing the job at VEMCO.

“When I moved back and was able to get this job, it was a big thing for me,” Severin said. “I still can’t believe I got it. You had to do a test back then. I don’t remember what the test entailed, but I know going to computer school in L.A. really helped me because I knew how to do everything they wanted to get done.”

When she started at VEMCO, Severin was the only person of color in the building. She said she didn’t face many issues regarding racial discrimination, but she knew it was rare for a person of color to hold an office job at that time. Since then, she’s witnessed more diversity at SWEPCO.

After working for approximately five years with keypunch, Severin transitioned to being a computer operator, a position that enabled her to keep up with the latest technology.

“We went from those old IBM computers with the floppy disk drives to desktop computers to laptops and then to desktop computers with CAT 5 cables to connect to the Internet,” she said.

Severin said learning how to make those CAT 5 cables was one of the most challenging projects of her career, and she was in the midst of it when SWEPCO purchased VEMCO in 2011.

In addition to working in IT and data processing departments, Severin’s career included a brief stint in inventory control and she coordinated the switch to automated meter readers in the fall of 2004, the project for which she is most proud.

“It was a project that really had a positive impact companywide,” she said.

She is working on a similar project in her current role as SWEPCO begins to replace AMR meters. Severin adds meters to the AMR system, troubleshoots problems and ensures readings make their way to billing.

In addition to her work, Severin also is particularly proud of her work with the United Way. She said she is so glad to be part of a company that allows its employees to participate in United Way campaigns and learn about the organizations it serves. She has worked as a United Way facilitator for three years, in which she coordinated visits to Providence House, Volunteers of America, American Red Cross, Goodwill Industries of Northwest Louisiana, The Goldman School at the Arc of Caddo-Bossierand other organizations the United Way supports.

“The United Way helps so many people,” she said. “When I went on the first tour, it just tore my heart up. I saw how much they do to help the community and it opened my heart to donating.”

Severin has been involved in the organization’s annual volunteer-led Make a Difference Day in Natchitoches where she planted flower beds at the Natchitoches Council on Aging in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

“I like doing that kind of stuff,” she said. “I guess it’s the farmer in me.”

When she’s not at work or volunteering, Severin raises horses and cows on her family farm south of Natchitoches and is an avid cook. She also enjoys hunting and fishing on Cane River. She has one son, Stephen, and two grandsons, Steven and Jacob and a granddaughter, Katie.

Congratulations, Vera on 50 years of service!

Joy installed as international Phi Beta Delta President

Dr. Sharon Joy, associate professor of music at Northwestern State University, was installed as the international president of Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars this week during the 35th Annual Conference of the Phi Beta Delta. Joy has served as the Phi Beta Delta chapter president and coordinator at NSU for 11 years and has served on the international board for two years as southwest regional vice president and most recently as president-elect.

This past week Joy coordinated and chaired the annual international online conference that included over 30 presentations of research by international and domestic university faculty, staff and students.

“It is a pleasure and an honor to work with these dedicated people from many institutions around the globe, united in their commitment to international education and global awareness,” she said.

Phi Beta Delta is the first honor society in the United States to recognize scholarship achievement in international education. It was established in 1987 and has chartered over 200 chapters at universities in the United States and around the world. Its goals are to increase the recognition, credibility and importance of the international experience and create a catalyst for international academic-based programming on college campuses while providing support and recognition to those individuals on campuses who are involved in international endeavors.

Joy was inducted as a member of Phi Beta Delta at the University of Houston in 2001. In 2005, at the annual conference in Washington, D.C., she was awarded the Phi Beta Delta Yvonne Captain Faculty Award for Outstanding Contribution to International Education, primarily for her work founding, facilitating and participating in Palestinian-Jewish Dialogue groups in Houston and in Israel/Palestine.

“I remember receiving that award in 2005 and thinking that I had only begun my work in this area,” she said.

She has attended and presented at many of the annual PBD conferences since that time and shared research as diverse as “The Music of Al Andaluz,” “Music and Theater Arts in the Palestinian-Israeli Peace Process,” “International University Partnerships at NSU” and “The Arava Institute of Environmental Sciences: An Educational Oasis for Israel/Palestine/Jordan.” Joy has lived abroad and traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. She is fluent in Hebrew, speaks some French and Spanish and is learning Arabic and Korean.

There was no Phi Beta Delta chapter at NSU when she arrived in 2005. With the support of then Provost Dr. Lisa Abney and President Dr. Randy Webb, Joy gathered like-minded individuals that included the late Dr. Jean D’Amato-Thomas of the Louisiana Scholars’ College, Dr. Greg Granger, Dr. Steve Horton and library director Abbie Landry. The Northwestern State University Eta Mu Chapter of Phi Beta Delta received its charter in April 2010 with the induction of 25 faculty, staff and student members. It continues to be an active, vibrant force at NSU, inducting new members each year and providing lectures, study abroad panels, scholarships and other activities that bring together faculty, staff, administrators and students who are committed to internationalism. Phi Beta Delta is interdisciplinary in nature and includes individuals from all content areas.

“When we sit around the table at a board meeting or other function, we have the opportunity to form relationships that transcend disciplinary and university ‘roles,’” she said. “There is a camaraderie in working together on this human level that exemplifies our support of collaboration in our diverse world.”

Northwestern State University had been scheduled to host the 2021 Annual Conference, but the in-person conference was moved to a virtual format due to COVID-19 protocols.

“NSU will host the 36th Annual Phi Beta Delta Conference May 20-21, 2022. For more information about Phi Beta Delta, contact Joy at

Notice of Death – May 26, 2021

Thomas “Tommy” Lonadier
February 20, 1968 – May 19, 2021
Service: May 29, 2021 at 2:00 PM at Pace Recreational Center at 2138 Hwy 1226, Natchitoches, Louisiana

Elnora Gillie

April 14, 1950 – May 23, 2021
Service: Saturday, May 29 at 2 pm in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, located at 318 North Street in Natchitoches

Standley Craig Sandefur
June 21, 1953 – May 21, 2021
No service information listed

Henry Keith
May 22, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Earl Tucker Sr.
August 25, 1960 – May 22, 2021
Service: Saturday, May 29 at 11 am at the Evergreen Baptist Church, located at 8260 Hwy 71 in St. Maurice

Carl Smith
June 21, 1955 – May 21, 2021
Arrangements TBA

L. J. Smith
May 23, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Henry Braxton
May 18, 2021
Service: Saturday, May 29 at 11 am at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel

Margaret Carter Cooper
November 2, 1961 – May 10, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Phillip Lloyd Gillis
March 13, 1968 – April 29, 2021
Service: Saturday, May 29, 2021 from 1-5 pm at the home of Ryan and Bekah French Home, located at 1615 Williams Ave. in Natchitoches

Kevin Ray Jordan
December 14, 1963
Service: Saturday, May 29 at 11 am at Southern Funeral Home

Michael Wayne Cason
September 4, 1957 – May 24, 2021
Service: Thursday, May 27 at 10 am at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home Chapel

May 26, 2021: Many-Marthaville Road

AN NPJ reader submitted the picture above and the following statement:

My husband sent the attached picture of the Many-Marthaville Road  to me at this morning at 6:42am on his way to work. I have a daughter that attends Natchitoches Central and had to get her up and find an alternate route to be able to have my daughter to school on time. She had to find 2 alternate routes to make it to school because this one was out of service and the next road was flooded.  My daughter had to drive to Many and then back to Natchitoches to and did not make it to school on-time.

SOURCE:  Reader Submitted


NATCHITOCHES – Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies have arrested a south Louisiana man on felony drug charges during a traffic stop on Interstate-49 near Natchitoches according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Stuart Wright.

On Sunday evening May 23 at approximately 8:16pm, Deputies assigned to the NPSO Patrol Division were working a special detail, patrolling on I-49 just south of Natchitoches when they stopped a 2015 Chevrolet Impala traveling southbound, speeding 94 miles per hour in a posted 75 mph speed zone.

Deputies identified the operator of the vehicle as 21-year-old Tedmund Joseph Tardo Jr. of Springfield, La.

Deputies say while speaking with Tardo and issuing a citation for the speeding offense, they smelled a marijuana odor coming from within the vehicle.

Deputies say when they asked Tardo if he had any illegal weapons or narcotics in the vehicle, he responded “he had a handgun on the backseat” and removed an electronic cigarette from his pocket containing suspected THC oil.

During a search of the vehicle based on probable cause, deputies seized 22 packages of suspected kush marijuana, 9 jars of suspected kush marijuana, 2-THC cereal edible snacks, 1-container containing approximately 6.7 ounces of suspected cannabis syrup, 12-plastic containers containing various weight amounts of suspected kush marijuana, 3-glass jars containing suspected THC wax, 5-suspected THC oil cartridges, 336-bottles of THC oil infused drinks with a total THC content of 60 grams of pure THC oil and loaded FN 9mm semi-automatic handgun with laser sights.

The seized evidence will be submitted to the crime lab for narcotics analysis.

Tedmund J. Tardo Jr., 21, of Springfield, La. was transported and booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with Possession of CDS Schedule I Marijuana with Intent to Distribute and Illegal Possession of a Firearm during a Felony Narcotics Offense.

Tardo was released on a $6500.00 bond set by a 10th Judicial District Court Judge on May 24 pending a court appearance.

Deputies say interviewing Tardo, he informed them that he traveled from Louisiana to California and was traveling back to south Louisiana when he was stopped.

Sheriff Wright stated deputies will continue to patrol I-49 and other roads in an effort to intercept illegal narcotics, weapons and stolen property traveling through and entering Natchitoches Parish.

Involved in the arrest were: Deputy D. Caballero assisted by Deputy E. Mogridge and members of the Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force.


Joseph L. Nash

A Natchitoches man wanted by the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office in connection with an ongoing criminal investigation into stolen property has turned himself in to authorities according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Stuart Wright.

Joseph L. Nash, 37, of the 100 block of Sisson Loop, Natchitoches was arrested on Monday morning, May 24th at approximately 9:12am by deputies at the Natchitoches Parish Courthouse.

Nash was transported and booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with 7-counts of Illegal Possession of Stolen Things in connection with his alleged involvement and possessing items involved in an ongoing criminal investigation into stolen all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes and a Kubota tractor that were recovered in the 100 block of Sisson Loop near Natchitoches on May 5 by NPSO detectives.

Nash was later released on a $35,000.00 bond set by a 10th Judicial District Court Judge pending a court appearance.

Detectives recovered an all-terrain vehicle stolen La. Hwy 119 near Derry, 1-all-terrain vehicle and trailer from Caddo Parish, 1-utility terrain vehicle from the Powhatan area, 1-utility terrain vehicle from DeSoto Parish, 1-Kubota tractor from Campti and a dirt bike from the Wade Adams Road off of La. Hwy 9 north of Campti.

Detectives say the investigation is ongoing and if you have any information regarding stolen items to please contact the NPSO Criminal Investigations Division at 357-7830.

The recovered stolen items have been returned to the owners.
Detectives say several all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes had been stolen across the parish in the past couple of months. Please remember not to leave your all-terrain vehicles in open areas in plain view. Have your property lighted with street lights and install cameras if possible.

Involved in the investigation are: Detective Sgt. Craig Lacour, Detective Amber Shirley, Detective Lt. Jonathan Byles, Major Reginald Turner and Cpt. Darrel Winder.