NPSB Announces New Principal at Natchitoches Junior High – Frankie Ray Jackson School

The Natchitoches Parish School Board has worked hard to ensure the 2020-2021 school year was a success. As the new school year approaches, NPSB has hired Alexa Bernard as the new principal at Natchitoches Junior High—Frankie Ray Jackson School.

Alexa Bernard is a graduate of the Howard University School of Education in Washington, D.C., where she received her Bachelors’ and Masters’ degree in Secondary Education. Upon relocating to Natchitoches, she immediately began serving as English Chair at Lakeview High School. After acting in that capacity, Ms. Bernard served as Interim Assistant Principal at Weaver Elementary School.

Ms. Bernard is eager to begin her tenure as Principal of Natchitoches Junior High—Frankie Ray Jackson School. As Principal, she is looking to build relationships with community stakeholders, while fostering a learning environment that promotes student success and achievement.

Bernard is a graduate of the Howard University School of Education. While attending the Howard University School of Education, Ms. Bernard earned both a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Secondary Education-English and a Master of Education Degree in Secondary Education. Further, she is nearing completion of her Master of Educational Leadership degree from Northwestern State University.

She began her educational career as an English Content Area teacher, whereby she was widely regarded as a passionate, student-centered educator, who sought to improve student learning and overall school culture. As Bernard’s career progressed, she served as a Title I Committee of Practitioners member for the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, in Washington, DC., where she was dedicated to providing educational equity and closing the achievement gap. Moreover, Bernard was selected as a Secondary Literacy Team District Visions Fellow, whereby she worked in curriculum design and facilitated district-wide professional developments to Professional Learning Communities, for the District of Columbia Public School System. Furthermore, Bernard has presented on behalf of Folgers Shakespeare National Library, where she led professional developments at the National Council of Teachers of English nationwide conference.

Upon relocating to Natchitoches, Bernard immediately began serving as English Chair at Lakeview Senior High School. After acting in that capacity, Bernard served as Interim Assistant Principal at Weaver Elementary School. She is now eager to begin her tenure as Principal of Natchitoches Junior High-Frankie Ray Jackson School. As Principal, Bernard is looking to build relationships with community stakeholders, while fostering a learning environment that promotes student success and achievement.


Marthaville Injunction, Relief and Temporary Restraining order Hearing today – 9am

As reported June 4,  A Petition for Injunctive Relief and Temporary Restraining Order was filed in the 10th Judicial District Court, Natchitoches Parish, by Randall Hennigan, “Plaintiff”, in his capacity as a taxpayer for the community of Marthaville, Louisiana, on behalf of himself and others asking the Court to issue a Preliminary Injunction and a Temporary Restraining Order thereby preventing any vote on the consolidated districts by the NPSB. The assigned judge granted the request and set the matter for hearing for June 16, 2021 at 9am in the Natchitoches Parish Courtroom before Judge Lala B. Sylvester.

Since that time, The Natchitoches Parish School Board “NPSB” counsel has filed a Motion to Dissolve Temporary Restraining Order alleging that Hennigan failed to give proper notice to the School Board as required by law before seeking the TRO rendering it void. NPSB counsel also filed a motion to dismiss Hennigan’s injunction alleging that it is premature because the NPSB has taken no official action confirming consolidation, making his claims speculative.

Injuction Issued – No vote last night at the School Board Meeting


Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Stuart Wright visits with Rotary Club

Jesse Taitano introduced Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Stuart Wright at the June 15 Rotary luncheon. Sheriff Wright discussed the various activities of his office. The Rotarians appreciate the dedication and hard work of the Sheriff and his officers. Their office is presently hiring new officers and the Sheriff encourages anyone interested to apply.

Pictured from left are Taitano, Wright, and Rotary President Paul Rinehart (Picture by Dr. Ron McBride).


Goldonna Elementary Junior High School Honor Roll

Principal Cori Beth Manuel of Goldonna Elementary Junior High School is pleased to announce their final Honor Roll for the 2021-2022 school year. This includes the final nine weeks and the entire year Honor Roll:

4th 9 Weeks Honor Roll

Principal’s List
Bryson Carter
Matthew Cherry
Jazper Choate
Alaynna Day
Grace Day
Brody Guin
Zalien Paul
Branyia Reliford
Carlie Spears

A Honor Roll
Emma Anderson
Kayden Bedgood
Haiden Black
Christian Burke
Austin Cherry
Zoey Fulton
Anthony Giannone-Flores
Malachi Henderson
Autumn Hightower
Carlee Martin
Bronson McLendon
Loden Riddle
Jaxson Rowell
Case Sampey
James Waylon Simpson
Ethan Stiles
Riley Thompson

B Honor Roll
Presley Alexander
Daylon Ayres
Cruz Bandaries
Kelsey Cameron
Trevor Collinsworth
Chayolie Cox
Emily Delrio
Jerremy Delrio
Ayden Desadier
Brookelyn Garner
Gage Hicks
Tucker Ivy
Cohen Johnson
Connor Johnson
Daygen Johnson
Preslee Jones
Leland Kay
Brett Keith
Kathryn Lester
Journey Nealy
Cara Racine
Brandoll Reliford
Posey Riddle
Kellci Ross
Caleb Rowell
Kayden Scott
Alaina Simpson
Kara Slaughter
Gavin Spears
Victoria Stewart
Ericlynn Tatum
Micah White
Haley Wise
Warrick Ybarra

Full Year Honor Roll

Principal’s List
Kayden Bedgood
Bryson Carter
Grace Day
Zoey Fulton
Anthony Giannone-Flores
Brody Guin
Malachi Henderson
Brandoll Reliford
Branyia Reliford
Jaxson Rowell
Carlie Spears
Ethan Stiles

A Honor Roll
Haiden Black
Kelsey Camerson
Austin Cherry
Matthew Cherry
Jazper Choate
Chaylie Cox
Alaynna Day
Autumn Hightower
Cohen Johnson
Leland Kay
Carlee Martin
Zalien Paul
Loden Riddle
Posey Riddle
Caleb Rowell
Case Sampey

B Honor Roll
Presley Alexander
Emma Anderson
Cruz Bandaries
Christian Burke
Kaylinn Cadrette
Trevor Collinsworth
Emily Delrio
Jerremy Delrio
Ayden Desadier
Senia Ford
Brookelyn Garner
Brooklyn Guin
Gage Hicks
Tucker Ivy
Connor Johnson
Daygen Johnson
Maggie Johnson
Kathryn Lester
Bronson McLendon
Journey Nealy
Kellci Ross
Kayden Scott
Alaina Simpson
James Waylon Simpson
Kara Slaughter
Gavin Spears
Victoria Stewart
Ericlynn Tatum
Riley Thompson
Micah White
Warrick Ybarra


St. Mary’s Catholic School: Term 4 (4th nine weeks) Honor Roll

**These are students who had all A’s or A/B’s for fourth term only – not the end of year average**

1st Grade – A Honor Roll: Roderick Braden, Anniston Clark, Jax Errington, Cohen Gandy, OJ Hall, Hendrix Harrington, Carter Hough, Tomas McKeithen, Sawyer Pleasant; B Honor Roll: Murphy Allison, Jack Brewton, Lila Campbell, Gavin Key, Murphy Linebaugh, Justin McKnight, Marilyn Mims, Jaxson Norsworthy, Noah Scarborough

2nd Grade – A Honor Roll: Samuel Dean, Hudson Harrington, Heath Methvin, Oliver Picou, Branch Smith, Lillian Wilkerson; B Honor Roll: Mackenzie Harper, Aubree Rachal, Annabeth Thornton, Sutton Vandersteen

3rd Grade – A Honor Roll: Lacey Boyd, Holt Cedars, Corbyn Gandy, Anna Johnson, Weston LeGrande, Anistyn Rhodes; B Honor Roll: Aaron Blanchard, Madden Cameron, Brooklyn Clark, Raylee Hale, Jayd Linebaugh, Avery Katherine Sheffeild, Paisley Rae Tilley

4th Grade – A Honor Roll: Aaron Campbell, Sydney Culotta, Kollyns Duhon, Amelia Picou, Sophia Pleasant, Ady Rhodes; B Honor Roll: Cooper Gardner, Thomas Hardee, Elijah Huynh, Emiry Jeane, Brenley Metoyer

5th Grade – A Honor Roll: Fisher York, Jackson York; B Honor Roll: Lily Boyd, Beau Clark, Emme Errington, Avery Evans, Caitlynn Hernandez, Carter Jackson, Chloe Methvin, Tripp Philen, Gannon Sheffield, Layla Slaughter, Jake Thibodaux

6th Grade – A Honor Roll: Luc Cross, Kennedy Griffin, Carter Hogg, Molly Smith, John Paul Thibodaux; B Honor Roll: Emily Amberg, Camille Armstrong, Carter Burks, Halle Campbell, Sean Gardner, Cruz Jackson, Malorie LaCaze, Hudson Methvin, Abram Nichols, Rayanna Norsworthy, Alayna Rachal, Summer Rushing, Joelee Savell, Lindsey Stewart, Preston Tilley, Alyssa Waters, Ava Wren

7th Grade – A Honor Roll: Jenna Sklar, Justin Vienne; B Honor Roll: Cameron Ball, Lainey Bennett, Jillian Coleman, Chalin Gandy, Henry Guillet, Ella Hardee, Ava Hebert, Tucker Johnson, Lila Lewis, Matthew Mayeux, Trey Scarborough, Grace Wren, Nikolas Wright, Cole Yopp

8th Grade – A Honor Roll: Peter Kautz, Anna Grace Mabile, Georgia Kate Philen, Destanee Stewart; B Honor Roll: Ainsley Armstrong, Emma Blanchard, Addison Evans, Luke Johnson, Conor Jordan, Anderson Kelly, Brianna McConathy, Peyton Mitchell

9th Grade – A Honor Roll: Ethan Busby, Colton Cross, Ava Errington, Hanna Gahagan, Ian Gardner, Gabby Godfrey, Ella Guillet, Sophia Hogg, Andrew Kautz, Kolby Lipa, Mason Mathis, Gunner Nash, Alex Sukerek, Anna Thibodaux, Caleb White, Payne Williams; B Honor Roll: Mixon Bankston, Ben Bienvenu, Stella Chasteen, Drake Griffin, Preston Martinez, Nathan Slaughter, Rachel Walls

10th Grade – A Honor Roll: Caroline Godfrey, Anne Michelle Long, Mason McCart, Anna McClung, Mason Melder, Trent Middendorf, Adam Parker, Anna Peluso, DJ Rager-Ridley, Clary Smiley; B Honor Roll: Russ Hillhouse, Hunter LaGrange, Gabe Matuschka, CJ Smith

11th Grade – A Honor Roll: Camille Ball, Emma Broadway, Ethan Burns, Gracie Chasteen, John Henry Ingrish, Anna Kate Jackson, Matthew Johnson, Kenzie Lipa, William Mayeux, Abigail Ramian, Emma Stewart, Cal Sukerek; B Honor Roll: Kylie Bennett, Cameron Bienvenu, Kelsee Bienvenu, Trace Bonnette, Sophia Brossett, Parker Byles, Kadence Creamer, Graeme Fidelak, Abigail Guillet, Emma Haecker, Daniel Johnson, Anthony Lirette, Lily Anna Sklar

12th Grade – A Honor Roll: Laura Aviles, Maggie Gilmore, Andrew Godfrey, Madeline Godfrey, Jensen Parker, Luke Zeagler; B Honor Roll: Cameron Churchman, Karson Eversull, Tim Lyddy, Triston Mitchell, Ben Smiley, Patrick Vienne, Abby Williams


Letter to the Community from Goldonna Principal, Cori Beth Manuel

Dear Community Members,

Thank you Goldonna!

This month marks one full year that I have been blessed to have been chosen as Goldonna Elementary and Junior High School’s principal. I remember being in my office this time last year and several community members visiting the school to meet the new principal. It was the most warming feeling to be welcomed to Goldonna, and I dearly cherish those receiving visits. Next, the school year began, and it was definitely one for the record! Throughout the year our students were eager to learn and our parents were understanding of all of the school and state COVID guidelines and procedures. A school year that potentially could have been the most difficult, due to the amazing citizens of Goldonna, was absolutely one of my favorite years thus far in my career. Everyday was a wonderful day to be a Goldonna Wildcat!

This year has had its successes as well as challenges, but I strongly feel that with our amazing students, supportive parents, and strong community we have had an overall wonderful school year. I would like to thank everyone for welcoming me into your community and I look forward to many more years of serving the community, being a part of the school, and seeing all of the amazing things our children will accomplish!

I would also like to remind the parents who have applied online for Pre-K registration that it is now time to complete the process by uploading your documents to teachingtomorrownow.com

We still have room so please do not hesitate to contact the school for more information. We are looking forward to a wonderful school year this August.

Sincerely,

Cor Beth Manuel
Goldonna Principal
318-727-9449
cmanuel@npsb.la


Mayor set as Juneteenth speaker

Natchitoches Mayor Ronnie Williams Jr. will be the featured speaker for the annual Juneteenth celebration on Friday, June 18 in the parking lot of First Baptist Church-North Street and the 200 block of North Street. The event will be held from 5:30-8 pm starting at the First Baptist Church-North Street Parking Lot and the 200 block of North Street. There will be free food, snow cones, various booths, the Parish Library Bookmobile, music and ful for ALL.

The theme for this year’s event is “Breaking the Chains.” This event is open to the public and is sponsored by the UNITY in the Community Committee.

On Saturday, June 19 from 2-8 pm the celebration continues in Payne Subdivision with a parade and activities in the Cherry Loop Park. This portion of the event is sponsored by the Payne Subdivision Enhancement Committee, “A Family Reunion.”


St. Mary’s Tiger Youth Football Camp

Sharpen your football skills before the 2021 season at the Tiger Youth Football Camp to be held July 26-28 from 9-11:30 am for students in grades K-8 at St. Mary’s School football field. The cost is $75 per student. To receive a registration form email Coach Aaron York at ayork@smstigers.org. Registration and payment will be accepted up until the first day of camp.

Come prepared for the camp waring cleats/tennis shoes, a t-shirt and gym shorts, and bring a water bottle, a good attitude, and great effort.

For more information contact Coach York at 850-774-2903 or ayork@smstigers.org.


Northwestern State’s David named Southland Conference All-Academic

For as good as right-hander Levi David was for the Northwestern State baseball team on the field, his efforts in the classroom were even more impressive.

David earned first-team Southland Conference All-Academic honors Tuesday following a season in which he maintained a perfect grade point average while authoring one of the top strikeout seasons in NSU history.

A 4.0 business administration major, David earned his first career academic honor in the voting by conference coaches, sports information directors and academic support personnel.

David, a sophomore in athletic eligibility, ranked second in the Southland Conference with 104 strikeouts and led the conference in strikeouts per nine innings (15.34), which ranks third nationally entering the College World Series.

Additionally, David allowed 5.02 hits per nine innings, the best in the Southland and the eighth-best mark nationally. A Waxahachie, Texas, native, David was named to the All-Southland Conference third team in May.

David’s selection marks the second straight season in which Northwestern State has produced a first-team Academic All-Southland Conference pick. A season ago, relief pitcher Kyle Swanson and first baseman Peyton Davis earned first-team honors with Swanson taking home Student-Athlete of the Year acclaim.

2021 Southland Conference Baseball Student-Athlete of the Year: Colton Cowser, Sam Houston

PHOTO: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services


LSHOF hosting free Rockin’ River Fest concert Friday, June 25 on downtown riverbank

A free Friday evening riverbank concert. Food trucks, refreshments, free games for kids.

A spectacular, holiday-season level fireworks show set to sports-themed music, just after dark.

And just before the dazzling aerial show over Cane River Lake, on-stage introduction of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020 including worldwide celebrities Ronnie Coleman (eight-time Mr. Olympia bodybuilder), Sweet Lou Dunbar of the Harlem Globetrotters, and Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson.

It’s all part of the Friday evening, June 25 Rockin’ River Fest, a focal point of the LSHOF’s Class of 2020 Induction Celebration. The Rockin’ River Fest is presented by Rapides Regional Medical Center.

It’s on the Rue Beauport river bank stage in downtown Natchitoches, beginning at 6 with music lasting until 10:30, no admission required.

There’s an upscale party in an air-conditioned tent to the left of the stage. The Hancock-Whitney Taste of Tailgating shindig runs from 7-10, with guests enjoying tailgating-inspired food stations, specialty cocktails, free beer and wine, a silent auction, a photo booth, and music by DJ Geaux.

Tickets are $100 per person ($50 for under 21 partygoers) and must be purchased in advance through the LaSportsHall.com website or by calling Gracen McDonald, the LSHOF Foundation executive assistant, at 318-554-9020.

The Taste of Tailgating party has filled to capacity each of the first two years of the Rockin’ River Fest. The crowd in and around the amphitheater, however, has no capacity limit, and the entertainment is cost-free.

At least three bands will perform, with feature act Kevin Naquin and the Ossun Playboys bringing their rockin’ zydeco, high energy style to Louisiana’s oldest city and its fun-loving people.

“A young, Cajun band that’s definitely the real deal. These guys play Cajun music they way it’s supposed to be played, keeping true to their traditional heritage, yet pushing the limits of groove with a mature experimentation that’s guaranteed to keep you dancing,” wrote one reviewer.

They’ll be preceded by the area’s premiere show band, Johnny Earthquake and the Moon Dogs, who often have top flight musicians and vocalists making surprise appearances to team up with the exceptionally gifted singers and musicians who are mainstays of this ever-popular Natchitoches act fronted by the colorful Johnny Earthquake.

“Quite simply, Louisiana’s best show band!” wrote a reviewer for City Lights magazine.

The Rockin’ River Fest Kids Zone is presented by Louisiana Propane Dealers and will have free interactive games for children 4 and up.

The Friday night spectacular sets the tone for Saturday’s festivities, which begin with a free Junior Training Camp and include the Roundtable Luncheon and the Warmup Reception at the LSHOF Museum and the Induction Ceremony at the Natchitoches Events Center, televised live by Cox Sports Television at 7 p.m. on June 26.

Reservations are necessary for the Junior Training Camp by visiting LaSportsHall.com or calling McDonald at 318-554-9020. Those are pathways for tickets to the luncheon and induction reception and ceremony.


Julia’s Three Dads

By Brad Dison

Barbara Morris and Ted Wells wed on December 26, 1932. Ted was a talented carpenter and worked from one job site to another. During the Great Depression, new construction ground to a halt and Ted struggled to find work. In 1932, he became a school teacher. Barbara brought in extra money to the family by giving piano lessons and playing for local crowds.

In early 1935, Barbara told Ted that she was pregnant, and on October 1, 1935, Julia Elizabeth Wells was born. Two years later, they had a son they named Johnny. Soon thereafter, the marriage fell apart. In 1940, Barbara, still legally married to Ted Wells, began a relationship with another man, also named Ted. Johnny lived with Ted Wells and Julia lived with Barbara and “Uncle Ted.” In November, 1943, Julia’s parents divorced and Barbara immediately married the other Ted. Following the ceremony, Barbara instructed Julia that, rather than calling her stepfather “Uncle Ted,” she was to call him “Pop” which Julia despised.
Barbara was a talented piano player and Pop was a Vaudeville performer. Soon after they met, Barbara and Pop joined forces and performed in Vaudeville shows together. Barbara took every opportunity to display her talent when she held or attended parties. Sometimes, Julia attended parties with her mother, and, on many occasions, Barbara convinced Julia to sing for the guests. The guests enjoyed the impromptu performances, but Julia was always reluctant because she felt her mother was using her to get attention.

One night in the Autumn of 1950, Barbara and Julia were driving to yet another party. As they neared the home, Barbara turned to Julia and said, “I want you to do me a favor. If I ask you to sing, will you do it?” This was out of character for Barbara. She usually asked Julia in front of the guests knowing she would be unable to refuse. Julia reluctantly agreed to sing. During the party, Barbara played piano and Julia sang a single song. The guests were delighted. After their performance, guests complimented Barbara and Julia. One man seemed genuinely interested in Julia. She recognized the man immediately. He had been a visitor in their home on several occasions when Julia was much younger than her current fifteen years of age. As the party progressed, Barbara had one stiff drink after another. The man Julia recognized from so long ago sat down on the couch beside her. Within minutes of their meeting, Julia “felt an electricity between [them] that [she] couldn’t explain.” Rather than making small talk, the man asked her specific questions about school, about singing, about her life in general.

By the time the party was over, Barbara was too intoxicated to drive. Julia, not yet old enough to operate a vehicle legally, had no choice but to drive herself and her mother home. Barbara reassured Julia in slurred speech that she would show her the way home. As they drove through the thick fog, Barbara asked Julia if she knew why they attended the party, and why she asked Julia to sing. Julia replied that she did not and kept her focus on the road. Barbara asked Julia what she thought about the man who sat beside her on the couch. “He…seemed pleasant,” Julia replied. With hesitation and tears in her eyes, Barbara explained why she had taken Julia to the party and had her sing. “That man is your father.”

Barbara explained that she had wanted to tell Julia this secret for fourteen years. Tears fell from Barbara’s eyes. Although confused, somewhat angry, and in shock, Julia remained calm and focused on the road. Barbara explained that there had been an “overwhelming attraction that she couldn’t deny,” and she had a one-night stand with him. Julia drove the car into the driveway and turned off the engine. She and her mother sat in awkward silence, neither knowing what to say. Julia was stunned by her mother’s revelation, and Barbara seemed embarrassed. Without another word, Barbara hurried from the car to sleep off her intoxication.

Barbara avoided any discussion about the topic with Julia for several days. Finally, Julia brought up the subject. Julia asked her mother how she could be sure that the man at the party was her father. Barbara replied, “because Daddy and I weren’t being romantic in those days.” Julia and her mother never spoke about the subject again.

Nearly forty years later, long after Barbara had died, Julia spoke to her Aunt Joan about the man she had met at the party. She asked if what her mother had told her so many years ago was true. Aunt Joan reluctantly told her that it was. The man at the party was, in fact, her biological father. During their conversation, Julia asked Aunt Joan a question she had wanted to ask her mother, but never did. She wanted to know if the man she knew as “dad” knew. Aunt Joan simply replied, “Yes. He Did.” Julia was almost as stunned as the night she learned who her real father was. Aunt Joan explained that “Dad” was so in love with Barbara that he overlooked the affair and the fact that Julia was not his. He had raised Julia as his own. Julia did not reveal the name of her biological father.

Back in the early 1950s, Julia joined Barbara’s and Pop’s act. For a while, she only performed a song or two. Pop wanted the spotlight for himself. Pretty soon, her talents outshone those of Barbara and Pop. Julia got offers to perform without Barbara and Pop, whose careers had stalled completely. Julia’s career, however, soared. She performed with orchestras, in Broadway and West End productions, on various television shows, and in movies. It had been Julia’s stepfather who insisted that Julia legally change her name to one more fitting his last name, which is the name you know her by. You may recognize some of Julia’s many movies such as “Victor Victoria,” “The Princess Diaries,” “The Sound of Music,” and “Mary Poppins.” You know Julia Elizabeth Wells by her adopted name… Julie Andrews.

Source:
Andrews, Julie. Home: A Memoir of My Early Years. New York, New York: Hyperion, 2008.


SECOND PUBLIC HEARING SET FOR JUNE 23

The City of Natchitoches will be hosting a public hearing to discuss the Department of Transportation’s RAISE (Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity) Grant and its proposed use to fund the Natchitoches Safe Streets Revitalization Project. The hearing will be held on Wednesday, June 23 at 5 p.m. in the Ben Johnson Auditorium at 400 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive.

The City is seeking public comments on the project, which will serve to address the Department of Transportation’s goal of funding projects that benefit low-income communities, disadvantaged communities, communities underserved by affordable transportation, or overburdened communities. In alignment with that goal, the Natchitoches Safe Streets Revitalization Project aims to rehabilitate and revitalize the Texas Street Business Corridor and rehabilitate feeder roads and neighborhood streets. The project elements include rehabilitation of roads and drainage facilities, new pavement, new and widened sidewalks, walking paths, marked bike and pedestrian lanes, improved lighting and other amenities that ensure ADA compliance.

Residents will be given the opportunity to provide oral and written comments on the project at the public hearing. All interested residents are encouraged to attend. If you are unable to attend, residents can watch the Public Hearing at the following link:

https://www.facebook.com/NPJNatLa

You may submit your comments at https://www.natchitochesla.gov/content/raise-grant-public-comments.

For more information, contact the Mayor’s Office at (318)352-2772.


Restored historic marker will be unveiled June 23

Northwestern State University will unveil a restored historic marker at a spot that some scholars believe is the oldest indication of European visitors in the area. The Colonial Gateway Corral marks the confluence of three paths, one from the west that was used by the Spanish, one winding north towards the site of the original Fort St. Jean Baptiste and one to the south near a residence of Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, founder of the settlement that became the city of Natchitoches.

A rededication will take place at 3 p.m. Wednesday, June 23 at the triangle in front of the Wellness, Recreation and Activities Center.

The Colonial Gateway Corral was first sighted by St. Denis and Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville in 1700 and the hill later became St. Denis’s vacherie where livestock were kept.

Deborah Dietrich-Smith, historical landscape architect, and Jason Church with the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training worked with NSU’s Physical Plant Director Dale Wohletz and Special Projects Coordinator Gil Gilson in cleanup of trees, benches and other features within the small park, including the Demon Head monument, the Sibley Drive plaque and four park benches, the oldest dating to the early 1930s.

The plaque was originally installed in 1970 by the Natchitoches Chapter of the Colonial Dames of the 17th Century.


BOM welcomes Courtney Bergeron to the team

BOM would like to welcome Courtney Bergeron to the team at our Washington Street location as a teller. Courtney grew up in Houma, LA. She attended NSU and currently serves as an assistant coach for NSU cheer. She is also a tumble coach at Natchitoches Flipping Athletics. In her spare time Courtney enjoys spending time with family, friends and playing with her sweet pup Callie. Courtney is excited to be a part of the BOM family, and she looks forward to serving customers. Welcome, Courtney!


Notice of Death – June 15, 2021

NATCHITOCHES:
Richard “Ricky” Beaudoin, Sr.
February 10, 1963 – June 13, 2021
Service: Thursday, June 17 at 2 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Martha Sue Outlaw Dugan
April 26, 1945 – June 14, 2021
Service: Friday, June 18 at 11 am at Wallace Baptist Church in Pelican

Melvenia LaCour
June 06, 2021
Service: Saturday, June 19 at 11 am in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, located at 318 North Street in Natchitoches

Freddie Lee Jackson
June 01, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Henry Keith
May 22, 2021
Arrangements TBA

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

WINN:
Johnnie Peats
June 04, 2021
Service: Friday, June 18 at 11 am at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, located at 117 MLK Drive in Winnfield

Harold Horton
June 12, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Deborah Delain Mooney
March 01, 1962 – June 13, 2021
Service: Thursday, June 17 at 10 am at Southern Funeral Home


City Council works to revitalize Natchitoches

The Natchitoches City Council voted at its meeting Monday night, June 14, to declare certain buildings unsafe and recommending that same be demolished or put into repair to comply with the building code, authorizing notice to be served, fixing hearing date and appointing curator to represent absentees. See graphics below for a list of properties with photos.

One agenda item that was introduced at the meeting is highly anticipated because it will bring improvements to highly trafficked corridors through the City including Texas Street and Washington Street.

The Ordinance reads: Approve The Terms And Form Of A Cooperative Endeavor Agreement Between The City Of Natchitoches And Natchitoches Community Alliance Foundation, Inc. D/B/A Natchitoches Economic Development Alliance.

NEDA has developed a Business Revitalization & Facade Improvement Program which seeks to provide facade grants to the owners of buildings in specific distressed commercial areas of the City. The program seeks to remove blight by assisting businesses and commercial property owners to improve building appearances and to brings signs, parking, landscaping and building construction into conformance with current codes.

Similar grants have been offered to business owners in the Historic District in previous years, but Mayor Ronnie Williams said the program has never been offered in these other corridors in the City.

From discussion at the meeting there’s plans to install a roundabout at the intersection of Texas and Dixie. There’s $585,000 in Capital outlay funding and it goes to cash July 1, 2022. The City has already entered discussions with DOTD about its design.

There’s another grant currently in the works and the roundabout is considered a key feature of redeveloping the west side of town.

“We need viable business on Texas Street,” added Council member Dale Nielsen, who also echoed his peers’ feelings of excitement for these upcoming projects.

Williams said the grants will go a long way toward revitalizing the area.

Other agenda items included:

PLANNING & ZONING – INTRODUCTION:

Amend Ordinance No. 64 Of 2001 By Changing Zoning Classification Of Property located at 506 and 512 Front Street for renovation and operation of Mayeaux’s Steak and Seafood.

ORDINANCES – FINAL:

Award The Bid For Christmas Lighting Supplies.(BID NO. 0637)

Authorize The City To Lease A Warehouse Located At The Southern End Of The ADM Mill Site Being Located Between Mill Street And The Railroad Right Of Way To Weyerhaeuser Trus Joist Setting The Terms And Conditions Of Same, And Authorizing The Execution Of The Lease By The Mayor, Ronnie Williams, Jr., After Due Compliance With The Law, And Further Providing For Advertising Of The Lease And An Effective Date.

Approve That Instrument Titled Cooperative Endeavor Agreement Between The City Of Natchitoches And Commcare Natchitoches, Which Agreement Provides For Cost Sharing For The Installation Of Utility Infrastructure, Including Electric, Water And Sanitary Sewer, Which Improvements Will Serve The Proposed Nursing Home Facility At 781 Louisiana Highway 494, As Well As Provide For Upgrades To The Existing Infrastructure And Accommodate Future Development In The Area; Prescribing Terms And Conditions For Said Agreement, And Authorizing The Mayor Of The City Of Natchitoches, Ronnie Williams, Jr., To Execute Same, And Finally To Ratify And Affirm A Prior Resolution.

Ratify And Affirm Resolution No. 007 Of 2021.

ORDINANCES – INTRODUCTION:

Award The Bid For The Runway 7-25 And Taxiway B-1 Reconstruction Project At Natchitoches Regional Airport (Bid No. 0636)

Amend the 2021 – 2022 Budget To Reflect Additional Revenues and Expenditures.

Authorize The Execution Of A Memorandum Of Understanding Between The City Of Natchitoches (“City”) And The Boys And Girls Clubs Of Acadiana, (“BGC), Whereby BGC Will Operate Within The Ben Johnson Auditorium Providing Educational And Recreational Programming For A Period Of Three Years, Providing For Funding From The City For BGC Programming, And Providing For Other Matters Related Thereto.

Missy Bienvenu Andreti- There’s a gap in youth programs.

RESOLUTIONS:

Fix The Time, Day, Date And Place Of Regular Meetings Of The City Council Of The City Of Natchitoches For The Next Twelve Months.

Establish Meeting Times And Places Of: Natchitoches Planning Commission, Historic District Commission, Airport Advisory Commission, and Waterworks District No.1.

Appoint Members To The City Planning Commission For the City Of Natchitoches.

Appoint Members To The Natchitoches Historic District Commission For The City Of Natchitoches.

Appoint Stacy McQueary As Clerk Of The Council For The City Of Natchitoches.

Appoint The City Attorney And Assistant City Attorneys For The City Of Natchitoches.

Appoint The Auditor For The City Of Natchitoches.

Appoint the Fiscal Agent For The City Of Natchitoches.

Designate The Natchitoches Times As the Official Legal Journal For The City Of Natchitoches For The Next Twelve Months.

Authorize The Mayor To Enter Into A Contract With Alliant Insurance Services Inc., For The One Beacon Insurance Group Casualty Package Insurance Renewal Effective June 30, 2021 Through June 30, 2022.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:  The next scheduled City Council meeting will be Monday, June 28, 2021.


Crime Stoppers comes to Natchitoches

The City of Natchitoches is working to cut down on crime with the approval of interesting agenda item item at its Monday night meeting, June 14. The Council approved the terms and formation of a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement between the City and Crime Stoppers of Natchitoches, Inc.

President Carmella Parker, Vice President Jay Sharplin, and Secretary Mike Bonnett came before the board to talk about the newly formed organization. They hope to offer rewards of up to $2,000 on homicide cases to work toward building a safer community.

Sharplin said the group is looking forward to working with the City and law enforcement to get a lot of bad guys off the street.

This program plans to be up and running within the first two weeks in July. An official announcement will be made once details are confirmed.


Natchitoches woman arrested on narcotics charges

Deputies assigned to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office “IMPACT” team conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle for improper equipment on June 12 at 11:30 pm.

Upon stopping the vehicle, the driver was identified as Katherine Johnson, 61, of the 200 block of East Village Drive, Natchitoches. In addition to Johnson’s equipment violations, it was determined by Deputies that Johnson was driving under suspension as well.

During the course of the traffic stop investigation, NPSO narcotics detecting K9 “Misty” was utilized by Deputies on scene to conduct an open air sniff around Johnson’s vehicle. During the course of the open air sniff, K9 “Misty” showed a positive alert on the vehicle which indicated to Deputies that illegal narcotics were being contained within.

Due to the positive K9 alert on the vehicle, Deputies conducted a search of the vehicle which yielded several pieces of drug paraphernalia. The type of drug paraphernalia located inside of Johnson’s vehicle is most commonly used for the consumption of Schedule II crack cocaine.

After Deputies located the drug paraphernalia inside of the vehicle, Johnson admitted to being in possession of a small amount of crack cocaine. Johnson then removed some suspected crack cocaine from her person and provided it to the Deputies.

Johnson was placed under arrest for possession of Schedule II crack cocaine, and transported to the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center.

Once at the NPDC, Johnson was informed that she would be thoroughly searched prior to being booked. Johnson then admitted to Deputies that she was concealing an additional crack cocaine rock on her person. Johnson then removed a second suspected crack cocaine rock from her person and provided it to the Deputies.

Johnson received the following charges:
• Improper equipment.
• Driving under suspension.
• Possession of Schedule II crack cocaine.
• Possession of drug paraphernalia.
• Obstruction of justice (2 counts.)
• Introduction of contraband into a penal institution (2 counts.)

Johnson was booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center where she would be held to await bond.


City recognizes Natchitoches Central Orchestra during special presentation

The Natchitoches City Council held a special presentation at its meeting Monday night, June 14, to recognize the Natchitoches Central High School Orchestra for its outstanding performances at the 2021 WorldStrides Virtual Festival Series. NCHS received the 1st Place Outstanding Orchestra Award, the Adjudicator Award, and a Gold in the String Orchestra 3A Classification.

NCHS Orchestra Director Mrs. Syll-Young Olson attended the meeting to accept a plaque on behalf of her students.


NSU scholarship honors Ackel family members

A fully endowed scholarship has been established to honor the memory of members of a prominent Natchitoches family who were alumni and long-time supporters of Northwestern State University. Members of the Ackel family gathered to make the presentation that will ensure the legacy of Latief and Melba Ackel, as well as Philip and Pauline Ackel, through the support of student scholarships.

“We’re very excited about this opportunity to make a donation in memory of Pauline and Philip, and of course Latief and Melba. We have lots of good memories of Northwestern and lots more to come,” John Ackel said.

Latief Ackel and his wife Melba were married 52 years and parents of John and Philip Ackel, Rebecca Ackel Lavespere and Martha Ackel Murphy.

“This scholarship will help an NSU freshman majoring in business,” Lavespere said. Geographic preference will be given to students from Louisiana. Recipients must have a 3.0 GPA or better.

Latief Ackel was a lifelong resident of Natchitoches. He was a World War II veteran who served in the 802nd Tank Destroyer Battalion. He served on the Natchitoches Parish Police Jury for 24 years and as jury president for several terms. He was also a member of the American Legion, V.F.W., Rotary Club, Elks Club, Natchitoches Area Action Association, charter member of the Agitators Club, Coordinating Development Council of Northwest Louisiana and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. Latief had served on the board of directors for First Federal Savings and Loan, was the retired owner of Ackel Brothers Shopping Center and was a local businessman for over 50 years. He passed away Oct. 5, 1999.

Melba Masson Ackel was born in Cloutierville and graduated valedictorian of her class at Cloutierville High School in 1944. She then attended Women’s Business School in Shreveport. Her first job was with Avoyelles’s Wholesale in Alexandria as a bookkeeper for WWII Ration Stamps. She continued working for Avoyelles in Natchitoches. After moving to Natchitoches, she met and married John Latief Ackel in May 1947. Melba worked at Peoples Bank and Trust Company in Natchitoches as head bookkeeper until the birth of their first child. In later years, she worked alongside Latief in the family business, Ackel Brothers Store.

Melba Ackel was a devout Catholic and a faithful parishioner of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church where she served as a eucharistic minister. She was also a member of Catholic Daughter Court Regina Pacis #1372, where she was named Catholic Daughter of the Year in 1988 and again in 2007. She was a Pink Lady at the Natchitoches Parish Hospital and Courtyard of Natchitoches until the age of 89 and a member of the Thursday afternoon Rosary group, which she loved to host in her home. She passed away Feb. 18, 2020.

Philip and Pauline Soileau Ackel met at Northwestern State and were married for 34 years. They spent many years supporting and serving St. Mary’s School, were active in the Mystic Krewe de St. Denis and served the Mystick Krewe of Louisianans in Washington, D.C., for many years. They were parents to Abe Ackel and Ashli Ackel Plemmons, who were present for the scholarship presentation.

Philip Ackel was born on July 11, 1961, the fourth of the Ackel children. He graduated from St. Mary’s High School in 1979 and from Northwestern State in 1983 with a degree in business. He was a member of Kappa Alpha Fraternity and the Natchitoches Jaycees. He was instrumental in continuing the legacy begun by his father and uncle as a member of the local men’s group, The Agitators. Philip joined his mother and father in the family business, Ackel Brothers Store until 1994. At the time of his death, he had been employed by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture for over 25 years. He was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting and fishing, which he and his brother learned at an early age from their father.

Pauline Soileau Ackel was born on August 6, 1960, in Opelousas. Pauline attended Amy Bradford Ware and later Northwestern State, earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. While at Northwestern, she was a member of Tri Sigma Sorority and was selected as a member of the NSU Homecoming Court. She later attended Texas Wesleyan in Fort Worth, Texas, earning a master’s degree in health science and a certificate of nurse anesthesia. Pauline served as a registered nurse for the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts and for over 20 years she served as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist at Rapides Regional Medical Center. She was a sustaining member of the Natchitoches Service League.

Philip and Pauline Ackel passed away Sept. 20, 2020.

“This scholarship is especially meaningful to me as the relationship between the Maggio and the Ackel families dates back well over a century,” said NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio. “Natchitoches was formed in large part at the Ackel store. Many students shopped there, and I just know how happy Mr. and Mrs. Ackel and Phillip and Pauline would be right now, knowing that this scholarship has been established to assist students in earning a degree from NSU. I would like to thank the Ackel family for establishing this endowed scholarship as it will help students and NSU for generations to come.”

“It’s special to do this for Melba and Latief, and also for Pauline and Philip,” said Drake Owens, executive director of the NSU Foundation. “We will be the best stewards for these funds and ensure that they are put to the best use to help a future Northwestern student find success.”

The Latief and Melba Ackel Scholarship is endowed at the $10,000 level.

Pictured: Members of the Ackel family gathered to announce the Latief and Melba Ackel Scholarship, which also honors Philip and Pauline Ackel. The scholarship is endowed at the $10,000 level and will be awarded to a student majoring in business. From left are Abe Ackel, Ashli Ackel Plemmons, Martha Ackel Murphy, Rebecca Ackel Lavespere, and John Ackel.