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Cane River Creole NHP – Today

Cane River Creole National Historical Park will resume normal operations today, Tuesday, August 31 after being closed Sunday and Monday because of the threat of hazardous weather conditions from Hurricane Ida. Oakland and Magnolia Plantations will be open to the public from 9 AM to 3:30 PM daily with the exception of federal holidays. Visitors should be aware that some restrictions are still in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Chief of Police to be Sworn In Wednesday

The City of Natchitoches will be honoring Captain Nikeo Collins with an inaugural ceremony as he is promoted to Chief of Police. This Wednesday, September 1, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. at the Natchitoches Events Center, Cpt. Collins will be sworn in among community leaders and supporters. Collins has served the Natchitoches community for over 27 years and is responsible for over 40 grants totaling over 1 million dollars to go toward police efforts. The ceremony will feature a number of public figures and law enforcement officers celebrating the efforts and achievements of Captain Collins.

Classes will resume at NSU Tuesday, Aug. 31

Classes and other normal operations will resume on all Northwestern State University campuses Tuesday after being closed Monday because of the threat of hazardous weather conditions from Hurricane Ida.

Northwestern and other universities, public schools, state offices and businesses across the region announced Monday closures as the huge storm approached the Louisiana coast Friday.

There were projections over the weekend of flooded roadways, power outages and other damage from the hurricane throughout South-Central Louisiana.

NSU interim president Dr. Marcus Jones said, “Northwestern students planning to return to campus from South Louisiana and other areas impacted by Hurricane Ida should observe local travel advisories and exercise extreme caution in traveling.”

Photo:  Northwestern State University

Parish announces closure of portion of Fish Hatchery Road for asphalt overlay

The south end of Fish Hatchery Road between Highway 494 and the entrance to Beau Riviera Subdivision will be closed to traffic today (Aug. 30) and possibly tomorrow (Aug. 31) as Regional Construction begins laying new asphalt on this section. Work is expected to be completed and the road reopened by tomorrow afternoon.

Traffic should detour around the closed roadway section via Lateral Lane or the north end of Fish Hatchery Road.

Demons host ULM in home opener

Northwestern State volleyball officially reopens fall home competition in Natchitoches on Tuesday with the first home match of the 2021 season.

The Lady Demons (1-2) take on in-state rival ULM (2-1) at 6:30 p.m. in Prather Coliseum. There is no charge for admission to all home volleyball matches this season, but fans are required to adhere to NSU’s clear bag policy. Live video and stat links are available at nsudemons.com or on the NSU athletics mobile app, available in either the Apple or Google stores.

NSU enters the match after an impressive sweep of Alabama A&M where it dominated every statistical category and served as a solid bounce back from an 0-2 start on opening day.

The Lady Demons had seven more kills on 18 fewer swings in the three-set sweep than the three-set loss to Cal, although the number of errors were nearly equal. One of the other differences between the two results came from the service line as Alabama A&M were unable to handle to aggressive NSU serves. The Lady Demons had 11 aces in the win with only one against Cal.

“I really liked our consistency during the match,” head coach Sean Kiracofe said following Saturday’s win. “That isn’t always easy to have when you go from playing someone like Cal and then to a team that will give you a completely different look, style of play and tempo.

“I was really happy that we were able to make lineup changes and not have any drop in our level of play.”

Plenty of new faces made immediate impact on opening weekend as well, which was expected entering the weekend and the 2021 season.

Symone Wesley totaled 26 kills, most of which coming in pivotal moments like the fifth set against Tulane. Her efforts on the weekend earned her a spot on the all-tournament team. Freshman Kate Idrogo shined on Saturday with a team-leading eight kills, seven of which coming after NSU reached the 20-point mark to help secure the set wins and the match.

Six players finished the weekend with 10 or more kills led by Wesley’s 26 and Addison McDermott’s 20, another positive step for the spread attack the Lady Demons continue to develop early in the season.

The Warhawks are coming off a successful opening weekend in Beaumont, Texas with wins against Prairie View A&M and Lamar. Their only loss coming in five set to Oral Roberts to start the season.

Outside hitters Cali Assaley and Avery Cole led the Warhawk attack with better than 10.0 kills per match and 3.21 kills per set. The team hit less than .200 in each of the five set matches but were able to sneak out the win against Lamar by holding the Cardinals to a .168 effort. The 12 service aces in that match was a five-set program record that also contributed to the victory.

“This will be very similar to how we went into the Lafayette match not really knowing what to expect,” Kiracofe said. “They have a very new roster, and while we were able to watch video on them from this past weekend, they had 15 different people get playing time.

“We have a good idea what lineup we’ll see at the beginning of that match but the odds there will be changes and different looks is very high. Again, like Lafayette, we will need to make changes as needed and then be consistent with how we execute those changes.”

NSU has a nine-match win streak against ULM with the most recent success coming during the 2018 season when the team met in Cape Girardeau, Mo., and the Demons taking the 3-2 win. It was 2016 the last time the Warhawks played in Natchitoces, a 3-1 NSU victory.

“When you add in the in-state rivalry for the match that always adds a fun element,” Kiracofe said. “There is never a time where you play another team from Louisiana where things don’t get intense, so it should be a fun match to come watch.”

Photo: Gary Hardamon

NSU ROTC holds Activation Ceremony for 72nd Demon Battalion

Command Sergeant Major CDT CSM Seth Ozsoy, left, and Battalion Commander CDT LTC Anthony Cantrell, attached the streamer for the 72nd Demon Battalion during an activation ceremony for Northwestern State University’s ROTC program Aug. 26. In addition to military training, ROTC cadets participate in service activities, color guard duties and other projects throughout the academic year. 

Pictured: Northwestern State University ROTC Cadets Loren Higgenbotham, Jaimie Dodds and Peyton Bordelon took the oath to contract as a U.S. Army officer during the ROTC program’s activation ceremony Aug. 26. Taking the oath indicates that the individuals are committed to the path of officership, that they are medically and physically qualified to commission and are contracting to meet the remaining requirements to be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Professor of Military Science LTC Joshua Drake issued the oath.

Pictured: Northwestern State University’s Department of Military Science honored LTC Wendell Bender, left, in recognition of his retirement, during the department’s annual activation ceremony Aug. 26. Bender served as professor of military science at NSU since 2018. At right is Battalion Commander CDT LTC Anthony Cantrell.

Natchitoches Parish 4-H collecting supplies for South Louisiana residents

The Natchitoches Parish 4-H Office will be collecting supplies to help South Louisiana residents in need. Supplies can be dropped off Sept. 1-8 at the 4-H office, located at 624 Second Street.

Supplies include bug spray, flashlights, food, water, ice chests, fans, batteries, extension cords, pet food, paper towels, paper plates, gloves for outdoor work, ant repellent, oil for generators, gas cans, gas, ziplock bags, gift cards, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, carbon monoxide detectors, washing detergent, hygiene products, first aid kits, socks, candles, lighters, blow up mattresses, ope, bungee cords, baby wipes, diapers, portable chargers, tarps, pillows, buckets, and storage containers.

For more information call the office at 318-357-2224.

Notice of Death – August 30, 2021

Issac “Zeke” Green
November 18, 1968 – August 28, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Theresa “Terri” Durr
March 12, 1960 – August 25, 2021
Service: Tuesday, August 31 at 10 am at the Bethel Methodist Church

Jeffery Dale Blake
November 15, 1955 – August 26, 2021
Service: Friday, September 10 at 2 pm at Southern Funeral Home in Winnfield

Roger Dale Verret
August 17, 1964 – August 26, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Shirtee Evans, Jr.
August 29, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Jabarri Shepherd
May 16, 2005 – August 24, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Jane Dunn
August 02, 1934 – August 28, 2021
Service: Thursday September 2 at 11 am at Social Springs Cemetery in Hall Summit

Patricia Dianne Giddings
November 28, 1963 – August 29, 2021
Service: Wednesday, September 1 at 11 am at Hickory Grove Baptist Church

Parish Council to hold Special Called Meeting TONIGHT via Teleconference

The Natchitoches Parish Council will hold a Special Called Meeting on Monday, Aug. 30 at 5:30 pm via Teleconference.


Council to consider authorizing the Parish President to award the RFQ and sign a contract with IBTS or SG or Rapides Area Planning Commission for Certified Building Official and Flood Plain Management Services.

If you have any questions concerning any of the agenda items please email your questions to the Council Clerk at sfrederick@npgov.org . Deadline to get questions in, 12:00 Friday, August 6, 2021. Or if you have any questions please contact Council Clerk at 318-352-2714 EXT 5.

The 2021 LSHOF Junior Training Camp is a 2nd Dose of Fun as School Starts!

Several hundred young people from throughout the area signed up for another day of sports fun at the 2021 LSHOF Junior Training Camp held on NSU’s campus this Saturday, August 28. Several newly inducted Hall of Fame members, assisted by NSU football and women’s basketball players, put the young people through a series of drills in football and basketball skills. This is the tenth year the training camp has been held in Natchitoches. This year was a bit different due to COVID, with both the 2020 and 2021 inductions taking place in the same summer. That meant twice the opportunities for fun and learning! Over the years, the Junior Training Camp has become an eagerly awaited event for area families.

The NSU women’s basketball team conducted a series of fast paced drills that kept the campers on their feet and moving as they learned and sharpened their skills. The campers then moved on to Turpin stadium where the NSU football team awaited with a field full of practice drills. The NSU gridiron squad was joined by Glen Dorsey of LSU, Marques Colston of the New Orleans Saints and Rickey Weeks of Southern University and Major League Baseball.

The Natchitoches Sheriff’s Department has been a sponsor of the event since the inaugural camp and brought several deputies who were joined by the Natchitoches SWAT team and their vehicle. Likewise, volunteers from the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center helped check in children and passed out souvenir camp shirts. Thanks to the sponsors, the children enjoyed a fun day of physical activity and education at no cost.

The Natchitoches Parish Journal would like to commend the members of the NSU women’s basketball and football teams who helped at each of the stations. They were unfailingly helpful and gracious with the children. These young men and women embody everything that is right and good about the student-athlete concept. NSU’s WRAC staff turned their facility over to the campers and supplied water for breaks. They and the teams were superb ambassadors for their university.

Grateful 2021 LSHOF inductees enthrall audience

Whether in person or via video, the 11 members of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2021 expressed many of the same sentiments Saturday night.

First and foremost among them was gratitude – for teammates, for family and for each other.

Emotions flowed freely throughout, shaking the normally unflappable.

New Orleans broadcasting icon Ro Brown was one of three Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism winners honored Saturday. Praised as a barrier-breaking, trustworthy broadcaster, Brown paused for at least 30 seconds before answering his first question.

“I’m on TV for a living, I’ll be able to do this,” Brown cracked when he finally gathered himself.

A product of New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward who praised that area’s “village” mentality to helping raise him, Brown’s career and personality meshes perfectly with the distinguished title of the award bestowed upon him.

The familial feel of Natchitoches and Northwestern State University provided Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism honoree Doug Ireland with a place to call home and a family tree that spread its limbs throughout the sports information profession.

Ireland’s role as the chariman of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame came with it the drive to construct the award-winning museum in downtown Natchitoches, a relationship that has given him a giant extended family that marks the sporting eras of the state of Louisiana.

“When I hear Hall of Famers talk to Doug, it’s like they have had this relationship for 30 years when in reality, he’s only been talking to them for six to eight months,” said Northwestern State men’s basketball coach Mike McConathy, who worked with Ireland for nearly two decades. “He has so much knowledge and the ability to recall things about them as people. They become part of his family because they are now Hall of Famers.”

After nearly three decades serving as the Hall’s chairman, Ireland took his place among the numerous figures he has delivered to whom he has delivered the call to for years.

“I’m here on the shoulders of so many people,” Ireland said. “I didn’t do something. We did something. I was just lucky to help steer it in a couple of directions.”

While Natchitoches adopted Ireland as a native son, it celebrated the Hall entry of one of its own born and raised citizens as 1980 Bassmaster Classic champion Villis “Bo” Dowden joined his hometown’s shrine Saturday.

From a child who enjoyed fishing with his grandfather to winning the Super Bowl of bass fishing by “showing us we could fish in the wind,” according to fellow competitor Bobby Murray, Dowden quickly espoused the values of his hometown and his family.

“(My childhood) was quite a fun time as far as I was concerned,” he said. “I didn’t worry about anything. I didn’t have too many big chores in the backyard, so I went fishing.

“I fished out here in Black Lake and Saline Lake and Sibley Lake and Cane River. Natchitoches is just full of fishing holes if you know where to look for them.”

Group:  L to R): Rickie Weeks, Sheldon Mickles, Terry McAulay, Pat Henry, Doug Ireland, Bo Dowden, Glenn Dorsey, Ro Brown and Courtney Blades Rogers.

Photo:  Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services

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Northwestern State offense steps up in overtime loss at No. 23 Rice

Through the offseason and leading into the 2021 season, the Northwestern State soccer team has placed an emphasis on dialing up their offense and creating more opportunities to score.

Despite walking away with a loss on Sunday, the Lady Demons (0-3-1) found some of that rhythm and took No. 23 Rice (4-0) to overtime. In the 95th minute, Rice’s Vyviene Spaulding made good on an assist from the right corner and scored the golden goal, securing a 2-1 victory.

Rice took an early lead after scoring the opening goal in the 19th minute. Although being down a goal, possession between both teams was an even affair through the opening period. At half, NSU led Rice in total shot attempts 4-3.

Rice held control through the majority of the second period and tested the capabilities of the NSU defense. Despite taking seven shots to NSU’s three in the final 45 minutes of regulation, NSU defenders – along with a seven save outing from senior goalkeeper Acelya Aydogmus — held Rice to zero goals in the second period and allowed the Lady Demons a chance to tie the match late in regulation.

In the 71st minute, sophomore midfielder Kyle Nolen found the net for NSU off a throw in by Caroline Hilliard, sinking the shot high right to tie the match at one apiece.

“I thought we bounced back really well and made life difficult for the 23rd ranked team in the country, head coach Stuart Gore said.

“We created some good opportunities, and Kyle’s finish was first class.” I’m looking forward to seeing how we can build off of this experience.”

Veterans Nicole Henry and Olivia Draguicevich led the charge for NSU, both tallying three shot attempts at the net with two on target. The Lady Demons logged ten total shot attempts on the match, five of which were saved in the net — a marked improvement from Friday’s five shot performance at Prairie View A&M. Rice finished the day with 17 shots and nine shots on goal.

Wrapping up its first road stretch of the season, NSU returns home for its home opener Wednesday night at the Lady Demon Soccer Complex against Louisiana Tech.

Photo:  Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services

Opportunity: NCHS Custodian

Custodian: Full-time

Natchitoches Central is looking for two full-time custodians to work Monday-Friday. We are looking for Chiefs that take pride in their building facilities and want to work to build a culture of respect and honor through the maintenance of facilities, classrooms, and outside grounds. If you are interested in joining a team please call Micah Coleman at (318) 352-2211 or come by the Front Office at NCHS to apply.

Micah Coleman
Natchitoches Central High School


Cane River student inaugural recipient of Mary Gunn Johnston Scholarship

Chadwick J. Nelson of Natchez is the first recipient of the Mary Gunn Johnston Magnolia Endowed Scholarship. The Mary Gunn Johnston Magnolia Endowed Scholarship was established in July 2021 through the Northwestern State University Foundation as the university’s first scholarship designed specifically to assist Black students attending NSU. The fund was established by the children of Mary Gunn Johnston in recognition of her education at Northwestern, her lifelong commitment to the Natchitoches community where she grew up and her belief in the importance of access to education for all. Johnston has experienced the impact and influence of educational opportunities and how it can fundamentally change lives.

The four-year scholarship will be awarded to a Black undergraduate student who maintains a 2.5 grade point average or higher. Preference will be given to students from Natchitoches Parish or descendants of Natchitoches Parish residents, and to those who have participated in community service.

Nelson is a 2021 graduate of Natchitoches Central High School and is pursuing a degree in nursing. He is the son of Chad and Diedre Nelson of Natchez and grandson of Sam and Anastasia Christophe of Cane River and Candi and Wilbert Nelson of Clarence.

Nelson and Johnston both have ties to Cane River. Nelson is an altar server at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Melrose where Johnston made her first communion.

Johnston grew up in the Natchitoches area, and NSU played a large role in her family’s life. Her mother, Sarah “Sally” Hertzog Gunn, worked at Northwestern for more than two decades, ultimately serving as the personal assistant to five NSU presidents. Mary Gunn graduated from St. Mary’s Catholic School and began her college education at NSU where she studied Dietetics and was involved in numerous activities, including student government. She also landed her first post-college job working at Northwestern as a school dietician prior to marrying her husband, former U.S. Senator J. Bennett Johnston. She has always credited Northwestern with providing her the educational foundation and life lessons to be successful.

Johnston is a member of NSU’s Long Purple Line, the university’s alumni hall of distinction. Throughout her life she has been active in a variety of civic and humanitarian efforts in Louisiana and Washington and projects to preserve Louisiana’s culture and heritage.

Mary Gunn Johnston is the proud mother of four adult children and ten grandchildren. She currently lives with her husband in the Washington, D.C. suburbs.