Town Hall meeting with Congressman Mike Johnson discusses hot button issues

Congressman Mike Johnson, now in his third term of representing the 4th Congressional District of Louisiana, held a Town Hall meeting in Natchitoches on Nov. 29.

“What a joy it was to have so many constituents join us for the gathering and discussion,” Johnson posted on Facebook after the event. “Thank you to everyone who attended…I look forward to seeing you all again soon!”

He explained that there’s constant heated debate on Capitol Hill about the direction the country is going. Rather than a battle between Democrats and Republicans, Johnson said the battle is happening between two competing philosophies.

“We’re at a crossroads in our nation,” he explained. “We’re in uncharted waters- facing issues and circumstances we’ve never before faced in our 244 years as a nation and people are losing their bearings.”

Johnson’s side believes in individual freedom, limited government, peace through strength, and other foundation principles the country was built on.

The other side has a disdain for these principles, wants to uproot them, and has a goal to create a European style socialist country in the US.

Fifteen or twenty years ago Johnson said members of Congress were trying to achieve the same ends even if they had different ideas on how to get there, but now there’s a growing number of elected officials coming to Washington who are openly advocating for socialism.

“We need to hold fast to the principles that made us the greatest nation in the world,” he said. “We need to be able to sit down and have a dialogue so we can get the ball rolling on some of the issues we’re facing.”

One attendee at the town hall meeting expressed concern about election integrity. Johnson agreed that the integrity of a free and fair election is a critically important issue.

“What happened in 2020 in the election cycle was unlike anything that’s ever happened in history when the pandemic hit our shores,” he said. “It caused a great amount of confusion. There were allegations of fraud and none of it can be proven.”

However, there was good news. Johnson said he doesn’t think there will ever be a repeat of the 2020 election. Efforts have been made to make sure it won’t happen again because otherwise the people will begin to doubt the veracity of the vote.

“There’s been an awakening of an awareness that elections have consequences,” said Johnson, who feels that the only way to get back to really addressing the issues that matter is to put people into power that represent the ideals the country was founded on.

When asked to address the current energy situation in Louisiana Johnson said energy policy is a big deal. Under Trump, he said the state was a net exporter of energy for the first time in his lifetime. When Biden came into office, he did the exact opposite by putting a moratorium on drilling on federal lands and on the continental shelf. He also killed the Keystone pipeline.

The demand for fossil fuel is not going away and shutting down the lines in Louisiana is suicidal for the economy.

“It makes no sense,” Johnson said.

Another attendee spoke regarding the national debt, which is growing out of control almost exponentially and asked Johnson what’s being done to reign spending in.

Johnson said that under the modern monetary theory, the government can never spend too much money. This causes deep concerns for Johnson relating to a lack of opportunities for future generations and the death of social welfare programs.

“You cannot spend yourself into oblivion…just because you own the printing presses,” he explained.

One attendee stood up for the side of beliefs that Johnson was talking against. He claimed that hundreds of thousands of Americans died due to Trump’s lies about COVID. He brought up Trump’s attempt to steal a second term by falsely claiming election fraud and the fact that he committed treason by instructing the mob in Washington to storm the capitol building on the day Congress was set to certify election results.

Johnson countered some of these points, but overall expressed his appreciation for the open dialogue.

Other topics that were discussed included concerns over vaccine mandates, the infrastructure bill, and the Voting Rights Bill.


The story behind the street signs

Yes, we’ve all seen the screenshots shared by tons of Natchitoches fans showcasing the street signs for Natchitoches and Lafayette that were chosen in the design of Louisiana’s Celebration Gator float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

But do you know why these street signs were chosen to represent the state’s oldest permanent settlement?

The original design only had New Orleans street names, and it was Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser who requested the signage represent other parts of the state.

Since this is a “Louisiana” float the intention was to highlight as much of Louisiana as possible. The street signs were a great way to integrate actual Louisiana city names into the overall float design. Considering the commitment to Macy’s is for three years, Louisiana may change the street sign names each year to spread the love to other Louisiana cities in years two and three.


Natchitoches Police investigate hit and run crash on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive

Officers with the Natchitoches Police Department were responding to an emergency call on Nov. 29 around 2:33 pm when they were involved in a hit and run crash on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive near Lafayette Street.

Officers with the Traffic Division responded to the crash and learned that the Natchitoches Police Department patrol car was travelling west on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive with their emergency lights and sirens activated. As the police car approached Lafayette Street a black Chevrolet S.U.V. pulled into the roadway and crashed into the officers’ car causing them to collide with a tree. The black Chevrolet S.U.V. then fled the area prior to other officers’ arrival.

Both officers in the patrol car were transported to the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

The Natchitoches Police Department would like to ask the public to be on the lookout for a black Chevrolet S.U.V. with damage to the driver’s side front fender. The crash remains under investigation.

If you would like to report suspicious activity or have any additional information in regards to this crash contact the Natchitoches Police Department at (318) 352-8101. Remember all information given shall remain confidential.

How to report an anonymous tip via Natchitoches Crime Stoppers:

You can also report a tip anonymously by calling Natchitoches Crime Stoppers at (318) 238-2388. All tips remain confidential and the caller can receive a cash reward up to $2,000 for the arrest of an offender.


City honors employees with holiday luncheon

Before Thanksgiving, the City of Natchitoches honored its employees with a delicious holiday luncheon! Employees were presented with plaques of recognition for their years of service to the City and exchanged conversation centering the diversity, equity, and inclusion presentation shown that day.

“We are extremely grateful for the men and women that work to make our city run as it does,” said Mayor Ronnie Williams Jr. “We hope that everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving break and that you all will continue the celebration at the 95th Annual Natchitoches Christmas Festival this weekend!”


Local student holds Art Show at NSU

Local Northwestern State University student Omari Irchirl, hosted an Art Show at the Hanchey Gallery on Nov. 18. The event was his final art project before graduating this December. Omari attended NSU-Elementary and Middle Lab and went on to NCHS where he graduated in 2016. After graduating Omari joined the U.S. Army Reserve where he completed his training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. The Art Show was a success and was open to the public.


Northwestern State plays at No. 12 Houston – Tonight

While Northwestern State was ultimately seeking a win Sunday in a matchup with former Southland Conference foe Stephen F. Austin, the Demons gained everything but a victory as they erased three different double-digit deficits before the Lumberjacks overcame a late NSU lead in a 72-68 Demons loss.

NSU (1-6) played with confidence, something the Demons will need when they head to No. 12 Houston (5-1) for a Tuesday matchup at 7 p.m.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN+, or fans can catch Patrick Netherton on the radio broadcast (95.9 FM The River)

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Houston is NSU’s first ranked opponent this season, but the Demons continue a difficult slate that already includes Oklahoma, Tulsa and SMU with future games against No. 6 Baylor, RV LSU and Texas A&M.

The seven guarantee games, which doesn’t include home contests against regional stalwarts like Stephen F. Austin and Louisiana Tech, is among the most in the country.

“I told my guys that our schedule is as tough as any in the country,” said NSU coach Mike McConathy, who returned to practice Wednesday and coached in his first game Sunday after missing the past two games with a positive COVID-19 test. “We get better because we play the best.

“We’ve got to understand that we have to compete like we did (Sunday) every day that we come out to play.”

NSU matched SFA’s intensity Sunday, crawling out of a 14-point, second-half hole with a 26-9 run largely sparked by the Demons’ second unit.

Sophomore guard Jalen King scored eight of his career-high 10 points in the run, coupled with 3-pointers from Emareyon McDonald and Jovan Zelenbaba to fuel the run.

Freshman post Kendal Coleman recorded team highs of 14 points and eight rebounds while facing another top post in SFA’s Gavin Kensmil, adding to the list of Oklahoma’s Tanner Groves and Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Lofton among others.

Houston offers 6-foot-8 Fabian White Jr., who averages 10 points and five rebounds per game while making more than one 3-pointer per game. White is the only Cougar on the roster from an 82-55 Houston win against NSU in 2018, although he didn’t play. Larry Owens and LaTerrance Reed both started for the Demons in that contest, combining for 10 points in the loss.

“I love challenges and playing against guys that will compete and be grinders like I am,” Coleman said. “It helps me out in the long run.

“We learned (Sunday) that if we always play hard, we can compete with anybody if we set our minds to it and make sure we give 100 percent. We didn’t really compete against ULM (on Nov. 22), but I felt like we competed really hard against SFA. We’ve got to carry that into Houston.”

NSU travels Monday to play on Tuesday, the third time this season that the Demons have either played on consecutive nights or will play with one day in between.

The Demons opened the season at Oklahoma before heading to Tulsa the next night. After playing Champion Christian to cap off that first week Saturday, NSU hit the road to SMU for a Monday matchup.

“We’re used to playing on that kind of a turnaround, so it’s nothing new for us,” Coleman added.

The Demons will see that type of schedule in SLC play as the league returned to Thursday-Saturday schedule this season. NSU had played Wednesday-Saturday for the past four seasons.

Houston presents perhaps a different type of challenge than the Demons have seen to date. The Cougars have two wins against then-ranked opponents (No. 23 Oregon and No. 25 Virginia), both by at least 18 points. Houston also counts Butler and Rice in its blowout category with its lone loss to Wisconsin.

The Cougars have held four of their six opponents to 52 points or less, forcing foes to shoot just 38 percent from the field while causing 16 turnovers per game.

NSU handled SFA’s pressure defense relatively well, but the Demons had critical turnovers among its 16 giveaways, which includes a steal and breakaway layup that handed SFA the lead for good with just 37 seconds remaining.

The Demons handled the ball extremely well in the early season, but NSU has had at least 16 turnovers in each of the past three games, which includes 25 against ULM.

NSU remains in the positive in assists to turnovers (110 to 104), which includes 21 assists on 28 baskets Sunday against SFA.

The Demons played three ranked opponents this past season, falling twice to No. 1 Gonzaga and opened the season with No. 14 Texas Tech. NSU did drop 61 second-half points in the second game against the Zags in a 95-78 loss.

McConathy does have one ranked win as the 2005-06 Demons shocked No. 3 seed Iowa (No. 15 in the national polls) in the NCAA Tournament by erasing a 17-point deficit in the final eight-and-a-half minutes.

He’s faced 26 ranked opponents in 23 seasons at NSU.

PHOTO: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services


Lady Demons fall in battle with Wichita State

WICHITA, Kan. – Stretches of hot shooting, tenacious defense and overall fight and effort defined Northwestern State’s performance on Monday night. It was a seven-minute scoreless stretch in the second quarter that proved to be the deciding factor in NSU’s 70-61 loss to Wichita State.

For the second game in a row, the Lady Demons (3-3) led after the first 10 minutes of play. Unfortunately, for the second game in a row, a second-quarter drought was costly as NSU missed its first 12 shots in the quarter that allowed Wichita State (6-1) to create just enough separation to pull out the victory.

“I thought the girls laid it all out on the line,” head coach Anna Nimz said. “We went through some droughts, but we had some kids step up at different times tonight. It’s like what we talked about after Kansas State, where we have people with so many tools that haven’t shown them quite yet and they did a phenomenal job, Jiselle (Woodson) being one of them.

“So many positives, but it’s disappointing for the kids and that’s the only disappointment. They played tremendously, followed the scout how we wanted and hats off to Wichita State, but I am just very, very proud of our team.”

NSU came out with the same intensity and drive it had two days prior at Kansas State led by Monette Bolden. After a blocked shot on her first attempt, Bolden tracked down the rebound and found Sharna Ayres under the basket for the first points of the game.

She drilled a 3-pointer two minutes later that put the Lady Demons up by two, scoring nine of NSU’s next 11 total points that gave them the 17-15 lead after the first 10 minutes of play.

“Mo came out ready to go,” Nimz said. “She was ready to take this game and win it, regardless of if she had to put the team on her back. I feel like she kind of did that there in the first quarter. She was the spark and the fight.”

The Shockers scored the first six points of the second quarter to take the lead before two Bolden free throws ended the run. Overall, it was a 13-2 run during the lengthy field goal drought for the Demons that was finally broken by Woodson.

Slicing through the defense she dropped in a jumper from the elbow and after an Erin Harris steal on the other end, climbed the ladder for a high pass and the drilled a corner 3-ball for five quick points. She scored the final seven points of the quarter for NSU to close the gap down to just five, 31-26, at the half.

Despite a sluggish start to the second half for both teams, Wichita State was able to stretch the lead to 10 three minutes into the quarter. Once again it was a spark from Bolden that lit the NSU fire.

Her 3-pointer on the next possession started a barrage from both teams who combined to make seven of the next 10 shot attempts. Three of the four from the Lady Demons during the stretch came from Bolden and Woodson behind the arc with Karmelah Dean’s old-fashioned three-point play capping the run and bringing NSU within a pair at 41-39.

Dean answered a Shocker layup with a 3-ball of her own to cut it to a one-point game with 3:03 left in the third. The Shockers withstood to NSU scoring outburst and thanks to a pair of distance shots of their own were able to stretch the lead back to seven as NSU had a stretch of three turnover in the span of a minute and went scoreless over the final two minutes of the quarter.

WSU pushed the lead back to 10 early in the fourth and to as much as 13 on a couple of different occasions by the midway point of the quarter. A Jordan Todd layup with 1:55 remaining made it a 64-54 game, and thanks to some early missed free throws from the Shockers, left the door slightly open for a potential comeback.

Dean and Woodson both converted clutch shots in the final minute, but when the free throws mattered most for WSU, they fell allowing the home team to escape with the win.

Woodson led all scorers with 23 points on the night going 5-for-5 from distance and 8-for-10 from the field. Bolden played the full 40 minutes and had 17 points, five rebounds, and five assists. Dean had 12 to match a career high.

“They’re disciplined, ready to win and ready to be coached,” Nimz said of her team after the hard-fought game. “It’s my job to put them in better situations at the end of the game, but it’s exciting. If we continue to have the kind of buy-in we’ve had, especially just game to game, I think we have a very strong team that has a lot of potential. We’re going to take out lumps but as long as we continue to grow it’s going to be pretty awesome.”

Photo: Shocker Athletics


College: Interrupted

By Leanna Coy

Eight months into the pandemic and two weeks after my 21st birthday, I was sitting in my college apartment feeling stressed and watching How I Met Your Mother to relax. My phone rang and I saw it was my dad, so I paused my show to answer. He was on his way to Texas on his motorcycle for the weekend, so I knew he’d be calling me as soon as he made it.

“Hello,” I said.

“Do you know a Dan Coy?!” a woman’s voice frantically asked.

My heart stopped and I jumped up.

“That’s my dad,” I said.

“He’s been in a wreck.”

My roommate, Skyler Martignetti, had just gotten home about ten minutes prior.

“I’ll drive!” she insisted.

I stayed on the phone with the complete stranger who was with my dad as she told me everything that was happening. About five other strangers had stopped at the scene to pray as my dad laid out on the highway. He was practically unconscious, but the stranger held the phone up as I cried through what I thought were my last words to him. She kept us updated as the LifeFlight helicopter arrived and they figured out he was heading to a hospital in Tyler, Texas.

My dad’s wreck happened over two hours away, so I had originally argued with my roommate that I could drive.

“I had just gotten off work and walked in the door,” Skyler recalls. “We had said maybe two words together before your phone rang. Watching your shaky hands hang up the phone, I knew you couldn’t- and shouldn’t- be alone to drive to your dad.”

I called as many of my dad’s friends as I could get a hold of, but once he got in the helicopter, there was no way for me to even know if he was alive until we made it to Tyler. I had to take off my Apple watch because my heart was beating so fast, it kept thinking I was exercising. I am an only child that was primarily raised by my single father. The rest of our family is spread out across the country. My dad and I have always been best friends and losing him had always been a fear of mine. Whenever I need advice or am going through a tough situation, my dad is who I turn to. But in this case, I was on my own.

Skyler and I made it to the emergency room and tracked down my dad. He was alive, but not by much. Until I arrived, the hospital wasn’t even sure what his name was. A nurse warned me it would be a while before I could see him but let me know that he had a severe brain bleed, a broken wrist and pelvis, and was intubated. I was so overwhelmed, I walked outside and sat on the concrete to get some fresh air.

A few hours later, I was finally allowed to see my dad. A different nurse escorted me to the elevator, where I saw myself in the mirror for the first time. I realized I still had mascara smeared down my face.

I shakily walked in the ICU, not knowing what to expect to see. As I entered my dad’s room, I barely recognized him. I couldn’t believe the unconscious man attached to a ventilator in front of me was him. Nothing can prepare you for seeing a loved one in that condition, but I was just thankful he was alive. My eyes were watering even though I was still somewhat numb from the day’s adrenaline. The room was silent except for the sounds of my dad’s machines beeping.

His nurse assured me it would be fine for my roommate to drive me home so I could get some sleep before coming back the next morning. I said bye to my dad and told him I loved him even though I knew he couldn’t hear me. From there, my series of road trips between Natchitoches and Tyler began.

Over the next month, I was thrown into a world of new adult responsibilities. On top of keeping up with my classes, I was suddenly dealing with the emotional trauma of not knowing when or if my dad would get out of the hospital, hiring a lawyer, filing an insurance claim, handling his finances, taking care of his dog, and gathering his belongings. Since my dad was on a ventilator, I couldn’t ask him any questions. Even simple tasks like finding his insurance were difficult without being able to get his help. I was getting so many calls from the hospital, lawyer, insurance agent, and my dad’s friends that if I even wanted to eat, I had to put my phone on silent.

One of the first tasks I handled was emailing my teachers. I wasn’t familiar with lawyers or insurance, but I at least knew how to get my schoolwork out of the way. The good news for me was that because of COVID-19, my classes were primarily online. This made it easier to get my work done on the days I was in Texas.

After a week in the ICU, I got a call that my dad was off the ventilator. I was ecstatic because I thought I’d finally be able to talk to him. However, when I got back to the hospital, I realized the severity of his brain injury. I never knew how much of a toll being on a ventilator takes. My dad barely had a voice and even though he recognized me, his eyes were glazed over. He had no idea what was going on. The whole time my dad was in the hospital, he couldn’t understand things like what year it was or even that he had been in a wreck. One doctor told me it could be anywhere from six months to two years until my dad might get his memory back. I was torn between being thankful he was alive and feeling like I had lost him anyway.

Another week later, my dad was moved to a regular hospital room. He had slowly started to get his voice back and was beginning to regain more of his long-term memory. I started getting pressure from the nurses about where my dad could go next. My main responsibility became figuring out how to get him into a nursing home for rehab. Putting a parent in a nursing home can feel devastating at any age, but it felt unfair that I was going through it at 21 years old.

Finals week was approaching, and on top of all my new responsibilities, I didn’t believe I’d be able to finish my classes. I began the process of requesting an incomplete but didn’t think

it was going to get approved in time. I decided to hustle and finish the rest of my work. Somehow, I ended up finishing Fall 2020 with a 4.0.

I got my dad into a nursing home in Natchitoches, and he began having physical, occupational, and speech therapy five times a week. I expected he’d probably spend a year or two there before moving to assisted living if we were lucky. My dad’s doctors and I all underestimated his resilience because after only two months of therapy, he had his memory back and could take care of himself.

“When you can’t do anything for yourself, pride goes out the window,” my dad said looking back on his situation. “I would have done anything to get out.” He has been back to living independently since February. “All I remember about the actual wreck is what I’ve been told,” he said.

Balancing classes is already difficult, but when tragedy strikes, it can be unbearable. The aftermath of my dad’s wreck was the hardest thing I’ve ever been through, but I’ll always be grateful everything worked out in the end. If life ever interrupts your time in college, there are resources available.

If you need to request an incomplete, Charlotte Grayson, a worker in the NSU registrar’s office says, “A grade of I (incomplete) in a course means that the student’s work in that course is incomplete due to circumstances beyond his or her control, as determined by the instructor, and that completion of the work could lead to a passing grade.” If approved, the incomplete grants students an extra 60 days to finish coursework.

In addition, the NSU Counseling center offers free services to students. Their office can be reached at (318) 357-5621.

“College: Interrupted,” is about my experience dealing with my dad’s horrifying motorcycle wreck that occurred during my junior year at NSU. I was sitting on the couch in my apartment when I got the call from a stranger telling me what had happened. It’s hard to know what to do when a family emergency strikes, especially as a college student. I wrote “College: Interrupted” for my COMM4230 magazine course at NSU.


American Indian Crafts Day at NSU is cancelled

The annual American Indian Crafts Day scheduled for Saturday Dec. 4 at the Williamson Museum on the Northwestern State University campus has been cancelled.

NSU Professor of Anthropology Dr. Pete Gregory, who organizes the event, said COVID restraints and travel difficulties prevented large numbers of craftspeople from participating. Gregory said he plans to hold American Indian Crafts Day next year.


Knotts brothers’ $10K gift kick starts NSU Athletics’ Day of Giving

As #GivingTuesday begins in less than 24 hours, Northwestern State’s Day of Giving is ahead of the curve.

Mike Knotts and his brother Kenny, a former Demon baseball player, made sure NSU Athletics had a head start, donating $10,000 to the department Monday as the kickoff of the annual day of generosity.

“We are excited to get things rolling,” Mike Knotts said. “Giving Tuesday donations to the Demon Unlimited Foundation provide an opportunity to move forward and position NSU for success to which all alumni and former athletes aspire. (Kenny and I) want to be a part of that.”

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. It falls the Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the United States.

In each of the past three years, donors have given Northwestern State Athletics more than $20,000 on Giving Tuesday – even amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Knotts’ gift puts NSU well on its way to making it four straight years of at least $20,000 in donations.

#GivingTuesday donations can be utilized to assist NSU Athletics in various ways – giving to the annual fund for athletic scholarships, adding to an existing endowed scholarship, sport-specific giving or to ongoing capital projects such as the Sports Performance Center that recently surpassed $1 million in donations.

Mike Knotts had even grander designs on what his and his brother’s gift can start for the department.

“I called several alumni friends and challenged them to join us in giving back to Northwestern State,’’ he said. “We are trying to challenge others – whether it’s through a phone call or through a video or (Assistant Athletic Director for Development) Ryan (Hall) calling and asking. We’re hoping they’ll say, ‘Mike’s in, so let’s all get in.’”

Dealing with his first #GivingTuesday at Northwestern State, Hall expressed the department-wide appreciation for the Knotts’ largesse.

“It was huge, enormous,” Hall said. “Mike and Kenny bleed purple and love Northwestern State. For him and his brother to step up with such a huge gift to kick off the Day of Giving is massive for our department and hopefully will encourage and entice people to follow suit.”


Natchitoches Police investigate homicide that occurred Saturday night

On November 27, 2021 around 8:21 p.m., officers with the Natchitoches Police Department were notified by the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center that a juvenile was brought to the hospital with a single gunshot wound. Upon officers arrival they were able to learn that the victim was located at a residence in the 600 block of Winnona Street prior to being brought to the hospital.

The fourteen year old victim was transported from the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center to University Health in Shreveport where they were pronounced deceased as a result of their injuries.

The Natchitoches Police Department will release more details as they become available.

If you would like to report suspicious activity please contact the Natchitoches Police Department at (318) 352-8101 or if you have additional information in regards to this investigation please contact Detective Davanta Stevenson at (318) 357-3817. Remember all information given shall remain confidential.

How to report an anonymous tip via Natchitoches Crime Stoppers:

You can also report a tip anonymously by calling Natchitoches Crime Stoppers at (318) 238-2388. All tips remain confidential and the caller can receive a cash reward up to $2,000 for the arrest of an offender.


NRMC CANCER CENTER RECEIVES $500,000 GIFT

Recently, the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center Foundation presented NRMC with a check for $500,000 fulfilling its pledge to support the acquisition of the local Cancer Center.

“The Foundation is pleased to donate funds supporting the new NRMC Cancer Center,” explained Jennifer Maggio, Foundation Board President. “With so many people diagnosed each year with cancer, the hospital’s plans for the new Center will help ensure great cancer care and services right here in Natchitoches. We are grateful to everyone who has supported the Foundation. Because of your generosity and commitment, we are able make this important contribution to the Cancer Center.”

Since 1987, the Foundation has supported the Hospital’s mission. The volunteer board works within the community to raise awareness and important funds through charitable giving, corporate partner support, and events. Through the years, they have raised money to support community wellness grants, nursing and allied health education aid, new 3D mammography technology in the NRMC Breast Center, and most recently, enhancements through the “Moms and Babies” campaign which raises funds to enhance the hospital’s Labor and Delivery Unit.

“We are grateful to the Foundation for their work and support. Their gift today is critical for access to Cancer care for our community and will help enhance patient care areas of the Cancer Center,” explained NRMC CEO Kirk Soileau. “We want to extend our sincerest thanks to the Foundation Board, volunteers, and all donors and sponsors for this generous gift.”

Pictured left to right, back row: Dan Seymour; Cindy Allen; Don Mims; Cathy Jacobs; Gina Puls; Ryan Todtenbier, Vice Chair; Ricky LaCour. Front row: Marion Johnston, Chairman of the Board; Jennifer Maggio; Kirk Soileau; Mary White, Secretary; Tom Matuschka; Halie Errington.


Notice of Death – November 29, 2021

Ilene Francine Kay
September 22, 1960 – November 26, 2021
Service: Wednesday, December 1 at 10 am at Provencal United Methodist Church

Laural Lee Todd
August 30, 1944 – November 27, 2021
No service information

Louis Remedies Jr.
November 7, 1946 – November 27, 2021
Arrangements TBA


Cookies with Santa at the Prudhomme-Rouquier House

Jolly Old Saint Nick himself was in town Saturday, November 27 to share cookies, crafts and Christmas wishes with groups of delighted children at the third annual “Cookies with Santa” event held at Natchitoches’ historic Prudhomme-Rouquier house.

The ladies of the Service League of Natchitoches volunteered to act as Santa’s helpers, ushering in families and setting up tables with crafts and treats for the visiting children. The sold-out event was sponsored by the Historic Downtown Business Association (HDBA). Miss Merry Christmas and the Belles were also on hand to spread Christmas cheer.

There was a mailbox for children to send their letters directly to the North Pole. Santa went from table to table and spoke to each child. Family friendly events such as these are part and parcel of what makes Christmastime in our community so special.


The 17th Annual Fleur De Lis Christmas Craft Fair was a Crowd Pleaser

Every available space at the Natchitoches Event Center was filled by 113 vendors from around Louisiana and surrounding states as the Fleur de Lis Christmas Craft Fair took place November 27. The popular fair, a beloved community tradition in its 17th year, joined other activities downtown as part of the lead-up to the Christmas Festival weekend. Several thousand visitors stopped by the daylong event and browsed through booths filled with handmade craft items and foods.

Natchitoches’ Hope for Paws was on hand selling delicious treats for both people and pets to raise funds to further their mission. This organization of volunteers has been a fixture at the fair for the past 6 years, raising awareness of their mission of rescue, rehabilitation, spay and neutering, and adoption. The organization is currently hosting 20 dogs awaiting permanent homes at its site and has successfully adopted over 100 dogs to new owners. Anyone looking for a new addition to their home is invited to take a look at the Natchitoches Hope for Paws Facebook Page.

The annual Fleur de Lis Christmas Craft Fair is a wonderful opportunity to get a head start on your holiday shopping while helping artisans and small businesspeople.


American Legion Auxiliary to operate Food Post during Christmas Festival to benefit local Veterans

The Gordon Peters Post, Unit 10, of the American Legion Auxiliary in Natchitoches encourages you to visit our Post located at the corner of Fourth and Saint Denis Streets (the old Tin House location) for gumbo, chili, hot dogs, drinks, etc. for sale at reasonable prices. Our Post will be open for food sales on Saturday, Dec. 4, Christmas Festival Day, from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Parking is available at reasonable rates as well.

All proceeds will benefit our local Veterans.


Northwestern State pushes SFA to brink, falls late

Northwestern State erased three different double-digit Stephen F. Austin leads as the Demons finally took an advantage, setting off a wild eight minutes in which the Lumberjacks gritted out the final two minutes to escape with a 72-68 win Saturday.

The lead changed hands six times in the final eight minutes, but SFA (5-2) scored the final six points, blocked NSU’s final two shots and created a breakaway layup off a steal in the Demons’ final three possessions.

The Demons (1-6) dropped their fourth straight contest and will head to No. 12 Houston on Tuesday.

“It’s a step in the right direction today because we competed really hard,” said NSU coach Mike McConathy, who returned to the sidelines after missing the past two games with a positive COVID-19 test. “We had a couple of rough plays at the end of the game where we didn’t meet the pass or didn’t take care of it.

“We had some shots that didn’t go down there, and we didn’t make our free throws. But I’m really pleased with the effort, and we just have to battle back.”

After overcoming a 14-point second-half hole with a 26-9 run, NSU snatched a 57-56 lead on a Kendal Coleman bucket and had its biggest edge at 61-58 with a Cedric Garrett hook shot.

Coleman (14 points) and Garrett (13 points) were two of NSU’s three double-digit scorers as Jalen King dropped all 10 of his career-high points in the second half.

But SFA 3-pointers from Latrell Jossell and David Kachelries (13 points) handed the Jacks a 64-63 edge with four minutes remaining on SFA’s only 3-pointers of the half (finished 7-of-23).

A Coleman jumper and one Brian White free throw put NSU back up 66-64, and White’s layup had NSU leading 68-66 with 1:15 to go.

After SFA’s Sadaidriene Hall (13 points) tied the game on the ensuing possession, SFA’s Calvin Solomon forced White into a turnover for a breakway layup.

Hall and Solomon recorded the final two blocks on NSU possessions to give the Jacks 10 blocks and nine steals as they scored 21 points off 16 NSU turnovers.

The Demons were active on defense themselves with 10 steals, and a much improved second-half defense forced SFA to shoot 41 percent in the second half.

“I felt like we competed really hard, especially coming off a loss against ULM in which we really didn’t compete,” said Coleman, who also tallied a game-high eight rebounds to go with two steals. “We gave it everything we had, and we’ll clean some things up.

“Once we got the lead, we wanted to keep it, run our stuff and get to our spots. We had guys like (Garrett and LaTerrance Reed) hit some big shots for us, and it’s something to build on.”

SFA extended a four-point halftime lead to 14 to begin the second half, but NSU put together arguably its best stretch of basketball this season to climb out of that hole.

King led the second unit by scoring eight of NSU’s points in the run coupled with 3-pointers from Emareyon McDonald and Jovan Zelenbaba to slice SFA’s advantage to 54-51.

NSU made nine of its first 14 3-pointers before missing its final five.

SFA’s Gavin Kensmil scored a game-high 16 points but was forced into seven turnovers as both defenses swarmed the posts in a physical contest that featured just 22 total free throws (SFA had 15, NSU seven).

“We handled their pressure a little better, and (King, McDonald and Zelenbaba) came out and really played in the second half,” McConathy said. “King had 10 huge points, and McDonald had five points and four assists with just one turnover.

“Zelenbaba had two big offensive rebounds that kept possessions alive. We had a lot of guys gain confidence tonight with the way we competed against SFA.”

After another slow start had NSU staring at a 13-point deficit early, the Demons shot itself out of that ditch by making 7-of-11 first-half 3-pointers, closing the gap to as little as two points.

Garrett and LaTerrance Reed each hit three from distance, including a Reed bucket that slashed SFA’s lead to 35-33 under three minutes to cap an 11-3 run in which Reed made all of his 3-pointers.

Garrett scored 11 of his 13 in the first half.

After SFA sprinted to a 16-3 start with the help of 5-of-8 shooting to start, NSU scored nine unanswered with four of Coleman’s six first-half points.

SFA pushed away again to lead by double-digits (23-12), including a sequence in which made a layup and stole the inbounds to get another bucket.

Consecutive 3-pointers from Garrett and Brian White sliced SFA’s edge to five (30-25).

White pushed NSU’s tempo faster, reminding the more than 1,000 fans of the up-tempo, wave-substitution Mike McConathy era.

He finished with eight points and tied a career high with seven assists, six in the first half, with three turnovers against SFA’s pressure defense.

PHOTO:  Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services


Lady Demons push K-State early but succumb to Wildcats late

MANHATTAN, KS. – Northwestern State came out ready to compete on Saturday against Kansas State and led after the first 15 minutes of play. The Wildcats needed every bit of their size, shots to fall and second-half pressure defense to fend off the Lady Demons for the 70-36 win.

The Wildcats (6-1) took the early lead but the evidence of NSU’s (3-2) quickness and aggression to start the game frustrated the home team for most of the first half.

Not shying away from the heavy Kansas State post presence, NSU consistently drove the ball into the paint and found their way to the free throw line. A jumper from Candice Parramore started the 6-0 NSU run that closed the small gap and Monette Bolden put the Lady Demons on top at the midway point of the first quarter with a jumper after a Jiselle Woodson steal.

The quick hands and feet of the Lady Demons forced three turnovers in the first quarter and tough shots for the Wildcats who started the game 5-for-23 from the field, including an 0-for-8 stretch that allowed NSU to move ahead.

A pair defensive stops for NSU late in the quarter allowed Jordan Todd to provide the go-ahead layup with 25 seconds remaining that gave the Lady Demons the 13-11 lead after the opening quarter.

“We haven’t played incredibly well in the first quarter in our first four games so for us to come out and be the aggressors I think we gave them all they could handle,” head coach Anna Nimz said. “It showed and we won the first quarter.

“If we can continue to capitalize on that, and it’s not going to be a full 40 minutes from the jump, I’m excited. We had some pretty bad quarters at the end, but we had so many positives and it started with how we came out in the first.”

The shift for the Wildcats began in early in the second as began to feed the ball to their 6-foot-6 matchup advantage at the basket and create some open looks from their high post play to complement.

Parramore evened the game at 18 with 5:31 left in the half but the shots that were falling for the Lady Demons through the first 15 minutes began to fall out over the next two-plus quarters.

NSU finished the half 0-for-9 from the floor with a mix of tough shots and quality looks all missing the mark. Meanwhile the combination of Ayoka Lee on the block and Emilee Ebert in the high post for Kansas State carried the Wildcats to a 12-2 finish the to half and a 29-18 lead after the first 20 minutes.

Bolden ended the long scoring drought with the first shot of the third quarter, a tear drop runner in the lane, seconds into frame. But it wasn’t until the three-minute mark that Woodson scored the next NSU field goal to snap a string of nine consecutive misses.

The Wildcats continued to pound the paint and turned up their pressure defense in the final five minutes of the quarter to force five NSU turnovers in the span of three minutes to turn a nine-point lead into a 55-25 advantage after the third quarter.

“We’re going to have some ups and downs and that’s part of our maturation process and learning how to handle adversity,” Nimz said. “We talked about that moving into the fourth quarter. We took out lumps, but I felt like we really ran the first half. I know the score’s not indicative of that but how we feel we played was really good. It’s about learning how to sustain that energy we had from the jump through the entire game.”

Parramore finished the game with a team-leading nine points, with a perfect 5-for-5 effort from the free throw line. Bolded ended with eight points and sliced through for nine rebounds in the game. Both Lee and Ebert finished the game with double-doubles for the Wildcats.

“We have what it takes to compete at a very high level,” Nimz said. “Now it’s continuing to get kids that might be in a slump at times to still believe in themselves. We’ve got some really good players and the shots just aren’t falling like they’re used to, especially today.

“When they hit though they’re going to catch fire. We believe in our team and even for how well they played in that first half we have so many tools that haven’t quite had that “ah-ha” moment yet. I’m excited for them and the program going in that direction.”

Photo: Kansas State Athletics


Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Presents: “Water/Ways” Exhibition Opening Reception

The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum, in cooperation with Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, will examine water as an environmental necessity and an important cultural element as it hosts “Water/Ways,” a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program. “Water/Ways” will be on view December 4 through January 15, 2021.

The exhibition opens with a free reception on Friday, Dec. 3 from 5-7 pm. Light refreshments will be served and Dr. Shane Rasmussen, Northwestern State University Professor of English and Director of the Louisiana Folklife Center, will be on hand to take oral histories from people on how water affects and enhances their lives as part of the Smithsonian project “Stories from Main Street”.

State regulations regarding masks and physical distancing will be followed.

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

Free and open to the public.

This Smithsonian Institution Museum on Main Street (MoMS) Water/Ways tour is part of the BHP-funded project, Coastal Impacts: An Integrated Approach for Community Adaptation, Understanding, and Planning, which assists local communities to build intergenerational coastal literacy through community conversations around books, film, and exhibitions, fostering greater understanding of and support for coastal restoration projects.