Memorial Day 2022 is Commemorated in Natchitoches Parish

Kevin’s Gallery

“…Embrace these, Father, and receive them, thy heroic servants into thy kingdom…”

From President Franklin Roosevelt’s remarks to the Nation on D-Day

Natchitoches’ downtown riverbank was filled with many veterans, families and area residents May 30 as the community held its annual Memorial Day Program.

Jeremy Miller, NSU Army ROTC alumni, former Army officer and combat veteran, served as the Master of Ceremonies. Ron Brown gave the opening prayer. After Samuel Maggio led the Pledge of Allegiance, Sarah Puryear Dunn performed a wonderful rendition of the National Anthem. Natchitoches Mayor Ronnie Williams welcomed the crowd. He was joined on the stage by Natchitoches Fire Chief John Wynn, Sheriff Stuart Wright and WW II veteran Leland Lacaze. The Memorial Day address was delivered by State Senator Louie Bernard who spoke of the service, sacrifice and heroism of several local WW II veterans. After Senator Bernard’s speech, Makenna Middlebrooks performed a wonderful rendition of “America the Beautiful”. Trish Gilbert read the names of veterans newly commemorated this year with new bricks in the Veterans’ Memorial Park.

The name of each of the area veterans who passed away over the past year were read by Janet Darfus, Dee Fowler and Tommy Stewart after which Dr. John Dunn played Taps.

A moment of silence was observed after which Rev Matthew Pagels delivered the closing prayer. Ms. Kidron Pagels led the crowd in in an absolutely superb rendition of the classic “God Bless America.” The Natchitoches Parish Journal wishes her all the best as she embarks on her studies at NSU this fall.

The ceremony is part and parcel of what Winston Churchill referred to as “the long continuity of our institutions.” It, and ceremonies like it across the country, bind us together as a nation. In the increasingly fractious country we find ourselves in, things like Memorial Day and its remembrances remind us of what is important.

The Natchitoches Parish Journal is donating the event photography. The veteran’s families are welcome to download any they wish.

Krewe of Excellence selects royalty, coronation set

Sean Kevin Pickens and LaShonda Michelle Gray Berryman will represent the Krewe of Excellence-Mardi Gras krewe during (2022) pre-season activities and the regular 2023 Mardi Gras season as they are crowned king and queen, respectively on Saturday evening, June 4, at the organization’s annual coronation.

The distinguished members of their royal court include: Duke and Duchess of Superiority-Nikeo K. Collins, Sr. and Jacqueline L. Lawson; Duke and Duchess of Perfection-Chadwick Nelson, Sr. and Sylvia Woodson Crosby. The coronation ceremony will be held in the AT&T and ATMOS Energy multi-purpose rooms/gallery at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest History Museum-800 Front Street, downtown Natchitoches. Doors for the celebrated event will open at 6:30 pm and the presentation will begin at 7 pm.

For a nominal fee of $30, the public can attend the event. Complimentary food, wine, music and a cash bar-will add to the anticipated setting. for further information, contact: Cathy Chester at 318-332-0682. The krewe’s annual ball will be Saturday, January 28, 2023 at 5:30 pm in the Natchitoches Events Center.

Make Every Day Count

By Kevin Shannahan

This is a difficult piece to write, but a necessary one. Memorial Day is, if anything, more important after wars that were lost. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were lost after twenty years of fighting as surely as if there had been a formal surrender. The past twenty-one years have seen the nation involved in, but for the majority of the population not connected with the military, committed to, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Neither war ended well after years of effort, treasure and blood. Iraq is mired in chaos and violence and Afghanistan is reverting to tribalism and Taliban rule with its attendant barbarism. This years’ Memorial Day finds much of the nation in a pensive mood.

As in 1975 when a North Vietnamese tank crashed through the gate of the Presidential Palace in what was then Saigon, and crowds mobbed helicopters on the roof of the American Embassy, the United States faced defeat after an increasingly unpopular war.

This is not 1945, the last time the nation won an unequivocal military victory, destroying both Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. The veterans of the Korean War can look at the evil and needless poverty that is North Korea and the democracy that South Korea grew to be and take no small amount of satisfaction in keeping millions of innocents from the clutches of Communism. The veterans of Vietnam, and now Iraq and Afghanistan, can take little such consolation.

This Memorial Day, as we look back over the years since the 9-11 attacks and the thousands of dead, wounded and maimed from the over twenty years of war following the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, what lessons do we draw from the war? Historians will be arguing over what happened and why for years to come. More to the point, there are thousands of men and women who died in combat since 2001, with several thousand more wounded, often grievously. Then there are the families who have lost sons and daughters, the widows and the children who will know a parent only as a photograph. We owe the dead and those left behind a debt that cannot be repaid. We owe them a better country. Let us strive to make it so.

We must not relegate Memorial Day to the superficial pieties so commonly expressed. This is all the more important now that the majority of the nation has no real connection to the men and women who go into harm’s way in our nation’s interest. The nightly news is quite a bit more serious when one has a child or spouse in uniform.

Whether they died at Yorktown, Gettysburg, Argonne, Bastogne, Ia Drang or Kandahar, there is only one thing we can do to prevent their sacrifices from being wasted. Make our nation better! Be worthy of those men and women and their families’ sacrifices. Strive to be a better spouse, build a better life for your family. Be a better citizen.

To my fellow veterans-America still needs you. There is much work to be done. There are classrooms in underserved areas that need good men and women to step up as teachers. I am a far better man for having been a teacher and Scoutmaster after active duty. There are youth teams to coach, Scout troops that need leaders, our communities need good men and women to serve in many capacities. Run for office as veterans ranging in ideology from Dan Crenshaw to Tammy Duckworth have. Now that you have hung up your uniform, let us honor the dead as we work to bring America ever closer to what it should be. Make every day count!

“Was it worth it?” That question should haunt every politician and senior officer. We will never know, this side of Judgment Day. I do know that if we fail in “…the unfinished work…” President Lincoln spoke of in the Gettysburg Address, our nation will be found wanting and the answer will be “no”.

NSU rowing team has strong season

The Northwestern State University rowing team recently concluded a successful season as its Women’s Varsity 4+ team finished in the top five in the nation.

The team of Victoria Dettinger of Rochester, Minnesota, Madison Szekely of Baton Rouge, Julia Laperouse of Lafayette, Kirsten Knobloch of Kenner and Emmett Nobles of Natchitoches (coxswain) finished fifth at the American Collegiate Rowing Association National Championships behind Lafayette College, Bowdoin College, the University of Colorado and Florida State University.

The National Championships was the first time all season the Women’s Varsity 4+ finished out of the top four at a regatta. They won the Louisiana State Championships and the Texas-Kansas-LSU Tri Meet, finished second at the Head of the Colorado and the Percy Priest Sprints and fourth at the Frostbite Regatta and the SIRA Conference Championships. The fourth-place finish at the conference championship was the best since 2016.

Dettinger was named All-South Region and is a finalist for All-American which will be announced June 8. Laperouse was selected as First Team Academic All-American. Szekely and Dettinger were selected as Second Team Academic All-Americans.

NSU’s Women’s 2x consisting of Katriane Creel of Shreveport and Kennedie Stewart of Starks finished 14th overall. The Men’s 1x rowed by Stephen Juneau of Boyce finished 19th overall.

Other season highlights include a 12th place finish by the Men’s Varsity 4+ at the conference championships (SIRA) and a berth in the B Final. That is the highest finish for the MV4+ since 2007. NSU’s Women’s Novice 4+ finished 11th at SIRA and the Men’s Novice 4+ finished 12th.

At the conference championships the members of the MV4 were Joshua Hensel of Bossier City, Ryan Johnson of Kenner, Juneau, Thomas Schneider of Bossier City, and Pretty’unje Hunter of Monroe (coxswain). The WV4+ was Szekely, Dettinger, Laperouse, Keri Adams of Keithville and Nobles. The WN4+ was Mikana Ikemura of Okinawa, Japan, Knobloch, Stewart, Creel and Olivia Habetz of Jennings (cox). The MN4+ consisted of Caleb Poor of Royse City, Texas, Gage Gold of Homer, Christopher Acker of Diboll, Texas, Brody Garlington of Montgomery and Meghan Goss of Alexandria (cox).

Lady Demons add trio of international players

The reach of Northwestern State women’s basketball expanded even farther this week with three international signees joining the team prior to the 2022-23 season.

Head coach Anna Nimz announced the addition of Division I transfers Bengisu Alper (Colorado State) and Gabby Forde (North Dakota State) and true freshman Ivona Miljanic on Friday.

Alper hails from Istanbul, Turkey, and spent the past two seasons at Colorado State after beginning her collegiate career at Maine. She has appeared in nearly 50 games in her three playing seasons and helped the Black Bears to a 25-8 record, American East Championships and No. 14 seed in the NCAA Tournament during the 2018-19 season.

Before beginning her collegiate career in the States, Alper had a wildly successful junior and international career competing for the Turkish national team in 35 official and 63 private games.

She was the scoring leader (14.3 ppg) for the U16 National Championship Fenerbahce and named the Regional Basketball League Playoff MVP in 2016-17, a year after being named the top defensive player in the 2015-16 tournament.

Alper was also a two-year member of the Women’s European Championship Turkish National Team.

“Bengisu is a dynamic player that will be able to play multiple positions within our offense,” Nimz said. “Her length, speed and headiness will allow her to come in and be an immediate impact.”

A slightly shorter distance between her hometown and Natchitoces than Alper, Forde comes to NSU from Ontario, Canada by way of North Dakota State.

The 6-foot-3 guard spent this past season with the Bison but did not see any game action. During her prep career at Turner Fenton Secondary School, she averaged 10.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game.

“Gabby is incredibly long and athletic with the ability to play off the bounce from the perimeter,” Nimz said. “We believe she will be a very effective defensive presence both on the perimeter and in the paint.”

Forde was also named a Jule All-Star and helped her team to an Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association (OFSAA) championship in 2018.

Miljanic joins the Lady Demons from the Eastern European country of Serbia as a true freshman.

She competes in the premier Serbian women’s basketball league for Art Basket out of her hometown of Belgrade where she is a neat 40 percent shooter from the field averaging 4.7 points, 1.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.0 steals per game.

During the summer of 2022 she will play for the U20 Serbian National Team in the FIBA European Championships held in Hungary.

“Ivona is a highly skilled basketball player,” Nimz said. “We are excited to add her basketball I.Q. and fundamental skillset to the program. Her abilities compliments our program and allows her to come in and make strides as a young player.”

Alper and Miljanic will be the first players from their respective countries to play for the Lady Demons.

“We are incredibly excited for additions that we have made to the program,” Nimz said. “Each player brings a unique skillset that will fit the needs of the program. More importantly, each player has a desire to succeed in the classroom and build great relationships with their teammates, coaches and community. We are so happy they chose the join our family.”

Northwestern State’s Gumbs doubles up, going to NCAAs in discus after qualifying in shot put

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Djimon Gumbs already knew he was headed to Eugene, Ore., for the NCAA National Championships.

Now he’ll have to make extra room in his bag for a second implement.

Gumbs cashed his chips in the discus Friday, qualifying on his final throw of 183-5 to finish 10th. The top 12 advance in any given event.

“He likes waiting until the end,” joked NSU coach Mike Heimerman. “The conditions were rough today with a tailwind messing up a lot of guys, and then the rain came at the end of Flight 2, and Djimon had to warm up in rain that made the disc pretty slick.

“But he did what he needed to do, and now he’s going to nationals in a second event.”

Gumbs was sitting near the middle of the 48-thrower pack with throws of 173-4 and 178-6 before he vaulted eight competitors on his final mark.

He is the first male thrower to advance to the NCAAs in multiple events in NSU history and just the second of any gender, joining Trecey Rew in 2010 (shot put and discus).

While Gumbs was joined by two of his teammates on the Southland Conference discus podium, neither were able to jump out of the earlier flights to qualify for Oregon.

Tarajh Hudson placed 24th with a mark of 174-11 on his final attempt while Diamante Gumbs’ best toss of 168 feet came on his first try, placing him 38th.

“Diamante looked good in the ring, he just had bad releases,” Heimerman said. “His second throw was pretty deep but was out of bounds by a little bit.

“Tarajh handled the nerves pretty well as a freshman, he just had an early release. He still threw nearly 175 feet even though he wasn’t slinging it all the way, so that’s pretty good.”

Hudson, the SLC Freshman of the Year, finishes his first season with a discus bronze while Diamante Gumbs captured a combined five medals in three different throws at conference championships meets.

Two individual sprinters as well as the 4×100 relay had their seasons ended Friday.

The relay turned in a 39.87 to finish sixth in its heat and 16th overall.

“Kie’Ave Harry caught cramps in his calves again, and Simon Wulff was still dealing with the foot problem,” Heimerman said. “Our exchanges were good, but when you’re on a stage like this, there’s not much wiggle room.

“We would have been fine if we were healthy.”

Harry encountered the same issues in the 100 meters, clocking a 10.57 to finish 23rd in a season in which he’s blazed multiple 10.10 times.

Destine Scott drew Lane 2 for the second straight race in the 400 meters, and the junior didn’t have enough juice with a 47.36 to finish 24th.

“Kie’Ave had a great start for 50 or 60 meters, but you could see it in his face after that,” Heimerman said. “He has gotten massages and took in plenty of fluids, so we just don’t know why he continued to cramp.

“It’s not the way he wanted to end his college career, but we appreciate everything he’s done for the program. Destine ran a good first 300 meters in the rain, but the field was really fast today. Lane 2 is really tough to do anything out of.”

Harry was initially a walk-on who became an All-American as a freshman on the 2018 4×100 relay and snatched six total Southland Conference medals.

Photo: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services

Tennis Mixer celebrates National Tennis Month

To celebrate May as National Tennis month, Natchitoches Tennis Director Willie Paz hosted a Tennis Mixer for Men and Women plus lunch on May 28. The format included three sets with different partners and first to win 6 games with no add scoring. Prizes were awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners. Pictured are the Women Players plus Tennis Director Willie Paz  and the Men Players.

OPPORTUNITY: Provencal Principal


SITE LOCATION: Provencal Elem./Jr. High School

SALARY: According to Parish’s salary schedule.

QUALIFICATIONS: Applicants must be certified or eligible at the time of the application according to Louisiana State Department of Education requirements and must have 5 years of teaching experience.

DEADLINE: Wednesday, June 8, 2022; 4:00 p.m.

APPLICATIONS: The application packet should consist of a letter of application, resume’, official transcripts from institutions awarding degrees, a copy of Louisiana Teacher’s Certificate with principal/education leadership endorsement, three (3) letters of reference, (one being from your immediate supervisor).

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

OPPORTUNITY: Lakeview Principal


SITE LOCATION: Lakeview Jr./Sr. High School

SALARY: According to Parish’s salary schedule.

QUALIFICATIONS: Applicants must be certified or eligible at the time of the application according to Louisiana State Department of Education requirements and must have 5 years of teaching experience.

DEADLINE: Wednesday, June 8, 2022; 4:00 p.m.

APPLICATIONS: The application packet should consist of a letter of application, resume’, official transcripts from institutions awarding degrees, a copy of Louisiana Teacher’s Certificate with principal/education leadership endorsement, three (3) letters of reference, (one being from your immediate supervisor).

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


JOB TITLE:  ​Meter Reader


ESSENTIAL DUTIES:  ​Will be required to read all types of water and electric meters both electronically and visually. Ability to effectively communicate verbally and in writing. Responsible for connecting and disconnecting utility services. Must be able to learn how to operate various electronic meter reading equipment and software. Basic math skills are required.


​High School diploma, or GED Equivalent.

CONTACT:  ​City of Natchitoches, Human Resources Department located at 1400 Sabine St., or P.O. Box 37, Natchitoches LA 71458-0037. Applications may also be picked up upstairs at City Hall located at 700 Second St. or may be downloaded at

Applications will be accepted through: June 6, 2022


NSU Middle Lab Honor Roll

Students who were on the honor roll for the last 9 weeks of the school year:

Olivia Ahbol
Kimoni Ajise
Jade Barfield
Cameron Brunson
Keely Cade
Jake Cain
Noah Dillard
Peyton Faucheaux
Valentina Forkner
Christian Frazier
Braylee Fredieu
Jaykob Harrison
Sydnie Hatten
Sienna Henderson
Max Hines
Pierce Hyams
Macey Jarnagin
Bella Jones
Allison Key
Caitlyn Martin
Maggie Massia
Emorie Mathews
Audrey Matt
Anthony Miller
Camille Procell
Ana Reynolds-Perez
Lila Robertson
Abe Romero
Annaliece Romero
Vincent Sayles
Hayden Sellers
Anna Weaver
James Wilkerson
Lincoln Wilerson

Ariana Adams
Ronald Bolton
Alexis Broadway
Arwen Brown
Duncan Brown
Emma Bush
Kurt Cade
Tripp Carr
Grant Cedars
Nevayah Christophe
Mary Hannah Churchman
Grant Dark
Kamryn Dawson
Kale Doffitt
Ava Ducote
Nialah Edwards
Morgan Garcia
Karyssa Griffith
Juliet Hyams
Eli Hypes
Reece Jackson
Ciara Johnson
Melanie Johnson
Zachary Jordan
Chazlyn Kennedy
Audrey Lafosse
Braxton Lambert
Nevaeh Mahfouz
Jayce Matt
Meena Matta
Keaton Mooney
Mackenzie Morgan
Brian Morris
Evie Nicholson
Vivienne Parr
Amsden Pasch
Kylon Payton
Ripplie Perkins
Faith Phanor
Miracle Phanor
Sean Remo
Darrell Roque
Jacob Roquemore
Madelyn Roquemore
Tate Scribner
Alexis Shaw
Aleda Shirley
Kate Shivers
Nevaeh Silk
Mikayla Slaughter
Brooklyn Smith
Bryce Smith
Tristan Smith
Zavion Sowell
Cole Spillman
Scott Stetson
Lindsey Stewart
Sadie Summerlin
Hunter Walker
Max Wardell
Riya Weber
Marien White
Adelle Williams
Nathanial Young

Patrick Arredondo
Jacob Aubin
Brinlee Berry
London Braxton
Ava Broadway
Skylar Campa
Cruz Christophe
Caroline Church
Layla Conway
Kenzie Drury
Weston Dunagan
Jefferson Dunahoe
Michael French
Carsyn Goings
Lane Gray
Jacen Hale
Caylee Henry
Jace Henson
Lakyn Holden
Hailey Jarnagin
Westin Key
Walker Kiracofe
Jayden Lodrigue
Dylan Lott
Emily Metoyer
Kathryn Mitcham
Khloe Monceaux
Dennis Morgan
Emmy O’Con
Gabriel Parrie
Sahil Patel
Ainsley Pickett
Bentley Posey
Jacob Proctor
Keegan Prothro
Daniel Rachal
Kaylie Rhodes
Kendall Rhodes
Caleb Scott
Tucker Seaman
Ava Shaw
James Shaw
Jackson Smith
Jayce Smith
Griffin Vansickle
Caden White
Aniyah Williams
Jayla Wilson
Woody Wilson
Parker Woods

St. Mary’s Catholic School Academic Awards Ceremony

St. Mary’s Catholic School recently had their Academic Awards ceremony for the 2022-23 school year for students in first through eleventh grades. Congratulations to the following students for their academic achievements this year!

Woodman of the World Award

The Woodman of the World Award is given each year to an outstanding student in American History. This award is not only for having a high grade point average, but also for demonstrating the ability to understand and appreciate the value of the study of history.

The recipient of this years’ Woodman of the World Award is Trent Middendorf.

Louisiana High School Literary Rally

Students that advanced to state level competition for the Louisiana High School Literary Rally are:

Emma Blanchard—Algebra I
Andrew Kautz—Algebra II and first place medal winner at state
Abigail Rodriguez – Biology I
Reaves Hogg – Chemistry and first place medal winner at state
Georgia Kate Philen – English I
Anna Thibodaux – English II and first place medal winner at state
Mason Melder – English III
Luke Johnson – Government and first place medal at state
Peter Kautz – Health and first place medal at state
Colton Cross – Spanish I and first place at state
Trent Middendorf – US History
Ella Guillet – World History

In addition, the following seniors qualified for state:

Emma Broadway–Business English and first place medal winner at state
Anna Kate Jackson–English IV and first place medal winner at state
Camille Ball–Calculus and first place medal winner at state

Future Business Leaders of America

Students who placed in the Top 10 at state level competition for FBLA are:

Peter Kautz – Advertising
Adam Parker – Client Services
Trent Middendorf – Economics
Mason McCart – Help Desk
Reaves Hogg – Mr. FBL
Colton Cross – Securities and Investments
Adam Parker & Reaves Hogg – Publication Design

Students who placed in the Top 4 are:

Sophia Hogg – Introduction to public Speaking
Peter Kautz – Securities and Investments

The Team of Mason McCart, Trent Middendorf and Anna Kate Jackson placed first in current events.

Altar Servers

The following students gave their time and service as altar servers for both school Masses as well as Masses at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception for this school year:

Holt Cedars, Winn Cedars, Beau Clark, Colton Cross, Luc Cross, Hudson Harrington, Carter Hogg, Mason McCart, Heath Methvin, Hudson Methvin, Adam Parker, Gannon Sheffield, Joseph Sklar, Branch Smith, Jacob Thibodaux, John Paul Thibodaux, Merritt Vandersteen, Fisher York and Jackson York.

Academic Subject Awards

The academic subject awards are chosen by the teachers and are given to the student, who not only demonstrates high academic achievement in the subject, as well as greatinterest and potential in the subject area. The following students were recognized for ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies:

1st grade: ​​ELA – Revill Dean
​​​Math – Eleanor Picou
​​​Science – Tommy Brunson
​​​Social Studies – Eli Thibodaux

2nd grade: ​​ELA – Lila Campbell
​​​Math – Jax Errington
​​​Science – Gavin Key
​​​Social Studies – Elizabeth Blankenbaker

3rd grade: ​​ELA – Heath Methvin
​​​Math – Sam Dean
​​​Science – Oliver Picou
​​​Social Studies – Aubree Rachal

4th grade: ​​ELA – Corbyn Gandy

​​​Math – Weston LeGrande
​​​Science – Aaron Blanchard
​​​Social Studies – Anna Johnson

5th grade: ​​ELA – Kollyns Duhon

​​​Math – Emiry Jeane
​​​Science – Sydney Culotta
​​​Social Studies – Elijah Huynh

6th grade: ​​ELA – Fisher York

​​​Math – Merritt Vandersteen
​​​Science – Mia Hollier
​​​Social Studies – Jacob Thibodaux

7th grade: ​​ELA – Abram Nichols

​​​Math – Carter Burks
​​​Science – Summer Rushing
​​​Social Studies – Ava Wren

8th grade: ​​ELA – Justin Vienne

​​​Math – Ella Hardee
​​​Science – Cameron Ball
​​​Social Studies – Trey Scarborough

9th grade: ​​ELA – Ainsley Armstrong

​​​Math – Conor Jordan
​​​Science – Peter Kautz
​​​History – Anderson Kelly

10th grade: ​​ELA – Anna Thibodaux

​​​Math – Colton Cross
​​​Science – Alex Sukerek
​​​History – Ella Guillet

11th grade: ​​ELA – Clary Smiley​

​​​Math – Adam Parker
​​​Science – Reaves Hogg
​​​History – Hunter LaGrange

Tiger Integrity Awards

St. Mary’s recognizes students who have continually represented values that the school was founded upon and who represent the mission of the school. The Tiger Integrity award is an honor chosen by the teachers and given to St. Mary’s students that exhibit a compilation of many honorable and outstanding traits. This honor is bestowed upon one student in grades first through eleventh. The recipients of this award are students that show great school pride and spirit. They are honest and helpful, possess a quality of humble respect for others, and value the religious aspect of a St. Mary’s education. The following students received the Tiger Integrity Award:

1st grade – Archer Johnson
2nd grade – Carter Hough
3rd grade – Branch Smith
4th grade – Avery Katherine Sheffield
5th grade – Macie Cameron
6th grade – Ava Knapp
7th grade – Kennedy Griffin
8th grade – Jenna Sklar
9th grade – Cailah Bush
10th grade –Abby Rodriguez
11th grade – Mason McCart

Bishop Martin Awards

The Natchitoches Diocese was created in 1852 and Augustus Marie Martin was consecrated as the first Bishop in October of 1853. During his 22nd year tenure he established a seminary to train native clergy, founded numerous missions and erected a cathedral (our own Immaculate Conception). He guided the diocese during the Civil War and struggled for many years with failing health. When he died at the age of 72, he was buried next to the altar inside of the Minor Basilica.

In keeping with the spirit of our first bishop, the Bishop Martin Award of St. Mary’s is awarded to a student that has consistently maintained the mission of St. Mary’s Catholic School. The students that receive this award have, by example, attempted to maintain and exhibit Catholic Christian values and have taken advantage of the religious foundation offered at St. Mary’s to reach their full potential spiritually, academically, and physically. This award is one of the highest honors a St. Mary’s student can receive. The following students received the Bishop Martin Award:

1st grade – Ryan Lovemore
2nd grade – Jaxson Norsworthy
3rd grade – Hudson Harrington
4th grade – Lexie Metoyer
5th grade – Andrew Johnson
6th grade – Madelyn Melder
7th grade – John Paul Thibodaux
8th grade – Chalin Gandy
9th grade – Georgia Kate Philen
10th grade – Sophia Hogg
11th grade – Mason Melder

Mason McCart was recognized as the recently elected President of Louisiana State Beta for the 2022-23 academic year. He will run for National Beta Club president at the national convention in Nashville, Tennessee this summer.

St. Mary’s Catholic School is a co-educational, college preparatory school that educates students from preschool through twelfth grade. It is a ministry of the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Church.

Public Pre-K Registration and Enrollment
Summer Support Hours

Summer Support Hours for: 2022-2023


Natchitoches Parish School Board, Title I Media Center
310 Royal Street, Natchitoches, LA 71457

Support Dates & Times:
Tuesday and Thursdays 9:00 am to 3:00 pm or by appointment call Melissa White 318-238-0707 to complete the Pre-K Pre-Application go to our online portal at and upload the document(s) listed below

● Copy of current and updated child’s immunization record
● Copy of child’s birth certificate
● Copy of child’s Social Security card
● License/ Photo I.D.
● Current Proof of Residence (current utility bill, mortgage, lease, Affidavit of
residency )
Proof of Income (need one of the following):
Two (2) CURRENT & CONSECUTIVE check stubs for EACH parent/guardian in the Household
An official letter from your employer
A statement from the Social Security Administration, if applicable.
If Zero income, submit a Statement of No Income,
Declaration of Irregular Income

If Applicable:
❏ Copy of Court orders/ legal documents
❏ Proof of Disability

Melissa White, Early Childhood Coordinator
Natchitoches Parish School Board
310 A Royal Street
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Notice of Death – May 30, 2022

Kathryn Ullrich Meric
September 15, 1940 – May 26, 2022
Service: Thursday, June 2 at 11 am at St. Augustine Catholic Church

Leara Rogers
January 9, 1933 – May 27, 2022
Service: Wednesday, June 1 at 10 am at St. Joseph Catholic Church

Joseph “Sammie” W. Garcie
April 12, 1941 – May 27, 2022
Joseph “Sammie” W. Garcie
Service: Tuesday, May 31 at 10 AM at St. Joseph Catholic Church

Charles Stanley Martin
September 17, 1949 – May 28, 2022
Service: Tuesday, May 31 at 11 am in the Garden of Memories of Winnfield

The Ultimate Sacrifice for War

As a teen, I heard a story of a family’s sacrifice and loss during the Civil War. This story is more of a family legend and has haunted me since. According to the storyteller, the family lived in Northwest Winn Parish along the Medenhause Creek. Also, it was said this family was viewed by neighbors as being much better off than most. The father of the family was said to have been a veterinarian.

After the war started, the family sent all of their sons (7 in number) to fight in that war. It seems possible one or more of their sons may have also been husbands and fathers. Furthermore, the family was said to have made a property donation of all male slaves to support the war effort. At that time in Louisiana, slaves were legal property. After bidding farewell to their seven sons and their male slaves they would never see them again.

After the war ended, the son’s mother became mournful and grievous hoping for some sense of closure. Closure would never come. Even in old age and failing health she refused to move out of the house her sons were believed to have been born in. Her refusal to relocate deeply concerned friends and family. They encouraged her to seek a trusted caretaker.

This time, this family’s story became intertwined with that of my own. The son’s mother (now a widow and alone) sold my great-grandfather 40 acres downstream of the Medenhause creek to have him within hollering distance. The entire family of the sons was familiar with my great-grandfather as in his youth he was their wagon driver. He and his young family became caretakers of the son’s mother until her death. The family of the seven sons was forever grateful to my great-grandfather for providing care for their mother in her time of need.

The above story/family legend illustrates and brings needed attention to a type of war casualty called missing in action (MIA). This Department of Defense (DOD) classification is, without doubt, the most agonizing for surviving families. Until DOD can provide definitive information, families are left in a perpetual state of suspense. On Monday, May 30, we honor MIAs, Killed-in-action (KIAs), and the Unknowns.

As with all war casualties, we remember them as making the ultimate sacrifice. Some are remembered as sacrificing their lives so that others might live. Others are remembered as going above and beyond the call of duty. It is my humble belief that all honorees on Memorial Day are what the Marines refer to as “a cut above average.”


Willie M. Calhoun,MSG,USAR,RET

Just One Moore Time!

By Reba Phelps

Do you remember saying farewell to a trusted and loved childhood friend? Have you ever watched your child say goodbye to a friend? We have all done this throughout our own childhoods and can definitely remember the sting of not knowing if or when you will see your buddy again.

This past week, I know I am not the only mom in Natchitoches who helplessly watched our children plan to go away parties for the nearly departed. Last dances together, last sandlot parties, last ball practices, and last sleepovers. This week has had all of our children wishing for Moore time!

Having lived on both sides of the moving and saying goodbye coin, I was able to offer a little peace of mind. With social media and social parents, there is no doubt they will keep in touch. As the week progressed and we talked more and more about Moore’s moving, my own heart became a little heavier. When I think about our friends, Jeff and Amy Moore, all I can think about is what an amazing example of hard work and love for the family both of them illustrate.

Some may say that it is typical for coaches to move around or leave one assignment for another. This one hits a little different though. The Moore family was weaved into the very fabric of our community. For the past sixteen years, they have called Natchitoches their home and raised their children here.

“I have lots of footprints on my heart as I leave Natchitoches. The friends we have made here will always be in my heart. I cannot imagine my life without them, said Amy Moore.

Whether it was attending church, coaching at NSU, volunteering with the athletes as they served the community, running with the NSU Elementary Lab School kids on campus, teaching in our public schools, or even coaching a volleyball team….the Moores have always spent their extra time enriching the lives of our children. Young and old, everyone has felt the unconditional love and support that their family is famous for.

According to NSU Lab School Principal, Caron Coleman Mrs. Moore will be missed in the classroom as well. “Amy has been a dedicated teacher who builds meaningful relationships with all students. Her creativity and drive have created a classroom setting that is motivational to students and one where all students find success. Her contributions to the students in Natchitoches Parish will be felt for many years.”

When God closes one door, he always has a bigger and better door waiting for you just on the other side of your comfort zone. This was truly the case as Coach Jeff Moore was named as Director of Recruiting for LSU Men’s Basketball in April. Although it was a shock to their hosts of friends and family, we knew that his talent would not keep him here long.

As he traded his Pitch Fork for Mike the Tiger he shared, “Natchitoches is a great place to have a bad day…because of the great people there that support each other.”

“Jeff Moore is one of those rare guys in the business that has stayed true to his roots. He’s always been about Louisiana kids first. You cant count the number of lives he’s helped change for the better by giving Louisiana students opportunities. He’s genuine and authentic. He’s a great coach but he’s an even better man,” shared Natchitoches Central High School Principal, Micah Coleman.

To the Moore family, thank you for your leadership and countless contributions to the entire community of Natchitoches. Thank you for your dedication to NSU Basketball, Natchitoches Parish Schools, and Natchitoches Central Lady Chief Volleyball team. You will be missed, you will be cheered for in your future endeavors, you will be celebrated when you come back to visit, and most of all….you will be prayed for as you begin your new journey in Baton Rouge.
If we could have Moore time with you, we would cherish it….Those lucky Tigers have no idea what an amazing family they have coming their way!

“The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make his face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, And give you peace.” – Numbers 6:24-26


(Campti)-Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Detectives are actively investigating a homicide in Campti according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Stuart Wright.

On Thursday morning, May 26, 2022, at approximately 10:30am, NATCOM 911 Center received reports of a male laying at the end of Roberson Street near the St. Paul Methodist Church in Campti, La.

Deputies assigned to the NPSO Patrol Operations Bureau and Natchitoches Regional Medical Center EMS responded to the scene.

Paramedics arrived on the scene, discovering an unresponsive deceased male.

NPSO Deputies arrived on the scene requesting assistance from the Criminal Investigations Bureau and Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office.

Sheriff Stuart Wright, Natchitoches Parish District Attorney Billy Joe Harrington, NPSO Detectives, Campti Police, Agents with the Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force and the Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office responded to the scene.

Detectives say Darnell Jermaine Browder, 39, of the 200 block of Juzan Street, Campti, La. was pronounced dead at the scene by Natchitoches Parish Asst. Coroner Steven Clanton.

Clanton stated Browder died hours earlier as a result of gunshot wounds. The death is being investigated as a homicide.

Detectives have been photographing and processing the crime scene for most of the afternoon looking for any evidence or clues that may lead to an arrest in the case.

Detectives are canvassing the area speaking to residents asking for any information or if they observed any suspicious activity during the early morning hours.

A short while ago, detectives executed a search warrant signed by a 10th Judicial District Judge at Browder’s residence searching for any evidence.

The body is being transported to Shreveport for an autopsy.

The investigation is active and ongoing.

If you have any information, please contact the NPSO Criminal Investigations Division at 318-357-7830 or the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office at 352-6432. You may remain confidential.

Brothers Reconnecting

By Steve Graf

Every year I make plans to meet my brother, Mike Comer, and my nephew, Chris, along with a host of characters from their past, for some offshore fishing for speckled trout, redfish, and maybe a flounder or two. This is a welcome change from my constant chasing of largemouth bass. It’s a trip that has brought two brothers closer together and allowed for sharing of so many stories of our parallel pasts. Our parents divorced when our mother was pregnant with me. Mike was 5 years older than me and stayed with our dad, while I stayed with our mom after I was born. I never knew about Mike until it was revealed to me around the age often. Yes, it’s complicated and sad that we never got to meet each other until about 6 years ago, but we have taken full advantage of this opportunity and are trying to make up for lost time.

This annual fishing trip to Galveston, Texas, has great meaning for me as it allows us to reunite and share our family history and memories of years gone by, as well creating new ones. It’s a time when I get to sit and talk with Mike and hear stories about our dad and the grandparents who raised him, both of whom I never got to meet. At the same time, I get to share my memories of our mother who was not a part of his life. It’s kind of a sad story, but one we are both fortunate, in so many ways, to have been a part of. Our past has shaped both of us, in a positive way, into the people we are today. God has a funny sense of humor sometimes, but he always has a plan and knows your destination. We were both blessed with people who made sure we were given a chance to excel in life, people who took us in and raised us as their own. Mike was with his grandparents and I with my aunt and uncle.

Sports and fishing have played a huge role in both of our lives, creating opportunities that any young man would be lucky to experience. But nothing brings two brothers together more than going out on a body of water and picking up a rod with a topwater bait tied on and catching fish. There’s just something special about a bass, redfish, or a trout blowing up on a walking bait like a Zara Spook. Yes, it is very competitive between us as to who caught most of the biggest fish of the day. There’s a lot of picking and joking around as to who was the better athlete or who is the best fisherman….which by the way is me since I’m the one writing this article. I will make sure Mike gets a copy of this testimonial, so he’ll know the truth.

All jokes aside, Mike and I have only known each other for less than 6 years, but our connection with each other runs deep. Every time we get together, it’s an adventure on the water, but it’s also a time to reconnect and talk about the time we missed growing up together like brothers should. But neither one of us has any regrets or grudges. We recognize that this has been a small part of God’s plan for each of us. We recognize the blessing we have been given and that God has brought us together for a reason.

One thing is for sure, we both love to fish and as long as we can both pick up a rod and make a cast, our brotherly competition will continue for whatever time we have left here on Earth. Till next time, good luck, good fishing, and don’t forget to set the hook.

Steve Graf – Owner/Co-host
Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Show
& Tackle Talk Live