MAN ARRESTED FOR OCTOBER BUSINESS FIRE IN NATCHITOCHES

NATCHITOCHES PARISH (February 27, 2021)- The State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFM) has arrested a Natchitoches man for a fire that occurred at the commercial building where he was operating his mechanic and tire shop without permission.

Robert Hull, 50, was issued a misdemeanor summons for Negligent Arson on February 25.

On the afternoon of October 6, Natchitoches Parish Fire District #9 responded to a report of a commercial fire located in the 2700 block of US Highway 71. One injury was reported in the fire. The SFM was then requested to assist with determining the origin and cause of the fire.

After an assessment of the scene and collecting witness statements, deputies determined the fire was caused by a mixture of ignitable vapors from a vehicle being worked on and an electrical spark from nearby equipment operating at the same time.

Deputies learned Hull, the business owner, and his son, were working inside of the building after being directed by the building owner not to be inside nor conducting the type of operations they were.

Following a local law enforcement agency recently charging Hull with Criminal Trespassing in the case, SFM deputies issued the misdemeanor summons for Negligent Arson.

BOIL ADVISORY HAS BEEN FOR REMAINING AREAS

The City of Natchitoches’ Distribution System would like to notify the public the Boil Advisory issued for Waterworks District 1, Highway 6 West and the I-49 corridor on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 has been lifted. The Louisiana Department of Health collected a sample of water from the area on Thursday, February 25, 2021 and notified the City of Natchitoches on Friday, February 26, 2021 the water was safe for human consumption and use.

The City of Natchitoches appreciates the public’s patience during this time.

NPSO investigates inmate death

Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office investigating the death of an inmate at the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center

On February 25, 2021 inmate Vernell Brooks, 38, of Natchitoches, was found unresponsive by Corrections Officers in his cell at approximately 12:52 AM between routine monitoring.

Once Brooks was discovered, first responders from NRMC, NFD, and NPDC Medical Staff were immediately notified while Officers began conducting CPR. Upon their arrival, CPR continued as Brooks was transported to the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center where all attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. An autopsy was then ordered to determine the cause and manner of death.

According to Sheriff Stuart Wright, Investigators from the Corrections and Criminal Investigations Bureaus, along with Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office, are conducting a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding Brooks death.

Further information will be released upon the conclusion of this investigation.


WHATABURGER TO CELEBRATE NATCHITOCHES GROUNDBREAKING AT FUTURE SITE

Natchitoches restaurant to open this spring; will bring 100 jobs to community

Whataburger and the Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce will hold a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, March 2 to celebrate Natchitoches’ first-ever Whataburger location at the future site of the restaurant at 902 Keyser Avenue, scheduled to open this spring.

The brand will serve up its fresh, customized burgers, 24/7 top-notch customer service, famous Fancy and Spicy Ketchup, and orange-and-white-striped fun and once opened, the new restaurant will feature a state-of-the-art kitchen, double drive-thru lanes, large parking lot and an open dining room to best serve our guests. There will also be a custom interior mural featuring well-known, local icons.

“We’re honored to open this Natchitoches location and want to extend an especially big thanks to the Chamber for welcoming Whataburger into the community with open arms and celebrating with us today,” said David Cotham, G.V.C.S., Inc. Director of Operations. “We can’t wait to continue our tradition of serving great food and friendly service to our friends in Natchitoches, and look forward to opening our doors this spring.”

Whataburger will bring 100 jobs to the Natchitoches community and this month, the brand will begin hiring Team Members. Whataburger’s unique leadership curriculum trains all employees in a way that automatically puts them on the path to career advancement.

Those interested in working at Natchitoches’ new Whataburger restaurant or for more information on Whataburger’s competitive benefits and salaries, great opportunities for career advancements and other employee resources for growth and development, visit http://www.pleaseapplyonline.com/gvcs or text 44790.

Founded more than 70 years ago, Whataburger has grown to more than 840 locations across 10 states, operating 24/7, 364 days a year. The burger chain has gained a unique and loyal following on social media, with more than 2.1 million Facebook followers and 1.2 million Twitter followers. Fans and celebrities often find a way to make Whataburger food, swag and restaurant locations a part of their personal celebrations – including graduations, engagements, weddings, baby announcements and more.

About Whataburger
Whataburger has served up its fresh, made-to-order burgers and friendly customer service since 1950, when Harmon Dobson opened the first Whataburger as a small roadside burger stand in Corpus Christi, Texas. Today, the company is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 840 locations in 10 states and sales of more than $2.5 billion annually. Whataburger has 50,000 Family Members (employees) and more than 14 million customers who like to customize their Whataburgers just the way they like it. Newsweek ranked Whataburger second on its 2021 list of America’s Best Customer Service brands in the Fast Food category. Visit whataburger.com for more information.


BOIL ADVISORY HAS BEEN LIFTED FOR CITY LIMITS

The City of Natchitoches’ Distribution System would like to notify the public the Boil Advisory issued for the Natchitoches city limits with the exception of Highway 6 West and the I-49 corridor on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 has been lifted. The Louisiana Department of Health collected a sample of water from the area on Wednesday, February 24, 2021 and notified the City of Natchitoches on Thursday, February 25, 2021 the water was safe for human consumption and use.

At this time, samples have been collected and we are awaiting results for Waterworks District 1, Highway 6 West and the I-49 Corridor. Untilfurther notice, customers in those areas should still adhere to the boil advisory. The public will be notified when the boil advisory is lifted.

The City of Natchitoches appreciates the public’s patience during this time.


Man Arrested Following Discovery of Decomposing Body at Fire Scene

NATCHITOCHES PARISH- The State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFM) has arrested a Natchitoches man for living with the deceased body of a roommate for several months.

Ronald Griffith, 58, was booked into the Natchitoches Parish Jail on February 21 on one count of Unlawful Disposal of Remains. Additional charges are possible.

Around 10:45 a.m., Natchitoches Fire District #6 responded to a report of a trailer fire located in the 1900 block of Highway 6. Firefighters requested the SFM’s assistance with the investigation following the discovery of a body that appeared to have been dead prior to the fire. The body of a pet dog was also located inside of the residence.

While official identification and cause of death are pending an autopsy, the victim is believed to be a 49-year-old transient woman from Mississippi who had been intermittently staying at the trailer with Griffith, the homeowner, for the past two years.

After an assessment of the fire scene, deputies determined the fire originated in the trailer’s kitchen area. While the official cause is still undetermined, deputies have not ruled out the possibility of an electrical malfunction due to unattended space heaters being a contributing factor.

This investigation is ongoing.

In an interview with deputies, Griffith claimed to have allowed the woman to stay at his trailer after finding her sleeping in the cemetery where he worked. Griffith reported to deputies that he discovered her dead one day, and instead of notifying authorities, he left the body where he found it in the bedroom.


TEMPORARY ROAD CLOSURE OF CHINQUAPIN DRIVE EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY

The City of Natchitoches would like to notify the public, but more importantly the residents, Chinquapin Drive is closed effective immediately between addresses 196 and 211.

Do to unstable subgrade soils that have been encountered while working on this street rehabilitation project, this section of 125 feet has been closed.

Fortunately, this closure will not affect access to any residence. Residents who live between LA-Hwy 3191 and address 211 should access their residence from LA-Hwy 3191 and those living between LA-Hwy 1 and address 196 can access their residence from LA-Hwy 1.

The road closure is effective immediately and is estimated to reopen on Friday, February 26, 2021.

We appreciate the residents’ patience at this time as we make these improvements to this area.


NSU graduate involved in water delivery to alleviate shortages

La. State Rep. for District 18 Jeremy LaCombe, a Northwestern State University graduate, worked with administrators from several local and state agencies to coordinate delivery of 185,000 bottles of water to drop-off locations in Natchitoches, Caddo and Bossier parishes to alleviate shortages in areas that were without water or under a boil advisory following last week’s ice storm. On the front row from left are Lamar McGaskey and Mary Jones representing the Natchitoches Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, LaCombe, Natchitoches Mayor Ronnie Williams, Northwestern State University President Dr. Chris Maggio and Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Stuart Wright. On the back row are volunteer Corey Dalfrey, Red River Sanitors transport tech Bobby Matthews, Natchitoches Parish President John Richmond and Red River Sanitors transport techs Jessie Hart and Sir Jeffery Sheppard.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY ANNOUNCES INDICTMENTS IN TWO MURDER CASES

District Attorney Billy Joe Harrington announced that a grand jury has returned two true bill indictments on February 12 for Natchitoches Parish people for murder. The grand jury indicted Da’montraize “Dee” Turner, 21, with one count of 2nd degree murder. The indictment resulted from the homicide of Johneisha Murphy which occurred in March 2020 at a parking lot on Martin Luther King Drive in Natchitoches. Turner was later arrested in October 2020 by the U.S. Marshal’s Service in Arlington, Texas for the homicide.

In a separate case, the grand jury also indicted Alvin Brown, 28, with one count of 2nd degree murder. The indictment resulted from the homicide of Irvin Remo which occurred in November 2020 on Berry Avenue in Natchitoches. The defendants will be arraigned on the charges at an upcoming court date. If convicted, 2nd degree murder provides for a mandatory life sentence.


NATCHITOCHES WATER SYSTEM BOIL ADVISORY STILL IN EFFECT

The City of Natchitoches issued a boil advisory for the Natchitoches Water System on Wednesday, February 17, 2021. Due to the winter weather event, the water system experienced a drop in pressure below 20 psi eventually resulting in a loss of water pressure to over 40% of our customers.

Customers should be aware that although services have been restored, a boil advisory remains in effect for the Natchitoches Water System. The boil advisory will remain in effect until further notice. 

A press release will be issued to alert customers when the boil advisory is lifted. Customers can also stay up to date by visiting our website at www.natchitochesla.gov or follow us on facebook@CityOfNatchitoches.


CITY FLIES FLAGS AT HALF-STAFF IN REMEMBRANCE OF LIVES LOST TO COVID-19

Mayor Ronnie Williams, Jr. of the City of Natchitoches, in accordance with the proclamation from President Biden, has ordered the United States flag be flown at half-staff until sunset on Friday, February 26, 2021 to remember the 500,000 American lost to COVID-19.

Natchitoches Parish alone has lost 77 lives to the coronavirus pandemic since March 2020. Mayor Williams is encouraging all private businesses and individuals to join in flying flags at half-staff as we remember family members, friends, and coworkers who fell victim to COVID-19 in our community and nationwide.

Update: School closures extended through Wednesday

Due to lingering water pressure conditions, repairs to school facilities, and concern for the welfare of our students and staff, NPSB will remain in virtual learning through Wednesday, February 24th.

Principals will be communicating times for virtual learning/packet pickups to parents today and tomorrow. If you have any needs in regard to virtual learning, please contact your principal or school.

Staff, your principals and supervisors will contact you to relay your schedule for Tuesday and Wednesday.

We will update via social media, websites, and robocall by Wednesday, February 24th at noon, as to the possibility of school reopening on Thursday and Friday.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the community as we all continue to recover from the winter storm and its effects.