Rodney Wilson named chief financial officer at Northwestern State

Rodney Wilson has been named chief financial officer at Northwestern State University effective Jan. 3, 2024. He replaces Pat Jones, who is retiring. Wilson’s appointment has been approved by the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System.

The chief financial officer (CFO) is responsible for managing the business and financial services of the university. The position provides collaborative financial management leadership for the university; ensures the short and long-term fiscal health of the University; oversees the business practices of the University and ensures that the budget is linked to and supports the University’s strategic plans.  

“Rodney, a Northwestern alumnus, brings a vast array of extensive experience in Business Administration and Computer Information Systems with him to the institution,” said Northwestern State President Dr. Marcus Jones. “Based on his professional experience, Rodney possesses the knowledge and leadership qualities we value, making him the ideal candidate for the next Chief Financial Officer for Northwestern State University.”

Wilson has been finance director for the Sabine Parish School Board since 2012. He was the lead business official for the parish school system reporting directly to the superintendent of schools and managing all financial aspects of the district.  

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as the next CFO of Northwestern State University and am excited to join Dr. Jones and his team,” said Wilson. “As an alumnus of NSU and a lifelong resident of west central Louisiana, I have an interest in seeing the university continue to succeed and grow. It is my hope that my own children will someday be alumni as well. NSU is vitally important to our region, and I recognize the great responsibility that I have been afforded by this appointment.”
Wilson’s duties as finance director included filing the Annual Financial Report (AFR) with the Louisiana Department of Education, adopting the annual operating budget in accordance with the local government budget act and ensuring audit submission to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor and Federal Audit Clearinghouse. He recommended financial strategy and practices to the superintendent and School Board members, levied property tax millage rates and distributed sales tax collections according to voter approved propositions and ensured securities are adequately pledged for public funds exceeding FDIC $250,000 limit.

As finance director, Wilson invested the appropriate amount of fund balance in interest bearing securities, worked with school board legal counsel on lawsuits and settlements, instructed and approved journal entries, oversaw payroll distribution for all staff in accordance with board adopted salary schedules. He managed comprehensive benefits for all staff which included working with the Teachers’ Retirement System of La, Office of Group Benefits, Louisiana School Employees Retirement System as well as the Supplemental Benefits package.

“I am looking forward to joining the university staff and working with my colleagues to ensure the finance/business office continues to support all other departments, divisions, goals, and the overarching vision of Northwestern State University. I will draw on my experience in educational finance while also leveraging a background in technology to make sound and balanced financial decisions to best serve the needs of all stakeholders.”

Wilson served as president of the Louisiana Association of School Business Officials, chairman of the Cooperative Accounting Management System and commissioner and vice-chairman of the Sabine Parish Sales and Use Tax Commission, He is a member of the Southeastern Association of School Business Officials and Property Casualty Alliance of Louisiana where he was vice-chairman.

Before joining the Sabine Parish School System, he was an analyst and programmer for Amerisafe Inc. in DeRidder and was promoted to senior programmer.

LA District Attorneys Association holds winter meeting in Natchitoches

District Attorney Billy Joe Harrington hosted Louisiana district attorneys for the Louisiana District Attorneys Association’s Board of Directors Meeting in Natchitoches. The group discussed pertinent criminal justice issues including victims assistance programs, enhanced crime victims resources, juvenile justice, and the recent death penalty clemency hearings.

“Our organization remains focused on the fair administration of criminal justice laws in our state by providing resources for crime victims, prosecuting criminal cases, and implementing initiatives to protect citizens for crime,” said District Attorney Harrington, who serves as president of the association.

The Louisiana District Attorney’s Association is composed of the 42 elected district attorneys in the state. Their motto is “to improve Louisiana’s justice system and the office of District Attorney by enhancing the effectiveness and professionalism of Louisiana’s District Attorneys and their staffs through education, legislative involvement, liaison, and information sharing.” 

Young at Heart celebrates holidays at December meeting

The monthly Young at Heart luncheon for seniors was held on Dec. 6 at First United Methodist Church.
Attendees celebrated the season by joining together in singing a selection of Christmas carols.  Nettles Brown led the singing, and Roxanne Lane accompanied on the piano.  Evelyn Evans provided Christmas decorations for the tables.
December birthdays were celebrated by Joann Boone, Sonny Evans, Liz Parchim, Evelyn Evans, Vickie Masingil, Viola Porter, Elaine Johnson, Sue Hortman, and Harold Thomas.  December anniversaries were celebrated by Ron and Letha Brown, Elaine Johnson, and Bryan and Joyce Cobb.
Sonny Evans served as Master of Ceremonies, and Pastor Gary Willis led the group in prayer before the meal.
Young at Heart meets the first Wednesday of each month at 11 AM in Bostick Hall at the church.  The meeting is non-denominational, and all seniors are welcome.  Those attending are asked to pay a $5 fee or to bring a covered dish to share.  The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 3, 2024.

Southland Conference announces 2024 league schedule

The Southland Conference announced its 2024 football league schedule Thursday with Northwestern State playing four of its seven league games at home.

The Demons will start and end the conference season at home, opening league play by hosting Lamar on Oct. 5. NSU closes the 2024 season at home with a matchup against HCU.

In between, the Demons will play UIW (Oct. 26) and McNeese (Nov. 16) at home, welcoming the Cowboys to Turpin Stadium for the first time since October 2021.

Northwestern State will travel to face Southeastern (Oct. 19), Texas A&M-Commerce (Nov. 2) and defending Southland Conference champion Nicholls (Nov. 9) in conference play.

The remainder of Northwestern State’s 12-game schedule as well as season-ticket information will be announced at a later date.

Lady Demons add setter to signing class

Northwestern State volleyball head coach Sean Kiracofe announced the signing of Reagan Hamm as part of the 2024 recruiting class on Thursday afternoon. 

Hailing from the northern reaches of the DFW Metroplex, the 5-foot-10 setter was a three-time all-district player at Lake Dallas High School in Copper Canyon and rated as one of the best setters in the state of Texas. 

In her first season of prep action as a sophomore, Hamm vaulted her way to being the No. 13 ranked setter in the state according to Prep Dig, a spot she held through her senior season. 

She added a Top 25 ranking from Lonestar Prep as a junior on her way to being named team MVP, reaching 1,000 career assists and picking up the first of her two straight first-team all-district honors. 

Hamm held that Lonestar Prep ranking through her senior season as well, where she served as team captain for the Falcons and showed her all-around volleyball skill recording seven triple-doubles during her senior campaign. 

From an athletic family, Hamm’s father, Jason, played basketball for Bill Musselman at South Alabama in the late 90s where they won a pair of conference titles and made two NCAA Tournament appearances. He then ent on to coach basketball for 12 years including working with his coach’s son Eric Musselman during his time in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings. 

Reagan is also a three-time academic all-district honoree and earned a spot on the A-Honor Roll every semester of the prep career. 

NSU calendar for Dec. 10-16

Here is a look at the week of Dec. 10-16 at Northwestern State University. 

Dec. 10 – Jan. 7, 2024 – Registration for Spring 2024 semester available through NSU Connect 

Dec. 13 – Fall Commencement Exercises, Prather Coliseum, 10 a.m,, 2 p.m. 

Dec. 14 — Fall Commencement Exercises, Prather Coliseum, 10 a.m, 

Dec. 16 – Men’s basketball vs. Rice, Prather Coliseum, 2 p.m. 

Shots fired at Sweetie’s

The Natchitoches Police Department received a call from Daryl Walker, the owner of Sweetie’s Bar-B-Q, on Nov. 27 in reference to bullet holes found on the front of his business, located at 401 Texas St. Officers arrived and made contact with Walker, who stated he left the business on Nov. 22 and returned on Nov. 27 to find the damage caused by the bullets to the outside of the building and to two glass doors.

Walker, who travels the country to compete at and win barbeque championships while representing Natchitoches, is frustrated to come home from the road to “deal with this kind of foolishness.”

“When I returned back to work I was met with bullet holes in my building and broken glass doors,” said Walker. “Thank God we were gone and no one was there to get hurt.” 

The incident occurred on Nov. 25 at 11:50 pm as video footage shows the shooters as they loitered in the area.

The estimated value for damage/repairs is over $2,200. Several shell casings were collected from a nearby parking lot adjacent to the business. Officers checked the area and located another shell casing and made contact with Criminal Investigations who responded and collected video and other related evidence to include a projectile found in the business on the kitchen floor.

“I love what I do and will continue to operate business as usual,” he added. “I look forward to continuing to serve my customers and the community.”

The investigation is ongoing.

Spectacular lineup announced for 2024 Natchitoches Jazz & R&B Festival

The major headliners for the 2024 Natchitoches 27 Annual Jazz/R&B Festival, which will be held on the downtown Natchitoches riverbank on May 10-11, were announced at A Very Jazz/R&B Sponsor and Volunteer Appreciation Christmas Party on Dec. 6. Organizers are calling the lineup for this year’s festival “Spectacular!” and “Maybe the best ever.”

Headlining on Saturday night and closing out the festival will be Country music superstar, Craig Morgan.

Opening for Morgan will be one of Nashville’s hottest new acts and America’s Got Talent stars, Chapel Hart and before them local and regional favorites Johnny Earthquake and the Moondogs.

The festival will kick off on Friday, May 10 with “Tribute to Legends Night.” Appearing first will be Lonestar Skynyrd, an award-nominated Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute act from Texas which faithfully recreates the atmosphere and energy of Lynyrd Skynyrd concerts.

Closing out Friday will be Rumours, the award-winning Fleetwood Mac tribute band out of Atlanta, Georgia, which is widely known as the ultimate Fleetwood Mac tribute with its note-for-note recreation of the Mac’s hit songs.

Craig Morgan has been a country hit maker for over a quarter century, and during his award winning career has had 17 charting Country hits including the #1’s “That’s What I Love About Sunday,” and
“Redneck Yacht Club.” Morgan is known for his high energy performances and is also a huge supporter of the Military and Veteran’s causes. In fact, he currently serves in the U.S. Army Reserves.

Chapel Hart are comprised of two sisters and a cousin our of Mississippi, and who made a huge splash a couple of years ago when they reached the finals of America’s Got Talent, appearing before millions of people and drawing the praise of judge, Simon Cowell, and the other judges, and even receiving a “Golden Buzzer” from Cowell.

Their infectious song “You Can Have Him Jolene” soared to the top of the Country charts and was followed quickly by another hit, “Fist City.”

The energetic engaging trio is presently on a nation-wide tour and always bring down the house with their super-high energy shows.

Johnny Earthquake and the Moondogs, which have been hailed as “Louisiana’s Top Show Band,” is the only band to have appeared at all 26 previous festivals and are making this a stop on their 30th Anniversary “Over the Moon Tour.”

Festival Chairman, Rodney Harrington, is extremely excited about the artists announced so far, but emphasizes that this is only the beginning.

“We feel that this is a spectacular lineup for this year’s festival,” said Harrington. “Probably the best from top to bottom that we have ever had.”

“Remember however,” Harrington continued, “that we will be having a total of nearly twenty bands on three different stages and will be booking many other artists and that the festival, as always, will feature a wide variety of music genres, such as Jazz, R&B, Zydeco, Rock & Roll, Soul, Gospel, Country, and more.

“Early Santa” discount tickets may be purchased now by going to the festival’s website at

“Give someone the gift of music for Christmas,” said Harrington. “They’ll love you for it and you’ never be able to buy the tickets more cheaply than you can right now. Merry Christmas everybody!”

OBIT: Sylvester Augustin Sers

August 18, 1933 — December 5, 2023

Sylvester Augustin Sers was born on August 18, 1933, in Bayou Derbonne, and found peace on December 5, 2023. He was the cherished son of Louis Sers Sr and Frances Sarpy Sers. Sylvester joins his siblings, Gilbert, Bernard, Raymond, Louis, Norah, Anthony, Frances, Adel, Genevia, and Mary Margaret, in eternal rest.

In a lifetime marked by love and dedication, Sylvester found his lifelong partner in Catherine LaCour, sharing a bond that began on Cane River. Their journey began in the Bronx, NYC and led to the joyous arrival of their first child, Genevia Marie. Sylvester’s life was a testament to hard work, resilience, and passion. From the bustling streets of Bronx, NYC, to the serene landscapes of Albuquerque, New Mexico, he provided and nurtured his family. Sylvester and Catherine welcomed their baby girl Sylvia Ann in Albuquerque, a testament to the expansion of their love and family across different states. He was a devoted father to Marie McDaniel and Sylvia LaCour, a legacy that extends to his grandchildren: Dominick Metoyer, Gabriel McDaniel Powell (Duke Powell), and Blaise LaCour. Sylvester delighted in the presence of his great-grandson, Levi Powell. Sylvester shared a strong bond with his son-in-law, Ricky LaCour, embracing him as a beloved member of the family and cherishing the camaraderie and support they shared.

Sylvester was a man of many talents, known for his adeptness in various trades. His skilled hands mastered the art of pipe fitting, maintenance work, and plumbing, showcasing a work ethic that was second to none. His ability to troubleshoot and mend with precision was not just a profession but a testament to his resourcefulness and dedication to providing for his family.

In 1995, Sylvester and Catherine returned to the comforting embrace of Cane River, where he found solace and fulfillment. His love for the land was evident in his green thumb, spending cherished moments fishing, hunting, cultivating vibrant gardens of field peas, tomatoes, okra, and peppers, and gathering a bounty of pecans. His evenings were adorned with the satisfaction of a well-earned high ball, episodes of Gunsmoke and the creation of authentic filè. Sylvester found joy and companionship in the company of his faithful canine companion, Spot. Spot was more than a pet; she was a cherished member of the family, bringing warmth and laughter to Sylvester’s life.

His dedication to his family was unwavering, and his legacy of hard work and love will endure through generations. A celebration of Sylvester’s life will take place at Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home on Friday, December 8, 2023, in Natchitoches, LA. Visitation will begin at 8:00 AM followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Augustine Catholic Church at 11:00 AM where friends and family will gather to honor and commemorate his remarkable journey.The pallbearers, who will carry Sylvester to his final resting place, are: Michael Sers, Glen Sers, Bruce Sers Sr., Joe Sers, Tony Morales, Shawn LaCour and Norah Sers, Jr.

Lakeview Air Force JROTC Cadets build drones for Aerospace Science

Air Force JROTC Cadets at Lakeview Jr./Senior High School recently started building their Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), otherwise known as drones.
As part of the Aerospace Science component of the program, this year’s JROTC curriculum is focused on the Science of Flight. During class they have learned how heavier-than-air flight is achieved and how the physics of flight works. Now, the cadets are applying some of their knowledge by building and eventually flying drones as part of their class.
There are many good paying careers out there that do not require a four-year degree. Cadets with a strong desire to pursue this career path could graduate high school with an FAA Part 107 pilot license which would enable them to go work as a full time drone pilot for companies in many different industries.

NSU honors ROTC cadets during fall awards program

Northwestern State University’s Department of Military Science hosted the Fall 2023 Awards Ceremony to honor Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets Nov. 30.  ROTC’s mission is to recruit, educate, develop and inspire cadets with an emphasis on academics.  The program recognized accomplishments cadets achieved during the fall semester. Awards are as follows.

Cadet Jan Amutan:  President’s List. ROTC Honors for 4.0 in Military Science courses and the PMS Scholastic Excellence Award for 4.0 in Military Science and 3.0 overall. Academic award for highest jump in GPA this semester. Bronze Medal Athlete. Outstanding Service Award. Governor James A. Noe Memorial Scholarship.

Cadet Arianna Astorga: Dean’s List. PMS Achievement Medal. Graduating senior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Health and Exercise Science with a major concentration in Pre-Occupational Therapy and a minor in Military Leadership. Branch Assignment: U.S. Army Reserve, Quartermaster Corps

Cadet Peyton Bordelon: Dean’s List. Bronze Medal Athlete. Graduating senior pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with a minor in Military Leadership. Branch AssignmentLouisiana Army National Guard – Aviation Branch.

 Cadet Jatwon Burkes: Dean’s List.  Graduating senior pursuing a Bachelor of General Studies with double minors in Military Leadership and Social Science.

Cadet Kyra Cole: Recruiting Award. Commendation Medal. Color Guard Award. Cadet Recruiting Ribbon. Ranger Challenge.  

Cadet Brendan Campbell: Dean’s List. Color Guard Award. Intramural Sports Recognition Award. Harris Family Scholarship.

Cadet Miguel Flores: Gold Medal Athlete. Cadet Recruiting Ribbon. Ranger Challenge.

Cadet Megan Franchino: Cadet Recruiting Ribbon. Wise Family Foundation Scholarship.

Cadet Todd Gladish: Dean’s List. Ranger Challenge. Gladish also took his Oath of Enlistment during the program.

Cadet Brooklyn Guerra: Dean’s List.  Graduating senior pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with a major concentration in Sports Media and a minor in Military Leadership.

Cadet Loren Higginbotham: Dean’s List.  PT Attendance Award.  Gold Medal Athlete. Outstanding Service Award. Rush Week coordinator. Intramural Sports Recognition Award. Ranger Challenge team captain, Andrea Rene Cespedes “Above the Best” Scholarship. Graduating senior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major concentration in Marketing and a Minor in Military Science.  Branch Assignment: U.S. Army, active duty – Infantry.

Cadet Christian Holmes: Dean’s List.

Cadet Camryn Huff: Commendation Medal. Color Guard Award. Cadet Recruiting Ribbon. Intramural Sports Recognition Award.

Cadet Breanna James: Dean’s List. Outstanding Service Award. Color Guard Award. Intramural Sports Recognition Award. Graduating senior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Military Leadership.  Branch Assignment: Louisiana Army National Guard – Adjutant General’s Corps

Cadet Jaylon James: Dean’s List. Color Guard Award.

Cadet TaLayja Jefferson: Dean’s List. Cadet Recruiting Ribbon. Intramural Sports Recognition Award.

Cadet Quintavia Johnson: Recruiting Award.

Cadet Angelina Jones: Cadet Recruiting Ribbon.

Cadet Ethan Jones: Dean’s List. Color Guard Award. Intramural Sports Recognition Award.  Ranger Challenge.

Cadet Grace Kerney: Commendation Medals. Most Improved PT Score. Cadet Recruiting Ribbon. Intramural Sports Recognition Award.

Cadet Damarkus Lawson: Bronze Medal Athlete.

Cadet Malaiah Ledet: Cadet Recruiting Ribbon.

Cadet Jemena Leopoldo: Commendation Medals. Cadet Recruiting Ribbon.

Cadet Caiden Matthews: Dean’s List. Ranger Challenge.

Cadet Miriam McDaniel: Cadet Recruiting Ribbon.

Cadet Jacob Mullican: Commendation Medals. Silver Medal Athlete. Color Guard Award. Cadet Recruiting Ribbon. Intramural Sports Recognition Award. Ranger Challenge. Teresa Cazales Scholarship.

Cadet Ariel Rhodes: Recruiting Award. Bronze Medal Athlete. Cadet Recruiting Ribbon. Intramural Sports Recognition Award. Ranger Challenge.

Cadet Jackson Sabbides: Color Guard Award. Cadet Recruiting Ribbon. Ranger Challenge.

Cadet James Shelton: Cadet Recruiting Ribbon. Intramural Sports Recognition Award.

Cadet Molly Stelly: Cadet Recruiting Ribbon. Wise Family Foundation Scholarship.

Cadet Devonte Tanner: Bronze Medal Athlete. Wise Family Foundation Scholarship.

Cadet Layla Theriot: Dean’s List. PT Attendance Award.  Outstanding Service Award. Color Guard Award. IM Coordinator. Ranger Challenge. Jeanice Leadership and Excellence Scholarship.

Cadet Lawson Turner: Dean’s List. Intramural Sports Recognition Award.

Cadet Andrew Wesley: Dean’s List. Bronze Medal Athlete. Color Guard AwardGraduating senior pursuing a Bachelor of General Studies with a major concentration in Computer and Natural Science and a minor in Military Leadership. Branch Assignment: U.S. Army, active duty – Chemical Corps.

Enroll event for discounted internet scheduled for December 9

The City of Natchitoches will host an enrollment event for the Affordable Connectivity Program on Saturday, Dec. 9 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at City Council Chambers, located at 716 Second St. in Natchitoches. The ACP program provides up to a $30 monthly credit on internet service and up to a $75 credit for those residents living on Tribal Lands. 

Additional enrollment events will be held on Dec. 16 at Abundant Life Church, located at 618 Ben Dr., and Dec. 23 at Goodwill Baptist Church, located at 1312 Holmes St. More dates will follow in 2024. For more information on about the ACP program, contact Nicole Gray at 318-352-2772.

Lunchtime Lagniappe:  The Natchitoches Christmas Lights

Join the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum on Friday, Dec. 15 from 12:15-12:45 pm as Utility Department Director Matt Anderson talks about the Natchitoches Christmas lights and the process of installing them each year. The annual display includes over 300,000 lights and 100 set pieces. This event is free and open to the public. Visitors are welcome to bring their lunch and eat during the presentation. Call (318) 357-2492 for more information.

Notice of Death – December 6, 2023

Leonard “Ted” Fowler
August 29, 1945 — December 2, 2023
Friends and well-wishers are invited to pay their respects at Blanchard St Denis Funeral Home on Thursday, December 7, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, followed by a small Memorial service from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The Rosary and Mass beginning at 9:30 will be held on Friday, December 8, at St. Anthony Catholic Church, with a reception featuring Military Honors at J. C. Keyser, VFW, Post 1962 Hall.

Judia Ann Hobdy
March 19, 1947 – November 27, 2023
Arrangements TBA

Natchitoches Parish Journal publishes paid obituaries – unlimited words and a photo, as well as unlimited access – $95. Contact your funeral provider or . Must be paid in advance of publication. (Notice of Deaths shown above are FREE of charge. You may email them to

NSU Nursing Anesthesia Assistant Professor Dr. Katrina O’Con to receive second doctoral degree

Dr. Katrina O’Con, an assistant professor in Northwestern State University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program, assistant director of the Nurse Anesthesia program and director of Clinical Education for the College of Nursing, is earning a second doctoral degree this semester and will graduate Dec. 16. 

O’Con will be awarded a Ph.D. in Nursing Science from Texas Woman’s University. Her dissertation topic is “The Impact of Mandatory Substance Use Disorder Education on Peer Perception of Impairment in Nurse Anesthesia Care Providers.”  Her research on substance use disorders among anesthesia providers demonstrates the benefits of educating professionals about SUD to increase the likelihood of individuals seeking help.

“As with most other topics, I believe that increasing the knowledge and understanding of any subject, especially health-related conditions, leads to a greater amount of empathy when faced with people suffering from that condition,” O’Con said. “Empathy and non-judgmental attitudes and actions toward people with SUD can increase the likelihood of that person asking for help to overcome the problem rather than dealing with it by themselves, which rarely is successful.”

O’Con earned a Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice at Texas Wesleyan University in 2016 where her research focused on “Pharmacologic Methods for Preventing Pruritus in Patients Receiving Intrathecal Opioids for Cesarean Delivery.” Findings from that research have been applied to anesthesia practice nationwide, leading to decreased unwanted side effects of anesthesia and increased patient satisfaction.

A two-time graduate of Northwestern State, O’Con earned an Associate of Science in Nursing in 1993 and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1998. Her Master of Science in Nursing Anesthesia was awarded in 2002 from Texas Wesleyan University. She has been a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist since 2002.   She also served in the U.S. Naval Reserve Nurse Corps from 2001-09, achieving Rank 0-3, Lieutenant.

“I am a first-generation college student and have a firm belief in mentorship and giving back to the younger generation,” she said. “My focus includes maintaining the NSU College of Nursing’s long history of educating and producing the highest quality providers in the state, region and nation.”

O’Con has been involved with NSU’s Nurse Anesthesia program since its inception. She joined the NSU faculty in 2020 and played an important role in navigating accreditation for the program during the COVID-19 pandemic.  She co-authored the self-study for the program’s initial accreditation and coordinated the virtual accreditation tour that occurred in 2020. She has been responsible for initiating and maintaining clinical sites, managing clinical schedule rotations for clinical students and assisting in clinical credentialing for all sites.

In addition to faculty duties, O’Con’s career has provided opportunities for vast experience in clinical practice and in supervising and mentoring student nurse anesthetists. As a member of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, the Louisiana Association of Nurse Anesthetists and several other professional organizations, she has served as an officer and on numerous committees that advance best practices for nurses and nurse anesthetists and has authored several grants to support nursing education and nurse educator workforce development.

O’Con has served on several academic committees at Northwestern State and continues to pursue professional development opportunities at state and national conferences. She regularly publishes and frequently presents research to colleagues at the state and national level.

O’Con was recently honored with NSU’s Outstanding Alumna Distinguished Service Award, presented to an NSU graduate who has exhibited dedication and loyalty to Northwestern’s programs and mission. Award winners demonstrate a record of distinguished service to NSU and continued interested in serving the university as a volunteer, donor or advocate.

After the holiday break, O’Con will begin preparation to become a Certified Nurse Educator, a certificate that demonstrates excellence in academic nurse education.

Information on degree programs in NSU’s College of Nursing is available at

Robeline News: Tis the Season

By Courtney Freeman

Like everyone else in Natchitoches Parish, Robeline is ramping up to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. Decorations are going up all over the village, plans are being finalized for Christmas in the Park and the local churches are preparing for their annual Christmas plays.

Robeline’s Christmas in the Park will be held Saturday, Dec. 16 directly after the parade. There will be food, live music, activities, giveaways and games for everyone to enjoy and much more. Donations are still being collected for the toy drive that will happen during the festivities. All donations can be brought to city hall. Dollar General also has a box set up for donations by the entrance of their store.

In an expansion of our Annual Christmas in the Park this year’s events will include Robeline’s first Christmas parade. The parade will kick off the celebrations at 3 p.m. Parade applications will be accepted until Dec. 14 at 12 p.m. Applications can be picked up from city hall or by contacting Wayne O’Con -(318)4718821, Gordon O’Con- (318)652-4265, Patty Moak-(318)471-2266, or Carl Ferrier-(318)228-0087.

Hickory Grove C.M. Church, located at 8673 Hwy. 6, would like to invite the community to their Christmas play Sunday, Dec. 10 at 11 A.M.

Apostolic Truth Tabernacle will perform Strangers at the Inn on Friday, Dec. 22 at 7:30 P.M. All are invited to come enjoy the hard work of the youth department and a meal will be provided afterwards in the fellowship hall.

All of these events are a good time to slow down and get out and spend time with your community. All the while remembering that while the lights, gifts and music are fun, there is a reason for the season and his name is Jesus.

Lady Demons host Tarleton in ‘good against good’ matchup

It will be best against best when Northwestern State takes on Tarleton State on Wednesday night at Prather Coliseum. 

The Demons (3-4), playing some stingy, light’s out defense over the past couple of weeks take on the best shooting team in the WAC in the Texans (2-4, 1-1) in the final non-conference home game of the season. 

Tip-off is set for 5 p.m. with the game airing live on ESPN+. 

Prior to the game three Demon basketball players, who will be graduating next week, will receive their ceremonial graduation stoles in a pregame ceremony. Kaemelah Dean, Jordan Todd and Jiselle Woodson all earned their bachelor’s degrees in psychology and will continue taking classes in the spring towards secondary degrees. 

NSU has won three straight games entering Wednesday’s contest, doing so in some quite different fashions offensively, but with one common defensive thread. 

After putting up nearly 200 points in two games at home a week ago, NSU needed just 46 to secure a comfortable double-digit win on the road at defending SWAC champion Southern on Sunday afternoon. Each of the three wins adding another scoop of confidence to a team that, according to head coach Anna Nimz, is beginning to put it all together. 

“The biggest thing is it’s building confidence,” Nimz said. “It’s showing them that they are capable of playing with champions. Last week showed that they can score an abundance of points. When we can really start pushing that together they have the opportunity to be a very special team. We were able to get one on the road in a tough gym and go home with some added confidence sending us into Wednesday’s game.” 

The confidence built on the defensive end has been building and thriving over the past five games. Going back to the Tulsa game just under a month ago, the NSU defense is allowing just 48.6 points per game to their opponents.  

NSU had held each of their past two opponents to fewer than 40 points, the first time that has happened in program history, and their past three opponents in a row to fewer than 45 points, also a program first. During the past two games NSU have allowed 10 or fewer points in a quarter five times. 

“The overall communication and ability to lock in and focus in on that scout defense has gotten a lot better,” Nimz said. “It’s sort of turning into a ‘next level’ defense where we can be a little more creative on the coaching end and they are locked into doing what they’re supposed to be doing. We have some mishaps but we’re holding very good teams to very low scores. It’s exciting to see and they are really getting excited about it.” 

The Demon defense will be tested by the best shooting team in the WAC in Tarleton who come in with a team field goal percentage of .460 for the season. 

Tarleton has seven players that have taken 25 or more shots this season shooting better than 35 percent from the field. Of those three have more than 30 shot attempts with better than .400 shooting percentages. 

“We’re going to have to do our job on the perimeter with our ball pressure and try and work to make them uncomfortable,” Nimz said. “Our bigs are going to have their hands full with their inside presence. And they have some real strong forwards that play really well off one another. They have several high percentage shooters that will be a challenge to guard but I think we’re ready for that opportunity.” 

Leading scorer Teresa Da Silva is putting in 11.8 points per game, surprisingly the only player on the Texans scoring in double digits that has played more than two games this year. She has scored 11 or more points in four of her five appearances this season and led all scorers with 17 in the game a year ago against the Demons. 

The injection of 6-foot-2 freshman Faith Acker in the past two games has given Tarleton a different look around the basket as Acker has scored 16 and 20 points on 60 percent shooting at the rim against Stephen F. Austin and UTRGV. She is also averaging 7.5 rebounds per game. 

NSU will host presentation on Louisiana pine snake recovery program

Northwestern State University’s Department of Biology and Microbiology will host an information session on the Louisiana Pine Snake Recovery program. from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday. Dec. 8 in Bienvenu Hall Room 114/135.  A representative from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be on campus to provide information on the implementation of the recovery plan for the Louisiana pine snakes in Natchitoches Parish.  The event is open to the public.

The recovery plan is focused on monitoring and supporting both existing and reintroduced populations of this snake.  Included in this effort are foresters, wildlife biologists, zoo captive breeders and ecologists, among others. 

Anyone interested in endangered species conservation and/or herpetology is encouraged to attend. This event is open to the public.

For more information, contact Dr. Jonathan Akin at (318) 357-5059 or

Street Closure: East Third at Henry Avenue

The City of Natchitoches announces that the interior of the intersection of East Third Street at Henry Avenue has been closed temporarily for repairs.

The closure involves only the portion of this intersection that is located between the eastbound and westbound lanes of Henry Avenue.  

Therefore, only East Third Street traffic will be affected, with northbound traffic having to detour around the closure site via eastbound Henry Avenue and East Fourth Street, and southbound traffic having to detour around the site via westbound Henry Avenue and East Second Street.

It is unknown at this time as to when this intersection will be re-opened to traffic, but it is anticipated that the duration of the closure may be approximately one week, depending on weather.

While traveling through this area, motorists are urged to exercise caution and to observe all warning signs and flagger instructions.

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