Dr. Herbert Simmons, Jr./Opinion

Many Americans were under the belief and impression that the 2020 Presidential election was behind them following the November 3rd election. After days of sitting on the edge of their seats watching and waiting with great anticipation, the political pundits and major news media networks called the election for President Elect Joe Biden. We learned shortly thereafter that acceptance of such was not so with the Trump administration. In fact, as one of the headlines of my weekly articles was entitled Its Finally Over, Biden Wins Presidential Election, I unfortunately, I fell prey and subscribed to pronouncements of the national pollsters in calling the election for Biden. We had no idea that events and disinformation such as we are receiving and experiencing from the Trump administration would surface. With all the political rancor, wrangling and false claims of voter fraud alleged and promoted by President Trump and right wing supporters claiming that Biden was wrongfully declared the winner, Trump is fighting desperately using baseless claims and innuendoes to hang on to power, and refuses to concede the election to Biden. Yes, many missed the call on the outcome of the 2020 election, thinking that the call was final, oh how wrong we were!

President Trump has gone so far as to deny President Elect Biden access to the daily classified intelligence briefings. The head of the General Services Administration has been ordered by Trump to stand down and not certify the election outcome which would allow access to and release of resources to the Biden transition team. Trump is unwilling to provide for a smooth transition of power which no doubt will have serious consequences regarding the security of the nation. Those close to Trump have no political courage and under no circumstance will urge or tell Trump that it is time to get out of the way and allow a smooth transfer of power because his action is putting our democracy at risk and too much is at stake. What a message is being sent to the rest of the world!

As a result of Trump’s refusal to accept reality, the nation now finds itself embroiled in a political crisis in addition to having to face the historic and surging numbers of COVID 19 infections and deaths from the Virus,( on November 12th there were over 184 thousand new cases, (the highest number that has ever been reported in a single day), with hundreds of thousands new cases being admitted to hospitals in a single day, and soaring daily death rates. Over 245 thousand Americans (mothers, fathers, spouses, children, grandparents, nurses, doctors, caregivers and first responders) have lost their lives to COVID 19. It is predicted that by February 2021 the nation could see over 400 thousand new cases of infections per day. Wow! The nation is in a crisis that includes record unemployment, racial tensions, and unrest throughout the nation. Another lingering crisis is that of global warming which is producing more and more hurricanes, more flooding and destruction throughout the nation.

What is The Trump Administration doing to address these crises? Apparently, nothing. Recently, he has been cooped up in the White House, or spotted on the golf course while states are running out of hospital beds, makeshift morgues with refrigerated containers are springing up and being used at hospitals throughout the nation. The nation’s health pandemic has worsened to such a degree that Doctors Without Borders, a world-renown health provider is now lending aid and assistance to one of the world’s COVID hot spots, the United States of America. Although there is hope and the promise of a forthcoming vaccine, the nation is imperiled and is enduring a period in its history that citizens will long remember. We must get this pandemic under control now for it is holding the nation hostage.

What is needed most is really committed and effective leadership at the national and state levels and a coordinated national strategy for defeating this virus. We note and extend our thanks to some of the governors ,who feel they can no longer look to the national government for solutions, and are stepping up to the plate to guide their states through safety measures during this pandemic, given the silence at the White House. Governors are sounding the alarm in their states advising and encouraging citizens to following the CDC’s national guidelines of simply wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and limiting attendance of large social events and gatherings. Governors are admitting that we are running out of time as ICU units are being filled. These governors are tightening up on restrictions, just short of imposing a state lockdown. They are threating to close bars, fitness centers and are on the verge of implementing a stay at home mandate as a last-ditch effort to get the virus under control.

Dr. Herbert Simmons, Jr. is an associate Professor, Department of Criminal Justice, Grambling State University, former President, Grambling State University Faculty Senate and former Chair, Department of Consumer Education and Resource Management, Howard University, Washington, D.C.

The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Natchitoches Parish Journal.  If you have an article or story of interest for publishing consideration by the NPJ, please send it to

More changes come to foundation that has not accounted for $19,500

By Edwin Crayton/Opinion

If you are one of those people who wonders if public pressure, complaints, lawsuits or prayers actually work, then read this article. It has evidence that they all do. For some time now, a growing number of people in this town have been trying to get the Natchitoches Community Improvement Foundation (NCIF) to make several changes to benefit the people of Natchitoches, which would probably be routine for most community organizations. This frustration has led to complaints and even lawsuits from members of the public. One longtime complaint is that the organization has not published its minutes in the paper. That complaint was even included in a 2019 lawsuit Henry O Flipper Foundation filed against NCIF. Well, in this article you will see that the minutes of the last quarterly meeting have been published in the local paper.

Another complaint which has been around awhile is that NCIF does not give away enough money of the 1.8 million it has been court ordered to distribute to the citizens of Natchitoches. It is supposed to give grants and scholarships to citizens in areas of education, recreation, economic development and housing. Yet, on average it has given out just $28, 000 per year total. However, this year it has almost doubled that amount, to $51,000.

Although $51,000 is an improvement, it still seems like a small amount of money considering the fact that the foundation has 1.8 million, and the $51,000 will only fund two of the four categories for the year as I understand it. Also considering the needs in poverty-stricken Natchitoches a minimum of $100,000 in each category would seem more realistic. And why not fund all four categories a year? Remember, after all, this money is designated for the citizens of Natchitoches. It is therefore, money for the people. Why not just give it to them? Start by making those grants large enough to be both meaningful and impactful? With the economic stress being caused by Covid 19, these funds matter more than ever.

Another persistent complaint has been that NCIF has not had an audit since 2014, when it was revealed by CPA firm Johnson, Thomas and Cunningham that $19,500 was not accounted for. A recent lawsuit also made the point about the need for the required audit. At its last quarterly meeting on October 13, at First Baptist Amulet Street, NCIF announced that it will have that audit this year. That meeting was sparsely attended. The board barely had enough members to get a quorum. It needs 8 of its15 member to show up in order to make quorum. Only seven showed up and one attended by phone. Which highlights yet another issue: They need board members due to resignations and the passing of their vice president. Well, two members of the public showed up to “apply”. They are Helen Obidio and Elton Wade. Both are community leaders and both are interested. The response? The board told them they would contact them later. I hope so. I say that because of the additional fact that two board members of the seven present that night are holding on to seats in violation of term limits.

These latest changes show what happens when the public gets involved—even a little. In fact, think about this: I reviewed my notes and they reveal that basically every public action has led to some positive change. Even failed lawsuits against NCIF have led to the organization changing its practices. Indeed, we only know about the $19,500 because that information came out due to a suit filed by John Winston and Robert Jackson.

But more needs to be done. To be both honest and blunt, this foundation is still simply not open enough or transparent enough to give the public the wide access it deserves to these funds. The public is just not included enough in the plans and processes. For instance, look at those minutes in the visual. Notice that at the end it says, “Public comments”. But where are the actual comments from the public? They are not recorded in the minutes. That means, it is hard for the reader to hear public concerns or input and ideas. Also notice that those two citizens who showed up to try to get on the board are not even mentioned at all. Is that any way to show the public that they matter? Well, the public does matter and it is their involvement, comments, and prayers that are causing changes. Keep doing all three because, thank God, it’s working.
Mark 11:22-24

The Natchitoches Community Improvement Foundation Board members are: Oswald Taylor, Mildred Joseph, Gwen Antee Hardison-Davis, Shaniqua Hoover, Brenda Milner, Gwendolyn Williams, Edwin Deon Powe, Renee Porter, DeMarquis Hamiliton, (the following are sitting on the board although according to NCIF bylaws, their term limits are up: Leo Walker, Diane Blake Jones).

Obit: Deacon James Anthony Sr.

Deacon James W. Anthony, Sr., 87, of Bermuda, Louisiana, went home to be with the Lord on Monday, November 23, 2020, at approximately 1:30 a.m. Funeral services were held at Restoration Apostolic Ministries on Fairgrounds Road in Natchitoches at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 28, 2020. Rev. Henry Calhoun officiated the service. Burial will take place this week in the New Nazarene Baptist Church in Bermuda, Louisiana.

Deacon Anthony confessed Christ, was baptized in 1945, and joined the New Nazarene Baptist Church in Bermuda, Louisiana. He was ordained as a deacon in 1960 and counted it a true blessing to serve. He also served as church secretary from 1950-1960, a position in which his mother had also previously held.

In 1948, Deacon Anthony graduated from Burton School in Bermuda, Louisiana. After graduating, he attended Grambling State University. He also served in the United States Army from 1954-1955. He was fortunate enough to travel to Germany, Italy, and Austria during his time in the Army.

Shortly after being honorably discharged, he met and married the late Lillie Brooks Anthony on December 9, 1956, until her death on July 13, 1996. To this union two daughters, Carletta and Coretta, and a son, James, Jr., were born.

Deacon Anthony retired from the Natchitoches Parish School Board as a bus driver for 41 years, where he was able to influence the lives of many students. He was a charter member of the Natchitoches Federation of Teachers and School Employees, and a vote of confidence was placed in him when he was elected as President. He also was a car salesman in Montgomery, Coushatta, and Winnfield.

Also, he served on the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Department Auxiliary Civil Defense Unit. He was currently serving on the Natchitoches Parish Waterworks District #2 Board.

Deacon Anthony was a member of the Bermuda Masons Lodge #149 until the end of its existence. He then joined the Dawn of Light Lodge #22 of Natchitoches. In addition, he was an avid Harley Davidson rider and in 2000 became a founding member of the Cane River Riders Motorcycle Club. He held the positions of President, Sergeant-at-Arms, and was the current Vice President of the club.

Deacon Anthony believed in being involved in his community, and he loved mentoring young people. He never met a stranger. Since his passing, numerous people have shared their memories of him and how he impacted their lives. He could relate to any person of any age and did not mind sharing his opinion or wisdom with them. He was also the family historian and was extremely knowledgeable about our family’s history, as well as other families in his community.

He was preceded in death by his parents, four brothers, Dorsey Anthony, Jr., Arthur Lee Anthony, Sr., Freddie “Pete” Anthony, Sr., and Charles Ray Anthony; and one sister, Eunice Morrow.

He leaves to cherish his memory: three daughters, Brenda Anderson, of Diamond Bar, California; Carletta Jones (Horace) of Natchitoches, Louisiana; and Coretta Conant (Greg) of Pearland, Texas; one son, James W. Anthony, Jr., of Bermuda, Louisiana; one sister, Dorothy Moses (James) of Houston, Texas; two granddaughters, Bianca Jones and April Conant. One uncle, Woodie Johnson, Sr., of Natchez, Louisiana; and a host of nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends.

Lakeview High School JROTC to hold blood drive on December 8

The Lakeview Air Force JROTC will host a blood drive at Lakeview High School on Tuesday, Dec. 8 from 9 am – 1:30 pm. Please come give the gift of life. The blood drive is open to the public. Masks must be worn, temperatures will be taken at the door and social distancing and sanitizing will be in effect.

If you’d like to sign up to donate, please follow the QR code below or contact Major Wiggins at or call 318.476.3360.

Northwestern State Athletics doubles #GivingTuesday goal to deal with COVID-19 pandemic impact

Northwestern State Athletics is built on family and community, and the Demons are asking for support on #GivingTuesday this week.

The NSU family has helped the Demons break donation records on four straight #GivingTuesdays, which has evolved into a global day of giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (following Black Friday and Cyber Monday).

Because of the financial impact wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, NSU Athletics is doubling its annual #GivingTuesday fundraising goal to $50,000.

“We can’t say enough about how donors have risen to the challenge in the past, which includes breaking a record on an unplanned Giving Tuesday in May because of the pandemic,” said Dr. Haley Taitano, deputy athletic director. “We’re leaning on the NSU community again in this giving season.

“Unfortunately, we haven’t had usual revenue streams like ticket sales, guarantee games and team and department fundraisers. We’re asking for fans and alumni to be involved in any way they can.”

Fans can give in a number of ways Tuesday to the Demons Unlimited Foundation, which is a non-profit entity supporting NSU Athletics through scholarship funding for all 14 sports, facility enhancement, student-athlete recruiting efforts and coach retention performance bonuses among other methods.

Donations will be accepted online at or a check can be mailed to the DUF (address is 468 Caspari St, Natchitoches, La., 71497).

Mobile gifts can be made by texting “NSUGIVINGDAY” to 41444.

Former student-athletes can also join the N-Club by texting “NCLUB” to 41444. Members can tailgate and reminisce with other former NSU student-athletes and at other events while supporting current Demons with a $60 annual contribution (free for first-year graduates).

NSU seniors in baseball, softball, tennis and track and field had their 2020 seasons prematurely ended by the pandemic, and the DUF is shouldering the extra scholarship cost (nearly $300,000) for these seniors to return and finish their careers on the fields and courts.

The DUF has been tasked with raising $1 million this year, which is done primarily through corporate sponsorships and fundraisers but also includes donations from private individuals.

Another way to contribute on #GivingTuesday is to start a Perpetually Purple scholarship or contribute to an existing scholarship.

For more information on donations/scholarships, contact Dr. Haley Taitano at


Obit: Dr. James Aubrey Guin

September 21, 1942 – November 22, 2020

Funeral services for Dr. James Aubrey Guin, 78, of Ashland, LA will be held at 2 P.M. Wednesday, November 25, 2020 at Ashland Baptist Church with Dr. David Moore, Bro. Austin Hand, and Bro. Perry Anderson officiating. Interment will follow in Weaver Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 6 P.M. until 8 P.M. Tuesday, November 24, 2020 at Ashland Baptist Church. Services under the direction of Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home, Coushatta, LA.

Dr. James Aubrey Guin was born September 21, 1942 in Campti, LA and passed away from this life on November 22, 2020 in Ashland, LA.

He married Dorothy Ann Wooley August 10, 1968 and they had two daughters, Jennifer and Danielle. They are members of Ashland Baptist Church where he served the church in many capacities, including Deacon.

He enjoyed hunting, fishing and watching any type of sports. He was a farmer, at heart, always having cows, horses and any type of chicken, duck or goose you could imagine.

Dr. Guin had an extensive career in the education of young people. He truly loved his profession. He had a servant’s heart always wanting to help others and offering anything he had to someone in need. He will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved him.

Those left to cherish his memory include his wife of 52 years, Dorothy Wooley Guin; daughters, Jennifer Griffin, and husband Bill, Danielle Curole and husband, Chad; grandchildren, Josie LeAnne Griffin of Winnfield and fiance’ Nathan Schloer, Allie Danielle Curole of Ashland, LA, and Bradley Griffin and wife Amanda of Winnfield; great-grandchildren, Callie Griffin, John Bradley Griffin, and Carly Griffin; brothers, Travis Guin (Mary Beth) of Campti, Gary Guin (Bonnie) of Blanchard, Ronald Guin (Pam) of Campti; sisters, Caroline Tauzin (Joe) of Bossier City, Barbara Vercher (Mike) of Bossier City, Shirley Mustin (John) of Campti; sisters and brothers-in-law, Bobby and Maxine Lum, Johnny and Lillian Wooley all of Ashland; numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews; and his aunts, Jeannie Wallace and Winnie Perot.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Travis Daniel and Aleene Wallace Guin; his sisters, Rubye Guin Morgan and Patsy Guin Thompson.

Gentleman and a Scholar—is the best way I can describe him. But he was so much more than that to all of us who loved him. Husband, Daddy, Poppa, son, brother and uncle were a few names he would answer to, but he was not a person that could be easily defined by a single title. He was known as a teacher, coach, principal, Sunday school teacher, Deacon, friend and colleague.

His unique love for education began at an early age. As the fourth of nine children, he was eager to be an individual. He begged his parents to let him go to school, and even though he was only 4 years old, he began first grade in Campti, Louisiana.

He graduated in 1959, at age 16, from Campti High School. From there he went to Northwestern State University where he graduated in the spring of 1963, at age 19.

While in college, he had no vehicle, so he would catch rides to school. After school, he would help his parents in their fish market and also, was a guide on Black Lake.

He graduated on a Saturday from NSU and received draft papers on the following Monday, for the Vietnam War. He decided to enlist in the United States Navy.

He spent four years on the USS Henry W. Tucker, a Gearing-Class destroyer, traveling all over the world. He was an air traffic controller and was in active combat stationed for 28 months in the waters off Vietnam. His ship received enemy fire for 22 of those months.

He completed his tour of duty in 1967, with the rank of Lieutenant. Because the nature of his job in communications required him to have Top Secret security, he was kept on active duty in the case he needed to be recalled.

In July 1967, he met Dorothy Ann Wooley and they began dating. At this point he was the basketball coach and History/French teacher at Flora High School. Their dates consisted of basketball games. They often joked that they never even went to a movie. His basketball team won their District competition that year. He stayed at Flora through 1968, with the closing of the school.

From Flora, he went to Campti High School. He worked there as a teacher and coach, until 1973.

In the fall of 1973, he was hired as Principal of Ashland High School. He was the youngest principal in the parish at that time. He was there until the school closed in the summer of 1981.

He went to North Natchitoches Elementary as Principal for a half year, then took a sabbatical to start work on doctoral classes.

In 1982, he was named Principal at Goldonna Elementary School. He was there for five years.

In the fall of 1987, he was named Principal at Campti High School. He was instrumental in the planning and construction of the new Lakeview High School. The first graduating class included Danielle. He was her principal at Ashland, Goldonna, and Lakeview. He was Jennifer’s principal at Ashland.

While principal at Campti High School, he wrote his dissertation and he received his Ed.D from Northwestern State University in 1990.

He retired from the NPSB in 2000.

The year 2001, brought the sources of his greatest joy, Josie LeAnne Griffin and Allie Danielle Curole. He loved them beyond words and was very active in their lives. But school called him once again.

He was an adjunct teacher at Northwestern State University teaching administration and principalship classes. He also worked with the State Department of Education during this time.

In Spring 2008, he was asked to help the Red River Parish School Board with their testing program. He taught classes in Civics and history. He had come full circle at this point, back to teaching, which he loved.

In the fall of 2009, he was named Principal of Castor High School. He was instrumental in the planning and construction of several new structures at the school, including a new sports complex, new vocational shop and other structures that would enhance the school for the students. He remained at Castor until the summer of 2020.

Serving as pallbearers will be Bill Griffin, Chad Curole, Bradley Griffin, Nathan Schloer, Randall Rushing, Evan Warren, John Alan Wooley, and Troy Wamsley. Honorary pallbearers will be Bruce LeBrun, Ronnie Quick, Bo Jinks, Michael Roderick, Danny Weaver, Anthony Hay, Nelson Conlay, Jr., Greg Warren, and the Deacons of Ashland Baptist Church.


Notice of Death – November 30, 2020

Antonio “Tony” Demars
December 15, 1969 – November 26, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Roland Dees
November 23, 1949 – November 29, 2020
Service: Wednesday December 2 at 12 pm at Alford Heights Baptist Church

Dorothy Sliman Lovelady
January 16, 1928 – November 28, 2020
Arrangements TBA

H. L. Caskey, Jr.
May 04, 1925 – November 29, 2020
Service: Wednesday, December 2 at 10 am at Gloryway Church, in Dodson

Tommy Ray Horne
October 26, 1967 – November 25, 2020
Service: Saturday, December 5 at 2 pm at Atlanta Baptist Church Family Life Center

Joseph Wayne Williams
August 14, 1963 – November 29, 2020
Service: Wednesday, December 2 at 11 am at Davis Springs Southern Methodist Church

Gladys “Happy” Friday
March 05, 1956 – November 28, 2020
Service: Tuesday, December 1 at 1 pm at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home Chapel

Status of Parish Sales Tax fund in question

NPJ received a copy of a letter to Parish Council members regarding concerns that the 1 cent sales tax that supports both the Parish’s solid waste and highway departments will expire in just over a month. According to the Secretary of State’s website, Parish residents passed the tax proposition on October 2, 2010 with 56% of voters in favor of renewing the tax. At the time of its passing, the anticipated annual revenue was estimated to be $1.83 million.

The first opportunity to put a proposition on the ballot is April 24th but the window of opportunity is quickly closing as the proposition must first be approved by the State Bond Commission. According to their website, all applications for the April election must be received by January 19, 2021. According to the Home Rule Charter, tax propositions must be approved by Ordinance, which must lay over at least four weeks from the date of introduction.

If the Parish cannot get a proposition on the April 24 ballot, the next opportunity is October 9 unless the Parish petitions to hold a special-called election. Should the Parish choose this route, it will bear the burden of paying for all costs associated with the election.

With the current tax expiring, any proposition put forth by the Parish to the voters will be for a new source of revenue. The Parish has not had any success in implementing a new tax in the last 10 years. There have been four attempts to pass a sales tax; the most recent one put forth in March of 2019, which was for a ½% sales tax for 20 years. The voters defeated the proposition by 58%.

How much does the Expiring Sales Tax bring in?

Effective Date: January 1, 2011
Expiration Date: December 31, 2020
Term: 10 Years
Use: Solid Waste/Garbage/Road Maintenance
Estimated Dollars to Collect: $1,830,000 per year
Total Estimated to Collect over the life of the tax: $18,300,000.00

How much will the Expiring Sales Tax bring in AFTER January 1, 2021?

Effective Date: NONE
Expiration Date: NONE
Term: NONE
Use: Solid Waste/Garbage/Road Maintenance
Estimated Dollars to Collect: ZERO
Total Estimated to Collect over the life of the tax: ZERO


Here is the Proposition as it appeared on October 2, 2010 and Approved by the Voters:

Sales Tax District No.1 – 1% S&U – PJ – 10 years

Shall Sales Tax District No. 1 of the Parish of Natchitoches, State of Louisiana (all of Natchitoches Parish outside of the City of Natchitoches) (the “District”), under the provisions of Article VI, Section 30 of the Louisiana Constitution of 1974, and other constitutional and statutory authority, be authorized to continue to levy and collect a sales and use tax of one percent (1%), for an additional ten (10) years, effective January 1, 2011, in the manner and to the extent provided by La. R.S. 33:2721.6, et seq., and other constitutional and statutory authority (the “Tax”) (an estimated $1,830,000 reasonably expected at this time to be collected from the levy of the tax for an entire year), which, after paying the costs of collecting and administering the Tax shall be used for the purposes of (i) maintaining and operating a Solid Waste Collection and Disposal System for Natchitoches Parish (outside of the City of Natchitoches) and (ii) for the improvement of roads in the Natchitoches Parish Road System?

See Full Proposition at SOS Site – Click Here:

Here is the Final Vote for the Proposition as of October 2, 2010:

See Election Results for October 2, 2010 – Click Here:
Actual Tax Vote
October 2, 2010
Parish: Natchitoches
Bottom of the page

Here is a copy of the letter received by the NPJ:

Service League collects items for local DCFS Geaux Bags

Throughout November, the Service League of Natchitoches collected critically needed items used by the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to fill Geaux Bags for local foster children. Geaux Bags is a non-profit, statewide initiative created to change the way kids enter foster care, and to make that initial transition period a little easier for everyone involved.

Children of many different ages and sizes enter state custody from DCFS at all hours of the day and night. Many arrive from situations of abuse and neglect with only the clothes on their backs.  The first 24-48 hours after receiving a child can be extremely stressful, and foster parents often feel ill-prepared. A Geaux Bag provides essential clothing and toiletries, as well as gives the child a sense of having something of their own in a foreign place.  

The items provided in a typical Geaux Bag are tailored for the child’s age and size and generally include the following:

Baby Bottles/Sippy Cups
Baby Formula
Therapeutic/Comfort Item      

Megan Goff, a Child Welfare Supervisor at the Natchitoches DCFS office, reached out to the Service League due to a shortage of the critically needed items used to assemble the bags.  The Service League immediately answered the call and deemed its November Service Project as donations for Geaux Bags under the direction of Service Coordinator, Karen Lee.

Geaux Bags can only be provided to Natchitoches Parish foster children through the generosity of donations from individuals  and organizations in our community.  If you are interested in donating, please call (318) 357-3128 or drop off items at Natchitoches DCFS, 106 Charlene Street, Natchitoches, Louisiana 71457.

Cookies with Santa at the Prudhomme-Rouquier House

Jolly Old Saint Nickolas himself was in town Saturday, November 28 to share cookies, crafts and Christmas wishes with groups of delighted children at the “Cookies with Santa” event held at Natchitoches’ historic Prudhomme-Rouquier house.

The ladies of the Service League of Natchitoches volunteered to act as Santa’s helpers, ushering in families and setting up tables with crafts and treats for the visiting children. The event was sponsored by the Historic Downtown Business Association (HDBA).

To ensure safety and social distancing, each family had its own table with cookies and craft projects for the children to make their own ornaments. There was also a mailbox for children to send their letters directly to the North Pole. Santa went from table to table and spoke to each child. Family friendly events such as these are part and parcel of what makes Christmastime in our community so special.

The 15th Annual Fleur De Lis Christmas Craft Fair was a Crowd pleaser

Every available space at the Natchitoches Event Center was filled by 80 vendors from around Louisiana and surrounding states as the Fleur De Lis Christmas Craft Fair took place Nov. 28. The popular fair, a community tradition since 2005, joined other activities downtown as part of the prelude to the Christmas Festival weekend. Several thousand visitors stopped by the day long event and browsed through booths filled with handmade craft items and foods. Natchitoches’ Hope for Paws was on hand selling delicious treats for both people and pets as well as raising awareness of animal adoption.

Demons can’t answer Louisiana Tech’s second-half run

The Northwestern State men’s basketball team and Louisiana Tech spent the first 20-plus minutes of Sunday’s matchup in the Louisiana Tech Classic exchanging small bursts of scoring.

The Bulldogs, however, became the first team to put together some semblance of a run, using a second-half push to pull away from the Demons 91-77 despite a career-best day from NSU’s Jamaure Gregg.

“There were some bright spots,” said 22nd-year head coach Mike McConathy, who coached his fourth game at his alma mater. “I felt like we competed throughout. We made a run at the end. Jovan Zelenbaba cuts it to nine with the layup on the right side. We fell into their mind-set where we walked the ball up the floor where we needed to keep up the pressure and keep the foot on the gas.”

That final Demon run came long after the Bulldogs (2-0) used a 15-4 run midway through the second half to turn a four-point game into a 15-point lead with 8:14 to play.

Northwestern State (0-3) whittled the lead to nine on Zelenbaba’s baseline drive that he turned into a three-point play with 3:34 to play. However, Louisiana Tech went back inside to freshman Kenneth Lofton Jr. for a bucket that started an 11-6 Bulldogs push across the final three-plus minutes.

Gregg kept the Demons close throughout the second half, tallying 19 of his career-high 21 points in the final 20 minutes, sinking 8 of 13 shots from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers.

“In the first half, he started kind of slow, but he had five rebounds,” McConathy said. “He started making shots, doing a nice job of catching and taking what was available.”

While Gregg carried the Demons offensively, Lofton Jr. did the same for Louisiana Tech, scoring 12 of his 16 points in the second half.

Each team rode a different player offensively in a back-and-forth first half that ended with Tech holding a five-point lead in a period where the largest run for either team was six points.

Louisiana Tech was able to pull away in a five-minute stretch of the second half where Lofton had six points in the run.

“They went to their high-low, and we had no answer for that,” McConathy said. “We didn’t do a good job with it. We need to take a look at that.”

While Gregg carried the Demons offensively in the second half, Jairus Roberson did so in the opening half, scoring 12 points as Northwestern State found its 3-point stroke.

NSU shot 63.6 percent from the 3-point line, sinking 7 of 11 from long distance in the half. Roberson connected on a pair of 3s as did LaTerrance Reed, who finished with a season-high 11 points in less than 14 minutes of action.

“It really gives us a shot in the arm,” McConathy said. “He comes in and knows what to do. One thing that hurt us was we couldn’t get good defensive matchups. They had three 6-foot-6 guys in there at once, so we couldn’t go small with our shooters. It kept us from getting into a defensive rhythm.”

While the Demons put three players in double figures, the Bulldogs had four, led by Kalob Ledoux’s game-high 23 points. Isaiah Crawford (19) and Exavian Christon (14) also reached double figures for the Bulldogs, who shot 51.7 percent (30-for-58) from the field for the game.

The Demons return to action Thursday when they travel to TCU. Tip-off against the Horned Frogs is set for 7 p.m.

Photo: Dalin Williams (35) goes up for a rebound during Sunday’s game at Louisiana Tech. Credit: Tom Morris/Louisiana Tech Media Relations

Women’s Basketball — NSU women’s basketball to pause team activities

The Northwestern State women’s basketball program has temporarily suspended team activities because of precautionary reasons resulting from COVID-19 concerns.

The team’s season opener at Ole Miss was canceled and its Nov. 27 game at Baylor was rescheduled for Dec. 18, both as preventive COVID-19 measures.

Because of additional concerns related to the virus, team activities will remain on hold for at least 14 days and will resume when deemed safe by medical professionals and the NSU athletic training staff.

The Lady Demons will not compete before Dec. 12 and any schedule adjustments will be announced at a later date.