Candidacy Announcement: Reba Phelps, School Board District 6, #58

Reba Family Photo

I am more than excited to announce my candidacy for the Natchitoches Parish School Board District 6 seat.

As a proud product of the Natchitoches Parish Public School System I am a believer in our educators and our students. I also believe in reaching across barriers that prohibit a spirit of collaboration and I believe in creating a board that can look past personal differences to put our children first.

I have been in the insurance business for over 25 years and am very active in the community. I am a past President of the Kiwanis Club of Natchitoches, past Board Member of The Boys and Girls Club of El Camino Real, and past Board Member for the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce. I have cherished all of the these organizations due to the direct connection to helping children across our Parish while building stronger communities. Within these organizations, I have been successful at forging partnerships between businesses and schools and I will strive to continue this.

The most important role of my life is that of the mother of two daughters. My oldest graduated from Natchitoches Central High School and is attending NSU and my youngest is currently attending NSU Middle Lab. As a parent, I see the direct impact of policy decisions on children, families and communities. If elected, I promise to make these decisions keeping children and families first and foremost.

I have spent the last few years visiting with many friends who are educators and community members and there is one common theme with every single conversation as it relates to the Natchitoches Parish School Board; we need stakeholders involved who have a commonsense approach to the everyday problems that face our school board.

If elected I will strive to be completely transparent while keeping parents and the community informed of important decisions. All too many times the parents and the public are the last to know about important issues that have already been decided for us.

The next school board elected will be tasked with the job of hiring the new Superintendent of Natchitoches Parish Schools. This is not a job I will take lightly. The next leader chosen for our system will be crucial to the future success of our students. We need the entire community involved in this process.

I would be so humbled and honored if you would entrust me with your vote, #58 for Natchitoches Parish School Board District 6 seat. I am very excited about the opportunity to meet everyone in my district. If you would like to discuss my plans or would like to volunteer to help, please do not hesitate to call me at 318-581-0427.

Northwestern State’s Demon Soccer Started Its Season Friday, Volleyball on Tap Saturday

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Kevin’s Gallery

NSU Demon Soccer kicked off its season in front of a several hundred person strong crowd at the NSU Soccer Complex Friday, August 17th. The Demons lost a hard fought contest to the University of Texas at San Antonio Road Runners 1-0. The soccer players were supported by athletes from each sport on campus as well as NSU spirit groups who came out to cheer for their fellow Demons. The stands and tailgating area were filled with a festive crowd enjoying food and Italian ice provided by NSU’s Student Activities Board.

The game also was part of the events surrounding the start of the school year at NSU. Students are moving into their dorms today and Saturday. The Lady Demon Volleyball Team will go into action against LA Tech’s Lady Bulldogs Saturday August 18th at 5:00 pm at Prather Colosseum. Admission to the match is free, Come out and support these superb athletes.

The Natchitoches Parish Journal extends its best wishes to the Lady Demon Soccer and Volleyball teams as they embark on their season. Fork ’em Demons!

Now’s the time to get moving, Store your possessions in style

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Are you tired of Louisiana’s hot and humid weather damaging your most prized possessions that are packed away in an outdoor storage unit?

DDT Moving and Storage has a deal for you! From now through October 1 DDT Storage will match the price anyone is currently paying for an outdoor storage unit in the City of Natchitoches.  But wait! To make this offer even better, DDT Moving will move the contents of the storage unit to their climate controlled warehouse FREE OF CHARGE.

Come see what DDT Moving and Storage has to offer at its Ribbon Cutting event Thursday, Sept. 6 at 10:30 am at its convenient location near downtown Natchitoches, across from Sudden Link.

Dane and Kayla Terrell converted a 30,000 square foot warehouse into 136 climate controlled storage units. You may know the store from its previous uses as an antique store, then an Ivan Smith store, and more recently the Terrell Brothers Furniture Store. There’s been a lot of changes over the last 50 years, so it took Dane and Kayla a year to bring the building up to code.

Unit sizes are 10×10, 10×15 and 10×20. All three of these sizes are currently available. There’s no long term contracts. Go online to to view available units, reserve, and make payments.

Dane and Kayla have 20 plus years experience with their moving business, but they’re now offering moving services full-time, seven days a week. They’ll move you anywhere you need to go in the Parish, state or further away. They own their own trucks, blankets and dollies and they have multiple crews to get the job done right.

Don’t deal with the hassle. DDT Moving and Storage is your one-stop-shop to do all the heavy lifting, from moving out of a home, storing items, to moving into your new home. For more details, a free quote or to schedule an appointment call 318-357-2350.

For special offers:  Go to Facebook to the DDT Moving and Storage page for special offers. They’re currently giving away two tickets to the Aug. 30 pre season game between the New Orleans Saints and the LA Rams. Like their page, tag a friend, and share the post to be entered into the drawing. The winner will be announced Aug. 25.

DDT Sign

Nominations being accepted for CAPA Hall of Fame

CAPA Nominations
The Mrs. H.D. Dear Sr. and Alice E. Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts at Northwestern State University is accepting nominations for the CAPA Hall of Fame through Oct. 1.

According to Dr. Greg Handel, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, any individual is eligible to submit a nomination. Those nominated should have made a significant contribution to the School of Creative and Performing Arts or to the arts in general in their respective community. Support documentation may be submitted with the application. That documentation should not include originals.

The CAPA Hall of Fame was started in 2014. Members of the CAPA Hall of Fame are: Bill Brent, Dr. Grady Harper, Jim Bob Key, Dr. Jack Wann, Dr. Colleen Lancaster, Dr. Jerry Payne, Lenn Dohmann Prince, the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Society and Dr. Vicki Parrish.

To get nomination form for the CAPA Hall of Fame, go to and click on “CAPA Hall of Fame Nomination.”

Austin Baroque Orchestra & Chorus to perform Sept. 4

Austin Baroque Orchestra

The Austin Baroque Orchestra & Chorus will present “Louis, Louis,” a concert of French baroque music for orchestra and choir, at Northwestern State University on Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. An informal pre-concert talk will begin 30 minutes before the program. The concert is free, with a suggested donation of $15. NSU and LSMSA students, faculty and staff will be admitted free with valid ID. Baroque oboist and musicologist Billy Traylor, an NSU alumnus, is the ensemble’sartistic director.

Traylor founded the Austin Baroque Orchestra & Chorus in 2011 as Ensemble Settecento, a 10-person chamber ensemble. Since that time, the ensemble has grown into an orchestra and choir with a roster of 35 young musicians with specialized training in historical performance. The players use period-appropriate performance practices and replicas of 17th- and 18th-century instruments, while the chorus sings in an historically-informed manner, including the use of minimal vibrato and period diction. In addition to performancesin Austin, the ensemble appears regularly at San Antonio’s historic Mission Concepción, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

“We’re thrilled to be performing this beautiful French music in the oldest city in Louisiana,” said Traylor. “We have been planning this concert, our first large-scale program of French repertoire since 2012, for a while now, as we wanted this performance tocoincide with the 300th anniversary of the founding of New Orleans.”

The bulk of the music to be performed was composed during the time in which the French were exploring and settling what is now Louisiana and east Texas. NSU faculty members and ABO performers Douglas Bakenhus and Dennette McDermott were responsible forsecuring much of the funding required to bring the 36-piece ensemble to Natchitoches, in part to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of NSU’s School of Creative & Performing Arts.

“We perform using copies of instruments from the baroque era,” explains Traylor, a native of Denham Springs and a former doctoral student in Indiana University’s Early Music Institute. “So, the string instruments’ strings are made of sheep-gut, and the ‘cello rests on the players’ calves instead of on an endpin.” The woodwind instruments, he says, have far fewer keys than they do today and are made of softer woods than their modern counterparts. “These period instruments are much softer-spoken than modern ones, and some,like recorder, harpsichord and viola da gamba, don’t have a modern counterpart, as they fell out of use by the end of the 18th century.”

The program will be comprised of motets, Mass settings and operatic excerpts composed for and enjoyed by the last three kings of the old Bourbon dynasty: Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Louis XVI. Some of these pieces, such as a motet composed for the baptism of LouisXIV’s eldest son, were for the private consumption of the king and his closest courtiers, while others, such as the finale from Jean-Philippe Rameau’s opera “Les Indes galantes,” were meant to be enjoyed by the greater public in Paris. The ensemble will also perform fromthe “Manuscrit des Ursulines de la Nouveelle-Orléans,” the only surviving music manuscript from colonial Louisiana.

The Austin Baroque Orchestra & Chorus seeks to entertain and engage their audiences by presenting high-caliber performances of both well- and lesser-known works from the 17th and 18th and centuries. Their concerts, using period instruments and informed by the latest research in performance practice, include works by renowned masters as well as pieces by less familiar composers. Each performance is preceded by an informative and informal discussion of the music and composers, led by the artistic director.

Holden named LSMSA Employee of the Year

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LSMSA- Dorothy Holden, a native of Natchitoches, has been named the 2018 Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts School Support Employee of the Year. She is beginning her seventh year with the school and has been praised by students, faculty, staff and alumni as one of the most caring and supportive individuals at LSMSA.

The Outstanding School Support Employee Award is part of a program designed in 1990 by the Louisiana Department of Education and the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to recognize non-instructional personnel that have given of their time and talents beyond the call of duty.

American Cancer Society Tribute of Hope: Betsy Godfrey

Betsy Godfrey

One of the American Cancer Society’s Tributes of Hope is Betsy Godfrey. In April of 2015, Betsy Godfrey was diagnosed with breast cancer. When she was told she had cancer, she didn’t miss a beat. She continued her busy lifestyle with a smile on her face. “I’m claiming it,” she said. Betsy taught in the Sabine Parish School System for over 30 years, serving as a second grade teacher, Principal, and Supervisor at the Sabine Parish School Board. With an upbeat personality, Betsy lives her life through service to others, especially children. Betsy is retired, resides in Many and is married to John P. Godfrey. Together, she and John have two children, John Godfrey and McCall McCullen.

To help us celebrate Betsy and the other Belles and Beaus honorees, be sure to join us on Saturday, Sept. 15 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Melrose Plantation. We will recognize our distinguished honorees, enjoy live entertainment from Troy Marks No Idea, feast on delicious Louisiana cuisine and you will have the opportunity to participate in a live and silent auction. For more information, visit. or call 337-237-2345.

Outpatient Medical Center: Welcome Dr. Tywanna Chisley

Dr. Tywanna Chisley
Dr. Tywanna Chisley is a board certified pediatrician and Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics with strong roots in the Tallulah area as she lived in Tallulah until she graduated from Medical School. She has been in practice for 13 years and has received numerous awards and recognition for her service.

Dr. Chisley received a Bachelor of Science degree from Grambling State University and pursued a Master of Science degree from the former Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe, LA. Believing that her life’s mission is to help others reach their highest potential, she successfully completed her medical education at LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, LA in 2002. In 2005, she completed a Pediatric Residency at the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children in Jackson, Mississippi.  Dr. Chisley is a pediatrician and will see patients from birth to 18 years of age.

She is active with Monroe Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and thoroughly enjoys being of service to her community. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, spending time with her fur babies, traveling and watching football. Geaux Saints!

Natchitoches Community Improvement Foundation Discusses Changes and New Pressure from the Public

By Edwin Crayton


At its July quarterly meeting The Natchitoches Community Improvement Foundation board (NCIF) discussed the problem of people applying for grants in ways that don’t fit the foundation’s guidelines. So the board is planning to address the issue by holding a workshop for the public on how to write a grant that meets their criterion. The workshop is in the planning stages and will be announced when details are finalized. The board also announced that it is in the process of developing a website on

The changes are positive and are quite honestly certainly needed and should help the foundation become more accessible. It has been tough for members of the public to get access to information with many things concerning NCIF. At the current time, for example, quarterly meetings are not easy for members of the public to find and this is due in large part to the fact that apparently the foundation only advertises quarterly meetings by placing a small notice in the Natchitoches Times. But those are very hard to find and even with effort, I often miss them—and I’m really looking. So a website is a good move and should help the public find out what the organization is doing. I mentioned at the meeting that I know several students who need scholarships but it seems hard to find an NCIF scholarship application anywhere. So I suggested they also post applications for scholarships online but got no response from the board. Hopefully, they’ll see the value in using the site to seriously provide clear information on meetings, offer downloadable forms and applications and share funding procedures.

It was also clear judging from comments at the meeting that increasing numbers of the public are beginning to communicate their feelings to board members of NCIF, offering both feedback and complaints to the organization. Indeed, that night, board members verbally mentioned being contacted by members of the public about how the organization is handling business—apparently, sometimes the public is not happy with what it is seeing and citizens are giving them an earful. (Of course, while every citizen has a right to give feedback and complaints, people should always be respectful.)

At any rate, the new changes are good steps by NCIF and should help at least in some small way and more importantly they possibly also show the impact of participation and input from the public.

NCIF board members are: Leo Walker, Oswald Taylor, Ed Ward Jr., Billye Sue Johnson, Brenda Milner, Shaniqua Hoover, Mildred Joseph, Estelle Braxton, James Below Jr., Catherine Hoover, Kelvin Porter, Renee Porter, Gwendolyn Williams, Diane Blake Jones and Gwen Hardison

Notice of Death – August17, 2018

Notice of Death 2017



Edith Telsee Farley
August 17, 2018
Arrangements TBA

Terrell Carl Scott, Jr.
July 18, 1965 – August 15, 2018
Service: Saturday, August 18 at 3:30 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Interment: Old Bethel Cemetery

Thomas Wylie Merrill, Jr.
June 4, 1942 – August 12, 2018
Service: Saturday, August 18 at 11 am at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Interment: Cloutierville Baptist Church Cemetery in Cloutierville


Mr. Leslie Edward Fisher
August 1, 1937 – August 13, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, August 18 from 11 am – 2 pm at the John Kramer & Son Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, August 18 at 2 pm in the chapel of John Kramer & Son Funeral Home
Interment: Alexandria Memorial Gardens


William Brett Cooper
August 7, 1968 – August 16, 2018
Visitation: Tuesday August 21 from 5-9 pm in the chapel of Kinner and Stevens Funeral Home in Jena
Service: Wednesday, August 22 at 10 am in the Chapel of Kinner and Stevens Funeral Home of Jena
Interment: Summerville Baptist Church Cemetery of Summerville

Bettie Chelette Racine
May 13, 1931 – August 13, 2018
Visitation: Monday, August 20 from 5-8 pm and Tuesday, August 21 from 9-10 am at The Church of Christ in Montgomery
Service: Tuesday, August 21 at 10 am at The Church of Christ in Montgomery
Interment: Mt. Zion Cemetery

Percy L. Ball
August 14, 2018
Service: Saturday, August 25 at 11 am in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Winnfield City Cemetery

Mr. James “J.L.” Hicks
August 15, 2018
Arrangements TBA


Baby Ricardo Boykin, Jr.
Service: Saturday, Aug. 18 at 2 pm at Morning Glory Cemetery
Interment: Morning Glory Cemetery in Mansfield

Seney Hill
Visitation: Friday, Aug. 17 from 1-6 pm at Jenkins Funeral Home
Service: Saturday, Aug. 18 at 11 am at New Light Baptist Church
Interment: Luke Cemetery in Ringgold

Nyree Jackson
Service: Saturday, Aug. 18 at 11 am at Elizabeth Full Gospel Baptist Church
Interment: New Hope Cemetery in Lake End

CRNHA CEO retires, receives Key to the City

By Kevin Shannahan

Retirement Party_2084

Natchitoches’ Samuel Guy House was the scene of a lively celebration as Mayor Lee Posey was joined by members of the city council, friends, well wishers and members of the tourism and preservation communities in wishing Cynthia Sutton a long and happy retirement Thursday, Aug. 16. Sutton is retiring after 10 years at the helm of the Cane River National Heritage Area where she served as CEO and Director.

Mayor Posey presented Sutton with a print of the Roque House and a key to the city. She also received a quilt from the CRNHA Board and the City of Natchitoches. In her tenure at the CRNHA, she was a dynamic and transformational leader who left the city much better than she found it.

The Natchitoches Parish Journal extends its best wishes to Ms. Cynthia Sutton for a long, happy and well earned retirement!

NHDDC Selects Natchitoches Slogan and Logo

The Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission has announced the selection of a brand slogan and logo design for the Natchitoches Branding and Communications Project. The selection comes after the committee sought public comments last week on two slogans selected to represent the Natchitoches brand. In May, the Marketing Committee of NHDDC sought public input to develop a slogan that celebrates the positive future of Natchitoches, while promoting local businesses, restaurants, accommodations and attractions. “Overall, we had a positive community response to the two slogans, but ‘Where History Lives’ appeared to be the community’s favorite,” commented NHDDC Chair/President Van Erikson.

The new logo features the word “Natchitoches” in a scroll-like font with a visual detail under the text. The public was also asked to provide feedback on the use of a fleur-de-lis or a State of Louisiana icon under the Natchitoches typeface. “Public feedback was more even on the use of the fleur-de-lis versus the Louisiana symbol, so the committee has decided to test them as we move forward in the coming months,” remarked Erikson. The committee plans to use the fleur-de-lis symbol locally, while the State of Louisiana symbol will be used regionally.

The next phase of the Natchitoches Branding and Communications Project includes the redesign and launch of the City website and a synchronized community calendar.

Broken Home

By Reba Phelps

Reba_Broken Home


When my college aged bird left the nest our mother-daughter time was cut significantly. Our mother-daughter-daughter time was cut as well. Needless to say any time I have with both of my daughters under one roof is a treasure sent directly from above. They still argue and bicker just as they would if they still resided together. Most of the time it’s comical with no cause for alarm but one particular day things went south quicker than the blink of an eye.

My eldest daughter was telling me how another friend was looking for a place to rent and was becoming slightly desperate. I suggested that I could rent out her old room. The youngest was all for the possibility of having another person live in our house. I then took it a step further and said it would be really awesome to have a foreign exchange student or even a foster child.

Just thinking out loud. No harm no foul. My innocent mental offerings were quickly diminished when my eldest child dropped a bomb.

She said, “I don’t think they let foreign exchange or foster kids live in broken homes.”

Open heart, insert knife. Instantly it hurt my soul to hear these words come from what used to be my favorite child. How dare she say our home is broken? We have a happy house. Damn it. Immediately I expressed my displeasure with her assumption that we have a broken home after I’ve worked so hard to keep everything stable and happy since the unfortunate divorce incident.

After my animated expressions of disagreement she merely laughed and told me, “Look it up. I didn’t create this myself.”

Whole heartedly wanting to prove my college age know-it-all daughter wrong I sought the wise and timeless counsel of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Online, of course. According to this source a “broken home” is described as a family in which the parents are divorced. It truly didn’t sound as bad as I took it when my daughter labeled us. Taking my research a step further I looked up the word “broken” separately.

This is where my heart took another tumble.

Broken, by official definition, means; violently separated into parts, shattered, damaged or altered by or as if breaking.

This really made me stop and reflect about my broken home. While this past year has been full of challenges, it has also been full of new happiness and peace. It has been full of change and new routine but it has not broken us. This year has taught me to be a better mother and cherish every moment I have with my daughters. Above all, this past year has taught all of us to put our faith first and our problems last.

Just because Merriam-Webster defined our home as broken it doesn’t mean that we have to live broken lives. We never have to live according to the definitions given to us by others.

As for me and my house we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15

Summit ObGyn Holds Coushatta Grand Opening

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Summit ObGyn Holds Coushatta Grand Opening

Women’s health care is now available in Coushatta through Summit ObGyn of Natchitoches. Summit held their open house on Tuesday morning. It was their first day of seeing patients in Coushatta

The team from summit will be headed by Barbara McCoy, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. Also present were Jocelyn Parker, Office Manager for Summit, Christy Holden who is the Receptionist and nurse Shrea Mitchell, NRCMA. Backing them up will be Dr. Moshood Olatinwo, MD and the Summit ObGyn staff.

McCoy told The Journal, “We are excited to be in the area providing service to the women of Red River Parish. Obstetrical care, prenatal care as well as gynecological services will be offered.”

“Prenatal patients will be seen here (in Coushatta) and in the Natchitoches office beginning at 33 weeks until the child is born,” said McCoy. She added, “We see patients by appointment every other Tuesday, beginning August 14th.”

The Summit brochure states, “The major focus at Summit ObGyn is to provide comprehensive health care to women of all ages.” This includes the area of adolescent gynecology, uro-gynecology, infertility, contraceptive care, menopausal care, prenatal care, female sexual dysfunction and high-risk obstetrics services.

McCoy said a motivating factor in bringing services in Coushatta was patient convenience. She said, “We have many patients from this area. Seeing them here will make it more convenient and eliminate the need for the drive into Natchitoches for care.”

To schedule an appointment call Summit ObGyn at 318-352-1108. More information is available at Summit will
provide services out of Dr. Coleman’s side of the Rural Health Clinic on Marvel Street.