Fireworks, Music and Family Fun!

Downtown Natchitoches’ Riverbank was the place to be to celebrate our nation’s independence Saturday, July 2. The celebration featured a concert and fireworks show giving hours of family fun at no cost.

The evening began with a local favorite, The Kelli Roberts Band. The band lived up to its reputation for high energy fun as they played a variety of songs in several genres for two solid hours before the fireworks show. Several food trucks were on hand serving local cuisine to the crowd packing the riverbank.

The fireworks show, as always, did not disappoint with its usual strong beginning and a crescendo at the end worthy of an artillery barrage. The City of Natchitoches is one of the finest fireworks venues in the USA.

Inauguration Ceremony held for Natchez Mayor, Aldermen and Chief of Police

The Village of Natchez held an Inauguration Celebration for its new Mayor, Patsy Ward Hoover; Aldermen McKinley Hoover, Sheila Johnson, and Monique Sarpy; and Chief of Police Michael Gillie Jr. on July 1.

Natchitoches Parish Clerk of Court David Stamey swore them in before friends, family, and community members. Attorney Howard Conday was Master of Ceremony and Rev. Joe Williams Sr, pastor at the Pentecostal Baptist Church in Natchez, led the invocation. Amiyah Akins and Des’lyn Hoover held up American flags as they led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance.

First Assistant District Attorney for Natchitoches Parish, Cloyd Benjamin Jr., greeted everyone in attendance and Barbara Bradley welcomed them to the event.

“It’s a new day in Natchez,” said Benjamin.

After the swearing in was complete, Earnestine Armstrong performed a moving vocal solo. The message to Pasty Ward Hoover was, “You have been faithful and true. It is your time.” Next, Natchitoches City Councilperson-at-Large Betty Smith recognized elected officials and special invited guests that were in attendance.

Then, Attorney Carmella Parker gave some words of encouragement to the newly installed officials. She said that everyone is cheering for their success as they enter their respective offices.

“You are the leaders for the moment,” she elaborated. “It’s your time.”

Natchitoches Mayor Ronnie Williams Jr. introduced the Keynote Speaker, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Gov. John Bel Edwards’ Designee for the Delta Regional Authority, Roderick Scott.

Scott said it was an honor to be a part of such a special occasion. He said that perseverance with strategic planning is key to overcoming obstacles and that in the time he’s known Hoover, he’s been fascinated by her tenacity, her work, and her compassion.

“I know that she will show up for this community [Natchez],” he added.

Hoover presented him with the keys to the Village of Natchez before she was presented with the official keys to her office by Police Chief Gillie.

Caddo Parish District 7 Commissioner and President of the Louisiana Police Jury Black Caucus Association, Stormy Gage Watts, presented Hoover with an award in appreciation and in recognition for her commitment and dedication through her years as a member of the Natchitoches Parish Council.

Hoover then presented Conday, Danny Byrd, and Lee Edgar Dumars Jr. with certificates of recognition for the work they do for the community in Natchez.

Bishop James Johnson, pastor at the Rose of Sharon Baptist Church in Natchez, blessed the food provided by Southern Quality Events Service & Beaux Brothers. Rev. Rufus Sowell, pastor at New Birth Baptist Church in Natchez, closed out the event with a benediction. Special Coordinators included Gloria Smith-Gandy, Gwendolyn Robinson, Tonia Schnyder, Rose Payton, and Camilla Parker.

“For God get the glory,” said Hoover. “I want to thank each and every one of you in Natchez for your support. I’m going to be a mayor for all the people.”

Powhatan Man Killed in Sabine Parish Crash

Louisiana State Police Troop E responded to a two-vehicle crash on July 1 at approximately 4:15 am on Louisiana Highway 6, west of Many. The crash claimed the life of 48-year-old Ronald Williams of Powhatan.

The initial investigation revealed a 2013 Lincoln MKT, driven by 22-year-old Chas B. Pilcher of Many, was eastbound on Louisiana Highway 6. For reasons still under investigation, Pilcher’s vehicle crossed the centerlines into the westbound travel lane and collided with a westbound commercial vehicle. This impact caused both vehicles to exit the roadway. The Lincoln subsequently impacted an unoccupied structure and the commercial vehicle impacted a creek ditch embankment.

Pilcher, who was restrained, sustained moderate injuries and was transported to a local hospital. Williams, who also was restrained, sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. Toxicology samples were obtained and submitted for analysis.

While the cause of this crash remains under investigation, distracted and inattentive driving continues to be a leading cause of crashes in our state. Louisiana State Police urges all motorists to stay alert while driving. A lapse in one’s awareness can have deadly consequences.

In 2022, Troop E Troopers have investigated 18 fatal crashes resulting in 19 fatalities.

Cane River Creole National Historical Park Offering Adult Painting Class

Cane River Creole National Historical Park will host a FREE painting class at Oakland Plantation on Saturday, July 23. The class will take place from 9 am to 11 am and is limited to ten participants. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 318-352-0383 x316.

Come experience painting in your park! Join professional artist Kelly Jackson at Oakland Plantation for this special free class. No painting experience is needed, and all supplies are provided. Oakland Plantation is located at 4386 Highway 494, Natchez, LA.

The grounds of Oakland and Magnolia Plantations are open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Nearly 80 original buildings remain, many open for self-guided tours including several that are historically furnished from Wednesday through Sunday. Park staff conducts tours of the plantation grounds daily Wednesday through Sunday. In addition, the park offers a cell phone tour. The Oakland Main House is open for self-guided tours from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The Magnolia Main House is privately owned and is not open to the public. For more information, please call the park at 318-352-0383, ext. 316.

OPPORTUNITY: Programming, Promotions

POSITION: Assistant – Programming & Promotions Department

DESCRIPTION: Assist in Riverbank/Beau Jardin rentals including communication with City Departments and event coordinators. Perform all clerical and administrative duties as assigned by supervisors, including answering phones, entering requisitions, mailing, copies, etc. Receive visitors and all inquiries concerning Beau Jardin, Main Street promotions, assist with the organization and maintenance of all calendars of scheduled events, websites and social media. Assist in preparation and execution of programs and promotions as needed. Applicant must be available to work nights and weekends for the execution of events as needed.

QUALIFICATIONS: High School Diploma or GED. At least 6 months experience in a clerical position is required.

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

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: Applications will be accepted through: July 15, 2022.


Goldilocks and the three churches

By Edwin Crayton/Opinion

Once upon a time, there was a pretty college freshman named Goldilocks. She was smart, and charming. Naturally, she was quite popular on campus—especially with the boys– but also with many of the girls. This meant she was invited to all the right parties and social events and had a very active dating life. She tried many new things and explored several lifestyle choices. She would drink or smoke whatever was passed around and indulged in her new freedoms the way some people indulge in a large, tasty bag of potato chips. When Goldilocks was a teen she had been warned about all this by Brad, her youth director at church, nevertheless, she ignored all that. She was free. Yet, somehow all of it left her feeling empty.
One day, she attended an event on campus and received a small Bible. She read it and the words began to fill the empty spaces in her heart. She gave her heart to Christ, accepting him as savior and Lord of her life (John 3:16, Romans 10:9-10). Goldilocks realized she needed to learn more about God and also needed to be among other believers for encouragement (Hebrews 10:25). So, she began to look for a church. And well, that is when things got interesting.

One bright Sunday morning, she got up early and headed for a well-manicured, tree-lined street known for having three large churches. One was on the far left side of the street. Another sat on the far-right side and there was one in between. She decided to visit all of them. She started with the church on the far left first. Once inside, she was surprised to notice that everything in the church was pushed to the far left: the pews, the altar, the people. It was pretty wild because the right side of the sanctuary was completely empty. The members did everything on the left. During the sermon, the pastor talked a lot about tolerance and not being judgmental. Goldilocks thought to herself “Well, they sure have judged the right side of the building.” In the Sunday School class after church, Goldilocks mentioned that she was a new Christian and that she was there to learn the truth about God. The teacher told her that it was not about “the” truth but about the truth as Goldilocks saw it—her truth. Goldilocks asked about sin and repentance and the teacher asked her, “What are those?” Goldilocks became confused. This church seemed to disregard many of the teachings and moral concepts in the Bible she was reading. Yet it was a church. It didn’t believe in hell, sin, repentance or absolute truth. It seemed in this church, there was no right or wrong. You could really just do what you wanted and still be a Christian. Everything was so far left of the Scriptures. As she walked away disillusioned, she noticed that even a statue of an angel only had a left wing.

Next Sunday, she visited the church on the far-right side of the street. Inside, everything was pushed to the far right. Goldilocks thought, “Here we go again.” While the other church seemed to think nothing was wrong, this one spoke a lot about sin and right and wrong. But even though they were accurate about their Bible concepts, they leaned right even as they worshipped. In fact, the teacher in her Sunday School class leaned so far right he actually fell over and hit the floor. Plop! There was a lot of flag waving, and political talk. In this church, like the other one, it mattered how you voted. Although they talked about America a lot, everybody in the church was the same color. And Goldilocks got the feeling they liked it that way. They served a snack after church. But Goldilocks lost her appetite when she noticed the featured item on the menu was a chicken dish of right wings.

As she walked home, Goldilocks was feeling a little down. But then, just as suddenly, she became hopeful when she remembered there was still one church left to visit. She cautiously walked to the church in between the other two. As she approached, she heard laughter. Inside, she was welcomed by a young Asian woman about her own age who hugged her and handed her a church program. Goldilocks already felt better. This was the kind of Christian love she had been reading about in the Bible. The sermon was inspiring and Goldilocks remembered the references from her own reading. There was no obsession with politics, left or right. The members were not all one color. They talked about serving God and reaching lost people here and abroad. In fact, afterwards, they went out to hand out spiritual literature and witness in a shopping center. Her Sunday School class talked about giving out lunches to needy families. But most impressive of all, the church reminded her of the first churches as described in the Bible. In those churches, people focused on salvation. They worked hard to spread the Gospel to people who did not know Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20). They pooled their money to do the work God commanded: feeding the poor, evangelizing, and building up the kingdom, sacrificing in order to build good churches that trained members in strong doctrine and godly living. Goldilocks reflected on it all, “Wow! The first church she had visited was too far left. The second one was too far right. But this one was just right!” She appreciated the fact that this church was not part of some culture war. They knew the real war is a spiritual war between God and Satan. In this war, the devil is trying to deceive people into disobeying God so they will suffer eternal damnation. By contrast, God’s followers are sharing the gospel so people can be saved (Ephesians 6:12). In the third church, the teaching and preaching were strictly from a biblical viewpoint. She felt she was hearing from God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The church did not fashion itself after worldly ideas of morality and boldly taught against the current spread of immorality. At this church, Jesus was not just savior but lord. They didn’t try to give Christianity a patriotic slant, or a liberal slant, or black or white slant or a gay (LGBT) slant, or a feminist slant. They let the Bible speak for itself.

Right away, Goldilocks began to think of who she could invite. Many of her friends on campus were struggling with moral and spiritual issues. There was Little Red Riding Hood who had the weird habit of hanging out with wolves who dressed up like grandmothers. And Jack who had the expensive habit of selling valuable livestock for a handful of beans.
The moral? Jesus wanted his followers in the first churches to influence the world so whoever accepted him as savior and lord would be saved (Matthew 28:19-20). But unfortunately, just the opposite happened. The world influenced the church and this corrupted many churches and hindered the work of reaching out to the lost. Yet, some churches did remain faithful and became pathways for the salvation of the lost. Such churches are still being built. Goldilocks found one. There is one for each of us. If you feel you need to find such a church, call upon God in the name of Jesus and ask him to lead you to the body of believers he has prepared for you (Mark 11:22-24).

As for fairy tale endings, God promised something much better: an opportunity for all who surrender their lives to Christ to live happily ever after in heaven for an eternity.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
-Jesus in Matthew 11:28

Look for this opinion article at least twice monthly in the Journal.

Painting class to be held July 7 and 28

Northwestern State University’s Office of Electronic and Continuing Education will offer a Pick Up Your Brush painting class on July 7 and 28 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the second floor of South Hall. The fee is $45 per session. Each class is a separate session.

In the class, participants will learn the art of painting using step-by-step instructions to create a masterpiece. Students will take home a completed painting at the end of every class. On July 7, participants will create a painting called “Watermelon.” On July, they will paint “Barn Floral.” No special or prior skills are required. Children ages 7 – 12 years old are allowed to enroll, but a parent must accompany the child the entire class. The parent does not have to enroll unless they participate. All supplies are included.

For more information or to register for classes, call (800) 376-2422 or (318) 357-6355.

LDH surveillance finding high numbers of mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus

The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) has received reports of West Nile virus present in more than 175 mosquito pools this year, a number much higher than last year at this time, when 13 pools tested positive.

The high number of positive cases in the pool samples means there is a greater risk of West Nile virus spreading to humans. The Office of Public health is urging the public to take protective measures against mosquito bites.

West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes and can cause illness in people and animals. While 80% of human cases are asymptomatic, many people can develop West Nile Fever. Symptoms of West Nile Fever, which is a flu-like illness, can include fever, headache, body aches, nausea or rashes.

A small percentage of people sickened by West Nile Virus can develop a severe form of infection called West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease or West Nile Encephalitis, which can result in hospitalization and death. Symptoms can include high fever, stiff neck, disorientation, muscle weakness, numbness, coma and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks and carry the risk of death or permanent brain damage.

While anyone is at risk of developing severe disease, individuals with pre-existing medical conditions and those who are over 60 years of age are at a greater risk. The number of West Nile Neuroinvasive Disease cases fluctuates each year due to many environmental factors and the weather, with previous case counts in Louisiana ranging between 4 and 204 cases each year.

“Now is the time to start protecting yourself from mosquito bites and eliminating mosquito breeding sites around your home,” said LDH State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter. “We’re getting early warning signs from our Mosquito Abatement District samples across the state that West Nile Virus could result in higher case counts among humans this summer.”

There are many ways to protect yourself from mosquito bites:

If you will be outside, you should wear EPA-registered approved mosquito repellent and always follow product label instructions.
Apply repellent on exposed skin and clothing, but do not apply under your clothes or on broken skin.
If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.
To protect yourself from being exposed to mosquitos while indoors, make sure that windows and doors are tight-fitting, and that all screens are free of holes.

You should also take measures to protect your home from mosquitoes:

Reduce the mosquito population by eliminating standing water around your home, which is where mosquitoes breed.

Dispose of tin cans, ceramic pots and other unnecessary containers that have accumulated on your property that may collect water. Turn over wheelbarrows, plastic wading pools, buckets, trash cans, children’s toys or anything that could collect water.

Drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers. If a recycling container has holes on the sides, there is still room for the container to collect water for mosquitoes to breed, so holes should be added on the bottom if not already present.

Check and clean roof gutters routinely. Clogged gutters can produce millions of mosquitoes each season.

Water gardens and ornamental pools can become major mosquito producers if they are allowed to stagnate. Take steps to prevent stagnation, such as adding fish or aeration.

Clean and chlorinate swimming pools that are not being used. A swimming pool that is left untended by a family for a little as a month can produce enough mosquitoes to result in neighborhood-wide complaints.

Be aware that mosquitoes may even breed in the water that collects on swimming pool covers.
Contact local mosquito abatement districts to report problem mosquito areas.

NSU places 107 on SLC Spring Commissioner’s Honor Roll

NSU spring graduates receive their student-athlete stoles alongside NSU president Dr. Marcus Jones, athletics director Kevin Bostian and academic services personnel Taylor McFall (assistant AD for student-athlete development) and Patrick Peterson (academic coordinator).

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State placed 107 student-athletes on the 2022 Southland Conference Commissioner’s Spring Honor Roll with six of seven programs showing an increase in the percentage of awardees from one year ago.

NSU’s total tied it for the fifth-most honorees in the Southland Conference and its 63.7 percent placement rate on the honor roll was an improvement of more than six percent from the previous spring.

Men’s and women’s basketball are included in the spring honor roll along with baseball, softball, men’s and women’s track and field and tennis.

The Southland Conference regular-season champion tennis team placed all eight members on the honor roll for the third straight year, including four with 4.0 GPAs — Ayu Ishibashi, Mariella Minetti, Patrycja Polanska and Viktorie Wojcikova.

Softball placed 19 of its 24 players on the honor roll, and its 79.2 percent placement was second behind tennis’ 100 percent mark. The Lady Demons also had four student-athletes post perfect 4.0 GPAs – Maggie Black, Makenzie Chaffin, Alexis Perry and recently chosen Steve McCarty Citizenship Award winner Bronte Rhoden.

The Demon baseball team had the most student-athletes with a 4.0 GPA as eight hit that mark – Josh Banes, Drayton Brown, Larson Fontenot, Will Hine, Hayden Knotts, Mason Langdon, Alex Makarewich and Cam Sibley. The Demons placed 77.5 percent of their 40-player roster on the honor roll.

The Demon basketball team saw three of its seven honor roll members collect a 4.0 – Kendal Coleman, Stavros Polatoglou and Jackson Waggoner.

Janiel Moore, Taylor Shaw and Karlyn Trahan posted perfect GPAs for NSU women’s track and field, which saw 18 of its 27 competitors post at least a 3.0 grade point average.

Eight women’s basketball players earned inclusion on the annual honor roll, which recognizes student-athletes who produce at least a 3.0 grade point average in the semester of competition.

Photo: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services

Lions Club feeds campers, supports Lions Camp

Natchitoches Lions Club members cooked meat pies for 80 campers and staff at the Lion’s camp in Anacoco. The Natchitoches Lions would like to thank the Natchitoches Meat Pie Company for donating the meat pies. After the meal the club presented camp director Ray Cecil with a check for $4,650.

Pictured are Micheal Gianonne, Ellen Mathis, President Vallery Washington, Past President Sara Gianonne, Ray Cecil and Mimi Stoker. We serve!

Notice of Death – July 4, 2022

Laura Hope Harlan Boles
March 24, 1960 – June 28, 2022
Service: Saturday, July 23 at 1 pm at First Baptist Church of Natchitoches

Audrey Rachal Gallien
April 4, 1933 – July 1, 2022
Service: Thursday, July 7 at 2 pm at Holy Cross Catholic Church

Lana Frank Scott
July 2, 2022
Service: Wednesday, July 6 at 11:30 am at The Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception

Jack Craig
December 21, 1972 – June 25, 2022
Service: Wednesday, July 6 at 10 am at St. Joseph Catholic Church

Sammy Ray Foote
November 9, 1975 – June 30, 2022
Service: Wednesday, July 6 at 1 pm at Warren Meadows Funeral Home Chapel

Johnnie Little
July 4, 2022
Arrangements TBA

CVB Attends Jefferson Highway Association Conference

Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Arlene Gould and Groups & Tourism Sales Manager Leanna Coy recently attended the Jefferson Highway Association Conference in Pittsburg, Kansas.

The Jefferson Highway, originally created in 1915, traverses 17 parishes in Louisiana on its route from Winnipeg, Canada to New Orleans and was the country’s first intercontinental highway. The Highway passes through Natchitoches via Hwy. 71 to Hwy. 6/University Parkway, turns onto Jefferson Street, continues along Front Street to Washington Street, and then down Hwy. 6 East toward Montgomery.

The highway is still being celebrated by the Jefferson Highway Association, a group working to identify, preserve, interpret, and improve access to the Jefferson Highway and its associated sites. The Association held their annual conference in Pittsburg, Kansas on June 1-4. Natchitoches was host to the annual conference in 2019.

Gould and Coy participated in the conference sessions, a bus tour along the Jefferson Highway, and an awards banquet where the Natchitoches CVB received recognition for creating a Jefferson Highway promotional brochure highlighting sites, events and historic hotels along the Highway throughout the state of Louisiana. The brochures are available in the Natchitoches Visitor Center on Front Street.

Gould was re-elected to the JHA Board of Directors for a second term. She is currently assisting with two projects including identifying historic lodging along the Highway and state associations within the JHA.

“It is a great honor and pleasure to serve as a board member for the JHA,” said Gould, “and to be recognized for the brochure showcasing the historic highway route, not just in Natchitoches, but for all of Louisiana. Special credit goes to the Natchitoches CVB staff who embraced the Jefferson Highway as another tourism product our city and state has to offer our locals and visitors.”

To learn more about the Jefferson Highway Association and Natchitoches’ history on the Highway, visit

Photo: Arlene Gould & Leanna Coy

Natchitoches Parish Needs a New Pet Adoption Center and Animal Shelter!

The Parish’s two main animal welfare organizations, Hope for Paws and The Natchitoches Humane Society, are joining forces for a worthy cause – the building of a pet adoption center and animal shelter. This worthy goal was the theme behind an informational meeting held at the LSMSA auditorium Thursday, June 30 (See Documents Attached)

The meeting, attended by over 50 people as well as State Senator Bernard, Parish President Richmond, Mayor Williams, Police Chief Collins, and several other city and parish officials began with a presentation describing the present situation in the city and parish animal shelters. The most prominent statistic was that the national kill rate in animal shelters is 17%, while Natchitoches parish is at 55%. The presentation also showed the conditions inside the shelters which are far below current standards.

The presentation described the current efforts undertaken by the volunteers of the two organizations in rescuing, fostering, and finding homes for animals throughout the city and parish. Last year, the two groups rescued 554 animals. Unfortunately, not all found homes.

The members and leadership of the two organizations realized that the situation could not go on as is. They decided to combine the two groups into a single new organization, FAUNA or Friends All United Natchitoches Animals. Their goal is to have the new organization up and running in the next five years. Members of the new group are looking to a Pet Adoption Center and Animal Shelter in Marshall, TX as an example. The Marshall center is state of the art and is a low kill shelter. Natchitoches’ designation as a high kill shelter takes it out of the running for many grants and funding opportunities. The name of Pet Adoption Center, as opposed to animal shelter, also shows a shift in thinking, emphasizing the mission of finding new homes for the animals in their care.

Lastly, the presentation listed action steps to achieve the goal of a new Pet Adoption Center for our parish and city’s abandoned animals, such as donations and contacting elected officials.

Wrapping Up Key Moments in Bass Fishing History

By Steve Graf

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve looked at the history of tournament bass fishing and how far the sport has evolved. Today, we’ll wrap it up with the big move that helped take tournament bass fishing to another level….prime time TV coverage.

In October of 2004, ESPN announced a new brand of outdoors TV coverage called “BassCenter.” It was a new half hour show dedicated to B.A.S.S. and professional bass fishing. This was the shot in the arm that the sport needed! For years, bass tournament coverage was only seen on outdoor channels or on the internet. But this was prime time TV coverage that most Americans had never really been exposed to. What a perfect fit for ESPN, which already had a built-in outdoors audience. Other shows dedicated to the new ESPN Outdoors programming were “Loudmouth Bass,” “Bass Tech,” and “Bassmaster University,” which brought in professional anglers to give their expertise with tips and tactics for catching bass.

Other networks soon followed like Fox Sports (FS1) with Saturday morning prime time coverage. Then in August of 2010, a group of investors led by the legendary Jerry McKinnis (host of the ESPN’s 2ndlongest-running show,) along with Don Logan and Jim Copeland, bought B.A.S.S. LLC. This purchase paved the way for more angler/sponsor exposure and encouraged top name brand sponsors to get behind the programming. Suddenly, bass fishing was popular and pro anglers became household names…names like Skeet Reece, Kevin Van Dam, Gerald Swindle, Mike Iaconelli, the late Aaron Martens and too many more to mention. Of course, with TV promotions came big money as tournament payouts went up from $25,000 to $50,000 for a win, to $100,000 and as high as $300,000 for a Bassmaster Classic or MLF Redcrest Cup win.

Today’s anglers and the sport of bass fishing has come a long way from the days of parking lot weigh-ins and good ol’ boys looking for bragging rights. Now they have major sponsors like Toyota, General Tires, Yeti Coolers, Academy Sports, Berkley, and Mercury/Yamaha Engines to name a few. These days, tournament weigh-ins are held in sold out arenas and convention centers with drive through weigh-ins. Today’s anglers are borderline rock stars with their sponsor wrapped trucks and boats. But with all the fame and fortune comes obligations and commitments, as anglers are pulled in every direction from doing commercial spots to speaking engagements. These guys make a lot of family sacrifices as they are on the road for weeks at a time. Being a professional bass fisherman today is tough and is a job like no other. It takes dedication and hard work to make a career out of bass fishing. The fishing part for many of these anglers is a welcome break from all the other things that go into being a professional angler. Today’s angler must be a great salesman and an organized businessman. He must have great communications skills and the ability to speak in public.

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking into the history of bass fishing. It’s obvious that the sport has evolved and come a long way from a dream that Ray Scott (founder of B.A.S.S.) had back in the 1960’s. So, if you’re looking to follow in the footsteps of today’s professional anglers, be prepared for long hours and hard work, because it’s no longer just a fun day at the lake. Till next time, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to set the hook!

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

Natchitoches 14U State Champions

The Natchitoches 14U All Star team, Set Apart, won the USSSA State Championship in Slidell on Father’s Day weekend. The team went undefeated 4-0 in the heat led by coaches Aaron Procell and Nick Smith. The team will be competing in the National Division All Star World Series July 12-17 in Chalmette.

Pictured on back row from left to right: Coach Nick Smith, Brayden Guilliams, Jackson Smith, Max Hines, Gavin Hoffpauir, Grayson Jordan, Walkerton Kiracofe, Max Wardell, Sam Cade, and Coach Aaron Procell. On front row are Semaj Thomas, Chalin Gandy, Ryan Procell, and Mason Britain.

Sydney Jones named Deputy AD for Business and Finance/SWA

Northwestern State has named Sydney Jones its new Deputy Athletic Director for Business and Finance and its Senior Woman Administrator.

Jones comes to NSU from soon-to-be fellow Southland Conference member Texas A&M-Commerce where she spent the past five months as the department’s Senior Associate Athletic Director for business services and SWA.

Jones’ hiring is subject to approval of the Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana System, which governs Northwestern State University.

“First and foremost, the leadership and personnel from top to bottom make this a really exciting team to join,” Jones said. “With (Director of Athletics) Kevin (Bostian) being in his first couple of months he’s forward-thinking and focused on getting tasks across the finish line which is advantageous. I’m excited to join this team and get some of those bigger goals accomplished.

“Northwestern State is an all-hands-on-deck institution. All personnel work hard and are committed to the bigger picture for the overall department. That was really enticing for me.”

Jones will serve as the chief financial officer for Northwestern State athletics as well as the department’s SWA.

“In a short period of time, Sydney Jones has made her mark as a college athletics administrator,” Bostian said. “Throughout the hiring process, she impressed our committee with her presence and command of what we expect. Adding someone with Sydney’s skill set and abilities makes our department stronger. Her ability to relate to our student-athletes through her experiences as a college athlete will benefit them during their time here at Northwestern State.”

A four-year softball letter winner at Nevada, Jones brings myriad career experiences to Northwestern State.

Jones was the Director of Procurement and Contracting at the United States Air Force Academy before moving to Texas A&M-Commerce. While at Air Force, Jones had oversight of purchasing, procurement and game guarantees while developing and maintaining key relationships with internal and external shareholders. She also played important roles in improving Air Force’s athletic facilities, construction projects, policy analysis and reform.

While at Texas A&M-Commerce, Jones was a key part of the transition team for the Lions’ July 1 move to the Southland Conference.

In addition to her time at Texas A&M-Commerce, Jones was the Assistant Director of Athletics for External Operations and Development/SWA at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. While at LMU, Jones was responsible for developing and implementing fundraising initiatives, had oversight of fiscal management and procurement, assisted with compliance and had sport supervisory roles for softball, women’s volleyball and beach volleyball. Additionally, Jones was an adjunct professor of sport management classes in the LMU school of business.

Jones also brings experience in the legal realm of minor league baseball with roles involving contract negotiation and interpretation as well as player representation.

As an undergraduate at Nevada, Jones served as a representative on the school’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council while earning her degree in political science and economics in 2015. During her time at Nevada, Jones interned with the Nevada State Senate and Political Caucus.

She earned her Juris Doctorate degree from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, focusing on sport and entertainment law, in 2018. Jones was a Sports Law Fellow, was honored by the World of Sports Law in 2017 and won the Am Jur Award for Sports Law and Analytics in 2018.

Here’s some family history I’m proud to share

I grew up in the hills of north Louisiana not knowing until much later that not too far back in my lineage was a rather famous relative, long-time state Superintendent of Education, Thomas H. Harris.

I have a vague memory of meeting him as a youngster when “Uncle Tom” came to visit his older brother, Ausie, who was my grandfather.

A book given to me by a dear friend and former co-worker, Rae Tatum Malone, is one of my prized possessions, “The Memoirs of T.H. Harris.” In this book he tells of his 32 years as Superintendent of Education but also talks about his growing up years on a 250-acre farm in the Arizona community of Claiborne Parish located between Homer and Lisbon.

One of the most shocking bits of news he revealed in the book was the fact that Thomas H. Harris was not his real name. Here’s how he describes it….”My name is not Thomas H. Harris, but Lee Marcus Harris. The name by which I have been known all my life developed as follows: When I was about three days old, my next older brother, Ausie, three years of age at the time, was invited to inspect his baby brother. Ausie looked me over and said, ‘Little Tom.” And Tom I was thenceforth and forever.” The middle initial “H.,” which stands for nothing, was added later.

When my job transferred me to Homer in 1964, my memories of my Great Uncle Tom were vague at best. I was more interested in squirrel hunting on Middle Fork, deer hunting with

Bill Bailey and his hounds around Summerfield or fishing in the brand-new Lake Claiborne. I was to learn later that a goodly portion of the land inundated by the popular lake was acreage on which my grandfather and his more famous brother grew up.

I was also aware that the community of Langston south of Homer had been renamed in honor of my great uncle. It is now known as the Harris community with a school there, a school that is now a church encampment, the Harris Baptist Encampment.

Scores of college students down through the years have had at least a portion of their tuition paid for by being recipients of the T.H. Harris Scholarship. I regret missing out on that honor; I was having too much fun with college life to have qualifying grades.

Buildings on college campuses around the state today are named after my great uncle. In Grambling, for example, you’ll find the T.H. Harris Auditorium, constructed in 1960.

When I received word that a memorial plaque was to be erected in honor of Uncle Tom, I wanted to see it. Recently, my sister and I motored up to Homer to see if we could find it, and we did. Located along Highway 2 between Homer and Lisbon, the marker sits within two miles of where T.H. Harris and my grandfather grew up. We also found another marker along Arizona Road marking the site of the Arizona Academy from which he graduated.

This column, I realize, is not my usual outdoors related missive. It has little to do with my coverage of hunting and fishing experiences.

I may not have many famous kin but it is gratifying to know that I had one, and even had the honor of my grandfather naming him. Lee Marcus just doesn’t have the same ring as “little Tom.”

OPPORTUNITY: Programming, Promotions

POSITION: Assistant – Programming & Promotions Department

DESCRIPTION: Assist in Riverbank/Beau Jardin rentals including communication with City Departments and event coordinators. Perform all clerical and administrative duties as assigned by supervisors, including answering phones, entering requisitions, mailing, copies, etc. Receive visitors and all inquiries concerning Beau Jardin, Main Street promotions, assist with the organization and maintenance of all calendars of scheduled events, websites and social media. Assist in preparation and execution of programs and promotions as needed. Applicant must be available to work nights and weekends for the execution of events as needed.

QUALIFICATIONS: High School Diploma or GED. At least 6 months experience in a clerical position is required.

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

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: Applications will be accepted through: July 15, 2022.


NSU Calendar for July 3 – 9

Here is a look at the week of July 3-9 at Northwestern State University.

July 3-9 – Registration for fall semester

July 4 – University closed for Independence Day holiday

July 5 — University reopens after Independence Day holiday

July 5 – Start of second 4-week summer session

July 7 – Freshman Connection, Natchitoches campus