Jury finds NRMC liable for death of Former Natchitoches Parish Tax Assessor

Staff Writer

A Natchitoches Parish jury found The Natchitoches Regional Medial Center dba The Courtyard of Natchitoches liable for the wrongful death of former Natchitoches Parish Tax Assessor Mrs. Fern Perot. The Courtyard of Natchitoches is operated by the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center. The jury awarded Mrs. Perot’s family $1.685 million in damages.

The jury awarded $970,000.00 for the pain and suffering sustained by Mrs. Perot prior to her death and approximately $115,000.00 in medical bills. The jury also awarded $200,000 to each of her three sons for the loss of their mother.

On March 15, 2016 Mrs. Perot sustained a broken hip while a resident at the Courtyard. She passed away a little more than 2 months later.

The Courtyard initially denied knowing how Mrs. Perot suffered her injury. However, video evidence was found showing that she had fallen because an employee of the nursing home had improperly removed her wheelchair from her room in violation of her doctor’s order. The same employee found Mrs. Perot on the floor but failed to notify her doctor or alert the nursing staff. Mrs. Fern was put back into her bed where she stayed for almost 15 hours until a nurse discovered her injury, and she was transferred to the hospital. Mrs. Fern underwent hip surgery but eventually passed away on May 23, 2016. The jury found that her death was caused in part by her broken hip.

The jury found The Courtyard 100% at fault for causing Mrs. Perot’s death, rejecting The Courtyard’s argument that Mrs. Perot was at fault for causing her own death.

The Perot Family was represented by the Dunahoe Law Firm. The Natchitoches Parish Journal reached out to the Dunahoe Law Firm for comment on the jury’s verdict and received the following statement:

“The Perot Family does not wish to discuss the facts of the case. The jury’s verdict speaks for itself. Our clients would like to thank the Judge and her staff for their extremely hard work ensuring all parties received a fair trial.

The Perot’s would especially like to thank the members of the jury for providing justice to their mother. Mrs. Fern Perot lived and served in our community for almost her entire life, raising 4 children and filling the lives of numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren with love.

Just as important to the Perot Family, the 12 members of the jury sent a clear statement that the senior citizens of this parish must be treated with dignity and respect by nursing homes that operate in our community. The Perot Family hopes the jury’s verdict will result in better care for senior citizens who reside in nursing homes in our parish. Maybe something good can come from the suffering Mrs. Fern endured if the jury’s verdict prevents someone else’s parent or grandparent from being mistreated. That would be a fitting tribute to Mrs. Fern.”

The Natchitoches Parish Journal did contact one of the Jurors, Laura Thomas, and she provided the following statement:

“This past week I served jury duty. I often hear people grumble and complain about jury duty and during jury selection there were a lot of people complaining and trying to get out of it. Here’s the thing, our justice system, both criminal and civil, no matter how flawed is better than in most other countries and a jury of your peers is a huge factor in that.

I was honored to serve with the 11 other jurors and 2 alternates. We took our duty seriously and I sincerely hope that our verdict gave some measure of comfort to those involved. Our verdict couldn’t undo what was done and could never ease their pain and suffering but it is my sincerest hope that as a result no other families will have to experience this type of treatment.”

The Natchitoches Parish Journal did reach out to Kirk Soileau, CEO of NRMC, but received no response by the time of publication.

2021 Natch Leadership Through Athletics

By Kevin Shannahan

Kevin’s Gallery

Natchitoches’ Leadership Through Athletics Committee Awards Ceremony Celebrates Five Years of Recognizing Excellence On and Off the Field!

A standing room only crowd of family, coaches and well-wishers gathered Saturday, May 15 at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum to celebrate Natchitoches’ rich legacy of athletic prowess as the Natchitoches Leadership Through Athletics Committee honored standout student athletes from each high school in the parish. Natchitoches Mayor Ronnie Williams was the keynote speaker.

The awards ceremony, now in its fifth year, featured awards in each sport named after an athlete from our parish who excelled at that sport and in life. It is a superb way to honor those who went before us and recognize the generation that is picking up the torch from them.

The Natchitoches Leadership Through Athletics Committee is a dedicated group of local educators, citizens and leaders who saw a need to recognize and encourage the excellence displayed by young people in athletics and in the classroom. It was a joy to see young people from all over the parish being rewarded for their performance on – and off – the field. We look forward to next year.

We would also like to extend our congratulations to the parish’s high school athletes and wish them all the best in the next phase of their lives. Well done ladies and gentlemen!

The Natchitoches Parish Journal is donating the event photography. The athletes and their families are welcome to download any they wish.

Natchitoches Parish Fire District 4 Mourns Loss of Firefighter BJ Miller

It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Natchitoches Parish Fire District 4 Firefighter BJ Miller, who passed away at the age of 22. BJ was the son of Fire Chief Bryan Miller, and had been a member of our department since he turned 18.

BJ was an inspiration to all who knew him, he had been diagnosed as a teenager with heart failure and was required to wear an LVAD heart assist device at all times, yet he remained a dedicated member of the department, attending and supporting as many department functions and trainings as possible.

A kind and compassionate man, BJ’s legacy will live on through organ and tissue donations. This generous decision, the gift of life, will touch countless others as the quality of the recipients’ lives and their families will be tremendously improved.

Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with Chief Miller and his family.

Visitation and Funeral services will be scheduled for later this week.

Popular Natchitoches Chef Wins Big at Memphis in May

Staff Writer

When you think of Memphis, you surely think of barbecue. Teams travel from all over the United States and several different countries entered just to be a contender in the world renowned, “Memphis in May” Barbecue Cooking Contest. Teams compete in three different categories. Whole Hog, shoulder and rib. If you win at this level, you have lifelong bragging rights as a World Champion and confirmation from a panel of experts that your BBQ is indeed legit.

The intimidatingly large-scale event did not deter Sweetie’s Barbecue from joining a team that consisted of James Cruse from Central City BBQ out of New Orleans and Bluff City Smokers.

Local and regional favorite, Daryl “Sweetie” Walker has been on the competition scene for many years and never imagined his dreams would come true like this. Cooking has always been his passion and when he is not competing or catering, he can be found cooking for his own family or cooking for the community at large. He is a huge supporter of the community and believes in giving back every chance he gets.

Walker knew that they had utilized every bit of talent they had and turned in an amazing product to the judges. This was confirmed when they were named as a finalist in the competition. Prayers were being said as the suspense was building throughout the day. As the runners up were mentioned, their excitement grew until Walker’s team was named as first place in the Rib Division, World Champions.

Walker’s biggest supporter is his wife, Letrisha Walker, who was on hand to video the winning results for the team.

“I thank God for this opportunity, I feel blessed and highly favored. I also feel like Natchitoches was well represented in Memphis this week. We had a dream team,” said Walker. Walker plans to continue honing his craft and see where the path leads him. He also plans to stay humble and grateful in the wake of this huge win.

The Memphis in May Festival did not happen in 2020 due to Covid-19 but was well attended and had a highly anticipated return this year.

LSU-The Path Forward

By Kevin Shannahan/Opinion

There are times when reading the news lately, that one knows, just knows, that the article accurately describes an event because no satirist could possibly conceive of something that craptacular. Such was the case when I read in the news that the president of the University of South Carolina had resigned, a resignation initially refused and later accepted, after giving what had to be the worst commencement speech in recent history. This fiasco touches upon Louisiana in that there was a concern that the recently hired LSU president and current provost of the University of South Carolina, Dr. William Tate, IV, was to be lured away from LSU to serve as president in South Carolina.

I was thinking about that as I leaned back in my recliner for some deep contemplation………

“Newsflash! In a surprise move, the Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors chose Dr. Kevin Shannahan (Doctor of Inhumane Letters in Curmudgeonly Arts) as the new president of LSU. Below is Dr. Shannahan’s statement upon his swearing in.”

Good afternoon. I would like to begin my tenure by returning to first principles before anything else. Louisiana State University is just that, a university, and a public one. We are entrusted by the people of Louisiana with their tax dollars and more importantly, their trust. We are also entrusted with their sons and daughters, their grandchildren, and their hopes for the future. They send them in the hopes that their children’s lives will be a bit better than theirs and their grandchildren’s better yet. That trust is a heavy responsibility and will underlie every action I take as president. What this university is not, or sadly is, but should not be, will also be a focus of my administration. LSU is a university; it is not a farm team for the NFL or NBA. I will touch upon more of this later, but for the moment, rest assured that the only “strong ass offers” that will be made by our athletic department will be for the chance to play a sport at LSU and receive an education.

We are Louisiana State University, a university meant to serve every corner of our state from New Orleans to Lake Providence, from Plain Dealing to Plaquemine. For all too long, we have ill served the poor rural areas and poor urban areas of our state. Our coaches scour Louisiana for athletic talent where it may be found, but there is nowhere near the same intensity shown for high school kids from our poorer areas who are not Division I prospects. That will stop and it will stop now.

LSU is uniquely positioned to bring equity of opportunity to every corner of our state. Each parish in Louisiana has an LSU AG Extension office. We have a statewide footprint unequalled by any other educational institution in the state. We will expand that resource. I will sit down with not only our education department, but our departments in mathematics, the arts and sciences, languages, and the liberal arts. We will then meet with public school superintendents across the state to ascertain their needs and see where we can assist. LSU’s Ag Extension offices will host ACT/SAT and PSAT preparation classes for our state’s poorer children on a par with private tutoring. LSU will have the offices hosting PSAT tests with an eye to increasing the number of National Merit Scholarship winners. Every year, the newspapers print the semi-finalist, finalists, and winners of National Merit Scholarships. They are inevitably from the same pool of wealthier schools. LSU can, and will, can bring the same quality of instruction to every corner of our state.

LSU will relentlessly pursue academic excellence. We will, as of tomorrow, start preparing LSU students for Rhodes, Truman, Marshall and other prestigious academic awards. LSU will have at least one student earn a Rhodes Scholarship within the next 5 years.

I have read in the news that a former coach allegedly had a “look” he insisted on having his female staff possess. I will not go into the sordid details, but rest assured that the “look” I insist upon our staff having is that of intelligence, competence, and hard work. Those are the attributes I expect. I will not allow anything or anyone to compromise the dignity of the students entrusted to us.

Starting next signing season, every LSU athlete will have to be eligible for regular admission. There will be no special admissions. Nor will we corrupt a program intended to aid desegregation by admitting a number of students who do not meet regular admission standards by using it to admit athletes belonging to minority groups. This university will no longer be complicit in the cynical abuse of student athletes who have been valued all their lives for nothing beyond their athletic ability.

Louisiana is a poor state that faces many challenges. Louisiana State University will do everything in its power to make our state a better place to live. Let us get to work! Thank you.


The City of Natchitoches announces there will be a joint press conference Monday, May 17 at 2 p.m. at the Natchitoches Council Chambers, located at 716 Second Street, Natchitoches, Louisiana.

Mayor Ronnie Williams and Parish President John Richmond will address the citizens of Natchitoches Parish on local emergency preparedness efforts as the Atlantic Hurricane Season begins June 1st. It ends Nov. 30th.

Mayor Williams stated, “I took the oath of office only two days before Hurricane Laura. I assume Laura looms ominously in our memory, and history will forever record it as one of the most devastating storms in Louisiana’s history to have made landfall. An event such as this helps to make one keenly aware of the necessity to strategically plan for the next natural disaster. As one emergency professional noted, ‘The most effective way to prepare for any emergency is to prepare for it before it happens.’ That’s precisely why I am asking members every household in Natchitoches to develop a plan that will adequately prepare their family for the next big natural disaster.”

“May 9th -15th is National Hurricane Preparedness Week, and now more than ever, Natchitoches Parish residents realize how vulnerable we are to increased storm frequency and intensity,” Richmond concurred. “Hurricanes Laura and Delta did damage to structures, timber, roads, drainage structures, bridges and our electrical infrastructure. Along with the ice storm earlier in 2021 that caused significant damage to our water systems, we have all learned that while the people of Natchitoches Parish are resilient, our infrastructure is not as resilient as it should be.”

The City of Natchitoches’ IT Department has, with consultation from public safety professionals on both the City and Parish levels, added an Emergency Preparedness section to the City’s website that chronicles how residents can establish a “game-plan” for emergency situations.

“We should all be preparing for storms we hope do not come, and planning for recovery efforts we hope are not needed. I encourage every resident of Natchitoches Parish to prepare by ensuring you have an adequate supply of drinking water, non-perishable food items and medications. You should also have a plan for those family members who may have medical conditions that require powered medical devices or require medical respiratory equipment,” Richmond said.

Additionally, the City has partnered with Regroup, a mass notification messaging service, to help the administration disseminate information more seamlessly to residents during times of crises. “To that end, I am encouraging every resident to download the Regroup app to bolster the flow of information during both emergency and non-emergency circumstances,” Williams said.

Richmond added, “Perhaps the most important part of any preparedness plan is communication. Know the projected path of all storms and communicate this information to others. Make sure all cell phones are charged, and that you communicate often with those friends, relatives and neighbors who may need your assistance during a difficult time.”

“Furthermore, everyone should take advantage of the Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday which is set for May 30-31 to purchase disaster preparedness supplies in preparation for potential emergencies,” said Williams.

Instructions will be provided to citizens on how to sign up for the mass notification messaging service during the press conference as well as at www.natchitochesla.gov.

Call 911 for any medical emergency needs, and call (318) 357-7850 for any other emergency related issues in the parish such as downed power lines, flooding, road and bridge issues.

For more information on Regroup or emergency conditions in the City, contact the Mayor’s office at (318) 352-2772.

Our resiliency comes from our care for each other, and our strength comes from our desire to make tomorrow better than today. Let’s work together to do our part to strengthen our parish before, during and after every storm.

Natchitoches Magnet School Announces New PreK and Kindergarten Programs

Natchitoches Magnet School excitedly announces updates for the 2021-2022 school year. Natchitoches Magnet is a free, public school serving grades PreK-8th. Principal Stephonie French describes Natchitoches Magnet as a school where teachers, administrators and staff model life-long learning and living for their students. “We strive to grow people that are ready to excel in high school, college, and life!” She says, “We learn a lot, and we have found some pretty fun ways to do it.” Research-based teaching strategies and age-appropriate technology drive student success. Once accepted into Magnet, students never need to reapply as long as they maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher, meet behavior requirements, and (starting in 3rd grade) score a basic or above on the LEAP state assessment.

Families can apply now for the 2021-2022 school year. There are spots available in all grades! Go to the school webpage:  npsb.la/natchitoches-magnet-school

Application – Click Here

Submit questions and completed applications to mangetadmissions@nat.k12.la.us. Paper applications can be dropped off at the school, located at 800 Koonce Street.

Families who would like their PreK-aged child to attend Magnet must submit an application to the school. The application to Magnet is separate from the 2021-2022 Early Childhood application created by the Natchitoches Parish School Board. However, the screener that we will use to determine admittance is the same screener that every PreK child in the district will receive. The screener is based on developmentally appropriate skills for children at that age. More information on what skills will be tested will be on our website by May 1st.

Magnet administration is starting to schedule screenings for Pre-K and Kindergarten children. Testing for applicants entering grades 1-8 will be June 4th.

If you have submitted an online application for any grade and you have not received a confirmation email within 48 hours, please call the school at 357-1252. Come join the Mustang family!


Lakeview Jr./Sr. High School 2021 Band Accomplishments

On May 11, 2021, the Lakeview Jr. & Sr. High School Band celebrated their achievements at an awards banquet that was held at 11:00 a.m. in the school’s multipurpose room. Mrs. Sherry Helm’s culinary arts students provided a delicious meal for the celebration.

Lakeview band students who participated in the 2021 LMEA District II Large Ensemble Performance Assessment were honored with certificates of participation. This school year, due to Covid-19 restrictions, most school concert bands submitted audio recordings for adjudication instead of live performances. Lakeview received Division I ratings from all three judges and will be receiving a Superior plaque for their virtual performance. This is the sixth time that Lakeview has earned a Superior plaque or trophy in the last seven years. In 2020 the band was not able to perform for adjudication because the LMEA District II Large Ensemble Performance Assessment was cancelled due to the pandemic.

All Lakeview band students who participated in the 2021 LMEA District II Solo and Ensemble Festival received Superior and Excellent certificates for their virtual performances. Students who earned Excellent ratings on solo performances were Emy Sorto-Cortez (snare drum) and Alexia Moore (xylophone). Students who earned Superior ratings on solo performances were Alayla Bradford (clarinet), Tralyn Lofton (trombone), Adrian Davis (alto saxophone), Stephan Prudhomme (trombone), and Ryan Hubbard (snare drum). Students who earned Superior Ratings on small ensemble performances were Alayla Bradford (clarinet), Tamia Lloyd (clarinet), and Tralyn Lofton (trombone) for two trio performances. A Superior rating was also given to the Lakeview Beginner Band Percussion Ensemble for their virtual performance. The members of the percussion ensemble are Natalie Green, Kayliegh Sparks, Emy Sorto-Cortez, Max Sorto-Cortez, Doc Maloch, and Kadie Hartley.

The Most Improved beginning band members acknowledged with awards were Kayliegh Sparks and Emy Sorto-Cortez. The Most Improved High School Band Member Award was presented to euphonium player Jaron Petite. The Most Outstanding Beginner Band Members were Alayla Bradford, Tamia Lloyd, and Tralyn Lofton. The Most Outstanding New High School Band Member award was given to trumpet player Trinity Hayes. Finally, percussionist Amber Hembree and trumpet player Jo Porter were given Senior Award plaques for six years of service to the band.

Lakeview’s band director, Denise Roper was also recently honored with a nomination for the Louisiana Music Educators Association Hall of Fame. Ms. Roper has also received numerous honors for performances in virtual flute competitions, including first place in the 2020 Louisiana Flute Society Adult Masterclass competition, second place the Floot Fire virtual soloist competition (2020 and 2021), third Place in the 2020 Arizona Flute Society Virtual Soloist competition, second place in the 2021 Houston Flute Club Denise Jennings solo competition, second place in the 2021 Utah Flute Association Virtual Sonata Competition, and a 2021 Honor Performer certificate from the Texas Flute Society.

We are extremely proud of Ms. Roper and our band members for all their hard work and dedication. Go Gators!

Pictured from left are Band Director, Ms. Roper, Beginning Band members Emy Sorto-Cortez, Natalie Green, Kadie Hartly, Kayleigh Sparks, Max Sorto-Cortez, and Doc Maloch.

St. Mary’s Track Finishes Season at 1A State Meet

The senior trio representing St. Mary’s Catholic School finished their high school careers at the LHSAA 1A State Track & Field Meet at Bernie Moore Track Complex at LSU.

The three seniors that qualified for the state meet are Maggie Gilmore, Jensen Parker & Maggie Wheat.

Gilmore finished as state runner-up in the high jump and third place in the triple jump. Gilmore will finish her career with three state medals (2-Silver, 1 Bronze) and fourteen state meet (indoor & outdoor) qualifications in her high school. She will continue jumping as a member of the Louisiana Tech Track & Field team next fall.

Jensen Parker finished her 800M career with a fourth place finish in the state meet. She qualified for five state meets (indoor & outdoor) in her career.

Maggie Wheat finished in fourth place in the 3200M in her first appearance at a state meet. Maggie is a senior at the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts while participating with the St. Mary’s track and field team.

With their finishes, St. Mary’s was able to finish in tenth place as a team with only three athletes.

LPB recognizes LSMSA Senior Hannah Lewis among Louisiana Young Heroes

NATCHITOCHES, LA- LSMSA senior Hannah Lewis, of DeRidder, is being recognized as one of this year’s Louisiana Young Heroes by LPB. This program celebrates the achievements of students who have inspired those around them, and have devoted their time, talents, and energy to making their communities better places.

A Young Hero is defined as an exceptional young person who has excelled in academics, given significantly of themselves through public service, overcome adversity, exhibited extraordinary heroism, or inspired others through their deeds and strength of character, according to LPB.

From LPB: Hannah is a straight A student with strong personal faith. She is kind and considerate to all people, and works hard to improve her school and community. Hannah is very involved in many academic, civic and community activities, including volunteering to help organize the Merryville Heritage Festival. She was 4-H President, Senior High Beta Secretary and Treasurer, involved in Future Business Leaders of America, her high school drama club, science club, and choir, and in local community theater.

In the last year, Hannah has not only had to endure the pandemic and two hurricanes causing major damage to her home, she has suffered the sudden and unexpected death of her Mother. Hannah and her mother were very close, and this was a shocking event. Despite her grief, Hannah has kept up with her school work and activities and is an inspiration to others.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Hannah and her mother sewed masks for a local nursing home and she assisted with disaster relief efforts after Hurricane Laura. Through her church, she has done yard work for the elderly, led youth groups, made stuffed animals for the Hug-A Bear project and supported organizations promoting service dogs for veterans.

Hannah has been awarded the Outstanding Student Merit-based Scholarship to Louisiana Tech.

Opportunity: Bus Drivers

POSITION: Bus Drivers – Ecco Ride

DESCRIPTION: Ecco Ride is now accepting applications for Bus Drivers in Natchitoches Parish.

· Health, Life, Dental, Vision, 401K

· Drivers have daily minimum, plus charter opportunities

· Air-conditioned buses

QUALIFICATIONS: Must be 21 years of age with a clean driving record, no criminal background, pre-employment drug screen, ability to obtain a CDL Class B license with P and S endorsements, and a passion for children and giving back to the community. Full training is provided.

CONTACT: Call to learn more 318-352-6465 or apply online at http://www.eccoride.com

Jackson’s school record, gold medal count help NSU to second-place team finish at SLC Championships

HUMBLE, Texas – Northwestern State sprinter Natashia Jackson aspired to win a gold medal in the same outdoors event all four years when she came to Natchitoches in 2017.
Jackson made that dream a reality Sunday, diving at the finish line to edge Stephen F. Austin’s Imani Nave to set an NSU record 53.14 in her specialty event.

“Speedy” won three gold medals and one silver to help NSU secure a second-place team finish as Jackson ended her career with 19 gold medals, second all-time in Southland Conference history.

“It’s a blessing. From the day I came here, Coach said I had a chance to do great things,” said Jackson, a Houston native who was running in the suburb of Humble at George Turner Stadium. “Every time we come to conference, it’s a fight to the finish, and we do all we can.

“I had to walk into the (400 meters) with the mindset not to lose, and whatever it takes, you go for it. I knew Imani was my biggest competitor – we’ve been running against each other since high school. I knew it was going to take everything in me to win it.”

NSU’s sprints vaulted the Lady Demons up the scoreboard Sunday as NSU scored 81 of its 125 points on the final day. Stephen F. Austin took home the title with 171 points as NSU edged Abilene Christian (119.5) for second.

The Lady Demons posted a top-three finish for the 10th straight championships, including two runner-up finishes this year.

“It’s pretty impressive for all these sprinters out here with a 9 a.m. start and a rolling schedule,” Heimerman said. “We knew that we had girls that were going to get it done, we just had a couple spots that we could have stepped up in.

“We came in a little bit short-handed to begin with, but I can’t say enough about the coaches and athletes that did come in here and did what they did. It was a good weekend, and we’re fairly healthy going to regionals.

Jackson was part of gold medal 4×100 and 4×400 relays.

As the anchor leg of the 4×400, she staved off a challenge from Central Arkansas on the last straight away to protect a lead that Diana Granados, Janiel Moore and Erin Wilson built (3:41.21).

The 4×100 relay of Robyn Byrd, Granados, Jackson and Jayla Fields cruised to a gold with a 45.61 to start a championship meet that moved up to 9 a.m. because of impending rain, which loomed and sprinkled over the entire day.

The meet operated on a condensed schedule, and sprinters had a shorter amount of time to recover between races.

Jackson gutted out a silver in the 200 meters (23.86) to headline an impressive display as Granados (personal record 23.96) and Fields (24.07) took bronze and fourth, respectively.

“You can’t say anything more about Speedy, and she wanted it more than anybody else, came out on top in almost every event,” Heimerman said. “Impressive that (Granados) could also run the 4×100 and turn around to finish fifth in the 400 and medal in the 200.”

NSU captured five points in the 100 meters as Fields placed fifth (11.71) and Washington eighth (12.07). Washington made the final despite battling an injury that held her out since March.

On top of running a 4×400 leg, Moore contributed a pair of medals in the hurdles.

She grabbed silver in the 100 hurdles (13.56) and bronze in the 400 hurdles (1:00.95).

Discus thrower Kristin McDuffie chunked in a throws bronze with a 158-03.

Jumper Jasmyn Steels, who had already claimed gold in the long jump and silver in the triple jump, added a sixth-place finish in the high jump. She cleared 5-7 on her final attempt.

The men scored the majority of their 27 points on the final day as well.

Kie’Ave Harry and Kennedy Harrison captured bronze medals in the 100 and 200 meters, respectively, and ran a leg on the sixth-place 4×100 relay.

Harry clocked a 10.22 in his final while Harrison reached the podium out of lane eight (20.92).

“I feel good about the race, and shout out to the guys in first and second,” Harry said. “I’ve got to get better for regionals.

“Kennedy is a competitor, flat out competitor. He brings it at practice every day and every meet we run. I love that about him.”

The Demons and Lady Demons will turn their attention to the NCAA East Regionals, which take place May 27-29 in Jacksonville, Fla. The top 48 East competitors in each event will suit up for a chance to advance to the NCAA Championships.

PHOTO: Matt Vines/NSU Sports Information

OPPORTUNITY: Maintenance Mechanic I

Position:​  Water & Sewer Department – Maintenance Mechanic I

Description:  ​Performs a variety of semi-skilled maintenance work and operates a variety of equipment in the construction, operation, repair, maintenance, and replacement of City water, sewer and storm drainage facilities and systems.

Qualifications:​  Must be able to acquire a LA Water or Sewer Operator Certification. Applicants that already have certification are preferred and will be eligible for an increased pay rate.

Contact:  ​City of Natchitoches Human Resources Department located 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, Natchitoches, LA or you can download an application at http://www.natchitochesla.gov

Deadline:  ​Applications will be accepted through May 25, 2021.


Poche Bass Tournament supports NSU Fishing Team

NATCHITOCHES PARISH – Burt and Shelley Poche presented proceeds from the fifth annual Dylan Kyle Poche Memorial Bass Tournament to the Northwestern State University Foundation. Of the funds raised at the event, $20,000 will fund student scholarships for team members and $5,000 will help underwrite team expenses. This year’s tournament was the most successful today, registering 249 two-man boats for the Toledo Bend tournament held March 27.

This year, the Poche family and the NSU Fishing Team have been able to offer more scholarships to incoming students from all over Louisiana and Texas who sign with the team.

“This year was the biggest turn-out we’ve ever had, and we look forward to the years to come,” Shelley Poche said. “We are thankful for our sponsors, vendors and volunteers who made the tournament successful.” The tournament paid back to fishermen $33,950 and 12 prizes.

Winners were first place Trey Morgan/John W. Canerday, 27.11 lbs.; second place Jim Franklin/Matt Morgan, 26.53 lbs.; third place Dylan Slaughter/James Williamson, 25.19 lbs.; Big Bass – Herby Dauphinet/David Thompson, 10.79 lbs.;

The Dylan Kyle Poche Memorial Fishing Scholarship was established by Burt and Shelley Poche and Misty Ott in memory of their son, a 2015 graduate of Natchitoches Central High School and an avid outdoorsman. Dylan Poche excelled at tournament fishing and was a member of the NCHS Fishing Team and the NSU Fishing Team as a freshman. He passed away in January 2016.

The NSU Fishing Team is open to all students and taps into the growing popularity of organized competitive bass fishing. The team competes in FLW, B.A.S.S. and Collegiate Bass circuits. NSU Fishing Team Sponsor Juddy Hamous said he encourages incoming members to apply for the scholarship and the award has been a great help to incoming students. Hamous is available to meet with prospective students during campus visits to talk more about the team, which has grown significantly, along with national interest in fishing as a collegiate sport.

For more information on the NSU Fishing Team, contact Hamous at juddyh@nsula.edu or call (318) 332-0565 or visit the group’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/NSULABassFishing/.

Poche Scholarship:
Proceeds from the fifth annual Dylan Kyle Poche Scholarship will assist with NSU Fishing Team expenses and individual scholarships for team members. From left are Christi Bernard, Burt and Shelley Poche, NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio, Fishing Team Sponsor Judy Hamous and Jill Bankston.

Notice of Death – May 16, 2021

Charles R. Rushing
May 14, 2021
Service: Saturday, May 22 at 2 pmat the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, located at 318 North Street in Natchitoches

Demika Daniels
January 17, 1982 – May 15, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Earnestine Durahm
May 10, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Dan P. Roberson
May 12, 2021
Service: Saturday, May 22 at 11 am at Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, located at 318 North St. in Natchitoches

Margaret Carter Cooper
November 2, 1961 – May 10, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Brenda Gail Rachal Knight
December 01, 1963 – May 08, 2021
Service: Tuesday, May 18 at 1 pm at Christian Worship Center, located at 1513 Hwy. 494 in Natchitoches

Willie Carr
May 23, 1945 – May 07, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Phillip Lloyd Gillis
March 13, 1968 – April 29, 2021
Service: Saturday, May 29, 2021 from 1-5 pm at the home of Ryan and Bekah French Home, located at 1615 Williams Ave. in Natchitoches

Notice of NPFD 7 Public Hearing/Meeting on May 17

Natchitoches Parish Fire Protection District 7 in Marthaville will hold a Public Hearing on Monday, May 17 at 7 pm at the fire station, located at 7740 Oak Street in Robeline. Items on the agenda include:

Consider adopting adjusted millage rate(s) 9.96 mill
Consider setting forth adjusted millage rate(s) and roll forward to 10 mill, millage rate(s) not exceeding the maximum authorized rate(s)

Immediately following, a Public Meeting will be held to discuss the following agenda items:

Old Business:
Ice machines still on order
Slickers waiting on price

New Business:
Consider adopting adjusted millage rate(s) 9.96 mill
Consider setting forth adjusted millage rate(s) and roll forward to 10 mill, millage rate(s) not exceeding the maximum authorized rate(s)
Approve slicker suits purchase
Approve paying bills for May 2021

Be Still and Know…..

May is all about moms and I am very blessed to share Stephanie McKinney’s story with you this week. She is teacher in Natchitoches Parish who cherishes the fact that she can use her past hurts and life lessons to assist parents and students as they go through the same things that God has delivered her from. These are Stephanie’s words…..

Beyonce praises it but it is very challenging to go from a, what you thought, happy family of four to a single mom raising two boys ages 13 and 8.

When I was married, I worked as a Teacher’s Aide in my hometown in Texas. I brought home about $800 a month. It was fine when I was married because he had a good job. I just worked to pay a few bills and then had some fun money leftover. After the divorce, I was broke. I had a house note, all the bills, and two sons to raise. I received a little child support. And my parents helped when needed but they couldn’t do much financially.

But guess what?

Every month my bills were paid, we never did without meals, and I had a little left over so we could continue to do occasional fun things. Every single month. I worried how I was going to make it happen? How can I pay my bills not to lose my home? I had so many worries and fears but God always provided. I vividly remember, I was down to my last few dollars and my monthly paycheck was still a week away. Thankfully, every bill was paid that month but I still needed gas money and one of the boys needed something for school. I could either get a few dollars in gas or give the money to my son. I chose my son. I always chose my sons.

I would have enough to get back and forth to work but we couldn’t go anywhere else. When I opened my wallet to give him the money, tucked behind my few one dollar bills there was a twenty dollar bill. He knew what I needed and He provided it for me. I swear it wasn’t there before. I cried thankful tears for hours

A year after the divorce, I decided to go to school for my teaching degree. I had an amazing group of teachers and administrators helping me and encouraging me. Every time I thought I couldn’t make it, one of them would step in, without even knowing it was needed, and encourage me to keep pushing.

My entire college education was provided by grants and it would have been impossible otherwise.

It took me longer than the average person because I had to work while raising two kids alone. But, with God, I made it. My whole reason for wanting to be a teacher is because my oldest son has a learning disability. In third grade he was considered a bad kid. Talking and disruptive, the whole nine yards. He’s actually a great human, but the teachers only saw the bad. In fourth grade, he had amazing teachers who knew right away that he didn’t have ADHD, he had a reading comprehension problem. They helped guide us through what accommodations he needed and it helped tremendously.

I remember crying in the meetings thinking that I somehow let my baby down. They assured me that I hadn’t and that we would all get through it together. And we did. I learned many things I could demand for him. I learned to push him when he needed it but mostly, I learned to stand up for his rights. It took a year but he got on the right track.

God laid it on my heart to get my degree so I could help other mom’s get through that.

I wanted to be there to hug them when they are scared when educators are telling them, “Something isn’t right with your child.” I can say, ”I honestly know how you feel. I promise, we will get through this.” Even though the chips were stacked against me, God knew what He had called me to do and He provided the path for that to happen. Next year, I will be doing SBLC full time on my campus, and I truly believe this was my calling from the beginning.

Divorce is hard. Being a single mother is hard. I would honestly do it all over again. I’ve learned so much about myself.I have wonderful memories of just me and my boys all piled into my full size bed for the first few months after he was gone because we all wanted to be close to each other. Memories of special times, birthdays, holidays, and just regular days. My sons and I have a very close bond that is unbreakable. It is because of what we went through together and what they saw me go through alone. With God’s help, I picked myself up, and pushed on because not doing so would have negatively impacted their lives and they deserve better than that. God made sure the three of us came out of top.

If I had to give advice to women going through a divorce or separation, it would be this: It’s hard. There are times you want to scream, cry and be angry. Keep your dignity and your pride. Hold your head up. You’re walking through darkness right now and it might seem like you’ll never come out of it, but I promise you will. And the other side is so much better than your past life. Just keep moving, reach out for help when needed, pray, and always remember, you not only have God but you also have a lot of people who support you that He has placed along your path. They are there for a reason. And if you don’t have anyone like that, I’ll be happy to hold your hand until the sun is shining on you again.

One verse that held true during that time was this, “The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want.” Because I never once, did I want.

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” – Psalm 23:1

“Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10

Lakeview FFA Chapter begins beautification project

The Lakeview FFA Chapter has been able to begin a beautification project in the Town of Campti after being awarded the FFA Day of Service Mini Grant from the National FFA Organization. The project’s goals were to be able to complete 5 beautification projects throughout the town. Students were able to construct wooden planter boxes in their Agriculture class to be used for the project. Students also chose the selection of plants used from Natural Springs Nursery based on light requirements for their chosen locations. The following FFA members were involved with the project: Meagan Corley, Christian Coker, Naeer Barker, Jesse Stewart, and Taylor Stewart.

Download Now: GoNatchitoches App

The Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission (NHDDC) and its partners kick off Spring and Summer celebrations and encourage residents and visitors to download the GoNatchitoches app. The app serves as your one-stop-shop trip planner and a community calendar that serves as an interactive way to map out everything visitors and residents want to see and do in Natchitoches.

The GoNatchitoches app provides a new way to explore what Natchitoches offers, including upcoming events, popular attractions, restaurants, tours, lodging, shops, landmarks, and much more. Users can view it all at once or search by categories like Attractions, Dining, Arts & Culture, Lodging, and many others.
See a festival you don’t want to miss? Click “Add,” and the event will be added to your plan, and you’ll be sent a reminder.

That restaurant everyone keeps telling you about? Click “Add,” and you won’t forget to try it.
Want to invite some friends? Share your plan with them via social media, email, or SMS text message.
Need a reminder for upcoming events? Turn on the push notifications for the app!
No need to waste time or another sheet of paper. With this planner, GoNatchitoches can help you get organized and maximize your time so that you can have more fun in Natchitoches.

Already on your way to Natchitoches or live here? Download the app for your iPhone or Android and take your plan with you! Just type “GoNatchitoches” in the search box of your app store.

The “GoNatchitoches” project is a coalition between the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission, the City of Natchitoches, Cane River National Heritage Area, Northwestern State University, the Natchitoches Parish Tourist Commission, the Natchitoches Historic District Business Association, the Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce, and the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts.