Natchitoches Police investigate homicide on Woodyard Drive

The Natchitoches Police Department is investigating a shooting that occurred early Saturday morning on Woodyard Drive.

On August 6, 2022, around 12:45 a.m., officers with the Natchitoches Police Department heard several gunshots in the area of Woodyard Drive. Upon officers’ arrival, they located a vehicle in the 900 block of Woodyard Drive that had crashed into a utility pole with front-end damage. Jay Tousant Jr. (B/M, 21 y.o.a. of Natchitoches) was located inside the vehicle suffering from several gunshot wounds. As a result of his injuries, Jay Tousant Jr. was pronounced deceased by the Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office.

This investigation is ongoing and the Natchitoches Police Department will release more details as they become available.

If you would like to report suspicious activity, please contact the Natchitoches Police Department at (318) 352-8101 or if you have additional information in regards to this investigation please contact Detective Rudy Glass at (318) 357-3878. Remember all information given shall remain confidential.

How to report an anonymous tip via Natchitoches Crime Stoppers:

You can also report a tip anonymously by downloading the P3 Tips app on your smartphone or by calling Natchitoches Crime Stoppers at (318) 238-2388. All tips remain confidential and the caller can receive a cash reward of up to $2,000 for the arrest of an offender.

Corporal John Greely
Public Information Officer
Natchitoches Police Department

Release Date: August 6, 2022


Four incoming freshmen were awarded Poche Scholarships

Four incoming Northwestern State University freshmen were named recipients of Dylan Kyle Poche Memorial Scholarships, presented by the Poche family to students who will be part of the NSU Fishing Team.

The students are Stone Smith of Shreveport, a graduate of Captain Shreve High School who will major in criminal justice; Evan Howe of Stonewall, a graduate of North DeSoto High School who will major in business administration; Clayton Page of Shreveport, a graduate of Captain Shreve who will major in business administration, and Noah Trant of Bossier City, a graduate of Calvary Baptist Academy who will major in industrial engineering technology.

Funds for the annual scholarships are generated through the Dylan Kyle Poche Memorial Fishing Tournament, held each year at Toledo Bend Reservoir, with a large portion also donated to the Fishing Team to defray expenses incurred with travel and competition.

The Dylan Kyle Poche Memorial Fishing Scholarship was established by Poche’s parents, Burt and Shelley Poche and Misty Ott. Poche was a 2015 graduate of Natchitoches Central High School and an avid outdoorsman. He 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.

Burt Poche said his family is happy to be able to present the scholarship to incoming freshmen who will be part of the NSU Fishing Team. The Fishing Team competes in FLW, B.A.S.S. and Collegiate Bass circuits is open to all students, and taps into the popularity of organized competitive bass fishing. Team members Andrew Straughan of Frisco, Texas, and Austin Speer of Center Point attended the scholarship presentation to welcome their new teammates.

“We are so grateful to the Poches for their hard work and ongoing effort to keep Dylan’s memory alive through this scholarship,” said NSU Director of Development Jill Bankston.

The seventh annual Dylan Kyle Poche Memorial Bass Tournament will be held on March 25, 2023, on Toledo Bend. Information is available at https://dylankylepoche.com/.

Pictured: Burt and Shelley Poche, center, presented a donation to the NSU Foundation that funds scholarships for incoming members of the NSU Fishing Team and also provides support to the Fishing Team for travel and expenses. Funds are generated through the annual Dylan Kyle Poche Memorial Fishing Tournament. From left are Fishing Team member Austin Speer, incoming freshmen Clayton Page, Stone Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Poche, Evan Howe, Noah Trant, and Fishing Team member Andrew Straughan.


Blessed: LordsTime.Com

One of the most tiresome things that a single or divorced person hears entirely too often is, “Why aren’t you dating anyone?” or “Who are you dating?”.

Albeit, I am just as guilty. Or nosey. I am always asking my single friends “who, what, and why”. It is just human nature to think that one should not be alone. My famous answers to all of these questions are “I am dating my children” or “I don’t know, it is all in God’s hands.”

My closest friends do not even ask anymore. They just know that I am waiting on the Lord. They also know that my daughters keep me so busy during the extra minutes of the day that are not dedicated to work. This doesn’t mean that I do not enjoy all of the jokes that come along with being divorced and alone. Just recently a single coworker and I had a great time laughing at all of the folly that comes along with online dating. We both agreed that we believe that no one tells the truth online but it is pure entertainment to discuss.

We have all seen the online dating profiles that have us laughing with side-splitting pain. We jokingly recalled the time that she spent many hours perusing FarmersOnly.com. We laughed way too hard as we remembered all of the funny photos and descriptions. We then moved our humor to ChristianMingle.com and the older we get we talk about OurTime.com. Just this past week my coworker told me she has given up on all of the datings, looking, wishing, wondering, and dreaming. She said she is now waiting on LordsTime.com. (This is fictitious)

We both chuckled and I couldn’t help but acknowledge that is what we all should be doing. Wait on the Lord’s timing and not our own.

Wouldn’t life be exquisitely simplistic and reassuring if we could merely visit a website and research the plans the Lord has for us? In my eyes, it would be a website that you never get locked out of or have to change your password. No one could hack into it and the information was always up to date with whatever crisis that may come our way. The page would be an easy-to-read format with a short list of colorful tabs as the headers. “Click here to see the Lord’s timing for…. you fill in the blank.”

Seems like it would provide instant peace but it would also be extremely boring. Whatever you are waiting on the Lord for, keep waiting. When you are tired of waiting, wait some more.

If we had all of the answers to our life’s questions at our fingertips there would be very little room left for trusting and obeying. There would be no reason to keep believing in his goodness, his will, or really even his love for us. Above all, it would cut out the glorious journey. Every day that we get to wake up, breathe, and spend time in the word and work for him is a blessing in itself. If we focus on doing his work and serving others then everything else will fall into place when it is truly the Lord’s timing.

“He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11


City Council Agenda for August 8 Meeting – Tonight

Natchitoches City Council will have a pre-council meeting on Monday, Aug. 8 beginning at 5 p.m. and ending at 5:30 p.m. to discuss non-agenda items. The City Council meeting will begin promptly at 5:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Monday of each month and will be reserved for only items on the Agenda. The public is invited to both the pre-council meetings and council meetings with the understanding that items not on the agenda will not be discussed at the scheduled council meetings, but the public is welcome to discuss any topic at the pre-council meetings. The City Council Meetings are held at the Natchitoches City Council Chambers located at 716 Second Street, Natchitoches, Louisiana.

Any Citizen that wishes to observe the City Council meeting live may do so at

https://www.facebook.com/NPJNatLa

 

A G E N D A

SPECIAL RECOGNITION: Mason McCart – 2022 National Beta Club President


PLANNING & ZONING – INTRODUCTION:
#048 Elie Ordinance Amending Ordinance No. 64 Of 2001 By Changing

Zoning Classification Of Property Described As Follows:

 

Lot 10 of Peoples Subdivision, Less The West 111.3 Feet As Shown On Plat In Conveyance Book 419, Page 358.

(1230 Washington Street)

ORDINANCES – FINAL:

(MOTION TO TAKE ORDINANCE NO. 042 FROM THE TABLE)

#042 Nielsen A Bond Ordinance Authorizing The Issuance Of Revenue Bonds, Series 2022, Of The City Of Natchitoches, Parish Of Natchitoches, State Of Louisiana; Prescribing The Form, Fixing The Details And Providing For The Rights Of The Owners Thereof; Awarding The Sale Of The Bonds To The Lender Thereof; And Providing For Other Matters In Connection Therewith.

#045 Harrington Ordinance Authorizing The Mayor Of The City Of Natchitoches To Award The Bid For West Natchitoches Water Main Replacement, Phase I (Bid No. 0648)

#046 Nielsen Ordinance Creating The Texas Street Economic Development District, State Of Louisiana And Defining The Boundaries Thereof; Appointing Special Counsel; And Otherwise Providing With Respect Thereto.

#047 Smith Ordinance To Deem Property Surplus And Authorize The Donation Of Surplus Property Owned By The City Of Natchitoches, And To Other Provide With Respect Thereto.

RESOLUTIONS:
#068 Petite Resolution Designating Friday, September 2, 2022 As An Official Holiday For The Employees Of The City Of Natchitoches For The Year 2022.

#069 Elie Resolution Authorizing The Mayor To Advertise For Bids For Liquid Chlorine For The Water Treatment Plant (Bid No. 0654)

#070 Harrington Resolution Authorizing The Mayor To Accept And Execute A Grant Agreement From The Federal Aviation Administration To Sealcoat RW 17/35, Main Apron, And Tw A&B – Phase I (Design) Project At The Natchitoches Regional Airport

ANNOUNCEMENTS:
The next scheduled City Council meeting will be Monday, August 22, 2022.


Decades apart, Demon brotherhood was on display at a growing tradition

What began a few years ago as a stopgap measure to help the Northwestern State football team has morphed into a true fall camp tradition that bonds the generation of Demon brothers.

A report-day lunch in 2018 that sent then-first-year head coach Brad Laird scrambling launched a reunion of sorts for several local NSU football alumni. Four years later, the number of former players involved in the event had grown nearly tenfold and added the support of the Demon Brothers Booster Club.

Saturday’s meal under the Collins Alumni Pavilion brought to an end the first week of fall camp for the Demons, who open their season on Sept. 3 at Montana.

It also capped a weekend in which the Demons heard from three-time All-American and two-time Super Bowl champion linebacker Gary Reasons.

“This thing has grown,” Laird said. “There were four men who really kick-started this thing. The cafeteria wasn’t available, but this started with four guys and now you’re at 100-plus involved. It shows our players, we talk about family and once they leave here the memories they’re going to have – this shows them what we’re talking about. It works both ways.

“It’s good for our players to see these former players come back, and it’s good for these former players to be able to see who’s now in their locker room and on the same practice field they were.”

Those generations gathered following the fourth practice of camp for the Demons, listening as longtime NSU sports information director Doug Ireland rattled off a list of who’s who Demon football alumni who were involved with or donated to Saturday’s effort.

Like Laird, the original group of NSU alums who pitched in to start the impromptu tradition remains thankful for the bonds it has forged in a relatively short period of time.

“We’re just taking care of the kids,” said Gary “Mojo” Morgan, who fielded one of the initial calls from Laird in 2018. “We never had anything like this as players. It turned out to be a great deal, and we said, ‘We need to continue it.’

“When you get to mingle with the kids, especially the ones who come up to you and want to talk to you about anything – whether it’s education or something you understand – when you go to a game, you find yourself watching that kid. It becomes special.”

The decades of camaraderie and the wisdom from older players continue to resonate within the current Demon roster.

“It’s really important to know what it took for these guys to be successful, win college championships, be All-Americans,” sophomore wide receiver Dylan Fluellen said. “It’s very important for us to take that and use it to our advantage. We hear all year what these guys are talking about, but to hear it from guys in the Louisiana (Sports) Hall of Fame or the N-Club Hall of Fame, it’s that source that proves to us that it’s possible, and we’re capable of doing it. Same message, different voice.

“Having those guys come out here and share that with us today is a real boost for us going into the season. We’re always going to be connected no matter what happens or what adversity we face.”


Lakeview Open House

Lakeview Jr. & Sr. High School is hosting its annual Open House on Tuesday, Aug. 9 from 5-6:30 p.m. Please come out and visit with our teachers and staff members. You will also have the opportunity to visit with club sponsors and coaches. LEAP 2025 scores and testing information will be available. Additionally, the staff from our Cristus Cabrini School-Based Health Center will be available to assist with registering your child(ren) with the health center.

We look forward to seeing you Tuesday evening and to a year filled with opportunities for exceptional educational growth, incredible sports, and community involvement.


LSP Crime Lab Implements Innovative DNA Technology

Baton Rouge – The Louisiana State Police Crime Laboratory (LSPCL) recently became the first agency in the country to receive approval from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to conduct Rapid DNA booking operations. This will enable the LSPCL to immediately analyze and compare DNA samples collected from a qualifying arrestee to evidence samples in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).

For more than three years, personnel at LSPCL have been working with the FBI and other states to develop a Rapid DNA program with the goal of integrating Rapid DNA into the booking environment. Rapid DNA is the fully automated process of developing a DNA profile from a buccal (cheek) swab without human intervention. The implementation of a Rapid DNA Booking Program requires a lengthy policy review and special approval known as an Authority to Operate (ATO). The LSPCL is the first agency in the country to receive FBI ATO for conducting Rapid DNA booking operations.

From an approved booking station, the DNA profiles collected from qualifying arrestees will be generated by an FBI-approved Rapid DNA instrument and searched in CODIS against DNA profiles developed from crime scene evidence. Positive CODIS search results will be communicated automatically to both the investigating and booking agencies while the arrestee is still in custody. This process, which may take approximately 90 minutes, is designed to prevent a wanted suspect from being unknowingly released prior to the return of traditional DNA results.

The LSPCL has been working closely with the FBI and Rapid DNA vendors to ensure that the necessary workflows are in place to safeguard the security and privacy of Rapid DNA data collected from the booking agency. Recently, the first booking agency Rapid DNA instrument was installed and successfully tested at the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison in collaboration with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office. Following the success of the Rapid DNA integration at the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, the LSPCL is planning to integrate Rapid DNA at three other booking agencies in Louisiana by the end of 2023.

“I am proud of the hard work and vision of our dedicated staff at the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab. Their tireless efforts to implement this public safety tool will place our state on the cutting edge of testing technology and systems,” said Colonel Lamar Davis, Louisiana State Police Superintendent. “I am grateful for the collaborative efforts by our state, local, and federal partners to ensure the safety of our communities.”


Anthon cycling cross-country for The Ability Experience

Story courtesy of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity

Trace Anthon, a member of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity at Northwestern State University, is participating in the Journey of Hope, a cross-country cycling trek that raises money and awareness for projects that serve people with disabilities. The event is a project of the national fraternity’s philanthropy, The Ability Experience.

Each year a group of highly dedicated Pi Kapps from around the country make a commitment to challenge themselves to accomplish more than they ever have, step into the unknown, and take part in the best summer of their lives.

This year, with two routes kicking off on the West Coast, both teams are spending the summer crossing the country over a combined 8,000 miles, with an arrival at the Capitol Lawn in Washington, D.C., to mark the end of the life-changing event. Along the way, the team spreads the message of disability awareness through local media and makes stops at partner organizations to deliver joy to friends from the disability community.

“Even though our mission is to help others, this trip has taught me plenty about initiative, assertiveness, and compassion. This event churns out servant leaders and I’m glad to be the next one,” Anthon said.

Anthon, a senior Liberal Arts major with a concentration in Philosophy Politics and Economics from Hammond, is serving as a crew member for the Journey of Hope North team.

“I haven’t really left Louisiana for most of my life, so it’s good seeing the overwhelming beauty that the U.S. has to offer. I never thought I would see so many mountains, deserts, and cities in the span of a few months. My favorite city would probably be Grand Island, Nebraska. The state doesn’t have the most landmarks, but we had multiple friendship visits in the city and they welcomed us with the most open arms.”

After the team completes each day’s ride, which averages 75 miles, the Pi Kapps are dancing, playing games, or leading campfire songs at a friendship visit with a local group that supports people with disabilities. For many of the partner organizations, the team’s arrival each year is something folks anticipate like a holiday.

Journey of Hope’s uniqueness also draws the attention of local media in markets across the county. This enables The Ability Experience to spread a message of awareness and inclusion everywhere and showcase partner organizations to broader audiences than they could on their own. Teams also provide additional support to dozens of organizations through grants each year.

“The deciding factor in me joining Pi Kappa Phi was the opportunity to participate in the Journey of Hope for its mission of empowering people in the disability community. I knew how the world could treat somebody for being different, so I wanted to put a little love into the world. But when I went out into that world I found people who are loving, that care, and who give it their all every day. That pushes us to go on.”

Last year, the Journey of Hope raised more than $320,000 toward these efforts.

Anthon and his teammates set out from San Francisco on June 11 and are set to arrive in Washington, D.C., on August 13.

“If there’s anything I wanted people to know anything about my experience working with the Ability Experience, it would be that it has been and probably will be the most impactful and emotional thing I’ll ever do.”

He will become the 15th initiate of the Beta Omicron Chapter to complete the Journey of Hope since 2001.


Young at Heart enjoys musical meeting

Ben Rushing, Chris Wilson, and Keith Shirley played a series of oldies and gospel music at the recent Young at Heart meeting.

Birthday celebrants were Scotty Dawson and Joyce Baird. Back to School decoration themes were organized by the Faith Circle of girls of the Methodist Church.

Young at Heart meets for lunch on the first Wednesday of each month at 11 am at the First United Methodist Church, located at 411 Second Street in Natchitoches. It is non-denominational and you can bring a covered dish to share or pay $5.


Notice of Death – August 7, 2022

NATCHITOCHES:
Jason Morgan
August 26, 1972 – July 31, 2022
Memorial Visitation: Monday, August 8 from 5-8 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Evelyn Christman LeGros James
May 2, 1934 – July 20, 2022
Service: Monday, August 8 at 12 pm at Holy Cross Church in Natchitoches

Natchitoches Parish Journal publishes paid obituaries – unlimited words and a photo, as well as unlimited access – $80. Contact your funeral provider or npjnatla@gmail.com . Must be paid in advance of publication. (Notice of Death shown above are FREE of charge.  You may email them to npjnatla@gmail.com)


Natchitoches Parish: Do we have any juvenile detention space?

Journal Staff

Sometimes when a juvenile commits a crime, it’s one and done. They may go into the courtroom where they attempt to place them in juvenile detention while awaiting adjudication. According to reports, there is a 70 percent chance once that child or teen spends a couple of nights at Ware Youth Center, they never want to see it again.

But Ware is full … a head in all 32 beds. Then what happens? The kids are returned to the streets, and what kind of signal does that send?

Ware Chief Operating Officer Kenneth said, “it tells the kids it’s OK to do what they did. There won’t be consequences for it.”

In 2014, Ware contracted with the state to fill vacant beds. At that time, DeSoto, Natchitoches, Sabine, Red River, and Webster parishes were under that plan, and at that time, Ware had 34 beds.

The state would pay a per diem to help keep the doors open. Then, the state Office of Juvenile Justice canceled the agreement and pulled state kids out of the facility, along with some of the funding.

“We asked the five parishes if they wanted to make up the difference and keep Ware open,” Loftin said. “They chose not to … said they didn’t have the money.”

At that point, Ware contracted with Bossier Parish, which had an outdated “antiquated” youth center.

“They moved their operation from Bossier City to Ware,” he said. “They contracted for 24 beds and we had 34, so we gave each parish 2 beds a piece.”

Loftin retired in 2015, and in 2019 Ware experienced 2 suicides.

“State licensure reduced the bed capacity from 34 beds to 32,” said Loftin, who returned to Ware to offer aid under extenuating circumstances. “Which, the math says, the parishes don’t have 2 beds anymore. But because Bossier doesn’t always use all those beds, others utilize those beds, and Bossier is fine with that.”

The cost to house a juvenile is around $128 per day. Natchitoches Parish Government pays if the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office or one of the smaller jurisdictions makes the arrest. According to a spokesperson, the smaller towns are asked to pay it, however, they most often call the sheriff’s department to make the arrest and Parish ends up with the tab.

That cost is going up because earlier in the year, 3 juveniles escaped Ware with the help of a staff member. Loftin said insurance for the facility is being canceled, and he is seeking coverage elsewhere. It will be expensive, although he is unsure how much more cost will be needed for each bed.

Loftin said he is aware that since the legislature raised the juvenile crime age to 17, all the parishes need beds.

“It’s horrible,” he said. “It’s the worst thing the legislature has ever done for juvenile corrections.”

Loftin said the 17-year-olds present a unique group of problems.

“It’s not necessarily the bed space. What happens is, with 15, 16, and 17s, once the juvenile is indicted as an adult, they are put back in the juvenile detention center,” he said. “Once they come back to juvenile detention, they know they’re an adult. They know they have a trial date in the adult court system.

“They could care less what they do to my staff, the facility or anybody else because nothing they do – besides killing somebody – is going to raise the charge they already have,” Loftin continued.

In 2011, the state took away mace and other defense tools detention centers once used.

“All we have are staff and room restrictions,” he said.

Loftin said he knows the judges see the limited bed space, but everyone’s hands are tied.

There is one light at the end of the juvenile bed space tunnel.

There is talk of building another facility on the Ware property in Coushatta that would allow the older juveniles to be separated from the younger ones.

Bossier Parish Police Jury (BPPJ) Administrator Butch Ford said the idea is in the “talking” stage.

“There were discussions earlier this year or late last year to build a new facility to hold 17-year-olds and isolate them from the younger ones,” Ford said. “The older, more violent crime juveniles are difficult to handle.”

Ford said Loftin approached BPPJ about the separate facility.

“We haven’t pulled the trigger on that,” said Ford. “They have enough beds for Bossier, and we are paying a good chunk of funds for them to house them for us.”

Having said that, Ford said BPPJ is willing to help other parishes, if the separate facility comes to fruition, however, the “ball is in Loftin’s court.”

Ware Youth Center in Coushatta, Louisiana

Plainview High alumnae Doyle earns $3,000 NSU scholarship

With plenty of good candidates to consider, choosing just three recipients of $3,000 scholarships to attend Northwestern State University in 2022-23 was quite challenging.

Not all of the applicants came from the Class of 2022, however. One candidate’s record in high school and what she’s done afterward helped her stand out.

Mycah Doyle, 21, earned one of the new Journal Services NSU Scholarships, which are awarding three new Northwestern students up to $3,000 in the next school year. Lakeview High’s Meagan Corley and Ryder Hogan of Red River High, both recent high school graduates, are the other two recipients chosen by the selection panel.

They have received a $1,500 award for use toward fall semester expenses and can receive another $1,500 by remaining eligible for the spring semester.

The scholarships were designed to assist Class of 2022 high school students who hadn’t settled on a college choice, or students currently enrolled at other higher-education institutions who are considering transferring to NSU in Natchitoches.

A 2018 Plainview High School graduate, Doyle had a 3.1 GPA as she began college. After compiling a very solid 2.8 GPA since, she decided to consider transferring to Northwestern and applied for the Journal Services NSU Scholarships announced in early June.

She has been a tutor for fellow students who have struggled. Her tutoring work has continued through the 2021-22 school year and into this summer. At Plainview, she was the videographer for her high school softball team as a senior.

The three scholarship awards are being provided by Journal Services, LLC, based in Natchitoches, which supports 12 locally-owned journals covering north central and northwest Louisiana.

“We are proud to support these three deserving and motivated scholarship winners, and we congratulate them,” said Bill Vance, general manager of Journal Services LLC. “This has been a rewarding experience for us, helping to finalize the college choices of three fine young people who are a good fit for opportunities at Northwestern State University. We are committed to providing more support for new NSU students for the 2023-24 school year.”

Applicants provided their high school GPA (and college GPA if applicable), and also, reported their ACT score along with listing honors, extracurricular activities and other relevant information on the form. That information provided a basis for selecting the three winners.

Scholarship winners must live in Natchitoches Parish during the upcoming school year. They are also required to have in-person, face-to-face instruction for 75 percent of their classes in 2022-23, and to maintain satisfactory academic progress to receive the second half of their awards for the spring semester.


The Marthaville Hawks Are Ready to Learn and Grow!

The Marthaville School was packed with students and their families as the 2022-23 school year kicked off with an open house, Thursday Aug. 4. Principal Bill Gordy and his faculty welcomed new and returning members of the Marthaville Hawks family.

In addition to top-notch academics, the school’s 220 students may choose from a range of extra-curricular activities. The school offers basketball, baseball and softball as well as 4-H, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Interested boys may play on the Provencal Panther football team.

The Journal is always glad to see young men and women who are alumni of our schools come back to teach in their home communities. NCHS and NSU alumnae Brooke Campbell has come home to Natchitoches Parish after earning her bachelor and master’s degrees at NSU. She will be teaching science to fifth through eighth graders. Welcome Home Ms. Campbell! NSU alumni and Demon Cheerleader Christian Broussard has also chosen to live and teach in Natchitoches parish. Mr. Broussard is teaching fifth and sixth grade math at the school.

The Natchitoches Parish Journal wishes the young men and women of Marthaville Elementary and Junior High every success in the upcoming year. Go Hawks!


The Provencal Panthers are Ready to Take on the New Year!

There was not a parking space to be had anywhere near the Provencal school as a capacity crowd of several hundred students, parents and family members filled the school’s gym for the Panther’s open house Thursday, Aug. 4. First year Principal Diana Curtis introduced her 34 faculty members and spoke about the upcoming year. Ms. Curtis is an experienced principal who comes to the Natchitoches system from Desoto parish. This year’s student body is over 500 strong.

There is no reason for student learning and growth to stop with the final bell. Students will have sports such as baseball, softball, football and basketball as well as cheerleading from which to choose. Provencal also boasts a Fellowship of Christian Athletes Association Chapter and 4-H Club.

The Journal is always glad to see young men and women who are alumni of our schools come back to teach in their home communities. Standout NCHS and NSU varsity softball player Kayla O’Bannon has come home to Natchitoches Parish after starting her career teaching in Rapides Parish. She will be teaching PE and coaching. Welcome home Ms. O’Bannon!

Provencal is also instituting a music program. Unfortunately, they are starting almost entirely from scratch as the school has but a few instruments for the students. Let us help start something good! If you have a musical instrument that needs a new home, please call principal Curtis at 318-472-6174 ext. 400. The instrument will be put to good use!

The Natchitoches Parish Journal wishes the young men and women of Provencal Elementary and Junior High every success in the upcoming year. We look forward to seeing the results of your hard work in and out of the classroom. Helping students find and develop new skills may open up a new world to them and is part and parcel of the educational process. Go Panthers!


Items needed to stock NSU Food Pantry for fall semester

Northwestern State University’s Food Pantry is in need of items in advance of the start of the Fall 2022 semester. Alumni, friends, civic groups or anyone interested is invited to help stock the pantry.

“We are asking sororities to donate toiletries and fraternities to donate snack items because these are the items that are usually taken off the shelves first,” according to Mary Katherine Horton, director of Fraternal Leadership and Civic Engagement.

Many additional items are needed and the community is invited to assist. The Pantry supplies not only non-perishable food items but also toiletries, cleaning supplies, kitchen tools and utensils, cutlery, sanitizer and support materials, which serves all NSU and BPCC@NSU students free of charge.

Below is a list of items commonly in demand at The Pantry.

Toiletries (no medicine will be accepted)
Deodorant
Disposable Razors
Kleenex
Sanitary pads
Shampoo
Soap
Tampons
Toilet paper
Toothbrushes
Toothpaste
Snacks (nothing refrigerated)
Sodas
Capri Sun
Water
Crackers
Little Debbie Snacks
Snack Sized Cereal Boxes
Popcorn
Granola Bars

Items can be dropped off at the Food Pantry from 2-5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12.

The Food Pantry is located on the south side of Trisler Power Plant across from Magale Recital Hall on NSU’s Central Avenue. Monetary donations are also accepted through the NSU Foundation. Donors can visit http://www.northwesternstatealumni.com and support the NSU Food Pantry in the Make A Gift section and specifying the NSU Food Pantry.

The Pantry began as a class project in 2015 to address food insecurity on campus. The Pantry is staffed by more than 50 student, faculty and staff volunteers who participate in training on the importance of courtesy and confidentiality.

For more information, contact Horton at mkhorton@nsula.edu.


Obit: Dr. Robert “Bob” Eugene Gaddis

Dr. Robert “Bob” Eugene Gaddis
January 12, 1950 – July 30, 2022

Dr. Gaddis was born on January 12, 1950, in Cheyenne, Wyoming to Edgar Sibley and Edith Joy Stothart Gaddis, and affectionately nicknamed “Bob” after his grandfather. He grew up in Coushatta, Louisiana, surrounded by his beloved siblings, cousins, and extended family. Blessed with an infectious grin and outgoing personality, he enjoyed music, the outdoors, scouting, and athletics while growing up. Bob discovered he was truly gifted at being a student. Thereafter an avid academician and lifelong learner, Dr. Gaddis was never far from a college campus.

He received his Bachelor’s Degree in General Studies and later a Master’s Degree in Student Personnel Services from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Although he worked as a licensed CPA and even became Comptroller of the university for several years, he found his true passion in teaching and ministering to college students.

At the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, he earned his Doctoral Degree in Educational Psychology, and for 22 years he taught at North Greenville University in Greenville, South Carolina.

He loved building his university community and cherished all his colleagues and students. His academic focus was on teaching students to put all aspects of Positive Psychology into practice in their lives and work. He believed deeply in psychology as a tool for knowing yourself, improving your relationships, and by extension uplifting the world. He was widely known for his keen wit and sense of humor in the classroom, and he thoroughly believed in entertaining as well as educating.

During his tenure at North Greenville, Dr. Gaddis was instrumental in helping North Greenville College become North Greenville University by assisting with the accreditation process. He received the Faculty Meritorious Award in 2020, but he personally counted his successes at the relational level. He was constantly amazed and proud of his students and their accomplishments, and he joyfully kept track of them long after graduation. His whole approach to teaching and academics was very personal and informed by his faith.

Dr. Gaddis became a Christian as a young man, and it redirected the course of his life. His strong faith influenced his daily routines as much as his work. Early every morning, you could find him on the porch with his cup of coffee, his Bible, and his journal. These morning meditations were often interrupted by his family, who slipped into the seats next to him for one-on-one conversations, wise counsel, and joyful laughter. Dr. Gaddis regularly attended a home group focused on personal relationships, sharing testimonies, and worship. He and Linda count their many lifelong friendships as beginning in the churches they have attended.

In his free time, Dr. Gaddis was an accomplished guitar player, and his family will miss hearing him play. He could often be seen singing, composing music and poetry, woodworking, camping, hiking, and kayaking. He loved to read and always had a reading list ready. If you had a problem or a project, Bob was ready with a good ear, good advice, and a good book recommendation.

In later years, he enjoyed traveling with his wife Linda on visits to family and friends across the US, and they even adventured into Canada, Europe, and out West.

In addition to his loving wife of 51 years and his parents, Dr. Gaddis is survived by his two children: Amanda Christine Gaddis Watkins of Austin, Texas and Abigail Laurel Gaddis (Michael) of Seattle, Washington; his three grandchildren: Michael Garrett Watkins (Jackie), Marcus Watkins, and Caroline Joy Watkins; and one great-grandchild: Camryn Luna Watkins.

He is also survived by his three siblings: Ellen Gaddis, Blanche Hirsch (Matthew), and Dr. Thomas “Tom” Gaddis (Jill); his aunt Emily Worsham (Archie); his aunt-in-law Carolyn Stothart; his brother-in-law Buddy Funderburg, Jr. (Donna); his sister-in-law Jill Rutherford (Buddy); and his sister-in-law Judy Fox (Frank). He will forever be loved and treasured by all his cousins, nephews and nieces, and associated kinfolk.

He is preceded in death by his parents-in-law, his uncle Will Stothart, and his aunt Alexa Boyette.

His North Greenville University family will host a memorial service in Turner Chapel on the grounds of North Greenville University on Tuesday, August 23, 2022, at 11:00 am, followed by a potluck lunch at Hayes Ministry Center. All are welcome to attend. Additional memorial services are being planned in Greenville, South Carolina and in Louisiana. These services will be announced when details are confirmed.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to two of Bob’s favorite charities via their websites: Samaritan’s Purse – https://www.samaritanspurse.org or The Orphan’s Hands – https://www.theorphanshands.org

Online condolences may be expressed to the family by visiting http://www.dillardfunerals.com. Dillard Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.


NSU alum named to Order of Omega board of directors

Dr. Lamar Bryant, associate vice chancellor for strategic initiatives in the Division of Diversity Engagement at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, has been appointed to the board of directors of Order of Omega, an international honor society recognizing fraternity men and women who have attained a high standard of leadership, service and scholarship.

Bryant earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in marketing at Northwestern State University in 2004 and a master’s degree in college student personnel administration in 2007. He earned a Ph.D. in higher education at the University of North Texas.

Since joining Order of Omega, Bryant has been a huge proponent of the International Organization. More specifically, he helped charter two Order of Omega chapters at the University Texas at Tyler and Bethune-Cookman University respectively. He has also served as Order of Omega Case Study judge at a regional Sorority and Fraternity Life conference. During his graduate academic pursuits, Bryant received two fellowships from Order of Omega for his outstanding contributions to the field of Sorority and Fraternity Life. He was awarded the William J. Brennan and Jacque Placette Chapman Master’s Fellowship as a Master’s student at Northwestern State, and the Order of Omega Doctoral Fellowship as a Doctoral student at the University of North Texas. Bryant truly enjoys being a resource to both the national organization and the local chapter on his campus and is honored when he is invited to the local chapter’s initiation ceremony or asked to speak at an local Order of Omega event.

In his current position at UT-Knoxville, Bryant collaborates with a team to help cultivate a campus environment that in inclusive and welcome to everyone, at all levels. He has over a decade of professional experience in higher education and an understanding of the correlation between an impactful well-rounded college experience and high student retention/graduation rates. Bryant believes that academia presents individuals with an opportunity to challenge and support students academically, socially and personally. He believes college is about creating an experience that compels the student to persist and graduate. He is a member of alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and a 2005 initiate of Order of Omega.

Bryant is the fourth NSU Demon to serve on the board. John Hatley served as the Undergraduate Student Board Member in 1996. Katie Kennedy served as the Undergraduate Student Board Member in 2021-2022 and Reatha Cox is the current vice president.


It’s Too Hot to Fish!

Steve Graf

So, with temperatures exceeding the 100-degree mark this summer, that means it’s too hot to fish! From an angler’s perspective, anytime temperatures are above the 95-degree mark, I need to be doing something else besides wetting a hook. Today we’ll look at a few ways to pass the time and get some things done around the house…projects or “honey do’s” that maybe you’ve been putting off from this past spring when the big ones were biting.

The first place I start is by cleaning up and cleaning out my boat. I always like to remove all the rods and empty all storage boxes in the boat. Then I vacuum the entire boat, front to back. I like to clean my live wells while I’m in the cleaning mode. I use a live well cleaner by Fish Care Products that does a great job of getting those water ring stains out and will make your live wells look like new. I’ll also clean my cooler with another great product called Cooler-D-Funk. It totally cleans and deodorizes the entire cooler.

Now is also a great time to do a job that many anglers hate; check the water levels on your batteries. The biggest problem in most boats is getting to the batteries. One thing boat manufacturer have not figured out yet is how to build a boat where things are more accessible, especially in the back well of the boat. As much as I hate this job, it is a great time to do this chore before I head into the fall fishing season, and it will prolong the life of your batteries.

After this, I’ll check for wrapped fishing line on the props on both the outboard engine and the trolling motor. This is something I do often during the fishing season due to the fact there are so many anglers on the water now which means more fishing lines in the water. Nothing can do more damage to your trolling or your outboard engine than old, discarded fishing line. It will totally eat the seals up and cause major damage, not only to your motors, but your pocketbook as well.

Now other than boat maintenance, I’ll do a few other things like reorganize my fishing cave, or what I call “Graf Mart,” which is a total disaster after the spring is over. I’ll also check the dates on every rod to make sure I have fresh line on each before I head to the fall tournaments. Several anglers have noticed my dating on each rod and wondered why I do it. Two reasons…first, I always know what size line is on each reel and I label the month that line was put on. This way I always know if I have old or fresh line on every reel. Always remember, the most important connection between you and the fish is your fishing line.

These are just a few of the things I do during the dog days of summer when I have no desire to be on the water with sweat dripping off my nose and running down the back of my shorts. While I’m thinking about it, it’s also a great time to see your dermatologist and have those suspect areas checked. Even though I’ve been very conscious about protecting my skin with sunscreen, clothing, and proper headwear, I still had a spot turn into Melanoma. You don’t want this to happen, so don’t put this off and think it will just go away. Bad skin spots will turn into something deadly very quickly. I’m one of the lucky ones in that I only had one spot on my upper left ear where Melanoma had set up camp. Which, by the time you read this article, I will have had part of my upper left ear cut out. The good news…after a full body PET scan, everything was negative internally. What a blessing that we caught it early! Don’t take skin protection lightly! Till next time, good luck, good fishing, wear proper clothing and don’t forget your sunscreen!!!!

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


Activities and Events at NSU Aug. 7-13

Here is a look at the week of August 7-13 at Northwestern State University.

August 7-13 – Registration for fall semester

August 7 – Sept. 2 — Hotter ‘N Hell National Collegiate Art Exhibition, Hanchey Gallery. Open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

August 8 – Faculty report for fall semester

August 10 – Advising and in-person registration for Cenla, Leesville/Fort Polk and Shreveport campuses.

August 10 – Marksville Campus virtual Q&A, 6 p.m., https://nsula.webex.com/meet/grantsa

August 11 – Advising and in-person registration for Natchitoches campus.

August 12 – Summer ROTC Commissioning Ceremony, 6 p.m. Teacher Education Center Auditorium

August 13 – Residence halls open.