Ponderings with Doug – December 14, 2018


I found this the other day, stuffed in one of those “to be filed” files. I thought you might enjoy it.

“How many of you drive yourselves crazy every year trying to have a Martha Stewart’s Christmas? You know who you are. And you know as hard as you try you’re never able to achieve it. It always turns out to be an Erma Bombeck Christmas doesn’t it?
I have a letter here that Martha Stewart sent to Erma Bombeck.

Hi Erma,

This perfectly delightful note is being sent on paper I made myself to tell you what I have been up to. Since it snowed last night, I got up early and made a sled with old barn wood and a glue gun. I hand painted it in gold leaf, got out my loom, and made a blanket in peaches and mauves. Then to make the sled complete, I made a white horse to pull it, from DNA molecules that I had just sitting around in my craft room.

By then, it was time to start making the place mats and napkins for my 20 breakfast guests. I’m serving the old standard Stewart twelve-course breakfast, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: I didn’t have time to make the tables and chairs this morning, so I used the ones I had on hand.

Before I moved the table into the dining room, I decided to add just a touch of the holidays. So I repainted the room in pinks and stenciled gold stars on the ceiling. Then, while the homemade bread was rising, I took antique candle molds and made the dishes (exactly the same shade of pink) to use for breakfast. These were made from Hungarian clay, which you can get at almost any Hungarian craft store.

Well, I must run. I need to finish the buttonholes on the dress I’m wearing for breakfast. I’ll get out the sled and drive this note to the post office as soon as the glue dries on the envelope I’ll be making. Hope my breakfast guests don’t stay too long, I have 40,000 cranberries to string with bay leaves before my speaking engagement at noon.

Martha Stewart

P.S. When I made the ribbon for this typewriter, I used 1/8-inch gold gauze. I soaked the gauze in a mixture of white grapes and blackberries which I grew, picked, and crushed last week just for fun.

Here is Erma Bombeck’s reply:

Dear Martha,

I’m writing this on the back of an old shopping list, pay no attention to the coffee and jelly stains. I’m 20 minutes late getting my daughter up for school, packing a lunch with one hand, and holding the phone with the other. I’m on hold with the dog pound, seems old Ruff needs bailing out again. Burnt my arm on the curling iron when I was trying to make those cute curly fries, HOW do they do that? Still can’t find the scissors to cut out some snowflakes, tried using an old disposable razor…trashed the tablecloth. Tried that cranberry thing, frozen cranberries mashed up after I defrosted them in the microwave.

Oh, and don’t use Fruity Pebbles as a substitute in that Rice Krispie snowball recipe, unless you happen to like a disgusting shade that resembles puke! The smoke alarm is going off, talk to ya’ later.


So much of what we do during this season, if you read the scriptures with more than a cursory glance, is strikingly foreign to that first Christmas.”

NPD Responds To Another Shooting


On December 13, 2018 at approximately 6:50 PM the Natchitoches Police Department received a 911 Call stating that a male subject had been shot near the Texas St. Grocery, officers of the Natchitoches Police Department responded to the reported shooting and located a black, male, subject, 23 year old, Robert Griffin who appeared to have been shot. The Natchitoches Regional Medical Center Ambulance Unit was contacted along with the Natchitoches Fire Department to render aid. Mr. Griffin was then transported to the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries and was later pronounced deceased by the Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office.

The Natchitoches Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division was contacted and is currently investigating this shooting, at this time no additional information available. The Natchitoches Police Department is urging anyone who has information about the shooting to contact the Natchitoches Police Department at (318) 352-8101 or you may contact the Natchitoches Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division, Detective Sergeant Bobby Beard at (318) 238-3914. All calls shall be kept confidential.
Authorized for release by:
Chief Micky Dove

Notice of Death – December 13, 2018

Notice of Death 2017



Charles Bruce Todd
May 18, 1959 – December 8, 2018
Service: Friday, December 14 at 10 am at Family Worship Center Church in Campti

Al Joseph Lacey
October 31, 1950 – December 3, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, December 15 from 9-10 am at the St. Savior Baptist Church Church (Grand Ecore)
Service: Saturday, December 15 at 10 am at the St. Savior Baptist Church Church
Interment: Fern Park Cemetery on Texas Street


June Procell Harley
January 17, 1924 – December 12, 2018
Visitation: Friday, December 14 at 4 pm at Warren Meadows Funeral Home in Many
Service: Saturday, December 15 at 2 pm at Warren Meadows Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: Fisher Cemetery


Clarence Roland Monk
August 16, 1931 – December 11, 2018
Service: Friday, December 14 at 11 am at Calvary Woodworth
Interment: Woodworth Cemetery
Visitation: Friday, December 14 from 8-11 am
at Calvary Woodworth


East Natchitoches Elementary Presents North Pole Musical

North Pole Musical

The East Natchitoches Elementary School will present its annual Christmas musical entitled “North Pole” by John Jacobson and Mac Huff, Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 5:30 P.M. at the school.

The plot of this year’s musical is that auditions are underway for the 400th Anniversary of “North Pole Musical,” and everyone is in a panic. The dancing reindeer are “hoofin’ it,” but don’t know what to do with Rudolph and his four left hooves. The elves are tired of always getting the short end of the stick and are singin’ the blues. The snowmen are “chillin,” but worried about the funky hot lights, and the toys are trying to do the entire Nutcracker Suite in three minutes. The annual Christmas show keeps getting bigger and bigger. But, wait a minute! Is bigger really better? See how Santa finds a way to remind everyone of the true meaning of the season.

The musical will include: lights, drama, dancing, and singing. The choreography was written, learned, and taught by students. Santa Claus is being played by student Joshua Nash. Mrs. Claus will be sixth grader, Abryannah Sykes playing the part. The musical is under the direction of choral music teacher, Mr. Danny R. Von Kanel. The principal at East Natchitoches Elementary school is Chrystal Davis. Dale Skinner is Superintendent of the Natchitoches Parish Public School District.

Parents and the Natchitoches community are cordially invited to the 5:30 P.M. performance on Dec. 18. The performance is free.

Las Posadas will celebrate Louisiana’s Spanish Tradition this Saturday

Las Posadas

Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc. (CRNHA), will host “Las Posadas: Louisiana’s Spanish Tradition” on Saturday, Dec. 15 at Los Adaes State Historic Site.

At 11:30am, local historian Rhonda Gauthier will talk about how Las Posadas has been celebrated in Northwest Louisiana. From 11am to 1pm the Los Adaes Foundation and CRNHA invites everyone to come enjoy a Las Posadas covered dish lunch and samples of traditional foods. We ask that attendees bring a side or drinks to share, the Los Adaes Foundation will supply the Traditional Las Posadas’ Piloncillo and Chipotle Ham. Come take part in this community meal. During this time kids will have the opportunity to weave their own baskets based on similar ones constructed by historic tribes, and get a chance to take a swing at the Las Posadas Piñata!

Holiday gatherings tend to occur around food and traditions! “The winter was a time of hardship for many in the colonial era, religious festivals and services were a way to bring light and cheer to families”, Mumaugh explains. “Spanish colonial rule worked to meld native beliefs and festivals into Christian observances to ease assimilation.” Thus the 19-day Aztec winter solstice festival, celebrated from December 7 to December 26, became known as Las Posadas and adapted its own specific style in various areas of New Spain.

All events will occur outside and, depending upon weather conditions, the kids’ basket weaving and traditional food sampling will be moved inside, but the community lunch and piñata will be cancelled. This event is free to the public and those planning to take part in the community lunch are encouraged to bring a covered dish or drinks to share.

NSU professor hosts Math Circle on LSMSA campus

LSMSA-Math Circle 2018.jpg

Math teachers from Natchitoches and Shreveport visited the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA) to attend the first of potentially many Math Circle meetings in the area. The group included both middle and high school instructors from the two regions.

The event, hosted by Mathematics Professor Judith Covington of Northwestern State University (NSU), started in Shreveport with the intent of helping local math teachers feel appreciated while also providing them a moment to relax in between their busy academic schedules.

“Our goal is to remind these teachers of their love of mathematics and to involve them in actually doing mathematics,” said Covington. “Most that attend say that the evening is like a game night for teachers.”

Covington, who had previously worked at Louisiana State University in Shreveport, founded and directed the original North Louisiana Math Teachers’ Circle in Caddo.

The evening included an evening of math games, as well as supper at no cost to attendees.

The event was funded by the Noel Foundation in Shreveport, a non-profit dedicated to supporting cultural arts, education, and community. The group is currently looking for local funding in the Natchitoches area. If interested, contact Judith Covington at covingtonj@nsula.edu.


Happy Holidays start with better Internet

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Save more by bundling your Internet with Phone and TV Service. For more information on CP-TEL go online to cp-tel.com or call 318-352-0006. Offer available for new customers only. Not available for phone and TV only subscribers. Offer ends 1/1/19.


NSU Pi Kapps elect 2019 Beta Omicron chapter leadership

Several members of the Beta Omicron Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity at Northwestern State University have been elected to serve on the 2019 executive council.

These officers will be responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the chapter and developing a long-term strategic plan over the next calendar year. Their goals will focus on building brotherhood through character enhancement, leadership development, academic achievement, commitment to service, lifelong friendship and social experiences.

Members of the student chapter elected the following slate of leaders in November: Archon Nich Olivares, Vice Archon Luis Ortiz, Treasurer Daniel Larin, Secretary Char Wilson, Warden Tristan Thorman, Historian Colton Campbell, Chaplain Benjamin Butcher, Philanthropy Chairman Tyler Vienne, Risk Management Chairman Jonathan Castillo, and Standards Board Chairman Kendall Normand.

These men have a unique opportunity to not only contribute to Pi Kappa Phi’s shared mission but also to create change and build brotherhood within their chapter. The group will travel to Dallas, Texas on January 4-6, 2019 to participate in Pi Kapp College for Chapter Officers, the fraternity’s officer training institute.

The Story of an Intrepid Nun, the Civil War and Natchitoches

By Joe Darby

joedarbyExactly 154 years ago today, a brave Sacred Heart nun was in the middle of a journey through icy cold Louisiana, a mission to deliver desperately needed supplies to Sacred Heart convents at Grand Coteau and Natchitoches.

To do so, she had to cross lines between two warring armies in the midst of the Civil War, encountering terribly difficult travel conditions and the danger of attack from unknowing soldiers at any moment. But, the good Sister Ann Shannon accomplished her mission.

In December of 1864, Sister Shannon was 54 years old. She had just been named that summer as vicar of the Sacred Heart convents in Louisiana, the third being at St. Michael’s in Convent, her headquarters.

Grand Coteau and Natchitoches were behind Confederate lines and were desperate for supplies and food. She considered it her responsibility, as vicar, to try to alleviate the needs of the nuns and the girls in their schools in those locations.

In 1863, after getting the permission of Union commander Gen. Nathaniel Banks, as well as his artillery commander, Gen. Lalor, a Catholic, she brought supplies to Grand Coteau and arranged for other goods to be taken to Natchitoches.

By the winter of 1864, conditions were even worse in northern Louisiana and Sister Shannon set out to repeat her mission of mercy. She set out with Mr. J.B.Jourdan, a planter who knew the area and had helped her the previous year, as well as several other people, including a couple of priests.

They went by railroad from New Orleans to Berwick’s Bay, at what is now Morgan City, then traveled on boats through lakes and bayous to Butte la Rose and St. Martinville, following a route used by wartime smugglers.

They arrived at Grand Coteau on Dec. 12, but not before a disastrous development. Supplies sent ahead for Grand Coteau from St. Martinville had been confiscated by Confederate soldiers After she conferred with Confederate officers at Opelousas and Washington, La., the authorities agreed that the goods could be sent to the convent but kept under lock and key until the matter was resolved.

So Sister Shannon, being the brave and resourceful soul that she was, decided to go right to the top. She’d go see Confederate Gov. Henry Allen and Gen. Richard Taylor, commander of all Southern forces in Louisiana, at their headquarters in Marshall, Tex. On the way, she’d visit Natchitoches and drop off supplies there.

Her party set out in an open carriage, with only blankets for protection against the cold. It took nearly four days to reach Natchitoches but once here she was greeted warmly by the nuns and girls at the local convent. Natchitoches was isolated from all word from outside the area and the women eagerly exchanged news.

Then she set out for Texas to talk to Allen and Taylor about the seized goods at Grand Coteau. As she rode through the area, the Protestant rural folk had never seen a nun and were fascinated by her habit, wondering “What kind of thing is that on her head?” One young girl said, “Maybe they’re crazy. We better run.”

Approaching the HQ of the Confederate authorities, she was stopped by two young sentries at the door. They crossed their bayoneted rifles in front of her and told her she could not pass. She simply took both hands, pushed the bayonets apart and said, “I pass everywhere.” All the young men could do was to laugh and they let her in the house.

The authorities promised to look into the matter but did not immediately give her papers allowing her to recover the confiscated goods. Those were to be brought later by Lt. Jourdan, a dashing young officer and the son of her guide. She returned to Natchitoches then set out for Alexandria at the beginning of January. All along the way she was greeted by former students of hers, who were overjoyed to see her.

South of Alexandria a hard, cold rain began to fall, slowing them down and tiring the one sturdy mule they used to pull their carriage. They reached Grand Coteau on Jan. 10 and Lt. Jourdan soon showed up with the papers allowing release of the goods to the Sacred Heart convent there.

But her ordeal was not over. They had to return through the lakes and swamps in very cold weather, having to spend one night in an abandoned hut where they later learned a man had murdered his wife. Finally, they reached Bayou Plaquemine and arrived at the town of the same name, where they took a steamer to New Orleans. She did not reach her home convent, St. Michael’s until the end of January.

Her mission, supplying much needed goods and food, as well as her own special presence, meant much to the women and girls at Grand Coteau and Natchitoches. But it was more or less all in a day’s work for Sister Shannon. She retired to Maryville near St. Louis in the 1880s and passed away in 1896. Her story, little known, but an amazing one of persistence and courage, deserves to be told once again.

Information for this column was obtained from an article in Vol. XIX of the Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial Series in Louisiana History, published by the Center for Louisiana Studies at ULL in Lafayette.

Teacher candidates recognized

Teacher Candidates 1

Pictured above: Graduating teacher candidates in music education were recognized by faculty from both the School of Education and the School of Creative and Performing Arts. On the front row from left are Cameron Mayfield, Aaron Martin, Tristian Zamora, Derienne Copeland, Emily Ortiz, Kylah Banasky, Amanda Mustian and Dr. Sharon Joy. On the back row are Robdrick Halton, Billy Gorr, Eric Bourg, Dr. Bill Brent, Dr. Greg Handel, Dr. Mitch Davis and Jordan Whatley. Graduates from the College of Education and Human Development will be awarded degrees during 10 a.m. commencement Friday, Dec. 14.

Northwestern State University’s School of Education Portfolio Presentation Day was Monday, Dec. 3. The day began with the 32 resident and student teachers sharing highlights from their clinical experience and ended with a ceremony to honor their achievements.

Dr. April Giddens, assistant professor of Education and 2012 Louisiana Teacher of the Year, delivered a congratulatory address. William Brent and Bob Jordan presented Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP): Learning for Life awards to the candidates who participated in a year-long residency.

“These candidates will join the ranks of educators who are a part of Northwestern State’s rich teacher preparation legacy,” said Ramona A. Wynder, interim Director of Clinical Practice. “We are extremely proud of their accomplishments.”

Teacher Candidates 2

Pictured below: Graduating teacher candidates were recognized and presented apple pins by faculty. The students will receive diplomas during 10 a.m. commencement Friday, Dec. 14. On the front row from left are Ramona Wynder, Madison Milligan, Sidney Salmans, Morgan, Woodall, Autumn Smith, Kaitlyn Arena, Amy Eckerle, Tatyanna Kinsey, LeKayla Smith and Ebone Burton. On the back row are Sterlin Foster, Benny Broadway, Maycy English, Kristan Valdez, Baley McAlexander, Suzanne Williams, Antavious Roberson, Kenedy Lampert, Clinton Oliver and Shayna Brown.


Notice of Death – December 12, 2018

Notice of Death 2017



Loretta Cloud
Sep 24, 1960 – Dec 10, 2018
Service: Thursday, Dec. 13 at 2 pm at Union Hall Baptist Church in Coushatta
Interment: Evergreen Cemetery in Goldonna

Charles Bruce Todd
May 18, 1959 – December 8, 2018
Service: Friday, December 14 at 10 am at Family Worship Center Church in Campti

Al Joseph Lacey
October 31, 1950 – December 3, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, December 15 from 9-10 am at the St. Savior Baptist Church Church (Grand Ecore)
Service: Saturday, December 15 at 10 am at the St. Savior Baptist Church Church
Interment: Fern Park Cemetery on Texas Street


Harold Gene Dillard
October 5, 1937 – December 9, 2018
Service: Thursday, December 13 at 3 pm at First Baptist Church of Pleasant Hill
Interment: Pleasant Hill Cemetery


NPD Responds To Four Persons Being Shot

Shooting - bullets

Shortly before, midnight officers of the Natchitoches Police Department responded to a reported shooting at the dead end of Caspari St. Upon arrival officers discovered, fifty-seven year old, Ronald G. Green, with a gunshot to his head. Mr. Green was later pronounced deceased by the Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office.

In addition, three additional persons had apparently been transported to Natchitoches Regional Medical Center by private vehicle. Two male victims sustained gunshot wounds to the abdomen and an additional victim sustained a gunshot to the rear of his neck. The current conditions of the three victims are not known. In addition, the names of all three victims are being withheld at this time due to the nature of the investigation.

The Natchitoches Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division was contacted and is diligently investigating the shootings, at this time no additional information shall be released. The Natchitoches Police Department is urging anyone who has information about the shootings to contact the Natchitoches Police Department at (318) 352-8101 or you may contact the Natchitoches Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division, Detective Sergeant William Connell at (318) 238-3911. All calls shall be kept confidential.

Authorized for release by:
Chief Micky Dove 12/12/2018