The 2019 Natchitoches Christmas Festival – 93 Years of Holiday Magic and Family Fun!

Kevin’s Gallery

Thousands of visitors descended on Natchitoches for a holiday experience unlike any other. From colonial era reenactors, top quality entertainment and one of the finest fireworks shows in the country, there was something for everyone at the 93rd Annual Natchitoches Christmas Festival on Dec 7. Grand Marshall Rick Rowe led the Christmas Festival Parade.

Natchitoches’ Northwestern State University had a full contingent in the parade. The Spirit of Northwestern Band was joined by the Demon cheerleaders, spirit and dance groups as well as the ubiquitous Dr. Chris Maggio. Natchitoches Central, Lakeview, and St. Mary’s were represented by their bands, ROTC and spirit groups. Area dance schools showcased their students’ routines to a delighted crowd that lined the route several people deep. This year’s parade featured several visiting officials from the National Park Service. Regional Director Bob Bogel and Deputy Regional Director Lance Hatton joined Carrie Mardorf, superintendent of the Cane River Creole National Historic Park and Rebecca Blankenbaker of the Cane River National Heritage Area on a National Park Service float. It just is not Christmas in Natchitoches without the Christmas Belles, Christmas Angels and Miss Merry Christmas who threw beads and candy to paradegoers. Visiting high school bands and pageant queens rounded out the family fun.

After the parade, the Mike McKenzie Band entertained the festive crowd. The evening concluded with the Festival’s traditionally massive fireworks show.


Santa's House: Santa Arrived in Natchitoches Sunday

The Christmas Season arrived in Natchitoches Sunday night and so did Santa, he was greeted by many children waiting to share their Christmas lists with him.   Pictured with Santa are Baileigh, Makayla, and Jaiden Merlin from Shreveport, Louisiana. Come visit and take pictures with Santa and the Christmas Belles each night until December 23. Hours are Sunday-Friday 6:00-8:30 and each Saturday 5:00-8:30


Agenda for December 9 City Council Meeting – Tonight

Natchitoches City Council will have a pre-council meeting on Monday, December 9 beginning at 5:00 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. 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 Arts Center located at 716 Second Street, Natchitoches, Louisiana. Please be advised due to renovations at the Natchitoches Arts Center, 716 Second Street the City Council meetings will be held at the City of Natchitoches Municipal Building, 560 Second Street, Natchitoches, Louisiana beginning June 2019 until further notice.

ORDINANCES – FINAL:
#052 Harrington Resolution Authorizing The Mayor Of The City Of Natchitoches, Lee Posey, To Execute A Second Lease Amendment To Water Tower Option And Lease Agreement With New Cingular Wireless CS, To Allow The Installation Of LTE Antennas, Associated

Cables And Other Communications Instruments.

ORDINANCES – INTRODUCTION:
#053 Nielsen Ordinance Approving The Acquisition Of A Tract Of Land Situated In Section 81, Township 9 North, Range 7 West, From Bruce Family Holdings, L.L.C., For The Consideration Of Eight Thousand Dollars, Authorizing The Mayor Of The City Of Natchitoches, Lee Posey, To Execute A Cash Sale Deed On Behalf Of The City For The Acquisition Of The Tract And To Execute Any And All Other Related Documents That Might Be Necessary And Proper, To Provide For Advertising, And A Savings Clause.

#054 Mims Ordinance Approving The Acquisition Of A Tract Of Land Situated In Section 81, Township 9 North, Range 7 West, From Waymon W. Ham, Jr. And Rose Ham, For The Consideration Of Eight Thousand Five Hundred Dollars, Authorizing The Mayor Of The City Of Natchitoches, Lee Posey, To Execute A Cash Sale Deed On Behalf Of The City For The Acquisition Of The Tract And To Execute Any And All Other Related Documents That Might Be Necessary And Proper, To Provide For Advertising, And A Savings Clause.

RESOLUTIONS:
#095 Morrow Resolution Authorizing The Mayor To Enter Into A Contract With Cunningham Agency, Inc., For The Airport Liability Insurance For The City Of Natchitoches.

#096 Batiste Resolution Addressing Engineering Aspects of The Proposed FY 2020- FY 2021 Louisiana Community Development Block Grant Project.

#097 Harrington Resolution Addressing Administrative Aspects of The Proposed FY 2020- FY 2021 Louisiana Community Development Block Grant Project.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: The next scheduled City Council meeting will be
January 13, 2020.

There will not be a City Council meeting on Monday, December 23, 2019.

The City of Natchitoches offices will be closed Tuesday, December 24th, Wednesday, December 25, 2019 for the Christmas Holidays and Tuesday, December 31, 2019 & Wednesday, January 1, 2020 for New Years.


Foster Mom: They Hate Me

By Melanie Wilson

Have you ever felt like your kids hate you? The twins hate me!

They don’t sleep. I have had them since September and they may each have slept the entire night 3 times each and never on the same night. They are trying to kill me through sleep deprivation.

Apparently at daycare, the nursery at church, and for other people they are typical 18 month olds…. for me they don’t stop whining and needing to be held. They loose their minds when I am around. My mother sends me to the store, to run errands, or to hide in my room when she comes to visit because they are so different around me and you can only listen to whining for so long before it drives you crazy. They are trying to kill me through whining.

Ok so I know they don’t hate me but it surly feels like it a lot.

These poor babies at 18-months-old have abandonment issues beyond belief. I have become their comfort and once they see me after daycare or me being gone I think they realize they got left and it freaks them out.

They HATE their cribs and playpens. They scream bloody murder when they are placed in them.

Through their behaviors and the information I know about their case we have come up with some conclusions – they were left alone a lot and probably left in cribs or playpens while they were left alone and these poor babies have had their bio-mom taken away (due to her decisions) twice and have had at least 3 foster moms taken away.

No reason they freak out once they see me because everybody who has taken care of them has been taken away.

This next part will sound strange for a second but hear me out before you take this the wrong way….

We go to court soon and I hope the judge moves them. They have an aunt who wants them and I want them to go to her. It will be hard because she would take them from court just a few days before Christmas but I think she will be the constant in their life. These children and all children deserve something permanent. They have already spent over a year of their short little lives in foster care and it is time to end this.

DID YOU KNOW? According to Texas (the only state I could find information from) children stay an average of 13 months with a foster family. I think this is a skewed statistic because it specifically says foster family so I do not think this counts those in state custody but in a family member’s home or a facility. I have talked to lots of foster families and joined lots of groups on Facebook and that is another reason I think this number is skewed because most people I know have had kids for 2+ years and in all of the adoption pictures I have seen lately there has not been one sign that had less then 500+ days in care. Most have been 800+ lately.


CITY OF NATCHITOCHES ONLINE BILL PAY CUSTOMER NOTICE

It has been brought to our attention there was a recent event with Click2Gov, the City’s utility payment website, in which card data from a user’s browser window during a transaction could have been compromised. Customers enrolled in the auto pay system were not affected. The “at risk” dates are between 8/30/2019 to 10/14/2019.

You are being notified because your card information could have been compromised during this event if you meet both of the following criteria:

Card user made utility payment between the dates of 8/30/2019 to 10/14/2019.

Card user’s computer browser or phone had also been compromised during the online transaction

The City has been notified by Central Square Technologies that steps have been taken to prevent unauthorized person from obtaining data directly from the webpage. We are recommending if you have received this notification, you take the following steps to prevent vulnerability in the future.

Update your computer browser or phone browser

Contact your bank to reissue your credit/debit card
Ask your bank if they offer push notifications or text alerts options anytime you complete a transaction.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our customers. It is important to continue to take steps to safeguard your personal information and communicate with you when an event like this occurs.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact City Hall at 318-352-2772 for further information.


Heart in Hands art car on display at NSU Gala

The “Heart in Hands” art car has been on display to greet guests attending the Northwestern State University Christmas Gala at the Natchitoches Events Center and will appear again next weekend as the Gala is presented at Shreveport’s historic Strand Theatre. The Mazda RX-8 will be positioned in front of each venue so that individuals can take pictures with the vehicle, completed as an interdisciplinary STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) project with input from students and faculty from several academic departments.

This year’s design is based on the theme of giving, according to Professor of Art Collier Hyams. The car will be featured in Saturday’s Christmas Festival Parade, which begins at 1 p.m. and rolls through downtown Natchitoches.

The project was made possible by CAPA, NSU Christmas Gala, NSU Facilities and Mazda North American Operations. Pixus Printers of Lafayette printed the design.

“The design includes elements of the Gala animation segment ‘O Rolly Night’ and a nod to Dr. Seuss,” Hyams said.

Last year’s art car was a commemoration of the 30th anniversary of NSU’s School of Creative and Performing Arts.

The Christmas Gala will be performed at the Natchitoches Events Center at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $15 and must be purchased in advance through the School of Creative and Performing Arts website, capa.nsula.edu.

Performances at the Strand Theatre will take place Saturday, Dec. 14 at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 general admission plus processing fees and may also be purchased through capa.nsula.edu. Students from NSU and Bossier Parish Community College can attend the Gala at the Strand at no charge, but must RSVP in advance at https://www.nsula.edu/gala/student-rsvp-to-gala-at-the-strand/


LSMSA Student Receives QuestBridge Scholarship

Belle Brown of Clinton, Louisiana received the QuestBridge National College Match Scholarship (Match Scholarship), which offers a full four-year scholarship to of QuestBridge’s college partners. This year, the Match Scholarship was awarded to just 1,127 low-income students who demonstrated exceptional academic ability.

“It’s not an easy process to go through,” Brown said about the application process. “QuestBridge was plan A, though, and I don’t know that I had a plan B.”

Brown wanted to pursue art but also had to consider other options. After speaking with recruiters from Hamilton College, a private liberal arts college in Clinton, New York, Brown realized that linguistics was a passion to pursue.

Brown was notified on Dec. 2 that Hamilton College had accepted the application, and Brown had received the Match Scholarship.

Since 2003, the QuestBridge National College Match has successfully connected nearly 7,400 students with full scholarships at college partners. Students apply by listing the schools they wish to attend and filling out applications for all of them. After a lengthy process, a small portion of the applicants are chosen as finalists.

Of the 14,926 applications, QuestBridge selected 5,842 Finalists, and only 1,127 were selected as this year’s Match Scholarship Reciepients, who will receive financial aid for the full cost of tuition, room and board, supplies, and travel expenses.

LSMSA students are supported in the college application process by a dedicated counseling staff who helps them find suitable scholarship opportunities. To learn more about the college counseling center, visit www.LSMSA.edu/CollegeCounseling.


KNIGHTS DONATE JACKETS TO AREA SCHOOLS

The Natchitoches Knights of Columbus recently donated 336 new jackets to three area schools, L.P. Vaughn, Weaver, and Provencal. The Knights through funds generated by their weekly bingo were able to purchase fourteen dozen jackets and because of their charitable work were recognized by their Supreme Council who matched their purchase. Twelve dozen jackets went to Vaughn and eight dozen were donated to Weaver and another eight dozen to Provencal. The jackets were in various sizes and colors and were left at the schools for distribution by the school to needy students. The Knights of Columbus is a worldwide fraternal organization for Catholic men who are committed to doing charitable work for their church and community. This donation of jackets is one of many projects funded by the Natchitoches Knights. If you are interested in joining these dedicated men, contact any current member of the Knights.

Weaver: On front row from left are students Javon Johnson, Kylee Lockhart, Ryan Payton, Jaidan Johnson, Raleigh Borders, Caitlynn White, and Rider Moran. On back row are Coordinator Armetrice Williams, Assistant Principal Jeremy Martin, KC members Joe Roque, Mark Adkins, Chad Deranger, Red Lapeyrouse, John Scott, Mike Menou, and Principal Jennifer Martin.

Provencal: On front row from left are Lindsay Broxson, Jaliyah Jackson, John Mason, Christian Carter, Jett Freeman, and Hayden George. On middle row are Trevor Rials, Nataiya Johnson, Ayiana Bynog, and Abigail Broxson. Third row, Todd Thompson, Haley Green, Gracie Montoya, and Dillon Johnson. On back row are Principal Mary Yount, KC members Joe Roque and Chad Deranger, Coach Dwayne Poe, and KC members Red Lapeyrouse and John Scott.

LP Vaughn: On front row from left are students Harmoni Tousant, Faith Lewis, Jayden Beaudion, and Journee Anderson. On middle row are First and Second Grade Assistant Principal Cori Manuel, First and Second Grade Principal Sandy Irchirl, KC member Red Lepeyrouse, and Pre-K and Kindergarten Assistant Principal Carissa Davis. On back row are KC members Ray Ponthieux, John Scott, Chad Deranger, Mike Menou, and Mark Adkins.


NSU Jazz Combos to perform benefit concert TONIGHT!

The Northwestern State University Jazz Combos will perform a “Jazz for Pups” holiday celebration concert Monday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall.

The concert is a benefit to support local rescue dogs and Natchitoches Hope for Paws. Admission is free, but audience members are asked to donate to Natchitoches Hope for Paws. Members of the organization will be present to accept donations which could include dog food, treats, toys, cash or checks.

NSU’s Monday Night Jazz Combo and Wednesday Night Jazz Combo will perform. The groups will be playing jazz standards of all styles along with some Christmas tunes.

For more information, contact Professor of Saxophone Paul Forsyth at forsythp@nsula.edu.


Notice of Death – December 8, 2019

NATCHITOCHES:
Dorothy Ferrier
May 03, 1941 – December 06, 2019
Services held December 8

Terry Allen Desadier, Sr.
January 03, 1947 – December 02, 2019
Visitation: Monday, December 9 from 5-9:30 pm at Christian Harmony Baptist Church, located at 2019 LA-1226 in the Trichel Community
Service: Tuesday, December 10 at 10 am at Christian Harmony Baptist Church
Interment: St. Maurice Cemetery

Roosevelt Robinson
December 06, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Stanley J. Roque
September 09, 1948 – December 02, 2019
Visitation: Monday, December 9 from 8-10 am at the St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church
Service: Monday, December 9 at 11 am at the St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church
Interment: Lawrence Serenity Sanctum

Sandra Sue Allen
December 01, 1961 – December 03, 2019
Visitation: Monday, December 9 from 12-2 pm at the First Baptist Church of Montgomery
Service: Monday, December 9 at 2 pm at the First Baptist Church of Montgomery
Interment: Union Grove Cemetery in Montgomery

Ora Coutee
November 26, 2019
Arrangements TBA

RAPIDES:
William “Bill” Enderle Roberts MD
September 29, 1932 – December 5, 2019
Visitation: Monday, December 9 from 9-10:30 am at the Kramer & Son Funeral Home
Service: Monday, December 9 at 11 amat St. Rita Catholic Church

RED RIVER:
Beverly Tingle Havard
January 10, 1955 – December 5, 2019
Services held December 8


Director of Christian Education – Full Time

Local church is seeking a full time Director of Christian Education. This church uses the Orange curriculum and more information about this programming can be found at thinkorange.com. The ideal candidate would have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in education and previous church experience.

For a full job description or any questions feel free to email churchjobs71457@gmail.com or call 318-357-8296.

Position available on January 1st.

EOE


School Board makes decisions for upcoming superintendent search

The Natchitoches Parish School Board held lengthy meetings on Tuesday and Thursday evening this week, Dec. 3 and 5. The majority of the talk revolved around making decisions regarding the board’s search for a new superintendent, which they plan to hire for the 2020-2021 school year.

To help them with some of the decision making, Chamber President Laura Lyles formed a Community Advisory Committee with over 20 volunteers from throughout Natchitoches. The committee put out a survey asking residents to give their anonymous input on different factors concerning what the School Board should look for in potential candidates.

There were 873 electronic responses, plus several hard copies that were turned in. Of these, 94% were Natchitoches Parish residents and 48% have children currently enrolled in the school district. There were also 22 students that completed the survey and 20% of respondents were School Board employees.

Of all the responses, 87% asked that the salary offered for the position be comparable to other districts of similar size. The majority of respondents want the new superintendent to have experience with personnel and budgeting. They want someone with integrity, commitment to the community, and is a good team builder. The leadership skills they’re looking for are problem solving, working with diverse groups of people, oral communication and strategic thinking.

The School Board voted to begin advertising on Dec. 10 with an application deadline of Feb. 7. They’ll retrieve applications from a dedicated post office box on Feb. 10. The Board approved the salary range to be set at $120,000-145,000 (Emile Metoyer voted in opposition of this).

Once the board has the applications in hand it will have to decide how many applicants to interview, choose who to interview, and the order in which the interviews will take place.

Other agenda items included:

Receive update on Parish 4-H activities

Recognize Lakeview Football Program

Approve bids for processed and frozen foods for use in the child nutrition program during Jan. 1, 2020 through June 30, 2020

Approve bids for paper and cleaning supplies for use in the child nutrition program during the period of Jan. 1, 2020 through June 30, 2020

Approve board meeting calendar for 2020