EMERGENCY BRIDGE CLOSURE: Hwy. 117 in Natchitoches Parish

bridge closed

Hwy 117; Natchitoches Parish
Bridge No. 1140204611
Control Section 114-02

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) advises the public that effective immediately the bridge on LA 117 over Relief Slough, located approximately 0.91 miles north of the LA 117/LA 118 intersection, is closed to all traffic. Due to the uncertainty and complexity of the repairs, the length of time required to complete the repairs is undetermined at this time.

Permit/Detour section
Northbound traffic will be detoured to LA 118 West to US 171 North to LA 6 East to LA 117.

Southbound traffic will be detoured to LA 6 West To US 171 South to LA 118 East to LA 117.

Safety Reminder
DOTD appreciates your patience and reminds you to please drive with caution through the construction site and be on the lookout for work crews and their equipment.

Additional Information
Call (318) 561-5100 or (800) 542-3509 or 511 or visit www.511LA.org for additional information. Motorists may also monitor the LA DOTD website @ www.dotd.la.gov, by selecting MYDOTD, the Way to Geaux Application for iPhone or Android devices, the DOTD Facebook page or the LA DOTD Twitter page, @Alex_Traffic for further information and details.

First United Methodist Church Holy Week Schedule

Holy Week.png


First United Methodist Church of Natchitoches would like to invite everyone to all of the Holy Week activities to prepare for Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Maundy Thursday, March 29 – Join us in the Sanctuary at 6 pm for a service of Holy Communion.

Good Friday, March 30 – Join us for a unique experience walking through the stations of the cross and a prayer labyrinth. This experience will be available to everyone from 10 am – 6 pm in the gym. There will be a special family time from 10-11:30 am. Come by for a quiet personal experience looking at the seven last words of Christ, walking through the prayer labyrinth, and other activities for adults and children.

Easter Sunday, April 1 – Join us for 1 of our 3 services. 8:30 am service is a traditional service with a choir located in our Sanctuary. Services at 9:30 am and 10:45 am are contemporary with a band playing songs that you would hear on the radio. They are located in Crossroads Worship Center.

For more information go online to http://fumcnla.org/holyweek18/.

First United Methodist Church of Natchitoches is located at 411 Second St. There is a parking lot on the side of the church and also plenty of parking all around the block.

For more information on FUMC go online to www.fumcnla.org, call the church office at 318-357-8296, or email info@fumcnla.org.

When Was Your Last Eye Exam?


For many people, good vision means good eye health, but that may not always be the case. Regular eye exams can catch problems before it’s too late. If you are age 40 or older and have not had a recent eye disease screening, The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends making an appointment for an eye exam. Prevention is the key. It is an essential step toward preserving vision and keeping eyes healthy, and there is no better time than right now! (AAO.org)

By 2020, 43 million Americans will be at risk for significant vision loss or blindness from age-related eye diseases, such as cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and macular degeneration — an increase of more than 50 percent over the current number of Americans with these diseases. Despite the statistics, many Americans are more concerned about weight gain or back pain than they are vision loss. (AAO.org)

The first step in preventing vision loss is to get a baseline eye exam at the age of 40. This is the age when early signs of eye disease and changes in vision may first occur. For individuals at any age with symptoms of, or at risk for, eye disease (such as those with a family history of eye disease, diabetes or high blood pressure), the AAO recommends seeing your eye doctor to determine how frequently your eyes should be examined. Based on the results of the initial screening, your eye doctor will prescribe the necessary intervals for follow-up exams. (AAO.org)

To schedule your regular eye exam, contact your Natchitoches Hometown Eye Care Team – Louisiana Eye & Laser. Drs. Cheryl Stoker and Brett Bennett along with Drs. Karren Laird Russo and Michael Redmond will be happy to manage your eye care needs. Call 318-352-0444 to see how you can achieve better vision and better eye health.

Louisiana Eye & Laser is located in Natchitoches at the corner of Keyser Avenue and 1055 Parkway Drive (Suite B).

Campus literary magazine honors students for best writing, photography, fine arts

Argus Winners


Seventeen Northwestern State University students were selected as winners of the Argus Language contest sponsored by Argus, the campus literary magazine. The contest recognized student work that expressed its own language through poetry, fiction, non-fiction, photography and artwork.

First place in poetry was awarded to Allie Atkinson of Berwick for “Cleanse.” Maggie Harris of West Monroe was second for “The Good Walmart Sweater” while Nicholas Jones of Bossier City was third for “Color Me In.”

Casey Alfultis of Zachary, received first in fiction for “The Heart Tailor.” Harris was awarded second for “The Garden of Portraits” with Skylar Guidroz of Port Barre in third for “Procrastination and Imagination” and Ruben E. Smith of Clayton getting honorable mention for “Old New Mexico Blues.”

In non-fiction, Bruce Craft of Baton Rouge won first for “Fifteen Minutes with Freaks for Jesus and the Snake Lady.” Christian Frost of Metairie was second for “Good Old Saint Expedite,” Ashante Knox of Natchitoches was third for “Now You’re Speaking My Language and Craft received honorable mention for “Why My Son Won’t Eat With Me.”

Sean McGraw of LaPlace finished first in photography for “Air Show” with Kailey Wisthoff of Lake Charles earning second for “The Beach is Calling.” Emilee Landry of Slidell was third for “darks and lights” and Alexis Trosclair of NewIberia was the staff pick for “The Sea Speaks.”

In fine arts, Laura Scronce of Maringouin was awarded first for “Winding Road.” Ariel Bailey of Natchitoches won second for “Yin and Yang” and was the staff pick for “Sea Dragon.” Maddie Manuel of Woodworth received third for “The Mighty Kraken.”

The honored works will appear in the 2018 edition of Argus, which will be published later this spring. Katie Rayburn of Pineville is the editor of Argus.

Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival Lineup Announced

Festival Lineup

Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival Chairman Rodney Harrington is not short on superlatives when describing the lineup for the 22nd annual event which will be held on April 13-14 on the newly renovated downtown Natchitoches riverbank.

“Quite simply,” Harrington said, “it will be The Greatest Weekend of Music in Natchitoches History.”

The fun begins on Friday, April 13th with the traditional Festival opener the NSU Jazz Orchestra, followed by the Louisiana Swamp Donkeys. Also featured Friday night will be perennial Zyedco/Cajun favorite, Wayne Toups, along with “The World’s Greatest 80’s Tribute Band,” LA ROXX.

Saturday will feature a wide variety of music on four stages located around the downtown riverbank area and will culminate later that evening with performances by the hit-making groups Starship featuring Mickey Thomas and Ohio Players, both performing on the brand new main stage.

Harrington says that while the appearance of these headliners in Natchitoches is amazing, there are so many more reasons to come to the Festival earlier in the day and hear some great music.

“I think the whole town is abuzz with ‘Maggie Mania’,” Harrington said when referring to Nashville Country music star, Maggie Rose, who will be performing on the main stage at 3:35 p.m. “Everywhere I go, people ask me what time Maggie is playing and are so excited to have her in Natchitoches.”

Rose, whose single “Pull You Through” is charting on Country music radio and television, has toured with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Martina McBride, and many others. She has been named by CMT, “One of the Next Women of Country.”

For Aerosmith Fans, Pandora’s Box, dubbed “The Ultimate Aerosmith Tribute” will be performing on the main stage just before Maggie Rose comes on. Kicking off the main stage Saturday will be local favorites The Hardrick Rivers Revue, followed by Gregg Martinez and The Delta Kings.

Harrington said that his band, Johnny Earthquake and The Moondogs, are particularly excited to have the legendary Rick Derringer performing with them again, and that a late addition to the lineup makes Derringer’s appearance even more special this year.

“Rick was a huge hit when he played the Festival four or five years ago, so I guess you could say he is back by popular demand.” Harrington continued, “This year also joining us will be Jon Smith, one of Rock & Roll’s greatest and legendary saxophonists.”

Harrington went on to say that Derringer and Smith were bandmates in Edgar Winter’s White Trash band during the late 60’s and early 70’s, and Smith has gone on to an illustrious career performing with such luminaries such as The Doobie Brothers, Boz Scaggs, Johnny Winter, Toto, and Sarah Vaughn.

Harrington promises that, with over twenty bands performing on four different stages, there will be something to appeal to almost every musical taste. “There will be Rock & Roll, Country, Zydeco, Cajun, Blues, Funk, and, of course, Jazz and R&B,” he said. “In fact, the Beau Jardin Stage features nothing but Jazz all day, so the hardcore Jazz aficionados would never have to leave that spot,”

Natchitoches’ own country music star, Trini Triggs, will once again serve as Master of Ceremonies and will perform at various times during the Festival and as always, local groups including Billy O’Con and Badd Apple, Cane River Soul, and Breaktime for Frances will be spotlighted. Of course, there will be plenty of food and activities for the kids with lots of inflatables.

One new feature at this year’s Festival is the addition of limited reserved seating in the new amphitheater in front of the stage.

“Oh, the reserved seats are going to be fantastic,” according to Harrington. There are just over 500 reserved seats and Harrington says that many of them have been sold leaving just over 200 available for sale. Personal chairs will not be allowed on the riverbank but will be allowed at all outer stages and in a limited area on top of the riverbank.

“If you want to be insured a primo place to sit at the Festival, you better order your reserved tickets today!” Harrington concluded. “There is no doubt they will be sold out before Festival weekend.” Reserved seats can only be purchased online.

For ticket information, a full lineup and more information about the 22nd Annual Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival, go to www.natchjazzfest.com

Ponderings with Doug – March 23, 2018


I told you about Lucky the dog. He was an emaciated puppy that I met as he was licking chewing gum off the parking lot of the bank in Gibsland. He adopted us by breaking into our house and curling up on the floor at the foot of the bed. We took him to the vet and he has all the shots. He was fixed and now barks in a higher vocal range. He has put on weight and looks healthy.

We forgot!

We forgot what it is like to have a puppy in the house. Our other two dogs are six years old and have mellowed. They sleep, eat, play for a minute and go outside and do their doggy thing.

If only Lucky would follow the script.

He has earned his new last name. He is now Lucky Luciano.

I have a small metal trashcan in which the dog food is stored. This can has minimal clearance under the cabinet. It has a crawfish tray on top acting as a lid. If I used the real lid the handle wouldn’t allow it to fit under the cabinet. On three sides this trash can barely fits under the cabinet.

Lucky has figured out how to grab the handle of the trash can and slide it from under the cabinet. He taps the lid and knocks it on the floor. Depending on his mood he will run outside with this crawfish tray, or he will deposit it in the chair in the den. After he has finished playing with the modified lid, he has a snack. At other times, he will knock the trash can over, so the other dogs can feast along with him.

Lucky must know that I love snow. The other day I came home and Lucky had decorated the den so it would look like snow had fallen. He found the most susceptible pillow and ripped it open and spread the contents around the room. I have attached the picture of this event. You can see Lucky, the snow and the crawfish tray in the chair. He had a busy morning.

Let’s not forget shoes. I have been removing shoes with impunity for years. Sometimes I put them up. Sometimes they stand where I came out of them. Lucky loves shoes. He loves the lining in the bottom of the shoes. He likes the rip them out and chew on them.

He enjoys hiding my shoes. He has even taken a shoe outside to play with it.
He likes to clean my bedside table. He has run off with the TV remote. He grabbed my glasses and ran off with them. My pristine lenses now have dog teeth marks in them. He jumps on tables as a short cut to the other dogs when he is playing. I have become a more judicious house cleaner. Anything on the kitchen cabinet is a candidate to become floor covering. He has this thing about mail. He even chewed up the agenda for the next Parish Council meeting. It gave him indigestion.

The dog is a pest!

Not really, Lucky is a puppy. He is full of energy. He is full of play. He is clumsy and amusing. I don’t know what kind of dog Lucky is, but he is on his way to being one spoiled dog.

We will survive the puppy stage. Lucky will learn NO. He will learn to stay off the furniture. He will learn because the other dogs have learned. He will become well trained and less playful. He will outgrow some of his exuberance. He will become a good dog!

I wonder if the church accidentally takes all the joy out of following Jesus. I wonder if it would be better if we encouraged the playful, joyous stage of following Him. I see too many Jesus followers that appear to be ground down by “doing church.” What if we gave up doing church and became the church? Might that tack return the joy of our salvation? Perhaps our problem is that we say NO too often to those who are very young in the faith. We are too consumed with growing good Christians. What would the world be like if we aimed for joyous, loving, playful Christians?

I wonder!


Lucky Luciano

Convicted felon charged with possession of a firearm after traffic stop


An officer with the Natchitoches Police Department Patrol Division attempted to perform a traffic stop March 19 at 3:20 pm on a blue 1985 Chevrolet Impala on Hwy. 3110 near Hwy. 1 due to a traffic violation. As the officer approached the vehicle, it accelerated and fled northbound on Hwy. 1 (South Drive). The vehicle approached stopped traffic on South Drive and turned onto Saida Street. The vehicle then swerved into a ditch, where the driver, identified as Rynell Jefferson (B/M, 29), fled from the vehicle.

Jefferson was apprehended after a brief foot pursuit. A search of the vehicle he abandoned resulted in a recovery of suspected marijuana and a .38 caliber revolver. The handgun showed to have been reported stolen during a vehicle burglary in October 2017.

Jefferson, who is a convicted felon, was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of Firearm in the presence of CDS, possession of a stolen firearm, possession of schedule I, second or subsequent offense, possession of drug paraphernalia, flight from an officer, resisting an officer, speeding, stop sign violation and reckless operation of a vehicle.

Jefferson was placed in Natchitoches Parish Detention Center; his bond is set at $60,250.