Perry’s Plight

E.A. Perry was born on January 19, 1809. Later that same year, Perry’s father abandoned the family. In November, 1811, Perry’s 24-year-old mother contracted tuberculosis and died on December 8, 1811. Perry’s 27-year-old father, still estranged from the family, died from an unknown cause just three days after Perry’s mother. Perry, his brother, and sister, were split up. Perry’s brother lived with his paternal grandparents in Baltimore, Maryland. His sister lived with family friends in Richmond, Virginia. Mrs. Frances Allan convinced her reluctant husband, John, a wealthy merchant in Richmond, to foster Perry.

Living in the Allan household afforded Perry a good education. Frances, unable to have children of her own, adored and protected young Perry. Frances introduced Perry to the genteel life which came with being a member of the Allan family. Despite the high standing of the Allan family, however, Perry could not escape his status as a foster child. To John, Perry was a drain on his finances. As Perry grew older and more independent, he and his foster father clashed. John was strict with Perry and was stingy with his money. Perry longed to be on his own and to become a member of genteel society.

In February, 1826, Perry enrolled at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. John begrudgingly paid Perry’s tuition, but failed to provide him enough money to live on. Perry excelled in his studies but struggled with his newfound freedom. He drank and gambled away what little money he had to cover his expenses. By the end of his first year at the university, Perry had accumulated debts nearing $2,500.00, which adjusted for inflation, would be just over $40,500 in today’s money. John refused to help Perry cover the debts and their relationship worsened. Unable to repay his debts, Perry abruptly left the university.

On May 26, 1827, using an alias to escape his creditors, Perry enlisted in the United States Army at Boston, Massachusetts. In addition to lying about his name, Perry also lied about his age. He gave his age as 22 years old, when in reality he was 18. Whether he gave a false age as another way to keep his creditors from tracking him down or for some other advantage can only be speculated upon. His enlistment paperwork showed that Perry agreed to serve for a period of five years “unless sooner discharged by proper authority.” Perry listed clerk as his occupation.

Perry prospered in the army. In just nineteen months, Perry rose from the rank of private to Regimental Sergeant Major, a meteoric rise which was uncharacteristic, especially in peacetime. Perry became the company’s clerk, which brought him into constant contact with the company’s officers and relieved him of participation in more rigorous duties. By December of 1828, however, Perry decided he wanted out of the army because he was unable to secure commission without having been educated at West Point. He still owed the army three and a half years. Perry spoke with Lieutenant Howard, who said he would agree to his discharge upon reconciliation with his foster father and if he provided an acceptable replacement to serve in his stead at no cost to the army. Perry wrote to his foster father but John refused to answer his letters. Only after Perry told John of his plans to enter West Point did John agree to aid in Perry’s resignation from the army.

On February 28, 1829, Frances Allan died. For a short time, Perry’s and John’s relationship improved. John provide Perry with money along with a new suit of clothes and all of the necessary accessories for a young man of status. In addition, John provided the required permission for Perry to resign from the army along with funds for Perry to hire a substitute soldier. Perry left the army with several recommendations from his commanding officers in support of his application to West Point.

In May of 1829, Perry hand-delivered his application to Washington and delivered it to the Secretary of War. He returned to his residence in Baltimore and anxiously awaited news of his appointment. When, in July, 1829, he had received no word, he walked the forty miles from Baltimore to Washington to check on the status of his appointment. Perry’s impatience did him no good. Perry had no choice but to walk the forty miles back to Baltimore. Finally, in March of 1830, Perry received his appointment at West Point.

The other cadets looked up to Perry because he was slightly older and because of his previous university and military training. In his spare time, Perry wrote poetry. His fellow cadets enjoyed his writings and many of them agreed to share the cost of publishing a book of his poems. The treasurer of the academy withheld $1.25 from each participating cadet’s $28.00 monthly check until the amount reached $170.00.

Perry’s reputation grew and he confidently boasted that, with his previous educational background and military experience, he would complete the four-year program at West Point in only six months. However, Perry was stunned to learn that his previous experiences and his rank as Sergeant Major would not enable him complete the program at West Point in a shorter timeframe.

Perry learned other disappointing news as well. While Perry was at West Point, John had remarried and had fathered twins. Perry would no longer inherit any of John’s wealth. Perry was distraught and was determined to resign from West Point. If he abandoned West Point without John’s permission, he would not receive his backpay. Perry wrote to John and requested his permission but John refused to reply. In his own notes, John commented “I do not think the boy has one good quality.” In January, 1831, Perry abandoned his duties at West Point. During the court martial, Perry was charged with “gross neglect of duty,” and “disobedience of orders.” On March 6, 1831, the court found Perry guilty of both charges and dismissed him from West Point. The academy withheld Perry’s last paycheck but forwarded a check to him for $170.00, the money the cadets had raised for Perry’s book of poems. In May, 1831, a publisher delivered 136 copies of Perry’s book, one for each cadet who had raised money for its publication. Perry dedicated the book “to the U.S. Corps of Cadets.”

Perry continued to write poetry and short stories. His works were published in various journals and periodicals in the United States. He also continued with his old habits of drinking and gambling, a combination which usually led to disaster. On October 7, 1849, Perry died destitute at the young age of forty from an unknown cause which has been debated ever since. He failed to achieve the status of a gentleman, which he had witnessed while a part of the Allan family, and was not accepted into polite society. Since his death, however, Perry has been praised for his works such as “The Black Cat,” “The Raven,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” and a host of other tales of horror and suspense. E.A. Perry was the alias of Edgar Allan Poe.

Sources:
1. Russell, J. Thomas. Edgar Allan Poe: The Army Years. West Point, New York: United States Military Academy, 1972.
2. National Archives Catalog. “Enlistment Papers for Edgar A. Perry [Poe].” Accessed September 9, 2020. catalog.archives.gov/id/300391.
3. National Archives Catalog. “Trial of Cadet E. A. Poe.” Accessed September 9, 2020. catalog.archives.gov/id/301660.

Earliest Known Portrait of E.A. Perry


Representative Firment on Special Session

House District 22 Representative Gabe Firment is representing our area in the Louisiana Legislature during the Special Session. Last week Firment posted:

I signed two important documents today designed to move our state forward and restore the individual rights and freedoms we cherish. First, I signed a petition to call the legislature into special session beginning one week from today to deal with Hurricane Laura recovery, Covid-19 response, and budgetary issues such as the imminent crisis with the unemployment trust fund.

Second, I proudly signed a petition that with a simple majority of the House or Senate could immediately override the governor’s emergency proclamations. This would end the oppressive and unconstitutional executive mandates that have been forced upon the people of District 22 with no legislative input or representation. This would allow for the immediate repeal of the mask mandate, opening our nursing homes to common sense visitation, allowing families to attend high school football games, and reopening our small businesses that have somehow managed to survive this government imposed shutdown of our economy.

The hard working people of District 22 have made it clear to me that they are sick and tired of the government being involved in every single aspect of their lives. It’s time to stop living in fear and start demanding that our Constitutional rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are honored by the government that exists solely at the will of the governed. Thank you and God Bless.


Development programs to pay dividends for NSU

Northwestern State University is offering two new faculty and staff development programs, one for those in early and mid-career and another for newly positioned campus leaders.

IGNiTE is a two-semester program for early and mid-career faculty and staff interested in broadening their understanding of the institution’s vision, mission, and goals and in developing their academic, professional, or administrative leadership skills to support those principles. NSULeAds is an intensive leadership training program designed to facilitate the transition of recently positioned campus leaders into their new roles.

“Northwestern State’s biggest asset is its people,” said NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio. “These innovative programs will help our faculty and staff better understand the university, develop stronger personal and professional ties and ultimately help provide a better overall opportunity for our students.”

According to Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Greg Handel, the IGNiTE program will immerse participants in the strategic framework of the university to maximize their understanding of how these core ideals drive NSU’s operation and initiatives. Handel said NSULeAds will feature interactive and educational experiences, mentor partnerships, and collaborative engagement with leaders from across the University.

“Participants in IGNiTE will develop a greater understanding of effective leadership fundamentals in higher education and how to recognize and culture those competencies in themselves and their colleagues,” he said. “NSU LeAds will take those who are in new leadership roles and provide them with experiences and opportunities that will lead to further professional growth.”

Handel stated that the goals for NSU’s IGNiTE program participants are to enhance understanding of personal and professional leadership competencies and gain familiarity with the strategic framework of Northwestern State. Other goals are to deepen understanding of how the strategic framework is incorporated into the operational decision making of the university and advance Northwestern State.

A diverse group of 15 faculty and staff were selected for the program. Participants attend nine half-day sessions spread throughout the fall and spring semesters. Handel hopes participants will develop a strong understanding of functional units within the University as well as exploring their personal leadership skills and competencies. Activities will include professional and social networking, engaging group projects, reflective reading and writing initiatives and a mentoring experience.

Those taking part are Anna Morris, coordinator, Non-traditional BSN Program, Bob Jordan, director of the Academic Success Center, Christie Price, assistant to the president, Dean Kostantaras, assistant professor of history in the Louisiana Scholars’ College and director of Study Away Programs, Emily Posey, associate bursar, Jeff Moore, associate men’s basketball coach, Jerona Washington, NSU@BPCC coordinator, Jerry Brunson, associate professor in the School of Biological and Physical Sciences, and Keith Dromm, professor of philosophy.

Other participants are Kim Johnson Liner, Title IX coordinator and director of student advocacy, Nabin Sapkota, associate professor in the Department of Engineering Technology, Neeru Deep, instructor in the Department of Psychology, Nick Taylor, assistant professor in the Department of New Media, Journalism and Communication Arts, Oliver Molina, assistant professor of music and assistant director of bands, Roni Biscoe, executive director of institutional effectiveness and human resources, Sheri’ Wilson, assistant professor of nursing, Telba Espinoza-Contreras, director, International Student Resource Center and Study Abroad and Tracy Brown, chief technology officer.

Topics to be covered during NSULeAds include team building, diversity, equity and inclusion, goal setting and strategic planning, assessment, conflict resolution and community engagement and fundraising. Meetings will be held monthly through December.

At the first meeting, participants identified a potential mentor who is a seasoned leader on campus and does not work in their area. This mentor program will run concurrently with the leadership institute, with reports on mentor activities during a portion of each meeting. At the second meeting, the participants were assigned a project to develop a plan the campus community.

Participants are Katrina Jordan of the School of Education, Jim Mischler, head of the Department of English, Foreign Languages and Cultural Studies, Brett Garfinkel, head of the Department of Theatre Cade Stepp of the Office of University Recruiting, Chris Lyles, interim director of the School of Biological and Physical Sciences, Holly Shivers of the Department of Psychology, Joel Hicks, head of the School of Allied Health, John Dunn, Faculty Senate president and an assistant professor in the School of Creative and Performing Arts, Josh McDaniel, director of marketing and branding. Katarina Haymon, assistant director of First Year Experience, Ruth Weinzettle, head of the Department of Social Work, and Taquita Bell, director of admissions.


Women’s Basketball: Northwestern State’s Beatrice Attura claims Italian Super Cup title

 Northwestern State players continue to shine overseas as former Lady Demon standout Beatrice Attura and her Reyer Venezia teammates won the Italian Super Cup Championship on Sunday night.

Reyer topped Famila Schio in the finals 73-64 claiming the second title in the organization’s history.

Attura’s championship is the latest success for a Lady Demon alumna. Former teammate Shahd Abboud was named Domestic MVP of the Israeli Female Basketball Premier League in March for her club Ramat Hasharon.

“The Super Cup title means more than the other trophies I’ve won because these are such uncertain times,” Attura said. “I’ve realized you cannot take anything for granted. You never know when this moment can get taken away from you because of things out of your control.

“Fortunately, we were able to stay healthy, get fit again and make it through these hard times. It means so much to me that I can come back to my home country and hoist a trophy that has been so hard to conquer over the years. Hopefully it’s the first of many.”

Reyer took an early seven-point lead before Schio pulled within one at 22-21 by the end of the first quarter. A long ball with two and a half minutes left in the half put Reyer back up by seven, a lead they took to the break.

After a defensive push by Schio early in the third, it was Attura’s 3-pointer, a sight quite familiar to Lady Demon fans, at the end of the frame that pushed the lead to double figures at 57-45.

The lead ballooned to 15 by the middle of the fourth and despite a late push by the home team getting them within six, Reyer held on to claim the 73-64 victory and Super Cup title.

The 2015 Southland Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player and 2017 First-Team Academic All-American finished the game with nine points, including the clutch trey at the end of the third period.

Attura, a first-team All-Southland selection as a senior, averaged 11.3 points per game at NSU, ranks 12th all-time in scoring with 1,446 points, holds the NSU record for most 3-pointers in a season with 88 and is to date the only CoSIDA Academic All-American in program history.


OPPORTUNITY: ELECTRICIAN

POSITION: Utility Department – Electrician

DESCRIPTION: Performs skilled work in the operation, maintenance and repair of electrical systems and equipment. Operates a variety of specialized related equipment.

QUALIFICATIONS: Performs skilled work in the reconstruction, maintaining and repairing electrical systems and equipment and lift stations. Inspects, test, calibrates and adjusts various controls or meters used in electrical, water and sewer systems. Working knowledge of design, layout, assembly, installation, testing and maintenance of electrical systems. Working Knowledge of low voltage systems, control wiring and the ability to understand high voltage systems.

EDUCATION: High School diploma or equivalent. Two (2) years related experience.

CONTACT: City of Natchitoches, Human Resources Department located at

1400 Sabine St., or P.O. Box 37
Natchitoches, LA 71458-0037.

Applications may also be picked up upstairs at City Hall, located at 700 Second St., or you may download an application on line at www.natchitochesla.gov

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: Applications will be accepted through October 2, 2020

THE CITY OF NATCHITOCHES IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER.


The Constitution and The Filling of a Vacancy

By Royal Alexander/Opinion

Two points worth considering about the filling of the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court as a result of the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: One, what does the Constitution say about nominating and confirming a Supreme Court Justice; And two, whether a nominee’s religious affiliation should disqualify them from consideration.

Firstly, Article 2, Section 2, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution states, in pertinent part, as follows: “A President nominates and, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint … judges of the Supreme Court.” A simple majority of the Senate is required to confirm or reject a nominee. The sound and fury we are hearing concerning the nomination and appointment of a justice during an election year is based upon the prerogative of a given president and the traditions of the U.S. Senate, but they are not constitutional requirements. A president may appoint, and the U.S. Senate may confirm or reject a nominee, any time there is a vacancy. The Senate’s constitutional duty has no exception for election years.

The rest of this is simply posturing and gamesmanship. Which means it’s politics. Both parties have been on both sides of this issue depending upon who was in power and who held the majority. I have no doubt that if the shoe were on the other foot and the Democrats held the White House and Senate they would also immediately push through their own nominee.

Justice Ginsburg was aware of the fragile nature of her health and could have decided to retire. In fact, she was asked to do so during the Obama years, providing President Obama the opportunity to appoint a younger, like-minded justice. She did not, perhaps thinking Hillary Clinton would win and the first female president would then appoint her replacement. Hillary lost. Faced with that, she simply held on attempting to outlast, she hoped, a one-term President Trump. She miscalculated.

Further, regarding an election year replacement of a justice, Justice Ginsburg, herself, said, in a 2016 interview regarding the nomination of Merrick Garland to the High Court: “Nothing in the Constitution prevents a president from nominating to fill a court seat. That’s their job. There’s nothing in the Constitution that says the president stops being president in his last year.”

Secondly, Article 6 of the Constitution makes clear that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” This includes as a “disqualification” to any office! This means we do not impose religious litmus tests upon individuals in order for them to be eligible to serve in public office.

That’s why it’s so highly offensive for Judge Amy Coney Barrett to be attacked, in an attempt to disqualify her, because she is a Catholic. That’s also why it was highly inappropriate and bigoted for U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein to say to Judge Barrett “the dogma lives loudly within you” during her confirmation hearing to the federal appeals court in 2017. This comment by Feinstein was made to imply that Judge Barrett could not be both a faithful Catholic Christian and also a fair and impartial judge. This is wrong, unconstitutional and remains an historic smear of a nominee.

Judge Barrett is a highly qualified, accomplished jurist (a Louisianan!) who is also the mother of 7, one, a special needs child, and two of whom were adopted from Haiti. The great farce here is that the Left, which reflexively demands that we “celebrate women,” refuses to do so regarding Judge Barrett.

Why? Because Judge Barrett would faithfully apply the Constitution and law as written—rather than usurping the role of the elected branches and imposing her own policy choices. She won’t serve as an activist, Leftist judge and that means not only should she not be praised but that she must be destroyed in the same ugly, vicious manner the Left inflicted on Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The hypocrisy here drips like the morning dew.

The dictates of the Constitution in this matter are clear. Hopefully, they will be followed.

The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Natchitoches Parish Journal.  If you have an article or story of interest for publishing consideration by the NPJ, please send it to NPJNatLa@gmail.com.


2020 census to end Oct. 5 despite court order

The 2020 census will end Oct. 5, despite a federal judge’s ruling last week that the head count of every U.S. resident should continue through the end of October, according to a tweet posted on the Census Bureau’s website on Sept. 28.

The tweet said the ability for people to self-respond to the census questionnaire and the door-knocking phase when census takers go to homes that haven’t yet responded is ending Oct. 5.

The announcement came as a follow-up to U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh’s preliminary injunction, which suspended the Census Bureau’s deadline for ending the head count on Sept. 30, allowing for the ending of field operations on Oct. 31.

Koh said the shortened schedule ordered by President Donald Trump’s administration likely would produce inaccurate results that would last a decade. She sided with civil rights groups and local governments that had sued the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Commerce, which oversees the statistical agency, arguing that minorities and others in hard-to-count communities would be missed if the counting ends this month.

Attorneys for the federal government said they were appealing the decision. During hearings, federal government attorneys argued that the head count needed to end Sept. 30 in order to meet a Dec. 31 deadline for handing in figures used for deciding how many congressional seats each state gets in a process known as apportionment.

SOURCE: Associated Press – Florida


NCHS Coaches Show: James Wilkerson

Last night was the first edition of the 2020 NCHS Coaches Show with Head Football Coach James Wilkerson.  Steve Graf, who will be bringing you the play-by-play action on 95.9 Kix Country this season, introduce the new show with Coach Wilkerson Tuesday night on 95.9 Kix Country and on 95.9 Kix Country’s social media outlets.  Graf also introduced former NCHS Chief and NSU Demon Davon White.   White will join Graf in the control booth giving his insight as to what’s happening on the field.

The week’s opponent – Lake Charles College Prep.

Tune in this Friday night as the your NCHS Chiefs take on Lake Charles College Prep LIVE from Turpin Stadium.  Pre-game show at 6:45 and kickoff at 7:00.

Next NCHS Coaches Show:  Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 6:00pm on 95.9 Kix Country (KNOC) and on 95.9 Kix Country Social Media Outlets.

Last Nights Show:


BOM is Official Partner of NSU IGNite & LeADS programs

BOM is honored to be the official partner of the Northwestern State University IGNiTE & LeADS Programs. NSU is offering a two-semester program for early and mid-career faculty and staff interested in broadening their understanding of their institution’s vision, mission, and goals and in developing their academic, professional, or administrative leadership skills to support those principles. In the photo from left to right: Dr. Kimberly McAlister, (Associate Professor, Curriculum & Instruction; Dean, Education and Human Development), Van Erikson (Director of Recruiting), Carrie Hough, and Micah Murchison.


Opportunity: City Attorney Opening

POSITION: City Attorney – City of Natchitoches

DESCRIPTION: The City Attorney shall serve as Chief Legal advisor to the Mayor, council and all departments, offices and agencies, shall represent the City in all legal proceedings and shall perform any other duties prescribed by the City charter or by ordinances.

QUALIFICATIONS: The City attorney shall be an attorney licensed to practice in the courts of Louisiana with at least five (5) year’s experience in the practice of law.

CONTACT: Resume’s may be mailed or dropped off at the City of Natchitoches, Human Resources Department, located
at 1400 Sabine Street, or P.O. Box 37, Natchitoches, LA 71458-0037.

Resume’s may also be dropped off upstairs at City hall, located at 700 Second St.

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: Applications will be accepted through
September 30, 2020

THE CITY OF NATCHITOCHES IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER.


NSU students haul Cowboy Collection to McNeese

Student volunteers at Northwestern State University loaded a rental truck with clothing, pillows, paper goods and other items that were delivered to McNeese State University in Lake Charles Tuesday. The Cowboy Collection, a student-led initiative, ran like a well-oiled machine as masked volunteers adhered to social distancing protocols while loading the truck with supplies donated over the last two weeks by numerous student groups, athletes and individuals from the Natchitoches community.

Sheridan Duet of Thibodaux, Sarah Sargent of Lake Charles and Jessica Mullican of De Ridder headed up the initiative under the guidance of Director of Student Affairs Reatha Cox, who praised dozens of students from the Presidential Leadership Program for their cooperation and teamwork in loading supplies safely and in record time.

The truck left campus shortly after noon to deliver Hurricane Relief supplies to storm-ravaged McNeese, Northwestern State’s sister school in the University of Louisiana System.

The Cowboy Collection is one facet of several strategies to help McNeese students, faculty and staff. NSU and other UL System Schools are helping displaced McNeese students by offering them access to campus resources such as Wi-Fi, libraries, computer labs, rec centers, dining options, counseling and health services. McNeese resumed online classes on Sept. 18 and will remain online for the rest of the fall semester.

Hurricane Laura made landfall on Louisiana’s southwest coast Aug. 27. The storm’s eye passed directly over Lake Charles and McNeese State causing catastrophic damage. McNeese plans to welcome students back to campus in January 2021.

Pictured above: Northwestern State University students loaded and delivered a truckload of hurricane relief supplies to McNeese State University Tuesday. From left are Jessica Mullican, NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio, Director of Student Affairs Reatha Cox, Sarah Sargent and Sheridan Duet, organizers of the Cowboy Collection to assist the McNeese community.


Notice of Death – September 29, 2020

NATCHITOCHES:
Naive Michael Elhage
June 11, 1949 – September 27, 2020
Service: Wednesday, September 30 at 2 pm at Old Pisgah Baptist Church

Sherwood Lyles
June 24, 1941 – September 28, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Natalie Wilson
September 25, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Jessie Sawyer
September 24, 2020
Service: Saturday, October 3 at 11 am in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, located at 318 North Street in Natchitoches

Vanilla Hardy
May 11, 1970 – September 23, 2020
Arrangements TBA

Laraja Brianne Nicholas
July 10, 1997 – September 23, 2020
Service: Wednesday, September 30 at 11 am at the Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church, located at 2654 Highway 1226 in Clarence

Willie Baldwin
September 23, 2020
Arrangements TBA

SABINE:
Betty Ann James Winslow
November 2, 1949 – September 20, 2020
Service: Sunday, October 4 at 11 am at the home of Robbin Mitchell, located at 8048 Hwy 120 in Robeline

Edna Ozell Craig
February 16, 1933 – September 20, 2020
Service: Thursday, October 1 at 2 pm at Union Baptist Church

WINN:
Jerry Joseph Thomisee
February 15, 1942 – September 26, 2020
Service: Wednesday, September 30 at 2 pm in the chapel of Southern Funeral Home of Winnfield

Roy Ross Maggio, Sr.
June 15, 1946 – September 26, 2020
Service: Thursday, October 1 at 10 am at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church

Mamie Lucille Herring
June 16, 1928 – September 27, 2020
Service: Wednesday, September 30 at 11 am at First Baptist Church


City Council votes on appointments, discusses airport hangar lease

The City Council appointed Matt Anderson as the Utility Director for the City of Natchitoches at its meeting Monday night, Sept. 28. Anderson has worked for the City for 22 years and has been serving as the assistant utility director under former director Charles Brossette.

Some Council members stated their excitement to see someone with Anderson’s qualifications getting hired from within the City. Anderson starts Tuesday morning, Sept. 29.

A second appointment on the agenda did not pass after Council members Eddie Harrington, Dale Nielsen and Council Member at Large Betty Sawyer Smith voted against it. The resolution was to appoint Nicole Gray as chief of staff for the City of Natchitoches.

When the position was created in 2013 it was part time and was appointed to Edd Lee with an annual stipend of $5,000 added to his salary. Lee works for the City as Director of Purchasing, Human Resources Director, is over the Natchitoches Regional Airport and serves as Risk Manager.

Lee only stepped down from his position as chief of staff because Mayor Ronnie Williams Jr. asked him to so Gray could be appointed, preferably in a full-time capacity as she and Williams had previously discussed, although no talk occurred of what a full time salary for a chief of staff would look like. However, some Council members were reluctant to do so, stating that they had not even received information about Gray’s qualifications, which would have included her resume. Lee, as HR Director said he had only received her resume earlier in the day, Sept. 28.

Another agenda item that garnered a fair amount of discussion was the introduction of an ordinance to execute a lease in favor of Marc Millican of a 21,785.76 square foot lot (Lot 4) of the Natchitoches Regional Airport.

There has been some conflict regarding this lot and the hangar that sits on it over the years. Millican has come before the Council before to contest his right of ownership and the respective lease. City Attorney Ron Corkern said Millican hasn’t been a good neighbor to the airport over the last 5 years. He claimed Millican has cost the City a significant amount of money in legal expenses, has filed complaints with the FAA that were found to be without merit, has stored everything in the hangar except a plane, hosted parties in said hangar, gave the airport’s gate code to an excess of 50 party guests, has had a school bus and a motorcycle driving down and across runways at times, and had cancelled insurance, which is an airport requirement. Needless to say the list of grievances was lengthy, but Airport Manager Larry Cooper said he was willing to bury the hatchet and try to move forward. Corkern recommended that the City approve the lease for a 3 year period instead of the requested 10 year period.

Other agenda items included:

Johnny Barnes, president of the Concerned Citizens Association, presented awards to City Council Members Rosemary Washington Eli, Chris Petite, Council Member at Large Betty Sawyer Smith and Mayor Ronnie Williams Jr.

Proclamation declaring Oct. 4-10 as Fire Prevention Week in the City of Natchitoches

Introduction of ordinance to change zoning classification of 1011 Keyser Avenue (Parkway Cinema) from B-3 Commercial to Additional B-A zoning to sell beverages of alcoholic content for consumption on premises. Owners Doug and Cathy said they’re looking for new ways to supplement revenue loss due to Covid. This includes drive-in movies; private screenings; selling additional food items like pizza, hot dogs, and pretzels; and now beer and wine.

Award the bid for caustic soda for the water treatment plant to Premier Chemicals and Services of Baton Rouge for $0.1175 cents per pound.

Final vote on ordinance to amend the 2020-2021 budget to reflect additional revenues and expenditures to transfer $1.8 million from Cares Act monies from the General Fund to the Utility Fund, receive a $130,000 state-rent payment and an allotted $619,970 for construction at the Eagle Building, and $158,376 increase to Sales Tax Rededication Fund 70 for work on the intersection of Texas and Second Street ($81,156) and the Bayou Jacko Sewer Main Relocation ($77,220).

Introduction of ordinance to amend the 2020-2021 budget to reflect additional revenues and expenditures to move $500,000 to Capital Improvements/Special Fund 71 for Capital Assets-Improvements-Monroe Drive, to correct Capital Improvements/Special Fund 71 for Capital Assets- Improvements- Bayou Jackso/Winona Crossing in the amount of $100,000, and to correct the Capital Improvements/Special Fund 71 for Capital Assets- Improvements- Texas and Second Street in the amount of $81,500.

Introduction of ordinance to award the bid for the Phase 3 Street Rehabilitation Project to Regional Construction of Natchitoches in the amount of $499,719. Juanita Fowler spoke in reference to this agenda item on behalf of property owners, tenants, and concerned citizens of Pierson Subdivision (nicknamed Pan Am). She urged the Council to reevaluate the list of roads included in the Phase 3 Street Rehabilitation Project and to add Railroad and Hill Streets. The only other street in Pan Am (Genti) is on the list, but Fowler said all three need to be addressed because of the extreme poor conditions the roads are in (SEE FULL LIST BELOW).

Introduction of ordinance to award the bid for a 35 ton detachable gooseneck spring ride trailer to Kaufman Trailers of Lexington, NC in the amount of $39,715.

Introduction of ordinance to execute an amendment to a lease in favor of Air Data Solutions of a portion of Lot 1A of the Natchitoches Regional Airport to provide for an updated mailing address for tenant.

Agenda amendment to add ordinance no. 055 of 2020 to approve an amendment to a lease entered into with the U.S. Government for the lease of all or a portion of the property located at 607 Trudeau Street/Depot Street and 720 Sith Street.

Execute grant agreements from the Federal Aviation Administration for a project at the Natchitoches Regional Airport titled Rehabilitate Airfield Drainage-Phase III Construction and a second project titled New Perimeter Fence and Repair Listing Fence- Phase II.

Advertise for bids for the Natchitoches Regional Airport consisting of Furnish Mk20a Localizer (equipment only) Bid No. 0631.

The next scheduled City Council meeting will be Monday, Oct. 12.