Demons hope to continue Saturday success, strong shooting Saturday when SFA visits

NSU 20 Ishmael Lane

There are several fairly predictable factors, along with trends that could extend, Saturday afternoon as rivals Northwestern State and Stephen F. Austin collide in a 3:30 Southland Conference basketball battle at Prather Coliseum that will be carried on ESPN3.

The outcome could be decided late in the game, or even at the end of it, as it was Jan. 12 at SFA when NSU’s Ishmael Lane tipped in a shot at the buzzer for a 61-59 Demons win. In Northwestern’s 12 conference games, nine have been decided in the final minute, including the last five straight.

“We’ve become a tough basketball team,” said Lane. “We fight for 40 minutes, or more if it takes that.”

Lane, the Demons’ 6-8, 250-pound senior forward/center, will be a pivotal factor. He’s had double-doubles in seven of the last eight games, averaging 16 points and 13.3 rebounds while sinking 63 percent from the floor in that stretch.

Over the last four games, NSU is on its most successful stretch of shooting in four seasons. The Demons have been over 50 percent in each of the last four, posting an aggregate 52 percent rate. Not since the middle of the 2015 conference race has an NSU team strung together four straight games over 50 percent.

“We’re moving the ball better and that creates better shots, open looks from outside and lanes to get to the basket,” said 20th-year coach Mike McConathy. “And when you have a player who’s producing at such a high level like Ish is (75 percent, 30-40, in that four-game span), that confidence is contagious and at the same time, the defensive focus on him provides better opportunities for the rest of our team.”

The Demons have won their last two Saturday outings and are 4-1 on Saturday in Southland contests, including the victory at SFA.

With six league games left, NSU (9-16 overall, 4-8 in the SLC) has to surge in the final third of the 18-game conference schedule to be one of the eight qualifiers to reach the Southland Tournament March 13-16. SFA (13-10, 6-5, 2-3 in Southland road contests) has an extra game to play and is fifth in the 13-team conference standings.

Another indication of the Demons’ progress recently has been their defensive performance in league action. Opponents are making only 41 percent of their shots, after making 48 percent last season.

SFA is led by the conference’s top scorer in SLC games, Kevon Harris, with a 22.7 average. Teammate Shannon Bogues (16.6) is fifth in league play.

Saturday’s contest, with the Demon Sports Network’s broadcast by 14-year veteran announcer Patrick Netherton, can be heard on Streaming audio available at and through the new Northwestern State Athletics mobile app, which can be downloaded from the Apple Store or on Google Play.

The Demons will play on the road again next Wednesday at Houston Baptist, then are off next Saturday. Their penultimate homecourt appearance comes Wednesday, Feb. 27 against Incarnate Word in Prather Coliseum.

Natchitoches Central Powerlifters qualify for USAPL High School Nationals

Tucker Henderson

Several lifters from Natchitoches Central’s Powerlifting Teams competed in a qualifying meet for USAPL High School Nationals this past weekend, Feb. 9-10. Four of the six lifters qualified for Nationals, which will be held March 29-30 at Alexandria Senior High School.

Qualifying for Natchitoches Central:

Paige Delsa – 47kg – equipped

Sara DeMattie – 84kg – equipped

Rodney Robinson – 83kg – equipped

Tucker Henderson – 93kg – equipped

Congratulations to these talented lifter and their coach, Derek Toro.

Steels repeats as Southland female field athlete of the week

January 14, 2017 – UAB Vulcan Invite – Birmingham, Alabama

Northwestern State Lady Demon jumper Jasmyn Steels was voted Southland Conference Female Field Athlete of the Week for a second straight week Wednesday as she continued her national dominance at the UA Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas this past weekend.

Steels’ astonishing personal best jump of 20-9 ¼ moved her up two spots in the national rankings to seventh, first in the Southland, and second in the school record book, only 1 ¼ inches behind by four-time All-American Stephanie Sowell in 2004.

The junior remains unbeaten in the long jump over four straight meets, also winning the award this past week after claiming gold at the LSU Bayou Bengal meet with a mark of 20-7 ¼.

The distinction now gives the Northwestern State track and field teams an award winner three weeks in a row for the indoor season.

Ceaser Stephens joined Steels this past week as the male field athlete of the week with his winning triple jump (50-9 1/2) in Baton Rouge. Stephens most recently finished sixth in the triple at the UA Tyson Invitational this past weekend with a career best and SLC best 51-8¼. The mark is currently the 25th best in the country.

Natashia Jackson was the first NSU athlete to be honored by the conference this season. The junior was voted female track athlete of the week after winning the 400 meter dash at the Pittsburg State Invitational on Jan. 26 with a time of 55.11.

NSU returns to Baton Rouge on Friday for the LSU Twilight meet before heading to Birmingham for the Southland Conference Indoor Championships on Feb. 24 and 25.

LaCap Senior Spotlight: Vrat Joshi

LaCap Senior Spotlight recognizes Vrat Joshi, a senior at the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA), as an outstanding high school senior.

Vrat has a 4.0 GPA and scored a 34 on the ACT. He was on the winning team out of 20 that competed at the LSU Mathematics competition. He was also selected to be in the National Society of High School Scholars.

Vrat interned at Harvard Student Agencies where he won the “Best Business Pitch” competition during the Summer Business Academy.

At LSMSA, Vrat was selected as a Academic Peer Mentor to tutor his fellow students in Vector Calculus, Differential Equations, Computer Science, Chemistry, Spanish, and Economics. He also serves as an ambassador for the school. During the summer he participated in an Economic for Leaders Program at Rice University where he received recognition for “Excellence in Economics” on his post-exam.

As a student, he formed a non-profit organization called Project Polio. Project Polio’s purpose is to educate, coordinate, and provide aid and relief to eradicate undocumented cases of the poliovirus around the world. Vrat organized the inaugural Project Polio 5K Fun Run in 2018, which raised over $3,000.

Vrat plays soccer for LSMSA, serving as the team captain during his senior year. He is also a member of the Math Club, where he’s participated in national and state competitions. Outside of school he studies business markets through finance-oriented online courses, websites, books like “Intelligent Investor,” and business-newsletters.

LaCap believes it takes good grades, community involvement, and hard work to make a successful leader. Vrat Joshi is being recognized for these qualities.

LaCap is committed to improving our community’s well-being by offering financial and volunteer support to organizations that enhance the quality of life through programs for youth, education, and financial literacy.

La Capitol Federal Credit Union has two locations in Natchitoches: 311 Keyser Avenue and 926 University Pkwy. Call 318-357-3200 or go online to for more information.

Lakeview Air Force JROTC Cadet Corps Conducts Quarterly Promotion and Recognition Ceremony

Lakeview High School’s Air Force JROTC Cadet Corps recently hosted parents and family members as guests to take part in their 2nd Quarter, School Year 2018-19, Cadet Promotion and Recognition Ceremony. The program recognized the achievements of the corps 75 cadets. Overall, 33 cadet promotions, 101 unit level ribbons, and 8 trophies were presented to cadets for achievements in leadership courses, academics, fitness, community service, and overall performance for the 2nd Quarter.

Pictured above: Lakeview High School’s Air Force JROTC Quarterly Trophy Winners (Oct-Dec 2018) from left are: Cadet MSgt Tierra Stacks (Overall Academic Award, Jr. Category), Cadet MSgt Joshua Long (JROTC Academic Award, Sr. Category), Cadet SMSgt Karmen Jarriett (Overall Academic Award, Sr. Category) and Cadet A1C Cami Faircloth (JROTC Academic Award, Jr. Category).

Lakeview High School’s Air Force JROTC Quarterly Outstanding Physical Fitness Award Winners, from left, were Cadet 2Lt Zack Favela (Outstanding PT, Male Category) and Cadet Amn Shakayla Browder (Outstanding PT, Female Category).

Cadet 2Lt Anna Smith (Sr Category) and Cadet MSgt Ethan Smith (Jr Category) were selected Lakeview High School’s Air Force JROTC Cadets of the Quarter. Cadet Anna Smith posted a 4.0 GPA, a 100% average in Air Force JROTC, performed 21 hours of community service this quarter, and is a Drill Team and Color Guard Commander. Cadet Ethan Smith also had a 4.0 GPA, a 99% average in Air Force JROTC, performed 25 hours of community/school service, and is a drill team and color guard team member.

NSU Associate Professor to speak on Louisiana’s role in WWII

Join the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum for a special presentation on “The Pelican State Goes to War: Louisiana in World War II” on Saturday, Feb. 16 from 2-3 pm. The public is invited to this free event.

Northwestern State University Associate Professor Dr. Susan Dollar will discuss the role Louisiana played in preparation for the United States’ entry in World War II. Dr. Dollar will share “behind the scenes” stories from central Louisiana on how mobilizing for the impending fight impacted its citizens.

Produced by The National WWII Museum, the exhibition features artifacts, photographs and oral histories that highlight Louisiana’s extraordinary contribution to America’s war efforts during World War II. It will be on display at the museum through March 15.

“Louisiana, played a pivotal role in World War II, especially in the early stages of the war before the Pearl Harbor attack,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “President Eisenhower and General Patton met at the Hotel Bentley in Alexandria, LA, to plan the Fort Polk training exercises, called the Louisiana Maneuvers, and the Higgins boats that were used in the D-Day invasion were built in New Orleans. Our state played a tremendous role, and we are excited to partner with The National WWII Museum for this exhibit.”

Sweethearts For A Cure Pageant seeks entries

The 3rd Annual Sweethearts For A Cure Pageant will be held Saturday, Feb. 23 at 11 am at Westside Baptist Church Family Life Center in Natchitoches. The entry fee is $55 for the first contestant and $30 for each additional sibling.

The sweethearts for a cure pageant is a benefit for the Natchitoches Parish Relay For Life and the Cure on the Cane Queens Team. The pageant supports the American Cancer Society. All proceeds will go to this organization. This includes all proceeds from entry fees, admissions, concessions, sponsorships, etc.

Contact Info & Email Inquiries:
Pageant email:
Hillary Severin Cell: 318-471-9449 Email:
Michelle Armstrong Cell: 318-652-1660 Email:

Mail Entries:
Cure on the Cane
110 Lakefront Drive
Natchitoches, LA 71457
*Mail-in-entries MUST be postmarked by Thursday, Feb. 13. NO door entries allowed.
*Late entries: After Feb. 13 entires will only be accepted until Sunday, Feb. 17 with a $10 late fee (must be hand delivered/Paypal’d).

Payments can be made in the form of cash, money order, or PayPal. Please make money orders payable to Cure on the Cane Pageant
PayPal address:

Age Group Registration:
0-7 years 9:30-10:30am
8 years – up 11am – 12pm

0–6 months – Newborn Miss
7–12 months – Infant Miss
13-23 months – Baby Miss
2-3 years – Toddler Miss
4-5 years – Tiny Miss
6-7 years – Little Miss
8-9 years – Petite Miss
10-11 years – Deb Miss
12-13 years – Jr. Miss
14-16 years – Teen Miss
17-23 years – Miss
21 years-up (married/divorced/moms) – Ms.
No interview, intro, or onstage question for any divisions.
*Please note that the director can combine and/or split groups depending upon the number of contestants.

0 months – 7 years: Sunday Best (custom or off the rack)
8 years – Up: Evening Wear (floor-length formal)
No fake hair or fake teeth for 0-3 years (NO MAKEUP)
4 years and up (age appropriate hair and makeup)

Optional Photogenic Competition:
Each division will have a photogenic winner. Photos can be black and white or color. Pictures must be no larger than 8×10. No picture frames. Photos must be labeled on the back with name and age. Please bring photos on the day of the pageant. Do Not mail photos. They are to be turned in at registration. Professional pictures are not required.

Queens: Each queen will receive a custom queen crown, queen banner, and goody bag (0-7 years) or bouquet (8-23 years).
All other contestants: Each contestant will receive an alternate crown, goody bag (0-9 years) or bouquet (10-23 years).
Photogenic: Each photogenic winner will receive a custom charger.
Side Awards: These will be given in each division. Each side award winner will receive a custom made certificate for most beautiful, prettiest hair, best fashion, and prettiest smile.

General Information & Guidelines :
Admission: Contestants will have free admission. A $5 admission fee is required for everyone attending the pageant over the age of 3. NO exceptions. Please advise your guests. Bad sportsmanship will not be tolerated. You will be asked to leave with no refund of fees. Judges will be qualified and not from this area. Judges’ decisions are final.

Backstage Rules: We ask that only one person is backstage with the contestant. Contestants who are in conflict with this rule may be disqualified at the director’s discretion. It is important to keep the backstage area orderly for the competition to run smoothly. We appreciate your cooperation with this rule.

Queen Requirements: The miss queen must be a resident of Louisiana. She can not be married or have ever been married. She can not be pregnant or have ever been pregnant. She must stay single (unmarried) for the entire year of her reign. She must not be arrested or have ever been arrested or charged any felony. She must refrain from all activities that would damage the reputation of the organization in which she represents. If any of these requirements are not followed, the director reserves the right to take the title from the miss queen.

Notice of Death – February 15, 2019


Carol Grace Ryan
July 12, 1942 – February 15, 2019
Visitation: Sunday, February 17 from 2-3 pm at the First United Methodist Church of Natchitoches
Service: Sunday, February 17 at 3 pm at the First United Methodist Church

Doris Washington
February 15, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Beulah Helaire Jackson
February 15, 2019
Arrangements TBA

John Clark
April 7, 1950 – February 14, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Sharon LaCaze
August 3, 1970 – February 14, 2019
Arrangements TBA

Evelyn Marie Mitchell Lee
September 24, 1937 – February 11, 2019
Service: Saturday, February 16 T 2 PM at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home
Interment: Rocky Mount Cemetery in Robeline

Willie Beard
February 10, 2019
Service: Saturday, February 16 at 2 pm at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: St. Paul Baptist Church Cemetery

Connie Ruth Burton-Lincoln
February 8, 2019
Visitation: Saturday, February 16 from 10-11 am at the First Baptist Church, located at 1116 Amulet Street in Natchitoches
Service: Saturday, February 16 at 11 am at the First Baptist Church
Interment: Jackson Square Cemetery

Frances Armstrong McKenzie
February 7, 2019
Visitation: Saturday, February 16 from 9-11 am at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home in Natchitoches
Service: Saturday, February 16 at 11 am at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel
Interment: St. Savior Baptist Church (Cane River) Cemetery

Creative Writing Showcase Feb. 21

Northwestern State University’s Department of English, Foreign Languages and Cultural Studies will host a Creative Writing Faculty Showcase that is open to students, faculty and the general public.

The event will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21 in the Ballroom of Varnado Hall. Refreshments will be provided.

Guests are invited to attend to “hear readings from teaching writers in NSU’s Department of English, Foreign Languages and Cultural Studies. We’ll read from original works in progress—poems, stories and things in-between,” said Dr. Rebecca Macijeski, Creative Writing Program coordinator and assistant professor of English. “Stick around for refreshments, an informal Q&A with us, and to learn more about upcoming classes and the new creative writing concentration starting this fall.”

For more information, contact Macijeski at

Great Reason for a Ball Game!

By Kevin Shannahan

Last Friday’s matchup between Lakeview and Red River high schools had an attendance of over 1,800 fans in Prather Coliseum. The venue is a superb place to hold a ball game. Its capacity is much larger than a high school’s gym, the seats are far more comfortable than bleachers and there is ample parking. Friday’s game between the Gators and Bulldogs was also proof of the feasibility of an idea

I proposed a few years ago in the Natchitoches Parish Journal.
I wrote a piece in 2016 proposing holding a basketball game between Natchitoches Central High School and Lakeview High School. The purpose of the game would be to raise funds for a scholarship at Northwestern State University for students graduating from the parish’s public schools. It fell on largely deaf ears at the time. We re-ran the piece after the State of Louisiana did not fully fund TOPS for the first time in the state’s history. Once again, the proposal fell on deaf ears. The third time’s the charm!

The Lakeview vs. Red River game is as fierce a rivalry as one will find in high school sports. The security at the game was more than up to the task. The crowd, while unabashedly vociferous in their cheering, was well behaved. With a junior varsity, girls’ and boys’ varsity game, it was a full evening’s entertainment at a modest admission price. Now imagine the crowd cheering on two powerhouse Natchitoches Parish teams with the proceeds going into a NSU scholarship fund. In a single night, the proceeds from the Red River vs. Lakeview game raised more than enough to endow a scholarship at NSU.

With that in mind, the Natchitoches Parish Journal is reprinting “A Game With a Purpose.” The time has come. Let’s make it happen!


It costs $10,000 to endow a scholarship at Northwestern State University. NCHS and Lakeview High Schools both field well-coached, talented and perennially successful boys’ and girls’ basketball teams that are a joy to watch. These two facts present Natchitoches Parish with an opportunity to help both our young people and our local university.

I’d like to propose an annual basketball game between the two schools’ teams with the gate and concession proceeds going into a fund to be used to endow the scholarship. The two teams have not met on the court in years and it remains the biggest unsettled sports rivalry in the area. I think this game could consistently fill Prather Coliseum for each year’s match-up. The game would showcase local talent, keep money circulating in the local area and above all, help our children.

Each year, a boy and girl who had played at least a season as a varsity athlete or trainer in any sport at either NCHS or Lakeview would earn a scholarship to NSU. The details as to qualifications and method of selection could be hashed out between the two schools. I don’t think it would take more than a year or two to raise the initial $10,000. As the amount grows with each year’s game, the amount of the scholarship can be increased. The NSU Foundation takes care of the money so there is no administrative burden on the schools. After a certain point, there would be enough funds for more than the two initial scholarships. Imagine the good that could be done after, say, 10 years.

Over the years that I have photographed local high school sports, I’ve been uniformly impressed by the young men and women of the various schools’ teams. They are a hard working, disciplined group of young people who have represented our parish with skill and class over the years. As they put away their uniforms and go on to the next phase of their lives, let’s help them get there! I can’t think of a better reason for a ball game.

LSMSA French Club members receive awards at ALCFES Congress

Rachel Judson, Sara Moore, Elaina Bachman, Colt Crain, Katriane Creel, Sophia Abbahou, Acacia Coker, Lucy Silverman, Colton Hayes. Not picture Caleb Baham.

Students in the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts’s (LSMSA) French Club attended the 39th annual Association Louisianaise des Clubs Francais des Ecoles Secondaires (ALCFES French Club Convention) in New Orleans.

From Feb. 1-3, the group participated in a Scavenger Hunt in the French Quarter and was able to explore French exhibits and architecture. They also took part in several competitions that were hosted throughout the weekend, receiving first place in the French Video Competition and second place in both the Banner and Music Competitions.

“I am so proud of all the students who participated,” said Instructor of French Nathalie Malti, who co-chaperoned the trip alongside Principal Lecturer of Physics Robert Dalling. “It is so rewarding getting to see them do well in the competitions and have fun using French outside of the confines of the classroom.”

In addition to these achievements, Senior Colt Crain participated in and won a scholarship competition to attend a two-week summer program at Excelia Group La Rochelle in France. The award, provided by the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL), includes host family housing, a portion of meals, classes, a one-day ticket to the Francofolies music festival and access to other sites.

“The competition is challenging because students not only take a written test, but are also interviewed by a panel of foreign judges,” said Malti. “The scholarship offers a French immersion experience to Louisiana students in need of improving their French language skills and cultural awareness for their current and future careers in the state.”

Acacia Coker (’20), who was also in attendance at the conference and who is currently serving as the ALCFES’s state board vice-president, was appointed as the organization’s new president for the 2019-2020 school year.

“As a state officer, Acacia attended monthly board meetings in Baton Rouge and helped plan for the convention,” said Malti. “She also spent countless hours working on the school’s video and banner, recruited and coordinated the help of French Club members, and made sure the deadline for submission was met. Through her dedication and hard work, Acacia has proven that she is ready for the next challenge as president of ALCFES.”

Other LSMSA students in attendance at the convention were Katriane Creel (’20), Lucy Silverman (’21), Sara Moore (’20), Sophia Abbahou (’21), Rachel Judson (’19), Caleb Baham (’21), Colton Hayes (’21) and Elaina Bachman (’21). French Club members who were unable to attend the conference but participated in competition projects are Cametrius Warren (’20), Julianne Le (’20), Alby Algawi (’20), Hadley Hines (’19), Elyse Duplantier (’19), Anne-Marie Higginbotham (’19) and Harkiran Kaur (’19). Jacqueline Schlamp (‘21), Jayden Gray (’21) and Kaitlin Mong (’21) assisted the French Club with the creation of the banner.

The ALCFES is an association of high schools dedicated to preserving and encouraging the use of the French Language throughout the state of Louisiana. The trip to the organization’s annual conference was made possible by the LSMSA Foundation, who covered a portion of total trip expenses.

LSMSA offers a robust course selection for students interested in learning about other languages and cultures. 

3rd annual Flavor of Louisiana returns March 22

Northwestern State University will host the third annual Flavor of Louisiana, one of the university’s most popular spring events, from 6-11 p.m. Friday, March 22 in Prather Coliseum. Flavor of Louisiana is presented in partnership with the Louisiana Seafood Board and will feature chefs, restaurateurs and caterers from throughout the state offering samples of specially prepared seafood dishes and other items.

Last year, nearly 600 guests mixed and mingled among 45 different tasting stations sampling delectable seafood dishes, craft beer, specialty cocktails and desserts. The event raised nearly $50,000 to support student scholarships and academic programs. Individual academic departments raised additional funds for their programs through raffles, games and silent auctions that included weekend getaways, prize baskets, vacation packages and more.

“Flavor of Louisiana is an event that we look forward to because of the positive response we’ve received in the past,” said Director of Development Jill Bankston, CFRE. “Besides all the delicious food samplings, our guests enjoy live music, dancing and visiting with friends. We will also offer a few meat selections that will appeal to non-seafood eaters, so there will be something for everyone.”

Because proceeds from Flavor of Louisiana impact the availability of scholarships, dozens of students will be directly involved with organizing and hosting the event.

“Students volunteer with logistics, preparation, ticket sales, set-up, host and hostess duties, registration and post-party cleanup,” Bankston said. “This is a good hands-on experience with a community event and it shows they appreciate our NSU supporters.”

Tickets to the seafood extravaganza are $65 per person or $125 per couple. Sponsorships are available at the $5,000 (Louisiana), $2,500 (Bayou), $1,000 (Magnolia and Pelican – separate benefits) levels and include reserved seating and other perks. The $5,000 Louisiana Sponsor level is a double sponsorship with the Natchitoches Dragon Boat Races, a day-long event set for Saturday, April 13 in downtown Natchitoches. Proceeds from the Dragon Boat Races will benefit First Year Experience, programming that encourages freshmen students to be active participants in events and organizations on campus.

Flavor of Louisiana will cap off a series of special events at NSU. Earlier in the day on March 22, NSU will honor six outstanding individuals with induction into the university’s alumni hall of distinction, the Long Purple Line. That event will include a luncheon and induction program beginning at 11 a.m. in the ballroom of the Sylvan Friedman Student Union. Tickets for the Long Purple Line luncheon and program are $20.

Information on tickets –  call (318) 357-4414.

City Bank sponsors NJH-JAG Program

The Natchitoches Junior High School JAG Program was presented with a check from City Bank & Trust Company. NJH-JAG would like to extend their gratitude to City Bank for It continuous support of the program.

Pictured are: Caiden Baines, Kort Rutledge, Aaliyah Edwards, Destiny Phillips, JoAnna Washington, Jennifer Braxton, JaNiyah Bell, Cameron Soto, Emaudia Watkins, Taylor Toussaint, Beaux Creel, Jakeria Burton, Maurice Nash, Joel Manausa, and Kayden Holden.