NCHS places Miles, Saucier, Davis on All-District 1-5A team

Jeremiah Miles had an outstanding senior season as a tailback for the Natchitoches Central Chiefs football team. (Photo by KEVIN SHANNAHAN, Natchitoches Parish Journal)

Senior tailback Jeremiah Miles, senior linebacker Logan Saucier and junior receiver Camryn Davis were the Natchitoches Central football players on the just-announced All-District 1-5A football team.

Miles, Saucier and Davis were all second-team selections in voting by the district coaches.

Five other outstanding Chiefs players received honorable mention all-district recognition: tight end Braden Woods, offensive lineman Tyler Johnson, defensive lineman Tredarius Brown and Antonio Brown, and linebacker Landon Brosset.

Parkway running back Jaylan White and Airline wide receiver Daxton Chavez were named the Offensive Most Valuable Players and Byrd linebacker Brooks Brossette won Defensive MVP to headline the 2022 All-District 1-5A football team.

Both White and Chavez had explosive seasons on offense. White averaged more than 210 yards a game rushing in district and finished with more than 2,100 yards rushing and receiving and 20 touchdowns overall. Chavez had 18 touchdown receptions and more than 1,000 yards receiving.

Airline head coach Justin Scogin was named the Coach of the Year after leading the Vikings to an undefeated district championship and overall 8-3 record after a 1-9 2021 season.

Here is the complete list of the All-District 1-5A team, chosen by the head coaches in the district.

OFFENSE

WR – Daxton Chavez, Airline, Sr.

WR – Cameron Jefferson, Airline, Sr.

WR – Pearce Russell, Benton, Sr.

WR – Jackson Dufrene, Byrd, Sr.

TE – Bob Patterson, Airline, Jr.

OL – Reid Hawsey, Airline, Sr.

OL – Kaleb Tree, Benton, Sr.

OL – Kyle Sprague, Byrd, Sr.

OL – Kam Robinson, Captain Shreve, Sr.

OL – Chandler Davis, Parkway, Sr.

QB – Gray Walters, Benton, Sr.

RB – Tre Jackson, Airline, Jr.

RB – Greg Manning, Benton, Jr.

RB – Jaylan White, Parkway, Sr.

Ath – Colin Rains, Haughton, Sr.

KR – Christian Jones, Byrd, Sr.

K – Aeron Burrell, Parkway, Jr.

DEFENSE

DL – Carter Tate, Airline, Sr.

DL – Isaiah Ford, Byrd, Sr.

DL – Terrence Greene, Captain Shreve, Sr.

DL – Ray Mayweather, Parkway, Sr.

LB – Brooks Brossette, Byrd, Sr.

LB – Landen Lee, Captain Shreve, Jr.

LB – Connor Blank, Haughton, Sr.

LB – Barrett Newman, Parkway, Sr.

DB – Brayden Linton, Airline, Jr.

DB – Sawyer Simmons, Benton, Sr.

DB – Christian Jones, Byrd, Sr.

DB – Carmaro Mayo, Parkway, So.

Flex – Zach Halbert, Benton, Sr.

P – Abram Murray, Byrd, Jr.

SECOND TEAM

OFFENSE

WR – Jalen Lewis, Haughton, Jr.

WR – Camryn Davis, Natchitoches Central, Jr.

WR – Trenton Lape, Parkway, Sr.

WR – D’Antonio Arkansas, Southwood, Jr.

TE – Jatavious Calhoun, Parkway, Sr.

OL – Artis James, Airline, Sr.

OL – Cameron McCormack, Benton, Sr.

OL – Chris Allen, Captain Shreve, Sr.

OL – Peyton Polk, Haughton, Sr.

OL – Sean White, Southwood, Sr.

QB – Ben Taylor, Airline, So.

RR – Jayden Edwards, Captain Shreve, Sr.

RB – Tyler Rhodes, Haughton, Sr.

RB – Jeremiah Miles, Natchitoches Central, Sr.

Ath – Lake Lambert, Byrd, Sr.

K – Abram Murray, Byrd, Jr.

DEFENSE

DL – Dennis Means, Airline, Sr.

DL – Brennan Belanger, Byrd, Sr.

DL – Kris Mesloh, Parkway, Sr.

DL – Travail Hamilton, Southwood

LB – Mark Engelke, Airline, Sr.

LB – Cole Weir, Benton, Sr.

LB – Scottie Simo, Captain Shreve, Sr.

LB – Logan Saucier, Natchitoches Central, Sr.

DB – Chris Montgomery, Airline, Sr.

DB – Carter Wells, Parkway, Jr.

DB – Jake McGee, Captain Shreve, Sr.

DB – Corinthian Walters, Southwood, Sr.

Flex – Aaron Holley, Captain Shreve, Sr.

KR – Bryson Broom, Airline, Jr.

P – John Chance, Captain Shreve, Jr.

Co-Offensive MVPs – Daxton Chavez, Airline; Jaylan White, Parkway

Defensive MVP – Brooks Brossette, Byrd

Coach of the Year – Justin Scogin, Airline.

Honorable mention:

Airline – Jeremiah Boudreaux, DB; Ben Jump, K; Kylin Jackson, RB; Sincere Walker, DL; Tyler Bullard, LB; Jalen Evans, DL; Joseph Johnson, Ath.; Hunter Howard, OL; Hunter Kendrick, OL; Jackson Warren, OL; Champ Endris, LB.

Benton – Travis Flowers,OL; Andy Lim, WR; Jeff King, Athlete; Josh Sanchez, LB; Landon Duggan, DB. 

Byrd – Lake Lambert, QB; Devon Strickland, RB; Jackson Rust, OL; Kailen Moore, OL; Ben Martinson, DL; Wyatt Watkins, DL; Jude Partington, LB; Walker Fox, DB.

Captain Shreve – Kenyon Terrell, QB; Jamarlon Otis, RB; Keaton Flowers, WR; Jordan Wiggins, WR; Davion Allen, OL; Greg Webb, DL; Landon Mosley, DL; Bryce Lopez, DL; Jamarcea Plater, DB; EJ McDonald, DB.

Haughton – Landry Donaho, OL; Tucker, Melton, OL; Rashard Douglas, WR; Tazavian Sweeney, LB; DJ Riser, DB; Carter Ebarb.K.

Natchitoches Central – Braden Woods, TE; Tyler Johnson, OL; Tredarius Brown, DL; Antonio Brown, DL; Landon Brosset, LB.

Parkway – Ashton Martin, QB; Jake Morton, OL; Dolan Williams, OL; Amaray Brown, LB.

Southwood – Jayden Stevenson, DL; D’Quavion Lemons, DL; Corinthina Walters, RB; Zemarion Tagleiri, WR; Kamarion Brackens, DL; Mike Shepard, LB; Marrio Stevenson, CB.


Demons set to resume rivalry with Lumberjacks

NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Although the names – and one conference – have changed, the rivalry between Northwestern State and Stephen F. Austin remains.

The former Southland Conference mates resume their now non-conference series Thursday night at 8 in William R. Johnson Coliseum with Northwestern State making their first trip to Nacogdoches since Jan. 20, 2021.

The game can be seen on ESPN+ with free streaming audio available through www.NSUDemons.com.

“They have a long history of success,” first-year coach Corey Gipson said of the Lumberjacks. “The staff does a phenomenal job down there. They really get after you with their pressure defense. They want to get after you and convert turnovers like we do.”

SFA (4-3) leads the nation in turnovers forced per game (22.7) while the Demons have caused an average of 16.6 miscues per game, which ranks 53rd nationally.

“It’s going to be a possession game,” Gipson said. “We’re going to approach this game like every other game. The No. 1 goal is sill Northwestern State. That will always be the priority. We know what we’re up against.”

Northwestern State has turned its 16.6 turnovers per game into an average of 17.1 points per game, thanks in part to an offense that has found more balance between its veterans and its emerging young players.

Playing without senior guard Ja’Monta Black for the first time this season this past Sunday, the Demons saw five players score in double figures as NSU won its fourth straight game, topping Bethune-Cookman 69-66.

“The next man stepped up,” said senior point guard DeMarcus Sharp, who had 11 points in the win. “Emareyon McDonald stepped up. Jalen (Hampton), he stepped up. We always talk about when anybody gets hurt – God forbid it happens again – the next man steps up.”

While McDonald had 28 games of college experience under his belt entering this season, Hampton had none.

A 6-foot-7 freshman from St. Louis, Hampton averaged a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds in the Demons’ two wins at the Central Arkansas Classic.

Through seven games, Hampton leads the Demons in rebounding, pulling down 6.4 per game. His 2.9 offensive rebounds per game rank 87th nationally.

Hampton is not alone in his improvement and adjustment to the college level.

“They are getting more and more comfortable,” Gipson said of his younger players. “We trust those guys because of how hard they work. It hasn’t just been physical development.

“We talk a lot about what happens from the shoulders up. They have invested themselves in watching film. When you watch film, the game slows down and becomes the matrix. With our young guys, it’s becoming a matrix for them.”

Photo Credit: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services


Northwestern State tennis adds two in talented recruiting class

Northwestern State’s tennis program added two players in its signing class for the 2023-24 season, head coach Jonas Brobeck announced Wednesday. 

Honoka Umeda, a native of Kumamoto-Shi, Japan, has a 256 ITF ranking, while Sara Erenda is ranked in the top 5 in her native Austria in her age-group and has a top 15 women’s national ranking. 

“We are very excited to have Sara and Honoka join us for the fall of 2023,” Brobeck said. “They are both great people and players who will fit perfectly into our team and culture. 

“Further, with their values of hard work, a team-first mentality and eagerness to develop and get better, they will help take this team to the next level and continue to compete for Southland Championships. We can’t wait to have them on campus in August.” 

Umeda has an 8.75 universal tennis rating with a high of 9.20 and competed in the 2022 Junior Wimbledon. 

Erenda, a native of Tyrol, Austria, is a two-time doubles national champion and was a regional champion in singles several times. She has a universal tennis rating of 8.4 with a high of 9.18. 

NSU won the SLC regular season title in the spring of 2022 and aim to repeat in the 2023 season, which begins Jan. 21 at TCU. 

Willis-Knighton Health System increases support for NSU College of Nursing

Willis-Knighton Health System has committed $30,000 per year to Northwestern State University as a healthcare partner for the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation grant to address the nursing shortage in Louisiana. In September, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation announced a $1.8 million multi-year grant that will help fill critical roles in northwest and central Louisiana’s shrinking healthcare workforce. Willis-Knighton Health System is one of several regional healthcare providers partnering with NSU to provide financial resources and space in their facilities to use as clinical sites.

Willis-Knighton Health System has been a partner to NSU for more than two decades and previously established 10 endowed professorships totaling $1 million with a state match.  The earnings from these professorships provide annual support for faculty. On an annual basis, Willis-Knighton Health System is currently providing $848,000 for nursing faculty support, $30,000 for the Willis-Knighton/College of Nursing and School of Allied Health (CONSAH) Support Fund and $30,000 for the Willis-Knighton Endowed Scholarship. They are also providing stipends for NSU students seeking employment after graduation, bringing their annual contributions to over $1 million annually.

Partnering with NSU on the grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation will allow NSU to expand programs for paramedics, military medics and people with undergraduate science degrees to transition into high-paying nursing jobs. As many as 30 percent of Louisiana’s nurses are projected to leave the profession over the next 10 years due to retirements, burnout and other reasons. Fewer nurses means that those still working are stretched thin, which can affect the quality of healthcare patients receive.  To get ahead of the curve, NSU and nearly a dozen other healthcare organizations in the region are working together to add 300 nurses to the workforce in the next four years, and more than 1,000 nurses by 2032.

WK currently provides a state-of-the-art virtual simulation hospital that is used by nurse anesthesia students as well as nursing and allied health clinical students. Willis-Knighton also serves as a partner for the student health services by providing physician support and low-cost physician visits to nursing and allied health students when needed. 

Information on Northwestern State University nursing programs can be found at https://www.nsula.edu/nursing/.


Rural communities encouraged to take advantage of rural development support for federal funding opportunities

Following a recent meeting with the regional directors of the Governor’s Office of Rural Development, Gov. John Bel Edwards is encouraging rural communities to reach out to the Office for help taking advantage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Justice40 initiative. 

“Louisiana’s rural areas are the lifeblood of our state, and I have tasked my administration with doing everything we can to revitalize these communities,” said Gov. Edwards. “More resources are available for rural communities now than ever before and our Office of Rural Development is here to help local communities access those federal dollars.”

Office of Rural Development Executive Director Noble Ellington and his team are offering hands-on assistance to Louisiana’s rural communities, their local officials, and businesses. The Office of Rural Development wants to help rural communities participate in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Justice40 initiative which requires that 40 percent of the federal BIL funding be spent in impoverished and disadvantaged communities across the United States.

Local projects will be focused on but not limited to the nine pillars of rural development: broadband, clean water, economic development, education, finance, healthcare, infrastructure, workforce development and agriculture.

Contact information for your local regional director and for the Office of Rural Development can be found below and at https://gov.louisiana.gov/page/rural-development-office.  

Noble Ellington, Executive Director

318-282-2582

Noble.ellington@la.gov

Ali Armstrong, Executive Assistant and Communications Director

225-252-8234

Ali.armstrong@la.gov

1. Regional Planning Commission

Parishes: Orleans, Jefferson, St. Tammany, St. Bernard, Plaquemines 

Diane Hollis, Regional Director

225-481-3144

margaret.hollis@la.gov

2. Capital Region Planning Commission

Parishes: Ascension, EBR, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Point Coupee, St. Helena, Tangipahoa, Washington, West Baton Rouge, West Feliciana 

Major Coleman, Regional Director

225-328-3692

major.coleman@la.gov

3. South Central Planning and Development District

Parishes: Assumption, Lafourche, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Mary, Terrebonne

Michelle Eroche, Regional Director

225-481-3145

michelle.eroche@la.gov

4. Acadiana Planning Commission 

Parishes: Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, Vermillion

Position Vacant — Contact Office of Rural Development Executive Director Noble Ellington for assistance.

Noble Ellington, Executive Director

318-282-2582

Noble.ellington@la.gov

5. Imperial Calcasieu Regional Planning and Development District

Parishes: Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Jefferson Davis

Emily Stine, Regional Director

225-328-1643

emily.stine@la.gov

6. Kisatchi Delta Regional Planning and Development District

Parishes: Avoyelles, Catahoula, Concordia, Grant, LaSalle, Rapides, Vernon, Winn

Lindlay Howell, Regional Director

225-324-9216

lindlay.howell@la.gov

7. Coordinating & Development District

Parishes: Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, DeSoto, Lincoln, Natchitoches, Red River, Sabine. Webster 

Carlos Jones, Regional Director

225-329-7419

carlos.jones@la.gov

8. North Delta Regional Planning & Development District

Parishes: Caldwell, East Carroll, Franklin, Jackson, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, Tensas, Union, West Carroll 

Bubba Chaney, Regional Director

225-324-9351

charles.chaney@la.gov


Natchitoches A.R.C Receives Holiday Donation

Cane River Charities Inc. (Non-profit organization) in sponsorship with Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, Shawn Daily/Edward Jones, and Super 1 Foods of Natchitoches donated holiday food boxes on Nov. 22 to make sure participants at Natchitoches A.R.C had a prosperous and happy holiday. Natchitoches A.R.C would like to thank Mary Jones, Deloris Jones, Anastasia Christophe, Norwood Jackson, Annette, Jamaica, Olivia and Carson Roque, Jessica Beaudoin, and Jennifer Perkins for taking time out of their busy schedules to make our hearts smile. 


Christmas Belles visit Provencal School

Elementary school students at Provencal Elementary/Jr. High got an early dose of Christmas cheer when they were visited by the Natchitoches Christmas Belles and Miss Merry Christmas on Nov. 29.

The Belles sang a Christmas song, handed out stickers, and gave the children some great information about the upcoming Natchitoches Christmas Festival.

Pictured are Mrs. Kody Barbier’s and Mrs. Rebecca Salard’s Pre-K classes.


Mayor addresses recent outbreak of violence in Natchitoches

Mayor Ronnie Williams Jr. posted the following message on Nov. 29 on Facebook addressing the outbreak of violence in Natchitoches, which is in a word, deplorable.
 
While it may seem that those who are eroding our sense of security are great in number, I assure you they are not. Most residents desire to live a quiet and peaceful life in our beloved City. Currently, this desire is being plagued by a comparatively small number of bad actors who refuse to adhere to our societal demands for law and order. Know that I am working with Police Chief Nikeo Collins and Sheriff Stuart Wright, along with others, to squash this uptick of violence. Those who choose to engage in these horrendous acts of violence will be met with severe consequences for their actions.
 
But we can only be successful in our pursuit of peace if we work together. I am calling on every resident to join together to expel the bad actors from our community. If you see something, say something! If you have information about a crime, report it anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 318-238-2388. If your friend or loved one is in trouble or involved in criminal activity, reporting them to law enforcement could save their life. Faith leaders, pray for our residents on both sides of this problem.
 
Community activists, pool your resources and work together to lead our youth who are involved in so many of these instances to a better approach to conflict resolution.
 
There is no one solution to this problem. We must stand united and refuse to allow the increased violence that is being experienced nation-wide to become the norm for the great City of Natchitoches. Not here. Not now. Not ever.

NPSB District Personnel of the Year for the 2022-2023 School Year

The Natchitoches Parish School Board is proud to announce the District Personnel of the Year winners for the 2022-2023 school year. This list includes the NPSB Principal of the Year, Teachers of the Year, and Support Person of the Year.

NPSB Principal of the Year 2022-2023

• Brooke Williams, Fairview Alpha Elementary School NPSB Teacher of the Year 2022-2023

  • New Teacher of the Year
    o KaitlinHatten,GoldonnaElementary/Jr.HighSchool

  • Elementary School Teacher of the Year
    o BeverlyBroadway,ProvencalElementary/Jr.HighSchool

  • Middle School Teacher of the Year
    o MichelleShirley,NSUMiddleLaboratorySchool

  • High School Teacher of the Year
    o SarahMallette,LakeviewHighSchool

    NPSB Support Person of the Year 2022-2023

• Jacqueline Lawson, Cafeteria Manager, L.P. Vaughn Elementary School


Louisiana Tech outperforms in first-time freshman enrollment even after year filled with COVID-19 impacts

The 2020-21 academic year called for innovative approaches to almost everything, including college recruiting.

Student recruiters enjoy time out for tech.  For Louisiana Tech University, those inventive recruitment techniques – including virtual tours and online events – yielded a larger class of first-time freshmen than in 2020. These students are also among the most college-ready group of freshmen, with an average 24.7 ACT score.

Louisiana Tech’s total enrollment for the 2021-22 academic year is 11,173, down only 24 students from the 2020-21 academic year. Undergraduate enrollment is up 103 students from the same time last year, and retention of current students stands at a state-leading 80 percent.

“Our Admissions staff has done an outstanding job in the past year to maintain connections to prospective students and help them with any challenges they might encounter with a completely different college-search process,” said Dr. Les Guice, Louisiana Tech President. “We have also found that our students are searching for a university that will allow them to create ‘normal’ experiences and connections in the wake of a year that was anything but normal.”

Early in the Fall 2021 recruitment cycle, Tech’s Admissions Office began using live broadcasts on Instagram to answer questions from prospective students and providing campus information videos for high school counselors to share with their students. Video tours for each of the University’s colleges were compiled, and student recruiters, who usually conduct in-person tours, began writing personal letters to each prospective student. Recruitment professionals even sent personalized videos to prospective students to show them the power of joining the Tech Family.

“This year taught all of us about the importance of relationships, and I believe the strength with which our Admissions team has always nurtured those relationships with students and partnerships with schools was shown in this past year,” Guice said.

Dual enrollment was up nearly 200 students from the same time last year, as an increasing number of students continued working to earn college credit while still in high school. Louisiana Tech has the fastest time to degree, 4.1 years, of all public universities in the State of Louisiana.

Tech’s top five majors for 2021-22 are Mechanical Engineering, Biology, Computer Science, Kinesiology and Health Science, and Nursing.


Antoon’s Update: What’s New, What’s Unique, What is Antoon’s Olympics

Have you hung out at Antoon’s lately? Maybe you should check it out and see what you’ve been missing! We sat down with Antoon’s staff to get an update on what’s been going on at everyone’s favorite bar.

Your patio is the perfect spot for any event, how do customers go about renting your patio?

The patio is an addition we added to Antoon’s when we purchased it in 2021. It is 2,000 square feet of covered patio with an outside bar. We rent the patio for different functions including all types of parties. We have a bandstand should you require one, large stereo speakers with a microphone and games such as corn hole, ring on a string and others. We have heaters, tables for food and other amenities.

Dates for the patio are filling up fast for the Christmas season. This is a perfect location for company parties, family gatherings, and Christmas parties. Contact Carolyn Benefield at 318-554-8089 to book an event.

“Toons Tuesday” was a staple for Antoon’s pre-COVID, are you planning to reinstate “Toons Tuesday”? If so, what will make it unique?

Antoon’s was closed for 20 months due to Covid. We have brought back “Toon’s Tuesday,” which the students at NSU started. They were looking for a place to hang out and socialize later in the evening. It is still going on today. We offer drink specials and entertainment on the patio. Come join the fun.

Do you offer specials for women?

Antoon’s is a great place for ladies to visit and unwind. Thursday evening is our designated “Lady’s Night.” We offer drink specials from 5-10 pm, especially for our ladies.

I have heard about Antoon’s Olympics, tell me more about what it entails and how to sign up?

The Antoon’s Olympics is a weekend established for the competitive-minded crowd. We had the inaugural Summer games this July and will have the Fall games soon. It was an overwhelming success. The teams are four-person teams. All compete in the same four to five games for a grand prize, bragging rights, and their names on a plaque. It is so competitive that 12 seconds separated the top three teams during the Summer games. We try to limit the number of teams to fifteen due to the number of games. All are skill games such as bottle up, cup flip, corn hole, ring on a string and a water cup relay were very comical. Check our Facebook page – Antoons- to see some of the games. The Fall games will look a little different but still just as competitive.

Do you offer a Happy Hour?

We have Happy Hour on Tuesday from 5 – 8 pm. In December we will be expanding it to every weekday from 5-8 pm. Happy Hour consists of reduced beer and cocktail pricing. We cater to the adult crowd from 4- 8 pm. College students usually come in after 9 pm. We are extremely pleased to be able to provide a social setting for two very different customer groups on the same day at the same location. Most places don’t have that versatility.

I know you have a great alcohol selection; do you have food available for consumers as well?

We have a food trailer on site at Antoon’s. The menu will rotate but mainstays are hamburgers, hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches and tacos, boudin tacos, corn dogs, and fries. Jambalaya, chicken dumplings, all sorts of heated deli-style sandwiches, red beans, and rice, smothered pork chops and other offerings rotate during the week. We haven’t found anyone that has been disappointed. The trailer is open most nights usually from 8 pm until after midnight.

Other than Toons Tuesday and Ladies Night, what themed/special nights do you offer?

Our next project is to offer Karaoke on the Patio. Our customers have asked for Karaoke and we will kick it off very soon.


Opportunity: Infant/Toddler Paraprofessional

POSITION: INFANT/TODDLER PARAPROFESSIONAL (6 weeks – 24 months)

QUALIFICATIONS:

• High School diploma or equivalent is required
• Passed the Educational Testing Service (ETS) Para-Pro Assessment with a score of at least a 450; or
• Complete two years of full-time study (60 semester credit hours) from a state-approved or regionally accredited institution of higher education; or
• Earned an Associate Degree in the field of Arts, Associate of Science, or Associate of Applied Science degree from a state-approved or regionally accredited institution of higher education.

SALARY: According to NPSB salary schedule

TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT: 9 Months

DEADLINE: Friday, December 9, 2022;4:00 p.m.

WHERE TO APPLY:
Linda G. Page, Director of Personnel
Natchitoches Parish School Board
P. O. Box 16
Natchitoches, LA 71458-0016
Phone: (318) 352-2358
Fax: (318) 352-8138

APPLICATIONS: Application packet should consist of a letter of application, resume’, diploma or transcript, and two letters of reference. 

EOE


Remembering Ivory Jean Davis-Oliphant

Ivory Jean Davis-Oliphant was born to the late Ed Davis, Jr. and Ophelia Cross Davis in Natchitoches, LA on April 14, 1951. Ivory Jean accepted Christ at an early age under the leadership of Rev. P.M. Gillie at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Natchez, LA. She later became affiliated with Goodwill Baptist Church under the leadership of Pastor Brian Small.

Ivory Jean attended St. Matthew High School and was a proud graduate of the class of 1969. She worked in the school food service industry for Natchitoches Parish and retired after more than 28 years of service. Ivory Jean loved to cook, go fishing and visit with family, especially her grandchildren and great-granddaughter. By far, her favorite past-times were playing cards and trying her luck at the casino.

As a teenager, Ivory Jean met the love of her life and married Odell Oliphant on July 17, 1971. To this union three children were born – Corey, Deidre and Nicholas.

Ivory Jean was called to eternal rest on Nov. 23, 2022. She was preceded in death by her parents, Ed and Ophelia Davis; son Corey; brothers Leeman, Hyman, Alfred; and sister, Lizzie.

She leaves to cherish her memory, husband Odell Oliphant; daughter Deidre Oliphant of Natchitoches and son Nicholas Oliphant of Natchitoches; sisters Queen Ann Lucas and Mary Casson of Natchitoches, Rosetta Gay (Joseph) of Natchitoches, Daisy Campbell of Houston; brothers Alton Davis (Lynn) of Houston, Nathaniel Davis (Debra) of California, Raymond Davis (Dorice) of Houston, seven grandchildren – Deontay, Tiara, DJ, Raionna, Jacobi, Christian, Nicholas, Jr., and Ariah; and one great-granddaughter – Winter, as well as a host of nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

Viewing of her remains will begin at 10 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 2, followed by a celebration of her life at
11 a.m. at Goodwill Baptist Church, 1312 Holmes St. in Natchitoches, LA.


What will you read in 2023?

Time for our annual Best Books of the Year list. Read a lot of good books but failed to score a five-star read, unlike last year when I couldn’t turn around without running into something that hit me just right. 

So it goes in the Reading World. You win some, you lose some, but you show up and read and if a book’s no good, chunk it and, guilt-free, pick up another one. 

Still, much enjoyment this year from reading, and hopefully you will get a charge out of at least one or two of the titles below, or something will jog your memory and help you pick out a just-right Christmas gift for someone.  

If nothing else, we can be grateful we are past all the pandemic-related bestsellers like LOCKDOWN!: Your Place or Mine?, or everyone’s least-favorite companion reads, Why Masks Work and the sequel, Why Masks Haven’t Even Ever THOUGHT About Working, Ever Ever Never. 

Mercy on all that … And now on to the bookmobile. 

Batting leadoff is All About Me! My Remarkable Life in Show Business, by Mel Brooks, my favorite of a lot of biographies. Others that were really good, if you’re interested in these people, are The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man by Paul Newman, A Life in Parts by actor Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Home Work by Julie Andrews (had a crush on her since Mary Poppins as I was an impressionable youngster), Miracle and Wonder by Malcolm Gladwell about singer-songwriter-stud Paul Simon (you have to listen to this one for the conversations with Simon and his occasional singing), My House of Memories by Merle Haggard because, well, Merle Haggard, and finally, Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story, by Rick Bragg. 

A quick aside about Jerry Lee Lewis: he was nothing short of a keyboard genius. Any piano player from Elton John to Ray Stevens will tell you that nobody should be able to play that fast and that well and sing at the same time. A prodigy and bona-fide genius. 

More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell was released in 1987 and reads as a short (128 pages) research document about the historical Jesus and is much worth your time if, like me, you’d missed it all these years. 

Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli by Mark Seal is about the “tumultuous” making of The Godfather and was my second-favorite book of the year. If you like the movie, you’ll enjoy it. How the picture got made is semi-miraculous.  

Speaking of movies, The Church of Baseball by Ron Shelton is about the making of Bull Durham, which he wrote and directed; it’s a baseball thing. 

Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen is funny and good, as you’d expect from Carl Hiaasen. Speaking of fiction, if you’ve never read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson or The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, as I hadn’t until this year, you could probably skip those. Didn’t happen for me. But … it’s always wise to consider the similar themes of those two books, which is how the bad part of our nature, which is the main part, runs wild if unchecked, even if that wasn’t our intention. 

Churchill’s Band of Brothers by Damien Lewis was good but a better suggestion would be Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose, which I’ve read three times, about E Company with the 101st in World War II. The British equivalent is interesting but not nearly as rich. 

Also, you will feel a lot better after reading either Everybody Always or Love Does by Bob Goff, or both. Check him out if you haven’t already. 

Books in my on-deck circle for 2023 include You Are Looking Live! How the NFL Today Revolutionized Sports Broadcasting, by Rich Podolsky, When the Garden was Eden by Harvey Araton, about the glory days of the New York Knicks (they were good and fun when I was a boy, believe it or not), Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley because I haven’t read him and have meant to, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, and Prayer by Tim Keller because I really like Tim Keller and because you need the prayers and Lord knows I need the practice. 

Let me know if you come across anything good. Read on! 

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu 


Goldonna: November 30, 2022

The Goldonna community was very saddened by the loss of Mr. Bud Garner, father of School Board Member, Eugene Garner. He was a supporter of the community for many years and he will be dearly missed by everyone. Please continue to keep his family in your prayers.

The Native American Santa made a joyous visit to the community this past weekend. He was inundated with grateful children who enjoyed taking photos with him, talking with him and of course left with a Christmas present. Even though it was a rainy landing for Santa’s Sleigh it was a great turnout.

Goldonna Elementary Junior High Students returned from Thanksgiving break and hit the ground running with lots to accomplish before Christmas Break. The students will be attending the NSU Christmas Gala on December 1st. There is a new club called “the Good News Club” that will be forming soon. They are still collecting non-perishable food items for the Central Louisiana Food Bank and they are welcoming all donations for that endeavor.

The school will also be presenting a Christmas Program on Thursday, December 15th at 6:00pm. Parent Teacher Conference will be held on Tuesday, December 20th from 3:30pm to 6:00pm.

Mrs. Aly Erikson, ELA Specialist at the Natchitoches Parish School Board, presented a model WIN lesson at Goldonna Elementary on Nov. 29. In the lesson, Mrs. Erikson taught a wonderful group of young students how to break down words by using individual letter sounds. The students eagerly participated in the lesson and had a great time learning!

Pictured with Mrs. Aly Erikson: James, CJ, Natalie, Declan, and Lilley.

The Village of Goldonna is a little over a week away from the big Christmas event! The community has been working hard organizing the festival to make it one of the biggest yet. It is not too late to get involved.

Goldonna Christmas in the Park Committee is still seeking donations and volunteers for the Festival that will take place on Friday, December 9th. Pictures with Santa will take place at 4:00pm until 5:30pm. The parade will begin at 6:00pm with lineup beginning at the School. The fireworks show will start at 8:00. There will be refreshment served. If you have a business who would like to sponsor please reach out to Mayor Smith or one of the councilmen.

If you have news to share please email Reba Phelps at jreba.phelps@gmail.com


Blue Key recognizes new members and incoming officers

Northwestern State University’s Chapter of Blue Key Honor Society inducted 29 new members and recognized new officers.  Blue Key Honor Society is a premier honor society that recognizes students at institutions of higher education for balanced and all-around excellence in scholarship, leadership and service.  Blue Key Honor Society bases its eligibility for membership on all-around leadership and integrity in student life, high scholastic achievement and service to others.

New Officers are Blake Chustz, president; Jesus Bravo, vice president;

Koral Richard, secretary; Adreanna Thrift, treasurer, and Mary Scruggs, volunteer coordinator.

NSU’s Blue Key chapter was established in 1959.  Chapter activities include flower sales at graduation and service to the NSU campus and Natchitoches community.  The chapter will be participating in the KSLA-TV toy drive December 8 and is currently making plans to collaborate with other honor societies on campus to host Honors Week in the spring.

In addition to recognizing new members, the chapter voted to establish the Jerry Pierce Service Award, which will be presented in the spring.

Inductees, listed by hometown, are as follows:

Baton Rouge – Ebenezer Robert Aggrey, Jalivia Kristina Johnson

Bossier City – Brittany Ann Charchio, Jordan Mckenzie Lacy Richardson

Denham Springs — Abigail Grace Whitam

Haughton – James Austin Grooms, Nicholas Knotts

Houma – Madson Claire Anderson

Joaquin, Texas – Jesus Bravo

Keithville – Ashley Rose Eubanks

Lafayette – Koral Richard

Mansfield – Ar’Nijah Gabrielle Bradley

Marksville — Makenzie Grace Scroggs

Natchitoches – Jazzare Burrell, Blake Scott Fowler, Mary Anna Scruggs

New Orleans – Naysia Nicol Brunswick Jones

New Roads – Blake Michael Chustz

Pineville – Cady Beth Brown, Amber Michelle Ford

Pollock – Chloe Laran Davis

Shreveport – Taylor Dixon, Kira Nicole Presley, Amyah Washington, Kacy Elleace Young

Vivian – Natalee Cook

Waxahachie, Texas — McKenzie Shae Ryer

West Monroe — Adreanna Leigh Thrift

Zwolle – Hana Micheely Lewis

Pictured: NSU’s chapter of Blue Key Honors Society recognized incoming officers and new members during a program Nov. 28.  On the front row from left are Scott Fowler, Amber Ford, Ashley Eubanks, Taylor Dixon Chloe Davis, Natalee Cook, Blake Chustz, president; Brittany Charchio, Jazzare Burrell, Jesus Bravo, vice president; Ar’Nijah Bradley and Ebenezer Aggrey. On the back row are Kacy Young, Abigail Whitam, Amyah Washington, Adreanna Thrift, treasurer; Mary Scruggs, volunteer coordinator; Jordan Richardson, Koral Richard, secretary; Kira Presley, Nick Knotts, Jalivia Johnson and Austin Grooms


Full Moon Walk: Magnolia by Moonlight    

Join Cane River Creole National Historical Park on Wednesday, Dec. 7, as you engage all your senses on this special one-hour guided walking tour of historic Magnolia Plantation by full moonlight. A park ranger will be sharing the history of the plantation and its people in a setting few ever experience!  

This FREE program will begin at 6:30 p.m. and end at 8:00 p.m. Reservations are required, as space is limited to 20 participants. To register, please call 318-352-0383 x316. The tour will be outdoors, will cover about a half mile over uneven and unpaved ground, and is weather dependent. If the weather appears dubious or rainy on the evening of December 7, please check the park’s Facebook page or call 318-663-7299 to learn if the program will be rescheduled for December 14. Participants are encouraged to dress appropriately for weather and walking conditions.  

Come experience your park after dark! Magnolia Plantation is located at 5549 Highway 119, Derry/Cloutierville, LA. Due to a road closure Magnolia Plantation can only be reached from the southern end of Highway 119 via LA Highway 1. 

The grounds of Oakland and Magnolia Plantations are open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Nearly 80 original buildings remain, many open for self-guided tours including several that are historically furnished from Wednesday through Sunday. Park staff conducts tours of the plantation grounds daily Wednesday through Sunday. In addition, the park offers a cell phone tour. The Oakland Main House is open for self-guided tours from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The Magnolia Main House is privately owned and is not open to the public. For more information, please visit the park’s website at www.nps.gov/cari, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/canerivercreoleNPS or call the park at 318-352-0383, ext. 316.   


Unrestrained Man Killed in Natchitoches Parish Crash, Speed and Impairment Suspected

Goldonna – Troopers assigned to Louisiana State Police Troop E began investigating a one-vehicle fatality crash on Hwy. 156, just east of Black Jack Road on Nov. 28 just before 8 pm.  This crash claimed the life of 33-year-old Curtis Johnson of Natchitoches, who was not wearing a seat.

The initial investigation revealed a 2019 Ford F-150, driven by Johnson, was traveling west on LA Hwy 156 at a high rate of speed. For reasons still under investigation, he exited the roadway then crossed LA Hwy 156 and exited the roadway, where he struck a tree. 

Johnson, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the vehicle and suffered fatal injuries.  He was pronounced dead on the scene by the Natchitoches Parish Coroner. 

Impairment is suspected to be a factor in this crash.  Routine toxicology samples were taken and submitted for analysis. The crash remains under investigation.

Time and time again, Troopers witness preventable motor vehicle crashes. Impairment and lack of seat belt usage are primary causes of crashes across the state of Louisiana. Louisiana State Police urge motorists to have a plan in place that includes a designated driver when consuming alcohol. Alcohol can impair visual ability, alter the sense of time and space, impair fine motor skills, and decrease reaction times. Alcohol can begin to impair a person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle after just one drink. Please choose not to drive impaired or ride with an impaired driver, and always buckle up.

In 2022, Troop E has investigated 51 fatal crashes, resulting in 53 deaths.