Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches

Upcoming Events

 APHN Membership Appreciation Social

Cheers to us! To show appreciation for our membership, APHN is having an open house on Thursday, October 5th from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at the Lemee House, 310 Rue Jefferson, Natchitoches. Join us to sip, socialize, and support APHN’s efforts.

The first of October is designated as Clementine Hunter Day in Louisiana. To recognize this distinction, we will spotlight Clementine and her importance to Melrose, the Cane River community, and all of Natchitoches at this event.

All APHN members and all others interested in APHN and its preservation efforts are welcome. Door prizes will be given, and APHN & Melrose merchandise from the Bindery will be available for purchase.

Candlelight on the Cane – October 13th

 Tour with a Twist – Candlelight on the Cane offers a distinctively Natchitoches experience. Take a

progressive guided journey through our Downtown Historic District, which includes a cruise along

picturesque Cane River Lake and the Rue Beauport Riverfront on the Cane River Queen Riverboat. Enjoy

entertainment, history, and specialty beverages at each site. Learn about the life and works of

Clementine Hunter, celebrate the 35th anniversary of the filming of Steel Magnolias, and more. Join us

for a full evening of history and cultural treasures that ends with a complimentary Wine & Cheese


Ticket price: $40

Ticket price includes:

  • Docent-led tour of three (3) historical properties
  • 30-minute cruise on the Cane River Queen
  • Complimentary specialty beverages and hors d’oeuvres at each venue
  • Complimentary Wine & Cheese reception
  • Admission to Melrose Fall Festival on Saturday, October 14th or Sunday, October 15th

The tour begins promptly at 6:00 p.m. Guides will lead ticket holders to each venue site. The tour will

take approximately 2 hours and will be followed by a Wine & Cheese reception. Some walking is

involved – so wear your comfortable shoes! Guides, detailed maps, and parking information will be



 Lemee House

310 Rue Jefferson

Think pink! The Lemee House, home to the Association to the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches

(APHN), was featured prominently as the home of Ouiser Boudreaux, neighbor to Shelby and M’Lynn in

the movie Steel Magnolias. To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the filming of this movie classic, join several iconic characters for photo ops, and enjoy “Blush & Bashful” beverages, bleeding armadillo cake, and other tasty bites.

 Cunningham Law Office

550 Second Street

The Natchitoches Historic Foundation Headquarters, also known as the historic Cunningham Law Office,

boasts a collection of rare Clementine Hunter paintings. Learn about her life and work from experts and

mentors as you enjoy specialty “Clementine” beverages and uniquely Natchitoches treats.

Delta Queen Riverboat

Rue Beauport Riverfront

Sit back and relax and enjoy a Cane River beverage as Captain Paul Powell gives a river tour that includes

Fort St. Jean Baptiste and the scenic Rue Beauport Riverfront.

Jefferson Street Townhouse

230 Rue Jefferson

Affluent planters on Cane River kept elegant houses in town so they could attend social events. The

Jefferson Street Townhouse is an architectural gem that features an expansive front veranda and is filled

with antiques and fine décor. Gather in the parlor to hear stories about Natchitoches in the 1800’s as

the bustling river port and crossroads that gave rise to the cotton kingdoms along Cane River.

Afterwards, be our guest around the pool for wine, cheese, and hor d’oeuvres.

Tickets for Candlelight on the Cane can be purchased at:

 Melrose Fall Festival: A Weekend of Artistry, Shopping, and Family Fun

Prepare to be swept away by a celebration of creativity, craftsmanship, and community spirit at the upcoming Melrose Fall Festival, scheduled for Saturday, October 14th (9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) and Sunday, October 15th (10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.) at the picturesque Melrose on the Cane venue. This two-day extravaganza promises an unparalleled experience for attendees of all ages.

Artisan Showcase: With an impressive array of over 50 vendors, the Melrose Fall Festival is a haven for art enthusiasts and connoisseurs of hand-crafted excellence. Attendees will have the chance to explore a captivating assortment of hand-crafted items, including: exquisite artwork, enchanting candles, delectable jams, elegant jewelry, seasonal décor that reflects the spirit of the fall, and even charming outdoor furniture. This gathering is a prime opportunity to initiate your holiday shopping in a remarkable fashion, with each vendor showcasing their unique talent and offering a diverse selection.

Culinary Delights: The festival is more than just an art showcase – it’s a culinary journey. Local food vendors will be on hand, ready to satisfy your cravings with an enticing array of dishes that span various cuisines. From savory to sweet, these vendors will cater to every palate, making the Melrose Fall Festival an immersive experience for all senses.

Capture Memories: In the age of social media, capturing moments has become an art in itself. The festival features a stunning photo backdrop that is sure to make every snapshot a cherished memory. It’s the perfect opportunity to snap pictures against the backdrop of this enchanting event.

Home Tours and More: For those intrigued by history and architectural beauty, guided home tours (available with separate admission) offer a glimpse into the rich heritage of Melrose on the Cane. The festival also ensures that families with children are in for a treat, featuring a portable playground and a range of engaging kids’ activities that promise endless joy and laughter.

Ticket Information: To ensure a seamless experience, it’s recommended to secure your tickets early. Tickets can be pre-purchased at Be part of this extraordinary event that promises to be a highlight of the fall season.

Moonlight Over Melrose

A Spooktacular Halloween Extravaganza at Melrose On The Cane

Get ready for a bewitching evening of family-friendly fun as Melrose On The Cane presents “Moonlight Over Melrose,” a Halloween extravaganza set to take place on October 27th from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. This enchanting event promises an array of thrilling activities and entertainment for all ages, making it the ultimate destination for Halloween enthusiasts.

Ghoulish Games and Witches’ Dance: Prepare to be captivated by a night of games and entertainment that will leave you spellbound. From classic carnival games to spine-tingling activities, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. And don’t miss the mesmerizing witches’ dance performance that will have you dancing along with the mystical rhythm of the night.

Dance the Night Away: For those who love to boogie, a lively dance area awaits you. Put on your dancing shoes and groove to the spooky beats spun by our talented DJ. Whether you’re a fan of the monster mash or the ghostly cha-cha, the dance floor is your playground.

Jeepers Creepers Trunk-Or-Treat Lane: Explore the eerie wonders of the Jeepers Creepers Trunk-Or-Treat Lane, where a fleet of creatively decorated vehicles will distribute treats to eager trick-or-treaters. Show off your costumes and collect delicious goodies from the trunks of the most spooktacular cars.

Tour the Big House: Unearth the history and mystery of the Big House as you embark on guided tours through its historic corridors. Learn about the rich stories that have shaped Melrose On The Cane.

Delicious Delights by APHN: No Halloween event is complete without tantalizing treats, and the hauntingly good cooks from the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN) have you covered. Indulge in a variety of delectable food items that are sure to satisfy your cravings. From savory to sweet, there’s a taste sensation for every palate.

Dress in Your Finest Halloween Attire: Don your most creative and family-friendly Halloween costume. Whether you choose to be a charming witch, a daring superhero, or a mystical creature, the costume contest is your time to shine.

Don’t Forget Your Candy Bag: With a night full of treats and treasures, be sure to bring a bag to collect all the candy and goodies you’ll receive throughout the evening.

For more information, please visit our website:


Ages 3 – 17: $10

Ages 18 and up: $5

About Melrose On The Cane:

Melrose On The Cane is a historic venue renowned for its scenic beauty and captivating events. Located in Melrose, Louisiana it offers a unique blend of history, culture, and entertainment that appeals to visitors of all ages.

Join NJH in celebrating dedicated teachers: Support Teacher Appreciation Fund

In the heart of our vibrant community, Natchitoches Junior High School is calling upon its neighbors and friends to come together and show our appreciation for the unsung heroes who shape our future: our dedicated teachers. We are excited to introduce the Natchitoches Junior High School Teacher Appreciation Fund, and we invite you to join us in celebrating the incredible educators who make a difference in our students’ lives every day.
The Teacher Appreciation Fund is our way of saying “thank you” to these remarkable individuals. It is a means to recognize and honor their unwavering commitment to our students throughout the year. But we can’t do it alone; we need your support to make this initiative truly meaningful.
So, how will your contributions to the Teacher Appreciation Fund be used? Let’s take a closer look:
1. Teacher Recognition Events: We believe in celebrating our educators’ hard work and accomplishments. Your donations will be used to organize special recognition events throughout the year, where outstanding teachers will be honored for their dedication and impact on student learning.
2. Tokens of Appreciation: Our teachers deserve more than just applause; they deserve tangible appreciation. Your contributions will enable us to provide meaningful gifts and tokens of gratitude to these exceptional individuals, showing them how much they mean to us.
By contributing to the Teacher Appreciation Fund, you become an integral part of our mission to celebrate our teachers and recognize their role in shaping the future of our community. Your generosity will go a long way in boosting teacher morale and ensuring that they have the resources they need to excel in their profession.
Join us in making a difference and giving back to those who give so much. Whether you are an individual, a local business, or part of a community organization, your donation, no matter the size, will help us reach our goal of supporting our hardworking teachers.
If you would like to contribute to the Natchitoches Junior High School Teacher Appreciation Fund, please consider gift card or check donations. You can send your donations for the Natchitoches Junior High School Teacher Appreciation Fund. We appreciate your support and belief in the power of education. Together, we can show our teachers how much they mean to us and motivate them to continue their outstanding work.
Alexa Bernard-Conday, Principal

Prejean adds Mayeux to softball coaching staff

First-year head coach Lacy Prejean announced on Tuesday the addition of Melissa Mayeux to the softball coaching staff entering the 2024 season. 

Mayeux reunites with Prejean after the two spent three years together as player and coach for UL Lafayette where Mayeux garnered Sun Belt Player of the Year honors in 2022. 

“We are very excited to welcome Melissa to the NSU softball family,” Prejean said. “Melissa was an incredible student-athlete to coach, and I look forward to having her on our staff. She brings incredible work ethic and will be a tremendous asset to our program in helping develop both our defense and offense.” 

A native of Le Barcares, France, Mayeux was a do-it-all utility player in her three seasons with the Rajun Cajuns, playing seven different positions on the field, including all five infield spots, while maintaining a near .300 batting average and .900-plus OPS at the plate. 

In her Sun Belt Player of the Year senior season of 2022, Mayeux rose to the top of UL’s impact player list during a nine-game stretch in late March where she hit .440 with four home runs, a pair of doubles and nine RBI. 

From that point forward she led the Cajuns in average (.336), runs (35), hits (42), doubles (12), home runs (6), RBI (29) and fielding percentage (.989) over a 28-game span to secure the Sun Belt’s top honor of the season. 

Her award-winning season capped a career that included a total of 42 extra base hits, with at least one of each kind in each of her three seasons, accounting for nearly half of her 89 career hits. She also drove in a total of 75 runs and scored 74 across 129 games played and 110 starts as the Cajuns won back-to-back conference titles in her final two seasons in Lafayette.  

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be coaching at NSU and with coach Lacy,” Mayeux said. “My whole life I have been passionate and dedicated to help others through baseball and softball. I look forward helping each girl become better players but most importantly better individuals.” 

A highly decorated player before ever arriving in Louisiana, Mayeux was a member of the French U-18 Junior National baseball team and at the age of 14 was accepted into one of only two baseball academies in France. 

Two years later she became the first female player to be added to Major League Baseball’s International Registration List, thus making her the first female player eligible to be signed or drafted by an MLB club. 

After deciding to play softball collegiately in the States, Mayeux began her career at Miami Dade College where she was a two-time All-Southern Conference player, led the team in average both years, hitting .431 during her sophomore campaign, and had 14 home runs, 31 doubles and 90 RBI in two seasons. 

Mayeux joins third-year pitching coach Lexi Smith to complete the softball coaching staff under Prejean. 

Northwestern State’s Heimerman receives contract extension

Following a season in which he led the men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor teams all to top-two finishes, including a women’s indoor team title, Northwestern State track and field head coach Mike Heimerman was rewarded with a new four-year contract extension, director of athletics Kevin Bostian announced Monday. 

The contract runs through the 2027 season. 

“Coach Mike Heimerman has been a constant in the Northwestern State track and field program for more than a quarter century,” Bostian said. “In that time, he has helped mold the program into one that constantly competes for championships while developing our student-athletes in the other disciplines that matter – in the classroom and in our community.  

“His steady leadership has allowed our program to flourish in the way he learned from his predecessor, Leon Johnson. Maintaining that continuity within the program starts with keeping coach Heimerman in his place for the foreseeable future, which we have done with this contract extension. We look forward to the continued success with him atop our track and field program.” 

Heimerman is coming off a season in which he was named the Southland Conference Indoor Women’s Coach of the Year, leading the women to its first indoor title in program history. 

Among his stars on his team was the record-breaking freshman Sanaria Butler, who was named the women’s indoor freshman of the year and women’s outdoor player of the year. 

His specialty, though, is the throws, and he was a huge part of the success for the Gumbs twins, Diamante and Djimon. In the 2022 outdoor season, Djimon Gumbs reached the nationals in both the discus and the shot put. 

Djimon Gumbs has collected three gold medals during his two seasons and the podium two other times. Diamante Gumbs collected the gold in the discus in 2023. 

The throws coach since 1997, Heimerman has supervised 13 All-American throwers, including discus national champion Trecey Rew. 

“I am thankful for Dr. Jones and Kevin Bostian giving me a four-year contract,” Heimerman said. “They believe in my ability as the head coach to steward the men’s and women’s programs. I am very happy and I would like to end my career here at my alma mater. 

“Not too many people can say that they stayed at one place for their entire career. I am thankful that they have faith in my abilities to keep leading the program.”  

During his time as either the head coach or throws coach at NSU, he has coached a pair of national champions and 32 All-Americans. Zach Beard was a second team All-American during the indoor season in 2023. 

Under his tutelage, NSU finished in second place in the women’s indoor before collecting team title No. 1 in February. In the outdoor, the men finished runner-up for the second consecutive season after not finishing that high in the team standings since winning the title in 2002. 

The women also finished runner-up in the outdoor in 2023 and the Lady Demons have finished in the top three in the team standings every year since 2014. 

Overall, the men and women have a combined 18 top-three finishes at the SLC Indoor and Outdoor Championships since 2013. 


CUTLINE: After leading the women’s indoor track team to its first team title and three more top-two finishes in the indoor and outdoor seasons, Mike Heimerman received a contract extension from Northwestern State.

CREDIT: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services

ASH band alumni establish Jerry Payne Memorial Scholarship for esteemed band director

The Alexandria Senior High School Band of 1972 established a scholarship at Northwestern State University to honor the memory of a beloved and influential band director who touched the lives of many students over several decades.  

The Dr. Jerry Payne Endowed Scholarship is a four-year scholarship that will be awarded to a student from freshman year through graduation as long as all requirements are met.  Eligible recipients are students majoring in instrumental music education who aspire to become band directors or work in the field of instrumental performance.  Students must maintain a grade point average of 3.0 or better.   

Payne was born in Dodson in 1935. After graduating from Bolton High School, he earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at NSU and became a music educator and performer.  As an undergraduate, Payne paid for his college expenses by playing saxophone in NSU’s big band ensemble, The Demonnaires.  

Payne began his career at Alexandria Junior High and then Alexandria Senior High before returning to his alma mater to serve as director of bands at Northwestern. During this time, he also served his country in the U.S. Army National Guard and was called to active duty during the Berlin Crisis of 1961.  

After over 20 years molding and mentoring young musicians in Louisiana, Payne accepted the band director position in Marshall, Texas, in 1977. He and his family of seven – including wife Marilyn, sons Mal and Ronnie and daughters Donnis, Melissa and Jeannie – moved to Marshall as he took over a band program that was low in numbers and historically struggling. Under Payne’s direction and with a growing, dedicated staff of music educators joining the team, the Marshall “Big Red Pride” Band began to grow and improve throughout the late 1970s and 1980s. 

The Big Red Pride quickly became a staple of Marshall, performing crowd-pleasing music and routines at football games and contests all over the state. The band won multiple Sweepstakes honors and became one of the most respected and consistently high-performing bands in Texas. Payne led the Big Red Pride for over 25 years before announcing his retirement in May 2002. That gave him over 45 years of service as a music educator and band director in both Texas and Louisiana, a career that saw him build lasting relationships with a countless number of students shared a bond with “Doc” that was forged through his inspirational teaching, mentorship and shared experiences. 

Upon his retirement, Payne’s family, friends and former students pulled off a weekend-long, secret retirement party known covertly as just SRP – “Surprise Retirement Party. The event was held at Marshall High School and included hundreds Payne’s students from Louisiana and Texas. As a retirement gift, he and Marilyn were treated to a return trip to Europe to relive memories they had experienced during his time teaching in Alexandria, when he led his band on a tour of Europe and participated in the first International Band Festival in Vienna, Austria.  

Although he was retired as a full-time educator, Payne continued his passion for music with private lessons and performances with his legendary saxophone. He and other local musicians formed a jazz ensemble, “The Vintage Four,” and played gigs all over east Texas. He also performed at various events as a solo artist, billing himself simply as “Dr. J and the CDs.”  

Payne was a member of the Louisiana Music Educators Hall of Fame and the Texas Music Educators Hall of Fame and was inducted as a distinguished alumnus in the field of music to the Northwestern State University Creative and Performing Arts Hall of Fame.  

Payne devoted his later year to caring for his wife, Marilyn, as she battled the effects of Parkinson’s disease. She passed away in 2014 and Payne moved to Hallsville to be closer to his daughters and grandchildren. He continued to play and listen to his music and spend time and holidays with his children, grandchildren and friends. He lived with his son Mal and daughter-in-law Regina, who were his principal caregivers, from Sept. 22 until he passed away July 17, 2023. 

Friends and former students who wish to contribute to the scholarship can do so by visiting  

Hunting season is here!

There are many ways that we as outdoorsmen can enjoy the great outdoors. There’s fishing, a very popular hobby by many, and there’s camping which takes the outdoor experience to another level. Maybe your idea of being outdoors involves playing golf or maybe exercising. But for thousands of others, there’s hunting, which for many is the main reason they wake up every day!

Hunters, in most cases, are very hard-core outdoorsmen who have a serious passion for pursuing wild game from doves and squirrel to ducks and bucks. But why?

To understand a hunter, you need to be a hunter or live with one. This group has the same mind set and passion for the outdoors that LSU Tiger fans have for football — they’re crazy! Hunters put in a lot of time and effort to not only hunt, but to get ready for the hunt.

Just like a bass tournament angler, preparation is key to being successful and is a part of the grind that hunters must go through to increase their chances for success in the fall. For most hunters, all the preseason planning is just as much fun as the hunt itself…or is it?

Whether they are on a lease or hunting public land, hunters have a lot of work to do. They tend to have more flexibility on a private lease than they might on public hunting land. But most owners of leases, public and private, do not want hunters to put nails into trees since at some point, the landowner or timber company will probably be harvesting the timber. Most of the time, they’re okay with you cutting a few shooting lanes, bush hogging pipelines, or planting food plots on old logging roads.

For deer hunters, the next season begins only a few months after the last one ended. Deer hunters do not get much of a break as they start the process of preparing for next season by planting food plots, fixing feeders, and repairing deer stands. Most take their ATV or UTV vehicles in for service due to the abuse their machines have gone through.  

For duck hunters, the biggest job is building the blind. Some simply rebrush blinds they’ve used for years, while others may build new blinds in different locations.

Make no mistake, the amount of work to build a duck blind is no less than what a deer hunter must do. Duck hunters must go out and gather moss and cut brush so they can brush-in their blind. This takes time and lots of work to secure the brush to the blind. Of course, all this takes place when temperatures are usually in the 90’s, so sweating is a major part of both a duck and deer hunter’s world as they prepare for another season.   

Ladies who aren’t hunters, now you know why your husbands are gone so long during hunting season, and especially during the months leading up to the hunting season. Hunting requires hard work and long hours of preparation to guarantee success.

Don’t try and justify the cost of hunting because when it comes down to dollars spent versus pounds of meat put in the freezer. You’ll see it does not come out very well for the hunter. But it’s all worth it when that back strap comes straight off the grill and is sitting in front of you at dinner time. It just doesn’t get any better than that!

‘Til next time good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to invite me for supper when back strap is served!

Contact Steve at


The Natchitoches Soil and Water Conservation District has an opening for a District Secretary/Program Assistant.

 Duties include: 

general bookkeeping, managing/balancing an annual budget, customer reception, composing correspondence, preparing multiple reports each month, attending monthly board meetings and preparing minutes, and assisting office personnel in USDA NRCS Programs offered to the public. Must be proficient with Microsoft Excel, Word, and Outlook as well as Adobe products. Should be a fast learner, and able to self-motivate with excellent organizational skills.


Annual leave and sick leave are accrued on pay periods worked. Benefits will include state group health insurance and Louisiana deferred compensation benefits program.

Please email your resume to or mail to:

Natchitoches Soil & Water Conservation District
6949 Hwy 1 Bypass
Natchitoches, LA 71457


Student Athlete raises funds through Kick-It Campaign for childhood cancer research

In 2000, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation started in the front yard of 4-year-old Alexandra “Alex” Scott’s home in Philadelphia.  Alex was fighting cancer and wanted to raise money to find cures for all children who were suffering from it.  Alex set up a lemonade stand in her front yard and soon after, people from across the nation set up their own lemonade stands to support her efforts to find cures for pediatric cancer.  When she passed away at the age of eight, she had raised over one million dollars.  Since then, the foundation bearing her name has evolved into a national fundraising movement and Canada.  

Kick-It is a program of the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and a national volunteer-driven effort focused solely on raising money for childhood cancer research.  In 2009, Kick-It was founded in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, by 10-year-old Quinn Clarke during his second battle with cancer.  Quinn asked his parents if he could have a kickball game to raise money for cancer research and was shocked when more than 500 people supported his game.  

In 2012, Ohio All-State football player, Matt Colella, who had battled cancer as a middle school student, started the Kick-It Champions program by asking others to pledge a dollar amount for each point he made as his high school’s football team’s kicker or by making a one-time donation towards his fundraising goal.  

Payne Williams is a senior kicker for the St. Mary’s Catholic School football team.  In 2022, after attending the Kohl’s Kicking Scholarship Camp in Gatlinburg, Tenn., he registered with Kick-It Champions and during the 2022-2023 football season, raised over $3,000 to assist in cancer research.  For the 2023-2024 football season, supporters can again help Payne raise funds by donating an amount for each time he scores a point, either through a successful field goal or extra point, or by making a one-time donation.  

All funds raised through the Kick-It Champions program go directly to Alex’s Lemonade Stand for Childhood Cancer Research, a registered 501(c)3 charity, which has funded projects at nearly 150 leadings hospitals and institutions across the United States and Canada.  Since 2000, more than 250 million dollars has been raised to fund over 1,000 research projects.  

In order to donate, please go to Alex’s Lemonade Stand at  Thank you for supporting Payne and pediatric cancer research.  

NSU Elementary Lab named National Blue Ribbon School

Northwestern State University’s Elementary Lab School has been recognized as a 2023 National Blue Ribbon School based on the school’s overall academic performance and progress in closing achievement gaps among student groups on assessments. The U.S. Department of Education recognized a total of 353 schools across the nation.  

NSU Elementary Lab is part of the Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development and provides access for future teachers to observe and actively participate in real world classroom situations  

“I am incredibly proud to announce that our school has been honored with the prestigious National Blue Ribbon Award by the U.S. Department of Education,” said Caron Coleman, principal.  “This recognition reflects the dedication and hard work of our amazing students, devoted teachers, supportive parents and the entire school community.  It is a testament to our unwavering commitment to providing a top-quality education that fosters a love for learning, creativity and excellence in every child.  This achievement affirms our mission to nurture well-rounded, responsible citizens.  We will continue to strive for academic excellence and create a nurturing environment where excellence is expected of everyone.  Thank you to everyone who contributed to this remarkable accomplishment.  Simply put, I am proud.”   

“The honorees for our 2023 National Blue Ribbon Schools Award have set a national example for what it means to raise the bar in education,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.  “The leaders, educators and staff at our National Blue Ribbon schools continually inspire me with their dedication to fostering academic excellence and building positive school cultures that support students of all backgrounds to thrive academically, socially and emotionally.”  

With its 40th cohort, the National Blue Ribbon Schools program has bestowed approximately 10,000 awards to 9,700 schools.  The National Blue Ribbon School award affirms and validates the hard work of students, educators, families and communities in striving for and attaining exemplary achievement. National Blue Ribbon Schools represent the full diversity of American schools and serve students of every background.  

While awardee schools represent the diverse fabric of American schools, they also share some core elements.  National Blue Ribbon School leaders articulate a vision of excellence and hold everyone to high standards.  They demonstrate effective and innovative teaching and learning, and the schools value and support teachers and staff through meaningful professional learning. Data from many sources are used to drive instruction and every student strives for success.  Families, communities and educators work together toward common goals.  

The Department of Education recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates:   

  • Exemplary high-performing schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
  • Exemplary achievement gap-closing schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students. Nominated schools also complete an extensive narrative application describing their school culture and philosophy, curriculum, assessments, instructional practices, professional development, leadership structures and parent and community involvement.

Parish Council works to address blocked train crossing in Brickyard

Natchitoches Parish Council Chair William Allen gave an update about the trains that’s blocking the tracks into the Brickyard Road community at the Council’s Sept. 18 meeting. A camera will be installed near the railroad crossing to help monitor and resolve the problem. Union Pacific said they’re committed to helping, but they need real time alerts so they can do something about it as it’s happening.

Re-appoint Herman Tatum and Jesse Rachal to the Natchitoches Parish Fire District 2 Board.

Re-appoint Juliette Moffett to the Natchitoches Parish Library Board.

Re-appoint Jimmy Atherton to the Saline Lake Game and Fish Preserve Commission.

Re-appoint Justin Martin to the Natchitoches Parish Fire District 8 Board.

Re-appoint Billy Shugart Jr. and E. Marc Custis to the Natchitoches Parish Fire District 4 Board.

Re-appoint Greg Duggan and Ralph Hernandez to the Natchitoches Parish Fire District 5 Board.

Re-appoint Monty Trichel, Aulbry Graves, and Troy Gardner to the Natchitoches Parish Fire District 9 Board.

Re-appoint Joseph Jones, Dewayne Colston, Lamarr McGaskey, Travis Brossette, and Ricky Sanders to the Natchitoches Parish Fire District 1 Board.

Re-appoint Carol O’Quinn and Carletta Jones to the Natchitoches Parish Waterworks District 2 Board.

First Introduction of proposed Ordinances:

Introduce Ordinance 019-2023 to dedicate all gaming revenue from the State of Louisiana to the Highway Fund. This will be every year and there is talk of making it occur monthly. 

Introduce Ordinance 020-2023 to affect a zoning amendment of two tracts of land that are being divided from an approximately 10.85-acre parent tract (parcel# 0010291790) to B-3 zoning

for the use of starting a short-term rental business. The property is in Section 24, Township 9 North, Range 8 West with no physical address, as shown on the Survey attached hereto, approved

by the Parish Planning Commission on September 11, 2023. This property is located on Wilkerson Road on Sibley Lake.

TABLED Adopt Ordinance 013-2023 to add back Levy Taylor to the Natchitoches Parish Road System. Work will need to be done to the road to bring it up to design standards and make it passable for a school bus.

Adopt Ordinance 015-2023 for the 2024 Operating and Capital Budgets.

Adopt Ordinance 016-2023 for 2023 Budget Amendments for the General Fund ($1.5 million), Coroners Fund ($33,000), and Criminal Court Fund ($98,000).

Adopt Ordinance 017-2023 to amend the Natchitoches Parish Personnel Manual to make all employees “for cause.” The current manual is conflicting, labeling some employees as “at will” and some as “for cause.”

Adopt Ordinance-018-1-2023 An Ordinance amending Ordinance No. 007-1- 2023 adopted on May 15, 2023, to modify the boundaries of Economic Development District I, II, III, and IV Parish of Natchitoches; and providing for other matters in connection therewith.

Conduct a public hearing with the Natchitoches Parish Council Sitting as a “Board of Review” to hear any and all protests or complaints on values of property for assessment purposes fixed by the Natchitoches Parish Tax Assessor (SEE DOCUMENT BELOW).

Other Agenda Items:

TABLED Enter into a CEA between the Natchitoches Parish Government and the Robeline Heritage Society, Inc. for usage of a building in Robeline vacated by the Waterworks District about a year ago on land owned by the Parish. This item was tabled until the exact building can be identified as there was some confusion on the matter.

Enter into a contract with Geotechnical Testing Laboratory, Inc., of Alexandria, LA, for the soil boring and testing work associated with the design of the 2023 LCDBG Street Improvement project for the resurfacing of American Way and Independence Street.

TABLED Amend the CEA to add the issuance of not exceeding of Capital Area Finance Authority Revenue Bonds in one or more series (the “Bonds”) to finance loans to first time homebuyers within the jurisdictional parishes of the Authority and such other governmental units (the “Participating Jurisdictions”) whose governing authority authorized and directed the execution of a cooperative endeavor agreement (a “CEA”) with the Authority under the provisions of the Act and other applicable constitutional and statutory authorities.

REMOVED Pay the reduced penalty and interest related to the 2017 non-filling of 1095 forms. $142,302 and the reduced amount due is now $78,918. The Parish was informed that it now owes a zero balance.

Sign the Road Project Agreement and Financial Plan between the Parish of Natchitoches and USDA, Forest Service, Kisatchie National Forest in the total amount of $101,536.

Police unit involved in wreck on South Drive

A car accident occurred on Sept. 15 involving a white SUV and a police car at the intersection of South Drive and Royal Street. According to police the officer was responding to a call with lights and sirens on. All traffic at the intersection yielded to the officer except for the SUV and the two vehicles collided. The collision caused the SUV to flip over. No further information is available at this time.

A Tribute to Jim Croce’s Life and Legacy

NSU Student Documentary: THE NIGHT THE MUSIC DIED – YouTube

The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame & Northwest Louisiana History Museum hosted a standing room only crowd of music lovers for the ”Photographs and Memories-a Salute to Jim Croce” event on Monday evening, September 18.

The program was held two days before the 50th anniversary of singer/songwriter Jim Croce’s death in a plane crash while taking off from the Natchitoches airport after a concert at NSU’s Prather Coliseum on Sept. 20, 1973.  

Natchitoches Mayor Ronnie Williams read a proclamation passed by the city council at its last meeting declaring September 20th as “Jim Croce Day” in the City of Natchitoches. Donna Baker, director of NSU’s Cammie Henry Research Center, also provided some articles concerning Croce’s final concert from the archive’s holdings to complement an array of photos and materials from the musician’s career and time in Natchitoches.

Four students from NSU Associate Professor Melody Gilbert’s Documentary Production Class made a 2022 short film on Croce’s last concert, featuring background information and interviews with former students who attended the concert. The 18-minute short was screened for the audience. One of the people appearing in the film is Melanie Babin Torbett, who as a reporter for the NSU Current Sauce, was the last person to interview the singer.

Billy O’Con, an iconic figure of the local music scene who portrayed Jim Croce in the 1997 movie “Jim Croce – Last Night in Natchitoches, a Story of Life, not Loss,” performed some of Croce’s hit songs for the crowd drawing several standing ovations along with many audience members singing along.

Film maker Robert Langpaap has produced a 52-minue documentary movie “Jim Croce: You Know the Songs, Now Know the Story.” Monday’s event included a short clip from the upcoming film which will premiere at the museum this fall.

Lastly, there was a panel discussion featuring Dan McDonald, Torbett and Rodney Harrington, all of whom were NSU students who attended what was to be Croce’s final concert. Audience members Monday also contributed remarks and memories.

The event was a fitting remembrance of a now legendary singer and songwriter who was taken from us all too soon and who is forever intertwined with our history.


By Doug De Graffenried

Are you a person of influence? Let me answer that for you. You are certainly a person of influence.

I believe that you have the power to change lives. It is a dangerous power because of the direction you might lead a life. You have the power to influence people for the cause of Christ, or you have the power to run people off from any connection to faith matters. It is up to you. People are watching you and listening to you. In our digital world they are likely recording your actions for play back on TikTok or You Tube. Live your life well. People are watching, so is Jesus. That is another article for another day.

I was thinking about the power of influence one morning at breakfast. I was at breakfast with a group of Baptist preachers. In truth, I was attending a Baptist preacher’s meeting. Now you might find it strange that a Methodist minister was attending a Baptist preacher’s meeting. It was like the time my son wanted a subscription to Cosmopolitan magazine. I wanted to know if my son was having “issues.” I asked, “Andrew why do you want a girl’s magazine subscription?”  He said, “It is the other team’s play book!” So maybe I was at the preacher’s meeting, learning what the “other team” was doing.

The truth of the matter is that I was at a Baptist preacher’s meeting along with two of Methodist church members. Now what force of the universe could get a Methodist preacher and two Methodist laypersons to attend a Baptist preacher’s meeting? Was it a great breakfast? The food was good, but that was not it. Does anyone on the face of this planet like a meeting?

The force that attracted us there was a fellow named Woody Cox. Woody was a deacon in the Baptist church, but he was also a world-famous electrician. I’m not sure about world-famous, but lots of folks in Natchitoches knew him. Jesus is the Light of the World, but at First United Methodist Church, Woody kept all of Jesus’ lights on for the Sunday crowd. He had climbed in every attic of the church. He was familiar with every line, circuit, and ballast in that building. He knew bulbs in the Baptist churches as well.

Here’s the thing, while Woody was working, he was working you. You were drawn into his web and he was eventually going to invite you to something or just end up telling you a Jesus story. He never made anyone uncomfortable and always fixed the electrical problem.

Woody Cox has gone on to glory. He knows the light of the world.

He was a great electrician who could get Methodists to go to Baptist preacher’s meetings. How are you using your Christian influence. Do you help others “see the light?”

Akin named honorary captain for NSU home opener

By Sid Hall, Military Affairs Coordinator / ROTC Program Manager 

In continuing its tradition of honoring those who serve in the nation’s Armed Forces, Northwestern State University named Dr. James Akin the honorary captain during the home opener of Demon football Sept. 16. 

Akin served in the U.S. Army Security Agency.  He attained the rank of sergeant and served as the clerk to the Agency’s Headquarters Commander and then again for the Operations Commander. He shared that, “In the Army, the only thing that counts is how you soldier.”  His favorite military assignment was Berlin, Germany, where he met his wife of 60 years, Barbara. 

After leaving the service, Akin was the production manager for the journal Military Medicine and then served as a public schools administrator for the City of Alexandria, Virginia. 

He received his Bachelor and Master of Arts from the University of Kentucky. He then earned a Master of Arts and Doctorate in Education from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. 

Akin hails from Paintsville, Kentucky.  Joining him to cheer on the Demons was his son, Dr. Jonathan Akin, NSU professor of Biology.  They were escorted on field by Dr. Marcus Jones, president of Northwestern, and Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Smalley, U.S. Army Retired, Northwestern Demon Regiment Chief of Staff. 

Pictured: Dr. Jonathan Akin, Dr. James Akin, NSU President Dr. Marcus Jones and LTC Arthur Smalley.  

NSU’s Thompson named Southland Player of the Week

Northwestern State completed a perfect four-match home stand with four impressive team victories this past week. One of the many stellar individual performances was recognized on Monday as Reaghan Thompson was named Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Week.   

The conference’s top defensive middle came up big in the clutch and helped Northwestern State to four wins in four matches on the week.  

Thompson averaged better than a block per set for the fourth time in four weeks this season, collecting 18 total across the four matches, with her signature performance of the week coming in the 3-2 win over defending SLC champion Southeastern.  

The Kemah, Texas, native had her hand in on six of NSU’s 12 blocks in the final two sets against the Lions, finishing with seven total for the night, helping tie a team record for most in single match in the last 15 years with 17. It was the sixth match this year in which she had five or more blocks. She averaged 4.5 blocks per match on the week. 

Thompson had five or more blocks in a match two times this past week, against Grambling (6) and Southeastern (7), as part of her career-best tying streak of five straight matches with five or more blocks. 

Thompson sits alone atop the conference blocking leader board with 58 total blocks and a 1.45 per set average. She has seven more blocks this year through 12 matches than she did in her freshman season where she ended with the second most single-season blocks (148) in program history. 

This week she also became the fastest player in program history to reach 200 career blocks, doing so in just 42 career matches. She reached the mark in 21 fewer matches than NSU all-time block leader Glynna Johnson. 

The Demons have won five straight matches after the 4-0 home stand that closed the non-conference portion of the schedule. NSU travels to New Orleans for its first road SLC match of the season before returning home on Saturday to host Nicholls at 1 p.m. 

OBIT: Dorothy Velma Foshee LaCaze

January 7, 1928 — September 11, 2023

Dorothy Lacaze, a long-time resident of Natchitoches, passed away Monday, September 11, 2023, at the age of 95.

Dot was preceded in death by her parents, James Matthew and Addie Elkins Foshee; sister, Audrey Foshee Cox; brother, James Aubrey Foshee; husband James Clarence Davis; husband Louis James “Pete” Lacaze; and son, James Allen Davis.

She leaves behind a legacy in the family she loved so well: one grandchild, Marja Liner and her husband Shawn; and two great-grandchildren, Margaret Ann “Maggie” Liner and Mason Liner. Great Nephews Kelly Dortlon and wife Lynn, Chris Dortlon and wife Noelle, Jonathan Dortlon and wife Sara. Along with great-great nieces and nephew Meagan Gallagher and husband Brad, Meghan Viator and James-Kelly Dortlon.

The family would like to express sincere gratitude to The Oaks of Louisiana and Landmark South for their exceptional care.

She was laid to rest September 17 at Fern Park Cemetery.
Pallbearers were Kelly Dortlon, James-Kelly Dortlon, Shawn Liner and Mason Liner.

Creole Heritage Festival set for October 13-15

The 2023 St. Augustine Catholic Church Creole Festival, to be held Friday-Sunday, Oct. 13-15 at St. Augustine Church in Isle Brevelle.

Events for Friday, Oct. 13 include a fish fry and music from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. Enjoy a catfish dinner with fries, hushpuppies, and dessert while listening to the live music of Deep Water Rehab. Eat-in or take-out is available.

Saturday events include a 15.6 mile roundtrip bike ride beginning at 10 am. Rosa-Ashby Metoyer, a member of the National Association of Black Storytellers, will hold a Storytime at 2 pm. Other events include a river tour, games, bingo, and raffles.

Food will be available at all times throughout the festival. Gumbo, meat pies, tamales, dinner plates, and lots of homemade cakes and desserts will be available.

Following the celebration of Mass at 5 p.m. with Father Ray, the festival will resume with a turkey dinner in the hall and music and dancing outdoors until 10 p.m.

After 10:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, the festival continues from 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. when all the food booths, games, and music start. The festival will conclude at 3 p.m. with the drawing of the raffle winners.

St. Augustine Catholic Church is located approximately 15 miles south of Natchitoches at 2262 LA Highway 484, a short distance from Melrose Plantation. For directions or for more information, please call the church rectory at (318) 379-2521.

In case of rain, all events will be moved inside the hall.

The Electric Flowerpot

By Brad Dison

Have you ever heard of an Electric Flowerpot?  Akiba Horowitz was born in Minsk, Russia in 1856.  At the young age of fifteen, Akiba moved to Berlin, Germany where he studied liquor distillation.  In 1891, Akiba immigrated to the United States.  Upon entering the country, Akiba changed his name to something more American.  He called himself Conrad Hubert.  Conrad, now 35 years old, needed to find work immediately.  In New York, Conrad operated a cigar store, a boarding house, a restaurant, and a jewelry store.  Conrad was not satisfied until he began operating a novelty shop. 

All things dealing with electrical power following the invention of the light bulb were in fashion.  Conrad was a tinkerer.  During his lifetime, Conrad’s patented inventions included “the first automatic electric self-starter for automobiles, …the first exact amount check protector, the autoped,” and an electric gas lighter.       

Joshua Lionel Cowen was an inventor as well.  Joshua had invented the electric doorbell and the electric fan, both of which initially failed to find a market.  People complained about the protracted ring of the doorbell, and the fan produced only the slightest breeze.  His most successful product, which was the most popular item Conrad sold in his novelty shop, was his battery-powered light up tie tacks.           

Joshua and Conrad had numerous discussions about their ideas for inventions.  During one such conversation, Joshua told Conrad about one of his most recent inventions, the electric flowerpot.  The contraption was made up of a battery within a paper tube with a light bulb at one end.  The tube was mounted in the center of a flowerpot.  Once the battery was switched on, the light illuminated the plants in the flowerpot.  Joshua had patented his electric flowerpot, but he was unsure of its marketability. Conrad had faith in the invention and convinced Joshua to sell him the patent. 

Conrad manufactured a large number of electric flowerpots, added them to his inventory, and began advertising.  In the summer of 1894, citizens in Buffalo, New York held a Fourth of July fireworks competition.  Among the prizes were American flags, balloons, packages of fireworks, toy cap pistols, small battery-powered lights, and Conrad’s electric flowerpots.  Despite his best efforts, the electric flowerpot was a failure. 

Conrad had a surplus of electric flowerpots which were in no danger of being sold.  David Misell, an employee of Conrad’s novelty shop, tinkered with the electric flowerpot to see if he could help Conrad create something marketable from its parts.  David had previously invented a wooden-cased signal light and a bicycle light.  David and Conrad separated the tube and bulb from the flowerpot.  They lengthened the tube so they could fit three “D” batteries inside it, and added a brass reflector under the light bulb.  Finally, they had a product that Conrad thought he could sell.  They filed a patent application for the “Electric Device” in March of 1898.  The paperwork listed David as the device’s inventor and Conrad as a witness.  The patent was awarded in January of 1899.  Because David was an employee of Conrad’s, he assigned the patent rights to the device to Conrad’s novelty company.  Conrad added the device to the inventory of his novelty shop.  The device sold very well, but the public had just one complaint.  The “D” batteries would only illuminate the light bulb for a short time before the customer had to replace the batteries.  Due to the device’s short battery life, customers said the device could only produce a flash of light.  In many English-speaking countries, the device is generally referred to as a torch.  In the United States, Conrad’s customers gave the device a nickname that stuck.  They called it the Flashlight.         


1.      Buffalo Courier Express, June 24, 1894, p.15.

2.     The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 17, 1928, p.2.

3.     The Standard Union (Brooklyn, New York), March 18, 1928, p.8.

4.     “Conrad Hubert.” Accessed September 17, 2023.

5.     “Stories of Inventors and Their Inventions: Conrad Hubert.” Accessed September 17, 2023.

Louisiana State Police Warn of Current Telephone Scam

Following multiple citizen complaints from around the state, Troopers wish to make the public aware of a current phone scam. Scammers are fraudulently using the authority of Louisiana State Police in an effort to obtain information and money from victims. 

These impersonators are reportedly contacting the phones of potential victims by using a call that gives the appearance of originating from a phone number belonging to Louisiana State Police. The complainants have stated that the caller is pretending to be law enforcement and attempts to gain personal information and (or) money from the victim over the phone. 

Troopers stress that citizens should never give unsolicited callers any personal information, and the Louisiana State Police would never ask for any type of personal identifying information, payment or monetary donation over the phone. 

Citizens wishing to report suspected fraudulent calls can contact the Louisiana State Analytical and Fusion Center (LA-SAFE) at 225-925-4192. The Louisiana State Police online reporting system is also available to the public through a convenient and secure reporting form that is submitted to the appropriate investigators. Citizens can access the form online at and report the activity.