CASA celebrates success stories and the advocates behind them

CASA of Central Louisiana held its annual Awareness Social April 19. It was a powerful program filled with a celebration of success stories and a silent auction to raise funds for the CASA program, which serves Natchitoches, Red River and Sabine Parishes.

The speakers were two former foster youth miracles:

Jarvis Spearman is a 23-year-old social work major and graduating senior at Grambling State University. He was raised in the foster care system along with his siblings. He works with the Methodist Children’s Home in Ruston as an alumni staff and life skills specialist. He’s worked in the Chafee Independent Living Skills Program for the past 4.5 years. He also serves as president for the Louisiana Youth Leadership Advisory Council (LYLAC).

“I never had a stable life and I came into the foster care system at 6 years old,” said Spearman. “I never had the love and support I needed so I had to find it for myself.”

Htet Htet Rodgers is a rising senior at Northwestern State University. She entered the foster care system at 13 years old, where she found her forever family. She believes all youth should receive the love and support her forever family gave to her and wants to be an advocate for those who don’t. She is a member of the National Foster Youth Institute’s eadership Corps and a federal reviewer for the Children’s Bureau.

“The foster care system was a haven I didn’t know I needed,” said Rodgers. “I got a forever family, but many other kids didn’t.”

Now Miss CENLA, Rodgers has decided that her platform will be foster support when she competes in the Miss Louisiana pageant this summer.

Natchitoches Parish District Attorney Billy Joe Harrington spoke about the benefits children like Spearman and Rodgers receive by having CASA advocates that give them a voice.

“I love to see these success stories,” he said. “Our system couldn’t make it without all the CASA advocates.”

Become a CASA Advocate and help CASA of Central Louisiana ensure that every foster child has a caring competent volunteer in all judicial proceedings. If you are at least 21 years of age, respect the inherent rights of children to grow up with dignity in a safe environment, and would like to advocate for a child’s best interests in court, become a CASA Advocate today! For more information call (318) 238-2446.


2018 Crave Taco Edition

CRAVE - 2018 (1)
The NSU Golf course was the place to be Thursday, April 19th, as the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce continued its popular CRAVE event, now in its 4th year of bringing the local business community and supporters together for fun and networking. This year’s event was the “Taco Edition” featuring 12 teams vying for the best taco bragging rights.

A happy crowd sampled everything from shrimp to steak to Cuban and Mediterranean tacos while a DJ played music for the crowd. The popular event is part of the Chamber of Commerce’s efforts to bring the local community together, have fun, and build a better Natchitoches Parish.

CRAVE - 2018 (2)

Christ the King Lutheran Church offers bi-weekly cruise night and Bible Camp

Church Programs


Christ the King Lutheran Church offers the following community events:


Cruisin’ With the King
Dates: Apr 25 – Oct 31
Every Other Wednesday (except July 4)

A bi-weekly cruise night/ car show. All cars, motorcycles and trucks are welcome! Each night there will be a different theme: Chevy Night, Ford Night, Dodge Night, Muscle car Night, Classic Car Night, Exotics Night, Truck Night, Jeep Night, Corvette Night, Motorcycle Night, Hot Rod Night, Street Machine Night, and the like. There will be a People’s Choice Award for best in class each week. All cars are welcome no matter what the theme of the night may be! Come on out and join us for fun, food, and fellowship around our mutual love of all things automotive!

Every Saturday, Apr 28 – Jun 2
CtK Kid Zone Bible Camp

A weekly free, fun filled Bible camp for children ages 4-12. Meets every Saturday from April 28- June 2. This is a VBS to the extreme! Bring your kids out for fun, fellowship and a Christ-centered experience!

Christ the King Lutheran Church is a member congregation of the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod serving the city of Natchitoches. Rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the church seeks to make a difference in the lives of its members and community through prayer, service, study of God’s Word, and in Word and sacrament based worship, and a living of discipleship as a result, or fruit of faith (Ephesians 2:10).

Christ the King Lutheran Church is located at 805 Royal Street. For more information call 318-352-8708 or go online to

Notice of Death – April 19, 2018

Notice of Death 2017



Nervie Small
April 18, 2018
Arrangements TBA

Jimmy Adkins
October 9, 1937 – April 15, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, April 21 from 12-2 pm in the Cross Roads Sanctuary at the First United Methodist Church in Natchitoches
Service: Saturday, April 21 at 2 pm in the Cross Roads Sanctuary at the First United Methodist Church

Louis Esters
April 16, 2018
Arrangements TBA

William Arthur “Boogie” Moore
June 28, 1941 – April 13, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, May 21 from 9 am – 2 pm at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel of Natchitoches
Service: Saturday, May 21 at 2 pm in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel of Natchitoches
Interment: Rockford Baptist Church Cemetery

J. W. Houston
March 30, 2018
Arrangements TBA

Cecil Harold Brumley
March 26, 1921 – April 17, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, April 21 from 10-11 am at First Baptist Church in Converse
Service: Saturday, April 21 at 11 am at First Baptist Church in Converse,
Interment: Converse Cemetery

Paul Vernon Baker
September 16, 1923 – April 18, 2018
Visitation: Friday, April 20 at 3 pm at Aimwell Baptist Church in Zwolle
Service: Friday, April 20 at 4 pm at Aimwell Baptist Church

Jimmie Wayne Cook
January 25, 1957 – April 13, 2018
Visitation: Saturday, April 21 at 11 am at Warren Meadows Funeral Home in Many
Service: Saturday, April 21 at 1 pm at Warren Meadows Funeral Home in Many
Interment: Florien Cemetery

Catherine Louise Brydels Turner
May 26, 1926 – April 17, 2018
Visitation: Friday, April 20 from 8:30 am – 1 pm at the John Kramer & Son Funeral Home
Service: Friday, April 20 at 1:#0 pm at St. Rita Catholic Church
Interment: Hemphill Star Cemetery in Boyce

Charles “Buddy” Hugh Blake
February 24, 1948 – April 17, 2018
Visitation: Friday, April 20 from 2-4 pm in the chapel of John Kramer & Son Funeral Home

Mona Mitchell Laborde Andries
September 19, 1936 – April 17, 2018
Visitation: Friday, April 20 from 8-10 am at the John Kramer & Son Funeral Home
Service: Friday, April 20 at 10:30 am at St. Rita Catholic Church
Interment: Alexandria Memorial Gardens

Robert (Buddy) Wesley Little, Jr.
May 19, 1926 – April 18, 2018
Service: Friday, April 20 at 10 am in the chapel of Kinner and Stevens Funeral Home

Ethel Beatrice Killen
December 28, 1922 – April 15, 2018
Visitation: Friday, April 20 from 10-11 am at Southern Funeral Home
Service: Friday, April 20 at 11 am at Southern Funeral Home
Interment: New Jerusalem Cemetery in Winnfield

Danny Rex Wilson
April 2, 1953 – April 16, 2018
Visitation: Monday, April 23 beginning at 12 pm at Bethel Baptist Church fellowship hall
Service: Monday, April 23 at 2 pm at Bethel Cemetery

Kelly Thomas
Visitation: Friday, April 20 from 6-7 pm at the Jenkins Funeral Home in Mansfield
Service: Saturday, April 21 at 11 am at Midway No. 2 Baptist Church in Shreveport
Interment: Benevolent Cemetery in Mansfield

Joshua Green
Service: Saturday, April 21 at 11 am at the Shady Grove United Methodist Church in Mansfield
Interment: St. Paul Cemetery in Pelican

Larry Wayne Messick
November 22, 1955 – April 18, 2018
Visitation: Friday, April 20 from 12-2 pm at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home
Service: Friday, April 20 at 2 pm at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home Chapel

NHDDC discusses budget and upcoming events at April 18 meeting

NHDDC Budget info.png

At the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission’s April 18 meeting, David Stamey said he will complete the Commission’s proposed budget in the next 30 days. It will be introduced at their May meeting and voted on at their June meeting, with their fiscal year beginning July 1.

Their goal when considering event sponsorships is more “heads in beds.” They’re looking for events that will bring people to Natchitoches for overnight stays.

They sponsored the American College Dance Association South Regional Conference, which was held at Northwestern State University April 4-7. They’re currently considering sponsorships for three Southland Conference Championships NSU will host next year. These include volleyball, softball and track and field, which alone brings in 12 women’s teams and 11 men’s teams.

“These people tend to adopt Natchitoches as their road trip,” said Stamey.

The NHDDC also recently sponsored several ads on The ads feature the Cane River National Heritage Area (CRNHA), the Cane River Creole National Historical Parks (CRCNHP), Fort St. Jean Baptiste, Los Adaes State Historic Site and the Grand Ecore Visitors Center. The digital ads link back to the CRNHA website, which has a section titled “Explore Cane River” that links visitors to websites and information for all the attractions.

While the average response rates for these types of ads is around 31%, CRNHA Director of Communications Rebecca Blankenbaker said their rate is at 47%. CRCNHP Superintendent Carrie Mardorf said visitation at the parks increased 12% last year.

There’s also a possible event sponsor partnership between the City and the NHDDC that City Rep Edd Lee proposed at Wednesday’s meeting. Fishing University is a program on the Outdoor Channel that is interested in filming an episode in Natchitoches highlighting local high school fishing teams.

Upcoming dates for Natchitoches events include:

NSU Freshman Connection Overnight Sessions May 24-25, May 31-June 1, June 20-21, and a one-day session on July 10. Any one of these sessions can bring in around 800 people, which includes potential students and their parents.

The Historic District Business Association will hold its annual Girls Getaway weekend in June. More details will be announced at a later date.

The HDBA’s annual car show (Sept. 28-29) opened up the year for car entries from 1979 to 1988, which it’s expected, will bring in about 150 more cars. Organizers are looking at using Second Street, Touline, Front Street and the riverbank.

National Parks Week begins April 21 and the Cane River Creole National Historical Park system is partnering with the CRNHA to hold a Find Your Park Festival Saturday, April 21 from 10 am – 3 pm at Oakland Plantation (Free to the public).

Bike Natchitoches will hold its 5th Annual Cane River Plantation Ride May 5 beginning at 8:15 am at Oakland Plantation. For more information go online to

National Tourism Week begins May 7 and the Natchitoches Area Convention and Visitors Bureau will hold a Tourism Week Celebration with Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser Monday, May 7 at 2:30 pm at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum.

The CRNHA will kick off its new Coffee Chat series April 28 at 10 am at the Grand Ecore Visitors Center with a talk on its current “War on the Red” exhibit.

The Natchitoches Historic Foundation will host its Annual Membership Gala May 8.
The next Chamber luncheon will be held May 9 and will feature a panel of locals who will speak to the community on the importance of tourism. They are NACVB Director Arlene Gould, Tax Commission Administrator Jerry McWherter and Sharpco Hotel Rep Lauryn Sharplin.

The Chamber will hold a Bed&Breakfast Round Table May 30, an Academic Scholars Banquet May 8, and a Legislative Issues Luncheon June 30.


NHF uses augmented reality to promote historical preservation

NHF New Signage

Natchitoches Historic Foundation President Cathy Seymour said the addition of new signage at their headquarters, the Cunningham Law Office, will allow them to use augmented reality to advertise the historical significance of the building, the Mildred Bailey Park behind it, and its availability as a rental space for events.

The sign uses the app “HP Reveal” (formerly Aurasma), which changes the way people interact with the physical world. HP Reveal allows people to discover augmented reality (AR) experiences, create their own AR, and share the magic.
When visitors scan the NHF’s sign using their phones and the HP Reveal app, a video pops up that gives them a tour of the inside of the Cunningham Law Office and its history.

Dr. Begoña Perez-Mira, professor of computer information systems at Northwestern State University, created the AR system for the NHF.

“It’s great that the NHF is using this augmented reality software,” she said. “It’s a great marriage between history and utilizing technology. There’s just so many possibilities.”



Natchitoches Alumnae Beautillion set for Saturday

Beautillion MAIN GRAPHIC
The Natchitoches Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated announces its upcoming presentation of the 28th Annual Beautillion Saturday, April 21 at 6 pm at the Ben Johnson Auditorium. Special guest speaker will be former professional football player Marcus DeWayne Spears.

This event will feature young men throughout the community of Natchitoches and Winnfield. To date, more than 200 young men have participated in the Beautillion. Beaus are Antonio Aaron, John Augustus, Dejon Blake, Quintarious Coleman, Nicholas Ficklin, Derilyn Flanagan, Dominique Fontenot, Malik Hall, Corian Moore, Tony Preylo, and Brian White. They will be escorted by Karianna Lazard, GaLecia Bell, Taylor Johnson, La’Tia Beavers, Ashlynn Blake, Maya Levo, Aaliyah Edmonson, Rya Jones, Amber Swayzer, Cameron Edmonson, and Ravin Terry. Tickets for this event are $10. Chairpersons are Yvette Ceasar-Williams and Yolanda Bobb. Co-Chairpersons are Tanikka Adams Goston and Tiffney Petite Allen. For questions, please contact us at



Fire damages Willow Bend Apartments

Fire at Willow Bend

An NPJ reader submitted photos of a fire at the Willow Bend Apartments, located on the Hwy. 1 Bypass in Natchitoches on April 18. From information gathered, it appears the fire burned through 8 of the 24 apartments before it was extinguished. No further information is available at this time.



Rayburn Smith – Superior Livestock Cattle Auction this weekend in Natchitoches


NATCHITOCHES –Thousands of  cattle are expected to be auctioned today at the Superior Livestock Gulf Coast Classic Cattle Auction taking place in Natchitoches this weekend at the Natchitoches Events Center. More than 300 cattlemen from across the country are attending the live video auction which will feature calves on cows, feeder cattle, weaned cattle, and bred stock cattle. All cattle will remain on the farm until delivery.

The auction is usually held in larger cities like Fort Worth. Bringing this many people from states like Montana, South Dakota, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana is great for the City of Natchitoches

The cattle auction is being broadcast live online at

For more information, please contact Emily Smith at (318) 471-2771.

Gulf Coast Header

Old Ben Franklin Was Right: Death and Taxes Will Be With Us Always

By Joe Darby

joedarbySo, how did you all come out on your income taxes? I had to pay. Almost $700!
The number is that high not because of the huge size of our income, but because the company administering my pension was not taking enough withholdings out every month. That was my own fault, of course, because you can direct whatever amount you want to be taken out.

I liked having a little more money available each month, but I finally saw the light and told them to take out $60 more per month this year. So, next spring I should just about come out even. or maybe even get a small amount back.
I tried to assuage my grief at having to pay Uncle Sam by imagining that my dollars were going to pay for one tiny part of an F-22 fighter jet or to pay for a load of beef for the crew of a Navy aircraft carrier. Something worthwhile, don’t you see.

But I think all of us have a natural resentment of the government taking our hard-earned money. But, civilization, if that’s what you can call what our society has, must have money to function, alas.

The thing is, we’re hit from so many sources. Every governmental body from the local fire and police districts and school boards to the state, with its sales, property and income taxes, to the giant outstretched hand of the federal government, wants its share of our income.

This is all nothing new, of course. Governments have collected taxes since there were governments. And people have never liked it. Some folks in the Bible were amazed that Jesus would hang around with tax collectors because they were considered the lowest of the low.

In those days the king’s taxman would take a good portion or your wheat or barley crop and there was not a thing you could do about it, not if you wanted to keep your head on your shoulders.

We in the United States didn’t have to worry about federal income taxes until the Civil War, when both the US and the Confederacy imposed such taxes. The US tax expired in 1872. Then, when another attempt was made to impose an income tax early in the 20th century, the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. However, the 16th Amendment, passed in 1913, gave Congress the permission to collect an income tax.

By the way, here’s a Did You Know for you. Until the Civil War, the great majority of the federal government’s income came from tariffs, taxes imposed on goods imported and exported to other countries. And, yeah, we had a small budget in those days.

So, we are reminded every week in our paychecks, and especially every April 15, that what’s ours is not necessarily all ours. And when we say we made $30,000 or $50,000 or $125,000 last year, that’s just what we mean. We MADE that much, but we sure didn’t get to keep it all.

But, there’s nothing to be done. The next time firefighters put out a burning house in your neighborhood, the next time you drive on an Interstate, the next time you enjoy a state museum, the next time the American military wipes out a terrorist cell, you can know that all of this was done with your tax dollar.

To repeat my headline, Ben Franklin was right. One day we’re gonna die. And April 15 will certainly roll around again next year.


NHDDC seeks public input on Natchitoches logo redesign

The Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission’s Marketing Committee issued a press release at the NHDDC meeting April 18. The press release (SEE DOCUMENT BELOW) pertains to the April 5 unveiling of a new brand and logo as part of the City Re-Branding Initiative.

After receiving much feedback, the committee decided to start over with the logo and tagline “Historically Brighter.”

The committee is looking for a tagline that celebrates the positive future of Natchitoches and promotes local businesses, restaurants, accommodations and attractions. Public feedback is requested through May 18 by visiting

“We’re pumped about it,” said Van Erikson. “It’s been a fun process so far and I can’t wait to see where it goes.”

Once the 30 day public input period is over and the redesign begins, the committee will look for further public input before they officially unveil it again. Their goal through this redesign is to get as much buy in as possible from the community and stakeholders, while also being as inclusive as possible.

“We now know we’ve got an informed and passionate citizen base in Natchitoches,” said Erikson. “I can’t wait for someone to have that golden nugget we’re looking for.”


HNDDC-Marketing Letter