Saturday Town Hall with Mayor Williams

Mayor Ronnie Williams Jr. invites Natchitoches residents to a virtual town hall to be held this Saturday, March 25 at 10 am on Zoom to allow more residents to interact with their local government representative. 

Due to the city’s Zoom setting, the first 100 people will be able to participate in this town hall. To connect, use the Zoom link, meeting ID, and passcode below:


Meeting ID: 844 5151 9106

Passcode: 683548

One tap mobile

+16469313860,,84451519106#,,,,*683548# US

+19292056099,,84451519106#,,,,*683548# US (New York)

OBIT: Christian Edward Beyer

A memorial service honoring the life of Christian Edward Beyer will be held on Friday, March 24, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. at Davis Springs Southern Methodist Church, 203 Davis Springs Road, Campti, LA 71411, with Bro. Olan McLaren and Bro. Truman Leach officiating. Visitation will be held prior to the service from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. 

Christian Edward Beyer was born the son of Eddie & Anna Belle on May 28, 1952 on the 2nd floor of the Schwartz Drug Store at 7th and Main in Galena, KS. Christian had a four-year tour as a high school dragster and football linebacker at Riverton High School, graduating in 1970. He sang baritone and acted his way through Coffeeville Community College before transferring to his beloved Kansas State University, where he majored in Broadcast Journalism. After some short sales and carpentry gigs, Chris became a Radio Man. His booming voice and catchy ads have been heard on radio stations all across the Midwest and South culminating with 16 years at BDC Radio (KDBH & KVCL). Christian was a BBQ aficionado and a devoted family man who enjoyed spending time with his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, Edward and Anna Belle Beyer; his paternal grandparents, Harry Clifford and Grace Mae Beyer; and his maternal grandparents, James Newt and Josephine Gandy Christian’s survivors include his wife, Elizabeth “Liz”  Anne Hines Beyer of Campti, LA; his son, DeLane Godwin of Goldonna, LA; his daughters, Erin B. Beyer O’Malley and husband, Patrick, of Chillicothe, MO, Alexandra M. Beyer Cabra and husband, Bernie, of Chillicothe, MO, and Rachel L. Godwin Cason and husband, Corey, of Campti, LA; his sister, Shirley Beyer Collins of Galena, KS; along with 10 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, work family, friends, and other relatives. 

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Christian’s church, Davis Springs Southern Methodist Church, 203 Davis Springs Road Campti, LA 71411.

The Beyer family would like to thank the Emergency Services Personnel of Natchitoches Regional Medical Center, along with Dr. Warren Botnick and the Emergency Room/ICU Staff. 

Condolences can be made to the family at 

Kilpatrick’s Rose-Neath Funeral Home
Many Chapel
Many, Louisiana

NSU gets approval for Sports and Recreations Management degree

Northwestern State University’s Department of Health and Human Performance received approval to offer a bachelor of science degree in Sports and Recreation Management with coursework set to begin in the Fall 2023 semester. The degree program will provide completers with a foundation for entry into the sport and recreation field and jobs in marketing for sport and recreation, athletic administration, gameday management, sport psychology, legal and ethical issues in sport, contemporary leadership, facility management, sales and revenue generation and sport media.  

“Both public and private sport and recreation are big business in America.  A degree in sport and recreation management helps graduates develop skills in maintenance marketing, management and finance in the sport and recreation industry,” said Dr. Haley Blount, assistant professor of Health and Human Performance, who played a significant role in developing the program. She will serve as the program’s director. “This degree plan also includes a minor in business, which sets us apart from similar programs offered elsewhere in Louisiana.”  

The degree consists of a mixture of online and face-to-face courses, requiring 120 hours of coursework. Blount said the program is a good fit for individuals who are hard workers, love sports and have strong leadership skills.  

“Former athletes always make great candidates in this career field, because they have what it takes to work hard and they understand the business of sport,” she added.  

Dr. Tara Tietjen-Smith, head of NSU’s Department of Health and Human Performance developed a similar successful program at Texas A&M Commerce prior to joining the faculty at NSU in 2021. Her experience in the research and organization of such a program provided an advantage in developing the proposal NSU submitted for approval.  

“From the administration of local parks to the management of major professional sports teams, career opportunities in this field continue to grow,” Tietjen-Smith said. “Additional business management topics related to sports in a variety of settings such as college athletics, campus recreation, municipal park and non-profit recreation and professional sport will also be taught.  Students will gain fieldwork experience throughout the program and finish with an applied internship experience.”   

Information on NSU’s Department of Health and Human Performance is available at

Maddie Robinson sparkles at the plate, in the circle in NCHS rout

BIG DAY: Senior Maddie Robinson pitched a two-hit shutout and homered Wednesday for Natchitoches Central. (Photo by DUSTY GRIMES)

Maddie Robinson fired a two-hit shutout, struck out 10 and cracked a home run Wednesday for Natchitoches Central’s softball team in a non-district 12-0 rout at Holy Savior Menard.

The Lady Chiefs (18-3) finished with a flourish when they put up five runs in the seventh and final inning.  Robinson’s homer and a double by second baseman Morgan Robinson highlighted the outburst.

NCHS scored four in the third inning to take control, while posting single runs in the second, fourth and sixth innings. Menard (12-9) got a pair of singles and drew four walks but was scoreless.

The Lady Chiefs collected 16 hits.  Desi Robinson, Maddie Robinson, Desi Robinson Sydney Terrell, Mallory LaCour and Lila Robertson each collected multiple hits, with three by Maddie Robinson and Desi Robinson leading the way.

NCHS will resume district play today on the road against Southwood (2-15, 0-4) with a junior varsity contest at 4 and the varsity set for 5:30 in Shreveport. The Lady Chiefs are 5-0 in 1-5A competition.

Saint Rick? New NSU basketball coach has glowing testimonials

NEXT UP AT NSU:  Rick Cabrera, announced Wednesday as the new Northwestern State basketball coach, has made strongly positive impact at prior stops. (Photo courtesy Tallahassee Community College)

By DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports

“I find it a little ironic that the Demons hired a saint.”

That from Ryan Kelly, sports director at Tallahassee’s WCTV Channel 6, talking about new Northwestern State basketball coach Rick Cabrera, who leads his Tallahassee Community College Eagles into the Elite Eight of the National Junior College Athletic Association championships today.

Cabrera, 47, a veteran of 13 seasons as a Division I assistant coach and with a 151-44 record in six years as a junior college head coach, was announced Wednesday as the Demons’ replacement for one-year wonder (22 wins) Corey Gipson.

“Through the two years I’ve covered him, Rick Cabrera has been so gracious, so kind,” said Kelly. “That intensity that he brings on the floor is obvious. You know how animated he is, how invested he is, and it’s because he’s invested in his players. You can see by the way they perform on the floor that they feed off that.”

It’s happening in Hutchinson, Kan., at the NJCAA Tournament. TCC (30-5) entered as the 12th seed, scored a three-point win Tuesday (for Cabrera’s 150th career coaching victory), then shocked No. 5 Salt Lake 94-93 in overtime Wednesday.

“This team is playing without arguably its best player, and it doesn’t mean anything. He has a point guard drop 48 (Wednesday) like it’s no big deal,” said Kelly. “That’s what these guys do. They play hard for him. They hustle for him, because he’s done the same for them. He’s willing to take chances on them, to fight for them.

“A players’ coach, yes, and I get that in some corners that’s not always well received because people assume he’s not disciplined. He runs a tight ship, and TCC is better for it. It’s very clear that everything he does, it’s with his players in mind, and he’s inclusive. People love the sense of community he’s built around that Eagles’ program,” said Kelly.

Even more compelling:  rave reviews from two former NSU coaches who worked with Cabrera in a couple of his previous Division I stops. One is former Tennessee Tech head coach Steve Payne, his boss with the Golden Eagles as Cabrera worked first as an assistant coach, then associate head coach from 2012-17.

“I adore the guy, and he’s just a fantastic fit in Natchitoches and at Northwestern,” said Payne, who has known Cabrera since 2004. “The NSU family, and that community, will love him and his family. He’ll want people to come watch practice, to buy in, to be included.

“He’ll be great to work with. He’s just a good dude, a really fun, super solid guy,” said Payne, who got his Division I start on J.D. Barnett’s NSU staff from 1994-98.

“From a basketball perspective, he knows good players. He’s brought them into every program he’s been in. People in the profession like him. They’re going to try to help him succeed. His players will love him.”

Travis Janssen, who was Austin Peay’s baseball coach while Cabrera was an assistant on the Governors’ basketball staff from 2017-19, and Janssen’s wife Christy were overjoyed.

“He personifies class in every way. Be sure that’s in there,” said Janssen, a Demon baseball assistant under Mitch Gaspard from 2002-04. “He’s a stud, a family guy. He and his wife will embrace the town, with their four kids making great friends. They’ll be visible.  I think the world of Mike McConathy, one of the great people I’ll ever know. I think Coach Mike will love spending time with him. Rick is a purely good person.

“When I heard, I was shocked, in a good way. I told Christy, ‘How great is this?’  About every November we say, ‘wouldn’t it be great to come back to Natchitoches for the Christmas Festival,’ and with three kids and all we have going, we haven’t made it yet. Rick being there, that would make it even more special to get back.”

As to Cabrera’s coaching chops, what he’s accomplished in Tallahassee is winning as an under-resourced member of the Panhandle Conference, anchored by powerhouse programs Northwest Florida State and Chipola CC.

“There are so many obstacles because other programs have big legs up in this league, and he has been able to power TCC past all that,” said Kelly. “To see what some of the others have compared to what TCC has, and know his teams are not just competitive, but they’ve won the league, it’s really impressive and I commend him for it.”

Contact Doug at

Record-setting outdoor start earns Northwestern State’s Gumbs SLC Men’s Field Athlete of the Week

When an athlete shatters a conference record and his home country’s record, they get rewarded. 

That is just what happened, as Djimon Gumbs was named Southland Conference Men’s Field Athlete of the Week, the conference announced Wednesday. 

Djimon Gumbs tossed a 205-11 in the discus at the Cowboy Relays, which broke his own school record by nearly 12 feet. He also shattered the Southland Conference record of 198-09, set by Abilene Christian’s Kai Schmidt in 2019. 

If that wasn’t enough, that also broke the British Virgin Islands mark, which was set in 2014. 

In the shot put, his distance of 63-1.5 was a personal best and was second in school history. 

He followed that up with a second-place finish in the discus (178-10) and third-place finish in the shot put (55-5.5) at the TCU Alumni Invite. 

The honor is Gumbs’ first in 2023 but won the award three times in 2022. 

The Northwestern State track teams head back to Baton Rouge for the Battle on the Bayou. The teams were originally headed to Prairie View A&M but rescheduled and are headed to LSU. 

LSMSA student named USA Biology Olympiad semifinalist

Bella Danos (’23) of Independence, a senior at the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA), has qualified as a USA Biology Olympiad semifinalist.

In February, Danos was among eight LSMSA biology students nominated by LSMSA’s Biology faculty to take the USA Biology Olympiad Exam consisting of 50 multiple choice questions covering topics including genetics, animal anatomy, and plant physiology. Because Danos’ scores were among the top ten percent of the more than 9,000 students who took the exam, she was named a semifinalist. Results from Danos’ semifinal exam will be released in April, and the top 20 students will be invited to take a two-day exam at Marymount University. The top four finalists from that round will be invited to attend the International Biology Olympiad in United Arab Emirates.             

“It’s an incredible honor for students to be selected to take this exam, not to mention to advance as far as Bella has,” said LSMSA Senior Lecturer of Biology Dr. Allison Landry. “We are proud of her efforts and look forward to seeing what she’ll achieve in this contest and beyond.”

LSMSA is a tuition-free, residential, public high school for high-achieving rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors with a nominal room and board fee to cover housing, meals, and campus activities. The LSMSA Foundation offers assistance for families in need. For more information about the Louisiana School or to apply for the 2023-24 school year, visit

Magnet Honor Roll for the 3rd Nine weeks

Natchitoches Magnet is excited to announce Honor Roll for the third nine weeks.
Kindergarten – 

B Honor Roll – 

Dominic Alarcon, Lillian Allen, Mason Allen, LeRon Baptiste, Harlee Bell, Aubree Booker, Parker Burton, Belle Byone, Damien Carter, Maddix Clayton, Roman Colbert, Clara Ferguson, Parker Ferguson, Jaicee Green, Avianna Jackson, Braylon Jones, Corinne LeVasseur, Levi Lodrigue, Paisley McCart, Amari Moore, Gabriel Newell, Alexus Nguyen, Darrion Pikes, Carson Roque, Deion Ruffins, Landon Smith, Dakota Smith, Kashton Snow, Maci Stoker, Cole Vance, Azaria Varice, Canyon Zachary

1st Grade – 

Principal’s List – 

Easton Cholvitee, Maddox Dykes, Mariah Fox, Kinsely Prudhomme, Gisell UkPai, Jayson Williams

A Honor Roll – 

Albani Cole, Ayden Cooper, Havyn Davis, Joseph Frederick, Mirah Fuller, Ayden Hardison

B Honor Roll – 

Mya Davis, Baylee Diaz, Summar Dubois, Ace Hagan, Reese Helaire, Jaylon Hernandez, Ava Hooper, Kadence Jackson, Terry Johnson, Titus Jones, Chloe McIntosh, Amelia Pleasant,  Qia’Lani Rachal, AuBrey Smith, Alden Trichel, Brooklyn Washington, Kandon Westmoreland, Elisha White

2nd Grade – 

Principal’s List – 

Musa Ali, RIley Allison, Virginia Andrews, Eli Bolding, Rhyia Bolton, Benjamin Collins, Landon Conday, Maxon Deen, Ezra DeFord, Zoe Edwards, Harrison Farley,  Kourtlyn Harrison, Audrey Hatten, Caiden Howard, Ryen Kras, Des’Lyn Peace, Olivia Roque, Samuel Sylvia, 

A Honor Roll – 

Herbert Baptiste, Oscar Barrientos, Jhyrin Bell, Dominic Colbert, Khrishtyn Dillon, Noah Dixon, Naiya Perry, Mason Solitaire, Lily Walsworth, Collin White

B Honor Roll – 

Kinely Armstrong, Brooklyn Cagle, Cadence Finley, Cade Fuller, Morgan Howard, Kenton LaCaze, Henry Malancon, Maxim Martin, Lilyana Martin-Hammond, Brian Powell, Ernest Reliford, ZoeRuth Rogers, James Smith, Emma White, Carl Willis

3rd Grade – 

Principal’s List – 

Caitlyn Bradley, Roslyn Burks, Carliegh Bush, Bella Hamilton, Zoey Miller, Genesis Roberson, Jett Waters, 

A Honor Roll – 

Ivan Goleman, Andrew Wells, Catherine Yount 

B Honor Roll – 

Brinley Byrd, Adrian Fontentot, Hailey Howard, Emily Howard, Symone Jackson, Ahziahnae Johnson, Ke’Ziah King, Rhynn LaCombe, Khloe Luman, Gabriel Methvin, Christopher Norwood, Danlie Owecki, Mackenzie Sesvold, Camryn Vance, Logan Williams, Brylen Young

4th Grade 

Principal’s List – 

Hayli Mosley, Murphy Reid

A Honor Roll – 

Adrienne Duruisseau, Ricky Issac, Mariya Young 

B Honor Roll – 

Amelia Arredondo,Victor Bardney, Shelby Broadway,  Nikeo Collins, Mason Dawson, Hailey Dorsey,  Mikayla Duruisseau, Cade Goings, MacKynzie Goleman, Uvel Hernandez, Xane Jones, Lakyn Lloyd, John Mason, Tobi Mitchell, Jackson Moffett, Bentleigh Murphy, Alex Nguyen, Jace Severance, Alease Smith,  Holden Smith, Damien Varice

5th Grade – 

Principal’s List – 

Nicholas Washington, Everett Watson

A Honor Roll – 

Issa Ali, Josiah Harris, LaMaria LaCour

B Honor Roll – 

Jaylei Babers, Aunestie Brown, Mason Brown, Aiden Bush, Korbyn Colbert, Emma Floyd, Allison Friday, Hudson Harrell, Malique Jackson, Harper Jones, MacKenzie Johnson, Lexie Metoyer, Drake Sesvold, Bruce Smith, Alayjia Taylor, James Warford

6th Grade

A Honor Roll – 

Atticus DeFord, Millan Duhon, Kyle Kras, Alex McDonald, Zoe UkPai, Joshua Walsworth, Anyra Young 

B Honor Roll – 

Paityn Anthony, Maddison Bayonne, Jairen Burton, Peyton Helaire, Carson LaCour, Axel Laning, Bentley Lard, Camron McDaniel,  Skylar Prelow

7th Grade 

Principal’s List – 

Rayan Ali, Jasmyn Carpenter, Ava Moses, Izabella Smith, Saniah Thomas, Andrew Ye

A Honor Roll – 

Journey Ashlock, Johannah Chauvin, Xander Smith, Alyza White

B Honor Roll – 

Myonah Bernstine, Gabriel Bush, Ella Fluitt, Latrell Frederick, Jaxon Hayden,  Aylayjia Kirts, Patrick Martinez, Ainsley McLaren, Gabriella Moore, Malaya Osby, Braylen Patrick,  Avery Simpson, Kilee Smith, Maci Taylor, Amari Varice, Oscar Williams

8th Grade – 

Principal’s List – 

Olivia Cook, Aiden Cooper, Derek Davis, Kylee Hickman, Raygan Jackson, McKinsey Pittman, Madysen Trahan

A Honor Roll – 

William Andrews, Jenna Garcie, Joshua LaCaze, Serenity Pikes, Bradin Smith, Ryan Taylor

B Honor Roll – 

Braddox Bridges, Ana Cano-Campos, Gabriela Contreras,  Maxwell DeFord, LaVarion Fisher, Taviah Freeman, Maggie Giddings, Daija Hampton, Jaxon Harrell, Lyvia Hayden, Jeffrey Holden, Destini Hoover, Madison Johnson, Charity Marshall, Skylar McDaniel, Austin Moffett, Billy Robicheaux, Zariah Rogers, Ian Sanders,  Skye Waters, Brenden Young

Retired music education faculty member to present concert of original compositions

Composer, songwriter and music educator Dr. Sharon Joy will present a concert of her original songs, inspired by a variety of cultural traditions. The performance will be at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum, 800 Front Street, Natchitoches, beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 31. The concert is free and open to the public.  

Joy recently retired from Northwestern State University where she was an associate professor of music education. She taught at NSU for the past 17 years, impacting the lives of many music education students. She was instrumental in the founding and coordination of the NSU Chapter of Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars and the Summer Fun with Music Camp for community children. Joy recently presented her “Faith Journey” as part of the Northwestern State University Watson Library’s Living Library series.  

The collection of inspiring songs she will share have been performed at interfaith gatherings, churches, synagogues and other events in the U.S. and abroad, but never before in Natchitoches.  

For additional information, contact Joy at  

Tri Sigmas, Pi Kapps awarded Morgan Scholarships

Northwestern State University’s Alpha Zeta chapter of Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority and Beta Omicron chapter of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity hosted a program to recognize students earning Morgan Extra Mile Scholarships March 20.  

David Morgan, a 1973 NSU graduate and alumnus of NSU’s Beta Omicron Chapter, established the “Extra Mile” Scholarship in 2008 to recognize members of Pi Kappa Phi who distinguish themselves through academic success, chapter leadership, campus involvement and part-time employment. The scholarship has since grown and is awarded at the national level as well as in the local chapter. The Sherry Fargerson Morgan “Extra Mile” Scholarship for Sigma Sigma Sigma was announced in 2017 and mirrors the criteria for Pi Kappa Phi by honoring students who are outstanding and high achieving members of the chapter. First Generation Scholarships are awarded to students who are the first in their immediate families to attend college.  Qualifying members participate in an application process that is reviewed by chapter alumni before selections are made.  

Students earning First Generation Student Scholarships are Josephine Martinez, Travis Jimenez and Peyton Fuller.   

This year’s Extra Mile Scholarship recipients are Grace Gosserand, Natalee Cook, Zoe Johnson, Kacy Young, Madison Cook, Natalie Mangandi, Jon Elise Sturgeon, Mary Scruggs, Sydney Salzer, Peyton Fuller, Travis Jimenez, Jonatan Jimenez, Andrew Dubriske, Jonathan Gennaro, Lance Corry, Gavin Kendrick, Graham Claycomb, Colby Grayson, Dominic Ross and Zachary Cooper.  

Several alumni participated in the program, including David and Sherry Morgan and keynote speaker Jack McCain Jr., a charter member of the Beta Omicron chapter and it’s first archon (president).  Lindsay Maggio McElwee, a 2008 alumna, was emcee. Beka Burns, a 2019 alumna and chapter advisor, and Robert Broadwell, Pi Kappa Phi House Corporation Chairman, presented the honors. Speakers also included Tri Sigma President Zoe Johnson, Pi Kappa Phi President Travis Jimenez, Jake Henderson, CEO of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity; NSU President Dr. Marcus Jones, Dr. Drake Owens, executive director of the NSU Foundation, James Lowring, Pi Kappa Phi chaplain, and Gabrielle Lacheney, Tri Sigma education director.  

Program and banquet co-chairs were Natalee Cook and Devin Stacy with assistance from Peter Cannata, Madison Cook, Zach Cooper, Jacob Croom, Jonathan Gennaro, Grace Gosserand, Travis Jimenez, Zoe Johnson, Natalie Mangandi and Ashlynn Stewart.  Reatha Cox, vice president for the Student Experience and Dean of Students, was also a key organizer.  

Pictured: Morgan Extra Mile and First Generation Scholarship recipients, pictured with the Morgans are, from left are Jonatan Jiminez, Madison Cook, Kacy Young Jon Elise Sturgeon, Zoe Johnson, Jonathan Gennero, Grace Gosserand, Lance Corry, Natalee Cook, David Morgan, Dominic Ross, Sherry Morgan, Gavin Kendrick, Natalie Mangandi, Graham Claycomb, Travis Jimenez, Colby Grayson, Zachary Cooper, Andrew Dubriske, Mary Scruggs, Josephine Martinez, Peyton Fuller and Sydney Salzer.  

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Celebrates “Delta Week” with Education and Service

The 32 members of Natchitoches’ Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Alumnae Chapter joined with their sisters in NSU’s undergraduate chapter and Deltas around the world in celebrating “Delta Week”. The Natchitoches Alumnae Chapter has a busy week of education and service to the community planned.

On Wednesday, the sisters were “Red-y and Well”, meeting at Natchitoches’ City Park to learn about the importance of mental health and exercise. The Deltas started the week with a worship service together. The next day saw sisters reading to children at L. P. Vaughn, one of many such activities all over the region that day. The Deltas spent a day supporting Black businesses Tuesday and will be taking donations for the Cynthia Butler MacIntyre School in Haiti Thursday. The week will culminate on Friday with a day of service to our community’s elderly.

The Sisters of Delta Sigma Theta are a superb group of women of all ages whose dedication to sisterhood, service and education take them far beyond their college years. The sorority was founded in 1913 and has been a fixture of NSU’s Greek Life since 1972. The Alumnae Chapter was founded in 1990.

Well done ladies!

Notice of Death – March 22, 2023

Mary Oma Brister
August 1, 1937 – March 17, 2023
Service: Thursday, March 23 at 11 am at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home 
Bobbie Jean Honeycutt
April 16, 1935 – March 21, 2023
Service: Thursday, March 23 at 3 pm at Bellwood Cemetery in Bellwood

Angie B. Washington

March 17, 2023
Arrangements TBA
Natchitoches Parish Journal publishes paid obituaries – unlimited words and a photo, as well as unlimited access – $80. Contact your funeral provider or . Must be paid in advance of publication. (Notice of Death shown above are FREE of charge. You may email them to

NSU announces Rick Cabrera as new head basketball coach

The Northwestern State men’s basketball program has found success with first-time Division I head coaches.

The Demons have another as Northwestern State announced late Wednesday afternoon that Tallahassee Community College’s Rick Cabrera has been hired as the 11th head coach in the history of its men’s basketball program. Cabrera will be introduced to the university and Natchitoches communities in a news conference at a to-be-determined date, likely next week.

“We are thrilled to bring Rick Cabrera to Northwestern State,” Director of Athletics Kevin Bostian said. “After an exhaustive search, we settled on a quality group of finalists from a talented pool of applicants. Rick has a proven track record of producing winning programs on and off the court and two separate junior college programs and comes here with more than a decade of experience at similar Division I institutions. He has shown a knack for both recruiting and developing players in basketball and in life. His resume is lined with successful stop after successful stop, and his time in Natchitoches should be no different. I’d like to welcome Rick and his family – his wife, Danielle, and their four children – to Northwestern State and Natchitoches.”

Cabrera, 47, follows Corey Gipson, who left Northwestern State after one season to take the head coaching job at Austin Peay. In six seasons as a junior college head coach, Cabrera has a 151-44 record.

His Tallahassee team currently is playing in the NJCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship in Hutchinson, Kansas. The 12th-seeded Eagles won their first two games, including a 94-93 overtime win against No. 5 seed Salt Lake on Wednesday afternoon. Tallahassee will play Dodge City at 6 p.m. Thursday in the national quarterfinals.

While this will be Cabrera’s first NCAA Division I head coaching position, Cabrera is no stranger to leading a program.

As a head junior college coach at Tallahassee and Lackawanna (Pa.) College, Cabrera has averaged nearly 25 wins per season and produced 16 Division I signees while earning three Coach of the Year awards.

“There is a lot of tradition there,” Cabrera said. “Coach (Mike) McConathy did a great job. He was there for 23 years. Then comes Corey Gipson, who did a phenomenal, phenomenal job in his first year. There are only about 400 of these jobs. When you get someone like (NSU President) Dr. (Marcus) Jones and Kevin Bostian to believe in you and your vision and what you can do for your university, you take it and make the most of it. The goal is to win championships, and that is why I chose Northwestern State University.”

In his second season at the helm of Tallahassee CC, Cabrera was named the Panhandle Conference Coach of the Year after the Eagles posted a 28-5 regular-season record and captured the conference championship. Five of Cabrera’s players earned all-conference honors this season, and the Eagles carried a No. 7 national ranking into the national tournament.

Cabrera’s ability to develop talent has been evident throughout his career as a head coach at Lackawanna College from 2004-08 and then through myriad Division I assistant coaching positions covering 13 seasons.

Cabrera’s first Tallahassee CC team produced five all-conference players and six Division-I signees, including Anthony Thomas, a member of Kansas State’s Sweet 16 team.

Ahead of becoming the head coach at Tallahassee, Cabrera spent two seasons at Arkansas State where he helped develop all-conference guards Norchad Omier and Marquis Eaton and recruited JUCO All-American Lonnie Francis to the Red Wolves program.

During Cabrera’s two seasons at Austin Peay (2017-19), he recruited and coached Taylor, who became Austin Peay’s all-time leading scorer and earned Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year honors over current Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant. He also worked closely with Avery Ugba, who is playing professionally overseas.

Taylor (first team) and Chris Porter Bunton (second team) earned All-OVC honors under Cabrera’s direction.

Cabrera’s tour of the Ohio Valley started with five seasons at Tennessee Tech from 2012-17. As the Golden Eagles’ associate head coach, Cabrera helped develop Jud Dillard into a first-team All-OVC selection while working with the team’s post player, including 2012 OVC All-Newcomer first-team selection Jeremiah Samarrippas.

Cabrera’s first season as a Division I assistant coach saw his Chattanooga team sweep the Southern Conference’s regular-season and tournament championships, earning a berth in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

The Mocs also captured the 2011 SoCon North Division title while Cabrera recruited and developed first-team All-SoCon honoree Omar Wattad.

“I am excited to announce Rick Cabrera as our new head men’s basketball coach,” Jones said. “Rick has a proven track record of success and will be positioned to build off the momentum surrounding our men’s basketball program.”

A two-time Tennessee Tech graduate, who helped the Golden Eagles win the 2001 OVC championship, Cabrera began his head coaching career at Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

In his four seasons leading the Falcons, Cabrera led Lackawanna to a 100-29 record, three conference championships, two conference tournament titles and two appearances in the District 19 finals.

Cabrera was named the Region XIX Coach of the Year in consecutive years (2005, 2006) and developed Manny Ubilla into the Region XIX Player of the Year. Off the court, Cabrera helped raise the Lackawanna program’s GPA from 1.7 to 2.5.

Cabrera said his goals aligned with what Bostian and Jones have in mind for the Demon program.

“I was able to develop a really good relationship with Kevin, and I connected really well with Dr. Jones,” Cabrera said. “When the opportunity came about, Kevin reached out to me and asked me to send him my information. I was flattered. There was a connection between the two guys who have the power, and you want to have a great rapport with those guys.

“This is a dream job. When you get an opportunity to be a Division I head coach, that is a dream job. You can’t pass that up. I’m forever blessed that the committee, Dr. Jones and Kevin Bostian believed in me and my vision to bring championships to Northwestern State University.”

Cabrera began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Killian High School in Miami before spending two years as an assistant coach at Keystone College in Pennsylvania.

He is married to the former Danielle Olker and the couple has three sons – Jaden, Braxton and Landon – and a daughter, Mikayla.

Photos courtesy of Tallahassee Community College

Breda Avenue Closure: March 22-24

The City of Natchitoches advises that Breda Avenue will be closed to through traffic at a location just south of the intersection of Ash Street, starting on Wednesday, March 22, and extending through Friday, March 24.

The closure is necessary for the installation of a drainage structure, and is part of the City’s ongoing Street Rehabilitation project.  Weather permitting, the street is expected to be re-opened to traffic sometime on Friday.

During the time this street is closed, traffic must detour around the site via Texas Street and Dixie Street.

When traveling through work zones, motorists are cautioned to exercise caution and to obey all warning signs and flagger instructions.

For more information, please contact the Office of the Mayor at (318) 352-2772.

Truck pulling hot tubs engulfed in flames

Natchitoches Parish Sheriffs Deputies and Natchitoches Parish Fire Protection District #7 responded to the scene of a vehicle fire on March 22 around 9:25 am on I-49 near milepost #155 Southbound at Ajax. A pickup truck pulling a trailer loaded with hot tubs was engulfed in flames. There were no reported injuries.

Demons turn to Florida junior college coach to fill basketball vacancy

NEW TO NSU:  Tallahassee Community College basketball coach Rick Cabrera will be officially announced today as Northwestern State’s new coach. (Photo courtesy Tallahassee CC)

By DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports

A year to the day after choosing Corey Gipson as his first head coaching hire at Northwestern State, Demons’ athletics director Kevin Bostian tabbed Gipson’s replacement Tuesday evening.

Tallahassee Community College’s Rick Cabrera will officially be announced today as the Demons’ next head basketball coach. He has 150 wins and only 44 losses (a .773 winning percentage) in six seasons as a head junior college coach and will lead TCC’s Eagles into a second-round National Junior College Athletic Association tournament contest this afternoon in Hutchinson, Kan.

Gipson, who led NSU to a 22-11 mark in his only season, accepted the head job at his alma mater, Austin Peay, four days after the Demons lost in the Southland Conference Tournament championship game. Nine days after his resignation, Bostian and NSU president Dr. Marcus Jones replaced him.

Cabrera’s hiring was confirmed late Tuesday night by NSU assistant AD for media relations Jason Pugh. CBS Sports college basketball reporter Jon Rothstein was first to report the hire, followed locally by Tim Owens of KTAL-TV in Shreveport.

Two others were also reportedly in the final mix, according to various college basketball analysts:  New Orleans native Quannas White, an assistant coach at No. 1-ranked Houston, and Alcorn State third-year  head coach Landon Bussie, who has led the Braves to two straight Southwestern Athletic Conference titles, and a pair of National Invitation Tournament appearance.

Cabrera, who has 13 seasons of Division I assistant coaching experience, is expected to be introduced in Natchitoches sometime next week, said Pugh.

While Cabrera has no direct ties to Northwestern State, he does have a good point of reference. He rose from assistant to associate head coach at Tennessee Tech while on staff there from 2012-17, working under former Demons’ assistant coach Steve Payne, who was on J.D. Barnett’s NSU staff in the mid-1990s.

Cabrera is finishing his second season as head coach at Tallahassee. From 2004-08, he was head coach at Lackawanna (Pa.) College, going 100-29 in four seasons. He has won three Coach of the Year awards, including this season as the 12th-seeded Eagles carry a 29-5 record into their game today against No. 5-seeded Salt Lake. He is 50-15 at TCC.

TCC held a No. 7 NJCAA Top 25 poll ranking at the end of the regular season. Five players earned all-conference honors.

Along with his stint at Tennessee Tech – his alma mater – Cabrera has been an assistant coach at Arkansas State, Austin Peay and Chattanooga, where he helped the Mocs win the Southern Conference regular-season and tournament championships on the way to a 2009 NCAA Tournament appearance under head coach Jeff Lebo.

As a player at Tennessee Tech, he helped the Golden Eagles win an Ohio Valley Conference regular-season crown. He began his career as a high school assistant coach in Miami, Fla., and in Tennessee, and was a graduate assistant coach at Tennessee Tech before becoming a fulltime assistant at Keystone (Pa.) College.

A native of Manhattan, N.Y., Cabrera played professionally in the Dominican Republic, where his father Hugo Cabrera is one of the country’s all-time great pros. Ironically, NSU freshman sensation Hansel Enmanuel, who is one of seven NSU players entering the transfer portal on Monday, is a native of the Dominican Republic.

Contact Doug at

NSU Students Earn The David and Sherry Morgan First Generation and Sherry Fargerson Morgan Extra Mile Scholarships

Kevin’s Gallery

It was an auspicious evening for members of Northwestern State University’s Alpha Zeta chapter of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority and Beta Omicron Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity as a hard-working group of their members were presented with scholarships at NSU’s Magale Hall, Monday, March 20. The scholarships, drawn from a permanent endowment totaling over $1,000,000.00, were founded through the generosity of 1973 NSU alumni and Pi Kappa Phi member David Morgan and his wife Sherry Morgan.

The Sherry Fargerson Morgan “Extra Mile” Scholarship recognizes young women who are members of NSU’s Sigma Sigma Sigma chapter who display the traits of hard work, character, and service to others. The awards range from $300.00 to $1,000.00. The scholarship is named in honor of Sherry Fargerson Morgan, a Sigma Sigma Sigma alumna.

The David and Sherry Morgan First Generation Scholarship is open to members of NSU Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority chapter and Pi Kappa Phi fraternity chapter. The award is open to members of either organization who are first-generation college students and are Louisiana residents. Those earning the scholarship exemplify the traits of academic success, engagement in college activities, and service to others.

Jack McCain, Jr., a man whose life exemplifies service to the community as a veteran, business owner, 12-year city councilman, and family man, gave the keynote address. Mr. McCain was not only the first member of NSU’s Pi Kappa Phi chapter, he served as their first president as well.

The recipients are a talented group of young men and women pursuing an eclectic range of interests. Past recipients have gone on to work in private industry, the State Department, and in the Caddo parish school system.

In the years since the scholarships were endowed, 87 scholarships assisting 57 students have been awarded. That is a phenomenal record of philanthropy by any measure! The Natchitoches Parish Journal wishes to commend David D. Morgan and Sherry Fargerson Morgan for their generosity in helping make dreams come true for first-generation college students. Changing lives for the better is part and parcel of Northwestern State University’s mission. We also extend our best wishes to each of the students who earned, not “won”, a scholarship. Go out there and do great things! Lastly, we wish to commend Mr. Jack McCain for his quiet servant leadership in our community

The Natchitoches Parish Journal is donating the event photography. The photos may be accessed from “Kevin’s Gallery” in the story. The families are welcome to any they wish with our compliments.

Fire in IP storage yard covers Campti area in smoke

Natchitoches Parish Fire Protection District #9, Natchitoches Parish Fire Protection District #3 and International Paper Fire Personnel responded to a fire on March 21 around 3:28 pm involving paper bales in an exterior storage yard at the mill north of Campti a.
Smoke was heavy in the area on Hwy. 480. Deputies assisted with traffic traveling through the area. Natchitoches Parish Fire District #6 was on stand-by for assistance.

Department of Education announces Teacher, Principal of the Year semifinalists

Congratulations to Michelle Shirley at NSU Middle Lab School on being named a semifinalist for the Louisiana Department of Education’s 2024 Teacher of the Year! The Teacher and Principal of the Year semifinalists and New Teacher of the Year finalists were announced on March 21. These 57 teachers and principals represent schools and systems across the state.

“Schools across Louisiana are beginning to make significant gains thanks to the commitment of our teachers and principals to remain focused on what matters most – improving academic outcomes,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley. “Congratulations to Louisiana’s Teacher and Principal of the Year semifinalists and our New Teacher of the Year finalists. They represent the many dedicated professionals leading our Louisiana Comeback.”

All Teacher and Principal of the Year semifinalists and New Teacher of the Year finalists will be honored at the 17th Annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Awards Gala, which will be held at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans on the evening of July 22. This exciting event is co-sponsored by Dream Teachers.

Twenty-four teachers and 24 principals have been named Teacher and Principal of the Year semifinalists. Nine teachers have been named New Teacher of the Year finalists. A full list is available below.

Louisiana Teacher of the Year Semifinalists

Ascension Parish: Kelly Landry
Avoyelles Parish: Dannon Dauzat
Bossier Parish: Cory Craig
Bricolage Academy: Ronnika Allen
Caddo Parish: Janet McCrevan
City of Monroe School District: Kody Chase
East Baton Rouge Parish: Kylie Altier
Evangeline Parish: Timothy Comeaux
Franklin Parish: Jessica Parker
Grant Parish: Erin Melton
Iberia Parish: Bernadette Fruge
Iberville Parish: Devante Williams
Jefferson Davis Parish: Aerial Storer
Lake Charles Charter Academy: Kayla Hebert
Natchitoches Parish: Michelle Shirley
Ouachita Parish: Brittany Ellis
St. John the Baptist Parish: Tariane Placide
St. Mary Parish: Chasity Toups
St. Tammany Parish: Kellee McClain
Tangipahoa Parish: Dennis Pevey
Vernon Parish: Christopher Deon
Warren Easton Charter: Ryan Gilbert
The Willow School: Richard Martin
Zachary Community School District: Sandra Saye-Foucqueteau

Louisiana Principal of the Year Semifinalists

Allen Parish: Jennifer Doucet
Ascension Parish: Marvin Evans
Beauregard Parish: Mark Weldon
Bienville Parish: Scott Canady
Bossier Parish: Michael Pedrotty
Calcasieu Parish: Jose Cobian
Cameron Parish: Lindsey Fontenot
DeSoto Parish : Barry Carter
Jefferson Parish: Monya Criddle
Lafayette Parish: Tia Trahan
Lafourche Parish: Ragan Lorraine
Lincoln Parish: Jennifer Martin
Lincoln Preparatory School: Gordan Ford
Livingston Parish: Jason St. Pierre
Plaquemines Parish: John H. Vanison, Jr.
Rapides Parish: Tracy Vorrice
St. Charles Parish: Shannon Diodene
St. James Parish: Angie Poche
St. Landry Parish: Mitchell Fontenot
St. Martin Parish: Wanda Phillips
Terrebonne Parish: Blaise Pellegrin
Vermilion Parish: Sonya Louviere
West Baton Rouge Parish: Taya Loupe
West Feliciana Parish: Karolyn Taylor

Louisiana New Teacher of the Year Finalists

Bossier Parish: Camille Cole
Livingston Parish: Payton Onellion
St. Landry Parish: Rebecca Spears


Livingston Parish: Phoenix LeBlanc
Plaquemines Parish: Emily Barker
Zachary Community School District: Tristan George


Bossier Parish: Brad Winstead
Calcasieu Parish: Spencer Butts
West Baton Rouge Parish: Anthony Felder

The LDOE recognizes that great teachers and school leaders are critical to student success. Annually, the Department, in partnership with Dream Teachers and the Louisiana Association of Principals, recognizes and celebrates some of the state’s most exceptional educators through the Teacher and Principal of the Year programs. This is the second year of the state’s New Teacher of the Year program, which recognizes the outstanding contributions of first-year classroom teachers.

These programs provide an opportunity to acknowledge those teachers and leaders who are making exceptional gains with students. Their commitment to student success exemplifies Louisiana’s education profession. School systems from across the state submitted nominations for the state-level Teacher, Principal and New Teacher of the Year process. Additional information about these awards programs is available on the LDOE website.