Little Free Lending Libraries are in Many at long last!

Book Boxes_2339

The first four book nooks were installed early last week in Many’s Cultural District. The remaining eight were expected to be installed before the end of the week.

The book nooks are loaded with free books for the residents of Many. One shelf contains books for adults, while the lower shelf is stacked with children’s books.

A year-long project of the Many Cultural District Advisory Committee, Mayor Ken Freeman, and the Town of Many, the book nooks are designed to encourage people, especally children, to read more.

“We are so pleased that the book nooks are now ready for our citizens. This ambitious project not only helps beautify our town, but it encourages something very important…it encourages reading,” Many Mayor Ken Freeman said.

Many Book Nooks are a cooperative endeavor of the Many Cultural District Advisory Committee and other agencies, businesses and individuals around Many.

Twelve businesses and individuals stepped up to fund the cost of the book nooks. Each individual business or individual donated $200 to fund the cost of building one book nook. Their names are inscribed on plaques on the roofs of the book nooks.

Nancy Richard, a retired college English professor from New Orleans and Lafayette who lives in Many and is a member of the Cultural District Advisory Committee , coordinated the year long project. Interstate Lumber and Building Supplies provided the lumber and other materials at a substantial discount. Sabine Association for Retarded Citizens (SARC)carpenters constructed the free lending libraries. Artists at the Depot Art Guild decorated and painted the book nooks with different literary themes. Crews from the Town of Many installed the book nooks. People from all around the area generously donated books to stock them.

The twelve book nooks are located all around town. They can be found in such locations as next door to the Many Police Station, just behind Judge Elizabeth Pickett’s office, in front of the Sabine Parish Courthouse, in front of the agriculture center next to the Many Post Office, at two churches located on Martin Luther King Drive, behind the First Methodist Church, in front of the old post office (now the Sabine State Bank offices) on San Antonio, in front of the Many Historic Depot Museum, in front of Lou’s Candles and Gifts, and other locations.

Many Cultural District Advisory Committee chairperson Mary Brocato said, “It’s fun to look for the different locations…kind of like a treasure hunt. You can find the book nooks, see what books are in them, take a book, leave a book, and then check out some of the other book nooks to see what books are there.”

She continued, ” I want to thank Nancy Richard, our sponsors and everyone else who worked so hard on this project. We believe it’s going to be a real asset to our town and our citizens.”

People are encouraged to stop at a book nook, and not only take a book, but leave books for others to read. Sharing books among everyone in the community is a cooperative effort for all.

Freeman hopes Many residents and citizens will cooperate by taking care of the book nooks so they can provide both beauty to Many, but also knowledge. ”

“Let’s treasure these little libraries and let’s take really good care of them. Lots of people worked hard to make them a reality,” Freeman concluded.


Poche Bass Tournament


The third annual Dylan Kyle Poche Memorial Bass Tournament will take place on Toledo Bend Lake on Saturday, March 24. First prize is $7,000. The event will also include raffles, DJ, bounce house for children, food and more. Funds raised will support the Dylan Kyle Poche Memorial Foundation, which awards a scholarship to Northwestern State University students who are members of the NSU Fishing Team.

Anglers can register by accessing a printable entry form at and mailing the form to Dylan Kyle Poche Memorial Foundation, P.O. Box 74, Natchitoches, LA 71458. Mail-in registration must be received by March 22. On-site registration will take place from 2-6 p.m. Friday, March 23 at Toledo Town and Tackle and from 4:30-6:30 a.m. Saturday, March 24 at the Cypress Bend Boat Launch. Fishing starts at 7 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m. March 24. Rules and regulations are printed on the entry form.

Contact Burt Poche at (318) 652-3176 or (318) 652-7192 for more information.

The deadline to apply for the Dylan Kyle Poche Fishing Scholarship is April 15. Scholarships will be presented to two freshmen from Natchitoches, Sabine, Rapides, Caddo, Bossier, Winn, Grant or DeSoto parishes who join the NSU Fishing Team with preference given to those who participate in the Dylan Kyle Poche Memorial Fishing Tournament.

The NSU Fishing Team is open to all students and taps into the growing popularity of organized competitive bass fishing. The team competes in FLW, B.A.S.S. and Collegiate Bass circuits.

Poche was born March 10, 1997, and was an avid outdoorsman who joined the Natchitoches Central High School Fishing Team and was an accomplished angler. After graduating from NCHS with honors in 2015, he enrolled at NSU to pursue a bachelor’s degree and joined the fishing team in the hopes of eventually becoming a professional angler. Poche tragically lost his life on Jan. 31, 2016.

More information about Poche and the tournament is available at Information the NSU Fishing Team is available at To apply for a scholarship through the NSU Foundation, visit or contact Kelly Krouse at or (318) 357-4248.

A Valentine’s Day to Remember

By Reba Phelps

Valentine's Day


Valentine’s Day is supposed to be filled with love, roses, chocolates, romantic dinners, and larger than life gestures to make up for a year’s worth of possible wrongs or minor neglects. UNLESS…you’re going through the throws of a divorce.

Divorce after 22 years of marriage, two amazingly resilient and beautiful daughters, and one questionable Jack Russell Terrier is enough to make even the purest of hearts a little faint.

Having barely made it through the first round of holidays since the separation with the help of good friends, lots of bible study, a few bottles of wine, and more tears than I care to admit I’d completely forgotten about the beast named “Valentine’s Day.” During a conversation with a friend I admitted that I hated the holiday.

As soon as the words left my mouth I questioned why I’d blame this innocent holiday for my present situation or even have ill will towards anyone enjoying the most needless day of the February calendar. My friend reminded me that maybe I just haven’t had a good experience on Valentine’s Day.

With the sharp memory of any woman scorned I scoured the past 22 years of Valentine’s Days. There were good, bad and funny memories, like the year we bought each other the same greeting card.

I didn’t want to live the rest of my adult life with hate in my heart for this holiday, so I went on a one woman mission to have a positive experience for Valentine’s Day. Should I send flowers to myself or buy myself an expensive purse I can ill afford with one daughter in college and another who spends all of our earthly treasures buying slime making supplies? Do I buy my own card and tell myself how special I am? I couldn’t begin to imagine any of these ideas garnering the miraculous results I was looking for.

Thinking outside the box I decided to put others before myself and see how “the other side” enjoys this holiday. In my mind “the other side” is the happily married, soon to be married, or the blissfully dating (blissfully unaware stage).

I offered to help my friend Nicole Ezernack, owner of Nicole’s Creative Flowers, during this “Super Bowl” of floral events.

We made several deliveries through the parish. Each recipient was ecstatic to receive a delivery, but there was one that completely stole my heart.

I arrived at a local nursing home and announced the name for my delivery. The receptionist’s face lit up with excitement, so I assumed she was the lucky lady. However, she sent me down the hall to deliver the goodies. Excitement was building with each step I took.

When I reached the right room and announced the lady’s name she threw her bed covers back, sat straight up in bed and said, “Who are these from? I don’t have my glasses, read it for me!”

I’m not sure who was more excited. Me or her? Fumbling around I opened her card and read a loving message from her son. Tears filled her eyes as she proclaimed, “That’s my son, he loves his mom very much.”

I could feel the pure joy and love she had for her son and I couldn’t control my pwn tears.

While there was a lot of whining and complaining on my part about this holiday I realized that Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be all about romantic love. It can be the love shared between parents and children. It can be shared with best friends and coworkers. Valentine’s Day can even be enjoyed while going through the worst life change imaginable.

Hebrews 13:16 also reminds us, “Do not forget to do good and share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” We can never go wrong when we step outside of our own pain and think of others first.

March is John Wayne Movie Month at Many Community Center

JOhn WaYNe True Grit1

John Wayne is an icon as a beloved American actor. And the Many Community Center is featuring his movies in the month of March.

The Quiet Man is the feature film on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17.

“We’re celebrating not only John Wayne, but also St. Patrick’s Day by showing this much loved film,” Mary Brocato, chairperson of the Many Cultural District Advisory Committee. “Many of us in the Many area have Irish ancestors, and we thought everyone would enjoy seeing The Quiet Man.

The classic movie was filmed in the Irish countryside with John Wayne and Irish actress Maureen O’Hara starring in it. The story goes something like this:

After accidentally killing an opponent in the ring, boxer Sean Thornton (John Wayne) leaves America and returns to his native village of Innisfree, Ireland, hoping to buy his family’s homestead and live in peace. In doing so, he runs afoul of Will Danaher (Victor McLaglen), who long coveted the property. Spitefully, Will objects when his fiery sister, Mary Kate (Maureen O’Hara), begins a romance with Sean, and refuses to hand over her dowry. Mary Kate refuses to consummate the marriage until Sean retrieves the money.

The movie was released in August, 1952, and was a huge success in the United States. It offered viewers a glimpse of the gentle beauty of Ireland and the spirit of the Irish people. It also won the Academy Award for Best Director (John Ford) and numerous other film academy awards.

The modest family home that Thornton purchased in the movie still stands today and is a major tourist attraction for visitors to Ireland.

Admission to The Quiet Man is free. Concessions are only $1 each. Donations are always welcome to help defray the cost of operating the Many Community Center.

Although the film has been out for more than 50 years, it remains a favorite because of the actors, the dreamy landscapes of Ireland, and the love story it presents.

The Town of Many, Mayor Ken Freeman and the Many Cultural District Advisory Committee are sponsoring the free movie on March 17.

Mark your calendar for Happy Hours Photography Classes

Sabine Photography Classes


Talented professional photographer Teresa Hunter is the instructor for the Happy Hours photography classes that will begin at the Many Depot Museum on Saturday, March 3.

Hunter, who lives in Leesville, is widely recognized for her creative approach to photography. She especially likes to photograph animals, landscapes and people for portraits.

Hunter will teach four classes. The first is on March 3. The other three classes are on April 7, May 5, and June 2. The classes, sponsored by the Many Cultural District, Mayor Ken Freeman, and the Depot Art Guild, will meet at the depot and will last from 1-4 p.m

Classes are $25 per class. However, if a student enrolls for all four classes and pays in full at the March 3 class, the cost goes down to $80 for all classes. Hunter is encouraging photography students to sign up for all four classes because as she says, “Each class builds on the previous class, and you’ll get so much more if you take all of the classes.”

Here is the schedule for each class.

Lesson 1: March 3

History of photography
Basic camera fundamentals
Kinds of photography
Seeing for photography
Assignment for next lesson
Bring one example of photography that you love.
Bring one example of a photo taken using things learned in Lesson
Lesson 2: April 7

Learning the basics
ISO, F-Stop and shutter speeds
Camera settings
File types and sizes
Assignment for Lesson 3
Bring examples of photography using High and Low ISO, High and Low
F-Stop, examples of fast and low shutter speed
Lesson 3: May 5

Basic Rules of Composition
Backgrounds. What’s in Your Shot?
Posing and working with people
Assignmentfor Lesson 4
Bring example of one photo using at least one rule of composition
Bring an example of one photo with someone posed and explain why you posed them the way you did
Lesson 4: June 2

Overview of Entire Course
Class Show of Your Best Work
Interested students should call Hunter at 337-396-6750 for more information and to reserve a place in the classes.

Hunter moved with her family to Leesville when her husband was stationed at Ft. Polk. Upon his retirement from the Army, the family had put down roots and decided to live in Leesville permanently.

Hunter became interested in photography when an uncle from her home state of Florida encouraged her to go for her dream of becoming a professional photographer. He also gave her a comprehensive set of cameras and lenses and added more to her collection over the years. It was his belief in her talent and his encouragement throughout her formative years that gave her the strength and will to advance her photography skills into a career.

The Cultural District Advisory Committee members and the Art Guild are excited to add photography as a Happy Hours Class and think it will make a strong addition to the curriculum With the addition of photography, Happy Hours creative classes are taught the first, second, third and fourth weekends of each month.

Summit ObGyn of Natchitoches: Break Free from heavy periods


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If you’ve experienced one or more of these symptoms, your heavy periods could be the result of a condition called abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB) or Menorrhagia.
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617 Bienville Street, Suite A
Natchitoches, Louisiana 71457

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Guatemala — An Amazing Country of Color and Contrasts


Imagine that you’re standing on the steps of a Catholic church built in 1545. All around you are devout descendants of the famed Maya Indians, slowly ascending the steps on their knees, with wisps of smoke from their incense filling the air. They are almost certainly praying both to the Christian Blessed Virgin and to their ancient ancestral gods.

Where would one find a scene of such contrasting worship, an exotic scene not likely to be duplicated in many other places on our planet? The answer is — the small, fascinating Central American country of Guatemala.

I can’t conceive of two countries, both of which are in what we call Latin America, more different than Guatemala and Argentina, the South American nation that I’ve written about over the last two weeks. About the only thing they have in common is the fact that they were colonized by the Spanish centuries ago.

I visited both nations way back in the 1970s on “press junkets” for travel writers, in which the host countries, airlines and hotels pick up the tab and the writers then return home to reveal the highlights of their trip for their readers. ( I also visited Guatemala in 1976 to cover the effects of a devastating earthquake, but that’s another story for next week.)

Argentina is modern, sophisticated and European-oriented, while Guatemala is much more traditional, with most of the population being either pure-blooded Mayans or of mixed Spanish and Mayan ancestry.

Guatemala City, the capital, certainly has a modern appearance, with luxurious hotels, restaurants and night clubs. But to get a sense of the country, one needs to hit the road.

I don’t know how modern the country’s highways are now, but in 1974, when I first went there, the only way to get to the “real” Guatemala out in the countryside was via vehicle on narrow, twisting two-lane highways in the mountains, with lots of blind hairpin turns and sheer drop-offs on one side of the road.

The village where the Mayans mix Christianity and their own ancient religions is called Chichicastenango. Yes, it’s pronounced just like it’s spelled. Spanish priests worked to convert the natives to Christianity but their efforts were only partly successful. As I said, they have formed a blend of two religions and once they have reached the top of the church steps, they continue on their knees toward the ancient altar, where they pray to more than one deity.

Chichi, as it’s known for short, is also home to what has to be one of the most colorful markets in the world. The bright clothes put on display and sale by the Mayans are a kaleidoscope of color. You can buy everything from a wicked machete to a fantastically colored cape. And they expect you to bargain. I bought a beautiful golden cape for the asking price of $10 and the seller looked at me like I was crazy for not bargaining him down to a lower price.

Another site of ancient Guatemala, though very different, is Antiqua Guatemala, which was a thriving Spanish settlement until hit by a terrible earthquake in the 1700s. The old colonial ruins, especially the church, are a wonder to see.

And speaking of wonders, let me tell you about Lake Atitlan. This achingly beautiful lake is in a volcano crater and surrounded by other lovely peaks. It is one of the most relaxing and serene places I have ever been.

Unfortunately, my group of writers was not taken to any of the famed Mayan ruins, because at that time they were quite remote and difficult to get to.

Should you check out this very, very different destination? The country has a history of dictatorships and a violent opposition, not unlike Argentina, which has led to guerilla warfare. But Guatemala is supposedly safe to travel these days. If you’re looking for something exotic and off the beaten path, you may want to consider a trip there.

Next week: a look at a much more tragic Guatemala, when it was hit by a huge earthquake more than 40 years ago.


Happy Hours Arts and Craft classes

SABINE-Craft Classes (2)

Happy Hours means different things to different folks.

For Many, Sabine Parish, and surrounding area residents , it can mean taking interactive classes at the Many Depot Art Guild for a few hours on Saturday afternoons.

Class participants can take photography, painting, arts and crafts, and jewelry design/making classes which are offered on four Saturday afternoons each month from 1-4 p.m.

The Many Cultural District Advisory Committee, Many Mayor Ken Freeman, and the Many Town Council agreed that folks in the area needed more activities and events so they would not have to travel but could stay at home for special events, musical concerts, free movies, art shows, and now…Happy Hours classes.

The Cultural District committee and the Depot Art Guild have worked together to create a schedule of hands-on creative classes taught by talented, often professional instructors.

The schedule looks like this for the months of March through June.

1st weekend in the month photography classes

2nd weekend in the month painting classes

3rd weekend in the month arts and craft classes

4th weekend in the month jewelry design/jewelry making classes

Students pay a minimal fee of $20 or $25 per class directly to the instructor. This amount pays for supplies and materials, as well as the teacher’s expertise and knowledge. Paint, canvasses, beads, special supplies are the kinds of items the enrollment fee covers. At the end of the three hour class, students may take home their creations. Painting and arts and crafts classes are $20 each. Jewelry design/jewelry making and the photography classes are $25 each.

The four photography classes will meet on the first Saturday of March, April, May, and June. Because the classes build on each other, if a student signs up and pays for all four classes on March 3, the cost is only $80 for all of the classes. For single classes, the fee is $25.

Kimberley Remedies, a talented. professional artist, will teach the art class. It is her second year to teach the Happy Hours art class on the second Saturday of each month. She has also taught painting at Hodges Gardens, at the Sabine Council on Aging and various other organizations in the area.

Shanna Dees Gaspard, president of the Depot Art Guild and a member of the Cultural District Advisory Committee, teaches the arts and craft class on the third Saturday of each month. She is a talented artist and crafts person and enjoys seeing her students use their creative skills to create unique artisan projects for their homes or gifts. She says many grandmothers like to bring their grandchildren to take her classes. Gaspard has a granddaughter of her own and often takes Victoria’s advice when she is searching for a creative project for her crafts classes. “I want to be sure I select a project that grownups and children will all enjoy making,” Gaspard said.

Cheryl Pearsall, a talented jewelry designer who retired to this area from Florida, is teaching jewelry making and design on the fourth Saturday afternoon of each month. This is her first year to teach at the Depot Museum Art Gallery. Pearsall has sold her creations at the Depot Art Gallery and they are fast sellers. Now Pearsall is sharing her talent with her Saturday afternoon students. Her class is a popular one, so students need to sign up quickly.

The newest creative instructor is Teresa Hunter from Leesville. A professional photographer, she is teaching photography lessons on the first Saturday afternoon of each month. Her work can be seen on her Facebook page under the name Teresa Hunter Photography. Hunter is excited about teaching the photography course and plans to teach an in-depth photography class that highlights the mechanics of using a camera as well as landscape, animals, and portrait photography. Passionate about photography, Hunter says “I really like sharing my skills with people who want to learn how to be a good photographer and take pictures that will make good memories for their family and friends.”

Schedules for the Happy Hours Creative Arts classes are available at Many City Hall, the Many Community Center (old Sabine Theatre), the Depot Art Guild, and the Sabine Parish Library. Schedules are also posted on the Town of Many Facebook page, Save the Date Facebook page,and Mary Brocato’s Facebook page, and shared throughout social media.

The schedules cover the classes for the months of March through June. They also give the contact information for each of the instructors so students can call to reserve the classes they wish to take.

Happy Hours Creative Classes at the Many Depot are fast becoming favorite weekend activities for both creative and not-so-creative people who like to spend time with both old and new friends, learn something new, and take home their projects.