Athletes Like Us

By Reba

Reba_Athletes_MAIN GRAPHIC
It would be deemed a “season-ending injury” even for the most powerful of athletes. A press conference would be called by the coaching staff to discuss how this injury could have happened. Contracts would be reviewed to see if the team owners could continue to pay the exorbitant salary. The whole team would see their hopes for the playoffs go down the drain.

But, for athletes like us this is not the case.

A single mom twisting her ankle in a small land mine that a destructive Jack Russell Terrier dug while mowing does not qualify for the extremes aforementioned. It was painful. I cried. I may have used several four-letter words I’ve been known to resort to at any given moment. I may have seen my whole life flash before my eyes on a highlight reel.

The whirlwind of anxiety that followed was immeasurable. Who would finish mowing for me? How would I drive? Would physical therapy be involved? How would my daughter get to and from various practices and her church activities? How would I make it to the gym everyday…if I were actually going to the gym everyday?

Athletes like us don’t have the option of a day off from parenting.

Prior to my divorce I never gave much thought to the daily workings of being a single parent. Frankly, I never thought I would ever become one. Even though my children have long since left the needy toddler stage there’s still loads of parenting and juggling to be done. When you add more than one child to the scenario the plot thickens. Try being in two places at one time. You will definitely have someone mad at you at all times.

Athletes like us come in all shapes and forms.

Some parents are single for a mere seven and seven hitch. Some parents are widowed. Some parents have been single parents since day one of the birth of their child. Some parents were abandoned by a spouse and left to pick up those remains, plus raise healthy and independent children. Whatever the true reason for living a life of single parenting, it can feel isolating if you don’t reach out to your friends and family for support.

Athletes like us are not very popular. There are no MVP awards in the parenting division.

Single parenting will not win a popularity contest with your children……If you’re doing it right. You are the soul source of the anguish they feel when they hear the word “NO.” When they hear the words “do you think I am made of money,” don’t expect a supportive answer. Don’t look for a round of applause when you have to break it to your child that we cannot have an Alpaca even if Planning and Zoning would allow for it.

Through the years God has blessed me with friends who are literally founts of wisdom and clarity when it comes to raising children. He has opened my eyes recently to look around at the different types of single parents I encounter and use them as my guide when I’m feeling anxious. I see tenacious ladies on a daily basis who choose not fall prey to their thoughts of pity and angst. They choose to focus on their children and raise them to be who God intended them to be. While it’s easy to compare your family to those with a true nuclear unit, we have to avoid that trap at all costs. No one wins that game.

God chose athletes like us to play two positions on the team. Mom and Dad.

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them- not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; Not Lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.

1Peter 5:2-3

Clean Up Many

Many Liter Plan 2018

The Leaders Against Litter and the Town of Many will hold its annual “Get off your Fanny” and “Sabine Parish Trash Bash” litter campaign this Saturday, March 24. Mayor Ken Freeman believes the first impression is a lasting impression. The Mayor, City Council, Many P.D. and Citizens are committed to making the first impression of our Hometown a positive one.

To accomplish this goal, the Mayor has appointed three litter officers who have been deputized to issue tickets to anyone caught littering with fines up to $500. Signs have been posted throughout the Town stating “We are watching, No Littering, $500 fine”. Trash bags have been mailed to all citizens of Many and placed at local businesses throughout the town to be placed in their vehicles.

Saturday, March 24 from 8 am – 12 pm, citizens will be picking up trash on highways and streets throughout the town and parish. Motorist please be aware and use caution of the citizens that are picking up trash along the streets and highways.

The effort to clean up Sabine Parish is going to be an ongoing project throughout the Parish showing SABINE PARISH PRIDE.

When Was Your Last Eye Exam?




For many people, good vision means good eye health, but that may not always be the case. Regular eye exams can catch problems before it’s too late. If you are age 40 or older and have not had a recent eye disease screening, The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends making an appointment for an eye exam. Prevention is the key. It is an essential step toward preserving vision and keeping eyes healthy, and there is no better time than right now! (

By 2020, 43 million Americans will be at risk for significant vision loss or blindness from age-related eye diseases, such as cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and macular degeneration — an increase of more than 50 percent over the current number of Americans with these diseases. Despite the statistics, many Americans are more concerned about weight gain or back pain than they are vision loss. (

The first step in preventing vision loss is to get a baseline eye exam at the age of 40. This is the age when early signs of eye disease and changes in vision may first occur. For individuals at any age with symptoms of, or at risk for, eye disease (such as those with a family history of eye disease, diabetes or high blood pressure), the AAO recommends seeing your eye doctor to determine how frequently your eyes should be examined. Based on the results of the initial screening, your eye doctor will prescribe the necessary intervals for follow-up exams. (

To schedule your regular eye exam, contact your Natchitoches Hometown Eye Care Team – Louisiana Eye & Laser. Drs. Cheryl Stoker and Brett Bennett along with Drs. Karren Laird Russo and Michael Redmond will be happy to manage your eye care needs. Call 318-352-0444 to see how you can achieve better vision and better eye health.

Louisiana Eye & Laser is located in Natchitoches at the corner of Keyser Avenue and 1055 Parkway Drive (Suite B).


Youth arrested for making threats at school



The Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office announced that a 7th grader at Ebarb High School was arrested on the morning of March 22 for Terrorizing after a investigation into threats that were made at the school. This is the 8th arrest in the last 6 weeks at schools in the parish for various threats. Due to the suspect being a juvenile no additional information will be released. Sheriff Richardson is asking all parents to talk with their children in regards to threats and the consequences there-of and asking that threats be reported immediately. Sheriff Richardson also stated he has implemented a program in which all of the parish schools will be visited by detectives and students will be cautioned as to the consequences of threats. He also stated that detectives will be asking for feedback from students in regards to concerns that may need to be addressed.

Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival Lineup Announced

Festival Lineup

Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival Chairman Rodney Harrington is not short on superlatives when describing the lineup for the 22nd annual event which will be held on April 13-14 on the newly renovated downtown Natchitoches riverbank.

“Quite simply,” Harrington said, “it will be The Greatest Weekend of Music in Natchitoches History.”

The fun begins on Friday, April 13th with the traditional Festival opener the NSU Jazz Orchestra, followed by the Louisiana Swamp Donkeys. Also featured Friday night will be perennial Zyedco/Cajun favorite, Wayne Toups, along with “The World’s Greatest 80’s Tribute Band,” LA ROXX.

Saturday will feature a wide variety of music on four stages located around the downtown riverbank area and will culminate later that evening with performances by the hit-making groups Starship featuring Mickey Thomas and Ohio Players, both performing on the brand new main stage.

Harrington says that while the appearance of these headliners in Natchitoches is amazing, there are so many more reasons to come to the Festival earlier in the day and hear some great music.

“I think the whole town is abuzz with ‘Maggie Mania’,” Harrington said when referring to Nashville Country music star, Maggie Rose, who will be performing on the main stage at 3:35 p.m. “Everywhere I go, people ask me what time Maggie is playing and are so excited to have her in Natchitoches.”

Rose, whose single “Pull You Through” is charting on Country music radio and television, has toured with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Martina McBride, and many others. She has been named by CMT, “One of the Next Women of Country.”

For Aerosmith Fans, Pandora’s Box, dubbed “The Ultimate Aerosmith Tribute” will be performing on the main stage just before Maggie Rose comes on. Kicking off the main stage Saturday will be local favorites The Hardrick Rivers Revue, followed by Gregg Martinez and The Delta Kings.

Harrington said that his band, Johnny Earthquake and The Moondogs, are particularly excited to have the legendary Rick Derringer performing with them again, and that a late addition to the lineup makes Derringer’s appearance even more special this year.

“Rick was a huge hit when he played the Festival four or five years ago, so I guess you could say he is back by popular demand.” Harrington continued, “This year also joining us will be Jon Smith, one of Rock & Roll’s greatest and legendary saxophonists.”

Harrington went on to say that Derringer and Smith were bandmates in Edgar Winter’s White Trash band during the late 60’s and early 70’s, and Smith has gone on to an illustrious career performing with such luminaries such as The Doobie Brothers, Boz Scaggs, Johnny Winter, Toto, and Sarah Vaughn.

Harrington promises that, with over twenty bands performing on four different stages, there will be something to appeal to almost every musical taste. “There will be Rock & Roll, Country, Zydeco, Cajun, Blues, Funk, and, of course, Jazz and R&B,” he said. “In fact, the Beau Jardin Stage features nothing but Jazz all day, so the hardcore Jazz aficionados would never have to leave that spot,”

Natchitoches’ own country music star, Trini Triggs, will once again serve as Master of Ceremonies and will perform at various times during the Festival and as always, local groups including Billy O’Con and Badd Apple, Cane River Soul, and Breaktime for Frances will be spotlighted. Of course, there will be plenty of food and activities for the kids with lots of inflatables.

One new feature at this year’s Festival is the addition of limited reserved seating in the new amphitheater in front of the stage.

“Oh, the reserved seats are going to be fantastic,” according to Harrington. There are just over 500 reserved seats and Harrington says that many of them have been sold leaving just over 200 available for sale. Personal chairs will not be allowed on the riverbank but will be allowed at all outer stages and in a limited area on top of the riverbank.

“If you want to be insured a primo place to sit at the Festival, you better order your reserved tickets today!” Harrington concluded. “There is no doubt they will be sold out before Festival weekend.” Reserved seats can only be purchased online.

For ticket information, a full lineup and more information about the 22nd Annual Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival, go to


Crime Stoppers Reward Offered:


Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information in regards to a theft and damage to the B&M ice machine located on the property of Toledo Hardware on Hwy 6 West. Suspect(s) entered the machine on March 20 by breaking and prying the door open and stealing over $500 in cash and change. Crime Stoppers and the owner of the machine is offering rewards for information in this case. Information can be provided to Crime Stoppers at 318-256-4511 or the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office at 318-256-9241.

Is Modern Technology Too, Er, Modern? Or Perhaps Too Delicate?


For any of you dear readers who have been glancing over my columns for any length of time, you probably know that my attitude to modern technology, as it applies to “electronic devices,” is pretty much one of Bah Humbug.

I mean, first of all, they’re really delicate, aren’t they? Not only are we apparently terribly vulnerable to hacking attacks from the Russians, Chinese or assorted lone genius kooks, but our individual devices break down all too often.

It’s not that unusual for our computer to go on the blink, way beyond any capacity of Mary’s or mine to remedy it. Hence we have gotten to know our computer repairman pretty well. He’s a fine young man and always knows just how to fix our problem. But it seems to me that if computers are so great, why can’t they be a little more reliable.

Let me give you an example. Mary’s writing on a project that’s very important to her. It’s now going through the final phases so she can submit her work to an editor. A couple of days ago, she was typing, using a word processing program. Suddenly, instead of showing one page on the screen, it showed four small pages.

She tried to fix it. I tried to fix it. We called friends and family members who we thought knew something about computers. All to no avail. So of course we brought the thing to our computer man and he fixed it in a day. The remedy was pretty simple, but he admitted that he kind of stumbled on the answer himself. I won’t go into the technical details. That would just make me more disgusted.
Then, to add insult to injury, Mary’s phone went completely dead. It wouldn’t even take a charge.

We both have those Jitterbug phones, the ones you’ve probably seen advertised in magazines. Cell phones for old folks, they are. They’re relatively easy to use, have large numbers, etc. Just what we need, right?

Well, we got rid of our landline phone some time ago, so we rely on our cell phones to communicate with the outside world, and Mary felt cut off from her out-of-town relatives. She wanted to go buy a new battery for the device, but I said “let me first call the company and see what they say.”

So, I got a very nice Jitterbug lady on my phone and explained the problem to her. She walked me through the process of removing the battery for a few seconds and then reinstalling it. And, voila, the phone was working again. The battery had somehow become displaced, she explained.

Like I said, these things are delicate, aren’t they? The recent problem with Mary ‘s project was relatively simple. But often our computer completely goes haywire and is unusable, for browsing the Internet or other common uses to which such machines are put.

I admit, our computer is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. How else would I control my Nertflix choices, after all? How would I instantly access Major League baseball scores at midnight? How would I instantly communicate, both for pleasure and for business, if it weren’t for emails? Can you imagine having to tell someone, “No I don’t have an email address. You’ll have to call me or write me a letter.”

Yeah, you can’t really thrive without a computer these days. At least I don’t have a smart phone. My Jitterbug isn’t stupid, but it doesn’t know how to browse websites or anything like that. It doesn’t even know what aps are.

Anyway, after our recent misadventures, we do once again have a working computer and Mary has a working phone. Until the next time they go out, that is.

NSU Wellness Center dedicated in honor of Dr. Randall J. Webb

Webb WRAC portrait


NSU- Northwestern State University dedicated its Wellness, Recreation and Activity Center in honor of the late Dr. Randall J. Webb in a ceremony held Tuesday before a large crowd on what would have been Webb’s 75th birthday.

Webb was the longest-serving president in the history of Northwestern State, holding the position from July 1, 1996 to Dec. 31, 2014.

“For 25 years, Dr. Webb stepped up to a microphone and said ‘This is a red letter day for Northwestern State University.’ And this day truly is,” said Northwestern State President Dr. Chris Maggio. “I am so proud to see so many people here to honor a man who was so special to so many of us.”

Northwestern State students approved a referendum in 1998 to fund construction of the Wellness, Recreation and Activity Center. The $6.9 million project converted the former Intramural Building into a 81,000 square foot facility which was completed in 2004.

“We are honoring a man who did as much for this university as any single individual,” said University of Louisiana System President and CEO Dr. Jim Henderson, who succeeded Webb as NSU’s president. “There are two things about Randy Webb that stick out: his loyalty to the university and his love for students. It defines who Randy Webb was and is that we are naming a building in his honor that was built by students.”

SGA President Tre Nelson experienced an example of Webb’s feeling towards students the first time the two met at a party a few months before Nelson enrolled at NSU.

“He could have spent all his time talking to all the important people at the party, but he took time to get to know an incoming freshman at Northwestern,” said Nelson. “After talking for a few minutes, I found his words so genuine that all my fears about attending the university went away.”

Webb encouraged his friend Lola Dunahoe to serve on the NSU Foundation Board of Directors several years ago. Dunahoe became president of the Foundation board and was later appointed to the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System. Dunahoe called Webb “a scholar, a great leader, an encourager and a Christian gentleman.”

“Everyone at Northwestern had an opportunity to be encouraged by Randy,” said Dunahoe. “He gave his best and expected it out of others. My life was enriched because I was able to call Randy Webb my friend.”

Athletic Director Greg Burke said Webb was a “boss, mentor, advocate, supporter, fan and friend.”

He said Webb never waivered in his support for the athletic program, and had strong views about what the program should be.

“When I interviewed for the position of athletic director, he told me that “we are going to win, our student athletes are going to graduate and we will carry ourselves in the right way,” said Burke. “I learned so much from him.”

Under Webb’s leadership, Northwestern State received unprecedented national and international attention for its academic programs and student accomplishments. University facilities in addition to the WRAC were renovated to better serve students and two record-setting capital campaigns took place.

Enrollment reached record levels during Webb’s tenure as president and exceeded 10,500 for the first time in school history in the fall of 2004. Webb led NSU toward higher admission standards, which has resulted in students at the university having greater academic potential and aptitude. During Webb’s tenure, Northwestern State had the largest graduating classes in the university’s history.

Groups save roses after Hodges Gardens closes

Hodges Roses2018 (2)

With a lot of hard work the Friends of Hodges Gardens and the staff of the Sabine River Authority, State of Louisiana saved the roses from Hodges Gardens. They have been moved to Cypress Bend Park creating the A.J. and Nona Trigg Hodges Memorial Rose Garden. It is a work in progress. Thank you to the SRA for allowing this Memorial Garden to be placed at the Flag Plaza at Cypress Bend Park so that the public may continue to enjoy the beautiful Hodges Gardens roses.

The Act of conveyance of Hodges Gardens by the State of Louisiana to the A. J. and Nona Trigg Hodges Foundation (Foundation) was signed Feb. 20 and recorded at the Sabine Parish Clerk of Court’s office Feb. 22. The Gardens remain closed with no current plans for reopening.

Since the Park closure Oct. 1, 2017, two proposals to continue the operation of the Gardens were developed. The first between the Foundation and the Sabine River Authority (SRA) and the second between the Friends of Hodges Gardens and the Foundation. These proposals were unsuccessful due to the parties being unable to find common ground on what it would take to operate the gardens. The Foundation has made clear it “has no interest in resuming operation of the Gardens in whole or in part.”

The Foundation also stated that once it got out of the business of operating the Gardens in 2007, it shifted its mission and pledged the remaining endowment to the Ecological Forestry Center, the wildlife conservation entity the foundation presently operates. As concluded in 2007, the current focus simply does not allow the foundation to resume operation of the Gardens. Any future requests for information on Hodges Gardens should be directed to the A. J. and Nona Trigg Hodges Foundation, P. O. Box 1832, Shreveport, LA 71166.

With no plan to maintain the formal Gardens, Friends looked for a way to save the roses. With the support of the Foundation, the Friends Board of Directors voted to establish an A. J. and Nona Trigg Hodges Memorial Rose Garden at a site where the public could continue to enjoy them. The SRA offered such a site at Cypress Bend Park. Approximately 180 roses have been moved to this site. Friends of Hodges Gardens are using their remaining fund balance to establish this Memorial Garden. Once the funds have been expended, the Friends of Hodges Gardens will dissolve the organization.

The Friends of Hodges Gardens has nominated Hodges Gardens to the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation’s Most Endangered Places List. If accepted, this nomination will provide a platform for state and national recognition of the plight of Hodges Gardens. It is the organization’s hope that such recognition might bring the financial support and professional expertise needed to save and restore the Gardens for future generations.

Hodges Roses2018 (1)


MidSouth Bank Promotes Ken Freeman to Commercial Lender

Ken Freeman 2018

MidSouth Bank has promoted Ken Freeman to Commercial Relationship Manager for its North Louisiana market.

Freeman, who has served as the Mayor of Many for 32 years (earning the distinction as the longest-serving mayor in the state), most recently was Assistant Vice President for Security/Facilities and has 42 years of banking experience. He has been with MidSouth Bank since 1989.

In addition to his lending duties, Freeman will be responsible for business development throughout the region. “Ken has such a deep knowledge and understanding of our local economy and has developed relationships throughout North Louisiana, all of which make him an invaluable member of our team,” said MidSouth Bank Regional President Rhonda Jones.

A Many native, Freeman earned a bachelor of science degree in finance, banking and investments from Louisiana Tech University and completed Southern Methodist University’s SW Graduate School of Banking.

About MidSouth Bancorp, Inc.
MidSouth Bancorp, Inc. is a bank holding company headquartered in Lafayette, Louisiana, with assets of $1.9 billion as of December 31, 2017. MidSouth Bancorp, Inc. trades on the NYSE under the symbol “MSL.” Through its wholly owned subsidiary, MidSouth Bank, N.A., MidSouth offers a full range of banking services to commercial and retail customers in Louisiana and Texas. MidSouth Bank currently has 48 locations in Louisiana and Texas and is connected to a worldwide ATM network that provides customers with access to more than 55,000 surcharge-free ATMs. Additional corporate information is available at