Verbose Veteran

By Reba Phelps


While my family is known to be open and honest about every minor detail there’s some things we never discussed growing up. Some things were just never questioned. We knew our family history.

Reflecting back I can’t distinguish if we were too busy being children or if we had a gut feeling telling us not to go there. Whatever the case, we never asked my father about his Vietnam War experience.

While my father was a proud member of the US Navy and a Veteran of the Vietnam War he absolutely never spoke of it.

He was a very quiet Veteran. He had all the memorabilia. He had the military id card. He had the yearbook with all of his peer’s photos. He had the basic stories of where he was stationed and how long he stayed on the ship. He could go through the yearbook and pick out his closest friends. My dad even had jokes about his military stay.

When he was in a bad mood or feeling impatient he would say, “my agent orange is acting up today.” We always laughed.

We never bothered to delve deeper into his military actions until my oldest daughter decided she needed more details and my lack of knowledge was completely unacceptable.

One weekend we met for a family lunch, which started like many others. A few text messages exchanged with family to see if anyone had lunch plans. A few more text messages debating the cuisine and location. Once settled, our clan descended upon a Natchitoches restaurant.

Shortly after ordering drinks and appetizers we exchanged a few pleasantries my daughter dropped a Texas size bomb and brought the whole table (and half the restaurant) to a screeching halt. She said, “So Pappaw, how many people did you have to kill while you were in Vietnam?”

The silence was deafening. You could have heard a pin drop. It seemed as though the tables around us paused and the waitresses waited to see what happened. Our whole table, including my new stepmom, stopped visiting and looked at me. Being the child’s parent I was about to plunge into rescue and education mode. I planned on apologizing for her outburst and discussing the proper etiquette of addressing a Veteran and their memoirs.

Before I could, my father replied, “It was so many I couldn’t keep up with it.”

Obviously he was being humorous, but after he broke the ice, he was like a fountain overflowing. He began by telling us about the recruiting process. He wasn’t sure they’d accept him because he lost most of the sight in his right eye after a childhood infection.

Growing up he had many role models who joined the military. Every single one of his brothers served in a branch.

While assigned to a communication ship, he had to sleep with his leg wrapped around the chains anchoring the beds to the wall because when they hit large waves they would fall out of the bed onto the steel floor.

When he arrived in Vietnam they were nearing a shore where a battle was taking place and he could feel the gunshot vibrations on the ship. A jet flew over them that had been struck and he still remembers what the heat felt like from that moment.

He shared that his deployment was for Westpac and Vietnam.

While we hung on every word that was finally coming forth from the silent man we lived with, our hearts were broken for him. He explained that when he and the others returned home there were no hero’s welcomes. They were treated so poorly and were mostly met with protesters.

He did go on to share that it touches his soul to see our Troops being so loved and welcomed when they come home. He can rarely watch it on TV without shedding a tear.

Meredith’s seemingly inappropriate question opened the door for many conversations with my father that included the name of the two ships he traveled on and many other details that make up the beauty and history of his time served in the US Navy. Recently I located the information on the two ships and shared it with him. It brought back a multitude of memories and I think just enough time has passed where he can truly reflect on his experience and appreciate that God spared his life during that time and enabled him to come back home to continue the journey that created a whole family.

My father’s birthday is May 30 and it always falls around Memorial Day. Every birthday that roles around for him is a complete blessing and a reminder of the military men and women who so willingly gave their lives so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have.

“Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; My Lovingkindness and my fortress, My stronghold and my deliverer, My shield and he in whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me”

Psalm 144:1-2



Find great bargains at Ivan Smith’s Summer Warehouse Sale


You’re in luck because Ivan Smith Furniture’s warehouse is filled to capacity. That means they’re holding their annual Summer Warehouse Sale Saturday, June 2 from 9 am – 2 pm.

The sale includes a large selection of hundreds of items to choose from including:

discontinued merchandise
floor models with small imperfections
Lightly used furniture
Odd occasional tables and ottomans
Sleeper sofas
Queen size mattress floor model sets and previous year models

The best part is all these items are seriously marked down. We’re talking below cost prices!

“This is a popular event, and that means there will be a line at the door when the sale starts,” said Dane Terrell. “If you see a specific item you want, make sure to get to the store early.”

Sale items can be previewed in the store or on Ivan Smith’s Facebook page: Check back – even more photos will be posted leading up to the sale.

“If you see an item you like on our Warehouse Sale event on Facebook, come into the store and take a look; sit on it (No items will be sold before the sale begins at 9 am on June 2),” said Dane.

Featured items include:

Warehouse Sale_Temperpedic Mattress


Tempur-Pedic Queen Size Mattress Set
Regular Price: $2,500 – Sale Price: $700








Warehouse Sale_Sleeper Sofa


Queen Size Sleeper Sofa
Regular Price: $800 – Sale Price: $400




Warehouse Sale_Motion Sectional


Motion Sectional in Dark Brown Leather
Dual recliners and a sleeper sofa
Sale Price: $500




Warehouse Sale_Dining Table


Dining Room Table and Six Chairs
Magnolia Home Line by Joanna Gaines
Regular Price: $2,000 – Sale Price: $500



Large items purchased during the sale will not be loaded out until after the conclusion of the sale for the safety of everyone in the store. Customers will be asked to return to the store between 2-5 pm or schedule a pick up time for a later date.

Once room is made in the warehouse, Ivan Smith will have room for a delivery its currently waiting on, full of the newest sets including:

2 New Bedroom Sets
A Whole New Line Of Temper-Pedic Mattress Sets
10 New Living Room Sets

Ivan Smith offers the latest in home furnishings, accessories, bedding, and appliances.

Ivan Smith Furniture – Natchitoches
Home town faces with big store buying power.
936 Keyser Avenue
(318) 352-5889

When Three Mysterious Strangers Crashed the Genealogy Association’s Pot-Luck Dinner

Members of the Natchitoches Genealogical and Historical Association were happily settling in to their annual pot-luck dinner last week, hungrily eyeing the mouth watering selections of meats, casseroles, salads and desserts, when three mysterious strangers burst into the room at the Old Courthouse Building..

One was obviously a priest, though his cassock was quite old fashioned. Another wore an ancient red coat and a straw hat and the third was clad in a heavy white coat with a tricorn hat. NGHA President Billie Gibson (who was in on the plot) gave them permission to address the group, while the members ate.

The men introduced themselves and the audience learned that they were Father Jean Delvaux, Natchitoches Spanish Commandant Louis DeBlanc and none other than Colonial Gov. Baron Carondolet himself.

In no time Delvaux and DeBlanc were arguing like two school boys, with the governor fighting a losing battle in trying to keep the peace. In between the spats, the men — each from his own viewpoint — explained to the group what had happened when Delvaux led a “mini-revolt” against DeBlanc here in 1795. Folks were beaten, DeBlanc’s house was attacked and other nefarious actions took place.

I wrote about the incident in a column last fall, but these three men, whether alighting from some time machine or what, I don’t know, took it upon themselves to try to persuade the NGHA members that his viewpoint was the correct one.

Delvaux stopped at nothing in trying to humiliate DeBlanc during the discussion. At one point DeBlanc was about to explain how friends of his were attacked after leaving a party at his house but he got distracted by the memory of a young French girl named Marie, with whom he had danced at the soiree. Dellvaux embarrassed DeBlanc by grabbing his sleeve and openly asking him if he needed to go to confession, in connection with any thing that may have happened with the lovely Marie.

“Unhand me, you scoundrel,” was DeBlanc’s response. “I wouldn’t confess my least sin to you.”

In the end, Delvaux was exiled from the Louisiana colony and Carondelet transferred DeBlanc to St. Martinville in the Bayou Teche country.

Well, okay, all right. Those guys didn’t hop out of any time machine to make their case to the NGHA members. Yeah, yeah. It was me and my friends Dustin Fuqua and Tommy Adkins. I was DeBlanc, an actual ancestor of mine, Dusty was the priest and Tommy was the governor.

All three of us are avid Louisiana history buffs and we had loads of fun putting on the skit. We had even had time to meet for a quick beer at the Pub before we went to the Old Courthouse That would have been apt because Delvaux was known to be a lover of liquid refreshment, often going down to the river front near what’s now Front Street, chugging brandy and singing French revolutionary songs with his gang, called Les Revenants,, or the Ghosts.

I want to announce publicly that I am awarding Dusty a new theatrical award named a “Louie,” in honor of the Natchitoches founder Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, for the best performance by an actor at a pot-luck dinner of the NGHA. His animated portrayal of the priest kept the audience laughing.

I told him he should be proud. It’s a rare honor. After all, has such a great actor as Tom Hanks, for example, ever won a Louie? Of course not. And I don’t expect he ever will, either.




Zwolle man fatally shot


By Samantha Maiette

A Zwolle man was fatally shot Tuesday evening. One man was taken into custody for questioning but was later released without charges.

The shooting happened about 5:30 p.m. at a residence on Sandstone Circle off Louisiana Highway 120. Two guns were involved, a .22 caliber handgun and a .22 caliber rifle.

The victim has been identified as 38-year-old David W. Malmay.

The subject who shot Malay told investigators that he fired a round at the victim after he was shot at first, said Warden Joe Dewil, Jr.

Both men are familiar with each other as they are related to each other by marriage.

The investigation is still ongoing at this time.

CLTCC Sabine Campus SGA Officers travel to Baton Rouge to meet with Governor on higher Education

SGA OfficersThe 2018-2019 SGA Officers for Central Louisiana Technical Community College’s Sabine Valley Campus traveled to Baton Rouge today, May 23 with other higher education stakeholders from across Louisiana to meet with Governor Edwards at the Capitol. The Governor updated students on the current legislation that can impact higher ed. Representing Sabine Valley are V. President Cole Wilkerson, Executive CLTCC President/COSBP Board Member Jeremy Gray, Secretary/Treasurer Jordan Johnson, and Welding Instructor John Young.

Toledo Bend Lake Association presents lunker bass replicas to anglers

Fish Replicas

The Toledo Bend Lake Association (TBLA) awarded 45 lunker bass replicas to anglers at the Toledo Bend Sealy Outdoors Big Bass Splash at Cypress Bend Park on Sunday, May 20. Dinah Medine, coordinator of the TBLA Lunker Bass Program, presented the replicas to the anglers from Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. Among the 45 fish caught, 33 were in the 10-pound class, 5 in the 11-pound class, and one fish weighed in over 12 pounds. The largest fish weighing in at 12.12 was caught by Larry Mallet of Groves, Texas, qualifying at number 99 in the “Top 100” largest reported largemouth bass caught on Toledo Bend. Four of the fish caught and released were previously tagged fish in the TBLA Lunker Bass Replica Program. Photos of the anglers and their lunkers can be seen on the Toledo Bend Lunker Bass Program Facebook page, and a complete list is also posted on This year’s replicas were produced for TBLA by Scottie’s Taxidermy. Congratulations to all the anglers who have earned lunker replicas. The 2018-2019 TBLA Lunker Bass Program runs from May 2018 to May 2019. TBLA will award the lunker replicas at the Sealy Outdoors Toledo Bend Big Bass Splash in May at Cypress Bend Park Pavilion. The awards should start between 2 and 3 pm, after the final tournament weigh-in! Recipients are encouraged to attend the awards ceremony.


Body found in Bayou Pierre, officials working on identification

Body FOund in bayou Pierre_1592 2018
Two LA Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries agents spotted a body floating in the water while they were patrolling on Bayou Pierre May 16 at 1:13 pm, one mile South of the Hwy. 174 bridge near the Natchitoches-Red River Parish line in the Jordan Ferry Community.

Deputies and Investigators from the Natchitoches and Red River Parish Sheriff’s Offices and the Natchitoches and Red River Parish Coroners Offices responded to the scene. The body was recovered and sent for autopsy to determine positive identification, and cause of death.

The NPSO is the lead investigating agency. They request the public call the Criminal Investigations Division with any information regarding missing persons in the area.

Investigators believe the body to be that of a female, however at this time it’s not believed to be the body of the missing woman Cynthia Osborn. Additional details and body markings will be released after the autopsy is completed. Officials did say that it appears the body has been in the water for quite some time.



Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Detectives and the Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office have received preliminary autopsy findings on a body found by LDWF Agents in Bayou Pierre on Wednesday afternoon near the Jordan Ferry area according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones.

After an autopsy was performed by Forensic Pathologists at University Health -Shreveport it was determined that the body discovered is possibly a white female approximately 5’4” with what appears to be butterflies tattooed on both lower legs, flowers on front of left thigh with a star beneath it and a tattoo of some sort on underside of right forearm with an unknown word.

The victim wearing a tee-shirt with a tri-colored pineapple on front is possibly between the ages of 30-40 and deceased approximately 2-3 weeks. Anyone with a missing person matching these descriptions please contact the NPSO-CID Division at 318-357-7830 Detective Jonathan Byles or the main SO at 318-352-6432.

The investigaton is active and ongoing by the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, and Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office with assistance from the Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office and Red River Parish Coroner’s Office.



NSU Freshman Connection

FC-2018ConnectorsNSU– Northwestern State University will hold seven sessions of its freshman orientation program, Freshman Connection beginning May 24.

Four sessions will be on the Natchitoches campus on May 24-25, May 31-June 1, June 20-21 and July 10. The program will be held on the Alexandria campus June 5, and on the Leesville/Fort Polk campus June 7 and on the Shreveport campus June 13.

The fee is $100 for the sessions on the Natchitoches campus and $60 for the sessions on the Alexandria, Shreveport and Leesville/Fort Polk campuses. Those attending the sessions on the Alexandria, Shreveport and Leesville/Fort Polk campuses should be planning to take all classes on that campus. The two-day sessions on the Natchitoches campus include a one-night stay in campus residence halls.

Participants in Freshman Connection will be placed in a small group with a Connector, who will guide individuals through the orientation program. Connectors are current Northwestern State students who share information about what can be expected at NSU and will offer support and guidance about the high school to college transition.

Those who attend Freshman Connection can expect small group sessions with connectors, opportunities to connect with future classmates, an introduction to NSU student services and involvement opportunities, a chance to become familiar with the campus and an opportunity to meet with an academic advisor who will help participants understand their major and schedule of classes and register for the fall semester.

Current Northwestern State students serving as Connectors are Tarik Andrus of Washington, Rebekah Aultman of Mangham, Zachary Breaux of Cut Off, Katherine Bryant of Baton Rouge, Kyler Burns of Haughton, Triston Bussell of Starks, Elizabeth Coleman of El Paso, Texas, and Luke Conway, Hannah Gaspard and Tyler Thompson of Pineville.

The 2018 Connectors also include and Nicholas Hopkins and Tori Spraggins of Bossier City, Kelsi Horn of Many, Claire Leming of St. Francisville, Hayden Pilcher and Char’Tarian Wilson of Shreveport, Kristen Prejean of Lafayette, Lexi Rubin of Plaisance, Tore’a Taylor of Benton and Madysen Watts of Saline.

Program coordinators are Rowdy Burleson of Mansfield, Mallory McConathy of Stonewall, Morgan Horn of Hemphill, Texas, and Madison Milligan of Shreveport.

For more information, go to



NSU announces Phi Kappa Phi inductees

Phi Kappa Phi Induction copy

NSU– Northwestern State University’s chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest, most selective and most prestigious all-discipline honor society held an induction ceremony for new initiates April 26. Selection criteria for Phi Kappa Phi are based on high academic standard. Membership is open to the top 7.5 percent of second term juniors and the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students, as well as faculty and professional staff who achieved scholarly distinction.

New members are as follows.

Alexandria – Lindsey Grace Torres, Kristina L. Zachary;

Anacoco – Haley Jett;

Azle, Texas – Alexandra Christine Furtney;

Ball – Victoria Aiken-Tesfay, Katie Wakefield, Megan Wakefield;

Baton Rouge – Bruce Allen Craft, Emily Andra Falcon, Gail Odette Suberbielle, Sabre Elie Whitworth;

Benton – Comis P. Waddell;

Bossier City – Sue Ellen Bates, Alexandra Ekstrom, Andrea J. Haynes, Mary Inman, Haley Marie Jorgensen, Heather B. LaFlame, Rob Martin;

Bourg – Mia Elizabeth Adams,

Boyce — Hannah Elizabeth Aslin, Sarah Anne Phillips;

Burleson, Texas – Cassandra Smith;

Campti – Rebecca L. Cason, Trenton Seth Parker;

Carencro – Lesley Dimmitt;

Church Point – Kristian T. Burrow;

Clayton – Glendalyn Boothe;

Coushatta – Sydney Anderson, W. Tanner Lee;

Covington – Tonda Collett;

Dallas – Beth Evans;

Denham Springs – Mackenzie Byrd, Caitlyn Cutrer;

DeQuincy – Shaina Saucier;

DeRidder – Karli Kennedy;

Dry Prong – DeAnna Bartlett, Veronica J. Morgan;

Enterprise, Alabama – Alejandro M. Cespedes;

Florien – Caroline Matthew, Amanda S. McFarlain, Dylan Roberts;

Fort Polk – Amber P. Ferguson;

Garland, Texas – Alec Sean Horton;

Gloster – Matthew Conger;

Goldonna – Harley Godwin;

Grand Cane – Tina Ezernack Heiss;

Haughton – Alexis Hoeltje, Jamie Phillips, Brigette Wilson;

Henderson, Texas – Emily Ortiz;

Houma – Sarah LaJaunie;

Hubert, North Carolina – Claire M. Harvey;

Idabel, Oklahoma – Chelsea Le Ann Caldwell;

Iowa – Jasmine N. Harris;

Jennings – Rachelle M. Edwards;

Jonesboro – Karie Browning Potts;

Lafayette – Rylan Paul Choate, Emilee Leger;

Lake Charles – Ashtyn Hare, Sarah Person Knepper, Rachel L. Regan;

Lake Toxaway, North Carolina – Ayla D. Owens;

Leesville – Michael Allan Cain II;

Madisonville – Tera M. Blackledge, Melissa Polizzi;

Many – Brittany Founds, Heidi Knight, Emmy Tipton;

Marble Falls, Texas – Sarah M. Lewis;

Marshall, Texas – Tiffany Cortes;

Mary Esther, Florida – Alecia L. Smith;

Maurice – Elise Vincent;

Minden – Amanda V. Curry, Caleb Jones;

Natchitoches – Rebekah L. Aultman, Jordan Alise Bringedahl, Reese Buzzell, Mazie Catherine DuBois, Barbara Anne Duchardt, Katherine Gallinghouse, Karley Hebert, Aura M. Hernandez Canedo, Amy D. Hooks, Nicholas Juneau, Melissa Kaufman, Kailey Leach, Carlomagno Leon Jiminez, Meredith Leanne Machen, Shelby L. Martin, Alexis Moses, Abigail Poe, Jonah Oliver Poe, Rebecca Jade Richmond, Emily M. Salter, Melanie Robinson Smith, Jonathon Micheal Villareal, Lisa Watley Jackson, Madysen Watts, Matthew Whitaker, Christopher Zirkle;

New Iberia – Grace Kerns;

New Llano – Candace Noelle Guillory, Collar J. Wilson;

Papillion, Nevada – Meghan S. Taylor;

Pineville – Alyssa Jane Lloid, Ashlee N. Mitchell;

Pollock – Katelyn Boles;

Raceland – Paige Parks;

Richmond, Virginia – Daniel Amirzian;

St. James – Tad A Cavalier;

St. Martinville – Alli Renee Douet;

Shreveport – Shakendra M. Bailey, Lauren D. Gabour, Emily Heard, Pamela Holcolmbe, Mallory LaLena, Carolina Elizabeth Landon, Kayli Morvan, Tiffany Louise Sandifer, Samantha Scott, Catherine Ann Shaw, Shermaine Shorter, Kya K.H. Warren;

Slidell – Tiffany Ritchie;

Stonewall – Joy Maryelle Hooper;

Sulphur – Monica L. Weber;

Walker – Amber Guillot;

Youngsville – Brandon Scott Granger, Kali Hannie Roberts;