Notice From Pendleton Water System

Pendleton water released the following statement this week regarding the maintenance to the water system following last weeks storms;

It is very important that everyone that has turned on their main valve for water service to check their meter! Make sure you are not registering any water usage on your meter when you are not using any water in your home or camp. Eight leaks were found in the Sandy Point Area alone today, and we are sure there are still many more throughout the rest of the system that have not been identified.

If you have a leak and refuse to turn off your water, we will be forced to turn it off and you will be assessed the appropriate fees. This is not something we want to have to do.

We are unable to begin an appropriate flushing routine until the leaks to homes and camps are fixed or shut-off During this time you may experience water quality that is less than desirable. We ask that you be patient and keep in mind that many of the other water systems in the area are still without water or on a limited schedule.

Lastly, we would like to thank the many people that have been helping and volunteering to help get us back up and running! As an example, we had one of your (non-paid) board members walk five miles today helping locate leaks!

Thank you again,
Pendleton Water

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Mouthwatering Wednesday: Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Pasta

How many times have you stressed about what to cook? You rack your brain for just the right flavor combination, roam the aisles of the grocery store aimlessly hoping something will just stand out; stressing until you just revert to your fall back of frozen pizza or chicken nuggets and macaroni. Well, we’d love to spice up your recipe book just a bit! Each week we will bring you a recipe from a local that’s old hat to them but new and exciting to you!

This week, we get to start with a submission from yours truly! This is one of my absolute favorite easy dishes because who isn’t a fan of excessive cheese, fresh bell peppers, and delicious pasta? For this Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Pasta dish you’ll need just a few ingredients;

3 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
32 Oz Chicken Broth
1 lb penne pasta
1 Red bell pepper (seeds removed and chopped)
1 Green bell pepper (seeds removed and chopped)
2 Tablespoons butter
30 Oz red enchilada sauce
8 Oz cream cheese
6 Whole green onions chopped
1-1/2 cup Mexican blend cheese
Optional – 1/2 cup milk (for a creamier sauce)

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Start by bringing your chicken broth to a boil and adding the chicken breasts. Water may need to be added depending on the size of the pot so that the chicken is able to be fully submerged and cooked thoroughly. Let the chicken boil for roughly 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked completely though. Once Cooked, drain the broth and cut the chicken into bite sized pieces or shred for a finer texture and put back into the large pot to combine with the sauce we will make.

On another burner, start your pasta boiling but only allow a cook time of about 7 minutes to make it very al dente as it will finish cooking in the oven. Once cooked, drain off the water and set the pasta aside.

While the chicken and pasta are boiling, get your fresh bell pepper and green onions to chop. Admire how delicious your fresh veggies look! These will be the flavor of the dish! First chop the green onions and set aside, these will be to garnish the dish. Next you’ll want to chop the bell peppers into small chunks and add them to a medium sized skillet to sauté. Add in the butter and place the lid on the skillet to trap in the moisture. Sauté for about 6 minutes stirring occasionally to keep from sticking.

In the pot with the chicken, pour in the enchilada sauce and add the cream cheese. Turn the fire on medium heat and stir the cream cheese around until it’s blended in with sauce. Next add in the bell peppers, 1/2 cup of shredded cheese, (optional milk), and stir until all combined. Once combined, add in the pasta and allow to simmer on medium for about 3 minutes stirring frequently.

Finally, pour the pasta mix into a large casserole dish and cover with the remaining shredded cheese and top with the chopped green onions. Place the dish into the oven on 350 F. For about 20 minutes to allow the cheese to completely melt. This simple dish is quick and delicious for a family meal. Best of all, it makes for the perfect leftover meal!

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Town Of Zwolle Still Without Running Water Following Winter Storm

The town of Zwolle, Louisiana remains without water following the week of intense winter storms throughout the area. After days of trying to fix the problem locally, the town of Zwolle made the decision to call in for help from L & L Construction. It has been determined that the issue is being caused by an unidentified leak within the town. As of Monday, the construction company believed the leak to be coming from an area near Weyerhaeuser. However it was later discovered this was not the issue. The company continues to work (pictured above) to find the source of the problem and repair it.

Chief Daniel Thomas has worked diligently to not only help locate the leak, but to keep the town informed with consistent updates. In a quick interview he stated that the town has been “working with homeland security to get drinking water to the local nursing home, group home, elderly, and the citizens” of the town. Chief Thomas, along with the Zwolle Police Department, has been going door to door passing out water as needed to make sure everyone is being taken care of.

As of Tuesday, February 23rd, Chief Thomas made then following post to the ZPD Facebook page;

“Water Update: Everyone will see the town employees cutting your water meters off at your residence. This will allow the main tank to get to full capacity. After this is done the water will be turned back on and it will have enough pressure for leaks to be found. The problem can’t be fixed until we find out where it is. When the problem has been found your water will be turned back by the town employees. Thanks for your patience!!!”

Due to the disruption of running water to the town, Zwolle Elementary and High School remain on a virtual learning schedule and will continue to do so until the leak is identified and water is fully restored.

At this time, bottled water is available to those who need it at the Fiesta Grounds in Zwolle, Louisiana.

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State Fire Marshal Warns of Heat Lamp Dangers After Horses Die in Barn Fire

One of Three Animal Warming-Related Fires Throughout Winter Storm

BATON ROUGE- The State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFM) is calling on Louisiana residents to reconsider the use of heat lamps to warm pets in cold, outdoor conditions following several similar fires this week, including the latest in north Louisiana that claimed the lives of seven horses.

“Heat lamps seem like a simple solution, but in reality, they’re a fire hazard similar to a space heater that are unfortunately left unattended frequently,” said State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning, “These lamps being placed close to bedding and left on for extended periods of time are not only dangerous for the animals you’re trying to warm, but if a fire starts, you’re jeopardizing your property and your family’s lives too.”

Around 8:30 p.m. on February 20, the South Bossier Fire Department responded to a report of a barn fire located in the 1900 block of Highway 154 in Elm Grove. Firefighters discovered that seven horses had died in the fire. Three of the horses belonged to the property owner, but four were being boarded there.

After an assessment of the scene, including witness statements, deputies determined the fire began as a result of an overheated heat lamp that was left on in the barn to keep the horses warm.

Two other fire investigations this week involved heat lamps warming cats and dogs outdoors that overheated creating fires. In one case in the Houma area, the dog being warmed died in the resulting fire. In the other case, in Livingston Parish, three people suffered minor injuries trying to escape the fire.

“The best plan of action for protecting pets from frigid temperatures is to bring them inside,” said Browning, “For livestock and larger animals, there are various ways to provide warmth with extra bedding and blankets. We encourage everyone to use this opportunity to reevaluate their preparedness for extreme cold weather and alter your warming game plan now.”

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The Unsinkable Stoker

By Brad Dison

At the turn of the twentieth century, traveling by commercial steamships, commonly called ocean liners, was all the rage. The finest luxuries were reserved exclusively for first class passengers such as the most exquisite dining saloons, elaborate state rooms, libraries, smoking rooms, gymnasiums, and exclusive access to the main deck, called the promenade deck. Second class passengers enjoyed more modest experiences with sparsely decorated smaller state rooms, smoking rooms, libraries, and dining facilities. Third class passengers were housed in cabins that contained little more than a bed, were fed adequate meals, and had access to few, if any, amenities.

Deep in the bowels of these mammoth vessels, well below the third-class areas, were the ships’ engine rooms and boiler rooms. These rooms were extremely hot and dirty. Workers in the boiler rooms usually worked shirtless due to the heat and were collectively called “the black gang” because they were usually covered with black coal soot. Black gangs consisted of stokers, firemen, trimmers, and a “peggy,” the firemen’s steward who brought food and refreshments to the group.

John Priest was a professional seaman from the port city of Southampton, England. He worked as a black gang stoker on several British steam ships. He and the other stokers had the back-breaking task of shoveling coal into the boiler’s firebox. John had worked on the sea since his youth, and planned to have a long seafaring career.

In April, 1915, on the eve of World War I, the British Admiralty converted the two-year-old RMS Alcantara, a royal mail ship, into an armed merchant cruiser. Workers fitted 6-inch guns, antiaircraft guns, and added depth charges to the ship. For almost a year, with John as part of the ship’s black gang, the Alcantara searched for German ships and submarines in the North Atlantic Ocean. On February 29, 1916, the Alcantara intercepted the Greif, a German merchant raider ship disguised as a Norwegian ship. The crew of the Alcantara signaled the Greif to stop for inspection. The Greif slowed to a near stop, but as the Alcantara reached a distance of about 2,000 yards away, the crew of the Greif increased its speed and opened fire. The Alcantara returned fire. For nearly two hours, the ships exchanged volleys, and both received extensive, fatal damages. The Alcantara capsized and sank, followed by the Greif later that same day. 68 men from the Alcantara died along with 230 men from the Greif. John was injured by shrapnel from a torpedo, but he survived.

The British Admiralty requisitioned the passenger ship HMHS Britannic as a hospital ship. Rooms on the upper deck which had been designed for pleasure were transformed into rooms for the wounded. The first-class dining and reception rooms were transformed into operating rooms. On the morning of November 21, 1916, Britannic was transporting wounded soldiers from the Greek island of Lemnos back to England through the Kea Channel when an explosion rocked the ship. Unbeknownst to the crew of the Britannic, exactly a month earlier, a German submarine, the U-73, had planted mines in the Kea Channel. All efforts to save the Britannic failed. Within 65 minutes after striking the mine, Britannic disappeared into the water. Britannic holds the record for being the largest ship lost in World War I and is the world’s largest sunken passenger ship. Once again, John survived.

The British Admiralty converted the RMS Asturius, a royal mail ship, into a hospital ship. John joined the black gang of the Asturius. On the night of March 20, 1917, John’s ship was steaming toward Southampton with all of its navigational lights on. Large illuminated red crosses distinguished John’s ship as a hospital ship. The Asturius had just disembarked approximately 1,000 wounded soldiers at Avonmouth and was headed for Southampton, England. At around midnight, German U-boat UC-66 torpedoed John’s ship. The crew aimed the damaged ship toward the shore and ran it aground. Nearly two dozen people died and many more were injured but again, John survived.

John was next assigned to the SS Donegal. Built in 1904, the Donegal served as a passenger ferry for an English railway company until World War I. The British Admiralty converted this ship into an ambulance ship to ferry wounded soldiers from France back to England. On April 17, 1917, the Donegal was ferrying 610 lightly wounded soldiers across the English Channel. Ambulance ships had been required to be clearly marked and lit to make them easier to identify. However, the British Navy disregarded these requirements after the Germany Navy began targeting these marked ships. The Donegal was not marked as an ambulance ship. Unbeknownst to the crew of the Donegal, a German submarine, the UC-21, was lurking beneath the water. The German submarine fired torpedoes at the Donegal. Explosions shook the ship. Within a matter of minutes, the Donegal sank. The blasts from the torpedoes and subsequent sinking claimed the lives of 29 wounded British soldiers and 12 members of the crew. John survived, albeit with a serious head injury.

John’s reputation preceded him. Rumors of John’s survival record spread throughout black gangs in England. Rumors also spread that many of John’s black gang coworkers did not survive the sinkings. Many believed that it was bad luck to work on the same ship as the unsinkable stoker. Each time John arrived at a new ship to take his place among its black gang, the other workers refused to work. John, in body, may have been unsinkable, but his career was not. Unable to find a black gang that would work with him, John had no choice but to find employment on dry land. His days at sea had ended.

John Priest, the unsinkable stoker, holds the distinction of being the only person to survive the sinkings of five ships which included the HMHS Asturias, RMS Alcantara, SS Donegal, HMHS Britannic, and another ship. The first ship’s sinking which John Priest miraculously survived, albeit with frost-bitten toes and an injured leg, happened on the morning of April 15, 1912. That ship, arguably the most famous ship in history, was called the RMS Titanic.

1. The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Washington), April 17, 1912, p.2.
2. The Guardian (London, England), March 28, 1917, p.5.
3. The Times (London, England), April 23, 1917, p.10.

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Rush Limbaugh: The Lion That Roared

Royal Alexander/Opinion

By simply but powerfully extolling the virtues of traditional American values, he built a vast conservative movement still growing at the time of his death

Despite what his critics have claimed in the wake of his passing, the legacy of Rush Limbaugh is really not complicated at all.

Over 32 years, he reached millions of Americans daily and, by merely reminding his vast audience of the unique nature of America’s miraculous founding, he created a solid, permanent, conservative movement in this country. They trusted him to be their constant, their anchor in an increasingly putrid cultural cesspool. He, in turn, empowered them with the truth and they never left him because he never left them.

Some of his detractors this week have referred to Rush’s legacy as “controversial” or “divisive” or that his rhetoric was “harsh.” Only to the Left, which was not nearly as offended by his manner as it was by his message.

However, to the great Silent Majority in this country, he was positively and powerfully enlightening. Using simple but compelling word pictures, he articulated daily what traditional American values really are. His substantial but succinctly stated commentary created the opportunity for millions of Americans to listen, learn, and ultimately come to the conclusion that “I’m a conservative.” It’s hypocritical to hear the Left describe Rush as having “dog-whistled” various “dark” messages to conservatives. All the while, of course, the harsh daily mocking of conservatives from the tabloid media on the Left is never condemned.

What is some of this “negative” commentary Rush offered? That it is Ok to love America, to believe that America, while not perfect, is truly exceptional and truly the “last best hope of man on earth”; that it is perfectly acceptable and logical to put “America First”; that it’s perfectly acceptable and legitimate to be unapologetically pro-family, pro-life and pro-2nd Amendment.

He made clear that it’s not only acceptable but completely accurate to believe that our free market economy has lifted millions out of poverty and is the envy of the world; to believe that a strong national defense, lower taxes, less regulation, limited government and religious freedom are, demonstrably, the best national policy; that it’s Ok to expect legal immigrants to learn our language and assimilate into our culture and to expect illegal aliens to be kept out of our country; to recognize that much of our public education system has failed abysmally and that our children are not being educated at all but, rather, indoctrinated in Marxist thought.

He was one of the first to notice and then call out the Cancel Culture that, fueled by the unfettered power of a social media sector that enormously benefits from (and abuses) federal law—as well as the national tabloid media, had arisen like a virus to stamp out conservative speech. He was also one of the first to note the treacherous effect on our constitutional republic of a massive, permanent, liberal federal bureaucracy we now know as the “Deep State.”

Rush Limbaugh was truly a lion who roared and his voice and message will continue to ring out long after his death by providing a political and historical roadmap in our quest to preserve America’s liberty and greatness.

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Be an Inspiration

Curtis R. Joseph, Jr./Opinion

As a consequence of my mother’s military service, I was fortunate to spend some of my early childhood growing up in Germany. Due to the Europeans’ widespread use of the rail system, we frequently traveled by train. Suffice it to say, I soon developed an affinity for that particular mode of transportation. During the Summer of 2016, I was fortunate to share the experience with my children when we drove to Marshall, Texas and caught the Amtrak Texas Eagle to Dallas.

Aside from the gentleman who entered the train carrying what can only be described as a case for chainsaw, we had a fabulous time. And, the roundtrip fare was less than the cost of fuel, had we driven. The train was equipped with a viewing cabin, which afforded panoramic views of the East Texas countryside. We enjoyed each other’s company, and the difference in travel time proved to be negligible.

The train deposited us at Union Station, which left only a short walk to the Hyatt Regency. During our weekend in Dallas, we walked everywhere we wanted to go. Among our destinations was Dealey Plaza and the museum that is located on the 6th floor of what was formerly the Texas School Book Depository.

Although I am a fan of the former President, I didn’t deceive myself into thinking that my young children would want to spend a great deal of time being inundated with information relative to JFK. However, quite to my surprise, the kids were in no rush to leave the museum, the “grassy knoll”, or the plaza area. Like most of us, they were taken in by the aura of a leader, who, despite his very human flaws, nevertheless inspired.

As we rode the Texas Eagle back to Marshall, my wife and I began to debrief on the weekend’s trip. As we shared our thoughts, a particular one resonated in my mind: How vitally important it is to have leaders who inspire. To that point, I recently came across the following JFK quote: “I look forward to an America which will not be afraid of grace and beauty, which will protect the beauty of our natural environment, which will preserve the great old American houses and squares and parks of our national past and which will build handsome and balanced cities for our future.” What an amazing concept! Certainly, many leaders have referenced an appreciation for Kennedy. And many cite him as one who inspired their actions. Yet, he was a relatively young man when he left his mark on history.

Much like JFK, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a young man when he went to Birmingham to address the injustices that pervaded the city. In fact, he was only thirty-four. As it regards Birmingham, this past February, my wife and I took a group of high school students to visit the city. While in Birmingham, we visited sites such as the 16th Street Baptist Church, which was bombed on September 15, 1963. As a consequence of the bombing, four young girls lost their lives. Ironically, our tour guide advised us that the Sunday School lesson that morning was titled “A Love That Forgives”.

The church bombing was one of three such bombings that had occurred within an 11-day span and came on the heels of a Federal Court order that mandated the integration of Alabama’s public school system. In this light, it is seen that the bombings were instituted as push back against the progress that was being made due to the Civil Rights Movement, which was being spearheaded by the young Dr. King. Again, despite their youth, both JFK and MLK were able to achieve great things because they inspired others to be more than themselves.

Although they provide monumental examples of inspiration from the standpoint of iconic, national heroes, trust that the influence of local, hometown heroes cannot be overstated. Due to the fact that we encounter our local heroes and heroines on a regular basis, their influence has the potential to be even more pervasive and lasting. In short, we can actually touch them.

We should also be aware of the fact that we can each live a life worthy of emulation. We can live the type of life that serves as an inspiration to others. Even our chance encounters can leave a lasting impression. That impression can be a good one, or it can be an unpleasant one. We CAN be difference makers should we choose to do so.

In closing, I’d like to reference another JFK quote. During his 1961 address to the National Industrial Conference Board, President Kennedy stated, “For I can assure you that we love our country, not for what it was, though it has always been great…not for what it is, though of this we are greatly proud…but, for what it someday can, and, through the effort of us all, someday will be.” Soaring rhetoric meant to inspire and capture a soaring ideal.

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NSU Shreveport classes remain virtual; all other classes resume Wednesday

Northwestern State University will resume classes on all learning platforms (face-to-face, online and Hy-flex) on campuses in Natchitoches, Leesville and Alexandria Wednesday, Feb. 24. Classes on NSU’s Shreveport campus will continue to be held virtually until all water issues have been resolved.

“All face-to-face classes will remain virtual for the Shreveport campus. All nursing and radiology clinical students on each campus should check with their coordinators regarding their clinical assignments for the remainder of the week,” said Dr. Joel Hicks, interim dean of NSU’s College of Nursing and School of Allied Health. “Most Shreveport clinical students are able to attend their clinical courses, however, and the Alexandria, Natchitoches and Leesville students are able to go to their clinical rotations.”

All support offices and computer labs on campuses in Natchitoches, Leesville and Alexandria will be open Wednesday. Shreveport offices will remain closed until water has been restored to the campus. The university will make an announcement about when the Shreveport campus will reopen as soon as water issues are resolved.

Power and water have been restored to all residential buildings, according to Director of Housing and Residence Life Stephanie Dyjack. Water pressures continues to improve, but laundry facilities will not open until Wednesday to ensure full water pressure has been restored. Water issues persisted at University Columns Clubhouse, which is no longer being utilized as a warming/charging location.

Residents returning to campus are reminded that the boil advisory for the city and parish are still in effect. Residents should boil water for one minute before consuming. Bottled water is available for residential students in each building’s clubhouse every afternoon.

Dining facilities will resume normal hours Wednesday, except for Café DeMon, which will remain closed while the boil advisory remains in effect. Chick-fil-A will be open from 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. beginning Wednesday but with limited menu items until the boil advisory is lifted, due to company guidelines. They will only offer items that require no water such as nuggets, Chick-fil-A sandwiches, spicy sandwiches, grilled chicken sandwiches, grilled nuggets, waffle fries and cookies.

“We appreciate the patience of our students and the university community as we’ve worked diligently to repair damage caused by last week’s winter ice storm,” said NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio. “It has taken a tremendous amount of teamwork and efforts are still ongoing with regards to our Shreveport campus. We will make an announcement regarding the Shreveport campus as soon as water is fully restored.”

In the event of an emergency, students should call University Police at (318) 357-5431.

Residential students can also contact the RA on call as follows:

University Columns RA on Call – (318) 663-7992
University Place 1 RA on call – (318) 471-0551
University Place 2 RA on call – (318) 471-0179
Varnado Hall RA on call – (318) 471-3382

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Notice of Death – February 23, 2021

Mattie Mae Casson
August 6, 1961 – February 16, 2021
Service: Saturday, February 27 at 11 am in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel

Nathaniel Scott
February 19, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Ada James
February 15, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Alvin Smith
February 16, 2021
Service: Saturday, February 27 at 2 pm in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel,located at 318 North Street in Natchitoches

Stafford Bill Moses
February 16, 2021
Arrangements TBA

James “Sap” Anders
February 1, 1941 – February 14, 2021
Service: Wednesday, February 24 at 2 pm at Cedar Grove Baptist Church

Jackie Rivers
November 3, 1958 – February 21, 2021
Service: Friday, February 26 at 10 am at St. Joseph Catholic Church

Kenneth “Kenny” Ray Blundell
November 26, 1949 – February 21, 2021
Service: Wednesday, February 24 at 2 pm at Southern Funeral Home

Doris Pendarvis
February 16, 2021
Service: Wednesday, February 24 at 11 am at Beulah Church

Kenneth Simmons
February 14, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Gloria Folden
February 13, 2021
Arrangements TBA

William Sherwood Ward
May 08, 1938 – February 21, 2021
Service: Wednesday, February 24 at 4 pm at Holley Springs Cemetery

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Cattle Ranchers Work Round The Clock To Save Livestock During Unprecedented Winter Weather

With frigid temperatures affecting everything from the roads, to school closures, to busted water pipes, and power outages, one thing many aren’t considering is the effect on local livestock.

If you weren’t raised around livestock or currently in a situation where caring for outdoor animals is part of your day-to-day life, it can be easy to forget the harsh effects the cold can have on all animals. Local cattle rancher, Kresha Matkin, has called attention to this terrible reality through a Facebook post made calling for prayers from friends and family.

According to a post made Thursday, her ranch has experienced two tough losses of cattle already due directly to the winter weather. She says the difficulties go far beyond what anyone can see from an outside perspective. What may look like just needing to warm a few animals, becomes so much more.

Kresha and her husband Brad Matkin have been working nonstop since the start of this winter storm to make sure their cattle live through this. From dealing with equipment that won’t crank in the cold, to having to “shovel out all of the troughs before feeding hay and feed every day”. They are even having to physically bust up all of the water in the troughs several times a day to make sure the animals have access to food and water.

Kresha said that the entire Matkin family, including their kids, has jumped in to help. From “carrying feed buckets, to smashing ice in the water troughs, to holding gates in the snow and ice, I’m very proud of them!”

It’s clear the ranchers and their families are doing all they can to ensure a safe winter for the cattle they can save. Though the losses are still tough.

“It’s the most helpless feeling in the world to hold an animal while it dies and there’s nothing you can do about it. Just make it comfortable. We put many hours in this week though and hopefully, we are past the worst” Kresha expressed how difficult this situation has been on their entire family both physically and emotionally.

This tough winter is being felt across Sabine Parish. Kay Anthony, another local cattle farmer stated that; “it has taken all day to feed and hay the cattle. This has been rough on them and us! We’ve not seen anything like this in 36 years!”

While the effects of this storm on local agriculture and livestock may feel distant to anyone not directly involved, a bad season for farmers could have a drastic ripple effect on the local and statewide economy. According to the LSU Ag Center, agriculture plays a vital role in the statewide economy bringing in roughly $26 billion in revenue annually.

The Matkin family, the Anthony family, and so many more local ranch families have been working round the clock to care for their livestock to in turn be able to provide food for those across the parish and state as well.

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