Suspected Shoplifter Chased Into Sabine Parish

FLORIEN, La – Vernon Parish Deputies pursued suspected shoplifters into Sabine Parish Sunday afternoon.

Louisiana State Troopers and Sabine Parish Deputies joined in to try and stop the vehicle. The suspect vehicle was stopped on US Hwy 171 at LA Hwy 474 in Florien and the suspects were arrested.

The suspects allegedly took items from Hibbett Sports and Walmart in Leesville. Vernon Parish authorities are interviewing suspects at this time.


Many Community Center to Host Independence Day Concert

Music lovers are in for a special treat on July 3 when the popular and talented Willie Stewart Family and Friends Band performs their patriotic music show in honor of Independence Day on July 4. 

Stewart and his family had rehearsed to play the 2020 Fourth of July show “God Bless America”  but the show had to be cancelled because of the COVID virus.

Now the “God Bless America’ show promises to be especially awesome this year because “We’ve had a year to plan and practice to make the show bigger and better”, said the patriarch and leader of the band Willie Stewart.

‘God Bless America’  music show will begin at 7 p.m, on Saturday, July 3, at the Many Community Center. Theater doors will open at 6 p.m. The show is totally free to everyone attending.  

Talented Willie Stewart, his wife Debbie, his son Bo Stewart, his grandson Kelly Stewart, along with Kelly’s talented wife Clancey from Mountain View, Arkansas, will be the headliners of the highly anticipated music show. They are all extremely talented musically and pass many hours planning, practicing and playing their own brand of music.

They  will be joined by some talented musical friends including Steve and Mark Birdwell from Marthaville.  Special guest John Brittain will also be an important member of the musical cast.

The show will be packed with patriotic music and will be a musical salute to the United States of America,” said Mary Brocato, chairperson of the Many Cultural District Advisory Committee.  

She continued, “It’s been a troubling and very difficult year, but God truly has blessed our country and brought us through the pandemic stronger than ever,.  Now that we’re getting back to normal, we wanted Willie and his family and friends to perform and give our thanks for getting through one of the most difficult years in the USA.”


Many Police Department Takes Place in Anniversary for St. John’s Catholic Church

MANY, La –The Many Police Department took place in the 150 year anniversary event of St. John’s Catholic Church in Many, La on Sunday, June 27th. 

The Chief of Police for Many, La, had the following to say about the honor of taking place in the event;

“Many PD had the honor and privilege, along with Sabine Sheriff’s Office and Desoto Sheriff’s Office, of participating in a beautifully orchestrated event for the visiting Arch Bishop Christophe Pierre, Titular Arch Bishop of Galena, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America.”

Chamber of Commerce Introduces New President

The Sabine Parish Chamber of Commerce is proud to present their new president, Pollie Brandon. 
Pollie is a lifelong resident of Sabine Parish and a graduate of Northwestern State University. She has been married to Assistant District Attorney, Ronald Brandon for 40 years and they have 3 sons.
Pollie works full-time at Brandon Law Office and owns Century 21 Sabine Property Shoppe. She is a member of Saint Joseph Catholic Church where she serves as Eucharistic Minister. Pollie has also served on the Board of Directors for the Zwolle Loggers & Forestry Festival for 27 years.
As Chamber President, Pollie hopes to encourage all areas of the parish to join the Chamber of Commerce ensuring a better and prosperous Sabine Parish.
We are so excited to have Pollie represent the Sabine Parish Chamber of Commerce!

NSU Unveils Restored Historic Marker

Northwestern State University unveiled a restored historical marker that acknowledges the early presence of Europeans in what would become Louisiana territory. The Colonial Gateway Corral marks the confluence of three paths, one from the west that used by Spaniards; one east towards a residence of Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, and one north to the original Fort St. Jean Baptiste. St. Denis was founder of the settlement that became the city of Natchitoches.

The Colonial Gateway Corral was first sighted by St. Denis and Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville in 1700 and the hill later became St. Denis’s vacherie where livestock were kept.

The plaque was originally installed in 1970 by the Natchitoches Chapter of the Colonial Dames of the 17th Century. It was the first plaque installed by the Colonial Dames in Louisiana, according to Carol Steinmuller, current Louisiana president of Colonial Dames. She and several past state presidents attended the unveiling. Colonial Dames is an organization that prioritizes preservation and education of historic places.

The historic marker is located in the triangle in front NSU’s Wellness, Recreation and Activities Center where Central Avenue meets Sam Sibley Drive that has been a crossroads for students for decades. The ridge where St. Denis pastured cattle and horses protected them from floods and extends to the site of the 1832 Bullard mansion. In the mid-1800s the mansion housed a convent and in the 1880s was purchased for use of the Louisiana State Normal School, created by the state in 1884, now known as Northwestern State University. Benches in the triangle date to the 1930s. In 1962, the Classes of 1959 and 1960 installed the north-facing Demon Head plaque in the triangle.

Several individuals had a hand in replacing the deteriorated marker. Physical Plant Director Dale Wohletz and special projects coordinators Gil Gilson and Tommy Whitehead collaborated with experts from the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training Deborah Dietrich-Smith, Jason Church and Andy Ferrell. The restoration project was supported by the NSU Foundation.

Pictured: On the front row are Dr. Pete Gregory, NSU professor of anthropology; Leslie Breaux, past state and national Colonial Dames presidents; Pat Gallagher, past Colonial Dames state president; Carol Steinmuller, current state president; NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio, SGA President Tja’h Edwards, Kelly Krouse, associate director of University Advancement; Tommy Whitehead, special projects coordinator, and Andy Ferrell, deputy director of the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training. On the back row are Deborah Smith, historic landscape architect at NCPTT, Kirk Cordell, NCPTT executive director; and Gil Gilson, NSU special projects coordinator.

Louisiana Folklife Center at NSU to Sponsor Summer Concert Series

The Louisiana Folklife Center at Northwestern State University is sponsoring the 2021 NSU Folklife Concert Series, a series of six Saturday concerts in July and August. The concerts will highlight different folk musical traditions with a 45-minute music set followed by interviews with the musicians and an audience Q&A. Each performance will take place at 2 p.m. at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum at 800 Front Street in downtown Natchitoches. The concert series is free and open to the general public.

The series will kick off on July 3 with Cajun music by Amanda Shaw. Zydeco artist Corey Ledet will perform on July 17. Singer-songwriter ensemble Smithfield Fair will perform on July 24. The Yvette Landry Trio will perform Cajun and classic country on July 31. San Antonio, Texas rock artist Nina Diaz will perform on August 7. Rounding out the series, Blato Zlato (“Swamp Gold” in Bulgarian) will perform Balkan music from New Orleans and Bulgaria on August 14. In addition to the music performances, folk artists will demonstrate and sell traditional crafts on each day of the series.

“This will be an amazing series of performances by some of the most passionate folk artists making music today” said Dr. Shane Rasmussen, director of the concert series and Northwestern State University’s Louisiana Folklife Center. “Each of these artists is keeping tradition alive by putting their own stamp on what has come before, which is why folk music is so vital and relevant to our lives. The music and conversations at these concerts will be exciting and memorable.”

Music has been engrained into Shaw’s world for as long as she can remember. That exposure greatly paid off as the Louisiana-raised musician has carved out her place in Cajun culture, and has become one of the most recognizable brands in Louisiana music. From national appearances on the “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” the Today Show’s “Roker-thon” and the “Rosie O’Donnell Show,” to a once in lifetime performances with Cyndi Lauper, Shaw’s magnetic presence helped her to build an extraordinary following of fans and supporters. Younger fans look up to Shaw for her pristine fiddling skills and sassy sense of style, while order fans respect her strong work ethic and sincere sensibility, but audiences of all ages agree that Shaw’s musical talent and appealing personality give her a special flair and make her an incredible representative of Louisiana’s melting pot of music.

Ledet’s love for the Creole/Zydeco music was instant and hard for him to ignore. He studied the originators of the music such as Clifton Chenier, John Delafose and Boozoo Chavis and branched out to include studying any and all artists of Zydeco. At the early age of 10, he picked up shows playing drums for Houston-based band Wilbert Thibodeaux and the Zydeco Rascals and slowly learned the main instrument of the music – the accordion. He came to truly love any type of accordion – the single-note, triple-note and piano key accordions – and any others. He worked at building his skills until he knew each one fluently. Ledet eventually moved to Louisiana in order to be surrounded by this beautiful culture at all times. He keeps one foot firmly in the tradition while exploring surrounding influences in order to create the best of both worlds. He is able to infuse old and new styles of Zydeco into his own unique sound from all of the people he studied and was influenced by.

For over four decades, the focus of Smithfield Fair has been harmony vocals and original songs deftly placed over acoustic instrumentation. Smithfield Fair has presented its heartfelt original music and arrangements of traditional songs across the United States on concert and festival stages; in historic venues and theatres; at large events such as the World’s Fair, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Kerrville Folk Festival; as well as in the most intimate coffeehouses, cafes and house concerts. “Flowers In Her Hair,” “Longships,” “James of the Glen,” “God Never Sleeps,” “Flying High” and other Smithfield Fair songs have become popular internationally through constant radio, satellite and internet airplay. Smithfield Fair continues to be a true original, creating hopeful and imaginative songs, and performing them with passion, honesty and humor.

Landry grew up in Breaux Bridge, not far from the levees of the Atchafalaya Basin. It was in and around that swamp where she learned an appreciation for the music, dance, stories and language of her Cajun culture. After earning a master’s degree in education and developing a successful teaching career, she began telling stories through song. Her debut award-winning album titled “Should Have Known” was released in 2010. (The album was named Offbeat Magazine’s Best Country/Folk Album and Landry “Best Country/Folk Artist”). Over the past several years, Landry has traveled the world and played countless cultural festivals and venues – from the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival to the Bluebird Café in Nashville. She toured Russia and served as a cultural ambassador on behalf of the Library of Congress to perform at the Festival of Traditional American Music and graced the stage at both the Library of Congress and John F. Kennedy Center of Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

Considered “one of the two or three most exciting, scary good vocalists in rock today” (David Brown, KUT/NPR), Diaz began her musical career at 13 when she co-founded the all-female rock group Girl in a Coma in 2002. Three years later the group was signed to Joan Jett’s Blackheart Record and began extensive traveling, creating and performing for audiences around the world as a headlining act and as support for several highly acclaimed artists. Diaz began her journey as a solo artist and released her debut album “The Beat is Dead” on Cosmica Records in 2016.

Blato Zato, who means swamp gold in Bulgarian, is a New Orleans based Balkan band featuring dreamy three-part vocal harmonies and hard hitting instrumentals. They have produced two albums, “Swamp Gold” and “In The Wake.”

Support for the NSU Folklife Concert Series is provided by grants from the Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc. and the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission.

For more information, call the Louisiana Folklife Center at (318) 357-4332.

Dr. Joel Hicks named dean of Northwestern State College of Nursing and School of Allied Health

Dr. Joel Hicks has been named dean of the College of Nursing and School of Allied Health at Northwestern State University effective July 1, according to Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Greg Handel. Hicks has served as interim dean since January. The Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System has approved the appointment.

“I am thrilled to have Joel Hicks join us as Dean of the College of Nursing and School of Allied Health,” Handel said. “His experience working in radiologic sciences, with industry partners, and his passion for Healthcare, coupled with his emphasis on training future nurses and allied health professionals, will be an asset to the University. Joel is a consummate professional who is thoughtful and responsive to the students, faculty and staff in CoNSAH.”

Hicks has been interim dean since January. He was director of the School of Allied Health from 2017-2020 and was named assistant dean of the College in 2020.

“The foundation of the College of Nursing and School of Allied Health was laid long ago by outstanding faculty and staff who wished to educate and graduate the best nurses and radiologic technologists in our state and beyond,” said Hicks. “Building on that foundation, we will continue to fulfill the mission of our college and University by providing the highest quality nursing and allied health education to all students.”

In May, Northwestern State’s nurse anesthesia program received full accreditation by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs. The College of Nursing and School of Allied Health recently received a $1.9 million grant from The Health Resources and Services Administration Bureau of Health Workforce to help expand the delivery of mental health services in Louisiana.

Hicks joined Northwestern State’s faculty in 2010 after 16 years in the health care field. He earned a certificate in radiologic technology from LSU Health Sciences Center, a Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Science from Northwestern State, a Master of Science in Radiologic Technology from Midwestern State University and a Doctor of Education in Developmental Education from Grambling State University.

As a member of Northwestern State’s faculty, he has held the Caroline Romine Endowed Professorship for the past four years and was the recipient of the Carolyn Cole Saunders Endowed Professorship for one year. He was principal investigator for a Louisiana Board of Regents grant of $78,894, “Enhancing Student Competencies in Radiologic Science Using Virtual Radiography.” He was represented the College of Nursing and School of Allied Health on NSU’s Faculty Senate from 2010-16, serving as secretary and vice president. He is participating in the UL System’s Management and Leadership Institute and the NSU Leads program.

Hicks makes frequent presentations to national, statewide and regional groups and has had research and book reviews published in national professional journals.

Notice of Death – June 27, 2021

Jerry Carlton Lehr
April 6, 1942 – June 25, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Jett Houston Cook
December 05, 1919 – June 24, 2021
Service: Thursday, July 1 at 1 pm in the chapel of Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Lawrence Spikes
June 23, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Junior Broadway
April 28, 1933 – June 25, 2021
Service: Monday, June 28 at 10 am at Rocky Mount Cemetery in Robeline

Booker T. Chatman
June 23, 2021
Service: Wednesday, June 30 at 11 am in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, located at 117 MLK Drive in Winnfield

Lois Corbitt
July 22, 1934 – June 25, 2021
Service: Thursday, July 1 at 1 pm at Iatt Baptist Church

Jo Nell Windham Stewart
May 24, 1930 – June 24, 2021
Service: Friday, July 2 at 11 am at First United Methodist Church of Winnfield

Christopher “Chris” G. Bell
October 02, 1960 – June 26, 2021
Service: Tuesday, June 29 at 10 am at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home Chapel

Catholic Church in Many to Host Anniversary With Special Guest from the Vatican

MANY, La – A historic anniversary at a Sabine Parish Catholic church has gained the attention from the Vatican. 

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Many is celebrating its 150th anniversary Sunday with a Mass of Thanksgiving and anniversary luncheon.

In attendance will be Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the papal nuncio who is the U.S. representative of Pope Francis, and Bishop Francis Malone of the Diocese of Shreveport.

To mark this milestone in the church’s history, the church has events planned from June-November. 

“We hope you’ll join us as we celebrate the impact that our community of faith has had on Sabine Parish over the last 150 years.”

The celebration kicks off June 27th with a Mass of Thanksgiving at 11:00AM, followed by an anniversary luncheon.  Bishop Francis Malone of the Diocese of Shreveport will join, along with honored guest Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.

Celebration Overview

                                                 June 27 …………..   Mass of Thanksgiving
                                                 July 3-4 …………..  Bake Sale at all Masses at St. John and St. Terence
                                                 July    7 ……………   Summer Speaker Series (Father Peter Mangum & Dr. Cheryl White)
                                                 September 4 ……  Bass Tournament
                                                 October 9 ………..  St. John’s School Reunion
                                                 November 2 … All Souls Day … Outdoor Mass

WANTED: SPSO Offers Reward for Information Regarding Wanted Suspect

The Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office has posted a “Wanted” PSA to seek help in finding a suspect with a record of failures to appear. The following is the post directly from the SPSO:
Dino Maxie Jr DOB 01/22/1995
The Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office is offering a $2000 cash reward for information that leads to the arrest of Maxie.
If you have any information, please call us at 318-256-9241. If you wish to remain anonymous, call 318-256-4511 or submit a tip through our Sabine Parish Sheriff App.
FTA for Child Support Court.
FTA for Motion to Revoke Bond- Possession of Firearm w/CDS, Possession of Schedule II, Possession of Schedule IV.
FTA for Motion to Revoke Bond- General Speed Law, Driving Under Suspension.
FTA for Motion to Revoke Bond- Aggravated Assault with Firearm Under DVA, Aggravated Flight from Officer, Possession w/intent to Distribute Schedule IV.
FTA for Motion to Revoke Bond- Battery of Dating Partner, Theft under $1000, Simple Criminal Damage to Property Under $1000, Reckless Operation of Vehicle, Stop Signs & Yield Signs, Intentional Littering, Driving Under Suspension.
FTA for Motion to Revoke Bond- Convicted Felon Possessing a Firearm or Carrying Concealed.
FTA for Criminal Motion- Natchitoches Parish.