Grateful 2021 LSHOF inductees enthrall audience

Whether in person or via video, the 11 members of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2021 expressed many of the same sentiments Saturday night.

First and foremost among them was gratitude – for teammates, for family and for each other.

Emotions flowed freely throughout, shaking the normally unflappable.

New Orleans broadcasting icon Ro Brown was one of three Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism winners honored Saturday. Praised as a barrier-breaking, trustworthy broadcaster, Brown paused for at least 30 seconds before answering his first question.

“I’m on TV for a living, I’ll be able to do this,” Brown cracked when he finally gathered himself.

A product of New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward who praised that area’s “village” mentality to helping raise him, Brown’s career and personality meshes perfectly with the distinguished title of the award bestowed upon him.

The familial feel of Natchitoches and Northwestern State University provided Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism honoree Doug Ireland with a place to call home and a family tree that spread its limbs throughout the sports information profession.

Ireland’s role as the chariman of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame came with it the drive to construct the award-winning museum in downtown Natchitoches, a relationship that has given him a giant extended family that marks the sporting eras of the state of Louisiana.

“When I hear Hall of Famers talk to Doug, it’s like they have had this relationship for 30 years when in reality, he’s only been talking to them for six to eight months,” said Northwestern State men’s basketball coach Mike McConathy, who worked with Ireland for nearly two decades. “He has so much knowledge and the ability to recall things about them as people. They become part of his family because they are now Hall of Famers.”

After nearly three decades serving as the Hall’s chairman, Ireland took his place among the numerous figures he has delivered to whom he has delivered the call to for years.

“I’m here on the shoulders of so many people,” Ireland said. “I didn’t do something. We did something. I was just lucky to help steer it in a couple of directions.”

While Natchitoches adopted Ireland as a native son, it celebrated the Hall entry of one of its own born and raised citizens as 1980 Bassmaster Classic champion Villis “Bo” Dowden joined his hometown’s shrine Saturday.

From a child who enjoyed fishing with his grandfather to winning the Super Bowl of bass fishing by “showing us we could fish in the wind,” according to fellow competitor Bobby Murray, Dowden quickly espoused the values of his hometown and his family.

“(My childhood) was quite a fun time as far as I was concerned,” he said. “I didn’t worry about anything. I didn’t have too many big chores in the backyard, so I went fishing.

“I fished out here in Black Lake and Saline Lake and Sibley Lake and Cane River. Natchitoches is just full of fishing holes if you know where to look for them.”

Group:  L to R): Rickie Weeks, Sheldon Mickles, Terry McAulay, Pat Henry, Doug Ireland, Bo Dowden, Glenn Dorsey, Ro Brown and Courtney Blades Rogers.

Photo:  Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services

Northwestern State offense steps up in overtime loss at No. 23 Rice

Through the offseason and leading into the 2021 season, the Northwestern State soccer team has placed an emphasis on dialing up their offense and creating more opportunities to score.

Despite walking away with a loss on Sunday, the Lady Demons (0-3-1) found some of that rhythm and took No. 23 Rice (4-0) to overtime. In the 95th minute, Rice’s Vyviene Spaulding made good on an assist from the right corner and scored the golden goal, securing a 2-1 victory.

Rice took an early lead after scoring the opening goal in the 19th minute. Although being down a goal, possession between both teams was an even affair through the opening period. At half, NSU led Rice in total shot attempts 4-3.

Rice held control through the majority of the second period and tested the capabilities of the NSU defense. Despite taking seven shots to NSU’s three in the final 45 minutes of regulation, NSU defenders – along with a seven save outing from senior goalkeeper Acelya Aydogmus — held Rice to zero goals in the second period and allowed the Lady Demons a chance to tie the match late in regulation.

In the 71st minute, sophomore midfielder Kyle Nolen found the net for NSU off a throw in by Caroline Hilliard, sinking the shot high right to tie the match at one apiece.

“I thought we bounced back really well and made life difficult for the 23rd ranked team in the country, head coach Stuart Gore said.

“We created some good opportunities, and Kyle’s finish was first class.” I’m looking forward to seeing how we can build off of this experience.”

Veterans Nicole Henry and Olivia Draguicevich led the charge for NSU, both tallying three shot attempts at the net with two on target. The Lady Demons logged ten total shot attempts on the match, five of which were saved in the net — a marked improvement from Friday’s five shot performance at Prairie View A&M. Rice finished the day with 17 shots and nine shots on goal.

Wrapping up its first road stretch of the season, NSU returns home for its home opener Wednesday night at the Lady Demon Soccer Complex against Louisiana Tech.

Photo:  Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services

Notice of Death – August 29, 2021

Dorothy “Dot” Roig Knecht
August 06, 1930 – August 24, 2021
Service: Monday, August 30 at 1 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church

Theresa “Terri” Durr
March 12, 1960 – August 25, 2021
Service: Tuesday, August 31 at 10 am at the Bethel Methodist Church

Many High School Teacher and Coach Arrested

MANY, La – On Wednesday, August 24th, Many High School teacher and coach Luke Hall was arrested for alleged sexual conduct with a student. According to the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office, a former student came forward an alleged that Hall previously made sexual advances toward her at his home in 2019. At the time, the victim was a 17 year old student of Hall’s. 

The Sabine Parish School Board released the following statement regarding the allegations and the arrest; “The Sabine Parish School Board has been made aware of the arrest of Luke Hall, Many High School teacher and coach. Mr. Hall has been placed on leave pending the results of the investigation.”

Currently, Hall teaches Special Education, Algebra II, he is the Head Track Coach, and an Assistant Football Coach at Many High School. 

Hall has been booked into the Sabine Parish Detention Center on his charges. No bond has been set at this time by the 11th Judicial District Court. 

Magnolia Bend Academy to Hold First Meeting at New Many Location

“We are thrilled to announce we are expanding and offering a new campus in Many, LA,” said Crystal Cummins of Magnolia Bend Academy.  She added, “It will be located at First Baptist Church in Many, LA.”

Cummins posted on social media that K-6th Grade will attend Monday-Wednesday 

7th-12th will attend Monday-Tuesday 8:30-2:30.  First day of School is September 13. Last day is May 18. Thanksgiving Christmas and Spring break included.

The first meeting in Many is scheduled tonight.  Magnolia Bend Academy is located on Catfish Bend Road in south Red River Parish.


MANY, La – Red River Parish private school, Magnolia Bend Academy, has announced the opening of a new location in Many, Louisiana with a tentative opening date set for next month. 

The Sabine Parish Journal reached out to Crystal Cummins, founder of the Magnolia Bend Academy, to ask what led to her decision to expand the school into Sabine Parish. Cummins was quoted saying;

“Over the past year I have received countless calls, emails, and visits from parents who are looking for an alternative to traditional public school. Here at Magnolia Bend, we offer a Christian curriculum where parents can have an input into the student’s education. We have had an outpouring of requests from the parents of Sabine Parish wanting this type of education for their children. After careful consideration and countless prayers, we have decided to heed this call and move forward with establishing an Abeka based homeschool program in Many. We are all excited to expand with this satellite location and providing this opportunity to the parents and students in Sabine parish.”

This news comes after a rise in unrest and disagreement regarding the recent mask mandate implemented by the Governor. Parents within the parish have recently expressed their concerns publicly with the mandated masks for school aged children, and  feel as though their rights to determine the best course of action regarding the medical and educational needs of their children has been infringed upon by the Governor within the past year. Because of this growing concern by parents, one local mom, Kresha Matkin,  has become somewhat of a voice for these parents. In fact, Matkin made the announcement of the new location in a Facebook group originally created to connect parents who have felt uneasy through COVID restrictions and mandates they feel have been forced on schools by the Governors office. 

The opening of the new satellite location for Magnolia Bend Academy will provide students and parents of all circumstances additional options when it comes to their education. 

For full details of the tuition costs, class dates, school breaks, and with any questions, parents can email the school at

FFA Leadership Camp

By Katie Bedgood

This summer I had the opportunity to attend an FFA leadership camp that was held in Woodworth, La at the Wesley Center. The purpose of the leadership camp is to teach FFA members how they can be a leader in their home and community. We not only learned important skills to bring back home to our schools and FFA Chapters, but we also socialized with other FFA chapters, area and state officers.

At leadership camp we had many different activities to participate in. We had general sessions where the State officers taught us different ways you can be a leader. We also had free time where we could play games like corn hole or basketball. We participated in workshops that encouraged healthy living such as not drinking and driving, swimming, and zip lining. On the last day of camp there was a scavenger hunt all over the campgrounds. The last thing we did at Leadership camp was an award ceremony where my team and I won the campers vs Advisors wiffle ball tournament.

We not only had fun at camp but also learned lessons that will help us all throughout life and not just FFA. In one of our general sessions, they went into detail about Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) and Leadership Development Events. The State Officers explained that when you are participating in your SAE it is giving you some type of job experience. A Leadership Development Event helps you develop skills needed to seek employment. They also explained to us different ways FFA can help you get scholarships for certain colleges.

Attending Leadership Camp was a good experience because I was able to interact with other FFA members and learned skills to help my FFA Chapter throughout the year. Meeting the State FFA Officers has inspired me to run for an Area office next year and eventually a state FFA office. I will definitely encourage other FFA members to attend Leadership Camp in the future.

MISTER participant awarded scholarship

Kyle Scott of Bossier City is this year’s recipient of the Big Al’s Rock It Scholarship. An education major at Northwestern State University, Scott is vice president of the Call Me MISTER program, which aims to increase the pool of available teachers from a broader and more diverse background, shortening the percentage of minorities in the classroom.

“We serve the community by going to a local elementary schools volunteering, helping teachers and students,” said Scott, who is majoring in health and physical education and plans to teach K-12.

The scholarship was created in 2017 by the Rev. Eric Williams, pastor of The Rock Church in Shreveport. Eligible recipients must maintain a 2.5 or better grade point average with preference given to a student from the Shreveport-Bossier City area.

Scott is part of the first cohort of MISTER students. The initiative seeks to recruit African American males to become teachers and mentors at low-performing schools. MISTER is an acronym for Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models. As a Call Me MISTER campus, NSU is part of a highly acclaimed recruitment and support program that includes a national network of universities.

Prospective MISTERS must be a minority male and come from an underserved, socioeconomically disadvantaged, and/or educationally at-risk community. They must major in early childhood education, elementary education, health and physical education or music education and demonstrate a record of high scholastic achievement and participation in extra-curricular and community service activities.

Applications for Call me MISTER are reviewed on a competitive basis each spring for consideration for cohorts that begin each fall semester. Preference is given to graduating high school seniors, two-year community college transfers and first-year college freshmen. Eligible candidates are selected based on their potential for teaching and their motivation for participation in the program.

For more information, contact program coordinator Ramona Wynder at (318) 357-4549.

Roblow looks to build on Freshman All-American campaign

NSU 46 Scotty Roblow

When Scotty Roblow arrived at Northwestern State, he did so having handled all the kicking and punting duties in high school.

In his second season as a Demon – the truncated six-game spring slate – Roblow found his collegiate calling as a punter. Roblow opened his true freshman season of 2019 as the Demons starting place kicker, appearing in four games before an injury sidelined him for the final eight games.

Handling punting duties for the first time as a collegian in the spring, Roblow became a Freshman All-American, averaging 41.7 yards per punt and dropping 11 of his 29 punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. The move from kicker to punter went smoothly for the Shreveport product.

“It was going to be a slow transition,” said Roblow, who will join his teammates for their annual mock game at 6:30 p.m. Thursday inside Turpin Stadium. “I had to get comfortable. Once I started playing, it came easy to me.”

Easy and effective.

Eight of Roblow’s 29 punts traveled at least 50 yards, helping him rank 17th nationally in punting average. In the battle of field position, Roblow gave the Demons a solid, consistent weapon in terms of flipping the field.

“Football is so big on field position,” fourth-year head coach Brad Laird said. “He was able to flip field position in those situations. It was very positive moving forward in the spring and hope to see the same thing in the fall.”

Never did he do so more than against eventual national champion Sam Houston. Roblow said he felt he truly arrived as a punter against the Bearkats, averaging 50.5 yards per punt on four attempts, including a career-long 56-yard boot.

“I always took it one punt at a time,” Roblow said. “If I had a bad punt, I’d shake it off and go on to the next one. The Sam Houston game was probably my best, given I won the (Southland Conference) Special Teams Player of the Week award.”

Aided in part by Roblow’s field-flipping abilities, the Demons limited the Bearkats to 24 points, Sam Houston’s lowest regular-season output.

Having handled all three aspects of the kicking game may have helped Roblow find a home at Northwestern State, but focusing on punting allowed him excel.

“You go back to the fall of 2020, and we brought in Eddie (Godina) to be our kicker,” Laird said. “Coach (Jake) Olsen, at the time had Scotty strictly work on punting. He had done everything before and never really had the ability to hone in on one particular area and focus his skillset on that. Fast forward to the spring, and I think you saw the work he did in that area show up in competition.”

Roblow’s comfort level grew on the field and within the special teams room.

In addition to bonding with Godina over the technical aspects of kicking, Roblow formed a deeper bond with snapper Evan Gibson, a fellow Shreveport native.

“We’re all like brothers,” Roblow said of the specialists. “Off the field, we do our thing. I’m always on (Gibson) about Calvary. My cousin, Will (Derrick), is a wide receiver at ULM and played at Calvary with Evan. I didn’t know Evan at the time, but I knew he was going to Northwestern. Now we live together and we’re buddy-buddy. We’re basically brothers.”

Photo: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services

The Most Fun I Ever Had Fishing

I’ve been fishing tournaments since 1990 and have loved every minute with most of the guys or gals I’ve had the pleasure to fish with. I’ve participated in team and pro/am events and each format is unique unto itself. But one question I’ve been asked over the years, is what have I enjoyed the most? Well, my experience with team trails has been awesome and I have had the best partners an angler could ever ask for. Nothing is more fun than you and a buddy (team partner) going out and putting a pattern together and doing well. And nothing is more rewarding than crawling into the back of a touring pro’s boat and catching fish. Fishing at the highest level certainly has its rewards but it can also be your worst nightmare if you draw the wrong pro.
Some pros are super nice and will do whatever they can to help a co-angler catch fish. Then there are some who won’t give you the time of day even if they’re wearing a watch. But the majority of the pros are great guys who want to see their co-anglers succeed. I’ve always tried to make sure my co-anglers catch fish because I’ve been a co-angler myself before and know what’ it’s like to be ignored or even recognized that you’re in the boat. I’ve always looked at it like this… the co-angler that’s fishing in my boat has paid his hard-earned money to fish just like I have. But the difference is that my entry fee is double what the co-angler pays and that’s why you’re at the mercy of the pro/boater in a pro/am event as the pro/boater has complete control of the boat at all times.  
But to answer the question of my most rewarding year; was fishing as a co-angler on the FLW Tour in 2004. What an awesome experience that was to get in the boat with some of the best anglers on the planet and watch them work their magic. But the one thing I figured out real early, was that there is no magic…professional bass fishermen are on another level when it comes to skills like reading the water, understanding their electronics, not to mention their ability to cast and put baits in places average anglers would not even attempt. The skill level of the B.A.S.S. Elite and Major League Fishing (MLF) Series guys is off the chart and amazing to see in person. In 2004, I had the pleasure to fish with some of the best to ever wet a hook like former FLW and Basmaster Classic Champion Dion Hibdon, 2020 Elite Series Angler of the Year Clark Wendlandt, Japanese MLF Pro Shin Fukea and Texas MLF Pro Kelly Jordan. All of these guys were not only great anglers, but fine people as well. I learned a lot during my eight hours of fishing with each of these guys.
But why was 2004 the most fun I ever had fishing? First of all, I drew some of the top anglers on tour and caught a lot of fish behind these guys as I had three Top 10 finishes that year. But what I really enjoyed the most that year as a co-angler, I did not have to worry about all the details that come with fishing the pro/boater side. Co-anglers don’t have to worry about finding fish, putting gas in the boat, making sure they have enough oil in the reservoir, charging the batteries, or fixing and repairing things on the boat.  Co-anglers don’t have to worry about a blown tire on their boat trailer or the wheel bearings going out. All I had to do was show up, put my tackle in the boat and go fishing with the best anglers in America! Not a bad way to go fishing and enjoy the day while learning from the best in the business.
One thing that’s very disappointing to me in 2021, is that MLF (formerly FLW) and the B.A.S.S. Elite Series Pro Circuits have eliminated the co-angler. The Elite Series does have what they call the Marshall program which is where you can apply and pay to sit in the boat and observed all day.  But Major League Fishing (MLF) has not allowed that yet as their pros have a referee (who records each fish they catch) and a camera man. So, in the future when someone asks me “What’s the most fun you ever had fishing?” I’ll always reply 2004!  Till we meet again, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to set the hook!!!

Steve Graf

Hook’N Up & Track’N Down
And Tackle Talk Live Show                                      

NSU calendar for August 29 – September 4

Here is a look at the week of August 29 – September 4 at Northwestern State University.

August 31 – Volleyball vs. UL-Monroe, Prather Coliseum, 6:30 p.m.

August 31 – Faculty recital featuring cellist Paul Christopher and keyboard faculty Chialing Hsieh, Daniel Ley and John Price, Magale Recital Hall, 7:30 p.m. *

September 1 – Soccer vs. Louisiana Tech, Lady Demon Soccer Complex, 7 p.m.

* Livestream available at

Pair of Northwestern State coaches promoted

The Northwestern State men’s basketball tweaked its coaching staff responsibilities as two current coaches received new titles.

Blake Cochran and Jordan Luna solidified more permanent roles on the staff, announced head coach Mike McConathy on Tuesday.

Cochran assumes an assistant coach role after serving as a volunteer this past season.

“Blake came in with a recruiting base from his time at Southwestern Assemblies of God and at McMurry, having contacts in East Texas,” McConathy said. “We don’t really have many contacts in that area, so it gives us access to an area where we needed to have a better feel.

“With experience recruiting and with on-floor coaching, it’s an easy transition for him.”

Luna acquires director of basketball operations duties after completing his graduate assistantship with his two-year stint on staff.

“As a graduate assistant for two years, including one year as the only GA, Jordan has been around every aspect of the program,” McConathy said. “That’s allowed him to have a better feel of how every part of the program works.

“He’s had some really good interviews, and his wife Jennifer also has an important position in the community as the executive director of the Women’s Resource Center here in Natchitoches.”

The Demons open the season Nov. 9 at Oklahoma with their first home game Nov. 13 against Champion Christian.

Notice of Death – August 26, 2021


James Leonard LaRue
July 8, 1946 – August 23, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Stevie Carroll
October 6, 1941 – August 22, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Barry Louis Phelps
September 24, 1957 – August 20, 2021
Memorial service arrangements will be announced by the family at a later date.

Sheri McManus Miller
February 17, 1969 – August 24, 2021
Service: Friday, August 27 at 1 pm at Southern Funeral Home

Annette Brigance Skains
May 10, 1964 – August 19, 2021
Service: Saturday, August 28 at 10 am at the First Presbyterian Church in Winnfield

Dorothy “Dot” Roig Knecht
August 06, 1930 – August 24, 2021
Service: Monday, August 30 at 1 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church

John Thomas Colligan
January 23, 1975 – August 19, 2021
Service: Saturday, August 28 at 1 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Theresa “Terri” Durr
March 12, 1960 – August 25, 2021
Service: Tuesday, August 31 at 10 am at the Bethel Methodist Church

Virginia M. Wilson James
October 05, 1928 – August 25, 2021
Service: Friday, August 27 at 10 am at Beulah Methodist Cemetery in Marthaville

Lori Ann O’Bannon Savell
May 16, 1971 – August 24, 2021
Service: Sunday, August 29 at 10 am at 1st Baptist Church of Provencal

Paul O’Con
April 01, 1933 – August 24, 2021
Service: Saturday, August 28 at 10 am at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Porcia Hooper
August 24, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Pastor Carl Means
August 23, 2021
Service: Saturday, August 28 at 10 am at the Christian Outreach Center, 106 Brickyard Road, Natchitoches

Sylvia Morrow
August 20, 2021
Service: Saturday, August 28 at 2 pm at the MLK Center of Natchitoches

Update: Information Regarding Public Drowning on Toledo Bend Lake

The Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office wish to update the public of the drowning which occurred on Toledo Bend Lake on July 31, 2021.
The drowning claimed the lives of 46-year-old Paul L. Murphy Jr. and 44-year-old Joseph L. Sam Jr., both of Opelousas, and 40-year-old James F. Young, of Lafayette.
The investigation is being conducted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries and is still under investigation. Authorities began to look for the three men and their small aluminum boat after they did not return to the boat launch at the end of LA Highway 1215. Some of the men’s fishing gear was found but the boat they were in has not been located. One of the men was found wearing a life jacket and the other two were not.
According to Wildlife and Fisheries Region 3 Captain Trey Mason, the investigation is ongoing and autopsy results of the three men are pending. The preliminary result of the investigation is fresh water drowning at this time.
Wildlife and Fisheries Agents continue to search for boat, which is believed to be on the bottom, when they are out on the lake.
Any specific questions can be directed to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
The Sabine Parish Journal will post any updates or news as it becomes available.

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) enforcement agents are investigating a fatal boating incident that occurred in Sabine Parish on July 30.

The bodies of Paul L. Murphy Jr., 46, of Opelousas, Joseph L. Sam Jr., 44, of Opelousas, James F. Young, 40, of Lafayette, were recovered from Toledo Bend.

LDWF agents were notified around 10 a.m. on July 30 about three overdo boaters on Toledo Bend. According to a witness, the three men launched a 14-foot vessel around 10:30 p.m. on July 30 at the Hwy. 1215 boat launch.

The body of Murphy Jr. was recovered around 12:45 p.m. wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) on July 31 near Stonewall Jackson Dr.  The bodies of Sam Jr. and Young we’re recovered around 7 a.m. on Aug. 1 without wearing PFDs.

The search is continuing for the vessel. It is unknown at this time what happened to cause the men to enter the water and their boat to sink.

LDWF will be the lead investigative agency for this boating incident. LDWF agents and Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies are still looking for the sunken vessel.  The bodies of the men were turned over to the Sabine Parish Coroner’s Office to determine official causes of death.

SPSO T.N.T. Agents and Patrol Deputies arrest three different men in two nights for various drug charges in Sabine Parish

Sheriff T.N.T. Agents and Patrol Deputies arrest three different men in two nights for various drug charges in Sabine Parish.
Fred James Moss (age-51) (Pictured top left) of Hemphill, Texas was arrested on the night of August 13, 2021 by the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Tactical Narcotics Team.
T.N.T. Agents stopped Moss’s vehicle for a traffic violation in the City of Many. Moss told Agents he did not have a driver’s license. After a short investigation, Agents located approximately 31 grams of suspected methamphetamine under the seat of the truck.
Moss was booked into the Sabine Parish Detention Center for Possession with intent to distribute schedule II (Meth), Switched license plates, Unsafe vehicle, Modified exhaust, Driver must be licensed.
Moss’s bond was set at $10,000 and he bonded four days later.
Dajohn Maxwell Hymes (age-28) (Pictured top right) of Natchitoches was arrested on the evening of August 14, 2021.
Deputies stopped Hymes’ vehicle for passing in a no passing zone and speeding on La Hwy 6 east of Many. Deputies located a 20-month-old child unrestrained in the front passenger seat. Further investigation led Deputies to locate and seize a small amount of suspected marijuana, several pills, approximately one pound of synthetic cannabinoids, two measuring scales and a .40 caliber handgun.
Hymes was booked into the Sabine Parish Detention Center for Distribution or possession with intent to distribute schedule I (Synthetic Cannabinoids), Possession of schedule I (Marijuana), Possession of schedule II, Possession of drug paraphernalia, Illegal use of CDS in the presence of persons under 17, Possession of firearm by a convicted felon, Possession of firearm while in possession of CDS, No passing zones, General speed law, Driver must be licensed, Expired MVI, Child passenger restraint system, Vehicles without required equipment or in unsafe condition.
Hymes’ bond was set at $15,000 and he bonded four days later.
Orlando Travon Sloan (age-28) (Pictured bottom center) of Florien was arrested on the night of August 14, 2021 by Patrol Deputies and T.N.T. Agents.
Deputies attempted to stop the vehicle Sloan was driving for a traffic violation on LA 191 near Turtle Beach Road, but he refused to stop. Deputies pursued Sloan’s vehicle south where they observed something thrown from the vehicle near LA Hwy 476. Sloan then turned on LA Hwy 474 where he traveled a short distance and ran from his vehicle into the woods. Sloan was quickly located and taken into custody.  Deputies went to the location where something was thrown from the vehicle and located approximately 17 grams of suspected methamphetamine, a glass smoking device and measuring scale.
Sloan was booked into the Sabine Parish Detention Center for Possession with intent to distribute schedule II (Meth), Possession of drug paraphernalia, Intentional littering, Aggravated flight from an officer, Reckless operation of a vehicle, Resisting an officer by flight, Improper lane usage, Driving under suspension.
Sloan’s bond was set at $10,000 and he remains in jail at this time.
Sheriff Aaron Mitchell commends these Deputies on their hard work, persistence and determination when investigating and arresting these drug users and dealers in the parish. It seems like a never-ending task at times, but Sheriff Mitchell has formed an aggressive, well-trained team of Deputies to help him fight the illegal narcotic problem in Sabine Parish.

Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Tactical Narcotics Team Makes Arrest Drug Arrest in Zwolle

ZWOLLE, La – The Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Tactical Narcotics Team arrested Gary Dewayne Smith (age-45) of Zwolle on the night of August 10, 2021.
T.N.T. Agents stopped the vehicle Smith was driving for a traffic violation on LA Hwy 191 near Zwolle. During the investigation, Smith admitted to having a glass smoking device in his pants pocket. T.N.T. Agents then located approximately 3.8 ounces of suspected methamphetamine, a measuring scale, and several small Ziploc baggies inside the vehicle. Smith had approximately $580 cash in his pants pocket which was also taken and seized.
Smith was booked into the Sabine Parish Detention Center for Possession with intent to distribute schedule II (Meth), Possession of drug paraphernalia, Improper lane usage. Smith’s bond was set at $10,000 by the 11th Judicial District Court and he bonded the next night.

BOM Welcomes New Teller at Hemphill Location

BOM is pleased to announce the addition of Christy Ebarb as a teller at our Hemphill location. Christy graduated from Zwolle High School and earned an associates degree in office technology at Central Louisiana Technical College. She has been married to Robin Ebarb for 21 years and they have four children and four grandchildren. In her spare time, Christy enjoys spending time with family and friends and fishing with her husband. She said, “I enjoy working as a team with my coworkers and look forward to my future here.” Welcome, Christy!

‘Fork ‘Em 4 Pack’ on sale for Sept. 18 home opener vs. UT Martin

There will be a one-time only addition to Northwestern State’s ticket offerings in the 2021 football season.

The NSU ticket office will offer a one-time only “Fork ’Em 4 Pack” for the Demons’ Sept. 18 home opener against UT Martin.

Included in the $99 bundle are four chairback tickets, four unique NSU football hats and one parking pass for the 6 p.m. kickoff against the Skyhawks.

“We’re pulling out all the stops for season tickets — a Corporate Flex pack (10 vouchers to be used across our games for $100), a deeper faculty/staff discount, the Family Four Pack—but we wanted to do something special for our opening game, hence the Fork ’Em 4 Pack,” Assistant Athletic Director for Ticketing and Special Events Mike Jacklich said. “For less than a ‘C-note,’ as my old-school Chicago Godfather used to call a $100 bill, you get four chairback tickets, four exclusive NSU Football hats, and a parking pass. We want to fill Turpin Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 18, and feel this is a great step towards that goal!”

While the “Fork ’Em 4 Pack” will happen for the season opener only, the NSU ticket office offers several plans for groups throughout the season. For more information on all ticket options for Demon football and other NSU sports, contact the athletic ticket office at 318-357-4268.

Photo/Graphic:   Candler Harris/NSU Athletics

Saturday’s LSHOF Roundtable Luncheon provides up-close, memorable moments

The “youngest” event during this weekend’s Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration is the most exclusive, yet casual, opportunity for the public to enjoy hearing from the Class of 2021 inductees.

It’s the LSHOF Roundtable Luncheon coming up Saturday at noon in the ballroom of the Chateau Saint Denis Hotel at 751 Second Street in Natchitoches. There’s still time to be among the 200 guests for the fourth-ever Roundtable Luncheon presented by the Tiger Athletic Foundation.

Registration is available for that event and all other activities during the Induction Celebration beginning Thursday by  calling 318-238-4255.

Festivities begin Thursday evening at 5 with the free of charge La Capitol Federal Credit Union Welcome Reception open to all at the Hall of Fame museum facing the traffic circle on Front Street.

The Roundtable Luncheon starts with tremendous New Orleans-style cuisine and quickly kicks into gear with Fox Sports announcer (and Class of 2020 LSHOF inductee) Tim Brando interviewing small groups of inductees on stage in a very informal and fast-moving setting.

While there are some logical pairings for the interviews, such as New Orleans Saints pass-catching great Marques Colston, LSU legend and nine-year NFL veteran Glenn Dorsey, and longtime NFL referee Terry McAulay, other groups fall together in fun fashion.

Among the other 2021 inductees are two locals: Bo Dowden, born and raised in Natchitoches before he became one of the greatest pro anglers ever, notably the 1980 Bassmasters Classic champion; and longtime Northwestern State sports information director and LSHOF chairman Doug Ireland.

A possible pairing at the luncheon: pitcher vs. hitter. Baton Rouge native Courtney Blades Rogers is ranked among the top 11 all-time hurlers in college softball history. Rickie Weeks was the 2003 college baseball player of the year at Southern, then became an MLB All-Star in a 14-year big league career.

Former LSU track and field coach Pat Henry, who accounted for 27 NCAA team championships by his Tigers, would be on the mythical Mt. Rushmore for college track coaches and has tutored nearly 50 Olympians. Two journalists who covered Henry’s powerhouses at LSU are trailblazing New Orleans sportscaster Ro Brown and Baton Rouge writer Sheldon Mickles.

Some of the best moments of the 2020 Induction Celebration two months ago came at the luncheon when eight-time Mr. Olympia bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman shared the stage with Grambling two-sport standout and legendary Monroe-Richwood High School football coach Mackie Freeze, the oldest-ever inductee at age 94, with Brando posing questions and cracking one-liners.

A poignant scene at the 2019 luncheon unfolded before the program when Peyton Manning stopped by to greet LSU legend Johnny Robinson, who was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame two months later.

It all combines to provide a memorable 90 minutes with guests in close proximity to the legends.

The Hall of Fame Roundtable Luncheon shapes up as a highly entertaining opportunity for guests to have a up-close-and-personal experience and be entertained and well fed.

The Right Face

American Gothic is one of only a few paintings which has transcended being merely a painting and has become a cultural icon.  Like Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Edvard Munch’s The Scream and James McNeill Whistler’s Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1, commonly known as Whistler’s Mother, American Gothic has become one of the most famous paintings in the world.
In the summer of 1930, Grant Wood, a painter from Cedar Rapids, Michigan, was riding with a friend and fellow painter named John Sharp through the town of Eldon, Iowa.  The two painters were looking for inspiration when Grant spotted a little farmhouse with a distinctive upper window.  Grant later explained he “saw such an American Gothic house in southern Iowa, and I imagined American Gothic people with their faces stretched out long, to go with it.”
Grant made a quick sketch of the house on the back of an envelope.  On the following day, Grant got the permission of the homeowners and made a more detailed sketch with oil paints from the front yard.  Grant never saw the house again.  Back in his studio, Grant began painting the gothic farmhouse.  Needing more detail, he requested and received a photograph of the house from the homeowners.  Throughout the process of painting the house, the background in the painting, he considered who he would get to be the male and female models for the people in the painting.
He took great care in picking the female model because he needed someone who would be unoffended by his stretching her face in the painting.  After considering several friends and family members, he settled on Nan Graham.  Grant said Nan’s, “face is nearly as round as mine, so I had to do a great deal of stretching.”
Grant struggled to find the right face for the male figure for his painting, a struggle which had held up the works of other famous artists.  While painting the Last Supper, Leonardo da Vinci had trouble finding the right face for Judas, which he said had to be villainous.  Leonardo spent days walking the streets of Milan, Italy in search of just the right face.  Each face he saw was eliminated for one reason or another until he finally found his Judas.  Similarly, Grant looked carefully at every man he met and considered everyone he knew.  Years before Grant had the idea for the painting, Byron McKeeby had built a bridge for him.  Grant, somewhat of a starving artist, traded a bridge for a bridge.  In lieu of payment, Byron accepted a painting by Grant of a famous bridge in Paris.  Byron had just the right face for Grant’s painting.  With little convincing, Byron agreed to be the male model for Grant’s American Gothic.  A short while later, Grant finished the painting.
In October of 1930, the Art Institute of Chicago accepted two of Grant’s paintings, Stone City and American Gothic, for inclusion in their annual American Artists exposition.  Hundreds of paintings were submitted and rejected.  The Art Institute would accept no more than two paintings each year from the same artist.  For Grant to have two entries accepted was an exceptional honor.  In addition, Grant won the coveted Norman Wait Harris bronze medal and a cash prize of $300 for American Gothic.  Newspapers at the time described it as “a painting of a Gothic type of home at Eldon, IA with two imaginary figures of the artist’s conception of Gothic individuals in the foreground.”
When the exhibition opened, American Gothic became an instant hit.  Newspapers throughout the United States published photographs of the painting and incorrectly described the subjects in the foreground as being of a farmer and his wife.  Wood set the record straight and explained that it was a farmer and his daughter.  In late November, Wood learned that the Friends of American Art had purchased American Gothic for inclusion in the Art Institute of Chicago’s permanent collection.
Not all who saw the painting were impressed.  Mrs. Earl Robinson of Collins, Iowa suggested the artist “hang the portrait in one of our Iowa cheese factories because the woman’s face would positively sour milk.”  In response, Mrs. Nan Graham, the lady in the painting, said she was proud to have been the model for the painting and retorted, “I wish that jealous woman would send me her photograph.  I have a very appropriate place to hang it.”  The lady in the painting whom Grant carefully selected was his younger sister.  
Byron McKeeby, uncomfortable with the publicity he received from the painting, said all of the publicity should go to Grant.  For five years Byron refused to admit his connection with the painting.  “Grant chose the face, I didn’t,” he said with his usual warm smile.  It was true that Grant traded a bridge for a bridge.  Byron builds Grant a bridge and Grant gave Byron a painting of a famous bridge he had painted in Paris, a painting which is now much more valuable than the bridge Byron made for Grant.  You see, Byron was Dr. Byron McKeeby, Grant Wood’s dentist.
1.  The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), October 28, 1930, p. 5.
2.  The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), October 29, 1930, p. 19.
3.  The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), November 27, 1930, p. 12.
4.  The Des Moines Register, December 28, 1930, p.39.
5.  The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), January 25, 1931, p.4.
6.  The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), February 28, 1931, p.5.
7.  The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), March 24, 1935, p.4.

Leslie Gruesbeck named head of the Department of Fine and Graphic Arts

Leslie Gruesbeck has been named head of the Department of Fine and Graphic Arts at Northwestern State University. The appointment has been approved by the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System.

Gruesbeck has been coordinator of gallery activities at Northwestern State since 2006 and a faculty member at NSU since 2009. She teaches courses in design fundamentals, fiber arts and senior exhibit.

As coordinator of galleries, she recruited, scheduled, marketed and installed professional and student exhibitions in two galleries and public spaces throughout campus; curated and registered exhibitions; assisted with grant writing for arts related projects; acted as liaison to other campus organizations and departments as well as the larger community to further promote visual art activities and exhibitions.

“The School of Creative and Performing Arts is looking forward to having Professor Gruesbeck serve as chair of Fine and Graphic Arts,” said Scott Burrell, director of School of Creative and Performing Arts. “She has already begun to implement initiatives that promise to take the arts program’s excellence to the next level. She is a well-known and respected advocate for the arts in both the NSU and Natchitoches communities.”

Gruesbeck has been awarded the Donald F. Derby Endowed Professorship three times. With the support of the professorship, she explored Sturt School of Craft in Mittagong, New South Wales, Australia, attended Penland School of Crafts in Penland, North Carolina, and pursued coursework at the Royal School of Needlework in Surrey, England.

“I believe that the faculty of the Department of Fine and Graphic Arts, and our colleagues across the School of Creative and Performing Arts provide a rich, collaborative experience for our students that truly encourages growth and professional development,” said Gruesbeck. “I look forward to assisting in the growth of our department and the preparation of our students for life as professionals beyond college. “

As a faculty member, Gruesbeck developed the crafts concentration in the Department of Fine and Graphic Arts. She has been responsible for obtaining several grants to enhance the university and the community. Gruesbeck is an active presenter on the state, national and international level of her own work and of art-related research. Many of her presentations have allowed her to collaborate with other Northwestern faculty on interdisciplinary work.

Gruesbeck was registrar of the Alexandria Museum of Art in 2004-05. From 1997 to 2001, she was an administrative and design assistant at Albert & Associates Architects, PA, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and Gallery Manager of A Gallery in Hattiesburg. From 1991 until 1997, she worked with the ADVANCE Program for Young Scholars at NSU as publications assistant to the director, interim director and assistant director.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in Art at Northwestern State. She is working towards a Doctor of Education in Adult Education and Development at NSU.

Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame festivities are about to get going Thursday afternoon

It’s almost showtime for the Class of 2021 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration kicking off Thursday in Natchitoches, including three free events, and running through Saturday night’s induction ceremony.

There’s another star-studded group of inductees, traveling to Natchitoches from six different states, including California, Florida and New Jersey. The hospitality they will experience while in town will create an extraordinary experience like the recently-inducted Class of 2020 (shown above) experienced.

Due to last summer’s pandemic limitations, the Class of 2020 enshrinement was delayed for a year until this June, thus the induction of the Class of 2021 shifted to the end of August.

All state protocols, notably masking and social distancing, will be observed during the upcoming indoor events.

There’s a free event each day, starting with Thursday’s La Capitol Federal Credit Union Welcome Reception from 5-7 p.m. at the Hall of Fame museum, located at the traffic circle on Front Street.

Friday’s freebie is a big one – the Rockin’ River Fest concert on the downtown Natchitoches riverbank, with no admission charge. Music starts at 6 p.m. Friday from iconic local rockers Billy O’Con and BaDD Apple, with the red-hot Baton Rouge-based country band Parish County Line taking the stage from 8:30-10:30. After the 2021 inductees are introduced a little after 9 o’clock, a 10-minute sports-themed fireworks show will explode over Cane River, followed by more PCL tunes.

Saturday morning brings the free Junior Training Camp presented by Natchitoches Regional Medical Center for kids 7-17, hosted by Northwestern State at the WRAC. Football and basketball instruction along with basic sports skills will be taught. Parents need to take a couple minutes before Saturday to register their kids and execute a waiver form on the website. Kids should check in beginning at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

For information on all events and to purchase admission to the four ticketed events, visit the website or call 318-238-4255.

The 2021 LSHOF inductees are headlined by New Orleans Saints star receiver Marques Colston, Major League Baseball All-Star Rickie Weeks from Southern University, and three of LSU’s greatest competitors – basketball’s Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, football stalwart Glenn Dorsey and 27-time national champion track and field coach Pat Henry.

The LSHOF Class of 2021 also spotlights Natchitoches native and 1980 Bassmaster Classic champion Villis “Bo” Dowden, chosen as one of the 35 greatest pro anglers of all-time in a joint ESPN Outdoors/BASS package in 2004. Former Northwestern State sports information director (1989-2019) and longtime Hall of Fame chairman Doug Ireland is going into the Hall as a recipient of the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism.

Baton Rouge ties connect six members of the LSHOF Class of 2021.

Baton Rouge native Courtney Blades Rogers, considered one of college softball’s best pitchers of all time at Nicholls and Southern Mississippi, joins the trio of LSU competitors, along with LSU alumnus Terry McAulay, a Hammond native who in a 20-year NFL officiating career refereed three Super Bowls. Now the NBC Sports officiating analyst for Sunday Night Football and Notre Dame football, McAuley is the 2021 winner of the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award.

Other recipients of the journalism award are trailblazing New Orleans television sports anchor Ro Brown, and Baton Rouge Advocate sportswriter Sheldon Mickles.

Notice of Death – August 24, 2021

James Leonard LaRue
July 8, 1946 – August 23, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Stevie Carroll
October 6, 1941 – August 22, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Bro. Howard Pennington
October 8, 1946 – August 22, 2021
Service: Wednesday, August 25 at 1 pm at Emmanuel Gospel Pentecostal Church

Paul O’Con
April 01, 1933 – August 24, 2021
Service: Saturday, August 28 at 10 am at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Porcia Hooper
August 24, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Pastor Carl Means
August 23, 2021
Service: Saturday, August 28 at 10 am at the Christian Outreach Center, 106 Brickyard Road, Natchitoches

Sylvia Morrow
August 20, 2021
The final care arrangements for this former City Councilwoman and Natchitoches Parish educator are pending at this writing. Keep this family lifted in prayer.

James E. Sandifer, Sr.
October 22, 1938 – August 23, 2021
Service: Thursday, August 26 at 11 am at Southern Funeral Home

Annette Brigance Skains
May 10, 1964 – August 19, 2021
Service: Saturday, August 28 at 10 am at the First Presbyterian Church in Winnfield

Shari Ann Balzrette
July 15, 1941 – August 22, 2021
Service: Wednesday, August 25 at 11 am at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home Chapel

Stephen Ray Elias
December 30, 1968 – August 20, 2021
Service: Saturday, August 28 at 11 am at Grand Bayou Event Center