Jay Cicero, leader of Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, will get 2022 Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award

NATCHITOCHES – Shreveport native Jay Cicero, the longtime President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, is the 2022 winner of the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award presented by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

Next summer during the Hall of Fame’s 2022 Induction Ceremony in Natchitoches, he will become the 22nd recipient of the Dixon Award since its inception in 2005, and will be enshrined in the Hall.

The Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award has been presented annually by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s 40-member Hall of Fame selection committee to an individual who has played a decisive role as a sports leader or administrator benefiting Louisiana and/or bringing credit to Louisiana on the national and international level.

It is named in honor of the 1999 LSHOF inductee, an entrepreneur and innovator who is credited as the key figure in bringing an NFL franchise to New Orleans, and the development of the Caesars Superdome, highlighting an array of sports-related endeavors.

Cicero’s selection was announced Wednesday morning by LSWA president Raymond Partsch III and Doug Ireland, the longtime chairman of the Hall of Fame. Cicero emerged from a ballot showcasing 23 noteworthy nominees for the Dixon Award.

With more than 35 years of sports management experience in Louisiana, including 24 years as president and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, Cicero has led efforts in the Crescent City to not only bring dozens of major sporting events to New Orleans, but to serve as the head of the local organizing efforts for those events.

He will be inducted 30 years after the GNOSF made its first big national splash as the organizing entity for the 1992 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials hosted at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans.

Cicero began his career in sports in group sales and marketing in his hometown for the Class AA Shreveport Captains in 1986. He first joined the Sports Foundation in 1990 as Director of Special Projects and Director of Sales for the 1992 Olympic Trials.

In February 1993, Cicero was named the first general manager of the Class AAA New Orleans Zephyrs, who had just moved to town from Denver. In 1995, he returned to the Sports Foundation as Vice President of Operations and was named President/CEO in June 1997.

As the President/CEO of the Sports Foundation, Cicero has served in numerous senior leadership roles, including as the executive director of the 2002, 2013 and 2025 New Orleans Super Bowl Host Committees and the 2008, 2014 and 2017 NBA All-Star Game Host Committees, as well as serving on the executive committees for Super Bowls, several NCAA Men’s and Women’s Final Fours, the annual R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, two WrestleManias and the College Football Playoff championship game.

Cicero grew up in a sports family. His father was a teacher and coached football and baseball at Shreveport’s Loyola Prep, formerly St. John’s and Jesuit, for more than four decades.

Cicero will be among the 2022 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Class headlined by nine “competitive ballot” inductees announced in September.

A pair of six-time Pro Bowl NFL linemen, New Orleans Saints’ offensive guard Jahri Evans and Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams, join the late Tony Robichaux, No. 1 on the wins list for state college baseball coaches, among a star-studded group of nine 2022 competitive ballot inductees.

The LSHOF Class of 2022 also includes two of the greatest women athletes in LSU history, three-time national champion gymnast Susan Jackson and two-time first-team All-America softball pitcher Britni Sneed Newman. Williams, who helped the Tigers’ football team win the 2003 national championship, is joined by another of LSU’s all-time great linemen, the late Eric Andolsek, and pro rodeo great Steve Duhon among the 2022 inductees.

Baton Rouge-Episcopal High School track and field/cross country coach Claney Duplechin enters the Hall next summer still active, with his teams capturing an astounding 64 LHSAA crowns in his career. Rounding out the Class of 2022 is the late Dr. Eddie Flynn, who as a Loyola-New Orleans student won the 1932 Olympic welterweight boxing gold medal for the USA, the last gold medal for an American boxer for 20 years.

Inducted next summer as winners of the LSWA’s Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism will be acclaimed north Louisiana writer, author and broadcaster Teddy Allen and central Louisiana writer, editor and publisher Garland Forman.

The 2022 Induction Class will be showcased in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum, operated by the Louisiana State Museum system in a partnership with the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. The striking $23 million, two-story, 27,500-square foot structure faces Cane River Lake in the National Historic Landmark District of Natchitoches and has garnered worldwide architectural acclaim and rave reviews for its contents since its grand opening during the 2013 Hall of Fame induction weekend.

The 2021 Dixon Award winner was retired NFL referee Terry McAulay, a Hammond native and LSU graduate. McAulay, now the rules analyst for NBC’s Sunday Night Football, is one of a handful of referees to work three Super Bowls.

The 2020 recipient was Joan Cronan, an Opelousas native and LSU graduate who became one of the most respected administrators in collegiate athletics as women’s athletics director, and then overall athletics director, at the University of Tennessee.

Other past Dixon Award recipients include the 2018 winner, Steve Gleason, the former New Orleans Saints player who has become globally acknowledged as one of the world’s leading advocates for people diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

In 2008, the Dixon Award went to world-renowned orthopedic Dr. James Andrews, a Homer native, LSU graduate and SEC champion pole vaulter.

Paul Hoolahan, executive director and chief executive officer of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Classic for 23 years, was presented the 2015 Dixon Award.

The 2016 winner was world-renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Julian Bailes, a Natchitoches native and LSU graduate who has become a leading figure in the field of sports-related concussion research and treatment.

Sue Donohoe, who served as the NCAA’s vice president for women’s basketball for 12 years, and also directed the men’s basketball NCAA Division I championship, was the 2017 recipient.

The 2022 LSHOF Induction Celebration is slated to kick off Thursday, June 23, with a press conference and reception. The three-day festivities include two receptions, a youth sports clinic, a bowling party, and a Friday night riverbank concert in Natchitoches. Tickets for the Saturday night, June 25 Induction Ceremony, along with congratulatory advertising and sponsorship opportunities, are available through the LaSportsHall.com website.

Adding to the 366 sports competitors currently enshrined, 21 winners of the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership award and 69 recipients of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism, there are 455 current members of the Hall of Fame.

The Induction Celebration weekend will be hosted by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, the support organization for the Hall of Fame. The LSHOF Foundation was established as a 501 c 3 non-profit entity in 1975 and is governed by a statewide board of directors. For information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Foundation President/CEO Ronnie Rantz at 225-802-6040.

The National Holiday: Thanksgiving

When we think of Thanksgiving, we mostly think of the pilgrims at the first colonies in the Americas dining with the Native Americans they met when they landed. However, this was just the beginning. It was a long road to travel before Thanksgiving became an official holiday.

George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789, calling on Americans to express gratitude for the happy conclusion of the American Revolution and the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.

The National Holiday as we know it is thanks to magazine editor and prolific writer Sarah Josepha Hale, who launched a campaign in 1827. According to History.com, “Abraham Lincoln finally heeded her request in 1863, at the height of the Civil War, in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to ‘commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife’ and to ‘heal the wounds of the nation.’”

Lincoln scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November. Later on, Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. His plan was met with passionate opposition, and in 1941 he reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.

According to a blog by the Indianapolis Public Library, “Indigenous Peoples in America recognize Thanksgiving as a day of mourning. It is a time to remember ancestral history as well as a day to acknowledge and protest the racism and oppression which they continue to experience today. It is important to learn and remember the full history of colonization and the reality that it included centuries of genocide, the theft of land, and oppression.”

Second Hand Table

Way before the likes of Ebay, Facebook Marketplace and Craig’s list there was a relic that was distributed once a week called the classified ads. My parents were the type of humans who pounced on the paper as soon as it was printed just to see what was for sale. I distinctly remember it being separated into categories. Some of the notables were: cars, guns, furniture, clothes and homes for rent or sale.

If you have ever met my father then you are aware he was probably looking at the gun selections and my mother was consistently looking at furniture. Having to raise three children on meager salaries left very little money for the luxury of paying full price for anything. It wasn’t out of character for us to come home to a new-to-us piece of furniture or something that was purchased second hand.
On one particular day after I had already moved out of the house, I stopped by my parents’ house for a quick visit. When I walked in I noticed that my father, with a polishing rag in hand, was carefully making his was around a new-to-us table and chairs. He was methodically moving around and wiping as my mom directed.

“George, you missed a spot,” I can still hear her saying this in her soft but almost panicked and firm tone. And, then he would circle back until it met her approval.
I couldn’t help but notice the sparkle in her eye as she stared at this table. It was as if she wanted me to ask questions. So, I did.

She went on to tell me that it was a solid maple table made by the company, “Tell City”. She had wanted one of these tables ever since she got married and that everyone, she knew had this kind of table while growing up. She also explained that it was owned by the parents of one of the owners of a furniture store in Natchitoches so it had to have been well taken care of.

She was completely smitten and mesmerized by this table and I was so tickled to see the pure joy in her eyes as she explained how to tell if it was Tell City or not. As of today, I still have an eye for this distinct style of furniture. I never will forget our holidays gathered around that second hand table.

Many years after my mother passed away, I answered a call from a cousin to assist in the packing up of my aunt’s home while she made the transition to assisted living. That day many cousins showed up and helped pack and liquidate decades of memories. While she knew she could not bring all of her belongings with her, she wanted to make sure that everyone who purchased something from her home, knew where it came from and how well it had been cared for. It was possibly the sweetest estate sale of the century.

Over a two-day period almost everything had sold as she planned except for her dining room table and chairs. My cousin had mentioned that she did not want to part with it because it was solid maple and well crafted.

Uh oh, I knew exactly what this meant. I told my cousin that it was probably Tell City, and once she climbed out from under the table she looked at me with an affirmative nod. At the time I did not need a dining room table but I told her I would try to help them sell it. To no avail, a few days went by and I received a call from my aunt. I was tasked with telling her that I could not find anyone to purchase the valuable table so she asked if I decided if I needed one and If I did she would make me a really nice deal. I was silent for a moment as I was thoroughly thinking about it, then she quietly said, “Reeber, your mom always liked this table.” She has always called me,

“Reeber”, and I have always loved the way she says it. I could hear the sparkle in her voicewhen she offered me this treasure.

With those few words spoken all I could say was, “Sold, when can I pick it up?”

I couldn’t stand the thought of this second-hand-solid maple block-once loved by my mom-table going to another home other than my own.

This Thanksgiving It doesn’t matter if you gathered around a second-hand table that has held decades of memories in the past or celebrated around a new table with new memories to come.  As long as you were thankful and grateful. Breaking bread with family can happen in the best of times or the worst of times but there is nothing more precious than family.

“They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts praising God.”Acts 2:46

American Legion Auxiliary to operate Food Post during Christmas Festival to benefit local Veterans

The Gordon Peters Post, Unit 10, of the American Legion Auxiliary in Natchitoches encourages you to visit our Post located at the corner of Fourth and Saint Denis Streets (the old Tin House location) for gumbo, chili, hot dogs, drinks, etc. for sale at reasonable prices. Our Post will also be open for food sales on Saturday, Dec. 4, Christmas Festival Day, from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Parking is available on both dates at reasonable rates as well. All proceeds will benefit our local Veterans.

An Angler’s Thanksgiving

Now that we have carved the turkey and taken a nap while watching the Dallas Cowboys traditional Thanksgiving Day game, we can now turn our attention to Christmas. But before we begin to think about jolly Ole St. Nick, let’s take a look at why I’m so thankful. No one appreciates more than me the opportunities I’ve had over the years to pursue and chase largemouth bass all across the southern United States. As a bass fisherman, I am truly blessed in so many ways. While I’m sure I’ll probably leave something out, here’s my list of what I’m thankful for.

1.    My health… At the age of 60, and still in decent shape, I’m able to get in and out of my boat without busting my butt. I can still make that giant leap onto the front deck and drop the trolling motor in the water. I can fish all day and still feel pretty good the next day, as long as I’m taking my joint supplements and Aleve!

2.    My boat… As a young man growing up, I looked forward to the day I would be launching my 20-foot Ranger bass boat with a 250 HP Yamaha engine on the back and the best Minn Kota trolling motor (Ultrex)… that with the push of a button will lock you down on a brush pile in the middle of the lake.  It is a boat fully carpeted with awesome seats that rides like a luxury car and the best state of the art electronics that could probably help navigate your way to the moon and back.

3.    The best rods and reels…. Another blessing is being a part of an awesome company like Daiwa. They have a tremendous line of rods and reels that I have used for the last six years, that just might be the best on the planet.

4.    My relationships with certain companies…. Over the years, I’ve forged relationships with companies like Ranger Boats, Daiwa, SPRO, Gamakatsu, V&M,  Seaguar fishing line and Santone Lures. Great companies that are staples in the bass fishing industry. What a blessing!

5.    Great tournament organizations … I love competition and today anglers have a multitude of options to choose from. Organizations like B.A.S.S. and Major League Fishing (MLF) offer a wide range of tournaments for all skill levels from high school to college to professional. At no time in history has there been so many bass fishing opportunities that allow anglers to compete.

6.    The best lakes in the country….Take a pen and draw a 150-mile radius around Natchitoches, Louisiana, and you will have circled three of top 10 lakes in the country. Located right here in our own back yard are legendary lakes like Toledo Bend, Sam Rayburn and Caddo. But just outside that radius in East Texas sit Lake Fork, Lake of the Pines, Lake Monticello, and I’ll even throw in the Red River, just because of its history of hosting the Bassmaster Classic twice and a place I love to fish.

7.    Friends and fellow competitors…. This is what makes tournament bass fishing special. The friendships and connections I have made through bass fishing is insane. While all of us want to win every time we launch our boats, there’s something special about the relationships you form with fellow anglers that cannot be explained. Just like any other sport, there are “clicks” or groups of guys that will help each other during an event like maybe sharing a technique they’re using or sharing information about a bait they’re getting bites on. Within each of these clicks though, is a word called trust. Bass anglers are a funny bunch when it comes to sharing info and before they will share, trust must be established. Just like a marriage, if trust is broken, that bond is severed forever.

One more thing, as an outdoorsman I’ve had the joy of watching some of the best sunrises and sunsets ever seen. God paints an awesome display each and every day on a giant blue canvas. There’s something special in the air on a tournament morning just before take-off with the sun rising in the east and anglers sitting on the water. It’s an indescribable feeling of how good God is and what a privilege it is to get to do what I do. I’m truly thankful for all of this, and so much more, that I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy during my long bass fishing career. Till next week, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to set the hook! Make sure to check out the Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Show for the latest news and information related to the great outdoors every Wednesday at 11:00 and Saturday mornings at 6:00 on AM 1130 The Tiger or go to hutdshow.com

to see our latest episode.

Steve Graf

33rd Annual Christmas Gala to be performed Dec. 1-3

01 Opening

The Mrs. H.D. Dear Sr. and Alice E. Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts at Northwestern State University will present the 33rd annual Christmas Gala Dec. 1-3 in the A.A. Fredericks Auditorium. Performance times are 7 p.m. each evening with a 9 p.m. performance on Dec. 3.

This will be the first time in three years a live Christmas Gala will be performed in the renovated A.A. Fredericks Auditorium. The 2019 Gala was moved off campus due to construction in the auditorium. Last year’s performance was virtual due to the pandemic.

Tickets are $15. NSU, BPCC@NSU and Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts students are admitted free with a current student I.D.

“The Christmas Gala is eagerly anticipated by both local audiences and our students who perform and work behind the scenes,” said Gala Director Brett Alan Garfinkel. “The School of Creative and Performing Arts works on the Gala year-round to be sure we provide a memorable event for the community.”

The Gala will feature performances by the NSU Jazz Orchestra, “Out on a Limb Improv” Troupe, the NSU Dance Company, NSU Percussion Ensemble, Demon Dazzlers, Demon Heat Colorguard, NSU Brass Choir, NSU Chamber Choir and the Natchitoches-Northwestern-Symphony Orchestra,

The Gala story was written by NSU students Olivia Hancock of Dubach, Mekayla Jenkins of Jennings, Mikiah Odom of Marshall. Texas, and Kaylon Willoughby of Hammond. Ensemble directors and conductors are Galindo Rodriguez, Robert Richoux, Kenneth Green, David Steele, Jena Elfer, Dr. Grace Edgar, Dr. Nicholaus B. Cummins, Dr. Douglas Bakenhus and Garfinkel. Choreographers are Pia Wyatt, Kirstin Riehl, Rebecca Morgan and Michael Lomeka.

More than 400 Northwestern State students, faculty and staff in the School of Creative and Performing Arts combine their talents to present the Gala as a kickoff to the Natchitoches Christmas Festival. Large crowds attend the Gala each year which is based on the long-running Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular.

Garfinkel said the Gala will combine popular parts from past shows along with new elements that are added this year. He said this year’s Christmas Gala will be a version of a Louisiana Nutcracker.

“A Fais-do-do will take the place of the usual Christmas Party,” said Garfinkel. “Instead of the Land of the Sweets in Act II the show will take a journey through the Land of Spices. The music and performance acts will have a Louisiana flare.”

Sabine Parish Basketball Scores

Check out this week’s basketball scores for Sabine Parish! 
Florien High School Tournament
November 18, 19, 20
Florien 46 (9-1)
Ebarb 25 (2-5)
Ebarb 46 (3-5)
Pleasant Hill 36 (1-5)
Anacoco 79 (5-3)
Pleasant Hill 67 (1-4)
Anacoco 82 (6-3)
Converse 37 (1-5)
Florien 43 (8-1)
Negreet 20 (5-5)
Florien 53 (10-1)
Zwolle 49 (4-3
Zwolle 65 (5-3)
Negreet 47 (5-6)
Anacoco 61 (9-0)
Ebarb 39 (4-4)
Converse 52 (2-5)
Ebarb 49 (4-5)
Pleasant Hill 59 (5-2)
Negreet 36 (3-8)
Anacoco 51 (10-0)
Zwolle 35 (5-3)
Florien 50 (5-5)
Converse 41 (1-5)
Negreet 49 (3-7)
Florien 47 (4-5)
Zwolle 71 (6-3)
Florien 46 (5-6)

Winn Parish Journal Executive Editor Chosen to be Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy Fellow

Jodi Taylor can be seen in the third picture of the last row
The Parish Journal’s family is proud to announce that one of our own, Executive Editor of the Winn Parish Journal, Jodi Taylor, has been chosen to be a Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy Fellow.
According to the press release distributed by the Delta Regional Authority, the DLI is an extensive, nine-month executive leadership program that brings together public, private, and nonprofit sector leaders from the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt.
The DLI Executive Academy empowers fellows with the tools, experiences, and networks needed to address local and regional challenges. Sessions led by local, regional, and national experts cover policy areas such as infrastructure and transportation, small business and entrepreneurship, workforce development, public health, and other sectors necessary to facilitate economic growth in the region. As a result, DLI fellows graduate with improved decision-making skills, policy development know-how, strengthened leadership capacity, and a mutual understanding of regional, state, and local cultures and issues.
“Every Parish Journal’s editor strives to make a difference in the parish they serve. To that end, I’m very excited to be chosen to be a DLI Fellow to learn all I can to help Winn parish and the Delta Region of Louisiana,” stated Mrs. Taylor.
The 252 counties and parishes served by the Delta Regional Authority make up one of the most distressed regions of the country, facing profound economic, health, educational, and infrastructure challenges. The Delta Leadership Institute was created to empower a corps of leaders with the tools, experiences, and networks to address these local and regional challenges. The DLI Executive Academy trains leaders from diverse backgrounds, sectors, and industries to improve the economic competitiveness and social viability of the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt.
The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to promote and encourage the economic development of the lower Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions. DRA invests in projects supporting transportation infrastructure, basic public infrastructure, workforce training, and business development. DRA’s mission is to help create jobs, build communities, and improve the lives of those who reside in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state region.

To read the full press release click here. https://dra.gov/newsroom/press-release/delta-regional-authority-announces-2022-delta-leadership-institute-executiv/

If you’re dead, why even take a shower?

Former Times sportswriter Jim McLain died a little more than three years ago, something I’d forgotten about until I saw him the other day in Shreveport.

It is not often you get to talk to your friends, in person, after they die. But Mr. McLain, a reporter for nearly 40 years and a member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame since 1995 when he was presented the Distinguished Service Award, is nothing if not durable. Even after he’d died, he’d gone about his business, pro that he is.

Turns out that, according to Jim, the only really good part about being dead and not knowing about it is the being, as he describes it, “blissfully unaware.” But once he found out he was dead, well, it was a bit of a different ballgame.

“I might not have known I was dead for several more weeks if I hadn’t gotten a call from my doctor’s office,” he said.

The woman was pleasant when he answered but confused when, after she asked his name, he identified himself as the proposed deceased. The doctor’s secretary even asked to speak to his wife, who verified she’d been cooking and washing clothes all week for the same 80-year-old she’d been married to for half a century.

Mrs. McLain had done that work for nothing, according to the government. A recent Medicare claim filed on behalf of Mr. McLain had bounced back with the notation that, according to the latest records, he was dead.

Sorry. But there you have it. Who said life, or death, was fair?

Jim suggested refiling the claim. Probably a typing error had occurred, he reasoned. But the following Wednesday after the mail arrived, he heard his wife yelling through the shower door, something about the Caddo Parish Registrar of Voters removing him – well, removing his corpse – from the voter rolls. “Hate to say it,” she said, “but it looks like this time, you really are dead.”

Thought No. 1 for Mr. Jim: “Wasted shower.” Thought No. 2: “The government has lost me and if I’m to be found, I have to send out my own search party.” Thought No. 3: “Why am I still hungry?”

He called his local Social Security Administration, hoping to avoid the fiscal pinch of missed checks and the like since, as the Medicare episode had taught him – and as the mutual funds people who wanted to settle his estate would soon tell him – the money gets sort of shut off or redirected once you start showing up dead. This happens to an estimated 14,000 people a year; if the Social Security Administration accidentally kills you, or lists you as dead, it’s good to let them know they have fumbled. You want to get off their Death Master File. You want to be, in the parlance of the agency, “resurrected” or “un-dead.” It’s not too much to ask, and in simplest terms, this is generally what is advised for you to do: go into the Social Security office with proper ID, the forms listing you as deceased, and prove that you have not “got dead.”

Turns out that in Jim’s case, an out-of-state funeral home had turned in his social Security number, obviously by mistake. The problem was quickly solved, a real shot in the arm to Jim but also for his loyal wife, who wasn’t doing all that cooking and cleaning for nothing after all.

Though he never found out how he died, Jim did find out when: March 12. “I have circled the 12th of March on every calendar since,” he said. “The Feds attempted to eliminate me once. They could try again.”

In the spare time that he’s been alive since retiring, Jim has written “Double Team Trap,” a Cold War spy thriller available online. If you pick up a copy he’s sure to sign it for you – if you can get to him before the government does. – August 24, 2014
Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu