Deputy Announced after Graduating from Training Academy

Sheriff Aaron Mitchell announces Deputy Randy Sims graduated from the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office Correctional Training Academy on Oct. 27.
Deputy Sims received a Level 2 Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Basic Correctional Peace Officer Certificate from the State of Louisiana.
Level 2 consist of a minimum of 249 hours and is for peace officers whose duties are civil process or care and custody of inmates, and includes defensive tactics and POST Firearm Certification.
Louisiana Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (POST) was established by Act 397 of 1976 to develop training standards for peace officers in the State of Louisiana.
Deputy Sims persevered through 9 weeks of intense training to complete Session 53 of Rapides Correctional Academy, and is currently a Civil Process Server under Sergeant Keith Gentry.
Sheriff Mitchell and Chief Deputy Brad Walker congratulate Deputy Sims for his hard work and dedication in successfully completing the training academy.

Mike “Coach” McConathy Announces His Candidacy for State Senate District 31

Long time Northwestern State University coaching legend Mike McConathy announced his candidacy for the Louisiana State Senate seat being vacated by the current Senator, Louie Bernard. McConathy made his announcement at a campaign kickoff event at the Natchitoches Events Center, Thursday, October 27.

A crowd of supporters gathered around the podium and listened to Mike as he thanked his family and the people who came out to support him. He spoke of the things such as faith, family, and hard work, that have shaped his life. He also spoke of the challenges facing our state such as our young people leaving for opportunities elsewhere.

The election for Louisiana State Senate District 31 will be held on October 14, 2023. The Natchitoches Parish Journal urges every eligible person to make their voice heard at the polls.

State shows largest gains on Nation’s Report Card

BATON ROUGE – Louisiana’s 4th grade students led the country in reading growth, according to The Nation’s Report Card, released on Oct. 24 by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). In the first national assessments since the global pandemic and two historic hurricane seasons disrupted Louisiana classrooms, Louisiana was a leader in the nation exceeding national trends.

“I want to thank our teachers for their efforts through the pandemic and multiple hurricanes,” said Dr. Cade Brumley, Louisiana’s State Superintendent of Education. “This is not a ‘jump for joy’ moment because we still want to get better; however, they show our strategy for academic recovery and acceleration is working.”

Over the last two years, Louisiana has implemented a number of policy decisions to curb the state’s long-standing literacy crisis. In 2011, 55 percent of Louisiana 4th graders scored basic or above on NAEP. Eight years later that number was exactly the same. This year’s results show that 57 percent of Louisiana 4th graders are now scoring basic or above in reading.

“The progress our 4th graders made in reading is a testament to Louisiana’s educators for embracing our fundamental shift in how we teach students to read,” said Dr. Jenna Chiasson, Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning. “We’ve set ambitious goals for our children and these results are a step in the right direction.”

Louisiana ranks No. 1 in the nation for 2022 improvement in 4th grade reading scale scores and proficiency rates. Louisiana’s improvement outpaced national trends in all four NAEP grades and subjects.

“We shouldn’t chase shiny things and get distracted in Louisiana,” said Dr. Brumley. “Let’s focus on fundamentals like reading and math, supporting educators, and empowering parents.”

Results nationally and in Louisiana demonstrate the pandemic’s impact on students over the last couple of years. The disruptions to education were further exacerbated in Louisiana by hurricanes such as Laura and Ida. In comparison to 2019, Louisiana’s 4th grade reading improved by 2 points while the national average declined by 3 points. In 8th grade reading, Louisiana’s score remained about the same compared to a 3-point decline nationally. In 4th grade math, Louisiana saw a 2-point decline compared to a 5-point decline nationally. In 8th grade math, Louisiana saw a 6-point decline compared to an 8-point decline nationally.

For the second consecutive year, Louisiana school systems are developing their Louisiana Comeback plan. Last school year’s data, system plans, and a financial dashboard can be found at School system proposals focusing on attendance, well-being, recovery, acceleration, and professional learning for the present school year are under review by the Department.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)—also known as The Nation’s Report Card—assesses 4th and 8th graders in reading and math. It had been suspended since 2019 due to the global pandemic. It is the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what students in the United States know and can do in various subject areas and is frequently referred to as the “gold standard” of student assessments.

The NAEP mathematics and reading assessments in grades 4 and 8 have been conducted every two years since 2003. The 2022 mathematics and reading assessments were administered between January and March 2022. Teachers, principals, parents, policymakers, and researchers all use NAEP results to assess progress and develop ways to improve education in the United States. Standard assessment administration practices are implemented to provide a common measure of student achievement.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), within the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), is charged by Congress with administering the NAEP program. The National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) sets policy for the NAEP program.

Fort Jesup 200 Year Celebration

Celebrate the Bicentennial of Fort Jesup at Fort Fest on Nov. 12. 
There will be Living History, folk artists, crafts, and modern vendors. It’s a great opportunity for unique Christmas Shopping! Activities will be inclusive for all ages.
Admission Prices:
$ 6 for ages 12-61
$ 3 for ages 4-11
Free for under 3 and over 62
There will be a Grand Garrison Ball from 6:30-8:30 pm. Tickets are $12 per person.
All proceeds for Fort Fest and Garrison Ball will go to improve Fort Jesup Historic Site.

Sabine Parish Sergeants Undergo Training

Sheriff Aaron Mitchell reports Sabine Parish Detention Center Sergeants John Potter, Austen Early, Steve Procell, and Kyle Roberts attended training at the Louisiana State Police Headquarters in Baton Rouge. Sergeants learned the latest procedures with Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) and Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).
AFIS is a database that has the ability to classify, match, and store fingerprints and palm prints and contains prints from both criminal and applicant records.
CODIS is a national DNA information repository maintained by the FBI that allows state and local crime laboratories to store and compare DNA profiles from crime-scene evidence and convicted offenders.
Fingerprints and DNA are taken from arrestees booked into the Sabine Parish Detention Center. These are entered into the AFIS and CODIS databases respectively.
Sheriff Mitchell said all Sabine Parish Sheriff Deputies receive the latest training available to fully perform their daily duties.

Louisiana Violent Crime Task Force Being Formed

Legislation to create the new Louisiana Violent Crime Task Force is being drafted by State Representative Alan Seabaugh, R-Shreveport, to study the dramatic rise in violent crime in Louisiana with an emphasis on determining its cause and crafting solutions to help tackle the problem legislatively.

“The rise in violent crime is a significant problem in every part of Louisiana,” said Rep. Seabaugh. “From our most rural parishes to our largest urban centers, every corner of Louisiana has seen a significant rise in violent crime over the past few years. It’s time that we stop complaining about the problem and have some real discussions about why this is happening and what we can do to put an end to it.”

The proposal has gained significant support from groups across Louisiana. Everyone from the Sheriffs and District Attorneys associations to Attorney General Jeff Landry, and even the Bayou Mama Bears are excited about the prospect of implementing real solutions to Louisiana’s violent crime epidemic.

“Violent crime continues to plague our communities,” said Louisiana Sheriffs Association President and Franklin Parish Sheriff Kevin Cobb “Louisiana is the top state for homicides and has one of the highest violent crime rates in the nation. As sheriffs, we took an oath to protect public safety and ensure laws are enforced, and we cannot stand by and allow this trend to continue.”

Representative Seabaugh stressed that the focus of any discussion regarding Louisiana’s violent crime problem must start with the 2017 criminal justice reforms referred to as the Justice Reinvestment Act. This was a highly controversial series of legislation designed to reduce Louisiana’s prison population, which it largely succeeded in doing. Louisiana’s current prison population is just over half of its 2017 levels. The dramatic spike in violent crime almost immediately followed this reduction in prison population across Louisiana.

“The relationship between the two seems clear, but there are those who deny the connection,” Rep. Seabaugh said. “It is time that we had a deeper, fact-based look into this issue and that we be willing to admit that perhaps some mistakes were made.”

The Louisiana District Attorneys Association agrees that the solutions must start with a close look at the 2017 legislation. Loren Lampert, Executive Director of the Louisiana District Attorneys Association, said, “LA District Attorneys have always maintained that we needed 5 complete years of data before we will be able to determine the long-term impacts of the 2017 reforms. Nov. 1, 2023, marks the passing of 5 complete years.” “We agree that it is time to objectively study the impact of this sweeping legislation and determine exactly what the costs and savings have been. This will also serve to determine what impact – if any – the reforms have had on the surge in violent crime over the last 3 years.”

Attorney General Jeff Landry has long been a critic of the 2017 criminal justice changes and strongly endorsed the task force. “As I predicted, the governor’s failed criminal justice reform has resulted in new victims of violent crime,” said Landry. “Instead of dangerously releasing criminals back into society in order to simply check a political box, the governor should have ensured convicts get the treatment and training they need to become productive members of society.”

The Bayou Mama Bears, a rapidly growing statewide group of women fed up with the rise of violent crime and lack of safe streets for their children, has also endorsed the new task force. “As crime surges across Louisiana, women across our state are now living in constant fear of being the next victim of violent crime,” said Laura Rodrigue, founder of the Bayou Mama Bears and a former prosecutor in Jefferson and Orleans Parishes. “We worry about protecting ourselves, and more importantly, our children. We applaud our leaders who recognize the need for change and who are committed to making that change. The Bayou Mama Bears will continue to fight to protect our Louisiana families and we will continue to recognize those leaders who stand beside us.”

The new task force will be created by legislation that Rep. Seabaugh plans to introduce during the 2023 legislative session. “This is not the time for half-measures or another ‘step in the right direction’ type approach. This is a battle that we cannot afford to lose,” Seabaugh said.

Getting the better end of the deal

When I was a young dude, I knew a fella by the name of Ashley Benefield. It’s been a long time since I’ve thought of Ashley, and I’m not sure what brought him to mind. But sometime this week I started thinking about him and the time he spent in my life.

Ashley was in his 20s when I first came to know him. I was a 10th grader upon our initial meeting, and the first words he spoke to me weren’t exactly friendly. He was at an August football practice, watching the pieces placed of what would become that fall’s football team in Haynesville. This is (or at least was) a common practice in that small Claiborne Parish town on the Louisiana- Arkansas border – townsfolk coming to watch Red’s boys get ready for their next foe.

It was a particularly hot August. If the latter part of summer is known as the Dog Days, then that year’s final few weeks could only have been known as the Great Dane Days of summer.

I was young, 14 or 15 or something like that, and I didn’t know what I was doing out there. I made mistakes, lots of them, and the person I heard from the most about those mistakes was Ashley. That first comment came when I lined up on a scout play. I jumped offside, and during a water break Ashley was just close enough to tell me I was going to be another “Joe Smith.”

He didn’t actually use the name “Joe Smith.” I’m changing the name of the person he actually referred to in an effort to protect the innocent, like an old Dragnet episode. I didn’t know who Joe Smith was, but apparently Joe Smith was someone who Ashley held in low esteem.

After practice, I asked one of the team’s older players about Joe Smith and, moreover, about the guy rudely calling me Joe Smith.

I learned that Joe was a player from a 1980s Haynesville team who jumped offside late in a game against Springhill. As memory serves, the penalty occurred on a Lumberjack field goal attempt. The kick sailed wide, but the infraction gave another chance to the Webster Parish rival. The second kick was true. Springhill won. Haynesville lost. And apparently the Tors didn’t make the playoffs or some such similar devastating tragedy. Losing football games is a big deal in Haynesville. This remains true even today.

“And who is that guy?” I asked, gesturing to Ashley, who was now mingling with some of the senior football players and making all of them laugh along with him.

“You don’t know Ashley?” I shook my head.

“Well, he’s the Superfan.”

In the two years that followed that first interaction, Ashley and I became friends. I learned that Ashley’s greatest love in life was that of Haynesville football. It consumed him, brought him to practice, brought him to pep rallies, brought him to team events. He was welcomed, and he was loved. Now that’s not to say Ashley couldn’t be a little unnerving. He was literally the most intense person I have ever met, and his intensity knew no bounds. He would talk to some of the coaches about strategy, asking questions, offering suggestions. For the most part, everyone was kind to him despite his large personality.

His was a personality and a heart that were bigger than his slight frame. Ashley was thought of as the Superfan, but he didn’t look super. He was a rail, probably weighed 90 pounds. But what made him superb wasn’t on the outside but rather within. You see, Ashley was ill, terminally. He was born with Cystic Fibrosis, and each breath he took was a struggle.

He had long outlived his life expectancy, and he knew there was little time for him. His conditioned worsened with every turn of the calendar, and by the time I had reached senior year, Ashley reached his end. The last time I saw him was in a Shreveport hospital bed, a ventilator was keeping his lungs working. I don’t know if he knew I was there. I squeezed his hand and took my leave. I cried, cried in front of teammates, losing all pretense of macho high school bravado. A few hours later, we learned that Ashley had passed. The clichéd phrase would be gone on to that great football field in the sky.

The night before Ashley’s passing, we played Springhill in the opening game of the season. We lost. I didn’t jump offside. I never jumped offside, thankful that I could never be thought of in such ill repute as old Joe Smith.

Ashley’s funeral was held in the auditorium of the high school. I was honored to be a pallbearer along with the football coaches. A few nights later, fueled by thoughts of Ashley and a few motivational words by some of us, the Tors went out and slapped around Minden. The Tide was the first of many wins for us that year on the way to New Orleans.

I’m not sure why I thought about Ashley this week. It’s been a while since he’s crossed my mind. Time hasn’t been kind to my memory, and the harder I try to remember his face the foggier the image becomes. But one thing I do remember is that voice, that laugh and unfortunately that ever-present cough. The memories I do have of him are of kind and happy times. Even those last hours in the hospital and the services that followed aren’t reflections of sorrow.

Ashley died young, but he loved the time he was given. He loved other people, and he made better the lives of those who knew him. He lived a full life, and he never had to leave that small little town in North Louisiana to do it. He never needed anything more than a football team and the town that loved it. That town loved him.

Time’s gone by, folks have moved on, and so has the world. I’m not certain if they still talk about Ashley in Haynesville. I’d like to think he’s still mentioned from time to time, stories told about him, memories of road trips to West Monroe and Evangel, games against rivals Homer, Springhill and Minden. Happy days.

Maybe a player is still called “Joe Smith” when he jumps offside. You could be called worse things, I guess.

And you can be called better things.

You can be called “Superfan.” But one of the best things you can be called is “friend.”

Ashley Benefield was my friend.

More importantly, I was his friend.

I think I got the better of the deal.

Josh Beavers is a teacher and a writer. He has been recognized five times by the Louisiana Press Association for excellence in opinion writing.

Notice of Death – October 27, 2022


Bertha Jean Randolph Merritt
March 13, 1931 – October 17, 2022
Service: Saturday, October 29 at 2 pm at Pendleton Assembly of God Church, located at 14152 Texas Hwy (1 mile east of Pendleton Bridge) in Many


Judge Fred Sconyers Gahagan
October 24, 2022
Service: Saturday, October 29 at 1 pm at The Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Natchitoches

James Willard Johnson
December 25, 1938 – October 24, 2022
Service: Friday, October 28 at 3 pm at the Provencal United Pentecostal Church

Freddie Jean Mitchell
October 21, 2022
Service: Sunday October 30 at 11 am at Rocky Mount Church in Robeline

Eula Mae Harris
October 23, 2022
Service: Saturday, October 29 at 11 am at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Natchitoches

Kristi Kelli (Mathis) Stephens
May 15, 1984 – October 20, 2022
Service: Friday, October 28 at 10 am at the Red River Cowboy Church in Lake End

Eric Rupert Nelson
April 26, 1943 – October 4, 2022
Service: Saturday, October 29 at 10 am at Lambertown Cemetery in Shamrock


Harley Jordan Glaze
May 8, 1991 – October 23, 2022
Service: Friday, October 28 at 2 pm in the chapel of the Southern Funeral Home of Winnfield 

Chick-fil-A Natchitoches Approaches Opening; Restaurant Looking to Hire 100 Team Members

Now Hiring

New Chick-fil-A® restaurant is now accepting applications for a variety of positions as it prepares to open this fall

WHAT: Chick-fil-A Natchitoches, which plans to open later this fall, is looking to hire 100 part-time and full-time Team Members. The roles span from a variety of positions including back-of-house, front-of-house, leadership and more. Operator Leigh Ann Gilley is excited to bring a new restaurant to the community and share the many benefits of working at Chick-fil-A.

Chick-fil-A is known for hiring, developing and retaining top talent, and providing a positive work environment for people of all ages and backgrounds. Working in a Chick-fil-A restaurant offers the opportunity for teamwork and leadership development in a fast-paced environment. In addition to competitive pay and benefits, Chick-fil-A restaurants offer: 

  • Scholarships varying from $2,000 to $25,000
  • Tuition discounts at more than 100 universities across the U.S.
  • Opportunities for career and leadership development
  • Hands-on training 

“We’re excited to welcome 100 Team Members to Chick-fil-A Natchitoches,” said Gilley. “Working at a Chick-fil-A restaurant is more than a job – it’s an opportunity for teamwork and leadership development in a positive, people-focused environment. We look forward to building a team focused on creating a welcoming environment for our guests and making a positive impact on the Natchitoches community.”

WHEN: From Monday, Oct. 24 to restaurant opening (fall 2022)
WHERE: Chick-fil-A Natchitoches 440 Keyser Ave., Natchitoches, LA 71457
HOW: Applicants interested can text “MYPLEASURE” to (337) 509-0022 to apply.

Announcement event for Coach Mike McConathy is Thursday in Natchitoches

Mike and Connie McConathy

You’re invited to join Coach Mike McConathy, his wife Connie, their family, and many friends at the Natchitoches Events Center Thursday for an announcement event officially launching his campaign for the Louisiana State Senate representing District 31.

The event is reception-style, running from 4:30-7 p.m., with a short program expected to tip off at about 6 o’clock. Attire is casual. Light refreshments will be served. There is no admission charge.

After concluding a remarkable career as an educator and basketball coach that began in the late 1970s, McConathy is continuing his lifelong commitment to being a servant-leader.

The vibrant 66-year-old Bossier City native and Louisiana Tech University graduate is the winningest college basketball coach in state history, with 682 victories in 39 seasons as head coach at Bossier Parish Community College (1983-99) and Northwestern State University (1999-2022). The number of wins is just one measure of his far-reaching impact not only on campus but in communities around northwest Louisiana.

The new District 31 has roughly 70 percent of its population located in Bossier, Caddo, Natchitoches and Sabine parishes, with portions of Webster, Bienville, DeSoto, Red River, Rapides and Winn included. That fits the geographic footprint which was the base of McConathy’s recruiting area and team rosters at NSU and Bossier Parish Community College.

District 31 has been served by Senator Louis Bernard, who announced this summer that he will not be seeking reelection.

McConathy grew up with a first-hand perspective on public service. His father, John McConathy, was the Bossier Parish Superintendent of Schools for 20 years and later was a key collaborator in the development of the modern Bossier Parish Community College campus between U.S. 80 and I-20 in Bossier City.

Among his accolades, the former NSU coach is enshrined in the university’s Hall of Distinguished Educators for his service as a faculty member at Northwestern, and in 2012 he earned an elite Pillar of Education award from the National Association of Basketball Coaches for leading the Demons’ program into continuing educational outreach in area schools. His program was noted for its wide-ranging community service endeavors, and its academic performance – a remarkable 90 percent of his players earned degrees at NSU.

For questions, information, call Mike McConathy, 318-792-1541

Town of Many declares October Domestic Abuse Awareness Month

The Town of Many issued a Proclamation declaring October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The proclamation was accepted by representatives from Project Celebration, which offers a variety of programs geared toward helping families by providing services and links to services in communities throughout their service area. 

“There is not enough time in the day to tell Glenda, Lucy and the support staff at Project Celebration thank you,” Mayor Robert Hable posted on social media. “Thank you for the hard hitting programs you have held this month focusing on the seriousness of domestic violence.”

Sabine Schools Combat Student Truancy

Sabine Parish Schools hosted a multiagency collaboration on Oct. 20 to discuss mitigation efforts and plans to combat student truancy. Superintendent Shane Wright, his Central Office staff, Judge Verity Gentry, FINS Intake Officer Kem Jones, Sheriff Aaron Mitchell, Chief Deputy Brad Walker, Assistant District Attorney Anna Garcie, Many Police Chief Cheryl Wooley, and Assistant Chief Mason Wiley attended. All district principals were also in attendance and had an opportunity to voice concerns and share ideas.

As a result of this meeting, SPSB Officials, in coordination with these entities, will identify truant students and work to provide solutions to barriers preventing regular attendance. Discussed in detail was the implementation of more serious consequences for chronic absenteeism and continued truancy by
repeat offenders.

School attendance is vitally important for long-term academic success, and it is a parent’s responsibility to ensure that his/her children attend school regularly. State law allows a maximum of 10 unexcused absences per school year (5 per semester for grades 9-12). Parents whose children are habitually
absent from school will be required to work with the local FINS Intake Officer.

In addition, parents may be required to attend FINS meetings, juvenile court, attend mandatory parenting courses, and/or pay applicable truancy fines. 

Superintendent Wright stated, “Our school system is pleased to share a strong partnership with these local agencies and know that through our collective efforts, student truancy rates will decline. I appreciate Judge Gentry bringing everyone to the table
for today’s open dialogue with the ultimate goal of improving outcomes for the students of Sabine Parish.”

Trunk or Treat with Converse PD

The first 1,000 kids to go trick or treating on Oct. 30, from 4pm-6pm (or until candy runs out) at the Converse Police Department’s Trunk or Treat event will receive an official Converse PD goody bag. The event will be held at the Converse North Park, located at 8200 Springtown Rd. 

Ninth straight district title on the line for Many

COUSHATTA – Winning state championships is the standard for a Many football program that has appeared in the last three state title games and five overall since 2013. 

But winning a district title is an important stepping stone to that ultimate goal, and it’s a stone on which Many can place its foot Thursday with a trip to Red River (3-5, 2-1 District 3-2A). The game was moved up a day because of inclement weather expected Friday. 

The Class 2A No. 1 Tigers (7-0, 3-0 District 3-2A) could clinch at least a share of the district title and could take the crown outright if Mansfield knocks off Winnfield. 

“It is a goal on the way to the ultimate goal,” said Many coach Jess Curtis, who could lead the Tigers to their ninth straight district title and 33rd straight win against a district opponent. “Our goal is to be a state champion.” 

Many’s performance is peaking as the Tigers hogtied Jonesboro-Hodge in a 58-0 win, 48 of those points coming in the first quarter. 

As good as Many’s defense has been (allowing less than 10 points per game), the blanking of J-Hodge is Many’s first shutout this season. The other Tigers ended the game with negative yardage (minus-8) thanks sacks and other negative plays that erased J-Hodge’s 35 passing yards. 

“We have talked about how you never stay the same – you are either getting better or getting worse,” Curtis said. “We wanted to come out and play our best four quarters, and I was very proud of that.” 

Offensively, quarterback Tackett Curtis displayed Many’s revamped passing game to the tune of four touchdowns on four completions for 87 yards. 

“We’ve really worked on the passing game, and Tackett does have a strong arm,” Jess Curtis said. “We have gotten good at it, and teams can’t afford to give us easy touchdowns through the air.” 

The running game remains the staple of Many’s offense as Sylvonte Aldredge (133 yards) and Jeremiah James (133 yards) each topped the 100-yard mark. 

Many will face an improving Red River squad that has two of its three overall wins in district play. 

The Bulldogs have held three opponents (Lakeview, Loyola and Woodlawn) to 10 or fewer points this season, but Red River themselves has scored 10 or fewer points on four occasions. 

Red River challenged themselves in non-district play with Haughton and Parkway before logging a 31-point win against Woodlawn. 

“(Coach Jeff Harper) does a great job over there and they are well-coached on both sides of the ball,” Curtis said of Harper, who replaced John Bachman with the interim head coaching title before being named the permanent replacement before the 2021 season. “We will have to be ready to go.” 

Many slaughters Jonesboro-Hodge on homecoming

On a beautiful Friday night at John W. Curtis Stadium, the Tigers from Many quickly turned their homecoming into a rout of the Tigers from Jonesboro Hodge in a 58-0 shutout. 

What once was a big rivalry game and a near state championship meeting in 2021 wasn’t competitive as Many (7-0, 3-0 District 3-2A) held Jonesboro-Hodge to minus-8 yards for the game and two first downs.

The Tigers accumulated 455 yards on the night, 375 on the ground. The Tigers never punted in the game and the clock ran the entire second half against J-Hodge (2-6, 0-3).

“We played up to our potential tonight,” said Many coach Jess Curtis. “I was very proud of our effort. I’m very proud of our guys.”

After a three and out on Jonesboro’s first possession, Many wasted little time, scoring on their first play. Sylvonte Aldredge took a handoff and scampered 64 yards to pay dirt to put Many up 7-0. Aldredge led all runners with 133 yards on just six touches.

At the 10:10 mark of the first period, the Tigers forced a Jonesboro safety after a fumble to make the score 9-0.

Many needed just three plays for the next score as Aldredge ran for six yards, Jeremiah James ran for 27, and Tackett Curtis ended the drive with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Trevor McLendon. Deacon Lafollette’s kick made the score 16-0.

Many’s next possession took four plays for a 63-yard drive. James had a 24-yard run in the drive that ended on a Curtis 36-yard touchdown pass to Mason Leach. The score now read 23-0 with 2:34 left in the first quarter.

After yet another Jonesboro three-and-out, the Tigers drove 58 yards for their next score. The short three-play drive ended on a Curtis 28-yard touchdown pass to JC Hendrickson for a 30-0 edge early in the second quarter. 

Jonesboro once again managed only three plays and punted back to the Tigers. Another 58-yard drive ended after only four plays. James ran the last 20 yards for the score, making the score 37-0 with 8:41 left in the half.

Many’s next scoring drive went seven plays and 47 yards, ending on a Curtis to Leach 7-yard touchdown pass. 

In the first half, Curtis completed all four passes for touchdowns totaling 87 yards. With a 42-point lead, the clock ran continuously the rest of the game.

Many had just two possessions in the second half, scoring on both, including the second score coming from an entirely junior varsity lineup.

Jamarlyn Garner brought the score to 51-0 with a 19-yard touchdown run. Chase Higginbotham accounted for the last Tiger score on a 1-yard touchdown run for the final score.

Scoring Summary

First Quarter

10:29 M – Sylvonte Aldredge 64 run. Deacon Lafollette kick 7-0

9:19 M – Fumble recovery in end zone by Jonesboro, safety 9-0

7:35 M – Tackett Curtis 16 pass to Trevor McLendon, Lafollette kick 16-0

2:34 M –Curtis 36 pass to Mason Leach, Lafollette kick 23-0

Second Quarter

11:53 M – Curtis 28 pass to JC Hendrickson, Lafollette kick 30-0

8:41 M – Jeremiah James 20 run, Lafollette kick 37-0

2:18 M – Curtis 7 pass to Leach, Lafollette kick 44-0

Third Quarter

7:07 M – Jamarlyn Garner 29 run, Lafollette kick 51-0

Fourth Quarter

3:57 M – Chase Higginbotham 1 run, Lafollette kick 58-0

Individual Stats


M – Curtis 4-4 87, 4 TDs

JH – 4-16 35


M – Leach 2-43, 2 TDs, Hendrickson 1-28, 1 TD, McLendon 1-16, 1 TD

JH – 4-35


M – Aldredge 6-133, James 11-131, Garner 8-65, Maxie 4-35, Higginbotham 3-11, Woods 1-6, Booker 1-0, Williams 1-0, Curtis 1-(-5)


M – Curtis 6, Carheel 4

Sabine Freestate Festival Brings History to Life 

The 42nd Annual Sabine Freestate Festival will be Nov. 4–6 in Florien to commemorate “No Man’s Land” also known as the “Neutral Strip” of Louisiana that harbored bandits, robbers, and those seeking a safe haven from the law in the early 1800’s. 

Pre-festival events include a Big Buck competition, adult division, that opens on Oct. 29.  

The festival officially begins Friday, Nov. 4 at 8 am with the veteran’s breakfast. All veterans are invited to attend. Guest speaker Command Sgt. Major Dennis Cobb will speak at 9 am for the veteran’s program. Education day ends at 1:30 pm and the BBQ cook–off check-in opens.  Music by Southern Country and a street dance can be found on Ellie boulevard stage at 6:30 pm. Bingo will begin at 8:30 pm at the Florien train depot. 

Saturday, Nov. 5 sparks a day full of fun and festivities! The trail ride kicks off bright and early at 7 am on Saturday morning. Midkiff’s Gold Run 5K and kids 1K dash will begin at 8 am. Lewis family trick roping will start at 10 am. A parade will coast through the town at 11 am. A car show sponsored by the Toledo Cruisers will be on display at noon. At 1:45 pm a skeet shoot tournament starts. 5 pm will mark the end of the BBQ cook-off, Lewis family trick roping, and the car show. The BBQ cook-off winner will be announced at 6:45 pm. Born to Boogie will play at 7 pm with a street dance on Ellie boulevard.   

The festival will conclude Sunday, Nov. 6 with gospel singing at 10:30 am, community church service at 11 am, Lewis Family Trick Roping at 2 pm, and movie night beginning at 6 pm.

For a full schedule of events, visit or call the Sabine Parish Tourist Commission at (318) 256-5880. 

Each day tries to learn us something


If the school year were a dog and the first day of school was its head and the last day was its tail, you’d be picking it up right behind its front legs about now. You’ve got a good, safe grip on it, but there’s a lot of dog left hanging down.

October, which rivals May (for different reasons) as the best month of the year, is soured by only two things: one is that winter and cold is coming, and the other is that, for the young student, there’s lots and lots of school year left.

That is not a bad thing once you get older and develop an appreciation for how quickly time passes and how lucky you were to be able to go to school. But who cares for such drivel when you’re a teenager?

Once you get out of school you learn that, secretly, you never really leave. You’re always learning something, whether you want to or not, which would be learning things the hard way. Examples:

“Yes, your honor, I understand!”

“Oh, so if my card is declined, that means there’s no money in the account?”

“I don’t know, doctor. I guess it was that 12th pork chop. Or the third bowl of Blue Bell.”

There’s a trick in just learning how to learn. My dad says that on the first day of school, they taught him that two plus two three equals four, and then on the next day they told him that one plus three equals four, and he decided right then that if they didn’t even know what equals four, how was HE supposed to ever know?

But once teachers coach you up, show you there’s more than one way to skin a cat, you realize the world is your classroom. Some of the smartest people you’ll ever meet got that way without having many documents to frame and hang on the wall.

Often a friend named Gene writes me, which I’m thankful for because he is old school, born in an oilfield company house near a wide spot in the highway in Depression era- Garfield County, Oklahoma.

When he was in elementary school, his family rented the first floor of a house owned by a gentleman named Whitey Liddard. He lived upstairs and owned a nearby café where Gene’s father worked as a short-order cook. Whitey had barely a third-grade education, but he was a Rhodes Scholar when it came to running an oilfield-town café.

One day a young customer came in to celebrate his high school education, the first diploma earned by a member of his family.

“He proudly displayed the new diploma for Whitey’s inspection,” Gene said. “Whitey looked it over, front and back, then handed it back to the graduate.

“Now that’s a fine thing to have,” Whitey said. “Just don’t let it keep you from learning something.”

Hearing that from a wise man like Whitey Liddard kept Gene modest as he went through both high school and college, even on to some graduate work. “I still try to ‘learn something’ every day,” he said.

True, some things will remain forever a mystery. Why, for instance, is the word panties plural and the word bra singular? Think about it. Or not.

Why do we eat nuts out of socks in front of a dead tree in our dens in December? Why is “contraction” such a long word?

The older I get, the more I understand that “I don’t know” when I really don’t know is a mighty handy answer.

Contact Teddy at

(Ran originally 10-21-2012)

Operation Christmas Child National Collection Week

Every year, National Collection Week takes place the third week in November when more than 4,500 drop-off locations are open across the country.
The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world. Through this project, Samaritan’s Purse partners with the local church worldwide to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and make disciples of the nations.
The following churches will be drop-off locations on the following dates:
Converse, LA – Mitchell Baptist Church

15551 LA Highway 174 Converse, LA 71419

Mon, Nov. 14: 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Tue, Nov. 15: 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Wed, Nov. 16: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Thu, Nov. 17: 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Fri, Nov. 18: 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Sat, Nov. 19: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Sun, Nov. 20: 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Mon, Nov. 21: 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Many, LA – Calvary Baptist Church
105 Peterson Street Many, LA 71449-2554
Mon, Nov. 14: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Tue, Nov. 15: 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Wed, Nov. 16: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Thu, Nov. 17: 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Fri, Nov. 18: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Sat, Nov. 19: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Sun, Nov. 20: 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Mon, Nov. 21: 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM

LSMSA seeks applicants for a Full-Time Counselor 

Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA) seeks applications for a full-time personal counselor to serve its diverse student population and includes state-supported benefits including retirement, health, and life insurance. 

The ideal candidate will have experience working effectively with underrepresented groups experiencing depression, anxiety, pandemic-related stress, and other common mental health concerns, in a school setting. 

Core functions include: 

  • Serve as a resource and advocate for students from marginalized groups within our community 
  • Provide on-site individual and group counseling for students 
  • Provide referrals as needed 
  • Serve on call whenever school is in session 
  • Assist with or handle crisis interventions as necessary 
  • Engage in appropriate exchange of information about student needs and work closely with faculty, staff, and parents 
  • Maintain accurate and up-to-date records 
  • Consult with members of the Staffing Team on a regular basis 
  • Participate in professional development as needed to maintain professional CEUs and remain in compliance with state laws 
  • Assist with departmental functions as necessary 
    Required Qualifications: 
  • Master’s degree in Counseling, Social Work, Psychology, or a related field 
  • Provisional licensure in counseling or social work (LPC, LCSW, NCSC, LMFT, etc.) 
  • Ability to provide culturally competent care working effectively with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, and asexual) communities and students 
  • Experience working with individuals experiencing depression, anxiety, pandemic-related stress, trauma, and mental health concerns 
  • Knowledge of best practices for working with various mental health, academic, and adjustment concerns 
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills 
  • High level of discretion with sensitive information 
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team 

          Preferred Qualifications: 

  • Licensure in counseling or social work (LPC, LCSW, NCSC, LMFT, etc.) 
  • Knowledge of adolescent development, cultural competencies, contemporary issues facing adolescents, and characteristics of gifted students 
  • Knowledge of 504 guidelines and students with disabilities 
  • Proficiency with Microsoft 365 and knowledge of Simple Practice for notes, client information, and scheduling 
  • Willingness to work in the late afternoon and evenings 

    Application Process: 

    Please submit a letter of application along with a resume or CV of education and experience to: 

    For more information regarding the school, the position, and the application process, as well as our application form, please visit: 

    LSMSA is committed to equal employment opportunities. LSMSA will not discriminate against, nor tolerate discrimination against, any employee or applicant for employment on any legally recognized basis including, but not limited to, race, color, creed, disability, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, political affiliation, disability, citizenship, or age. This policy applies to all personnel actions including recruitment, hiring, training, promotions, compensation, benefits, transfers, layoffs, termination, recreational and social programs, and professional contracts.


By Brad Dison

On Friday night, October 14, 1955, Lubbock, Texas would have been the place to be. Rock and Roll was in its infancy, and Bill Haley & the Comets were there at the very beginning. Bill Haley and his band were a hot commodity in the music industry after they released a song which went straight to the number 1 position and would forever link them with the early days of Rock and Roll, “Rock Around the Clock.” Their next single rose in the charts and became forever linked to the era as well, “Shake, Rattle and Roll.” Several hits were yet to come.

When Bill Haley’s management began preparing for the Lubbock, Texas show, they decided to search for a local band to open the show because it was cost effective. They, Bill Haley’s team, would not have to pay for travel expenses, hotel, or meals, and they could hire a local band for a single night at a much lower price than if they hired someone with a hit record. Somehow, Bill Haley’s team learned about a trio comprised of 19-year-old Charles Hardin, 18-year-old Bob Montgomery, and 16-year-old Larry Welborn. The trio had not settled on a name so posters for the show just listed their names. The trio normally performed country music on local radio and at school dances but wanted to branch out into Rock and Roll.

Prior to the show, Eddie Crandall, manager of Marty Robbins, a country singer who was on the cusp of his meteoric rise, heard the trio performing live on Lubbock’s local radio station. Eddie recognized something special in the trio and decided to attend the live concert to see how the trio performed in front of a crowd. The trio so impressed Eddie that he asked them to record four demo songs and forward them to his office in Nashville. In a letter Eddie wrote to Charles, “I’m very surprised to know that nothing has happened before now.” He was referring to the fact that no one had signed the trio to a contract.

The trio recorded the four demos, forwarded them as instructed, and waited. Over the next two years, the lineup in the trio changed as Bob and Larry were replaced by Jerry Allison and Joe Mauldin. Niki Sullivan joined the band as lead guitar player, but only stayed for a few months. The new group adopted a band name and began recording. Oh boy, what recordings they were! In 1957 and 1958, Charles and variations of his band recorded several hits, songs that are still played with reverence today.

Had Bill Haley’s management team not hired the trio as an opening act in 1955, we may never have heard of Charles Hardin. On the poster for the Bill Haley & the Comets show, the trio was listed not as Charles, Bob, and Larry, but “Lubbock’s Own Buddy, Bob, and Larry.” You know Charles Hardin Holley as Buddy Holly.

Source: Paese, Meagan. “Buddy Holly, the History of Rock and Roll Radio Show.” Accessed October 18, 2022.

Flu Vaccination Clinic Friday

The Louisiana Department of Health’s (LDH) Office of Public Health (OPH) for Region 7 (Northwest Louisiana) will host a drive-thru flu vaccination clinic at the Sabine Parish Health Unit on Friday, October 28, 2022 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 1230 West Louisiana Avenue, Many. All COVID-19 vaccines, including the COVID-19 bivalent boosters, will be available for anyone ages 6 months and older.

If you have insurance, Medicaid or Medicare coverage, or are uninsured, the flu vaccines are available at no cost to you. There are no out-of-pocket costs; however, if you have insurance it will be billed. Bring a valid insurance card with you to your visit and your COVID-19 vaccination card if you have one.

Region 7 serves the parishes of Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, DeSoto, Natchitoches, Red River, Sabine and Webster.

For more information on CDC guidelines and recommendations for flu vaccinations, visit

For more information on where to find flu and COVID-19 vaccines in Louisiana, visit

For more information on CDC guidelines and recommendations for COVID-19 vaccinations, visit

Notice of Death – October 25, 2022


Howard Ray Chester
August 9, 1936 – October 22, 2022
Service: Thursday, October 27 at 11 am at the Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home in Natchitoches

Kristi Kelli (Mathis) Stephens
May 15, 1984 – October 20, 2022
Service: Friday, October 28 at 10 am at the Red River Cowboy Church in Lake End

Eric Rupert Nelson
April 26, 1943 – October 4, 2022
Service: Saturday, October 29 at 10 am at Lambertown Cemetery in Shamrock


Earl Preston Rains
January 15, 1940 – October 24, 2022
Arrangements TBA


Ruth Carpenter Blackstock
July 26, 1952 – October 23, 2022
Arrangements TBA

Harley Jordan Glaze
May 8, 1991 – October 23, 2022
Service: Friday, October 28 at 2 pm in the chapel of the Southern Funeral Home of WinnfieldMarie Tatum Waters
September 21, 1935 – October 21, 2022
Service: Wednesday, October 26 at 2 pm at Southern Funeral Home Chapel