The controversy over forward-facing sonar continues

Technology is awesome today as cell phones, smart TV’s and computers are just a few of the things advanced into mind-blowing devices. We have instant access to an information highway that mankind has never seen before. We can play video games on our cell phones and compete against individuals around the globe. No longer do we have to wait until the 6 o’clock news to get the weather forecast or to hear the latest trades our favorite sports teams have made. Information today is instantaneous!

Today we’ll look at the latest technology that has affected the fishing world and what some anglers are calling a controversial topic: forward facing sonar. What is forward facing sonar? It’s a sonar unit that allows you to see fish swimming up to 100 feet away in real time. These sonars reveal extreme details as you watch fish swim up and actually eat the bait you’re throwing. Basically, it’s a real time fishing video game!

So many anglers were against it but a lot were excited to have it. Opinions varied even among the top-level professional anglers when it first came on the scene. It was not well received by many tournament anglers as they felt it made fishing too easy and any angler could now start winning tournaments. Skills and instincts were no longer required to win an event. If you could read and understand what your screen was showing, you had a distinct advantage over other anglers.

The younger generation of anglers today have adapted very quickly to this new technology. Today’s youth have grown up with cell phones, an iPad or laptop or desktop computers and are not intimidated by technology like so many older anglers who learned to fish by instinct or by using what they’ve learned over many years of fishing.

But here’s the problem with technology. These new sonar units by Garmin, Lowrance and Humminbird are great but like all technology, they can go on the blink occasionally. The older generation anglers have an advantage when this happens as the younger anglers of today don’t have the instincts or the experience to fall back on.

Watching some of today’s top professional anglers, not all are fans of the forward-facing sonar. Anglers like Elite Series Pro John Cox (a shallow-water angler) don’t even own one of these types of units because they’re not very effective in shallow water condition of five feet or less. The general consensus of tournament anglers across the country is that if you don’t have forward-facing sonar, you can’t compete or win a tournament. This is not true as some of the best fishing pros today don’t use them, and many anglers are having tremendous success without it.

So don’t feel like you must go out and spend $5,000 for one of these high-tech sonar units. While they’re great if you know how to use and read one, it’s not the end-all, be-all answer for winning tournaments or catching fish. Time of year is also a factor in when these forward-facing sonar units are more effective. Some anglers that I compete against are still winning and do not have one of these expensive sonar units. They are like any other tool in your fishing arsenal. It’s just a tool that’s only as good as the person using it.

Until next time, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to wear sunscreen and good protective outerwear when spending the day on a lake.

Contact Steve at

Demons add three signees with Florida ties

The construction of the 2023-24 Northwestern State men’s basketball roster is under way.

Head coach Rick Cabrera announced the addition of three transfers Wednesday, all of whom have ties to Florida.

Guard Chase Forte, forward Jimel Lane and center JC Riley signed to play for Northwestern State, becoming the first roster additions for Cabrera, who was hired in March as Northwestern State’s 11th head men’s basketball coach.

“I’m excited to announce the signing of these young men as new members of the Demon family,” Cabrera said. “They exemplify every trait that I look for in a student athlete. They are high character young men added with a wealth of talent and toughness.”

Forte, a 6-foot-4 product of Raleigh, North Carolina, tied for the Region 8 scoring lead at 20.1 points per game while leading the region with 2.8 steals per game. His 5.8 assists per game ranked second in the region, making him the only player in the region to rank in the top five in three separate categories. His efforts earned Forte a spot on the All-NJCAA Region 8 team and on the All-Florida College System Activities Association Team.

Forte began his career at UNC Asheville before playing two seasons at Gulf Coast State. In his two seasons with the Commodores, Forte averaged 16.7 points per game across 53 games while chipping in 308 career assists and 129 career steals.

At Word of God Christian Academy, Forte averaged 12 points, eight assists and six rebounds per game as a senior, earning a spot on the John Wall Invitational All-Tournament team and the team’s Luke Sasser Award for the top GPA on the team. A versatile athlete, Forte also played football and ran track at Word of God.

“Signing a young man of Chase Forte’s talent was a top priority for me the moment I was offered the job,” Cabrera said. “He was one arguably the best two-way player in the toughest juco league in the country. He displayed a great ability to score the basketball in many ways as well as always defended the opponent’s team’s best player. I’m looking forward to Chase translating his talents to the Southland Conference.”

Lane enjoyed a high-scoring freshman season at Division II Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida.

A Miami native who played at Palmetto High School, Lane averaged 17.9 points per game, highlighted by three games of at least 30 points. He dropped 30 on Johnson University in his collegiate debut and matched that at Florida Southern. He set a career high with 24 points on 14-for-21 shooting, including a 4-for-8 performance from 3-point range, against Saint Leo on Jan. 7.

Lane, a 6-foot-7, 190-pound forward, ranked second on the team in scoring and in rebounding (6.6 per game) while blocking 1.1 shots per game and adding 0.9 steals per contest.

“Jimel was very high on our recruiting list out of high school when we were at Tallahassee Community College,” Cabrera said. “He checks all the boxes that I look for in a wing with his length, size and most importantly, talent. His versatility has all-conference potential in the Southland Conference. I’m excited to see to his growth for the next three years.”

Riley, a 6-foot-9, 225-pound center from Atlanta, played for Cabrera at Tallahassee Community College. Because of an injury, Riley appeared in just two games with the Eagles, who reached the NJCAA Final Four.

In his brief Tallahassee career, Riley averaged 3.5 points and five rebounds per game while playing an average of 11 minutes per game.

Prior to Tallahassee, Riley averaged nearly a double-double at Lowndes High School, scoring 11.3 points per game and grabbing nine rebounds per contest. He tallied nine double-doubles as a senior and blocked 1.7 shots per game while adding a steal per game.

“JC Riley’s path to NSU has been unique,” Cabrera said. “From the time he stepped foot on the TCC campus in June, I knew this kid was a special talent. He’s by far the most skilled player with his back to the basket that I’ve coached in a long time. Unfortunately, he had an injury that limited him to two games which resulted in him redshirting. During our preseason games and practices, JC displayed to me that he was a Division I talent. I’m excited for to be able to coach him and watch him grow as a player.”

Remembering Frances Nell Yates Garcie

Frances Nell Yates Garcie, 88, of Noble, Louisiana passed away on Friday, April 14, 2023 at Toledo Retirement Home in Zwolle, Louisiana. Funeral services will be held to celebrate and remember her life on Friday, April 21, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. at Kilpatrick’s Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 9891 Texas Highway, Many, LA 71449 with her visitation beginning at 12:30 p.m. and continuing until service time. Bro. Dean Hillman will officiate her service with interment to follow at St. Joseph Catholic Church Cemetery in Zwolle, Louisiana. Frances was born on March 1, 1935, in Montgomery, Louisiana to Fines Benard Yates and Nellie Augusta (Marcum) Yates.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Fines and Nellie (Marcum) Yates; her husband, Clayton Garcie, Sr.; her seven sisters; and six brothers. Left behind to cherish her memory are her sons, Joe Clayton Garcie, Jr. of Zwolle, LA, Thomas B. Garcie and wife, Jeanette of Zwolle, LA; her daughter, Toinette G. Sepulvado and husband, David Wayne Sepulvado of Zwolle, LA; her brother, Bobby Yates and wife, Twinkle of Conroe, TX; seven grandchildren, eighteen great-grandchildren, and two great, great grandchildren; along with a host of nieces, nephews, friends, and other family members.

Honoring Frances as pallbearers will be Christopher Sepulvado, Anthony Garcie, Lance Garcie, Jason DeLatin, Allen Funderburk, and Glen Garcie. While her great-grandchildren will serve as her honorary pallbearers.

Condolences can be made to the family at

Kilpatrick’s Rose-Neath Funeral Home
Many Chapel
Many, Louisiana

CPR and EMR Refresher

Members of Central Sabine Fire recently completed a refresher class for CPR/AED and EMR. These certifications must be renewed every two years and are vital to the department. Most of the calls for assistance are medical related.

Notice of Death – April 20, 2023

Sindera White
September 19, 1954 – April 20, 2023
Arrangements TBA

Thelma Allen
April 18, 2023
Service: Sunday, April 23 at 2 pm in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, located at 318 North Street in Natchitoches

Steven “Cal” Nelson
December 13, 1980 – April 17, 2023
Service: Saturday April 29 at 1 pm in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, located at 318 North Street in Natchitoches

Luttie Richardson
April 16, 2023
Service: Saturday, April 22 at 2 pm in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, located at 318 North Street in Natchitoches

Rosa M. Hamilton
February 9, 1944 – April 13, 2023
Service: Saturday, April 22 at 11 a.m. at the RAM (Restoration Apostolic Ministries), located at 175 Fairgrounds Road in Natchitoches

Joshua L. Chism
August 23, 2001 – April 12, 2023
Service: Friday, April 21 at 1 pm in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, 318 North Street in Natchitoches

Converse softball, Many baseball carry Sabine banner in playoffs; Tigers home Thursday, Saturday

Unlike in basketball, few Sabine Parish teams qualified for the softball and baseball LHSAA playoffs.

Thursday, the Many Tigers baseball team, seeded 15th in Non-Select Division III, begins a three-game series against No. 18 Jewel Sumner. This year, teams in Divisions I, II and III play three-game series in the first three rounds, while schools in Divisions IV and V continue to follow the traditional single-elimination format. Many’s series opener is Thursday at 5 and the second, and if needed, third games will be held Saturday at MHS, set to begin at 1 and 4.

Converse is seeded No. 2 in the softball Non-Select Division V bracket and got a first-round bye. The winner of 15th-seeded Kilbourne and No. 18 Reeves will travel to Converse for a second-round game to be arranged.

The Many Lady Tigers were not able to defend their state championship from last spring. Many drew a No. 8 seeding and blasted Avoyelles 20-10 in five innings last Fridasy, but Tuesday were topped 4-2 by No. 9 Pine Prairie.

South Sabine Fire District expands

South Sabine Fire District is currently under construction of two new stations. Pictured is the foundation for Station 11 located off WhiteCity Rd. Station 12 will be located off Sandel Rd. Both of these stations will house a pumper and a service truck and construction should be completed by June.

Political newcomer McConathy, veteran Seabaugh pursuing seat for redesigned Senate District 31


Mike McConathy is a rookie trying to make the team; Alan Seabaugh a veteran hoping to change leagues. Both want the same position – senator from District 31 – in the Fall election.

Incumbent Louie Bernard of Natchitoches, elected in 2019, is not running for re-election.

The district beginning with this election now includes parts or all of 10 parishes, including a portion of west and south Rapides, and stretching to Toledo Bend in one direction and a minute part of Caddo/Bossier to the north.

McConathy’s campaign radiates from Natchitoches, where he was for years head basketball coach at NSU.

Seabaugh’s base is Caddo Parish, a mere sliver of which is in the district.

A Shreveport attorney, Seabaugh is a term-limited state representative who happens to fall just inside the reapportioned District 31 boundary.

Both candidates are Republicans.

Neither reported any contributions from Rapides Parish in 2022.

As of Dec. 31, both candidates listed a number of maximum allowable contributions from individuals and businesses near and far.

At year’s end, McConathy had $68,000 on hand of $120,000 raised beginning in September.

Seabaugh had $380,000 on hand. That includes carryover funds from previous years.

Contributions totaled $211,000.

Seabaugh reported loaning his campaign fund $50,000, which he also did in 2020 and 2021. The loans were outstanding at year’s end.

As might be expected for a 12-year legislator, Seabaugh had a host of PAC contributions, totaling $36,700.

He has an established voting record indicating how he is likely to vote on any number of issues, a barometer for special interests with specific interests and objectives.

McConathy, on the other hand, must persuade PACs, if he chooses to, that he will at the least listen to their lobbying cases.

He had received no PAC money as of Dec. 31.

Full reports can be viewed at the La. Ethics Administration website

EDITOR’S NOTE:  When this story was initially published Tuesday morning, it mistakenly stated legislative candidates would file campaign finance reports quarterly, but that is only required of statewide candidates and PACs making contributions. Legislative campaign finance reports are not due until 30 days before the October 14 primary.

Gov. Edwards Releases Bipartisan Legislative Agenda

BATON ROUGE– Gov. John Bel Edwards released the bills in his 2023 legislative package, the final regular legislative session of his second term, on April 18.

“This package of bipartisan legislation aims for a Louisiana that lives our pro-life values,” said Gov. Edwards. “To truly be pro-life in my estimation, we must make it easier for parents to feed, educate and house their children. We need to raise the minimum wage, close our gender pay gap, and offer our people paid family and medical leave. We must also find empathy for victims of rape and incest who become pregnant. And I am calling on the legislature to abolish the death penalty, which promotes a culture of death and has proven to be expensive and ineffective at deterring crime.”

The governor’s priority bills are in addition to his state budget request, unveiled earlier this year, which calls for a $3,000 teacher pay raise, the largest-ever state general fund investment in early childhood education, a permanent increase of $100 per month (a 20% increase) in supplemental pay, and historic funding for higher education. 

Package Bills

Raise the Minimum Wage 

SB 149 and HB 374 | Sen. Gary Carter and Rep. Ed Larvadain

  • Summary: Propose a raise in the state-wide minimum wage to $10 an hour starting January 1, 2024, $12 an hour starting January 1, 2026, and $14 an hour starting January 1, 2028.
  • The governor believes these bills are pro-life.
  • It is unacceptable that Louisiana has not raised the minimum wage from the federal minimum of $7.25 – even more so now with inflation.
  • Congress has not raised the federal minimum wage since 2009 when it was raised to $7.25 an hour.
  • Since then, the majority of states have raised their minimum wage, with 20 states raising their minimum wage in 2023 alone.
  • Not advancing this legislation would be a step backwards for our families and our children who live in poverty but want to work. 
  • The majority of people across our state, regardless of their party affiliation, agree with an increase in the minimum wage. (LSU Public Policy Research Lab

Pay Transparency – Gender Wage Gap

HB 283 | Rep. Vanessa LaFleur

  • Summary:  The proposed law would prohibit an employer from taking any adverse action against an employee who discusses or compares his/her wages with another employee.
  • Our state continues to have one of the highest gender wage gaps in the nation. (U.S. Bureau of Statistics)
  • The governor believes this bill is pro-life. We can’t say we are looking out for our families and our children if we don’t close the gender pay gap, which perpetuates poverty and allows our communities and children to suffer as a result.
  • Wage transparency is an important step toward achieving equal pay for equal work.
  • Wage gaps and pay inequity have been found to be reduced in organizations that utilize salary transparency. (National Bureau of Economic Research)

Death Penalty Abolition

HB 228 | Rep. Kyle Green

  • Summary: Eliminates the death penalty and provides that persons previously sentenced to death shall be resentenced to a term of life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.
  • The governor believes this bill is pro-life.
  • There have been far more exonerations (6) off of our death row over the last twenty years then there have been actual executions (1).
  • The death penalty is increasingly expensive, difficult to carry out, and proven to be ineffective at deterring crime. 

Paid Family and Medical Leave

HB 596 | Rep. Aimee Freeman

  • Summary: Proposes family and medical leave benefits be paid to an employee who is caring for a child during the first year after birth, adoption or placement through foster care; caring for a family member with a serious health condition; has a serious health condition that makes him/her unable to perform the functions of his position of employment; or caring for a military service member.
  • The governor believes this bill is pro-life. It’s time to make it possible for mothers and fathers to care for their babies without risking bankruptcy.
  • Research shows that paid family leave means families are more likely to attend regular medical checkups and have fewer health problems.
  • Paid leave means women who give birth are less likely to experience postpartum complications and men are more likely to be involved fathers.

HB 366 | Rep. Sam Jenkins

  • Summary: Authorizes the legislature to enact employee leave policies which are uniformly applicable to all state government employers and employees.
  • The governor believes this bill is pro-life. The proposed constitutional amendment would let the legislature enact paid family and medical leave laws that cover state government employees.

Abortion Law Exceptions

HB 346* | Rep. Delisha Boyd

  • Summary: Provides that the termination of a pregnancy that is the result of an act constituting a sex offense – rape and incest – shall not be considered an act of abortion.
  • Research has shown that rape and incest exceptions to Louisiana’s abortion law are overwhelmingly supported by the people of Louisiana.

Earned Income Tax Credit Expansion

Senate Bill to be filed* | Sen. Jay Luneau

  • Summary: Increases Louisiana’s Earned Income Tax Credit and makes it permanent.   

Higher Ed Fee Waiver for Louisiana National Guard Service members

HB 485 | Rep. Ken Brass

  • Summary: Creates the LA National Guard Patriot Scholarship Program to cover mandatory fees for qualifying National Guard service members attending public postsecondary education institutions.

Dolly Parton Imagination Library 

HB 412 | Rep. Malinda White

  • Summary: Establishes the La. Imagination Library Program under the administration of the La. Educational Television Authority (LETA) for the purpose of encouraging reading and learning for young children and creating a fund for funding the program.
  • This bill seeks to create a partnership framework for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library that would make children aged 0-5 in every zip code of the state eligible to receive books to their homes.


SB 152 | Sen. Barry Milligan | Cybersecurity Commission

  • Summary: Creates the 21-member Louisiana Cybersecurity Commission within the Division of Administration to coordinate cybersecurity efforts among local, state, tribal, and federal governments, as well as the private sector, to maintain the stability of public services while ensuring proper privacy and protection of data entrusted to the state.
  • The cyber infrastructure of our nation and of our state have been increasingly under attack.


SB 11 | Sen. Jay Luneau | Gender Discrimination in Auto Insurance

  • Summary: Prohibits insurance rate setting based on gender.
  • Car insurance companies in Louisiana charge women more for auto insurance than men, just because they’re women. It’s ridiculous, especially when you consider that research shows women are safer drivers, less likely to get in costly accidents. It’s time to ban this unfair and discriminatory practice. 

HB552 | Rep. Stephanie Hilferty

  • Summary: Suspends until 2025 the legal requirement that Louisiana Citizens—the state’s publicly-owned insurer of last resort—must charge 10% more than private insurance companies on property insurance policies.
  • This will hopefully result in some premium relief for policyholders who have no option for insurance except Louisiana Citizens, although re-insurance expenses may result in Louisiana Citizens charging more than the private market even without the 10% surcharge.

HB287 | Rep. Mack Cormier

  • Summary: Requires the immediate issuance of a field adjuster’s report upon completion, rather than forcing policyholders to submit a request for the report and wait up to 15 days.
  • This legislation would make it harder for insurance companies to get away with modifying reports from field adjusters at hurricane victims’ expense.
  • The Washington Post recently published an exposé detailing the use of this practice in Florida.

HB252 | Rep. Robby Carter

  • Summary: Prohibits the current practice of insurance companies charging policyholders for the cost of advertising in their premiums.
  • This common-sense consumer protection would lower insurance rates. Policyholders should not have to foot the bill for every commercial with Flo, Jake, the Emu and the Gecko.

*denotes a bill where changes/updates to bill language—but not intent—are expected upon first committee hearing

Longtime NSU coach Mike McConathy named LABC’s Mr. Basketball

The McConathy family’s relationship with college basketball in Louisiana is a decorated one that stretches back nearly a century.

Appropriately, the Louisiana Association of Basketball Coaches announced Tuesday it has added to the family’s lineage, naming longtime Northwestern State and Bossier Parish Community College coach Mike McConathy the recipient of its 2023 Mr. Basketball Award.

McConathy and the rest of the annual award winners will be presented their honors on May 6 in Baton Rouge at a 6 p.m. banquet that is held in conjunction with the LABC’s annual convention.

Known as a program builder with a Midas touch, McConathy started the BPCC program from scratch and turned it into a National Junior College Athletic Association national tournament participant. He became Louisiana’s leader in coaching victories during his 23-year tenure from 1999-2022 at Northwestern State where he added 330 of his state-record 682 wins.

“It is an honor to be able to build things and place confidence in young men at institutions where people believed in you,” McConathy said. “Sometimes it meant a sacrifice on a young man’s part, because he may not have played as much as he would have at other places. The end result is (Northwestern State) did things that had never been done before – we went to the NCAA Tournament and won games there.”

McConathy took the Demons to three NCAA Tournaments (2001, 2006, 2013), making history by defeating Winthrop, 71-67, in the 2001 play-in game – the first of its kind. Five years later, he and his Demons authored one of March Madness’ signature buzzer-beaters as Jermaine Wallace’s corner 3-pointer capped a 64-63 upset of No. 3 seed Iowa in which NSU trailed by 17 with less than 10 minutes remaining.

McConathy’s family legacy and his ties to the LABC made this year’s recognition special for the longtime coach, whose honor comes a year after retired Northwestern State sports information director Doug Ireland was named the LABC’s Mr. Basketball. In addition to being a longstanding member of the organization, McConathy was the group’s president for the 2003-04 organizational year.

McConathy’s father, John, and two of his uncles played at Northwestern State before Mike McConathy and his brothers, Pat and Bill, played at Louisiana Tech with Mike becoming the Bulldogs’ second-leading scorer at the end of his career (2,203 points) and an honorable mention AP All-American. Mike McConathy’s sons, Michael and Logan, played for their father at Northwestern State. Factor in Mike McConathy’s time at BPCC and his longstanding ties to numerous LABC founding fathers and the ties grow deeper.

“I think of this as more of a celebration of our family,” McConathy said. “It dates to the 1940s when the first McConathy in our immediate family came to Northwestern. I’ve been fortunate to be involved in the (LABC) and in the same company as Don Landry, Benny Hollis, Emmett Hendricks, Dale Brown, Larry Little, Riley Wallace, Fred Hobdy, Ben Jobe and Tynes Hildebrand. The great part about the LABC is it ties in all the schools. You take the Billy Allgoods, the Gene Rushings, the Roman Bankses, Tommy Smith, David Francis. The tie-ins with all those coaches is really an amazing thing.”

McConathy’s victory total and championship banners are just two of the tangible products of his three-plus decade career as a collegiate head coach.

The rest can be seen in the careers his former players entered following the end of their playing days – an accomplishment McConathy draws more appreciation for than his on-court accomplishments.

“I have looked back and thought about the fact we were able to accomplish a lot on the floor, but it was more important to put them in position to earn their degree,” McConathy said. “We had a graduation rate of around 90 percent. I go back and look back at my JUCO guys who played and how well they have done in society whether it is in coaching or just holding down a job. Their formative years in junior college were so important to them.”

Gardening grows on you

Happy Earth Week, and Happy Earth Day (Saturday), and some encouragement:
When you don’t coach Little League anymore and you’re not very good at playing golf/golfing your ball/hitting the dimpled orb, you look for other stuff to do, stuff that’s preferably legal.
If you are in that boat, consider gardening, either vegetables or flowers.
I grew up in the middle of a lot of vegetable gardens in a farming community. I never knew how to do it, the planning and planting part. I just knew how to hoe and pick and shell and eat. Somehow, I had a conscious thought when I was 8 or 9 that I was eating better than most people in the civilized world. Lucky break.
But that is a memory and even if I could grow it, I couldn’t cook it right. It would not taste like momma’s or Mu’s or Mrs. Helen Barfield’s or all those other spectacular women I grew up around. They had both a green thumb and a grease thumb.
So … I turned to flowers.
It’s the time of year when you go to The Flower Store and stand in line behind like-minded flower nuts buying hydrangeas and ornamental grasses and begonias and the happy, workmanlike zinnias and shade-loving impatiens and hostas. You trade “good luck” glances because gardening is a trial-and-error business.
And that’s the secret: just trying. Just get started. A hard-to-believe 25 years ago, I didn’t know a marigold from a Mandeville. I thought a hibiscus was a bone in your arm and Lantana was a town in west Texas.
You literally just jump in there and get your hands dirty. And — word to the wise — dirt is the key. All the good and colorful green stuff starts with the good brown stuff. Bad dirt or poor potting soil is a rally killer.
Lots of help is available from books, online, and from our AgCenter sisters and brothers, who have inspired me to try the Supertunias this year. Every year I try something new (to me), and years ago that was petunias. While they are pretty in Colorado in the summer, the Colorado heat differs greatly from the Louisiana heat. Back then, my pitiful petunias looked like you do when you get through mowing. But Flower People have developed new varieties that have improved tolerance, so we are trying again. If they “do” right, they are exceptionally pretty/purty.
Also, to help you along are your local Master Gardeners clubs. The Master Gardeners among us will tell the beginners that you never learn it all, and in my experience, they are happy to encourage and advise. Except for this one time . . .
It’s been a few years since I saw my retired friend and her husband one evening and tapped her on the shoulder. I had some flora and fauna questions since I knew she was a Higher Up in the local gardening club. So, I asked.
“Oh honey,” she said, and she put her hand on my shoulder like you do when you feel sorry for someone who might not be stupid but is plenty ignorant. She paused a few seconds.
“Sweetheart,” she said, “we don’t really ‘garden.’ We just get together and drink wine.”
Contact Teddy at or Twitter @MamaLuvsManning

Natchitoches Jazz/ R&B Festival – ARTIST ANNOUNCEMENT!

Added to the line-up for the 26th Annual Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival

Johnny Earthquake and the Moondogs – THE CANE RIVER WATERWAY COMMISSION STAGE – 3:45 – 5:00 pm.

Mark Newman – ROQUE HOUSE STAGE – 6:00 – 7:00 pm.

Gin Mobsters –
 FLEUR DE LIS STAGE – 4:45 – 5:45 pm.

Josh Hyde & The Lost Parish – FLEUR DE LIS STAGE – 6:00 – 7:00 pm.

This year we kick off the festival with a Friday night show featuring Elton LIVE! The Elton John Experience and The Purple Madness, a Tribute to Prince. Shows will be going on from 7:00 PM until 11:00 PM on 5/12 AND 11 AM – 11 PM on 5/13 on the Natchitoches Riverbank!

Don’t forget about our headliners, a Double Shot of Country with stars Mark Chestnutt and Tracy Byrd, and a whole lotta line dancing with the legendary Cupid, all on Saturday.

We still have The Steel Magnolias Getaway Giveaway to be announced so get your tickets and be entered into the drawing!

Click the link below for more information and to purchase tickets

Rapides Foundation awards $1.8 million in Reconnecting Cenla grants

ALEXANDRIA- The Rapides Foundation has awarded $1.8 million in grants to six organizations under a new program that addresses the high number of Central Louisiana young adults ages 16 to 24 who are neither in school nor working. The Reconnecting Cenla Program Grant seeks to reconnect these young people to meaningful education and employment opportunities in the region.

Grants were awarded to Ben D. Johnson Educational Center, Central Louisiana Technical Community College, Eckerd Youth Alternatives, LaSalle Community Action Association, LaSalle Economic Development District and Rapides Parish Police Jury.

These six entities will serve as anchor organizations that will lead community-based systems of partner organizations to identify, recruit and navigate disconnected youth to education and employment opportunities. Disconnected youth are often called “opportunity youth” because of their potential to succeed and contribute to their communities.

“Research has shown that young adults who experience disconnection have significantly lower incomes, are less likely to gain meaningful employment in the future and have poorer health outcomes than their peers,” said Joe Rosier, President and CEO of The Rapides Foundation. “These community collaborations are designed to create strategies that address barriers these young adults face when reengaging with education and employment services.”

Reconnecting Cenla complements the Foundation’s Beyond Graduation Project, a retention strategy launched in 2021 to ensure students stay within the education pipeline by assigning coaches to counsel students who enter postsecondary institutions after high school. Both programs are funded under the Workforce Skills and Talent Development component of the Foundation’s Economic Development Initiative.

Each Reconnecting Cenla Program grantee was awarded $300,000 over a three-year period that began April 1. The grant also will fund technical assistance from national experts in the field of opportunity youth who will work closely with the organizations as they develop their projects.

The following Reconnecting Cenla Program Grants were awarded:

Ben D. Johnson Educational Center plans to expand its Legacy Workforce Development Program, which provides training and certification courses covering foundational job skills, digital and financial literacy, effective communication strategies and industry-based certifications to underserved populations in Natchitoches. The center will work to grow its network of referral, resource and employer partners to help participants obtain social services, job training and employment.

Central Louisiana Technical Community College will create the Cenla Outreach, Engage and Reconnect Project to establish a range of key stakeholders to grow capacity and effectiveness with engaging opportunity youth throughout Central Louisiana. The project will utilize a Carl Perkins-funded website, Career Waves 6, to highlight resources within the community and create a communication network. The project will grow partnerships with grassroots organizations by training local ambassadors on the features of the website and navigate youth to services.

Eckerd Connects will work with existing and new community partners to build a system of care for opportunity youth in Rapides and Vernon parishes. The Eckerd Connects Opportunity Youth Program will engage, empower and energize opportunity youth to address the barriers to successful education and employment. The project also will focus on building an infrastructure to connect referral sources to community partners who provide educational services and employment opportunities. Eckerd will provide direct services and strengthen local connections in communities to connect more youth to opportunities so that they can live in a sustainable manner.

LaSalle Community Action Association and its partners will create the Catahoula Youth and Young Adult Enrichment Program in Catahoula Parish. The program will identify, recruit, assess, educate and train at least 150 young adults to become economically stable through the creation of a local and regional system of service providers. The system will provide outreach and a portal for disconnected youth to enter, be assessed and connected to services, including training, that will improve the likelihood of a successful transition to sustained employment.

The LaSalle Economic Development District will serve as anchor organization for Reconnect LaSalle: Youth Embracing a Greater Future. The mission is to connect these young adults with local and regional entities that can assist them to embrace a greater future by entering the workforce or obtaining higher education. The project will develop strategies to increase awareness of available local resources and information. Other components include facilitating round table discussions with area agencies, organizations and local youth.

The Rapides Parish Police Jury’s Youth Empowerment Services Project will expand its existing outreach and services for young adults. The project will include hiring service navigators to recruit disconnected youth from Rapides Parish and connect them with resources within the American Job Center and from external partners.

Big news for Rapides Parish

We at the Sabine Parish Journal are pleased to welcome our newest sister publication, the Rapides Parish Journal. This online publication joins 11 others across Louisiana from Rapides Parish north to the state line.

“We feel the people of Rapides Parish – Alexandria, Pineville, Tioga, Woodworth, Ball, Forest Hill, and surrounding towns – deserve their own publication,” said publisher Bill Vance. “At Journal Services LLC, we pride ourselves in covering local parishes with high-quality news and advertising to keep our readers up to date on what’s happening in their communities.”

Vance is also the publisher of the Natchitoches Parish Journal.

All Journals cover local news, features, and sports. Subscriptions are – and always will be – free. Please visit and sign up today.

Click to visit any of our journals:

Bienville Parish Journal
Claiborne Parish Journal
DeSoto Parish Journal
Jackson Parish Journal
Lincoln Parish Journal
Natchitoches Parish Journal,
Sabine Parish Journal
Shreveport-Bossier Journal
Red River Parish Journal
Webster Parish Journal
Winn Parish Journal
Rapides Parish Journal

Notice of Death – April 18, 2023

Henry O’Con
November 10, 1953 — April 13, 2023
Service: Thursday, April 20 at 11 am at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Natchitoches

Thelma Allen
April 18, 2023
Arrangements TBA

Steven “Cal” Nelson
December 13, 1980 – April 17, 2023
Arrangements TBA

Luttie Richardson
April 16, 2023
Arrangements TBA

Rosa M. Hamilton
February 9, 1944 – April 13, 2023
Service: Saturday, April 22 at 11 a.m. at the RAM (Restoration Apostolic Ministries), located at 175 Fairgrounds Road in Natchitoches

Joshua L. Chism
August 23, 2001 – April 12, 2023
Service: Friday, April 21 at 1 pm in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, 318 North Street in Natchitoches

Bassmaster kicks off on Toledo Bend

Sabine Parish officials attended the opening ceremonies for the St. Croix Bassmaster Open Tournament. on April 13 on Toledo Bend. Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser welcomed participants to Louisiana before the fishing began.

The competition continues April 14-15. Takeoff is at 6:45 AM CT each day and weigh-ins start at 2:45 PM CT.

According to Nungesser, Louisiana has had 46 major Bassmaster tournaments over the past 50 years, and 18 of them have been held in Toledo Bend! He wished all the competitors the best of luck this weekend!

Miss Battle of Pleasant Hill 2023, Emma Rose McElwee, sang the national anthem.

A field of 225 boats, pros, and accompanying co-anglers will compete on 185,000 acres of water on storied Toledo Bend Reservoir along the Louisiana-Texas border. At stake is a total payout of over $250,000, an invitation for the pro-division tournament winner to the 2024 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Toyota, as well as EQ points that could result in an invitation to fish the coveted 2024 Bassmaster Elite Series. 

Sabine Parish Special Olympics

Zwolle was the place to be on April 13 as the Sabine Parish Special Olympics packed the Zwolle Festival grounds with lots of fun.

The event provides an opportunity for those with intellectual disabilities to compete in various track and field competitions.

The motto of the Special Olympics, which inspires thousands of communities to support the organization, is “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Support and make a donation to the Special Olympics in your area.

Street Closure: Hwy. 120 from Sabine Parish line to Hwy. 6 in Robeline

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, (DOTD), advises the public that, weather permitting, on Monday, April 17 construction will begin on LA 120 in Natchitoches Parish. This work will begin at the Sabine Parish line and proceed southeast along LA 120 to its intersection with LA 6 in Robeline.

The intent of this project is to replace existing drainage structures, cut an in-place cement treated subgrade and base course, apply lime treatment to the subgrade, and then place 6 inches of superpave asphaltic concrete, followed by permanent striping on the roadway and other related work.

The contractor will be required to maintain thru traffic at all times, but periodic lane closures and delays can be expected. The public is advised to remain alert to construction signs and changing roadway conditions.

The project was awarded to the low bidder, Madden Contracting Co., LLC, in the amount of $10,781,403.79. The work associated with this project should take approximately 190 working days to complete.

Permit/Detour Section
Thru traffic will be maintained at all times with oversize and emergency vehicles allowed passage. There will be no detour routes for this project.

Safety Reminder
DOTD appreciates your patience and reminds you to please drive with caution through the construction site and be on the lookout for work crews and their equipment.

Additional Information
Motorists can access the latest updates on real time traffic and road conditions using the 511 Traveler Information System and saying the route or region on which they are seeking information. Out of state travelers can also access this information by visiting the 511 Traveler Information Website at Additionally, you can follow the Traffic Management Center on Twitter: (@Alex Traffic). Motorists may also monitor the La DOTD website @ and the DOTD Facebook page.