Laird announces new coaching additions, promotion

As the Northwestern State football team prepares to report to campus next week, it will do so among plenty of new faces on the coaching staff along with one holdover who has a new title.

Sixth-year head coach Brad Laird announced Tuesday the addition of four coaches who will make their NSU debuts this fall while adding the assistant head coach title to defensive coordinator Weston Glaser’s resume.

Joining the Demon staff are defensive line coach Chris Gistorb, wide receivers coach Armani Lonardo, linebackers coach/special teams coordinator Jeremy Atwell and cornerbacks coach Perry Carter. The quartet joins offensive line coach Boone Feldt as new additions to Laird’s staff since the conclusion of the 2022 season in November.

All four hires have been approved by the Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana System, which governs Northwestern State University.

“I am extremely excited about the quality of coaches and the quality men that we were able to bring to Northwestern State since the end of the 2022 season,” Laird said. “These young men bring different levels of experience and they are great recruiters, but most importantly, they are great men.”

Gistorb spent the 2022 season at his alma mater, UL Lafayette, as an assistant defensive line coach. In addition to helping the Ragin’ Cajuns reach the Independence Bowl, Gistorb helped develop Zi’yon Hill-Green into a first-team All-Sun Belt Conference selection.

Prior to his arrival at his alma mater where he played two seasons from 2000-01, Gistorb spent more than a decade coaching high school football in Texas, working primarily in the greater Houston area.

Since beginning his coaching career in 2007, Gistorb coached six Division I signees and another who earned a preferred walk-on spot at a Division I school. He produced three all-district defensive MVPs and eight first-team all-district selections.

An Alexandria native, Gistorb twice was a co-defensive coordinator – at Cy-Fair and Angleton high schools – and coached both defensive line and linebackers during his tour of five Texas high schools – Copperas Cove, Cy Ridge, Angleton, Bridgeland and Cy-Fair.

“I give (defensive coordinator) coach (Weston) Glaser credit,” Laird said. “Through conversations with some coaches at (UL) Lafayette, knowing we were looking for a D-line coach, his name popped up. That interview, without having a prior relationship, doesn’t happen a lot in this profession. That just shows you what his interview was about. He blew us away. His passion and knowledge for the game was unmatched. You’ve seen that through the first couple of days of practice and what he’s been able to do for our defensive linemen.”

While Gistorb is new to the Southland Conference, linebackers coach Jeremy Atwell has a long history within the league.

Atwell came to Northwestern State after spending the 2022 season as Albany State’s defensive coordinator where he helped produce the No. 1 pass efficiency defense in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and a top-10 scoring defense nationally at 14.9 points per game.

Atwell’s defense produced four all-conference selections for the Golden Rams.

Atwell spent the 2021 season at New Mexico Highlands as its defensive coordinator, helping the Cowboys win six games, their most since 2012. Atwell’s defense led the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in interceptions and was third in NCAA Division II in that category. The Cowboys also led the RMAC in total turnovers and ranked 11th nationally.

Atwell’s time in the Southland Conference totals nine seasons across two stints at Nicholls.

The longest run came from 2006-14 when Atwell was the Colonels’ defensive coordinator and assistant head coach. Under Atwell, Nicholls produced 21 all-conference players, three All-Americans and NFL Draft picks Lardarius Webb and Kareem More. Atwell also spent the 2001 season as Nicholls’ defensive ends coach.

Atwell has experience at two Louisiana high schools – as the head coach at Vandebilt Catholic High School in Houma from 2014-19 and as the assistant head coach at Thibodaux High School from 2002-06.

With the addition of Atwell to the NSU staff, Glaser will shift to coaching safeties.

“That was one thing coach Glaser looked to do at the end of the year – the possibility of moving to safeties,” Laird said. “When coach (Josh) Jones left, that made the decision a little easier. Bringing in someone with the experience of coach Atwell, who has not only been a defensive coordinator in college but in our conference and understands recruiting in the state of Louisiana, is a home run hire.”

Lonardo came to Northwestern State after spending the 2022 season as the offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach and running backs coach at Southwestern Oklahoma State where he helped lead the Bulldogs from an 0-11 season to four wins.

Lonardo’s offense ranked second in the Great American Conference with 247 passing yards per game and saw its scoring improve by 11 points per game. Quarterback Tylan Morton led the GAC with 287 yards of total offense per game and SWOSU produced a pair of all-conference receivers.

Lonardo spent the 2020 and 2021 seasons at New Mexico Highlands where he coached with current NSU offensive coordinator Beau Blair. With the Cowboys, Lonardo was the quarterbacks coach and tutored Ramone Atkins, a first-team All-RMAC selection, who accounted for 3,283 total yards in 2021.

The Cowboys’ passing offense led the RMAC at 263.3 yards per game and 31 touchdowns and produced the RMAC Offensive Player of the Year, wide receiver CJ Sims.

Lonardo was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at ASA College New York in 2019, helping the Avengers rank third nationally in points per game (45.9), fourth in total offense (465 yards per game) and fifth in rushing yards (2,323). ASA finished 8-2 that season and had a win against No. 12 Monroe.

Lonardo has been a graduate assistant at both Tarleton and Southeastern University in Florida as well as a training camp assistant with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“There was a past relationship there with coach Blair,” Laird said. “Anytime you can bring in somebody who’s already schematically on the same page, it’s big. Plus, he’s been a coordinator before. When you add that type of knowledge to the offensive staff room, along with (offensive line) coach (Boone) Feldt and (quarterbacks) coach (Kyle) Washington, it helps develop different ideas.”

Carter brings NFL experience to the Demon staff, having worked eight seasons as an assistant defensive backs coach with the Houston Texans from 2006-13.

With the Texans, Carter tutored two-time Pro Bowl selection Johnathan Joseph as well as standout corners A.J. Bouye, Glover Quin and Kareem Jackson.

A four-year NFL veteran who also played in the Canadian Football League, Carter also is familiar with Louisiana having spent the 2021 season at Louisiana Tech after coaching three seasons at ULM. While in Monroe, Carter helped ULM’s Corey Straughter earn All-American honors as well as first-team All-Sun Belt acclaim.

That success followed a two-season run at North Texas where Carter molded Kishawn McClain into an All-Conference USA Freshman Team pick and coached the first pair of Mean Green safeties to record at least 100 tackles in the same season.

“What a great opportunity to add coach Carter to this coaching staff,” Laird said. “His background as a player and as a coach in professional football combined with his success at the collegiate level – and this being his third stint in Louisiana – was a huge pickup for NSU football. Success has followed him everywhere he has coached, and he has produced standout corners in both college and the NFL.”

Carter replaces longtime assistant coach De’Von Lockett, whose assistant head coach title was passed along to Glaser, who enters his second season on the Demon staff.

“I can’t say enough about what coach Glaser has meant to me and this team over the last year,” Laird said. “He has a great vision for this program and has been very instrumental inmoving this team in the right direction. Adding the assistant head coach title adds more duties for him as we continue to move forward with this program.”

A scouting report on Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration fun

It’s almost showtime for the 2023 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Natchitoches (except for Friday’s BOM Celebrity Bowling Bash in Alexandria), so it’s time to plan to take in as much fun as you can.

The most-asked question — can I still get tickets for the Saturday evening Induction Reception (from 5-6:30 at the Hall of Fame museum) and Ceremony (at 7 in the Natchitoches Events Center)?

YES. While the usual big turnout is coming, there is still time to go online at to purchase admission to the signature event. But don’t delay – it could sell out.

The reception provides an array of food stations with fare from not only local restaurants, but some from around the state, along with refreshments and music. It’s a chance to see new exhibits (the Kim Mulkey showcase, for example), new display items to celebrate the museum’s 10th anniversary, the just-installed Class of 2023 display cases, and to meet all of the new inductees and perhaps snap a selfie.

The Induction Ceremony at the neighboring Events Center kicks off promptly at 7 with the National Anthem, followed by the stirring Walk of Legends showcasing past Hall of Fame members returning, then introducing the Class of ’23, set to music from The Natural. The 12 inductions begin immediately after, featuring compelling video introductions followed by on-stage conversations with inductees – producing lots of laughter and some misty-eyed moments certain to create lasting memories.

Saturday evening is the only “dress up” event of the Induction Celebration. Blazers for the men and cocktail dress-style attire for the women are requested.

Otherwise, it’s casual for the rest of the festivities, starting with the free, open to everyone Thursday evening Welcome Reception from 5-7 at the museum. La Capitol Federal Credit Union will mark its 20th year presenting that signature event – again with food, refreshments and music, and the new inductees and their families having traveled in some cases almost 2,000 miles to celebrate the occasion.

There’s still room for bowlers to join in Friday’s BOM Celebrity Bowling Bash at Four Seasons Bowling Center in Alexandria. The doors open at 11:30 with lunch provided by Walk On’s, plenty of warm up bowling and music, and more mingling with inductees, their families, and other sports celebrities before they’re introduced and “competition” begins at 1. Again – sign up at

The biggest free event is Friday evening on the downtown Natchitoches riverbank stage – the Rockin’ River Fest Concert, from 6-10:30.

It’s family friendly. A free interactive kids zone presented by Louisiana Propane Dealers will include basketball, football, golf and science games for all ages to enjoy.

Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. & the Zydeco Twisters are back as the headline act. Dopsie has played the White House to the Jazz Fest, boogied with James Brown and John Fogerty, and wowed crowds all over, described as “Mick Jagger of the marsh” as “a party seems to break out whenever and wherever Dopsie and his band show up.”

The opening act is Jason Ashley & The Hot Sauce Band, featuring the Alexandria native and regional country music star playing hits from yesterday and today, an act popular around the Gulf Coast and all the way to Nashville.

If you want to beat the summer heat and enjoy a tasty collection of Louisiana foods and specialty refreshments, you can visit to snap up some of the few remaining $100 tickets to the VIP Taste of Tailgating presented by Hancock Whitney.

That party runs from 7-10 p.m. in the air-conditioned comfort of Mama’s Oyster House and Blues Room that will provide exclusive access to the 12-member 2023 Induction Class. They will also be introduced on stage at 9:15, just before a 10-minute fireworks show set to sports-themed music.

Saturday morning’s Junior Training Camp hosted by the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans at NSU’s Webb Wellness and Recreation Center has only a handful of free spots left for kids 7-17. Advance registration is required at

There’s no more room for Saturday’s Round Table Lunch downtown at The Venue. It’s sold out.

But there are plenty of other chances to see the Class of 2023: Eli Manning, Alana Beard, Paul Mainieri, Matt Forte, Wendell Davis, Paul Byrd, Walter Davis, Ron Washington, Walter Imahara, M.L. Woodruff, and sports journalists Bruce Brown and Lori Lyons.

You’re invited to join the fun, starting Thursday evening in Natchitoches.

Gifts from an Absent Friend

I learned life the hard way, I took all my knocks and lumps
But when I look back down the road at where I’ve been,
I can see that all the things I’ve done in this ol’ life have been more fun
’Cause I shared them with someone who was a friend.

 —  “A Friend,” written and recorded by Jerry Reed (and featured in the movie W.W. and the Dixie Dance Kings, which you should watch ASAP)

Few people if any enjoyed being themselves as much as Jack Brittain loved being Jack Brittain, or “Britt” as his friends called him, and he had more of those than you can find grains of sand and beer bottle tops at the Redneck Riviera.

This is the biggest weekend of the year for locals in my line of work; it’s the annual Louisiana Sports Writers Convention and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration in Natchitoches, where Britt has served as unofficial mayor for decades. You can find out more about the weekend and how you can enjoy it at You can find out more about Britt by asking anyone in Natchitoches or in the LSWA.

A piece of work and then some, this guy.

So, it was a profound and unwelcome sadness when Britt, our LSWA brother, died two weeks ago at age 67 after a short and surprising illness.

He was the red on the candy cane, the helium in the balloon, the sunshine through any cloud.

His attachment to the LSWA was solid and eternal, even though Britt was a lawyer and financial planner. He didn’t write any stories. He was the story. 

He was so good at St. Mary’s that he’s in the high school’s Hall of Fame, then he lettered four years in football at Northwestern State before law school, but shoot, lots of people could do that. What set him apart was a heart and smile big as centerfield, his uncanny ability to see the best in people and the brightest side of things virtually all the time. He went around lettering every day in life, a seed-sower of joy and laughter and earthy charisma.

One of those ‘girls want to ride in his boat, boys want to be his best buddy’ kind of dudes.

It’s hard to describe the impact he had on the LSWA and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame because we don’t have anything to compare him to. He was just always there, a part of, a calm in a sometimes-stormy sea of egos and chaos, a smile to calm the tide.

In 2017, Britt was the recipient of the LSWA’s most prized honor, the Mac Russo Award, given to an individual who “contributes to the progress and ideals of the LSWA.” It was my lucky and treasured honor to present it to him. If memory serves, I said something clever like, “Here Britt; sorry it took us so long. We’d give you a half-dozen of these if we could — and you’d deserve everyone.”

“Think where man’s glory most begins and ends,

And say my glory was I had such friends.” — W. B. Yeats

 Contact Teddy at

Cheating rocks pro bass fishing — again

And the saga continues. Once again anglers are taking advantage or blatantly ignoring the rules of their sport. Major League Fishing has brought to light a controversy that took place at the Stage 6 tournament on Lake Cayuga, N.Y.

Major League Fishing (MLF) announced June 21 it was investigating accusations that four anglers may have violated sight fishing rules. For those that have no idea what sight fishing is, it’s a technique where anglers visually see a bass sitting on a bed looking to spawn and will try and entice these bass into biting their lure. But one very important rule must be followed. If you are sight fishing, you are required to hook the fish inside the mouth. If the fish is hooked outside the mouth, the fish is considered an unofficial catch and must be returned to the water immediately. This rule is in place so that anglers don’t go out trying to catch fish by snagging them.

Some analysts think it’s immoral or unethical to fish for bass on beds, but it’s not that big an issue since the MLF Bass Pro Tour is a catch and release format. As each fish is caught, it is weighed, recorded and released immediately. 

But here’s the accusations — some anglers were not following  protocol when they pull their catch on board. Anglers who are sight fishing are required to show their on-board marshal (an observer who weighs and monitors each fish caught; making sure anglers follow the rules) that the fish is hooked inside the mouth. If not, it must be released — considered an unofficial catch. But in this event, some anglers were being discreet and hiding their fish as they brought them on the boat so that the cameras nor the marshal could see how the fish was hooked. They would just unhook the bass and proceed to weigh it without confirming it was hooked inside the mouth.

The next issue from this event: some anglers were catching the same fish more than once during the day. The rule states that an angler cannot catch and weigh the same fish more than once in a day.

They can return and catch that same fish the following day if they choose. After video reviews, 16 anglers were called in and subjected to a polygraph test. One failed.

MLF officials have been hard at work reviewing video footage of the anglers in question in order to make sure all the rules were followed. If they find rules have been violated, MLF officials will have to decide to what extent they should be punished. This is where things could get a little weird and revealing. MLF has got to come down hard on this if they find violations were made. No longer is a slap on the wrist a strong enough punishment for violating the rules. MLF’s reputation and integrity are at stake with these rulings. 

Extensive punishment is called for — like suspension for the next event or even worse, suspension for a full season. The best way anglers will get the message that cheating will not be tolerated is to hit them in their checkbook. Disqualifying their days catch and dropping them in the standings a few places is not strong enough. A message needs to be sent that will make anglers think twice about cheating.

Yes, I said cheating! Since its inception, MLF has basically turned a blind eye to certain violations. Just like NASCAR, drivers are always trying to push the envelope and dabble in the grey area of the rules. Bass tournaments are no different as anglers are always looking for an advantage over their competitors by looking for loopholes in the rules. 

Due to the amount of money involved in today’s bass tournament world, with thousands of dollars up for grabs, anglers are thinking outside the box and looking for ways to get around the rules in order to be successful or gain an advantage. But now the time has finally come for anglers to be held accountable for their actions.

While 98 percent of the anglers do a great job of self-reporting and holding each other accountable, it’s the other two percent that need to be made to pay a penalty. With the increase in live prime time TV coverage and national exposure, it’s important to preserve the integrity of the sport and show the anglers and their fans that rule violators will not be tolerated.

I hope MLF officials will come down hard on the angler or anglers if rules were violated. Nothing will bring the sport down faster than anglers who insist on cheating.

‘Til next time, good luck, good fishing, and always read and follow the rules for any tournament you’re competing in.

Contact Steve at

Remember This?: Stop and Go Traffic

By Brad Dison

In 1923, Garrett Morgan was driving along the busy streets of Cleveland, Ohio.  By the age of 43, he had achieved the American dream which was characterized in the 1920s as the pursuit of material success, social status, and personal freedom.  Garrett was the owner and editor of the Cleveland Call newspaper, but he came from humble beginnings.  Garrett was born in rural Kentucky in 1877.  His parents were former slaves who survived on the crops they grew.  By the time Garrett turned 14, he realized he wanted more than to eke out an existence on the farm. 

In 1891, the 14-year-old left Kentucky and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio to look for work.  His sights were not set too high.  Garrett initially worked as a handyman.  He had a mechanical mind and could build and repair any machine, even ones he had never seen before.  Within a few years, Garrett left Cincinnati and moved to Cleveland.  His ability to quickly repair machines enabled him to secure a position as a sewing machine repairman.  By 1907, Garrett had saved enough money and opened his own sewing machine repair shop.  Garrett’s reputation grew quickly based on the quality of his work and the speed at which he completed repairs.  His business thrived.  Two years later, Garrett added a garment shop to his business.  In 1920, Garrett started the newspaper, the Cleveland Call, from scratch.  Like his sewing machine repair shop and garment shop, the Cleveland Call was a huge success.

In 1923, when a lot of people in Cleveland still traveled by horse-drawn vehicles, bicycles, and streetcars, Garrett’s successes enabled him to purchase an automobile.  One day in 1923, Garrett shared the busy road with all manner of vehicles including many other automobiles.  At each major intersection, a policeman manually moved levers which raised and lowered metal signs.  Painted on the signs were the words “GO,” or “STOP.”  This type of traffic signal had been in use for decades and had saved countless lives. 

As Garrett neared one of these major intersections, the policeman moved the levers and the signs changed.  Specific details of the accident that followed vary depending on the source. Some sources assert that the collision was between a horse-drawn wagon and a car, and other sources claim that two cars were involved.  What we know for sure is that there was a horrible collision which resulted in at least one person’s death, and Garrett witnessed the whole thing.  Gruesome images of the collision replayed over and over in his mind.  At night, he had nightmares of the collision.  After a few days, Garrett began to take a different view of the collision.  He began to analyze what he had witnessed to try to determine what had caused the collision.  The traffic signals had worked as designed.  The policeman moved the levers and one lane of traffic’s signal changed from “Go” to “STOP,” and, at the same moment, the signal from the crossing traffic changed from “STOP” to “GO.”  Garrett found what he thought would solve the issue and, on November 20,1923, he received a patent for it.  He eventually sold the rights to his invention to General Electric for $40,000, an enormous sum at the time.

Garrett’s invention evolved into something that we all still see and use today.  Rather than slowing traffic down, Garrett’s invention makes most drivers want to increase their speed.  Garrett’s invention added a “WARNING” sign to the two-sign traffic signal to warn drivers that the stop signal would soon change from “GO” to “STOP.”  Garrett’s invention evolved into the yellow caution signal on traffic lights.


Source:, “Garrett Morgan Patents Three-Position Traffic Signal.” HISTORY, 13 Dec. 2018,

Notice of Death – July 25, 2023

Bryan Taft Smith III
October 29, 1952 — July 23, 2023
Service: Saturday, July 29 at 2 pm at Beulah Methodist Church in Marthaville

Melba Orsborn Sparks
September 5, 1945 — July 24, 2023
Service: Thursday, July 27 at 10 am at Provencal United Pentecostal Church

Edgar Charles Bush
July 20, 2023
Arrangements TBA

Donald L. Wells
June 8, 1939 — July 20, 2023
Service: Wednesday, July 26 at 3 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home in Natchitoches

Sabine Parish Waterworks District No. 1 Wins EPA Aquarius Award for Consolidation Project

The Sabine Parish Waterworks District No. 1 System has been awarded the Aquarius Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its Consolidation Project with Ajax-Beulah Water System.  

The award recognizes the most exceptional drinking water system improvement projects funded through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF), which is a federal-state partnership to finance the construction and rehabilitation of critical drinking water infrastructure projects.  The award was presented at the Council of Infrastructure and Finance Authorities (CIFA) Summit Conference held in Washington, D.C., in April 2023. 

Sabine Parish Waterworks District’s consolidation project with Ajax-Beulah Water System was selected over DWSRF projects from across a five-state area in EPA Region 6, including Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and New Mexico.  

“This project exemplifies the purpose and potential of funding initiatives provided through the state’s Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund (DWRLF) program. The goal of each project is to bring safe, quality drinking water to every consumer served by our water systems,” DWRLF Project Engineer Brian Baker said.

The consolidation project was nominated for the award by the Louisiana Department of Health’s (LDH) DWRLF project managers.  Once nominated, Sabine Parish Waterworks District No. 1 was selected as the EPA Region 6 Aquarius Award recipient for being exceptional in demonstrating leadership in at least one or more of the following areas: emerging contaminants, aging infrastructure, innovative financing, affordability, water loss control, efficient water and/or energy use, creative approach to project planning and implementation, or water system partnerships. 

With assistance from the consultant engineering firm Shuler Consulting Company, Sabine Parish Waterworks District No. 1 applied for and obtained funding for a consolidation project through the DWRLF “Consolidation Initiative Program” (CIP), which provides 100% principal forgiven loans to well managed water systems to consolidate with failing water systems and make improvements that enable the well managed system to absorb the failing water system.  

The project was awarded $2.295 million in 2020 to take over the neighboring water system of Ajax and restore it to compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act requirements.

Since that time, Sabine Parish Waterworks has received an additional $1 million from DRWLF to construct a new water well near the former Ajax facility to provide clean, safe water for the nearby residents of Powhatan.

“We are very proud of the positive outcomes gained through our work with this district,” DWRLF Program Manager Joel McKenzie said. “Much credit goes to our project engineering team and the consultants and leadership of Sabine Parish Waterworks for pursuing impactful projects for their local area.”

Sabine Parish Waterworks District was the first applicant to meet the requirements and obtain funding through DWRLF’s new CIP, according to McKenzie.

“Because of this consolidation project, Sabine Parish Waterworks District No. 1 now provides safe and affordable drinking water to approximately 400 more customers that were formerly served by the Ajax-Beulah Water System, considered to be a disadvantaged community as defined by LDH,” LDH Chief Engineer Amanda Ames said.

Pictured from left are Jennifer McClain, Director of the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water, who presented Walter Mains, President of Sabine Parish Waterworks District No. 1, with the Aquarius Award for its consolidation project with the Ajax-Beulah Water System.  Also pictured are Janice Randow, Clerk of Sabine Parish Waterworks District No. 1; David Mains, Vice President of Sabine Parish Waterworks District No.1; Rusty Reeves, Deputy Director of Louisiana Rural Water Association, and Brian Baker, DWRLF Project Engineer. 

Confused to a Tee

Good thing I’m elderly because it is evident as of two weekends ago when I went to my first ever T-Ball tournament that I could not afford to have a child today.

Not an athletic one, anyway.

This was the Dixie Baseball Regional Tournament (I think) at Tinsley Park in Bossier. For T-Ball. An All-Star Tournament. We now have all-star tournaments for 6- and 7-year-olds even though the ball is hit off a tee and there are no pitchers. This has been going on a good while; I’d just never seen it.

I knew the doings were big when I parked and could not hear any baseball things. That’s how far away the parks were and everyone had gotten there a lot earlier than I had. I like to walk, so no complaint there; just trying to convey how many people were parked here on this Saturday evening. It was like the cast party for Gone With The Wind.

The first sign of trouble was a nice lady walking toward me. She handed me a wrist band. “Here, I’ll save you 10 bucks,” she said and handed me the band. “I was in there five minutes.”

Mister Teddy did not know it cost money to watch T-Ball.

And now I have an idea how much money it costs to play T-Ball, or at least be the guardian of a person who plays T-Ball.

It’s a lot.

Jerseys. Colors. Full uniforms with “Saline” or “Ruston” or “Bossier” across the front. Dozens of teams. “Olla” and … is there a team from “Greater Olla” here? Seems everyone else in Louisiana is.

The winners are traveling to the Dixie World Series in Center, Texas this weekend, and if you’re going to that, best leave now because traffic will not be a walk in the park. (If you’re interested in sponsoring, Hospitality Tents are only $200 a day and the Team Dinner/Opening Ceremonies are just $1,500. This is a big jump from 30 years ago when T-Ball was a YMCA T-shirt and a cap and your cleanest dirty shorts, and when the “regular season” was over, you met at Johnny’s Pizza.)

It took less than five minutes for me to figure out two things.

One, the gear required. Full uniforms. Battery-operated fans. (Could have used those back in the day.) Bat bags. And a clever invention—a wagon. Most everyone had these fold-up wagons, and in them were chairs for Mee Maw and Pee Paw, coolers, fans, bat bags, and sometimes a baby.

And two, most everyone I saw was sweating, but also smiling. It wasn’t my scene, but then again, none of these people wanted to be on the No. 7 tee box with me. They pay for a wagon, I pay for a pitching wedge. Different strokes … Same feeling of fun.

The little team I went to support came in 14th out of 16 teams, I think, but they all looked happy as little dudes on Christmas morning.

Things change. Used to, “travel ball” was one trip each summer out of town for a two-day tournament so my guys could experience a hotel and be together for a weekend. Then it was wiffle ball in the parking lot at night. Low overhead, high return. It was a different time, I guess.

Today, if they were grading, I’d make an F in T-Ball.

Things change, but still … when was the last time you saw boys and girls riding bikes with their baseball gloves hooked to the handlebars, or playing pickup baseball at a park or wiffle in the yard? Something in my old soul always thought that would be timeless. At least it’s still free. 

Contact Teddy at or Twitter @MamaLuvsManning

DOTD encourages candidates to be mindful of guidelines when posting campaign signs

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development would like to advise candidates, as they conduct their campaign for public office, to please keep the following in mind:
  1. It is against Louisiana Law (see RS 48:347) to place signs within the right of way of a state highway.
  2. Campaign signs placed in the state right of way will be removed and stored at the nearest DOTD parish maintenance unit for 30 days. Contact information for the DOTD Districts can be found below.

A good rule of thumb is to place your sign behind existing utility poles on property where you have received permission from the private property owner. Most utilities are within the DOTD right-of-way.

For directions about where and how to reclaim any of your signs that have been removed by DOTD personnel, please refer to the list below.

Thank you for your cooperation and your help in keeping our roadways safe for the citizens of Louisiana.

Graphic: Bienville Parish Journal

Where have all the kids gone?

When I look around today, and drive by the city pool, school playgrounds, sandlots and youth baseball complexes, a question often pops in my head. Where have all the kids gone? Yes, I know it’s 2023 and I understand it’s a different time than when I grew up during the 1970s, but why is that? Well, there are several reasons why we don’t see kids out playing like we did. The number one reason? Protection.

Today’s kids are growing up in the age of social media like You Tube, Twitter, Instagram and processing up to the minute news. The ‘70s had basically three channels, NBC, ABC and CBS, all of which only had two local news broadcasts a day at 6 and 10 p.m. Today, there are numerous 24-hour news channels, even local channels, where anything and everything is known about in a matter of minutes.

Kids today are sheltered and protected from the dangers of the world we live in due to the fears generated from what people see every day on the news. Parents today have a much tougher job of raising kids and worrying about the different types of dangers and challenges than those that existed for my parents.  

Even though there were dangers when my generation grew up, it was a different time when so many bad things were never seen or heard about. The world was still a bad place, but no one really knew because of the lack of news coverage. The news was much simpler back in the ‘70s and mostly void of daily murders or drive by shootings. The worst thing we heard about was the weekly death toll from the Vietnam War. We learned of the passing of Elvis Presley and updates on the Watergate scandal involving President Nixon. We heard about the nationwide gas shortage and the long lines at the pumps. But even then, there was almost always a feel-good story.

During my generation, parents trusted their kids to behave and play with responsibility. Now this was not always the case — kids have historically had a propensity to get into trouble. Common sense is what kept us alive as we understood what was risky versus what was just plain dumb, something kids today seem to lack. During my younger days, the main form of transportation was a bicycle. We rode our bikes around the entire community for miles, seven days a week. We spent countless summer hours outside every day no matter how hot it was.

No one stayed in the house because you weren’t allowed in the house. We played outside because our parents did not allow you to come inside unless you had a medical emergency. If you needed a drink of water, you turned the water hose on until the water got cold enough to drink. A water hose during my generation was necessary for survival! It not only kept us hydrated but was a great form of entertainment when it came to water balloon fights and a slip-n-slide.

Hungry? Well, we could usually find a fig, pear tree or blackberry patch with good fruit on it to satisfy our cravings. Sometimes we hopped on our bikes and went on a coke bottle run collecting as many bottles as we could find in ditches and trash cans so we could turn them in to the local country store in exchange for candy or maybe an ICEE.

It’s sad today to look around and see empty playgrounds and sandlots. You never see groups of kids riding their bikes anymore. You don’t see kids playing chase or climbing trees. Kids today have no idea what a treehouse really is! They have little imagination when it comes to playtime unless it involves a joystick. Because of the level of protection kids have today, they’re just not as mature as my generation was during the pre-teen and teenage years. Imagine your 18-year-old today having to go fight a war in hand-to-hand combat.

What concerns me the most is that the days of kids being free to play outside will never happen again. Kids are too busy on social media sites worrying about someone saying something negative or starting rumors. They are consumed with self-indulging issues that really don’t mean a thing. I only wish parents would take more control and give better guidance. In the meantime, I will continue to pray for kids to experience good fishing, good bike riding and good tree climbing, while not forgetting their sunscreen.  

Contact Steve at

Joseph’s Jet

By Brad Dison
At 8:30 p.m. on November 24, 1992, a Gulfstream II jet piloted by John Joseph and co-piloted by John Messina, took off from Fort Lauderdale, Florida en route to Rockland, Maine.  If everything went as expected, the flight would take two-and-a-half hours.  They planned to land in Maine at 11:00 p.m.  This $5 million twin-engine business jet was rated to carry a maximum of 19 passengers in addition to the pilot and co-pilot.  On this flight, only about a half dozen passengers were onboard, including Joseph’s wife of just 14 months and their seven-month-old son.  The pilot and co-pilot had thousands of flight hours between them.  Joseph had been flying since 1978 and held several different jet and non-jet pilot’s licenses. 

As you probably guessed, everything did not go as expected.  At about 10:15 p.m., with only 45 minutes left to in the trip, a bearing in the jet’s left electrical generator failed.  In case of a generator failure, the jet’s electrical system would automatically draw power from the other engine’s electrical generator.  When this jet’s computer system switched to the right generator, a power surge in the electrical system tripped a circuit breaker.  The second generator shut down.  Without power from the generators, the jet relied on two small nickel cadmium batteries to power the jet’s radios, navigational gear, and other operational systems.  When fully charged, these two batteries could only power the jet for about five minutes. 

No alarms sounded when the two generators failed.  Joseph and Messina only recognized that both generators had failed when the instrument panels began to dim.  It had been about five minutes since the generators failed.  Time was running out.  As soon as Joseph was aware that there was a problem, he contacted the Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center, declared an emergency, and asked for a heading to Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C.  Before he could get a response from air traffic control, the two nickel cadmium batteries had exhausted their power supply and the jet’s entire electrical system failed.  Like most jets, the Gulfstream II had a backup for the backup for the backup in case of electrical failure.  Joseph tried to activate an instrument called a transformer rectifier to generate power but it, too, malfunctioned.  Joesph and Messina immediately realized the severe trouble the crippled jet was in.  All of the electrical navigational equipment had shut down, as had many of the jet’s crucial systems, such as electrically assisted flaps and brakes.     

The jet was nearly eight miles high, traveling at about 400 miles per hour, and was approaching one of nation’s busiest airspaces with no radio communications, no navigational equipment, and no interior or exterior lights.  The jet’s transponder, which transmits information such as the jet’s identification number, heading, speed, and altitude to air traffic controllers, also ceased to operate.  Air traffic controllers could only see an unidentified blip on their radar screens.  When Air traffic controllers realized Joseph’s jet’s electrical system had malfunctioned, they tried to contact Joseph by way of an emergency hand-held transceiver, another piece of emergency equipment, but the jet did not have one of the emergency transceivers.   

In an act of desperation, an air traffic controller directed the pilot of a commercial jet to help locate Joseph’s jet.  USAir Flight 1729 was traveling at the same speed as Joseph’s jet at an altitude of 20,000 feet.  They were unsure of Joseph’s jet’s altitude.  The air traffic controller told USAir pilot of Joseph’s jet’s electrical malfunction and said he would not be lit up.  The USAir jet pilot saw Joseph’s jet directly in front of him about two miles away.  They were heading directly toward each other.  The air traffic controller held his breath as the symbol for the USAir jet and the blip converged.  He breathed a sigh of relief when the symbols for the jets had passed each other and continued in opposite directions.

Back in Joseph’s jet, Messina shone a small flashlight in the cockpit for them to see by.  Joseph had only a tiny magnetic compass and a small emergency attitude indicator which showed the relationship of the airplane’s wings in relation to the horizon for navigating the jet.  There was no moon in the night sky on this night and all Joseph and Messina could see below them were dense clouds.  In the distance, Joseph noticed a glow in the dense cloud cover.  This, he surmised, had to be Washington, D.C.  He aimed the jet towards the glow.  At about 12,000, Joseph’s jet was engulfed by thick clouds.  He continued his descent towards the glow.  The jet continued its slow descent, but the clouds did not thin.  Finally, at about 1,000 feet, Joseph’s jet broke out of the clouds.  The first thing Joseph saw was a brightly lit obelisk in the night sky.  It was the Washington Monument.  Both pilot and co-pilot were relieved at the welcome sight.  Joseph aimed the jet toward the Washington National Airport.  Air Traffic controllers had rerouted the other jets from the area in anticipation of an emergency landing. 

Joseph’s jet was not safe yet.  They held their breath as they tried to lower the landing gear by using the emergency extension system.  Another sigh of relief.  This emergency system worked.  They were unable to lower the jet’s flaps, which would normally slow a jet on approach.  They touched town on the runway at the dangerous speed of about 170 miles per hour.  The only brake they had was the emergency brake, which failed to respond until fully engaged.  The locked tires only lasted a second or two before all four of them blew out.  Somehow, the jet did not flip as it skidded to a stop.  Finally, the harrowing ordeal was over. 

Although terrifying, Joseph still flies his jets.  He owns several.  Throughout the emergency, air traffic controllers failed to realize that Joseph, the pilot of the Gulfstream II jet, would have been instantly recognizable had they seen his face.  You and I have watched him in “Welcome Back, Kotter,” “Grease,” and “Saturday Night Fever.”  The pilot who miraculously guided the jet to safety, despite horrifying odds, whose middle name is Joseph, was John Travolta.

Source:  James, Mike. 1995. “STAYIN’ ALIVE.” Washington Post, March 26, 1995.

Coming right up! Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration is July 27-29

The biggest, most celebrity, and fun-filled party of every summer in Natchitoches and for miles around is coming your way a bit later than normal, at the end of this month.

Three days of festivities are right around the corner, Thursday, July 27 through Saturday, July 29, with the 2023 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration.

Two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning Joins four-time WNBA All-Star Alana Beard (whose parents are from Natchitoches Parish) and College World Series champion LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri in a star-studded 12-member induction class.

The LSHOF Class of 2023 also includes New Orleans native Ron Washington, who managed the Texas Rangers to a pair of World Series appearances and in 2021 helped the Atlanta Braves win the world’s championship; two-time LSU track and field USA Olympian and world champion Walter Davis; and Slidell native, Tulane great and Chicago Bears two-time Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte.

Also elected for induction are All-American LSU pitcher Paul Byrd, a 14-year Major League Baseball veteran who made the 1999 All-Star Game; Shreveport native Wendell Davis, who shattered LSU football receiving records before heading to the NFL; multiple national champion and world-class weightlifter Walter Imahara, a UL-Lafayette legend; and retired Baton Rouge-Parkview Baptist baseball coach M.L. Woodruff, whose teams claimed 11 state championships.

The LSHOF’s Class of 2023 will be enshrined Saturday, July 29, at the Hall of Fame’s home in Natchitoches to culminate the 64th Induction Celebration.

The 2023 Induction Celebration will kick off Thursday, July 27, with the La Capitol Federal Credit Union Welcome Reception from 5-7 p.m., free to the public at the Hall of Fame museum.

The Friday, July 28 schedule begins with the Celebrity Bowling Bash presented by BOM at Four Seasons Bowling Center in Alexandria. The 2023 Rockin’ River Fest, a free concert on the downtown riverbank stage, begins at 6 p.m. and runs until 10:30. In conjunction with the Rockin’ River Fest is the VIP Taste of Tailgating party presented by Hancock Whitney.

The slate on Saturday, July 29 kicks off with the free LSHOF Junior Training Camp led by community relations personnel from the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans, on the NSU campus at the Webb Wellness and Recreation Center and Turpin Stadium. Kids ages 7-17 do need to register in advance at the website, but there is no charge to participate.

At noon Saturday, the Round Table Luncheon presented by the Tiger Athletic Foundation is held at The Venue on Front Street.

Festivities culminate Saturday evening with the Induction Reception at the LSHOF museum beginning at 5, followed at 7 by the Induction Ceremony at the Natchitoches Events Center. Northwestern State University and State Farm Agents of Louisiana are presenting sponsors Saturday evening.

The VIP Taste of Tailgating, the Bowling Bash, the Round Table Luncheon and the Induction Reception and Ceremony are ticketed events requiring purchase in advance through or by calling 318-238-4255, and those events could become sellouts.

The Thursday reception, the Friday evening River Fest and the Junior Training Camp are free. As noted above, camp participants must register online in advance.

The 2023 Induction Celebration 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 and other participation, contact Foundation President/CEO Ronnie Rantz at 225-802-6040 or, or Greg Burke, Director of Business Development and Public Relations, at 318-663-5459 or

John Albert Ceske

John Albert Ceske, 80, of Many, Louisiana passed away on Sunday, July 16, 2023, at Louisiana Extended Care in Natchitoches, Louisiana. A graveside service will be held for him on Wednesday, July 19, 2023 at 10:30 a.m. at Emmanuel Cemetery, Parish Road 821, Lena, LA with Bro. Charles Mark Woodham officiating. A visitation will be held prior to the graveside service for him from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service at 10:30 a.m. at the Emmanuel Cemetery Pavilion in Lena, Louisiana.

John was born on February 2, 1943, in Ashland, Wisconsin to Michael John Ceske and Ida Hattie Kindler. He proudly served in the United States Army for two enlistments; one in Germany, and the other in The Vietnam War as a field artillery man.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Michael and Ida Ceske; his loving wife of 50 years, Grace Marie Vercher Ceske; his sister, Laverne Nelson and husband, Harry; his brothers, Cliff Ceske and wife, Amanda, Howard Ceske and wife, Marpha, and Mike Ceske and wife, Peggy; and his sister-in-law, Frances Ceske. Left behind to cherish his memory are his son, Bobby Christine and wife, Betty of Many, LA; his daughters, Terry Cruz and husband, Adolfo of Huntsville, TX, and Lela Byfield and husband, Doug of Big Sandy, TX; his brother, Ed Ceske of Cleveland, TX; his grandchildren, John Eric, Rachel, Jason. Adolfo Jr., Danielle, Stephanie, Eric, Jason, and Kara; his great grandchildren, Trinity, Gavin, Kaydance, Raleigh, Grace, Eli, Chase, Emerson, Ezekiel, Cade, and Emelina; along with a host of nieces, nephews, friends, and other family members.

Junior William West

A Mass of Christian burial to celebrate the life of Junior William “Bill” West, of Franklin, TN; formerly of Zwolle, LA will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, July 21, 2023, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 307 Hammond Street, Zwolle, Louisiana with Fr. Timothy Hurd officiating. Burial to follow the service in the church cemetery. A visitation will be held for “Bill” on Friday, July 21, 2023, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at Kilpatrick’s Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 9891 Texas Highway, Many, Louisiana.

Junior William West, 96, passed away peacefully Monday, July 10, 2023. Born, July 12, 1926, in Pine Prairie, Louisiana to Charlie R. West and Zeola (Carpenter) West. He married Joan L. West on May 17, 1952. Mom passed away February 29, 2008. He is survived by his children Michael (Rose) West of Hattiesburg, MS, Randy (Donna) West of Scottsdale, AZ, Dan (Mary) West of Fort Atkinson, WI, Mary Kay West of Franklin, TN; grandchildren, Amy West, Jason West, Amanda (Joseph) Graham and Seth (Jade) West; great grandchildren Mya Goplin-West, Dawson Graham, Amelia Graham and Ryder West; sisters Verlin Hanson of Biloxi and Betty (Pat) McCann of Pineville, LA, brother and sister in law; Don and Marilynn Hauch of Racine, WI. Preceded in death by mom, his parents, J.B. and Mercedes West, Eunice and JJ Williamson, Sam and Thelma West, Wilford and Marion West, Don Hanson, Wilfred and Virginia Willis, Jimmy and JoAnn West and Joseph and Betty Kowalsky.

Dad served in the United States Army during World War II from September 1944 to November 1946. With qualifications as rifle sharpshooter, he was in combat in the South Philippines. After the atomic bombs he was one of the first to arrive at Hiroshima, Japan.

After WWII he left Louisiana with his brothers to find work in Wisconsin. He met and married our mom in Racine, WI. He worked at American Motors, then Walker Manufacturing where he retired. He frequently worked three jobs to support our family. He built our family home, worked on our cars and was an all-around handy man. He was always a constant figure in our home and lives. Always supporting our endeavors. He was a quiet, strong, dependable, humble man. He had a keen memory and a quick wit.

Family and friends always remember how he made them laugh. He was born during the Great Depression, and truly an example of a man of the Greatest Generation. He displayed to us the value in hard work, dedication, integrity, sacrifice and taking care of others.

In his free time, Dad enjoyed sports, was an avid hunter and a registered beagle breeder. Retiring at Toledo Bend Lake (Louisiana) gave him plenty of time to enjoy his favorite pastime, fishing.

There is no power on earth as strong as your Father’s Love, and our family feels extremely blessed to have been loved by Dad for so many years.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the National Council on Aging in Bill’s name.

Raymond Lee Prewitt

Raymond Lee Prewitt, 79 of Florien, Louisiana passed away at Rapides Hospital in Alexandria, Louisiana on July 8, 2023. A memorial service will be held for him on Saturday, July 15, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. at Pisgah Baptist Church, 1420 Pisgah Church Loop, Florien, LA 71429 in the Toro Community. Pastor C. M. Kelly will be officiating his service.

He was born on January 11, 1944, in Houston, Texas to Henry Lee Prewitt and Geraldine (Hale) Prewitt.

Raymond is preceded in death by his parents, Henry Lee Prewitt and Geraldine (Hale) Prewitt; and his brothers, Roland and Roy Prewitt. Left behind to cherish his memory are his wife of 52 years, Evelyn (Mahaffey) Prewitt of Florien, LA; his sons, Tony Prewitt of Leesville, LA, Scott Prewitt of Deridder, LA, and Tim Prewitt and wife, Shelly of Longview, TX; his daughter, Angela Moore and husband, Jason of Conroe, TX; his sister, Marlene Holland of Florien, LA; and his brother, Ronnie Prewitt and wife Elizabeth of Florien, LA; his 9 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren; along with a host of nieces, nephews, friends, and other relatives.

Dodgers draft NSU’s Makarewich in 13th round

The 13th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft again was lucky for Northwestern State.

For the second straight year, a Demon right-handed pitcher was selected in the 13th round of the draft as the Los Angeles Dodgers selected junior Alex Makarewich on Tuesday with the 400th overall selection in the draft.

A second-team All-Southland Conference selection as a junior, Makarewich followed former teammate Johnathan Harmon, who was chosen in the 13th round of the 2022 MLB Draft by Cincinnati. In addition to the symmetry with his former teammate, Makarewich’s selection brought his baseball life full circle.

“I had discussed it with my advisor,” said Makarewich, a 6-foot, 185-pound right-hander who made 15 starts in 2023 after spending his first two seasons in the NSU bullpen. “To finally get the call and the confirmation I was going to be a Dodger was a surreal feeling. Growing up in L.A., I was a Dodgers fan. My dad was a big Dodgers fan. We went to a few games. Throughout the years, I’ve always pulled for the Dodgers. To get picked by them was a surreal feeling. It still doesn’t feel real.”

Makarewich posted a 5-5 record in his lone season as a starter, striking out 89 hitters in 72 1-3 innings. The 89 strikeouts are the eighth-best single season total in school history and ranked him 103rd nationally.

Makarewich was stringy to opposing hitters, limiting them to a .208 batting average and 6.59 hits per nine innings – the 25th best number nationally. His 11.07 strikeouts per nine innings were second in the Southland Conference and ranked 66th in the country.

His selection marks the sixth straight season the Demons have had a Major League Baseball draftee and the fifth straight season in which a Northwestern State pitcher has heard his name called. Makarewich is the third Demon drafted by the Dodgers – the first since Clifton Glidewell in 2000.

The six straight seasons with a draftee extends the school record and is the longest active streak of any Southland Conference school.

Despite recent graduations to the major league level, the Dodgers remain one of baseball’s top farm systems, a fact of which Makarewich was familiar.

“I think it’s the best place for me,” he said. “The way I pitch, throwing off the slider with a lot of ride. Learning a new breaking ball. Developmentally, the Dodgers are the peak of baseball. They’re the best at taking the guys they think they can work with and making them 10 times better. I’m excited about it.”

It taint much fun to be a turkey

(From the Summer of 2011 after 34 MILLION pounds of tainted turkey was recalled. Some things never change; it’s still tough to be a turkey …)

Man the poor turkey just can’t catch a break. I’d almost rather be a catfish than a turkey, and the catfish gig’s no day at the park.

I was eating a Sloppy Joe, one of the world’s truly underrated and underappreciated foods, when someone brought up the most recent recalled meat fiasco – 34 million pounds of recalled turkey meat. “Tainted,” meat inspectors declare.

My mania for Sloppy Joes is such that this line of conversation did not bother me. The buns were soft, the secret sauce ingredient (V8!) was kicking in, and the meat was, thank goodness, hamburger.

But between bites, I felt bad for mister turkey, and for several million of his brethren.

They have that stuff hanging from their necks. They walk funny. Talk funny. The beady eyes, the chinless stare. A turkey could be the only entry in a beauty pageant, and still come in eighth, tops.

As if the cards weren’t already stacked, my buddies in the National Wild Turkey Federation are dressing up like shrubs and hunting them even though the turkeys are – unless you count ‘ugly as a weapon – unarmed. They call the turkeys, then shoot them.

So the turkeys in the news this week are double losers. They get called, shot, cleaned, packaged, then RE-called.

Is it any wonder that a guy who’s tabbed “a turkey” is a dud. An inept loser. Dumb as a chisel.

Turkey’s a tough row to hoe.

So if all that’s not enough, 34 million pounds of bird that will never gobble again was recalled. Punched out for nothing. Spoiled by salmonella, a word I never heard growing up. If you’re a turkey, you just can’t win.

Caught up in these poultry-based current events, my friend Doctor Pickles gobbled, “Here’s a question: what number do you have to get to in the Tainted Meat Game before it’s recalled? Before it’s Big News? Eight pounds? Eight million pounds? Twenty mil? If it’s just one box at the Jitney Jungle, do you keep it quiet? How many turkeys have to go bad before somebody squeals?”

And how do you know it’s 34 million pounds? Was it really 52 million? 75 million? Who is the quality control person in charge of keeping up with millions of pounds of spread-out tainted turkey meat?

Larry at the Tainted Meat Department: “Man, 52 sounds like a lot.”

Joe: “Well, let’s make it 18.”

Larry: “18? Who in their right mind would believe 18? We can’t say 18 million pounds. What are you, crazy? Are you insane, with the 18?”

Joe: “I’m just sayin’!, for cryin’ out loud. Make it 36 then.”

Larry: “We’ll say 34.”

Joe: “Fine. 18. 36. 34. Whatever. Let’s break for lunch.”
Larry, opening his pail: “Dang. Turkey again…”

In the tainted turkey racket, nobody wins.

Never do I hear the phrase “tainted meat” that I don’t think of Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple,” and the opening scene card game at the apartment of sportswriter Oscar Madison, who stares into his ice box and offers the guys some snacks during a break.

Oscar: “I got, uh, brown sandwiches and, uh, green sandwiches. Which one do you want?”

Murray: “What’s the green?”

Oscar: “It’s either very new cheese or very old meat.”

Murray: “I’ll take the brown.”

Visitation, service Thursday morning for Jack O. ‘Britt’ Brittain Jr.

Natchitoches attorney-at-law Jack O. “Britt” Brittain Jr., one of the most remarkable and beloved ambassadors ever in his community, passed away Tuesday morning at age 67 after a brief illness.

A celebration of life service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at The Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Church in Natchitoches, with Father R. B. Williams, O.P., under the direction of Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home. A visitation will be held at the funeral home in Natchitoches from 9-11 a.m. on Thursday.

He was born June 20, 1956, and died July 11, 2023. He was preceded in death by his parents, Jack Oliver Brittain and Ann Williams Brittain, paternal grandparents, Clarence Lafitte Brittain and Irene Humphries Brittain, and maternal grandparents, Judge R. B. Williams and Ora Garland Williams.

He is survived by six treasured siblings: Dr. Marguerite “Cissy” Picou and her husband, Dr. Bryan A. Picou of Natchitoches; Rebecca Brittain Morris and her husband, Wallace “Wally” E. Morris of Alexandria; Judge Lala Brittain Sylvester, and her husband, Russell “Rusty” L. Sylvester of Natchitoches; Eliza Brittain Behrendsen, and her husband, Gunnar F. Behrendsen of Natchitoches; John A. Brittain, and his fiancé, Janice Wheat of Youngsville; and Mary Jane “Cookie” Brittain Richardson, and her husband, Kirk J. Richardson of Nashville, Tenn.

Britt has 16 beloved nieces and nephews: Marguerite “Megan” Picou Bishop, and her husband, Ashley, Sara Picou McCann, and her husband, Gabe, Catherine “Catie” Picou Oryl, and her husband, Ben, Dr. Bryan A. Picou, Jr, and his wife, Kassie, Winfield Hancock Morris, and his wife, Lidiane, Wade Hampton Morris, and his wife, Kathryn “Kat,” Lala “Brittany” Sylvester Gaspard, and her husband, Brett, Courtney Elisabeth Sylvester, Ashley Kathleen Sylvester, Kathleen Marie Sylvester; Behrend Brittain Behrendsen, Ashton Lafitte Behrendsen, Sydney Brittain Dickson, and her husband, Clayton, Ann Marie Brittain; Stanley John Richardson, Richard Blanchard Richardson.

He loved his 15 grandnieces and grandnephews: Emma Virginia Bishop; Ella, Liam and Andrew McCann; Mack, Molly, Fiona and Claire Oryl; Amelia, Oliver and Eleanor Picou; Cooper Morris; Maeve Bailey Gaspard; and Rigby and William Dickson.

In lieu of flowers, the family hopes friends will consider contributions to the Jack Brittain, Jr., Memorial Scholarship Fund at Northwestern State University to benefit a female student-athlete.

Contributions can be made online by visiting: Contributions can also be mailed to: Demons Unlimited Foundation, Attention: Jack Brittain, Jr., Memorial Scholarship, 468 Caspari Street, Natchitoches, LA 71457. For more information, please contact NSU Associate Athletic Director Darian Westerfield at 318-357-4560.

He was a faithful parishioner of The Minor Basilica Immaculate Conception Church. Among his social memberships, he was a longtime member of the Krewe of Dionysos, and had been a member of Holiday In Dixie Cotillion, Holiday In Dixie Planter’s Ball, and an escort for the St. Denis Art Guild.

“Britt” was a 1974 graduate of St. Mary’s High in Natchitoches and was one of the first people inducted in the St. Mary’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He lettered four years in track, football and basketball, and played in the Louisiana High School Coaches’ All-Star Football Game in 1974. Britt was selected to attend Boys State, and also served as a page in the Louisiana Legislature and at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. He also worked for U.S. Senator J. Bennett Johnston, helping staff his north Louisiana office. In his senior year of high school, his fellow students voted him Mr. SMH. As an adult, he was an active member of the Tiger Athletic Association.

He chose to stay home and attended Northwestern State University, earning a football scholarship. He lettered in all four seasons (1974, 1975, 1977, 1978) first as a running back, then a receiver, and was a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity. Britt graduated with a business administration degree in 1979, and set his sights on law school to become an attorney like his father.

He was admitted to the Paul Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University and earned his Juris Doctorate in 1982.

He served as a clerk for Louisiana Head Supreme Court Justice Jack Watson.

Britt entered public service after law school, and joined Senator Johnston’s staff in a full-time capacity, working both in Washington, D.C., and around Louisiana.

“Britt worked for us even in high school. We trusted him to represent the requests of North Louisiana for his entire tenure with our offices,” said Senator Johnson. “My wife and I have known Britt since he was born. He will be missed.”

Britt worked with Senator Johnson until the senator’s retirement. He was immediately offered, and accepted, a position with new U.S. Senator John Breaux as his North Louisiana Chief Political Aide and served until Senator Breaux closed his Shreveport office.

After coming back to Louisiana, Britt settled in Shreveport, where he was well-known and beloved in Shreveport-Bossier society. He was even named by the Shreveport Times as one of the city’s “Most Eligible Bachelors,” a distinction he informally retained for years to come.

He became a member of the Indoor Tennis Association in Shreveport and later was part of a United States Tennis Association national finalist and state champion team. He was a state-ranked singles player.

After leaving government service, Britt worked as a Merrill Lynch Financial Planner in Shreveport. He ultimately returned to his hometown and joined the Brittain Family Law Firm as an attorney-at-law, remaining in practice for the rest of his life, with specialties including estate planning, timber management and oil & gas leasing. His invaluable service to a far-reaching and diverse group of clients and friends was universally admired.

He was among the best of the best and always provided the life and joy of any event. Britt made his priorities in life serving others, supporting countless noble causes and especially his beloved hometown and alma maters of St. Mary’s, NSU and LSU. For decades, he was an avid friend to NSU’s Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority co-founded by his grandmother Ora G. Williams in 1929. Early this century, the sisters showed their love and appreciation by creating the “Jack ‘Britt’ Brittain Service Award” given to a person who is remarkably supportive of the Tri Sigmas at NSU.

“Jack defined the virtue of generosity. He was generous of time, generous of treasure, and most importantly generous of spirit,” said Dr. Jim Henderson, president of the University of Louisiana System and former president of NSU. “His support for our alma mater knew no bounds and was exceeded only by his love and support of his family and friends. When our fathers met as football teammates at Louisiana Tech in the 1940s, they had no idea their sons would bond as Demon alums some 70 years later. Jack was a treasure to us all and I will cherish his friendship for life.”

He spent 18 football seasons as the often unconventional, always passionate sideline reporter for the Demon Sports Network, and did everything he could in support of NSU Athletics in all sports. Britt’s loyalty and service was recognized by the N-Club, the university’s association of former athletic letterwinners, in 2013 when he was surprised by being inducted into the N-Club Hall of Fame as a winner of the Distinguished Service Award. He was a founding member of Demon Brothers, a football alumni group, a member of the Demons Unlimited Foundation and the NSU Alumni Association, and was universally beloved by student-athletes, coaches and staff from all sports and all ages.

Through his involvement with NSU Athletics, he developed deep friendships with sports media, coaches and athletic personnel from around the state and Southland Conference. He volunteered to do legal work for the Louisiana Sports Writers Association, some which was vital to the location of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum in Natchitoches. He also enthusiastically attended annual inductions and assisted in LSHOF operations, notably taking a major role in hosting golf tournaments. He was awarded a Life Membership in the LSWA and later, in 2017, became a recipient of the organization’s most prized honor, the Mac Russo Award, given to an individual who “contributes to the progress and ideals of the LSWA.”

He made it his mission to spread joy and happiness at every opportunity, throughout his life, and was lovingly loyal to his family and friends. He was a trusted confidant and advisor to people in all walks of life, a gracious and festive host, and a servant/leader in his community, state and nation.

He will be missed. Britt left an indelible, lasting impact with no boundaries. To know him was to love and admire him, and also, to feel his unabashed love that he shared with everyone.

A black eye for fishing

Over the years, every sport has been given a “black eye.” No matter what sport it is, people are always looking for some form of illegal or unethical issues that they can bring to light.

Recently, professional basketball had the controversy over a referee who was betting on games he was calling. Baseball has the infamous Pete Rose controversy with his betting on baseball. Football and baseball over the years have both gotten black eyes over the use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs. But when it comes to tournament bass fishing, the sport continues to battle with the never-ending effects of bass dying after a tournament. 

Now this is not due to a lack of concern about keeping their catch alive, as there are times when no matter what you do, you will still have a fish die in your livewell. It’s actually very important to the anglers in general because dead fish can cost them a lot of money. A dead fish can also hurt an angler when it comes to Angler of the Year (AOY) standings which usually has a cash bonus for the winner at the end of the year. So, it’s important for tournament anglers who participate in this sport to be conscious of how they take care of their catch.

Admirably, 98 percent of all bass tournaments do a great job of implementing rules that penalize anglers for weighing dead fish. Some events deduct anywhere from a quarter to a half-pound penalty for every dead fish weighed in. While this doesn’t sound like much, it can be the difference between finishing first or 10th. It’s the difference between getting paid or going home with nothing. 

Just like so many things in our world today, there are always people watching and looking for a reason to create controversy that will help their agenda. In the fishing world that would be PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). This organization continues to target tournament bass fishing and would like to see the sport discontinued. They show up at boat ramps all across the country wearing fish costumes and making their presence known while protesting bass tournaments. 

But what they refuse to see is how well and to what extent anglers go to keep fish alive. On the professional level or other high exposure events, fish care is critical. Nothing upsets an angler more than losing a fish in their livewell. I’ll give you an example of how much attention I give to fish care while they are in my possession. 

In the fall, winter, and early spring months, it’s unusual to have a fish die in your livewell due to the cooler water temperatures. Hot water is the enemy of tournament anglers and during the summer months this is hard to combat. This is why I hate summer tournaments! You spend so much time babysitting your catch and constantly checking on them to make sure they are in good shape as the day progresses; it’s a job! Here’s what I have found over the years that can make a huge difference in fish care and that has worked extremely well for me. 

 When an angler first launches his boat on tournament morning, he should immediately fill his livewells with fresh cool water. This is because the water is at its coolest point for the day. Next, put G-Juice or any other good additive into the water to help add slime back to the fish after they have been handled. It also reinvigorates bass and keeps them in stable condition before weigh-in.

After doing these two things, turn your livewell on recirculate. The next step is crucial to keeping the water cool and is where anglers often make their biggest mistake when trying to keep fish alive. When the livewell is recirculating,  add ice, or in my case, frozen water bottles. For me, I’ll mix G-Juice into bottles of water and freeze them so that I can drop one bottle in the livewell every hour. I remove the bottle cap which allows for the gradual addition of more G-Juice while simultaneously maintaining the water at a cooler temperature the entire day. DON’T ADD HOT FRESH WATER TO YOUR LIVEWELL DURING THE DAY! This is a recipe for disaster!

 If anglers want to continue to have bass tournaments, they have got to become more diligent about taking care of their catch. The problem is, when people show up at a boat ramp where there was a tournament the day before and see dead fish floating, photos are taken and posted on social media for all to see! This is nothing but ammunition for organizations like PETA who want to eliminate tournaments all together.

To sum this up, tournament anglers and tournament trail organizations need to do a better job when it comes to fish care if they don’t want the sport to get another black eye. Till next time, good luck, good fishing and be conscious of taking care of your skin by using plenty of sunscreen and wearing protective clothing.

Contact Steve at

Jacques versus Louis

By Brad Dison

For centuries, Paris has been the mecca for clothing designers.  Jacques Heim was a French costume designer for theater and film.  In the 1920s, he began working in his parents’ fur company.  Although fur clothing is frowned upon today, it was popular during Jacques’s lifetime.  In 1923, he took over the family business and expanded its product line to include dresses, non-fur coats, and other articles of clothing.  In 1932, Jacques created a new piece of clothing altogether and needed a catchy name for it.  At the time of his creation, scientists were making discoveries which they said would usher in a new era of human existence.  They claimed that one day soon, nuclear energy would transform the world into a utopian society.  They called it the “Atomic Age.”  Jacques liked the idea of the atomic age, and he named his creation the Atome.  For years, Jacques tried to get people interested in the Atome.  He even hired skywriters, pilots who flew small aircraft which released special smoke during flight to create writing that was readable from the ground, to tell people about his product.  Despite his best efforts, few people wore the Atome, and it was ultimately deemed a commercial failure. 

Another designer named Louis Réard created a similar product based on a redesign of Jacques’s Atome.  Like Jacques, Louis began an advertising campaign for his creation.  As part of that campaign, Louis wanted a model to wear his creation at its unveiling presentation.  All the models he usually hired for such events refused to wear his creation.  Louis knew that without a model to showcase his product, his creation would be a failure just as Jacques’s Atome had been.  In desperation, he hired 19-year-old Micheline Bernardini to model his creation at its unveiling.  Micheline had no experience in runway modeling.  She worked at the Casino de Paris as a fully nude exotic dancer.     

On July 1, 1946, the United States exploded the first of 23 nuclear bombs in what was called Operation Crossroads.  Like Jacques, Louis was inspired by the atomic age and named his product after the location of the nuclear explosion.  Four days later, Micheline unveiled Louis’s creation in Paris.  For Louis, the success or failure of the product depended on its unveiling.  He invited local and international press to the unveiling.  As an extra step to endear his product to newspapermen, Louis used cloth with a newspaper type pattern.  To Louis’s relief, newspapers around the world published articles with pictures of Micheline wearing Louis’s creation.  Louis’s creation was an instant hit, as was Micheline.  She received more than 50,000 fan letters after the event.  14 days after the unveiling, Louis applied for and received a patent for his design.  For the next 40 years, Louis operated a shop in Paris as a home base from where he sold his design all over the world.    

Louis named his creation after the atoll where the United States tested nuclear bombs.  That name has become part of our popular culture.  You and I know Louis’s creation, which consisted of no more than 30 square inches of material, as the Bikini.   

Source:  Adwar, Corey, “The Scandalous Story behind the Debut of the Bikini.” Business Insider. Accessed July 9, 2023.

Notice of Death – July 11, 2023

Mary Frances deBargas Lowrey
July 10, 1944 – July 8, 2023
Services: Wednesday, July 12, 2023, 11 am at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Natchitoches.

Jack O. “Britt” Brittain, Jr.
June 20, 1956 – July 11, 2023
Visitation: Thursday, July 13, 2023, 9 am at the Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home, Natchitoches.
Service: Thursday, July 13, 2023, 11:30 am at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Church, Natchitoches.

Mark Rodgers
September 5, 1938 – July 5, 2023
Service: Friday, July 14 at 1 pm in the Winnfield Funeral Home Chapel

Percy Moore
January 16, 1951 – July 10, 2023
Arrangements TBA

Barbara LaCour Rachal
November 16, 1944 — July 6, 2023
Service: Thursday, July 13 at 11 am at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Isle Brevelle