Demons on Fire: Anna Claire and Karrigan Rowse

Who is messier? Who’s the better driver? More responsible? Which one is which? Twins Anna Claire and Karrigan Rowse are fraternal, but their resemblance in looks, voices, interests and friendly personalities — and tendency to speak in unison — is so striking, they could be taken as identical.  The two Northwestern State University seniors grew up in Lake Charles, graduated from Barbe High School in 2020 and began their college journey during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are the oldest of five children with two sisters who are 18 months apart in 12th and 10th grade, and a younger brother in fifth grade.

NSU was not initially on their radar, but a nudge from their grandfather, Jackie Self of Leesville, a 1979 graduate of NSU, pointed them in the right direction. They are now completing clinicals at Rapides Regional Medical Center and will collect their undergraduate degrees in nursing during commencement exercises on Dec. 13.

Anna Claire and Karrigan sat down with NSU staff to talk about growing up twins, their plans for the future and their experiences at NSU.  They conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Do you often get mistaken for one another? 

In Unison:  Every single day.

Who is older?

Anna Claire:  I’m older by a minute and I make sure she doesn’t forget it.

What attracted you to NSU?

Karrigan:  When we came here, our recruiter was nice and we met [Director of Recruiting and Enrollment Management] Van Erikson and he was super nice and we met Dr. [Chris] Maggio, who was president at the time, and all of them made us feel like we weren’t just a number. They wanted us here because of who we were and what we can contribute to Northwestern. The nursing program is also really good. They were really personable to us when we came.

Anna Claire:  I could say the same thing.  We came together.  We didn’t want to stay too close to home. We stayed at NSU, which was the best decision that we made.

You started college during COVID. Can you talk about some of the challenges and how going to college during COVID met with your expectations? 

Anna Claire:  We graduated during COVID, which was very weird.  We didn’t expect to ever have to do anything like that but I think we made the most of it. We got to do Freshman Connection, even though it was different.  We joined a sorority, so we got that experience. We joined the BCM [Baptist Collegiate Ministry], we joined other clubs. We still made the most out of it, even though it was a very different experience than we were expecting.

Karrigan:  I think we didn’t know what to expect coming in.  It was everyone’s first time doing things like that, so it was comforting to know we weren’t the only ones that had to deal with that.  Everyone else around us was also dealing with that, too.

What are some of the other things you are involved in?

Karrigan: Alpha Lambda Delta and I’m a presidential ambassador for the Recruiting office.

Anna Claire:  I work at the WRAC as a personal trainer.

When did you realize you wanted to become a nurse?

Anna Claire: I always had the feeling that I wanted to help people that couldn’t help themselves and I also knew that I wanted to go into something with kids, too, but also wanted to go into healthcare.  We did babysit a lot throughout our high school experience, and we still do that now.  Getting the opportunity to work with kids and also work in the healthcare field was something that I always wanted to do.

Karrigan:  When our little brother was little, he was always in and out of Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, so I think that made me want to be a nurse, seeing how the doctors and nurses treated us as a family and the comfort that they brought us made me want to do that for somebody else.

Can you talk about your experiences in clinicals?

Anna Claire: I’m in pediatric ICU. I’m leaning more towards pediatrics right now, not really the critical care side. I feel like when I do become a nurse, I’ll get more critical care experience and I will be comfortable in that aspect but as of right now I just want to do pediatrics.

Karrigan: I’m in the nursery. I didn’t think that I wanted to be a nursery nurse. I really always leaned towards pediatric but now that I’m doing my preceptorship in clinicals in nursery, that may be something that I’m going to consider whenever I graduate.

Do you have employment lined up?

Anna Claire:  We’ve talked to nurses at Rapides and management, so we did apply and we’re just waiting to hear back. That’s where we want to end up when we graduate to get more experience.  Our goal is to go to Texas Children’s in the future to work.

Do you think you will always work in the same hospital?

Karrigan:  Right now, just because we’ve done everything together and there’s not anyone else in the picture, I think it’s good.  For cheaper rent, if we ever were to move to Texas, which has always been a goal.  It’s cool that we get to do things together and I think we should stay together as long as possible because when we’re older and we do get married and have kids we’re not going to see each other as much we’re trying to enjoy the time that we have together.

In addition to your majors, what are some other ways that you are very much alike?

Anna Claire:  We like to go to concerts.  We have the same music taste. We like to work out.

Karrigan:  We always have a workout buddy. We like to travel, so we go on spontaneous trips sometimes.

Do you have disagreements or arguments?

Both:  Yes.

Anna Claire:  I think it’s evident, we literally do everything together. But we’re trying to get better at not arguing. It’s just we’re together 24/7.

Karrigan:  We do separate a little bit two days out of the week but we’re just together a lot and we’re just tired, so we just get argumentative.

Do you have the same friend group?

Both:  Yes.

Anna Claire: We did a summer camp two summer ago with WinShape and we got to be apart, which was great. We’ve always been known as The Twins, but we were actually known as Anna Claire and Karrigan which we really liked, and we got to meet new friends and have new memories apart and it made us value our time together a lot better.

What are some other things you’ve done to forge your own identities?

Silence. Staring at each other.

Are there some things that one of you really likes that the other doesn’t? 

Staring at each other. Silence.

Karrigan: A lot of people think twins are completely different but we’re more like the twins that are way more alike than we are different.

Anna Claire:  But we’re not inseparable. We can do our own things.  We don’t need each other 24/7 but we are more alike than we are different.

What are some things that each of you does that the other doesn’t do or an interest you have?

Staring at each other.  Quiet discussion, then speaking simultaneously.

Anna Claire: We always have a buddy with us.  We don’t go places alone.   

Karrigan:  We just have a built-in buddy everywhere we go and everything we do.

So, you are basically best friends.

Both:  Right. Exactly.

What’s the best thing about being a twin?

Both:  You always have someone with you.

Anna Claire: We study together.  I wish our brains could just go together when we take tests because one of us knows something the other doesn’t, but it’s good that we bounce off each other’s ideas.

Karrigan:  I don’t think we could get through nursing school without each other. I think nursing school is hard as it is and since we do have each other it makes things so much easier, knowing you’re not the only person going through the struggles that you’re going through.

Is one of your more assertive than the other?

Anna Claire:  One of us is more outgoing than the other, people have said.  

Karrigan: I think more I’m assertive.  I like to be right.

Anna Claire:  Yeah, she is.

What have been some of your most memorable experiences at NSU?

Karrigan:  For me, since I work in the Recruiting Office, I get to work N Side View Day.  When I did go to N Side View I got to see all the people who influenced me to come to Northwestern and I think it’s cool that when I work N Side View Day, I get to meet future students. When they come to NSU I’ve already made that connection with them, so it’s cool to build a relationship before they even come to Northwestern.

Anna Claire:  I’d say my best memory is I joined Tri Sigma, so getting my Big and my Little and knowing that I can go to them for anything and they can come to me for anything.

What would you say to someone deciding to come to NSU for Nursing school?

Karrigan:  I would say I felt home at Northwestern, and I have other friends that go to other schools and I feel that I’ve gained a lot more knowledge and the experiences, since we do get to travel to other hospitals and we do simulations and things and it’s given me a lot more confidence in myself that I didn’t have prior to coming to Northwestern. Nursing school and Northwestern have taught me that I don’t know everything and I’m very prepared for what’s to come in the work force. 

Anna Claire:  I’d say the same. They prepare you for the real world. You’re not going to know everything, but it does get you prepared and you feel more comfortable when you have instructors that challenge you and you also need to go into nursing with an open mind because you have to go every field. You have to go through your med/surge, pediatrics, so be open to what specialty you want to do because that may not be what you want to do.

‘We just got beat by a better writer today …’

Just once I’d like to see the tables turned in a sports interview.  

I’d like to hear a sportswriter sort of look down and, not defeated but definitely dejected, mumble into the microphone after a poorly written game story, “I just didn’t have my good verbs today. No movement with my action verbs at all. I was missing early in the story with my helping verbs so I couldn’t really set up what’s been my bread-and-butter action verbs like ‘pitched’ and ‘hit.’ It is what it is, I guess…” 

Just once…

Part of sports is that familiar give-and-take between players/managers and writers/broadcasters before and after games, familiar and routine as batting practice or pregame warmups. 

Monday night after a Game 7 rout by Texas in the American League Championship Series, baseball’s and Houston’s much beloved Dusty Baker, manager of the defending World Series champs but losers in Monday night’s series-deciding game, deftly dodged questions about some of his in-game decisions, decisions that landed somewhere between strange and bizarre, especially for a future Hall-of-Famer who played 19 seasons and has since managed teams to more than 2,000 wins. 

Dusty said something about fans having been “spoiled around here, as far as winning,” how the Astros have “nothing to be ashamed of,” how they were beaten “by a better team tonight.” And on like that. Which is fine. No excuses, but no real explanations either. 

Just to keep things even, writers should have to do the same now and then. Instead of hanging around the batting cage—let’s say we’re talking baseball here—maybe now and then the manager comes to the press box and says to the writer, “Your game story this morning, it seemed flat. Sally’s story in The Tribune, it was like reading music. Felt like I was at the game. What’s your evaluation of what happened?” 

Writer: “Look, Sally’s a good writer and she was the better typist last night,” the writer says, studying his shoes. “I had some opportunities in my lead and didn’t take advantage of those. As the story went on, I had decent command of my nouns, even the Proper Nouns, but my verbs were all over the place. I let that one adjective get away from me in — I think it was the third graph — and after that it seemed I couldn’t find my rhythm or my butt with both hands. 

“It’s like I told the staff after the paper came out, I’ve got to do my job, sure, but we’ve got to have good layout too, maybe a few graphics … it takes a team. This isn’t a one-man show. But the bottom line is I’ve got to do better. I can’t just throw my laptop out there and expect to win.” 

Coach: “Any thoughts on how home press box proved to be no advantage at all this series?” 

Writer: “That’s writing. That’s just writing. My splitting an infinitive and giving a clause away when I hung that preposition late didn’t help, but I think the fight was there: we just didn’t execute at the level we’re capable of.” 

Coach: “Your pronoun use has been a strong suit all year. Do you think you landed those today?” 

Writer: “My subjective pronouns were as good as they’ve been all year. But somewhere around the eighth sentence, my objective pronouns were flat as a crewcut and the one time I used a possessive case and then a nominative clause, well, those weren’t worth donating to the homeless. Anything else guys?” 

Coach: “Thanks, Writer. Good luck tomorrow.” 

Writer: “Thanks guys. I appreciate y’all. Just wasn’t our day. But we don’t have anything to be ashamed of. Outside of getting the final score wrong … Sorry about that. Wish I had that one back.” 

Contact Teddy at 

Abraham’s Almost Forgotten Novel

By Brad Dison

American Journalist Christopher Hitchens once said, “Everyone has a book inside them, which is exactly where it should, I think, in most cases, remain.”  Abraham had published several books, but when he got to his seventh novel, most people thought it should have remained inside his own mind and not in print.

Abraham was the manager of the Lyceum theater in London’s West End.  As manager, Abraham held a position of prestige, but his salary as manager did not necessarily reflect his position.  To supplement his income, Abraham wrote reviews of plays and books.  He also published poetry, stories which were serialized in newspapers, and novels.  He had no aspirations to become famous, he wrote whatever he thought would sell well.  Most of his published works were in the romance genre.  His seventh novel, however, was something altogether different.

Despite many popular reviews, Abraham’s seventh novel was not the runaway success that he had hoped for.  He had spent years researching the book and had handwritten over 100 pages of notes on the project, but it sold poorly compared to some of his other published works.  When he died on April 20, 1912, he had made little income from his seventh novel, and it was no longer in print.  When newspapers in Europe published the news of his passing, the articles listed several of his popular novels but his seventh novel was rarely included among them.      

In 1927, Abraham’s seventh novel was used as the basis of a stage play which was better received than the novel had been.  Based on the play’s success, Universal Pictures purchased the rights to the book for $40,000.  Adjusted for inflation, $40,000 in 1930 would be almost $750,000 in today’s money.  Abraham’s widow, Florence Balcombe, made much more money from the seventh novel than her late husband had.  Universal Pictures took a giant risk with the film.  Production costs totaled nearly $400,000.  The film based on Abraham’s seventh novel was released on February 12, 1931.  Universal Pictures executives were relieved when, unlike the novel, the film became a hit.  Domestically, it earned more than $700,000, almost double its production cost.  The film added a new character into worldwide popular culture which is instantly recognizable.  The film also spawned new interest in Abraham’s seventh novel.  Since the film’s release, Abraham’s book has never been out of print, and it has become one of the most famous works of English Literature.  Abraham’s novel has been adapted for film more than 30 times so far, and his characters have appeared in all forms of media.  Abraham could never have imagined how popular his creation would become. 

We almost knew the title of Abraham’s seventh novel by a completely different name.  Just before the novel went to the publishers for printing, Abraham made a last-minute decision and changed the title of the novel from “The Un-Dead.”  You and I know Abraham “Bram” Stoker’s seventh, almost-forgotten, novel as “Dracula.” 

Happy Halloween!  


1.     London Daily News, May 27, 1897, p.6.

2.     The Pall Mall Gazette, June 1, 1897, p.11.      

3.     The Morning Post, June 3, 1897, p.2. 

4.     The Standard Union, April 22, 1912, p.3.

5.     The Daily Telegraph, April 22, 1912, p.6.

6.     The Sun, April 22, 1912, p. 9.

Please watch your language!!!

First, I would like to preface this article by saying, please don’t judge me for how this article is written.

I’m only trying to show the verbal nature of a particular co-angler I fished with a couple of years ago and that I do not condone the language she used in a recent American Bass Anglers (ABA) regular season two-day championship on Lake Sam Rayburn.

What made this event unique was the fact that it was the final event in which ABA allowed co-anglers. Let’s define what the term co-angler means. This is an angler who fishes out of the back of the boat and is not allowed to fish off the front deck because it is strictly for the boater/pro. The co-angler is only fishing against other co-angers while the boater/pro is fishing against other boater/pros.

Over the years, I’ve had some co-anglers who were great anglers and I’ve had a few who had no clue what they were doing. Some get in the boat looking to learn while others are there to get your fishing locations so they can come back later and fish everything you showed them. This is a major no-no in the tournament fishing world and there are even rules in place to discourage co-anglers from such behavior. No co-angler is supposed to share the information they learned while fishing with the boater/pro.

But there are no rules in place for off-color language.

In one particular event, I had a co-angler, who we shall call “Karen,” who threw me for a loop and tested my patience. Not because she talked too much, but rather how she talked. Over the years, I’ve only had a female co-angler maybe twice. But for this event, Karen would be my co-angler and would be one I’ll never forget.

On the Friday evening before an event, the ABA tournament director sends out who your partner will be the day of the tournament via a text message, along with their contact information so you can call them and make arrangements on where to meet on tournament morning.

My very first conversation with Karen was one to remember. As I made the call to introduce myself, her response was, “Mr. Steve, how the **** are you?” Rather than continue to go over every conversation we had for our two days together, I’ll cut to the chase. Turns out, she was not able to complete a sentence without an “F” bomb or two thrown in to make her point clearer.

Understand, I grew up in locker rooms and understand foul language. For some, it’s just how they were raised and that’s the only language they know. Hoping Karen would take a hint, I tried to steer the conversation by asking her what church she attended.

Even though I already knew the answer, I was hoping it would bring to light that I’m a Christian and attend church on a regular basis. Now I’m not a saint and have my own issues from time to time with a damn or hell occasionally, but she took foul language to a whole other level. It was by mid-morning on tournament day that I said to myself, “I wish she would shut up!”

Being paired up with someone like this makes for a long day on the water. It’s a true test of one’s patience as she continued with her obscene language all day long. To make this day even worse, we had a late weigh-in time of 4:00 rather than 3:00. So, the joy for me was knowing I had an EXTRA hour of “F” bombs!

But it all came together when she told me how she was raised. Now off the top of my head, I was thinking she came from an abusive home life with maybe an alcoholic parent or maybe she spent time as a child in a juvenile detention center. No. Turns out that she grew up on a bull riding ranch in Texas. Ha! Now it all came together; she was raised by cowboys!

Rodeo cowboys are a species unto themselves and many have their own language limitations. If you ever watch the hit TV series, “Yellowstone,” you’ll understand how cowboys communicate. There’s a reason someone wrote the song “Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.” Look, I realize it takes all kinds to make up this world, and I’m not one to judge, even though I do.

To wrap up my day with the queen of obscene language, Miss Foul Mouth ended with these comments as she decided that her fishing day was over. As she sat down in the passenger seat on my boat, she made this profound statement, ”Mr. Steve, I’m done and let me tell ya what I need right now. I need a ******* cigarette, a ******* beer and a ******* toilet, and not necessarily in that order!”

I was now beyond the shock value of Karen’s statements but could not wait to get her out of my boat. Rather than make an issue out of what her most recent demands were, while shaking my head, I just decided to say, “Me too!” I pulled the trolling motor up and cranked my engine to head back for the weigh-in. This was something I’d never done before — come in from an event 30 minutes early.

Over the years, I’ve had some long days on the water, but none longer than this one. It just goes to show, you never know who or what kind of person you’re going to get in a Pro/Am tournament. You just hope and pray that Karen is not your partner for the day.

‘Til next time, good luck and good fishing! Please make sure to check out our Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Facebook page for all kinds of tips and tricks to help make you a better angler. Go to to learn more!

Contact Steve at

Virgie Lee (Moss) Tarpley

May 5, 1946 — October 17, 2023

Virgie Lee (Moss) Tarpley of Many, Louisiana, went to her Heavenly home on Tuesday October 17, 2023, at Grace Nursing Home in Slaughter, Louisiana. Virgie was born to Ernest Moss and Minnie (Hyatt) Moss on May 5, 1946, in Many, Louisiana. A visitation will be held for her on Saturday October 21, 2023, at 9:00 a.m. at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, 94 Sportsman’s Paradise Road, Many, Louisiana. Her service will begin at 11:00 a.m. with interment to follow in Pilgrim Rest Cemetery. Virgie was married to the love of her life, Floyd Tarpley for 58 years.

Virgie was a teacher’s aide for 32 years at Negreet School where she was known for her famous saying, “I’ll beat you with a wet noodle.” Virgie loved her time at school and touched many children’s lives while she was there.

Virgie was preceded in death by her husband Floyd Tarpley; parents, Ernest and Minnie Moss; her sister, Deal Colton; her brother, Doyle Moss; her niece, Missy Campbell Rivers; her nephew, Bruce Tarpley; brother-in- law, Bobby Tarpley; and sister-in-law, Vivian Tarpley. She is survived by her children; sons, James Tarpley and wife, Leslee of Hemphill, TX, Phillip Tarpley of Many, LA; daughter, Carol Annison and husband, Eddie of Zachary, LA; sisters, Jean Ward and husband, Bob of Halls, TN, JoAnn Withers and husband, Dale of DeRidder, LA, Paige Bodner and husband, Richard of Arlington, TX; her grandchildren, Morgan Tarpley Jacks and husband, Josh of Pineland, TX, Leslie Annison Hutchinson and husband, Brennan of Zachary, LA, Gabe Tarpley and wife, Megan of Florien, LA, Ben Mason and wife, Cassidy of Zachary, LA, David Annison and wife, Maddi of Denham Springs, LA, Ethan Tarpley and wife, Courtney of Many, LA, Austin Tarpley and wife, Kelsy of Lufkin, TX, Alex Tarpley of Many, LA, and Simon Tarpley of Many, LA; great grandchildren, Brycen Jacks and Olivia Jacks of Pineland, TX, Hadley Hutchinson, Colton Hutchinson, and August Mason of Zachary, LA, Elliot Annison of Denham Springs, LA, and Marlee Tarpley and Weston Tarpley of Florien, LA; along with a host of nieces, nephews, friends, and other relatives.

Honoring her as pallbearers will be James Tarpley, Eddie Annison, Gabe Tarpley, Phillip Tarpley, Ethan Tarpley, and Ben Mason.

Darin Wayne “Bucket” Sonier

November 2, 1967 — October 12, 2023

Darin “Bucket” Wayne Sonier, 55, of Many, Louisiana went to his Heavenly home on Wednesday, October 12, 2023, at his residence. He was delivered into this world on November 2, 1967, in New Orleans, Louisiana to Daryl Sonier and Darlene (Lloyd) Sonier. A visitation will be held for him on Thursday, October 19, 2023, from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. with a rosary beginning at 6:00 p.m. at Kilpatrick’s Rose-Neath Funeral Home Chapel, 9891 Texas Highway, Many, Louisiana. A graveside service will be held on Friday, October 20, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church Cemetery, 307 Hammond Street, Zwolle, Louisiana.

Bucket is a native of Napoleonville, Louisiana but has since made Toledo Bend his home along with his wife, Lisa. He has always been an avid follower of major horse racing events. The couple spent many hours traveling from track to track enjoying the competition between horses and jockeys. Just some of the competitions the couple attended included The Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Breeders Cup, Belmont, and the opening day at Del Mar. Of all the events they attended, The Preakness was his favorite. Years had past and Bucket booked a fishing trip for the couple to Toledo Bend Lake where they fell in love with the area…15 years later they decided to make Toledo Bend their new home and the rest is history!

Preceding him in death are his paternal grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. Emerson Sonier, his maternal grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. William Lloyd, and his in-laws, Mr. & Mrs. Clarence Michel, Sr. He is survived by his parents, Daryl and Darlene Sonier of Napoleonville, LA; his loving wife of 24 years, Lisa Michel Sonier of Many. LA; his sister, Darla Sonier Mirelez and husband, Dan of New Orleans, LA; his sister-in-law, Jamie Michel and husband, CJ of Lancaster, KY; his nieces, Lyllian Mirelez of Baton Rouge, LA, Lucy Mirelez of New Orleans, LA, and Dr. Alex and Mrs. Kamryn Michel Elswick of Lexington, KY; his nephews, Lucas Mirelez of New Orleans, LA, Clark Michel of Lancaster, KY, and Klarye Michel of Evanston, IL; his great-great niece, Kathryn Grace Campbell of Lexington, KY; and his Godson, Clarence “Trip” Michel III of Lancaster, KY; along with a host of friends and other family members.

Honoring him as pallbearers will be his friends, Kevin, Dan, CJ, BJ, and Danny.

Join Sabine Parish heroes on the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Team

By Greg Burke

Sabine Parish residents no doubt take immense pride in home grown athletes like Bo Dowden, Charlie Joiner and Tynes Hildebrand, who have been recognized for their accomplishments through induction into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

For years, the only point of recognition for those honorees was in trophy cases at Northwestern State University’s Prather Coliseum. In 2013, recognition of Louisiana’s greatest athletes took a monumental step forward with construction of the state-funded 27,000 square foot Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum in Natchitoches’ downtown historic district.

In addition to being open to visitors and for group tours, the museum has hosted events such as the recent 50th anniversary commemoration of singer Jim Croce’s untimely death after performing at NSU, wedding receptions and rehearsal dinners, meetings, and other functions.

The first-ever Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame “Join the Team” membership drive – which research shows is standard for most hall of fame museums – has been initiated to secure resources which can be used to update and upgrade the museum. State funding underwrites basic operating costs for the museum but there are often inadequate funds to enhance the museum, especially in this age of “bells and whistles” (aka “technology”). Log on to and click the “Join the Team” button or text LSHOFTEAM to 41444 to “Join the Team.” Checks can be mailed to 500 Front Street, Natchitoches, LA 71457.

While today’s technology comes at a cost, the “asking price” for Hall of Fame membership can be as little as $10 per month. Member benefits include official Hall of Fame team member gear, the opportunity to win monthly drawings, discounts on merchandise and other amenities. 2023 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame inductees Alana Beard – Shreveport (Southwood High School), Duke University, and 15-year WNBA standout – along with two-time LSU national champion and 14-year Major League Baseball pitcher Paul Byrd, are Honorary Co-Chairs of the inaugural membership campaign.

And if that isn’t attractive enough, members who sign up by December 31 of this year will be entered in a January 1 drawing for the “Ultimate 2024 Hall of Fame Weekend Experience,” which includes two tickets to all induction weekend events, a photo with your favorite 2024 Hall of Famer (Drew Brees…Seimone Agustus…Daniel Cormier…or another inductee…your choice!) and exclusive access to some events. The value of that package is close to $1,000!

The initial goal is a very conservative and surely attainable 100 members. This museum is our state’s pride and joy, a legacy locker room for its greatest athletes that celebrates excellence from all 64 parishes, from Ida to Grand Isle, from Lake Providence to Lake Charles. Statewide ownership will ensure that just as Louisiana athletes are among the best from coast to coast, the same can always be said about its Sports Hall of Fame Museum.

Greg Burke is Director of Business Development and Public Relations for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation. He was formerly Director of Athletics at Northwestern State University for 26 years. Burke can be contacted at


By Doug De Graffenried

I know you are busy, and I want to get you back to your life, so this is a short article. Do me a favor, think about these things for just a moment.

Years ago, in seminary, they taught us the adult attention span was 23 minutes. In this digital world the your attention span was by-passed after the first sentence. These are quick. They are in no particular Biblical order.

Jesus threw a Temple tantrum.

Jesus was always borrowing things. He borrowed a boat; borrowed a donkey; borrowed an upper room; borrowed a sepulcher.

Jesus invited himself to supper at Zacchaeus’ house. Jesus invited himself to join the conversation on the Emmaus road. Jesus inserted himself into the political conversation in Jerusalem when he mounted a donkey and rode into the city. Jesus inserted himself into many conversations and situations and His imposition gave each person something they were looking for and a relationship that changed their lives.

Jesus spent too much time with children.

Jesus was a serial procrastinator. On at least two occasions, Jesus was late, and it cost someone his or her life. However, Jesus was always on time. Go figure.

As an infant, Jesus spooked a king. As a child he shocked the theologians 

Jesus comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable.


Notice of Death – October 24, 2023

Jackson Boyd Fernandez
January 31, 1950 — October 23, 2023
Service: Saturday, October 28 from 1-3 pm at the Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home in Natchitoches

Fred Phillips
October 24, 2023
Arrangements TBA

Edward C Thompson (Better known as JJ)
January 26, 1954 – October 23, 2023
Arrangements TBA

Melvin Ray Smith
October 9, 1934 — October 22, 2023
Service: Wednesday, October 25 at 1 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Carolyn Waxham
November 11, 1940 — October 19, 2023
Service: Friday, October 27 at 1 pm at Beulah Methodist Church in Marthaville

Coach Mike & Connie McConathy

Dear Friends,

Our hearts are overwhelmed with gratitude for the support this past year as we ran our campaign for Senate District 31.  I learned much and made many new friends while traveling through 10 parishes!  

I am so thankful for all those who helped, who prayed , who physically worked, and who encouraged me.  I am proud of what we accomplished.

Let’s continue to support Louisiana and each other, our future depends on it.  

May God continue to bless!

Coach Mike & Connie

Most Common Myths About Bankruptcy

At the Harrington Law Firm, we are a Debt Relief agency and we do assist people in filing for Bankruptcy under Federal Bankruptcy Law and also counsel people about non-bankruptcy options when they are suffering from financial problems.

There are lots of “street lawyers” out there who are very quick to give “advice” about the process and the effects of filing for bankruptcy.

First of all, the information those “street lawyers” give you is very likely incorrect. It may be that they or someone they knew filed bankruptcy in the past but bankruptcies are like snowflakes, every one is different. No two financial situations are exactly alike and what may or may not have worked for one person may work the total opposite way for another. In any event, here are some of the most common myths that we come across when counseling our clients about the possibility of filing bankruptcy:

MYTH #1:

If you file bankruptcy you will lose everything you have. That is actually almost never the case. In fact, most of the Chapter 13 Debt Consolidation Bankruptcies we file have the opposite effect. They often allow our clients to keep their property instead of losing it to their creditors.

MYTH #2:

You will never get credit again and you will never be able to own anything again. Both of these myths are absolutely false. We find that in the vast majority of our clients, the filing of bankruptcy actually improves their credit, sometimes dramatically, and that after they finish the bankruptcy, if they otherwise qualify for loans, they can purchase vehicles, homes, and as we like to say: “do anything you’re big enough to do.”

MYTH #3:

Filing will hurt your credit for ten years. This is absolutely a myth. While this may have been true many years ago, our experience has been that our clients’ credit improved dramatically upon receiving their discharge and they start receiving credit cards in the mail and offers from companies wanting to provide them with credit. Of course, we caution our clients to be very careful and conservative before getting themselves in debt again.

MYTH #4:

If you are married, both spouses have to file. This is not the case; we have many cases where one of the spouses in a married couple files while the other one does not.

MYTH #5:

You’ll have to testify in court. This is very, very unlikely. During Covid, the Bankruptcy Courts in our area began conducting the debtors’ meetings with the Trustees by telephone conference and/or Zoom and that continues to this day. That means that you can participate by phone from your home, work or wherever you are. It is rare that a court appearance would be required, and most of those are now are conducted by ZOOM.

MYTH #6:

Even if you file, creditors will still harass you and your family. Upon filing either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, which are the two types of consumer bankruptcies, all of your creditors will be served with what is called the “Automatic Stay,” which is an order issued by the Court prohibiting your creditors from suing you, calling you, writing you, or having any other further contact with you. You will have filed for bankruptcy protection, and protection is what it provides.

MYTH #7:

You can’t get rid of back taxes through bankruptcy. This is not always the case. Although there are some taxes that you cannot discharge through bankruptcy, we are often able to wipe out a good deal of back taxes and even if we can’t, could at least stop the penalties from running and protect our clients from seizures or any other collection efforts by the IRS or the State.

MYTH #8:

Bankruptcy cannot help you get your driver’s license back after suspension for MV fines. Again, this is false. We see many clients who owe thousands in Office of Motor Vehicle (DMV) fines and charges, and who have had their driver’s license suspended. In most cases we are able to file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, take care of the fines through the plan, and immediately get the suspension lifted.

MYTH #9:

You can only file once for bankruptcy protection. This is definitely not true; debtors can file multiple times for bankruptcy protection.

MYTH #10:

Only deadbeats or bad people file for bankruptcy. This is definitely a myth. We find that our clients see bankruptcy as an absolute last resort and 90+% of our clients file for one of the following reasons: divorce, excessive medical bills, or becoming unemployed or under-employed.

MYTH #11:

When you get behind on your bills and can’t catch up bankruptcy, is your only option. When a client comes to us for a free consultation at The Harrington Law Firm, we discuss all of their options. Often times we will recommend non-bankruptcy options with our clients, such as, allowing us to negotiate with their creditors.

Remember, your first appointment is always free!

In addition to bankruptcy, The Harrington Law Firm handles Automobile Accidents, Medical Malpractice and other type of Personal Injury cases, Successions, Social Security Disability claims, and uncontested Divorces.

The Harrington Law Firm may be reached by calling (318) 352-5900 or going to

NSU calendar for Oct. 22-28

Here is a look at the week of Oct. 22-28 at Northwestern State University. 

Oct. 22-29 – “Elemental Threads: Contemporary Works by Angelbert Metoyer, Annie Moran and Ayo Scott,” Orville Hanchey Gallery 

Oct. 22 – Soccer vs. Houston Christian, Lady Demon Soccer Field, 1 p.m. 

Oct. 22 – Modern in Motion XI, Texas and Pacific Railway Depot, Remembrance Way, Natchitoches, 2 p.m. 

Oct. 23 – Engineering Technology Symposium and Manufacturing Day for Grades 9-12, Student Union Ballroom, 9 a.m. – noon 

Oct. 23 – Louisiana Piano Series International presents Nadejda Vlaeva, Magale Recital Hall, 7:30 p.m. # 

Oct. 24 – Volleyball vs. Texas A&M – Commerce, Prather Coliseum, 6:30 p.m. 

Oct. 24 – Faculty recital featuring Malena McLaren, clarinet, and Chialing Hsieh, piano, Magale Recital Hall, 7:30 p.m. # 

Oct. 25 – Screening of documentary “Who Yo’ People” and talk by filmmaker Dr. Lindsay Gary, Ora G. Williams Digital Media Center, Room 142 Kyser Hall, 5:30 p.m. 

Oct. 25-29 – “The Wedding Singer,” A.A. Fredericks, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25-28, 2 p.m. Oct. 29 

Oct. 26 — “Outspoken: Collaborations in Story and Song,” Magale Recital Hall, 7:30 p.m. # 

Oct. 27 – Drums Along the River, Downtown Riverbank, 6:30 p.m. 

Oct. 28 – ACT Testing, Kyser Hall, 8 a.m. 

Oct. 28 – Classic on the Cane Marching Band Contest, Turpin Stadium 

Oct. 28 – Guest recital featuring Dr. Jeremy Dowden, trombone, Magale Recital Hall, 5:30 p.m. # 

NortheastTel to Acquire CP-TEL

NortheastTel, a leader in rural broadband in Northeast Louisiana, announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire CP-TEL Holdings, Inc. of Natchitoches, a leading broadband provider in Northwest Louisiana.  

Mike George, President and CEO of NortheastTel said, “The acquisition of CP-TEL is a significant event for NortheastTel.  CP-TEL’s leadership has built a strong company, focusing on enhancing broadband and other advanced telecommunications services throughout Northwestern Louisiana. Together with our management team, we are confident that we can continue to further these objectives.”

Becky Scott, President of Epic Touch Co.(parent company of CP-TEL), stated, “We are excited that CP-TEL is being acquired by another rural telecommunications company with a long history of doing business in Louisiana.  Like Epic Touch, NortheastTel is a family-owned company that embodies the same commitment to taking care of its employees, customers, and the communities where we live and work.”

Under the agreement, NortheastTel will retain existing CP-TEL management, including Tom Edens, General Manager.  Northeast is committed to continuing to grow CP-TEL and does not foresee  changes in employee count following the acquisition.  

The acquisition will be a stock transaction in which NortheastTel will acquire 100% of CP-TEL’s shares.  The parties expect the transaction to be completed during 1Q 2024 subject to regulatory approval and other conditions set forth in the definitive agreement.

About NortheastTel

NortheastTel, headquartered in Collinston, LA is a full-service telephone and broadband services provider in rural northeastern Louisiana. The history of the current ownership of the company began in 1946 with the purchase of the Collinston Telephone Company. In 1953 the company was reorganized as Northeast Louisiana Telephone Company and has evolved over the years to where it is today.  NortheastTel is a locally owned company offering customers world-class advanced telecommunications services utilizing a state-of-the-art fiber optic network and electronics.

About CP-TEL

Founded in 1933, CP-TEL has grown from a small independent telephone company providing service to the communities of Pleasant Hill, Campti, Pelican and Creston to a progressive telecommunications company delivering broadband and other communications services over state-of-the-art facilities.  

CP-TEL has continued to grow their business by investing in Natchitoches, Sabine, DeSoto and Red River Parishes by expanding and upgrading their fiber-optic network and associated electronics throughout these areas. These investments have enabled CP-TEL to be able to offer customers fiber-optic connectivity with internet speeds up to 1G with no data sharing or throttling.


By Doug De Graffenried

For a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon my fate hung in the balance.

Rolo and Chester are the canine occupants of the house. I rescued Chester at the Gibsland exit, moments after he’d been dumped at the exit. He was still cowering beside the road. He has been with us since January. He is just now becoming comfortable with his surroundings. He’s 80% Pit Bull and 20% Boxer. Yes, he’s had the DNA test done. He has this funny boxer mouth that looks like he’s judging you all the time. He’s learned that he’s safe in our home.

Rolo is the offspring of a Pit Bull that I rescued after she was dumped at the same exit. It took me nearly a month to catch the dog we named Maggie. I worked so hard to catch her because I knew she was pregnant. She had nine puppies. Rolo was one of those nine puppies. He had a tough start. Maggie stepped on his head on his first day. We fed him with an eyedropper for the first couple of weeks of his life. He was the runt of the litter. The runt now weighs 80 pounds! Rolo’s DNA indicates he is ½ Beagle and ½ Pit Bull. The two dogs are inseparable.

Now back to my fate hanging in the balance.

I went out on Saturday to move a sprinkler. Since God will not water my yard, I am taking care of it. We have an old house, so I have old fashioned screen doors. I enjoy opening the doors and letting the breeze blow through the screen doors. Sunday, I was allowing the breeze to blow through the screen doors. On Saturday, I had not latched the front screen door.

The dogs escaped out of the front door.  They did it twice in a row. The first time they came immediately to the backyard gate and barked for me to let them in. I gladly let them in. I proceeded to inspect the fence. I suspected those two dug under the fence some place. The inspection yielded no results. Then I remembered the trip outside on Saturday to water the front yard. Yes, I had not latched the screen door. Yes, the dogs were gone again.

I knew that if anything happened to Rolo, I was dead man walking. I would not recover from the guilt of allowing the favored dog to escape. Everything I had ever done wrong, paled in comparison to this dog getting out and not coming back. We got in two cars and began searching the metroplex of Gibsland. We drove all over town and nothing. I saw places in Gibsland that I didn’t know existed. I found an apartment complex and a cool shed that had been remodeled into a home. 

No dogs!

My guilt and dread were increasing.

The good news is that we found them very close to home. They were together and exhausted. We got them home, fed them, and they slept soundly until Monday morning.

The dogs didn’t know they should not run off. The dogs didn’t know they were in danger. The dogs didn’t know that we were driving all around town looking for them. The dogs didn’t know that prayers were going heavenward on their behalf. The dogs didn’t know we dropped everything to find them. They didn’t know!

Isaiah reminds us, “All we like sheep have gone astray.” We are like sheep. We didn’t know we were lost until we were found.

Sunday reminded me that the Good Shepherd looked for me, until He found me. I thank God that His love was seeking me when I didn’t know!

You know?

A boyhood hero who was first at third

It was the heart of baseball’s dog days, mid-August 1995, summertime in the bottom of the seventh, when broadcaster Bob Costas in his eulogy for New York Yankee great Mickey Mantle, gone at only 63, reminded us of something said by baseball’s first commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, way, way back in a time very different than today:

“Every boy builds a shrine to some baseball hero, and before that shrine, a candle always burns.”

When you’re a boy and you choose a baseball hero and light a candle, it pays to choose wisely. I did. My guy was Brooks Robinson.

As Mickey Mantle, a hero so grand and flawed he bordered on myth to boys of the 1950s, was leaving the game, Brooks Robinson was just settling in at third base for the Baltimore Orioles and I was settling in to boyhood. Brooks was from Arkansas and my baseball-loving granddaddy was from Louisiana. The Braves had just arrived in Atlanta from Milwaukee, but the Orioles were the closest established big-league team to my Carolina hometown and Brooks had been picking it for the O’s since I was born.

So Brooks Robinson was my guy.

And when he passed away three weeks ago in late September at 86, just days before the Orioles won their 100th game of the 2023 season, a lot of guys my age took a double knee and more than a moment of silence for the joy he gave us, for the dreams he inspired in us kids wearing Husky jeans and pedaling to the ballparks and the chain-link-fenced outfields of our youth.

Sure, he was good at baseball. Best defensive third baseman ever. The Human Vacuum Cleaner. Hit it to Brooks and you were out.

MVP in 1964. World Series MVP in 1970. An All-Star 18 times. A Gold Glover for 16 straight seasons. Two times a World Champion. For 23 seasons, a Baltimore Oriole.

Often in my head and for no reason, the tape will play and he’s robbing the Cincinnati Reds of extra bases, time and again, in the 1970 World Series on the black-and-white Sylvania in our little den in South Carolina. How in the world … ?

I’m not sure boys my age wanted to be Brooks Robinson like guys 10 years older than me wanted to be Mickey Mantle. The Mick was movie-star good-looking and played center field and was in New York City and slugged like a house afire. Brooks Robinson wore a goofy batting helmet with a too-short bill and was constantly in the middle of an electrical storm at third base in blue-collar Baltimore and had some great offensive seasons but was, for two decades, steady as the sun rising.

We didn’t really want to be him. But we sure wanted to be like him. He was dependable. Kind. Approachable. And really good at what he did. Unassuming. He was Mr. Oriole.

I have never asked for an autograph from a big-league player. I have autographed baseballs from Little Leaguers and their parents and some friends, and treasure those and the memories behind them. But I do have two Brooks Robinson autographed baseballs, each a gift. They are in the shrine I still have today. There’s my Brooks Robinson poster, a Boys’ Life magazine with him on the cover, a 5×7 framed head shot, a few action figures, a bobblehead Oriole … it just makes me feel good to know it’s there.

I never met him and never tried. Just knowing he was there was enough.

It hurt me that he died, but especially that he died on the eve of the postseason, Baltimore’s first October appearance in a couple of decades. I didn’t understand it. But the Orioles were swept last week, so maybe it’s best that he wasn’t here to see it.

But it sure is comforting to know he was here, and to know what he meant to so many, and to know that he’ll remain a cool and refreshing memory, just like the autumn wind at the end of a long season, when the leaves turn Baltimore Oriole orange and the weathered tan of a baseball glove.

Contact Teddy at

Take Over Tuesday from your Vaughn Team!!

This week our employee spotlight is focused on Mr. Bailey Clark!

Hey everyone! My name is Bailey Clark and I am from Brandon, MS. I strive to always push myself past comfortability, to force myself to grow. I’m a fresh face at Vaughn Chevrolet, excited to delve into the world of automobiles and assist you in your car search. I have previous experience in the customer service industry, and I’m eager to apply my skills to help you discover the right vehicle. As a newcomer in this dealership, I’m enthusiastic about learning and providing you with honest advice and world class customer service. Whether you’re in the market for a reliable daily driver, a spacious family car, or an exciting ride, I’m here to explore the options with you and ensure your car buying experience at Vaughn Chevrolet is enjoyable and informative.

Let’s embark on this journey together as I grow and assist you in finding your ideal car!

Come see me on the hill @ 1742 HWY 504 Natchitoches, La 71457.

A tackle box full of chocolates

In the movie Forest Gump, Tom Hanks’ character talks about how life is like a box of chocolates. Bass fishing is very much the same.

In every tackle box there are a plethora of baits to consider. How does an angler know what to choose?  

There are so many factors that go into selecting the right bait. One is the time of year, which has the most influence on what you should be throwing most of the time. But there are exceptions and sometimes the fish will bite anything you’re throwing. In fishing, timing is everything and what to throw and when to throw a particular bait is what makes fishing so difficult.

Just like the box of chocolates, soft plastic fishing worms come in a variety of colors. I’ve never been able to figure out how fishing worms got certain names, but the color wheel for soft plastic worms in the fishing industry is weird. Some examples: Redbug, Plum Apple, Gleason Candy (one of my favorites), Green Pumpkin, Watermelon, Watermelon Red, Hematoma, and Sprayed Grass, to name a few.  

I remember as a kid finding my dad’s old tackle box, which truly was a box of chocolates. He had baits that I had never seen before or even knew how to use. Even though it was a tangled mess inside his tackle box, I separated out the baits that I wanted to try. For some reason this got me excited, and I could not wait to take them to one of our stock ponds and give them a try. 

While I wish I could say that I caught a boat full of fish on these old lures, truth be known, most got hung up and never made it back to the tackle box they came from. Dad never really asked about any of these old lures, but I’m pretty sure he knew why they were missing. 

One thing I have learned over my many years of tournament angling is that there is usually more than one way to catch bass. For proof of this, all you need to do is look at what the top 10 anglers used to catch their fish for a particular event. Bassmaster magazine does a great job of summarizing each event and will give you the secrets of the top 10 anglers and how they caught their fish.

It always amazes me at how many different techniques and baits are used by the higher-placing anglers. It can be as many as 10  different baits by the top 10 guys. You would think that most of these anglers were probably doing pretty much the same thing, but very seldom is that the case.

While everybody has their favorite chocolate, anglers have their favorite baits, as well as a favorite color they like to throw.  Most will fish with the baits they have the most confidence in and over the years, there’s one particular bait that has put money in my pocket and has played a big role in my tournament success — a Black Emerald  Zoom Trickworm.

There is nothing exciting or special about a Trickworm, but this particular worm and color has long been a go-to lure for me. It’s basically a six-inch straight tail worm with very little built in action. But when paired with a 3/16 tungsten weight and a 2/0 hook, it WILL catch fish! 

The color Black Emerald is best described as a black worm with green metal flake with a few sprinkles of red metal flake mixed in. Another worm that I really like in this same color is the Zoom 10.5-inch Ol’ Monster.

I discovered the color Black Emerald while fishing as a co-angler on the FLW tour back in 2004. I found out that no matter where the tournament went, from Florida to the Carolinas and back to Toledo Bend, this color would catch fish. I think part of its success is the fact that not many anglers throw that color, and the fish don’t see it very much. 

So, there you have it. Fishing truly is like a box of chocolates; you never know what or how you’re going to catch fish. ‘Til next time, good luck and good fishing!

Please make sure to check out our Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Facebook page for all kinds of tips and tricks to help make you a better angler. Go to to learn more!

Contact Steve at

Opportunity: NSU Middle LAB School



• Valid Teaching Certificate
• Master’s Degree in Education (preferred)
• Minimum of five years of teaching with evidence of successfully
impacting student achievement, particularly those who have the greatest

JOB SUMMARY: The Instructional Specialist is a critical lever in improving student achievement. The role of Instructional Specialist is to build teacher capacity and deepen teachers’ understanding of instructional practices as related to Louisiana Student Standards and Data Driven Instruction.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: • Job-Embedded Instructional Coaching
• Facilitate school-level Communities (PLCs)
• Support teachers with development of standards-aligned proficiency exams
• Collect, organize, and disaggregate academic data
• Oversee school-level Response to Intervention (RTI) program, WIN (Whatever I Need)
• Redeliver and support implementation of district and state professional
• Support teachers and administrators in using data to improve instruction on all levels
• Build strong relationships with teachers, administrators, and other coaches
• Assist teachers with planning and pacing of lessons, the development of differentiated lessons, and the selection of best practices to meet the needs of their students.
• Support teachers in developing strong pedagogical practices
• Develop individualized coaching plans for teachers to ensure student improvement
• Other duties as assigned

• Evidence of successful teaching experience (for example: VAM, Student
Performance Data, COMPASS, CLASS, etc.)
• Original transcripts from institution(s) awarding degree
• Three professional letters of recommendation, one of which is from your
immediate supervisor
• Submit a ten to fifteen-minute video clip of a model lesson involving
students or professional development session involving teachers where the
applicant is leading the event (share link via Google Drive to

SALARY: Position will be 9-month, salary based on teacher pay scale with applicant’s years of experience, and the addition of a substantial Instructional Specialist stipend.

DEADLINE: Monday, October 31, 2023 by 4:00 p.m.

Ben LaGrone, Director of Academics
Natchitoches Parish School Board
P.O. Box 16
Natchitoches, LA 71458-0016
Phone: (318) 352-2358
Fax: (318) 352-8138

Notice of Death – October 17, 2023

Mary Ann Jackson
January 7, 1944 – October 14, 2023
Arrangements TBA

Douglas Wayne Nelson
February 27, 1947 — October 15, 2023
Service: Thursday, October 19 at 11 am at Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home, at 848 Keyser Ave. in Natchitoches

Michael Thrash
March 9, 1962 – October 13, 2023
Arrangements TBA

Scriven A. Taylor, Sr.
July 29, 1937 — October 16, 2023
Service: October 18, 2023 at 2 pm at First United Methodist Church with burial will follow in Memory Lawn Cemetery

Shae Ann-Marie Dupree
October 11, 2023
Service: Saturday, October 21 from 5-7 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Saturday is Election Day

Mike has been an ambassador and coach at northwestern University for 23 years. He will continue to support NSU as he and Connie have made their home in Natchitoches. Connie, Mike’s wife worked for Bossier Parish Community College on the NSU campus for 14 years. Their sons Michael snd Logan are proud NSU graduates. Logan’s wife Lyndzee is an NSU graduate. Mike’s father John is a member of The Long Purple Line. He and his brothers JL and George McConathy are graduates of NSU.

Go, Demons!

Election Day is October 14! We need your vote!

Saturday’s football game at Nicholls canceled as NSU mourns death of teammate

By DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports

Northwestern State has canceled Saturday’s football game at Nicholls after the apparently unprovoked shooting death early Thursday of junior safety Ronnie Caldwell at an apartment complex bordering the NSU campus.

Caldwell, 21, a native Texan, died early Thursday morning at the Quad apartment complex (formerly Frog Pond Apartments) at 3800 University Avenue. He arrived at Northwestern State after the 2021 football season, following two years at Tyler (Texas) Junior College.

The Natchitoches Police Department issued a brief statement Thursday morning confirming it is investigating the homicide that occurred around 1:08 a.m. at the location.

“NPD officers were dispatched to 3800 University Parkway in reference to gunshots in the area.  Upon officers arrival they located Ronald Caldwell  Jr. (B/M, 21 years old, of Manor, TX) suffering from several gunshot wounds.  Caldwell was pronounced deceased by the Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office as a result of his injuries.

“This investigation is ongoing and the Natchitoches Police Department will release more details as they become available.”

Thursday afternoon, a roommate of Caldwell’s was in custody and has been charged with some offenses, but not murder at this time, as the investigation continued, said Corp. John Greely, NPD’s public information officer. There was no immediate indication whether additional persons were being sought.

Caldwell was a starting defensive back last season who had not played this season due to injury. In 2022, he made the Southland Conference Commissioner’s Fall Honor Roll for having at least a 3.0 grade point average. He was a business administration major at Northwestern who planned to open a health-focused business after graduation.

He was one of eight siblings, four sisters and three brothers. He graduated with a 3.4 g.p.a. from Cedar Park High School in the Austin metroplex and played two seasons at Tyler Junior College, where he had a 3.7 g.p.a.

“The Northwestern State family has suffered a tremendous loss,” NSU head football coach Brad Laird said. “Ronnie Caldwell was a young man who had a bright future ahead of him on or off the football field. He was our voice in the locker room. When Ronnie spoke, others listened. The respect our football team had for Ronnie was evident. He did not play a snap this year because of an injury, but his voice resonated with every member of our team from the first player to the 115th on our roster.

“Our hearts are broken and ache for Ronnie’s family and friends. His loss will be felt here at Northwestern State, in Natchitoches and in his home. We will treasure the time we spent with Ronnie and the memories we made, and we will hold him and his family in our hearts as we attempt to move forward in the days and weeks ahead.”

Caldwell, who wore jersey No. 23, appeared in all 11 games in 2022, starting 10, and finished seventh on the team in tackles. He had yet to play in a game in 2023 because of an injury sustained in preseason camp.

Despite the injury, Caldwell traveled with the team throughout this season, serving as a de facto defensive assistant coach, communicating with coaches in the press box via headset during games.

Caldwell twice had six tackles in a game in 2022 and added a career-high two tackles for loss in the Demons’ Nov. 5 win at Texas A&M-Commerce.

Caldwell spent the summer of 2023 in Natchitoches helping coach a local youth baseball team.

The Natchitoches Recreations and Parks Department issued a statement on the X platform (formerly Twitter).

“We are extremely saddened to hear of the passing of one of our young volunteer coaches … Ronnie Caldwell Jr. … Our deepest condolences go out to all that had the pleasure of crossing paths with this incredible young man. Prayers to the Caldwell family, NSU football team, and to these 9 little boys that lost their coach,” read the statement, accompanied by a team photo.

Caldwell was well-respected among his peers throughout the NSU athletic department. University provost Dr. Greg Handel asked faculty to excuse student-athletes from all sports from class and any tests during an early afternoon gathering with members of the NSU Counseling Center staff and athletic personnel “to assist in processing this tragedy” and asked for “understanding during this difficult time.”

Athletic director Kevin Bostian echoed Laird’s sentiments.

“We are stunned and saddened by the sudden loss of Ronnie Caldwell,” Bostian said. “Ronnie was a devoted teammate, friend, brother and son. His teammates, coaches and staff members who had the pleasure of knowing Ronnie will remember his ever-present smile and the way he could light up any room when he walked in. Words truly cannot express the heartache we feel for Ronnie, his family, his teammates and our university community.”

Southland Conference commissioner Chris Grant and Nicholls athletic director Jonathan Terrell issued statements of condolence while announcing the cancellation of the game, which will not be made up.

The team is scheduled to resume action next Saturday, Oct. 21, in a home game against Southeastern Louisiana.

Decisions regarding Northwestern State’s remaining football games will be made as the season progresses, officials said.

Natchitoches Police investigate homicide on University Parkway

A 21-year-old Northwestern State University football player from Texas was killed early Thursday morning in an apparently unprovoked shooting at the Quad (Frog Pond) Apartments on University Parkway.

The Natchitoches Police Department issued a brief statement confirming it is investigating a homicide that occurred around 1:08 a.m. at the location.

“NPD officers were dispatched to 3800 University Parkway in reference to gunshots in the area.  Upon officers arrival they located Ronald Caldwell  Jr. (B/M, 21 years old, of Manor, TX) suffering from several gunshot wounds.  Caldwell was pronounced deceased by the Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office as a result of his injuries.

“This investigation is ongoing and the Natchitoches Police Department will release more details as they become available.”

At the time of the release, no arrests have been made, said Corp. John Greely, NPD’s public information officer.

Caldwell was a second-year starting defensive back on the team. He made the Southland Conference Commissioner’s Fall Honor Roll for having at least a 3.0 grade point average in 2022. He was a business administration major at Northwestern who planned to open a health-focused business after graduation.

He was one of eight siblings, four sisters and three brothers. He graduated with a 3.4 g.p.a. from Cedar Park High School in the Austin metroplex and played two seasons at Tyler Junior College, where he had a 3.7 g.p.a.

Caldwell was a youth league baseball coach this past summer in Natchitoches.

He was recently injured and missed the team’s last game, at Lamar, and went home to spend time with his parents and family members, sources close to the NSU team said.

The NSU team is scheduled to play a Southland Conference game Saturday afternoon at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux. The status of that game will apparently be decided later today.

University president Dr. Marcus Jones distributed the following statement to the university community of faculty, staff and students:

“It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of one of our current students, Ronnie Caldwell Jr. Ronnie was a talented junior business administration major from Austin, Texas. Ronnie’s dedication to the community was truly inspiring, as evidenced by him spending the summer coaching a local youth baseball team, teaching those children the values of competition and sportsmanship.

“During these difficult times, I extend my deepest condolences and offer my prayers to Ronnie’s family and friends. The entire NSU community shares in your grief and sorrow. Counseling and support services are available to all students, faculty, and staff who may need them.

“While we mourn the loss of Ronnie, let us also honor and celebrate his life. Ronnie will forever be cherished as a beloved member of the NSU family.”