Remembering Elizabeth Self Luton

September 25, 1946 — November 22, 2023

Mrs. Elizabeth Self Luton, 77 of Many, Louisiana, passed away on Wednesday, November 22, 2023, at her residence. A graveside service will be held for her on Saturday, November 25, 2023, at 12:00 p.m. at Fort Jesup Cemetery, 199 Geoghagan Road, Many, Louisiana 71449. Officiating her service will be Buster Jordan.

Elizabeth was born on September 25, 1946, in Dallas, Texas to James Thomas Pilgrim and Allie (Higgens) Pilgrim. She was employed at Sabine State Bank for numerous years as a teller until her retirement in 2011. In her free time, she enjoyed being with family, and she also enjoyed watching television or the “Boob Tube” as she referred to it.

She was preceded in death by her parents, James and Allie Pilgrim; her first husband, Wayne Self; her sister, Pat Hudleston; and her son, Jodi Self. She is survived by her husband of 23 years, Bob Allen Luton of Many, LA; her sons, David Allen Self & wife, Wendy of Many, LA, Joe Luton & wife, Joni of New Caney, TX; her daughters, LaFaye Saxton & husband, Bubba of Livingston, TX, Janice Barnett & husband, Jerry of Splendora, TX, Renee Wells & husband, Kevin of Bossier City, LA, and Lynn Chism & husband, Hugh of Shreveport, LA; and her brother, David Pilgrim & wife, Lori of Baton Rouge, LA; her grandchildren, Dalton Self (Erica), Gabryel Garlington (Chris), Haley Alexander (Colten); Mayci Manning (Chase); her great grandchildren, MaLeah Alexander, Jaxtyn Alexander, Casten Alexander, Casey Alexander, Layla Garlington, and Brexden Self; along with a host of nieces, nephews, friends, and other relatives.

Honoring her as pallbearers will be Dalton Self, Chase Manning, Christopher Garlington, Colten Alexander, Bubba Saxton, and Jaxtyn Alexander.

Vehicle crashes into, destroys Sabine State Bank branch in Robeline

Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies, Louisiana State Fire Marshal (LSFM) and Robeline Police Department are investigating a single-vehicle crash in the City Limits of Robeline that resulted in minor injuries and the Sabine State Bank-Robeline Branch being destroyed by fire early this morning according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Stuart Wright.
Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies responded to NATCOM 911 Center reports of an alarm activation at Sabine State Bank branch in Robeline on Nov. 27 around 12:13 am.
While deputies were responding to the scene at 12:18 am, a male called NATCOM 911 Center reporting he was involved in a single-vehicle crash near Robeline stating that his vehicle was on fire and he was injured.
NATCOM 911 Operators were able to ping the caller’s 911 call to the same area as Sabine State Bank.
Robeline Police, Natchitoches Parish Fire Protection District #7, Robeline Mayor Gordon Ocon, and Natchitoches Regional Medical Center EMS were also dispatched to the scene.
Deputies arrived on scene finding the vehicle involved in the crash and Sabine State Bank fully engulfed in flames.
Deputies say according to preliminary information and evidence gathered at the scene, a 2019 Honda Civic operated by Jay Stroble, 21 of Muskogee, Okla., was traveling westbound on Hwy. 6 in Robeline when he entered a S-curve. Stroble exited the road on the right side and traveled several hundred feet before he struck Sabine State Bank coming to a rest.
Stroble was able to exit the vehicle. The vehicle caught on fire then spread to the bank causing extensive damage to the bank.
Stroble was assessed at the scene by EMS and released without transport.
The Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office also responded to the scene at the request of Natchitoches Parish Fire District #7 to assist in the investigation.
SWEPCO responded to the scene.
This morning, Robeline Police, Mayor Ocon and officials from Sabine State Bank were at the scene assessing damages and removing items from the building.
The investigation remains active and ongoing by the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana State Fire Marshal, Natchitoches Parish Fire Protection District #7 with assistance from Robeline Police Department.

NSU hires Division III head coach, former LSU player McCorkle as coach

By DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports

NATCHITOCHES – New Northwestern State football coach Blaine McCorkle is unknown to virtually everybody invested in Demon football, except for one of NSU’s greatest players.

Former NFL quarterback Craig Nall couldn’t be more excited that his former LSU teammate has been hired to take over the program in Natchitoches.

McCorkle, 47, and his family will be introduced to supporters and the media at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the Stroud Room, located in the Donald G. Kelly Athletic Complex. He replaces Brad Laird, one of NSU’s all-time great players, who resigned Oct. 26 as NSU curtailed its 2023 season by cancelling its final four games in the aftermath of the shooting death of junior safety Ronnie Caldwell Jr.

Northwestern has not had a winning season in football since 2008, a 7-5 record. There have been two 6-6 finishes, and two winless seasons, in 2009 and this fall (0-6). Last year Laird’s team had a 4-2 Southland Conference record.

Nall, who earned a degree from NSU after leading the Demons to the FCS playoffs with a record-shattering 2001 season, is a good friend of McCorkle – who has been in coaching for 26 years, the last six bringing a championship to a downtrodden Division III program at Belhaven College in Jackson, Miss.

He took the Blazers from a two-win team the year ahead of his arrival to a nine-win season in 2023, with  an outright USA South Conference championship – the first such title in Belhaven program history – and the program’s first berth in the NCAA Division III playoffs.

In his final three seasons, McCorkle led the Blazers to a 24-7 overall record. The 17-4 mark across the 2022-23 seasons marked the most wins in a two-year span in program history and helped McCorkle earn three American Southwest Conference/USA South Coach of the Year awards, including the 2023 honor.

McCorkle inherited a program that had not won more than three games in a season since 2013.

McCorkle has been an assistant coach as an offensive line coach at six FCS institutions – Delaware, Richmond, Liberty, Tennessee Tech, Chattanooga and UT Martin. Twenty of his 26 seasons as a coach have come at those FCS programs.

“The opportunity to be back at the FCS level where I’ve spent the majority of my career is something I’ve wanted for a long time,” said McCorkle. “It is a pure level of college football that plays for the right reasons. I’m excited to be back at that level. I’m also excited for the challenge of rebuilding – not building – Northwestern State because Northwestern State has been there before. The campus has a lot to offer. The town has a lot to offer. I’m honored and humbled to have the opportunity to restore a program a lot of people take a lot of pride in.”

McCorkle interviewed for the McNeese coaching vacancy two years ago, when the Cowboys replaced current LSU assistant Frank Wilson with Valdosta State coach Gary Goff. Nall said McCorkle was eager to apply for the NSU job six years ago when Laird was promoted from within to replace Jay Thomas.

“I’m really happy and excited, not only for him and his family but for the university. Northwestern State’s getting a good guy,” said Nall, who lives in the Dallas area and operates a nationwide business tutoring high school and junior high quarterbacks.

McCorkle was a walk-on deep snapper on Gerry DiNardo’s LSU teams when Nall arrived as a highly recruited quarterback from Alexandria Senior High. Nall became involved in a three-way battle for the starting job at LSU with Josh Booty and Rohan Davey, weathered the Tigers’ coaching transition from DiNardo to Nick Saban and ultimately transferred to his parents’ alma mater, Northwestern, to play his senior season.

McCorkle finished playing in 1999 and began his coaching career at LSU as a student assistant, earning his degree in 2000 before Nall left. They have remained friends since.

“Blaine has done a great job rebuilding the program that he’s been at, really turned it around and established a winning culture there,” said Nall.

“He’s fully aware of the challenge that’s going to be in front of him. He cares about his players. He’s an awesome coach and he does things the right way.”

McCorkle has no other apparent connections to Northwestern but from his days at LSU and during his time at Belhaven, he’s very familiar with the lay of the land in Louisiana and its football network. Belhaven had 13 Louisiana natives on its roster this fall. Two of his assistants recruited central Louisiana and another recruited south Louisiana.

“He knows the state, knows it well. I think recruiting-wise, he’ll do good. It will take some time but if there’s anybody who can do it, he will. He’ll get in there, roll his sleeves up, and get to work reestablishing a culture of winning,” said Nall.

“(Coming back to Louisiana) played a huge part in it,” McCorkle said. “I’ve wanted to be a Division I head coach in Louisiana for 30 years now. I came here in August 1995 and fell in love with the people, the culture and the passion that is the state of Louisiana. A big part of that culture is college football.

“We’re in a great high school football state that has great areas to pull talent from. One thing I know about the people of Louisiana is you always know where you stand with them. I want to give the people of Natchitoches what they want, earn their trust and build something special for them.”

Contact Doug at

West Central LA Operation Christmas Child collects over 16,000 shoeboxes

Another year for Operation Christmas Child is in the books for West Central Louisiana. Thanks for all the donors including schools, businesses, Northwestern State University, churches, groups, and individuals. 

West Central La totals were as follows:

Martin Baptist   
        Red River drop off        2,429

First Baptist Winnfield
          Winn Parish                 3,090

Calvary Baptist Church.      1,836
Mitchell Baptist Church         803
            Sabine Parish            2639

First Baptist Robeline           1,926
First Baptist Church Natch. 6,370
Natchitoches Parish             8 296

Grand total for West Central LA 
16,454 shoeboxes
1,089 Cartons
4 trailers
113 Volunteers

Operation Christmas Child organizers want to give a special praise to ALL the donors. What a special feeling to know you gave a gift to a child that has NEVER had a gift and shared the gospel with a child. One shoebox affects 10 people. Thank you.

Big thanks to all the workers that volunteered their time, their effort and their strength to load the four trailers. Shout outs to Theta Chi (NSU and Van Erickson), the Natchitoches Central High School Baseball team and Ragan Kaufman, the St. Mary’s football team and Coaches Aaron York and Marty Dewees. Amy Cross did an efficient job of organizing the boys to come load the trailers.

This year at the collection center we had volunteers to come and work from the parish.  They learned how to pack a shoebox, how to pack a carton, how the trailers are loaded, and what happens to the shoeboxes once they leave the collection center. 

‘Hey!, I (mis)remember that!’

And yet again we find ourselves within the gravitational pull of one of the most memorable yet misremembered dates in “the storied athletic history” of Louisiana Tech.

If things go gray upstairs in a second, all is forgiven. It’s been a minute.

But any Tech fan old enough to have seen episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show live will likely have some brain cells reserved for December 4, 1982, the much-anticipated opening day of the Thomas Assembly Center. Nearly every year as we close in on December 4, someone will mention that day to me.

It was that big of a deal.

“The Lady Techsters played USC and Cheryl Miller and the guys played USL (now ULL),” my friend called to say; The Date and The Day had just happened to come up in a basketball-related conversation as the 2023-24 Bulldogs have won five straight and get a test at 5-1 New Mexico, a regular participant in postseason tournaments, Wednesday at 8 CST.

Then — and this is the part that gets confusing because, well, Father Time — he said, “And that was after Delaware had beaten Tech in the 1-AA semifinals that afternoon, I think 17-0, in the rain,” he said. “What a day. All in Ruston.”

And he’s right. That’s what happened. Almost.

Here is what actually happened that December 4 afternoon before the TAC opened with a doubleheader that night. This from Shreveport Bossier Journal writer Ron Higgins, who then was writing sports for The Times in Shreveport:

“RUSTON—By land, or rather by mud, and through the air, Louisiana Tech quarterback Matt Dunigan tippy-toed through the swampland of Aillet Stadium for two touchdowns and threw for two more scores as Tech slipped past South Carolina State 38-3 Saturday afternoon in the NCAA Division I-AA South Regional final.”

It as South Carolina State that Tech played in football that day in the national quarterfinals. Then that night, USC beat the Techsters, 64-58, and the Dunkin’ Dogs lost to USL, 46-45. The crowd was 8,700; the place has 8,000 seats. More than jam packed. And it was: as a rookie graduate assistant in sports information, I was there.

The next Saturday, December 11, was also cold and rainy, and more than the week before. Miserable. That gray afternoon, Tech football lost in the semifinals of the I-AA playoffs to Delaware, 17-0. It was the final Tech game for both Dunigan — he was off to his career as a Hall of Famer in the Canadian Football League — and head coach Billy Brewer, off to a few seasons of success at his alma mater, Ole Miss.

Why so many of us often confuse the two dates might be because there was basketball at the TAC that December 11 Saturday, as there had been the Saturday before. After the football loss to Delaware, the Techsters thumped Cheyney State that night, 60-45, to win the Dial Classic. Yes, the good ol’ Dial Classic.

On December 4, Tech won in football and lost in basketball. The next weekend was the other way around.

Some other notes from those two weekends 41 years ago, as all three Tech programs were poised to make more immediate memories:

The Techsters’ loss to USC meant the end of their 59-game home winning streak. They beat USC on a neutral court in California, 58-56, later during the regular season and then, as two-time defending national champs, lost to USC in the title game, 69-67, in The Scope in Norfolk, Virginia. Big doings;

The Dunkin’ Dogs finished 19-9 and second in the Southland Conference that season but Shreveport’s Wayne Smith, Summerfield’s Karl Malone and a host of talented friends found themselves in the NCAA Tournament the next two seasons;

Many of the 1982 Football Bulldogs thawed out enough over the next two seasons to make it to the I-AA finals against Montana State at The Citadel in 1984; and,

Delaware. The Fightin’ Blue Hens haven’t been back to Ruston for football since that sleety Saturday when a dude named “Delaware Dan” Reeder slogged his way to a ball-controlling 114 yards on 22 carries and two of his less-workmanlike teammates got to score the TDs. But that seems poised to change: an announcement that the Blue Hens will become the 11th member of Conference USA is expected this week.

No news from the Dial Classic though. All quiet on the Dial Classic front …   

Contact Teddy at


By Doug De Graffenried

I need to talk with my fellow Walmart shoppers. 

First, I wish to commend those of you who shop online and sit in your car with your trunks up, waiting. You are my heroes! I have tried to figure out how to do that, and I have failed on multiple occasions. I gave up. However, you need to go inside and see what happens with all those employees shopping for you. There are multiple employees filling multiple orders simultaneously. Rule number one of Walmart shopping, you don’t get in their way! They can’t see you. They are super busy and moving fast. Always yield to the employees pushing the multi-basket blue carts. I will tell you a secret, these people know where everything is. If you can’t find something, ask them; but ask politely and quickly. They are in a hurry because someone is in the parking lot with the trunk open, waiting patiently.

Now, for our talk. I’m a guy. I shop like a guy. If I have three items to purchase, I’m going to shop quickly and efficiently. If I go into the store for dog treats, I am not going to go visit the hair care product section. When I check out, I have all the codes turned the right way so I can scan quickly. I like to shop and check out quickly. I don’t want to keep the family behind me waiting.

In the past couple of weeks, I have shopped for Thanksgiving. I have been sent with lists of specific items. Some of the food items are hard to find this time of year. Here is what I want to say to my fellow Walmart shoppers. It is hard to look for an item squirreled away on a top shelf, with some of you guys in the store.

Don’t go to Walmart to read. If you are a label reader, go online and read the labels there. C’mon people, there is no significant difference between Libby’s corn and Delmonte corn. Grab the corn and go. If you grabbed the wrong corn and it has too much sodium, well that is why God created colanders and rinse water. If you are reading labels on the vitamin aisle, you are abominable. The vitamins will not restore your hair, fix your joints, restore your hearing, or make you look twenty-five again. You have been duped, move on! There is nothing worse than two people with full carts standing back-to-back reading labels. We are waiting for you to finish so we can move past you.

Walmart is not the place to have your family reunion. I know that some of you have not seen each other for two weeks but having a family reunion at the end cap on the baking row is not pleasing to anyone. You are causing a traffic jam. The people wanting to turn on that aisle can’t. The people wanting to leave that aisle can’t. My friend is waiting for groceries in the parking lot, and you are holding up the Walmart shoppers. Say hi and move on! Agree to meet in the laundry basket section, no one ever shops there. You can talk all day. You can swap recipes and your list of ailments there.

Sorry to grouse, but you guys need to keep your heads down, grab your items, and go. Walmart is not the place for reading, reunions, catching up, or trying to decide. In Greek, Walmart means “grab it and go!” It is a place of commerce not communion.

The next time, I’m in Walmart waiting on all the people not heeding this great article. I’m going to smile and remember that we have entered the season of Advent. It is the church season of waiting. We are waiting for our Christ. I promise, now that I have groused, that I will be smiling knowing that you help me learn patience while waiting for Bethlehem’s baby.

Woodrow’s Father

By Brad Dison

Charles Voyde is considered by some to be a legend in Texas because of his high-profile criminal history.  Charles was a carpet salesman, professional gambler, and a convicted contract killer, a hitman.  Charles was born in 1938 in Lovelady, Texas.  His criminal career began sometime in the late 1950s and escalated from petty crimes to murder.    

Charles had a wife and two children, the oldest of which was Woodrow.  In 1968, when Woodrow was seven years old, Charles was arrested for the murder of Alan Harry Berg, also a carpet salesman.  Woodrow’s father disappeared from his life.  While awaiting trial, Charles and two others were charged with the murder of wealthy grain broker Sam Degelia near McAllen, Texas.  In September 1970, Charles was acquitted of murdering Berg.  After the first trial for Sam Degelia’s murder ended in a deadlocked jury, Charles was convicted in 1973 and sentenced to 15 years in prison.  According to trial testimony, Charles was paid just $2,000 to murder Degelia.  In 1978, after serving five years of his sentence, Charles was released for good behavior.

Like Charles, Jamiel “Jimmy” Chagra was a carpet salesman and a professional gambler.  Jimmy was also a drug trafficker operating out of Las Vegas, Nevada and El Paso, Texas. In February 1979, Jimmy was indicted by a federal grand jury on cocaine and marijuana smuggling charges in Midland, Texas, and the case was assigned to Federal Judge “Maximum” John Wood.  The judge earned the nickname “Maximum” for his tough treatment of drug dealers and smugglers.  Jimmy tried back channels, and, when that failed, threatened Judge Wood, but he refused to step down as the presiding judge in Jimmy’s case.  Jimmy decided to hire a hitman.

According to courtroom testimony, in April 1979, Jimmy Chagra met Charles and Jo Ann, Charles’ third wife, in Las Vegas.  At that meeting, Charles agreed to murder the federal judge for $250,000.  In the following month, Jo Ann, using the false name Fay King, bought a Weatherby rifle in a Dallas gun shop.  A few days later, May 29, 1979, Judge John Wood was standing outside his car at his home in San Antonio, purportedly looking at a flat tire on either his or his wife’s car.  A neighbor heard what he thought was a car backfiring and looked out of his window and saw the judge fall into his car.  He had been shot in the back.  He fell into and died in his wife’s lap.  In the following month, Teresa Starr Jasper, Charles’ stepdaughter, picked up a briefcase which contained $250,000 in Las Vegas from Elizabeth Chagra, Jimmy’s wife.

The murder of the federal judge prompted a massive investigation, and, in August 1979, Jimmy Chagra was convicted in absentia in federal court of continuing criminal activity and sentenced to 30 years without parole.  Five months later, Jimmy was captured in Las Vegas and sent to Leavenworth federal prison.  While in prison, Jimmy bragged to another inmate, Jerry Ray James, that he had Judge John Wood killed and provided some specific details.  Jerry Ray shared the information he learned with investigators.  In September 1980, Charles was arrested in Van Horn, Texas following a 10-hour cocaine-fueled standoff with police.  It was when news broke of the 10-hour standoff that Woodrow learned the whereabouts of his father whom he had not seen in over ten years. 

During interrogation, Charles admitted to killing Judge John Wood.  In all fairness, during the same interrogation he also claimed to have killed several other people including President John F. Kennedy.  In April 1982, a federal grand jury indicted Jimmy, Jimmy’s little brother Joe Chagra, Jimmy’s wife Elizabeth, along with Charles and Jo Ann for conspiracy and other charges in the John Wood murder case.  Joe Chagra made a plea-bargain for a lesser sentence.  Elizabeth Chagra was found guilty of conspiracy for delivering the $250,000 payment to Charles’ stepdaughter.  Jo Ann, who bought the rifle that killed Judge John Wood was sentenced to 25 years in prison for obstruction.  Charles, the hitman who admitted to killing the judge, was sentenced to serve two consecutive life sentences for the murder.  Jimmy was ultimately acquitted of hiring Charles to kill Judge John Wood but was found guilty on numerous drug trafficking charges.                

In the late 1980s, Charles and Woodrow grew closer.  Woodrow visited his father in prison at least once a year.  In 1985, Woodrow became a bartender and began helping his father to get a new trial.  In 1987, when Charles married his fourth wife by proxy, Woodrow stood in for his father during the ceremony.  Charles argued that his legal representation was not adequate in his 1979 trial.  “No matter what you did,” Charles said, “you have a right under that Constitution to a fair and impartial hearing of your peers, and I did not get that.”  In 1998, Woodrow told reporters that it was the “sad truth” that the legal system “seems to work a lot better for those who have enough money.”  Woodrow fought to get his father a new trial until March 21, 2007, when the 69-year-old contract killer died in prison of a heart attack.   

Woodrow once said the fight to get his father a new trial cost a lot of money, but his bartending job paid more than most bartending jobs.  You see, Woodrow, the son of a hit man, was a bartender at the Boston, Massachusetts bar “where everybody knows your name.”  The name of the fictional bar was Cheers.  Charles Voyde Harrelson was the father of actor Woodrow “Woody” Harrelson.


1.     El Paso Times, May 30, 1979, p.1.

2.     Fort Worth Star-Telegram, October 21, 1984, p.89.

3.     Fort Worth Star-Telegram, October 25, 1984, p.69.

4.     Tampa Bay Times, August 7, 1998, p.22.

5.     The Monitor (McAllen, Texas), July 16, 1999, p. 26.

6.     Austin American-Statesman, March 22, 2007, p.21.

NSU gets Title III grant to assist low income students

Northwestern State University has been awarded a Title III “Elevate U” grant in the amount of $2,072,425 to support initiatives aimed at increasing retention and graduation rates for low-income students. 

“Essentially, the grant will help students make purposeful choices in selecting a field of study, determine the most appropriate academic path and ensure they are career-ready upon graduation,” said NSU President Dr. Marcus Jones.   

Title III grants are awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to help eligible institutions expand their capacity to serve low-income students. The grant will enable NSU to improve academic advising and address postsecondary education access, affordability and post-enrollment success at NSU, where many first-time freshmen are classified as low-income.

According to data, average academic performance for low-income students is lower than those of students who are not low-income and lower gateway course success rates and lower GPAs may contribute to students needing more time to graduate. Low-income students have significantly lower four-year graduation rates compared to rates for students who are not low-income.

According to Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Greg. Handel, NSU will implement a two-pronged five-year plan to meet the needs of low-income students, which includes first-generation students who are the first in their families to attend college.

“Our first priority is to improve academic advising and support,” Handel said. “Strategies will include academic advising, guided pathways to degree completion and a more integrated advising, tutoring and career planning experience. First generation students will be a major component of this grant’s impact.”

Handel said NSU has a user-friendly hands-on approach with academic advising already in place and the grant will provide extra layers of support. 

“Students have academic advisors in their majors who guide them through course selection and registration each semester and assist them in networking with future internship placements,” he said. “This grant will assist first generation and low-income students with tutoring and career-placement and strategies for success that are specifically driven by what these students need to succeed.  The grant will enable students will grow academically, be involved socially and professionally across campus organizations and activities and learn strategies that lead to employment after graduation.”

The second component is to expand the first-year and second-year experience at NSU by implementing residential living learning communities to engage low-income students, build community and promote a sense of belonging.

“Living Learning Communities incorporate academic, leadership and career programs that include tutoring, peer mentor support, financial guidance, health and wellness, community building and proactive academic advising,” said Vice President for the Student Experience and Dean of Students Reatha Cox.  “Resident mentors work within the residential communities to promote personal development, citizenship, campus involvement and familiarity with resources that available to help students.”

Administrators will track data, assess outcomes and provide state and federal reports to inform decision making and guide adjustments over the five-year program and beyond.

“Data shows that when students get involved, whether through academic organizations, service organizations or social organizations, the likelihood that they will graduate increases.  We plan to implement programs where low-income students have opportunities to understand that they belong here, help them stay focused on their goals and develop not only academically, but as leaders on campus and in their communities,” Jones said.

Salute to fishing guide Jerry Walthall

I’ve often wondered why anyone would want to be a fishing guide, especially a bass fishing guide. It’s a tough job where clients have high expectations of the guide himself. The guide should be able to put you on fish consistently. But there’s more to being a fishing guide than just being able to put customers on fish. He or she needs an attractive personality because there will be many days that it will come in handy.

Some guides go above and beyond to make a fishing trip complete and enjoyable. They bait hooks, take fish off hooks and, the worst part, clean all the fish. But occasionally, they entertain. Some can sing, some can do tricks, and some can tell jokes. Some are great story tellers and like sharing their experiences from previous guide trips while making fun of some of their clients.

For several years, I took trips to Beavers Bend State Park just north of Broken Bow, Oklahoma. Each year I would hire a guide by the name of Jerry Walthall. Now Jerry was an old soul, probably in his late 70s, who was a Vietnam war veteran. He had a wealth of knowledge and knew Lake Broken Bow well. But my last trip with Jerry would be one I’ll never forget.

We met at the boat ramp, loaded the boat, and headed north up the lake. Jerry’s boat was not a high dollar luxury boat. It was an old 21-foot Ranger boat with a 250 Evinrude motor on the back. The seats had seen better days as all of them had duct tape holding them together. To say the boat had been used is an understatement. But don’t be fooled by an overused boat or an old man who moved slowly from console to the front deck. This man knew how to catch fish.

On every trip I made with Jerry, we always made a long run up into the river portion of the lake. Jerry seemed to be the most comfortable and knowledgeable on this end of the lake. I’ve said before that there’s never been an angler in the boat with me that I did not learn something from. Jerry was no exception as we began talking fish catching strategies for the day.

I think one reason Jerry and I got along so well is that we both loved fishing a Zoom trickworm. But a few years earlier, I would be the one to introduce him to the trickworm color black emerald. From that day on, Jerry always made sure we had a few packs of black emerald trickworms in the boat as we headed out.

But on my last outing with Jerry, he did something that I had never seen before and will never forget. As we settled in and Jerry lowered the trolling motor, we both started fishing. Now the scenery on Lake Broken Bow can be breathtaking, especially in the fall. But on this particular morning, it was cold with a low hanging fog just above the water.

After a couple of fish catches by both of us, Jerry told me to please hand him the next small fish I caught. Only minutes went by when I caught a ten-inch fish. Jerry saw the fish and said that was the perfect size. I said to him, “The perfect size for what?” As he took possession of the small bass, he told me to watch the tree line on the other side of the bay.

It was at this point Jerry started to whistle, as if calling his favorite dog, when out of nowhere an eagle came flying off the treetops down to the water level about hundred yards behind the boat. The eagle was soaring just above the water with a purpose and appeared to know exactly what he was looking for. As the eagle approached the back of the boat, he flew within a couple feet and snatched that bass right out of Jerry’s hand! It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen on any fishing trip. I asked Jerry why he had never shown me that before? It was so cool seeing the majestic eagle swoop down off the trees and take a fish out of Jerry’s hand like some kind of circus act.

This would be my last trip with Jerry Walthall. He died during the Covid pandemic. I miss my friend Jerry and the trips we took. We always had great outings no matter how many fish we caught. We both told stories, but his were more interesting. After all he was a Vietnam war veteran but did not like talking about his experiences in the war. I respected him for that as I could tell it had a lasting impact on him, and not in a good way.

To Jerry and all the war veterans out there, thank you for your service and thank you for allowing folks like me to get to enjoy the freedoms of this great country.

‘Til next time, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to set the hook. You never know when you might catch that fish of a lifetime.

Contact Steve at

Lady Demon home opener against Tarleton postponed

The Northwestern State women’s basketball home opener scheduled for Thursday evening against Tarleton State has been postponed due to COVID-19 concerns.

The game has been moved to Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 5 p.m. and will air on ESPN+.

The Thanksgiving Eve contest with Grambling on Nov. 22 will now serve as the Demons’ 2023-24 home opener.

Follow @NSUDemonsWBB on Twitter for the latest news and information about Northwestern State women’s basketball.

Not our kind of day

The sense of irony was sick, but Monday was World Kindness Day, and on that autumn morning, four people were stabbed outside Lambright Sports and Wellness Center on the Louisiana Tech campus, a random act of violence by a young man quickly taken into custody.

Outside of a big gym and workout center. A place where people swim and play.

And the night before in Shreveport, there was a shooting in the parking lot of the YMCA that left one victim dead and another in the hospital. 

Not exactly our kind of Kindness Day.

Kindness Day was established in 1998 with the obvious intent of highlighting the good and the positive, of bridging the gap between all our sorts of differences, and to recognize how much we are alike, to encourage unity.

Some of us aren’t getting the picture.

For lots of reasons, the Lambright Center is a special place to me. I remember it being built. I lived in one of the little houses where its parking lot is now. No telling how many hours we were having fun in there, 40 years ago.

The Shreveport YMCA on the parkway is 100 yards from the Little League fields, holy ground to me for about a decade 25 years ago. Sweaty boys and girls running around, eye black smeared, learning the game, making friends. Unbridled joy. Who pulls a gun 100 yards from a bag of baseballs and a concession stand filled with Frito Pies?

I know the people who run the Lambright. The gang who runs the YMCA are friends of mine, and for a long time. Good-hearted people. None of us are naïve enough to think that violence happens only in back alleys, but goodness gracious…  Instead of shooting or stabbing someone, why don’t these people just go work out?

Few if any habitual offenders will read this. So I’m preaching to the choir. But the rest of us are going to have to double-up on the kindness beat, it looks like, and cover for the ones who get their kicks by ruining the lives of people minding their own business. Have these people never held a baby? Played catch with a child? Petted a dog or provided a lap for a cat’s nap? Have they never laughed? Never lived?

We don’t get a pass from trying to make things better just because a fraction of the population is intent on making things worse.  Mark Twain is credited with saying that kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see. Maybe some hate-filled soul will see your kindness and it will make a difference. 

He passed away several years ago, but Leo Buscaglia was a professor at USC who in the 1980s was called “Dr. Love” because of his popular books and talks on how and why we should connect. This was after a student’s suicide moved him to start a noncredit class he called “Love 1A.” Not a perfect class or a perfect man, I’m sure, but it started a conversation worth contemplating.

“Too often,” he said, “we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

An anonymous quote that has stuck with me is that “what you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.”

So welcome to Kindness WEEK. Maybe we can pull some of the slack and get this turned around a bit. Keep plugging and not growing weary in doing good, that kind of thing, even though lately, the lunatic fringe seems to be winning more than their fair share of games.

Meanwhile at Tech, the University’s Counseling Services are available to students individually and in a group setting at no charge. Appointments can be made by visiting Keeny Hall 310, calling 318.257.2488, or visiting the website at

A campus blood drive is scheduled for Thursday outside Tolliver Hall from 9 until 3.

Contact Teddy at


By Doug De Graffenried

We are entering the season of anticipatory waiting. There is lots of movement in this season. We travel. We welcome out-of-town guests. We hurry to the door when Amazon arrives. We overdose on the saccharine sweet stories on the Hallmark Channel. Soon, we in liturgical churches will talk about the “waiting of Advent.” Before the madness begins, I wanted you to ponder a writing from Sue Monk Kidd’s When the Heart Waits. She wrote:

“One afternoon as the children watched television and I folded laundry; we heard a terrible thud against the patio door. I turned in time to see blue wings falling to the ground. A bird had flown into the glass.

None of us said a word. We looked at one another and crept to the door. The children followed me outside. I half-expected the bird to be dead, but she wasn’t. She was stunned and her right wing was a little lopsided, but it didn’t look broken—bruised, maybe.

The bird sat perfectly still, her eyes tiny and afraid. She looked so fragile and alone that I sat down beside her. I reached out my little finger and brushed her wing.

A voice came from behind me, “Why doesn’t it fly off, Mama?”

“She’s hurt,” I said. “She just needs to be still.”

We watched her. We watched her stillness. Finally, the children wandered back to the television, satisfied that nothing was going to “happen” for a while. But I couldn’t leave her.

I sat beside her, unable to resist the feeling that we shared something, the two of us. The wounds and the brokenness of life. Crumpled wings. A collision with something harsh and real. I felt like crying for her. For myself. For every broken thing in the world.

That moment taught me that while the postures of stillness within the cocoon are frequently an individual experience, we also need to share our stillness. The bird taught me anew that we’re all in this together, what we need to sit in one another’s stillness and take up corporate postures of prayer. How wonderful it is when we can be honest and free enough to say to one another, “I need you to wait with me,” or “Would you like to me to wait with you?”

I studied the bird, deeply impressed that she seemed to know instinctively that stillness is healing. I had been learning that too, learning that stillness can be the prayer that transforms us. How much more concentrated out stillness becomes, though, when it’s shared.

The door opened again, “Is she finished being still?”

“No, not yet,” I said, knowing that I was talking as much about myself as the bird. We went on waiting together. Twenty minutes. Thirty. Fifty.

Finally, she was finished being still. She cocked her head to one side, lifted her wings and flew. The sight of her flying made me catch my breath. From the corner of my eye, I saw her shadow move along the ground and cross over me. Grace is everywhere I thought. Then I picked myself up and went back to folding the laundry.”

The elegant flow of unbeatable Flo

Though always in the middle of nearly constant chaos for 40 years, she maintained such an efficient and graceful purpose that you wondered if Flo was a real person or something you plugged in at dawn and turned off at midnight.

Born June 1, 1936, in Ruston to Evelyn Mabel and Lonnie Lee, Ms. Florine Davis “Flo” Miskelley passed away Friday in Ruston due to complications from a stroke.

She was 87.

But in Flo Years, who knows how old she was? In the four decades she worked for (ran?) Louisiana Tech’s athletic department until her retirement in 2005, the University got at least 120 working years from her.

A graduate of both Ruston High (1953) and Tech (1955), she worked eight years in Mississippi before she was hired by Tech football coach and athletic director Joe Aillet in August of 1965 as the ticket manager and the only secretary in the entire athletic department.

She had asked to work anywhere on campus but in athletics. And then she told Aillet she didn’t know anything about football.

“That’s OK,” he told her. “You won’t be playing.”

And she didn’t. But she did most everything else.

She was the last of the old-school athletic business managers and ticket chiefs, doing it all with no technology outside of her brain and ingenuity. Pencil. Pad. Memory. Smiles.

No one knows how she did it. I was 18 and she was 42 and in her prime when I met her in 1978; saw her at the field house most every day for the next six years and heard each of these phrases daily, hundreds of times through the years:

“Ask Flo.”

“Where’s Flo?”

“You’d better talk to Flo.”

“Flo will know.”

Every day of the world.

She was either structured and systematic or the luckiest person ever because whatever needed doing got done, and with a refined and stylish air only she seemed to manage.

She defines Unsung Hero, and there’s one in every athletic department. (We are thinking Roxanne Freeman before her retirement from Northwestern State, as a for instance.) They exude a goodness you can feel on top of a productivity you can see and a competence you can bank on.

Triple threats.

That was Flo. A motion perpetual but unhurried, a spirit undefeated.

Flo made her customers feel special; athletic message boards from other schools mentioned how nice “the ticket lady at Tech” was. She made us boys feel cared for, made us feel we mattered.

And she loved her dogs. You could do a lot worse if you were a stray in Lincoln Parish than to wander up to Flo’s house.

Everybody loved her, is the deal. When she stepped down as Associate Athletic Director, 600 people showed up for her reception and, though she was a bit embarrassed by it all, gave her a standing ovation.

Her obituary was three paragraphs, six sentences, just 129 words. She probably wanted it that way. That’s so Flo.

She was the ticket we were all so lucky to get.

Contact Teddy at

Hall of Honor Inductee: Walter Evans Dorroh, Sr.

It is our honor to announce that the late Walter E. Dorroh Sr. has been bestowed one of Louisiana State University’s highest military honors with his selection into the Hall of Honor of the Cadets of the Ole War Skule.

The induction activities will occur on the LSU campus November 9-11, the weekend of the LSU versus University of Florida football game.

To those in DeSoto Parish, Walter will always be remembered for his presidency of Community Bank of Louisiana (formerly known as Mansfield Bank and Trust). Mr. Dorroh came from a family of three generations in banking in Louisiana, Florida and Mississippi. He was CEO of banks in Olla, Jena and Mansfield. Mr. Dorroh was very proud of his military service in World War II (even though he didn’t boast of his outstanding feats of noble service) and his association with his beloved alma mater. A lifelong member of the LSU Alumni Association and season ticket holder, he was honored in 2003 as the DeSoto Parish Alumnus of the Year. One of the founding members of DeSoto Chapter of the LSU Alumni Association, the chapter honored him with an endowed academic scholarship in his name for scholars from DeSoto Parish, which he served as a community leader in philanthropy and a business leader. He was very active in the VFW serving as an officer, LaSalle Parish School Board serving as President and officer in the Olla Kiwanis Club. Mr. Dorroh graduated in 1941 from LSU where he was president of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity and on the LSU boxing Team, then he enlisted in the Marines but due to a knee medical issue, he was turned back. Not to be deterred, he enlisted in the United States Air Corp. Graduating with a commission from pilot training, he served in Europe and Northern Africa campaigns as a pilot of B-26 Maurader aircraft, which Senator Harry Truman labeled a “widow maker” due to its difficulties in landing and controlling in flight. The Mauruders were the oldest medium range bomber group in the Mediterranean theater of combat, yet he piloted 51 bombing missions without losing a plane or soldier. On his 49th mission, his plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire and he was able to pilot his damaged plane back to his base. He flew missions over Florence, Rome, Bologna, mini gun positions on the French Riveria, rail bridges in the Po Valley, the Astiense rail yards, Florence rail yards and various sites in Northern Africa. When he returned home, he served as an instructor at the flight school to train other pilots for B-26 planes.

Dorroh was awarded the Croux de Guerre with palms by the French government, Distinguished Unit Badge with Gold Leaf Clusters, the Air Medal with 8 Gold Clusters and was entitled to wear the blue, gold framed Distinguished Unit Ribbon. His unit was the only AAF unit to be cited by both the French and United States governments and to be cited by President Roosevelt twice for bombing raid accuracy on Rome and Florence.

Please join us in congratulating the Dorroh family for this incredible honor.

Nancy Jones set to debut new George Jones book

Playin’ Possum, My Memories of George Jones” will be celebrated at a book party in Many on Nov. 11 with author and special guest Nancy Jones

Nancy Jones, widow of the late Country music icon George Jones will be in Many on Saturday, Nov. 11, for an autograph party to celebrate her new book, “Playin’ Possum, My Memories of George Jones.” The event will be at Many City Hall, 965 San Antonio Ave., from 10 a.m. until noon. There is no admission charge, and everyone is invited to attend.

The book will be on sale at the event, and Ms. Jones will autograph, pose for pictures and visit with attendees.

A native of Mansfield, she lived in northwest Louisiana a long time, marrying and having two daughters before moving to Shreveport, where she worked on the assembly line at Western Electric.

In November 1981, Nancy was invited by friend Linda Morris to go to Rochester, NY for a George Jones concert. Linda was dating a member of Jones’ road crew. Nancy did not know who George Jones was but was talked into going. She was introduced to the singer, and they immediately connected. They were married on March 4, 1983.

The new book reveals little known poignant as well as humorous stories about the Country music legend, sharing honestly his battles against the demons that sought to control and destroy him. Millions of people knew and loved the singer, but few people know that behind the man and his golden voice was a strong, feisty woman who not only saved his life from cocaine addiction, alcoholism and other abusive and self-destructive behaviors, but was also instrumental in helping him find a new lifepath of faith.
Married for more than 30 years, Nancy knew George better than anyone else on earth – the good George and the bad George – the horrendous and the hilarious. Nancy was a tenacious fighter, and most people who knew George credit Nancy with saving his life and rebuilding his career. Together, they brought joy and light to millions of people. He died April 26, 2013, at the age of 81.

Nancy hopes many of her friends from Natchitoches and Sabine Parishes will attend the autograph party in Many. Refreshments will be served, and everyone is invited to attend. Those who wish to do so are also invited to bring a veteran photo to display on the special Veterans Day Table of Honor during the event, which falls on the holiday. Book sales will be cash or card.

The greatest bass tournament ever

Over my many years of tournament bass fishing, there have been some really great events.

Some of the best tournaments today are benefit events where the proceeds go to a particular person or group with special needs. These types of tournaments are usually team events with entry fees ranging from $200 to $400. A lot of the time anglers who win will donate their winnings back to the event depending on the cause.

But once upon a time, there was a bass tournament like no other. It was a tournament that was held with high regard in North Louisiana, one where anglers would literally sleep on the sidewalk outside Reeves Marine in Shreveport the night before registration just to make sure they got in, since there was a limit of 100 boats. It was the Reeves Marine All-City Championship.

What an event it was! Anglers were treated like royalty. It became a truly prestigious event and was such an honor to win. It was the best of the best in the Shreveport-Bossier area including top anglers who could compete with just about anyone across the country. One thing I figured out in the early to mid 1990’s was that northwest Louisiana produced some great anglers who not only had success locally, but also on a regional stage.

The Reeves Marine All-City Championship was a team event and started on the shores of Cross Lake. Over time it moved to the Red River for a brief period before it finally came to an end in the early 2000’s.

Why was this tournament so special?

For starters, there was a team/rules meeting the night before the event where anglers were fed a great catfish dinner with all the fixings. There were some good door prizes given away like rods, reels, tackle boxes, and some of the latest and hottest baits on the market. Skeeter Boats was a major sponsor and gave away a lot of products from rain gear to lifejackets.

But this tournament was different. it was a two-day, back-to-back weekend event. All 100 teams fished the first day with only the top 20 returning the next weekend to decide the winner. Just to make the Top 20 was quite an accomplishment. These teams received some embroidered All-City Championship jackets and tote bags. Everyone who made the final-day championship got a check.

Winning this event put you and your partner in select company and, more important, you had bragging rights for a year. There was a four-to-five-foot trophy that stayed on display at Reeves Marine where the individual names of the winning team were engraved and placed on the trophy forever. There were TV and newspaper interviews and a wealth of exposure. There has been no other tournament since that has had the prestige of the Reeves Marine All-City Championship.

Today, many anglers would love to see this event return to its former glory days, but alas, it’s a different era. Back during the 1990s and early 2000s, there were only a handful of tournaments all year long, so it made the All-City Championship a little extra special. Today, you can fish a tournament every weekend from January through September. Therefore, it probably would not have the same luster.

Maybe one day, someone will be able to bring an event of this caliber back to northwest Louisiana and give recognition to some of the best bass fishermen in the country.

‘Til next time, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget your sunscreen as melanoma does not discriminate.

Contact Steve at


When you sit in the pulpit and watch the congregation, there are some interesting sights to behold.

I have seen many bowed heads. The heads are bowed not at the time of prayer, rather they are bowed about twelve minutes into the sermon. They are either praying for the preacher or they are in deep-Sunday-afternoon-holding-the-remote-NFL-nap mode. I say that because I notice men sleeping, not the women! What’s up with that? I choose to believe the men are praying for the preacher, or for the sermon to end.

The other stuff you see are parents struggling with children. I have never been bothered by loud, active, or fussy children. The church is so blessed to have children present; we should enjoy them in whatever mode they are in during a worship service. The next time you hear a fussy or loud child in church, thank God they are present!

A couple of Sunday’s ago I looked up into the balcony at the end of the service. In the balcony was family with their daughter. The girl, by my preacher estimation, was at the stage where walking was a new thing.
She was in the middle aisle of the balcony, just under the Rose Window that Trinity moved from a previous location. It is a large, beautiful Rose window. So above her head is this huge reminder of the dignified history of Trinity Methodist Church.

During the last hymn, the young girl was dancing in the aisle. She was dancing with complete innocent abandonment. She was dancing with joy, and her joy touched my heart. To say it like the cool people, “she was busting a move.” We were singing one of those joyful hymns of the church. The girl had caught the spirit. She was not holding anything back.

Her joy was not going to be quashed by dignity.

Dignity. I don’t know where it came from, but it seems that worship has been taken over by dignity. Many congregations fear undignified behavior in church. It is no wonder, we are aptly criticized as being the “frozen chosen.” What would happen, if in your place of worship, you traded dignity for joy?

Maybe you would feel better, before, after, and during a worship service if you caught the infectious joy that comes with following Jesus.


On April 12, 1861, fighting began in the Civil War when Confederate forces opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. In September of that year, 16-year-old Thomas Ward enlisted in the Union Army and became a private in the 21st Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Thomas, who was underage by almost two years, lied about his age to enlist. Thomas took part in several battles in Georgia and Tennessee before he was sent to perform escort duties for generals including General Ulysses S. Grant.

In October 1864, Thomas reenlisted and was promoted to second lieutenant with the 6th Michigan cavalry where he served as aide-de-camp to the cavalry’s general. Between June 1864 and April 1865, Union and Confederate soldiers struggled for control of Petersburg, Virginia. Petersburg was strategically important because several rail lines connected at the city, and because numerous wagon roads which were used as supply lines met at a junction known as Five Forks. The final conflict in the fight for Petersburg was at Five Forks.

On April 3, 1865, Thomas took part in the Battle of Namozine Church. During the fight, Union soldiers charged Confederate barricades. While being fired upon by the Confederate soldiers, Thomas and his horse jumped one of the barricades. An enemy bullet struck his horse, but Thomas was unharmed. The Confederates were surprised by his bold action and fell back in confusion. A short distance away, Thomas saw the confused flag bearer. He spurred his horse and headed straight for the frightened flag bearer. Rather than attacking the flag bearer, he grabbed the flag of the Second North Carolina cavalry. Capturing the battle flag was demoralizing to the already confused soldiers. In addition to capturing the battle flag, Thomas took three officers and eleven enlisted men as prisoners.

Three days later, Thomas fought in the Battle of Sailor’s Creek. Similar to his actions in the Battle of Namozine Church, Thomas had his horse jump the enemy barricade while being fired upon. This time, however, Confederate soldiers surrounded Thomas and his horse. Without a moment’s hesitation, Thomas began firing his pistol on both sides of his horse. The Confederate soldiers scattered. In the confusion, Thomas saw the flag bearer and charged toward him. As he approached the flag bearer, a shot struck Thomas in his jaw under his right ear. The force of the shot knocked him back in his saddle. Thomas righted himself, grabbed the flag from the flag bearer with one hand, and fired a pistol shot into the chest of the flag bearer with the other. Thomas returned to the Union line waving the captured battle flag. He handed the flag to an aide and turned his horse to return to the battle. His commanding general saw Thomas’s bleeding wound and ordered him to report to the surgeon. When Thomas ignored the order, the general had Thomas arrested and sent to the rear of the line for medical attention. Luckily, Thomas’s injury was not serious.

In April 1865, Union soldiers presented 85 captured Confederate battle flags to the War Department. Of the 85 flags presented, Thomas presented the two flags that he had personally captured. For his bold actions in these two battles, Thomas became the first solider in American history and the only Federal soldier in the Civil War to be awarded two Medals of Honor.

Following the Civil War, Thomas continued to serve in the Union Army as aide-de-camp to the same superior officer he had served under during the Civil War. For the next 11 years, Thomas fought in the conflict known as the Indian Wars. On June 25, 1876, Thomas was among the soldiers who fought against various tribes of Plains Indians in the Battle of the Greasy Grass. During the battle, the Plains Indians completely destroyed the five companies of American soldiers. Thomas’s body was so badly mutilated that he could only be identified by a tattoo on his arm. Also killed in the battle were two of Thomas’s brothers and his nephew.

Few people remember Thomas because he was overshadowed, even in death, by his older brother. Thomas Ward, the first man in American history to be awarded two Medals of Honor, who died in the same battle as his famous brother, had a famous last name… Custer. Thomas Ward Custer, the younger brother of George Armstrong Custer, died in what the Indians call the Battle of the Greasy Grass. History books refer to it as the Battle of Little Big Horn or Custer’s Last Stand.



1. Detroit Free Press, April 28, 1865, p.1.
2. The New York Times, July 7, 1876, p.1.
3. Katie Lange, U.S. Department of Defense, “Medal of Honor Monday: Army Capt. Thomas Custer,” January 27, 2020, accessed November 5, 2023.
4. National Park Service, “Capt. Tom Custer,” accessed November 5, 2023,
5. National Park Service, “Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer,” Accesssed November 5, 2023,
6. ‌National Park Service, “Virginia: Petersburg National Battlefield,” accessed November 5, 2023,

Nancy Jones set to debut new George Jones book

Playin’ Possum, My Memories of George Jones” will be celebrated at a book party in Many on Nov. 11 with author and special guest Nancy Jones

Nancy Jones, widow of the late Country music icon George Jones will be in Many on Saturday, Nov. 11, for an autograph party to celebrate her new book, “Playin’ Possum, My Memories of George Jones.” The event will be at Many City Hall, 965 San Antonio Ave., from 10 a.m. until noon. There is no admission charge, and everyone is invited to attend.

The book will be on sale at the event, and Ms. Jones will autograph, pose for pictures and visit with attendees.

A native of Mansfield, she lived in northwest Louisiana a long time, marrying and having two daughters before moving to Shreveport, where she worked on the assembly line at Western Electric.

In November 1981, Nancy was invited by friend Linda Morris to go to Rochester, NY for a George Jones concert. Linda was dating a member of Jones’ road crew. Nancy did not know who George Jones was but was talked into going. She was introduced to the singer, and they immediately connected. They were married on March 4, 1983.

The new book reveals little known poignant as well as humorous stories about the Country music legend, sharing honestly his battles against the demons that sought to control and destroy him. Millions of people knew and loved the singer, but few people know that behind the man and his golden voice was a strong, feisty woman who not only saved his life from cocaine addiction, alcoholism and other abusive and self-destructive behaviors, but was also instrumental in helping him find a new lifepath of faith.
Married for more than 30 years, Nancy knew George better than anyone else on earth – the good George and the bad George – the horrendous and the hilarious. Nancy was a tenacious fighter, and most people who knew George credit Nancy with saving his life and rebuilding his career. Together, they brought joy and light to millions of people. He died April 26, 2013, at the age of 81.

Nancy hopes many of her friends from Natchitoches and Sabine Parishes will attend the autograph party in Many. Refreshments will be served, and everyone is invited to attend. Those who wish to do so are also invited to bring a veteran photo to display on the special Veterans Day Table of Honor during the event, which falls on the holiday. Book sales will be cash or card.

Your opinion sought:

The tragic shooting death Oct. 12 of Northwestern State University football player Ronnie Caldwell Jr. has resulted in a wide range of reactions, many shared on social media. The police investigation continues. The NSU football season has been cancelled, including homecoming games last week at McNeese and this weekend here in Natchitoches. The parents of Caldwell have announced a pending lawsuit. A petition started by a football player, with an NSU SGA officials’ recommendation, has over 5,000 signatures asking for the season to resume. National and regional media coverage has developed.

The Sabine Parish Journal welcomes your opinions, expressed below on this post, with the provision that anything you post may be published with your name in the SBJ or other Journals associated with the SPJ. Your perspective is welcomed.