Sabine Parish author booksigning at Depot Art Guild Reception

Shawn Beasley

Shawn Beasley, author of Killing the Rougarou, will sign her new novel on the book signing reception hosted by the Depot Art Guild from 6-8 pm Oct. 27, at the Many Depot Museum.

If you love to read, you’ll want to attend the book signing for a promising, upcoming Sabine Parish author on Oct. 27 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Shawn Beasley will be signing copies of her first novel Killing the Rougarou at the reception at the Many Depot Art Guild located in the historic old Many Depot.

Beasley, a native of Sabine Parish and a resident of the Oak Hill community, has written a compelling novel about a Louisiana legend, the Rougarou.

The Rougarou, in case you didn’t know it, is the legendary swamp monster or evil werewolf of Cajun Louisiana folklore.

It throws its head back, letting out a blood-curdling howl to the moon. That’s no werewolf, though. That’s what we in Louisiana call the Rougarou, cher. It’s an evil monster and it’s huge!

According to Cajun legend, deep in the Louisiana Swamp is the Rougarou — a large, werewolf-like half-man, half-beast creature who preys on and eats people who venture too far into its terrain.

Beasley’s novel is titled Killing the Rougarou. it’s the first in a series about the Louisiana Rougarou that she is writing.

Beasley, who is divorced, lives with her oldest son Coty and her grandson Payton. She is employed as a writer. Blue Naked Rougarou LLC is her brand.

All of Beasley’s grandchildren attend school in Sabine Parish.


Letter to the Editor: Natchitoches: Sixth poorest city in the country

30 Worst Economies 2018

The Natchitoches Parish Journal received this Letter to the Editor on June 19. The town of Many in Sabine Parish ranks number 22 nationwide.

NATCHITOCHES: I have always been proud of our little town, its historical significance, its beauty, and its festivals. However, there is another real fact that we must confront. According to a USA TODAY article published June 18, in towns with populations of 1000 to 25000 people, Natchitoches is the 6th poorest in the country. Listen to me: Not in the state, but in the entire country. Something has to be wrong if there are only five other towns in this entire country where the people are poorer than those in Natchitoches.

I don’t know where the fault lies but I would start with our political leaders, since they should be looking after the welfare and promoting businesses to ensure those who live here can earn a living wage. Further, while tourism is good, Natchitoches needs to attract industry, not chicken and other fast food franchises.

This negative national exposure that Natchitoches has just received can do nothing but harm Natchitoches. What parent will want to send his son or daughter to college in Natchitoches now? Very few, so it will have an adverse impact on NSU also.

To the powers that be, you need to do something and do it immediately or our little town will die a slow death!!

Michael J. Bonnette
Cloutierville, LA
(318) 332-6718

USA TODAY – June 18, 2018


23 Things I Learned This Year

By Reba

Reba_23 things.png

Divorcing after 23 years of marriage was never my plan in life. No one plans for failure. Sometimes failure is the only option. From my failure there were lessons to be learned and strangely enough laughs to be had. I never dreamed I would find so much humor and wisdom all at the same time.

1. Divorce under the most peaceful of circumstances is still a roller coaster of emotions. Every single day. Sometimes several emotions at the same time during the same day.

2. If you lose friends during the divorce they were not your true friends in the first place. You cannot lose what you never had.

3. Getting mail addressed to the “______ family” will always be a gut wrenching experience. Not sure how to let junk mail know that we are divorced.

4. It is easier to get a divorce from a spouse than get your cell phone bill separated. Cell phone companies are firm believers in “Family Plans.”

5. Christmas card season is super awkward. Cudos to my friend on Starlight Point for winning this award. She must have read a helpful article on this one. When I received her family Christmas card I didn’t feel like I wasn’t part of a family anymore.

7. You will fight over things you never imagined were important. ie WalGreens points and Brookshire’s points for gas (When Super 1 took over this ended the race to gas station for points).

8. You will be lonely at times. Extremely lonely. But you will survive.

9. Your children will be sad. They will be angry. No matter how good you are getting along with your ex-spouse they will not be at peace with the divorce decision. Patience and honesty is key here.

10. There are so many kind people in this world and our community. Let them help you. It’s okay to need others. Reach out.

11. Always put your children first. Even when they don’t want you to. Focus on your children. They act like they don’t want the extra attention but they need reassurance that they will be okay and they are loved.

12. Bitterness is better left behind. The main loser in a bitterness battle is yourself. The people closest to you will suffer too if you do not get this in check. No one wants to hear the bitter version more than once or twice.

13. If you shared children with your ex-spouse they will forever be in your lives. Make the most of it. The kids will cherish and appreciate this one day.

14. The first time you have to sign school documents listing two separate addresses for parents will leave you feeling like a failure as an adult. I haven’t even crossed the bridge of taking back my maiden name yet. Two addresses. Two Names. #fixitJesus

15. Everyone has a opinion on how and where your marriage went wrong. The only opinion that matters is the truth.

16. Broken people attract broken people. There will no shortage of people who love attending pity parties. A true friend will attend two maybe three pity parties and then refuse to allow them and attend them.

17. Change is so hard. I’ve been through so many changes this year I’m actually looking for more ways to change. Go big or go home.

18. You might drink too much. You might eat too much.

19. Alcohol and Country Music are depressants. Stay away from both. Especially both at the same time. However, Taylor Swift Essentials Play List on Apple Music is so therapeutic.

20. Not everyone loses weight during a divorce. This one made me sad. I was looking forward to this but it didn’t happen.

21. Reminder- you will be lonely. This bears repeating. Lonely will not kill you. Divorce hurts and you have to feel every bit of it to heal properly.

22. I’ve learned and made peace with the fact I am not perfect on any level. Being imperfect builds character. Or so, I keep telling myself.

23. You absolutely unequivocally cannot make it through a life changing event without your faith. I’ve heard so many people criticize others for “finding Jesus in critical times”….this is what you are supposed to do. Our God is a patient and forgiving God who will give you peace during the storms.

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

Life Well Pruned

By Reba

Reba_Life Well Pruned


When we stood in the driveway and gazed upon our new home in Goldonna it was a sight to behold. It was a modest and picturesque older frame home with a circle driveway made of sand and gravel. There were large pine trees and oak trees covering the house with just enough shade to make you appreciate when the sun came beaming through the leaves. This country home was landscaped with 30-year-old azaleas and camellias. At first glance the older trees and bushes seemed overgrown. It still had tremendous potential for a breathtaking yard. We all tried to imagine the beauty once everything in the yard bloomed.

Sadly no one had a green thumb or really even understood what a green thumb did. As luck would have it we had a church member who was more than eager to take on the task of pruning the elderly shrubbery. She claimed to be able to restore them to their former glory. We watched helplessly as she cut the shrubs down to bare nubs. We saw the potential quickly burned in a trash pile.

There was no burn ban and we lived in the country. This is how we handled things. Our church member turned tree surgeon kept reassuring us that she fertilized them and we should see new growth soon and the blooms the following year should be stunning.

Should be.

Every morning for what seemed like months, we would wake up with hopes this would be the day that we would see growth. There was none. Days turned into months. Months turned into years. If hope could grow greenery and blooms our yard would have looked like a page torn right out of Home & Garden. After about three years we gave up hope that we would ever see them restored.

Every time my father preached about forgiveness I just imagined he was referring to the church member who stole our yard’s dignity.

Our family did not understand the mechanics of heavy pruning and did not realize that the chopped bushes still had potential. We still gave up and made peace with the fact that our shrubbery was barren.

Pruning can be devastating but sometimes our own lives get pruned as well. Sometimes it’s willingly and we recognize the need to rid our lives of overgrowth.

We prune friends who are no longer on our same path or who are potentially just not good for us. We prune family members who we have completely given up on. We may prune a dead end job when there’s no potential or it just feels stagnate. Sometimes we’re so overcommitted with unnecessary obligations that we’re completely overwhelmed and lose sight of our true purpose in life. Sometimes we even see the need to prune our earthly possessions.

Pruning is simple when we authorize the changes.

Unexpected or unauthorized pruning feels like punishment because more times than not we are not strong enough to execute the pruning ourselves. When something is removed from our lives without our consent it is a hard pill to swallow. Something we will miss and something we had convinced ourselves that we cannot live without is gone. Somethings we were not ready to let go of on our own. We were too weak to realize that those branches were unhealthy and had to be removed. When this happens this season can be quite painful. We literally cannot see the potential for growth during this season. It can be dark and lonely.

But just like the landscape that we thought would never return, once it was fertilized for a proper amount of time and the right season came along… it bloomed. The blooms were larger and more full than they ever were before. Sometimes the blooms will be heartier and may even bloom in a better color than before. This is the season where you see a purpose for the pain. This is the season where God delivered you from your past and you see a promise for a great future. The true blessing comes when you can say, “I would go through that all over again just to be where I am today.”

I am blessed to say that the church member tree surgeon is still a treasured friend even today.

Ecclesiates 3:1-8

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens:

A time to be born and a time to die
A time to plant and a time to uproot
A time to kill and a time to heal
A time to tear down and a time to build
A time to weep and a time to laugh
A time to mourn and a time to dance
A time to scatter stone and a time to gather them
A time to embrace and a time refrain from embracing
A time to search and a time to give up
A time to keep and a time to throw away
A time to tear and a time to mend
A time to be silent and a time to speak
A time to love and a time to hate
A time for war and a time for peace



Verbose Veteran

By Reba Phelps


While my family is known to be open and honest about every minor detail there’s some things we never discussed growing up. Some things were just never questioned. We knew our family history.

Reflecting back I can’t distinguish if we were too busy being children or if we had a gut feeling telling us not to go there. Whatever the case, we never asked my father about his Vietnam War experience.

While my father was a proud member of the US Navy and a Veteran of the Vietnam War he absolutely never spoke of it.

He was a very quiet Veteran. He had all the memorabilia. He had the military id card. He had the yearbook with all of his peer’s photos. He had the basic stories of where he was stationed and how long he stayed on the ship. He could go through the yearbook and pick out his closest friends. My dad even had jokes about his military stay.

When he was in a bad mood or feeling impatient he would say, “my agent orange is acting up today.” We always laughed.

We never bothered to delve deeper into his military actions until my oldest daughter decided she needed more details and my lack of knowledge was completely unacceptable.

One weekend we met for a family lunch, which started like many others. A few text messages exchanged with family to see if anyone had lunch plans. A few more text messages debating the cuisine and location. Once settled, our clan descended upon a Natchitoches restaurant.

Shortly after ordering drinks and appetizers we exchanged a few pleasantries my daughter dropped a Texas size bomb and brought the whole table (and half the restaurant) to a screeching halt. She said, “So Pappaw, how many people did you have to kill while you were in Vietnam?”

The silence was deafening. You could have heard a pin drop. It seemed as though the tables around us paused and the waitresses waited to see what happened. Our whole table, including my new stepmom, stopped visiting and looked at me. Being the child’s parent I was about to plunge into rescue and education mode. I planned on apologizing for her outburst and discussing the proper etiquette of addressing a Veteran and their memoirs.

Before I could, my father replied, “It was so many I couldn’t keep up with it.”

Obviously he was being humorous, but after he broke the ice, he was like a fountain overflowing. He began by telling us about the recruiting process. He wasn’t sure they’d accept him because he lost most of the sight in his right eye after a childhood infection.

Growing up he had many role models who joined the military. Every single one of his brothers served in a branch.

While assigned to a communication ship, he had to sleep with his leg wrapped around the chains anchoring the beds to the wall because when they hit large waves they would fall out of the bed onto the steel floor.

When he arrived in Vietnam they were nearing a shore where a battle was taking place and he could feel the gunshot vibrations on the ship. A jet flew over them that had been struck and he still remembers what the heat felt like from that moment.

He shared that his deployment was for Westpac and Vietnam.

While we hung on every word that was finally coming forth from the silent man we lived with, our hearts were broken for him. He explained that when he and the others returned home there were no hero’s welcomes. They were treated so poorly and were mostly met with protesters.

He did go on to share that it touches his soul to see our Troops being so loved and welcomed when they come home. He can rarely watch it on TV without shedding a tear.

Meredith’s seemingly inappropriate question opened the door for many conversations with my father that included the name of the two ships he traveled on and many other details that make up the beauty and history of his time served in the US Navy. Recently I located the information on the two ships and shared it with him. It brought back a multitude of memories and I think just enough time has passed where he can truly reflect on his experience and appreciate that God spared his life during that time and enabled him to come back home to continue the journey that created a whole family.

My father’s birthday is May 30 and it always falls around Memorial Day. Every birthday that roles around for him is a complete blessing and a reminder of the military men and women who so willingly gave their lives so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have.

“Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; My Lovingkindness and my fortress, My stronghold and my deliverer, My shield and he in whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me”

Psalm 144:1-2



Find great bargains at Ivan Smith’s Summer Warehouse Sale


You’re in luck because Ivan Smith Furniture’s warehouse is filled to capacity. That means they’re holding their annual Summer Warehouse Sale Saturday, June 2 from 9 am – 2 pm.

The sale includes a large selection of hundreds of items to choose from including:

discontinued merchandise
floor models with small imperfections
Lightly used furniture
Odd occasional tables and ottomans
Sleeper sofas
Queen size mattress floor model sets and previous year models

The best part is all these items are seriously marked down. We’re talking below cost prices!

“This is a popular event, and that means there will be a line at the door when the sale starts,” said Dane Terrell. “If you see a specific item you want, make sure to get to the store early.”

Sale items can be previewed in the store or on Ivan Smith’s Facebook page: Check back – even more photos will be posted leading up to the sale.

“If you see an item you like on our Warehouse Sale event on Facebook, come into the store and take a look; sit on it (No items will be sold before the sale begins at 9 am on June 2),” said Dane.

Featured items include:

Warehouse Sale_Temperpedic Mattress


Tempur-Pedic Queen Size Mattress Set
Regular Price: $2,500 – Sale Price: $700








Warehouse Sale_Sleeper Sofa


Queen Size Sleeper Sofa
Regular Price: $800 – Sale Price: $400




Warehouse Sale_Motion Sectional


Motion Sectional in Dark Brown Leather
Dual recliners and a sleeper sofa
Sale Price: $500




Warehouse Sale_Dining Table


Dining Room Table and Six Chairs
Magnolia Home Line by Joanna Gaines
Regular Price: $2,000 – Sale Price: $500



Large items purchased during the sale will not be loaded out until after the conclusion of the sale for the safety of everyone in the store. Customers will be asked to return to the store between 2-5 pm or schedule a pick up time for a later date.

Once room is made in the warehouse, Ivan Smith will have room for a delivery its currently waiting on, full of the newest sets including:

2 New Bedroom Sets
A Whole New Line Of Temper-Pedic Mattress Sets
10 New Living Room Sets

Ivan Smith offers the latest in home furnishings, accessories, bedding, and appliances.

Ivan Smith Furniture – Natchitoches
Home town faces with big store buying power.
936 Keyser Avenue
(318) 352-5889

When Three Mysterious Strangers Crashed the Genealogy Association’s Pot-Luck Dinner

Members of the Natchitoches Genealogical and Historical Association were happily settling in to their annual pot-luck dinner last week, hungrily eyeing the mouth watering selections of meats, casseroles, salads and desserts, when three mysterious strangers burst into the room at the Old Courthouse Building..

One was obviously a priest, though his cassock was quite old fashioned. Another wore an ancient red coat and a straw hat and the third was clad in a heavy white coat with a tricorn hat. NGHA President Billie Gibson (who was in on the plot) gave them permission to address the group, while the members ate.

The men introduced themselves and the audience learned that they were Father Jean Delvaux, Natchitoches Spanish Commandant Louis DeBlanc and none other than Colonial Gov. Baron Carondolet himself.

In no time Delvaux and DeBlanc were arguing like two school boys, with the governor fighting a losing battle in trying to keep the peace. In between the spats, the men — each from his own viewpoint — explained to the group what had happened when Delvaux led a “mini-revolt” against DeBlanc here in 1795. Folks were beaten, DeBlanc’s house was attacked and other nefarious actions took place.

I wrote about the incident in a column last fall, but these three men, whether alighting from some time machine or what, I don’t know, took it upon themselves to try to persuade the NGHA members that his viewpoint was the correct one.

Delvaux stopped at nothing in trying to humiliate DeBlanc during the discussion. At one point DeBlanc was about to explain how friends of his were attacked after leaving a party at his house but he got distracted by the memory of a young French girl named Marie, with whom he had danced at the soiree. Dellvaux embarrassed DeBlanc by grabbing his sleeve and openly asking him if he needed to go to confession, in connection with any thing that may have happened with the lovely Marie.

“Unhand me, you scoundrel,” was DeBlanc’s response. “I wouldn’t confess my least sin to you.”

In the end, Delvaux was exiled from the Louisiana colony and Carondelet transferred DeBlanc to St. Martinville in the Bayou Teche country.

Well, okay, all right. Those guys didn’t hop out of any time machine to make their case to the NGHA members. Yeah, yeah. It was me and my friends Dustin Fuqua and Tommy Adkins. I was DeBlanc, an actual ancestor of mine, Dusty was the priest and Tommy was the governor.

All three of us are avid Louisiana history buffs and we had loads of fun putting on the skit. We had even had time to meet for a quick beer at the Pub before we went to the Old Courthouse That would have been apt because Delvaux was known to be a lover of liquid refreshment, often going down to the river front near what’s now Front Street, chugging brandy and singing French revolutionary songs with his gang, called Les Revenants,, or the Ghosts.

I want to announce publicly that I am awarding Dusty a new theatrical award named a “Louie,” in honor of the Natchitoches founder Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, for the best performance by an actor at a pot-luck dinner of the NGHA. His animated portrayal of the priest kept the audience laughing.

I told him he should be proud. It’s a rare honor. After all, has such a great actor as Tom Hanks, for example, ever won a Louie? Of course not. And I don’t expect he ever will, either.




Body found in Bayou Pierre, officials working on identification

Body FOund in bayou Pierre_1592 2018
Two LA Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries agents spotted a body floating in the water while they were patrolling on Bayou Pierre May 16 at 1:13 pm, one mile South of the Hwy. 174 bridge near the Natchitoches-Red River Parish line in the Jordan Ferry Community.

Deputies and Investigators from the Natchitoches and Red River Parish Sheriff’s Offices and the Natchitoches and Red River Parish Coroners Offices responded to the scene. The body was recovered and sent for autopsy to determine positive identification, and cause of death.

The NPSO is the lead investigating agency. They request the public call the Criminal Investigations Division with any information regarding missing persons in the area.

Investigators believe the body to be that of a female, however at this time it’s not believed to be the body of the missing woman Cynthia Osborn. Additional details and body markings will be released after the autopsy is completed. Officials did say that it appears the body has been in the water for quite some time.



Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Detectives and the Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office have received preliminary autopsy findings on a body found by LDWF Agents in Bayou Pierre on Wednesday afternoon near the Jordan Ferry area according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones.

After an autopsy was performed by Forensic Pathologists at University Health -Shreveport it was determined that the body discovered is possibly a white female approximately 5’4” with what appears to be butterflies tattooed on both lower legs, flowers on front of left thigh with a star beneath it and a tattoo of some sort on underside of right forearm with an unknown word.

The victim wearing a tee-shirt with a tri-colored pineapple on front is possibly between the ages of 30-40 and deceased approximately 2-3 weeks. Anyone with a missing person matching these descriptions please contact the NPSO-CID Division at 318-357-7830 Detective Jonathan Byles or the main SO at 318-352-6432.

The investigaton is active and ongoing by the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, and Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office with assistance from the Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office and Red River Parish Coroner’s Office.



Community enjoys Zwolle Loggers & Forestry Festival

By Reba

Zwolle Loggers Festival_1560 2


The 24th Annual Zwolle Loggers & Forestry Festival took place May 11-12. The Friday events kicked off with a Forestry Skills Competition and ended with live entertainment provided by The Essentials Band and Cody Cooke and the Bayou Outlaws. Saturday’s festivities began with the Melissa Anderson Memorial Race, followed by a parade that boasted over 30 entries. The official opening ceremonies were held at the Zwolle Festival Grounds and opened with prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance and the Star Spangled Banner. After the introduction of the local elected officials the Festival Queen and her Court were introduced to the crowd of hundreds.

Mr. Sam A Rivers, Jr. was also honored as the oldest living logger in Sabine Parish.

As the warm afternoon progressed the festival goers enjoyed dance entertainment from Studio B Dance Company. The Toledo Bend Fishin’ Line Dancers wowed the crowd with their dance moves as they boogied to Country hits old and new.

The Mulit-Purpose Building housed the Bingo in which many great door prizes were given. If bingo and line dancing were not adventurous enough for you and you didn’t mind getting a little muddy then you would have enjoyed the Mud Bog Competition that was also a huge success and paid out $4800 in prizes.

As the 24th Annual Zwolle Loggers & Forestry Festival came to an end the festival goers enjoyed live music provided by DJ Hunter Malmay, Next of Kin Band, Jared Bridges and The Bernie Alan Band.

List of contest winners include the following:

Best Looking Log Truck – Huey Malmay Trucking – White/Silver Peterbilt

Best Looking Float – Rolling Thunder Ball Team

Best Looking Vehicle- Rick Seasock red convertible street car

Loading Contest – 1st place Jay Cartinez, 2nd place Curtis Fountain

Log Weight Guessing- Michael Buster

The festival was well attended and organizers are looking forward to expanding the festival next year.