Experiences at NSU were the foundation of Jim Hawthorne’s LSU career

By MASON SIEGEL, LSU Athletics Communications

There’s something about the true power of a voice. For generations of LSU fans, there is no more iconic, more golden voice than Jim Hawthorne’s.

Last Friday night, Hawthorne was awarded the LSU Athletics Hall of Fame Distinguished Honor.

Known as “The Voice of the Tigers,” from 1979-2016, Hawthorne served as the radio play-by-play announcer for LSU football, baseball and men’s basketball.

Born in Many, Hawthorne moved just south to Anacoco, in the sixth grade. He began his career at radio station KLLA as a senior in high school, serving as the play-by-play announcer for the Leesville High School Wampus Cats football team.

After graduating from high school, Hawthorne worked as a commercial radio broadcaster and DJ for KNOC in Natchitoches, while attending college at Northwestern State.

There, he befriended one of his greatest mentors, the late Norm Fletcher. Fletcher served as a play-by-play announcer for Northwestern State sports for four decades after working as a broadcaster in the US. Military’s Far East Network during the Korean Conflict.

“I loved him, he was like a big brother to me,” Hawthorne said. “If it weren’t for him, I don’t know what I would’ve done.”

With Fletcher as his guide, Hawthorne began calling his first collegiate games, serving as play-by-play announcer for NSU men’s basketball. Hawthorne then moved to Shreveport, where he worked at KWKH, one of the nation’s top 50,000-watt stations, known through much of the country as a home to LSU football as well as for a popular country music program known as the Louisiana Hayride.

While at KWKH, Hawthorne was the play-by-play announcer for Centenary College men’s basketball. He had the opportunity to call games involving future four-time NBA champion center Robert “The Chief” Parish. Hawthorne also handled Texas League baseball games and World Football League contests.

With Hawthorne still living in Shreveport and working for KWKH, the voice of LSU football, John Ferguson, visited KWKH in search of a radio announcer for LSU men’s basketball. It was there that Ferguson requested an audition tape from Hawthorne. A few weeks later, Ferguson returned to Shreveport, where the two met for lunch.

While at lunch, Hawthorne asked Ferguson if the position for LSU basketball had been filled.

“Well, that depends,” said Ferguson.

“What does it depend on?” asked Hawthorne.

“It depends on if you’ll take the job or not,” responded Ferguson.

Hawthorne accepted the job, and his tenure as a Tiger had begun.

He began calling LSU men’s basketball games during the 1979-80 season. He went on to broadcast three NCAA Final Four appearances (1981, 1986, 2006), seven SEC regular-season championships and one SEC Tournament title.

Hawthorne covered some of college basketball’s most electrifying players, highlighted by NBA greats Shaquille O’Neal, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, and a host of others. Hawthorne was also the voice behind the winningest head coach in program history, Dale Brown.

Hawthorne’s success early success with men’s basketball led him to Tiger Stadium, where he worked alongside Ferguson for a short time before becoming the voice of LSU football. From 1983 to 2015, Hawthorne covered LSU’s 22 bowl games, six SEC titles and two national championships (2003, 2007).

Some of Hawthorne’s most famous calls on the football field include the “Earthquake Game” on October 8, 1988, in which the Tiger Stadium crowd’s reaction to LSU’s game-winning touchdown pass against Auburn registered on a seismograph on campus.

In 1984, Hawthorne – who played some college baseball at Northwestern State — became the first play-by-play announcer in the history of LSU baseball. With the arrival of coach Skip Bertman in the same year, LSU baseball rapidly transformed into a national power.

“To see it start as something that people came to because they didn’t have anything else to do,” Hawthorne remembered, “and seeing it develop into the incredible powerhouse that the baseball program became under Skip Bertman was just incredible.

“I’m very blessed to have had the opportunity to work with him and for him. I don’t know if my career would’ve ended up the way it did had it not been for him.”

Hawthorne was the voice behind LSU’s first 17 College World Series appearances, six national titles and 11 SEC Tournament championships.

Of all the iconic calls over Hawthorne’s legendary career, no moment quite compares to the Warren Morris walk-off home run in the 1996 CWS finale to capture LSU’s third national title.

“That’s probably the most incredible feeling that I’ve ever had,” Hawthorne said as he recalled the moment. “I don’t know if there will ever be anything quite like it again. I’m just very proud to have been part of it.”

Hawthorne proved himself as one of the all-time greats in the industry. In 2011, he was the recipient of the Lindsey Nelson Award, an honor given to an individual who has exemplified a passion for broadcasting during his or her career.

In 2015, Hawthorne was presented with the Chris Schenkel Award in New York City. The award honors those who have lengthy, illustrious careers as college football broadcasters with ties to a particular university.

Hawthorne’s basketball accomplishments were recognized by the Louisiana Association of Basketball Coaches with their Mr. Basketball Award, and on June 25, 2016, he was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in Natchitoches.

Hawthorne credits his mother, as well as Norm Fletcher, for being integral parts of his success.

“Those two really laid the foundation for me to have had the career that I did,” he said.

The LSU Athletics Hall of Fame Distinguished Honor is icing on the cake.

“I’m very humbled by it,” he said. “It’s an incredible award with incredible recognition, and I’d always hoped I’d be worthy of it.”


By Doug De Graffenried

Did you ever have one of those moments?

The other evening, I decided that supper would include steaks. I did the early morning preparation for the late afternoon cooking ritual. Those steaks were well prepped.

The other part of the steak ritual involves the grill. I have one of the wood pellet grills. It is spiffy. My cooking has improved. Once upon a time, hamburgers that I grilled were not palatable and later used as official hockey pucks. I’m much better now. The wood pellet grill needs several minutes to warm up to steak temperature. It gets very hot but helps me avoid hockey puck cooking accidents.

The cover came off. I checked the inside of the grill. Verified the nice little drip bucket would have adequate room for drippings. The wood pellets were checked and determined to be adequate. 

I reached around back to turn the grill on. Nothing! The switch glows orange when the grill is on. This switch was dark. I checked the plug, after all I had wired it with my redneck electrician method of designing an outdoor circuit. The GCFI plug was tested and verified to be working. It has a nice green light showing it’s functioning.

Never trusting the one outlet, I grabbed an extension cord and plugged everything into the other GCFI outdoor outlet. Nothing! Tried a couple of other outlets inside the shed. Nothing!

In my rapidly filling up mind, I decided the switch had gone bad. The steaks were begging to be cooked, so I reverted to the broiler inside. The steaks were marvelous. I was a little bummed about the grill though. It is not that old.

After the sumptuous steak supper, I grabbed the manual that came with the grill and turned to the troubleshooting chapter. Nothing! The switch would not light up. The grill would not come on, although clearly my redneck circuits were supplying power to the outlets.

I resolved to call and check the warranty. I walked back outside to put the cover on the grill and roll up the extension cord. That’s when I learned that I’m a dumb donkey. OK, I’m the other thing, but I can’t use that language in this family friendly publication.

The cord for the grill not only plugs into the wall, but it also plugs into the grill. The end of the cord plugged into the grill had worked its way loose. When I unplugged the grill cord from the extension cord, the other end fell to the ground.

I had to confess my stupidity. I resolved to check that end of the cord each time. But here’s the deal, I should have thought of it. Who would have thought that the other end of a power cord could come loose from where it plugged into the grill? The answer is, just about everyone!

In a conversation last week, a person said, “I don’t feel like I’m connecting with God very well these days.” I know who is unplugged. When God seems distant, you need to check both ends of the spiritual connection. If you don’t know about the two directions of a spiritual connection, come see me on Sunday, I’ll explain it to you. We might have steak!

Representative Schamerhorn, District 24

Representative Rodney Schamerhorn is more than just a representative and advocate for shared conservative values, he is a man with a mission. Earning a seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives for District 24 four years prior, Rep. Schamerhorn has decided to run for re- election, pledging to continue the fight for the people of Louisiana and the values they hold dear.

A dedicated family man, Rep. Schamerhorn is not only the proud father of two successful business owners but also a loving grandfather. His personal life is as vibrant and engaging as his political career, with his children and granddaughter embodying his values of hard work, perseverance, and integrity. His dedication to his family is mirrored in his commitment to serving the people of Louisiana, ensuring he remains actively engaged with the local community.

As a representative, Schamerhorn has emerged as a stalwart protector of our constitutionally protected, God-given rights and conservative values, striving for financial responsibility, quality education, robust infrastructure, and limited government intervention in our daily lives.

Rep. Schamerhorn is a staunch advocate for parental rights, standing firm against any attempts to infringe upon them. He believes parents should make decisions regarding their children’s medical treatment and their education, opposing the infiltration of radical WOKE ideologies in classrooms.

His fight also extends to election integrity, endeavoring to ensure all legal votes are counted and secured ahead of the 2024 Presidential election.

As a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, Rep. Schamerhorn is determined to uphold citizens’ right to bear arms, viewing Constitutional Carry as a non-negotiable right. He is a critic of the government’s overreach, overregulation, and high taxes, which he believes suffocates small businesses and families, and prevents economic prosperity here in Louisiana.

Recognizing the significant role of the oil and gas industry in Louisiana’s economy, Schamerhorn has committed to protecting it from political attacks and overregulation.

However, Rep. Schamerhorn is aware that there is more work to be done. He expresses his disappointment over the unsuccessful override of 24 bills vetoed by Governor Edwards and sees this as a rallying cry for more conservatives to join the fight in Baton Rouge.

Schamerhorn’s dedication and commitment have not gone unnoticed. He recently received the endorsement of the Louisiana Freedom Caucus PAC and was recognized by the Republican Party of Louisiana at Victory 2023 for being one of only 19 House members who stood firm against busting the spending cap.

As his re-election campaign gains momentum, Representative Rodney Schamerhorn continues to prove that he is a resilient voice for the people of Louisiana. With his tireless dedication to serving and the backing of his constituents, Schamerhorn stands ready to champion the causes that matter most to the people of District 24.

Events of the: 2023 Natchitoches Parish Fair

Carnival opens Wednesday – Friday from 5 pm – 10 pm, Saturday 12 pm – 10 pm
$5 admission/children 2 and under free
Ride armbands each night – $25.00.

Monday, September 25
*9 am- 6 pm Competitive exhibits accepted
*9 am – 6 pm Educational banners set up.

Tuesday, September 26
*8 am – 12 pm Blue building closed for judging
*9 am – 12 pm BeeBe Martin FFA competition.

Wednesday, September 27
*Carnival begins – gate opens at 5 pm
*6 pm – Opening ceremonies
All animals MUST be in the barn by 5 pm

Thursday, September 28
*8 am – 12 pm KIDS DAY
*Carnival gate opens at 5 pm
*Parish livestock show – 5 pm

Friday, September 29
*8 am – 12 pm KIDS DAY
*All animals released – 12 pm – 4 pm
*Carnival gate opens – 5 pm

Saturday, September 30
*Carnival gate opens – 12 pm

When nobody is watching

When it comes to being great, some people are gifted and blessed while others must work at it to be great. It’s one thing to have talent, but it’s sad when people waste that God given gift.

During my athletic career, I have seen some very high-level athletes that never took advantage of the talent they were blessed with. Why is this? Is it a lack of self-confidence or is it that no one ever showed faith in them as a player or as a person? Could it be a lack of determination or competitive fire that all great players possess?

Even though this article is not related to fishing, today I’ll give you my experience and perspective on not what makes a great athlete, but what makes an athlete great — when nobody is watching.

Years ago, there was a youngster from East Texas who was a talented athlete especially in baseball. But talent alone only goes so far. It must be groomed and nurtured.

As a kid living in the country, this young boy was always looking for ways to improve his baseball skills and be the best. Daily he would retreat to his backyard and spend hours throwing a rubber baseball off a big fallen tree to work on his fielding skills like one-hoppers that baseball players often get when playing the game. He worked on making backhanded plays and fielding every ball with great technique. He did this daily – when nobody was watching.

Then one day he was looking for a way to improve on his hitting. So, he took an old blanket his mom offered and hung it on a clothesline out behind his house. (This is how people used to dry their laundry before everyone got automated driers.) Putting his creativity to work, he took an old Folger’s coffee can and cut a three-foot piece of PVC pipe and cemented it into the coffee can. Then he found an old piece of radiator hose (that was very flexible) and slid it over the top of the PVC pipe. BAM!!! There it was, the perfect batting tee.

He would hit for hours off this tee so he could get better. He hit so much that he wore the covers off the balls he was hitting into that blanket — all when nobody was watching.

Today, batting tees are available at pretty much any sporting goods store. Back in the early 1970s, no one had even heard of a batting tee! But this young man used his creativity and designed his own batting tee in order to become a better hitter. Through this extra work he accomplished so much and developed his baseball skills when nobody was watching that he landed a scholarship, which eventually led to him being drafted in the 1983 major league baseball draft.

Another great example of doing more than what was required would be a former high school teammate and friend of his, by the name of Maury Buford. If this name sounds a little familiar it should, as he was an outstanding punter in the NFL for over eight years during the 1980s and ‘90s. He was the punter for the 1985 Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears, one of the greatest teams in NFL history.

As a youngster, Maury discovered at a very early age that he had a talent for punting a football. He spent hours on a sandlot working on developing his punting skills. He went on to become an All-American at Texas Tech and had a great NFL career. Maury’s dedication and work ethic was on another level and allowed him to accomplished great things — when nobody was watching.

This is how athletes become great, doing the little things and putting in the EXTRA time to develop their skills. A lot of kids today do not understand this concept and they think that the time they spend at their scheduled two-hour practice is enough to be a great player.

But great players are different. They realize that if you want to be great, you must put in the extra time away from regular practice. So remember, if you want to be great at anything like golf, tennis, basketball or tournament fishing, it’s the extra time you put in when nobody is watching that makes you great.

‘Til next time, if you have any comments about this or any other articles I’ve written, email me at the address below, or go to my Facebook page and give your feedback. I really appreciate all of you who take the time to read my articles. I hope in some small way you gain either knowledge or comfort in what you read.

Contact Steve at sgraf26@yahoo.com


By Brad Dison

It was a hot July day in Nashville, Tennessee.  Bill Dees and his friend Kelton were at Kelton’s home trying to write a song. They needed a melody, a clever phrase, a catchy guitar riff, or anything else that could spark an idea.  They played anything that came to mind on their guitars, discussed several phrases, but they were unimpressed with the results.  They kept at it.  At one point, Kelton’s wife walked into the room.  Bill and Kelton’s attention immediately shifted from their task at hand to Kelton’s wife.  She was a knockout.  Bill and Kelton’s gaze shifted to her yellow skirt and red shoes.  Anytime Bill saw a woman he thought was pretty, he exclaimed, “Mercy!”  Like the involuntary actions of our bodies such as blinking our eyelids or breathing, Bill exclaimed “Mercy!” before he could stop himself.  Bill shifted his gaze from Kelton’s wife to Kelton.  Kelton was smiling.  He looked back and Kelton’s wife was smiling as well. 

The three of them chatted briefly and Kelton’s wife said she was going to a nearby store to buy something.  Kelton, ever the gentleman, asked if she needed any money.  Before Kelton’s wife had a chance to respond, Bill spoke up and said, “a pretty woman never needs any money.”  They all smiled.  Kelton’s wife turned and walked away.  As she walked out of the house and onto the sidewalk, Bill heard her red high heels clicking on the pavement.  Click! Click! Click! Click!  Bill tapped his finger on his guitar to the same tempo as the sound of Kelton’s wife’s clicking shoes.  Before the sound of Kelton’s wife’s clicking heels had faded, Kelton came up with a fitting guitar riff.  Lyrics came next as if they had been there all along just waiting to be written down.  By the time Kelton’s wife returned, about 40 minutes later, Bill and Kelton had finished the song. 

A week later, on August 1, Bill and Kelton went into the studio to record the song.  Once again, Bill tapped his finger to the tempo he remembered of Kelton’s wife walking away in her red high-heeled shoes.  Click! Click! Click! Click!  The studio drummer played this tempo on his snare drum, Kelton’s guitar riff was added, and finally, Kelton sang lead and Bill sang harmony.  In one point in the song, Kelton said there was something missing.  He needed to say something short, just a word or two.  He remembered what Bill said upon seeing his wife the previous week.  He sang one more word, “mercy,” and the song was finished.  Bill and Kelton were pleased with the song.

On August 15, 1964, Bill and Kelton’s song was released.  Less than two weeks later, their song entered the charts at number 49.  By early September, newspapers all over the world predicted that the song would sell well.  On September 6, the number one song in the country was “House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals.  Bill and Kelton’s song reached number 13.  A week later, September 13, Bill and Kelton’s song was at number 2 just behind “House of the Rising Sun.”  A week after that, on September 20, Bill and Kelton’s song had replaced “House of the Rising Sun” in the number one spot.  “In a 68-week period that began on August 8, 1963,” during the British Invasion, Kelton “was the only American artist to have a number one single in Britain.”  In addition to reaching number one in the United States and the United Kingdom, Bill and Kelton’s song reached the top spot in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Switzerland, and West Germany.  Mercy!   

When Bill and Kelton’s songwriting session was interrupted on that hot July day in 1964, none of them could have realized the impact of Kelton’s wife walking into and out of the room.  Kelton’s wife’s name was Claudette.  The name of the Bill and Kelton’s song came directly from Bill’s comment that “a pretty woman never needs any money.”  For almost fifty years now, you and I have heard Bill and Kelton sing “Oh, Pretty Woman.”  Kelton is the middle name of Roy Orbison.  Mercy!


1.  The Paducah Sun, August 28, 1964, p.10.

2.  Valley Morning Star, September 6, 1964, p.3.

3.  Omaha World-Herald, September 20, 1964, p.100.
4.  Rock, The History of, and Roll. n.d. “Roy Orbison (1936-1988) | the History of Rock and Roll Radio Show.” Accessed September 24, 2023. https://thehistoryofrockandroll.net/roy-orbison-1936-1988/.
5.  NPR. 2008. “Mercy: Behind Roy Orbison’s ‘Pretty Woman.’” NPR. December 6, 2008. https://www.npr.org/2008/12/06/97826285/mercy-behind-roy-orbisons-pretty-woman.
6.  “ShieldSquare Captcha.” www.songfacts.comhttps://www.songfacts.com/facts/roy-orbison/oh-pretty-woman.

How ‘sweet’ it is

So it all comes back to Skittles.

Who knew?

Let us explain …

Between 2011 and 2014, Trey Hadnot was a seven-time All-America sprinter at Louisiana Tech, won 16 conference championships and was All-Western Athletic Conference 24 times.

It’s a ridiculous number of trophies and medals that his mom religiously dusts to this day in her Ruston home.

Now she has another trophy to shine since her boy and six other Tech standouts were inducted into the University’s Athletics Hall of Fame September 15.

Just five days later, the University honored its six Pro Football and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductees, a once-in-a-lifetime sort of event with all six live and in person for a short Q&A ceremony before the unveiling of their individual statues in the new Sarah and A.L. Williams Champions Plaza in the northeast corner of Joe Aillet Stadium.

You can read about both events here and here. It was quite a lot to digest in the span of 120 hours. Wall-to-wall athletic gold. Star-spangled doubleheader for a school of any size, especially a mid-major.

And consider one Naismith inductee, former Bulldog player Leon Barmore (his jersey is retired) and Lady Techster coach, was in attendance for the statue unveiling but didn’t participate in the ceremony because he already has a statue (yawn…) over by the Thomas Assembly Center.

Hard not to be impressed.

All these stars included hometown hero Hadnot, who holds all 10 of the Tech program’s Top 10 indoor 200m records, including the No.1 time of 20.48, which is moving about as briskly as a human can. (The world record is 19.92, so …20.48 defines “moving.”)

Naturally, one would want to know the secret of Hadnot’s swift success. Pregame meal of bananas and baked chicken? An hour of stretching? Prayer?

“Skittles,” he said, with an honest little-boy smile that kids wear when they’re getting away with something.

Skittles? Is that a track-and-field word for a special kind of loosening-up scissor-kick? Another word for special spikes?

Negative. It’s the candy.

“Always ate Skittles before a race,” he said. “And water. Drank lots and lots of water.”

And there you have it. Skittles. Although something tells me that diet only works if you’re Trey Hadnot.

Funny, but he started out running cross country. His coach took him and some other long-distance wannabes several miles from the school, dropped them off, told them to run back, and drove away. It wasn’t but a few minutes before the others had run off and left Hadnot, who had no real idea where he was.

Bewildered and with no Skittles to save him, Hadnot decided sprints might be his future. At least he’d never get lost.

Another quick story. A linebacker out of tiny Clinton, Glenell Sanders became a three-time All-American at Tech. With tears on his face, he introduced his family — Gwen, his wife of 30 years; Genaye, a senior at the University of Houston where she’s a bio-medical engineering major on a full soccer scholarship; and soon-to-be Captain Geraud Sanders, a 2020 Air Force graduate and fighter instructor pilot who was at the controls of one of four T-38 jets that performed the flyover Saturday at Memorial Stadium before the Tech-Nebraska football game.

“All this started,” Sanders said quietly, “because of faith in God, and because some men believed in me, and gave me a chance.”

Theirs were just two of many stories from ordinary people who managed to exceed beyond their imaginations through developing their talent and believing what a coach or parent or friend believed about them and fed into them, a couple of sweet reminders that we can make it — if we all stick together, and coach each other up.

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu

Notice of Death – September 27, 2023

Malik Lynch
September 23, 2023
Arrangements TBA

Brenda Gayle Weaver
April 17, 1961 — September 23, 2023
Service: Thursday, September 28 at 10 am in Blanchard St. Denis Chapel

Charles “Gator” DeDon
July 7, 1955 — September 15, 2023
Service: Saturday, September 30 at 1:30 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Alicia R. Davis
February 26, 1982 – September 21, 2023
Service: Saturday, September 30 at 12 p.m. at Abundant Life Church, located at 618 Ben Drive in Natchitoches

Benny Braxton
September 20, 2023
Service: Saturday, September 30 at 11 am at the Morning Star Baptist Church of Natchez

Representative Schamerhorn, District 24

Representative Rodney Schamerhorn is more than just a representative and advocate for shared conservative values, he is a man with a mission. Earning a seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives for District 24 four years prior, Rep. Schamerhorn has decided to run for re- election, pledging to continue the fight for the people of Louisiana and the values they hold dear.

A dedicated family man, Rep. Schamerhorn is not only the proud father of two successful business owners but also a loving grandfather. His personal life is as vibrant and engaging as his political career, with his children and granddaughter embodying his values of hard work, perseverance, and integrity. His dedication to his family is mirrored in his commitment to serving the people of Louisiana, ensuring he remains actively engaged with the local community.

As a representative, Schamerhorn has emerged as a stalwart protector of our constitutionally protected, God-given rights and conservative values, striving for financial responsibility, quality education, robust infrastructure, and limited government intervention in our daily lives.

Rep. Schamerhorn is a staunch advocate for parental rights, standing firm against any attempts to infringe upon them. He believes parents should make decisions regarding their children’s medical treatment and their education, opposing the infiltration of radical WOKE ideologies in classrooms.

His fight also extends to election integrity, endeavoring to ensure all legal votes are counted and secured ahead of the 2024 Presidential election.

As a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, Rep. Schamerhorn is determined to uphold citizens’ right to bear arms, viewing Constitutional Carry as a non-negotiable right. He is a critic of the government’s overreach, overregulation, and high taxes, which he believes suffocates small businesses and families, and prevents economic prosperity here in Louisiana.

Recognizing the significant role of the oil and gas industry in Louisiana’s economy, Schamerhorn has committed to protecting it from political attacks and overregulation.

However, Rep. Schamerhorn is aware that there is more work to be done. He expresses his disappointment over the unsuccessful override of 24 bills vetoed by Governor Edwards and sees this as a rallying cry for more conservatives to join the fight in Baton Rouge.

Schamerhorn’s dedication and commitment have not gone unnoticed. He recently received the endorsement of the Louisiana Freedom Caucus PAC and was recognized by the Republican Party of Louisiana at Victory 2023 for being one of only 19 House members who stood firm against busting the spending cap.

As his re-election campaign gains momentum, Representative Rodney Schamerhorn continues to prove that he is a resilient voice for the people of Louisiana. With his tireless dedication to serving and the backing of his constituents, Schamerhorn stands ready to champion the causes that matter most to the people of District 24.

Join the STEM Revolution: NSU STEM Day – September 29, 2023

Northwestern State University’s School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is pleased to announce STEM Day, designed for prospective students to dive into promising career opportunities within STEM fields. Attendees will have the opportunity to interact with accomplished faculty and like-minded peers, gaining valuable insights into our diverse range of degree programs. The STEM School encompasses the Department of Biology and Microbiology, the Department of Engineering Technology, the Division of Mathematics, the Department of Physical Science, and the Department of Veterinary Technology.


  • September 29, 2023
  • 8:00am – 12:00pm
  • Registration is available at https://nsu.la/StemDay
  • For high school students in grades 9-12, Northwestern State University’s School of STEM is offering an exceptional opportunity to dive deep into their fields of interest. Through engaging and interactive hands-on demonstrations, students can gain valuable insights into the exciting worlds of STEM. Participants will have the chance to choose from several specialized tracks, in biomedical/microbiology, natural science/ecology, veterinary science, chemistry and physics or mathematics/engineering.
  • Act fast! Register today at https://nsu.la/StemDay


By Doug De Graffenried

Are you a person of influence? Let me answer that for you. You are certainly a person of influence.

I believe that you have the power to change lives. It is a dangerous power because of the direction you might lead a life. You have the power to influence people for the cause of Christ, or you have the power to run people off from any connection to faith matters. It is up to you. People are watching you and listening to you. In our digital world they are likely recording your actions for play back on TikTok or You Tube. Live your life well. People are watching, so is Jesus. That is another article for another day.

I was thinking about the power of influence one morning at breakfast. I was at breakfast with a group of Baptist preachers. In truth, I was attending a Baptist preacher’s meeting. Now you might find it strange that a Methodist minister was attending a Baptist preacher’s meeting. It was like the time my son wanted a subscription to Cosmopolitan magazine. I wanted to know if my son was having “issues.” I asked, “Andrew why do you want a girl’s magazine subscription?”  He said, “It is the other team’s play book!” So maybe I was at the preacher’s meeting, learning what the “other team” was doing.

The truth of the matter is that I was at a Baptist preacher’s meeting along with two of Methodist church members. Now what force of the universe could get a Methodist preacher and two Methodist laypersons to attend a Baptist preacher’s meeting? Was it a great breakfast? The food was good, but that was not it. Does anyone on the face of this planet like a meeting?

The force that attracted us there was a fellow named Woody Cox. Woody was a deacon in the Baptist church, but he was also a world-famous electrician. I’m not sure about world-famous, but lots of folks in Natchitoches knew him. Jesus is the Light of the World, but at First United Methodist Church, Woody kept all of Jesus’ lights on for the Sunday crowd. He had climbed in every attic of the church. He was familiar with every line, circuit, and ballast in that building. He knew bulbs in the Baptist churches as well.

Here’s the thing, while Woody was working, he was working you. You were drawn into his web and he was eventually going to invite you to something or just end up telling you a Jesus story. He never made anyone uncomfortable and always fixed the electrical problem.

Woody Cox has gone on to glory. He knows the light of the world.

He was a great electrician who could get Methodists to go to Baptist preacher’s meetings. How are you using your Christian influence. Do you help others “see the light?”

What Calvin Coolidge (might have) said …?

The scene from The Andy Griffith Show, in black-and-white of course, is one you could have starred in at most any time this past Scorching Summer of 2023.

Two chairs on the wide sidewalk outside Floyd’s Barber Shop. Floyd sits in the one nearest his shop’s door, on the left of your TV screen. He is blank-faced and lazily working a whicker fan in front of his face. Up walks Sheriff Andy Taylor, who takes a seat and, as he crosses his legs, says, “Howdy, Floyd.”

 Floyd, with no small amount of effort, the heat evident on a face that, even in black-and-white, is obviously ashen: “92.”

 Andy: “It feels it.”

 Floyd: “I just looked at the thermometer over the door (points his whicker fan that way). You know what it says?”

 Andy: “92?”

 Floyd, slack-jawed and fanning, a folded newspaper, no doubt The Mayberry Gazette, resting on his lap under his other hand: “92. Like an oven. Hot! Ohhh … it’s HOT.”

 Andy: “Well, like Mark Twain said, ‘Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.’”

 Floyd, stops fanning and looks at Andy: “He say that?”

 Andy: “Yep.”

 Floyd: “I thought Calvin Coolidge said that.”

 Andy: “No. No Floyd. Calvin Coolidge didn’t say that.”

 Floyd: “What’d Calvin Coolidge say?”

 Andy: “I don’t know.”

 Floyd, fanning again, then turning back to Andy: “You sure Mark Twain didn’t get that from Calvin Coolidge?”

 Andy: “No Floyd. Mark Twain lived before Calvin Coolidge.”

 Floyd, sitting up a bit and leaning toward Andy: “Oh … he COULDN’T have gotten it from him. NO … but it’s HOT.”

 And so it went, all summer in Mayberry over in Carolina back in the early 1960s — and all summer here in North Louisiana.

 Funny deal about the weather. It gets hot around here and few seem to remember that it is always hot in the summer here. Some are cooler than others, but they’re all hot.

 Summer of 1982, I had the privilege of helping build the bypass in Camden, Arkansas. (It’s a heckuva bypass, if you’re ever up that way.) My job was to walk in front of the grader — the big tractor that has the smoothing blade — and knock the dirt off stakes, driven at equal heights, so the driver could see them and make the dirt level for the rebar and pavement that’s to come. There is not a lot of shade in roadwork, as there are few trees in the middle of roads. And it was more than 100 degrees 21 days straight.

 That was — clears throat — 40 years ago.

 It’s always been hot. Next summer, it’s going to be hot again. (Just a guess.)

 But you’ve made it! Hold out ’til Saturday and you’ve made it to autumn!

 This is being typed on an evening where the outside temperature is mid-70s as we head into October, and what a fine month it is. October might just be the best of all the months — if it didn’t mean cold weather was coming.

 And then what will you and Andy and Floyd talk about? Probably the weather. And possibly, during an ice storm, wish for a day like one we complained about in July, whicker fan in hand.

 At least that’s what Mark Twain said … or maybe it was Calvin Coolidge.

 Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu


The Natchitoches Soil and Water Conservation District has an opening for a District Secretary/Program Assistant.

 Duties include: 

general bookkeeping, managing/balancing an annual budget, customer reception, composing correspondence, preparing multiple reports each month, attending monthly board meetings and preparing minutes, and assisting office personnel in USDA NRCS Programs offered to the public. Must be proficient with Microsoft Excel, Word, and Outlook as well as Adobe products. Should be a fast learner, and able to self-motivate with excellent organizational skills.


Annual leave and sick leave are accrued on pay periods worked. Benefits will include state group health insurance and Louisiana deferred compensation benefits program.

Please email your resume to glenn.austin@usda.gov or mail to:

Natchitoches Soil & Water Conservation District
6949 Hwy 1 Bypass
Natchitoches, LA 71457


Hunting season is here!

There are many ways that we as outdoorsmen can enjoy the great outdoors. There’s fishing, a very popular hobby by many, and there’s camping which takes the outdoor experience to another level. Maybe your idea of being outdoors involves playing golf or maybe exercising. But for thousands of others, there’s hunting, which for many is the main reason they wake up every day!

Hunters, in most cases, are very hard-core outdoorsmen who have a serious passion for pursuing wild game from doves and squirrel to ducks and bucks. But why?

To understand a hunter, you need to be a hunter or live with one. This group has the same mind set and passion for the outdoors that LSU Tiger fans have for football — they’re crazy! Hunters put in a lot of time and effort to not only hunt, but to get ready for the hunt.

Just like a bass tournament angler, preparation is key to being successful and is a part of the grind that hunters must go through to increase their chances for success in the fall. For most hunters, all the preseason planning is just as much fun as the hunt itself…or is it?

Whether they are on a lease or hunting public land, hunters have a lot of work to do. They tend to have more flexibility on a private lease than they might on public hunting land. But most owners of leases, public and private, do not want hunters to put nails into trees since at some point, the landowner or timber company will probably be harvesting the timber. Most of the time, they’re okay with you cutting a few shooting lanes, bush hogging pipelines, or planting food plots on old logging roads.

For deer hunters, the next season begins only a few months after the last one ended. Deer hunters do not get much of a break as they start the process of preparing for next season by planting food plots, fixing feeders, and repairing deer stands. Most take their ATV or UTV vehicles in for service due to the abuse their machines have gone through.  

For duck hunters, the biggest job is building the blind. Some simply rebrush blinds they’ve used for years, while others may build new blinds in different locations.

Make no mistake, the amount of work to build a duck blind is no less than what a deer hunter must do. Duck hunters must go out and gather moss and cut brush so they can brush-in their blind. This takes time and lots of work to secure the brush to the blind. Of course, all this takes place when temperatures are usually in the 90’s, so sweating is a major part of both a duck and deer hunter’s world as they prepare for another season.   

Ladies who aren’t hunters, now you know why your husbands are gone so long during hunting season, and especially during the months leading up to the hunting season. Hunting requires hard work and long hours of preparation to guarantee success.

Don’t try and justify the cost of hunting because when it comes down to dollars spent versus pounds of meat put in the freezer. You’ll see it does not come out very well for the hunter. But it’s all worth it when that back strap comes straight off the grill and is sitting in front of you at dinner time. It just doesn’t get any better than that!

‘Til next time good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to invite me for supper when back strap is served!

Contact Steve at sgraf26@yahoo.com

The Electric Flowerpot

By Brad Dison

Have you ever heard of an Electric Flowerpot?  Akiba Horowitz was born in Minsk, Russia in 1856.  At the young age of fifteen, Akiba moved to Berlin, Germany where he studied liquor distillation.  In 1891, Akiba immigrated to the United States.  Upon entering the country, Akiba changed his name to something more American.  He called himself Conrad Hubert.  Conrad, now 35 years old, needed to find work immediately.  In New York, Conrad operated a cigar store, a boarding house, a restaurant, and a jewelry store.  Conrad was not satisfied until he began operating a novelty shop. 

All things dealing with electrical power following the invention of the light bulb were in fashion.  Conrad was a tinkerer.  During his lifetime, Conrad’s patented inventions included “the first automatic electric self-starter for automobiles, …the first exact amount check protector, the autoped,” and an electric gas lighter.       

Joshua Lionel Cowen was an inventor as well.  Joshua had invented the electric doorbell and the electric fan, both of which initially failed to find a market.  People complained about the protracted ring of the doorbell, and the fan produced only the slightest breeze.  His most successful product, which was the most popular item Conrad sold in his novelty shop, was his battery-powered light up tie tacks.           

Joshua and Conrad had numerous discussions about their ideas for inventions.  During one such conversation, Joshua told Conrad about one of his most recent inventions, the electric flowerpot.  The contraption was made up of a battery within a paper tube with a light bulb at one end.  The tube was mounted in the center of a flowerpot.  Once the battery was switched on, the light illuminated the plants in the flowerpot.  Joshua had patented his electric flowerpot, but he was unsure of its marketability. Conrad had faith in the invention and convinced Joshua to sell him the patent. 

Conrad manufactured a large number of electric flowerpots, added them to his inventory, and began advertising.  In the summer of 1894, citizens in Buffalo, New York held a Fourth of July fireworks competition.  Among the prizes were American flags, balloons, packages of fireworks, toy cap pistols, small battery-powered lights, and Conrad’s electric flowerpots.  Despite his best efforts, the electric flowerpot was a failure. 

Conrad had a surplus of electric flowerpots which were in no danger of being sold.  David Misell, an employee of Conrad’s novelty shop, tinkered with the electric flowerpot to see if he could help Conrad create something marketable from its parts.  David had previously invented a wooden-cased signal light and a bicycle light.  David and Conrad separated the tube and bulb from the flowerpot.  They lengthened the tube so they could fit three “D” batteries inside it, and added a brass reflector under the light bulb.  Finally, they had a product that Conrad thought he could sell.  They filed a patent application for the “Electric Device” in March of 1898.  The paperwork listed David as the device’s inventor and Conrad as a witness.  The patent was awarded in January of 1899.  Because David was an employee of Conrad’s, he assigned the patent rights to the device to Conrad’s novelty company.  Conrad added the device to the inventory of his novelty shop.  The device sold very well, but the public had just one complaint.  The “D” batteries would only illuminate the light bulb for a short time before the customer had to replace the batteries.  Due to the device’s short battery life, customers said the device could only produce a flash of light.  In many English-speaking countries, the device is generally referred to as a torch.  In the United States, Conrad’s customers gave the device a nickname that stuck.  They called it the Flashlight.         


1.      Buffalo Courier Express, June 24, 1894, p.15.

2.     The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 17, 1928, p.2.

3.     The Standard Union (Brooklyn, New York), March 18, 1928, p.8.

4.     “Conrad Hubert.” www.nndb.com. Accessed September 17, 2023. https://www.nndb.com/people/439/000169929/.

5.     “Stories of Inventors and Their Inventions: Conrad Hubert.” www.linkedin.com. Accessed September 17, 2023. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/stories-inventors-inventions-conrad-hubert-elena-louis.

Notice of Death – September 19, 2023

Kenneth Wayne Thomas
March 20, 1965 – September 16, 2023
Arrangements TBA

July 13, 1934 – September 14, 2023
Service: September 18, 2023, at Old Anacoco Baptist Church in Anacoco, LA at 2:00 PM

May 30, 1938 – September 16, 2023
Service: September, 2023, at Pisgah Baptist Church in Florien, LA at 1:00 PM

April 4, 1931 – September 15, 2023
Service: September 20, 2023, at Prewitt’s Chapel Cemetery in Hornbeck, LA at 10:00 AM

McConathy campaign picking up widespread financial support


Mike McConathy had $151,200 in campaign funds on hand as the Senate Dist. 31 race entered its final month.

He and fellow Republican Alan Seabaugh are seeking the vacant seat.
McConathy is retired from a long tenure as men’s basketball coach at NSU. Seabaugh, an attorney, is a term-limited state representative from Shreveport.

Candidates are required to file initial reports no later than 30 days prior to the Oct. 14 primary. McConathy filed Sept. 5.

According to his report, McConathy, of Natchitoches, has raised $187,800, including $12,500 he loaned the campaign, in the current reporting period, and spent $101,700.

He had $67,500 on hand at the start of the period.

The campaign expenses were typical of candidate spending – advertising of various sorts, charitable donations, gasoline for traveling a district stretching from Shreveport to south of Alexandria.

Those listed as contributing $2,500 to the campaign fund this period include:

Autumn Leaves Properties, Lagniappe Home Care Alexandria, both of Winnfield;

Broussard & David, Glen Armentor LTD, Laborde Earles Law Firm, The Apothecary Shoppe, all of Lafayette;

B.W. Brown, Caddo 1995, Paul E. Toung, Shalex Energy, all of Shreveport;

Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel, Wilson & Brown, J.L. Hoffoss Jr., Lee Hoffoss LLC, Lundy, Lundy, Soileau & South, MG Stream, Mudd, Bruchaus & Keating, Robichaux, Mike, Wadsack, Richardson & Watson, Stutes & Lavergne, TBTM, The Townsley Law Firm, all of Lake Charles;

Herman, Herman & Katz, Pendit Law Firm, Voorhies Law Firm, all of New Orleans;

William Hall, Kim Lott, both of Natchitoches;

Bobby Edmonton Campaign, Benton; Joseph Cain, Natchez LA; J.C. Jones, Oakdale; Meyer & Associates, Sulphur;

Morrow, Morrow, Bryant & Bassett, Opelousas; P&S Local 60, Metairie; Carl Roussel, Bossier City.

What drives a tournament angler

Often, I’ve been asked why do I fish tournaments? After a poor finish, I too often ask myself that same question!

After I stopped competing as an athlete in the late 1980’s, I needed something to fill the void that competition gave me, something that would fan the competitive fire that still burns in me today. I feel that most athletes never really retire; they find another avenue that satisfies that desire and urge to compete. For me, that has been tournament bass fishing. 

The Lord blessed me with athletic ability that has led me on a path of great success – from winning a state championship in high school to a college athletic scholarship to being drafted by Major League Baseball. Growing up, no matter the sport, the desire to be the best burned inside of me. I would do whatever was necessary to be successful. But understand, the day comes when you can no longer compete at a high level. You’re no longer the fastest player, the strongest or have the best arm. Father time has a way of letting us know that the playing days are over.

 Since 1990, I have competed on all levels from local club events to fishing the boater/pro side of the ABA Tour, B.A.S.S. Opens, along with the MLF series of the BFL’s and Toyota Series. When it comes to knowledge gained, I learned the most fishing the co-angler side of the FLW Tour in 2004-05. Each one of these can be very competitive including at the club level. 

Just because you’re fishing the club or lower level of tournament fishing does not mean the competition is any different. Some of the best anglers in the country fish the club level and are just as serious as the guys who fish the pro side of the MLF or the Bassmaster Series. But not everyone wants or can afford to travel the country following a pro tournament trail chasing little green fish we call largemouth bass.

One thing you’ll gain from fishing the higher level of tournaments is knowledge. If you want to learn and increase your ability to catch fish, follow one of the higher-level circuits. Just being around and spending time with other anglers from across the country will expose you to new techniques that will make you a better angler. 

Even on the Pro/Am trails where you’re paired up with a co-angler who fishes out of the back of the boat, you can learn so much. I’ve always said that there’s never been a co-angler get in my boat that I did not learn something from. It might not be anything major, but if you pay attention, you’ll pick up something that might help you down the road. It might be a particular bait or maybe an organizing tip, but the best teachers for anglers are anglers themselves.  

 A true athlete wants to win and be the best no matter what. Their desire to win and compete is on another level than the average Joe. This is what separates the average athlete from the great one — the desire to win!

Ever since I fished my first tournament back in 1990, nothing has been more satisfying than to win or at least have a high finish and get a check. It’s not even about the money for me, it’s about competing. The desire to compete is something you’re born with, it’s not something you can develop. So, to answer the question of what drives a tournament angler? It’s simply one word — competition!

‘Til next time, good luck, good fishing and wear your sunscreen and UV protective clothing. Melanoma kills and does not discriminate.

Contact Steve at sgraf26@yahoo.com

Around the Globe? No sweat

Got some handy information for you, as I was wrong about something but have seen the light, and it was cool and it was refreshing. 

Knew I wouldn’t get in bed until after midnight Saturday because of working a football game so when I was asked at the first of the week about going to the Texas Rangers game in Arlington the next day—this past Sunday—it didn’t sound so hot, simply because I am not 20 years old and not totally insane anymore.  

But when a trio of friends of 40 years ask and they have good tickets and they use the magic word — “Free” — you go to bed as quickly as you can, even if that’s not until 2 Sunday morning, get up at 6 and drive to Chief’s so the Senator and Hearing Aids can pick you up, get your butt and your water bottle in the backseat of the Senator’s Jeep Cherokee and head toward Texas, tired but up for whatever. 

Good times. 

This was my first trip to Globe Life Field, home of the Rangers, that opened during the virus-throttled 2020 season. When the Rangers announced in 2016 they were building a new ballpark, my first thought was, “They just BUILT a new ballpark?!” 

And, in terms of a ballpark’s normal lifetime, they had. The Ballpark in Arlington opened in 1994. I had socks and shoes that old. The park was just getting broken in. And what a glorious ballpark it was.  

It’s still gorgeous. It stands a home run from the new stadium, which looks from the outside like an airplane hanger. No contest. The old ballpark wins swimsuit and evening gown and it’s not close. 

Except … you know what they say about judging a book. That’s Globe Life Field. The beauty is on the inside.  

And by “beauty” I mean “air conditioning.” The retractable roof on the $1.1 billion new stadium keeps the 68-degree air inside and the 90-degree air and sun outside. No sweat. We’d have melted Sunday in the old ballpark, especially at this stage of our development.  

Globe Life Field is a five-tool player. It’s all about “fans first.” Actual baseball things would be No. 6, tops, on my list of things that are awesome about this new yard.  

You start with the roof. Arlington had three 110-degree days this summer and dozens over 95. Mercy! 

All kinds of food along what has to be the widest, most open concourses in big-league baseball. People love food and people love not being crowded. Double play. 

There are helpers/ushers in baby blue shirts by the dozens, maybe by the hundreds. One was by an escalator and while we explored an hour before first pitch we asked the man if we could go down to that level and he said we needed a ticket for down there and we said we were just ignorant people from Louisiana and he said OK and down we went, then self-reported when we got back and he said that was good because he was a few seconds from calling a SWAT team. 

Good-natured folk. 

Since Chief had a bum leg and handicapped parking, those same support people drove us in a golf cart from the Jeep to the front door. Took us back after the game. No charge, tipping not allowed. One of our lady drivers was packing heat, too. 


The park is a multi-purpose palace for concerts and rodeos and even basketball and who knows what else they might use it for. 

The immediate area outside is called Texas Live!, an entertainment district around AT&T Stadium (where the Dallas Cowboys play) and the new park and the “old” ballpark, now used for football and soccer and whatnot. Also in the mix are a couple of half-billion-dollar hotels, eating places, a concert venue, convention center, partridge in a pear tree, and on like that. Really pretty.  

And then there’s baseball. In the past three-ish weeks, the Rangers have nose-dived from a 3-and-a-half game lead in the American League West to a neck-and-neck race with Seattle for the AL’s third and final wild-card spot. Me and the boys did our part Sunday in rooting the Rangers to a 9-4 victory over hapless Oakland, a team that sports classic uniforms but just does not have any major league players to wear them. 

Now it’s your turn. The Rangers have only six regular-season home games left: Monday-Wednesday, Sept. 18-20, vs. Boston, and Friday-Sunday, Sept. 22-24, vs. those pesky Mariners from Seattle. The Rangers need you. Keep in mind that for that Sunday game against Seattle, Blue Bell ice cream sandwiches are just — wait for it — $1. I kid you not. All you’ve got to do is get your posterior to Globe Life Field. 

It’s a cool place. 

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu 

Good Morning to All

In the early 1890s, Patty Smith Hill and Mildred Jane Hill worked at the Louisville Experimental Kindergarten School in Louisville, Kentucky. Mildred was a teacher, concert pianist, and played organ in their church. Patty was the principal of the school. With Patty at the helm, the school experimented with new ways to teach younger children and to better prepare them for elementary school. Just one of the many experiments the school performed was the use of songs as teaching tools. Mildred and Patty began working on an upbeat song to welcome the children to school and to get them in the mindset to learn. Within a short time, Mildred came up with a simple melody she was happy with. Patty composed simple, repetitive lyrics that the children could learn quickly. On October 16, 1893, Mildred and Patty copyrighted their composition entitled “Good Morning to All.” Later that year, Mildred and Patty’s song was included in a songbook Story Songs for Kindergarten with the permission of the Hill sisters. Each morning, kindergarten students at Louisville Experimental Kindergarten School began their day with “Good Morning to All.”

Within a short time, the simple song became popular with children as young as a year-and-a-half. People soon began singing their own lyrics to the popular medley. On March 4, 1924, Robert H. Coleman edited the lyrics to the song and published it in a song book without the permission of the Hill sisters. It remains unclear whether Robert Coleman realized the song had been copyrighted.

On September 30, 1933, the musical comedy called “As Thousands Cheer,” produced by Sam Harris, opened on Broadway. One of the musical numbers in the play was “Good Morning to All,” but with the altered lyrics. The play was a huge success, but Jessica Hill, sister of Mildred and Patty, was angered and claimed that her sisters’ song had been plagiarized. In August of 1934, Jessica filed a plagiarism suit on behalf of her sisters against producer Sam Harris. In the suit, Jessica claimed that her sister Patty and late sister Mildred copyrighted the song in 1893, that the copyright was extended in 1921, and that she owned the rights to the song. For the infringement, Jessica asked for $250 for each of the 403 performances of “As Thousands Cheer,” for a total of $100,750. Patty, who would share in the damages, had all but resigned herself to the fact that the song “had become common property of the nation.” The court decided that Jessica and Patty owned the copyright of the melody for “Good Morning to All,” along with all versions of the melody with altered lyrics. For Sam Harris to continue to use the song in “As Thousands Cheer,” he would have had to pay $250 per performance. Unsurprisingly, Sam dropped the song from the musical. The song was so popular that some companies agreed to pay to use the song. For example, Fox Film Corporation paid $250 and used the song in the 1934 Shirley Temple film, Baby, Take a Bow.

Royalties from “Good Morning to All” and all of its variations now amount to an estimated $2-$4 million per year. You probably have never heard of Mildred, Patty, or Jessica Hill, but their song is regarded as the most frequently sung tune in the world. The song is always sung to honor someone else and not the singer. You and I know Mildred and Patty Hill’s song “Good Morning to All” as “Happy Birthday to You.”


1. Daily News, August 15, 1934, p.391.
2. The Belleville News-Democrat, August 27, 1934, p.4.
3. Green Bay Press-Gazette, September 24, 2004, p.75.

Notice of Death – September 12, 2023

Joe Branch
August 11, 1952 – September 9, 2023
Service: Saturday, September 16 at 2 pm at the New Jerusalem Baptist Church of Many

Joseph “Bobby” Metoyer
September 6, 2023
Service: Saturday, September 16 at 11 am at the St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, located at 911 5th Street in Natchitoches

Arthur Ray Tignon. Jr.
April 16, 1969 – September 6, 2023
Service: Saturday, September 16 at 11 am at the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, located at 318 North Street in Natchitoches

Laurie Gentry selected Good Ole Days Parade Grand Marshal

The Marthaville Good Ole Days Festival committee on Friday announced their 2023 Good Ole Days Parade Grand Marshal will be Laurie Gentry of Many. This year marks the event’s 31st anniversary, which begins Friday night, Sept. 29, at Fuzzy Hennigan Park downtown and continues Saturday, Sept. 30, with a 10 a.m. parade, all day music and activities, food and craft vendors.

“We are proud to announce this year’s Grand Marshal is Laurie Gentry,” Festival Director Fuzzy Hennigan stated at a small, surprise reception held Aug. 25 inside the former T. M. Middleton Store in Marthaville. “Our beautiful t-shirts will, for the first time ever, be pink,” he continued, explaining, “Breast Cancer Awareness Month kicks off immediately after Good Ole Days. Our slogan across the back of this year’s shirt will say ‘Tuff enough to wear pink.’”

Among other things, Gentry is a five-year breast cancer survivor and co-founded Pink Sisters of Sabine a few years ago, which serves local breast cancer patients. Since its start, the non-profit has provided over 100 patients with recovery supply tote bags, prayer, encouragement, fuel and food cards for use during treatment and other support. In addition, Laurie is a one-year survivor of endometrial cancer, which was unrelated to her previous issue.

“It is a privilege to be selected as this year’s Grand Marshal,” Gentry shared. “For a long time, I have considered myself an ‘honorary native’ of Marthaville. I love its people and its history as if they were my own. What a blessing to have married into such a special community that I can now proudly claim! Thank you to the Festival Committee for this honor, and I thank them for using their ‘small town, big heart’ leadership to shine a light on breast cancer awareness,” she said.

Laurie is the wife of Robert Gentry, longtime journalist, newspaper publisher, founder of Rebel State Historic Site and Marthaville native. She enjoys photography, graphic design, travel, writing and music.

Other Marthaville Good Ole Days event organizers include Karen Rawls, Sheila Noe, Mitzi Roe, Bruce and Jan Tatum, and Parade Directors Phillip Strahan and Greg Goings

The Real Thing

By Brad Dison

Elijah was born in Ontario, Canada in 1844.  Three years later, Elijah’s family moved to the United States.  In 1859, Elijah’s father, George, sent 15-year-old Elijah to Scotland to attend the University of Edinburgh where he became a certified mechanical engineer.  When Elijah returned to the United States, he was unable to find work as an engineer.  He eventually settled for a job as an oiler and fireman for the Michigan Central Railroad, a job that was far below his level of education.  An oiler’s job was to keep the railroad’s locomotives and rolling stock lubricated.  Steam engines of the era required oilers to manually lubricate all the moving parts of an engine including ball bearings and cylinders.  Locomotives had to make frequent stops so oilers could lubricate the parts.   

Elijah knew there was a better way.  He just needed to find it.  In his free time, Elijah performed more highly skilled work at the machine shop at his home.  Through his efforts to allow trains to run for longer periods without maintenance which made them more efficient, Elijah made improvements to existing equipment and invented new pieces of equipment. 

On July 23, 1872, Elijah received patent number 129,843 for his “Improvement in Lubricators for Steam-Engines.”  Elijah’s invention was a lubricating cup which automatically distributed oil evenly over the engine’s moving parts.  Rather than having the oilers lubricate each moving part individually, which took a lot of time, they could fill a central cup with oil.  The oil flowed through pipes to the engine parts which required constant lubrication.  Railroad companies quickly began installing Elijah’s automatic lubricators on their trains. 

Elijah probably could have lived the remainder of his life off the income from this one invention, but Elijah kept making improvements.  In 1898, 26 years after he received his patent for the lubricating cup, Elijah added a glass sight feed tube to the system.  This improvement enabled engineers to visually monitor the rate at which the moving parts were being lubricated.  If the engineer saw that the automatic lubricator was feeding too much oil to the engine, he could partially close a valve to slow the release of oil.  If oil was needed, he could open the valve more.  A study published the following year concluded that Elijah’s lubricating systems were in use on almost all railroads in North America.   

Throughout his lifetime, Elijah received nearly 60 patents, most of which were related to lubrication systems.  He also received patents for a lawn sprinkler, an ironing board, and other machines unrelated to steam engines.  Elijah’s inventions proved to be reliable and long-lasting.  As with any successful product, competitors came up with their own versions of Elijah’s popular products.  Most of the copycat products were designed quickly and made as cheaply as possible to maximize profits.  The cheaper lubricators failed frequently and required almost constant maintenance.  To avoid using the cheap imitations, railroad workers began asking for Elijah’s equipment by name.  Over time, Elijah’s name came to symbolize any superior product made by any manufacturer.      

Nearly 100 years after his death, Elijah McCoy’s name is still synonymous with quality.  To this day, people who want to avoid buying cheaply made imitation goods ask for the real thing.  They ask for the real McCoy.


1.     “Elijah McCoy – Inventions, Facts & Death.” Biography, April 1, 2021,www.biography.com/inventors/elijah-mccoy.

2.    “NIHF Inductee Elijah McCoy Invented the Automatic Engine Lubricator.” Invent.org, January 27, 2020, www.invent.org/inductees/elijah-mccoy.

3.    “Elijah McCoy (U.S. National Park Service).” www.nps.gov,www.nps.gov/people/elijah-mccoy.htm.