Teddy Allen: Bowled over by cereal

By Teddy Allen

Bowled over by cereal

One man’s Sugar Pops are another woman’s Apple Jacks are another man’s Crispy Critters.
In the Cereal Game, we know that going in. No one is going to agree, straight down the line, on everything.

With that in mind, it was refreshing this week to enjoy so much mail about last week’s “Cereal Killer” effort. We have some serious cereal eaters out there.
And … we are EVERYwhere. My friend The Horse Whisperer sent me a photograph this week of an actual store in the Magnificent Mile mall in Las Vegas that combines many cereal options — dare we say ‘a vast array’? — with ice cream. Cereal Killerz, it’s cleverly called.

Think about that. You leave Banana Republic, so hungry you could eat mule meat, and you see this store where you can get two of the finest food offerings known to Hungry Man, ice cream and cereal.

Next thing you know, BOOM!, you’ve had a refreshing bowl of Fruity Pebbles and you’re on your way to Nordstrom for some new threads.
Ain’t life grand when it works right? Cereal and ice cream. The Dynamic Duo. Never had I thought …

But in many places, cereal has gotten a bad rap. I read recently that because of cereal being marketed toward children since the invention of TV sets, we grownups got to thinking of it as a sugary mess and not a healthy breakfast. That “it’s something to grow out of, not aspire to.”

To which I say, Neg. Cereal eating IS something to aspire to. And unlike the cereal aisle of our youth, when we had four cereals to choose from, you now have a mountain of options, (which is both a blessing and a curse, but still …)

To get you to thinking, I’ll offer my Top 10 Cereals According to Me. Granted, I have not tried many novelty cereals, like Franken Berry or Baron Von Redberry or Smurf Magic Berries or Count Chocula or Cookie Crisp, so going in I ask forgiveness from all my 5-year-old readers who enjoy such things.

1. Frosted Flakes. They’re G-r-r-r-reat! Tony the Tiger should be in the Cereal Hall of Fame. First ballot. Stud.

2. Kashi Blueberry Clusters.

3. Kashi GO Toasted Berry Crisp. (Harder to eat than the Blueberry Clusters, but when I have the energy, I love them.)

4. Honey Nut Cheerios.

5. Cheerios, an original, beautiful in its simplicity, often imitated, never duplicated.

6. Granola, specifically Vanilla Almond Granola from Trader Joe’s, a new favorite. Where has it been all my life? Eat it in a coffee cup and just drink the final little bit. (Warning!: Like with the Alpha-Bits of my youth, you have to pay attention when you eat granola. Strategic chewing. If you got a capital “I” or the simple “O” when you ate Alpha-Bits, chewing was easy as falling off a porch. But get a crooked consonant like an “M” or “W” or “R,” it’s a bit of a different ballgame. It’s a price the roof of your mouth doesn’t want to pay. I’m told from the Cap’n Crunch crowd that the Cap’n presented a similar danger. Same with granola clusters. Mighty good though; worth the effort. Of course, so were Alpha-Bits, which they quit making in 2021; no one reads or writes anymore, I guess. Who knew hi-tech would be the end of Alpha-Bits? Big Cereal and Big Pharma: peas from the same pod. Don’t get me started …

7. Honey Roasted Honey Bunches of Oats.
And that’s it. My Top 10 is only 7. It’s enough. Never would eat a fruity cereal. Tried shredded wheat but to me it’s shredded cardboard. Would eat Rice Krispies in a pinch — mainly just to hear the snap-krackle-pop — and would eat Chocolate Cheerios for something sweet. But really, I would just be cheating on The Magnificent Seven; not overly interested.

Maybe next week or the next we’ll hear from readers. In the meantime, go have yourself a bowl, and have yourself a ball.

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu

Helping Parents Navigate Life’s Challenges

Child abuse and neglect are preventable, and all communities benefit when children and families are well supported. Extreme stress and uncertainty for families may increase the risk of child abuse and neglect raising the need to support families and prevent abuse before it occurs.

Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana (PCAL) stresses that all community members have a role in ensuring children have positive experiences and families have the resources they need when they need them, well before they are in crisis. By focusing on the importance of creating systems and programs that put children and families first, we can help prevent child abuse.

Working with PCAL, VIA LINK offers a statewide program, Louisiana Parent Line, which provides parents with free, confidential, 24/7 access to a live specialist. Translation services are available, and the Louisiana Parent Line can be reached by phone and text 24 hours a day.  

“The Parent Line provides parents and other family members with a safe space to express their frustrations, ask parenting questions and get support,” explained LaVondra Dobbs, CEO of    VIA LINK. “Parent Line specialists are well trained and experienced in offering emotional support to parents. They focus on de-escalation and crisis intervention. They listen and understand parents’ concerns. Specialists can provide information on different services and referrals. Perhaps most importantly, they can help parents develop plans for coping.”  

Yet, the Parent Line is more than a one-time call. Parents can call in as often as they want or need. The goal is to provide emotional support whenever parents need it. The specialists can also offer follow-up calls and help increase the circle of support for families. Throughout Louisiana, this free service is working to prevent child abuse by getting families the support they need.

**All Specialists on LA Parentline are Mandated Reporters through LA DCFS.**

The phone number is 833-LA-CHILD (833-522-4453). You can also text us at (225) 424-1533.

For more information about PCAL, VIA LINK, or the Louisiana Parent Line, please contact Sherrard Crespo, LCSW, Director of Outreach and Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana at screspo@vialink.org or visit our website www.vialink.org.

A Car Named Nellie

By Brad Dison

It was 1957 in Long Beach, New York.  Billy’s father had finally decided to trade in their old 1948 Chevrolet for a new car.  Although it was the only car Billy could remember the family owning, he was glad to see it go.  Billy described their old car as a “big, black, boxy,” “ugly automobile” with a sun visor over the front windshield which made the car look like it was wearing a fedora.  It reminded him of a getaway car from gangster films of the 1930s. Brimming with pride, Billy’s dad called home to tell everyone to be out in the driveway precisely at noon to welcome the new car.   Everyone in the household—Billy, his two brothers, and his mother—could hardly stand the anticipation.  They argued playfully about which make, model, and even the color of car dad was bringing home.  Mom hoped for a Chrysler Imperial. Joel wanted a Ford Fairlane. Rip wanted a Chevrolet Bonneville.  Billy hoped for a Cadillac regardless of color or model.  His siblings and mother each held firm to their preferred choice.  Suddenly, they heard a HONK! HONK!  Billy’s dad turned the new family car into the driveway.  Billy, his mother, and brothers stood there in silence.  Their jaws had dropped.  Billy’s dad pulled into the driveway in a brand new…two tone gray Plymouth Belvedere.  Although it had big fins, red leather interior, and push-button transmission, it was far from the car of their dreams.  Billy’s dad loved the car and named it “Nellie.”

To celebrate their new car, Billy’s dad took the family to their favorite Chinese restaurant in Long Beach.  Billy’s dad strategically sat the family in the front booth of the restaurant so he could stare out and admire the new Plymouth through the large picture window.  Nothing, they thought, could spoil Billy’s dad’s mood, and they were happy for him.  Suddenly, they heard a horrendous crash.  They looked out of the window, and, for the second time that day, their jaws dropped.  A brand new 1957 Lincoln Continental had just crashed into the back of Nellie.  The force of the impact slammed Nellie into the car in front of it.  Billy’s dad’s pride was almost as crushed as his new car.  They instantly recognized the man who staggered out of the driver’s seat of the Lincoln Continental as Big John Ormento, one of the most dangerous gangsters who lived in Long Beach.  Against the advice of his whole family, Billy’s dad left the restaurant booth and went to look at his precious Nellie.  Big John, so inebriated that he could hardly stand, looked at Billy’s dad, then at the damages to all three cars.  Without saying a word, Big John ran back to his damaged car and fled the scene. 

By this time a crowd, which included Billy’s family, had gathered around Nellie and the other damaged car.  A policeman arrived and asked Billy’s dad what happened.  Billy’s mother was confused for only a moment when Billy’s dad replied that they had heard the crash but by the time they got to the car the culprit was gone.  Billy’s dad, never one to tell a lie, was protecting his family.   The cop concluded that some kids driving too fast had caused the accident.  That should have been the end of the story.

The next morning, Billy’s family sat quietly in the living room saddened by the crumpled car parked in their driveway when the doorbell rang.  Billy opened the door and was shocked to see Big John standing there.  “Can I see your father, please?”  Terrified by the thought that Big John was there to kill his father and maybe the whole family, Billy somehow replied that he would see if he could find his dad.  Billy nervously closed the door.  Big John was unaccustomed to this type of behavior but took it in stride.  Billy ran to his father and told him Big John wanted to see him.  Billy tried to tell his father to escape through the back door or maybe a window, but Billy’s dad just said to let Big John in the house.  The small living room made Big John seem even larger than he was.  After a few moments of uncomfortable silence, Big John said, “How fast do you think your car was going when it backed into my car?”  Everyone froze.  Big J began a deep hysterical laugh.  Big John was only joking.  He apologized for the damages to Nellie and thanked Billy’s father for not “ratting him out” to the policeman. 

To show his appreciation, Big John offered to buy Billy’s dad a brand-new car of any make and model he wanted.  Billy’s thoughts returned to Cadillac.  Mom thought of the Chrysler Imperial.  Joel imagined a Ford Fairlane.  Rip daydreamed about a Chevrolet Bonneville.  Billy’s dad, however, thought only of Nellie, his precious Plymouth Belvedere, and politely declined the offer.  Billy’s dad explained with a certain sense of pride that Nellie was the car he had worked and paid for. Billy’s mother put her arms around his father.   Big John was not in the habit of being told no, but Billy’s dad was firm.  Billy’s dad finally relented and allowed Big John to have the car repaired.  Two weeks later, Big John returned Nellie to Billy’s family.  The family cautiously checked to ensure that there was no body in the trunk.  Billy’s dad proudly drove Nellie, the two-tone gray Plymouth Belvedere, for the next decade.  This story was kept secret in Billy’s family for over 50 years.  It took a while, but Billy eventually saw the humor in the situation, which we should expect.  You and I know Billy because of his skills at acting, comedy, and filmmaking.  His name is Billy Crystal.


Crystal, Billy. 2005. 700 Sundays. New York, NY: Time Warner Book Group.

OPPORTUNITY: Student Account Specialist – Lead

OPENING DATE: Mon. 05/01/23
CLOSING DATE: Continuous
SALARY: $33,000.00 annually
JOB TYPE: Unclassified
LOCATION: Natchitoches, Louisiana


Northwestern State University is currently accepting applications for a Student Accounts Specialist-Lead. This leadership role is responsible for controlling cash and other payments received. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

To Apply: Submit a letter of application, resume, and complete contact information for three professional references to: apply@nsula.edu

The successful candidate will be subject to a background check, as a condition of employment.

OPPORTUNITY: Student Account Specialist – Lead  – Click Here


Notice of Death – May 16, 2023

William “Bill” Lee Cocherl
October 8, 1928 — May 4, 2023
Service: Saturday, May 20 at 10 am at Trinity Episcopal Church, located at 533 Second St. in Natchitoches

John David Rachal, Jr.
December 27, 1955 — May 8, 2023
A visitation will be held on Friday, May 19 from 2-5 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home in Natchitoches

Peggy Hicks Carson
November 6, 1935 — May 13, 2023
Service: Saturday, May 20 at 2 pm at Memory Lawn Cemetery

Willlie D. Braden
October 28, 1939 – May 15, 2023
Arrangements TBA

To the Class of 2023

Hello, young friends. It’s that time of year; only a few days remain until we turn to that last page. Graduation night.

Just as fast as this year came, now it draws to a close. The past 12 years have gone by in a flash, in a moment like breath on a mirror. You accomplished great things, and you saw the world change so much in such a short period of time. You made it through COVID and thrived.

But now a new world loom. The adults, well, we know the challenges that are a’comin. So just once more, let an old fella, a simple teacher from up Northwest Louisiana way, give you one lesson as you get ready to go on out there into that big bad world.

Point one: 

You cannot stop change from coming. The time to move on has come. You can’t stop change, no matter how much you wish you could. And sometimes, that change can be a very good thing. You may not want to stop it. Change can bring risks in its wake, but a life lived without ever taking a risk is not a life well lived. Change is the common theme for the rest of your life. I’m reminded of what another writer once said about change. This fellow was more proficient at prose than I could ever hope to be, and I like what he says better than anything I could ever muster. So, he said, when you think about it, we’re all different people, all through our lives. And that’s okay, that’s good, remember you gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be. Just remember and just swear. You will not forget one line of this, not one day. Swear. You will always remember when you were here. And no matter how many years go by, no matter how many summers you see, your school will always be a part of you.

Point two:

A lot of you have shown us you have something that can’t be attained. Grit. You were born with it. It’s that simple. When the world seemed crazy, and your life was upside down and you were struggling to stay afloat in heavy seas, you didn’t give up. You made a stand. You had the guts to do what you deemed right even if others turned tail. Continue doing that. It’ll get harder in your 20s and 30s as you take on more responsibility- not just for yourself but the family that will likely come. But then around the middle of your life you’ll realize that standing up for what you believe in is really about the only thing in life that matters. As Polonius told his son Laertes “to thine own self be true.”

Point three:

It’s ok to mess up. It really, really is. Just know that it is a human fault to usually remember the bad as opposed to the good. In other words, when you mess up, no matter how much good you do, those around you will likely remember that one bad moment more than all those good ones. And you know what? That’s ok, too.

Life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things can’t always make a nice soft cushion from the bad things. But the bad things don’t always spoil the good or make them not matter. 

Life will hit you. People will hit you (hopefully not literally). And there likely won’t always be someone there to help you get up. But get up anyway.

Point four:

Don’t grow old before your time. I say that, but truthfully, this is the hardest thing to do in what I’m telling herein. Somewhere between now and say 25-26 (somewhere around in there) you’re going to start losing some of that inexhaustible palp of life you are drawing on now for your youthful vigor. Next thing you know you’ll wake up one morning and the face staring back at you in that mirror will be that of a 40 year old with all the well-worn marks of adult life. It just kinda ebbs away. You don’t know it’s happening. It’s not like a tire blowout. More of a slow trickle.

Life will pass you by if you let it. So, live it. You are all so ready to get out. Hit the real world. However, it’ll hit back. And once you hit that rat race, it will likely forever dominate and consume you. So, as you go into it, make sure you know to make time to live life. Make time to see people and go places. Be responsible so that you can live a life worth living. Make the right financial decisions, and if you don’t know how to do something then ask someone who does. Mistakes made early can last a long time. It’s ok to mess up (point three), but why take a risk when an answer is only a text away?

Point five:

Floss and take care of your teeth.

Point six:

Don’t abuse credit cards. Really, really don’t.

Point seven:

Don’t ever be so “grown” that you can’t act childish and silly from time to time. 

Point eight:

Listen to other people. Don’t just wait for your turn to talk. And when you do talk, be calm. Loud doesn’t equal right.

 Point nine:

Life is like the ACT a lot of times. There may be more than one right answer to a problem but there’s usually only one correct answer.

 And finally point ten:

Always be the optimist. Dream. But don’t just think and never do. Go get what you are worth. Work hard. Work smart. And just realize that even though you may fail, never give up. Hard work does not guarantee success, but don’t work hard and see how far that gets you. 

That’s it. Everything has an end. All clocks strike 12. The world keeps spinning and the days keep dwindling. This was your story in high school and your school’s chapter in the book that is your life. You’re now tasked with writing new stories, filling those pages with more stories of your own.

 Make them good ones.

 Or you could just ignore everything I’ve said here. I would have when I was your age. You’re a teenager after all. Life will teach you what we couldn’t. Just don’t be afraid to ask for help.

 Josh Beavers is a teacher and a writer. He has been recognized five times for excellence in opinion writing by the Louisiana Press Association.

Natchitoches Jazz Festival Kick-off TONIGHT!

TONIGHT kicks off the 26th annual Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival on the Cane River Waterway Commission main stage at 7:00pm with Elton Live! (The Elton John Experience) Followed by The Purple Madness (A Tribute to Prince) at 9:00pm.

Saturday is packed full of fun with 3 stages offering a wide variety of bands of different genres, including; Johnny Earthquake and the Moondogs, Deep Water Rehab, Klockwork Band, Jenny & Kelli plus many more.

Last but certainly not least, you’ll enjoy a “Double Shot of Country” with headliners; Mark Chestnutt and Tracy Byrd, along with Louisiana native CUPID.

Check out the times and stage location of your favorite bands here.

See full line up

Purchase tickets here

Good Ole Boys of Bass Fishing

My father-in-law is always telling me that I’m a “good ole boy,” but “that there’s just not much demand for good ole boys.” Well, I have a group of anglers that I travel with for the tournament trail we follow who would all fall into the good ole boy category. As far as anglers, they are all very good, but as people, they are even better! Today I’ll give some insight into what makes good travel partners for bass fishing.

First and foremost, you must trust those who are in your inner circle. You see, bass fishermen are a fickle bunch and not many can be trusted, especially in terms of fishing information. You can’t have anyone with any sort of criminal record. You need good guys who have Christian values… guys that if you get in a bind, will come to your aid the minute you call. These are the kind of guys I run with, and I appreciate each and every one of them. Now don’t get the wrong impression here! Each of us wants to stomp a mud hole in the others in our group when it comes to fishing and winning a tournament. We are all very competitive, but at the end of the day, we all pull for each other as well.

Here’s a good example of what makes great travel partners. I was on my way back from a tournament at Lake Palestine and headed east on I-20 just outside of Longview, Texas, when I noticed smoke coming off one of my boat trailer tires. I pulled over to check it out. Sure enough, it was an angler’s worse fear…no not a flat tire, but worse…a wheel bearing had gone out. Seconds later, to my surprise, one of my travel partners called to see how I did in my tournament and was on his way back from a Lake Fork event. It was none other than Cole Garrett! I told him my situation and he wanted to know my location because he wasn’t too far behind me and he thought he had an extra wheel assembly I could use to fix my wheel.

Shocked that he would even have such a part, I sent him my location, and 20 minutes later he pulled up behind me ready to assist. Long story short, after careful inspection of the situation, we realized we didn’t have the right tools to fix the problem, so we just removed the wheel. I came back to Shreveport on three wheels and dropped it off at my boat dealer (The Boat Shop). This is why I love tandem axle boat trailers…you can always come in on three wheels if you must, but you might have to take it a little slower.

Now even though Cole couldn’t fix my problem, just the fact that he thought enough of me to try and help anyway, meant the world to me. Even though he was tired after three or four days of hard fishing, he still took the time to try and help a friend. That’s what makes someone a good travel partner…someone who will drop whatever they’re doing to try and help someone else!

As anglers, we follow tournament trails all over the region, and no matter how new or old your boat is, there will be times when you need assistance. Having good travel partners is essential to making life less stressful and it puts your mind at ease. Even though we all have top of the line bass boats, it’s kind of like owning a motorhome. It’s not a matter of if something will break, but when. The group of guys I travel with…Brett Hortman, Adrian James, and Cole Garrett are all great anglers in their own right. But as people, they will do whatever they can to help in any way possible, no matter what situation or problem may arise.

So, if you’re looking to hit the road and follow a tournament trail, make sure you have some good ole boys you can trust that will always have your back no matter what comes up. Till next time good luck, good fishing and don’t forget your sunscreen.

OPPORTUNITY: Student Account Specialist (2 Positions)

OPENING DATE: Mon. 05/01/23
CLOSING DATE: Continuous
SALARY: $30,000.00 annually
JOB TYPE: Unclassified
LOCATION: Natchitoches, Louisiana


Northwestern State University is currently accepting applications for a Student Accounts Specialist. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the positions are filled.

To Apply: Submit a letter of application, resume, and complete contact information for three professional references to: apply@nsula.edu

The successful candidate will be subject to a background check, as a condition of employment.

OPPORTUNITY: Student Account Specialist (2 Positions) – Click Here


Notice of Death – May 11, 2023

William “Bill” Lee Cocherl
October 8, 1928 — May 4, 2023
Service: Saturday, May 20 at 10 am at Trinity Episcopal Church, located at 533 Second St. in Natchitoches
Dianna M. Starks
July 22, 1954 – May 8, 2023
Arrangements TBA
Houston Allen Wall
September 7, 1939 — May 8, 2023
Service: Friday, May 12 at 4 pm at Verda Church of Christ, located at 2850 LA Hwy. 122 in Verda
Howard L. Lynch
February 23, 1951 – May 9, 2023
Arrangements TBA
Master Alvin Johnson, IV
May 10, 2019 – April 29, 2023
Arrangements TBA
Joann L Knighton
February 27, 1942 – May 4, 2023
Service: Saturday, May 13 at 2 pm in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, located at 318 North Street in Natchitoches

Hello from a Cereal Killer

I am a Cereal Harlot.

Do not judge me: something tells me you are too.

I covet a good bowl of cereal. Have never tried to hide it.

My spousal unit knows it. My friends know it. The American People know it.

Folks like us, we’ve forgotten more about cereal than most people will ever know.

Kind of proud of it.

What about you? Don’t you love cereal with cold, cold milk? Isn’t cereal the food version of the marvelous dog? Always there when you need it, always forgiving and welcoming, refreshing, low maintenance, a friend at all times?

Tougher question: If you can eat only one cereal the rest of your days, what is it?

If you answered Frosted Flakes, you are correct. But, different strokes for different folks. Next week we will examine the Top 10 Cereals of All-Time, According to Me. What does your Top 10 look like?

In the meantime, let’s more fully explore this simple yet complex culinary treat that should be a Food Group all its own.

Consider the fascination and charm of its history, from a guy “inventing” granola more than 100 years ago to Cap’n Crunch, which is a cottage industry unto itself.

I touched Cap’n Crunch once with a 10-foot pole and promised never to again. But against a cereal that is so self-important it doesn’t even spell out Captain, I am in the minority. There is Cap’n Crunch Berries, Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter Crunch, Cap’n Crunch Caramel Crunch, Cap’n Crunch All Berries … dude should have made General by now.

But my spousal unit as a youth enjoyed Cap’n Crunch. I was shocked at this revelation. Investigated further and discovered I am matrimonied to a person whose favorite cereals growing up were Golden Grahams and something I’ve never even seen in real life, and that is King Vitaman, spelled ‘man’ instead of ‘min,’ which in itself is messed up. Why would a little girl eat that? You think you know a person …King Vitaman breathed its last in 2019 so how good could it have been and how good could it have been for you?

Let’s take a roll call and see what memories these bring back:

What is so special about Special K?;

Post Alpha-Bits. Discontinued in 2021. And yes, I took a physical knee in honor of the cereal, and vowed to never eat a Post cereal again — until that night when I ate a bowl of Cheerios, one of history’s greatest cereals;

Sugar Smacks, Trix (are for kids), Grape Nuts and Post Toasties;

(Cukoo for) Cocoa Puffs, Cocoa Crispies, and Count Chocula, which is the cereal company’s way of saying, “We want your child to weigh 260 by fifth grade”;

Total (which is total baloney if you’re a kid), Life, Quisp, Apple Jacks, Lucky Charms, Crispy Critters, Fruity Pebbles (the Flintstones franchise, which is totally bogus since everyone knows there was no cereal in the Stone Age, DUH!), Franken Berry, Sugar Bombs, Shredded Wheat, and on and on we could go.

Your Top 10. Be thinking … (Malt-O-Meal or Cream of Wheat equals an automatic disqualification.)

 Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu

Biden to send troops to the southern border to do paperwork

By Royal Alexander/Opinion

I was taken aback this week to learn that President Biden has decided to send 1,500 active-duty troops to the national security and humanitarian disaster that is the U.S. southern border. This is obviously connected to the ending next week of border restrictions contained in the Title 42 public health law.

Various news agencies have reported that perhaps as many as 35,000 illegals are staged on the Mexico side of the border in Ciudad Juarez alone—waiting to continue this two-year invasion of America encouraged by the Biden administration—and will soon cross over our border with Mexico and into the U.S. at El Paso. This desperate reality has cities across the U.S. declaring states of emergency and requesting federal funding as they prepare for an avalanche of illegals.

To put this news in context, let’s recall how things were a mere 2.5 years ago.

Recall the unrelenting efforts of the Trump Administration to suppress and turn back the tide of illegals of every kind. Please know that we are long past talking about Hispanics who are coming to America to work, seeking a better life. We are now having transported into our country illegally massive quantities of drugs (including fentanyl which is killing Americans every day), human and child trafficking, violent criminals, terrorists, and everything in between.

However, the entirety of the Biden Administration has been about undoing all of the Trump Administration efforts.

So, why now?

My best guess is that this disaster on the Southern border is finally doing real harm to the President’s reelection prospects—the blue states and sanctuary cities are finally feeling the crushing economic burden imposed by illegals that states like Texas and Florida have borne for years.

To this end, I read an article in the Wall Street Journal this week entitled “Chicago’s Sanctuary City Awakening.” It makes the point that because of the impact of both Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Florida Governor Ron Desantis busing illegals from their states to sanctuary cities like Chicago, Chicago is now crying for help as it shoulders the burden of thousands of men, women, and children with no resources of their own.

However, as WSJ notes, “that’s nothing next to El Paso which this week declared a state of emergency, as it braces for the end of Title 42 pandemic expulsions.” A state of emergency. Numerous American cities are now literally begging for help to stop the illegal invasion that is overwhelming them.

I also note that the Biden White House has carefully tried to avoid the elephant in the room this week—that the man, Francisco Oropesa, accused of murdering five people, including an eight-year-old child, in Cleveland, Texas, is an illegal alien who was previously deported five times.

Recall, this is the same Biden Administration that has told us repeatedly that the “border is secure.”

Governor Abbott tweeted this week that “Biden says he will deploy 1,500 troops to the border — primarily to do paperwork. And only for 90 days. This does nothing to stop illegal immigration.” He added, “I deployed up to 10,000 Texas National Guard to the border to fill the gaps created by Biden’s reckless open border policies.”

U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler commented on what could have been done prior to needing troops: “Biden could have finished the wall. He could have enforced our nation’s laws. He could have protected our national security,” he tweeted. “But he chose to do nothing. Now, active-duty troops head to the border to clean up his mess.”

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton suggested the Biden troop initiative is a mere “publicity stunt” designed to confuse Americans who may believe the Biden Administration is finally taking seriously the pending waves of illegal immigration. (Breitbart)

If the whole situation were not such a dangerous and tragic one, it would be hard not to say “I told you so” to these American sanctuary cities who have ignored federal immigration law for years and done everything possible to impede law enforcement from apprehending and deporting illegals.

This is the point: one of the constitutional powers that actually is directly granted to the federal government is the solemn obligation to secure our borders and defend them against invasion. The Biden Administration is, by design, abjectly failing at this responsibility.

As President Trump has said, “If you don’t have borders then you don’t have a country.”

Mozart For Mules

Simon “Sam” Marrix was born in 1859 in Alsace, France. In 1880, he emigrated to New York. Because of the country of his origin, his friends in America called him “Frenchie.” Four years after moving to America, he married an immigrant from Dornum, Germany called Miene Schoenberg. To lessen confusion over the pronunciation of her name, she adopted the spelling “Minnie.” In Germany, Minnie’s parents worked on the fair circuit. Her father was a ventriloquist, and her mother was a yodeling harpist. In America, Minnie’s younger brother, Adolf Schönberg, began performing in shows under a stage name that was easier to pronounce, Al Shean. With Minnie’s help, her brother entered the vaudeville circuit and eventually became half of the popular musical comedy team called Gallagher and Shean.

In 1885, Frenchie and Minnie had their first child, Manfred, who died at the young age of seven. Between 1887 and 1901, they had five more sons, Leonard, Adolph, Julius, Milton, and Herbert, respectively. Rather than having aspirations for her sons to become doctors, lawyers, or engineers, Minnie wanted her sons to join the family business and become stage performers. Minnie worked untiringly to develop her sons’ talents. By 1907, Julius and Milton joined Mabel O’Donnell in a singing trio named “The Three Nightingales.” In 1908, Adolph joined the Nightingales. By 1910, with the addition of Minnie and the boys’ aunt Hannah, they renamed the group “the Six Mascots.”

The members of “The Six Mascots” most likely would have faded into obscurity had it not been for a team of runaway mules. During one lackluster musical performance in Marshall, Texas, the crowd grew bored. Suddenly, a great commotion occurred outside the theater. Audience members in the back of the theater could hear all sorts of sounds of destruction including breaking glass. Many members of the bored audience rushed out of the theater to see what was happening. A runaway team of mules was running wild through the streets of the town. The Six Mascots continued performing their musical act to a much smaller audience. Finally, after the mules were caught, the crowd returned to their seats to see the remainder of the performance. They had paid for it after all. Julius, Milton, and Adolph, irritated that “the audience had deserted Mozart for mules,” began insulting the crowd with wise cracks. The result was unexpected. Rather than resenting the remarks, the crowd began to laugh. The crowd’s laughter grew exponentially with each new insult. They tried the same wise cracks at their next performance and got a similar reaction. The brothers took the hint and revamped their whole show.

Over the next few years, the five brothers, in varying combinations, fine-tuned their characters. Their success continued into Hollywood films beginning in 1929 with Animal Crackers. For the next decade, they worked on at least one film per year, all of which were successful. They continued to work together as well as in solo projects for the rest of their lives. Had it not been for a team of runaway mules, we may never had heard of Leonard, Adolph, Julius, Milton, and Herbert, who purportedly received their nicknames from a friend during a poker game. Leonard became Chico, Adolph became Harpo, Julius became Groucho, Milton became Gummo, and Herbert became Zeppo. You and I know them as the Marx Brothers.

1. The Decatur Daily, December 9, 1930, p.2.
2. The Peninsula Times Tribune, August 20, 1977, p.5.

Notice of Death – May 9, 2023

William “Bill” Lee Cocherl
October 8, 1928 — May 4, 2023
Service: Saturday, May 20 at 10 am at Trinity Episcopal Church, located at 533 Second St. in Natchitoches

Howard L. Lynch
February 23, 1951 – May 9, 2023
Arrangements TBA

Master Alvin Johnson, IV
May 10, 2019 – April 29, 2023
Arrangements TBA

Joann L Knighton
February 27, 1942 – May 4, 2023
Service: Saturday, May 13 at 2 pm in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, located at 318 North Street in Natchitoches

Blessed: The Southern Porch

As long as I can remember I have always loved a porch. As a child both sets of grandparents had porches. The porch was where the family gathered for the shelling of peas, shucking of corn, snapping of green beans, and drinking a cold glass of tea on hot summer days. Sometimes it would host the scene of long goodbyes or quick visits. The grandparent with the screened-in porch was where I would take refuge from the many dogs who liked to play a little too rough. The other grandparent’s porch was not screened in but had a wooden enclosure to keep someone from unintentionally falling off of it. I would spend long amounts of time sitting on the porch staring at her Mimosa trees with Toledo Bend serenely flowing in the background.

Both Southern porches held many wonderful childhood memories. A porch has simply always been a happy place for me.

When we moved to Natchitoches sixteen years ago, a porch was the only requirement I had while shopping for a home. We were blessed to find a house with a really deep front porch and a comfy smaller back porch. Both porches gave us plenty enough room to enjoy a sitting area during rainstorms or grilling on the back porch.

My sweet southern porch soon became the spot where we took family photos, (still do to this day). It became the sitting area while I waited with the girls to catch the school bus. It became a hideaway when I needed a quiet place with a cup of coffee. Sometimes I would sit out there just to read a book and mentally regroup from the many pressures of parenting, working and life in general.

My porches have held many family meetings and meetings with friends who just needed to stop by and vent for a moment. Numerous coffee clubs have been celebrated in my second-hand patio furniture that adorns every nook and cranny of the porches. My front porch is also occasionally hailed as a commerce sight. If I am selling something it can normally be retrieved from my porch or if I have made a purchase it may be delivered there.

My front porch also plays host to the world’s cutest “ding dong ditchers” and their precious dog, Addie. Lucky for me I get to see this cuteness on my doorbell cameras. While the front porch seems to be a busy place for activity, the back porch views are even better. I have the perfect view of a swing set tower where the “ding dong ditchers” play

Either one of my humble porches is the perfect place to get lost in reading my Bible and talking to the Lord. During some of my tougher times, I found so much peace just sitting outside and being alone. Those tough times soon morphed into pure gratefulness and contentment.

Mark 1:35 tells us, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”

Even Jesus needed time to recuperate after ministering and being with people for long periods of time. Everyone needs a place they can go and feel close to God and meditate on his goodness and mercy. A porch is the perfect, reflective place to sit and realize how grateful you are to even have shelter and a place to call home. So many people take for granted the simple blessing of being content in your own home, on your own porch and your very own relationship with a God who saves.

Reba Phelps jreba.phelps@gmail.com

The fishing gods must be angry with me

If you’re a sports fan, then you know each sport has “gods” that oversee and influence the outcome of a particular game. These would be former players who have passed on and come before all those that are playing today, players who helped make the sport what it is with their high level of play that made them legends of the sport. 

So many times, the gods are blamed for someone’s success or failures. Well, tournament bass fishing is no different. Triton would probably be the number one fishing god of our sport today, but then there are a few who recently passed that might be considered as gods of the bass fishing world.  

Some of these would be the late Ray Scott (the founder of B.A.S.S. organization) and Forrest Wood (the founder of Ranger Boats,) as well as legendary anglers Guido Hibdon, Ricky Green, Dee Thomas, and Aaron Martens. Each of these guys would be considered for godly status due to their impact on the bass fishing world.  

Now that we are well into the 2023 tournament fishing season, the fishing gods have not been very kind to me. 

Anglers are always looking for something or someone to blame for their lack of success. Most of the time it’s the weather; it’s either too windy, too cold, too hot or the water level is dropping or rising, too much fishing pressure, the excuses go on and on. Very seldom is it our fault as anglers, because we’re too dang good to not figure out how to catch a bass on any given body of water — right? 

Wrong!!! How can a little green fish with a brain the size of a penny outsmart us anglers who have made it our life’s ambition to go out and catch largemouth bass every single time we go fishing?  

For me, the 2023 season has been rough so far as we head into the summer months. I have not competed well at all, especially on bodies of water where I have a lot of experience. A good example for me would be the Red River. I’ve had success on the Red and have been very competitive, not only with high finishes but wins as well. But last month at the Ray Scott National Championship, the Red River was not very good to me.  

After Day 1, I weighed just shy of 11 pounds and was sitting in 15th place, right where I needed to be to make the final day cut into the top 25. Day 2 was another story as I came in with just two fish and missed the cut by 1.5 pounds. All I had to do was weigh a five-bass-limit and I would have been in the top 10 heading into the final day, giving me a shot at another Red River victory. 

Now that doesn’t sound like it should be that hard, but once again the fishing gods must have been angry with me for some reason. On Day 2 I had six fish hooked up and headed for the boat when, for no apparent reason, they just came off! Frustrated, angry and downright ticked off, the Day 2 weigh-in may have been one of my most embarrassing weigh-ins ever. After all, I was one of the favorites to win this event and could not even make the final day cut!  

So, on the long one-hour drive home that day, I kept asking myself “why?” Why was I not able to land those fish and catch my five-fish- limit and make it to the final day? Was it my technique, dull hooks, poor hook-sets? How was it that I failed to get those six fish in the boat? 

Then it hit me — the fishing gods; they were the reason I did not make it to Day 3 of this championship event! But why were they angry with me? What had I done wrong as an angler for them to unleash such punishment on what might have been the biggest event of my fishing career in my own back yard?  

Then to make matters worse, the same thing happened one week later at Sam Rayburn when I weighed the smallest limit of fish I’ve ever weighed-in on that body of water. Now my frustration was compounded, and I was so angry that I could have stripped naked and run through a briar patch and felt no pain! Why was this happening to me?  

Every angler, no matter how good, will at some point go through difficult times that just can’t be explained. All the preparation and planning does not always guarantee success. Tournament bass fishing is a funny and humbling sport that sometimes defies explanation. 

Tournament anglers have a saying that really is true: “When it’s your turn to win, it’s your turn and nothing you do will screw it up.” I think this is where the fishing gods come into play — when they want you to win, they will make sure you win. 

Until next time, good luck, good fishing and always say an extra prayer each night to the fishing gods if you want to be successful. Also, don’t forget your sunscreen! Take it from me, melanoma is real and will strike when you neglect your protection.  

Contact Steve at sgraf26@yahoo.com

“Things to know before you go”

We are thankful for your attendance at the 26th Annual Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival and want to help make your festival experience a great one!


There is an amphitheater directly in front of the Main Stage and the festival is providing ample additional seating in the VIP area adjacent to the stage and in the areas in front of the two side stages. 


You may want to consider purchasing VIP tickets. Seating will be available in the shaded area to the side of the main stage, including a private bathroom and access to a full bar.  They are ON SALE now, with limited availability. They are going FAST so get yours today. You are also free to use your personal chairs in the VIP area, as space permits. 


– No Refunds. 

– No Rain Out Location. 

– No Ice Chests. 

– No Pets. 

– No Parking on Riverbank. 

– Armbands can be purchased on the day of the festival or with online orders.

– Pick up armbands at the ticket booth downtown with your receipt. 

– For more information, please call Julie at 318-471-5778 or email her at llbrewton1@aol.com.


No outside food or drink allowed. Food, beer, and alcohol vendors will be located in multiple areas for easy access.  


Active Duty Military and their families are admitted free of charge and will, of course, need to be prepared to show an ID but there are no Veterans discounts.  

See the full line-up here


Purchase tickets here


Notice of Death – May 4, 2023

Sherry Janell Scarbrough Mitchell
July 29, 1954 — May 1, 2023
Service: Friday, May 5 at 1 pm at Provencal Free Methodist Church

William David Liles
January 6, 1953 — April 30, 2023
Service: Friday, May 5 at 8 am at Coldwater Baptist Church Cemetery at Hagewood/Coldwater

Ladarian D. Raymond
September 5, 2006 – May 1, 2023
Arrangements TBA

Ellis Pennywell
May 2, 2023
Arrangements TBA

Shortest commencement address in history

Thank you Chancellor, distinguished guests, proud parents and family members, fellow alums, my probation officer, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, and most of all thank you, the newest crop of graduates.

It is a pleasure and honor to be here today, though the flight was tough. I just flew in from Vegas and boy are my arms tired!

No, that’s just a little commencement humor. Ha! Seriously, great to be here. Better than being in jail. Or in Russia. Same thing, right? Where are my geography and history majors? There you are! Nice to see you two.

I congratulate you because I know how hard you’ve worked to get here. Well, I don’t know from personal experience and all, but I can imagine. Just getting those square hats and tassels to stick to your heads long enough to get a diploma today is a testament to your ingenuity and persistence. And talent with bobby pins. I’m impressed.

Your administration, ill-informed but well-meaning, has asked me to speak today in hopes you’ll be inspired. After all, if I can get a job, you can, right?

Lessons learned from my experience are both timeless and proven. Also simple. Some of it you will not believe until you’ve tried, and failed. No problem; it’s called being human.

But remember what John Wayne said: Life is hard. It’s harder if you’re stupid. Don’t overdo tempting fate. The world loves to chew up people who insist on having self-induced brain cramps.

Don’t spit into the wind. If you’re a cowboy, drink upstream from the herd. If you’re a plumber, don’t bite your fingernails. Bet a home dog on Monday Night Football, and if you’re in a plane, wear a seatbelt. Muhammad Ali once told a stewardess, “Superman don’t need no seatbelt.” But the stewardess then told The Greatest, “Superman don’t need no airplane.” Ali put on his seatbelt. Know your limitations.

Don’t scoff at the simplicity of “a penny saved is a penny earned.” Compound interest is a beautiful thing. Granted, a penny saved is hard to do, especially if you have children, if you like to eat, and if the transmission goes out on your car.

But mainly – and I wish I’d have accepted this several years and tens of thousands of dollars ago – know that life is difficult. For the prince and the pauper, it’s a tough row to hoe. Not everything is an Orioles-Red Sox game in September. Not everything is your favorite TV show or CD or Sunday dinner or vacation. I used to think that if things weren’t funny, I must be doing something wrong. Very depressing.

But a rule here is that not everything IS funny, or easy. Each of us is always heading into, coming out of, or in the middle of a violent life storm. How do we react? There’s your moment of truth. Learning how to put those fires out, knowing they’re part of the game. Nothing’s wrong with you if “bad” things happen. Just means you’re human.

There are no secrets. Simply, life will put you through the meat grinder. Expect it, and you aren’t perpetually surprised and disturbed. Then instead of getting ground up, you can grind it out. Make every inning, every game, count. Never give an at-bat away.

You have teammates. And they have you. Stick together.

You’re today’s starting pitcher. Until this moment, it’s all been warm-ups. The game starts now.

(From Prom Season, May, 2011)

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu or Twitter @MamaLuvsManning

Family Friendly Competition – Crawfish Edition















Not Bad for a Rookie

By Brad Dison

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is an endurance car race held each June in the town of Le Mans, France.  The purpose of the race is for car manufacturers to focus on manufacturing sporty cars which are also reliable.  The winner in this race is not the driver who crosses the finish line first, but the driver who covers the most distance in the 24-hour period.

Although 54-year-old Leonard had raced cars since he was a teenager, he was new to professional race car driving.  He was considered a rookie.  Leonard wanted to prove that he was a serious driver, and Le Mans was the perfect opportunity.   

Leonard was roughly 20 years over the average age of the other race car drivers in the 1979 Le Mans.  He and teammates Dick Barbour and Rolf Stommelen took turns driving their Porsche 935 turbo.  Rain poured on the racetrack for hours, but Leonard and his teammates were gaining ground.  With each passing hour, they came closer to victory.  Just 2 ½ hours from the end of the race, Leonard and his teammates were in second place.  Then, the lead car, driven by brothers Don and Bill Whittington, stalled with a broken injector pump belt.  If they were unable to fix the car quickly, Leonard and his teammates would take first place.  Don Whittington fashioned a replacement belt and got the car back in the race, but Leonard’s team was catching up.  In the last hour of the race, Leonard’s car developed engine trouble which required them to drive slower than the other cars just to finish the race.  Some of other cars reached speeds in excess of 220 miles per hour.  Finally, the race was over.  Of the 55 cars which entered the endurance race, only 22 completed the race. 

When the results were in, Leonard’s team had completed 299 laps, but the Whittington brothers were declared the winners with 306 laps completed.  The Whittington brothers won by a distance of only 58 miles in the 24-hour race.  Don Whittington commented that Leonard’s coming in second place “is sure going to take some of the limelight from us.”  Leonard, the rookie race car driver, was better known for movies in which he appeared such as “Cool Hand Luke,” “The Sting,” “The Color of Money,” and “The Hustler.”  Leonard, that rookie racecar driver who nearly won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in his first attempt, was the middle name of actor Paul Newman.  Not bad for a rookie.


1.      The Daily News, June 11, 1979, p.20.

2.     The Odessa American, June 11, 1979, p.9.

After softball state championship, Converse hosts baseball quarterfinal tonight

SLIDE LIKE A CHAMP:  Converse junior catcher Summer Brumley slides into second base after hitting a double during the Lady Wildcats’ win over Quitman in the Division V Non-Select state softball championship game last Saturday. It led to the tying run in a nine-inning victory.  (Photo by BRET H. McCORMICK)

These are heady days for sports at Converse High School.

The Ladycats swept to the LHSAA Non-Select Division V state softball championship last weekend in Sulphur.  The second-seeded Wildcats play at home this evening at 6 against No. 7 Weston, with a spot in the state baseball semifinals at stake.

The softball team (25-7), seeded fourth in its playoff bracket, had advanced to the state tournament with an intense 4-2 home win over fifth-seeded Anacoco.

“My goal was to try to get them to Sulphur, get them to experience that atmosphere,” said first-year coach Chris Brumley, who previously had coached the baseball team at Zwolle. “We had a really great crowd for our quarterfinal game against Anacoco. It was electric, and that, I believe, helped us handle the atmosphere at Sulphur. We had been in a very intense game.”

It got equally exciting last Friday in the state semifinal game against ninth-seeded Choudrant, with Converse pulling out a 3-1 victory on a bottom of the seventh, walk-off two-run homer by Avery Prine.

That propelled the Ladycats into the state championship contest against No. 2-ranked Quitman, and it was a classic with two dominant pitchers and two determined teams. The contest went into extra innings and Converse prevailed 2-1 in nine innings to win it all.

The Lady Wolverines jumped on top with a first-inning run. Converse tied it in the top of the fourth when Summer Brumley doubled, and pinch-runner Reagan Bennett scored on Maci Morgan’s sacrifice bunt. It was the first run scored on Quitman in the playoffs.

“When we tied it up, I told my team ‘it’s going to be a close game. This is to our advantage, and it’s going to work out for us. We just got to do what we need to do, execute what we need to execute.”

“We went to extra innings a couple of weeks ago against Parkway, a 5A team, and we won that 3-2. We had been successful in close games and in extra innings, and that helped us,” said Brumley.

In the top of the ninth, Prine delivered her third hit, a single to left. Courtesy runner Zoey Rabon moved up on sacrifice bunts by Morgan and Kraegan Jordan, and with two out, Abby Friday delivered the go-ahead RBI with a single to left field.

Prine and the Ladycats retired Quitman 1-2-3 in the bottom half to seal the state championship. Prine finished with 17 strikeouts and allowed only three hits.

“My pitcher definitely was spectacular on the weekend. She struck out nearly everyone, and she drove in our runs at the plate,” said Brumley. “Everybody did their part.”

Two seniors, shortstop Rayni Rivers and third baseman Willa Grigston, provided steady leadership and production and will be missed.

“We’ll have most of the starters returning. We had a seventh grader in the infield, and two eighth-graders in the outfield,” said Brumley. “We’ll have a chance to have another very successful season if we come back and work like I know these girls are going to do.”

It was the third softball state championship for Converse, to go with titles in 1978 and 1994. The Ladycats were in the state semifinals in 2017.

“Converse traditionally does go deep into the playoffs, not only in softball but in other sports. Right now we’re hoping our baseball team can keep going into the state tournament and maybe we’ll need to have a parade for two championship teams,” said Brumley.

Florien was eliminated in the state semifinals, 4-0, by Quitman.

In baseball, Many played second-seeded South Beauregard on the road and put up quite a fight before dropping a pair of 3-1 decisions last weekend in the second round of the Non-Select Division III baseball bracket.

Notice of Death – May 2, 2023

William David Liles
January 6, 1953 — April 30, 2023
Service: Friday, May 5 at 8 am at Coldwater Baptist Church Cemetery at Hagewood/Coldwater
Ladarian D. Raymond
September 5, 2006 – May 1, 2023
Arrangements TBA
Ellis Pennywell
May 2, 2023
Arrangements TBA