Save the Date: NSU STEM Day is September 29th

Northwestern State University’s School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics announces three upcoming events in which prospective students can explore career opportunities in STEM fields, meet faculty and fellow students and learn about degree programs.  The School of STEM includes 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
  • 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.
  • Registration is available at

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By Doug De Graffenried

The usual routine for writing this article is that I arrive at the office on Monday morning, grab a cup of coffee, and start writing. This week’s routine was disrupted by the Labor Day holiday. I did enjoy my Labor Day and decided that a smoker did not violate the Burn Ban and I cooked away! Don’t get me started on governmental overreach and intrusion into our basic freedoms, because I can wax poetic on that topic.

I whipped into the offices on Tuesday morning knowing that my writing routine was a day late. 

I grabbed a cup of coffee and that is where the day derailed.

My morning was disrupted by Bill Gates! I’m one of those dinosaurs that uses Microsoft products. Only the cool people on our church staff have Apple products. They are also the people who do all the graphics and video production. They are always bragging about their cool computers, iPads, and such not. I sat down at my desk and noticed my computer was off. I never turn my computer off. Bill Gates and Microsoft had turned my computer off. It was in the middle of one of the infamous Microsoft updates and had not turned back on.

I hit the power button. If you have endured one of those updates recently, you know that I sat gazing at a screen with the, “please be patient” message. I was. The computer cooperated and all was well. Until I tried opening Microsoft Word. The update had fouled up all of my functioning Microsoft product. I could not open Word. I could not open the mail program. I could not open another product the church uses for internal communication. My computer was fully functional, but the programs I needed to write this article and send this article out were not functioning.

My workday was in a state of disruption.

Those of us who are set in our ways don’t like disruption. Our habits give order and symmetry to our life. I was upset with Bill Gates and the Microsoft software update disruption of my writing schedule.

I have an antidote for dealing with disruption. What if, rather than all our usual ways of grousing about disruption, we practiced improvisation. When life comes at us with something that causes us to get off our beaten path, can we “make it up” as we are going along? Then a disruption becomes a blessing and opportunity to learn and do something different.

If we are anchored to Christ, let the winds blow and let the disruptions come. We have an anchor that holds. Now we can move where the winds of the spirit move us. That is called improvisation, or some call it faith. 

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Where is Bassfield USA?

As anglers, we are always looking for the best bass fishing lake in the country. It’s our dream to catch 10-pound bass on every cast, but we don’t want anyone else to know about our secret destination.

It begs me to wonder, “Where is the holy grail of bass fishing?” Is there really a Bassfield USA and if so, is it a destination all anglers should put on their bucket lists?

This topic came up at lunch the other day with my so-called “Lunch Bunch” crew. We are a sad group of guys that eat lunch together at least twice a week to discuss everything from LSU football to the prettiest women of the ‘70’s and ‘80’s. It is a group of both Republican and Democratic loyalists with a couple of Independents mixed in who have the answers to most of our country’s political issues.

It was during a conversation about a former NSU Demon that someone asked where he was from? Turns out, he was from a town by the name of Bassfield!

After some lengthy discussion, someone finally Googled to discover that Bassfield is in Mississippi, located in the northeast region of the Magnolia State. My peer group of misfits (the Lunch Bunch) thought it was funny that I did not know where Bassfield was since I am a bass fisherman.

While I failed to see the humor in their dubious accusation, they just could not understand how I could call myself a bass angler and not know the location of Bassfield, Mississippi! They pretended to be disappointed in my lack of knowledge, but I thought they were juvenile!

However, this topic did raise a question with me: are there any other towns called by another species of fish like catfish? Or might there be a town by the name of Sac-a-lait, otherwise known as a white perch to most southerners. How many fish towns are there?

Turns out, after extensive research and a waste of my time, there are at least 81 towns around Canada and the good ol’ USA that have a name associated with a particular fish species. Some include Catfish Paradise, Arizona; Fish, Georgia; Fishkill, New York (love that one); Marlin, Texas; King Salmon, Alaska; Sturgeon, Pennsylvania; and one of my favorites — Jack Fish, Ontario, Canada.

There’s even a Trout located in north Louisiana’s LaSalle Parish. Did you know there are three other town names with the word Bass in it? They are Bass Harbor, Maine, Bass Lake, Wisconsin; and Bass River, New Brunswick, Canada.

So, there you have it. More useless information that no one really cares about! But at least next time when my “Lunch Bunch” asks about a town with a fishy name, I’ll be able to hold my head high by spouting off the location of several.

It pains me to waste my valuable time on such trivial information, but when you have friends like the ones I have, you need all the ammunition you can get since these guys are ruthless when you don’t know the things THEY think you should know.  

‘Til next time, good luck, good fishing and when you get that bite of a lifetime, don’t forget to set the hook!

Contact Steve at

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Notice of Death – September 5, 2023

Mrs. Shirley Woodard
August 31, 2023
Arrangements TBA

Clifford Blake, Jr.
September 1, 2023
Arrangements TBA

Don Davenport
February 14, 1953 – August 30, 2023
Service: Friday, September 8 at 11 am at the First Baptist Church of Robeline

Margaret Brooks
August 28, 2023
Arrangements TBA

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Many hopes painful lessons in preseason lead to improvement in season opener

The Many Tigers are a football team in transition, and it’s not easy.

The toughest challenge is keeping faith in the process, when all the players on this team have known previously is success, says new coach Dillon Barrett.

Many’s been a state powerhouse for the last decade, but in two preseason outings the Tigers have been on the other side. Jasper (Texas) handled Many convincingly in a scrimmage, and last Saturday night in West Monroe at the Bayou Jamb, Oak Grove blasted MHS 41-7.

Now the TIgers open the regular season Friday night at 7 in Moss Bluff, playing Sam Houston, a Class 5A school. The game will be broadcast on 99.9 KTEZ FM. The Broncos also have dropped their two outings, both to Class 3A power Iowa, 9-7 and 7-6.

Barrett says Many doesn’t lack for talent, although there were major graduation losses from last year’s state champion team. It’s just a big adjustment to a new coaching style and a vastly-different offensive scheme, a shift to the spread and much more passing than the Tigers have tried in past seasons combined.

“Learning the scheme, any new scheme, is a process. We have to continue to fix the little things. All these things that went wrong, that weren’t done right, kept piling up and it ended up a big mess,” said Barrett in the wake of the Oak Grove contest.

“We’ve got to go into Week 1 with the right mentality,” he said. “Playing Sam Houston there, we’ve got to get to work. Playing on (last) Saturday makes it a short week going into Friday night, and that makes it tougher.”

Barrett believes his team will grow stronger working through the challenges and adversity, with the ultimate goal to have a successful season and advance into the playoffs. Players have to show toughness that in some respects hasn’t been challenged in the recent past while Many mowed down opponent after opponent in previous seasons, and didn’t often have to bounce back from a loss or a frustrating stretch.

The Tigers know how to win, and have the talent needed. But just as adults change jobs and encounter new bosses and new ways of doing things, this Many team is going through a life lesson on dealing with change and challenges that accompany it. Self-belief is vital at this stage with teenagers, athletes or not, and Barrett believes that fan support for the boys is also critical in tough times.

Last Saturday’s game had highlights. Running back Jeremiah Jones found room to run and broke several big gainers, one on the opening drive that got the Tigers into the Oak Grove red zone. He finished the drive with a touchdown run inside the 10.

Jones was named the Many Player of the Game by Bayou Jamb officials, while Tylen Singleton and other Tigers made good accounts of themselves.

But Oak Grove, which opens the season ranked a close second in the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Class 2A Top 10 poll, caught fire and overwhelmed Many after the opening drive.

Oak Grove got 116 points in the LSWA poll released Monday, just three shy of Calvary Baptist in the No. 1 spot. Many drew 100 points and opens the season at No. 4 in the rankings.

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The Young Brave

By Brad Dison

On December 12, 1923, Byron, an electrician, and Tillie, a schoolteacher, welcomed a young Indian brave to the world.  The young brave spent most of his youth in the town of Mission on the Rosebud Indian reservation in South Dakota.  He and the others on this particular reservation were members of what the federal government called the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.  The elders called it Sicangu.  His father was one-quarter Sioux. His mother had no known Native American blood.  Like his parents, the young brave spoke fluent English, but little to no native tongue.  One day, the young brave was walking in Mission when he saw an Indian sitting on a bench.  “He had long hair, wore a blanket, and could not speak English.”  Most of the people he saw on the reservation were Americanized, although he pointed out that his friends in school included Alex Raincounter and Chris Yellow Robe, boys with Indian names.

In 1938, the 15-year-old brave met who would become his high school sweetheart, Dorothy Jo, not on the reservation as his parents had met, but at an Ella Fitzgerald concert.  The young brave was surprised to learn that his sweetheart was three-eighths Cherokee Indian.  In decades past, their love for each other would have caused controversy between the tribes.  The different tribes would have forbidden them to be together as it was in the teenage tragedy song “Running Bear,” made famous by Johnny Preston in 1959 (one of the two singers on the recording who provided the “uga-uga” and other Indian war cries was the not-yet famous George Jones).  In the song, Running Bear, a young Indian brave, was in love with an Indian maid named Little White Dove.  Their tribes were separated by hatred as well as a mighty, raging river.  The song ends with the Running Bear and Little White Dove swimming out to be together.  After a passionate kiss, the two drowned in the swift current.  “Now they’ll always be together in their happy hunting ground.”  By the 1940s, the Sioux and Cherokee tribes were no longer at war, and on January 12, 1945, the young brave and Dorothy Jo married with the blessing of their families. 

The young brave was always proud of his Indian heritage.  He once said, “I’ve always bragged about being part Indian, because they are a people to be proud of.  And the Sioux were the greatest warriors of them all.  They’ve been called the greatest light cavalry in the history of man.”  He quipped, “And I have never been on a horse without falling off.”

We know very little about the young brave’s life on the reservation because he rarely spoke about it.  We may know little about his early life, but we all know the young brave.  Last Wednesday, August 26, the young brave breathed his last.  He was just three-and-a-half months shy of reaching his 100th birthday.  From 1972 to 2007, we welcome him into our homes.  He was the host of the longest-running daytime game show in North American television history, The Price is Right.  You and I know that young brave from Rosebud Reservation.  His name was Robert William “Bob” Barker.


1.      Argus-Leader (Sioux Falls, South Dakota), March 25, 1962, p.17.
2.     “Bob Barker, Iconic Host of “the Price Is Right”, Dies.” Time, 26 Aug. 2023, Accessed 25 Aug. 2023.
3.     “Legacy Robert ‘Bob’ Barker – SD Hall of Fame Programs.” n.d. Accessed August 27, 2023.

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By Doug De Graffenried

There are days when I think I drive for a living. I commute from Gibsland to Ruston daily. There are days I do a couple of round trips.  I drive a bland white Toyota hybrid. I established long ago that my car is smarter than I am. It certainly takes care of me. 

The cruise control has two settings, politically correct and drive up on their bumper before changing lanes. I opt for the bumper drive setting. That setting keeps me at optimum driving attention.

There is another feature I’ve come to appreciate. The rearview mirror is not a mirror but a camera. It gives a wider field of vision. My vision is not blocked if I’m hauling something in the back of the car. It took a day or two to get used to the idea, but now I don’t think I could return to the old-fashioned rear-view mirror.

The car has warning lights galore. It reminds me to check the backseat before I exit the car to make sure there is not a child or perishable food sitting on the seat. I have learned that if any item over 40 pounds is in the back seat, it must be belted in. To fail in that safety requirement means the warning horn will blare the whole trip. It is nice for my car to warn me that I have a sack of bird seed on the backseat.

The warning light I have learned to loathe is the tire pressure light. The tire pressure light is always on. This morning it was on because all four tires claimed to have pressure problems. They were all at 34 psi, and I thought that was pretty good. I know that in the wintertime the pressure will fluctuate. I was not anticipating this issue in the dog days of August. Is my car overly sensitive? Do I have a bad sensor or two in the tires? Can I learn to ignore the warnings? After all I come from a time when we would get out of the car, look at the tire and then manually check the tire pressure.

What is the relationship between the driver and the warning lights? Especially if these warning lights were created by some dufus who thought it was a good idea to know your tire pressure all the time. I know what you are saying, ignore the warning lights at your own peril. I agree. However, I’m being warned about a non-problem. I don’t have a tire pressure problem; my car has a calibration issue.

That perpetual light on my dashboard is a spiritual reminder. There are a ton of things to worry, fret, and stew about. Some of these worries are life altering. Others are like the light on my dashboard, a mere distraction. Maturity brings the wisdom to differentiate between the two.

For large and small distractions, Jesus is the antidote.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled, believe in God believe also in me.”

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Bad ideas and brain cramps

Some things are plain stupid. No gray area.

3-D Dumb.

Some people I know where robbed recently, but in his haste the robber dropped a piece of paper that was, unfortunately for him, a personal reminder of his upcoming court appearance. It included his name and address.


And then there was the story out of Opelousas this week of the gentleman who stuck a handgun in his waistband. The gun was loaded, a live round in the chamber. It went off. Now, the man from Opelousas —and I use the term “man” loosely here — is not as loaded as he once was – although the story did contain the phrase “underwent reattachment surgery” and “Police had not determined why (stupid man’s name) was walking around with a pistol in his pants.”

Easy. No brain in his head.

Stupid move.

There are lots of ways to say that a guy’s parents don’t have to worry about the Yale Admissions Department clogging up the family doorway to offer their kid a scholarship. For no other reason than they make me laugh, I’ll offer my Top 10.

He’s a few crumbs short of a biscuit.

Somewhere, a village is missing its idiot.

It’s almost like he has a small piece of brain lodged in his head.

Dumb as a bag of hammers/sharp as a bowling ball.

He has a room temperature (or shoe-sized) IQ.

He’s a regular “Elbert” Einstein.

He’s lost all contact with the mothership.

He doesn’t have both oars in the water.

He fell out of the Stupid Tree and hit every branch on the way down.

My favorite: The wheel is turning but the hamster’s dead.

We all swallow a Stupid Pill from time to time.

But then there are things more along the lines of bad ideas. We call them mental muscle spasms. Brain cramps.

A boss buddy of mine found out the hard way this week that the letters T and G are very close to each other on the keyboard. For this reason, he will never be ending a work email with the phrase “Regards” again.

Muscle spasm.

I was told of a funeral in which the preacher, who kept candy in his desk, said that each Sunday morning the deceased would come into his office and, with a “Good morning!” and a smile, “go through my drawers.”

Brain cramp.

Finally, the worst idea I’ve heard of in a long time happened last week in Detroit, where Hall of Fame voice of the Detroit Tigers Ernie Harwell passed away at 92. A public viewing was held at Comerica Park, where the Tigers play. I am not a big “lying in state” guy to start with, but a casket on the warning track is off base on several levels. I didn’t like the picture of Ernie lying there, flowers all around, his statue by him, velvet ropes marking “foul ground,” for lack of a better term.

“Hey dad, remember when you took me to the ballpark and we saw Mr. Ernie dead?”

“Those were great times son!”

At least there was no danger of him being hit by a foul ball. At least the ballclub didn’t lay their humble, summer-sweet play-by-play guy out during a game. Thankfully, the Tigers were on the road.

As was, I guess, Ernie.

(Originally published May, 2010)

Contact Teddy at

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What can you do for me?

It’s always been a part of human DNA to be a little selfish. While we try not to be, it’s human nature to want more than the next person. 

All of us are trying to keep up with the Jones’s and I don’t mean the owner of the Dallas Cowboys. The Lord tells us in James 3:16, “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” As humans, we try to obey God’s commands, but the sinful side seems to prevail more often than we would like to admit.  

Today’s professional anglers have a tough time trying to avoid being selfish with so many of them seeking sponsorship from specific companies. There’s only so much money companies are willing to part with to sponsor an angler, and the pool is shrinking. 

Twenty years ago, anglers could go out on tournament day, catch a good five-fish limit and cash a big check in order to draw the attention of sponsors. But times have changed. Fast forward to 2023 and that’s no longer good enough. Anglers now must have a personality and the ability to talk to people. They need good communication skills and must have a big social media presence. 

Sponsors today want anglers who can sell a product and can represent their sponsors in a good way. Catching fish on tournament day is secondary. When anglers approach sponsors today, it’s not about how good an angler you are or how many tournaments you’ve won. Sponsors want to know what you as an angler can do for them and how much product you can sell. It’s all about what the business world calls ROI (return on investment). 

These companies can be very demanding of an angler’s time by using them for promotional events like boat shows and speaking engagements. Catching fish today is not high on a sponsor’s list of what’s important to the sponsorship agreement. 

These anglers today are paid and, in some cases, paid extremely well to represent certain companies. But these demands can put a strain on an angler’s ability to compete consistently and can hinder his or her ability to prepare for an event. So, there must be a happy balance for both the angler and the sponsor. 

When I am speaking to high school fishing teams, the first question asked almost every single time is, “How do I get sponsors?” My response is always the same. First, don’t worry about sponsors. Learn how to find fish and develop your fishing skills so you can be competitive. 

Next, take speech in high school and college. Anglers today must have the ability to talk to people, make a good impression and sell a product. Then make sure you have a strong social media presence with a lot of followers. If you can do these things really well, sponsors will come to you. 

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

Contact Steve at

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Big News for Vernon Parish

We at Journal Services, LLC are pleased to welcome our newest publication, Vernon Parish Journal. This online publication joins 12 others across Louisiana. Join us in welcoming Rick & Mary Lou Barnickel, publishers of the new Vernon Parish Journal.

“We feel the people of Vernon Parish – Leesville, New Llano, Anacoco, North Fort Johnson and South Fort
Johnson, and surrounding towns – deserve their own publication,” said Bill Vance. “At Journal Services LLC, we pride ourselves in covering local parishes with high-quality news and advertising to keep our readers up to date on what’s happening in their communities.”

All Journals cover local news, features, and sports. Subscriptions are – and always will be – free. Please visit and sign up today – CLICK HERE.

Click to visit any of our journals:

Bienville Parish Journal
Claiborne Parish Journal
DeSoto Parish Journal
Jackson Parish Journal
Lincoln Parish Journal
Natchitoches Parish Journal,
Sabine Parish Journal
Shreveport-Bossier Journal
Rapides Parish Journal
Vernon Parish Journal
Red River Parish Journal
Webster Parish Journal
Winn Parish Journal

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Notice of Death – August 29, 2023

Malcolm Harry Anderson, Jr.
March 28, 1941 — August 27, 2023
Service: Thursday, August 31 at 2 pm at First Baptist Church, located at 508 2nd St. in Natchitoches

Jeffery Michael Broadway
December 11, 1961 — August 26, 2023
Service: Wednesday, August 30 at 4 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Janice Lester Faust
June 23, 1954 — August 24, 2023
Service: Thursday, August 31 at 12 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Margaret Brooks
August 28, 2023
Arrangements TBA

Dora Combest
August 29, 2023
Arrangements TBA

Karmen Alexis Braxton
August 22, 2023 – August 22, 2023
Service: Friday, September 1 at 11 am at Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel, located at 318 North St. in Natchitoches

Letha Ford
May 11, 2023 – August 27, 2023

Arrangements TBA
Kevin Wayne Robinson
November 9, 1976 – August 18, 2023
Service: Saturday, September 2 at 2 pm in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel
Columbus “Red” Shields
August 20, 2023
Service: Saturday, September 2 at 10 am in the Winnfield Memorial Funeral Home Chapel
Sadie M. Lewis
July 16, 1957 – August 23, 2023
Service: Saturday, September 2 at 10 am at the North Star Baptist Church in Powhatan

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Tigers head into jamboree action progressing in transition to new look

That was then, this is now. No doubt Many High School’s football tradition is second to none in Louisiana over the past decade, but history doesn’t win this season’s games, and with a new coaching staff and new schemes on both sides of the ball, the 2023 Tigers are evolving.

Despite Jasper (Texas) High handling visiting Many in a scrimmage last Friday night, new Tigers coach Dillon Barrett is confident and proud of his players as the regular season approaches. The final competitive tune-up is Saturday night at 8 at West Monroe High School’s Don Shows Stadium when Many meets longtime Class A power Oak Grove in the Bayou Jamb.

Barrett understands some Many fans might be alarmed after last week’s scrimmage, but he’s seen his team on tape and in practice and is cool as a cucumber.

“We played a really good Texas high school football team in Jasper. It was our first time with a new coaching staff, a whole new scheme offensively and defensively against another opponent in a live environment, under the lights with a crowd,” he said. “It was a good judgement of where we’re at – are we on pace, or not? I think we are.

“There were things I would have liked to have seen done differently, but that’s why it’s called a scrimmage – it’s a time to work out all those kinks, get things fixed. I like where we’re at. At this point it’s about getting the little things corrected, and once we do that, we’re a good football team.

“We obviously want to win the game, and win every time out, but going into it, we were focusing on us, not Jasper. We worked on our stuff to see where we’re at,” he said. “From X’s and O’s, to personnel, to game operations, all those things, we got a chance to evaluate. We had 3-4 balls that should have been touchdowns that were dropped, but those guys are all inexperienced. We’re going from an offense that hardly ever threw it to what we’re doing, throwing it more. Those things will fix themselves as we progress into the season.”

Most importantly, he said, the players embraced the message Barrett delivered after the scrimmage and since.

“This was the time to get all the negative things out of the way, before the jamboree, and get all polished up going into Week 1. That’s when it counts. This is part of the process getting us ready.

“We’ve talked about adversity and how you’ll handle it. Just because you put the M on the side of your helmet doesn’t mean you’re entitled to win. You have to do the work, especially with the M on our helmets because we’re going to get everybody’s best game. I think our guys are in a good space as far as their mindset moving forward,” said Barrett.

The Tigers have gone through a huge transformation offensively. After years of a power running game with an erratic passing attack, Many is running the spread. It’s not an air-raid, pass-every-down system, and there is plenty of running in the mix, he said.

Defensively the change is significant but not sweeping. The Tigers have a base 4-2-5 scheme but can shift to 3-man and 5-man fronts.

“We want to keep some of what has been done in the past because it’s been so good “ Barrett explained.

The Tigers have no anxiety issues, and their new coach hopes fans can stay calm and confident, too.

“We hope our fans can understand a scrimmage is more about focusing on evaluating your team, not winning on a scoreboard, especially in this situation where there’s a new staff, new schemes and a lot of teaching going on. Yes, we didn’t like the outcome, but we made progress. There’s a lot of new things these players are learning, and we are happy with their effort and their approach.”

After sparring with Oak Grove’s Tigers, Many begins the regular season Sept. 1 at Sam Houston down the road in Moss Bluff, then welcomes DeRidder to John Curtis Stadium for the home opener Sept. 8.

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Seven-acre wildfire in Kisatchie contained

US Forest Service, Natchitoches Parish Fire District #1, and Natchitoches Parish Fire District #4 responded to the scene of a wildfire off of Hwy. 118 near the Kisatchie Falls Road in Kisatchie on Aug. 22 around 2:15 pm.
The fire reportedly in the 2600 block of Hwy. 118 was initially reported as a grass fire that spread into the woods. According to the U.S. Forest Service, the 7-acre wildfire was successfully contained. Units remained to monitor the area and hit any hot spots.

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Louisiana motorists reminded to follow statewide burn ban, avoid actions that could start roadside fires

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development is reminding motorists that the statewide burn ban remains in effect as extreme high temperatures and dry conditions continue. No outdoor burning of any kind is allowed during a burn ban, and drivers should refrain from any actions that could potentially start a roadside fire.

The Louisiana State Fire Marshal and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry issued a statewide burn ban on August 7. Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency on August 15 because of these ongoing extreme weather conditions.

Drivers traveling along Louisiana’s roads and highways are urged against any actions that may inadvertently start a fire. Motorists should not discard any cigarettes out of their vehicle into nearby shoulders, roadside ditches, or grassy areas. Doing so may potentially cause a fire that could quickly spread under these dry and hot conditions and lead to reduced visibility or lanes/roadways being shut down.

Chains being dragged off trailers can throw sparks into hot and dry grassy areas, which could aid in starting roadside fires. Drivers should inspect all safety chains and ensure they are properly connected.

During a statewide burn ban, private burning is only allowed by permission of the local fire department or local government, according to the Louisiana State Fire Marshal. Anyone who violates the burn ban could face criminal and/or civil penalties.

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry’s Office of Forestry is responsible for responding to wildfires. In the event of an emergency, call 911 or the LDAF 24-Hour Emergency Hotline at 1-855-452-5323.

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By Doug De Graffenried

I met Bubba the Dragonfly on Tuesday morning. Bubba was trapped by glass. He had flown in through the architectural features that lined the hallways of the building. The architectural features around the elevators were real windows. Bubba had flown into the building and was having a hard time exiting the premises. I watched him for several minutes. I decided to act when I watched Bubba back up and fly at full speed toward the glass. Bubba was a big dragonfly, and he made an audible thud when he hit the glass.

That was enough for me. I picked Bubba up off the ledge of the window and walked him over to one of the architectural features in the building and turned him loose. Bubba flew away triumphantly.

I had several thoughts, watching Bubba fly.

I wondered if Bubba knew that church aphorism, “When God closes a door, he opens a window.” No, he doesn’t! There are times that God says, “No.” We are the guilty parties by continually testing the doorknob. Very often, we are the mistaken parties thinking this opened window is God’s doing. There are times the door is closed, and the window has impenetrable glass to cause you to stop and change directions. We call that repentance which simply means, “to turn around.” Bubba reminded me that in my own life, I need some repentance going on.  I’m responsible for that. There are places I need to change direction!

The other thing I thought about as I watched Bubba fly away was that what we all need is a savior. We are banging our heads against walls that we can never penetrate. We shouldn’t be banging our heads according to the paragraph above. But we are habitual in our habits. They might not benefit us, but we are so used to doing the same thing and we keep at it. A savior intervenes. 

A savior not only shows us a new and better way but will put us on the path to that new and better way. For our part, we are called to have faith in this savior. 

While I was watching Bubba fly free, I offered a prayer of thanksgiving to Christ my Lord. He set me free from the power of sin. He opened a new way of being and living. He called me into this crazy thing called “the ministry.” 

Before Jesus I was trapped. Since Jesus, I have been set free to experience abundant life in Christ.

The Apostle Paul put it this way, “For freedom Christ has set us free.”

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Our lunch box of memories

This was the text message:

“My Lone Ranger lunchbox lunch every day for 5 years.

2 PB&J’s wrapped in tinfoil and thermos of sweet tea.

No snacks or exotic stuff from my mom.

That was it.”

Felt like getting a message in a bottle from a castaway, and knowing it was much too late to help him. “If I could have just gotten the guy some Fritos, or a Bite-Size Milky Way,” I’m thinking …

But what really got me was “lunchbox.” Had never thought about it much, but I missed the entire “lunchbox” cycle of a kid’s life. I was a ride-the-bus, eat-in-the-cafeteria kid.

Old school.

Never had a lunch box. (Except one time on Halloween when Mrs. Alice in second grade let us dress up and have a party and our parents could come for an outside picnic lunch so I packed one and my lunch box was called “a paper sack.” No idea why I’ve always remembered that. Dressed up like a pirate. Wonder if I packed fish and chips and something to keep me from getting scurvy and rickets?)

In the ignorance of rural youth, I never knew there were Lone Ranger lunch boxes, because surely I would have wanted one. Would have coveted one. A little tin box with a matching thermos, filled with peanut butter and jelly or maybe even “round steak” (bologna) on fresh white bread. What was in it wouldn’t have mattered much. I suspect the box itself was the thing.

I’ve studied and found there were Gomer Pyle lunch boxes. Gilligan’s Island. The Hulk. Happy Days. The Six Million Dollar Man. And — are you kidding me? — Superman.

Ignorance is bliss, thank goodness. I was lucky for what I didn’t know. I hope if I’d have had a lunch box that it would have been The Lone Ranger or Batman and not something stupid like The Waltons or Little House on the Prairie.

“Hey, which one of you losers belongs to this Partridge Family lunch box?!,” the kid with the Evel Knievel lunch box was wanting to know.

Sometimes I wonder what Lunch Box Life would be as a grownup.

“Hey TA, let’s go eat a gourmet burger or some enchiladas. I’m buying.”

Me: “Y’all go ahead. I’ll just eat this deviled ham and some moldy Ritz from my Wonder Woman lunch box.”

It would be all about the lunch box for me.

But things happened for me as they were supposed to, because one of the best memories of my wasted youth was the smell of a certain food baking each mid-morning at Lake View Elementary. That aroma was the portal to olfactory heaven. We’re talking — and I shouldn’t even have to write this — yeast rolls, the smell of hope and comfort and joy.

I love the smell of elementary school yeast rolls in the morning.

Mrs. Erline Perritt was the magic behind the memory. Black hair pulled back tight and under a hair net to showcase a round face always smiling. The yeast rolls she made on those giant sheet pans were things of fluffy goodness that could keep you battling through spelling class, knowing that if you could hold out a little while longer, she’d be putting a couple of those on your tray, maybe sneaking you one for dessert.

What smelled better to a little kid back then? A cheerleader’s perfume, maybe? But I doubt it.

Mrs. Erline Perritt. I didn’t need a lunch box. She was my real-life Wonder Woman.

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The parallels between fishing and football

Today we’ll look at the correlations between tournament bass fishing and the greatest game in America, football.

As a former coach and player, and a longtime angler, I can say nothing comes close to matching what football and tournament fishing gives you. Football is a team sport that has 11 guys on the field working together as one. But if only one guy does not do his job, the other team will make you pay. Bass fishing, on the other hand, is all about one guy — the angler holding the rod!

No other sport requires the emotional level that football does but tournament bass fishing is a close second. There are just as many emotional highs and lows on tournament day as there are in a four-quarter football game. One play or one cast can completely change the outcome.

Another word that describes both sports and is often overused: momentum. One minute you have everything going your way, scoring on every possession, but then your quarterback throws an interception, and everything goes south. Same goes for bass fishing as you get an entire school of fish fired up catching fish on every cast, when for some unforeseen reason, they quit biting. Momentum can even carry over from one tournament/game to the next.

No football game or bass tournament can be won without one important detail — a game plan. Your football game plan can change not just on every series but on the result of only one play. An angler’s game plan can change on the very next cast. You spend hours preparing for your next opponent or tournament and all of a sudden, you have to punt and regroup. Then there are days that everything you planned works like a charm and your game plan pays off with a championship win or collecting a check on tournament day.

There are times as athletes or anglers that are a grind, those days when nothing you planned goes right. Everything you thought would work, does not. Every play/cast is a struggle, and the game/tournament seems like it will never end. Just trying to get a first down or catch that fifth fish for a limit seems to take forever and some cases you can’t get it done. This is where heart, grit and determination come into play and the player/angler that has the most of those qualities will usually prevail.  

In football, they say defense wins championships. The same can also be said for tournament bass fishing. With football, you scout an opponent to gain an advantage. In bass fishing sometimes you catch fish in areas you know you’re not going to fish on tournament day because you don’t want to beat up your own fish. It’s not something you do to intentionally hurt a specific angler, but it’s a strategy anglers employ in order to play defense. Every once in a while, you’ll find an area by accident simply by fishing defensively in areas you otherwise might not have fished.

The final comparison between football and tournament bass fishing that just might be the biggest difference between winning or losing: decision making. At some point during a football game a coach has to make a decision to go for it on fourth-and-goal or kick a field goal. One is the safe play while the other is a huge gamble. Anglers must also make major decisions during a tournament day, like “do I make the long run for bigger fish and hope they’ll bite, or do I stay where I’m at and wait them out?” One has high risk while the other is a safer play. Anglers will most always take the risk because it has the highest reward.

There’s no better time of year as football season kicks off and it’s also when most tournament trail championships take place. Football and tournament bass fishing; two sports that have so much in common and appeal to so many fans. Now you have an angler’s perspective on how these two awesome sports parallel each other.

‘Til next time, good luck, good fishing, apply your sunscreen and drink plenty of water. 

Contact Steve at

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NSU volleyball begins 50-year celebration by hosting UCLA

Perennial power UCLA will make its way to Natchitoches on Monday, August 28 to play under the new bright lights of Prather Coliseum. First serve is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. and will be broadcast live on ESPN+. 

“UCLA is a storied volleyball program on both the women’s and the men’s side of the game,” ninth-year head coach Sean Kiracofe said. “It means more to play a program like them if you have a sense for the history of our game.  Then to add to it being a home match; it puts it on par with when LSU baseball came here for a game in 2019. We got a 3-1 win at home against LSU then and would love a repeat of that in our first home match.”

There will be no charge for admission to the match. 

The match against the Bruins will be the first of back-to-back home contests for NSU as it continues the home-opening week by hosting Jackson State the next night at 6 p.m., the second of six scheduled home matches in the first four weeks of the regular season. 

The Demons open their 2023 campaign this week looking to build on the recent success and add to the rich legacy that paved the way. With six starters and 10 total returners from last year’s team, along with some key transfers, the sky is indeed the limit for what they can accomplish this year. 

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Notice of Death – August 22, 2023

Lovan Barton Thomas
February 15, 1937 – August 13, 2023
Visitation: Wednesday, August 23, 023; 9 am at the First United Methodist Church, Natchitoches.
Service: Wednesday, August 23, 023; 11 am at the First United Methodist Church, Natchitoches.
Burial: American Cemetery, Natchitoches.

Charles Dillard Brazzel Jr.
September 19, 1931 — August 20, 2023
Service: Thursday August 24 at 8 A.M. at Cypress Baptist Church in Cypress

Dorothy Anne Wise
January 1, 1948 — August 16, 2023
Service: Saturday, August 26 at 1 PM at Beulah Methodist Church in Marthaville

Deacon Oliver aka “Sonny” and “Big O” Williams
August 15, 2023
Service: Saturday, August 26 at 12 pm at the Restoration Apostolic Ministries Church, 175 Fairgrounds Road in Natchitoches

Kevin Wayne Robinson
November 9, 1976 – August 18, 2023
Arrangements TBA

Columbus “Red” Shields
August 20, 2023
Arrangements TBA

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Remembering James Elton Graves

March 16, 1945 — August 10, 2023

A visitation will be held for Mr. James Elton Graves, 78 of Pleasant Hill, Louisiana on Sunday, August 13, 2023, beginning at 9:00 a.m. at Kilpatrick’s Rose-Neath Funeral Home Chapel, 9891 Texas Highway, Many, Louisiana 71449. Funeral services will immediately follow at 10:00 a.m. at the funeral home chapel with Bro. Junior Ott officiating. His graveside service will be held after the funeral at The Tabernacle, 281 Counts Road, Pleasant Hill, Louisiana 71065. He was born on March 16, 1945, in Belmont, Louisiana to Elton Graves and Christine (Anders) Graves and he passed away on August 10, 2023, in Shreveport, Louisiana.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Beverly Graves of Pleasant Hill, LA; his daughter, Jan Murray & husband, James of Pleasant Hill, LA; his brothers, Travis Graves & wife, Betty of Catuna, LA, Terry Graves & wife, Debbie of Terrell, TX, and Odis Gene Graves & wife, Norma of Pleasant Hill, LA; his 6 grandchildren, Kenith Murray & wife, Jammie, Ashley Walker & husband, Ryan, Kevin Murray and Hillary Williams, Haillie Parker & husband, Randy, Rebecca Bennett & husband, Hayden, and Russel Graves; numerous great grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, friends and other family members. Preceding him in death are his parents, Elton Graves and Christine (Anders) Graves; his son, Dennis James Graves; his sister, Vernell Graves; and his brothers, Dearl Graves, Donald Graves, and Randall Graves.

Honoring him as pallbearers will be Ryan Walker, Thomas Tuck, Daniel Weaver, Austin Weaver, Rodney Burr, and Russell Graves. His honorary pallbearers will be Ray Williams, and Stanley James.

James was a very Godly man who never met a stranger, and always got along well with others. He was incredibly talented; he enjoyed painting and working with his hands. The Tabernacle where his graveside service will be held was actually built by him over a 5-year period of time. He worked as a pipe welder by trade; his hobbies included fishing and hunting, with fishing being his all-time favorite.

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Remembering Timothy Garland “Timmy” Rogers, Sr

November 25, 1971 — August 12, 2023

Timothy Garland “Timmy” Rogers Sr., age 51, of Logansport, Louisiana passed away at his home on August 12, 2023. He was born November 25, 1971, to Sammy and Reba Brown Rogers. After high school, Timmy worked in the oilfield, working his way up to tool pusher before an accident ended his career. Timmy loved the outdoors, hunting, fishing, and gardening. He often planted a few too many tomatoes. He was called Bruiser by his closest friends, and he was known to make his own “happy place”.

Timothy is survived by his wife Kelly; sons, Timothy “T.J.” Rogers Jr. of Logansport, Louisiana, and Trepton Rogers of North Carolina; daughter, Kiley Raybon and husband Stephen of Grand Cane, Louisiana; mother, Reba Rogers of Gary, Texas; grandchildren, Kayden Brown, Adisyn Rogers, Hudson Rogers, and Luca Raybon; sister, Sharman Ballard and husband C.L. of Gary, Texas; and a host of other family and friends.

Timothy is preceded in death by his father, Shelton “Sammy” Rogers Jr.; sister, Lori Rogers; grandparents, Bro. Shelton Rogers Sr. and Lois Rogers and Henry Earl Brown and Hestell Brown and aunt, Linda Johnson.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 19, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. at Kilpatrick’s Rose-Neath Chapel, 943 Polk St., Mansfield, Louisiana. Steve Walker to officiate the service.

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Operation Christmas Child to hold Project Leader Workshop

The West Central La Area Team for Operation Christmas Child will hold a Project Leader Workshop on Saturday, Aug. 19 from 10-11:30 a.m. at the First Baptist Church Gym in Natchitoches

To Register Call: 318-464-0756 or 318-471-9415

Meet your peers, share ideas, be inspired, and learn about new resources that will help you reach your goals as you lead Operation Christmas Child for your church or group.

Learn more at

West Central La team, which is Sabine, Red River, Natchitoches, and Winn Parishes, is a part of this project. The goal this year is to collect 18,663 quality packed shoeboxes. Come help us give to a child that has never received a gift and share the “Greatest Gift of All.”

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse that delivers shoeboxes filled with toys, hygiene items, and school supplies to children around the world as a tangible expression of God’s love through this hands of local partners to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, God’s Greatest Gift.

Since 1993, more than 200 million children in over 170 countries and territories have received a shoebox gift. Shoebox gifts are collected in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Finland, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea. In addition to the millions of shoebox packers, a network of more than 15,000 volunteers- 9,000 in the U.S. and 6,000 worldwide-serve year-round to carry out this project.The West Central La Area Team for Operation Christmas Child will hold a Project Leader Workshop on Saturday, Aug. 19 from 10-11:30 a.m. at the First Baptist Church Gym in Natchitoches

To Register Call: 318-464-0756 or 318-471-9415

Meet your peers, share ideas, be inspired, and learn about new resources that will help you reach your goals as you lead Operation Christmas Child for your church or group.

Learn more at

West Central La team, which is Sabine, Red River, Natchitoches, and Winn Parishes, is a part of this project. The goal this year is to collect 18,663 quality packed shoeboxes. Come help us give to a child that has never received a gift and share the “Greatest Gift of All.”

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse that delivers shoeboxes filled with toys, hygiene items, and school supplies to children around the world as a tangible expression of God’s love through this hands of local partners to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, God’s Greatest Gift.

Since 1993, more than 200 million children in over 170 countries and territories have received a shoebox gift. Shoebox gifts are collected in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Finland, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea. In addition to the millions of shoebox packers, a network of more than 15,000 volunteers- 9,000 in the U.S. and 6,000 worldwide-serve year-round to carry out this project.

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True-Blue Confessions of a Redneck Ken Doll

(This is the second and final guest column by Kenneth Sean “Ken” Carson, better known as The Ken Doll, who co-stars in the Barbie movie along with—duh! — Barbie.)

Yes, yes, for all that’s pink and blonde, go see the movie. Everyone else has.

Everyone but me.

I’m done.

No hard feelings. I’m just tired of being arm candy. Since I was born/created in 1961, the toy makers have put me in more goofy outfits than you’d see on a runway at any New York City/Tokyo/Milan fashion show.

Sure, I’m plastic. I’m a doll. But I have feelings too.

At heart, I’m a redneck. A lunch pail guy. The common clay. I’m not Fashionista Ken or Travel Ken or Tennis Ken or any of the other silly things Mattel has made me out to be over the past 60 lonely years. And I’m definitely not Dreamcamper Ken; the most primitive I like to get is a Motel 6.

I’m been enough idiotic things for Mattel the past 60 years to last several pretend lifetimes.

I mean, it’s a job. I get it. I do. And I appreciate it. And it’s been fun hanging with Barb, an absolute peach.

And yes, the plastic money’s been good.

But I’m retiring. Tired of living a lie.

Why didn’t they create me like Oppenheimer, the star of that other movie, maybe let me split the atom instead of being created as a gigolo for capitalism? Even if Barbie, my female bestie, is quite fetching, well … there’s more to me than just molded-to-perfection plastic alloys!

Oh, the humanity!

So there you have it. I tried to be Ken. And failed. Tried to go to the galas and keep up the crunches so I wouldn’t look like a Whale Doll at pool parties. Tried the surfing and the hairdos and even got a face scrape (Mattel paid for it).

Years ago I asked to be a farmer and what’d they do? They put me in a checked shirt and an apron. An APRON! And check this sales pitch for Farmer Ken from what Mattel calls Sweet Orchard Farm: “Ken doll has an adorable piglet that kids can help him tend for role-play and storytelling fun.”

What? They gave me a piglet? I’ve been on the farm on castration day more times than I’d like to remember and that’s no fun for ANYbody, especially the pigs.

You want role play? Let me be a real farmer with a hayloft and some corn and a pony. I can be a farmer/rancher. Ditch the piglet. At least give me a tractor.

Oh, and here’s the ultimate indignity for Farmer Ken, according to the box I come in: “Doll cannot stand alone.”

You see what I put up with? What am I supposed to do, sit and milk all day? That’s gonna be a hard pass for me, dog.

And the asking price? A salty $34.95. I wouldn’t pay that for me and I AM me!

Mattel said “Fine. We’ll make you a … (get this, gang) … writer. You know, with a little snapbrim hat and a trench coat and a typewriter.”

Said they’d even “throw in a piglet, like with the Farmer Ken deal.”

What’s with these people and piglets, for heavens sake?

Good grief. Please, just … no. Writers are either rail thin and alcoholic or have a pot belly and smoke a pipe and think they invented the vowels and use big words like pubescent and eschew and ebullient. I learned to write in second grade and moved on. Please just … no.

Think I’d rather be a piglet.

Contact Teddy at

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