COVID Immunizations at Christus Coushatta

Christus Coushatta Health Care Center is listed by the Louisiana Department of Health as the only site in Red River Parish that will have the COVID-19 vaccine to administer to the general public.  The vaccine is available by appointment only.  The number to call to schedule your vaccination is 932-2184.

Louisiana is getting both vaccines that have received FDA approval, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.  Other vaccines are currently being evaluated by the FDA prior to their approval.

The Louisiana Department of Health is coordinating the COVID-19 vaccine distribution effort in Louisiana. As more vaccines become available from the CDC, more individuals and groups will be offered a vaccination.  The state health department said, “We want everyone to have the opportunity to get vaccinated against COVID. We are confident that COVID-19 vaccines will be a critical tool in ultimately ending the pandemic.”


515 Bridge To Close Monday

ROAD CLOSURE: LA 515 bridge closure over Coushatta Bayou, Red River Parish

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development advises motorists that beginning on Monday, January 25, 2021, the LA 515 bridge over Coushatta Bayou, near Crichton, in Red River Parish will be closed for necessary bridge repair.

This closure is scheduled to begin at 7:00 a.m., and will continue until Friday, January 29, 2021.

This bridge is located approximately 1.1 miles north of US 71. 

Alternate route: Total road closure. All vehicles will need to detour using US 71 to LA 514 to LA 515.

Restrictions/Permits: N/A 

This work will be performed WEATHER PERMITTING.


Election Qualifying Opens Today

There are there local offices and one statewide office that will be on the local ballot in March.  Qualifying begins today.

Registrar of Voters Debra Jones said that there will be an election to fill out the unexpired term of Police Jury District 3.  The seat is currently occupied by Shane Young who was appointed to serve following the resignation of Juror Shawn Beard.

Also on the ballot will be Open offices of Alderman for Martin and Edgefield.  Last year not enough people qualified for those offices, therefore each village council is one member short.

Persons wishing to fill these offices will qualify at the Clerk of Court’s office in the Courthouse.

Statewide, there will be an election for member of the BESE board.  People seeking that office will qualify with the Secretary of State in Baton Rouge.

Here is the information provided by the Secretary of State concerning election qualification:

Qualifying for the March 20 Municipal Primary and Special Congressional Primary (U.S. Representative, Districts 2 and 5) election will be held from Wednesday, January 20 through Friday, January 22.

All candidates for state and federal office will qualify at the Louisiana State Archives located at 3851 Essen Lane in Baton Rouge. All candidates for local municipal races will qualify with their parish clerk of court. Hours of operation for the secretary of state are 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. daily. Check with the local clerk of court for specific parish hours. 

In response to COVID-19, some qualifying procedures have changed:

  • Qualifying at the Secretary of State’s Office will be held at the Louisiana State Archives located at 3851 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70809.
  • Candidates are asked to bring only one additional person to the signing room as they file their paperwork.
  • The media will have an opportunity to interview candidates in the Archives auditorium but will not be allowed to be in the signing rooms as candidates file their paperwork.
  • In accordance with public health guidelines; masks are strongly encouraged, social distancing will be in place, and the building capacity will not exceed 50 people. 

Pursuant to Act 312 of the 2020 Regular Session, qualifying candidates will be required to present a valid Louisiana driver’s license or Louisiana identification card. For more information on qualifying, visit the secretary of state’s website at www.sos.la.gov.


Long Time Registrar Passes

This week Red River Parish said goodbye to long time Registrar of Voters Mary Jones.  She passed away on January 14th.

The current Registrar, Debra Jones said Mary Jones worked for the Registrar’s office for several years prior to being named Registrar. She assumed the office July 13th in 2000.  She retired at the end of August in 2018.

Also during her career, Jones worked as a receptionist at Kilpatrick’s Rose-Neath Funeral Home in Coushatta.

The date for her memorial service has not been set.  It will be held at a later date.


Board Members Recognized

Members of the Red River Parish School Board are being recognized this month for their service and dedication to public education.  The theme for this year is “School Boards Matter?  Navigating to Success

“The foundation of school leadership is ensuring consistent and equal learning opportunities for all students in all circumstances or situations,” said Superintendent Alison Hughes.  She added, “We’re proud of our district, and School Board Recognition Month is the time to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of our elected board members.

The men and women serving on the Red River Parish School Board are Cleve Miller, Susan Taylor, Valerie Cox, Kasandria White, Gary Giddens, Richard Cannon and Gene Longino.


School Board Streaming Live

The monthly meeting of the School Board was delayed until Thursday due to the snow storm.  They will meet at 4:30 in the Administration Building on Alonzo Street.  The Journal will stream the meeting live to Facebook.com/RedRiverParishJournal/videos.

Included on the agenda Thursday will be the election of board officers for 2021.  The time and place of board meetings will also be set for the coming year.


The Elevator Girl

By Brad Dison

It was foggy in New York on the morning of July 28, 1945.  Twenty-year-old Betty Lou Oliver made her way to the 102-story Empire State Building where she worked as an “elevator girl.”  At 1,250 feet, it was the world’s tallest building.  Prior to their push-button automation in the 1970s, elevators were manually controlled.  Elevator operators controlled the elevators speed and direction by moving a large lever.  Elevator operators were expected to consistently stop their elevator in perfect alignment with each floor.  Betty Lou took the job as elevator girl at the Empire State Building while she awaited the return of her husband, a sailor who was overseas.  Betty Lou had given proper notice and was to quit working at the Empire State Building within a couple of days. 

At about 8:50 a.m., an Army B-25 Mitchell bomber with a crew of three, piloted by Lieutenant Colonel William F. Smith, Jr., left Bedford Army Air Field in Massachusetts en route to Newark Metropolitan Airport in New Jersey.  When the pilot neared New York, he radioed the control station at LaGuardia Field for a weather report.  Victor Barden, chief control operator at La Guardia reported to Smith that there was a heavy fog which was down to 900 feet, and visibility was worsening.  Barden told Smith to descend to 1,000 feet once he had cleared New York City and was over New Jersey.  Regulations at the time stipulated that airplanes flying over New York had to remain at an altitude of at least 1,500 feet to avoid skyscrapers.  Barden radioed to Smith about the thick fog and said, “I cannot see the top of the Empire State Building now.”  “Roger,” Smith responded in acknowledgement.    

For reasons unknown, Smith descended to 1,000 feet while still over New York City.  People on the ground looked skyward as they heard the low flying airplane, but they could only see the thick fog.  People in nearby skyscrapers saw the B-25 pass by their windows.  They, too, were unable to see the Empire State Building because of the thick fog. 

At 9:52 a.m., the B-25 struck the 79th floor of the Empire State Building.  The force of the crash rocked the building.  Fuel from the B-25 erupted into a bright orange flame which destroyed everything on the 78th and 79th floors, and cleared the fog around the building.  One of the B-25’s engines broke away from the airplane and flew nearly one hundred feet, tore through seven walls on the 79th floor, destroyed the suspension and safety cables on at least three elevators, and landed with an explosion on the roof of a nearby 17-story building.  Other fragments from the airplane and from the building itself landed as far away as five blocks. 

Betty Lou was in her elevator above the 80th floor when the airplane struck the building.  She felt a momentary shudder.  Suddenly, the elevator plummeted downward.  Betty Lou clung to the handrail in the elevator to keep from floating.  She felt as though the elevator was leaving her.  She worked the controls of the elevator, but got no response.  She continued to fall with the elevator.  A searing flash of fire enveloped Betty Lou, and she raised her left arm to protect her face.  A moment later the fire was gone.  Betty Lou tried the controls again, but they still had no effect.  She picked up the elevator’s telephone and tried to call the ground floor, but the telephone line was dead.  Betty Lou yelled and pounded on the elevator floor and walls.

The elevator continued its decent.  At the basement level of the Empire State Building’s elevator system were large oil buffers, one per elevator, which were designed to stop a descending elevator car during an emergency.  After falling nearly 1,000 feet, the elevator struck the oil buffer’s piston.  However, the elevator was traveling much too fast for the oil buffer to bring the car to a cushioned stop.  The elevator struck with such force that it drove the oil buffer’s piston through the floor of the elevator and through the elevator car itself, from bottom to top.  The concrete floor below the oil buffer “was crushed like an egg shell.”  The piston was so large that, with the exception of an eight-inch space in one of the elevator’s corners, it penetrated and destroyed the elevator.  Luckily, this eight-inch space was where Betty Lou was standing when the elevator crashed.        

On a normal weekday in 1945, the Empire State Building had a population of about 65,000 people, which consisted of about 15,000 employees and 50,000 visitors.  On this day, however, few visitors entered the building because thick fog and intermittent rain limited the views from the observation decks.  Only a small number of the building’s employees were working inside the building because it was a Saturday morning.  The 78th floor, one of the two floors which had been completely destroyed by fire, was vacant, as were the 81st to 85th floors.  Firefighters extinguished the fire in less than fifty minutes.  The damage caused by the crash and fire did not weaken the structural integrity of the building.  Only a few people were on the streets because of the intermittent rain, none of which were injured by falling debris.  Investigators estimated that only about 1,500 people were in the building.  Had it not been a rainy Saturday morning, the crash would have certainly been more devastating.  Of the estimated 1,500 people in the building, only fourteen people died and another twenty-six people were injured.                         

Betty Lou was among the injured.  She was trapped in the eight-inch space in the corner of her elevator for hours before rescuers located her.  She received burns from when her elevator passed through the searing fire on the 79th floor.  The force of the elevator’s sudden impact broke her legs and severed her spine.  She received bruises and cuts on her body from the oil buffer’s piston and fragments of her elevator.  On December 2, 1945, after spending four months in the hospital, Betty Lou left the hospital and was able to walk, albeit with her legs and back in braces, five feet from her wheel chair to a waiting car.  When Betty Lou arrived at work on that rainy, foggy, July morning, she had no idea that the events of the day would set a record.  You see, Betty Lou Oliver holds the Guinness World Record for “longest fall survived in a lift (elevator).” 

Sources:

  1. New York Daily News, July 29, 1945, p.90, P.170, p.297.
  2. Deseret News (Salt Lake City, Utah), July 31, 1945, p.1.
  3. New York Daily News, December 3, 1945, p.276.

4.  Guinness World Records. “Longest fall survived in a lift (elevator).” Accessed January 14, 2021. guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/73541-longest-fall-survived-in-a-lift-elevator.


Several Spring Events at NSU Postponed due to COVID-19.

Northwestern State University has postponed several events planned for Spring 2021 in ongoing efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. 

“With the recent extension of the modified Phase Two order to slow the spread of Covid-19 in Louisiana, we continue to take precautions at the university in the best interest of the health and safety of the NSU community.  In doing so we must, unfortunately, postpone several events planned for the spring 2021 semester,” said NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio.

Flavor of Louisiana and Golden Jubilee Celebrations for the classes of 1970 and 1971 will be rescheduled.  Other events will take place in conjunction with Homecoming festivities. The Long Purple Line luncheon and induction ceremony for the class of 2020 will take place Oct. 22 and the N-Club Hall of Fame induction program for the class of 2020 will take place Oct. 23. The Greek Centennial Celebration has been reset for Oct. 22-24 with nominations for the 100 for 100 open through May 31. 

“Last fall, our staff optimistically set dates for Spring 2021 events in the hopes we would be able to welcome our supporters to campus and celebrate several popular traditions,” Maggio said.  “Logistics for large events take months of planning and because of the uncertainty of where we may be as a state and nation, we made the proactive decision to postpone those events.” 

Although some printed materials, including a forthcoming edition of Alumni Columns magazine, feature invitations to Spring 2021 events, Maggio advised readers that plans have changed since those materials were submitted for publication.


Hypocrisy and the Rise of the Cancel Culture 

By Royal Alexander

It has become clearer recently that the Left is not nearly as concerned with hate speech as it is with speech it hates.

There is no consistency; no evenly applied standard.  No matter how violent or hate-filled it may be, speech is allowed—if not celebrated—if it comports with the Left’s false narrative of Americans as racist, sexist, bigoted, provincial, and stupid.  It is generally not allowed or mocked if it inspires millions of Americans toward a faith in God, love of country and love of family. 

For recent examples, recall the orgy of violence, rioting, looting, murder and hate speech last year by Antifa and BLM that was merely deemed “peaceful protesting.”  Recall the damage and destruction of hundreds of historic monuments and statues across the country; or the Church in D.C. that was nearly destroyed—the attack itself was not criticized, only that President Trump stood in front of the Church and held up a Bible.  Was any of this other than the president ever denounced? No. 

We are told that the rushed, unsupported 2nd impeachment of President Trump was warranted because he supposedly “incited” an insurrection at the Capitol with inflammatory, hate speech.  However, there are numerous reports that the Capitol Police and other law enforcement had already been notified that there could be a disruption at the rally.  How did the president, who had not even finished his speech, incite the riot?  

Please remember that the impeachment article claims that President Trump supposedly incited the riot by spreading false statements that there was election fraud.  This is obviously well past asserting that his rhetoric itself was dangerous.  Here, the article of impeachment asserts that merely questioning the result of an election is, itself, an act of incitement.  This represents a very broad suppression of constitutionally protected speech.

However, while we are on the topic of inciteful, inflammatory, hate speech let’s recall some instances in which no one was censored or banned from social media:

“We need another John Wilkes Booth.” Actor Johnny Depp referring to the assassination of Pres. Trump; “I fantasize about standing over Donald Trump’s dead body.” Actor Tom Arnold; Holding up a bloody, decapitated head of Pres. Trump. Comedian Kathy Griffin.  Shooting a likeness of Pres. Trump who is placed in a body bag.  Snoop Dog; “Let’s blow up the White House.” Madonna; “I’d like to take him behind a barn and beat him.” Joe Biden. 

“I dream of punching him in the face.” Corey Booker, U.S. Senator; “harass his staff and supporters in public and refuse to serve them.” Maxine Waters, congresswoman; “lock a ten-year old (Barron Trump) in a cage with child molesters.” Actor Peter Fonda referring to the president’s son. Major national media and social media either applaud or ignore statements like these.  Can you imagine the outrage if these things had been said about Pres. Obama?

Let’s consider another example.  

President Trump and numerous conservative figures of all kinds have now been either temporarily or permanently censored and banned from Twitter and Facebook.  Many that haven’t been banned outright have had large numbers of their social media followers deleted.  Apple, Google, and others are now also purging conservative speech and speakers from their platforms as well.  [I understand that companies like these are nominally private companies but while they enjoy the enormous benefit of Section 230 legal liability protection under federal law (Communications Decency Act), they shouldn’t be allowed to selectively censor].   Many other social media platforms have rushed this past week to join this purge. 

So, the President of the United States is banned from Twitter but the Ayatollah Khamenei, head of the murderous Iranian regime and responsible for the deaths of innumerable Americans—who constantly demands “death to America and Israel” remains on Twitter.  The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), a world class violator of civil and human rights, remains on Twitter.  Porn Hub, the largest host of child porn and rape videos in the world, remains on Twitter.  Planned Parenthood, proudly responsible for most of the abortions in America, remains on Twitter.

Everyone is entitled to believe, support, and vote for what and whom they wish in this country but if the national Left thinks the American people don’t recognize this clear hypocrisy and the Cancel Culture that results from it, it is mistaken. 


Is It the Truth?

By Curtis R. Joseph, Jr

During my sophomore year at Washington & Lee University, in Lexington, Virginia, my mentor, Professor Robert DeMaria, sent me and a fellow Mass Communications major to Winchester, Virginia to cover a town hall meeting.  Unbeknownst to us was the fact the agenda featured a highly contentious issue, one that remains the source of division throughout our country even to this very day:  the removal of Confederate monuments from public spaces. 

So, there we were, two young black kids, pulling into a foreign town, which was overrun by people wearing Confederate regalia, waving Confederate flags, and shouting unpleasantries.  Being that I was from Louisiana, I’d encountered my fair share of Confederate flags.  However, my classmate was from Brooklyn, New York, and she was terrified.  I assured her that I wouldn’t let anything happen to her, and I advised her that I would take the issue up with our professor the following day.

Fortunately, we covered the meeting without incident.  When I entered the professor’s office the next morning, he saw the anger in my eyes, and he headed me off at the pass.  He stated that he would not apologize for sending us to the meeting.  However, he admitted that he owed us an apology for not telling us about the hot-button issue on the agenda.  More importantly, he used the opportunity as a teaching moment to stress the point that, as journalists, our duty was to find out what happened in the world on a certain day and to report it objectively to our readership or viewership.  As members of the fourth estate, we were charged with reporting the facts and only the facts.  In other words, ours was a quest for truth.  Which brings me to the 4-Way Test.

Approximately three years ago, my father-in-law, invited me to a lunch meeting of the Rotary Club of Shreveport, of which I am now a proud member.  At the conclusion of the meeting, the members and guests stood and recited the test, which provides as follows:

                        “Of the things we think, say, or do,           

  1. Is it the truth?
  2. Is it fair to all concerned?
  3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”

Suffice it to say, I was fascinated by such a litmus test.  And I was curious as to its origins.  As it turns out, the test was penned by Herbert J. Taylor in the early 1930s.  Taylor sought to save the Club Aluminum Products distribution company from imminent bankruptcy.  He firmly believed that a change in mentality was the first step in righting the ship.  After all, as I think, I am.  Basically, by establishing a set of guidelines that pointed toward elevated ethics and morals, Taylor changed the overall climate of the company which, in turn, changed the company’s fortunes. 

I make specific mention of the fact that the test leads off with the threshold inquiry—Is the thing true?  Prior to assessing its equitableness, its benevolence, or its usefulness, Taylor weighed the veracity of the thing.  Is it the truth?  As I write this article, our President is in the midst of a second impeachment and our country is on the brink of violence, poised to erupt at all corners, not from without, but from within.  Yet, one can channel surf the various news outlets and find altogether different versions of the truth depending upon one’s appetite. There is actually a new term for this phenomenon—“alternative facts”.  I’m fairly certain my grandmother wouldn’t accept such a term.  She’d just call it a lie.  For his part, Dan Rather has lamented that we have entered a post-factual America. 

As a nation, we’ve recently witnessed an attack, by American citizens, on the very seat of our country’s government.  The day will, no doubt, go down as one of the worst in our history.  Insofar as attention spans are fickle, the discussion in many circles has pivoted from the mob riot at the Capitol to the fact that various social media platforms have suspended certain individuals’ accounts in the wake of the events of January 6, 2021.

When the events of that infamous day are examined in context, it must be stated that the “Stop the Steal” gathering was organized around an untruthful premise (i.e., that the presidential election of 2020 was somehow fraudulent).  Yet, there is no evidence of such.  Due to the lack of evidence, courts all across the country have dismissed frivolous lawsuits or, otherwise, declined to hear them. 

In fact, U.S. Senators Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and Louisiana’s own Bill Cassidy have admitted that Joe Biden lawfully won the 2020 presidential election.  When he took the floor to certify Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, Majority Leader McConnell stated, “If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral.”  In that same vein, Senator Graham, a staunch supporter of President Trump, noted, “It is over… [Biden] won. He’s the legitimate President to the United States… Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are lawfully elected and will become the President and the Vice President of the United States on January 20.”  Similarly, Senator Cassidy has said, “The dozens and dozens of legal challenges from President Trump’s legal team have all been rejected, many by judges appointed by President Trump. Every one of them.”  In a word, the allegations that the election was stolen are untrue. 

Nevertheless, that untrue allegation has been perpetuated for months and it persists.  The rhetoric surrounding it culminated in the riot at our Capital.  As the rioters are being rounded up one-by-one, to a person, they now contend that they were invited to the Capitol by the President, and they were there doing what he wanted them to do.  This is the defense that has been advanced by the so-called Qanon shaman, Jacob Chansley.  Likewise, North Texas realtor, Jenna Ryan, has said the same.  Words matter.  And all speech is not protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution.  In fact, the Supreme Court has held that protected speech does not extend to that which “is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action”. 

As one trained to be both a journalist and a lawyer, it truly pains me to witness the lengths to which unscrupulous individuals will go in order to obfuscate basic truth.  Notwithstanding the fact that many of us carry mobile devices that possess far more computing power than the mainframe computers that sent the first rockets to the moon, we struggle to unearth the objective truth.  That said, it is worth noting that objective truth is to be distinguished from subjective truth.  And facts are to be distinguished from opinions. 

If we can get to the truth of the matter, we will be better positioned to address the remaining areas of inquiry.  We can, then, channel our energies into educating our children for the jobs of the future, training and employing our workforce, providing fair and equal wages to hard-working Americans, addressing our country’s failing infrastructure, eradicating COVID-19, and otherwise providing healthcare to our citizens, among other things.  And, in the end, just as Taylor’s 4-Way Test reversed his company’s fortunes by improving upon the decency, ethics and morality of the company’s employees, as citizens, we have the ability to effect the same impact upon our communities and our country as a whole.