Play Ball!

“Today our facilities are the best in the state, perhaps best in the tri-state region,” said Superintendent Alison Hughes in opening the new Red River Baseball and Softball complex.  The fields saw their first competitions Tuesday after months of clearing land, pouring concrete, and building dugouts, clubhouses and stands.  Hughes said, “Last year at this time we were playing in a crawfish pond (a reference to the old single field that often flooded).”

The ceremonies took place under bright sunshine.  Hughes remarked about the other construction projects on the campus that are at a standstill due to a very wet winter.

The Red River Cheerleaders lead the program.  Members of the High School and Junior High baseball and softball teams were introduced and invited to sign a bat that will become a permanent part of each ball park.

Many people in the school system or the community were thanked for their efforts over the years to get the sports improvements in place.  Former Coach Earl Martin and long-time School Board member Cleve Miller were given special recognition for their contributions.  Martin and Willet were selected to throw out the ceremonial first pitch in each ball park to get play under way.

Then there was the official ribbon cutting.  A large crowd gathered at the site saw a bright ribbon sliced in two places signifying that the fields are now open.  And High School Principal brought the ceremony to a close inviting everyone to the field.  Dickey proclaimed, “Play ball!”

Riverdale Rebels and Lady Rebels Advance to Overall Tournament

By Molly Seales

The Rebels and Lady Rebels spent their week of winter break in Marks, Mississippi fighting to claim state titles. Unfortunately, both teams fell short of their goal, but they played some great basketball.

On Wednesday, February 19, the Lady Rebels took care of business by defeating the Desoto Thunderbirds 61-40.  Three Lady Rebels put up double digits in scoring, led by Bailey Pate with 16 points.  Malea Edwards added 13, and Kenley Loftin provided a spark off the bench by scoring 11.  Rylee Kate Woodard added 7, Bailee King had 6, Brooklyn Azlin and Ronda Black added 3 each.  Morgan Alexander rounded out the scoring with 2 points. 

The Rebels played the late game on Wednesday and defeated Delta Academy on their home court by a score of 72-54.  The boys were on fire from behind the three point line. Parker Almond led all scorers with 21 points. Reagan Huddleston hit 5 3 pointers in the game plus a basket for a total of 17 points.  Caden Long tossed in 4 3 pointers of his own for 12 points.  Jackson Riggs added 17 points against a tough inside defense. Garrett Wilhite added 5 points to round out the scoring.

On Friday, the Lady Rebels and the Rebels played their semi final games.  In a low scoring game, the Lady Rebels defeated the WCCA Lady Rams 31-22.  Bailey Pate had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.  Malea Edwards was a huge asset again, scoring 7 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Kenley Loftin had 4 points and 7 rebounds.  Rylee Kate Woodard added 3 points, and Bailee King and Morgan Alexander rounded out the scoring with 2 points each.

Later that evening, the Rebels fell short against eventual Class A state champions Humphreys Academy.  They fell short 66-56 but played an amazing game.  Humphreys made 71% of their shots, which put the Rebels at a disadvantage.  Parker Almond again led all scorers with 23 points.  Jackson Riggs had a double-double on the night with 15 points and 11 rebounds.  Caden Long added 11 points, including 3 3 pointers.  Reagan Huddleston added 5 points, and Denver Williams rounded out the scoring with 2.

On Saturday, the Lady Rebels faced the Briarfield Lady Rebels in the championship game.  Unfortunately, they fell just a little short with a score of 47-39.  They played with so much heart the entire week.  Bailey Pate again led all scorers with 22 points and also pulled down 4 rebounds.  Brooklyn Azlin added 5 points.  Malea Edwards had 4 points and was a force under the goal, grabbing 8 rebounds.  Ronda Black chipped in 4 points.  Kenley Loftin had 2 points and was effective on the board, pulling down 9 rebounds.  Bailee King rounded out the scoring with 2 points.  They are the MSAIS Class 1A State Runner up.

Saturday night the Rebels played for 3rd place and pulled off a rematch victory against the WCCA Rams with a final score of 65-54.  Parker Almond again led all scorers with 19 points and 5 rebounds.  Caden Long had a great night chipping in 17 points and grabbing 9 rebounds.  Reagan Huddleston had 12 points, while Jackson Riggs added 5 points and had 5 rebounds.  Denver Williams, who came off the bench, was vital to the win.  He scored 8 points and pulled down 8 rebounds. 

Riverdale Places Five Players on Class 1A All-Tournament Teams

By Molly Seales

Class 1A State Runner Up Riverdale Lady Rebels placed 3 players on the all-tournament team.  The teams are chosen by a committee whose members are present the entire week and watch each game that is played. 

Seniors Bailey Pate and Malea Edwards once again stepped up the entire tournament and led their team to the championship game.  Sophomore Kenley Loftin came off the bench to give the Lady Rebels some outstanding minutes and was an asset in scoring and rebounding.  Congratulations to these 3 young ladies on this honor.

On the boys’ side, our 3rd place Riverdale Rebels placed 2 players on the all-tournament team.  Our only senior Jackson Riggs led his team through the tournament as he has done all year.  Junior Parker Almond does it all on the court and joined Riggs on the all-tournament team.  Congratulations to these 2 young men.

New Catholic Bishop Visits St. George

By Debbie Jones

On February 15th St. George Catholic Church was honored to have the new Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Shreveport officiate over mass. Bishop Frances Malone, the third Bishop of Shreveport, was ordained as a Bishop on January 28, 2020. Bishop Malone comes to us from the Diocese of Little Rock. He is originally from Philadelphia and was ordained to the priesthood in 1977 in Arkansas. He pastored at Christ the King Church and School in Little Rock for nearly 19 years.

The Parishioners of St. George listened to the Bishop describe the clothing and items he was wearing. He said everything was hand me downs other than the miter (Bishop hat) he was wearing. His vestments were almost 75 years old and came from his Uncle who was a Priest, the large cross he wore is 100 years old and came from a relative who was a Catholic Nun and the large gold ring he wore is new but the idea came from his brother who along with his siblings and family had the ring made for the Bishop’s ordination.

The Diocese of Shreveport was formed in 1986 when the Catholic Church added more dioceses to Louisiana. Bishop Malone will shepherd 37 Catholic parishes and missions and 6 Catholic Schools encompassing almost 42,000 Catholics. St. George Catholic Church in Coushatta is a Mission Church under Mary Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Bossier City. Father Jim Moran is the current Priest assigned to St. George. They celebrate Mass on Saturdays at 4 PM.

Bishop Malone will continue to be a spiritual leader to all the Catholics in the Shreveport Diocese and is already proving that he is a true Shephard by visiting even the smallest of his churches and pastoring those of all ages, as you can see from this picture where the Bishop had young Wyche Taylor Coleman wear his miter and shake the hands of people leaving the church.

The One That Got Away

Concetta Franconero was young and in love.  But, as often is the case, her father didn’t approve of her beau, Walden Cassotto.  Concetta was a somebody.  Walden was a nobody.  In the 50s, 60s, and 70s, Concetta recorded hit songs in multiple languages and became an international music and movie star.  Concetta’s father, George, though not her manager, advised her on which songs to record and which to turn down.  Concetta and her father disagreed on many song choices but, as it turned out, most of her hits were songs she had turned down, but her father convinced her to record anyway.  This happened time and time again.  It seemed that father knew best.

Concetta and Walden first met when her manager hired Walden, an aspiring singer and songwriter, to help write songs that would fit her voice.  Concetta and Walden soon fell in love.  As I said before, Concetta’s father DID NOT approve of Walden.  To George, Walden was a hanger-on and would never amount to much.  An aspiring singer and songwriter was no match for his star of a daughter.

One evening George overheard Concetta and Walden making plans to elope.  George was infuriated.  He wouldn’t, he couldn’t stand by and watch his daughter marry a nobody.  He acted quickly, grabbed a gun, burst into the room, and led Walden out, all the while threatening him to never come near his daughter again.  And so it was.  The whirlwind romance came to an end at gunpoint. 

Through the passing years, Walden and Concetta only saw each other a couple of times and on a professional basis only.  Walden eventually married someone else.  Concetta also married …four times, each ending in divorce.  In her biography Concetta wrote that not marrying Walden was the biggest mistake of her life.  You probably know some of Concetta’s hits such as “Who’s Sorry Now,” and “Where the Boys Are,” and may have even seen her starring in the movie of the same name.  You probably don’t recognize the name Concetta Rosa Marie Franconero, but you will recognize her stage name, Connie Francis. …and Walden Cassotto, the nobody who wasn’t good enough for George’s daughter, recorded several hit songs of his own.  Have you ever heard “Splish Splash,” “Dream Lover,” “Mack the Knife,” and “Beyond the Sea?”  You know Walden Cassotto by his stage name…Bobby Darin.


Ladies Pass Second Test

The Red River Lady Bulldogs notched their second playoff victory Monday night.  They defeated the Lady Eagles of Rosepine 73 to 48 to advance to the third round of the Class 2-A basketball playoffs.

Rosepine put up a tough fight but were no match for the Lady Bulldogs.  Coach Missy Antilley’s team steadily widened the gap quarter after quarter.  Despite some sloppy play in the final quarter, and putting their substitutes on the court in the last few minutes, Red River held onto a 25-point lead.

The path narrows and become steeper Thursday night.  The Lady Bulldogs will again have home court advantage for their 6:00 pm game.  The Dawg Pound will be invaded by Ferriday, seeded 7th in 2-A.  On Monday, Ferriday took care of Jonesboro-Hodge 55 to 50.

The boys team begins playoff competition on Friday night.   The Bulldogs will host Kentwood.  That game begins at 7:00 pm.

Harriet Tubman-a Legacy of Steadfast Courage, Faith and Dignity

Harriet Tubman’s life is an inspirational story of a woman with an indomitable spirit, deep and abiding religious faith and steadfast courage who overcame incredible hardships to achieve a life of dignity and freedom for herself, her family and dozens of slaves whom she led to freedom as perhaps the most well known conductor on the Underground Railroad.

She was born into slavery sometime in the early 1820’s. The exact date remains unknown. She was cruelly treated. Beaten and whipped throughout her childhood, she nearly died at age 12 from a head wound suffered when a slaveowner threw a metal weight at another slave that hit her instead. The wound left her with seizures and other problems that were to plague her for the remainder of her life.

In 1849, she discovered that her owner was planning to sell her, breaking up her family. She then fled north to freedom, eventually reaching Philadelphia. It was then that her life took a turn that was to largely define her life and lead to her fame. Not content in having won her own freedom while her family and others remained in slavery, she went back to rescue them. It was an incredibly courageous decision that was fraught with peril. Were she to be captured, she would be re-enslaved, if not killed outright. She was risking more than her life by going back. Between 1849 and 1860, she made over 13 trips to the South to lead members of her family and others to freedom. After the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act made it more dangerous for escaped slaves to live openly, even in states in which slavery was not legal, she took the men and women she was leading to freedom on the Underground Railroad to Ontario in Canada.

Harriet Tubman’s activities with the Underground Railroad led to a price being put upon her head by southern authorities. She was never captured, nor did she lose a single person in her charge to the slave-catchers and their dogs. She rescued her parents in 1857, and made her last trip as a conductor on the Underground Railroad in 1860, just before the outbreak of the Civil War. It was an incredible record of courage and honor that would be more than enough for a single lifetime. But Harriet Tubman’s struggle against the evils of slavery and oppression were far from over.

When the Civil War began in 1861, Tubman first served the Union forces as a cook and a nurse. After President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, she took a more direct role in the war. Tubman used the skills she had honed on her trips on the Underground Railroad to serve as a spy and scout for the Union Army.

In early June of 1863, Harriet Tubman accompanied units from the 2nd South Carolina Infantry under Col. James Montgomery on a raid of plantations along the Combahee River in South Carolina. The unit was comprised of Black soldiers who had at long last been allowed to join the Union Army and fight for their freedom. Tubman guided the three steamships carrying the soldiers past Confederate mines in the river. The troops landed and burned several plantations and captured supplies to deny them to the Confederacy. The slaves working in the fields saw the approaching soldiers and heard the whistles of the Union steamships. They raced to the river to the ships-and freedom. Over 750 slaves were rescued in the raid, with most of the men joining the Union Army. A month later, she witnessed the assault upon Fort Wagner by the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the unit featured in the superb movie “Glory”. Harriet Tubman spent the remainder of the Civil War nursing and assisting soldiers and working in the camps of freed slaves.

After the war, she returned to her home in Auburn, New York to care for her parents whom she had brought back from Canada. She later became involved in the women’s suffrage movement, a cause that she supported until her death of pneumonia in 1913.

Harriet Tubman left a remarkable legacy. She won her freedom and then risked it repeatedly by returning to slave states to lead others to freedom. She served the cause of the Union in combat and as a spy and scout. She nursed the sick and the wounded. Her life is a record of incredible perseverance and courage. It is also a record of selfless service to others. Perhaps her greatest legacy will never be precisely known. There are any number of our fellow Americans who are descended from the men and women she led to freedom on those long night time treks through the swamps and woods with the north star as their only guide.

McGee Scholarship

Former Coushatta resident, Milton McGee remembers his hometown with a scholarship to Baylor University.  Local graduating seniors are invited to apply.

McGee and his wife Sharla told The Journal they attended Baylor and they have family and friends connected to the University.  They have funded a scholarship that will provide educational funds to students in his hometown of Henderson, Texas and Coushatta.  The McGee Scholarship is backed by a $100,000.00 endowment placed with the university by Milton and Sharla McGee.

Students are eligible for the scholarship if they have been accepted to Baylor and are members of First Baptist Churches of Coushatta or Henderson.

McGee resided in Coushatta as a young man.  He attended First Baptist.  And he said he and his wife were interested in helping with college expenses for students who are sharing some of the same experiences growing up.

Livestock Show Results

Shirley and Alaina Boyd, students at Riverdale, competed in the Northwest District Livestock show in Shreveport as well as the LSU State Livestock show in Gonzales. 

Alaina Boyd won 2nd in class 1 Duroc breeds At the state show.  Both Shirley Boyd and Alaina Boyd participated in showmanship at the state show.

Shirley Boyd placed 3rd place showmanship in her age group, 2nd in cross barro market, and 1st Duroc market. Alaina Boyd placed 1st place showmanship her age group, 2nd place cross guilt, and 2nd place Duroc market. 

Spring Election Information

Registrar of Voters Debra Jones has supplied information on the upcoming elections in Louisiana this spring.  There will be a Presidential Primary Election on April 4th and Municipal General Election on May 9th.

Clerk of Court Stuart Shaw has provided information for the Board of Election Supervisors concerning preparations for the April 4th election.

Both of those notices are provided below.