The Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating a shooting Thursday afternoon that left one man dead.

A spokesperson at the Sheriff’s Department could only release basic details in the incident. He said at 4:37 pm Thursday deputies were dispatched to Red River Estates on East Riddle Street in reference to a shooting.

Deputies reported that one victim with multiple gunshot wounds was transported by private vehicle to the local emergency room. The victim succumbed to his injuries.

The spokesperson confirmed that the suspected shooter is in custody. Two other individuals are being detained as part of the investigation.

The spokesperson says other details, possible motive, and identities of those involved will be released later pending completion of their investigation.



Red River High School is seeking a new Head Football Coach. The school board has posted the job opening locally and statewide.

Parish School Superintendent Alison Hughes said “I can confirm that the board is actively seeking applications for a new football coach.” Hughes said she could not comment further “because it involves a personnel matter and we are still in the midst of the situation that is going on.”

The employment opportunity notice was posted on the school board’s Facebook page. It was posted March 28th on the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s website. And the notice was sent in an email to school employees.


RRPJ-Groundbreaking TOP-17Mar31

Fire Chief Shane Felts is excited. Construction of the department’s new fire station is underway with workers on scene daily. On Wednesday, they held their official groundbreaking ceremony.

They actually held two groundbreakings to accommodate the schedules of firefighters, local officials and fire district board members. The morning groundbreaking is pictured above. The evening ceremony is below.

Felts says the new fire station will be large enough to park all of the department’s vehicles inside the large bay on the north side of the building. There are accommodations for firefighters on duty plus offices and kitchen on the south side of the building.

Special guest at the evening groundbreaking was Chief Bobby Hayes of DeSoto Fire District 9. Hayes loaned the plans for his station in DeSoto parish to Red River after Chief Felts saw and liked the design of Hayes’ station.

The new fire station is under construction on US 71 north of Coushatta at the intersection with US 371. Expected Completion date is in December 2017. Felts said the total price tag on the new station is $3,000,000.

RRPJ-Groundbreaking BOTTOM-17Mar31


RRPJ-Moving Day-17Mar31
Thursday was moving day for the parish voting machines. All 32 machines were loaded up at the old warehouse on US 71 South and moved to the new warehouse beside Dairy Queen on US 71 North.

The machines were unloaded and rolled into the new, more spacious warehouse by Election Technician John Perkins and Toby Trichel. Perkins is employed by the Secretary of State and Trechel works for Trichel Enterprises, a bonded moving company.

The move is mostly complete. Perkins said he will maintain the office in the old warehouse until telephone and internet service is installed in the new facility.

The warehouse is maintained by the Louisiana Secretary of State, the agency overseeing elections in the state. Perkins said “there are 32 voting machines in the warehouse. Eighteen machines are used on election day, with the rest of them for back up. “


RRPJ-Coushatta Express1-17Mar31
The Coushatta Express convenience store is undergoing remodeling. Workers are clearing out the interior of the store, which was damaged by smoke from a fire in a restroom.

Work began this week on clearing away damaged walls and ceilings. Workers are rebuilding the interior of the store. And they are making a few other improvements as well. The workers did not have a definite timetable for completion of the remodeling.


There will be no Relay For Life in Red River Parish this year. But you can still get involved with Relay if you wish.

Danielle Cobb is with the American Cancer Society’s Shreveport office. She also is the staff partner for Natchitoches, Winn, DeDoto and Sabine parishes. Cobb said “Unfortunately we are not having an event in Red River parish this year, but we are encouraging teams to still participate in either DeSoto parish’s event on May 27th or the event in Natchitoches on April 28th.”

“Our event in Red River parish over the last few years had a large decline in attendance and support so we made the difficult decision this past year” said Cobb. “Individuals still interested in participating” added Cobb “can email me at”

Cancer patients in Red River parish are encouraged to contact the National Cancer Information Center to receive access to their services.

ETC…March 31st

OUT LIKE A LION. Tradition says March either comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb or comes in like a lamb and roars out like a lion. We heard the roars for the past week! Two storms blew through the area, and thankfully Red River parish was spared major damage by both. A check with the Sheriff’s Department shows no damage from the storm Wednesday night. The earlier storm blew down a few trees in the parish.

SCHOOL BOARD A WEEK EARLY. The April meeting of the Red River Parish School Board is scheduled for Monday, April 3rd. At the March meeting the board moved the meeting from the usual second Monday to the first Monday in April. The move is due to spring break occurring on the normal meeting day.

POLICE JURY MEETS APRIL 3rd. That is their regular meeting day. Agenda will be on their website by Friday April 7th.

QUOTE WORTH REPEATING. Overheard during the past week “What you’ve been doing couldn’t be as important as what I’ve been doing.” Enough said.


There was some minor damage caused by the storms that moved through our area last week. The Journal checked with local officials and found no report of injury or major damage. There were some power outages that were quickly repaired.

The photo above is the large tree directly across from Red River High School that was blown over.

Chief Deputy Greg Moore at the Sheriff’s Office reports damage to a sign near the 4-way stop at the foot of the Red River Bridge. He also reported some trees down on the northern end of the parish.

Cleco spokesperson Jennifer Cahill said there were some power outages. At one point, Cahill said about 250 Cleco customers were without power. Those customers had their power restored before the weekend was over.

The Mansfield area suffered a greater impact. Cahill says “At the height of the storm, roughly 7,500 customers were without power.  Cleco has mobilized six crews to the Mansfield area to repair damage to its electric system, which includes broken poles and downed lines.”


Ashland Mayor Gahagan Lee said the town is getting everything ready for their 27th annual Spring Festival. With more events planned than in years past.

The dates are April 7th and 8th. Vendor reservations are now being accepted. Call Ashland village hall at 318-544-0044 to reserve a booth.

There will be arts and crafts booths, also plenty of food vendors. And Mayor Lee adds there will be a parade starting at 10:00 am on Saturday. Activities include a cake walk, fishing rod casting and archery contests.

The Spring Festival will have live entertainment all day Saturday in Ashland. And Saturday night there will be a dance with Kevin Crawford and Highway 9. The dance begins at 7:00 pm.

Remember the dates, April 7th and 8th in the Village of Ashland.

RRPJ-spring festival BOTTOM-17Mar29


RRPJ-Chamber-17Mar29The Coushatta-Red River Chamber of Commerce has produced a new video to promote the parish. The video was unveiled to chamber members at the recent chamber banquet.

The video begins with an aerial tour of the parish. Included are many sights that are familiar to all residents. The presentation highlights the natural beauty many of us take for granted.

As the tour continues, the video highlights government and business facilities. There is video from last year’s Christmas parade and spectacular aerial views of the fireworks show.

Grand Bayou Resort is highlighted with scenes of the lake, beach, fishing piers and other facilities. The 2016 Car Show is featured along with participants and vendors.

There is a link below to the Chamber’s new promotional video. Or you may go to to view all chamber information.



How healthy are you? You may feel fine, so take a few minutes to confirm it. The Red River Council on Aging is offering no-cost or discounted health services at the “Community Health Fair” April 18th.

The council invites everyone in the parish to come by and get your blood pressure, height and weight, and blood sugar checked at no charge. There will also be blood work available at reduced rates. A complete list of the blood work offered at the health fair by Christus Coushatta Healthcare is shown at the bottom of this article.

Door prizes are being offered. Many vendors will be there to provide information on the health services they offer. Vendors include Home Health, Resource Center, Christus Coushatta, Medical Technology, Rehab Centers, Hospice, LaChip, Audibel, Acadian On Call and Blood Sugar Cks.

The “Community Health Fair” will be held at the Red River Council on Aging building at 1825 Front Street. It will be Tuesday, April 18th beginning at 8:30 am. The health fair will be open until noon that day.

RRPJ-Health Fair BOTTOM-17Mar29

Homemade Jam will play

RRPJ-Homemade Jam-17Mar29Homemade Jam is playing April 7th at the VFW in Coushatta. Homemade Jam is Bud Christian’s band from Bossier City. In addition to playing in February at the VFW in Coushatta, they have performed in the Shreveport-Bossier area including the Council on Aging and VFW Post in Bossier City.

Doors open for dinner at 6 pm. Come hungry because the VFW Auxiliary is serving shrimp and chicken baskets plus all of your favorite snacks. Dancing starts at 7:00 and the band plays until 10:00. Admission to the dance is $7.00.
Remember the date, Friday April 7th. Homemade Jam presents a live stage show and dance at the VFW Post on Highway 71 south of Coushatta. Look for the big American Flag.


RRPJ-Therapeutic Riding TOP-17Mar292

It’s called Therapeutic Riding and it is available at the Red River Cowboy Church at Lake End. Riders are children and adults with special needs. They are assisted by an all-volunteer crew.

Pastor Clyde Miley says “it has been my dream for 30 years to offer Therapeutic Riding. And we were able to put it together in September, 2015.” He adds “there is no charge for participants.”

Danette Westfall’s daughter Lilly has been a rider for about a year. “It’s fun therapy. And it builds her confidence by being able to do what other kids are doing.”

Westfall noted that she had wanted horse therapy for her daughter for years but programs she heard about were always too far away for Lilly to attend. She was happy to find the Cowboy Church program a year ago. Westfall said “I appreciate this opportunity and I appreciate what the people in Cowboy Church do for the participants.”

The riding instructor is Kathleen Woreman. She said “there are 15 participants at present. They ride for an hour each Monday afternoon beginning at 4:00 pm. Participants ride the same horse every week. They also help with caring for the horse and equipment.”

Heather LaGrange is in charge of the volunteers. More volunteers are needed so that the program can be offered to more riders. It takes up to three people to lead the horse or walk alongside. If interested, give LaGrange a call at 318-663-3847. And if you know of someone with a special need that might benefit from Therapeutic Riding, call Pastor Miley at 318-201-2626.

ETC…March 29th

VBS COMING SOON. Many churches in the area will hold Vacation Bible School this summer. Their plans are being made now. Please let The Journal know your theme, dates, times, and all other important information. We’ll tell everyone! Send details, pictures and a flyer to Give us two weeks advance notice, if possible.

IT’S WILD TURKEY TIME! The Red River affiliate of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NTWF) will hold it’s annual banquet at First Baptist Church on Thursday, April 6th.

PUBLIC MEETING TIME CHANGE. The April meeting of the Red River Parish School Board will be held one week earlier next month. The date of the meeting will be April 3rd. As usual the board will meet at the central office on Alonzo Street.

CLARIFICATION. State Representative Kenny Cox asked the Journal to clarify his statements in the recent interview. On the subject of the TOPS program, Cox said he believes that students who drop out and do not complete their educational program should have to pay back their scholarship. However he said if there are no jobs available in their area of study, then the TOPS scholarship would have to be paid back.

LOTS OF CHOCOLATE. From RRES Paw Parents on Facebook…
“Happy to announce that our students sold over $15,000 of World’s finest chocolate. We get about 50% profit from sales. That’s half a new piece of equipment.
Top class in sales was Mrs. Beavers’ wining 5 pounds of chocolate. 1st place in sales Jacob Kellogg, 2nd place Jahari Griffin, 3rd place was Jessie Higgins.

SPRING BREAK AT NSU. Classes are out until Monday April 2nd. The school’s administrative offices are open during the break. Watson Library and the Wellness, Recreation an Activity Center will have special hours until Monday, so check with them before you go.

2nd Annual Dylan Poche Memorial Bass Tournament – Official Standings

Dylan Poche Memorial Bass Tournament
Cypress Bend Park
March 27, 2017

CONTACT: Burt Poche
PHONE: 1-318-652-3176
TOLEDO BEND – The 2nd Annual Dylan Kyle Poche Memorial Bass Tournament was a great success. Held on the Toledo Bend Lake on March 25, 2017. Juddy Hamous and Christian Cain Hamous took home 1st place prize of $5000, weighing in at 21.79. Other payouts were given up to 12th place, along with numerous prizes.

Official Standings of the 2nd Annual Dylan Kyle Poche Memorial Tournament for Top 12 Winners out of 87 boats:
1st Cain Hamous and Juddy Hamous – 21.97
2nd Joseph and Dimple Clevinger – 19.39
3rd Dustin Boyt and Russell Sistrunk – 18.28
4th Michael Bedgood and Jerry Hester – 17.48
5th Chris Gordon and Allen Gordon – 14.71
6th Randy Despino and Robert Despino – 14.11
7th Daniel Campbell and Kaitlyn Campbell – 13.98
8th Kevin Harris and Billy Bonds – 13.97
9th Brad Hensley and Michael Kotz – 12.62
10th Craig Lewis and Cason Lewis – 12.30
11th Nicholas Ezernack and Evan Ezernack – 11.37
12th Lance Fontenot and Archie Dore II – 11.26
Big Bass – Juddy Hamous – 7.50

“We are so very thankful for all of the support we have received from everyone. I know Dylan was right there with us all today.”  – Dylan Poche Family



RRPJ-Rep Kenny Cox-17Mar24
The legislative session is less than three weeks away. The Journal sat down with Representative Kenny Cox for a discussion of the issues that he sees are facing Louisiana. Those include doing something to reduce the incarceration rate in the state and funding for TOPS while making students accountable for their scholarships. Cox also expressed concern for the overall condition of the state budget.

Cox said “People in prison for non violent crimes are costing the state $36,000 to $46,000 per year and that is a large drain on the state budget. In addition Louisiana has a high incarceration rate.” Cox favors changes that move non-violent offenders from prisoners to being productive citizens. He said “It’s a budget, image and social thing. The money spent on incarceration could be put toward education to give them the ability to provide for their families. And it would improve the state’s image as well.”

On TOPS, Cox said perhaps the state should look at providing TOPS for students who will be working in job areas that are needed in Louisiana. And Cox adds “These are the things that we will fund. A students should have to spend three to five years working in the state after graduation. If a student does not do that, they should have to pay the scholarship back.” Cox says making the student accountable for the TOPS scholarship is something that is not done at present.

Another item Representative Cox is interested in is maintaining local services. Cox said “We have to budget funds to protect those agencies that provide service to people in local areas.”

There have been discussions around the capital on increasing the state tax on gasoline. On that, Cox said “If there is a gas tax it has to go for fixing our decaying road system. It has to be for that only. It has to be dedicated, But that will not help the rest of the budget.”

Another source of potential revenue is to tax oil and gas that passes through Louisiana ports. Cox said a use tax should be added, but that is not a popular issue with lawmakers. “If you use our port system and you use out pipeline facilities, we should be getting something for that” Cox added.

The regular session of the legislature will convene on Monday April 10th. It must adjourn no later than Thursday June 8th.



Attention runners, now is the time to reserve your t-shirt. The 2nd annual Riverdale 5K Color Run is scheduled for Saturday April 22, 2017. Starting time is 5:00 pm at the Coushatta Ball Park .

Celeste Huddleston is coordinating the run. She says that they are now registering runners. She adds “register by April 8th to guarantee your t-shirt and medal. “ Registration for the color run is $35.


RRPJ-Trike TOP-17Mar24
It was “all hands on deck” Wednesday at Springville Educational Center as Pine Belt Head Start workers and students held their annual Trike-A-Thon. Money raised from parents and friends will go to St. June’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

Center Director Jacqueline Williams and event coordinator Tiesha Cato organized the students in bicycle races, foot races, and some kite flying on the grassy field next to the Springville gym. Cato said there were 36 students who took part and there were a few older and younger siblings and many parents got into the action also.

Williams handed out stickers to the winners. She was crowded with children eagerly awaiting their stickers. Williams asked each boy and girl “Are you a winner?” The answer was always “yes.”

RRPJ-Trike BOTTOM-17Mar24



A four-person golf scramble fundraiser was held last weekend at the Coushatta Country Club. It was the final fundraiser for the upcoming Honduras Mission Trip 2017. Here is the story from Jackie Waters.

We had a great turnout for the tournament with 7 teams golfing. The weather could not have been better for the occasion. The golfers enjoyed coffee and donuts to begin the morning with burger plates for lunch halfway through the day with a special treat of delicious banana pudding donated by Matt Huddleston. For additional fun, golfers were permitted to tee off from the women’s tee box on the 6th hole IF they were willing to don a dress while teeing off. We had many good sports for this.

First place trophy winners were Don Louis Birdsong, Chuck Cole, Vince Almond, and Tyler Jones. Second place trophy winners were Bobby Logan, Lewis Sams, David Breedlove, and Hayston Breedlove. A “Best Sticks” trophy was awarded to the Bienville Sheriff’s Department led by Sheriff John Ballance.

A BIG thank you to all the hole sponsors, Coushatta Country Club staff and members, and of course all the participants for their support of this endeavor.

And The Journal thanks Jackie Waters for the report and great photos. The top picture is of the winning team of Birdsong, Cole, Almond, and Jones. The photo below shows Bienville Sheriff John Balance (with dress) demonstrating great sportsmanship.



Attention Red River High School students. Boys and Girls are invited to tryout for cheerleaders and the mascot. Cheerleader sponsor Alice Everett announced that potential cheerleaders must attend the tryout clinics. They will be held during the next two weeks.

Dates for the clinics will be Monday through Wednesday, March 27th through 29 and on Monday April 3rd. Clinics will be at 6:30 pm each day and will be held at the Red River High School gym. The fee is $10 to attend the tryout clinics.

Tryouts for Cheerleaders and mascot will be held on Tuesday, April 4th at 4:30 pm. Everett said applicants must attend the clinics to be eligible to tryout.


By Regina Horton

RRPJ-veggie coupon-17Mar24
Red River Council on Aging is happy to announce we are now taking applications for the 2017 Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP). SFMNP provides low-income seniors with coupons that can be exchanged for eligible foods (fruits, vegetables, honey, and fresh-cut herbs) at farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture (CSA) programs.

The SFMNP serves low-income seniors, generally defined as individuals who are at least 60 years old and who have household incomes of not more than 185 percent of the Federal Income Poverty Guidelines (published each year by the Department of Health and Human Services), are the targeted recipients of SFMNP benefits.

We will be taking application until we have reached our parish quota.Coupons are expected to be mailed out by early June.Come in and see Regina, Monday – Friday from 7am to 2pm or call (318) 932-5721.

Sources at the Council on Aging tell The Journal that most of the coupons issued to Red River Parish residents are used right here in the parish. They said it is because the quality and large variety of fruits and vegetables available at two local outlets is so great that people don’t need to leave the area to find what they want.

ETC…March 24th

Construction of the new fire station is underway north of Coushatta. The official groundbreaking ceremony has been scheduled for Wednesday March 29th at 10 am. The public is invited. The new fire station is being constructed on US 71 north of Coushatta at the intersection with US 371.

From Open Door Fellowship…“Don’t forget, this Sunday, we welcome Steven McAbee as our guest pastor in the pulpit! Steven, his wife Tammie, and their children (maybe all 7) will be traveling from Arkansas and staying all weekend in the Coushatta area. Steven and his family spent many years in our community ministering to our neighbors at Fairview Baptist Church. Join us at 10:30 am. No perfect people allowed!”

Next week is the book fair at Riverdale Academy. Remember to get your children a book to help establish good reading habits. The book fair lasts all week. Also at Riverdale Wednesday will be Grandparents Day. A schedule of times for grandparents to visit each class is posted on Riverdale’s Facebook page.

“Discerning the Voice of God” is a new women’s Bible study now underway each Sunday night. Ladies meet to study the Word at 6pm. This Bible study is being held at Fairview Baptist Church on US 71 south of Coushatta.

The Journal reminds you to send information on upcoming events to us. Use the email We would like as much advance notice as possible. And of course, everyone likes lots of pictures!


RRPJ-Calendar TOP-17Mar22The Red River Parish school calendar for the 2017-2018 school year has been approved by the school board. The approved calendar got the most votes when three proposed calendars were submitted earlier to school employees.

First day for students in Kindergarten through 12th grade is August 9th. The last day for students is May 23rd, 2018. In between are four nine-week educational periods, eight holiday periods, plus parent teacher conferences and more.

Fall break is October 9-13th. Thanksgiving is November 20-24th. Christmas and New Year’s holidays run December 20, 2017 to January 5, 2018. There is a winter break February 12-16th, with the Easter break March 30-April 6th. In addition there are one-day breaks for Labor Day, Martin Luther King Day and Professional Workshop Day. Many of the breaks have weekends on either or both ends, giving the students a few more days off.

Below is the complete calendar as approved by the school board. Print it and post on your refrigerator so you’ll have it.

RRPJ-Calendar PDF-BOTTOM-17Mar22