Storm Clean Up is Beginning

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Red River Parish residents are cleaning up from the heavy thunderstorms that moved through northwest Louisiana Sunday night. In the storm’s wake there are numerous homes damaged, and many residents still without power.

Electric service was restored to the heart of Coushatta by mid morning Monday. Businesses in outlying areas were closed due to lack of power. Schools are also reported without power on Tuesday morning.

The Police Jury had crews out picking up and hauling away debris on Tuesday morning.

Neighbors pitched in to help neighbors clear downed trees from homes and yards. Many roads in the parish had trees down across them. Crews had cleared trees from major roadways by Monday however many residential areas still have trees partially blocking streets.

One fatality was reported and there were several people reported to have suffered minor injuries. See the Journal Special Update on Monday for additional details.

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Disaster Emergency Declared

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The Red River Parish Police Jury has made an emergency declaration following Sunday’s storm. Jury Manager Jessie Davis said, “We are compiling damage estimates to see if the area qualifies for state and federal assistance.”

Office of Emergency Preparedness Director Shane Hubbard said, “It was straight line winds estimated at 70 knots. Evidence points to wind, and I don’t believe there was a tornado.” Hubbard explained that straight-line winds tend to leave debris all falling in the same direction. (Note that 70 knots equals about 80.57 miles per hour.)

The Office of Emergency Preparedness is collecting data on storm damage costs. Hubbard explained that there are certain thresholds that have to be met for the parish to be eligible for FEMA or state disaster recovery funds. Hubbard said, “I don’t think the dollar amount of damage was that high.” He added that to this time only 5 houses have been reported to have sustained major damage.

Anderson’s Produce in Great Shape Following the Storm

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The Memorial Day weekend storm hasn’t slowed down Anderson’s Produce. Jason Anderson said, “We have plenty! Our stand on Highway 174 is open normal hours. And the produce is ripe and ready.”

Anderson said, “We have some limbs and other minor damage. But it has not interfered with the produce operations.” He said, “Sweet corn is here and the ears are well filled. You’ll want to get a bushel or more.” Anderson added, “Pinto beans are coming in. We have them ready for you today.”

Come to the farm for vine ripe tomatoes, squash, many varieties of sweet and hot peppers, squash, potatoes and so much more. And there is a great variety of beautiful flowers and ferns to beautify your home or garden.

Come to south Red River Parish for the freshest produce. For just picked freshness it’s Anderson’s Produce and Plant Farm on Highway 174. They are located half way between I-49 and LA 1.


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Storm Touched Most Red River Residents

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The storm this past Sunday night will be remembered and talked about for a long time. Many folks still are without electricity and it may be days until all power is restored.

Many of us have trees down and damage to be repaired. And it may not be a quick fix.

As the Journal traveled around the parish the last two days it was noted that people are busy cleaning up. And they are helping each other. A group of neighbors gather to cut up a tree that fell across a drive or their street. A man and his wife leaves several trees down on their house and drive around to check up on friends.

These are just a few examples. And here are a few pictures to put into your scrapbook of the Memorial Weekend Sunday Storm.

Dedication of New Sanctuary at Open Door Fellowship

Sunday was dedication Sunday at Open Door Fellowship. Interim Pastor J.P. Handy cited Second Chronicles chapter 7 as the basis of the dedication. This chapter details King Solomon’s dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem.

Handy told the congregation “in Solomon’s time the people saw the glory of God fill the temple.” He added, “We’re dedicating more than a building today. We the people must first rededicate ourselves to the Lord.” And he said, “We can dedicate the building, but if we ourselves are not dedicated to the Lord, we just have a nice shiny building.”

At the beginning of the service, former Open Door pastor Tom Smith told those gathered, “this church is an answer to prayer.” Smith recalled the founding of Open Door back in 2006, that 102 charter members had met at the American Legion Hall in the beginning. He also told the history of the church’s prior location and the acquisition of the present land and old sanctuary building.

Smith challenged the church “None of this is by accident. Life is a relay race. We have to hand the baton to someone else.”

Open Door Fellowship has been holding services in the new facility for about a month. They are located on 40 acres on Esparanza Road.


First Baptist Church vacation bible school is next week. See flyer above.

First Methodist Church June 26-29. “Going to Rome” is the theme. It is a story of the underground church with Paul.

VBS at Hickory Grove Baptist Church
Monday, June 5 through Friday, June 9 will be VBS at 6:30 p.m. Commencement is on the last night of VBS.

Open Door Fellowship will hold VBS June 26th through June 30th. The program begins with registration each evening at 5:30. The program lasts until 8 pm each night.

If there are other churches in the parish that wish to tell everyone about their vacation bible school, please email details to

Storm Causes Damage to the Big Easy

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The Big Easy Emporium on Ringgold Avenue was damaged Sunday night during the storm.

Brenda Giddens posted on the Big Easy Facebook feed…

First, let me say God is bigger than any problem we will ever have… period. And our faith in Him is everything. Never think in the middle of your turmoil that He is not in there with you working it out. I wanted to say that first because that is what is in my heart.

I got a call this evening (Sunday) from the sheriff’s office asking me to come to the store. When I arrived, I found that my livelihood is on hold for a minute. I’m okay with that because here’s the thing… when I opened this store, I thought I was just opening a store. God showed me right quick it was His store, and He anointed it, and He would use me while I was there. If you have ever been shopping in Big Easy and witnessed His works, you know what I mean.

So I am asking you tonight to pray for Bridget Kellogg and John Henson who were involved in this wreck, and also those affected by the storms tonight. Some have lost property but others lost their lives. “God is bigger” and He always has a plan. We have to lean on that.

I need your prayers for Big Easy, too. It will be up and running again very soon because God provides… it’s just what He does.

And thank you to my sweet hubby, Joe, and my precious brother, John, for coming to my rescue! You guys are the best!

ETC…May 31st


The Coushatta water system is under a “Boil Advisory” until further notice. The notice was issued Tuesday morning. Some areas served by the town water system were without water for several hours following Sunday’s storm. The loss of water pressure was due to electrical problems. The boil advisory will be in effect until the state health department clears the system.

The start of summer school was delayed one day because the storm knocked out power to Red River Elementary School. The school board announced that summer school will begin today (May 31st). All classes are at the elementary school. The Journal checked with the school board office on Tuesday. They reported no damage to any buildings or facilities.

Social Springs Worshiped During the Worst of the Storm. Form Brother James Hester, “Tonight’s (Sunday night’s) service was awesome! Even while the wind was pulling the doors open on the sanctuary, Donna Weaver never missed a note. Service lasted until 9:20. Can’t think of a better way to ride out a storm than by praising God in the midst of it! Prayers for everyone affected…He is still in control!”

Hickory Grove Baptist Church – Coushatta, La has posted their June events calendar:
Sunday, June 4 – Bridal shower for Dustin Allen and Hannah Wiggins
VBS at Hickory Grove Baptist Church is Monday, June 5 through Friday, June 9. The event will start at 6:30 p.m. Commencement is on the last night of VBS.
Sunday, June 11 – Memorial Service for Ted Ottinger, who passed away in San Antonio a few weeks ago. There will be a potluck meal following Worship service. The memorial will begin at 2 p

Here are the names of those in the pictures that accompanied the Coushatta High School 50th reunion story from last week. Unfortunately the picture credits were omitted.

Identification on group picture by maiden names, not married names:

Front Row, sitting, kneeling, or short: Donnie Emerson, Ardis Almond, Roger Bierden, Ralph Webb, Charlie Williams, James Wilson, and Rene Gibson.
Second Row: Curtis Fields, David Gray, Pauline Barbo, Mary Dubois, Cathy Townsend, Kay Jackson, Pamela Wood, Ruby Browne, Ginger McCoy, and Richard (Barefoots) Dalme.
Third Row: Allen Posey, Laura L’Herisson, Dale Bierden, Rusty Bamburg, Gerald (Tucky) Jones, Milton McGee, Raymond Browne, Brant Bordelon, Carl Averitt, Henry Conly, Donna Ann Crawford, and Jimmy Marston.
Due to timing of picture, attending, but not shown: Judy Buswell, Goldena Cox, Randy Hester, and Harry Lane Lafield.

Storm takes one life in Red River Parish


Strong storms that blew across northwest Louisiana last evening took the life of an elderly Coushatta woman. A large tree fell across the house on the Esperanza Road trapping her on the couch in her living room.

The victim is identified by family members as Clara Suggs. She was asleep on the couch in the living room of her mobile home when a large tree fell across it. Suggs’ mother Ellen Wood was in a bedroom of the home. She is reported to have suffered only a few scratches, according to family members.  Suggs died at the scene. Her dog Pee Wee also perished in the house.

Sunrise found power out throughout Red River Parish. There is widespread damage including buildings blown over, signs down, many trees uprooted, and power lines down. Utilities have dispatched crews however damage is reported widespread throughout the northwest part of the state. Few businesses are open on generator power. Therefore gasoline is difficult to find. Stations in Coushatta and Armistead are closed.

The top picture is the tree across the Suggs home. Others depict trees blocking East Carroll Street at Red River High School, the building on US 84 at Armistead that was blown away, the roof peeled away from a building across the tracks on Front Street, and other photos of trees and electrical lines downed.



Read for Fun and Read for Prizes

The Red River Parish Library’s summer reading program begins in June for area youth. Registration is now going on for this summer.

Sessions will be held at 2 pm on Mondays and Thursdays in June and July. The program lasts a total of 7 weeks.

Kala Sims, the Children’s Librarian, said, “When youth sign up they get a reading log to keep up with the books they read this summer. We have a suggested list however a child may select books not on the list also.”

Participants will be eligible for drawings with prizes like t-shirts being offered. And all you have to do is read.

In addition to the summer reading program, the library will have entertainment for kids of all ages on Mondays this summer.

Parents may get additional information by calling the library at 932-5614.