Half-Price Hook-Up Comes to Coushatta

The Red River Parish Journal is joining the Half Price HookUp to save our readers 50% or more on meals at local restaurants. Who wouldn’t want to save half?

We began publicizing it on our Facebook this past week. The Journal offered a $50 gift card to Dairy Queen for those wishing to join the Half-Price HookUp. And the winner was Elizabeth Chellette!

If you would like to receive half price meal offers from area restaurants, send a text message “hphc” to 77948. Then you will get notifications of which restaurants are offering the Half Price HookUp.  Coming the Week of June 5th, 2017!

Check it out!  CLICK HERE

Freedom Worship Honors all Veterans

By Whitney Allison

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Here are the details for our Veterans Breakfast. All veterans are welcome.

Veterans breakfast is Saturday, May 27 at 8:00 am. It will be held at Freedom Worship Baptist Church next to the American bank.
Hot breakfast will be served for all military past or present. They are invited and encouraged to bring a guest.

Extra parking will be in lot by church and front and back of American Bank. Handicap spots at front of church.

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Looking Back Over 50 Years

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Recently the Coushatta High Class of ’67 held their 50th reunion. The story is from Ardis Almond.

The Coushatta High School Class of 1967 celebrated its 50th Reunion on April 28th and 29th, 2017 at the Grand Bayou Resort Event Center. Out of a graduating class of 57, 45 survive, and 31 attended the reunion. Two former teachers, Mrs. Joy Gaddis and Mr. Archie Worsham also attended. One mother, Mrs. Doris Driever blessed the group with her presence. Two former classmates, Tucky Jones and Allen Posey, that did not graduate with us, but were with us for a long time also attended.

The reunion was catered both nights by the York Chop with Shrimp and Fish on Friday and BBQ on Saturday. Entertainment included era music played in the background, a history room with old pictures of the town and parish, a memento table, classmate videos and stills running continuously, skits of past school events put on by classmates, and heartfelt talks about the “good old days” by attendees.

On Saturday morning, we had a special event that might have been the first of this size in Red River Parish,a history tour of the town. It was guided by local historian, Joe Taylor, and our classmate, Jimmy Marston. The first stop was the Springville Cemetery, where we saw graves of classmates, old families, and Union and Confederate veterans, including CSA General Gray (the only Confederate general buried in North Louisiana). We also learned about the village of Springville that predated Coushatta.

We then toured the old Coushatta High School (now Red River High). We were immersed in memories and some of our basketball stars could still “shoot the lights out” in the old gym.
For the next stop, we took the only elevator in Red River Parish to the top floor of the Courthouse. From there, we climbed up the winding stairs (that was a trick at our age), to the hanging tower. Some felt drawn to actually stick their neck in the noose. Yep, it is all still there!

Next was a “windshield” visit to the grade school and a stop at the new RRP Library. There we visited the History Room, exhibits, and old pictures of the parish. After this, we continued to Main Street and shared memories of our “Mayberry” days.

Lunch was provided by Bailey’s Burgers. It fit right in with our historical theme, since it existed before any of us. We ended up the trip in what is Old Town, by the river. Joe told us about the original settlement that mostly burned or fell in the caving river.Jimmy recounted his extensive knowledge of reconstruction and the birth of Red River Parish.

Thanks goes out to Joe Taylor for his guidance and knowledge, Superintendent Allison Hughes for arranging the visit to the high school, Jury member Tray Murray for access to the courthouse, and Mayor Cox for providing pictures from his office.

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Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy initiated a traffic stop in Coushatta


On May 14, 2017 a Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy initiated a traffic stop in Coushatta that subsequently resulted in the arrest of the driver on drug charges. A vehicle license checked revealed that the vehicle was being operated with a switched vehicle license plate. It was also confirmed that the driver, identified as Jacob Cheatwood, also had a suspended Louisiana driver’s license.

A search of Cheatwood’s person and vehicle yielded illegal narcotics and drug paraphernalia. Two smoking pipes consistent with those used to smoke marijuana, a plastic container containing suspected marijuana and a set of scales consistent with those used in the packaging and resale of illegal narcotics were seized.

An adult passenger traveling with Cheatwood was released following a check for active warrants. A second passenger, who was 3 years old, was released to the custody of a relative. The vehicle, which also displayed an altered motor vehicle inspection sticker, was impounded.Cheatwood was transported to the Red River Parish Jail for booking.

Jacob Cheatwood, W/M, age 21 of the 200 block of Sledge Road, Coushatta, LA was charged with the following: Switched License Plate, Switched/Altered Motor Vehicle Inspection Sticker, Driving Under Suspension, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of Marijuana and Illegal Use of CDS in Presence of Persons under Seventeen Years of Age. On May 15, 2017 Cheatwood was booked on two outstanding bench warrants for Failure to Appear (traffic related).

His total bond was set at $2,450 while fines/costs for traffic violations totaled $1,457. He remains incarcerated.

Coach McConathy Talks About Struggles

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Northwestern State University Men’s Basketball Coach Mike McConathy spoke to the Red River Crusade Wednesday night. It was “Youth Night” and McConathy spoke to the young people about hope in the midst of difficult struggles.

McConathy reflected on over 38 years of playing and coaching basketball. And he told of his struggle when he was cut by the Chicago Bulls at about age 21. “It was gut wrenching to loose something that important to me,” said McConathy.

How did he cope? McConathy said “I had my faith. I was raised in a Christian home, yet the struggle I went through was very difficult.”

The coach told of some of the great players he has coached who suffered season-ending injuries. McConathy said “the struggles in life are so much better when we know God and put everything on Him. When non-believers struggle it is because they can’t identify with Christ dying for us.”

Speaking to the youth and others gathered for the Wednesday night Red River Crusade session, Coach McConathy said “Look at yourself each day, confess your sins, and give thanks for the opportunity offered for salvation.” He advised to never take lightly the gift Christ has given and said “there is no way to repay for that gift.”

The Red River Crusade continues through Saturday May 27th. Services are held at the parish fairgrounds. A meal will be served at 5:30 and the service begins at 6:30.

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4-H Seeking Local Support

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Terry L. Foster is the Red River parish 4-H Agent. She is contacting their supporters in the area asking for help sending students to their upcoming 4-H University to be held in Baton Rouge.

This is the 105th annual event and Foster says there will be new courses offered to participants. Some traditional events will be offered as well.
Her letter to supporters is shown below.

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ETC…May 26th


Sunday will be a great day at Open Door Fellowship. The church is holding the dedication service for tyheir new worship center beginning at 10:30 am. Warren Jackson will be the Worship Leader and J.P. Hardy will bring the message.

Ken Adams is the Chairman of the church’s Building and Grounds Committee and he oversaw the construction project. Adams says, “The sancturary is designed for approximately 300 people. There are 200 seats at present and we will be bringing in more for the large crowd expected Sunday.”

It’s Vacation Bible School time. The Journal has been informed by a couple of area churches of their schedule this summer. We will publish the schedules we have next week, so let us know what your church is planning. Send details, flyers, pictures, and anything else about your church VBS to TheRRJournal@gmail.com.

Graduation 2017

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This past week commencement exercises were held by both Red River High School and Riverdale Academy. On Tuesday 67 students graduated from Red River. Riverdale awarded diplomas to 13 students on Thursday.

Red River’s Valedictorian was Ziaya Drakes, the student with the highest grade point average. Salutatorian was Jon Russell. Seventeen graduates were awarded TOPS scholarships.

Numerous other scholarships were presented including fourteen grads that were given Black History Scholarships of $500 each. Nine grads received Cox Development Foundation scholarships of $300 each.

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Peace Officer Training Academy Graduate

Sheriff Glen Edwards is pleased to announce that Therman (Trey) Sewell III has successfully completed the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office Basic Correctional Peace Officer Training Academy. The Louisiana Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) council requires that each Level 2 Officer complete a training course with a minimum of 249 hours. The course consists of core curriculum, firearms certification and a sufficient number of elective hours.

Deputy Sewell joined the Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office on July 14, 2015 as a corrections officer. He completed the required “Jailer” POST training on October 2, 2017. This Level 3 POST certification consisted of 92 hours of training designed for employees whose duties are limited to the care, custody and control of inmates.

On May 12, 2017 Deputy Sewell was awarded a POST Basic Correctional Peace Officer certificate from the State of Louisiana. Specific certifications received included Firearms, Anti-Crash Course, Taser Conducted Electrical Weapon and Police Unarmed Tactics. As with Level 1 Peace Officers, 20 hours of annual in-service training is mandated each calendar year for Level 2 Officers to remain in good standing with POST.

With the exception of arrest powers, Level 2 Officers are trained and certified to carry out many duties often performed by a POST certified patrol deputy (Level 1 Officer). In addition to responsibilities within the walls of the jail, Deputy Sewell will also be qualified to supervise the inmate road crew as well as transport inmates.

Congratulations Deputy Sewell on this accomplishment and a job well done!

Brown-Freeman tragedy of 1899

By Joe Taylor

RRPJ-History-17May24AThis account comes from a letter written to Gordon Nelson, Editor of the Coushatta Citizen, in 1966 by Charles Patterson. “I lived in Coushatta for three years. My father was the Methodist minister and I was familiar with all of the principals. Especially Shelby Wooten who worked for Mr. Freeman. ”

The affair started this way: Talley Brown and his brother Bob, who lived about two miles from the Lake End store of Freeman, came to the store one Saturday morning and accused Freeman of harboring one of their workers. (Which doesn’t sound like much in 2017. But in those days it was serious. For just a few years earlier it was against the law to hide a runaway slave and the unwritten law in the sharecropper days were the same. You did not hide the farm workers. They had an important job back at the farm.)

The Brown brothers threatened Freeman that they knew he was hiding their hand and he had two hours to show up at their farm or they would return and there would be hell to pay. A heated argument then ensued and a shot was fired at the unharmed Freeman. (Freeman was in fact hiding the man because he had been brutally beaten.)

About two hours later the brothers returned and with them this time was their brother in law Dr. Glover, who lived with them, all were armed.

According to testimony from 18 years old store clerk Shelby Wooten. Freeman told him that this was not his fight and to hide under the store counter. This he did but did observe Dr. Glover coming in the front door carrying a shotgun and Bob Brown walking around toward the rear of the store. Shortly guns began popping all over the place and he burrowed as deep as he could under the counter. He did not come out until he was called by a Dr. Chapman. (The doctor had his office in a room at the rear of the store and boarded with the Freeman’s).

Neighbors gather shortly after the gunfire and found: Glover dead from buckshot lying in the doorway. Freeman dead from a pistol shot to the heart in the doorway to the rear room. Bob Brown dead face down on the ground at the rear of the store. A pistol slug in the base of his skull. And Talley Brown face down in the road at the front of the store. Shot in the front with buckshot and with two knife wounds in his back. All of this had taken place in 30 seconds and no witnesses.

A trial was held where Dr. Chapman was charged with a manslaughter charge, but without witnesses they could not prove he had killed anyone.

This was a well-known tale on the West Bank and today natives still know about the tragedy. Not so much in the rest of the parish. Think about it. Before there was adequate roads and a bridge to cross the river. The East and West Bank of the river were very isolated from one another.

Recently I had the opportunity to visit a small family cemetery. It’s located about a half mile north of Hanna adjacent to a cornfield. Now overgrown and forgotten. In it
lies the two graves of the Brown brothers.