High School Career Day

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Colleges and Universities from several states sent representatives to the Red River High Gym on Wednesday for Career Day. Students were excused from classes for one period to talk with school representatives.

The gym was filled most of the morning as college recruiters presented their case for Red River students selecting their school to further their education. The Journal noted there were athletes seeking information on athletic scholarships, as well as other students exploring the possibility of academic scholarships.

Recruiters from the US Army and the Marine Corps were present to explain educational opportunities that are available for the men and women who serve their country. Representatives of the TOPS program were also present. They provided information for students who have to fill out financial aid applications.

The Journal thanks Julie Evans, a Counselor at the school, for the great photos of the event.

Halloween in Downtown

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For the first time there will be a big celebration on Front Street on Halloween. It is a production of Jolie Vintage Art Studio and the Coushatta Red River Chamber of Commerce. The event will be October 31st beginning about 5:00 pm.

You may be familiar with the “Trunk-or-Treat” events held at Grand Bayou Resort is prior years. This year it is moving to Front Street and has been renamed Trunk on Front Street.

Last minute entries are welcome. Register at RedRiverParish.org. See you downtown Halloween eve!

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The Great 1918 Coushatta Fire

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Introduction by Joe Taylor: This is another article written by Judge Paul Stephens. This one describes the great 1918 fire that virtually destroyed most of the town.

In 1871 the legislation forming the Parish of Red River was passed. The newly formed police jury selected the steamboat stop called Coushatta Chute as the county seat. The name was derived from the bayou that emptied into the river at that spot. The Bayou at that time was much larger and more substantial than it is now. Apparently it narrowed before going into the river, creating a swift current. Thus the descriptive word “chute “ to describe it. This spot was selected because without roads or transportation. Steamboats were the only outlet to the outside world.

There were several businesses already there and with the increased traffic the courthouse would bring, the village grew rapidly and dropped the chute from its incorporated name.

As we all know the town is no longer on the riverbank. The fire, caving riverbanks and the location of the railroad caused the town businesses to relocate.

Judge Paul Stevens’ story:
When I considered writing about the Great Coushatta Fire, I looked around to those still living here, who remembered it so as to assemble all the facts I could. But fifty-five years is a long time to stretch memory and it is small wonder that all of us were a little hazy on some of the facts. Fortunately I was able to secure from the Shreveport Times their account of the fire published by the paper on the next day, together with their permission to publish it along with this article, which throws a great deal more light on the subject. At any rate it is certain that the fire occurred on Tuesday afternoon, the 25th day of June 1918 and it is equally certain that it was the worst holocaust that ever struck our fair city.

At the time of the fire I was working as Stillman at Red River Refining Company at Crichton, for Oscar Briggs, and when I heard late in the afternoon that the Town had burned, I persuaded the engineer of a freight train that had stopped at the Refinery to pick up cars, to let me ride the ten miles to Coushatta. When I go home there was a pail of smoke everywhere and everybody was so excited and exhausted that I had trouble finding out what had happened. Of course it was a great relief to me to see my mother’s home still standing and to find that the fire had been confined to Old Town.

As the story unfolded, I found that a trash collector, working for the town, whose name was Jonas “Bib” Myers, was burning some trash under the riverbank, just below Lisso’s warehouse. There was a dead china tree standing next to the warehouse, where some leaves had lodged in one of the forks, and some of the burning paper was blown by the strong southern wind into the leaves, which were soon on fire. Several people around Lisso’s store saw the burning leaves in the tree, but had very little water and were unable to extinguish the fire, and soon Lisso’s warehouse was on fire. It was very dry and there was a strong southerly wind and with such a large building as Lisso’s warehouse, located on the extreme southern edge of the town, on fire, the conditions were ideal for a Great Fire and a Great Fire was really had.

Next came Lisso’s store and John Brown’s store. And then it jumped across the street to Mrs. Jane Paxton’s home, then the Fannie Wolfsan Millinery shop, occupied by Mrs. Wynn, the Mrs. Lou Merrells home, then the Coushatta Citizen and the J. P. Clarkson home and the W. P. Carter home all on the east side of Abney Street. Also between Abney Street and Front Street the stores of Redner Merrell and S. T. Armistead were destroyed, as also were the Coushatta Motor Repair Company shop and Sam Laws’ Meat Market. As if this was not enough, the fire then jumped over several low buildings to Carroll Street, where it destroyed the three story Drug store of Dr. Edgerton, the J. J. Stanfill store, a residence that stood across the street from where Walter Mangham now lives, then it crossed Carroll Street and burned the John B. Brown warehouse, the Keete Lockett Residence, the A. J. Moss residence and the residence of J. T. S. Thomas.

Twenty-three major buildings burned in all and perhaps a hundred smaller houses. Frequently three or four huge frame buildings would be burning at the same time. The people worked until they were exhausted. The bucket brigade was no match for this fire. Furniture and goods were hauled out of many buildings only to see much of it destroyed by the onrushing fire. Three large rocking chairs were saved from the gallery of the Paxton house and were given to my mother, who gave one to each of her children, and as I write this article, I am sitting in one of them.

Perhaps the only good that may come from this fire, is that it hastened the day, when most of the businesses from old town were rebuilt over on the railroad and brought the town together again. It is interesting to note that some of the boys that were serving in the army in World War One were home on furlough, at the time of the fire, and were of greet service in our hour of tragic need.

Editors note: This great fire was reported in both the Shreveport Times and Journal the next day, June 26, 1918. They reported some additional details. The Journal reported the loss estimated between $80,000 and $100,000 and twenty-three houses totally destroyed. The Journal reported nearly half the town was burned and that some building owners carried insurance.

The Shreveport Times reported, “While Miss Esther Parker, telephone operator, stayed at her post and called for help until the wall of the building was giving away at her side. Miss Parker escaped unhurt. The conflagration raged from about 3:30 pm until 8:00 pm when it was under control.
“The town had no water supply but residence wells with which to fight the flames. Miss Parker called citizens aid from East Point, Crichton, Hanna, Gahagan, Armistead and Lenzburg.

“Irrie Cole, Banker, fainted from exhauston in fighting the flames. Sam Parker was slightly injured by a falling timber, and Alvin Edgerton was hurt,” reported the Shreveport Times.

Help for Smokers Wishing to Quit

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The state’s effort to help citizens quit smoking came to the health unit in Coushatta this past week. Feambula Bradley is with Quit Now and she brought information on the harmful effects of tobacco.

Among those stopping by Bradley’s display was Carolyn Hayes, the Secretary-Treasurer of the Police Jury. Hayes took some of the informational brochures and got her “Quit With Us” towel.

Bradley’s message was “You’re not alone in your struggle to stop using tobacco.” She said there are five ways the Louisiana Tobacco Quit line supports efforts of individuals to quit including 24/7 support. Bradley said, “We offer one-on-one phone counseling with a Quit Coach. We also offer replacements for nicotine such as gum, patches and lozenges.”

If you are interested in hosting smoking-cessation classes in the parish, call their toll-free number, 800-Quit-Now or visit QuitWithUsLa.org. Bradley said, “You can get help to quit smoking. Give me a call.”

Egg Drop Defies Gravity, Sort of…

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The students in Philip Dees’ Physics class at Red River High are studying Newton’s second and third laws of physics. Their assignment was to build a container that would protect a fragile object confronted with those physical laws.

Everyone would agree that an egg would splat if dropped from the balcony in the school auditorium. So the challenge was to build a container that would cushion an egg when dropped. The class was divided into two-person teams to design and construct their protective container. The photos show the successful ones.

The winning teams were Angel Baird and Cody Edwards with their “Contraption” made of pencils and other stuff; Kaylee Antilly and Caty Mahfouz with their “Box of Straws and Stuffing”; and Joseah Warren and James Putek with “RIP.” By the way the Container made by Dees was successful also.

Instructor Dees said, “They used USDA Grade A large eggs weighing an average of 58 grams. The challenge was for the students to perform the calculations to discover what it would take to protect the egg.”

The drop was 4.06 meters, or roughly 12-13 feet. Dees said, “I wanted to get the students to think about how Newton’s laws applied in the real world.”

The next challenge, said Dees, “Is to reduce the volume of their container and use two eggs. They will again drop the same height from the balcony of the auditorium. Then in December, after more study and design work, we will go to the stadium and drop the containers off the press box to the ground.” That will take the challenge to another level.

Drug Take Back Day is Saturday

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The Louisiana State Police, in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), will participate in the “National Prescription Drug Take Back Day” on Saturday, October 28, 2017. This initiative provides a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for medication abuse.

“Although the Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office (RRPSO) is not specifically participating in the “National Prescription Drug Take Back Day” this Saturday (October 28, 2017), our Medication Drop Box will be available to the public from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The drop box provides a safe, convenient, and responsible way to dispose of prescription medication.

Individuals are encouraged to place their unwanted or outdated prescription drugs in a sealed container such as the original bottle or zip-lock bag and deposit them in the receptacle located in the lobby of the RRPSO. Any personal information on the bottles or containers should be removed or marked out with a permanent marker.

The drop box is available to individuals not only this Saturday but also every other day of the year. Sheriff Edwards encourages everyone to take advantage of the drop box program in efforts to make our community a safer place.”

More information on the initiative can be found by visiting

ETC… for October 27th



The Journal says a big THANK YOU to all who responded positively to the Sunrise pictures. Many people I have met on the street in the past couple of days have been very complimentary. Especially kind words came fro Faerie Sledge who wrote, “Nice sunrise photos in today’s journal. Enjoyed seeing them, as you say instead of all “ugly” news.”

This has been an important week for area students planning for their education beyond high school. Representatives of various schools visited the parish with info on their offerings. Also there was a college application day held at Red River High. That story next week in the Journal.

Also coming up today is the dedication of the new mine by the Dolet Hills Mining Company. There will be lots of food and speeches by dignitaries. Governor Edwards is scheduled to speak.

Saturday night is dance night at the Council on Aging on Front Street. The Playmates will be playing from 7:00 to 10:00 pm. Admission is $6.00 per person.

As we are putting this edition of the Journal to bed, the crew of Journal Sports is headed to Many to broadcast the Red River vs Many football game. They’re playing on Thursday, moving the game ahead one day because of the fear of bad weather on Friday.

Red River Game Moved Ahead to Thursday (Tonight)

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The district football game originally scheduled for Friday at Many has been moved until Thursday. The Bulldogs are 3 and 2 in district play and are looking forward to a tough challenge against Many.

School officials in Many made the decision to move the game up a day. They notified Red River school officials Wednesday morning. School Superintendent Alison Hughes told the Journal, “I just got an email this morning. That’s the notice I have received.”

Several school personnel the Journal spoke with say the reason for the change was the weather. Supposedly there is supposed to be a drastic change to stormy, cold weather in Many by Friday night. Since this district game is important to both teams, the Journal was told that concern for bad weather was the reason for moving the game forward to Thursday.

Journal Sports will broadcast the game back to Red River Parish. It will be streamed live on our web site and social media feeds. The game will also be broadcast live on local radio station KRRP Easy 950.

Health Unit Hosts Breast Cancer Month Seminar

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A breast cancer awareness program was presented Friday afternoon at the Red River Parish Health Unit. Over 30 folks signed in to get information on breast cancer. It is part of the health unit’s educational program in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Health Unit Nursing Supervisor Yashica Turner told the Journal, “This was a great turnout! We provided a presentation and information brochures on breast cancer. There are breast self examination videos available also.”

Turner said, “Both men and women should check themselves once a month, looking for signs of breast cancer. Yes, men can get breast cancer. We have one gentleman here today who is a breast cancer survivor.

One of the diagnostic tools is a mammogram. Information distributed at the event Friday said that in Red River Parish more than 30 percent of women have not had a mammogram. The CDC recommends most women 50 to 74 years old should have a screening mammogram every two years.

Here are the symptoms of breast cancer from the Centers for Disease Control:
1. A new lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
2. Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
3. Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
4. Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area of the breast.
5. Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
6. Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
7. Any change in the size or shape of the breast.
8. Pain in the breast.

Turner said anyone experiencing these symptoms should get then checked out by their physician. For further information, call the Red River Parish Health Unit at 932-4087.