Bulldogs Conclude Record Season

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This year’s Football team at Red River High went further than any other school team has gone. They compiled an envious district record then survived two rounds of the state playoffs before they ran into the Ferriday Trojans last Friday night.

After watching the contest, Bulldog Athletic Director Billy Henry, Jr. speculated that the Trojans just might be the team to win state in 2-A this year. Look at the brackets on the LHSAA website and you’ll find the only team Red River lost a district game to is coming up the other side. The Many Tigers may meet Ferriday in the state finals in two weeks. And Many could win it all. So Red River’s Bulldogs are right up there in the rarified air of a championship team.

During the broadcast of the Ferriday game, Henry reviewed the year the Bulldogs have had. He noted that the team had four head coaches from last spring to now. That is a lot of change for young men to go through. Henry looked at the team’s performance since August under coach John Bachman and how much progress they have made.

Last Friday, the Bulldogs faced an opponent that had done its homework. Their defense was all over the offensive play of the Bulldogs. They shut down the running game and were all over the passing plays. Then on offense Ferriday had a game plan that the Bulldogs couldn’t stop. Two very good teams met on the field of play and the better team prevailed.

The last state championship team was the 1992 Coushatta Choctaws. They won it all that year. And no team has done it since. Now that Red River’s football program has grown into what it is today, it may not be very long before there is another state championship trophy in the Bulldog’s trophy case.

Looking to the future the Bulldogs have a lot to build upon. And they appear to have a coaching staff that is assembling a game plan for future success. Some could argue that with all that occurred in the past year, it is a wonder they got as far as they did. While others might say it just wasn’t enough. In the case of the Red River Bulldogs, the glass is only half full. Better watch out when they fill it up.


DWI / Seatbelt Checkpoint Tonight in Red River Parish

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In an effort to combat impaired driving in our area, Louisiana State Police Troop G plans to conduct a DWI/Seatbelt checkpoint on Wednesday, November 29, 2017, from approximately 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. at an undisclosed location in Red River Parish. Our mission will be to find and remove impaired drivers from the road before they can cause injury or death to themselves or others. Additionally, we will be checking vehicles for unrestrained motorists in an effort to reduce the number of traffic related fatalities caused by not wearing a seat belt.

Each year on Louisiana’s highways, numerous people are killed or seriously injured in automobile crashes that involve impaired drivers and unrestrained motorists. In 2016, 52% of the fatal crashes investigated by Troop G involved impaired drivers and nearly 60% involved motorists that were improperly restrained or not restrained at all. Motorists are asked to designate a sober driver and buckle up.

To report impaired drivers, motorists are encouraged to dial *LSP (*577) from their cellular phone to reach the nearest Louisiana State Police troop location or dial 911 to contact their local law enforcement agency. Support for this checkpoint is provided by the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.


Church Security in Red River Parish

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Recently the Sheriff’s Office held a meeting of churches in our parish to discuss safety during worship. This came at a time when there had been several attacks at churches in the US, most notably the one in a small community in Texas.

One attendee at the meeting was Rev. Dr. Curtis Carroll of First Methodist and Wesley Chapel churches. The Journal asked Rev. Carroll to give his observations of that meeting.

“I would like to give a word of thanks to the Sherriff and the Red River Sherriff’s Office for the recent community forum on the security of churches, synagogues, mosques and temples in the State of Louisiana.
Religious liberties in our nation cannot be fully open unless steps for the safety of persons in their peaceable assembly are protected.

“The forum opened the option for individual religious groups to be state certified and trained in the most recent methods of providing for security within their group. There are threats within our nation by hate groups that target religious groups but one of the key factors to be noted as of recent is that unresolved domestic violence issues get played out in the life of religious communities.

“Louisiana, it has been noted is third in the Nation with domestic violence homicides. Therefore, the forum gave an approach to give religious community leaders one of the tools to make their groups safer. This opened not only the legal question as to what measures are open for safety but where the moral responsibility for the safety of all peaceable worshippers lies.

“This puts law enforcement in a position to be ever vigilant in watching all hate groups within our communities at large but also to be proactive in facing domestic violence. This also puts an extra moral imperative on the leaderships of religious groups to be deeper trained in how to deal with hate and violence.”


Excitement at Green Meadow Haven

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Residents of Green Meadow Haven had two days of excitement last week. They made Christmas ornaments. And they were treated to homemade pies the day before Thanksgiving.

Members of the Sewing God’s Love group went to the nursing home on Tuesday to help the residents create their own Christmas ornaments. From the photos, you can see the residents had a great time. They also created beautiful ornaments for their rooms or trees. Thanks to C’ann Norman for the story, and to ladies from First Baptist, First Methodist and Wesley Chapel churches for doing all the instructing.

Then on Wednesday, Sharon Adkins and several others from the community brought pies they had lovingly baked at home. Adkins reported “Green Meadow Haven residents enjoyed homemade pumpkin and sweet potato pies on Wednesday, November 22. Ladies from Cross Roads Methodist church, First United Methodist Church, and Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church baked the pies to help the residents celebrate Thanksgiving. It was all perfect when each piece of pie was topped with whipped cream.”

Adkins began the Thanksgiving Pies tradition several years ago. She told The Journal to “be sure and thank the ladies who have helped her bake and serve each year.”

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Abuse Suspect Bars the Door when Deputies Arrive

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Shortly after midnight on November 15, 2017 Red River Communications received a call in reference to a domestic dispute that occurred two nights earlier. After Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office (RRPSO) deputies made contact with the caller, they proceeded to a residence in the 4500 block of Hwy 783 to speak with the alleged female victim.

While deputies talked with the victim outside of her residence, she alleged that Donald Brown abused her the previous two nights. In addition to constant verbal attacks, Brown was reported to have grabbed her around the throat, hurt her hand, and slammed her head into the wall causing facial and shoulder injuries. Bruising on her arms and forehead was observed by the deputies.

While deputies were outside the mobile home speaking with the victim, Brown locked the rear door to prevent deputies from entering the residence. Repeated instructions to open the door were ignored by Brown. Deputies made entry through an unsecured front door, but did not visually observe the suspect. Brown was instructed to come out of hiding and show his hands. He eventually jumped out of a closet located in the kitchen area and actively resisted deputies as they tried to affect an arrest. After warning Brown to comply or he would be tased, a deputy deployed his Taser CEW (conducted electrical weapon), temporarily incapacitating the subject. He was subsequently placed under arrest without further incident and transported to the Red River Parish Jail (RRPJ) for booking.

Donald W. Brown, W/M, age 49 of the 4500 block of Hwy 783, Ringgold, LA was charged with one count of Domestic Abuse Battery and one count of Resisting a Police Officer with Force or Violence. He was also booked on an outstanding warrant for Failure to Appear in court for Criminal Fines and Costs, Simple Battery and Resisting and Officer.

His total bond was set at $60,590 and he remains incarcerated in the RRPJ.


Kudos for High School Band

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The Red River High School Band is recognized for excellence wherever it goes. Earlier this month they were recognized at the school board meeting by Superintendent Alison Hughes.

Band Director Yasmine Jason brought her outstanding students to the meeting. Hughes congratulated the band for the outstanding performance they deliver at halftime when the football team is at home.

Jason reported, “They went to Many for band competition. In every category we competed in we made superior. We were the best band program there.” And Jason says there is more to come, more auditions for honor band and more activities such as participating in mardi gras parades across the state.

Hughes said, “I can remember when we did not have a band. But that is no problem now! I get lots of compliments, especially from the halftime shows (Band Director) Jason and her crew puts together.”



Red River Named National Beta School of Distinction

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National Beta is proud to announce Red River High School as a 2017-2018 National School of Distinction. This award is an honor for Beta Chapters striving towards academic achievement, exemplary character, demonstrated leadership and service to others. With an ongoing quest to instill these qualities in more students, the National Beta School of Distinction Award is designed to award those schools that show an increase in membership for the current school year.

“I am proud to see Red River High get recognized for the amazing things going on at our school academically. So often the only thing the public sees is how well we perform on the field or on the court. I am even more proud of the amazing academics and dedicated teachers we have at Red River High School. There are more great things ahead for this school and community.” Principal, J.C. Dickey III

Award recipients received a National Beta School of Distinction banner to proudly display as a symbol of their accomplishment. In addition, National Beta School of Distinction recipients will be publicized at the 2018 National Beta Convention in Savannah, GA this June.
“This prestigious honor is a true indication of Red River High’s dedication to academic excellence, leadership development and commitment to celebrating their student’s achievements.” said National Beta’s Chief Executive Officer, Bob Bright.

About National Beta: National Beta is the largest independent, non-profit, educational youth organization in America. Since its beginnings in 1934, National Beta has been committed to providing students with a positive experience in a supportive manner in grades 4-12. The organization recognizes outstanding achievement, promotes character and social responsibility, encourages service involvement to school and community, and fosters leadership skills.

For more information about National Beta visit, betaclub.org

ETC … for November 29th



The Journal says “Thank You” to the many people in the parish who have had kind words to say about our coverage of football games this year. We promise even more next year. The Journal thanks these local businesses who made our broadcasts possible: Tyler Insurance Agency, Quality Ford, American Bank, Bumper to Bumper Auto Parts, the Bank of Coushatta, Bethard & Bethard Attorneys at Law, Shaver’s Catering, the Famous Natchitoches, LA Meat Pie Co., Beard’s Automotive Parts and Supplies, CP-Tel, and Mabile’s Corner Pharmacy.

And before the football playoffs had ended, we’re into the basketball season. Journal sports plans to cover as many of the games of Red River High and Riverdale Academy as possible. We’ll notify you here in The Journal and on our Facebook page of the dates and times.

Looking at the upcoming schedules, Riverdale Academy is in the Riverfield Tournament in Rayville Thursday through Saturday. They travel to Briarfield Academy in Lake Providence for a game December 5th. The Red River Lady Bulldogs host Peabody on Monday, December 4th.

American Indian crafts people from Louisiana and adjacent states will demonstrate and sell their work at Northwestern State University on Saturday, Dec. 2. The annual American Indian Crafts Day will be held Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Williamson Museum on the second floor of Kyser Hall. Admission is free and open to the public. Pinestraw and river cane baskets, cypress and oak baskets, alligator and gar scale jewelry, sewn beadwork and other traditional crafts will be available from the Houma, Choctaw, Tunica-Biloxi, Alabama-Coushatta and other tribes.

Northwestern State president Dr. Chris Maggio and athletics director Greg Burke will officially introduce Brad Laird as the Demons’ new head football coach Thursday afternoon at 1:30 in the ballroom of the Friedman Student Union in the middle of the university campus. The public is invited to the event.

Coushatta resident David Spruil is accused of second-degree murder and attempted vehicle burglary. A Shreveport police investigation revealed that an unidentified man was killed at a residence. Spruil is accused of driving from the residence with the dead man’s body in the car. That vehicle was in an accident and police report the suspect then attempted to break into a different car. A police spokesman says the dead man appeared to be shot. Shreveport officers took Spruil into custody.

Happy Thanksgiving

Five orange pumpkins sit in a row in front of a distressed, wooden background.


This is the time of the year to give thanks for what we have. History says the Pilgrims started the idea by setting a day aside to give thanks for their safe arrival and beginning a new life in America. But what do you say that Thanksgiving is?

For some, it is a day to watch football or basketball. Others eat too much. Some visit family and friends. There is hunting and fishing on many folks agenda. And a few take time to give thanks.

The Journal hopes you do all of the above, especially take time to give thanks. We’re taking a day off to spend with family. The Journal will not publish on Friday. This Wednesday edition is being put together in Memphis where we are visiting our grandson.

Come Friday afternoon The Journal will be on the road to Ferriday where the Red River Bulldogs will play Ferriday in the next round of the football playoffs. Red River defeated Rosepine last Friday night with an impressive 38-24 come from behind win.

Friday’s game will be streamed live on http://www.RedRiverParishJournal.com and http://www.Facebook.com/RedRiverParishJournal. The game will also be broadcast on KRRP 950.

Christmas Festival is December 7th

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The Red River/Coushatta Chamber of Commerce is planning the 2017 Christmas Festival for December 7th. Most of the events will be held on Front Street.

There will be the annual parade beginning at the ballpark. It will wind its way to Ringgold Avenue, cross the tracks and turn onto Front Street. The parade route will pass the newly renovated stage and Santa House. The parade will line up beginning at 3:30 pm on the 7th and the parade will begin about 4:30.

What would a Christmas Festival be without fireworks? There will be a great fireworks show that will take place at 6:00 pm along Front Street.

Vendors are being sought for this years festivities. There is a vendor application on the chamber website. Details are posted on the Chamber’s website http://www.redriverparish.org and on its Facebook page.

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Pro Start Student Honored

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A Red River High School student in the ProStart program has been awarded a National Certificate of Achievement. He is Bobby White, who studies under Wanda Lemoine at the school.

If you have attended any of the numerous events ProStart caters you have seen Bobby White with his tall white chef’s hat and equally large smile. His hard work has not gone unrecognized.

Rob Gifford of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation said White had “completed all requirements of the ProStart Program.” Gifford added, “He has demonstrated a strong foundation in the management and culinary skills considered critical by leaders in the restaurant and foodservice industry.”

Bobby White’s certificate of was awarded November 13th. He was recognized at this month’s school board meeting.

New Head Coach for NSU

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Brad Laird, one of Northwestern State’s greatest football players and most successful defensive coordinators, is the Demons’ new head football coach, athletics director Greg Burke announced Monday afternoon. Laird, 44, will be officially introduced as head coach early next week on campus. The university is currently on Thanksgiving break. Laird’s promotion from associate head coach and defensive coordinator, a position he assumed this past January, is pending approval of the University of Louisiana Board of Supervisors, which oversees nine state institutions including Northwestern State.

“While NSU has hired a great number of coaches and staff from around the country through the years who have had a high level of success, sometimes the best choice is right in your backyard. So with tremendous confidence, I’m announcing that Brad Laird will be the new football coach at Northwestern State University,” said Burke.

“Brad has a passion for NSU, as a former coach and administrator, and as one of the best players to ever wear a Demon uniform, that cannot be surpassed. He’s ready for this opportunity, he wants this opportunity, and he will make the best of this opportunity.”

He becomes the Demons’ 15th head football coach, succeeding Jay Thomas, whose contract was not renewed following five seasons in charge. The Demons finished 4-7 overall, 4-5 in Southland Conference play, this season, winning three of their last four games, capped by a 38-21 victory Saturday over Stephen F. Austin.

Courthouse Gets New Holiday Look

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There is a new holiday spirit at the Red River Parish Courthouse. Holiday decorations and lights are all new for 2017.

The Journal spotted crews putting up the new decorations this past week. For months there had been talk of removing the old lights that had been on the courthouse for years. An agreement between the police jury and the chamber made the new look possible.

First the old lights, and all the glue that made them stick to the building was removed. Recently new lights were mounted. There is also new garland ringing the columns out front.


Holiday Express Train to Stop in Coushatta

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Save the date, December 5th. The KCS Holiday Express Train is coming to Coushatta. It will be open for tours and to thrill kids young and old beginning at 4:00 pm. The train will stop on Front Street.

From the company’s website is this description of the Holiday Express:
The KCS Holiday Express is a festive, six-car train that brings Santa Claus and his elves to communities throughout the company’s U.S. rail network. Guests to the train can visit with Santa Claus and walk through three cars filled with holiday displays. Each event is free, open to the public and no tickets are required.

In addition, at each scheduled stop, a charitable contribution is made to the local Salvation Army to provide warm clothes and other necessities for children in need.
The Holiday Express was created in 2001 as volunteers dedicated more than 8,000 hours to transform retired rail cars. Today, these cars feature a smiling tank car named Rudy; a flatcar carrying Santa’s sleigh, reindeer and a miniature village; a gingerbread boxcar; the elves’ workshop; a reindeer stable; and a little red caboose.

Riverdale Academy DARE Graduation

By: Lt. Troy Murray (DARE Officer)



On November 15, 2017, after successfully completing the requirements of the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, twelve fifth grade students from Riverdale Academy received their graduation certificates.

In a ceremony held in the school auditorium, those in attendance learned a brief history of the DARE program, watched the students perform skits and heard the reading of the winning DARE report. The skits, which demonstrated the five DARE resistance strategies, were the highlight of the afternoon!

Students recognized for exceptional DARE reports were Chance Rushing (1st place), Chloe Cason (2nd place), and Connor Straight (3rd place). Following the ceremony, a reception was held in the lunchroom for the graduates and their guests.

While there is no way to truly measure the impact of the DARE program, there should be no question that it equips our children with tools that can be helpful throughout their lifetimes. In addition to educating students on the dangers associated with drugs and alcohol, the DARE program covers much more. This includes responsible decision making, resistance strategies, peer pressure, stress, effective communication, bullying, and establishing a help network.

Sheriff Edwards would like to extend his appreciation to the school board and administration for allowing the Sheriff’s Office the opportunity to present the program. Thanks also go to fifth grade teacher Mrs. Kelly Azlin, parents, and others who helped make this year and graduation ceremony special for the students.
Great job Riverdale DARE Class of 2017! Always remember to be SAFE and RESPONSIBLE!

ETC… for November 22nd


School is out this week. Classes resume on Monday for Red River schools and
Riverdale Academy. Area colleges including NSU are also closed for Thanksgiving.
For some Northwestern State University students, the devastation in Puerto Rico
caused by Hurricane Maria was personal. They decided to do what they could to aid
the island’s recovery efforts.

A fundraiser, Demons Dance for Puerto Rico, will be held Tuesday, Nov. 28 from 4
p.m. – 7 p.m. in the Alumni Plaza. The event will feature live music, salsa dancing
lessons and food. Various groups will perform in a dance showcase that will include
salsa, tap and stepping.

Friday is the date to pick up sweet potatoes. If you bought boxes of sweet potatoes
from the 4-H this fall, November 24 th is your pickup day. Distribution will be all day
at the fairgrounds.

Green Meadow Haven has an angel tree for their residents this Christmas. You are
asked to come by and select an angel to buy a present for. Or you may call 932-5202
and ask for Mary Tom or Holly. Help assure the residents have a present under the
tree Christmas morning.

Christmas will be here soon. The Journal would like to publicize your church or
groups holiday programs, food and gift distributions, and all you do for our area.
Please send information to The Journal at TheRRJournal@gmail.com. We would like
to salute all that you do.

Are you decorating your home for Christmas? Send The Journal a picture. We’d like
to see your artwork and your decorations.

NSU will not retain head football coach Jay Thomas after 5 seasons; home game Saturday will be his last


After five seasons, Jay Thomas will coach the Northwestern State football team for the last time when the Demons host Stephen F. Austin Nov. 18 in a 3 p.m. Southland Conference contest in Turpin Stadium.

Thomas told his players Friday evening that the SFA game will be his final one as their coach. His contract expires after the season and will not be renewed, said NSU athletics director Greg Burke.

“Coaching transition is never easy and that is especially the case when it involves a first-class person like Jay Thomas. I am certain that many others share my appreciation for how well Jay has represented Demon football, NSU Athletics, Natchitoches and NSU throughout his five-year tenure,” said Burke. “I wish him and his family all the best going forward.

“The foundation of Demon football has been enhanced under Jay’s leadership on many levels. Most notably, the academic profile of our football program – as evidenced by NCAA Academic Progress Rate numbers and related honors – has improved significantly and to the point that the multi-year score is well above the minimum benchmark and keeps NSU well-positioned to be eligible for postseason competition,” said Burke, who also pointed to Thomas’ involvement and visibility in the community and the Coaches Cabinet Association fundraising group Thomas established as positives.

Thomas and his staff organized and hosted one of the largest one-day, on-campus summer camps in the region this summer, with over 500 high school competitors visiting Turpin Stadium and NSU’s practice facilities for expert instruction.

The NSU football program had the best APR score, 975 of a possible 1,000, among the 11 Southland Conference football teams for 2015-16. The program’s four-year APR under Thomas is 957.

An impressive total of 91 players have earned undergraduate degrees since the end of the 2014 season and over a dozen of the 17 seniors playing their final home game Saturday will graduate this year or have already graduated.

As he prepared to give his players the news Friday evening, Thomas said he was completely focused on the 3 o’clock Saturday afternoon home game against Stephen F. Austin.

“I think these guys will take it the right way, rally up and we’ll be ready to play. We have game tomorrow, that’s the most important thing. We’re playing for our 17 seniors and we’re playing for Chief Caddo, the biggest trophy in sports,” he said.

“I’d like to thank the administration for the opportunity to be the head coach here at Northwestern State. It’s been a pleasure and an honor,” said Thomas. “This is a great university with a lot of great things going on. (New president Chris) Dr. Maggio is going to do a fantastic job, and there are bigger and better things to come here.

“To the fans and the alumni, and the student body, I want to say thank you for all of the support. Now is the time for everyone to rally together. It’s not just about the football program, it’s about the entire university. That’s what I would like to see, the Demon family have success. I’m always going to be a Demons fan. I’m going to be one of the biggest supporters.

“I want to thank our players, past and present, for all their hard work and dedication. We didn’t win all our battles out there, but we gave everything we had. I’m very proud of the way they represented the university on and off the field for five years,” he said. “And I can’t wait to go out there at Turpin Stadium one more time with them.”

Thomas, 57, has a 20-36 record with the Demons, 14-27 in Southland Conference play. Adding in six seasons (2004-09) as head coach at Nicholls, he has a 47-71 career mark in 11 seasons.

The Demons opened with a pair of 6-6 seasons under Thomas in 2013 and 2014, including a 2014 victory at Heart of Dallas Bowl champion Louisiana Tech, two blowout wins over in-state rival Southern, and a 2014 homecoming win over highly-ranked Southland Conference power Sam Houston State. But NSU dipped to 4-7 in 2015 and 1-10 in 2016, and stands 3-7 overall heading into Saturday’s season finale.

Since Thomas took over, the Demons have suffered 11 losses decided in the closing minutes, seven in the past two seasons, including bitter defeats this year to a pair of nationally-ranked Southland Conference opponents, Nicholls and Sam Houston State, in which they led nearly the entire contests.

“There have been so many close losses over the past two to three seasons that have resulted in the program’s win-loss record not being at a desirable level,” said Burke. “Thus, the decision has been made to move in a different direction with the program leadership in hopes of providing for our fans, former players and supporters more success that ultimately leads to championships and postseason appearances.”

Burke said Saturday’s NSU-SFA contest is the sole focus for him now, but consideration of options for choosing a new head coach is underway and will intensify Sunday.

Maggio, Coach T, 9-20-142014 fall FB AM grads

School Employees of the Month

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Debbie Guidry and Tony Salard were honored at this month’s meeting of the school board. They were named the outstanding employees of the month for September and October.

Board’s insurance company presents the award. Two awards were presented this month because no award was presented in October due to a scheduling conflict.

Tony Salard was honored as the October Employee of the Month. Mike Peter, Principal of Red River Junior High, nominated her. Peter said, “Mrs. Salard is one of the best team players a school could ever wish for. She is usually the first face our car riders see every morning. You never see her without her smile and a great big ‘Good Morning!’ She knows all the students by name.” Salard is also the teacher of the month for November at the Junior High.

High School Principal J C Dickey nominated Debbie Guidry as the school employee for November. Dickey’s nomination statement said, “Mrs. Guidry has been teaching 40 plus years and she shows up to work every day with the energy like it’s her first. She was handed a new curriculum in August and she started teaching without hesitation.” Dickey added, “She is one of the first teachers to arrive and the last to go home. She is always planning and looking out for what’s best for her students.”

The two ladies were presented plaques, had their pictures taken, and were recognized by the school board members for their hard work and devotion to the students.

Veterans Honored by First Baptist

By Faerie Sledge

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First Baptist Church Coushatta honored its veterans Sunday, November 12, 2017, during morning services. Fifteen veterans are members of the church. Each was presented with a red, white, and blue afghan handcrafted by Sewing God’s Love, a local ladies sewing group sponsored by First Baptist, First United Methodist, and Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church, Coushatta. Pastor Nathan Davis of First Baptist read brief military bios for each veteran, including branches of service, locations served (stateside or overseas during wars), and other pertinent service information. The congregation gave the veterans a standing ovation.

Front row, L to R: Wiley Garrett, Joe Smith, Joe Bass, Johnny Duco, Roger Cason, and Jack Lafield.
Center: Jack Moseley, Ray Penny, Pastor Nathan Davis, Earnest “Turk” Hayes, Jeffrey Smith.
Back row: Billy Warren, Vernon Coffey

Also honored but unable to be present were I.L. “Buck” Dickson, J.R. Sessions, and Rex Young.