College Athletic Scholarships


Four athletes from Red River Parish signed scholarships during 2017. The first was reported in the March 8th edition of The Journal.


Greg Wallace

Family, coaches and friends packed he Red River High School Library Friday to witness Greg Wallace signing on with Louisiana College. Wallace said he chose LC “because it feels like home.”

Wallace is anxious to get on the field at Louisiana College. “I am looking to bring pressure in the middle of the defense as an inside linebacker” said Wallace.
Before the signing took place there was a lunch and a huge cake declaring “Congratulations Greg”. Afterward there were media interviews and more congrats from fellow teammates and coaches.

Wallace’s head coach, Reginald Prelow described him as “a good ballplayer, outstanding young man of good character who works hard on the field and in the classroom.” Wallace says of Prelow “I learned how to be disciplined. Coach stayed on me, reminding me that you have to work hard to go anywhere.”

Dez Bryant


On Friday, April 28th Dezmond Bryant made history. He is the first athlete signed to a track scholarship from Red River Parish. Bryant was surrounded by parents, teammates, friends and coaches at a celebration held in the Red River High School Library.

Bryant signed with Western Texas College located at Snyder, Texas. He will be a member of their track team and he proudly wore a school shirt during the event.
The signing took place with Track Coach Billy Henry, Jr. at his side. Bryant graciously signed again and again with family members, with friends, with School Superintendent Alison Hughes and other officials, and with many well-wishers.
A huge cake congratulating the senior was prepared, as were sandwiches and snacks served by students of the school Pro Start program.

The Journal spoke with Bryant about the signing. He said, “I am just humbled. I thank God for everything.” Bryant added, “I want to keep my mind focused and I hope to add other first place finishes at the state track meet.” Bryant will compete in the 400 meter, 200 meter and 4-by-200 events at the state track meet scheduled Friday May 5th in Baton Rouge.

Superintendent Alison Hughes remarked, “If you ever see Dez run it’s beautiful. We had to bring in another table to hold all the medals he won at Red River High. We’re looking forward to him winning many more.”

Track Coach Billy Henry, Jr. said, “Dez is the first to get a traditional scholarship in track from Red River Parish. No one has more state titles than Bryant.”

Bryant’s very proud father, Terrell Brown told the Journal “I’m very proud of him. He always has a good attitude in everything he does.

Jaylee Riggs


Then in the May 17th edition The Journal reported on a Riverdale Academy senior who signed with Centenary to play softball.

Surrounded by Mom, Dad and her coach, and backed up by members of the Riverdale Academy Softball Team, Jaylee Riggs signed on to play ball for Centenary College in Shreveport. Riggs said, “I got my number one choice.”
Riverdale Principal Jamie Lawrence said, “I believe Riggs is the first Riverdale student to ever sign a college scholarship to play softball. Her team supports her and we do to.”

Riggs described her emotional state as “nervous but excited to play softball for Centenary. I’m ready to play.” She said she will major in biology and then go to physical therapy school after graduation.

Her coach, Debbie Guidry said, “I am proud for the opportunity to coach Jaylee. How proud we are of her. We wish her the best. Go show Centenary all the good things she can do with a bat.”

Lakeya Lewis


In Late July, family, friends, coaches and school officials looked on and cheered for Lakeya Lewis. She signed to play basketball for the Pratt Community College Beavers of Pratt, Kansas. The signing ceremony took place in the school library.

Lewis has an infectious smile and it was on display as she spoke with the Journal. She said, “The coach at Pratt told me I was fast enough and a good shooter. After I work hard he would recommend me to a four year college. And perhaps someday to the WNBA.” Lewis added, “The advice he had was for me to be dedicated and work hard and put in the number of hours it takes to build up my skills.”

Lewis’ coach Missy Antilley said, “I think she will be picked up by a D-1 school next year.” Lewis has been considering several schools this spring and summer. “She made a very good decision (to go to Pratt)” added Antilley.


A Year of Parades and Festivals

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We love celebrations. And in 2017 we took plenty of time to celebrate. The top two reasons to celebrate were the Fair Parade in October and the Christmas Festival in December.

Fair Parade 1

The annual Fair Parade rolled out of the Fairgrounds about 5:00 pm Thursday afternoon, October 5th. There were many floats and entries by schools and local businesses.
The parade was led by the Sheriff’s Department and Red River High’s Air Force JROTC carrying the colors. It was to have been lead by units of the fire and EMS services, however there was a truck wreck on US 71 shortly before parade time, so those vehicles went on the call.
The parade route was lined with excited spectators, especially the children. They shouted “throw me something” and hurried to add another piece of candy or trinket to their bag of goodies.

Look back at the Journal’s October 11th issue to see all of the pictures of the floats entered in the Fair Parade.

Fair Parade 2

The 2017 Christmas Festival was truly spectacular. The events were made even greater as over 2,200 folks turned out on December 5th to see and tour the KCS Holiday Express.


The Holiday Express train was created by workers for Kansas City Southern railroad. They used retired rail cars and a lot of ingenuity to create a holiday spectacular. Santa’s reindeer rode on a flatcar. There was a boxcar formed into a stable for the reindeer (actually holding the generator for the display).

Everyone entered the caboose and wound their way from car to car. Santa was seated in a big rocker awaiting the opportunity to hear a child’s Christmas wish or have a photo made by an excited parent.

Christmas Fest 2

The Christmas Parade and Fireworks Spectacular was held on Thursday, December 7th. Front Street was decked out in holiday finery and featured many improvements being made by the town council.

The overall winner of the Christmas Parade was a school bus decorated with Santa, Elves and a huge tree. This was the last entry in the parade and made a huge impression on the large crowd gathered on Front Street.

This year’s parade featured 20 floats and entries, a marching band, spirit groups and dancers. The Grand Marshall was Dr. Greg Bell and the Community Leader was C’Ann Norman.

Christmas Fest 1

Despite a winter chill in the air, the crowd stayed around for a fabulous fireworks display. The show lasted at least half an hour and rocket after rocket blasted skyward from across the railroad tracks behind the Council on Aging’s Depot Diner.




Christmas Decorations 1

Around town Christmas lights were ablaze throughout the holiday season. Businesses, utility poles, public buildings, and homes were decorated with lights and yard displays. Our parish courthouse sported new decorations for 2017. The Police Jury and Chamber of Commerce redecorated with garland and lights around the columns out front. And new lights were strung to outline the historic building.

Christmas Decorations 2

There are more pictures from the Christmas Festival. Look back at the Journal in early December for photos of the Holiday Express Train, the Christmas Festival Parade, the Fireworks Spectacular and the lights about town.



Recognition for Delegates to Boys State and Girls State



American Legion Post 118 and Auxiliary celebrated another successful year at Boys State and Girls State. The events are sponsored by the American Legion and Auxiliary and are held each summer at Northwestern State University.

In August, the delegates, their parents, friends and members of the American Legion gathered in the fellowship hall of First Baptist Church to celebrate. Peggy Ray introduced the delegates saying they were there “to recognize outstanding students in 11th grade who had a week-long experience in government.” Ray added their biggest complaint: “Not enough sleep!”

Girls State delegates were Gracie Almond and Adriana Bradley from Riverdale Academy and Tianna Rock from Red River High School. Almond and Bradley had other engagements and were not at the celebration. Rock spoke on their behalf thanking the American Legion for sending them. Rock said, “My time was wonderful because of late night working on speeches. If you work hard for something you will succeed.” Rock said her friends she met at Girls State helped her “bring myself up and build my confidence. All of the girls were so supportive.”

Boys State delegates were Brandon Gay, Reagan Prosperie and Payton Thornton all of Riverdale Academy. Brandon Gay spoke first “It was a life changing experience and I met a lot of new friends.” Gay echoed other delegates talking about late night sessions, writing and making speeches. “I have a new respect for government and how it works,” he added. Gay was elected Senator from Tensas Parish. One of his roommates went on to Boys Nation in Washington, DC and got to meet President Donald Trump.

Delegate Reagan Prosperie said, “It is an experience I will never forget. I ran for state representative. I had to write many bills.” Prosperie added, “It was a fun job and thanks for sending me.”

Delegate Payton Thornton said, “Honestly I did not know what to expect upon arrival at NSU. People don’t understand. It is not just a bunch of crazy guys partying 24/7. We worked out butts off!” Thornton said he made lifelong friends. “We did everything together for a whole week. It was really a life-changing experience that made me a better man and a better citizen of Coushatta.” Thornton ran for Director of Finance for the city of Caddo in Atchafalaya Parish. He also ran for State Treasurer but lost in a runoff.

Local sponsorship for Boys State and Girls State came from Almond Brothers Lumber Company, American Bank and Trust, Bank of Coushatta, Bethard and Bethard, Ed Lester Farms and Mabile’s Pharmacy. Past Commander of the American Legion Post Joe Smith told the gathering, “We are the only post that sends their delegates to Boys State and Girls State. Delegates from other posts have to pay their own way. We are the only ones and it is a challenge to our sponsors to meet the needs of sending delegates.

Local Attorney Henry Bethard was a delegate the first Boys State held in Louisiana. Local delegates have been sent by the local post since 1946.


Beta Clubs Promote Academic Excellence

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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


This report from the Journal, September 13th. On Thursday afternoon the first Installation was held by the Junior Beta Club at Red River Elementary School. Officers were introduced and all members were inducted.

The Beta Club is sponsored by Kenotta Williams, Crystal Williams and Tiffany Williams of the elementary school staff. Tiffany Williams served as Master of Ceremonies at the induction ceremony.

Each club officer lit a colored candle signifying one of the qualities Beta Club strives for. And each officer gave brief remarks describing the particular attribute their candle represented.

The National Beta Club (often called “Beta Club” or simply “Beta”) is an organization for 4th through 12th grade students in the United States. Its purpose is “to promote the ideals of academic achievement, character, leadership and service among elementary and secondary school students.”

Riverdale Beta Club

The Senior Beta Club at Riverdale Academy has been active in our community and northwest Louisiana this year. Thanks to Mallory Warren for the pictures and information. See the December 22nd issue of the Journal.
Recently members made Christmas cards for nursing home residents. The cards were passed out at the Christmas party at Green Meadow Haven. Beta Club members also served dinner to residents. They plan on hosting the December birthday party at Green Meadow Haven on December 29th.
Other activities this past year included collecting donations for the Providence House. The club will be hosting a game night at Providence House in January.
Riverdale’s Beta Club will attend the state convention in February where members will compete in academic tests on language arts, science, social studies and agriculture. They will also compete in creative writing, visual arts, quiz bowl, robotics, advertising design, special talents, scrapbook, and other categories.
The Riverdale Academy Senior Beta Club has earned National School of Distinction for two years in a row. And last year at state convention Lewis Lawson placed first in sculpture.


ETC… 2017 Year in Review



This has been an exciting year, a rewarding year, a tragic year, and a year that most of us will never forget. The Journal has chronicled it all, “the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!” Apologies to Clint Eastwood.

Just some of the other events and milestones we reported on included the acts of kindness of many of our citizens. It seems as if someone is always doing something to benefit the residents of the local nursing home. We are always helping a neighbor in their time of need, or loss, or sorrow.

There are many groups that take care of our citizens. There is the formalized programs offered by the Council on Aging, the Health Unit, the Sheriff’s Department and many church groups. Then there is the less formal work of the Wise Ones Working, the PAW Parents, Sewing God’s Love and the list seems endless.

This has been the Journal’s first year. After much debate and research, the Journal began in January making plans for the first issue. In early February 2017 it was published. Soon we discovered that there was much more happening in Red River Parish than would fit in just one issue on Wednesday. So we added a Friday edition.

Last fall we added Journal Sports and a cooperative agreement with local radio station KRRP to the list of services. We began by streaming and broadcasting Red River High School football games. What a great season the Bulldogs had.

When playoff season arrived, Journal Sports added coverage of Riverdale Academy playoff games. The Rebels had an impressive 7-0 district season and were 8-1 overall. Then basketball season began and Journal Sports was there broadcasting games of both Riverdale and Red River teams.

Thanks to you our readers we have expanded to emailing every issue to almost 1,200 people. On average we serve 8,870+ people each week. The Journal has become the primary source of news for residents of the parish as well as Red River Alumni. And we are truly grateful for you help and support.

Thank you Red River. The Journal promises there is more to come in 2018.



Sheriff’s Hunter Education Course

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Sheriff Glen Edwards would like to congratulate the thirty-two Red River Junior High students who recently completed the Louisiana Hunter’s Education Course! The training consisted of eight hours of classroom instruction, followed by a field day at the Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office firing range.

The course was led by Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office instructors Captain Tracy Scott, Lt. Roger Longino and Sgt. Johnny Tingle. This was the first time that the course was offered on the school campus.

The next course will be open to the public and is planned for fall of 2018. The specific dates and location have yet to be determined.


Red River Units Assist With Christmas Day Fire

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A family’s mobile home near Fairview Alpha was heavily damaged by a Christmas afternoon fire. The family escaped without injury. Units from Red River were called in to assist with fighting that blaze. Here is the report from the Natchitoches Sheriff’s Office.

At 4:42pm, Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies, and Natchitoches Parish Fire District #9 along with mutual aid assistance from Red River Fire Units remain on the scene of a structure fire in the 1300 block of US-71 near Fairview according to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office.

The NPSO 911 Center received the call at 3:24pm and fire units arrived on the scene within minutes at 3:29pm.

The residence owned by Travis Guin and rented by James & Cindy Wablington has received heavy fire damage.

There are no reported injuries.


A Fire to Clean Up a Fire

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When is a house fire not a fire? When it is a controlled burn.

Back on October 29th, Ken Mangham’s home on Highway 71 was severely damaged in a fire. The Red River Parish Fire Department extinguished the blaze. Mangham says they basically lost everything, although the structure was left partially standing.

Mangham conducted a controlled burn to get rid of the remains of his house. That was done on December 14th. The blaze created a large cloud of black smoke that was visible from most of Coushatta. The Journal captured the blaze in the photos accompanying this article.

Prior to setting the blaze, Mangham contacted the fire department and the sheriff to inform them of his planned actions. Mangham said when the blaze had consumed the wood; he planned to bury what remains on the property. He had not made a decision on rebuilding. Mangham said he was insured for the original fire.


Louisiana Tech Top College Value

RRPJ-Tech Best Value-17Dec27Kiplinger, the nation’s most recognized publisher of business forecasts and personal finance advice, ranked Louisiana Tech University first among Louisiana’s public colleges and universities in the magazine’s Best College Values 2018 report released today. This is the third year in a row that Kiplinger ranked the University first in the state.

Among public colleges in the United States, Louisiana Tech ranked No. 65 for in-state students and no. 52 for out-of-state students in the ranking. Tech is the only mid-size public university to be named a Kiplinger Best Value in the south-central region.

Two of Louisiana’s public universities made the Kiplinger list of 300 Best College Values for 2018. Louisiana Tech ranked at 189 in the nation and LSU at 270 when compared with public and private institutions on measures of academic quality and affordability.

“Louisiana Tech has built a national reputation for providing our students with a high quality education and college experience at an excellent value,” said Louisiana Tech President Les Guice. “The faculty and staff of Louisiana Tech have earned this and many more national accolades. Our University will continue to offer students the best academic and most innovative programs while ensuring the return on families’ educational investment is strong.”

The full rankings are available online and will appear in print in the February 2018 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. The magazine uses data on nearly 1,200 public and private four-year schools provided by Peterson’s and narrows the list based on measures of academic quality. Editors then rank each school using cost and financial aid measures. Quality criteria account for 55 percent of total points, and cost criteria account for 45 percent.

Louisiana Tech was recently ranked first in the state for student value by and second in the state on level of student loan debt by The Student Loan Report.

The University enrolled a record 12,873 students for Fall Quarter. And for the seventh consecutive year, in the mid-September release of U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 Best Colleges list, Tech was listed in the report’s highest tier of “National Universities.” Louisiana Tech is one of only two public institutions in the state to achieve the ranking.



Easier to Turn Left

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Motorists traveling south on Highway 1 at Armistead now have a left turn arrow at the traffic signal. This is a recent addition and it facilitates the left turn. Prior to the new signal, motorists had to wait to turn left until all of the oncoming traffic from I-49 had cleared.

This bottleneck was recognized by the Red River Parish Police Jury several months ago. The jury asked the highway department to put in the turn signal. Now in December the Journal noted that it had been accomplished.