Sunrise Service at Abbie Lane

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Retired minister Wayne Spears invites you to come down Highway 71 early on Easter Sunday and enjoy Sunrise Services at Abbie Lane Retreat. Three local pastors will tell the Easter story from themed prayer gardens on the property. And visitors can view the recently erected “Empty Cross.”

Spears laid out the itinerary for Easter Sunday morning. He said, “We’ll start at 7:00 am or about sunrise, local time. We will begin at the Gethsemane prayer garden. Bro. Stephen McAbee of Open Door Fellowship will speak in the garden.”

Spears said, “From Gethsemane we will sing and walk up the trail to the three crosses on Calvary Hill. Bro. Matt Endress of Fairview Baptist Church will speak at Calvary.” He added, “The group will walk to the Empty Tomb prayer garden where Bro. Richard Kaufman of Martin Baptist Church will speak.”

“The whole program should last no longer than 45 minutes,” added Spears. He said they are encouraging people to visit the newly completed chapel and empty cross on their own before departing.

Abbie Lane Retreat is located on US 71/84 in south Red River Parish. It is almost to Fairview Alpha. The retreat serves pastors and others in ministry who need a retreat from the stress of their lives. For more information and to book your church group for a tour, call Wayne Spears at 318-505-8578.

Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival Lineup Announced

Festival Lineup

Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival Chairman Rodney Harrington is not short on superlatives when describing the lineup for the 22nd annual event which will be held on April 13-14 on the newly renovated downtown Natchitoches riverbank.

“Quite simply,” Harrington said, “it will be The Greatest Weekend of Music in Natchitoches History.”

The fun begins on Friday, April 13th with the traditional Festival opener the NSU Jazz Orchestra, followed by the Louisiana Swamp Donkeys. Also featured Friday night will be perennial Zyedco/Cajun favorite, Wayne Toups, along with “The World’s Greatest 80’s Tribute Band,” LA ROXX.

Saturday will feature a wide variety of music on four stages located around the downtown riverbank area and will culminate later that evening with performances by the hit-making groups Starship featuring Mickey Thomas and Ohio Players, both performing on the brand new main stage.

Harrington says that while the appearance of these headliners in Natchitoches is amazing, there are so many more reasons to come to the Festival earlier in the day and hear some great music.

“I think the whole town is abuzz with ‘Maggie Mania’,” Harrington said when referring to Nashville Country music star, Maggie Rose, who will be performing on the main stage at 3:35 p.m. “Everywhere I go, people ask me what time Maggie is playing and are so excited to have her in Natchitoches.”

Rose, whose single “Pull You Through” is charting on Country music radio and television, has toured with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Martina McBride, and many others. She has been named by CMT, “One of the Next Women of Country.”

For Aerosmith Fans, Pandora’s Box, dubbed “The Ultimate Aerosmith Tribute” will be performing on the main stage just before Maggie Rose comes on. Kicking off the main stage Saturday will be local favorites The Hardrick Rivers Revue, followed by Gregg Martinez and The Delta Kings.

Harrington said that his band, Johnny Earthquake and The Moondogs, are particularly excited to have the legendary Rick Derringer performing with them again, and that a late addition to the lineup makes Derringer’s appearance even more special this year.

“Rick was a huge hit when he played the Festival four or five years ago, so I guess you could say he is back by popular demand.” Harrington continued, “This year also joining us will be Jon Smith, one of Rock & Roll’s greatest and legendary saxophonists.”

Harrington went on to say that Derringer and Smith were bandmates in Edgar Winter’s White Trash band during the late 60’s and early 70’s, and Smith has gone on to an illustrious career performing with such luminaries such as The Doobie Brothers, Boz Scaggs, Johnny Winter, Toto, and Sarah Vaughn.

Harrington promises that, with over twenty bands performing on four different stages, there will be something to appeal to almost every musical taste. “There will be Rock & Roll, Country, Zydeco, Cajun, Blues, Funk, and, of course, Jazz and R&B,” he said. “In fact, the Beau Jardin Stage features nothing but Jazz all day, so the hardcore Jazz aficionados would never have to leave that spot,”

Natchitoches’ own country music star, Trini Triggs, will once again serve as Master of Ceremonies and will perform at various times during the Festival and as always, local groups including Billy O’Con and Badd Apple, Cane River Soul, and Breaktime for Frances will be spotlighted. Of course, there will be plenty of food and activities for the kids with lots of inflatables.

One new feature at this year’s Festival is the addition of limited reserved seating in the new amphitheater in front of the stage.

“Oh, the reserved seats are going to be fantastic,” according to Harrington. There are just over 500 reserved seats and Harrington says that many of them have been sold leaving just over 200 available for sale. Personal chairs will not be allowed on the riverbank but will be allowed at all outer stages and in a limited area on top of the riverbank.

“If you want to be insured a primo place to sit at the Festival, you better order your reserved tickets today!” Harrington concluded. “There is no doubt they will be sold out before Festival weekend.” Reserved seats can only be purchased online.

For ticket information, a full lineup and more information about the 22nd Annual Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival, go to

All-Stars Among the Bulldogs



Both the boys and girls basketball teams at Red River High School finished strong in this year’s competition. Both advanced to the state semi-finals before being eliminated.

Now the All-District teams for district 3-2A have been announced. As expected they placed many players on the all district teams.

For the girls, Makayia Hallmon was elected MVP of the first team. Also on the first team from Red River was Oksonna Williams. Kaitlyn Antilley was selected to the girl’s second team.

Red River had two players selected for the district first team. They are Jesse Davis and Chris Moore. Selected to the second team was Emareyon McDonald.

The Journal congratulates Red River’s basketball teams for their accomplishments this past season. And a special congrats to the members of the all district teams.

Cookie Mission a Hit

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The youth group at First Baptist Church recently visited the Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office with cookies. The goal was to show the officers their appreciation for what deputies do everyday.

The Sheriff’s Office posted, “What an enjoyable hour many of our deputies were able to share with the Kids on Mission from First Baptist Church of Coushatta Wednesday evening! Thank you all so much for the goodies, cards and prayers that you shared with us…and thanks for caring!

“Hopefully you all enjoyed meeting our K-9s Cephira and Aron, seeing our drone in operation, seeing/learning about some of our equipment and asking our deputies questions.”

The youngsters shared a devotion with deputies, passed out treats, and got a demonstration of several services RRSO delivers everyday.

Nutrition Month Open House



March is National Nutrition Month. It is being observed in our area by the Red River Health Unit with an open house next Monday.

Nursing Supervisor Yashica Turner told The Journal they are welcoming the public to their open house from 4:00 to 6:00 pm. In addition to having lots of information on nutrition and your health, Turner says they will have registration for prizes and some fun and games. Also the health unit staff will be on hand to discuss healthy eating habits.

The Red River Parish Health unit is located in the Administration Building on Red Oak Road beside the courthouse.

Hometown Trooper Honored

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Look at the picture of State Troopers honored recently by Channel 6 in Shreveport. Second from left is Coushatta’s Melvin Massey. He was honored at a recent banquet. More from the Troop G Facebook page.

Troop G Troopers assigned to a special unit called Mobile Field Force were recognized for their outstanding service at the 2018 Salute the Badge banquet sponsored by KTAL NBC 6. It was a wonderful evening for the Troopers and their families. It was a great honor given to those that serve the great citizens of Louisiana.

Congressman Johnson Objects to the Budget Bill

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The US House has passed the budget that keeps the Federal Government running and sent it on to the house. Fourth District Congressman Mike Johnson expressed his displeasure to both the process of passing the legislation and to the Trillion-Dollar-Plus price tag of the budget bill.

Here is Johnston’s statement on the bill passing the House: “There is no way, in good conscience, I could vote for the omnibus spending bill because its content, and the process behind it, violates our most basic responsibilities and our principles. First, the idea that we could digest 2,232 pages of bill text appropriating all of the funding for the federal government in less than 24 hours is absurd and eerily similar to the ‘we must pass it to see what’s in it’ Obamacare debacle. What we were able to review in the short time before the vote, however, is of grave concern. This package does little to fund our border security efforts, places no restrictions on dangerous sanctuary cities, allows funding for Planned Parenthood and leaves Obamacare completely intact.

“Our nation’s top military officials have repeatedly warned Congress that the number one threat to our national security is our debt. But today, we were asked to vote in favor of even more, massive increases in discretionary, domestic spending. No family or company or local governmental body could operate in such an irresponsible manner, and Congress should not either.

“The American people gave Republicans the House, Senate, and White House to implement conservative principles and careful stewardship and to return our government to one that is truly for the people, by the people. I cannot vote for a deficit spending package that does little to advance the conservative agenda and falls far short of the expectations the American people have set for their representatives in Congress.”

Easter Revival Begins Sunday

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Social Springs Baptist Church begins a spring revival series on Sunday. There will be services at 11:00 am and 6:00 pm Sunday, then nightly services at 6:00 pm Monday through Saturday.

The Evangelist is Bro. Sam Moore. Music for the week will be by Lindley Creek. The pastor, Bro. James Hester invites everyone to join them for the Easter Revival.

Social Springs Baptist Church is located in northern Red River Parish at 5455 Highway 371.

ETC… for March 23rd


The Coushatta/Red River Chamber of commerce has announced the dates for their annual car show. It will be May 12th at Grand Bayou Resort.

Reminder from the school board’s Facebook page:
Parent Guidance for the Spring LEAP 2025 Tests
The Department released two new parent guides to help parents better understand what students should know and be able to do on the spring LEAP 2025 assessments.
● Parent Guide to the LEAP 2025 Tests: guidance for parents on what tests their child will take, when and how they can support their preparation at home:

● Parent Guide to the LEAP 2025 Practice Tests: guidance for parents on how to access both online and paper practice tests:

Translated versions of both documents are available in Spanish, Arabic, and Vietnamese and can be found in the Family Support Toolbox.

The Journal congratulates two scholars from our parish who made the Dean’s Honor List for the Winter Quarter at Louisiana Tech. They are Amanda Caroline Longino and Katie Marie Oliver.


Student Recognition

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“I get to brag on a kid!” Alison Hughes told the Red River Parish School Board during the March meeting. Superintendent Hughes was all smiles as she introduced a seventh grader to the board.

Hughes recalled a bright spot in her day at a basketball game. She said, “It can get hectic around the concession stand. Some people can be mean. But every time I went to the concession stand I was met with a warm hug and a smile and someone asking me how was my day. In the midst of his demanding job this student asks me if there is anything else he can get me.”

She introduced student Billy Henry by saying, “It is his nature to always smile and have a pleasant attitude. Billy is definitely going to be one of our best students for years to come. Young Henry is in seventh grade at Red River Junior High. His father, Billy Henry, Jr. is Red River’s Athletic Director. His grandfather is Billy Henry, Sr, a track coach and instructor at Springville Education Center.

The smile on young Henry’s face was wide and sincere. And the glow of admiration from family members who accompanied him to the board meeting filled the room.

The agenda item read, “To recognize superintendent’s highlights.” Superintendent Hughes said one of the best parts of her job is, “I get to brag on a kid!”