Dolet Hills Workforce Reductions Next Year

RRPJ-Dolet Hills-18Nov30

The Dolet Hills Lignite Company is going to transition from three dragline operations to one beginning early in 2019. That will be accompanied by a reduction of approximately 135 workers at the Oxbow Mine.

Dolet Hills is a subsidiary of SWEPCO and the Oxbow Mine supplies lignite to the CLECO Dolet Hills Power Station. Peter Main, spokesperson for SWEPCO told The Journal, “The power station is transitioning from year around to seasonal operations. They will generate electricity during the warmest months, typically June through September, or when requested by the regional power group.”

The change in the power generation schedule is the reason for reduction of the workforce at Dolet Hills Lignite’s Oxbow Mine. Main said, “We will continue mining year around, however we are transitioning from three draglines to one. That will result in a reduction of the number of workers at the mine, which is 274 at present. The number of employees at the Oxbow Mine will be down to 140 by the end of 2019.”

“The approximately 135 employees who are affected are being offered other opportunities with SWEPCO or the parent company, American Electric Power,” said Main. He added, “We recognize and value the contributions of our employees who safely mine coal for the plant. We will be helping those affected with a severance program.”

The Journal asked Main for specifics and he said he did not have a list of the specific positions that would be eliminated, and he did not have a specific date for the layoffs to begin, but he said it would begin early next year. And the mine workforce would be down to 140 by the end of 2019.

Severe Weather Headed our Way

RRPJ-Wx Risk of Storms-18Nov30

Red River Parish may be in the path of some severe weather today. Looking at and the National Weather Service it looks like we’ll be getting rain all day, then clearing on Saturday morning.

The National Weather service posted, “An increased severe weather risk is unfolding across the region, especially during the late afternoon throughout the evening on Friday”

Christmas Parade Live on The Journal

RRPJ-Christmas Parade-18Nov30

The first Thursday in December is always special in Coushatta. It is the date of the Christmas Parade. For the first time the Coushatta Christmas Parade will be streamed live by the Red River Parish Journal.

Overall sponsor of the video stream is Rivertown Market. Other sponsors include Better Finance, Country Market and Deli, Georgie Girl Cakery Boutique, Tray Murray State Farm Agent, School Board Member Susan Taylor and Totally Tile.

The Parade will gather at the meat pie plant in the industrial park. It will begin at 4:30 pm and wind its way to Ringgold Avenue and head south. After crossing the railroad tracks the parade route turns onto Front Street where each unit in the parade will stop in front of the stage and the judges. From there, the parade will continue to the Methodist Church where it will end.

The Journal will have its cameras set up at the stage on Front Street. You will be able to see each group perform for the judges.

Following the parade, there will be a firework show beginning at 6:00 pm. The Journal will broadcast the fireworks live Thursday evening.

At the conclusion of the evening, video of the parade and firework show will be archived on YouTube for later viewing. Please notify friends and relatives living out of the area that they can watch live Thursday evening. There will be a link on and on The Journal’s social media pages.

Is the State Holding Your Money?

RRPJ-Treasury TOP-18Nov30The state treasury has millions of dollars that belong to Louisiana residents. The State Treasurer has published an updated list of citizens it is trying to return this property to.

There are over 120 people, churches and businesses in Red River Parish on the latest list. If you think you may be entitled to some of the money, go to the State Treasurer’s website to check for yourself. Here is the link:

4-H Cookies

RRPJ-4-H TOP-18Nov30

Everyone loves cookies. Parish 4-H students are getting into it with a contest to see which student can bake the best cookies. Details were in the latest 4-H newsletter, The Red River Clover News and on their Facebook page.

4-H posted, “Cookie Baking Contest will be Dec. 4th for Riverdale Academy and Dec. 13th for Red River Elementary. See attached Newsletter for rules.”

The Journal is curious to see if judges are needed?

Packing Christmas Boxes

RRPJ-Fairview BC Christ Box-18Nov30The holidays are a season of giving. The spirit was on display recently at Fairview Baptist Church. Children of the church filled the boxes. Wendy Robinette posted, “This is our second year to participate in the Operation Christmas Child packing party at Fairview Baptist Church. On the way there these girls were telling me how much they loved packing these boxes and knowing that a child somewhere in an impoverished country would receive them. I love their hearts so much.”

Other churches in the area are gathering supplies to make less fortunate people in our area have a brighter Christmas. What is your church doing? Let The Journal know. Send information to

NSU Choir Holiday Service

RRPJ-NSU Choir Holiday Service-18Nov30

The Northwestern State University Chamber Choir will present a candlelight service of “Lessons and Carols” Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception at 145 Church St. in Natchitoches. Admission is free and open to the public. Dr. Nicholaus B. Cummins will conduct the Chamber Choir. This is the 28th consecutive year the NSU Chamber Choir has presented this service.

The “Lessons and Carols” is a service based upon a century-old tradition established at Kings College, Cambridge, in England, where it is performed every Christmas Eve to standing room only crowds and broadcast worldwide on the BBC. “Lessons and Carols” consists of nine lessons, readings for both the Old and New Testament of the Bible, all related to the Advent and birth of Christ. Following each lesson, the choir singing a text that relates to each of the readings. During the carols, altar servers light a variety of candles, which remain lit throughout the service. Gradually, the church is transformed from darkness into light as the Service concludes in a festive recessional.

The premier vocal ensemble at NSU, the 36-member Chamber Choir is comprised of the top vocalists at Northwestern State. Each December, the Chamber Choir performs their “Lessons and Carols” service at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, which has become a Natchitoches tradition. The ensemble has sung at state ACDA and LMEA conventions, performed by invitation at Carnegie Hall, and recently placed second in the Laurea Mundi Budapest Choral Competition earlier this year.

The choir has been invited to participate in the Ave Verum International Choral Competition in Baden, Austria on May 31-June 2, 2019. NSU’s Chamber Choir was one of 10 choirs chosen from around the world along with ensembles from countries including Russia, Slovakia, Czechia, Ukraine, Hungary and Italy. Northwestern State’s ensemble was the only choir from the U.S. selected for the competition.

ETC… for Friday November 30th


Congratulations to Riverdale Academy Boys Basketball Coach Steve Weir. He recently got his 800th career coaching win.

The Northwestern State University Jazz Combos will perform a “Jazz for Pups” Christmas concert Monday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall.

Early voting continues through late Saturday at the Registrar of Voters Office in the courthouse. Only one issue for Red River voters and that is the runoff for Secretary of State.

The holidays are coming. Many churches will be scheduling special music and or special services. First Methodist on Front Street is having their annual “Hanging of the Greens” service this Sunday morning. Send your church information to

Early Voting Underway

RRPJ-Early Voting-18Nov28

There is only one item on the December 8th ballot for residents of Red River Parish. That is the runoff in the race for Secretary of State. Despite the short ballot, early voting is now going on at the Registrar of Voters Office in the courthouse. Early voting continues through Saturday evening.

Voter turnout for this election is expected to be light. This is due to the lack of local issues on the ballot. The sample ballot furnished by the Secretary of State’s Office is included with this article.

RRPJ-Early Voting-18Nov28

Teen and Adult Challenge in Coushatta


The Louisiana Teen and Adult Challenge program came to Coushatta last Saturday. They set up an information booth at Rivertown Market manned by Bobby Davis, Jr. and Sebastian Ferrau. It was part of the group’s drug awareness campaign.

Ferrau explained, “The purpose of the drug awareness campaign is hope in the middle of the drug epidemic.” He said, “Secular programs typically have a two to fifteen percent success rate. Louisiana Teen and Adult Challenge has a success rate of 70 to 80 percent.”

“I was homeless, a convicted felon, and a drug addict when I started Challenge,” Ferrau said. The Journal asked what was the reason for their high success rate? Ferrau said, “Teen Challenge is a Christian discipleship program. It’s free although we accept donations.”

He said he has been clean almost three years now. Ferrau said, “It’s all to the glory of God. I can’t take any credit.” More information about Louisiana Teen and Adult Challenge can be found on their website.

Methodist Men Present Christmas Cheer

RRPJ-Methodist Men-18Nov28

The Methodist Men of First United and Wesley Chapel United Methodist Churches presented Christmas gifts for the children of men incarcerated in the parish jail this holiday season. The Men’s’ group wrapped presents and stuffed stockings for 28 children.

On Monday morning, Warden Joey Wiggins and trustees Kelvin Demery and Jonathan Beaner joined the Methodist Men for breakfast. They left with the back of their SUV stuffed with holiday presents.

The church pastor is Curtis Carroll (in the black sport coat) was joined by Floyd Phillips, Dickie Milner, David Coffee, Jim Bethard, Tom Jones, Diane Jackson, Archie Worsham, and the youngest member Travis Bell. Your reporter flipped the pancakes, took the pictures, and stayed out of the way.

The Methodist Men meet for breakfast at 6:30 am on the last Monday of every month at First United Methodist church on Front Street. Throughout the year the group takes on various projects to benefit our parish. All men in the community are invited to join the food, fellowship and community service.

Girls Soccer is a Reality

RRPJ-Girls Soccer-18Nov28

Years ago, School Superintendent Kay Easley dreamed of adding another varsity sport for girls to the offerings at Red River High School. It would be a soccer team and Jim Kilcoyn became the first coach. Unfortunately, not enough girls signed up to play, so the team became co-ed. They had to play as a boys’ team in district and season competition.

Fast forward to the end of the 2017-18 season. Coach Dawn Brewer had been with the team for a dozen or more years and still the dream of an all-girls team was alive and well. She found out the way Buckeye High achieved a split into both boys’ and girls’ teams was to schedule games and get the girls team into district competition. This lead girls at Buckeye to come forward.

So, Brewer set about getting games and finding a spot in district play for the team that did not exist. Not until sign up this past September. Many girls expressed an interest, including several that had played on the co-ed team last year.

On Monday night, November 26th, The Red River Lady Bulldog Soccer Team took the field against the North DeSoto girls. Eleven girls to battle a roster of twice that many from North DeSoto.

They did well. And the Lady Bulldogs received praise and complements after the game from North DeSoto Coach KJ Cunningham. She said, “It was an impressive first effort by your new team.”

Principal JC Dickey also praised the new team, “So proud of our Red River Girls soccer team, You heard me right. Tonight, was the very 1st game of girls’ soccer at Red River High school. We lost to North DeSoto but that’s OK, Because tonight we did something new and now we get to work and improve. Thank you coaches and my new girls’ soccer team at Red River. I am so proud of you all.

The ladies participating in Red River’s first Lady Bulldog soccer game were Erica Cason, Precious Gray, Victoria Rivers, Savueno Subwimol, Payal Patel, Hayley Loe, Maddie Allums, Savanna Campbell, Hannah Pickett, Jacqueline Contreras and Brianna Jones. Coach Brewer is in the middle bundled up in the blue coat. Allums, Cason, Rivers, Pickett and Jones are returners from last years co-ed team. Allums was elected First Team All-District Defensive Player and Rivers was selected for Second Team All-District. Remember they were playing in the boys division last year.

This season Red River Lady Soccer has a schedule of over a dozen games, including four district games against North Caddo, Evangel, Calvary and Loyola. They will also participate in the Bossier Bearcat Classic Friday and Saturday. The first home game is December 4th at Strother Memorial Stadium. And their first home opponent, you guessed it, the Buckeye Girls.

Coushatta Native Releases Album

RRPJ-AJ Lowring-18Nov28Submitted by AJ Lowring

I was born and raised in Coushatta. All my family still lives there. I’m currently a consultant in Baton Rouge, but I’m a musician in my spare time. On November 9th, I released a new album that I wrote and performed.

It is my third full-length, solo album. The album is titled “Sometimes I Wish I Was Something I’m Not” and contains 15 original songs written and performed by AJ in studios in Shreveport and Baton Rouge. Following in the footsteps of Roots Rock songwriting greats like Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen and current Americana favorites like Jason Isbell and Chris Stapleton, AJ blends raucous guitar sounds with honest lyrics and catchy melodies.

Though currently a resident of Baton Rouge, AJ was born and raised in Coushatta and graduated from Riverdale Academy in 2006. He is the son of Sandy Edwards Lowring of Coushatta and Ricky and Lauri Lowring of Womack. AJ is the grandson of Laura and the late Tom Edwards of Coushatta and Margie and Donald Lowring of Martin.

Christmas Gala Begins Tonight

Gala 2017

Tickets are still available for Northwestern State University’s 30th annual Christmas Gala to be performed Nov. 28-30 in the A.A. Fredericks Auditorium. Performance times are 7 p.m. each evening with a 9 p.m. performance on Nov. 30. Tickets are $15. NSU, BPCC@NSU and Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts students are admitted free with a current student I.D.

More than 300 Northwestern State students, faculty and staff in the School of Creative and Performing Arts combine their talents to present the Gala as a kickoff to the Natchitoches Christmas Festival. More than 10,000 people attend the Gala each year which is based on the long-running Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular

Gala Artistic Director Michael Rorex said this year’s performances are part of the celebration of the 30th year anniversary of the Mrs. H.D. Dear Sr. and Alice E. Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts. According to Rorex, the program will incorporate popular pieces from years past such as the non-singing monks who will be back with the “Hallelujah Chorus.” There will be an addition to the Toy Soldiers presentation and the NSU Men’s Chorus will have a new piece to present as part of the celebration.

The Gala opening will include the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra, the NSU Spirit of Northwestern Marching Band, the NSU Dance and Ballet ensemble, the NSU Choirs, NSU musical theatre students and all the beauty of lights and colorful backdrops on stage.

Tickets can be purchased online at For more information, call (318) 357-4522.

ETC… for Wednesday, November 28th


It’s time for the annual holiday open house at the Bank of Coushatta. It will be held during the business day on Thursday, November 29th. Everyone in the community is welcome.

The Coushatta boat launch is open again. Here is the latest information from the Red River Waterway Commission:

Work is underway to open all of the public boat launches operated by the Red River Waterway Commission. Currently all boat launches are open except the following: Stoner Ave- expected to open later this week, Alexandria Levee Park- expected to open later this week, and Brouillette – closed for construction. We thank you for your patience as we work to get these launches open.

On a personal note…I found the answer to the question, “Why do I love college football?” or the “Why do I hate college football?” The LSU-A&M game on Saturday night. Which one is the right answer for you?

Community Thanksgiving Service

RRPJ-Community Thanks Service TOP-18Nov21

Several churches in our community got together Sunday night for a Community Thanksgiving Service. There had not been a community service in several years. Resuming the tradition was the idea of Dr. Curtis Carroll of First United Methodist and Wesley Chapel United Methodist churches.

The service was held at First Methodist. The community turned out and packed the house. Dr. Carroll said, “We had at least 175 people, 5 pastors and collected an offering of $691.00 for the council on aging.”

The special music was furnished by Elizabeth Baptist Church choirs. About 30 members of their Youth Choir took the stage first. Then their Adult Choir performed. Both groups received joyous applause. Dr. Carroll issued a special thanks to Pastor Richard Logan for bringing his choirs and their very special music.

Bro. Nathan Davis of First Baptist Church delivered the message. He preached from the 100th Psalm. His message is worship the one true God through praise and singing and service. Davis said, “I can’t sing very well but I can make a joyful noise to the Lord. There is praise on my lips when I say, ‘thank you Lord Jesus’ for all you have done for me.”

Quoting the 100th Psalm, Davis explained, “He made us, and we belong to Him. For the Lord is good. He is faithful through all generations. We can get help in difficult times,” said Davis. He added, “He is our hope for today, for tomorrow, and forever. I am thankful every day for what he has done in our lives.”

Red River Schools Students of the Month

RRPJ-RR Students TOP-18Nov21
The Students of the Month for October have been presented to the School Board. Superintendent Alison Hughes announced the winners as Keasha Clark of Red River Elementary, Trinity Demease of Red River Junior High, and Danielle Burton of Red River High School.

Burton was present at the board meeting and was presented her certificate and Dairy Queen gift card. The other students were presented their certificates and gift cards at their schools during the week.
ARRPJ-Student Clark -18Nov21

Keasha Clark’s nomination statement said, “She is respectful, eager to learn, and ready to engage in whatever is being done in class.”
ARRPJ-Student Demease-18Nov21

Trinity Demease’s nomination said, “Her effort in the classroom is unmatched. She is constantly striving to do her best and pushes herself to be excellent.”
ARRPJ-Student Burton-18Nov21

And the nomination for Danielle Burton said, “Danielle has continued to improve her academic skills. While keeping up with her own work, she has also been willing to help her fellow students when they need assistance.
Students of the Month at all schools in the parish are presented by VFW Post and Auxiliary 7287 as part of their service to the local community.

Holiday Closures

RRPJ-Holiday Closures-18Nov21

Many businesses in our area will be observing holiday hours this week. Government offices and others will also take a break.

The Journal checked around and we found that the Post Office will be closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving. Coushatta Town Hall is closing at Noon on Wednesday and will be closed all day Thursday and Friday. Offices of the Police Jury will be closed Thursday and Friday.

Here is the bank closing schedule:

American Bank will be closed all day Thursday and Friday.

Bank of Coushatta will close all day Thursday and open Friday morning until Noon.

And Sabine State Bank will be closed all day Thursday and open all day on Friday.

The Red River Parish Journal will take Friday off. Our next publication will be Wednesday, November 28th. In the event something urgent occurs, we will issue a Special Update.

While you relax remember law enforcement, fire protection and medical services will be on duty. Include them on your list of things to be thankful for.

Riverdale Academy DARE Graduation

RRPJ-RA Dare-18Nov21

By: Lt. Troy Murray (DARE Officer)

On November 14, 2018, after successfully completing the requirements of the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, fifteen fifth grade students from Riverdale Academy received their graduation certificates.

After students opened the ceremony with prayer and the pledge of allegiance, 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. Sheriff Glen Edwards also spoke briefly and reinforced the importance of making good decisions.

Students recognized for exceptional DARE reports were Hanna Catherine Huddleston (1st place), Charity Williamson (2nd place), and Mary Claire Jones (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 Glen Edwards would like to extend his appreciation to the Riverdale Academy school board and administration for allowing the Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office the opportunity to present the program. Thanks also go to fifth grade teacher Nick Williamson, Kelly Azlin for organizing the skits, Tye and Amanda Adams for hosting the reception, and many others who helped make this year and graduation ceremony special for the students.

Great job Riverdale DARE Class of 2018! Always remember to be SAFE and RESPONSIBLE!

Christmas Music Everywhere

RRPJ-Christmas Music BOTTOM-18Nov21This holiday season you can have Christmas music everywhere! The Red River Parish Journal is now streaming Christmas favorites 24/7 on our website and social media sites. You will have holiday music on your desk top computer, your tablet, your phone, any device that is on the internet.

There is a click-on on The Journal’s masthead for “Christmas Music.” On your phone just click on the menu buttons and the “Christmas Music” button.

Carry it shopping. Enjoy it around the tree. The favorite songs of the season are playing all day and all night on The Journal and our social media pages. The stream will remain active throughout the holiday season.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Red River Parish Journal.

Adams: Seize Courage From Fear

2018 Fall CommencementCoushatta native Jamie Adams, 2004 graduate of Louisiana Tech University’s program in Computer Information Systems, advised Fall 2018 graduates to seize courage from fear and find value through relationships during his commencement address Saturday November 17th.

Adams, who Tech President Dr. Les Guice called an “innovator and entrepreneur,” currently serves as the Chief Revenue Officer for Scorpion Inc., a privately-owned digital marketing company with more than 5,000 clients.

“We live in a world where it’s easy to bury ourselves in technology,” Adams said. “Look for opportunities to build relationships with others. You will benefit from it, and you will be a blessing to people.”

Failures, Adams said, provide the opportunity to learn each day, and curiosity and a willingness to get to know other people are valuable traits to develop.

“Every meaningful thing that has happened to me in my life has come because of relationships,” Adams said. “Be passionate about what you are doing and put in the work to be great.

“If you’re scared about what happens next, that’s natural, and you’re not alone. Fear creates the opportunity for courage to exist.”

Adams recounted his own graduation in 2004 from Louisiana Tech, where he experienced the uncertainty that all graduates have.

“I don’t have it all together,” he said. “I am simply a human being doing the best that I can to maximize the gifts that I believe God has given me.”

The University’s Young Alumnus in 2014, Adams earned his degree in computer information systems (CIS) and began his professional career with Deloitte & Touche as an enterprise risk consultant. In 2007 he joined ReachLocal, a digital marketing startup headquartered in both Los Angeles and Shreveport. Adams has spent the past 12 years delivering marketing technology and consulting services to businesses across a number of industries, including automotive, healthcare, legal, franchise, retail, and home services.

Christmas Parade Details Announced

RRPJ-christmas parade TOP-18Nov21

The 2018 Coushatta Christmas Parade and Fireworks show is set for Thursday, December 6th. It promises to be the most spectacular ever. The Coushatta Red River Chamber of Commerce is the lead sponsor of the event.

This year’s theme is “Christmas Around the World.” The Chamber said, “Everyone needs a float in the parade!” They are recruiting groups to create floats depicting how Christmas is celebrated in other countries.

Recently at the School Board meeting, Superintendent Alison Hughes told the gathering, “The bus will be back. And it will be bigger and better than last year.” She revealed that Principal JC Dickey and the High School are planning a float that will challenge the board’s entry. Hughes refused to say what they were planning, “I’m not going to give anything away with him (Principal Dickey) in the room.”

The Christmas Parade will form up in the Industrial Park starting at 3:30 pm. It will depart the Meat Pie Plant about 4:30 and should cross the railroad tracks and enter Front Street about 15 minutes later. Parade units will pause in front of the big stage and perform for the judges.

This year, the Red River Parish Journal will stream the Christmas Parade and Fireworks Show live. They will also be archived for later viewing. The video stream will be accessible via The Journal’s website, and on The Journal’s social media pages. Bring your phone or tablet to the parade and watch live.

Food and Merchandise vendors are welcome at the Christmas Parade. The vendor area will be set up along Front Street. Any individual or group wishing to enter the parade, as well as vendors, are asked to email the Chamber. The address is

RRPJ-christmas Parade-18Nov21

ETC… for Wednesday November 21st


Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday. School is out until Monday. It’s time for family and friends to gather and enjoy Turkey and Dressing and all the trimmings. Take a few minutes to be thankful for the many blessings we all enjoy.

Northwestern State University will be closed Nov. 19-23 for Thanksgiving break. Classes will resume, and administrative offices will reopen Monday, Nov. 26.

According to the National Weather Service, Thanksgiving Day should be sunny and warm. High will be in the low 60s and there is only a 10% chance of rain.

The Red River Waterway Commission has opened the following boat ramps today, Coushatta, Red Oak, Grand Ecore, St. Maurice, Natchitoches, and Montgomery. All other public boat launches operated by the Red River Waterway Commission are closed at this time.

The Journal was at Red River Elementary School recently enjoying all the bright holiday decorations. The one below caught our eye