Pay Raise for Council on Aging Staff

The Board of the Red River Council on Aging has approved a pay increase for COA employees. The vote was taken at the March board meeting on Monday.

The raise is two percent (2%). It will go into effect July first when next year’s budget year begins.

Council Executive Director Liz Cannon requested the increase. Cannon said, “Our workers have not had a pay raise, even a little one, for at least five years.” Cannon explained that the council would receive about $10,000 from the state Office of Elderly Affairs and that would fund the raises.

We’ve Added a “Jobs” Button

Here is a new service The Journal has added for employers in our area. We are now publishing job listings. Our first listing is from CP-Tel and it went up last week.

Any business seeking employees can have their jobs listed in the Journal newsfeed. They will be added to our listings of available jobs and archived on the Journal website until you tell us the position has been filled.

For information on this new service, contact us at or call 318-564-3609.

Beignets Are Back

If you remember the delicious beignets Riverdale Academy offered last year? The good news is, Beignets are back by popular demand.

Contact any Riverdale Academy student to place your order. Orders are due by April 2 and beignets will be available for pick up April 5-from the school.

Riverdale posted on Facebook, “Order and have a yummy breakfast and support our Booster Club.”

Bluegrass and BBQ Celebration

Good music and great food make for a fantastic Saturday afternoon. Fairview Baptist Church invites you to bring your lawn chair and enjoy the day.

Mark Saturday, March 30th on your calendar for Bluegrass and BBQ. The fun starts at noon at Fairview Baptist Church. And the best part is it’s is without cost and without price.

Music will be provided by Lindley Creek and Williamson Branch. There will be door prizes awarded. And of course plenty of Bar-B-Que. Fairview Baptist Church invites you to make plans to bring the whole family.

Fairview Baptist Church is located on US 71 in south Red River Parish. For additional information, check their Facebook page or call 318-932-5940.

Brown Surveys Constituents

The 2019 session of the Louisiana Legislature starts in a little over a week. District 22 State Representative Terry Brown is asking folks in this area to let him know what issues they are interested.

In a survey card mailed to voters, Brown said, “As your state representative, I would like your input on some of those issues to help me represent you.” Brown’s survey card ask voters’ opinion on eight issues. Brown said, “I am interested in hearing your opinions on these proposals and any of the others filed for consideration this session.”

Issues listed on Brown’s survey include a proposed $1,000 pay raise for teachers. Brown wants to know if you favor giving this to support personnel as well.

Other issues include raising the age to 21 to buy tobacco products, higher taxes on gasoline, establishing a state minimum wage, and restoration of legal rights to certain persons convicted of felonies.

Brown says mail the card back to his office or go online and fill it out. The website is

Local Shooters Headed to State

Red River 4-H Shooting Sports this week posted congratulations to a couple of local members who are going to participate in state competition. Great job Red River Advance Shotgun team!!! We have two going to State!!

Their post says the two going to state are Adam Bryant 1st in Trap and Kenneth Lazarus 1st Sporting Clay, 1st Skeet, 3rd Overall. According to the schedule posted online, those state competitions will be held at the Shreveport Gun Club on April 19th.

ETC… for Friday, March 29th

OOOPS! Found a typo in the Wednesday edition. The students toured the TOBASCO factory, not the tobacco factory. Auto spell-check and correction got me! Anyone know how to turn that feature OFF in Word? Would like to hear from you at 318-564-3609. I can make typos on my own, thank you!

The Riverdale Academy Rebel Baseball team is home for a doubleheader today. They are hosting the Rebels from Briarfield Academy.

The date for the annual car show has been posted by the Chamber of Commerce. It will be on May 18th. Time to get your classic car or truck shined up.

Next Wednesday is the next Lenten Luncheon at First United Methodist Church. Come for lunch at noon. The speaker is Bro. Richard Kaufman of Martin Baptist Church.

Riverdale Academy posted a note that this Saturday, March 30th is Spring Thaw!! Crawfish, skeet, BBQ competition, Calcutta’s, Spring Thaw Draw, Thaw Auction and much much more! Starts at 10am. If you haven’t already purchased your hat, you can purchase at the door the day of the event.

Here are your local meeting dates for April:

Police Jury Monday April 1st at 5:30 for committee meeting. Regular meeting at 6:30 in the third floor meeting room at the courthouse.

School Board April 8th at 6:30 in the Administration Building on Alonzo Street.

Town Council meets Tuesday April 9th at Town Hall at 5:30 pm.

New Hope Baptist Church on Catfish Bend Road will be celebrating the first anniversary of their New Direction Male Choir this weekend. The event will be held Saturday and Sunday beginning at 5:00 pm both days.

Jessie Davis Signs Basketball Scholarship

Red River Bulldog basketball senior Jessie Davis is going to become a Mulerider. This week Davis signed a four year basketball scholarship with Southern Arkansas University. Davis’ parents are Jessie Davis, Sr. and Carol Giles Davis.

Davis told the Journal SAU, “felt like a better place to be. It felt like home. It felt like a good spot to grow.” Davis said, “I am going to major in accounting. I plan to be a CPA. It will be a tough balance between athletics and academics, but I a sure I can do it.”

Red River Principal JC Dickey praised Davis. Dickey posted, “Red River High big man Jessie Davis signed with Southern Arkansas University (SAU) a 4 year all paid for scholarship. This young man works extremely hard and is a great student and young man. He is one of the most humble athletes I know. Big things in store for Big Man Jessie Davis he will be successful on the floor and in life. Good luck at SAU.”

The Journal asked Davis who had the most input in his decision and his life. Davis responded, “My father. In my eyes he is a black man standing by his son, backing me up on my decisions, and encouraging me to go through it.” Davis’ father is Jessie Davis, Sr., Superintendent of the Red River Parish Police Jury. Young Davis added, “My Father told me ‘Don’t second guess yourself. Often the first idea is the best’.”

Jessie Davis will graduate Red River High School in May. Late in August he will head toward Magnolia, Arkansas and Southern Arkansas University.

Long May It Waveo

The giant American Flag is once again flying just south of Coushatta. Luke Mitchell and Ricky Swayze raised the colors last Friday afternoon. The flag was destroyed by a tornado that ripped through the area about a year ago.

Swayze reported that in addition to the flag being heavily damaged by the storm, several of the attaching clips had been damaged also. Mitchell and Swayze made repairs and Old Glory is now waving in the spring breezes.

The flag marks the location of Red River Storage on Highway 71 at Esperanza Road. The climate controlled storage facility recently opened. It had been in the planning and construction stages for the last two years.

Football Field Makeover Begins

Heavy equipment is at work on the football field at Pat Strother Memorial Stadium. On Tuesday morning workers were removing concrete from the track events area. The goal posts are gone. The student seating bleachers in the south end zone and the player benches have been relocated to a storage area nearby.

Workers began by putting heavy planking across the track at the north end of the field. This will allow trucks and heavy equipment to get into the field without (hopefully) damaging the track.

The trucks and heavy equipment in the photo are working just south of where the south goal post once stood. The work is just beginning.

Reworking the football field and resurfacing the track are part of the major construction project the school board undertook to improve sports facilities at the high school. Work on the field is scheduled to be complete in time for the first home football game next September.

When complete, the football field will have a turf surface. Drainage will be reworked to eliminate the low areas where water would stand after a rain. And the track will have a new surface with repairs to weak spots in the base.

MVPs at Elementary School

From Red River Elementary Principal Shenell Deville.

Every month, we are recognizing staff members as our “Most Valuable Players” MVP. These faculty members are recognized for their attendance, positive spirit, team effort, and their motivation to do above and beyond.

For the month of March our MVP Staff are support staff members who serve in various capacities to assist staff and make sure our students are attended to. They demonstrate loyalty and when asked for their assistance, they are willing and ready. Our MVP staff are Paige Adams, Pre-K Paraprofessional, Carmen Murphy, Pre-K Special Education Paraprofessional, Betty Calhoun, Behavior Intervention Paraprofessional, and Cardarius Smith, Cafeteria Worker.

RRES Staff Recognition Committee awarded the staff with a treat bag with their favorite snacks, a duty free lunch, a certificate, and picture on the MVP spotlight bulletin board. In addition, our wonderful PAW Parents will present them with sweet treats from a local baker.

Men’s Conference April 6th at Cowboy Church

A full day of fun activities, great food and inspired teaching and preaching is all included in the fifth annual Men’s Conference. The date is April 6th at Cowboy Church at Lake End. And it’s all free.

The flyer for the event says come early and register starting at 8:00 am. Wear your favorite camo or old overalls, so you know it will be a casual event and a good time.

Teaching will be by Bro. Wayne Frazier of Elkhart, Texas. Guest speaker will be Chris Birdwell.

Among activities listed are a turkey shoot, skeet shoot, bait casting, washer pitching and more. And you won’t leave hungry. There will be a fish fry plus smoked chicken and all the trimmings.

Cowboy Church’s 5th annual Men’s Conference will be held April 6th. Cowboy Church is located at the intersection of LA Highway 1 and LA 174 at Lake End. Numbers to call for more information are 318-510-3523 or 318-652-0492.

Tobacco Factory Tour

By Sheila Peter

Recently during Winter Break RRHS’s Student Council traveled to New Iberia to tour the Tabasco Factory. The factory still stands on the original site of Tabasco’s invention in 1868 by Edmund McIlhenny. The company is still owned and operated by his descendants.

The recipe for the amazing sauce hasn’t changed in all those years. The peppers are picked and ground up into a mash the day of harvest and mixed with salt then placed in white oak barrels for up to 3 years. Afterward, the mash is strained then mixed with distilled vinegar for about a month before bottling for shipments worldwide.

On the day of the RRHS students visit, the factory had bottled 188,000 bottles of Tabasco by noon! Pictured: kneeling: Sponsor: Mrs. Sheila Peter, seated L to R: Jaydah Williams, Teanna Eason, Precious Drake, Celena Hardy, Standing L to R: Nya Grant, Isiash Demease, Erica Cason, Hannah Pickett, Ashley Evans, Aaliyah Bradley, Kelcee Bamburg, Savannah Campbell and Cerena Hardy.

Local Students Going to State Literary Rally

From Sheila Peter

Three students from Red River High School will travel to Baton Rouge to compete at the state level in the high school literary rally. The Rally is Saturday, April 6th. Pictured are L to R: Ashley Evans, Sagar Patel and Shaniya Beavers. Evans received a gold medal for Business English, Patel will compete in Health and Beavers in Accounting.

RRHS literary rally coordinator, Sheila Peter, stated that Red River had stiff competition as they were pitted against Loyola College Prep, Avoyelles Charter, North Caddo Magnet, Evangel Christian Academy, Winnfield Senior, Rapides, Many, Lakeview and Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts.

200th Win for Coach Martin

Congratulations to Earl Martin. The Red River Baseball coach racked up his 200th career win a few days ago. The Bulldog Baseball team defeated Negreet 13 to 2 giving Martin the win.

Bulldog Baseball is playing an all-away schedule in 2019. Martin said this was due to construction of the new, expanded sports complex at the high school. The old baseball field was the first area to be torn down. There will be a parking lot where the old field was located. New baseball and softball fields are being constructed on land acquired by the school board immediately east of the football field. They are expected to be ready for the 2020 season.

Coach Martin earlier announced that this would be his last year. He plans to retire at the conclusion of this school year. In his career at Red River, Martin has been an assistant football coach, the head soccer coach, and a member of the faculty in addition to his duties with the Baseball team.

The Journal thanks Kim Hogan for the photo and help with this article.

Two Red River Students Inducted Into Honor Society

Kaylee Antilley and Carmie Williams are among 233 newly inducted members of the Northwestern State University Chapter of Alpha Lambda Delta. The annual induction ceremony was held on Sunday in the A.A. Fredericks Auditorium. Alpha Lambda Delta recognizes the best and brightest members of the nation’s first-year college students. Students in Alpha Lambda Delta must have a grade point average of at least 3.5 after their first semester of full-time enrollment at Northwestern State.

Alpha Lambda Delta first-year honor society was founded in 1924 at the University of Illinois and has over 280 chapters in the United States. The local chapter of Alpha Lambda Delta was established at Northwestern State University on March 10, 1965. The mission of the Society is to encourage superior academic achievement; to promote intelligent living and a high standard of learning and to assist students in recognizing and developing meaningful goals in society.

Officers for 2019-20 are Katelyn Kennedy, president; Jonathan Magnano, vice president;

Mikala Clark, secretary; Aubree Lampert, treasurer; David Thibodaux, scholarship chair; Christina Gilbert, historian/webmaster; Sheridan Duet, service chair; and Peyton Harville, faculty liaison.

ETC… for Wednesday, March 27th

Cheerleading Tryouts are scheduled next week for Red River High School. A flyer posted at the school said, “Get ready to cheer!!! Looking for Girls & Guys.” Tryout clinics are April 1st through 4th with the tryouts Friday April 5th beginning at 5:00 pm. The non-refundable tryout fee is $10.00. For more information, call Alice Everett at 932-3313 during school hours or email

“It’s time to move on,” said Louisiana U.S. Sen. John Kennedy. He made the comments after reading the summary of the Mueller Report that was sent to congress by Attorney General Barr. Kennedy said, “Here’s the bottom line: After 22 months and 2800 subpoenas, Mr. Mueller and his team of 19 lawyers and 40 FBI Agents found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians and declined to prosecute anyone for obstruction of justice.”

Get your taxes done for free at the Red River Council on Aging. Contact Mary Braswell at 932-5721 for information on an appointment. Braswell does tax work on Tuesdays and Thursdays during tax season.

Here are a couple of dates to add to your calendar:

April 23rd – A Community Blood Drive at Red River Council on Aging.

April 25th – the Community Health Fair at Red River Council on Aging.

Although these events are to be held at the COA building on Front street, they are open to everyone in the community.

Combat Flag Presented to High School

Jonathan Marston grew up in Red River Parish. He is a graduate of Hall Summit High School and a former commander of the National Guard unit at the Coushatta armory. Marston returned home last Friday night with a flag flown in combat to present to the high school.

Marston was a guest at the Military Ball last Friday night. Currently he is the First Sargent of Charlie Company of the 155th Armored Brigade at Natchez, Mississippi. He brought with him a beautifully cased American Flag and Certificate stating that it had been flown in combat over the classified base where Marston’s unit was stationed on August 4th, 2018.

Marston said his unit had been deployed to Kuwait, Syria and Iraq on a classified mission in the fight against ISIS. “We were being transported from Kuwait to an undisclosed location in Syria aboard an Air Force C-130 when the plane came under fire,” said Marston. His described what happened, “The pilot performed a fast descent combat landing and we hit hard. Our unit engaged the enemy and drove them back about 150 miles to a much smaller area.” He said this is the last stronghold village held by ISIS.

Red River High Principal JC Dickey accepted the flag. “We’ll find a special place in the gym trophy case to display it,” said Dickey, “This is a high traffic area and most of the people in the parish will see it when they come to ball games.”

Train Blocks Hwy 509

Workers headed to International Paper’s Mansfield Mill Thursday had to take a detour. Highway 509 was blocked at LA 1 by a Union Pacific freight train. Here is the notice from the state highway department:

ROAD CLOSURE: LA 509 at intersection of LA 1, Red River Parish

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development advises motorists that, effective immediately, LA 509 at its intersection with LA 1 in Red River Parish is closed due to a train derailment. The railroad company is on site assessing the situation, working to return the rail cars to the track. Motorists are advised to expect possible traffic congestion on LA 1 as equipment is being moved into the area.

The Journal spoke with Burt Malenado, Union Pacific Safety Manager on the scene Thursday morning. Malenado said that no cars of the train left the tracks but there was a problem with several. He said it is difficult to get to the derailment site. A number of big trucks lined both sides of Highway 1 just north of LA 509. They had been used to transport heavy equipment to the scene.

New Autism Support Group

A new support group for parents and families of children with Autism has formed in this area. A local pastor will speak at their April meeting. And the organizer is trying to get the word out in Red River.

Lela Harvey told the Journal the group is “Voices 4 Autism.” Harvey said, “That’s the name of the autism parent support group. Because we as parents of children that have been diagnosed with autism are their the voices. That is why I named it Voices 4 Autism.”

Bro. Clyde Miley from Red River Cowboy Church is scheduled to be a special guest at the April 6th meeting. Harvey said he will speak on the Therapeutic Riding Program at the church. It is available to anyone with Autism.

Also scheduled to be at the April meeting will be Jay Bamburg, Clinical Director of Behavioral Specialists of Louisiana.

Voices 4 Autism will meet April 6th from 2:00 to 3:30 pm at the Natchitoches Parish Library, 3rd Floor meeting room. For additional information call Lela Harvey at 318-529-0638.

Sign Up for Head Start Begins March 28th

Red River Early Childhood Network will hold registration for 3 and 4 year old preschool programs Thursday March 28 & Friday March 29 form 9-12. You may register for both RRES and Pine Belt Head Start programs at Red River Elementary School on those dates. This is a joint enrollment/registration.

Parents will complete 1 application for 4 year old or 3 year old preschool. Child must be 4 before October 1 for 4 year old pk and 3 before October 1 for 3 year old preschool classes. Children will be matched based on Program Eligibility and Preference when available.

Parents must bring all documentation to register. Must have: Parent Picture ID (Record of person Registering child), Child’s Birth Certificate, Child’s Immunization Record (must be current), Child’s Social Security Card, Proof of Residence in the parish (current utility bill, signed lease, rent receipt, etc. All bills must have parent/legal guardian’s name and address listed); Proof of Income for every adult in household (2 Consecutive check stubs, snap/food stamps letter (must include child’s name and valid effective dates). SSI benefits statement along with 2 current check stubs, foster care placement agreement)

You must have all documents to complete the registration process. No exceptions will be made, and no slots will be held.

Application/Registration does not guarantee a placement into a class. For More Information Contact Christy Suggs at 932-9290. From Christy Suggs, Red River Elementary School, Early Childhood.

Fourth Grader Wins State Americanism Award

The Americanism Program presented by the Louisiana Veterans of Foreign Wars has selected a student in Joey Miller’s fourth grade at Red River Elementary as one of the best entrants in the 2018 Americanism Competition. He is Zachary Hassen.

The local VFW Post and Auxiliary 7287 conducted the local competition among Red River and Bienville Parish schools. Of the hundreds of elementary students participating, Hassen’s entry was selected as the best entry at the post level. Hassen’s entry was sent to VFW District 12 where it was also selected as the best entry. Then on to the state level. Hassen’s drawing came in third best in Louisiana.

This week Principal Shenell Deville called Hassen to the office. There he was surprised when presented with a certificate of accomplishment, a trophy with his name engraved upon it from the state VFW, and checks from the local post and VFW District 12.

Other winners presented certificates and cash awards were Jonathan Curry, Layla McMillan and Makilah Murphy.

Lenten Lunches Wednesday

Lent is a season of preparation, proclaimed Dr. Curtis Carroll, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Coushatta. Carroll is leading the church in presenting a series of Lenten Lunches each Wednesday at noon for the community.

Each week a different clergyman from the area brings the message. Wednesday’s speaker was Doug Cain of First Methodist in Natchitoches. Cain served briefly as interim pastor here in Coushatta. His message Wednesday was about our call to serve and he based it upon Isaiah chapter six.

Cain recalled Isaiah’s call from God, the cleansing of his lips by the cherub with the hot coal, and Isaiah’s response, “Here I am, send me.” Cain said, “If you are called by God to do something you will never be happy until you fulfill that call. And sometimes the call involves change. It was a hard word for Isaiah to hear and it is tough for us to hear also.”

Cain concluded, “If we are to accompany Jesus through the season of Lent, we are called to change. That may be a hard thing, that change.”

The speaker next week is Father Nicholas from St. George’s Catholic Church in Coushatta. You are invited to come for a delicious meal and a great message. The Lenten Lunch series is Wednesday at noon at First Methodist Church on Front Street. There is no charge.