Schools Get Education Funding

The state Department of Education has published a list of school improvement grants that are being made across Louisiana.  Red River Parish is the recipient of several of those grants.  We asked Karen Squires to sort out the funds coming to Red River. Here is her analysis:

Red River Parish Schools have been awarded Competitive grants totaling $54,727.00 for the 2019-2020 School year.  The awarding of these grants reflects the dedication to improvement that this district has adopted in the past 4 years. 

The comprehensive Intervention Required grant funding is a total of $170,677.00.  These funds, formerly known as School Redesign funds, are competitively awarded to schools that have a school grade below a “C”.  We applied for these funds for the Elementary and Jr. High schools.  These funds are for implementing new Tier 1 Curriculum in ELA and Math and for teacher professional development.  A new K-2 Reading program was implemented in the 2018-2019 school year and teachers went through a week-long training with supported follow-up from the publishers. We also implemented ZEARN math and supported teachers through the use of Louisiana ELA Guidebook professional development. 

In the 2019-2020 school year, we will use the grant funding to provide additional support to K-2 teachers through a new digital platform for the Reading Program, provide additional math training for Elementary and Jr. High teachers, and we will provide comprehensive training to Special Education teachers in the implementation of ELA and Math supports for struggling students. We will also have 4 teachers trained in Math Content Leader (specialized math training) during the 2019-2020 year.   Our focus is on giving all teachers the tools necessary to provide meaningful and challenging lessons for all students on a daily basis.  Through these lessons students will work to achieve mastery of the standards for Louisiana.

Red River was also awarded $150,642.00 for SRCL funding for grades 6-8.  This money will be largely used to advance the professional development for all ELA teachers. Teachers will be enrolled in the state recognized ELA Content Leader training.  This training will be part of the district’s professional development calendar and will provide not only extensive training in the teaching of Reading, writing, and diverse learner needs but it will also provide an avenue for leadership advancement for teachers who wish to become district leaders.  A second area of focus is to continue to provide the digital platform for ELA Guidebook and print materials for Jr. High students.  

The third grant awarded is for $121,150.00 that provides monies for Teacher Incentives and talent pipeline lead.  These funds offer teachers the opportunities to become mentor teachers and stipends for extraordinary results on state test mastery levels. 

A final reward is for $12,258.00 which will allow the district to focus training on Special Education teachers.  These funds will provide much-needed professional development for teachers in this highly specialized area.  ELA and Math training will be conducted for teachers throughout the year.

Red River Parish School Board is excited by the opportunities that are afforded through the funds awarded to the district.  We know that through comprehensive curriculum change and professional development for teachers, the results will be significant for all students in this school system.  Our goal is always to provide excellent education: every child, every day, whatever it takes. 

Third Red River Crusade Kicks Off May 5th

The Red River Crusade offers something for everyone, so they say, “Bring the whole family”. This is the third annual crusade and it will be held at the fairgrounds May 5ththrough 11th.

Each evening there will be a free hamburger supper starting at 5:00 pm.  The service begins each evening at 6:00.

The Evangelist is Sam Moore. He will be preaching on the theme “Everyone is only one heartbeat away from eternity.”  Worship each night with music of weRcalled.

Services will be held nightly Sunday through Saturday, May 5ththrough 11that the Red River Fairgrounds.  The atmosphere is casual.  Come hear great music and relevant messages.

Join the journey at Red River Crusade.

State Capitol Trip Sign-up

The Red River Parish 4-H office is taking registrations for the upcoming 4-H Day at the Capitol.  They posted, “Let us know if you want to go. Free shirt with registration before April 30th.”

4-H Day at the Capitol us just around the corner.  This annual event at the Louisiana State Capitol allows 4-H’ers of all ages to engage in the legislative process and promote the impact the 4-H program have to legislators and community stakeholders.

So join us Wednesday, May 29 on the Capitol Steps for the 2019 4-H Day at the Capitol. To register, contact the Red River Parish 4-H Agent Jacque Fontenot at 318-932-4342.

Riverdale Academy Sports Accomplishments

Thanks to Stacy Greer for her posts on Riverdale’s accomplishments in golf and track.  From the Riverdale Facebook page, “Congratulations to the Riverdale Academy golf team! They placed 2nd in the River Oaks tournament on Wednesday, April 24th!

Team members are Gary Giddens,  Austin Giddens, Ryder Huddleston, Ty Jones, Kaylee Merry, Mason Murray, Reagan Huddleston, and Caden Long.”

Another post said, “Congratulations to Bailee King, she is the MAIS South A runner-up! She will advance to the overall meet next Friday, May 3rdat the Jackson Academy in Mississippi. King competed in discus.

Bulldog Track Team Wins District Championship

On Wednesday, the Red River track team went to the regional competition held at the NSU Walter Ledet Track Complex.  They came back with the regional crown.  And the Bulldogs are on their way to state.

“Congratulations to Red River High Track Team,” posted Principal JC Dickey. He added, “The boys won the 2A Regional Meet 68.3 to Many 68 points. It goes to show you in track every event and every point matters. Here is a list of Regional Winners and State Qualifiers who will compete next Friday at LSU. Thanks Coach Bonner for pics and great job coaches. Proud of this group way to compete Bulldogs. Let’s win state.” 

1st in Shot Put Quin Taylor
3rd in 400m Teanna Eason 

Triple Jump 1st CJ Kieth, 2nd KJ Bradley
100m 1st Johntraver Hymes
2nd 4x100m Ladarius Trotter, Quil Mosley, Patrick Perkins, and Johntraver Hymes
2nd 400m Gakerreon McDonald 
2nd 4x400m Eric Grant, BJ Harris, Julius Brisker, and Gakerreon McDonald
2nd 800m Julius Brisker.

Athletes headed to state competition next Friday are Quin Taylor in Shot Put, CJ Keith in Triple Jump, and Johntraver Hymes in 100 m.

ETC… for Friday, April 26th

A reminder, there is a Lifeshare blood drive at Riverdale Academy today (April 26th). The blood drive will be from 8:00 until 11:00 am.

Today is fish day! Lunch at the Council on Aging will be fried catfish and all the trimmings.  Lunch served 11:00 am until 1:00 pm.  Seniors 60+ pay only $4.00.  The regular fish day fell on Good Friday and the Depot Diner was closed.  So they moved the fish lunch to today.

The Autism Walk is tomorrow (Saturday) morning.  It will be held at House of Refuge Ministries on Springville Road.

Many students and alumni from Red River attended La. Tech.  Here is the news release concerning the storm Tonya Oaks Smith in Tech’s Information Office put out on Thursday morning:  “Louisiana Tech University is closed today, April 25, as the result of a tornado.  The storm traveled through the Ruston campus on Wednesday night, April 24. No students on campus were injured, but a significant amount of damage occurred. Power lines and trees are down in some areas on and near campus.  In some areas, traveling is hazardous.  If you do not live on campus, please do not come to campus. Essential personnel will be contacted by their supervisor about reporting to work.”

Riverdale Academy has published a list of upcoming events as school wraps up for the year.  Some dates to note include:

May 1 – Flag ceremony at the flag pole

May 2 – Academic/Athletic Banquet at Davis Springs Church 6:00 pm.

May 3 – Seniors last day

May 8 – Pre-K Graduation in Auditorium 9:00 am

May 9 – Graduation in the Gym 6:00 pm

May 10 – Junior Ring Ceremony

May 14 – Kindergarten Graduation 7:00 pm

May 17 – Awards 1stthrough 8thgrades 8:15 am.  Field Day follows awards ceremony

May 20-14 – Finals

The Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra will perform its final concert of the 2018-19 season on Tuesday, April 30 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. Tickets are $10.  The program will include “On Top of the World” by Brian Balmages, the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s “Violin Concerto” featuring Owens, the first movement of C. Saint-Saens’ “Piano Concerto No. 2” featuring Wang, the third movement of “Piano Concerto No. 1” by Tchaikovsky featuring Barralaga and “Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber” by Paul Hindemith.

The Journal hasn’t said it in a while, so we need to repeat our sincere thanks to the many folks in our area that keep us informed of things going on at their church, work, or club.  And thank you for all the pictures.  If you haven’t let the Journal know what good things you and your friends are doing, take lots of pictures (hold phone camera sideways) and send the details to  Give us a heads up on events coming up so that we can come cover them.

He Is Not Here!

The angel sitting on the stone in the Gospel of Matthew told the women, “He is not here.”  The message was repeated in churches throughout Red River and the US last Sunday morning.

Very early in the morning folks gathered on the pier at Grand Bayou before sunrise to await the new day.  A little later in the morning others gathered at Abbie Lane Retreat on Highway 71 for a similar message.

Bro. Benjie Colvin was the speaker at Grand Bayou. He said, “All four gospels say the same story ‘Jesus is alive’.”  Colvin expanded on the theme that everything happened just as Jesus said it would.  He said, “We’re here because of hope.  He did what he said he would and after we come and see He has risen, the next job is to go and tell.  Where would we be if the women at the tomb had not gone and told the disciples?”

A few minutes later over a hundred gathered at Abbie Lane Retreat in south Red River Parish.  They began in the Gethsemane Prayer Garden, then made their way to Cavalry Hill with the three crosses, and on to the Empty Tomb. 

There were songs and inspirational messages at each stop. Pastor Olan McLauren from Davis Springs Southern Methodist Church spoke at Gethsemane.  Bro. James Hester at Calvary.  And Roland Smith of the Church on the Hill in Campti was the speaker at the Empty Tomb.

Bro. Smith asked again the angel’s question, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”  He said, “The empty tomb symbolizes life.  I praise him for the garden and the cross, but the empty tomb is live.”  He noted, “You can go to Mohammed’s tomb and he’s still in there.  Same for Buddha.  They’re still dead!”  And he concluded with the point that “we have the same spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead in us this morning!”

The Journal found several pictures from other services on Easter Sunday.  Liberty Baptist Church described their service as “Beautiful.”  Abundant Life Worship Center Coushatta posted, “So many wonderful families celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ on this Easter Sunday.”

Open Door Fellowship gathered Sunday morning.  They posted, “We celebrate the fact that Christ is risen! Our service will start at 10:00 Am. It will be a great day of worship, celebration and observances of both baptism and communion.”

Easter Egg Hunts Thrill Children

Children of all ages, with parents, grands, uncles and aunts, flocked to Easter Egg Hunts just before Easter.  The Journal checked in with hunts at First Baptist and First Methodist-Wesley Chapel churches.

We found kids from infants to high school scrambling for eggs hidden in plain sight.  There were eggs scattered around the playground at First Baptist and in the big side yard.  They hid them in the sanctuary at Frist Methodist for the littlest hunters.

The Easter Bunny met the children at the Methodist church.  A big overstuffed almost life-sized bunny greeted the kids coming into the Baptist church yard.  Some lucky child took that big bunny home as the grand prize of the afternoon.

This year First Baptist conducted a “Freeze Hunt” for the kids.  At “go” the kids rushed under the tape blocking off the yard, basket in hand, and started gathering up as many eggs as they could.  That was while the music was playing.  When it stopped, they had to “freeze” in place until the music resumed.  Reminds you of musical chairs, but with an unlimited supply of chairs.

The weather was nice, and a bright sunshine completed a perfect day for an egg hunt.  It was a great day for arts and crafts and a big inflatable slide too!  And lots of eggs filled with candy, some dollar coins, and lots of surprises.

Ladies, Your Day is April 26th

Dovie Beard notified The Journal that Martin Baptist Church is having a ladies event on Friday, April 26th.  She said, “We are trying to get the word out to all of the ladies in the parish. “

Their flyer states that the featured guest speaker will be Linda McCoy, with the musical talents of Lauren Hillman, Loretta Harris, and Sandy Gilbert. A meal will be served at 5:00 pm. A love offering will be accepted.

Ladies are invited to join the “for an evening of praise and worship filled with fun, food and fellowship.”

Beard said, “If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at, or call or text to 318-294-2391.”

This is the second ladies event held at Martin Baptist Church.  The first was held in October 2017.

Hall Summit Man Jailed in Traffic Death

Hall Summit resident Dillon Bazar was arrested and booked into the Bienville Parish jail following a fatal traffic accident on Friday evening.  State Police investigated the crash.

Just after 9:30 p.m. last Friday night, Louisiana State Police Troop G responded to a two vehicle head on crash on LA 4 at Watson Road that claimed the life of a Castor woman.

The preliminary investigation revealed a 2014 Ford pick-up truck, driven by 23-year-old Dillon Floyd Bazar of Hall Summit, Louisiana, was eastbound on LA 4.  Bazar crossed the centerline and hit a westbound 2001 Pontiac passenger car driven by 47-year-old Karen Jackson Caldwell of Castor, Louisiana.

Due to injuries sustained in the crash, Caldwell was pronounced dead at the scene by the Bienville Parish Coroner’s office.  Bazar suffered minor injuries.  He was arrested and charged with vehicular homicide, DWI, careless operation and open container.  Toxicology samples were taken and will be submitted for analysis.  This crash remains under investigation.

Louisiana State Troopers wish to remind motorists that avoiding all distractions, obeying the posted speed limit, avoiding fatigued driving, and not driving while impaired can often mean the difference between life and death.

In 2019, Troop G has investigated seven fatal crashes resulting in seven deaths.

Community Turns Out for Blood Drive

Lifeshare came to Coushatta on Tuesday for a community blood drive.  They will return to Riverdale Academy on Friday for a drive at the school.

The Sheriff’s Office was first on the scene to roll up their sleeves and donate.  First in line were Chief Deputy Greg Moore and Lieutenant Troy Murray when the drive kicked off  about 8:00 o’clock.  Other deputies joined them during the morning.  And the Sheriff’s Office challenged the fire department, EMS and other public servants to join the blood drive.

Philip Maxfield, a Lifeshare Account Manager greeted donors at the door and got them signed in and in line to begin the donation process.  Maxfield said, “Our goal to day is to collect 32 units of blood.  We’re off to a good start.”

Lifeshare will return to the area on Friday.  Riverdale Academy is hosting a blood drive from 8:00 until 11:00 am.  Faculty, staff, students and friends of Riverdale are asked to donate on Friday.

Red River’s Hallmon Makes All Star Team

USA TODAY High School Sports recently announced the ALL-USA Louisiana Girls Basketball Team. Red River Senior Mae Mae Hallmon is on the first team.  Players were selected based on their athletic achievements from the 2018-19 season.  Here is the release from USA Today:


Mary Ward, Benton
Ward eclipsed 300 career victories this season as she guided the Tigers to the Class 4A state championship. Benton went 38-5 and Ward was chosen as the coach of the West at the Louisiana High School Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Game.


Player of the Year
Tiara Young, G, Walker, 5-10, Sr.
Voted the state’s MVP by the Louisiana High School Basketball Coaches Association, the LSU signee averaged 29.3 points and 6.9 rebounds a game.

Other first team members

Makayia Hamilton, G, Red River (Coushatta), 5-3, Sr.
The Louisiana-Lafayette signee scored 25.7 points per game and also contributed 5.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists. Photo is from her Facebook page.

Domonique Davis, G, De Ridder, 5-7, Sr.
Davis will play for LSU after a senior year in which she scored 25.4 points per game and was named first-team all-state by the Louisiana High School Basketball Coaches Association.

JaMya Mingo-Young, G, Loranger, 5-7, Sr.
The Mississippi State recruit was named first-team all-state by the Louisiana High School Basketball Coaches Association and scored 22.3 points per game.

Emily Ward, F, Benton, 6-0, Jr.
A Louisiana High School Basketball Coaches Association first-team all-state pick, Ward averaged 20.2 points and 13.4 rebounds a game.

ETC… for Wednesday, April 24th

Tomorrow is the Community Health Fair put on by the Red River Council on Aging.  It will be held at the CoA building at 1825 Front Street from 8:30 am until noon.  There will be health checks and low cost or free blood screenings available, plus vendors, important information to keep you healthy and door prizes to be awarded.

There is an Autism Walk and Fun Day scheduled 10:00 am until 2:00 pm Saturday.  It will be held at the House of Refuge Ministries on Springville Road. Event sponsor is Excel Autism Behavioral and Educational Center.

There are less than 30 days left in the school year.  Here are a couple of upcoming events of interest at Red River High:

Monday, May 6 – JROTC Awards Program

Tuesday, May 7 – Senior Awards Program

Monday, May 13 – Ring Ceremony

Tuesday, May 14 – Athletic Banquet

Friday, May 17 – Graduation Ceremony

To clarify the story in a recent issue about Riverdale Academy’s Color Run.  The event will be at Grand Bayou Resort.  Registration deadline is May 4th.

Red River Students Participate in S.T.E.M.

From Anna Moore, instructor at RRHS

“Here’s some pictures of 23 of our freshmen going to NSU on Tuesday (April 9th) to go on a STEAM Tour.  They toured the arts department (including theater, graphic design, and culinary arts), the engineering department, and the biology department (which also featured a presentation on CIS). 

“These are some pictures of the group as a whole and then some of the more interesting interactions they had.  The two boys (Ja’Milleun Wilson and Zintayvious Smith) in the chairs participated in a theater demonstration by playing a game called “bus stop”. 

“Then you have students (Payal Patel, Precious Gray, Kayla Williams, Keauna Henderson, Chasity Douglas,& Makayla Morse) learning about the Robotics club and competitions on campus. 

“Then we have some of our students (Jeyden Young, Sierra Durr, & Nathan Tristan) playing the VI system using a program that lets them “see” inside the body. 

“Finally we have our students touring the culinary school’s kitchen and learning about yeast and bread making.  The other two are group pictures.  Other students on the trip included: Hayley Loe, Brett Danzy, Korie Williamson, Gracie Baker, Mikayla Tingle, Morris Mitchell, Bre’Once Smith, Jakayla Caldwell, Makayla Caldwell, Natiya Ross, & Dalavion Wells.”

Here is the release from NSU on the event:

Northwestern State University, in partnership with the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOFSA), hosted the inaugural S.T.E.A.M. tour for about 150 ninth graders from four high schools in the region.  Students visited several departments on campus to learn academic and career opportunities in the areas of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.

“Throughout the day, they toured campus, met college students and faculty and saw first-hand how interdisciplinary tools and projects enhance education and prepare students for innovative work in the modern world,” said Steve Gruesbeck, who coordinated the event with Dr. Jafar Al-Sharab, head of NSU’s Department of Engineering Technology.

“They are hearing from two representatives from each discipline to show how these areas intersect,” Gruesbeck said.  “For instance, we’ve paired Computer Information Systems with biology where students can see how virtual technology is applicable to health science.” 

Faculty also presented demonstrations in fine arts, culinary arts and engineering technology to show how those fields complement each other and students were able to view NSU’s Mazda Rotary Art Car, an interdisciplinary experiential learning project.  The day also included the New Media Student Showcase and a performance by the Out On A Limb Improv Troupe.

LOSFA’s partnership in the S.T.E.A.M. tour was orchestrated through Louisiana GEAR UP (Louisiana Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), a federally funded national initiative supported by the U.S. Department of Education which gives grants to states or institutions of higher learning to create partnerships with high-poverty middle or high schools.  In partnership with 16 school districts, LA GEAR UP aims to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education.  

NSU’s S.T.E.A.M. tour was a preview to upcoming separate, but related week-long camps this summer for students in LA GEAR UP parishes, including Red River and Sabine.  Camp Locomotion will be July 8-12 to study movement of humans and robots. Energy Camp July 15-19 will focus on light and sound energy.  Robotics Camp will be July 22-26 and Advanced Robotics will be July 29-Aug. 1.  On Fridays each camp will include an off-site educational and career-oriented field trip.

“Robots are a great STEAM tool because they combine so many principles at one time such as engineering, problem-solving and team work. In addition, robots play a significant role in advanced manufacturing and smart factories,” Sharab said. Students will also learn about safety, electrical and digital electronics and robot programming.

Freshman Class Fish Fry

That pleasant aroma rising from in front of Rivertown the other day was catfish frying.  And a few fries and hush puppies too.

On Monday April 15ththe freshman class at Riverdale Academy held a fish dinner sale at Rivertown Market. Fish cookers were Tyler Jones, Clement Jones, and Charlie King.

The fundraiser benefitted the Class of 2018-19.  They are freshmen this year, however they are already earning money for various projects including their trip when the students become seniors.

The workers on scene Monday said over 200 pre-orders filled.  In addition they filled orders for some folks who walked ups. 

Area Blood Drives Next Week

Two blood drives are scheduled in Red River Parish next week.  On Tuesday Lifeshare will be at the Council on Aging and on Friday at Riverdale Academy.

The blood drive at the Council on Aging will be held from 8:00 am until 2:00 pm April 23rd. It will be held at the COA building at 1924 Front Street.  Lifeshare posted an invitation to join the blood drive and sign up in advance on their Facebook page:

The community is invited to give the Gift of Life! Maybe someone you know is fighting cancer, a blood disorder, was in an accident, or needs surgery. Your blood donation may save the life of someone you’ll meet, someone you already know, your closest loved one, or even you.
CLICK on TICKETS to schedule your donation. This really helps us out to know you’re coming.
Donors must present a picture ID at the time of donation and have plenty to eat and drink plenty of water before donating. All blood donations benefit the Northwest Louisiana blood supply.

Then on Friday, Lifeshare will be at Riverdale Academy to take blood donations.  Contact Stacy Greer at Riverdale to sign up or to get more information on the event.  Their flyer is below.

Riverdale Color Run For Fun

The annual Color Run held by Riverdale Academy is coming up in less than a month.  Are you getting in shape for the 5-K event?

The Riverdale Color Run 2019 will be held Saturday, May 11th. Riverdale posted on their Facebook, “Join us for a fun and colorful 5k event. Inform the workers at the gate that you are there for the Color run and meet at the pavilion to park. Race will start promptly at 12:00 P.M.”

Join the fun.  The fee includes entry to the race, finisher medal and a color party color packet for after the race. Wear a white t-shirt and enjoy the fun.

Riding Events at Cowboy Church

Spring riding activities are underway at Red River Cowboy Church at Lake End.  The next Playday is scheduled for May.  The Playday for April 14thwas cancelled by inclement weather.

Their Arena Events Facebook page has posted information about Ranch Sorting.  The first event in that program will be on Saturday, April 27th.  Books will open at 9:00 am and riding starts at 10:00 am for events in that series.

Participants who ride in the required number of events will be eligible for awards.  Buckles will be presented to first place finishers in draw, open and mixed.

Cowboy Church is also host to the 5D Jackpot Barrels and Buckle series.  It kicked off this week and there are six events in the series. Participants have to take part in four events to be eligible for prizes.  There are age groups for riders from birth up through adult.  The next event is April 30th.  Check Facebook for details and registration information.

Track Update from Red River

Posted by JC Dickey:

Congrats to Red River High Track Team competing in District 3-2A meet April 16th. Red River Boys finished 2nd in meet and both teams are sending a good group to regionals at NSU on Wednesday, April 24th. Results for Red River is as follows. 

Boys swept all relays and sprints today. 

4x200m 1st Eric Grant, KJ Bradley, Johntraver Hymes, Quil Mosley
1600m 3rd Devin McDonald
100m 1st Johntraver Hymes
800m 2nd Julius Brisker
4x100m 1st CJ Kieth, Ladarius Trotter, Quil Mosley, Patrick Perkins
400m 1st Eric Grant 3rd Gakerreon McDonald 
300m 2nd Jaylen McDonald 
200m 1st Eric Grant 4th Brandon Harris 
3200m 4th Jayden Young
4x400m Eric Grant, Julius Brisker, Gakerreon McDonald, Brandon Harris 
Long Jump 3rd CJ Kieth 4th Malik Gay
Shot Put 3rd Johnathan Brisker
Discus 4th Marcus Brewer 
High Jump 2nd Zintayvious Smith 
Javelin 2nd Cameron Kieth 
Triple Jump 1st CJ Kieth 3rd KJ Bradley 


4x200m 2nd Crystal Jackson, Precious Gray, Teanna Eason, Nakia Latson
4x100m 4th Crystal Jackson, Precious Gray, Teanna Eason, Nakia Latson
400m 2nd Teanna Eason
4x400m 1st Haley Loe, Brianna Latson, Precious Gray, Teanna Eason
Shot Put 1st Quin Taylor
Discus 4th Aalyiah Bradley

Editor’s Note:  The Red River Track Team has been without a home practice facility for most of the spring. Earlier Principal Dickey remarked at their accomplishments while finding anywhere they could practice.  The track is blocked this spring by rebuilding the football field.  After that is complete the track will receive an update, including a new running surface. And all that will be ready for track season 2020.

It’s Soapbox Time

Are we really afraid of our shadow?  It is time to say something that is probably politically incorrect.  At least it may ruffle a few feathers.  Or it may make some people think.

What’s up with running and hiding in the corner every time there is a forecast that bad weather is coming? In south Louisiana yesterday they closed schools in several parishes because bad weather is forecast. 

Then Thursday morning The Journal found this on the Commissioner of Administration’s website:  “STATE OFFICES CLOSING THURS, APRIL 18.

“Due to tomorrow’s possibility of extreme weather, Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne is announcing that all state offices will close Thursday, April 18, 2019.

“All agency heads are responsible for determining those essential personnel who should remain on duty or those who should report to alternate work sites if necessary. State officials continue to monitor conditions throughout the state, and this announcement may be updated.”

Shutdown the whole state?

Last winter in our area (and many others) schools were closed because there might be a possibility of sleet or snow.  Lots of other “better safe than sorry” scenarios were acted out.

Sometimes the weather was severe, but many more times it was not.  If you listen to TV weather casts a storm is going to get us any minute.  They even call themselves “storm chasers” and “storm trackers” with “thunder trucks” and so forth.  Are they seeking to inform or seeking to attract an audience?

And officials at all levels are afraid that someone would file a lawsuit if something happened.  After all their constituents would rather take time off than work any day.  They are already looking for an excuse not to work or get out of something they are responsible for.  For example see the recent story in The Journal concerning the severe problem the school system is having with employees who take excessive days off.

And it is becoming a regular habit to duck and cover when anything bad might happen.  You could be struck by a car crossing the street, so I guess we all need to stay on our own side!

Realistically we need to be safe and we need to keep school kids and others safe.  But we also need to stop falling for the exaggerated weather predictions.  It is time to sort out what is real from what is meant to “sell newspapers”.

Whether your reaction to this article is “yeah, spot on!” or “you don’t want the kids to be safe?” at least it made you think.  If you have a different opinion spell out your thoughts and send it to The Journal.  Responsible replies (meaning you include your name and phone number) will be included in a future issue.   Send it to

ETC… for Friday April 19th

The Red River is on the rise.  The Waterway Commission has posted that all the boat launches it operates have been closed.

Both First Methodist and First Baptist churches have Easter egg hunts planned for today (Friday). Take the kiddies to First Methodist this morning and to First Baptist this afternoon for a fun time.

Northwestern State University will be closed on Friday, April 19 for Good Friday.  Administrative offices will re-open and classes will resume on Monday, April 22.

Schools in the parish are closed this week. Classes resume at Red River and Riverdale on Tuesday morning.

Open Door Fellowship has a special Easter celebration planned at 10:00 am Sunday titled “Empty Tomb.” Communion and Baptism is included in this special service.

If you are following the 4-H State Shooting, today is shooting in Shotgun category at the Shreveport Gun Club.  Shooting starts at 8:00 am for trap, skeet and sporting clays.

Liberty Baptist Church posted their Easter schedule on Facebook.  They will have a sunrise service at 6:30 followed by breakfast. Sunday school is at 9:45 and morning worship service at 11:00 Sunday.

The Journal received word that utilities serving the parish are prepared for severe weather outbreaks.  Cleco offers customers the following preparation tips:

  • Prepare a storm kit – gather supplies you might need for an outage, including flashlight, batteries, canned food, manual can opener, bottled water, medication and a first aid kit.
  • Clear patio furniture and other objects that could move in high winds and cause damage or injury.
  • Charge cell phones, tablets and laptops.

Coushatta Man Dies in Motorcycle Accident

Just after noon today, Louisiana State Police Troop G responded to a two vehicle crash involving a motorcycle on US 80 at Hillcrest Cemetery that claimed one life and seriously injured another.

The preliminary investigation revealed a 2000 Toyota passenger car, driven by 89-year-old Marvin Curry of Haughton, Louisiana, was eastbound on US 80.  For reasons still under investigation, Curry rear-ended an eastbound Honda motorcycle, driven by 51-year-old Ricky D. Robinson of Coushatta, Louisiana. 

Robinson and his female passenger were transported to Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport where he died from injuries sustained in the crash.  The passenger remains in critical condition.  Both were wearing DOT approved helmets at the time of the crash.  Curry was not injured.

Alcohol is not a suspected factor in this crash.  Toxicology samples were taken and will be submitted for analysis.  This crash remains under investigation.

Louisiana State Troopers wish to remind motorists that avoiding all distractions, obeying the posted speed limit, avoiding fatigued driving, and not driving while impaired can often mean the difference between life and death.

In 2019, Troop G has investigated six fatal crashes resulting in six deaths.

How High’s the Water Mama?

Local reports of 4 inches, 6 inches or more of rainfall were reported in the parish over this past weekend.  A lot of water came down in a short time.  As you can see from the photos, it rose quickly and the ground is still very wet.

There is more on the way!  The National Weather Service warns more rain is expected starting today (April 17th).  “Another round of severe weather and heavy rain is expected across the Lower Mississippi Valley on Wednesday with the approaching frontal system. Until then, rain, mountain snow, and some thunderstorms can be expected across the West.”

The most severe storms skirted Red River Parish to our west.  We got a very heavy rain starting late in the day on Friday.  These photos were taken on Saturday.  By church time on Sunday the skies had cleared. 

In Coushatta water pooled at Old Folks Café and along the Cutoff Road.  There was flooding on East Carroll and Front streets and other areas in town.  Water ran over the Red Oak Road from a swollen creek about 7/10 mile south of the old Sunbeam plant.

Water got up around the mailboxes outside the post office.  Ditches and creeks were full or almost full along the Ashland road.  The road was partially covered just getting into Martin.  Then north of Martin water flowed over the highway in a couple of places.

Several streets in Hall Summit were under and there was high water downtown.  It got into yards just east of Crossroads and the playground was under at Riverdale Academy.

To make matters worse, power was out in Coushatta for a couple of hours beginning late Saturday afternoon.  And that caused confusion for motorists when the traffic signals failed.