CHRISTUS Coushatta Expands Telehealth Services

CHRISTUS Coushatta Health Care Center has drastically expanded telehealth services and online screening tools with secure video and telephone visits and an online COVID-19 screening tool.

Beginning now, telehealth services are available to offer secure, HIPAA-compliant video visits for clinic patients regarding routine visits with a Primary Care Provider. These video visits are available for Apple iPhone and Android users. These new telehealth services are in addition to the Primary Care services available at the clinics in Boyce and Ringgold. 

“CHRISTUS Coushatta is making both video or telephone visits available to our community,” said Brandon Hillman, RN, MBA, Administrator, CHRISTUS Coushatta Health Care Center. “They can both be used for simple things such as coughs and colds, or for more complicated things such as helping manage diabetes or heart disease at this time.”

If a patient begins a video visit and their primary care provider determines the need for an in-person evaluation, that will be arranged. If further testing such as blood work or consultations is necessary, a referral and instructions will be provided. Both video and telephone visits are covered by nearly all major medical insurances including Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans. Depending on your plan, you may be billed a copay, just as though you were seeing your provider in a traditional office setting. There is no additional cost associated with a telemedicine visit.

“The new telehealth systems can be used to prevent overcrowding in clinics while preventing exposures, reducing risk and facilitating high-quality care,” said Hillman. “Due to the extraordinary circumstances created by the current COVID-19 pandemic, regulatory agencies have approved new patients to be seen via telemedicine visits.”

In addition to telehealth services, the new CHRISTUS COVID Chatbot is live at and accessible by the public. The goal is to alleviate stress on call centers and the clinic staffs by offering a dedicated tool to help patients self-screen for the virus and get direction on what steps they need to take next.

A chatbot is an artificial intelligence (AI) unit programmed into a website to perform basic, automated duties, such as replying to customers on a retail site or engaging with users on social media messenger services.

“Patients will interact with our chatbot through a text-chat interface on the website,” said Hillman. “The COVID Health Chatbot is available 24/7 and will provide a screening function for patients who are ill with fever or cough or shortness of breath and have had travel to any region that has known community spread of coronavirus or if you have any of the above symptoms and exposure to a person with confirmed or suspected COVID-19.”

“As health care systems adapt their procedures and we all make changes to our daily lives and routines, it is important that CHRISTUS Coushatta Health Care Center does everything we can to ensure patients have access to the medical care they need,” said Hillman. “We are poised to do whatever it takes to continue bringing you the same seamless, compassionate care you have come to expect, while also doing everything we can to minimize the spread of infectious disease throughout the communities we serve.”

Residents Pray for First COVID-19 Victim in Red River

Late Wednesday night The Journal informed you that a lady in our parish had been diagnosed by her physician with the COVID-19 virus.  Her husband asked The Journal to pass along his plea to friends and fellow believers to pray for her.

You did it.  Response to our article was positive with folks from all over the area commenting that they were praying for Nancy Spears.

On Thursday Wayne Spears posted, “Report on Nancy Spears – I have been getting a lot of request on Nancy’s updated condition. I have tried to answer them on a personal level but there are too many for me to handle so I have resorted to Facebook. Nancy’s oxygen level is still low although she is on oxygen. Her cough is no better. It is a wait and see game at this point. Continue praying…”

Also on Thursday the Baptist Message posted a request for the church to pray:

Urgent prayers have been requested by the family of Nancy Spears, a member of Fairview Baptist Church in Fairview Alpha, who has tested positive for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Spears’ husband, Wayne Spears, is a former Louisiana Baptist pastor and serves as CEO of Abbie Lane Retreat Ministry in Coushatta, a non-denominational 80-acre retreat facility for ministers and their wives.

According to Wayne Spears, his wife fell ill 9-10 days ago. Her symptoms worsened over time and she was admitted to the emergency room at Highland Hospital in Shreveport on Sunday, March 22.

Wayne Spears has posted updates on his Facebook page, which has been flooded with posts from others offering prayers and encouragement for the family. The couple is quarantined for 14 days, beginning Tuesday, March 24. Nancy Spears is still at Highland Hospital while her husband is at their home.

“Her physical condition was so weak going into this, for her to make it will be the result of prayer and God’s grace,” Spears told the Baptist Message. “I am probably positive because I have been with her constantly.  However, I cannot be tested until I have symptoms, coughing and fever.”

Wayne Spears noted that the family has received encouragement from those who developed relationships with them at Abbie Lane Retreat Ministry and during the time he served as a pastor for more than 40 years. Previously he served as pastor of Verda Baptist Church, Morningside Baptist Church, Shreveport, and Fairmont Park Baptist in La Porte, Texas.

“I am praying that these prayers and God’s grace will once again show the world that God is God and He is in charge, even in times such as these,” he said.

Their pastor, Matt Endris, said his members have reached out to offer prayers and support for the family.

“Wayne and Nancy need your support through prayer,” Endris said. “They truly are faithful servants in the family of God and to the family of God. A great way to pray for Nancy is that God will use this time to bring glory to Himself.

“We need to pray for her health to be restored and for many lost people to come to faith in Christ as they see God’s great grace and power revealed in Nancy’s life,” he continues. “We need to pray for Wayne to remain healthy and that God will give him opportunity to share his faith in Christ through this time. Let’s love the Spears’ through our prayers for them.”

You may post your prayers and send messages via Wayne Spears Facebook page.

Feeding Program Launched

Will of God Ministries has begun a daily feeding program in Coushatta.  Their pastor, Dr. Johnny Cox said the purpose is to feed children and to deliver hot meals to their homes.

The first shipment of hot meals arrived about 11:30 am on Wednesday, March 25th.  It was delivered to Coushatta by Simple Church of Shreveport-Bossier.  Bryan Reed and Bill McConathy from the church brought a pickup loaded with hot and cold food containers.  McConathy said they are delivering the food that is prepared by the Northwest Louisiana Food Bank.

Dr. Cox told The Journal, “Church volunteers are assembling the meals.  We are delivering them to neighborhoods.  Initially the meals will be delivered every day.  Later we will arrange for meal pick-up.”

Cox said people from Will of God Ministries are volunteering right now.  He said, “Anyone who would like to help, call the church at 932-3177.  We need additional people to lend a hand.”

On this first day of distributing the meals, Cox added, “We are in the infant stage and we’re figuring it out as we go.”

Registrar of Voters Closes Due To Virus

The Red River Registrar of Voters Office has closed due to the COVID-19 virus.  This is the second courthouse office to close in recent days.

Registrar Debra Jones said the closure was due to the Governor’s Stay Home order.  Most services of the Registrar are available online.  With the postponement of the April 4th election to June 20th, early voting did not take place.

Details of the closure announcement are listed below.

Thursday School Update

March 26, 2020

Good Afternoon:

As we end our second week of school closure, I want to say how much all of us at Red River Schools miss our students and parents.  We hope that all of you are healthy and safe. We appreciate all of the prayers and good thoughts from you in the past two weeks.  

I want to say a huge Thank You to our cafeteria staff, bus drivers, principals, school staff, and our Department of Food and Nutrition for all of their hard work and compassion as they worked tirelessly in our food distribution program.   A newly formed program authorized by Mayor Dr. Johnny Cox and Will of God Ministries will begin. Will of God Ministries Food Pantry is dropping off 200-400 hot lunches provided by Northwest Food Bank of LA for children throughout the city limits of Coushatta on a daily basis at 12 pm. For families who do not reside inside city limits, you are invited by Will of God Ministries to stop by the Old Grade School from 11 AM-12 PM, to pick up lunch.

Soon we will mail to potential seniors a packet of information.  We are including up to date information about grades, testing, and LOFSA.  We know that this is a difficult time for all of you and that our Senior students are being affected in many ways.  We will inform all of you as to when you can expect those packets will arrive at your mailbox. 

We have updated our Frequently Asked Questions on our website and encourage all of you to review this information.  We will also have a link on the website for a new parental fact sheet from Texthelp with Google Read&Write. This information will help you make accommodations for students as they access reading material on the internet.

Next week we will begin having calls and press releases on an as-needed basis.  If you have any questions or need access to anyone at the Central office, you may call and leave a message on their office extension.  If you need to leave a message for a principal, please call 318-932-4081 option 6. Leave your name, phone number, and a brief message.  We will get the information to your principal.  

We want to assure you that we are in constant contact with the State Department of Education and other school districts to get information to you as quickly as possible.  Through all of this, please know that you are in our prayers.  

Thank you,

Alison Hughes

Blessed….or Lucky?

By Reba Phelps

“As luck would have it”, is a phrase that I have mindlessly used many times. Or sometimes, if I am being dramatic I will say, “As fate would have it.” But, either of the two phrases that I choose to use at the given time are not being true to my deep spiritual roots. 

The formal definition of luck is; the success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions. Force that brings good fortune or adversity. This, to me, sounds too random to be a good thing. 

The key word in that definition that caused me to raise an eyebrow was the word, “apparently”. That word itself gives no guarantee. 

With the events that have occurred in my own life, have always had me leaning towards the belief in divine intervention. Divine intervention and luck are horses of two different colors. 

I truly believe that Google said it best. “Being blessed means there are people who care about you. Being lucky means you are controlled not cared for. Being blessed means handwork through out the life. Being lucky means you don’t know how to work hard to achieve things”.

Blessings and luck will be always be debated depending upon where your faith lies. I always find it humorous when people post on Facebook about being “lucky”… it takes three milli-seconds for a well-meaning but sassy Christian to come back with a spiritual correction. You are, “blessed”, and not “lucky”.

The more time I spend studying the Bible and growing spiritually I realize that for me, there is no such thing as luck. Luck is the most random thing that can happen to you. You didn’t earn it, you are not favored and pure luck can happen to anyone. In my eyes it is almost admitting that God is not in charge of our daily lives and does not have his hand on every single event that may or may not befall us. 

There is no way that luck brought me two of the most healthy and amazing daughters that someone could ask for. There is no way luck would bring me a career that has been completely fulfilling. Then, place me in a position where I can comfortably take care of my daughters as a single mom. Luck doesn’t favor me so deeply that I am still able to give of my time, talent and occasionally, money to the less fortunate or charity. 

Luck did not grant my family twenty additional years with my mom after her health took a sharp turn for the worse. Luck didn’t save and redeem my father when he was headed for a life of crime and poverty. Luck didn’t place my dad in a rural church with a small congregation that would support him and his family for 30 years. 

Luck doesn’t care that much. Luck is not that invested in you. No ones luck can be that consistent day in and day out. 

But….my God is that consistent. 

Whether you choose to feel blessed or you choose to feel lucky, you will always get back what you put into this world. If you sow seeds of generosity, joy, peace and happiness you, and your children, will surely receive that back. If you choose to sow seeds of greed, sadness, despair and discontentment then you, and your children, will surely receive that right back, multiplied.

But, as for me and my house we will always choose to be blessed over being lucky. 

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.”

Jeremiah 17:7

Need to Boil Water

A Boil Advisory is in effect for drinking water from the Halfway Carroll Water System.  It is in place until further notice.

System President Brent Cormier issued the “Drinking Water Warning” following  Escherichia coli bacteria was found I the water supply on March 23rd.  The warning said, “These bacteria can make you sick, and are a particular concern for people with weakened immune systems.”

Cormier said, “Do not drink the water without boiling it first.  Bring the water to a boil for one minute and let it cool before using it.”  An alternative is to use bottled water.

Answer the Census Questionnaire

By Shawn Beard

The questionnaire from the US Census is in the mail.  Many have already been received by parish residents.  The deadline to respond is April first.

Why do I have to answer the census?  It is required by Federal law and is mandated by the US Constitution.  The census is mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution, which states: “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States… according to their respective Numbers.”  The actual census count shall be made every ten years.  The first census was taken in 1790 and the most recent was in 2010.

A report by CBS News on December 31, 2019 said:

“Population data collected from the 2020 census could lead to dramatic changes in how congressional seats and Electoral College votes are apportioned in several states. Ten states, including several in the Northeast and Midwest, are set to lose congressional districts, although seven in the West and South could gain seats, according to an analysis of new Census Bureau data.

“The results of the census will be used to determine how 435 seats in the House seats are apportioned for the next 10 years. This impacts a state’s political power in Congress and importance in presidential elections, as Electoral College votes are determined by the size of a state’s congressional delegation. The reapportionment is expected in December 2020, resulting in the lengthy process of each state redrawing congressional maps for the 2022 midterm elections.”

Louisiana was not projected to gain or lose a Congressional seat as a result of the 2020 Census.

It is important that each individual living in Red River Parish be counted.  On the parish level, police jury and school board districts are drawn based upon population.  Each year there are federal funds allocated based upon the population.  So it is important that our population be recorded accurately. 

The population count determines the shape of our state Senate and House districts, the Public Service Commission, and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education districts.  These districts, and others are redrawn after each census.  The accuracy of the census directly effects every citizen in Red River Parish.

The census figures are important for programs that benefit citizens of the parish.  Government assistance funds are allocated based upon population.  Roads, recreation, programs that feed people, and programs that benefit us all have a connection back to the population of Red River Parish.

If you have received your form, please fill it out and return it.  A postage free envelope was included.  Or you may go online and complete the census.  If you did not receive a census form, or not filled it out, a census worker will be calling to follow up and help you fill out the census.

Capitol Briefing

By Representative Gabe Firment

Much has changed in the world since the last edition of the Capitol Briefing ran on March 11, 2020. The first case of the Coronavirus in Louisiana was reported in New Orleans on March 9th, and by March 24th that number had risen to 1,388 confirmed cases with 46 deaths and officials warning that we should expect the virus to continue to spread throughout the state with the possibility that our healthcare system could be stretched to the breaking point by this unprecedented viral outbreak. In response to the rapid growth of the virus Gov. Edwards has issued multiple emergency proclamations, including a “Stay at Home” Order on March 22nd effectively requiring all citizens to shelter in place at home and closing or restricting all non-essential businesses.

As I began contemplating how to cram all of the relevant facts, figures, dates, projections, and potential  impacts of the Coronavirus into this short little article, I was struck with my first case of “writer’s block” and was momentarily overwhelmed by the apparent immensity of the crisis we are facing. In my frustration I backed away from the keyboard and looked out my office window to see the morning sun peaking above the treetops and its soft rays beginning to burn through the fog that had drifted in during the dark of night.

The radiance of the sunlight piercing the morning fog also served to burn away the haze that I had allowed to temporarily cloud my mind, and I immediately recalled that there are certain absolute truths that guide us throughout life’s ups and downs. The rising of the sun reminded me of a beautiful passage of scripture from Isaiah 45:6-7, “The words of the prophet Isaiah –  that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the Lord, who does all these things.

These are uncertain and anxious times we are living in, but we can take comfort in knowing that God is on His throne, and that for those who love God all things work together for good. I have been encouraged and inspired to see how our communities have come together to help one another over the past couple of weeks, and it is my hope and prayer that this spirit of unity will continue once the virus abates and life returns to normal.  Please join me in doing what we can to minister to the needs of those most vulnerable to the Coronavirus, and together we can emerge from this momentary crisis stronger and more united than ever before.

My office located at 181 Barron Road in Pollock is still open, although we have temporarily decreased our hours to comply with the governor’s recommendations. If you need assistance or have questions about the Coronavirus crisis or any other issue please call the office at (318)765-9606 or call/text my personal cell at (318)201-6769. I am providing COVID-19 updates multiple times per day on my Facebook page @GabeFirment22, and there is a great deal of information available from the state at Thank you and God Bless!

What Are Furloughed Students Doing?

By Hayley Loe

Many of Red River High School’s students have been affected by the school wide shut down in Louisiana. With this shutdown many students were excited at first because they saw this as a chance to get a long break from school. However many of the activities that the students liked doing outside of school were also shut down due to COVID-19 along with the stay at home order being mandated across the state.

Freshman students at the high school are missing their first year of high school experience along with their freshman year of sports. However many of these don’t mind the break but find themselves with nothing to do with the stay at home order in place.

The Sophomores of the high school missed their ACT testing on the 17th of March which will be rescheduled at a later date and some missed their 2nd year of sports. Many sophomores had planned to hang out with friends and go places during the time that they were out but now they are forced to stay at home away from friends.

The Junior class of the high school was affected also by losing their ACT test on March 17th. Many of this class had the same plan as the sophomores along with some of them graduating early and missing their last year of high school.

The Seniors class at the high school was affected the most out of the students. The seniors lost their last year of high school, sports, and prom. They may even have a delayed graduation due to the virus spreading through the state. Most of the seniors had the same plans as sophomores and juniors. Students are set to go back to the high school on 13th of April after leaving Thursday for their March break.

However students were sent a packet which included information about the 2020 census, their report cards and some learning martials. Students taking AP classes were sent packets to prepare them for the AP test that were not cancelled even with the virus affecting classes.

Fish Fry Cancelled

Just a reminder that due to Covid-19 and our Governors mandate we have canceled the March Fourth Friday Fish Fry (which was slated to be March 27) We will greatly miss each one of you and hope to see you all again soon for great food and FELLOWSHIP!

(Enjoy this little throwback photo of Hope from several years back when we had to cancel due to flooding!)

4H Beef Poster Contest

The 4-H Beef Poster contest is a good contest for all ages to work on from home.  Can be done as a poster or on the computer. 

The Red River 4-H office said Cash prizes awarded at the state level.  Call us if you have any questions.  Their office number is 932-4342.

How to Keep Students Engaged?

Here is news about ways to help your children while they are out of class due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  This information was posted by both Red River High and Riverdale Academy.

Keep Students Engaged from Home! 

Until April 30, 2020, every parent, student, and educator is being given FREE access to LIVE Industry Chats facilitated by Nepris. You, your friends, and your parents can speak directly with career professionals to discuss working in the real-world, exciting job possibilities, and even join virtual workplace tours.

How do you get access to this awesome FREE service? All you have to do is create your very own Nepris  profile!  

Share this message with your classmates, parents, and friends so that they can also create their very own Nepris profile!

Learn more about Nepris at

Local Church Updates

From Steven McAbee at Open Door Fellowship:

I wanted to give you a weekend update for our worship times. This weekend Sunday, March 29, 2020 we will offer two (2) worship opportunities. The first service will be offered at 8:30AM. If your last name begins with A-L please do your best to attend this service. Our second service will begin at 10:30AM. If your last name begins with M-Z please do your best to attend this second service.

Be blessed, be safe and know we are praying for you. If you need prayer or anything else please call our church office at 318-932-6267 or Pastor’s Cell phone.

From Dr. Johnny Cox at Word of God Ministries:

The Word of God Ministries is holding services via Facebook Live and Zoom.  Their Sunday services will be at 9:30 am.

From Bro. Marvin Leleux at Springhill Baptist Church:

Springville Baptist Church will hold services at 11:00 am Sunday.  They will be carried on Facebook Live.  Leleux said people need to go to the SBC Ringgold Family & Friends page and ask to join the group.  That way you will be able to see the service on Sunday.  Springville Baptist Church serves Hall Summit, Crossroads, Ringgold and the Loggy Bayou areas of northern Red River Parish.

Guest Line-up

Here is the list of upcoming pastors who are scheduled to appear on “Fear Not” on The Journal’s Facebook Live broadcasts.

Friday it is Steven McAbee of Open Door Fellowship

Monday’s guest is Joey Miller of Victorious Life Ministries

And Tuesday, Bro. Harry Bamburg from Liberty Baptist Church will be in the studio.

Bro. Nathan Davis gave a dynamic message on Thursday morning.  Take a few minutes and go back and watch it or any of the programs from this first week.

The goal of “Fear Not” is to present alternatives to fear, anxiety, and stress growing out of the COVID-19 virus.  Local pastors will present what the Holy Bible has to say about the troubled times our community is facing.

Find “Fear Not” on Facebook/RedRiverParishJournal.  Like and/or follow our page and the program will appear in your newsfeed.  Shows are also archived to be shared and viewed later.

Bro. Nathan Davis bringing the message Thursday Morning.

Notice of Death

Shirley Ruth Longino

Graveside Services for Shirley Ruth Longino, 72, of Coushatta were held Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 10:00am at Mt. Zion Cemetery in Hall Summit, LA with Brother Olan McLaren officiated and Tyler Mitchell provided the music. 

Shirley was born on July 31, 1947 and passed away in an automobile accident on Monday, March 23, 2020. 

She was preceded in death by her parents L.B and Thelma Nichols of Coushatta, two brothers Walter B. Nichols of Coushatta, LA, Douglas Nichols of Coushatta, LA, and her husband Merse Longino of Coushatta, LA. 

Left to cherish her memories are her three children Mark Longino and wife Mary Ann of Martin, LA, Johnny Longino of Starkville, MS, and Christy Gay and husband Mark of Coushatta, LA. One sister Elaine Sessions and husband J.R. of Coushatta, LA, and one sister-in-law, Pat Nichols of Coushatta, LA. Eight grandchildren, Daniel Longino and wife Sierra, Melissa Townsend and husband Brian, Steven Longino, Allison Ogdon and husband Trevyn, Zachary Longino, Jared Gay and Randi Corley, Amanda Longino and Colton Longino. As well as two great grandchildren, Avery Longino and Tilden Townsend.

Shirley was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She retired from the Red River Parish School Board after devoting over 30 years there. She loved driving the school bus for all the children, especially her special needs kids that she thought of as her own.  She loved traveling with her husband to Blue Grass festivals and taking bus tours all around the country. She enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, camping at the lake and going fishing. She spent the final years of her life taking care of her husband in his hard-fought battle with his health. Shirley loved the lord and knew that she would meet him one day and be reunited with her beloved husband of almost 57 years. (Who can find a virtuous woman, for her price is far above rubies. Proverbs 31:10)

Sadly, due to the current state of the world due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we made the difficult decision to forego traditional funeral services. We feel that for the safety of all friends and family this is the right decision to make. 

In lieu of flowers, the family asked that donations be made to Mt. Zion Cemetery Fund, or St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Honor and Memorial Giving, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis , TN 38105-9959.

ETC… for Friday, March 27th

If you are traveling I-49 this morning, please be aware of this information from State Police:

On March 27, 2020, at approximately 9:00 a.m., Louisiana State Police (LSP) will temporary close I-49 northbound at exit 172.  This closure will allow heavy machinery to safely recover a commercial motor vehicle from a previous crash, which occurred Sunday, March 22. 

Red River High put out a reminder that its facilities are closed due to the virus.  This includes the campus and sports facilities.  The school asks that no one come on campus.  The notice said it would be considered trespassing and persons who come to school or any of its facilities could be subject to arrest.

Riverdale Academy announced that Spring Thaw is being postponed.  The new date is June 12 and 13. 

Dr. Michael Scanlan, professor of physics at Northwestern State University, has created a series of science videos that explore various branches of science with demonstrations and activities like growing crystals, making soap and navigating the night sky. Scanlan, father of two, said the videos are intended to educate and entertain during social isolation.

“The School of Biological and Physical Sciences is trying to help out during this time by offering activities, experiments, demonstrations and general nonsense for free on our Facebook page and YouTube channel,” Scanlan said. “It’s part of our initiative to make life a little less boring during the quarantine, during the isolation that you may have.  We are trying to break the monotony and give you ideas for things that you can actually do.” 

Users can follow Northwestern State School of Biological and Physical Sciences on Facebook where there is a Facebook Videos playlist. They can also be accessed at NSULA Sciences on YouTube and are linked to @NSULA Sciences on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. All content is free.

Red River Cowboy Church announced that due to all the chaos with COVID-19 we are going to have to cancel the awards banquet for April 5th. Individuals will be notified when they can get the awards.

Red River Resident Tests Positive for COVID-19

The wife of the founder of Abbie Lane Retreat in South Red River Parish is hospitalized following her testing positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus.  Wayne Spears is asking for prayers for his wife Nancy.

Wayne Spears is now self-quarantined at his home.  He talked with The Journal this evening and gave permission to use their names.  Spears said Nancy Spears has been ill for some time.  She was seen by a doctor in the Shreveport area who had the test performed.  Following the positive result, Nancy Spears was admitted to the hospital.

Spears said, “We are asking that everyone pray for Nancy’s recovery.  I have contacted my friends to spread the word that we need their prayers.”

The Journal asked Wayne Spears how he was doing.  “The doctor thinks it is likely that I may have it also,” said Spears.  Spears coughed several times during our conversation.  He said, “The doctor said if I developed symptoms in addition to a cough that I would be tested also.”

Several years ago Wayne and Nancy Spears retired from the ministry.  They moved to Red River Parish and established Abbie Lane Retreat.  It is a place for members of the clergy to find a place of rest away from the stress of their pastorates.  Abbie Lane is built on 80 acres and is a relaxing place with trails leading to over a dozen prayer gardens.  Easter Sunrise Service has been held there for the past several years.

Speaking with Wayne Spears he said, “We knew it would probably come to this area.  I never thought it would be Nancy.”

Local Feeding Program Launched

Will of God Ministries has begun a daily feeding program in Coushatta.  Their pastor, Dr. Johnny Cox said the purpose is to feed children and to deliver hot meals to their homes.

The first shipment of hot meals arrived about 11:30 am on Wednesday, March 25th.  It was delivered to Coushatta by Simple Church of Shreveport-Bossier.  Bryan Reed and Bill McConathy from the church brought a pickup loaded with hot and cold food containers.  McConathy said they are delivering the food that is prepared by the Northwest Louisiana Food Bank.

Dr. Cox told The Journal, “Church volunteers are assembling the meals.  We are delivering them to neighborhoods.  Initially the meals will be delivered every day.  Later we will arrange for meal pick-up.”

Cox said people from Will of God Ministries are volunteering right now.  He said, “Anyone who would like to help, call the church at 932-3177.  We need additional people to lend a hand.”

On this first day of distributing the meals, Cox added, “We are in the infant stage and we’re figuring it out as we go.”

Stay Home Order Issued

Louisiana is under a statewide Stay at Home order that went into effect at 5 p.m. Monday, March 23, to further fight the spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana.  Here is the text of the Governor’s order:

 “In Louisiana we have taken aggressive measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve; however, this is not enough. As our number of cases continue to grow, I am directing all Louisianans to stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary for you to leave. I am implementing this measure to help prevent you from becoming infected or infecting someone else. People can leave their homes to do essential things like buying groceries or food, pick up medicine or go to work only if their job is essential. If you have to go out, make sure you practice social distancing measures and keep 6 feet between you and the people around you. People are encouraged to go outside and to stay active during this time, as long as they practice social distancing when they are around their neighbors,” Gov. Edwards said. “This order is not something I take lightly, but it is necessary to protect the health, safety and well-being of our people, our communities and our way of life.”

The order is set to expire at the end of the night on Sunday, April 12. The Governor will re-evaluate the need for the statewide Stay at Home order and other mitigation measures currently in place to determine if they need to be extended beyond April 12.

The Governor previously ordered all K-12 public schools, casinos, bars movie theatres, gyms and fitness centers closed and restricted restaurants to take-out, drive-through and delivery orders only. He has also moved the state’s April 4 elections and limited crowd size.

For businesses, the new Stay at Home order has limits on the following:

  • All places of public amusement, whether indoors or outdoors, including but not limited to, locations with amusement rides, carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, trampoline parks, aquariums, zoos, museums, arcades, fairs, pool halls, children’s play centers, playgrounds, theme parks, any theaters, concert and music halls, adult entertainment venues, racetracks, and other similar businesses.
  • All personal care and grooming businesses, including but not limited to, barber shops, beauty salons, nail salons, spas, massage parlors, tattoo parlors, and other similar businesses.
  • All malls, except for stores in a mall that have a direct outdoor entrance and exit that provide essential services and products as provided by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) guidelines.
  • Businesses closed to the public as listed in the order can conduct necessary activities such as payroll, cleaning services, maintenance or upkeep as necessary.
  • Any business not covered by the guidance from the CISA discussed in Section 3 of the order and not ordered to temporarily close must reduce operations to continue with minimum contact with members of the public and essential employees, while requiring proper social distancing, adhering to the 10-person limitation on gathering size. 
  • Early learning centers and child care facilities adhering to the guidance issued by the Louisiana Department of Education and Office of Public Health may continue to operate.

Examples of Essential Worker Functions under the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) guidelines include:

  • Healthcare workers and caregivers
  • Mental health and Social Service workers
  • Pharmacy employees
  • Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies and other retail sales of food and beverage products
  • Restaurant carryout and quick-serve food operations and food delivery employees
  • Farm workers
  • Electricity and Utility Industry Employees
  • Critical Manufacturing Employees (medical supply chains, energy, transportation, food, chemicals)
  • Petroleum, Natural and Propane Gas Workers
  • Transportation and Logistics Workers
  • Communications and Information Technology Employees
  • Financial Services and Banking Industry Employees

Members of the public will still be allowed to go to grocery stores and pharmacies to pick up food, medicine and necessary supplies, go to their essential jobs and to go outside for exercise and fresh air. When leaving their home, people should practice social distancing

Accident Takes One Life

A two-vehicle auto accident on Cutoff Road Monday took one life.  The Coushatta Police Department is investigating the accident.

Police Chief Kevin Stafford confirmed the identity of the victim as Shirley Longino of Red River Parish.  Stafford said details of the accident will be released when the investigation is complete.

The accident occurred late morning on Monday, March 23rd.  Traffic on Cutoff Road was blocked in both directions for over an hour.