Viola Gay

Graveside service was held 11 a.m., Saturday, May 23, 2020 at Round Grove Cemetery.  Open visitation was from 10 to 4 p.m., Friday, May 22, 2020 at Heavenly Gates.

VIOLA GAY, 94 peacefully departed from this physical life to eternity on May 18, 2020 with her family by her side at Natchitoches Regional Medical Center.

Her journey began on June 9, 1925 in Hall Summit, LA to Vince and Clara Taylor.

She was a loving and devoted mother and wife. Viola was a woman of wisdom and all who knew her, loved her. She imparted an abundance of love in her family, church and the community. She had a strong faith background and loved the things of God. The life she led has spoken in volumes.

Viola is preceded in death by her parents Vince and Clara Taylor, her husband Sydney Davis Gay, Son Nathaniel Gay, daughter-in Law Eva May Gay, siblings Bernice Sweeney, Alberta Taylor, Mary Lawhorn, and granddaughter Latasha Gray Lewis.

She is survived by children Dolly Calhoun (Kenneth Lee Calhoun) of Coushatta, LA, Clarence Gay, Shreveport, LA, Johnny Davis Gay (Shelia Gay) Clarksville, TN, Leroy Gay (Jean Gay), Clyde Gay Sr. (Annette Gay) Coushatta, LA, and daughter-in-law Ann Gay of Peoke, Fl, a host of grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins who love and hold on to her memories. 

Annie L. Boner


Mrs. Annie L. Bonner transitioned on May 25, 2016.

Funeral Services will be held on Saturday, June 4, 2016, 1:00 PM, at Deliverance Temple Church of God In Christ.  

Interment will follow in St Mark Church Cemetery in Allen, LA.

The Family will receive friends between the hours of 12:00 Noon & 1:00 PM prior to the service on Saturday morning at the Church.

Arrangements by Heavenly Gates Funeral Home

New Principal at Red River Elementary

The new Principal for the elementary school was introduced to the Red River Parish School Board on Thursday.  He is Mike Beck from Choudrant.

Superintendent Alison Hughes introduced Beck.  She said, “He was at an ‘F’ school in a prior assignment and he raised it up to an ‘A.’  He can walk into the elementary school without a large learning curve.”  Red River Elementary has shown progress on state tests in recent years, however it is still rated “D.”

Beck said, “I am super excited with the challenge at Red River Elementary.  I have been meeting the staff and getting to know them.  I am thankful for the support the board and school administration has given me.  You’ve been great.”

Beck told The Journal he has been with a statewide educational consulting firm for the past two years.  Before that he was with the school at Jonesboro-Hodge in Jackson parish.

Also during the school board meeting Thursday, Superintendent Hughes discussed with the board various plans they are formulating for educating students next school year.  The Journal will have an in-depth look at those plans in next Wednesday’s edition.

COVID-19 Claims Seventh Victim in Red River

The number of people who have succumbed to the COVID-19 virus has climbed to seven in Red River Parish.  Latest figures from the Louisiana Department of Health show 49 cases have been reported.

In Louisiana, 13 cases and one death of a young person have been reported due to Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).  This is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs. The cause of MIS-C is unknown but many children with this condition had the virus that causes COVID-19 or had been exposed to someone with COVID-19. To respect the privacy of the young person and their family, the Department of Health will not share additional information about the death at this time. 

The CDC defines a case as MIS-C when:

  • The patient is under the age of 21, with a fever, laboratory evidence of inflammation, and severe illness involving more than two organs that requires hospitalization; AND
  • No other plausible diagnoses; AND
  • Positive COVID-19 test, or exposure to a confirmed case, within the four weeks prior to the onset of symptoms.

Among the 13 cases in Louisiana:

  • The age range is 0-19 years old.
  • The median age is 11 years old.
  • 6 of the patients are female and 7 are male.
  • 4 are currently hospitalized and 8 have been discharged.
  • In terms of race, 7 are African American, 3 are white and 3 fit in the other category.
  • In terms of ethnicity, 2 are Hispanic and 11 are non-Hispanic.

The Louisiana Department of Health will update information on MIS-C each Monday on its coronavirus webpage.  Providers who have cared for or who are caring for patients younger than 21 years of age meeting MIS-C criteria should immediately report these cases to the Louisiana Office of Public Health Infectious Disease Epidemiology team.

Many of the deaths in Louisiana due to COVID-19 occurred in nursing homes.  Green Meadow Haven in Coushatta has not recorded one case of the virus in residents or employees.  This was reported in the May 25th status report on nursing homes and adult care facilities in the state.  Green Meadow Haven adopted a policy of no severely limiting family or other visitors since the outbreak began.

Union Hall Updates Worship Plans

Guidelines for Worship from Bro Jeff Shows at Union Hall Baptist Church:

Well, if all goes as planned, we plan to be back in Church, May 31st at 11:00 am. Sunday School is suspended until further notice. As you all know, things will be different in a number of ways:

   1. Social Distancing will be Practiced: Every other pew will be empty and seating areas will be marked at a 6 ft safe distance with ribbons. Only ones allowed to sit together less than at a 6 ft distance are those of the same Household.

   2.  Wear your best ‘Sunday-go-to-meeting’ face mask!  If you don’t have a face mask, one will be provided in foyer. Hand sanitizer will also be available.

   3.The restrooms in the front will be open for use, disinfectant will be supplied for before and after use. Antibacterial soap will be provided for hand washing. Please use all Precautions.  

   4. We will not use bulletins, or hymnals. Congregational hymns will not be sung, but instrumental and other special music will be provided.

   5. Sorry to say, but, there will be no Fellowship time, even as you arrive or leave. 6 ft applies even for standing around inside or outside. That means no hugs, or handshakes. 

   6  Offering plates will not be passed, but offering will be received in the red bucket in the foyer as you come in or as you go out. 

   7. We are not trying to keep anyone from coming to Worship with us, however, We are told to remind you that if you have, or have had a fever in the past twenty-four hours, have a cough, or live with someone who has experienced either, please stay home and take care of yourself. The same applies if you have a compromised immune system, or fit into an ‘at-risk’ group.

I truly hope these guidelines do not put a damper on our worship, and I certainly hope they don’t last too long.  Just remember, we are responsible for one another, and are called to care for one another. That is why we are taking precautions, Our Goal is to keep everyone safe and to do Our part to help prevent the Spread.
Please feel free to share.

Also this past week, Union Hall announced the delay of their annual homecoming celebration.  Shows posted:
If all goes as planned, Homecoming for Union Hall Baptist Church will be postponed until September 6, 2020 at 11:00 am with Bro. Chase Burns bringing the message and Fellowship Meal to follow in Fellowship Hall. Use this post as an Invitation and we hope to see you there.

Red River Preschool Registration Opens

Registration for 3 & 4 year old preschool will open June 1st. Applications may be picked up from Red River Elementary School or the Parent Center June 1-4 and June 8-11.  Forms and documentation may be returned to RRES or Parent Center during those dates.  A curbside enrollment/drop-off will be held June 11 at RRES. 

Please include a copy of the following when returning the forms:

Birth Certificate 

Social Security Card

Up to Date Immunization Record for School

Proof of Residence (bill with your name & physical address)

Photo Identification 

Proof of Income for 2 consecutive pay periods for all adults in the household

If your child attended RRES Head Start during 2019-20, Birth Certificate and Social Security Card are on file. New enrollment forms are needed along with the other items listed above.

If you have questions or would like to set up an appointment please call Mrs. Clark or Mrs. Suggs at RRES 932-9290. Registration does not guarantee enrollment in a preschool class. All information and forms must be provided before a child is considered registered.

We look forward to having you become part of the Bulldog Family.

Local Healthcare Heroes Get a Lott

Launching Cares A Lott initiative, Lott Oil partners with 13 regional hospitals and testing sites to provide gasoline and Chevron fuel gift cards to healthcare workers during COVID-19 pandemic. Sites in Coushatta were included in the first phase of the program.

Since its founding in 1965, Lott Oil Company, Inc., has been dedicated to giving back to the Louisiana community, home to its corporate headquarters in Natchitoches, LA. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company was inspired by the “Feeding Our Heroes” initiative, driven by community volunteers in Natchitoches, to support medical personnel who are helping family members, friends, co-workers and customers on a daily basis. This inspiration helped launch the Cares A Lott initiative which led to Lott Oil partnering with hospitals and testing centers in various communities across Louisiana. 

The current Cares A Lott mission centers around providing essential goods to local healthcare heroes who are ensuring local communities are cared for during these tough times. By providing goods like gasoline and fuel gift cards, co-sponsored by Chevron, Lott Oil hopes to provide a stress reliever to the doctors, nurses and hospital workers who are caring for COVID-19 patients. “Lott Oil relies on and appreciates the support we get from our local communities, and anytime we get the opportunity to return the favor, we try to do just that. We thank our healthcare heroes for keeping us safe during these trying times and are grateful to Chevron for helping us with our most recent Cares A Lott initiative,” said Lott Oil owner, Buddy Lott.

The first events under the Cares A Lott initiative launched in April at 13 hospitals and testing centers in various cities throughout Louisiana, including Alexandria, Natchitoches, Shreveport and Coushatta and thus far have resulted in over 22,000 gallons of gasoline and $7,500 of Chevron fuel gift cards donated to healthcare heroes.

“We have experienced many wonderful expressions of support from community organizations during this pandemic, and Lott Oil‘s offer of a free tank of gas for employees was among the most popular,” said Jaf Fielder, Chief Operating Officer of Willis-Knighton Shreveport-Bossier. “The Cares A Lott initiative recognized the work of the entire Willis-Knighton family of employees who are dedicated to providing quality healthcare for our community, and coming during National Hospital Week made it even more special. We appreciate Lott Oil and everyone who came out to make this special for our employees.”

Kindergarten Graduation

The young ones at Riverdale Academy this week celebrated the completion of Kindergarten.

On Wednesday, the school posted, “Congratulations little ladies!”

We were so excited to celebrate our Kindergarten Class of 2020 tonight (Wednesday) with their families and close friends. Mrs. Keri and her class did a great job on their program.

Riverdale Class of 2020 graduated Thursday night.  The Journal will have full coverage of the event in our next edition.

Road Repairs Interrupt Traffic Flow

There are detour signs at the foot of the Red River bridge and at the South Y directing motorists to take Cutoff Road instead of East Carroll St.  The reason is a road repair project.

From First Methodist Church to the bridge is blocked totally.  Crews are resurfacing the street where it had damage caused by all the trucks that move through town.

Make arrangements to take another route if you regularly go through town on US 84 or East Carroll Street.

California Honor Grad Has Local Ties

Twentynine Palms, California — While school officials are still not certain how to handle high school graduation ceremonies during the continuing coronavirus crisis, they know who will speak for their fellow graduates.

Triston Babers has been named valedictorian and Nicholas Councell has been named salutatorian for the Twentynine Palms High School (California) Class of 2020.

Triston is the son of Termaine and Christa Babers. He is the grandson of Robert and Deborah Babers in Coushatta, Louisiana… We are so proud of Triston…Termaine is a 2000 graduate of Coushatta High School.  The Journal thanks Deborah Babers for alerting us to Triston’s graduation.

Babers came to Twentynine Palms in 2015 when his father got orders to move to the area. He has spent his entire high school career as a Wildcat.  “I have to admit the last four years have been very hectic for me, but they were also filled with many great experiences that have shaped my perspective on life,” he said.

He took part in the Cyber Patriots competition for two years, ran hurdles for the track team as a sophomore, played junior varsity baseball as a junior year, and played varsity baseball as a senior.

“I also joined the National Honors Society around November 2018. All of these extracurriculars have impressed upon me the importance of hard work and dedication in all areas of life, not just in schoolwork.

“Academic-wise, Twentynine Palms High School has been the best thing that ever happened to me. I met many wonderful teachers during the previous four years, and they inspired me to challenge myself, as I pursued a greater understanding of STEM subjects.

“Because of the many great teachers at Twentynine Palms High School, who continue to provide instruction even during this pandemic, I was able to achieve a 4.0, 1440 SAT score, and get quite a few college credits by passing several AP Exams. And thanks to the plethora of electives offered at this school, I was also able to pursue my personal interests in computer engineering by taking Cyber Literacy courses.”

He plans to attend the University of California San Diego to get a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and find a high-paying job as a computer engineer.

“I’m extremely grateful to be valedictorian of this fine High School and hope I can continue to have similar academic experiences in the future as a college student,” he said.

Response to Journal Article

Ken Mangham posted this reply to a recent Journal article.  It was a “My Opinion” piece written by Val Cox (May 8, 2020).  Here is Mangham’s reply:

Everyone has to do THEIR OWN PART, in staying safe. Don’t put blame on the President for trying to put the American people back to work. The World economy , not just the United States, depends on it. The President has already said, he will leave it up to the State Governors to implement the open up dates, for their own states. The United States economy must continue on, while being safe as possible. Not only did the Government order 100,000 body bags ( to replenish) the FEMA Emergency stockpile, they also ordered ,ventilators, tents, generators, canned food, MRE’s, boats, vehicles, blankets, PPE, boots, uniforms, etc.. Basic FEMA emergency needed items. There is about 331,000,000 people in the US, Yes, (331 Million) . Even at its worst case scenario, Covid-19 Deaths will be no where near the common cause of deaths in the US. — Example:
(Source- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) These are the Top 10 average deaths per year in the US.

Abortion- 862,000
•Heart disease: 647,457
•Cancer: 599,108
•Accidents (unintentional injuries): 169,936
•Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 160,201
•Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 146,383
•Alzheimer’s disease: 121,404
•Diabetes: 83,564
•Influenza and Pneumonia: 55,672
•Intentional self-harm (suicide): 47,173

No matter what we do, or how we fight it, about 2.8 Million people will die in the US, EVERY YEAR.
Everyone already knows, the States , and the Hospitals , make much, much more money from the Federal Government, if the death is ruled as a Covid-19 death. Everyone already knows , the longer the States stay on lock down, the more Federal money the State gets. Yes, alot of people have died from the virus, no doubt. I personally know people who have died from it. But ,alot of people have died from normal -natural causes, that have been ruled as Covid-19. Nobody really knows , the true actual numbers of Covid-19 deaths. This worldwide pandemic is unfamiliar to everyone, nobody in the world has seen the likes of something like this before. The whole world was caught off guard from it. Nobody really knew how we would react to it all. World Governments had an action in place , on paper , if anything like this ever happened. Everyone was put to a test. A lot of things in place did work out as planned, but a lot of things did not. Going forward, everyone will learn from the mistakes , try to correct it, and hopefully , do better , when there is a Next Time ! That’s how life works out. 

That means everyone must continue to wash your hand frequently, keep social distance while having the weekend parties, BBQ’s, crawfish boils, neighborhood get together. This Virus is here to stay, It will now be part of the new normal, along with the other viruses worldwide. They will implement a vaccine to put in the flu shot we get every year, to help combat it. The same as they did for Swine Flu, H1N1, SARS, etc….
We must go on with our lives , go back to work, raise our families ,pay our bills. Stay diligent about being safe as we have learned how to do it.

Scholarship Opportunity

Red River High posted:

Scholarship opportunity for students attending or planning to attend CLTCC.  Attention‼ We are now accepting applications for The Brian Caubarreaux “Do It Right” Scholarship!  The scholarship is open to all CLTCC students majoring in any technical program at any of our campuses.

Free Application!  For more information, contact Ms. Kelly Caruso at or 800.278.9855.

Magnolia Bend Academy added this information about summer classes:
The CLTCC is offering dual enrollment classes this summer for $99 a class. These classes do transfer to any state university as college credit or any technical college.  Some are online and some are in person in Natchitoches, Winnfield, or Mansfield. 

There is no ACT score requirement.  It starts June 1st so if y’all want to do it, will need to get registered By June 1.

Youth Pastor Week

The first week in June is Youth Pastor Week at The Journal.  The daily program Fear Not will feature five people who minister to youth at churches in our parish.

Here is the line-up:

Monday, June 1st – J. P. Handy of Open Door Fellowship

Tuesday, June 2nd – Josh Terry of Fairview Baptist Church

Wednesday, June 3rd – Alicia Walsworth of Springhill Baptist Church

Thursday, June 4th – Kendrin Seastrunk of the House of Refuge

Friday, June 5th – Marcus Long of Abundant Life Worship Center

The program Fear Not was begun in mid-March with a goal of local pastors bringing a message of hope and tranquility in highly uncertain times.  The COVID-19 pandemic was ramping up in America and Governor Edwards had issued the first Stay at Home Order.  People were fearful because they were faced with uncertainty.

On Friday, Fear Not completed the tenth week of bringing calm to the storm.  The messages are Biblically based and present what God has to say about uncertain circumstances.

Now it is time to hear from the young men and women who minister directly to our youth.  Young people have also had their world turned upside down.  Some could argue that the effect of uncertain times might have a greater impact on young people.

If you are a fan of the show, go to Facebook each day next week at 8:00 am.  If you are not familiar with the program, give it a try.  And if you sleep late, every show is archived. 

Fear Not is on  Click on videos.

Andre Cole, Sr.

Funeral arrangements for Min. Andre Deon Cole Sr. were posted by his brother Ashanti Cole, Sr.

Open viewing Friday May 29, 2020 10am-4pm at Heavenly Gates Funeral Home, 1339 Jewell St. in Shreveport, La 71101

Graveside Services will be Saturday May 30, 2020 at 11am at Springville Cemetery in Coushatta, La 71019

Repast: Coushatta Event Center. 

We ask that everyone take precautions, wear a mask, and stay 6 feet apart. For viewing on Friday we ask that you DO NOT come in large groups.  Services will be live streamed on Saturday.

ETC… for Friday, May 29th

Flags in town are flying at Half Staff.  Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff over the state capitol and all public buildings until sunset Thursday, May 28 in honor of fallen Louisiana State Police Trooper George Baker. Trooper Baker died Sunday, May 24 from injuries sustained in the line of duty.

The federal order for flying flags at Half Staff ran through the Memorial Day Weekend.  U.S. government buildings, military posts and embassies will fly the flag at half-staff through Memorial Day weekend in memory of the nearly 100,000 people who have died of COVID-19, President Trump announced Thursday night. The decision comes after Democratic leaders in Congress sent a letter to the president requesting the gesture.

From the Red River Waterway Commission:

5/28/2020 – The boat launches at Coushatta, Ft. Buhlow & Ben Routh are now closed!

The Louisiana Folklife Center and Northwestern State University have high hopes that this year’s Louisiana Studies Conference will be able to be held in person on its scheduled dates of Sept. 18-19. The conference committee is closely monitoring the ongoing pandemic and is aware that uncertainties related to the continued impact of COVID-19 might potentially necessitate altering plans for the 2020 Conference.

And I ran across this photo from the Christmas Parade.  Nothing more to say!

Graduation Thursday at Riverdale Academy

Thursday is graduation day for the Class of 2020 at Riverdale Academy.  The school announced last week that the ceremonies would be held tomorrow (May 28th).

Riverdale Academy is proud to announce its fiftieth graduation ceremony, Thursday, May 28, at 6:00 pm in Marston Stadium. Alumni, family, and friends are invited to attend.

Several families of graduates issued invitations to commencement.  Here is the one issued by the family of Dayton Koal Brown.  “Please all family and friends take this as an invitation, join us if you can! Announcements will go out, but I can not promise they will reach you in time. I know it is short notice and crazy times, but there should be plenty of room for social distancing!  Look forward to seeing you all!”

Individual Facilities Are Open

Some of the facilities at Grand Bayou Resort have reopened to the public now that Louisiana has moved into Phase 1 of opening the country back up from the COVID-19 virus.

General Manager Renee Albright said their facilities designed to be used by individuals or single families are mostly open.  The facilities that accommodate groups are closed.

The individual RV sites, the cabins, two story lodges and the bungalows, including the handicapped accessible bungalow are open. 

The public restrooms and bath house facilities and laundry room are closed.  So is the beach, the fishing pier, the covered marina, and the pavilions are still closed.

Albright said, “Our boat launch is open, and has remained open throughout.  Now boaters can come in through our front gate.  All of this was done in compliance with Governor Edwards’ proclamation concerning Phase One reopening.” 

“I understand that the Governor may move to a further phase next week,” said Albright.  She said when that happens the Grand Bayou Board will meet to decide how the resort will comply with that new order.

Lemoine is Educator of Excellence

Wanda Lemoine is head of the Red River High ProStart program.  She teaches students culinary arts and equips them to go to work upon completion of the two year course of study.  Lemonie has been recognized for her program by the Louisiana Restaurant Association. 

She was recognized in the LRA’s latest monthly newsletter:

As the 2019-20 school year comes to a close, we want to recognize this year’s LRAEF (Louisiana Restaurant Association Educational Foundation) Educator of Excellence, Wanda Lemoine, 5-year ProStart teacher at Red River High School. This year’s educator is known for her passion, dedication and excellence both in and out of the ProStart program. Wanda’s classroom is a place of inclusion; no student is left behind. She is most proud of the simple moments, like when a student comes to class excited to share the details of the dinner they cooked the night before.

Traditionally, Wanda would have been recognized with her peers from across the country at the National ProStart Invitational in May, but the event was cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic. We want to extend our pride of her accomplishments and congratulate her on a job well done!

Lemoine told The Journal the La. Restaurant Association Educational Foundation helps schools with their ProStart program.  She said they supply some grants to the program, they do training, and they are our contact to the restaurants in Louisiana.

On June 4 the National Restaurant Association will conduct a live event on their Facebook page.  They will be  announcing the national ProStart Teacher of Excellence.  As the state winner, Lemoine is in the running for the national award.

Top Readers Recognized

Congratulations to Riverdale’s Top Readers for the year. The school posted, “Great job readers!” 

A special shout out to 5th grader, Layken Gates. He finished the year with 154 points, making him the Top Reader of the school.  Congratulations Layken.

The Booster Club added their congratulations, “One program that your Booster Club contributions help fund is our Accelerated Reader Program. It is such an awesome program to be able to offer our students! Congratulations to our top Readers.”

The Laurieton Layover

In August 1944, the world was at war.  Everyone, it seemed, had some role to play in what was the deadliest conflict in human history.  Most able-bodied men joined some branch of the military.  Factories which had produced consumer goods before the war, retooled and manufactured the many tools for war including uniforms, tanks, airplanes, etc.  Women, who had previously been largely responsible for keeping house, entered the workforce to fill the void by men who had joined the military, and collectively became known as “Rosie the Riveter.”  School children held scrap drives where they collected scrap metals, paper, rubber, and rags for the war effort.  Hollywood actors, comedians, singers, dancers, and musicians performed for soldiers in USO shows around the world to keep morale high.   

On August 13, 1944, a troupe of five entertainers took a Catalina flying boat from Guadalcanal and headed south for Sydney, Australia.   The troupe consisted of Frances Langford, Jerry Colonna, Patty Thomas, Tony Romano, and Leslie Townes.  During the flight, Leslie chatted with the pilot, Lieutenant James “Fergie” Ferguson.  At about dusk, some 300 miles south of Sydney, the airplane’s left engine sputtered.  Fergie’s demeanor became serious when the engine failed.  He looked at his gauges and tried to restart the engine, but it would not restart.  The fuel line to engine had ruptured.  The Catalina quickly began losing altitude.  The pilot told Leslie and the others to put on their Mae Wests, which was a slang term for inflatable life preservers used by aircrews.  The name derived from the actress Mae West because, when inflated, the preserver was said to have resembled the actress’s chest and the name rhymed with breast.

Despite the pilot’s best efforts, the plane continued to lose altitude.  Fergie looked for a suitable spot to land the flying boat, but there was no water in sight.  The plane was fitted with wheels, but there was no clear land in the area large enough to land the plane.  The only option was to lighten the airplane and hope the plane could gain altitude.  In desperation, the pilot hastily ordered the troupe to throw anything they could from the plane.  The troupe dumped the airplane’s heavy tool kit, Francis Langford’s and Patty Thomas’s glamourous and expensive wardrobes, the troupe’s personal baggage which included their collection of souvenirs, and several cases of cigarettes.  Tony Romano refused to throw his prized guitar out of the plane.    

Leslie nervously returned to the pilot, gave him a forced smile, and asked if they had thrown out enough weight for the plane to level off.  Leslie’s teeth “rattled like a typewriter.”  The pilot kept his focus on the controls and on the skyline.  Leslie only had to look at the pilot to get his answer.  The plane continued its descent.  Leslie returned to the cabin with the bad news.  He begrudgingly told the others that they had to dump his three cases of whiskey of a brand virtually unobtainable in Australia.  Once again, Leslie returned to the pilot hoping for better news, but he had none to give.  Just then, they saw the Camden Haven River just a short distance away. 

Fergie aimed the plane for a straight stretch in the river.  He warned the occupants that the plane was descending too quickly and would make a hard landing in the water, which would probably damage the underbelly of the plane.  The occupants would have just a short time to exit the plane before it sank.  The pilot had but one chance to get his landing right.  Although they were landing on water, if they hit the water too fast and too hard, everyone would probably be killed on impact.  If he slowed the plane too quickly, it would stall and fall out of the air like a rock.  Everyone braced for impact. 

Just a few feet above the water, Lieutenant Ferguson pulled back on the controls to slow the plane.  The Catalina hit the water hard and bounced just a single time.  The plane hit the water again and came to a quick stop.  To their surprise, the plane did not sink.  Luck was on their side.  The plane slide to a stop on a sandbar which was just a few inches below the water level.  The relieved occupants of the crashed Catalina climbed out of the plane and stood in the ankle-deep water.  Luckily, no one was injured in the crash.  However, Tony Romano bruised his shins as he climbed out of the beached plane.  Local fishermen saw the plane crash into the river and came to their assistance.  The survivors waded to shore.

They learned that the small town of Laurieton was just a short distance away.  The troupe walked into the town and called the base in Sydney to report the crash.  Learning that it would take some time to get a replacement plane to pick them up, the troupe put on a hastily-arranged charity show at Laurieton’s tiny town hall.  Nearly all of the 300 citizens of Laurieton happily attended the biggest show to ever come to their town.

On the morning of August 15, the replacement plane arrived and transported the troupe to Sydney to continue their shows for the soldiers.  During the Sydney show, Leslie told the crowd about the crash in a series of jokes.  He said the pilot “ordered everyone to put on their Mae Wests.  Jerry Colonna held out for a while for a Lana Turner, but he finally settled for Mae West.”  The crowd roared with laughter.  Leslie told the crowd about having to dump all of the belongings from the plane; “Colonna, I hate to throw out this case of liquor; I’m saving it for a sick friend,” “Who is the sick friend?” Colonna asked.  “Me,” Leslie replied.  The crowd roared with laughter again.  He told the soldiers, “This morning we saw a shark swimming around wearing Frances Langford’s gowns, smoking a cigarette and singing, ‘I’m in the Mood for Love.’”  Again, the crowd roared with laughter.  Leslie told the crowd about his visit to the Laurieton post office.  He told the postmaster his name and asked to use the telephone.  The skeptical postmaster at first refused because he was in disbelief.  He asked to see his identification as proof.  Leslie showed his identification to the postmaster.  The postmaster allowed Leslie to use the phone after he realized he was speaking to the real Leslie Townes “Bob” Hope.     


The McAllen Monitor, August 16, 1943, p.8.

Arizona Daily Star, November 19, 1943, p.3.

The Central New Jersey Home News, August 14, 1944, p.1.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel, August 14, 1944, p.1.

Lafayette Journal and Courier, August 15, 1944, p.1.

The Evergreen Courant, August 17. 1944, p.8.

Des Moines Tribune, August 28, 1944, p.1.

The Fresno Bee, September 5, 1955, p.17.

Fresh Produce Now Available at Anderson’s

The veggies are ready!  Anderson’s Produce and Plant Farm is now open for the summer.  Jason Anderson told The Journal that the crop is great this year.  And Anderson said it will get even better as the season progresses.

Anderson thanked everyone who came on their first day, last Thursday.  “Thank you to everyone who came out and supported Anderson’s on opening day! We appreciate everyone’s enthusiasm, and we’re so excited for this year! 

“This week, we have tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, sweet corn, peaches, potatoes, onions, peppers , snap beans, and plenty gorgeous ferns!”  The Journal did a little shopping and our “test run” turned out delicious snap beans and new potatoes.

“We’re also working to keep everyone safe and healthy, so there is hand sanitizer out for your convenience, said Anderson, “and we ask that customers practice social distancing while at the stand. We care about you!”

And Anderson said, “Come down and see us to get some fresh, homegrown produce!”

New Football Coaches

We would like to announce the hiring of two new football coaches at Red River High School. “Not every day do you get to hire a great coach, teacher, mentor, and man but with the hiring of these new coaches we were able to do just that”, stated Mr. Dickey, Principal, RRHS.

James Thurman who previously served as Head Football Coach at Plain Dealing High School for the past 5 years will be a Co-Coordinator and Head Track Coach. He has over 20 years of coaching experience with 15 years as a Head Coach or Offensive Coordinator.

Coach Thurman says, “I have always viewed Red River as a contender year in and year out. With so many people within the school system being dedicated to making Red River a state powerhouse in all sports, there was no better time than now to jump on board and become a Bulldog. I am extremely excited and cannot wait to get to work.”

Coach Bachman, Head Football Coach, RRHS, “Both of these men are not only great coaches, but they are great men of character as well.”

Idaibi Ogbanga comes to Red River after spending the past 4 years at Peabody High School where he was the Defensive Coordinator for football, Head Softball Coach and Dean of Students. Coach Ogbanga also works as a counselor for at risk teens in his spare time. He has been coaching football for the past 6 years. He played football at Grambling State University. He will assist with football and soccer.

Coach Ogbanga stated, “I’m just blessed and thankful to have this opportunity to come to this great program. We have a great group of coaches who have plenty of experience. I’m just ready to hit the ground running.”

“We are extremely excited for both of these gentlemen to join our coaching staff and faculty. They both bring a wealth of knowledge and a compassion for mentoring students. We set a goal to recruit high caliber coaches and teachers to Red River Parish and believe both of these guys will make an immediate impact on our school,” stated Norman Picou, Athletic Director/Assistant Principal.