Mary “Necie” Harris

Funeral services for Mary “Necie” Genice Harris, 52, of Ashland, LA were held at 5 P.M. Saturday, August 1, 2020 at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home Chapel with Bro. Shawn Beard officiating.  Visitation was from 3:30 until service time at the funeral home.

Mrs. Harris was born December 29, 1967 in Coushatta, LA and passed away July 30, 2020.  Necie loved her family and will be dearly missed by all those who knew and loved her.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Ray and Kathleen Tilley; sister, Karen Glover; twin brothers, Layne and Wayne Tilley; maternal grandparents, Frank and Rose Reeves and paternal grandparents, Benjamin Levit and Mavis Tilley and Zellie Fowler Tilley.

Mrs. Harris is survived by her husband of 34 years, Terry Harris; one son, Christopher Harris; one daughter, Amanda Simpson and husband, James; nine loving grandchildren; three sisters, Jeanette Tilley, Linda Tilley, and Kelli Tilley.


Martha Ann Smith

Funeral services for Martha Ann Smith, 70, of Black Lake, LA were held at 10 A.M. Saturday, August 1, 2020 at United Baptist Church with Bro. Mike Honzell officiating.  Interment will follow in United Baptist Church Cemetery.  Visitation was from 9 A.M. until service time on Saturday.  Funeral services under the direction of Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home, Coushatta, LA.

Mrs. Smith was born April 16, 1950 in Campti, LA and passed away July 30, 2020.  Martha enjoyed the outdoors, especially gardening and fishing.  She was an avid New Orleans Saints and LSU Tigers fan.  She was also active in her church and loved her children and grandchildren and spending time with them.  She will be dearly missed by all those who knew and loved her.

She was preceded in death by her daughter, Angela Tynette Smith; parents, Archie and Alma Woods; two brothers, Archie Woods, Jr. and Johnny Woods; and two sisters, Ann Danzy and Betty Joyce Gray.

Mrs. Smith is survived by her husband of 50 years, Larry Smith of Black Lake, LA; sons, Larry Dwayne Smith and wife, Shannon and Henry Eric Smith and wife, Kathy all of Black Lake, LA; two brothers, Jimmie Ray Woods and wife, Delois of Atlanta, TX and Elray Woods of Black Lake, LA; two sisters, Jackie Moxley of Waskom, TX and Cora Lynn Coldiron of Black Lake, LA; seven grandchildren: Nicki Harper, Megan Strother, Cole Smith, Claire Smith, Seth Smith, Connor Smith, and Kinley Smith; five great-grandchildren: Addilyn Harper, Aubrey Harper, Jackson Strother, Emory Strother, and Bristol Strother.

Pallbearers will be Kyle Woods, Matt Stewart, Jim Collier, Dewayne Elliott, Johnnie Woods, and Jason Woods.  Honorary pallbearers will be Billy Smith and Elray Woods, Jr.

The family wishes to express a special thanks to Hospice of Natchitoches.


Red River Graduation Day

The sign in front or Red River High said it all, “The Tassel Was Worth the Hassle!!!”  Here is a report on last Friday’s commencement exercises by reporter Hayley Loe:

The 2020 seniors weren’t sure if or when they would get their graduation due to the outbreak of COVID-19 back in March of this year.  However, this past Friday the graduates got to graduate while safely social distancing from their friends in the new stadium. The students sat in the new bleachers of the football field spaced 6 feet apart.  Many of them wore masks with their cap and gown.

This school year 4 of the Red River Bulldogs were awarded athletic scholarships including Markell Washington to East Texas Baptist University, Ma’kaila Lewis, Jaylon McDonald, and Morgan Payne to BPCC.

Other students received academic scholarships including Madison Castello, Mallory Coleman, and Seth Wimberly to NSU. Mallory Coleman and Landon Allen to LSUS, and Key’Aira Lewis to ULM.

The class of 2020 also had numerous students receive the TOPS scholarship, including Landon Allen, Tyriq Beavers , Marcus Bonner, Ta’Chandra Brown, Danielle Burton, Madison Castello, Savanna Campbell, Jamarion Calhoon, Shanterrica Calhoon, Mar’Quira Coleman , Dakota Collins , Kaylee Creighton, Jason Davis , Skye Davis , Sydney Davis, Isiash Demease, Jacob Durr, Austin Grigg, Jaylon Guye, Aaliyah Henderson, Chrystal Jackson, Camryn Layfeild, Key’Aira Lewis, Qylil Mosely, Schelby Narvaez ,  Keifer Nealey ,  Morgan Payne , Britney Perkins, Hannah Pickett, Elisa Ramirez , Jaden Scott , Ashton Smith, Alexsus Taylor, Markell Washington, Taylor Williams , and Keyanna Winn .

Other scholarships that were given to the students were, Taylor Williams received the Louisiana Sheriffs Scholarship, Madison Castello for Boys and Girls state, and Tyriq Beavers for the Linda K Memorial Scholarship, 

Three awards were also given out to Jacob Durr and Skye Davis for American Legion and the second award was to Camryn Layfeild for Lifeshare Blood Donation.

Kicking off Week Twenty

The Facebook live daily program Fear Not today concluded it’s nineteenth week.  Here is the line-up of guests as we enter our twentieth week.:

Monday, August 3 – Richard Kaufman of Martin Baptist Church

Tuesday, August 4 – Taurus Johnson of New Hope #3

Wednesday, August 5 – Marvin Leleux of Springhill Baptist Church

Thursday, August 6 – Shawn Beard of Man Church

Friday, August 7 – Harry Bamburg of Liberty Baptist Church

The Journal would like to than the many pastors in the parish for your contribution to this series of programs.  If your pastor has not participated, ask them to contact the Journal at 318-564-3609 or email  Pictured above is Evangelist David Hanna, guest on Thursday morning.

Join us at 8:00 am on the Red River Parish Journal’s Facebook page for Fear Not.  And remember that all past programs are archived on the Red River Parish Journal Facebook page.

Parish COVID-19 Numbers Grow

The most recent data released by the Louisiana Department of Health shows the incidence of COVID-19 continues to increase in Red River Parish.  The number of deaths in the parish has increased to 10.

The number of deaths increased by one this week, up from 9 last week.  The health department reports one death this week at Green Meadow Haven.

Of the 84 residents, 8 have tested positive for the virus.  There was no increase over last week.  Three additional staff members tested positive for a total of 8 staffers testing positive.  There are no reported residents or staff listed as recovered.

Parish wide, 2102 tests have been administered with 171 cases reported.  There have been 10 deaths.

Red River and the entire state remains under orders from Governor John Bel Edwards to wear masks in public, limit gatherings to 50 or less, and maintain social distancing.

Slight Increase in Early Voting

There has been a very light turnout during the two-week early voting period so far.  Registrar of Voters Debra Jones told The Journal 24 people had voted in person as of Thursday afternoon.

In addition to the in person early voting, Jones said that approximately 50 mail-in ballots had been added.  And Jones said there are more that came in today to be added.

Early voting is conducted Monday through Saturday at the Registrar of Voters Office in the parish courthouse.  Hours are 8:30 am until 6:00 pm daily.  They are closed on Sunday.  Early voting ends on Saturday, August 8th.

Still the turnout is very small.  In the last election, with nothing but the Presidential Preference Primary on the ballot, 844 residents cast ballots.  That was a 17% voter turnout.

Voter Registration Inactive

The Louisiana Secretary of State has published a list of inactive voter registrations statewide.  Included are 178 people registered to vote in Red River Parish.  A canvas of registered voters was unable to confirm address information on file.

Voters may check with the Secretary of State online 24/7 at  You may update the information on file.

The annual canvas of voters by the Red River Registrar of Voters turned up 178 voters who show addresses in Coushatta, Hall Summit, Ringgold, Shreveport and Mansfield.  The breakdown is 154 with addresses in Coushatta, 5 in Hall Summit, 14 in Ringgold, 2 in Shreveport, and 3 with Mansfield addresses.

Voters may be asked to verify their address when they go to vote.  There is a procedure in place for dropping voters from the rolls if they do not maintain a correct mailing address.

Sign Up for Dual Enrollment

Incoming 11th and 12th grade students interested in taking a Dual Enrollment course with NSU this year please fill out the Google Form by August 6, 2020.  The high school said, “The school will cover the cost of one class, any additional class will cost you $100 plus the cost of books per class.”

Form Must be completed by 8/06/2020.  Classes start on 8/17/2020. 

Dual Enrollment Requirements:
1. CUMULATIVE GPA of 2.5 or higher (not current year GPA)
2. Evaluation by High School Team based on test scores and academic history in subject being pursued.

Courses Available:
Biology 1010
Chemistry 1010
English 1010
Fine Arts 1010
History 1010
Math 1020

Fishing at Riverdale

Fishing teams are forming at Riverdale Academy.  Students from second grade through high school are invited to join.

The senior division will be for 9th through 12th grade students.  Those in 2nd through 8th grades are invited to join the junior division.

The Riverdale Booster Club posted notice that any child interested in being on the fishing team, or any parents, grandparents, and friends interested in helping are welcome to join the effort.  The contact is James Caskey at 318-471-8663.

The Riverdale Academy notice indicated the team would be affiliated with High School BASS Nation and Bassmaster High School programs by posting their logos on their flyer.

Riverdale Renovation Continues

This summer the students, staff, and families of Riverdale Academy have pitched in to Project Rejuvenate Riverdale.  Just about every corner of the campus has undergone a make-over.

Another beautiful classroom makeover! Mrs. Merry’s 4th grade classroom got a fresh coat of paint for the new school year! These adorable bulletin boards are ready to go too. We are looking forward to an awesome year in 4th grade.

Mrs. Amanda, with some help from Mr. David, has the high school math room ready to go! She also put the finishing touches on the Beta/dual enrollment room. Look how amazing they both look!

The History classroom also was redone.  Project Rejuvenate Riverdale is still going strong! Mr. David has been working hard on the high school history classroom. It looks fantastic! This is a beautiful classroom!

Riverdale Academy was founded in 1970.  The school is being rejuvenated as they celebrate the first fifty years.  Students return to classes at Riverdale on August 7th.

ETC… for Friday, July 31st

Red River High said graduation photos are ready.  We told you it would be a couple weeks, but our photograph got them to us in record time. Thank you, Jessica Korn Photography. Parents and students all you have to do is open the link and download the images you want to keep. You can then print as many pictures as you want or download and repost. 

RRHS Graduation 2020

Here is the link for RRHS Graduation. Parents and students, you will need to click each image and either download or save the image depending on what device you are on. 

Livestock Exhibitors:  The 2020 Jr & Open Livestock Premium catalog is now available.  Online entries will be available on September 1, 2020.  This reminder from Red River 4-H

A reminder from Social Springs Baptist Church that their revival begins on Sunday.

The Journal has had some technical difficulties with stories shared on social media.  Won’t mention which one but the initials are FB.  Some of the pictures do not appear, although the link to the story seems to work.  The Journal has recieved some complaints that some of the stories do not show up in a person’s newsfeed in a timely manner, or at all.  Are you getting 8 to 20 stories each publication day from social media?

The solution is a subscription to The Journal.  You will recieve EVERY STORY each Wednesday and Friday morning.  Supscriptions are free, just go to the menu on any story, click on the subscribe button and fill out the form.  And thanks for supporting your premier local news source, the Red River Parish Journal.

Dabney Ann Andrews

A private graveside service celebrating the life of Dabney Ann Huckabay Andrews, 55, was held Wednesday morning, July 29th, at Springville Cemetery near Coushatta. Dr. Pat Day of First Methodist Church Shreveport officiated. Services were directed by Rose-Neath Funeral Homes in Coushatta.

Dabney was born on March 25, 1965, in Shreveport, LA to Dr. Jackie Dabney Huckabay and Patricia Ann Goff Huckabay, and passed away July 26, 2020 in Shreveport. After graduating from Northeast Louisiana University, Dabney achieved Master’s degrees from Louisiana Tech as well as Virginia Tech, in Merchandising and Design. After working for Vanity Fair, then Dillard’s, Dabney took that knowledge and experience and started her own business, Huckabay’s Fine Things in Birmingham, AL.

Wanting to be closer to family and raise her son, Huck, whom she loved more than life itself, Dabney returned home to Louisiana. In Shreveport, she was a member of First Methodist Church. She also spent much of her time volunteering at First Baptist School, where her son attends.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her aunt, Addie Knickerbocker; and two uncles, David Knickerbocker and Ken Hayes.

Left to cherish Dabney’s memory are her son, Frank “Huck” Huckabay Andrews; her brother, Jackie Dabney Huckabay, Jr. (Jody) with wife Michelle; sister, Miguel Newberg with husband Andy; nieces Caroline Huckabay, Katherine Newberg, and Elizabeth Newberg; nephew Jack Huckabay; aunt, Beth Hayes; cousins Lesley Hayes, Lauren McDaniel with husband Todd, Leigh Mall, Brian Knickerbocker, and Angela Thomas; and many other relatives and friends.

Honorary pallbearers were Rory Doyal, Mike Glasgow, Dr. Robert Hernandez, Ed Lester, Kenny Loftin, Lonnie Long, Dan Pickett, Trey Simmons, Marcus Seets, and Scott Willis.

Memorials may be sent to Springville Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 1023, Coushatta, LA 71019; First United Methodist Church of Coushatta, 2018 Front St. Coushatta, LA 71019; First United Methodist Church of Shreveport, 500 Common St. Shreveport, LA 71101; or the recipient of the donor’s choice.

Emily Kathryn Beason

A graveside service celebrating the life of Mrs. Emily Beason, 82, will be held at the Old Castor Cemetery in Castor on Friday, July 31, 2020 at 10:00 AM. Brother Danny Slack will officiate.

Mrs. Emily was born July 4, 1938 in Castor to Henry Oden Havard and Leola Smith Havard, and passed away July 28, 2020.

She worked as a Stick Grader at the Cotton Nelson Lumbermill until her retirement and enjoyed visiting the Seniors’ Center to spend time with her friends.

Mrs. Emily was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, William Ray Beason, her son, William O. Beason, and her brothers Marvin Havard and Sheldon Havard.

Left to cherish her memory are her sons, Charles Beason and Mark Beason, daughter, Kathryn Beason, brothers, Danny Havard, Huey Havard, and Julius Havard, sisters, Bernice Havard Waites and Debra Faye Havard, 5 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren and her best friend Ellen Paige.

Honoring Mrs. Emily as pallbearers will be Chris Havard, Cody Havard, Jack Havard, Radar Havard, John Beason, and Deck Morrison. Serving as honorary pallbearers will be Timbob, Tyler, Terry Page, Austin, Glynn, Tony, Jerry, Mike, Dillion, Oden.

Year-Round School Comes to Red River

Red River Parish is the first school system in the state to adopt a year around school calendar.  On Thursday the Red River School Board voted to adopt the “Balanced Calendar” for the 2020-2021 school year.  The board received support from the state Superintendent of Education for the move.

Teachers and staffers begin returning in early August with professional development days and other preparations to be made when the kids return on Monday, August 31st.

The basic premise is 9 weeks of instruction and a 2-week break.  Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays complicate the calendar a bit, however the pattern holds through the end of June.  The last day for students is June 29, 2021.

At the School Board meeting Thursday afternoon Superintendent Alison Hughes described the putting together of the Back to School plan.  She said, “This is the plan that was presented to the board and then at the public meeting.  We got input from everyone to come up with the final back to school plan.”  The board approved the plan and Hughes said it would be submitted to the state department of education.

After that plan was approved, the board voted unanimously to adopt the school calendar.

Administrators are still trying to hear from every family with children attending public schools.  A survey of transportation and attendance desires is ongoing.  Hughes said many have not responded in part due to the limited availability of internet and devices throughout the parish.  Hughes said they will work to contact every family.

Parents may choose to have their children schooled virtually and so far over 300 have elected virtual instruction.  Hughes said families will have the first two weeks of school to change their minds and switch the method of instruction for their children.  After that changes will have to wait for the next semester.

In coming days, the Superintendent promises additional information for families outlining all of the details of how the new school year will be accomplished.  The Journal will bring you those news releases as they happen.

Fire Department Asks for a Tax Renewal

Renewal of the current property tax the Parishwide Fire Protection District collects is on the August 15th ballot.  Early voting is underway through August 8th.  The current tax will expire in 2023, however the fire department wants the public to renew it early to allow them to refinance the note on new fire station.

“This is not a new tax,” Fire Chief Shane Felts told The Journal.  He said it will not raise property taxes.  Felts said, “This is the same tax first passed in 1987 and 1992.  It has been renewed several times since then.  Property owners’ tax bills should not go up.  The renewal would not take place until 2023.”

So why renew early?  Felts said, “As soon as the renewal is passed, we will refinance the current note on the new fire station and stretch the payment over 12 years.  Currently it is financed over 4 years.  That means we have to pay a lot more each year to pay back the loan.”

Felts told the Police Jury back in March that the current budget impact on their operating budget is 25% goes to debt service. If approved by voters, the fire department can lower this to about 8%.  This week Felts said, “We would go from a note of about $453,000 a year to just over $120,000 a year. “That will free up about $333,000 per year for other operational expenses.”

Chief Felts stressed that renewing the property tax at this time will have no impact on the amount of property taxes anyone would pay.  It would mean no new money coming into the fire department.  It would extend the life of the property tax to 2033.

The Journal asked Felts, “What would be the impact of the tax not being renewed now.”  He said, “The Fire Department would not remain as it is today.  It would probably go back to an all-volunteer department.  That would greatly increase our response time to fires and other emergencies.”  Felts explained if the debt service remains at the present rate, there would not be money available to maintain the same level of services now provided to the parish.

“We do a lot more than fighting fires.  We participate in water rescues; we respond to 60 to 80 motor vehicle accidents a year and we have the only Jaws of Life in the parish.  We teach fire safety to children and we go to the schools to educate kids on fire safety.  We also provide free smoke detectors to anyone plus we send a firefighter out to install them for free.  We do much more than just fighting fires.”

The tax renewal is the only item on the ballot in the parish August 15th.  The fire department is paying the full cost of the election.  The cost was estimated at $25,000 to $30,000 when the election was proposed to the Police Jury back in March.

Local Attorney Questions Timing of Tax Renewal

“They have been spending too much money,” is the assessment of local attorney Bill Jones.  He has been reviewing audits of the Parishwide Fire Protection District in light of the district’s request to have their property tax renewed three years early.  Jones first raised his objections back in March when the tax renewal proposition was put on the ballot by the Police Jury.

The 2019 calendar year audit of the fire department was released at the end of June by the Legislative Auditor.  Jones told The Journal the audit showed a deficiency of revenue over expenditures in 2019 of $543,076.  Jones said, “They ended 2019 with $2,534 in the bank.  Where has their surpluses gone?”

Jones pointed out that the ending year balance in 2015 was $2,039,390.  That rose to $4,897,229 at the end of 2016.  It was down to $1,4591,654 at the end of 2017, down to $173,203 at the end of 2018, and last December the fire department ended the year with $2534 in the bank.

The 2019 audit notes on page 33 that the district received $200,000 in limited tax bonds on January 2, 2020 to fund a December 31, 2019 cash shortage.

Back in March Jones questioned the timing of the tax renewal.  He told the Police Jury his research into the fire departments finances indicates that they are spending a lot more than they are getting in.  Jones said, “Everyone agrees we want the best fire protection we can afford.  But everybody must live within a budget and it appears that is not being done in this case.

The Journal asked Fire Chief Shawn Felts about the low cash balance at the end of 2019.  Felts said, “We use our money wisely every year.  We never just blow money.”  Felts indicated that there are no surplus funds to carry over from 2019 because of the cost of operating the fire department, the new central station, and seven outlying fire stations throughout the parish.

“We’re not trying to get more money,” said Felts, “This is the tax we used to build the station and refinancing the balance due on the station will lower our note payments.”

Miller’s Might

By Brad Dison

Miller was a tall, broad, outdoorsman.  His father wanted him to become a doctor.  His mother wanted him to become a cellist.  Miller, however, wanted a life filled with adventure.  He served in both World Wars and was an avid sportsman.  Some of his favorite sports included watching bull fights, deep sea fishing, and hunting in remote locations around the world. 

In the Winter of 1953-54, Miller and his fourth wife, Mary Welsh, enjoyed a vacation in Africa.  They spent the second week of January 1954, at Amboselli National Park, whose main feature is Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain on the African continent.  As a late Christmas present to his wife, Miller chartered a 600-mile flightseeing trip from Nairobi, capital city of Kenya, over Lake Victoria and Lake Albert, with the main attraction being the breath-taking 400-foot Murchison Falls on the Victoria Nile River in Uganda.  Due to the length of the trip, a distance of over 1,000 miles, they planned to land at the halfway point, Masindi, to refuel the Cessna.     

On Saturday, January 23, 1954, Miller and Mary met pilot Roy Marsh, a former Royal Air Force pilot, at the airport in Nairobi.  After stowing their luggage in the small, single-engine silver and blue Cessna, Roy, Miller, and Mary set out on the beginning of what turned out to be an unforgettable, yet exciting, adventure.  The trio took in the beautiful scenery as they flew over 500 miles toward Murchison Falls.  They flew over some of the most inaccessible spots in Uganda.  From the safety of their airplane, they gazed at crocodiles, elephants, buffaloes, lions, and a plethora of other wild game in their natural habitat. 

Within three miles of Murchison Falls, they ran into trouble.  Without warning, a flock of Ibises, large black and white jungle birds with long, down-curved bills, descended toward the Cessna.  Flying through the flock was not an option.  Just one of the birds was large enough to crash the plane.  Roy flew lower to try to avoid the birds, but they descended as well.  Roy quickly looked in every direction, but the plane was surrounded by the large birds.  As they neared treetop level, Roy realized they would have to land the plane.  Roy had to choose between landing on a small sandbar which was teeming with crocodiles or on an area covered by thick shrubs surrounded by a herd of elephants.  Roy chose the better of the two bad choices, the elephant herd.

Roy flew just over the shrubs and slowed the engine to just above stall speed.  Just before the tires on the Cessna touched the shrubs, Roy pulled back on the controls, which forced the front of the airplane into the air, and they struck the ground on the underside of the plane.  The Cessna sustained only minor damage, and Roy, Miller, and Mary were unharmed.  Their adventure had just begun as dusk approached.

The crash survivors assessed their situation.  They were unable to call for help because the Cessna was not equipped with a radio.  They knew it would be hours before anyone realized their plane was missing.  They had emergency supplies but no water.  They set up a campsite, and Roy and Miller took turns going to the river for water.  Elephants trumpeted warnings to Roy and Miller as they walked to the riverbank, which was crowded with hippos and crocodiles.  That night, they built a fire for warmth and to keep predators away.  Several times during the night, wild animals ventured near their campsite.  Miller, being an avid outdoorsman, used a trick he had learned years earlier on one of his many jungle safaris.  He howled like a wild dog, which all other animals detested.  Each time he howled, the other animals answered and gave away their positions. 

Searchers began looking for the missing plane when they failed to land at Masindi for refueling.  A police boat left Butiaba, a small town on Lake Albert about sixty miles from Murchison Falls, but it would take several hours for it to reach the search area.  When the Cessna failed to return to Nairobi, the East African Airways ordered search planes from Entebbe to join the search on the following morning.  There was little anyone could do. 

The next morning, search planes scoured the hills and forests around Murchison Falls for the downed aircraft.  British Overseas Airways Captain R.C. Jude diverted his airplane off course and joined the search.  He began his search at Murchison Falls and made larger and larger spirals until he located the downed Cessna.  He radioed in the location of the crash and notified them that he saw no signs of life.  He pointed out that the plane had sustained only minimal damage and reported that he suspected that the trio had survived. 

Miller, Mary, and Roy did not wait around to be rescued.  After a weary night in the jungle, they walked to the river and saw a tourist boat heading back from Murchison Falls.  They yelled and waived to the boat and the captain sped to their location.  They explained their predicament and they joined the tourists for the remainder of their return trip to Butiaba.

Miller jokingly told reporters at Butiaba that his wife’s snoring attracted elephants to their campsite.  “We held our breaths about two hours while an elephant 12 paces away was silhouetted in the moonlight, listening to my wife’s snores.”  Mary retorted, “I never snore.  You’ve got a fixation about it.”  To which Miller replied with a sly grin, “So has that elephant.”

As Miller’s adventure seemed at an end, another adventure was beginning.  At about dusk, Miller and Mary boarded a DeHavilland Rapide, a twin-engine bi-wing airplane piloted by T.R. Cartwright enroute to Entebbe, a town about 175 miles to the southeast.  The pilot taxied the plane to the runway and increased its speed for takeoff.  As they sped down the runway the airplane hit a bump, bounced, hit another bump, and veered off of the runway where it rolled over and burst into flames.  Miller forced the rear door of the airplane open and he, Mary, and T.R. scrambled from the burning plane.  Miller sustained cuts, burns, and bruises.  Mary suffered two cracked ribs, an injured leg, and multiple bruises.  T.R. was uninjured.  Miller and Mary went to a local doctor, who bandaged the cuts and burns on Miller’s head.  The doctor suggested they X-ray his injured arm, but Miller just shrugged him off because he thought the injury was minor. 

Through his entire weekend’s adventures, surviving two airplane crashes in two days, Miller kept his sense of humor.   Clutching a bunch of bananas in one hand and a bottle of gin in the other, Miller remarked with a smile, “My luck—she is running very good.”  Not wanting to test his luck further, he declined an offer for another airplane ride out of the jungle. 

Miller was one of only a handful of people who were able to read their own obituary.  Many newspapers around the world got the news that Miller was missing and assumed he had perished in the first crash.  They compared Miller’s might to those of the characters in his books “From Whom the Bell Tolls,” “A Farewell to Arms,” and his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “Old Man and the Sea.”  Miller was the middle name of…Ernest Hemingway.      



Honolulu Star-Bulletin, January 24, 1954, p.1.

  1. Standard-Speaker (Hazleton, Pennsylvania), January 25, 1954, p.1.
  2. The Tribune (Scranton, Pennsylvania), January 25, 1954, p.1.
  3. The Shreveport Times, January 26, 1954, p.1.
  4. The Cincinnati Enquirer, January 27, 1954, p.4.
  5. Corsicana Daily Sun, January 27, 1954, p.4.

Area Blood Drives Planned

Philip Maxfield of Lifeshare Blood Center said two blood drives are planned for Red River Parish during the second week of August.

Both blood drives are being dedicated to Piper Pate, a newborn at Willis Knighton South NICU. She was born at 27 weeks premature and is using a lot of blood products.

Wednesday, 8/12/20, 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm at First Baptist Church – Coushatta will have their blood drive.  And the Lifeshare blood bus will be at the Men of Courage event on Highway 507 the next night, August 13th.

Local Qualifiers for November Election

The November ballot will be slim when it comes to local officials to be elected.  There was only one race in which more candidates qualified than are to be elected.  Other local races had only one person qualify for each office.

All five incumbent members of the Town Council qualified.  They are Peter Drake, Janice Lewis, Brian Nash, Reginald Prealow, Jr. and Edna Webb.  There is one other, John D. Henry who will challenge the incumbents for a seat on the council.  Members of the Coushatta Town Council run at large.

The Journal Congratulates these qualifiers who had no opposition, and therefore will be elected:

Judge of 39th Judicial District – Luke Mitchell

District Attorney of 39th Judicial District – Julie Jones

Justice of the Peace District A – Jerry Clark

Justice of the Peace District B – Randy Thomas, Jr.

Justice of the Peace District C – Michael Perkins

Constable Justice of the Peace District A – Earl Webb, Jr.

Constable Justice of the Peace District B – Randy Thomas, Sr.

Constable Justice of the Peace District C – Sharon Bradley

Mayor of Coushatta – Johnny Cox

Mayor of Edgefield – Vince Almond

Edgefield Chief of Police – “Westin” Powell

For Alderman in the Village of Edgefield, three were to be elected and only two qualified.  Therefore, Eugene Freeman and Jack Terrell are elected.

For Alderman in the Village of Martin, two are to be elected and only one qualified.  So, Elisa Caster is elected.  Note that during qualification earlier this year, only one person qualified for Alderman in Martin.  DeRay Pullig was elected during that qualification period.

This election for Martin Alderman was a special called election by Governor Edwards.  The lack of qualifiers for the November election will result in the Governor having to issue a special election call for later to fill the one vacancy for Alderman of both Martin and Edgefield.

Journal Seeking Sports Staff

We have put out the Help Wanted sign.  The Journal is looking for play-by-play announcers and color commentators.  We are also seeking technical people, photographers, reporters, and equipment operators.

This fall the Red River Parish Journal will be streaming live the football and basketball games of both Red River High School and Riverdale Academy.  First Game is in mid-August.  The Journal is now building the broadcast teams.

Successful candidates must have a knowledge of the game.  They must commit to 12 consecutive Friday nights beginning August 21st for the regular football season.  In addition, there may be playoff games to broadcast.  Must be able to depart Coushatta early enough to arrive at away game sites an hour prior to kickoff.  Applicants must display a strong work ethic, a positive attitude, and a neat business appearance.

These are compensated positions, including travel and meals for out of town games.  Pay depends upon experience.  Direct experience in sports broadcasting is not required, however it is a definite plus.  Interested college and high school students are encouraged to apply.

To apply, submit your resume, reasons for wishing to join the Journal Sports broadcast team, and complete contact information including cell phone number.  Email it to

Legislative Recap

Submitted by District 22 Representative Gabe Firment

Insurance Reform – Promise Kept!

Campaigning last year it soon became apparent that Louisiana’s second highest in the nation auto insurance rates were on the minds of just about everyone across District 22. Insurance reform was perhaps the number #1 issue discussed during the campaign and during the 2020 Regular and Special Sessions.

I’m pleased to announce that the governor has signed a comprehensive “tort” reform bill into law(HB 57) with bipartisan support from both houses of the legislature. This important legislation will go a long way in removing Louisiana from its longstanding reputation as a “judicial hellhole”, and will help create an environment more friendly to families, small businesses, and industry.

The Civil Justice Reform Act of 2020 will bring competition to the personal and commercial lines of auto insurance leading to more companies doing business in the state and offering lower premiums. Our hardworking loggers, aggregate haulers, and truckers desperately needed these important reforms to be implemented before exorbitant insurance costs forced them out of business.

We also passed SB16 which protects our armed services personnel from having their auto insurance rates raised while deployed.

We passed a series of bills designed to strengthen our 2nd Amendment Right to Keep & Bear Arms. We also passed a couple of laws that may be of interest to hunters, including HB159 that makes it legal to kill feral hogs year round.

I look forward to working with my colleagues in the years to come to continue these important reforms to the legal system and insurance market.