Red River Under Burn Ban

State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning and Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain have issued a cease and desist order for all private burning, pursuant to authority under R.S. 40:1602, for the following parishes: Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Caldwell, Cameron, Catahoula, Concordia, Grant, Jackson, Jeff Davis, LaSalle, Lincoln, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Rapides, Red River, Sabine, Union, Vernon and Winn.

Private burning shall only be allowed by permission of the local fire department or local government. This order is effective as of 8 a.m., August 31, 2020 and shall remain in effect until rescinded. 

“The extensive damage caused Hurricane Laura includes several water systems. That means many communities are without adequate water service for potential fire suppression needs,” said State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning, “This order will hopefully assist local first responders by reducing unnecessary fire calls that they will be challenged to answer due to a lack of infrastructure, resources and personnel already tasked with Laura recovery efforts.”

This ban shall not apply to prescribed burns by the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, by those trained and certified by the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, or by those who conduct prescribed burning as a “generally accepted agriculture practice” as defined by the Louisiana Right to Farm Law (R.S. 3:3601 et seq.). 

Violation of this Fire Marshal order could result in criminal and/or civil penalties.


OEP Emergency Supplies Distribution

ATTN: Red River Parish Citizens 

Due to the current power outage caused by Hurricane Laura, our office has secured a limited supply of water and MRE’s. We will begin distribution of these supplies tomorrow morning at 10 am at the Red River Parish Central Fire Department 205 Ringgold Ave Coushatta, La 71019.

These supplies are only available to Red River Parish residents who currently are without power. We will require proof of residency before supplies will be given. Remember, we have only a limited amount of supplies and it will be first come first serve to those in need.


Red River Escapes Major Damage

On Thursday, Hurricane Laura blew through Coushatta at mid-morning and by noon was headed north out of our area.  In the storm’s wake were numerous trees down and some structures suffered minor damage.  The Journal drove the area when the storm’s eye appeared.  It seems that the damage was not heavy in town.

Downtown there were a couple of sections of the roof of Shaw Timber blowing in the wind.  Most of the tin blew off the east side of the empty building that once housed part of Mary Ann’s.  There were sections of siding blowing loose on the town maintenance building in the Industrial Park.  And there was small damage noted on the shed behind EMS.

Several roadside advertising signs blew over and some suffered damage.  Mailboxes were another casualty of the storm. Damage was extensive to the row of mailboxes that serve the MaxWay center.

If we missed any major damage on your property, let us know and send pictures.  Contact us via email RedRiverParishJournal@gmail.com or by text at 318-564-3609.


Widespread Power Outages

Laura did major damage to the power distribution infrastructure in Red River Parish.  Both CLECO and SWEPCO crews are out assessing the damage.

The lights came back fairly quickly, if they went out at all, within the town of Coushatta.  CLECO serves the town.  Rural areas were not as lucky.

Here is the assessment from SWEPCO concerning their service area, which includes much of rural Red River.

Outage update

o   At 11 a.m., more than 125,000 SWEPCO customers were without power.

o   112,000 of the affected customers are in northwest and central Louisiana.

o   Early reports include widespread damage with trees, utility poles and wires down across major roadways.

o   The number of customers without power continues to climb as heavy rains with hurricane- and tropical-storm-force winds head north.

o   The storm moved into the Valley District as a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph maximum sustained winds.

The radar photo below shows Laura at full fury bearing down on Red River Parish.  The storm brought very high winds that caused many trees to fall and disrupt the utility lines.


Trees Down All Over the Parish

Most of the damage from Hurricane Laura was trees knocked down or broken.  Most roads in the parish had at least one tree across them.  Crews from the police jury and state DOTD were out all day clearing the debris and allowing traffic to flow.

The most spectacular downed tree the Journal noted was a very large oak that fell across US 71 north just before the fire station.  City police assisted motorists in getting around that tree.  It was resting on the utility lines and bending utility poles.

Trees were noted down in Springville on Patton Street.  A large tree blew down and blocked LA 480 (Red Oak Rd.).  There The Journal found an 18-wheeler driver and two volunteers trying to clear the road.  They backed up the truck and used it to push the tree out of the roadway.

Another tree was down and blocking Mount Olive Rd.  We talked with a Police Jury employee who said that the Mount Olive and Patton Street trees had been removed.  A police jury crew removed a tree down in Whispering Pines subdivision. 

A tree fell on Church Street.  It knocked a transformer off the utility pole and left it in a ditch.  There was also a power line down across Carroll Street between the funeral home and flower shop.

Around the parish several instances of trees either lying on power lines or trees taking down the lines as they fell.  The damage to the utility lines in the parish may cause lengthy delays in getting the power restored.

The Journal noted that while there were many trees down, not one was seen that fell on a house or building.  Unlike prior storms that have blown through, Laura seems to have done little major structural damage.


Phase Two Stretched to September 11th

On Wednesday, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an order that extends Phase Two and the statewide mask mandate, closure of bars to on-site consumption and gathering size limits in Louisiana for another two weeks, until September 11, 2020. Despite progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the state, The White House Coronavirus Task Force still has Louisiana in the red zone for new cases, just as schools and colleges return to campus and Hurricane Laura is set to impact the state. Further, almost half of the state’s parishes have positivity rates in excess of 10 percent. 

The Governor’s current order would have expired today. Edwards signed a new order on Wednesday.

“Louisiana has seen improvement in slowing the spread of COVID-19, and this would not be possible without the hard work of the people of Louisiana who have faithfully followed the mitigation measures, including wearing their masks when in public,” said Gov. Edwards. “While we have seen drops in hospitalizations and new COVID-19 cases, we also know that we have more people moving around because of schools and colleges going back to in-person classes, which is one of the reasons we will stay in Phase 2 for another two weeks. The White House Coronavirus Task Force also continues to recommend that Louisiana keep its current mitigation measures in place, as Louisiana remains in the red zone for new cases and many of our parishes continue to have testing positivity rates higher than 10 percent.

To read the Governor’s new proclamation, click on the link below.

 


High School Student Update

Students return to school on Monday.  So late in the week Red River High Principal JC Dickey posted some information for students before they return next week:

Hello Red River High School Students and Parents, 

This is J.C. Dickey, your principal.  We are just a few days away from school starting and there is some important information that you need to know.  We are excited about the start of the 2020-2021 school year!  In an effort to transition students into new procedures and practices for school,  Red River High School will implement a “Smooth Transition” to begin the year.  On Monday, August 31, 9th and 10th grade students will report to school.  On Tuesday, September 1, 11th and 12th grade students will report to school.  On Wednesday September 2, all students will report to school as normal. School will start at 7:45am and end at 3:15pm, Monday-Thursday.  No students will be allowed on campus before 7:20am. 

The first 3 days of school all students, whether virtual or in person, will have to take a mandatory English and Math diagnostic test.  On Monday, August 31st, 9th and 10th grade students will log into Edgenuity and take the mandatory English diagnostic.  On Tuesday, September 1st, 11th and 12th grade students will log into Edgenuity and take a mandatory English diagnostic.  On Wednesday, September 2nd, all students will log into Edgenuity and take a mandatory Math diagnostic.  These tests must be completed on the assigned days.    

Originally, we were going to have a virtual Meet the Teacher on Friday but because of the hurricane and possible building closures we will have to postpone this meeting until next week.  Your children will get this notification in their Google Classroom. 

Over the next few days, you will receive more callouts and emails explaining car rider lines, drivers, bus drop-offs, breakfast and lunch options, how temperatures will be checked and other important information. Please listen and read all the information being sent out.  As always, if you have any questions, please call me at the school any time.

 


Volleyball For High and Jr. High Girls

Red River High School Posted…

As you all know we started a High School Volleyball team last year. They are set to begin play the 2nd week in Sept. for the 2020 season. The head coach is Ellie Drew a teacher at the junior high school.

Coach Drew wanted us to share this information with any junior high students who may be interested in learning about volleyball and start getting prepared for high school volleyball when you get to Red River High. This is a great opportunity for RRJHS girls. For any additional information email Coach Drew at edrew@rrbulldogs.com.

 


Knock Out Cacer Benefit for Randy Desadier

Benefit Battle Royal United We Stand/Together We Fight on Saturday, September 19, 2020 at the Black Lake Crawfish Shack on HWY 9.

As most of you know Randy Desadier, a hard working provider and father of 3 amazing children, recently was faced with great adversity.  A few months ago, America was struck by a COVID-19 pandemic which put a lot of folks out of work, including Randy.

After already experiencing a lack of funds due to limited employment opportunities, Randy was diagnosed with Stage 4 Color Cancer.  After two weeks of treatment, the cancer has started to spread all over his body.

With prayer, love and support from his Family and friends, may GOD walk tall with Randy and his children in their time of need.

In an effort to draw the community to help, we will be selling BBQ plates to raise money to help Randy and his family.

BBQ Plate Lunch

$10.00 per Plate
Leg Quarter, Sausage Link, Baked Beans, Dirty Rice, Bread and a Drink.

  • Deliver Order available for large orders (10 or more)
  • “Split-the-Pot” $2.00 Ticket – Drawing on Saturday, September 19, 2020 (Need not be present to win)
  • For Pre-Orders contact Katie Litton (318)508-1297

Donations Accepted or Questions contact:
David Flack (318)663-1970
Matt Flack (318)652-1532
Robert Watson (318)771-2737