Unrestrained Driver Killed in Red River Parish Crash

On October 30, 2020, just before 4:00 p.m., Louisiana State Police Troop G responded to a two-vehicle, fatal crash on Louisiana Highway 1 south of Louisiana Highway 509. This crash killed 39-year-old Adrian Toussaint of Natchitoches.    

The initial investigation revealed a 2003 Buick passenger car, driven by Toussaint, was traveling northbound on Louisiana Highway 1. For reasons still under investigation, Toussaint’s vehicle crossed the centerline and struck the rear trailer tires of a southbound 2011 Mack tractor-trailer. 

The driver of the tractor-trailer, who was properly restrained, was not injured in the crash. Toussaint, who was unrestrained, sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead. Toxicology samples were obtained and submitted for analysis. This crash remains under investigation.

Buckling up is the most effective way to protect yourself during a vehicle crash. Failure to take a few seconds to buckle up can have devastating consequences. Louisiana law requires every person in a vehicle, regardless of seating position, to be properly restrained day or night.

In 2020, Troop G has investigated 23 fatal crashes resulting in 27 deaths.

We’ll Gain An Hour

It is that time of year, the autumn, or fall.  Upcoming Sunday will be the first of November.  That is the date when the clock reclaims the hour of sleep we gained in the spring.

Daylight Saving Time will come to an end in the wee hours of the morning Sunday. Before bedtime, set your clocks back an hour so you will not be early to church.

Fire officials take this opportunity to remind you to make sure your emergency weather radio is working properly and to change the batteries in your smoke and CO2 detectors.

Or not… and just let your cell phone do it for you.

Thanks to Bro James Hester for helping me understand what time it is! I have difficulty remembering what “spring forward and fall back” really means.

Prayer Service for America

By Pastor Steven McAbee of Open Door Fellowship

Regardless of our political perspective one thing is clear:  God’s people should call themselves to prayer!   I would like to extend an invitation for you to join us together in prayer for our nation on Tuesday November 3, 2020 at noon.  Open Door Fellowship will host this noon time prayer meeting. 

We will meet during the lunch hour for 30 minutes to pray for our nation and revival.  In these uncertain days let us join in one accord as we seek the presence of our Lord. 

King David said it well:  “You have said, “Seek my face. ”My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.” Let us have such a heart as to seek the heart of God for ourselves, our families, churches, state and nation.

I look forward to praying with you soon.

Early Voting Breakdown

Early voting turnout is setting records around the nation.  And in Louisiana nearly a million people cast early ballots either in person or by mail-in. 

Figures from the Secretary of State show 817,954 people cast ballots in person during the 10 days of early voting and 14,979 people cast absentee ballots.  Total statewide was 967,751.

As reported Wednesday by The Journal, there was a record setting turnout here in Red River.  A total of 1546 people voted in person and 359 voted absentee for a total vote of 1905.  That is 32% of registered voters have already voted.

The detailed break-down is in the document below.  The demographic breakdown of those voting is:

White 1034, Black 846, and other 25.

Male 766 and Female 1139.

Democrat 1036, Republican 652, and other 217.

It’s Time For Kids To Go Back To School:  Sunday School

By Edwin Crayton/Opinion

When you think of schools that have given us people who have contributed to our world in benevolent ways, institutions such as Harvard, Yale and other Ivy League schools come to mind. Yet, historically, the school that is most responsible for shaping character is Sunday school. In fact, many of those who went to Yale and Harvard went there first. That is why it is so vital to get kids back to church. They need the character building lessons found only in God’s Holy Word, the Bible. Yet many churches have not reopened for children due to safety concerns about the Coronavirus. At the same time, children are going to regular school. What is the difference? Here is an argument as to why all Sunday schools should be opened and why outreach to unchurched children should be expanded.

If you are a Christian, I am sure I don’t have to point out that today’s culture is neither kind to nor supportive of Christian values. Which means this is the ideal time to both teach and reinforce the teachings of Jesus Christ. The spiritual instructions children get from going to Sunday school have never been more vital. Let’s not fool ourselves. If we don’t teach our children, a media and pop culture hostile to Christianity will act as substitute teachers. Here is a sample of their class schedule: “God did not create the earth 101”; “You can marry any sex or species 101”; “How to have sex before marriage 101”. Or, “Even though the Book of Genesis says God made them man and woman, so-called experts maintain there is no such thing as gender 101”. These lessons ooze out of TV, movies, online games, social media and music on your child’s phone. This is all happening right now.

Some will point out that they have online Sunday school classes. That’s fine. But let’s be honest. Don’t online classes only reach children with computer access? In The Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus himself commanded his followers to spread the gospel to the whole world, meaning the unchurched. In other words, the implication of that is that our goal should be to grow the kingdom, not just reach our own members. And believe me, there is a great harvest, just as Christ promised there would be. I know this because I am involved in a ministry called 22:6 (226youth.org) which is blessed to be able to do outreach primarily to children who have trouble getting to church. 22:6 either takes them to church, or arranges with a parent to have Bible study with the parent and child in their home, using 10 to 15 minute Bible lessons. Each child receives a free snack or prize. Point is, it is simply time to try approaches that are new and creative. God will guide and direct us if we will submit to and obey Him. In the Great Commission, Jesus ended his command by promising to personally be with us as we reach out to those who do not yet know about him or believe in Him. Every believer should know that believing in Jesus is very important, because Jesus himself said so in John 14:6. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” He was putting it on the line and warning that only those who accept him as savior and Lord will make it to heaven. He wants everyone to have an opportunity to accept him so they can be saved and live with God eternally. That especially goes for children.

What can we do in more specific terms? First, we can pray. James 1:5 says that God will give us wisdom if we will ask. Next, we can educate ourselves on the guidelines for social gatherings and follow the directions from the CDC (Centers for Decease Control) By the way, there is no CDC guideline that prevents us from sharing Jesus with anyone. With God’s help and good information on safety, we can step up our game and reach more children. And of course, wear masks. A few simple ideas to get the ball rolling: Children who have computers and who attend Sunday school online could invite a friend to join them. Churches could copy what the 1st Century Christians did and go “two by two” (teams of two people) into neighborhoods and share short five or 10 minute Bible lessons, like I mentioned earlier. These are merely suggestions or idea starters. Jesus will give you the ultimate direction, the good ideas and he will provide the increase. We just need to be open to his guiding hand. Like church, Sunday school does not have to always happen between walls. But it is good when believers come together the Bible tells us (Hebrews 10:25). However, if we cannot do that physically, let’s do it in any way that puts the word of God in front of our children and children in our communities. If we really believe children are the future, then it naturally follows that we should also believe that without Christian children there can be no Christian community. America needs new Christians because it needs to follow God in order to continue to be blessed.

Whatever we do, let’s throw off the fear and realize that the stakes are too high not to strengthen and bring innovations and fresh thinking to Sunday schools. It should be obvious that we need to do more than we are doing. This epidemic is causing lots of pain and stress. There is a world of hurting people out there and some of them are children. They need a loving, benevolent God’s instruction now more than ever and they need it consistently and brought to them by teachers who love God and love people. Two things you will most likely find in only one school: Sunday school.

“Allow the little children to come to me.” –Jesus Christ, Matthew 19:14

“My people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge.”—Hosea 4:6

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old will not depart from it.”—Proverbs 22:6

Donations to Red River Industries

Red River Industries received two generous donations this month.  They came from Vine Oil and Gas and Defiance Energy.

Teal Lowring, Director of Red River ARC told The Journal that both donations were for $1,500.  One went to Red River Industries and the other to the business side of the organization, the ARC.

The presentations were made at the first of the month.  Clients of Red River Industries made thank you signs and served cookies and punch.

Representing Defiance Energy was James Lee.  Lindsey Lewis represented Vine Oil and Gas.  Representing Red River ARC were Board Member Rose Moseley,  Bakery Supervisor Red River ARC Melanie Alexander, and Director Red River ARC Teal Lowring.

Swamp Bowl Saturday

Riverdale’s Pee-Wee footballers travel to Haynesville this weekend.  The Little Rebels are getting ready for the Swamp Bowl!

They will play at Claiborne Academy Saturday at 11:00. The winner will play again at 3:00. The school said, “Come help us cheer on the Little Rebels!!”

Bridge Work Progressing

The state transportation department said work is progressing on replacing the bridge on Highway 507 and may be completed this year.  Completion depends upon the weather.

Erin Buchanan of the transportation reports the bridge deck is being poured.  When that is finished, Buchanan said they will have the approach slabs and the barrier rails to go to complete the project.

Repairs are underway on two other bridges over Bee Branch Creek just north of Red River in Bienville parish.  The first site is just west of Morgan Road is almost completed.  Buchanan said when that one is done they will move on to the second bridge site between Bob Neal and Magnolia Roads.

Junior High Students Study Ratios

Here is a teacher applying a little imagination to a lesson.  She had her students use Fruit Loops in a way they will remember.

Red River Junior High posted, We have the best teachers!!! Mrs. Coats taught an amazing math lesson today.  What better way to learn about ratios???  The students had a blast  and were able to make real world connections to what they are learning.

In a package of Fruit Loops, how many are there of each color.  And what is the ratio to one color or another and that color to the whole.

Local Man Ordained

Coushatta resident Joshua Loftin is now an ordained minister.  His ordination ceremony was held recently at Open Door Fellowship.

Loftin is still in school in Dallas working on his divinity degree.  After he was ordained on Saturday, October 10th, he headed back to classes on the next Monday.

Recent Fire Calls

This activity was posted recently by the Red River Parishwide Fire Protection District:

10-27-2020 @11:18 am. Received a call to come check on a control burn at 6248 hwy 71 south. Arrived on scene to stand by to make sure control burn didn’t get out of control.

10-27-2020 @ 9:31 am. Received a call to assist RREMS on a wellness check at 133 North Drive.

10-26-2020 @ 12:12 pm. Toned out to 152 Parker Road for a snake inside a cabinet.

10-26-2020 @ 7:47 am. Toned out to a single vehicle MVC with injuries across the road from 5115 Cut-Off Road.

10-25-2020 @ 5:48 am. Toned out to 4080 Hwy 71 for a single vehicle MVC.

10-24-2020 @ 7:23 pm. RRSO called via telephone about a fuel spill at 5076 Cut-Off Road.

10-24-2020 @ 10:23 pm. Toned out to the intersection of Hwy 371 and Davis Road for a 2 vehicle MVC.

10-23-2020 @ 5:02 pm. Toned out to the intersection of Hwy 783 and Hwy 514 for power lines arching.

10-18-2020 @ 11:58 am.  Toned out to the intersection of Ringgold Avenue and Jones Street Extension for a 2 vehicle MVC.  Vehicles had minor damage and no entrapment.

10-14-2020 @ 2:21 pm. Received a phone call from RRSO of occupants at 340 Hand Cemetery Road woke up to find 2 vehicles burned up in their yard.

10-13-2020 @ 11:14 pm. Toned out to 510 Wilkerson Street for a smell of gas in the building. FD personnel searched the building with the gas meter and found no level of gas.

10-11-2020 @ 12:53 pm.  Toned out to 611 Holley Street for a furry loved one in a tree.

Why Should Kids Have All the Fun?

When it comes to carving and decorating Halloween pumpkins, the grown-ups like to get into the act.  Therefore the “adults” at Christus Coushatta have an annual pumpkin decorating contest of their own.

Here are the results:

First place – Kertregis Moore, Chan Brock and Nickolia Jones in Dietary Services

Second place – Hospital Administration

Third place – Miyoshi Sullivan in the Emergency Department.

Jamie McCoy in Administration said, “The winner gets a trophy. It is a pumpkin head and they get to display it in their department all year.  Dietary Services won this year and they were the reigning champs from last year.”

4-H Pumpkin Contest Winners Announced

From Red River Parish 4-H

It was an extremely hard job for our judge because we had some AWESOME pumpkins entered in the Red River 4-H pumpkin contest.  

Spookiest: K-5 1st Grant Halbmaier, 2nd Dulaney Cox. 6-12 1st Raegan Cannon

4-h pride:  K-5 1st Morgan Moseley, 2nd Gabi Bounds, 3rd Micah Webb. 6-12 1st Shirley Boyd, 2nd Brayden Chicola

Creative: K-5 1st Adalyn Halbmaier, 2nd Brylee Halbmaier, 3rd Laynie Morse 6-12 1st Alaina Boyd, 2nd Addison Bounds

Congratulations to all of our participants on these wonderful pumpkins! Certificates and ribbons will be passed out this week!

COVID-19 Update Oct 30, 2020

There are reports from the US and other countries of rapidly increasing cases of the COVID-19 virus.  Figures from the state health department indicate Red River Parish has not seen that rapid increase.

From October 2nd to date, there has been an increase of 81 cases confirmed in the parish.  During the month, one additional death from the disease was reported bringing to 24 the number of people who died from COVID-19.  And during October there were 703 new tests for the virus.

There is good news at Green Meadow Haven.  There has been no change since the October 2nd report.  There have been no new cases confirmed, no new deaths, and 59 patients have recovered.  There also have been no new cases among the staff and all 33 staffers who tested positive are listed as recovered.

The Louisiana Department of Health map still indicates the infection rate is high in the parish.

ETC… For Friday Oct 30th

Tonight is the last home game of the year for Red River Football.  The Bulldogs are hosting Holy Savior Menard at Strother Stadium.  Kickoff is 7:00 pm.  This game is a sell-out with no tickets available at the stadium.  Journal Sports will stream the game live on the Red River Parish Journal’s Facebook page.

Don’t forget to order your sweet potatoes or pecans. ALL order forms and orders due next Monday! 4-h members can put order forms in the lockbox by our side door. Envelopes are available in the bucket under the lockbox. Thanks again for supporting Red River 4-h!

Registration for the Spring 2021 semester begins on Monday, Nov. 2 at Northwestern State University.  Northwestern State students can begin the registration procedure by checking the online schedule of classes through NSUConnect then meeting with their advisor. Students can sign up for spring classes through NSUConnect based on the following registration schedule.

First United Methodist Church in Coushatta has suspended all activities due to an outbreak of COVID-19 among church members.  The church’s board voted Wednesday to suspend all in-person activities through the second Sunday in November.  The church will continue with virtual Sunday services on Facebook.

A final note: The band is back!  For the first time this year, the Red River High Band performed during the homecoming football game.  The band got a late start this year due to the pandemic and the band director being deployed with the National Guard.  Welcome Back Yasmine Jason and the Bulldog Band.  You sounded great!

Virginia Ellen “Ginger” Giddings

Funeral services for Virginia Ellen “Ginger” Giddings, 55, of Fairview, LA will be held Friday, October 30, 2020 at 10:00 A.M. in Davis Springs Southern Methodist Church with Bro. Olan McLaren officiating. Burial will follow in Davis Springs Cemetery.  Visitation will be Thursday, October 29, 2020 starting at 6:00 P.M. at Davis Springs Southern Methodist Church. Services under the direction of Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home, Coushatta, LA.

Ginger was born May 28, 1965 in Natchitoches, LA and passed away October 28, 2020 at her residence in Fairview, LA.   She was a special lady, always taking care of others and putting everyone else first in her life. Ginger was a Godly woman, who loved her Lord and church family and especially enjoyed working with the youth.   She loved her grandbabies and spending time with them.  She will be dearly missed by all those that knew and loved her.

She was preceded in death by her father, James McCrory; maternal grandparents, Lamurl and Hazel Holman; paternal grandparents, Emmitt and Ruth McCrory; Angel grandbaby; 5 brothers-in-law, Jimmy Giddings, Howard Giddings, Lonnie “Nub” Giddings, Robert Wood and David Cloud; and  3 sisters-in-law, Sue Davis, Maggie Jordan, and Wanda Baker.

Left to cherish her memory include her husband of 37 years, Johnny Giddings; 2 sons, Johnny Ray Giddings and Kelsey and Robert Eli Giddings and wife, Chelsey; 5 grandchildren, Maggie, Tucker, Elena, Paityn, and Zoey; mother, Joy McCrory; 4 sisters, Rebecca Pullig and husband, Bobby, Kimberly Vanderhoef and husband, Rob, Melissa Louvier and husband, Jon, and Johnna Christy and husband, Derrick; brother, Michael McCrory and wife, Melanie; 7 sisters-in-law,  Annie “Dinky” Wood, Sarah Scott and husband, Bobby, Janice Brown and husband, Gurt, Shelia Cloud and Brian, Brenda Giddings, Karen Giddings, and Norma Jean Giddings; 4 brothers-in-law, Marvin “Blackie” Burkett and wife, Peggy, Rodney Burkett and wife, Carolyn, Brooksie Baker, and Jerry Jordan; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and neighbors.

Pallbearers will be Dalton Fowler, Austin McCrory, Jeremy Riggs, Josh Cason, Corey Cason, James Caskey, James Giddings, and Jiggs Wood.  Honorary pallbearers will be Wayne Williams, Floyd Williams, Ray Bamburg, Brooks “Punkin” Baker, and Joe Stewart.

Special thanks to Cindy, Ms. Bea, Gladys and Sharee and the doctors and nurses at Oschner LSU Hospital.  Memorials may be made to Shriners Hospital for Children.

Record Early Voting Turnout

Red River voters took part in early voting in record numbers.  Twenty-six percent of the registered voters cast ballots in person over the past ten days.

“It was a good ten days,” said Registrar of Voters Debra Jones, “It has gone very well.  My staff was a little tired from ten days of 12 hours each, but we were fired up today, the last day of early voting.”  The slowest day saw 116 people vote.  Early voting ended on a strong note with 255 people coming to vote on Tuesday.

When The Journal went by late Tuesday, Jones was entering voter information at her desk.  Staff members were checking in voters and assisting them to the voting stations.  They also took care of sanitizing the area between voters to assure their safety.

In addition to the record turnout, Jones said several hundred new voters had registered in the past few months.  Jones said, “We are up to 5936 registered voters.  The rolls had dropped down to near 5,000 in the recent past.  And many of the newly registered voters turned out and cast their ballots during early voting.”

Jones was thankful for all who had made early voting a success.  She thanked Sheriff Glen Edwards for loaning them the old fire station.  Jones said, “It was a much larger space with room for everyone.  We had three voting stations.  And it was especially good for people with physical challenges.”

The final count, after the polls closed Tuesday night, showed that 1546 people voted in person.    That is an increase of 300+ voters compared to the 1203 who voted early in the 2016 Presidential election.

Services Set For Shooting Victim

Red River High School will be the site Saturday of a homegoing celebration for Kier Jackson.  He died last Wednesday of gunshot wound suffered during a neighborhood basketball game.

A balloon release was held Saturday night in Kier Jackson’s neighborhood, where the shooting took place.  Friends and neighbors gathered.  Many spoke of the promising young man whose life was ended.  And a local minister admonished parents to do a better job of keeping up with their kids to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Large blue mylar balloons spelling K-I-E-R along with dozens of red balloons were released as the gathering ended.

The sheriff’s department continues to investigate the shooting.  Chief Deputy Greg Moore told The Journal on Tuesday that they are still investigating what happened and there was no more information that they could make public at this time.  Earlier the department confirmed the shooting but did not say if it was accidental.

Services for Kier Jackson will be held at Red River High, where he was scheduled to graduate next spring.  There will be visitation from 9:00 until 11:00 am.  The Funeral service begins at 11:00.

Photo courtesy of Reporter Timmy Lane

Trick or Treat at Stevens Tractor

Toy Story – That’s our theme this year… Kids can also get their picture taken with characters if they’d like.  The staff of Stevens Tractor invites children to enjoy Trick or Treat in a safe, friendly environment.  Come Trick or Treat on Friday, October 30th from 11:00 am until 5:00 pm.

Owner Tanya Cormier said, “Since COVID-19 has hindered the children of Red River Parish to go out trick or treating, we thought it’d be fun to have a safe, fun event here at Stevens Tractor for kids to come for candy. I would like to encourage other business to participate.”

Stephanie Heiken, their Graphic Designer said, “We will be practicing safety by wearing our masks and disinfecting after every child.  However, If kids would like to take photos, we can take off our masks (depending on the circumstance and the child). 

Stevens Tractor is located about five miles north of Coushatta on US 71.


Bulldogs Bite Tigers at Homecoming.

By Hayley Loe with photos by Gracie Price

Friday, October 23rd, the Red River Bulldogs whipped the Winnfield Tigers 28-7. The touchdowns of the night were scored by Stanley Maxie #4 and Jonnie Maxie #7, with all of the extra points being kicked by Ryder Hogan #36. 

First score, pictured above, is Stanley Maxie completing a two-yard run to put the ball in the endzone and put the Bulldogs on the scoreboard first.  Also in the first quarter, his brother Johnny Maxie scored on a 20 yard play.  Ryder Hogan made both extra points.

In the third quarter, Stanley Maxie scored again on a 28-yard carry for the Dogs third score.  Stanley’s hat trick came in the final quarter on a 10-yard run for another TD.  Winnfield scored once on a 30 yard run by Colton Mathis.

Final score was Red River 28 and Winnfield 21.  Red River went to 4 and 1 overall and 2 and 1 in district play.  

Along with the game Friday night, the RRHS Homecoming Court was presented at halftime.  Arianna Johnson was crowned Homecoming Queen and the Homecoming King was BJ Palmer for the 2020/2021 school year.

Friday, October 30th the Red River Bulldogs will play their last home game against Holy Savior Menard. This game will also be senior night for the RRHS Bulldogs.

The school announced Tuesday that all tickets for the Menard game have been sold.  Also there will be no tickets sold at the gate.  Journal Sports will stream the game live beginning at 6:45 pm.

Homecoming Royalty

The 2020 Homecoming Court was presented at half time last Friday night.  Sports photographer Gracie Price took some great pictures as the ladies and their escorts were announced at half time.

Above is Homecoming Queen Arianna Johnson escorted by Homecoming King B.J. Palmer.  Johnson was surprised when announced as queen after all members of the court had been presented.

Here is a photo album of the maids and sweethearts.


Riverdale Gets Huge Win in Mississippi

By Molly Seales with photos by Kelly Azlin

On Friday October 23, the Riverdale Rebels traveled to Mississippi to play the Mississippi School of the Deaf at their homecoming game.  The Rebels took the win with the final score of  62 to 0. 

As always, the offense played their hardest and it showed in this game.  Paul Messenger had 6 carries for 98 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Brennan Edie had 3 carries for 119 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Kyle Guillory had 6 carries for 49 yards. Ty Jones had 2 carries for 33 yards and 1 touchdown.  Witt Almond was 2/2 in passing, passing for 73 yards and 2 touchdowns. Receiving the ball was Witt’s cousin Parker Almond who had 2 receptions for 73 yards for 2 touchdowns.

Riverdale’s defense is also looking good going into the playoffs.  Parker Almond had 1 solo tackle and 1 assist (2 TFL).  Parker also had 1 fumble recovery.  Paul Messenger had 1 solo tackle and 5 assists.  Jake Messenger showed that he was out there to play defense obtaining 7 solo tackles and having 4 assists. Kyle Guillory had 2 solo tackles and 2 assists.  Ryder Huddleston also was not playing around whenever it came to defense by having 2 solo tackles and 7 assists (4 TFL).  Ryder also had 1 interception.  Ty Jones had 1 solo tackle and 4 assists (1 TFL).  James Wagoner had 4 assists (1 TFL).  Brennan Edie had 3 solo tackles (2 TFL) and 1 fumble recovery.  Denver Williams had 1 solo tackle and 5 assists (2 TFL).  Jaxon Gates had 1 solo tackle.  Tyler Parker had 1 solo tackle and 4 assists.  Hayden Hillman had 1 solo tackle and 3 assists. 7th grader Ashton Almond was allowed to play in his first varsity game this year since we didn’t play a MAIS team and had 1 assist.  The defense held Mississippi to 0/5 in passing with 0 yards and 1 interception.  Mississippi had only 87 yards for the game.

Riverdale is now 7-3 on the season and got the #3 seed based on power point rankings.  This earned them a bye for the first week of playoffs.  They are working hard for their next game, a home playoff game on November 6 against the winner of Delta Streets and Hebron Christian.  Come out and support the Rebels on the 6th or follow the game live on Journal Sports.