Joseph Wayne Williams

Funeral services for Joseph Wayne Williams, 57, of Fairview Alpha, LA will be held at 11 A.M. Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at Davis Springs Southern Methodist Church with Bro. Olan McLaren officiating.  Interment will follow in Davis Springs Cemetery.  Visitation will be held from 6 P.M. until 8 P.M. Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at Davis Springs Southern Methodist Church.  Funeral services under the direction of Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home, Coushatta, LA.

Mr. Williams was born August 14, 1963 in Shreveport, LA and passed away November 29, 2020.  Wayne was a hard worker and was always helping others.  He loved to fish and camp at the lake with his grandkids and also loved to cook.  Wayne was a friend to all and will be dearly missed by all those who knew and loved him. 

He was preceded in death by his father, Amandred “Ponti” Williams; mother, Francis Hawkins; two brothers, Johnnie Williams and Robert Williams; three sisters, Kay Monroe, Gail Mann, and Dale Dillard; and father-in-law, Roy “Pistol” Carney.

Mr. Williams is survived by his wife, Vickie Williams of Fairview Alpha, LA; one son, James Caskey and wife, Nicki of Fairview Alpha, LA; one daughter, JoLynn Harper and husband, Robert of Fairview Alpha, LA; one brother, Floyd Williams and wife, Virginia of Coushatta, LA; five grandchildren, Gage Harper, Malea Edwards, Kacie Harper, Colton Caskey, and Drake Harper; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Pallbearers will be Mike Friday, Thomas Ledet, William Brown, Timmy Hinds, George “Cogger” Carney, and Randy Walker.  Honorary pallbearers will be Wilburn Layfield, Johnnie Giddings, and Larry Raley.

Gladys “Happy” Friday

Funeral services for Gladys “Happy” Friday, 64, of Creston, LA will be held at 1 P.M. Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home Chapel with Bro. Lyndle Stewart officiating.  Interment will follow in Campti Baptist Cemetery.  Visitation will be held from 5:30 P.M. until 8 P.M. Monday, November 30, 2020 at the funeral home.

Mrs. Friday was born March 5, 1956 and passed away November 28, 2020.  Gladys, better known has “Happy”, had a favorite pastime of bowling.  She also loved dancing.  It didn’t even matter if there was any music.  She was a great cook and always made sure no one left the table hungry.

“Happy” was a community mom who was always willing to take another child into her home.  She loved without judgment.  She would greet you with the sweetest smile and the biggest hug.  Her presence lit up the room and she always left you smiling.

She never forgot a birthday and made everyone feel special.  Her most precious moments were spent with family and friends.  She definitely lived up to the name her Daddy had given her, “Happy.” She was truly the light in everyone’s darkness.  She will be missed by all those who knew and loved her.

She was preceded in death by her parents; six brothers; and one sister.

“Happy” is survived by her husband of 44 years, Glenn Friday of Creston, LA; three children, Misty Lynn Friday of Creston, LA, William “Bubba” Friday, Jr. of Bossier City, LA, and Stephanie Rose Friday Doty and husband, Tommy of Benton, LA; one brother, Billy Ray Treadway of Jonesboro, LA; one sister, Carol Holland of Many, LA; four grandchildren, Kelsi Friday, Treven Payne, James Friday, and Karlee Doty; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Pallbearers will be Casey Ebert, Mark Treadway, Rodney Treadway, Shelby Holland, Treven Payne, Jamie Wallingsford, and Shannon Dubois.  Honorary pallbearer will be Lil’ Joe Treadway.

Charley M. Cox

Graveside services for Charley M. Cox, 88, of Coushatta, LA were held at 1 P.M. Friday, November 27, 2020 at Bethany Cemetery with Bro. Olan McLaren officiating.  Services under the direction of Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home, Coushatta, LA.

Charley was born July 29, 1932 in Coushatta, LA and passed away November 24, 2020.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Lem and Margie Cox; four brothers, Lane Cox, Jessie Cox, Thomas Cox, and Fred Cox; wives, Jewel Cox and Doris Pauline “Polly” Adkins; and a step-daughter, Leola Hugg.

Charley is survived by one son, Billy; daughter, Lucille; sister-in-law, Elizabeth Cox of Beaumont, TX; and several grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Pallbearers were Eddie Cox, Josh Cox, John Cox, Brian Yount, Steven Norris, Eddie Bradley, and Howard Brown.

Bulldogs Defeat Gators To Advance In Playoffs

Under the lights and a light mist the Red River Bulldogs claimed victory in their first playoff game of the season.  The Dogs are seeded #8 and the handily defeated Lakeview’s Gators 41-6.

On Friday night, the Bulldogs will host #9 Amite at Strother Stadium.  Tickets go on sale Tuesday at the High School.  Tickets are $15.00 each.  Pre-Sale tickets will be sold on Tuesday and Wednesday from 10:00 am till 1:00 pm. 

To purchase tickets pull around to the bus awning behind the main building.  Stay in your vehicle.   You must have cash or money order. There will be no refunds and all sales are final.

Under Phase Two, the stadium is limited to 25% capacity.  That translates to only 400 tickets available for Red River fans.   There will be no tickets sold at the game.

Fans unable to get tickets may watch the live video stream of the game by Journal Sports.  The broadcast will begin about 6:45.  The game will be carried on You Tube on the Red River Parish Journal’s channel.  Text messages will be sent out to subscribers shortly before kickoff reminding everyone where to watch the game.

Check the bracket below.  A win Friday by the Bulldogs sets up a confrontation with rival Many on December 11th.  And the game would probably be played in Many.  The Tigers  have a bye this week. 

Dubberly Man Arrested on Juvenile Charges

The Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office has arrested John D. Dixon, III of Dubberly on charges involving improper behavior with juveniles.  Dixon is held on $60,000 bond.

Dixon was arrested by deputies on November 23rd and booked into the parish jail.  The weekly arrest report listed those charges as computer-aided solicitation of a minor, contributing to the delinquency of juveniles, and two counts of carnal knowledge of a juvenile.

Red River High Welcomes Students Back

Students return to class at Red River High on Monday.  Some will be in-person and others will be getting instructions virtually.  The school posted this weekend that they are welcoming you back.

We hope you have enjoyed these 2 weeks off as much as we have.  We also hope you had a great Thanksgiving and you stayed safe during this time.  Monday, Nov. 30th we will be back at school.  

Remember we are currently teaching all 9th and 10th grade core classes face to face and all electives are through Google Classroom.  All other in person learning is through Google Classroom and Edgenuity.  

If you are a virtual student make sure you continue your work daily and if you have any questions please call the school.  Let’s work hard these next 3 weeks before Christmas Break.  We look forward to seeing you all Monday.

Christmas Holiday Giveaway

The Red River Parish Journal is spreading around season’s greetings to our readers.  A total of $100 will be awarded each publication date beginning Friday December 4th and running through New Year’s Day.  That is $100 every Wednesday plus another $100 every Friday.

Winning is as easy as 1-2-3:

 Go to the entry form.  Click this link:

Give your information

Click the “Submit” button.

The Journal will announce a new winner selected every Wednesday and Friday morning through January 1, 2021.  Our first winner will be announced Friday, December 4th, so enter today. 

The fine print:  Each entry becomes the property of Red River Parish Journal. By submitting an entry, the contestant grants The Journal the right to use their name and photo for publicity purposes.  Each prize shall consist of a $50 gift card to Rivertown Market plus a $50 gift card to the York Chop.  Everyone entering the Christmas Holiday Giveaway will be awarded a complimentary subscription to The Journal’s email delivery.  And every entry will also be awarded a complimentary subscription to The Journal’s Text Message alerts for local sporting event broadcasts.  There is no charge and you may discontinue any time after receiving the first email and text.

Back to Phase Two

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced that the aggressive third surge of COVID-19 across all regions of Louisiana has made it necessary to impose tighter mitigation measures and step back to Phase 2 in order to protect public health. The Governor’s updated Phase 2 proclamation, which is slightly modified from the summer, takes effect on Wednesday, November 25. It calls for reducing occupancy at some businesses, decreasing gathering sizes, limiting indoor consumption at many bars and urges everyone in Louisiana to avoid gatherings with people outside of their everyday households.

Cases are increasing, hospitalizations have climbed back up to more than 1,000, the highest level since August, and to date, the virus has claimed the lives of more than 6,300 Louisianans. According to the latest report by the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Louisiana had 474 new cases per 100,000 people last week, which is higher than the national average for states, which is 356 per 100,000 people.

Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate, which has been in place since mid-July, will continue. In addition, Gov. Edwards encourages any business that can allow its employees to work remotely to do so. He has directed all state agencies to do the same.

“There is not a single region of our state that is not seeing increases in new cases, hospitalizations and growing positivity of COVID tests, and I am incredibly concerned by Louisiana’s trajectory and our ability to continue to deliver health care to our people if our hospitals are overrun with sick patients,” Gov. Edwards said. “The data clearly tells us that we have lost all of the gains we had made and that our current mitigation efforts must be increased in order to adequately slow the spread. Now is the time to make changes, and stepping back to guidelines that closely resemble our Phase 2 restrictions is a tough but necessary step to take in order to protect the public.

“It is absolutely vital that Louisianans take this third surge of COVID seriously. While there is hopeful news about the development of an effective vaccine, the reality is that we are several months away from being able to widely vaccinate the general population in our state. This virus is with us and we must continue all of the mitigation measures including wearing a mask and social distancing in order to stay safe. All of us working together can slow the spread of COVID and flatten the curve – indeed, we already have twice. We now have more than 1,000 patients in the hospital with COVID, wiping out months of progress and leaving our hospitals in a perilous place.”


Gov. Edwards’ updated order will go into effect on Wednesday, November 25 and will run for four weeks. The Governor intends to keep these restrictions in place at least through the end of the year.

Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate remains in place. Major changes to Louisiana’s COVID-19 restrictions include the below:

  • All Louisianans are encouraged to avoid gatherings of individuals not part of their households.
  • All businesses, private and public sectors, are encouraged to use remote work where they can.
  • All restaurants are limited to 50% of their indoor capacity. Restaurants should move as much dining outdoors as they can. Social distancing is required.
  • For bars in parishes above 5% positivity, bars are closed to indoor sales and consumption but open for outdoor consumption at tables only and at 25% capacity, with a maximum of 50 people. Social distancing is required. Take-out and delivery will still be available.
  • Retail businesses at 50% capacity, except for essential businesses, as defined by federal guidance from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
  • Gyms may be open at 50% of their capacity.
  • Places of worship will remain at a maximum of 75% of their capacity or the number of people who can physically distance with at least six feet between each immediate household. The State Fire Marshal will put out additional COVID mitigation measures to make services safer.
  • Barber and beauty shops, and nail salons may open at 50% of their capacity.
  • Movie theaters may open at 50% of their capacity.
  • Indoor gatherings at event/receptions centers are limited to 25% capacity or up to 75 individuals.
  • Outdoor gatherings at event/reception centers are limited to 25% capacity or up to 150 individuals when strict physical distancing is not possible.
  • All sporting events will be capped at 25% capacity.

Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate is still in place. For complete guidance on the new Phase 2, visit the Open Safely portal at

Cinderella Season Gives Riverdale Academy State Runner Up Trophy

By Molly Seales with photos by Ryan Prosperie

Over the past few years, the Riverdale Rebels have faced much adversity when it comes to football. Despite many head coach changes and not very many constants in their football seasons, the boys kept playing their hardest and never game up, eventually making it to the playoffs last year and the state championship game this year.

One of the only constants these boys have had over the years, Mr. Winn Almond, a 1990 Riverdale graduate and father of senior Witt Almond, told me, “I have been involved with many of these young men since pee wee football. I have watched them mature over these years, and I could not be prouder of them and the effort they put forth this year.  The love this team had for one another and the unity displayed really humbled me and brought RA much success.  These guys fought for each other and for Riverdale, and I am grateful for that effort.  We are fortunate to have Coach Smelser and Coach Spillum coming back next year to make another run.  We have many returning starters, and these coaches are some good folks.  I also feel that RA is as unified as a school family as we have been in a long time.  Our staff is top notch, and I pray that bodes well for the future.  I thank God for all the success this year! Also, thanks to all who worked, cooked, or provided for this team.  You all made it a season to remember!”

Before the start of football this year nobody knew what this year was going to end up looking like, not knowing who their coach was going to be or how the Coronavirus was going to affect their season. Soon there was talk of Coach Jared Smelser, who is loved by all the players, students, and fans of Riverdale, coming back as head coach of the football team.  With this news, things started to look better for the Rebels, as they knew that someone was coming back who understood what it meant to be a Riverdale Rebel.  Still, with last years seniors Dayton Brown, Adam Bryant, Tylar Bare, Jackson Riggs, and Justin Oliver gone, we didn’t know how the season was going to go since they all played big leadership roles and made up a big part of the team.  Then last summer we got word that Ty Jones and brothers Paul and Jake Messenger were coming back to Riverdale from St. Mary’s. With them back and talking their cousin Parker Almond into playing, things were looking up for the Rebels 2020 football season. 

The Rebels started practicing hard all summer and put in many after school hours to becomes successful. Though they faced more adversity this year, having to play many scheduled home games in Mississippi, they still never gave up.  

About halfway through the season, Coach Jensen Spillum joined the coaching staff and began his journey as a Rebel.  This team continued fighting and with the help of their coaches, fans, and cheerleaders they eventually led themselves to play in the 2A MAIS state championship game.

This years’ seniors Witt Almond, Parker Almond, Brennan Edie, and Paul Messenger stepped up to take on the leadership roles of the team.  They showed us what it means to be a leader, not only on the field while playing. but also off of it whenever they thought nobody was watching. 

I asked all of the senior boys their thoughts on their final season in a Riverdale football uniform. Witt Almond said, “It was without a doubt the most fun I’ve ever had playing football.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Parker Almond responded, “This year has been a football year that I will remember for the rest of my life.  The memories that I have made with my teammates and coaches will always be dear to me.  I have had so much fun this year playing football.  I would like to thank all the fans, my teammates, and my coaches for a great season.”

Brennan Edie said, “Overall I got the best senior season I could ask for.  We made it as far as we possibly could, and we put our best foot forward.  With coach Jared coming back and having Paul, Jake, Ty, and Parker, along with coach Jensen, we made the best of our season.  It felt like our team was complete, and we were as close as a team could be.  I couldn’t have asked for a better group of guys to be around and play with.  They were more than just teammates and coaches to me.  They were family.”

Senior Paul Messenger said, “Coming back to Riverdale I was excited and nervous, but as soon as I got here everyone accepted me with open arms.  I am truly blessed to be in the position I’m in; I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”  He went on to say, “My thoughts on the season met my expectations. All I’ve ever wanted to do since I was a kid was to play for a state championship.  I just want to thank everyone for helping me and my family with the transition of moving schools and also thanks to all of the great fans, coaches, and teammates.”

All year the Riverdale fans, and cheerleaders showed up and showed out for this team. The cheerleaders always cheered their hearts out, and the fans (especially a select few) always loved singing the fight song even if it was for one last time of the season at the buzzer in the championship game.

In the loss to Manchester, Parker Almond had 1 touchdown, Ty Jones had 1 touchdown, and Jake Messenger had 2 touchdowns.  Even though the Rebels fell short on the scoreboard in the championship game with a final score of 58 to 26, they are still champions in their Riverdale family’s heart.

This team showed up at every game and played their hearts out every second until the clock ran out, showing everyone what it meant to have the heart of a champion and be a true Riverdale Rebel, making their Riverdale family proud. “Rebels on 3; family on 6,” is what is said at the end of every football game huddle. Thursday night after the championship game, junior Denver Williams said, “One last time.” The Rebels were heard loud and proud, as they said their final, “Rebels on 3; family on 6,” of the year. With a team loaded with talented underclassmen, look for the Rebels back in the championship game in the very near future. We are more than just a school-we are family. Once a Rebel always a Rebel!

Thanksgiving Dishes

By Reba Phelps

Being raised below the Mason-Dixon Line and the poverty line at the same time made for very interesting times during the holidays. Still to this day I am not sure if it was only our family who labeled our pots and pans according to their functions or if this was a normal everyday occurrence in the South. 

We had a chicken and rice pot that was mainly used to cook, you guessed it…chicken and rice. There was the biscuit pan that was torn and tattered and must have baked thousands of homemade biscuits in its lifetime. We also had a pan that was dedicated to the baking of the southern staple known as cornbread. 

The most famous of the named pots and pans was the 70’s avocado green chicken dressing pan. It was larger than all of the other pans in my mother’s kitchen and must have weighed a solid ten pounds empty. She was a plus size pan. Looking back, I am quite sure that the paint on the metal pan was also lead paint. You know, the kind they warn you about today. The edges were starting to chip but that small imperfection did not keep us from using it with pride.  

This beloved pan would make her appearance at all of the major holidays such as Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. It seemed as though her favorite time to shine was at Thanksgiving. This holiday was basically a casserole festival but the dressing was always brought to life from the depths of this heavyweight pan. 

I cannot recall if Pam, the miracle-working non-stick spray, was even invented at this point. I wasn’t even sure if non-stick pans had already made their entrance into society. In either case, our family could not afford either of the two luxuries. So, we would grease a pan with Crisco, keep SOS pads on hand and hope for the best. 

My hope is that you can visualize the foundation of the exquisite pain that my siblings and I experienced as a children. 

Old pans. Holiday casserole festival. Not a non-stick surface in sight. Tons of holiday cookware being used. The icing on the cake would have to be not owing an automatic dish washer. My parents gave birth to the only automatic dishwashers they ever had. 

However, they did try to be fair about the delegating of dishwashing. Each child had a specific night to wash the family dishes. I cannot recall how I became so blessed to be the recipient of the Thanksgiving dishes and Christmas dishes all in the same year. It felt rigged but there was no appeal process for this chore. 

“Get thee behind me Satan, and take these pans with you”…..was the mantra that was on replay throughout the entire holiday season that year. The food seemed to be extra sticky that year, it took lots of elbow grease to get the pans to pass my mothers quality control inspections. It was a memorable year. 

As a child you never truly understand the true meaning of Thanksgiving and it is so easy get lost in all of the work that a holiday can produce. It is not about the amazing homemade food, the fighting over who is washing the dishes nor is it about getting out of school or being off of work. Thanksgiving is meant to be spent with the ones who mean the most to you. The ones you cherish and feel thankful for any extra time God allows with them. 

I am not sure if was the lead paint that made the dressing taste so good or that it was made by my mother’s hands. But, being raised by her and my dad have made me so grateful for every Thanksgiving meal that I am able to spend with my family and friends. May God bless you and keep you during these holidays and remind you to cherish those around you.  

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

I Thessalonians 5:18

Bulldogs Begin Playoffs

The “Road to the Dome” begins at Pat Strother Memorial Stadium Friday night.  Red River High finished the season 5-1.  Their first playoff opponent is a team they defeated earlier this year.  The Lakeview Gators come to town seeking revenge for the 50 to 20 whipping the Bulldogs gave them on October 6th

Red River High is out this week, so there will be no advance ticket sales.  There will still be a severe limit on the number of people that can be admitted to the game.  The school posted, “Tickets will be sold at the gate.  They are $10.00 each.  Lakeview tickets will be sold at visitor gate and Red River tickets will be sold at Red River gate.

The school did not say how many tickets would be sold, but that limited tickets are available.  Recent home games have had 400 tickets for the local fans and 150 for the visitors.  The school said, “Once the stadium  is at capacity, no more tickets will be sold.  A mask must be worn and all COVID safety guidelines must be followed.  

The Governor’s order pushing Louisiana back to Phase Two does not appear to change the allowed attendance at outdoor sporting events.  The latest release from the Governor’s office said, “All sporting events will be capped at 25% capacity.”  And masks are required to be worn at all times.

The gates will not open until 6:00pm.  Kickoff is at 7:00 pm.

Journal Sports is planning to video stream the game live on the Red River Parish Journal’s You Tube channel.  Fans may subscribe to the channel in advance.  Also text message alerts will be sent out 15 minutes before kickoff.  And there will be a link on Facebook to the game.

Red River finished at 8th place in the power rankings.  The final Louisiana Sports Writers Association high school football polls for this season has Red River at number 10 in 2-A.  Here are the standings:

Class AA
1. Lafayette Christian (7) 6-1
2. Many (1) 7-0
3. Newman (1) 8-0
4. Episcopal 8-0
5. Mangham 8-0
6. Ferriday 6-1
7. Notre Dame 7-1
8. Amite 4-1
9. St. Charles 5-2
10. Red River 5-2

Others receiving votes: Kinder 21, Kentwood 10, Dunham 9, North Caddo 8.

Holiday Gala To Be Presented Online

The Mrs. H.D. Dear Sr. and Alice E. Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts at Northwestern State University will present its annual Christmas Gala in a video format that will be available starting Wednesday, Dec. 2.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gala cannot be presented in its normal format, so the School of Creative and Performing Arts decided to present the show online.

The Gala video can be accessed on Dec. 2-6 by going to A link will be provided so that users can make a donation and receive the link to the video. The amount of the donation is up to the individual, but the suggested donation is $5 or $20 per household. Once your donation is received through the online link, you will receive an email with a link to the video recording. The video will not be available after Dec. 6.

“Our goal this year for the Christmas GALA is to give the NSU and Natchitoches community the performance they have come to enjoy and love, just in a new format,” said Gala Director Brett Garfinkel, who is chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance. “We filmed new pieces in different locations and edited together a video performance of the show. For the first time patrons will have the ability to watch the show from the comfort of their own homes.”

Garfinkel said the theme is “A Multicultural Christmas” that will include a little something for everyone. This year’s Gala will combine audience favorites from past shows along with some new additions. There will be performances from students in Northwestern State’s Department of Theatre and Dance, the NSU Improv Troupe, the Demon Dazzlers, the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra, the NSU Drumline, the NSU Jazz Orchestra and the NSU Chamber Choir.

Baby Gumm

By Brad Dison

Frank Gumm was the owner of the New Grand theater in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.  His wife, Ethel, was a former actress, pianist and singer.  Together, they had three daughters, Suzanne, Virginia, and Frances.  Being the youngest, the family called Frances “Baby.”  With the help of their mother, the three Gumm sisters developed their voices and their ears for music.  Before her third birthday, Baby showed an aptitude for singing and dancing.  Even at such a young age, Baby was persistent and practiced constantly. 

Just before Christmas, 1925, Baby decided that it was time to make her performance debut on amateur night at her father’s theater.  If her parents made any attempt to dissuade her, it failed miserably.  She was a determined three-year-old.  She selected a seasonal song and rehearsed it numerous times in front of the family on the stairs which led to the second floor of their home.  On the evening of the performance, Baby wore a white dress donned with sprigs of holly for a seasonal flare.  Someone led her onto the stage and showed her where to stand.  She waited patiently and calmly behind the curtain.  Perhaps she had not yet reached the age when stage freight develops. 

The curtains parted and the public got their first glance at Baby.  Seeing such a small child alone on such a large stage must have been a curious sight.  The crowd probably thought the performance was going to be just another “cute” act at which they were supposed to politely smile and clap.  The orchestra gave Baby a chord as a vocal cue.  That was all she needed.  Baby began singing the song and the orchestra came in right on cue.  As she sang “Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle All the Way,” the audience members’ eyebrows raised and their mouths dropped.  Baby sang in perfect pitch, with perfect timing, and did not miss a single syllable of the lyrics.  The crowd cheered as the song neared the ending and the orchestra played the last few notes.  Baby’s successful debut was over, or so everyone thought. 

As soon as the orchestra finished the last note, Baby began singing the song from the beginning again.  The shocked conductor played along and led the orchestra through “Jingle Bells” a second time.  Again, Baby performed it flawlessly.  Just as before, the crowd cheered for Baby, but she was still not through.  She started the song over and the orchestra played along again.  She performed “Jingle Bells” the third time just as perfectly as her first two performances.  Fearing that Baby would begin the song for a fourth time, her father marched out onto the stage, picked Baby up, and carried her backstage.  Even over their cheering, the crowd chuckled as they heard Baby yelling from backstage, “I want to sing some more.”  However, this was to be her only performance at her father’s New Grand Theater.

Shortly thereafter, the family moved to Lancaster, California, about an hour and a half north of Hollywood.  Baby’s parents developed two different singing acts under different names.  One act featured Baby’s sisters, while the other act featured her parents.  For some unknown reason, Baby was not included in either act.

In 1926, when Baby was four years old, her parents enrolled her in a training program which prepared children for the stage.  Baby’s talent and wit quickly drew attention.  She tried out and got the feature role of Cupid in a production held in downtown Los Angeles.  Vaudevillian performer Gus Edwards watched Baby perform and met her and her two sisters after the show.  Their mother mentioned to Gus that Baby’s older sisters performed as a duo.  Gus watched eagerly as Baby’s sisters performed a song from their act, followed by another song from Baby.  At Gus’s suggestion, Baby and her sisters formed a trio.

The Gumm Sisters performed a wide variety of popular songs and became a popular act.  “Gee, we had a lot of fun,” Baby remembered.  “I was the smallest, so I was always in the middle with my arms around Suzanne and Virginia.  If things seemed to be dull, I used to tickle them in the ribs.  Virginia thought it was funny, but Suzanne took things more seriously.  I certainly did catch it when we got off the stage.” 

Ethel, acting as manager of the Gumm Sisters, drove the trio from California to Chicago to perform at the Oriental theater.  “We were to have billing and everything,” Baby reminisced, “and did we get it!  We no sooner arrived on the scene than we saw there, in lights on the marquee, a sign reading ‘The Glum Sisters.’”  The girls were disheartened.  George Jessel, another performer on the same bill, felt sorry for the girls.  He suggested they change the name of their act.  From then on, the trio performed under a new name.  Soon thereafter, the trio dissolved when Suzanne, and then Virginia, married.

Baby, now twelve years old, went on vacation with her parents to Lake Tahoe.  While there, she performed in a program at the lodge.  A talent scout from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios happened to be at the performance.  A few days later, the talent scout called and asked her to audition at the studio, as they were looking for girl singers. 

Entering the grand gates of the movie studio would have intimidated most aspiring performers, but Baby remained calm.  When she began singing at the audition, everyone within earshot stopped and listened.  Baby had a “childish freshness, naturalness and enthusiasm.”  More experts entered the room and she sang again.  Then another group of experts listened.  All of them agreed and suggested that Louis B. Mayer, head manager of MGM, give her an audition.  Mayer, usually busy with a myriad of tasks, auditioned her on the spot.  Baby sang beautifully and gracefully.  Mayer immediately signed her to a film contract. 

Baby went on to have a successful career in motion pictures, television, and as a recording artist.  She starred as a farm girl from Kansas in one of the most beloved films of all time.  You know Frances “Baby” Gumm by her world-famous stage name…Judy Garland.


  1. The Atlanta Constitution, October 6, 1940, p.53.

Fall Fishing vs. Deer Hunting 

By Steve Graf, Owner/Co-host: Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Show

Well let’s take a survey, would you rather go bass fishing or deer hunting in the Fall? Hmmm… if you ask a die-hard bass angler, he’ll say go bass fishing but if you ask a deer hunter, the answer is obvious. So why would someone choose bass fishing in the Fall over going deer hunting? The answer revolves around one thing for a bass angler…the Fall feeding frenzy! Bass this time of year are on the prowl and gorging themselves on shad. They’re eating shad faster than Jimmy Johnson taking the checkered flag at the Daytona 500. 

But deer hunters are a breed unto themselves. They work long hours preparing food plots, filling up feeders and building deer stands. They spend hours reviewing photos off their game cameras and trying to figure out how they can outsmart Mr. Buck. Deer hunting involves a lot of preparation just like bass fishing. But bass fishing is more about adjusting on fly and changing with the conditions while deer hunters seem to accept the conditions and will attempt to wait for Mr. Buck to make a move. Deer hunters are people on mission…to put meat in the freezer and food on the table.

The Fall feeding frenzy is like no other time of the year as bass try to fatten up for the Winter as they go into more of a dormant mode with water temperatures dropping from the 70’s down into the lower 60’s. If you’re looking for some fun, tie on a shad colored crankbait such as a Bandit 100 or 200 series, a SPRO Aruku Shad or maybe a Strike King 1.5 or 2.0 KVD crankbait. Spinnerbaits are also very effective in the Fall as well. It’s also some of the best topwater action of the year with Pop R’s, Zara Spooks or a fast moving buzz bait churning up the water. Fall bass fishing can be explosive and downright awesome when the bass are in this feeding mode. So if you ask someone what they would rather do, it all depends on if you ask a bass fisherman or a deer hunter. Till next time, don’t forget to set the hook!


By Dr. Herbert Simmons, Jr.

Many Americans were under the belief and impression that the 2020 Presidential election was behind them following the November 3rd election.  After days of sitting on the edge of their seats watching and waiting with great anticipation, the political pundits and major news media networks called the election for President Elect Joe Biden.  We learned shortly thereafter that acceptance of such was not so with the Trump administration.  In fact, as one of the  headlines of my weekly articles was entitled Its Finally Over, Biden Wins Presidential Election, I unfortunately, I fell prey and subscribed to pronouncements of the national pollsters in calling the election for Biden.  We had no idea that events and disinformation such as we are receiving and experiencing from the Trump administration would surface.  With all the political rancor, wrangling and false claims of voter fraud alleged and promoted by President Trump and right wing supporters claiming that Biden was wrongfully declared the winner, Trump is fighting desperately using baseless claims and innuendoes to hang on to power, and refuses to concede the election to Biden.  Yes, many missed the call on the outcome of the 2020 election, thinking that the call was final, oh how wrong we were!

President Trump has gone so far as to deny President Elect Biden access to the daily classified intelligence briefings. The head of the General Services Administration has been ordered by Trump to stand down and not certify the election outcome which would allow access to and release of resources to the Biden transition team.  Trump is unwilling to provide for a smooth transition of power which no doubt will have serious consequences regarding the security of the nation.  Those close to Trump have no political courage and under no circumstance will  urge or  tell Trump that it is time to get out of the way and  allow a smooth transfer of power because his action is putting our democracy at risk and  too much is at stake.  What a message is being sent to the rest of the world!

As a result of Trump’s refusal to accept reality, the nation now finds itself embroiled in a political crisis in addition to having to face the historic and surging numbers of COVID 19 infections and deaths from the Virus,( on November 12th there were over 184 thousand new cases, (the highest number that has ever been reported in a single day), with hundreds of thousands new cases being admitted to hospitals in a single day, and soaring daily death rates.  Over 245 thousand Americans (mothers, fathers, spouses, children, grandparents, nurses, doctors, caregivers and first responders) have lost their lives to COVID 19. It is predicted that by February 2021 the nation could see over 400 thousand new cases of infections per day.  Wow! The nation is in a crisis that includes record unemployment, racial tensions, and unrest throughout the nation.  Another lingering crisis is that of global warming which is producing more and more hurricanes, more flooding and destruction throughout the nation. 

What is The Trump Administration doing to address these crises?  Apparently, nothing.  Recently, he has been cooped up in the White House, or spotted on the golf course while states are running out of hospital beds, makeshift morgues with refrigerated containers are springing up and being used at hospitals throughout the nation.  The nation’s health pandemic has worsened to such a degree that Doctors Without Borders, a world-renown health provider is now lending aid and assistance to one of the world’s COVID hot spots, the United States of America.  Although there is hope and the promise of a forthcoming vaccine, the nation is imperiled and is enduring a period in its history that citizens will long remember.  We must get this pandemic under control now for it is holding the nation hostage.

What is needed most is really committed and effective leadership at the national and state levels and a coordinated national strategy for defeating this virus.  We note and extend our thanks to some of the governors ,who feel they can no longer look to the national government for solutions, and are stepping up to the plate to guide their states through safety measures during this pandemic, given the silence at the White House.  Governors are sounding the alarm in their states advising and encouraging citizens to following the CDC’s national guidelines of simply wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and limiting attendance of large social events and gatherings.  Governors are admitting that we are running out of time as ICU units are being filled.  These governors are tightening up on restrictions, just short of imposing a state lockdown. They are threating to close bars, fitness centers and are on the verge of implementing a stay at home mandate as a last-ditch effort to get the virus under control. 

Dr. Herbert Simmons, Jr. is an associate Professor, Department of Criminal Justice, Grambling State University, former President, Grambling State University Faculty Senate and former Chair, Department of Consumer Education and Resource Management, Howard University, Washington, D.C.

Capitol Briefing

By Gabe Firment

I have the coronavirus. By God’s grace my symptoms have been very mild so far and I pray daily that I am spared the worst of this serious illness that has affected so many across our state and nation in 2020.  Without question, the virus can be deadly for the elderly and for those with underlying health conditions. I have personally lost friends to the virus, and I have had family members hospitalized for treatment. My heartfelt condolences and sincerest sympathies go out to all those who have tragically suffered loss at the hands of Covid-19.

As we approach Thanksgiving Day, it is worth noting that three of the things we are usually most thankful for this time of year are in peril – our health, families, and freedom. We are seeing significant increases in the number of positive coronavirus cases across the country and here at home, prompting some Democratic governors and mayors to issue new stringent lockdown orders. Some of the emergency orders go so far as forbidding families from gathering for Thanksgiving, mandating mask usage inside private homes, and threatening fines and/or prison for those found in violation of these oppressive dictates. 

It is critical that in the midst of dealing with this public health crisis that we do not allow our essential liberties and freedoms to be quashed by the false promises of security offered by authoritarian bureaucrats and overzealous politicians. We must balance public health concerns with our fundamental rights to worship, assemble, and earn a living. In many instances, the leftist politicians issuing these restrictive emergency orders have lost all credibility as they lend their support to violent street protests and dine maskless in swanky restaurants, while banning church services, closing schools, and ordering families not to gather for holiday celebrations. 

I am concerned that we may soon see Gov. Edwards issue a renewed emergency proclamation that moves the state back to a more restrictive phase or even to a complete shutdown of the economy. While I appreciate the enormous pressure on the governor to protect the health of Louisiana’s citizens, I would urge him to consider that we are a free people capable of making our own decisions about the health and well-being of our families. As Americans, we are a fiercely independent people with an innate desire for autonomy and self-determination.     

400 years ago this month a small band of Puritan settlers, fleeing religious persecution in Europe, landed at Plymouth Rock in search of better lives for themselves and their children. On November 21, 1620 the Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact, a short but profoundly important document that laid the foundation for our founding fathers to proclaim that governments “derive their just powers from the consent of the governed”, and that “it is the Right of the People to … institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”  We must not allow fear of this virus to erode 400 years of freedom and self-reliance started by the brave souls who sailed across the Atlantic on the Mayflower so many years ago.

In November of 1621, one year after arriving in the New World, the Pilgrims would celebrate the First Thanksgiving in celebration of God’s providence and protection over their lives. I can confidently say that even in the midst of uncertain elections, devastating storms, and a deadly virus, the United States remains the greatest nation on the face of the earth and the defender of freedom across the globe. I pray that a year from now as we prepare to celebrate our 400th Thanksgiving Day, we are still a free and sovereign people who reside in that shining “City Upon a Hill” envisioned by those early Puritan settlers.

I hope that everyone in District 22 and throughout Louisiana can enjoy this Thanksgiving and take time to appreciate God’s blessings even during troubling times. And let us also consider the words from John Winthrop’s famous 1630 sermon as we leave 2020 behind us with hopes for a brighter future for our nation and state: “For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world.”

If Our Sacred Vote is Lost, America Will Fail

By Royal Alexander

Yes, it is that serious.  The hallmark of a legitimately functioning democracy in a free society is the honest exercise of the voting franchise by its citizens.  Period.  If people become convinced that their vote—the most powerful tool they possess to express themselves, their policy preferences, and to participate in our civic life—is not valued and protected, the rule of law will crumble.  And when the rule of law is gone what results is chaos, anarchy, and the law of the jungle.  Many people in this country already feel powerless and disconnected and if the hope and faith they place in their vote—their voice—is corrupted and destroyed, our nation cannot endure.

That is why what we have and are learning about the presidential election is so deeply disturbing.  If even a fraction of the sworn affidavit testimony and other allegations that have surfaced since Election Day are true, this is the largest, most well-organized, and destructive fraud ever perpetrated on the American people.  Win at all costs has costs and if this “election” is not challenged, fixed, and reversed we will have irreparably damaged our country.  Americans may be disappointed with an outcome but if they feel the contest was conducted freely and fairly, they will accept it.  But not if they believe it was rigged and stolen.  Election officials are public officials, and they owe an honest accounting to the citizens they serve that their work was done according to law and with proper safeguards. 

Perhaps the most upsetting thing is that we don’t know where to turn for justice.  We now know most national media is highly partisan and no longer primarily concerned with pursuing objective, verifiable truth.  In the past we would have relied on the FBI, but that agency’s leadership and moral authority have been compromised in the eyes of many Americans.  The Department of Justice? Do we really have faith the DOJ would put America’s interests—and we the people—first, or is it also irredeemably politicized?  Are there any federal agencies left that unquestionably put America’s interest first?  Perhaps the U.S. Supreme Court will restore the constitutional order.

Jefferson wrote powerfully in the Declaration of Independence that government derives its “just powers from the consent of the governed” and when government no longer serves its essential purpose in protecting and preserving the freedoms and liberties of our citizens—our unalienable rights—it must be “altered or abolished.” In fact, it is our right and duty to “throw off such government…” 

If this apparent theft of a national election is allowed to stand, it may spark the second American revolution.  The great Silent Majority in this country, including the 73 million Americans who voted for President Trump, are simply not going to tolerate this.  We should continue to pray for our nation and speak out demanding that justice be done—which includes continuing this investigation until every legal vote is counted, correctly and transparently.

ETC… for Wednesday, November 25th

Early voting is now going on at the old fire station by the railroad.  There is only one item on the ballot, therefore turnout is light.  The latest information from the Secretary of State indicated that 83 people have voted in Red River Parish.  Only 18 came by to vote in person.  Early voting runs through Saturday, November 28th.

Thursday is the day we celebrate Thanksgiving.  It is a national holiday designed originally for giving thanks to God for his blessings on this country.  Thanksgiving goes back to the earliest settlers, many of whom came to the new world to escape religious persecution in Europe.  However you celebrate, take a few minutes to reflect how fortunate we are. 

Due to the holiday, the Journal will have an abbreviated issue on Friday.  Of course if there are major news developments that impact the parish, we will put out a special edition.  Otherwise, enjoy your day, eat too much, and forget about everything else for a while.

Dr. James Aubrey Guin

Funeral services for Dr. James Aubrey Guin, 78, of Ashland, LA will be held at 2 P.M. Wednesday, November 25, 2020 at Ashland Baptist Church with Dr. David Moore, Bro. Austin Hand, and Bro. Perry Anderson officiating.  Interment will follow in Weaver Cemetery.  Visitation will be held from 6 P.M. until 8 P.M. Tuesday, November 24, 2020 at Ashland Baptist Church.  Services under the direction of Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home, Coushatta, LA.

Dr. James Aubrey Guin was born September 21, 1942 in Campti, LA and passed away from this life on November 22, 2020 in Ashland, LA.

He married Dorothy Ann Wooley August 10, 1968 and they had two daughters, Jennifer and Danielle.  They are members of Ashland Baptist Church where he served the church in many capacities, including Deacon.

Dr. Guin had an extensive career in the education of young people.  He truly loved his profession. 

He enjoyed hunting, fishing and watching any type of sports.  He was a farmer, at heart, always having cows, horses and any type of chicken, duck or goose you could imagine. 

He had a servant’s heart always wanting to help others and offering anything he had to someone in need.  He will be sorely missed by all who knew and loved him.

Those left to cherish his memory include his wife of 52 years, Dorothy Wooley Guin; daughters, Jennifer Griffin, and husband Bill, Danielle Curole and husband, Chad; grandchildren, Josie LeAnne Griffin of Winnfield and fiancé’ Nathan Schloer, Allie Danielle Curole of Ashland, LA, and Bradley Griffin and wife Amanda of Winnfield; great-grandchildren, Callie Griffin, John Bradley Griffin, and Carly Griffin; brothers, Travis Guin (Mary Beth) of Campti, Gary Guin (Bonnie) of Blanchard, Ronald Guin (Pam) of Campti; sisters, Caroline Tauzin (Joe) of Bossier City, Barbara Vercher (Mike) of Bossier City, Shirley Mustin (John) of Campti; sisters and brothers-in-law, Bobby and Maxine Lum, Johnny and Lillian Wooley all of Ashland; numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews; and his aunt, Jeannie Wallace.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Travis Daniel and Aleene Wallace Guin; his sisters, Rubye Guin Morgan and Patsy Guin Thompson.

Gentleman and a Scholar—is the best way I can describe him.  But he was so much more than that to all of us who loved him.  Husband, Daddy, Poppa, son, brother and uncle were a few names he would answer to, but he was not a person that could be easily defined by a single title.  He was known as a teacher, coach, principal, Sunday school teacher, Deacon, friend and colleague.

His unique love for education began at an early age.  As the fourth of nine children, he was eager to be an individual.  He begged his parents to let him go to school, and even though he was only 4 years old, he began first grade in Campti, Louisiana.

He graduated in 1959, at age 16, from Campti High School.  From there he went to Northwestern State University where he graduated in the spring of 1963, at age 19.

While in college, he had no vehicle, so he would catch rides to school.  After school, he would help his parents in their fish market and also, was a guide on Black Lake. 

He graduated on a Saturday from NSU and received draft papers on the following Monday, for the Vietnam War.  He decided to enlist in the United States Navy.

He spent four years on the USS Henry W. Tucker, a Gearing-Class destroyer, traveling all over the world.  He was an air traffic controller and was in active combat stationed for 28 months in the waters off Vietnam.  His ship received enemy fire for 22 of those months. 

He completed his tour of duty in 1967, with the rank of Lieutenant.  Because the nature of his job in communications required him to have Top Secret security, he was kept on active duty in the case he needed to be recalled.

In July 1967, he met Dorothy Ann Wooley and they began dating.  At this point he was the basketball coach and History/French teacher at Flora High School.  Their dates consisted of basketball games.  They often joked that they never even went to a movie.  His basketball team won their District competition that year.  He stayed at Flora through 1968, with the closing of the school.

From Flora, he went to Campti High School.  He worked there as a teacher and coach, until 1973. 

In the fall of 1973, he was hired as Principal of Ashland High School.  He was the youngest principal in the parish at that time.  He was there until the school closed in the summer of 1981. 

He went to North Natchitoches Elementary as Principal for a half year, then took a sabbatical to start work on doctoral classes.

In 1982, he was named Principal at Goldonna Elementary School.  He was there for five years.

In the fall of 1987, he was named Principal at Campti High School.  He was instrumental in the planning and construction of the new Lakeview High School.  The first graduating class included Danielle.  He was her principal at Ashland, Goldonna, and Lakeview.  He was Jennifer’s principal at Ashland.

While principal at Campti High School, he wrote his dissertation and he received his Ed.D from Northwestern State University in 1990.

He retired from the NPSB in 2000.

The year 2001, brought the sources of his greatest joy, Josie LeAnne Griffin and Allie Danielle Curole.  He loved them beyond words and was very active in their lives.  But school called him once again.

He was an adjunct teacher at Northwestern State University teaching administration and principalship classes.  He also worked with the State Department of Education during this time.

In Spring 2008, he was asked to help the Red River Parish School Board with their testing program.  He taught classes in Civics and history.  He had come full circle at this point, back to teaching, which he loved.

In the fall of 2009, he was named Principal of Castor High School.  He was instrumental in the planning and construction of several new structures at the school, including a new sports complex, new vocational shop and other structures that would enhance the school for the students.  He remained at Castor until the summer of 2020.

Serving as pallbearers will be Bill Griffin, Chad Curole, Bradley Griffin, Nathan Schloer, Randall Rushing, Evan Warren, John Alan Wooley, and Troy Wamsley.  Honorary pallbearers will be Bruce LeBrun, Ronnie Quick, Bo Jinks, Michael Roderick, Danny Weaver, Anthony Hay, Nelson Conlay, Jr., Greg Warren, and the Deacons of Ashland Baptist Church.