First Baptist Church Children’s Musical

By Faerie Sledge

The children’s choir of the First Baptist Church Coushatta presented its annual Christmas musical on Sunday night, December 6, 2020, in the sanctuary. The musical was Straight Outta Bethlehem by Christy and Daniel Semsen. It is the story of Christ’s birth from the outlook of several orphans of Bethlehem. As the story line by the Semsens goes, “God sent his Son straight outta Bethlehem—an unlikely place in an unlikely time.”

The orphans were played by Michael Allen, Adyson Barrett, Cannon Breedlove, McKinley Davis, Reagan Davis, Julia Mills, and Hannah Murray. Summer Rushing was the innkeeper. The Disco Angels were Dally Bell and Hope Mills. Cast as the Disco Shepherds were Bella Allen, Layla Allen, Carter Breedlove, and Ryder Shaver.

Three months old Keagan McCarthy made a special appearance as baby Jesus. Mary was played by Sarah Garrett and Joseph by Dr. Hunter Brown.

Animal choir members included Zachary Garrett and Micah Webb as the chickens along with Ebony Brown, Ivory Brown, Jillian Shaver, and Hardee Waters as the sheep. Cast as the donkeys were Trevor Bell, Morgan Moseley, Sam Murray, and Landon Webb. The cows were played by Dally Bell and Hope Mills. Rounding out the animal cast were Levi Brown and Jett Waters as the cats.

The sixth graders appearing in their final children’s choir performance were Summer Rushing and Cannon Breedlove.

Julie Page is choir director. She was assisted on the musical by Melanie Davis, Jennifer Moseley, and Lindsay Waters. Helping out on lighting and sound were Kara Mitchell and Nicole Webb. Dr. Nathan Davis is pastor.

Back – Adyson Barrett, Julia Mills, Summer Rushing, McKinley Davis & Hannah Murray
Front – Reagan Davis, Cannonb Breedlove & Michael Allen
Sixth Graders – Summer Rushing & Cannon Breedlove
The Angels – Dally Bell & Hope Mills
The Shepherds – Carter Breedlove, Layla Allen, Bells Allen & Ryder Shaver.
The Sheep – Hardee Waters, Ebony Brown, Jilian Shaver & Ivory Brown
The Cats – Jett Waters & Levi Brown
The Donkeys – Morgan Moseley, Trevor Bell, Landon Webb & Sam Murray
The Cows – Dally Bell and Hope Mills
The Chickens – Zachary Garrett & Micah Webb
Mary & Joseph – Sarah Garrett & Dr. Hunter Brown
Keegan McCarthy as Baby Jesus

Calvary Prevails

The Calvary Baptist Academy Cavaliers took control early and never let the Bulldogs get command of the game Monday night.  Final score was the Cavaliers 67 and Red River 51.

Calvary is a well-coached team and despite moments of sloppy play, they out maneuvered Red River all the way.  And whatever you do, don’t let Daniel Ortiz or Labree Williams, Jr. get to the foul line.

The Dawgs got good production from the starting five.  Trey Smith and Antron Williams each had 10 points, Marcus Brewer 8, Brandon Harris 12, and D’Evan McDonald 9.  However it was not enough to overcome an early Calvary lead that held up through the game.

There is an old saying that you don’t learn anything playing a weak team.  But you do when you play a highly skilled team.  Calvary is the team to learn from.  They have defeated teams this fall by 15 to 60 points.

The Journal wants to thank Brady Williams of TBW Photography for the great game photos.

Who Wants the Last $100?

The Journal asks if you want to be our next, and final winner of $100 in the Christmas Holiday Giveaway?  If you do, register today.  Here is the link to register:

Our final winner will be announced in Friday’s edition.

Pictured with this article are our winners from Christmas week.  They are Charles Frye and Nelda Fields.  Each received a $50 gift card to Rivertown Market and a $50 gift card to York Chop.

The winner in this edition of The Journal is Bridget Denise Cole of Coushatta.  She works at International Paper in Campti.  She also wins $100 in gift cards.

One more winner will be named in Friday’s edition.  If you have not registered, do so today. 

Two Riverdale Football Players on MSAIS All-Star Team

By Molly Seales

Each year for football and other sports, the MSAIS coaches select outstanding seniors to play in the all-star game.  It is a high honor to be chosen for this team because players are chosen from all classes from 1A-6A.  This year Riverdale Academy had two players chosen for the team:  Parker Almond and Paul Messenger.

Both of these players put up outstanding performances this season on offense and on defense. During this Cinderella season, #2 Parker Almond had 40 receptions for 969 yards and 13 touchdowns.  He had 3 punt returns for touchdowns.  He had a total of 1,327 total yards for the year.  #4 Paul Messenger had 169 carries for 1183 yards and 15 touchdowns. He had a total of 1,224 total yards for the year. Both of them did their part on defense as well.  Parker had 42 total tackles, including 5 tackles for loss and 1 sack.  He had 5 interceptions, and he returned 3 of them for touchdowns.  He also had 6 pass deflections, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery.  Paul had a total of 87 tackles, including 14 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, and 1 interception.

The Class 1A-3A All Star Game was held on December 4 at 2:00 p.m. at Jackson Prep in Jackson, Mississippi.  Due to basketball practice and an upcoming tournament, Parker opted out of playing in the all-star game to focus on basketball, where he is a starting guard and leader of the team. Paul reported to Jackson on Wednesday, December 2, to begin preparing for the game.  His parents, Clay and Ashlie Messenger, and Grandmother Mary Almond made the trip on Friday to cheer him on.  Paul was on the white team and wore #8 for the game.  His coaches chose him for the honor of being defensive captain of his team for the 1A-3A all-star game.  His coach Jared Smelser said, “Coaches have called me telling me it was a pleasure to coach him and how great of a kid he is.” During the game, Paul played many quality minutes at middle linebacker and full back.  His stellar senior season ended in one final win, as the white team defeated the blue team in a thrilling 13-9 victory. 

After the All-Star Game Paul’s mother Ashlie posted on Facebook,  “White team wins 13-9! What a way to wrap up Paul’s senior year of football. He was the defensive captain for his team and played quite a bit of offense too.  As we walked away one of his teammates called out, ‘See ya in basketball!’ and just like that, they’ll be opponents again.  He’ll never forget this experience, nor will we.  So thankful!”

The Riverdale Rebel fans will really miss watching Paul and Parker, as well as seniors Witt Almond and Brennan Edie, on the field next year. Congratulations to all four of these seniors on a spectacular final season of high school football.


Dipper’s New Year’s Celebration

By Brad Dison

“Happy New Year!” Everyone in New Orleans, it seemed, was out in the streets celebrating the passing of the old year, 1912, and was welcoming in the new, 1913.  Brass bands paraded through the neighborhoods playing Dixieland jazz by torch light.  People with expendable incomes shot off Roman candles and other fireworks, while others celebrated by making as much noise as possible with whatever they could find.  People banged on pots and pans, scrap pieces of metal and tin, anything that would make a noise.  Another popular form of ringing in the new year was firing guns into the air, which was and is illegal in most cities and towns.  They accompanied whatever noise they could make by yelling, “Happy New Year!” 

Eleven-year-old Dipper had no money for frivolities such as fireworks.  He grew up in one of the most impoverished and dangerous neighborhoods in New Orleans.  His father had left when he was just a few years old and his mother worked odd jobs to keep Dipper and his sister fed.  Dipper had several “stepfathers” through the years, some of which were good for Dipper’s family, but most were not.

Dipper took odd jobs to help his mother buy food for the family.  Even at the young age of eleven, he realized he needed to do his part for his family’s survival.  He hustled newspapers, coal, and anything else he could get his hands upon legally.  He and three of his friends became street performers and formed a singing quartet.  Dipper and his friends walked down street after street singing the popular hits of the day.  If someone liked their singing and had some spare change, they motioned for the quartet to sing a few songs for them.  Afterword, the customer gave them some spare change, which the quartet divided up.  Dipper gave his earnings to his mother. 

On December 31, 1912, Dipper and his four friends wandered through the streets looking for a customer with some spare change.  Dipper was well prepared to ring in the new year.  Earlier in the evening, he went into his mother’s trunk and found his stepfather’s .38 caliber revolver pistol.  He stealthily removed the pistol from the trunk and slipped it into his pocket.  He had found his noisemaker.

Dipper and the other members of the quartet were enjoying themselves on this New Year’s Eve.  They sang, laughed, joked around, and sang some more.  As they were walking and singing on Rampart Street, they were interrupted by six shots from a small caliber pistol.  “dy-dy-dy-dy-dy-dy.”  Someone yelled, “Happy New Year!”  Dipper heard what a pathetic sound the small caliber pistol made and motioned to his friends.  He pulled the .38 caliber pistol from his pocket, aimed it toward the sky, and fired.  POW!   POW!   POW!   POW!   POW!   POW!  “Happy New Year!”  People all around them laughed. 

After the laughter died down, Dipper pocketed the pistol and the quartet continued down Rampart Street singing for tips.  A little while later, Dipper reloaded the pistol, aimed it toward the sky, and fired six more shots.  POW!   POW!   POW!   POW!   POW!   POW!  Just then, Dipper felt two strong hands grab him from behind.  His friends ran.  For Dipper, there was no escape.  The two strong hands belonged to a New Orleans detective.  He begged, cried, and pleaded for the detective to allow him to go home, but the detective disregarded his pleas and took him to jail.

Dipper was scared.  He had never been arrested and wondered what would become of him.  The next morning, a juvenile court judge sentence him to spend an undetermined length of time in the Waifs’ Home for Boys.  A policeman transported Dipper and several other boys to the Waifs’ Home in a prison cart led by two horses.     

Dipper was terrified when they reached the Waifs’ Home.  He and the other boys were stripped of their clothes, forced into showers, were checked for lice, and received ill-fitting uniforms.  One of the keepers led the newcomers into the mess hall where other inmates sat eating “white beans without rice out of tin plates.”  For three days, Dipper was too afraid to eat.  The keepers and other inmates mocked Dipper for not eating, but he gave no response.  On the fourth day, his hunger was too strong for him to ignore.

In addition to scrubbing floors, making beds, and a myriad of other undesirable but necessary chores, the keepers at the Waifs’ Home taught Dipper and the other boys various skills.  Mr. Jones drilled the boys every morning and taught them the proper way to use rifles in formation with wooden rifles.  Mr. Alexander taught carpentry and gardening.  Mr. Davis gave the boys other vocational training, which included music.  One of the only choices the boys had in the Waifs’ Home was their selection of vocation.  Dipper had always been drawn to music and naturally gravitated towards Mr. Davis’s orchestra.  For the first six months, Mr. Davis refused to allow Dipper to actually play any instrument, and Dipper had been too afraid to ask.  Finally, Mr. Davis asked Dipper if he wanted to play in the band.  Dipper was excited.  Rather than hand him a cornet, the instrument Dipper had dreamed of playing, Mr. Davis handed him a tambourine.  Although disappointed, Dipper played the tambourine with such unique style that Mr. Davis immediately made him the drummer in their marching brass band.  Within a short time, Mr. Davis, pleased at Dipper’s quick progress with the drums, taught him how to play an alto saxophone.  Dipper was a quick student and progressed quickly.  Dipper became the bugler for the Waifs’ Home, which was a coveted position because the bugler was excused from most of the undesirable chores required of the other boys.  Dipper had so impressed Mr. Davis that he made Dipper the leader of the brass band and taught him how to play the cornet.  Dipper “was in seventh heaven.”  Dipper practiced the cornet faithfully and impressed everyone who heard his unique style. 

He was eventually freed from the Waifs’ Home.  For years, Dipper worked at manual labor during the day and played his cornet at night.  He eventually became world-famous for his unique playing and singing abilities.  Had it not been for Dipper’s arrest on New Year’s Eve and his incarceration at the Waifs’ Home for Boys, we may never have heard the musical talents of a man who went by many nicknames including Dipper, Dippermouth, Pops, and Satchmo (short for Satchel Mouth).  Dipper’s real name was Louis Armstrong.


Armstrong, Louis. Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans. New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1986.      

4H Nutrition

Here is a suggestion from the Red River 4-H office.  Join us for A New Year, An Improved You, a virtual lesson that provides tips to have a healthier new year. This FREE lesson is offered on January 12 and January 22.

Nutrition agents will discuss ways to build a balanced meal, consuming calories wisely, be physically active without going to a gym, and how to do it all at a reasonable cost. Ditch the “all or nothing” approach to new year dieting and join us for approachable ways to improve your overall health. 

To sign-up, copy this link in your browser.

Electoral College Process Allows For Principled Objections

By Royal Alexander

Votes not ‘regularly given’ or an elector not ‘lawfully certified’ include objections to individual electoral votes or to state returns as a whole

Polling indicates that as much as 54% of the country feels the presidential election was not fairly and honestly conducted and, therefore, that the outcome is illegitimate.  So, at this point, what can be done about that?

Short of the U.S. Supreme Court deciding to hear a case that challenges the voting procedures in the contested states, the only likely constitutional and/or statutory path left is an objection in the Joint Session.  The objection would have to be based on the allegation that an electoral vote was “not regularly given” or that an elector was “not lawfully certified.”  (3 U.S.C. § 15).  These two grounds are considered by legal scholars to include objections to individual electoral votes or to state returns as whole.

The specific procedure for making objections to the counting of electoral votes is as follows:  The objection must be presented in writing and must be signed by at least one Senator and one Representative.  The objection must state clearly and concisely, and without argument, the grounds for the objection.  When an objection is properly made in writing and endorsed by at least one Senator and one Representative, the joint session is suspended, and each house then meets separately to consider the objection.

So, the House meets alone and the Senate withdraws from the House chamber to also separately consider and debate the objection for no more than two hours and then vote whether to count the electoral vote (s).  If both houses then vote separately and, by a simple majority, don’t each agree to the objection, the objection fails and those electoral vote (s) are counted.

Of course, the reason the electors are so important is because the Electoral College is the formal body that actually elects the President and VP.  Each state has as many “electors” in the Electoral College as it has Representatives and Senators in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. (LA. has 8).  So, when voters vote in a Presidential election, they are actually voting for a slate of electors who vow to cast their ballots for that ticket in the Electoral College.

On Jan 3, 2021, the new Congress will be sworn in.  On Jan. 6, 2021, at 1:00 pm, the new Congress counts the electoral votes at a joint session of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House in the U.S. House chamber.  The President of the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence, presides over the joint session.  This process usually certifies a winner of the presidential election.

We will see whether it does this time.  Even if the outcome of the election is not changed, making objections that must be separately heard and voted upon is a highly visible—and highly principled—manner by which to formally declare on the record whether this election was conducted in a way that deserves the faith in, and support of, millions of American voters.

(P.S.  As an aside, I offer again that the State Legislatures in each of the disputed states—Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Pennsylvania—clearly possess the plenary (complete) constitutional authority to decide which electors to certify.  Recall that because the new Congress doesn’t meet until Jan. 3rd, electoral votes are not counted until Jan. 6, and a new president is not inaugurated until Jan. 20th, any certification that has been made—remember Dec. 8th and Dec. 14th are statutory deadlines not constitutional ones—can still be rescinded and a correct certification of electors made by each legislature.  It is the state legislatures that must act).

Notice of Death – December 30, 2020

Mary Lucille Williams

August 26, 1955 to December 25, 2020

Dorothy Norred

April 24, 1934 to December 28, 2020

Paul Avery Blakesley

October 3, 1956 to December 28, 2020

Ruth Ethylene Carney McLaren

August 18, 1938 to December 29, 2020


ETC… for Wednesday, December 30th

Red River is getting a new Judge.  Luke Mitchell will be sworn in Friday, January 1st.  Mitchell told The Journal the swearing in will take place at 1:00 pm at the Courthouse.

Here are a couple of upcoming events from Red River Cowboy Church.  In the arena, the 4th playday of the series is Saturday, January 2nd!!  Exhibition barrels from 9-10:30. Playday begins at 11:00.

The following Sunday at Cowboy Church, Brother Daily with Wild Horse Ministries will be bringing the Sunday Message Jan 10th. Come out and be a part of it.

Riverdale basketball has been on holiday for the past couple of weeks.  They are scheduled to resume Saturday afternoon.  Riverfield Academy is scheduled to be in town. There will be JV games starting at 2:00 pm.  The varsity games will begin about 4:00.  Journal Sports is planning on broadcasting the varsity games live.  Here is the link to listen: