Ruth Ethylene Carney McLaren

Funeral services for Ruth Ethylene Carney McLaren, 82, of Fairview Alpha, LA will be held at 10 A.M. Thursday, December 31, 2020 at Davis Springs Southern Methodist Church Activities Building with her husband, Bro. Olan McLaren officiating and Bro. Robert Frederick assisting.  Interment will follow in Davis Springs Cemetery.  Visitation will be held from 6 P.M. until 8 P.M. Wednesday, December 30, 2020 at Davis Springs Southern Methodist Church Activities Building.  Funeral services under the direction of Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home, Coushatta, LA.

Ms. Ethylene was born August 18, 1938 in Coushatta, LA and passed away December 29, 2020.

Ms. Ethylene, known as “Mamaw” or “Aunt Nene” to most everyone, married her high school sweetheart Dec. 27, 1955, during their senior year.  They graduated in May of 1956. 

She was a homemaker until 1969 when she went to work at Fairview Alpha High School as secretary.  She retired after serving 36 years.  She was a member of Davis Springs Southern Methodist Church where she taught Sunday School and kept the nursery for over 50 years. There was a mutual love between her and her “children”, even though she disciplined them when necessary.

She was a devoted mother and mamaw to the Fairview Alpha Community.  She loved to cook and was known for her fried fish, tomato gravy, purple hull peas and blueberry crunch.  She always had an open door to everyone and no one ever left hungry. 

She loved country music and made many trips to Branson, always seeing her favorite entertainer Mickey Gilley. 

She served her family, her church and her community.  She made over 300 tied blankets and gave away each one. She was a hard worker and had the heart of a servant. She will be dearly missed by all who knew her.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Roy and Nettie Carney; in-laws, Olan N. “Mac” and Buena McLaren; brother, Roy Lynn “Pistol” Carney; and son-in-law, Mark Riggs.

Ms. Ethylene is survived by her husband of 65 years, Olan D. McLaren; children, Barbara Holland and husband Terry, Phillip McLaren and wife Cindy, Ken McLaren and wife Theresa, and Melissa Frye and husband Henry; grandchildren: Jennifer Morrow and husband Rick, Jeremy Riggs and wife Joni, Torri Tonahill and husband Jesse, Cassie Tena and husband Edward, Erin McLaren, Emily Wiggins and husband Mitch, Tyler McLaren, Joshua McKerley and wife Katie, Madison McLaren, and Jace Miley; great-grandchildren: Jaylee Wyatt and husband Colby, Jackson Riggs, Jammeson McIntyre, Julia Grace Riggs, Kipten Tonahill, Jack Tena, Beau Tena, Keeli Tonahill, Amari Moore, Keegan Tonahill, Benjamin Wiggins, Levi McKerley, and Kendall McLaren; great-great grandson, Elijah Wyatt and great-great granddaughter on the way, Marlee Kate Wyatt; brother, George “Cogger” Carney; sisters, Laura Ables, JoAnn Vaughan and husband Skip, and Nelda Corley; and sister-in-law, Betty Carney.

Pallbearers will be Jeremy Riggs, Tyler McLaren, Joshua McKerley, Jace Miley, Jackson Riggs, and Jammeson McIntyre.

The family wishes to express a special thanks to Hospice of Natchitoches, especially Haley Roberts and Dorcas Bernstein.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or the charity of your choice.

“Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

Paul Avery Blakesley

Graveside services for Paul Avery Blakesley, 64, of Fairview Alpha, LA will be held at 12 Noon, Saturday, January 2, 2021 at Baker Cemetery with Bro. Marvin “Blackie” Burkett officiating.  Visitation will be held from 10 A.M. until 11 A.M. on Saturday, January 2, 2021 at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home.

Mr. Blakesley was born October 3, 1956 in Shreveport, LA and passed away December 28, 2020.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Mary Shelton.

Mr. Blakesley is survived by two brothers, Ralph Yount and wife, Vicky of Fairview Alpha, LA and Rick Shelton of Bossier City, LA; one sister, Judy Cox of Coushatta, LA; numerous nieces and nephews; special friend, Cindy Harveston; and special niece, Kimberly Pfotenhauer.

Pallbearers will be Jimmy Adams, Dennis Pfotehnauer, Colt Jackson, Randy Jackson, Christopher Rivet, and J. D. Philyaw.  Honorary pallbearer will be Brooks Baker.

Mary Lucille Williams

Graveside services for Mary Lucille Williams, 65, of Coushatta, LA will be held at 2 P.M. Wednesday, December 30, 2020 at Bethany Cemetery.  Visitation will be held from 11 A.M. until 1 P.M. Wednesday, December 30, 2020 at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home.

Mrs. Williams was born August 26, 1955 in Shreveport, LA and passed away December 25, 2020.  Lucille was a lady that had a heart of gold.  She was always providing for others and wanted to be sure that their needs were taken care of.  She enjoyed spending time daily at the Council on Aging with her friends who were like family to her.  Lucille also had a deep love for her own family.  She will always be remembered and missed by all those who knew her and loved her.

She was preceded in death by her fathers, Leslie Roser and Charley Cox; mother, Jewel Cox; and sister, Leola Hugg.

Mrs. Williams is survived by her son, John Vinzant and wife, Joett; daughter, Denica Vinzant; one brother, Billy Mangham; four grandchildren, Makenzie Vinzant, Dusty, Katie Young, and Hevin Tilley; one great-granddaughter, Piper Young; and two expected great-grandchildren; niece, Debbie Rutan; nephew, Billy Yount; and special aunt, Betty Carney.

Dorothy Norred

Celebration of life and home going service for Dorothy Norred will be held 10:00 AM Wednesday, December 30, 2020 in Social Springs Baptist Church with Rev. James Hester officiating.  Burial will follow in Social Springs Cemetery in the Social Springs Community, LA.  Visitation will be held from 5:00 PM until 8:00 PM Tuesday, December 29, 2020 at the church.

Mrs. Norred, 86, of Social Springs Community went to be with her Lord and Savior Monday, December 28, 2020 in Coushatta, LA.

Mrs. Norred was a native of Social Springs Community.  She was born April 24, 1934 in Lena, LA to  parents, Clarence and Ophelia Adams Rachal and later adopted by Clevin and Clarice Woodard Rachal.  Mrs. Norred was a wonderful mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

Preceding her in death are her adoptive parents; biological parents; husband, Jasper Norred; brother, Glen Rachal, and grandson, Kyle Norred.

Those left to cherish her memory are her sisters, Juanita Dodd and Vera Bamburg; son, Kenneth J. Norred and wife, Kay; daughter, Stephanie Hinds and husband, Ricky; four grandchildren, Clay Hinds and wife Cassy, Kane Norred and wife Kari, Cole Hinds and wife Natalie, and Katy Ley; five great-grandchildren, Ava Norred, Jackson Norred, Ella Norred, Vivian Norred, and Walker Hinds and numerous friends, relatives, nieces and nephews.

Honoring her as pallbearers will be Clay Hinds, Kane Norred, Cole Hinds, Kevin Guice, Joe Giddens, and Rodney Griffin.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Social Springs Baptist Church Building Fund.

Merry Christmas???

We greet each other with “Merry Christmas” this time of year.  And we end conversations with the same greeting.  But why?  Why say this and do we mean it?

But have you ever stopped to wonder where the phrase “Merry Christmas” actually comes from? After all, for most other holidays, we use the word “happy.” In a world where “Happy Easter” and “Happy Birthday” are the norm, that “merry” part of “Merry Christmas” is unique—to say the least.

No one is entirely certain of the answer, but there are several interesting theories.

A scan of the internet brings up these interesting thoughts:

For starters, it’s important to note that “Happy Christmas” hasn’t faded completely—it’s still widely used in England. This is believed to be because “happy” took on a higher class connotation than “merry,” which was associated with the rowdiness of the lower classes. The royal family adopted “Happy Christmas” as their preferred greeting, and others took note. (In fact, each year, Queen Elizabeth continues to wish her citizens a “Happy Christmas,” rather than a merry one.)

From Wonderopolis:

Historians and linguists can’t pinpoint for sure exactly why we tend to use Merry Christmas. The greeting dates back to at least 1534 in London, when it was written in a letter sent to Henry VIII’s chief minister Thomas Cromwell from bishop John Fisher. Scholars also note the phrase was used in the 16th century English carol “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

From NBC News:

Today, however, the practice of using “Merry Christmas” is a fraught one. The choice between sticking with the traditional salutation or the more politically correct “Happy Holidays” is riven by differences in ideology, age, geography and gender. The person most likely to insist on “Merry Christmas” would be a Republican man over 60 who lives in the Midwest; the archetypal “Happy Holidays” proponent is a young (18 to 29) female Democrat living in the Northeast.

The political gap can be particularly large: A 2016 Public Religion Research Institute survey found, for example, that in response to the question, “Do you think stores and businesses should greet their customers with ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Seasons Greetings’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas’ out of respect for people of different faiths, or not?” 67 percent of Republicans said “No” and 66 percent of Democrats said “Yes.”

After thinking all this over and putting aside all the “political correctness” one may choose to follow, Merry Christmas is the preferred greeting of many folks in our area.  Underlying there may be a desire to acknowledge the birth of Jesus or Immanuel.  After all the angels announced to the shepherds that cold night that “I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:  to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. (Luke 1:10-11 NRSV).”

And that is the reason we celebrate.  MERRY CHRISTMAS!

We’ll Stay In Phase Two Through Mid-January

From The Center Square

Gov. John Bel Edwards on Tuesday said he would not change any of the regulations currently in place to control the spread of COVID-19, keeping the state in a modified version of “Phase 2” of the White House-approved mandates through January 13.

The staged rollout of COVID-19 vaccines brings hope that the pandemic will end at some point next year. But Louisiana remains in a precarious situation as the death toll and number of people who are hospitalized continues to climb, officials said while urging residents not to hold large holiday gatherings with people from different households.

“We’re too close to the finish line to make mistakes now, mistakes that are permanent and can’t be undone,” Edwards said.

Restaurants, gyms, barbers, salons, theaters and most retail businesses will continue to be limited to half of their normal indoor capacity. Places of worship will remain at a maximum of 75 percent of their capacity or the number of people who can physically distance with at least six feet between each immediate household.

For bars in parishes where the positivity rate (the proportion of COVID-19 tests that come back positive) is above 5 percent, barrooms are closed to indoor sales and consumption but can still serve up to 50 people outside. Indoor gatherings at event centers and sporting events are limited to 25 percent capacity, while outdoor gatherings where maintaining physical distance is not possible are limited to 25% capacity or up to 150 individuals.

Gifts of the Magi

On Saturday December 19th twelve Coushatta families received early Christmas presents through the Gifts of the Magi Program sponsored by St. George Catholic Church in Coushatta, Mary Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Bossier and the St. Vincent de Paul Program.

Fifty children received 2 presents each and each family received a family game, a food box, fresh fruit and a frozen chicken. This is an annual event that Ms. Iverson from Red River Elementary assists in. This year due to Covid, it was a drive through event, which didn’t dampen the many smiles and warm wishes for a Merry Christmas!

St. George Catholic Church is on the Ashland Road, 3076 Highway 155.

“An All-American Christmas”

By Molly Seales

On Friday morning, December 18, the students of Riverdale Academy presented the musical “An All-American Christmas” for their friends and family.  They practiced hard for a couple of weeks before the presentation and did a wonderful presentation.  Principal and former music teacher Danny Rester led the students as they sang about American Christmas traditions and how they came to be.

The program began as the 3rd and 4th graders sang, “An All-American Christmas,” with narration by Trevor Bell, Hasty Davis, Porter Eaves, Brylee Halbmaier, Ellie Reese Hillman, and William McCoy. Next the 7th and 8th graders sang “Roots.”  Then the 5th and 6th graders sang, “We Gather Together,” with narration by Madalynn Baxley, Kenna Coleman, Brooklyn Giddings, Jackson Hillman, Kaden McNeely, Ryder Shaver, and Isabella Stephens. The 5th and 6th graders also sang, “Over the River,” with narration by Cannon Breedlove and Kaleigh Pickett.

After this, Mr. Rester’s 10th Grade religion class presented a Christmas Eve service featuring the lighting of the advent candles.  3rd grade teacher Brittney Mancil gave the invocation before they began. Students participating in this were Ben Almond, Emma Clemons, Jessie Kate Cobb, Luke Greer, Emily Kirkland, Mason Murray, Tyler Parker, Molly Seales, and James Wagoner. During the Christmas Eve service, students and guests sang “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” “Away in a Manger,” “The First Noel,” and “Joy to the World.”

After the Christmas Eve service, there was a narration entitled “Babe of Bethlehem.”  Readers were Darcey Bohannon, Destiney Bohannon, Preston Eaves, Ally Kate Hillman, Krista Mancil, Lexi Mancil, Alaina  Boyd, Hanna Catherine Huddleston, Mary Claire Jones, Ayla Knotts, Makayla Pickett, and Gracie Stephens. After the narration, the 1st and 2nd graders sang “We Three Kings” and “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.” 

As students neared the end of the program, a “Santa Underscore” was played and accompanied by narration from Shirley Boyd, Kacie Harper, Jadyn King, and Matthew Seales.  PreK and Kindergarten wowed the crowd as they sang (and a couple danced) to “Must Be Santa.”  For the finale, students in grades PreK-8th sang “Yankee Doodle Santa,” and, following a narration by Brennan Edie, also sang “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

I think that everyone in attendance really enjoyed the program.  Afterwards, students were dismissed to their class Christmas parties and then went home to begin their much- anticipated Christmas Break.  The teachers then enjoyed a pot luck luncheon where they revealed their Secret Santa’s.  On behalf of everyone at Riverdale Academy, I’d like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and blessed year in 2021.  Remember-Jesus is the Reason for the Season!

Christmas Giveaway

By Tangela Smith Maxwell

Red River Restoration Center LLC along with Red River Community Center Inc. held its first annual Christmas Giveaway on 12-19-2020. Red River Restoration Center is an organization which works towards rescuing, restoring and revamping lives.

Red River Community Center is a federally 501 (c) (3) non- profit organization whose mission statement is capturing the imagination of individuals and turning their most memorable moments into existence.

Services provided will include 

After school torturing, substance Abuse groups, parenting classes, job ready and interview prep, Summer programs, providing food and clothing to those in need, conflict resolution, problem solving skills. And counseling.

Both organizations are founded by Tangela Smith Maxwell.

The Christmas Give Away was based on income and applicants had to be a resident of Red River Parish. Ages included were 0-17

Some items given away included 

Tablets, bicycles, power wheels, kids razors, baby dolls, gift cards, kids kitchen sets, blankets, board games, lots of other toys, books, car seats, shoes, purses and clothes. 

Special thanks to Katherine Smith- RRP School Board Homeless Liaison

Brenda Iverson-RRP Elem School Counselor

Red River Restoration Center LLC and Red River Community Center Inc. Would like to thank our sponsors and volunteers:

Mayor Johnny Cox and wife Valerie

Derrick peoples

Coushatta Police Department

Stuart & Kylie Shaw

Willie Wilson- On The Spot Washing Services

Chandra Wilson- Chandra Wilson Home Group

Jay Q. Thomas

Wanda Denise

Tray and Connie Murray- State Farm

Danny and Debbie Lewis- D&D fun Jump Rental

Anthony and Enisha Young

Jessie Davis

Sheriff Glen Edwards and wife Angela

Vergie Smith

Justin Maxwell- Grand Bayou Transport LLC

Ben and Anita Taylor- Ben Taylor Enterprise 

Dell and Savanah Smith

Jermaine and Monica Lewis

James and Nancy Taylor

Jasmine Taylor- A Sista’s Touch

Jeffery and Crystal Jones 

Stacy and Sharon Taylor and family

Bobby and Angela White

Micheal and Bridget Smith

Robert and Robin Owens 

Charmaine Madison and family

Marcus and Patrice Willis

Chedez Kinchen and family

Desiree Perot

Shirts by: Smith’s Sport’s 

NOTE: All public officials who donated gave from their personal accounts. No public funds were donated.