Effie Lee Philen

A funeral service celebrating the life of Effie Lee Philen, 77, will be held at 2:00 PM, Sunday, October 31, 2021, at Christian Harmony Baptist Church with Reverend James Philen and assisted by Reverend David Matlock officiating. Interment will follow in the St. Maurice Cemetery in Winn Parish with Reverend Charlie Ashby officiating at graveside. The family will receive friends from 1:00 PM until service time at the church.  The service will be under the direction of Kilpatrick’s Rose-Neath Funeral Home in Coushatta.

Mrs. Philen was born on July 24, 1944, in Pineville, LA to George W. Dean and Maurine Bonnette Patterson and passed away October 28, 2021, in Natchitoches, LA. During her lifetime, she enjoyed cooking and gardening. She was part of the WMU at her church and on the board of Pace Community School.

Mrs. Philen was preceded in death by parents; husband, Gerald Wayne Philen, Sr.; son-in-law, Timothy D. Tuttle; brothers, Larry Dean, James Patterson, and Wade Patterson and step-sister, Dorothy Antee. Left to cherish her memory are sons, Gerald Wayne Philen, Jr. and Reverend James Felton (Tracey); daughters, Rose Ann Tuttle (Timothy) and Donna Marguerite Philen; five grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews; and sibling, Patrick David Patterson.

Honoring as pallbearers will be Reverend Charlie Ashby, Brandon Thompson, John Fleckenstein, Bill Hough, Bo Hardy, Jim Stout and Kevin Patterson.  Honorary pallbearers will be Winfred Lonadier and Presley Philen.

The family would like to give special thanks to Hospice of Natchitoches for their loving care of their loved one.

Bulldogs Remain in 2-A

Statewide sport team redistricting for the next two school years has been released by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association.  Red River remains in district 2-A for football, basketball, baseball and softball.

For the minor sports, Red River is in Division 4 for Cross Country and Volleyball.  They are in division 3 for Boys Golf and division 2 for Girls Golf.

LHSAA Notified the media statewide of the classifications on Wednesday.  These classifications will be in effect for the 2022-23 and the 2023-24 school years.

Red River School Mask Update

The mask update from Governor John Bel Edwards this week left the mask mandate in place for public schools.  Red River Schools has revised the local guidelines and some mask wearing is still required.

Here is the statement:

While at school, Red River Parish students and employees are not required to wear a mask. Although the masks are no longer required to attend school, students and staff are still required to wear them while on the school bus. We will continue to follow the criteria recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and the Louisiana Department of Health and the quarantine guidelines will still be in effect. We will let you know when we receive the newest update.

Bulldogs, stay safe and healthy!

NSU Will Keep Masks

Northwestern State University’s indoor mask mandate will remain in place until Natchitoches transmission is below high or substantial, according to NSU Interim President Dr. Marcus Jones. 

On Tuesday Governor John Bel Edwards announced the lifting of the statewide mask mandate with some caveats.  Institutions in the University of Louisiana System have been under a systemic mask requirement that precedes the Governor’s statewide mandate.  The UL System guidelines require students, faculty and staff to wear masks in classrooms and other public indoor spaces in regions of high or substantial transmission. 

“It is with an abundance of caution that we will continue to wear masks indoors,” Jones said. “NSU’s indoor mask mandates have played a role in the low numbers of COVID cases on campus and we will continue to mask up until COVID no longer poses a threat to public health.”

Final Fish Was Fried

By Lee Dickson and Sue Kaufman

Bubba and Mandi Mills have just concluded another great year of “Fourth Friday Fish Fry Events” at Clara Springs Camp, having great attendance each month (January-October). 

Gracious churches came voluntarily to cook and serve.  The food and the fellowship was outstanding every month. 

We are already looking forward to what God is going to do through the various Ministry Events there in 2022.

The final fish fry last Friday was done by volunteers from Martin Baptist Church.

Sue Kaufman of Martin Baptist said, “Last night at Clara Springs Fourth Friday Fish Fry was such an honor that MBC had their night of helping.”

Kaufman added, “I was touched by all of the workers, but what about those Mills girls.  They cleaned tables, made sure everybody had everything they needed, served and did so much more, but what I noticed is that they had smiles on their faces the whole night. I love our children and young people!  Thank you Bubba and Mandi for giving all those young babies opportunities to work and learn how to serve for Jesus and thank you both for raising your girls to live, love, serve and share about Jesus. Fun night all around!!”

The Fourth Friday Fish Fry at Clara Springs Camp will resume next year.

Photo Contest Open To 4-H Members

This Fall, Louisiana 4-H and The Grant Walker 4-H Educational Center are proud to announce the Outdoor Photography Camp to be held on December 6-7 at Camp Grant Walker! Red River 4-H has posted the information so members in the parish can sign up.

This Mon-Tues program is open to all current 7th-8th grade 4-H members and will focus on an introduction to beginner photography using standard smartphone hardware and applications. Participating youth will participate in engaging photography workshops and will have the opportunity to explore the grounds of Camp Grant Walker in order to capture the perfect shot!

The program fee will be $60 to attend and will be capped at 20 participants, so be sure to register ASAP! Drop-off will be from 4:30-6:30 PM on Monday, December 6, and Pick-up will be at 4:30 PM Tuesday, December 7. During online registration, you will be prompted to download and complete the Student Health Form. The Health Form and Program Fee will be due by November 22. Checks should be made out to The LSU AgCenter. Please allow ample mailing time! The Health Form and Program Fee should be mailed to:

The Grant Walker 4-H Educational Center

Attn: Adam O’Malley

3000 Hwy 8

Pollock, LA 71467

Youth can be registered at the following link:


For additional information on the program details, or to request a parent info-packet, you can either contact your parish 4-H Agent, or send an email to 4-H Program Coordinator Adam O’Malley at CampGrantWalker@agcenter.lsu.edu.

Questions and Answers About Gallstones and Gallbladder Surgery

With General Surgeon Dr. Steven Jackson

NRMC General Surgery Associates

Question: What is the purpose of the gallbladder?

Dr. Jackson: The gallbladder is an organ that plays a role in digestion by releasing a fluid called bile into the small intestines. The gallbladder is located near the liver in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen. 

Question: Why do gallstones form?

Dr. Jackson: Causes include too much cholesterol or bilirubin in the bile, some blood disorders, or a poorly functioning gallbladder that does not release bile effectively. Each of these can lead to the formation of crystals or pebbles. These solid masses can block the bile ducts and cause an infection and inflammation in the gallbladder.

Question: What are the symptoms of gallstones?

Dr. Jackson: Gallstones can cause sharp pain in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen. Other common symptoms are vomiting, sweating, bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, and fever. An infection can lead to serious illness.

Question: How do you diagnose gallstones?

Dr. Jackson: When a person comes in with pain and illness suggestive of gallstones or other gallbladder issues, we do imaging – CT scan, ultrasound, or sometimes MRI – of the gallbladder to see what’s going on. We look for gallstones and whether or not there are any blockages. We also do blood tests to check for infection and liver enzymes.

Question: When is surgery needed to remove the gallbladder?

Dr. Jackson: When gallstones are blocking the bile ducts causing pain, infection, and inflammation, the condition will not improve on its own, and surgery is needed. There are also other conditions that can lead to removal of the organ. We do most of these surgeries laparoscopically using four small incisions. The recovery is much faster than if we need to do traditional surgery which is done through one larger incision. 

Question: Do you need a gallbladder?

Dr. Jackson: The gallbladder serves an important function, but for people with gallstones and gallbladder disease, it is necessary to remove the organ. After removing the gallbladder, the liver continues to produce bile but instead of it going into the gallbladder, the bile goes directly from the liver into the small intestines where it then helps with digestion. 

For more information on gallbladder disease or for an appointment with Dr. Jackson, please call 318.214.5770. NRMC General Surgery Associates is in the Multispecialty Clinic, adjacent to NRMC. In an emergency, patients should go to NRMC’s Emergency Department. General Surgery Associates are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Colorful World of Baits

By Steve Graf

When it comes to soft plastic lures, one thing anglers will say is that “color does not matter.” But I’m going to give my perspective on why it does. For years both novice and professional bass fishermen have made a case for why the color of your bait doesn’t matter. They say it’s more about the presentation than it is the color of the bait itself. This may be true in some isolated cases, but if that’s true, then why do manufacturers make soft plastic worms in so many colors? Is it to catch fish or is it to catch anglers? 

Today’s anglers are overwhelmed with color selection by many of the top name brands like Strike King, V&M, Gary Yamamoto, Zoom, and Reaction Innovation, just to name a few. Each of these manufacturers produce some of the best soft plastics ever made. But colors in the bass fishing world are not your standard red, blue or greens. They have very creative names like red bug, tequila sunrise, green pumpkin, watermelon and my personal favorite, black emerald. Bait companies are even more creative than the original box of 64 crayons when it comes to color options. You may remember this from your childhood days when Crayola crayons had names like Brick Red,  Burnt Orange, Chestnut, and even Bittersweet. But today’s box of crayons might include Inchworm, Granny Smith Apple, Caribbean Green, Tropical Rainforest, or my personal favorite Permanent Geranium Lake. Who comes up with these names? How is a child or an angler today, suppose to understand or learn the different color pallets of this magnitude?

Well, bass fishermen new to the industry are in the same boat. How is an angler supposed to know the difference between crab apple or plum? Well crab apple, also known as red bug by some companies, are red worms with green flake. But back in the day when soft plastic baits were first invented by Nick Crème of Crème Lures, crab apple was the original red worm with green flake. By the way, it was at the Cleveland Sportsman’s Show in 1951 that Nick Crème introduced and sold over 9600 packs of soft plastic worms which jumpstarted the soft plastic industry. Today the king of soft plastics is a company by the name of Zoom, which started manufacturing soft plastic baits in 1977.

As you can see, the color pallets of the bass fishing world all depend on what company is producing the baits. But does color really matter when it comes to catching bass? I say yes, because I’ve seen days where you can throw red bugs and then switch to green pumpkin and start catching fish. Just like this past August, I was pre-fishing for a tournament on Sam Rayburn and was throwing one of my favorite V&M baits called a Baby Swamp Hog in watermelon/red with basically zero bites in the first three hours. I switched to Gleason Candy and it was like someone turned on a light switch. Making this change in color allowed me to finish in 2nd place in that event. I’m also of the opinion that if color doesn’t matter, then why do they make so many color options for anglers to choose from? Now I will admit that some colors are designed to catch anglers rather than fish, but in general, the array of color choices allows an angler to experiment and try something that maybe the bass have not seen.

So, the next time you’re in your favorite tackle store, make sure you know what color soft plastic you’re looking for. Know the difference between watermelon/red and green pumpkin with red flakes.  If you’re not sure, ask someone to help you. Till next time, good luck, good fishing, and don’t forget to set the hook!

Little Rebels Win Riverdale’s First Swamp Bowl Championship

By Molly Seales

On Saturday, October 23, the Little Rebels made the long trip to Franklin Academy for the annual Swamp Bowl tournament.  Things did not look good for the Little Rebels, as they had won no games in the regular season and came in a huge underdog as the bottom seed in the tournament. However, 6th graders Jax Hearold, Jackson Hillman, Kaden McNeely, Kane Milner-Dortlon, and Ayden Moseley, who were playing in their last Little Rebel game, showed they had some unfinished business.  Last year, the Little Rebels brought home the runner-up Swamp Bowl trophy, and the team was hungry for more.

In their first game, they took on the Claiborne Academy Rebels. The Little Rebels came out with a sheer look of determination on their faces, and proved they were not done yet.  Jackson Hillman scored 2 touchdowns, while quarterback Jax Hearold ran the ball in for an extra point.  The Little Rebel defense dug deep and hit hard, holding Claiborne scoreless and winning the game 13-0, somewhat avenging the varsity Rebels questionable loss at Claiborne a couple of weeks before.  This set the team up to play in the championship game at 3:00 against Franklin Academy, who had beaten them twice earlier in the year.

The Franklin Cougars drew first blood, scoring a touchdown.  However, they were unable to connect on the extra points, which left them with a 6-0 lead that they held onto leading into the 4th quarter. With only a six-minute quarter with mostly a running clock, the Little Rebels knew they had to act fast if they wanted a chance to win.  With time running down and the Cougars lined up with the ball on around the 50-yard line, the Little Rebels sprung into action.  Kaden McNeely intercepted a Cougar pass right at the 50-yard line and ran it back to the Rebel 40, where he was brought down by a host of Cougars. This was the spark they needed. With 4:55 left in the game, lefty quarterback Jax Hearold connected with McNeely on a bomb from around the 35-yard line that McNeely ran into the end zone for a Riverdale touchdown, tying the score 6-6. On the next play of the game, Hearold again found McNeely in the end zone for a smooth pass for the 2-point conversion, putting the Little Rebels up 8-6.  Now it was up to the defense to hold the Cougars, which had been a daunting task all day. The Cougars went into desperation mode and made a couple of mistakes that resulted in penalties.  With 1:17 left in the game, McNeely read a pass and speedily ran to intercept his second ball of the game. This time, however, there was no stopping him as he ran it in for around a 20-yard touchdown, giving the Little Rebels a 14-6 lead.

As the last seconds ticked off the clock, pandemonium ensued on the visitors’ side, as the Little Rebels upset and stunned the #1 seeded Cougars. For the first time in history, the Little Rebels were bringing the gold Swamp Bowl trophy home to East Point! We are so proud of this team and the coaching staff that consisted of head coach Brandon “Jumbo” Hillman and assistants Silas Guidry, Jason Bell, and Taylor Yount. Congratulations on a great finish!

The Little Rebels put up some good offensive yardage on the day.  Jackson Hillman had 96 rushing yards with 2 touchdowns, while Kaden McNeely had 32 rushing yards and 55 receiving yards, with one touchdown off a reception, one off an interception, and a 2-point conversion. Kane Milner-Dortlon had 41 rushing yards, while his little brother Karson Milner-Dortlon had 19 rushing yards. Quarterback Jax Hearold had 8 rushing yards and an extra point, along with being 6 for 8 in passing for 58 passing yards and a touchdown.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Governor’s Appointment to Waterway Commission Upheld

Gov. Edwards’ Appointment to the Red River Commission Upheld by Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal. Wednesday, Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a statement on the ruling by the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal upholding his appointment of Ronald Lattier as a member of the Red River Waterway Commission representing Caddo Parish. In 2018, Gov. Edwards appointed Mr. Lattier, who was also confirmed by the Louisiana State Senate, to serve out the remainder of the term for the seat that had become vacant after the passing of Mr. Mickey Prestridge. His term was set to expire July 1, 2021. The appointment was challenged by Carolyn Prator and Attorney General Jeff Landry. Today’s ruling dismissed the lawsuit, keeping Mr. Lattier on the Commission.

“I’m grateful to the Third Circuit for this ruling that throws out the Attorney General’s lawsuit and upholds my appointments to the Red River Waterway Commission,” said Gov. Edwards. “This case was completely without merit from the very beginning, based on a manufactured argument and motivated by the political agenda of the Attorney General. I had already appointed Mrs. Prator to the Caddo Levee District Board in 2016, and as the courts found, the letters nominating her for the commission were sent after the time period in which they should have been submitted. Mr. Lattier, who is from Caddo, had also been nominated and was serving as an at-large-member on the commission when the Caddo seat became unexpectedly available. There was no question he was well versed in the issues and had the knowledge and experience needed to carry out the responsibilities of that position. His appointment allowed Caddo to maintain its same representation as it had for two decades. Further, he has demonstrated that he was the correct choice by his faithful service on the commission. Not only that, but I appointed a veteran from Rapides Parish to fill the at-large-seat in order to help restore balance to the commission, a commitment I had made back in 2017. I am pleased that this matter has been settled and that this is no longer an issue for Mr. Lattier or a distraction for the commission.”

Activities at Magnolia Bend

Fourth grade History students at Magnolia Bend Academy have been memorizing “The American’s Creed.”  Lexi and MollyKate were the first ones to memorize.

The school said, “A reward of an American Flag poppet was really motivating.”

Also at Magnolia the Pre-K through 2nd grades held a mummy race!

Riverdale Students Look At Career Options

On Monday of this week juniors and seniors from Riverdale had the opportunity to explore career options by touring several facilities.  They went to Central Louisiana Technical Community College and the Alliance Compressor plant in Natchitoches.

Alliance Compressors hosted the students for a plant tour.  The student group was greeted by Michelle Brundige, Alliance Human Resources Manager, and was led on a plant tour by Craig Caskey, Continuous Improvement Manager.

Pictured are Craig Caskey and students from Riverdale Academy.  Other photos depict various stops on their tour.

Mole Day

Hunter Brown at Riverdale Academy had his chemistry class observe

Mole Day on Monday.  Mole Day is a celebration of Avogadro’s number, 6.022 x 10^23, by chemistry students and teachers around the world.

As tradition dictates, the students created moles based on a theme.  Dr. Brown said, “This year’s theme was Christmas.  Please vote for your favorite mole(s) by giving “likes.”  Only positive comments please.”  Here is the link: youtu.be/PvT51M0ek5c

Can’t Wear Contact Lenses?

Have you been told you can’t wear contact lenses because of dry eyes, astigmatism, allergy eyes, or because you now need bifocals? Because of new contact lens technology, many people are now wearing contact lenses for the first time. The new contact lenses that are available today allow more oxygen to reach the eye and may allow you to wear your lenses for longer periods of time. There are even new disinfection solutions available that promote better eye health.

No matter the reason that you have not been successful with contact lenses in the past, there has never been a better time to try contact lenses. Remember, contact lenses are like computers, they are constantly getting better. To schedule an examination and to discuss your contact lens options, call your eye care provider.

This series of informative articles about your vision is presented by Family Eye Care at 6007 US 71 south of Coushatta.  For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 318-702-2100.

Students of the Month

VFW Post 7287 awarded Students of the Month at Riverdale Academy certificates and gift cards.  The students selected were for the months of August and September.

Awards for August went to Pre-K student Lane Sullivan for the Elementary School, 5th grader Carter Breedlove for the Middle School, and 9th grade student Haylee Smith for the High School.

September Students of the Month were Kindergarten student Peyton Bierden for the Elementary school, 6th grader Kaleigh Pickett for the Junior High, and tenth grade student Sky McMullan for the High School.

Each student received a certificate of recognition plus a gift card to the Coushatta Dairy Queen.  Coushatta VFW Post 7287 recognizes a student from each school in Red River Parish each month during the school year.

The local VFW serves combat veterans, their families, and the community.  For more information about the VFW or for help with veteran benefits, call Post 7287 at 318-564-3609 and leave a message.

When Chefs Get Together

On Tuesday Red River 4-H posted Candy Club month for 4-h chefs.  The young cooks met to prepare some of their favorite sweet treats.

The photos with this article reveal their favorites.  Included were Caramel apple bites, Slime popcorn balls, and jolly rancher suckers. The kids had lots of fun.

ETC… For Friday, October 29, 2021

Halloween is coming this weekend.  There are several opportunities for the children to go trick and treating.  October 31stcomes on Sunday.  The Journal checked with local authorities, and no one has heard of any specific time or date set for that activity.

Local law enforcement and State Police are urging caution to keep children safe this weekend.

On Friday, Quality Ford is inviting children to their “Trunk or Treat” at the dealership.  There will also be fun things to do and some valuable prizes to be won.  Registration is already underway, so drop by.

Fall Festival at New Life Church in Hall Summit will be Saturday, October 30th.  There will be free food, candy, candy, candy, games and lots of fun from 5:00 to 8:00 pm.  The church is located at 1093 First Street, Hall Summit.

A Trunk or Treat will be held at Red River Cowboy Church beginning at 5:00 pm Saturday, October 30th.  There will be a cake walk fundraiser, fun and fellowship.  And there will be an award for the favorite trunk.

Red River 4-H is collecting coats.  If you have any coats that are too little, please consider passing them on to our October community service!  Coats can be brought to the 4-H office or to the school office.  They will be picked up when Mrs. Jacque comes for November

Three Charged in Shooting

Press Release from the Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office October 25, 2021

On October 17, 2021, the Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office (RRPSO) Criminal Investigations Division began an investigation into a shooting which occurred in the vicinity of Ashland Road and Cummings Street in Red River Parish. During an incident earlier that evening, a Bossier City man suffered multiple gunshot wounds to his upper torso.

The victim had allegedly been lured to Red River Parish under false pretenses.

Following an investigation by RRPSO detectives, on October 20, 2021 three individuals were arrested without incident and transported to the Red River Parish Jail for booking.

Johnnie Maxie Jr., B/M, age 19 of the 700 block of Cummings St., Coushatta, Louisiana was charged with one count of Attempted Second Degree Murder and one count of Attempted Armed Robbery. His bond was set at $500,000 and he is currently incarcerated in the RRPJ.

Delrick D. Beard, B/M, age 19 of the 400 block of Arlington St., Coushatta, LA was charged with one count of Principal to Attempted Second Degree Murder and one count of Attempted Armed Robbery. His bond was set at $500,000 and he currently remains incarcerated in the RRPJ.

Earlier, on October 18th, Beard had been arrested on a charge of obstruction of justice.  Sheriff’s Lieutenant Troy Murray confirmed that the earlier arrest was related to the same incident.

The third suspect, a seventeen-year old, B/M juvenile also of Coushatta was booked into Ware Youth Center and charged with one count of Principal to Attempted Second Degree Murder and one count of Attempted Armed Robbery with a bond set at $400,000.

The investigation is on-going.

Other Arrests…

The arrest report for this week lists two other arrests on attempted second degree murder charges.  The Journal asked Administrative Lieutenant Troy Murray about the circumstances surrounding these arrests.  Here is his reply.

Concerning Michael Hamilton’s arrest, he was arrested on an outstanding RRPSO warrant which stemmed from an incident which occurred in Red River Estates in April of 2019.

Concerning Anthony Howard’s arrest, he was also arrested on an RRPSO outstanding warrant. It stemmed from an incident which occurred in September of 2021 in the vicinity of the 300 block of Jim St. in Coushatta.

No additional information concerning any of these arrests is being released.

Trunk or Treat at Quality Ford

All children are invited to a Trunk or Treat Friday afternoon at Quality Ford.  There will be lots of goodies for ghosts and goblins and other Halloween characters, and you can be a child from 1 to 100. 

94.9 The River will broadcast live from 2:00 to 5:00 pm.  Morning Show host Trini Triggs will be there with a large load of goodies from the River’s Prize Closet.  Registration is now going on for the drawings, so drop by Quality Ford today and put your name in the hopper.

The Journal caught up with Kori Bice, Rhetta Thomas and Jennifer Hornor making preparations for the Trunk or Treat event.  Bring the kids Friday afternoon to Quality Ford for a huge Halloween Trunk or Treat!

Mask Mandate Lifted Except For Schools

Governor John Bel Edwards announced he will lift Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate in all settings except for K-12 schools, after sustained improvement across the state in terms of new cases, test positivity and hospitalizations. The Governor’s updated order is effective Wednesday, October 27th.  It allows school districts to opt out of the mask mandate as long as they continue to follow the existing quarantine guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to better separate exposed students and faculty members from others and avoid outbreaks on campus.

CDC guidance still says everyone 2 years of age or older who is not fully vaccinated should wear a mask in indoor public places. And if you are fully vaccinated, to maximize protection from the Delta variant, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area with high transmission. People who have a health condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may not be fully protected even if they are fully vaccinated. They should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitted mask, until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider. At this time, in light of the Delta variant, CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.

“Today, I am cautiously optimistic and very relieved that the worst of this fourth surge of COVID is clearly behind us, which is a direct result of the people of Louisiana who stepped up to the plate when we needed them to and put their masks back on, got vaccinated, and took extra precautions to stay safe. That’s why we are able to lift the statewide mask mandate,” said Gov. Edwards. “While the K-12 mask mandate will be in place, school districts can opt out if they follow the existing, evidence-based CDC quarantine guidance. This new order does offer a way for local leaders to end the school mask mandate, if they so choose. Let me be clear – Louisiana has been a leader in bringing students safely back into the classroom. And they have done that by following public health guidance including on masking and quarantine. Public health experts and I encourage schools to stay that course. But because case numbers are going down and have reached a new baseline I do believe it’s an appropriate time to give schools more autonomy. It’s not lost on me that while Louisiana has seen 18 children die of COVID, half of those deaths came in the last three months, as the much more contagious Delta variant surged throughout our state.”

Masks will still be mandated by federal regulation, including on mass transit and in health care facilities. They will not be mandated in most places, including government buildings, college and university campuses and businesses. School districts may opt out of the mask mandate if they choose to, but only if they continue to adhere to CDC quarantine guidance.

“We are encouraged about our current COVID trends, but remain mindful of our profound loss as a result of the last surge and cognizant that we will remain vulnerable to an equally damaging surge unless more of our friends, family and neighbors choose to get vaccinated,” said State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter.

Local governments and private businesses may choose to continue to require and enforce mask requirements under the Governor’s order, which goes into effect on Wednesday, October 27.