Dagiel Mathews, Jr.

Dagiel Mathews, Jr., 47, of Lake Charles, Louisiana entered into eternal rest on December 29, 2022. He was born on July 17, 1975 in Coushatta, Louisiana to Dagiel Mathews, Sr. and Esther Mae Hay Mathews.

A visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. on Monday, January 2, 2023 located at Rose-Neath Funeral Home in Coushatta, Louisiana. Funeral services honoring the life of Dagiel will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 3, 2023 at the funeral home. Officiating the service will be Rev. Martha Grigg with Johnny Keith assisting. Burial will be held at Little Hope Cemetery in Castor, Louisiana.

Dagiel was preceded in death by his father, Dagiel Mathews, Sr.; sister, Michelle Weaver; brother, Steve Mathews; and brother-in-law, Brandon Huckaby.

He is survived by his mother, Esther Grigg and step-father, Ricky Grigg; step-mother, Debbie Mathews; children, Dustin Mathews, Brooklyn Mathews, Olivia Mathews, and Dagiel Lee Mathews; step-children, A.J. Byrd and Victoria Vaughn; three step-grandchildren; sisters, Gail Myers, Debra Byrd, Angela Eaves and husband Joe, Amanda Baker, and Mollie Huckaby; brothers, Mickey Mathews and wife Melissa, Mangrum Mathews and wife Stephanie, Langrum Mathews and wife Crystal, Ben Weaver and wife Christy, and Denver Weaver and wife Madelyn; along with numerous nieces, nephews, and friends.

Honoring Dagiel as pallbearers will be Joe Eaves, Denver Weaver, Jeff Ward, Bruce Pickell, James Chavis, and Mathew Huckaby. Serving as honorary pallbearer will be Brent Touchet.             

Weekly Arrest Report

Report from the Red River Sheriff’s Office for December 27-29, 2022.

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named or shown in photographs or video as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Boil Advisory Cancelled



Town of Coushatta Boil Water Advisory is now lifted for all customers.  The samples were cleared by the Louisiana Department of Health/Office of Public Health as of 9:16 a.m. on December 30, 2022.

Town of Coushatta

Water Department

End Of The Road – A New Beginning

The journey began in 1824 when First Methodist Church was established at Coushatta with a local permanent presence to replace circuit riding preachers.  As of midnight December 31st the direction will change.  First United Methodist Church, the body that grew out of the original Methodist Church here, will disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church.

Across the state and nations hundreds of UMC congregations are choosing to disaffiliate.  What remains of the UMC probably will not be known for several years.  Locally Wesley Chapel has voted to disaffiliate.  They will become independent on New Years also.

The church will become an independent congregation with a new tax exempt corporate structure.  The new name is First Methodist Church of Coushatta.  A couple of weeks ago the name on the sign was changed. Recently the UMC came and took all church records, signs on the road leading to town, the Hymnals with the UMC logo, and everything else that said United Methodist.

Alexander Graham Bell said, “When one door closes, another opens.”  First Methodist Church of Coushatta will venture out through that new door early Sunday Morning.

Four More Wins Against Tallulah

By Molly Seales

Riverdale Academy basketball teams picked up four more wins against Tallulah Trojans on December 16. The JV girls picked up a 26-11 win with Makayla Pickett leading the team in scoring with 12 points. Charity Williamson added 4 points and led the team in rebounds with 4. Mary Claire Jones added 2 points and led the team in assists with 4 and steals with 7. Alissa Curry, Ally Kate Hillman, and Krista Mancil added 2 points each. Abbie Jowers led the team in deflections with 3.

The JV boys picked an easy 39-4 win over Tallulah. Tanner Carlisle had an impressive double-double with 19 points and 10 steals. Ashton Almond added 13 points, 6 steals, and 5 deflections. Cannon Breedlove had 3 points and 6 deflections, while Hayden Cason had 2 points and a blocked shot. Cason, Almond, and Carlisle each had 4 rebounds to lead the team. Jackson Hillman added 2 points and led the team in deflections with 7.

The varsity girls picked up a big 52-24 win over the Trojans. Mary Claire Jones led the team with 25 points (7-3 pointers) and also led the team in assists, steals, and deflections with 4 each. Jadyn King had a fantastic game with 17 points  and 6 boards, and Georgia Carlisle also scored in double figures with 12 points. Jessie Kate Cobb added 4 points and led the team in rebounding with 10. Makayla Pickett added a free throw and pulled down 8 boards.

The varsity boys defeated Tallulah 53-17. Jace Wilhite led the team in scoring with 11 points and in steals with 5, and Ben Almond added 10 points. Kyle Guillory added 7 points and led the team in rebounding with 9, while Ryder Huddleston had 3 points and pulled down 8 boards. Thad Bates had 6 points, and Mason Murray added 5 points. Hayden Hillman scored 4 points, Colin Bates had 3 points, and Ashton Almond and Logan Gryder added 2 points each.

Coach Cliff is grooming the younger and more inexperienced players by getting them into the game as much as possible. Against Tallulah, all players on all four teams saw a good bit of playing time. The varsity girls are eagerly awaiting the return of junior Sky McMullan, who has been out all season after an ACL injury. She should be ready to return in early January and is a strong force on both offense and defense. Great things await for the second half of the season!

Photo credit Leslie Johnson

Carbon Monoxide Law Changes Will Affect all Dwelling Sales and Rentals

Effective January First, to sell your home you must have Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors installed.  And they must be of a certain quality as specified in the law.  The same requirement is also imposed on rental homes.  This change affects every single and two family dwelling in Red River Parish.

Every one or two family dwelling that is sold or leased must meet the new requirements. A smoke detector may be combined with the CO detector as long as it conforms to the specs in the updated law.

For years fire departments have recommended that all homes have smoke and CO detector devices installed.  This is the first time it has been required by state law that the CO detectors be installed before a residence could be sold or leased.

A Father’s Advice

By Brad Dison

The coming of a new year brings hope for us all.  It is a chance to wipe the slate clean and start anew.  Many of us will set goals that we could never achieve, but we must believe that we can achieve anything.  We must believe in ourselves.  No matter what happens this coming year, don’t stop believing in yourself.

In the early 1970s, Jonathan moved from his hometown of Chicago to Los Angeles, California.  The only being Jonathan knew in “the City of Angels” was his beloved dog that he brought with him from Chicago.  Jonathan, a talented musician, hoped to “make it big” in the music industry.  At eight years old, Jonathan began taking accordion lessons.  As a teenager, he made extra money playing accordion and piano in clubs and at parties.  Following high school, Jonathan attended the Chicago Conservatory of Music.  His parents, teachers, and friends all thought he had the talent required to “make it,” and encouraged him to give it a shot.

Jonathan was hopeful when he arrived in Los Angeles, but he quickly began to struggle just to survive.  There were opportunities for up-and-coming musicians to play, but the market was saturated with fine musicians who often played for little or no pay.  More often than not, Jonathan’s income from playing music was too little to allow him to pay his bills and eat, too.  He became one of Los Angeles’s many starving artists.  When he became desperate, which happened often, Jonathan ashamedly called his father and asked for a small loan.  His father always sent Jonathan what money he could and reassured him that one-day things would be better.

Then, an event happened which brought Jonathan to the point of giving up on his dream, his beloved dog was hit by a car and severely injured.  He had no money to pay the vet.  Once again, he called his father for another loan.  His father could hear the discouragement in his voice more than any other time that Jonathan had called.  “Dad,” Jonathan asked in a dispirited voice, “should I just give up on this thing and come home?”  His father reassured him as he always had.  “No. Don’t come home,” his father said.  Always full of encouragement, his father gave him another piece of advice which Jonathan thought important enough to jot down in his notebook.

With his father’s reassurance, Jonathan kept searching for the right opportunity.  He thought that opportunity had finally arrived in 1976 when he recorded a solo album which he named after his hometown, “Windy City Breakdown.”  The album failed to chart, and Jonathan’s struggle continued.  In 1978, Jonathan joined a British rock group called The Babys.  Jonathan recorded two albums with The Babys, but the band failed to achieve the level of success they had hoped for and, in 1980, the group disbanded.  In that same year, Jonathan joined another band and began working on an album with them.  The band needed two more songs to complete the album, and the band’s lead singer asked Jonathan if he had any song ideas.  Jonathan flipped through his notebook and read again the advice his father had given him several years earlier.  Those three simple words of encouragement became the inspiration of and title of one of Jonathan’s band’s biggest hits.  It has been described as the “perfect rock song” which featured Jonathan playing “one of the best opening keyboard riffs in rock.”  The song was the best-selling digital track from the 20th century.  The band was Journey.  The name of the song and the advice his father gave Jonathan Cain was,… “Don’t Stop Believin’.”   

Those three words were good advice from Jonathan’s father then and have remained good advice to listeners for over forty years.  If we “Don’t Stop Believin’” in ourselves, we can accomplish anything in the coming new year.

Happy New Year!

Source: Elkins, Kimberly, “Don’t Stop Believin’,” Guideposts, p.75.

Bulldogs Add Games

Red River Athletics said Red River’s Bulldogs have added 3 games to this year’s schedule.  They begin with a game yesterday on the road.  They lost to Richwood 72 to 60.

Here are the basketball games added to the schedule: (Boys ONLY)

Dec 29th — 3:00 pm vs Richwood @ Caldwell Parish High School,

Jan 4th — 3:30 pm vs Loyola @ Bossier High School, and

Jan 5th — 3:30 pm vs North Caddo @ Bossier High School.

The last two games will be played as part of the Bossier Tournament at Bossier High School.

On their previous outing, Red River was victorious on Tuesday with the Bulldogs edging out Ringgold 59 to 55.  And the Lady Bulldogs also brought on the “W” 44-21 over Ringgold.

Have a Revolutionary New Year

Opinion by Pat Culverhouse

A soon-to-be Happy New Year to all, friends and neighbors. Your obedient messenger took a temporary breather to get in some last minute shopping and check on the status of some of our holiday traditions. Happy to say most are doing well.

Although there’s still a few days to go, we thought it might be appropriate to mention a couple of resolutions your humble rocker is considering. We do, however, reserve the right to change our mind when the woman who promised to love, honor and feed our furbabies five times a day tells us to do so.

Rocker’s first resolution could be better described as irresolute. It could be harder to keep than our system can bear. I would like to resolve to be less critical of my fellow inhabitants of this planet, especially those seeking public office on any level.

As that thought formed, the images of Beto O’Rourke, Stacey Abrams, Mitch McConnell, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, The Donald and a directory of Congress did smite the brain. This collection of intellectually deformed  is more than reason to search the WWW for nonflatteratory adjectives. 

To quote Charlie Brown on just about any occasion: Rats.

Rocker annually tries to resolve to be tolerant of the views of others, but that usually vanishes before the imaginary ink dries on the mental parchment. Considering these upheaving societal times, it is most difficult to remain tolerant when airwaves and social media brings us the latest Wokeisms from a myriad of untellectuals.

We are amused that these ideas are called woke. One of our progressive friends tells us that term defines millions across America who have “woke up” to our countless failures as a country. These suddenly enlightened awakened are showing us how we can be better; that by destroying the current system we create Utopia. All we unlightened must do is shut up, pay up and do what wokers tell us.

To learn more about what it means to be woke, it may help to check out the works of Engels and Marx (not the brothers) or Alinsky. One may find the philosophies remarkably similar.

Another resolution that may prove hard to keep is the promise to give Republicans credit when they deserve it. A few Congresses ago, Republicans held the majority in both House and Senate. To put it mildly, they got their heads handed to them daily by the minority Democrats. As my ol’ Daddy used to say, they could screw up a two-car parade.

Today, the Elephants are barely a majority in the House only. If the Biden Democrats are as smart as their media hypemeisters would have us believe, there won’t be a lot of credit to be given. Republicans seem quite capable of mucking up their own stuff without help from the friendly opposition. The Red Wave is proof.

This isn’t a resolution, but it is resolved that occasionally we poke a little fun at some of those who love to give us insignificants a poke. For example:

What has 12 arms, 12 legs and an IQ of 50? The Kardashian/Jenner women.

What do you get when you breed a ground hog and Stephen Colbert? Six more weeks of bad monologues.

Do you know what you have if you find Whoopi Goldberg buried up to her neck in cement? Not enough cement.

Do you know why Donald Trump loves to Tweet? It’s the best communication venue for a birdbrain.

Here’s hoping you make no resolutions, but are resolute to make this little planet a little better.  And don’t listen to those who claim to know what’s best for us because they believe they’re smarter. Remember, there are lots of people who are educated far beyond their intelligence.

Coach Cliff Impressed with Progress

By Molly Seales

The Riverdale Rebels played some excellent basketball in early December, coming away with three big wins in three games. The varsity girls got revenge on Cathedral School, who had beat them badly in an early season game. This time the Lady Rebels took a 62-55 win over Cathedral in the PVA double header. Freshman guard Mary Claire Jones had a new career high with 31 points. She also had 6 rebounds, 6 deflections, 5 steals, and 4 assists. Freshman Hanna Catherine Huddleston added 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 deflections. Another freshman Makayla Pickett added 8 points and pulled down 7 rebounds. Senior Jessie Kate Cobb added 6 points and led the team in rebounds with 9 boards and in deflections with 7. Jadyn King had 4 points and 5 rebounds. Madison Chamberlin added 3 points, 8 rebounds, and led the team in deflections with 7.

The JV boys had a tough home game against Columbia Christian and came away with a narrow 27-26 win. Tanner Carlisle had another outstanding double-double with 11 points and 22 rebounds, while Ashton Almond also had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Colin Bates and Cannon Breedlove added 2 points each.

Not to be outdone by the JV thriller, the varsity boys also had a thrilling win over Columbia Christian in double overtime. The Rebels came out on top 65-64. Thad Bates had a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 12 deflections, leading the team in each of these categories. Jace Wilhite added 16 points and 9 rebounds, while Ben Almond had 11 points and led the team in assists with 7. Kyle Guillory was also in double figures with 10 points. Mason Murray added 9 points and had 4 each of rebounds, assists, steals, and deflections.

I was able to catch up with Coach Cliff New over the holidays to get his thoughts on the season so far. Coach Cliff said, “I’m very pleased with all of our teams’ progress from when we started to where we are now. I believe we have really just scratched the surface and will continue to get better with the work the kids are putting in. We have players stepping up as leaders and each kid is settling into his or her role and gaining confidence. We still need to focus each day on improving and taking each game one at a time. I believe we have set a standard for how we play, and we will look to play to that standard or better each game. We can still improve in several areas. I’m very excited about the potential and possibilities that are there for us to strive to achieve as the season progresses.”

All four teams seem to be settling in and adjusting well to Coach Cliff’s coaching style and new ideas, and they are looking great so far. The next games will be at home on Thursday, January 5, as all four teams take on Claiborne Academy. Tipoff for the JV girls will be at 4:00 p.m. followed by three more games. Come out and support your Rebels and Lady Rebels!

Tech Fraternity Pledge Class Benefits the Lab School

TKE pledge class ‘plays it forward’ for A.E. Phillips

As a part of their 2022 pledge class project, the brothers of Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) have donated to the “Play it Forward” campaign for A.E. Phillips Laboratory School’s (AEP) new outdoor learning space.

Every year, the TKE pledge class is encouraged to complete a project that involves a type of philanthropic or fundraising event.

TKE pledge member Jacob Michelli led this year’s initiative.  “I was driving past A.E. Phillips when I saw the ‘Play it Forward’ initiative, and our pledge class project immediately came to mind,” Michelli said. “When I brought it up, they were immediately on board.”

The Truth of Where We Are In America Today

By Steve Graf

Today, I’m venturing away from my fishing stories by wrapping up 2022 and taking a hard look at where we are as a country. In so many ways 2022 was a great year, as we finally returned to a sense of normalcy. It seems like years ago that we were under mask mandates and trying to figure out the facts and fiction of Covid-19. It truly rocked our world like nothing ever has in my lifetime of 61 years. We’re still trying to make sense of what this disease brings with it and the lasting effects it could have for generations.

But for now, I am going in a different direction as I reveal my observations on where we are as a nation. First, politics has come to the forefront now that Trump is no longer in office but has declared he’s running for office again in 2024 as we’re halfway through the Biden years. Never can I remember in my years of living in this great country the political and moral division that exists today. America has truly lost her mind! Can I say that America is considered she or am I being sexist?

The 1960s might be the closest era we’ve seen that is similar to now. For one thing, we have allowed the minority groups and I don’t mean minority as in the African Americans, Mexican Americans or Italians, or any other demographic group that makes up this great nation. I’m talking about the one or two people in a crowd that don’t want the prayer or national anthem recited at a public event. Those that don’t want their kids exposed to Jesus in any shape or form.

So, who’s responsible for our nation turning its back on Jesus? EVERYONE!!! No one political party can excuse themselves from the plain and simple fact that we are a nation divided. Republicans and Democrats and their leadership from within are all guilty of fueling the flames of this division. I guess you could also say, we the people are to blame as well since we are the ones who voted these people into office. Yes, Trump had a hand as well with all of his idiotic Tweets and trying to communicate with Americans through social media…something no other President has ever done. While a lot of his policies were for the good of America, his mouth was nothing but pure venom and created a “pick a side” mentality.

As a church-going member of the First United Methodist Church, I’ve seen a decline in the number of people attending church. Recently I counted 24 empty pews out of 40 during a church service. More than half of the churches or churches all across this country are empty. People have walked away from the church but more devastating, they’ve walked away from God. Our schools and state officials have also taken God out of the equation with no one willing to challenge the powers that be to bring this one saving grace back. 

The family dynamic has all but disappeared from the American landscape which used to be our foundation for what was right with this country. Divorce attorneys are in high demand and single-parent dwellings are on the rise. People no longer see the importance of family structure and the stability it brings to the younger generation. One common quote I hear so often amongst couples is, “I’m not happy.” I’m sorry, but I don’t recall seeing anywhere in my Christian upbringing where the good Lord promises happiness. But he has given us the tools and the playbook (Bible) to follow and work things out and to do what’s always in the best interest of the family and the children.

Kids need a mom and a dad under the same roof. This is critical for their total development as a boy or a girl. We have kids today who are so confused about who and what they are. Really?!!! This is a total lack of parenting and not being exposed to the Word of God.  Do you remember the slogan a few years ago for educating our children? “No child left behind.” Well, we have left the children behind, and they will turn in whatever direction they can to get the answers they’re looking for. The problem is they’re turning to the wrong people and looking in the wrong places.

People have become so consumed with their own selfish needs that they have forgotten what’s really important. Couples’ ability to communicate effectively and fight hard to save their marriage no longer exists. It’s easier to give up and just get a divorce.

Meanwhile, our churches are empty, and we have turned our back on God, and we wonder why we are in the shape we’re in. If this one concept of getting back in the church does not return to the American landscape, we are doomed to fall not only from God’s grace but as a nation as well. We must start to rebuild our church base and bring back the family dynamics that are missing today. We must elect officials who have the same moral compass as the church. Know what and who the people you’re voting for are and what they represent. If we as Christians don’t rise up and redirect our nation, we will be at a point of no return and I’m not so sure we’re not already there.

For those of you that have made a point to acknowledge my articles this year, I say, “Thank you!” It always makes my day to know that what I’m writing has touched someone in a good way. I’m always very appreciative of the kind words you’ve sent my way in person, by text, or by email. I hope each of you has a healthy and prosperous 2023! See you on the other side! Until then, good luck, good fishing, and don’t forget your sunscreen.

Notice of Death – December 30, 2022

Bobby Short

August 18, 1958 to December 23, 2022

Service: Saturday, December 31, 2022 at 11:00 am at Summer Hill B.C. in Evelyn, LA.

The Red River Parish Journal publishes paid obituaries – unlimited words and a photo, as well as unlimited access – $70. The obituary will be included in the emails sent to subscribers and to social media.  Contact your funeral provider or RedRiverParishJournal@gmail.com. Must be paid in advance of publication. (Notice of Death shown above with no link to the obituary are FREE of charge.)

ETC… For Friday, December 30, 2022

LSU Health Science and the Parish Health Units will be closed from this Friday, December 30, to Monday, January 2, for New Years.

Red River football rival Lakeview High school has hired a new coach.  He is Andy Boone.  He had been a very successful coach at Avoyelles High for fifteen years. 

On Sunday morning January 1st Abundant Life Worship Center will hold a New Year’s Service and Communion.  It will be during their regular worship at 10:30 am. 

Cold Temperatures To Ease

The tremendous blast of Arctic air that paralyzed much of the nation just before Christmas is beginning to withdraw from our area.  Lows in our area this morning were predicted to be at or slightly above freezing.

Here is the local forecast for Coushatta for the rest of the week:

Wednesday – Mostly sunny, with a high near 68. South wind 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

Wednesday Night – A 20 percent chance of showers after midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 56. South wind 10 to 15 mph.

Thursday – A chance of showers and thunderstorms, then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm after noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 72. South wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%.

Thursday Night – Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. Low around 58. South wind 5 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%.

Friday – A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 69.

Friday Night – A 30 percent chance of showers, mainly after midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 54.

Local Water Outages Update

Engineers and workers continue efforts to restore full water service to Coushatta and several outlying neighborhoods.  And the Police Jury has been distributing water to residents.  The Hickory Grove water system also has water issues they are working to correct.

Here is the latest update from the Town of Coushatta water system (published late Monday)

The water system will Turn a second pump on at 6:00 pm for a few hours. This will hopefully give pressure for everyone to get water during this time. Unfortunately, this pump can only be run for a few hours.

They continue to find and repair leaks and urge residents to check their homes and outlying buildings for leaks.

Engineers and workers will be back out first thing in the morning to continue the effort.

The Police Jury has been distributing water to residents.  Monday the distribution was made at Juror Ben Taylor’s residence. Then the Red River Parish Police Jury continued to hand out water .  There was a new location at the Police Jury Road Barn (718 Fairgrounds Road) for Red River Parish Citizens affected by water outages. The hours will be from 7:00am until 4:00pm.

The low pressure and outages are accompanied by a Boil Advisory for the town.  The result is that food service and iced beverage service has been interrupted.  Call before visiting your favorite restaurant to check their status.

Low water pressure caused the Library to be closed on Tuesday. Nonfunctioning toilets are rough on staff as well as patrons.

Also, the Hickory Grove Water system is experiencing water pressure problems.  This statement was issued on Monday:

Hickory Grove Water System customers the water is back on this morning we aren’t sure for how long. Please check around your homes, shops etc. make sure you don’t have leaks. Please conserve water as much as possible. This is asking no washing clothes etc. right now the water has a tint to it and will stain your clothing plus we just don’t have the water right now. Please everyone works together and help get your neighbors leaks fixed. If you happen to see a leak please call the office or a board member.

Power was Interrupted in Martin

Here is the information provided by Swepco:

This outage started first when the feed from CLECO went off-line at 7:19 PM on Thursday. This occurred probably because of damage from a tree blown over by the wind. 

When CLECO restored power yesterday, we discovered thru testing yesterday that the SWEPCO transformer serving power to 900 Martin area electric customers was also damaged as the result of the events of Thursday afternoon. 

SWEPCO crews are now hard at work to bring in a mobile transformer today and if all goes well, they will have power restored this evening. I hope that everything does go well and that we can get the power restored this evening.  The reason that you didn’t see any activity there in your area is that all efforts were focused on restoring the feed from CLECO, and then testing the transformer (and unfortunately) determining that it needed to be replaced. 

Please know that the SWEPCO team is working hard to restore power to the Martin community. I realize that it appears that you have been neglected, but that is not the case. Restoration activities have been going on the entire time since the outage occurred on Thursday evening.

Local Basketball Scores

This week’s games for Red River at Ringgold were postponed for December 23rd.  They were scheduled for the 27th.

Earlier the Bulldogs defeated Natchitoches Central and lost to Haughton.  Scores were Red River 69 and NCHS 64 and Haughton 72 and Red River 62.

Following the game Coach Dadrian Harris said, “Jamello McDonald, this knucklehead got his first high school dunk tonight. I think he was more surprised than I was when it happened.”

The Lady Bulldogs played Haughton on December 19th.  They suffered a 54-23 loss.

The season records are Bulldogs 6-6 and the Lady Bulldogs 3-5.

Both teams kick off 2023 with matches at West Monroe on January 3rd.

Riverdale Academy’s Next games are scheduled January 5th when Claiborne Academy comes to town for a full slate of games.

What’d we do in ’22 

By Teddy Allen

In good ol’ 2022, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of Love Languages, a lady named Amy earned $1 million-plus and made the Jeopardy! TV game show cry “Uncle!”, LSU’s football team won more games than even the Tigers’ most loyal and optimistic fan thought possible, and Port-O-Lets again made their presence known during Mardi Gras as one of the best inventions since indoor plumbing — which turned out to be heavy plastic outdoor plumbing. 

Good times.  

These were just some of the more light-hearted and trivial happenings of a somewhat gray 2022, a year that had this One Big Thing going for it: it wasn’t 2021 or, Lord help us all, 2020, when our leaders didn’t.  

I was born at night, but not last night. 

Actually, I was born at 8:15 in the morning, just in time to clock in, and have been carrying my little toolbox and lunch pail since. Like you, the past two years have beaten all I’ve ever seen and have tried, overly hard, to beat us down. 

But here we are, still flying the flag, like the old man in Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, a little thinner and gaunt, showing some deep wrinkles and splotches, some deep-creased scars, but our eyes are bright and cheerful and undefeated.  

We can hardly afford to buy the toot off a whistle if they were selling for a nickel apiece, but we soldier on. The world keeps spinning and we’re happy to be along for the ride into what we trust will be a more upbeat 2023.  

2022 was the year that brought us Wordle. Remember last year this time when everybody was Wordleing? The fad has worn off a bit, but last spring, Wordle was almost as popular as Taylor Swift. 

2022 was also the year when Top Gun: Maverick became required viewing. Is it the best sequel since The Godfather Part II

Fair Grounds Field was demolished in 2022 — until it wasn’t. Red tape and bat poop sort of sums up the year; the higher-ups don’t want to admit a mistake and get things back on greased grooves.  

Closer to home, we became grandparents in July 2022, a definite highlight. She’s a healthy five months old. Because we are good grandparents, we took her to see Top Gun: Maverick five times and sold all we have except our toothbrushes to get her a Taylor Swift concert ticket. She’ll have to go alone because one is all we could afford but the kid has got to learn to stand on her own at some point.  

We did not get her a ticket to Monday’s Cheez-It Citrus Bowl in Orlando when 9-4 LSU takes on 8-5 Purdue/Purdon’t because although we love Chees-Its, one of the highest quality dairy foods you can eat, who knew LSU could threaten a 10-win season? This is a team that started a receiver at quarterback and had 38 players on scholarship in last year’s bowl game, something called the TaxAct Texas Bowl when Kansas State beat what was left of the Tigers, 42-20.  

Hat tippage to new coach Brian Kelly and Tiger fans everywhere for their expectation-exceeding results this fall. 

Since this is the first time ever the two programs have met and since the only alum of Purdue people in these parts might know is New Orleans Saints forever-hero Drew Brees, you might find it of interest that the nice lady who invented Stovetop Stuffing, Ruth Siems, went to Purdue, as did Orville Redenbacher, the popcorn magnate. Doubtful that either of those things will come into play during Monday’s game — unless the Boilermakers have Stovetop Stuffing and popcorn for pregame. Then we really like LSU to cover the two-touchdown spread. Kick is at noon Monday, Jan. 2. 

2023 kicks off the day before.  

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu 

Local Pharmacy to Continue Providing Prescription Service to State Employees

There has been an injunction filed in state court to prevent the Louisiana’s Office of Group Benefits from entering into a $2 billion pharmacy contract with CVS Caremark.  The hearing on the injunction is scheduled for Wednesday morning.  Local Pharmacist Connie Mabile is reassuring local state workers that Mabile’s Corner Pharmacy will continue to provide prescription service.

Mabile said Friday that they will still be a provider under the CVS contract.  She added they are watching the outcome of today’s hearing.  KALB TV reported, “A temporary 10-day restraining order has been granted by Judge Kelly Balfour in the 19th Judicial District Court.”  The contract would potentially impact over 200,000 state workers, including teachers and other state employees, on where they go to fill prescriptions and get vaccines.  A hearing on the injunction will be held in Alexandria on Wednesday.

Mabile told the Journal, “I have a third party to process my prescriptions, to provide coverage. My ability to continue as a provider will not be affected by the outcome of the hearing.  I feel very confident that I will still be a provider.  Of course, that is subject to change.”

Locally the change by the Office of Group Benefits will effect the parish’s largest employer, the Red River School Board in addition to highway workers and all other state employees.  Mabile told the Journal she wants to assure local teachers and other state workers that they will be able to continue having their prescriptions filled locally under their state health coverage.

Wreath to Honor Veterans

The Mount Zion Cemetery participated in the Wreaths Across America program for the Veterans on December 17th.  Mount Zion is one of more than 3,100 cemeteries that honored vets this year.

Janna Lawson told the Journal that an individual supplied the wreaths this year.  She said there are always American flags on veterans graves at Mount Zion.

Volunteers carried out the event on Wreaths Across America day to assure that all veterans at the cemetery are honored one day a year.  Mount Zion Cemetery is directly off Hwy 783 near Hall Summit.

Two Louisiana Cities Among Most Disadvantaged Economically

From The Center Square

Detroit, Michigan, is the most economically disadvantaged city in the United States, followed by Brownsville, Texas, and Cleveland, Ohio, according to a new report from Wallethub.

These cities are characterized by high poverty rates, high unemployment, food insecurity, low access to computers or the internet, and a large share of delinquent debtors, according to the report’s findings.

Other cities in the top 10 include Gulfport, Mississippi; Fresno, California; Laredo, Texas; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; New Orleans, Louisiana; Los Angeles, California; and Shreveport, Louisiana.

Nearly 37 million Americans live in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The National Alliance to End Homelessness estimated more than half a million people had experienced living in homeless shelters or on the streets in 2021.

Some of the neediest cities are also among the most expensive places to live in the United States, such as Los Angeles and Fresno. The Wallethub report found that Fresno had the worst homelessness rate in the country.

Jill Gonzalez, an analyst for Wallethub, told The Center Square that the lack of affordable housing options drives up the rates of homelessness and poverty in Los Angeles.

“Homelessness is a huge problem in Los Angeles,” Gonzalez said. “It has the biggest homelessness rate among the cities analyzed and several homeless criminalization laws in place. Plus, the city saw an almost 47% increase in family homelessness in 2020 compared to the previous year.”

Increasing inflation rates also contribute to an increase in poverty, according to Gonzalez.  

“Rising prices mean that people are finding it more and more difficult to make ends meet,” Gonzalez said. “As a direct consequence, more people become delinquent on their debt, file for bankruptcy or even become homeless.”

Another complicating factor is demographics. In recent years, poverty has disproportionately impacted certain groups more than others, including children and minority groups such as African Americans or Native Americans, Lauren Hall, a research director in family welfare at the University of Maryland, told Wallethub.

“Low-income families face a multitude of challenges including, but not limited to: finding affordable childcare and housing; healthcare challenges due to social determinants of health; and lack of quality employment that provides steady hours and income, a predictable schedule, and paid leave,” Hall said.

These challenges for minorities are especially present in southern cities with a higher rate of poverty and food insecurity, according to Gonzalez.

“The cities in the South historically tend to struggle more with poverty and food insecurity,” Gonzalez said. “They have less access to resources, and they lack job opportunities and economic security. Plus, they have a lower education level, and a lot of people lack health insurance coverage.”

The Wallethub report compared 182 cities across the United States, including the 150 most populated cities, across two dimensions: “economic well-being” and “health and safety.” The report weighted 28 metrics of economic disadvantage on a 100-point scale to determine each city’s ranking.

Weekly Arrest Report

Report from the Red River Sheriff’s Office for December 19-26, 2022.

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named or shown in photographs or video as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.