Rebel Running Mates Is Fun For All

By Molly Seales

At the first Riverdale football pep rally of the season, Riverdale Assistant Coach Cody Hillman, who is involved in helping coach both varsity and Little Rebel football, noticed something special that you can only get with a small school situation. He saw some of the varsity football guys talking to some of the Little Rebels, asking them how practice was going and if they were enjoying it so far.  From that, an idea was born, “Riverdale Running Mates.” Hillman said, “When I saw that, I just thought that pairing them up would be a good idea.  Those little boys really look up to the varsity football boys, and the big boys always like showing the younger players attention. They have no actual things they have to do with them. They just occasionally show up at the Little Rebels practices and surprise them.  The varsity guys give some pointers.  The varsity players give their ‘little brothers’ some extra attention when they see them around school.”

At a recent pep rally, some of the Rebel Running Mates paired off to play a game in which the Little Rebels were blindfolded and their “big brothers” had to give verbal instructions to guide them to fill a bowl with cotton balls using only a scooper. The competition was tough, but in the end, Denver Williams and Trevor Bell were declared to be the winners. Senior varsity players and their “Rebel Running Mates” are Chandler Nettles and Morgan Moseley, Denver Williams and Trevor Bell, Monroe McCarty and Kane Milner-Dortlon, Jake Messenger and Kaden McNeeley, Kaden “Big Kat” Cason and Jace Baxley, and Ty “Bones” Jones and Jackson Hillman.  Junior varsity players and their “Rebel Running Mates” are James Wagoner and Ryder Shaver, Ben Almond and Karson Milner-Dortlon, and Tyler Parker and Blake Davis.  Sophomore varsity players and their “Rebel Running Mates” are Ryder Huddleston and Jax Hearold, Hayden Hillman and Rylan Tingle, Kyle Guillory and Jase Johnson, and Jaxon Gates and Drew Curry.  Freshman varsity players and their “Rebel Running Mates” are Kaidyn Williams and Sam Murray, Logan Grider and Junior Curry, Aston Hester and Lane Mancil, and Colton Caskey and Caden Spradley.  8th grade varsity players and their “Rebel Running Mates” are Ashton Almond and Milton Guidry, Tanner Carlisle and Benton Yount, and Ben Moseley and PJ Guidry.

The Little Rebels have been practicing hard every Tuesday and Thursday after school, and their season will kick off this Saturday, September 11.  They will travel to Jesus, the Good Shepherd School in Monroe for their jamboree. Their games will be at 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. We are looking forward to watching them this season! Good luck Little Rebels!

Church Anniversary

Elizabeth Full Gospel Baptist Church will celebrate their 117th anniversary later this month.  The theme is Lord Pour Him Out On Us.

The pastor, Dr. Richard Logan announced the celebration on social media.  Special guest for the occasion is Pastor Ail Harris, Sr. of Abundant Life Church in Natchitoches.

The church anniversary celebration begins at 3:00 pm on Sunday September 26th.  Elizabeth Full Gospel Baptist Church is located at 6996 US 71 north of Coushatta.

Focus Conference Next Month

The schedule for the annual Focus Conference has been published.  Red River Cowboy Church will host the one day event on Saturday October 23rd beginning with check in at 1:00 pm.

The guest speaker this year is Andrew Forque, Youth Pastor at Westside Baptist Church of Natchitoches.  The band is 4 Days Late.

Pre-registration for Focus is now open.  Deadline for early registration is October 8th.

Red River Cowboy Church is located in south Red River parish on LA 1 at Lake End.

Smith Is Player of the Week

Red River Head Football Coach Jeff Harper posted that the Bulldog quarterback is the player of the week.

Harper said, “Congratulations to Tre Smith for being named Taco Bell player of the Week! Thank you to the Tim Fletcher Show & Chris Herron from Taco Bell for all you do to recognize HS athletes in the area.”

Smith won the distinction by online and social media voting.

Local Player Gets Interception in Wisconsin

It was a long way to go to play a football game, but the Pioneers of East Texas Baptist were up to the challenge.  On Thursday, they played UW-Platteville before a packed house.  It was Platteville’s first game in nearly two years, and they were ready. 

A local newspaper, the Telegraph Herald wrote, “While there were certainly moments worth cheering, it was costly mistakes that handed Coach Mike Emendorfer and the Pioneers their first season-opening loss under his tenure in 23 years.”

Part of the Pioneers winning effort was an interception by former Bulldog Kenneth Bradley.  The pass was intended for Plattsville’s Donald Alexander.  It went a little off the mark into the outstretched arms of Bradley.

The Herald said, “A high snap on a UWP punt attempt in the fourth quarter went out the back of the end zone for a safety that gave East Texas Baptist the lead, and then the Tigers took the ensuing possession and drained nearly 5 minutes off the clock and capped it with a game-clinching touchdown with 4:23 remaining to stun the Pioneers, 37-31.”

The Journal thanks Sharon Bradley for the information.  Photo credit: Telegraph Herald.

Symphony Season Published

The Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony will perform five concerts during its 2021-22 season and will be part of the annual Christmas Gala, according to musical director Dr. Douglas Bakenhus. 

The concerts will feature Northwestern faculty, alumni and top NSU music students and will be held in Magale Recital Hall. Tickets are $15 per concert and free for Northwestern State, BPCC@NSU and Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts students. Memberships to the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Society start at $50 with higher sponsorship levels providing additional benefits. For more information on memberships, contact Symphony Society President Loren Ford at

“Now in its 56th season, the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony is a core component of the cultural fabric of our community,” said Ford, a long-time supporter of the Symphony Society and School of Creative and Performing Arts at NSU. “Our orchestra string section is comparable in size and quality to much larger universities and this is attributed to the scholarship support provided by ‘Friends-of-the-Symphony’ who buy season tickets and/or ads in our concert program.  Those who support the Symphony are helping to educate students and enrich our community.”

ETC… for Friday, September 10th

Friday night lights will be shining tonight in Coushatta as the Bulldogs host Arcadia.  And also tonight it is homecoming at Riverdale Academy.  They host PVA.

On Saturday, LSU hosts McNeese in Tiger Stadium.  Northwestern is on the road at Alcorn.

And on Sunday, the New Orleans Saints play the Green Bay Packers in the Superdome.

September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month.  Northwestern State University’s Office of Counseling & Career Services will host a Suicide Prevention and Awareness Candlelight Vigil from 7:30-8:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13 at Chaplin’s Lake across from Prather Coliseum.  The event is being held in memory of those lost to suicide and those who loved them.  The event is open to the public.

Due to several students missing the last letter jacket order, Red River High will be having one more order day in the Fall. Students must bring $100 deposit (cash or money order: NO CHECKS). Letter jacket orders will be on Thursday, September 16th and will start around 11:00 am.

Red River Junior High posted Congratulations Jr High Bulldog football for their victory Thursday night.
Many 8
Great job Bulldogs.

And the September schedule of local 4-H events is out.  It is pictured below.

Thomas Jefferson Cox

A funeral service celebrating the life of Thomas Jefferson Cox, 91, will be held at 10:00 AM, Friday, September 10, 2021, at Kilpatrick’s Rose-Neath Coushatta chapel with Reverend Mike Fort and Reverend Wylann Cloud officiating. Interment will follow in Bethany Cemetery in Fairview community. The family will receive friends from 6:00 PM until 9:00 PM, Thursday, September 9, 2021, at the funeral home.

Mr. Cox was born on October 24, 1929, in Coushatta, LA to Henry Louis and Myrtle Wren Cox and passed September 5, 2021, in Coushatta, LA.

Mr. Cox was preceded in death by his parents and twin brother, A. J.  Left to cherish his memory are cousins, Russell Bamburg, Allen “Rusty” Bamburg, Glen Harvey Bamburg, Jr. and numerous cousins and friends.

Red River Sends Hurricane Relief Supplies

Many people in the parish and many churches are sending relief supplies to south Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Ida.  The storm did tremendous damage and thousands of residents are still without electrical services.

Clara Springs Baptist Camp is one of those contributing.  Mandi and Bubba Mills are organizing their efforts.  Mandi Mills said, “Heading home soooo tired but feeling so full of the Lord’s love that you guys helped us show today through your donations! Thank you is not enough….we love our Camp Ministry & D8 family that helps show the love of Christ!”

On Friday the camp’s Facebook page posted, “Because you GAVE, we were able to deliver quite a load to Christ’s Community Church in Denham Springs today (Friday).  Thank you for seeing a need and willingly being the hands and feet of Jesus.

“We will continue collecting supplies and donations this week. Our plans are to provide the next load of donations to help First Baptist in Larose. The whole community was deeply impacted by the hurricane. 

“The major needs for this next opportunity is Gatorade or Powerade, fans, non-perishable food, and cleaning supplies.  You can drop off donations to Clara Springs dining hall foyer.”

Fairview Baptist Church has their relief effort underway.  Jana Endris said, “Some are asking if there are ways to help with the ongoing recovery and cleanup after Hurricane Ida.” Endris listed a few opportunities:

1) You can give to the Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering. Monies given to the offering go directly to support the work of our Louisiana Baptist  Convention. Currently our state convention is helping to coordinate disaster relief in our state.

2) You can donate supplies by bringing items to select locations. There is a complete list of supplies and locations shared to our church Facebook page from the District Eight Baptist Convention.

3) You can pray for the recovery effort and all those affected.

4) You can serve with SEND Disaster Relief teams.

Stan Statham at the state Baptist Association posted, “Louisiana Baptist Disaster Relief has two sites for volunteers. One is located in Denham Springs and the other in Slidell. We are needing the following volunteers: Chainsaw, Assessors, Mud-out, Tarp, and Chaplains. Please follow the link below to our DR Volunteer form if you are able and willing to help during this time.”

The internet site is:

Should you have any questions, please give us a call at 1-800-410-3492.

First Baptist Coushatta said, “We will be partnering with First Baptist Church, LaRose, LA to help provide supplies for hurricane cleanup. Their pastor, Gary Hanberry, and wife, Beverly, are family of Bro. Nathan and Melanie. They specifically have asked for the following:

– Canned goods (prepared meals like Blue Runner meals, chef boy r dee, soups, etc)

– Rice

– Tarps

– Cleaning supplies

Please drop these items off at the church as soon as you can. Thank you!”

Are there more folks doing hurricane relief?  Please let the Journal know what you are doing.  Contact us via email:

Beta Club members at Riverdale Academy pitched in this week. The school said, “Thank you Will, Ryder, Kacie, Hayden, and the rest of your Riverdale Academy Beta Club members for your generous donations! We know these donations will be so helpful with the recovery efforts in South Louisiana!     Last day to drop off donations is this Thursday by noon.”

State Office Closings

A number of state offices across southeast Louisiana are closed due to the impact of Hurricane Ida.  If you have interests in that part of the state, here is the list:

The following 11 state offices will be closed through Friday, Sept. 10: Jefferson, Lafourche, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Terrebonne.

Red River vs Haughton

Story by Christy Suggs

Friday Night September 3, RRHS had their season opener against 5A Haughton High at Harold Harlon Stadium.  The game started off fast and furious with Haughton scoring on the first play. RR Bulldogs answered with their own touchdown and point after touchdown kicked in by Ryder Hogan.

Red River and Haughton stayed point for point during the 1st quarter. Red River went in at half time with a 42 to 34 lead. 

Red River was only able to add one more touchdown after half. This was thanks to an interception made by Jieron Calhoun. Making the score RR 49 Haughton 34 leaving around 8 mins to go.

The Bulldogs were fighting hard to keep the lead. But with around five minutes left in the game Red River began to struggle with a tired defensive line and leg cramps attacking both offense and defense. Haughton came up with three strong scoring plays that put them on top. The night ended with Red River 49 and Haughton 55.

Stats from the night:

Tre Smith 16-26 400 yards 6 TD 9 carries 85 yards TD

Antron Williams 4 receptions 132 yards 3 TDs

Quin Lewis 3 receptions 128 yards TD

D’Evan McDonald 4 receptions 112 yards 2 TDs

Elijah Harper 6 receptions 38 yards TD

Leonard Mosely 9 carries 25 yards

Ryder Hogan 7-7 PATS

Jieron Calhoun Interception.

Big Win Against Tallulah

By Molly Seales

On Friday, September 3, the Riverdale Rebels went on the road for the first time this year as they traveled to Tallulah to take on the Class 2A Trojans on their home turf.  The Rebels knew going in it would be a battle-last year the Rebels beat the Trojans at their homecoming in pouring rain, so they knew the Trojans would be out for revenge.  They were right!  After a hard fought physical and mental game, the Rebels came away with a 38-34 victory, improving their season record to 3-1. With under two minutes to go and the Trojans threatening to take it into the end zone, senior Monroe McCarty leapt into the air for an interception, barely keeping his feet in bounds.  The interception sealed the win for the Rebels as both teams watched the time expire.

The Rebels had a total of 408 offensive yards against the Trojans for 5 touchdowns. Sophomore Ryder Huddleston was 6 for 19 in passing for 121 yards and only one interception against a fierce Tallulah defense. Senior Ty “Bones” Jones had 3 catches for a total of 71 yards. Senior Jake Messenger caught 2 passes for a total of 18 yards, and Monroe McCarty had one catch for 31 yards.  The Rebels kept it on the ground for their touchdowns. The Trojans were unable to stop McCarty as he led the charge with 13 carries for 175 yards and 4 touchdowns. Messenger also had an impressive 10 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown.  Huddleston had 2 carries for 7 yards.  Sophomore Kyle Guillory had 1 carry for 2 yards, and Junior Ben Almond had 1 carry for 1 yard.

At one point late in the 3rd quarter, as the Rebels seemed to be running a little low on energy,  defensive coordinator Jensen Spillum was heard yelling, “It’s not over yet guys. We are in a street fight!” I later asked Coach Jensen what his thoughts were on the season so far.  He said, “Our mindset is to take one week at a time-to go 1-0 ever week and not get caught up in thinking about the next few games or playoffs.  The potential this team has is incredible, and we have seen just how fast and physical we can be in all three phases of the game.”

The Rebels fought a good defensive battle against the Trojans.  Messenger and McCarty led the charge on the defensive side as well. Messenger had 7 solo tackles, 3 assists, and a fumble recovery, and McCarty had 9 solo tackles, 3 assists (1 TFL,) 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 1 PBU, and the crucial interception in the last 2 minutes of the game. Jones had 2 solo tackles and 5 assists (2 TFL.) Senior defensive lineman Denver Williams again showed great leadership, having 3 solo tackles and 3 assists (1 TFL.) Almond had 3 solo tackles and a PBU on a pass late in the 4thquarter that could have resulted in a Trojan touchdown. Guillory had 3 assists (1 TFL,) while Huddleston had 4 solo tackles and a fumble recovery. Junior Tyler Parker had a solo tackle and 4 assists, while sophomore Hayden Hillman had a solo tackle and 5 assists (1 TFL.) Junior James Wagoner finished out the defensive effort with 1 PBU.

Next Friday is Homecoming and Riverdale’s 50th Celebration.

It’s Homecoming Weekend

By Molly Seales

Excitement is in the air at Riverdale this week as we prepare for our Homecoming game Friday, September 10.  The game follows a big slate of activities leading up to Friday night.

The annual Powder Puff football game and court presentation will be Thursday evening.  Just before the game will be the Lady Rebel softball game.  UCA will be visiting for JV and Varsity Softball games beginning at 3:00 pm. 

Friday morning, we will have a pep rally in the gymnasium.  School will dismiss at noon as we prepare for an evening of exciting events.

This year is our Riverdale Academy’s 50th Years of Excellence Celebration and Reunion.  It starts at 4:00 pm in the gymnasium.

At 6:30 pm Riverdale’s 2021 Homecoming Court will be presented.  This year’s court is:

Queen – Kenley Loftin

Senior Maid – Rylee Hodge

Football Sweetheart – Renee’ Prosperie

Junior Maid – Molly Seales

Sophomore Maid – Emily Cason

Freshman Maid – Lilly Guillot

Crown Bearer – Layla Sneed

Ball Bearer – PJ Guidry

Then the kickoff for the football game against Briarfield will be at 7:30 p.m. at Marston Stadium.  At halftime of the game, the cheerleaders and students in grades Pre-K-8th will present “Lights, Camera, Action” for alumni and the fans. 

We hope to see you there to support our Rebels!

Playday Series Planned

The Arena at Red River Cowboy Church will host the fall playday series beginning next month.  The schedule was posted over this past weekend.

Cowboy Church said, “We are excited to announce that we will be having a fall playday series. We are still working on a few details and will post the flyer this week. We will begin the playdays at 11:00 am. 

The dates for the playdays are:

October 9th

November 13th

December 11th

January 8th

February 12th

Get further details on the Red River Cowboy Church Arena News Facebook page.

Operator, Please Connect Me

By Brad Dison

A large percentage of the world’s population uses mobile phones in their daily lives to do a myriad of tasks.  Just over a century ago, however, telephones were in their infancy.  Prior to the telephone, messages were transmitted between two points by a telegraph system.  Rather than hearing a human voice, the person receiving a message only heard a series of beeps (Morse code) which he had to decipher. 

In 1876, the United States Patent Office issued a patent to Alexander Graham Bell for the electric telephone, a device that clearly produced a replication of the human voice at a second device.  On March 10 of that year, Bell completed the first successful intelligible telephone transmission when he spoke into the telephone’s microphone “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.”  Thomas Watson, Bell’s assistant, was listening to a receiver in an adjoining room.  He heard and understood each word.

In the following year, Bell’s father-in-law organized the Bell Telephone Company.  Other telephone companies were subsequently established throughout the world.  Initially, two telephones were connected by a single, direct wire or line, which meant that the two callers could only communicate with each other.

For telephones to be more marketable, they needed to be able to connect to other telephones with ease.  In May of 1877, Edwin Holmes, owner of the Holmes Burglar Alarm Company in Boston, Massachusetts, installed the first ever telephone switchboard.  Telephone callers in Boston called the operator at the Boston Telephone Dispatch and requested to be connected to whomever they wanted to speak with.  The operator manually plugged in a cable which connected the two telephones.  Switchboards in large cities were usually mounted floor to ceiling to allow for the ever-increasing number of telephone users.  When the number of calls reached capacity, another switchboard was installed on another wall nearby.  Switchboards in rural areas were usually located in the operator’s home so the operator could service calls at all hours. 

Originally, the Boston Telephone Dispatch company hired only boys as telephone operators because they had been successful as telegraph operators.  The company quickly determined that the boys lacked patience, expressed bad attitudes to callers, and their general behavior was unacceptable.  In September, the company hired Emma Nutt, the world’s first female telephone operator.  The experiment was so successful that, for the next 80 years, most telephone companies only hired female operators.                  

Candlestick telephones were common from the 1870s until the 1940s.  These telephones featured a mouthpiece mounted onto a stand and an earpiece which the user held to the ear during a call.  In 1919, the Bell telephone company sold and installed the first ever rotary dial candlestick telephone in Norfolk, Virginia.

As more and more telephone customers upgraded their telephones with ones featuring rotary dialing, switchboards with live local operators were mostly abandoned for automatic switchboards.  This improved telephone callers’ privacy because operators had the ability to listen in on telephone conversations.   Rather than telling an operator who you would like to be connected with, callers dialed the proper number and connected themselves to the person with whom they wished to speak.

Most of the telephone switchboards in the United States were eventually upgraded to automatic switchboards.  Santa Catalina Island, just off the coast near Los Angeles, was the last holdout.  The island was the last telephone office in the United States which operated entirely using manual switchboard operators.  Santa Catalina finally replaced its 19 wooden switchboards and its 16 full-time switchboard operators with dial telephones… in 1978, one hundred years after the installation of telephone operators.


  1. Chicago Tribune, October 23, 1876, p.3.
  2. The Boston Globe, March 7, 1912, p.11.
  3. The Evening Star (Washington, District of Columbia), March 8, 1916, p.3.
  4. The Los Angeles times, August 10, 1978, p.162.

Union’s Victory Over Many Tainted By Outrageous, Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Courtesy of the Sabine Parish Journal

Friday night’s visit to Many High School by the Union Parish Farmers football team was a clash of championship programs that Louisiana high school football fans had eagerly anticipated. It did not disappoint – from a football standpoint.

Unfortunately, the visiting team’s conduct was extremely disappointing, particularly considering the prior cordial relationship between Many head coach Jess Curtis and Union Parish head coach Joe Spatafora.

The fireworks started well before the game, even before the actual trademark Many fireworks were ignited during the pregame entrance of the Tiger football team.

Minutes after the Union Parish team buses pulled onto the MHS campus, the trouble began. Spatafora cursed out a Many assistant coach for not allowing the Farmers access to the school gymnasium.

Many’s protocol is to keep the main gym locked, to avoid it being left in poor condition by visitors, and instead providing visitors use of the locker rooms in the back of the gym. Union and Spatafora had played at MHS previously and knew about that procedure, but he nonetheless unleashed the profanity-laced outburst at the Many coach.

Feeding off their coach’s unsportsmanlike conduct, once the Union players dressed out and took the field for warmups, some stomped on the Many M at midfield and even gave the Many coaches the old one-finger salute.

Many’s radio station sideline reporter even had a difficult time doing his pregame from the sideline due to the expletives coming from some Union players directed toward Tiger players and coaches.

Then the actual fireworks started. A football game broke out, a darned good game, at that. When it ended, there was an almost inevitable confrontation on the field, one which fortunately was short-lived.

After the outlandish behavior of Spatafora and members of his team – which had officials from Union Parish apologizing afterward – it’s likely we’ll not see another matchup between the teams, or the schools in any sport, for a long time.

In spring 2020, the Union Parish coach was suspended by his superintendent, who nearly dismissed him, following a much-publicized drunken argument with another north Louisiana head coach at the January 2020 LSHAA convention. Spatafora released a statement during the aftermath from that incident that has interesting implications considering the events at Many High Friday night.

“I am embarrassed that I did not maintain a professional demeanor while representing my school and myself at this convention,” he said in a Feb. 5, 2020, statement reported by the Monroe News-Star.

“I regret my actions and will ensure I do not drink to excess in the future. I will only conduct myself in a professional manner from this date forward.”

Bret McCormick, former Alexandria Talk sports editor, who is an LHSAA basketball referee and operates One T Photography providing sports action images to fans and media, was covering Friday’s game and fired off commentary on his @b_hoss_mac Twitter account Friday night.

“As a former media guy who now takes photos of high school football games, I try to stay unbiased. However, Union Parish is the most classless bunch I’ve witnessed in a long time. I expect nothing more from Joe Spatafora. Totally classless. (Union Parish star running back) Trey Holly deserves better.

“The sad thing is it wasn’t even one of THOSE games. No fights. No late hits. No taunting penalties. Just a little flexing and talking. Union scored in the final minute to make it a 10-point game. No problem with that. Players didn’t (have a problem) either. Then, unnecessary garbage.

“….the postgame antics were totally uncalled (for), and it shows a lack of leadership from the top. Do better, Union. Garbage.

“As a basketball official, I constantly hear about the importance of sportsmanship. The LHSAA takes it seriously. So, it infuriates me when I see such blatant disregard for sportsmanship. It’s disgusting and deserves to be called out and investigated,” McCormick tweeted.

PHOTO:  Smoke from the start of the pregame fireworks show at Friday evening’s Many High football game.

Volleyball Scores First Victory

Way to go Ladies, making school history and leaving your mark.  Red River Volleyball Coach Ellie Drew celebrated a first for the team.

Last week the Red River Lady Bulldogs Volleyball team picked up a win.  Their first win in school history.  In just our 2nd season of having volleyball at the High School and in the 2nd game of the 2021 season these ladies beat Magnolia Charter in 3 straight sets 25 -17, 25-18, and 25-12. 

Congratulations to our Lady Bulldogs Volleyball team on their first win in school  history.

Hunter Safety Sign-Up

Red River Parish Office Of Homeland Security And Emergency Preparedness is holding a Hunter Education Course this month.  Pre-registrations are now being taken.

The Louisiana Hunter Education Course will be offered September 13-15, 2021 for anyone that is interested. This is a FREE course, and all necessary equipment will be provided.


Red River Parish Central Fire Station

205 Ringgold Ave

Coushatta, La 71019


6:00pm – 9:30pm 


September 13th, 14th, and 15th

Please pre-register at: (Limited to the first 30 people to register) 

For more information, please contact Shane Hubbard at (318) 932-8502.

A 9-11 Reflection—My Day in D.C. on 9-11

By Royal Alexander

Tuesday, September 11, 2001.  When friends and family have asked me over the years to recount for them that day and week I spent in D.C.—I was stranded in our nation’s capital because no commercial airlines were allowed to fly immediately after 9-11—I still struggle to fully describe what I saw and felt that day.  It was unlike any other day of my life and I’m certain I’ll always feel that way.

On 9/11, I was in Washington, D.C. with the late Clyde C. Holloway, former U.S. Congressman and Louisiana Public Service Commissioner. We were there to try to build support from members of Congress we knew for our campaign for Congress.  The day began uneventfully.  We had spent the night at a hotel in Crystal City, Virginia which is only a few hundred yards from the Pentagon.  That day we woke, had coffee and Mr. Holloway left for the first meeting of the day while I stayed behind to organize.

Sometime in the next 10-15 minutes or so, I heard a roar.  The sound startled me.  I walked out to the parking lot of the hotel and looked across the way and saw black smoke billowing from a corner of the Pentagon. Shortly thereafter, there was an exodus of terrified-looking people from the Pentagon into Crystal City.  After this panic, D.C. was locked down.  D.C. was so eerily still, so dead, that I have imagined we would have to go back to our nation’s founders and their horse-drawn carriages to find a time the City was so silent and unmoving.  All I saw was black military helicopters hovering in different places over the City and fighter planes circling high above.  There were also black suburbans with black-clad men brandishing serious looking weaponry out of the windows.

I was numb; unnerved and disconcerted. Watching the TV video of the planes hitting the North and South towers and then seeing the towers collapse was an experience that neither I nor any American could ever forget.  I struggled to comprehend what had happened so near me and across America that day.  I had also been stressed and nerve-wracked to know that my older brother, Tom, who served as Legislative Director for U.S. Senator Jon Kyl at the time, worked in the Senate Hart Office Building and, had the Capitol sustained a direct hit as we have since learned was the terrorist’s plan, he would have been in grave danger.

As the day wore on and the sun began to set, I was able to walk some distance closer to the Pentagon.  The gaping hole in the building burned brightly and would for days, emitting a large acrid plume of smoke.  When night came, and as the emotion of the day weighed heavily on me–and the stench and the smell of the foul night air bombarded my senses and burned my eyes–I was reminded of images from Dante’s Inferno.  I also remember being struck by the sense of a loss of innocence and security–that America would never feel as safe or impenetrable again.

9/11 is indelibly imprinted in my memory both because of the evil that is reflected in such an act–with over 3000 American lives tragically lost–and because of the powerful sense of patriotism and unity that did then exist—and must again exist—in our great country when we stand together. 

However, who could have ever predicted that 20 years later America would be led by a stunningly incompetent, ineffectual president who just abandoned thousands of Americans and our Afghan allies to face virtually certain death at the hands of the Taliban and who has gifted $85 billion in military hardware to the Taliban, which will now be used to kill those same Americans and our allies left behind. 

As we all know, the Taliban is the government of Afghanistan that allowed Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden to plan and prepare to attack our country on 9-11; now, in a painful irony, on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the Taliban plans to celebrate their self-proclaimed victory over America in the United States Embassy in Kabul.  Take a moment to prayerfully reflect upon the magnitude of this American tragedy.  America deserves better than this.  President Biden should be deeply ashamed for the great dishonor his cowardly leadership has imposed upon the patriotic men and women who have bravely protected our homeland.

On this day, and on Veterans Day and Memorial Day, I say a simple prayer in gratitude for those who have suffered and died on our behalf–and remind myself to strive to be worthy of their sacrifice.  I include in my prayer the hope that America may find a way—without a tragedy—to again be as united as we were then.

Contact Lenses & Astigmatism

Have you ever been told you can’t wear contacts because you have astigmatism? Or were you told that contacts lenses for astigmatism – called “toric” contacts – did not come in disposable, frequent replacement, multifocal or color varieties?

All of that was once true, but not today. Unless you have an especially complex prescription, your astigmatism can probably be corrected with soft contacts, and you have many options.

            Many brands of soft toric lenses are available today, so your eye care doctor can choose the brand with the best characteristics for your particular eyes. Torics are available as frequent replacement, and even daily disposable lenses. Toric silicone hydrogel lenses for 30-day wear are also available.

Torics are also available in many colors that either change or enhance your natural eye color. Some colors are available as disposables; but most colored torics are non-disposable, conventional contact lenses.

This series of informative articles about your vision is presented by Family Eye Care on US 71 south of Coushatta.