Lenten Luncheon Series at First Methodist

The annual Lenten Lunches at Coushatta’s First Methodist Church begin on March 13th. The pastor is Dr. Curtis Carroll, and this year the church is inviting the community each Wednesday through Lent. 

Dr. Carroll said, “We are inviting pastors from various churches in our area to speak each week. The first speaker will be Bro. Nathan Davis from First Baptist Church.” 

The format for the Lenten Lunches will be lunch served beginning at noon followed by a short devotional message. Ladies of First Methodist and Wesley Chapel prepare delicious soups and deserts each week. Dr. Carroll said, “We’ll feed the body and then the soul to all who attend.” 

Here is the complete schedule: 

March 13th – Bro. Nathan Davis of First Baptist Church in Coushatta 

March 20th – Doug Cain of First United Methodist Church in Natchitoches 

March 27th – Nicholas Owino Onyach of St. George’s Catholic Church in Coushatta 

April 3rd – Bro. Richard Kaufman of Martin Baptist Church 

April 10th – Rev Clair Carter, Director of the Wesley Foundation at NSU 

For more information, call First Methodist Church at 318-932-4069 or check the church’s Facebook page.

Plans Being Made for Sunrise Services

Easter is April 21st this year. Although that may seem like a long time, it isn’t to Wayne and Nancy Spears. They are the founders of Abbie Lane Retreat in south Red River Parish. 

Wayne Spears explained the plans to the Men’s Breakfast held recently at Martin Baptist Church. Spears said, “We are planning a sunrise experience along our prayer trail. It will be a neat experience with participants walking from Gethsemane to Calvary and on to the Empty Tomb.” 

At each station, Spears explained that a local pastor would present a brief presentation on the meaning of each location leading up to finding the tomb empty at the conclusion of the service. 

There will be a message plus music and singing as participants make the trek form station to station. Spears invited area churches and groups to come to Abbie Lane before Easter. He invited whole churches to come and walk the prayer trail. 

For more information, call Abbie Lane at 318-505-8578. Abbie Lane is located on US 71 in south Red River Parish. 

“My vision,” said Spears, “Is to bring the community together and cross over boundaries that we have built up over the years.”

Next HEART Event is Scheduled

The Red River Parish Health Unit is teaming up with the H.E.A.R.T. Program to provide free heart healthy screenings to residents of Red River Parish. H.E.A.R.T. stands for Health Education Awareness Response Team. It was brought to the parish by the MLK Health Center in Shreveport. 

This free event will be held at the Parish health unit on Red Oak Road on Wednesday, February 26th. It will be held from 10 am to 1:30 pm. The public is invited to take part. 

February is American Heart Month. Awareness saves lives…so come for your free heart healthy screenings. The first 20 screening participants will receive a Subway gift card. 

This message provided by the MLK Health Center and Pharmacy and it is funded by BHP

It’s Been Ten Long Years

Tan Junkies is now open in Coushatta. That ends a decade long absence of the availability of a tanning salon in the area. That absence left an opportunity for Distie Gibson and her mother Jo Rambin. 

About a month ago Gibson opened Tan Junkies. They created the tanning salon in a vacant commercial space in the Max Way Shopping Center. Gibson told The Journal the equipment became available so she and Rambin began the search for a location. 

The first person they talked to was C. W. Belcher. Gibson said he had a vacancy that perfectly fit her needs. As Gibson tells it, “It was a big empty space. I was able to customize it to fit the needs of the shop. We put up walls, built tanning rooms and decorated it just like I wanted it.” 

Gibson said, “We have several tanning beds available of varying strength tanning bulbs. We also have a good selection of lotions including moisturizer and indoor tanning lotions. Our clients can get just the tan they are seeking.” 

They have memberships available including unlimited tanning memberships. “For one monthly fee, our clients can tan as many times as they like,” said Gibson. 

Tan Junkies is located just down from Pizza Hut in the Max Way Shopping Center. They are open from 11:00 am until 7:00 pm Monday through Saturday and from 2:00 to 5:00 pm on Sundays. For more information, call Tan Junkies at 318-271-8267. 

Gibson said, “It’s been ten long years since there was a tanning salon in Coushatta. I am glad to offer this service again to our area.”

High School Musical in Production

The Red River High School Band and Choir is producing Little Shop of Horrors this spring. Little Shop of Horrors was a Broadway musical and it was a movie starring Rick Moranis. Now it is coming to Coushatta March 28th. 

Band Director Yasmine Jason told The Journal the production will feature members of the High School and Junior High Bands as well as the choirs from both schools. Jason said, “The kids in first block are making the plant, named Audrey Two, from scratch.” A prototype is shown in the photo with this article. She added, “In the movie it was a man-eating plant, but in our production, no one is devoured. It will be PG rated with no blood!” 

The sets and just about everything else are being constructed by students. “Everything is being made from scratch,” added Jason. She added, “We have some really good singers singing these parts. It blew me away, their talented improvisational and vocal capabilities.” 

The Red River production of Little Shop of Horrors is set for March 28th. There will be a performance during the day for students. The public performance will start at 6:00 pm.

Flag Worn or Torn? Retire it Properly

What do you do with your American flag after it becomes torn, worn, or faded? Proper disposal of flags that are no longer serviceable is available locally. Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7287 collects old flags and disposes of them. 

If your flag needs retiring, take it to the collection box located at Randy’s Hardware on Highway 71. The box is accessible during Randy’s business hours. 

The Coushatta VFW Post had a surplus mail box refurbished and painted by a custom paint shop in Bossier City several years ago. Randy’s Hardware donated space on the store’s front porch to mount it. Most flags fit through the opening in the box. If it is too large, Randy will hold it and notify the VFW Post. 

Proper disposal of retired US flags is a community service offered by the local Veterans of Foreign Wars and Auxiliary. For information, call the post at 318-932-6557.

ETC… for Friday, February 15th

Hickory Grove Baptist Church is hosting a concert Sunday February 17th. It starts at 10:30. Their Facebook post says there will be a soup lunch to follow. 

The winter Playday series has concluded at Red River Cowboy Church. Awards will be presented on Sunday, March 10th at 5:00 pm. The church asks contestants to notify them of how many will be attending the awards ceremony. 

The Journal wants to thank the many people in our area who contribute stories, pictures and ideas to this digital publication. While saying thanks, I know that there are many other events your church or group is holding that don’t get much publicity. If you class is holding a reunion, or you find a group of old Coushatta pictures in the attic, share them with your neighbors. So get to writing. Send stories and pictures to RedRiverParishJournal@gmail.com. 

One side benefit of attending the basketball playoff games is the varied and interesting places to dine. The Journal found a gem in Lake Providence called Zip’s Cajun Restaurant. I pigged out on crawfish etouffe and boiled shrimp. Thanks to Zan and his staff at Zip’s.

Two Suicides at Ware Youth Center

Last Thursday a 17 year old juvenile held at the Ware Youth Center just north of Coushatta committed Suicide. On Saturday, a 13 year old boy also held at Ware took his life. Two suicides in less than 72 hours. 

Ware Executive Director Joey Cox confirmed the deaths in a brief release to the news media. Cox said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with both of these young men and their families and friends during this difficult time.” 

The deaths are under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office. Spokesman Troy Murray issued this statement to The Journal: 

“At this point I can confirm that the Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating two apparent suicides that occurred last week at Ware Youth Center. The first incident involved a seventeen year old male and the second a thirteen year old male. Both incidents took place within an approximate forty-eight hour time period.” 

Spokesman Bill Davis of the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the two boys had both been sent to Ware from Bossier Parish. Davis gave this statement to The Journal: 

“In late December, Bossier Sheriff’s Office deputies were called to a residence in Bossier Parish where a 17-year-old was acting erratic and intoxicated in the yard of the residence. Deputies arrived on scene, and the 17-year-old was arrested and charged with resisting by false information (kept giving wrong last name to deputies), simple escape (after leaving patrol vehicle while cuffed), theft and disturbing the peace. He was transported to W.A.R.E. Detention Center on Dec. 26. 

“On Feb. 1, 2019, deputies were called to Haughton Middle School where they determined a 13-year-old had set toilet paper on fire in a school restroom. He was charged with aggravated arson (school was in session with some 1,200 students in attendance, causing some $4,700 in damage) and transported to W.A.R.E. Detention Center.” 

The investigation by the Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office is ongoing. Identities of the two youths has not been made public.

A Controlled Burn

Did you see the huge plume of black smoke lingering over Coushatta most of the morning on Monday? Something was surely on fire. 

It was a controlled burn. A house near the Junior High School was being burned and the Fire Department was standing by, spraying water on the inferno to make sure the fire did not get away. 

That house and the one in front of it had been vacant for some time. The property was recently acquired by the Red River Parish School Board. The house nearest the street had been demolished and was just a pile of rubble. The house in the rear was taken out by the controlled blaze. 

It is part of the school building project. The property was acquired by the board and the houses were removed to make way for a street. This will improve access to parking areas and the new sports complex now under construction.

A Touch of Class

One of those rare moments in life came along Monday night, February 4th. Riverdale Academy basketball teams were playing their final matches of the regular season before going into the playoffs this week. 

It was Senior Night. There is only one graduating senior playing for Riverdale this year. She is Alyssa Woodard. Alyssa was honored on Tuesday night. But that’s not the most memorable moment. 

Alyssa had sat out much of the season due to an injury. But Alyssa was always there on the bench rooting for her Lady Rebels. But to sit out your final game at your alma mater had to be a disappointment. 

Riverdale hosted Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts on the final night of the regular season. LSMSA is known for their academic prowess, not on the basketball court. They played hard but were no match for the Lady Rebels. 

Late in the game, Riverdale called for a substitution. Alyssa Woodard walked on crutches to the scorer’s table to check in. Her teammates and the LSMSA players all retreated to the far end of the court. Then Alyssa made her way to a spot just under the LSMSA basket. She gave her crutches to the referee and found her footing. 

Alyssa’s younger sister, Raylee Cate Woodard, inbounded the ball to her and Alyssa put it in the net. A time out was called while the Lady Rebels ran to her, embracing and congratulating Alyssa for playing in and scoring in her final game at Riverdale. 

And the crowd went wild!