Two Violent Incidents in Coushatta This Week

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Our town has been rocked by violent outbreaks in the form of a high-speed police chase and a shooting. Both incidents remain under investigation.

There was a double shooting on Monday and a high-speed chase on Wednesday. The rumor mill is buzzing with many half-truths or untruths, however here is what The Journal has confirmed.

Monday’s shooting was worked on the scene by Coushatta Police and the Sheriff’s Office investigated the incident. On Wednesday the Sheriff’s Office made an arrest. The suspect’s name and photo have not been released. The medical condition of the two shooting victims has not been made public.

Wednesday’s incident grew out of a vehicle reported stolen in Natchitoches Parish. It escalated in the MaxWay parking lot in Coushatta. Coushatta Police pursued a vehicle leaving the parking lot and driving north on US 71 at speeds over 75 miles an hour. Sheriff’s Office units joined in. The chase came to an end at Loggy Bayou when the suspect failed to maneuver onto LA 4 and went into a wet, grassy area. A female reported to be driving that vehicle was arrested by Coushatta Police.

The Journal will update both of these stories in our Wednesday edition. Watch your email at 5:55 am Wednesday October 24th. If you don’t have a free email subscription, go to RedRiverParishJournal.com and click on the “Subscribe” button. The stories will also be posted on The Journal’s social media sites.

Senator Kennedy Wants Congress to Act on Flood Insurance

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Louisiana Senator John Kennedy asked Congress to finally get down to the business of creating a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that middle class families can afford. Sen. Kennedy previously introduced comprehensive, bipartisan legislation to reform the NFIP.

Affordable Flood Insurance: “Weathering a hurricane is difficult enough without the added burden of trying to do it without insurance. And a National Flood Insurance Program isn’t doing its job if it’s so expensive people can’t afford to buy it. Unfortunately, that’s precisely what has happened in North and South Carolina.”

What Gives?: “Why don’t people have flood insurance? Because the costs are out of control and middle class families have little choice but to just roll the dice. Because Congress keeps playing games and people don’t have faith that the NFIP will be around to pay off. Because one or two members of Congress want to get a soundbite more than they want to help ordinary Americans protect their property. And if those members want to reform the program because they want to save the government money, they’re going about it the wrong way.”

What It’s All About: “Recovering from a natural disaster is about more than putting up drywall: It’s about our communities coming back safer, stronger and better prepared. The NFIP is an indispensable part of that effort to rebuild. But a flood insurance program isn’t useful if it’s too complicated to understand, or if it allows bad actors to take from hardworking families. We need rules that make sense, government websites that a normal person can navigate, quicker decisions by bureaucrats and a faster process to get disaster dollars to the folks who need them. Most importantly, though, people need to be able to afford buy a policy in the first place.”


Putting a Name on It

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The “new” elementary school was constructed on the Ashland Road about 20 years ago, following school consolidation in the parish. There was a sign erected at the front of the property. This week the school’s presence in the neighborhood was proclaimed with a big, beautiful new sign installed on the front of the building.

This is the latest change to the elementary school campus. Earlier this year a new front door was installed with an entrance directly into the school office. This is a security measure to assure that everyone entering the school checks in at the office first. Also, the rear entrance has been designated as the bus entrance for students arriving and departing. It is also used by the faculty and staff.

The new sign proclaims “Red River Elementary School” in bright blue letters. And there is a huge Bulldog paw print to the left. There are also new signs on the entrance drive to direct parents and visitors to the proper parking lot and entrance.

The changes at the elementary school aren’t just external. See the story elsewhere in today’s edition of the academic accomplishments of our students.

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Town Moves Ahead on Abandoned Properties

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Owners of houses that have become run down, abandoned, damaged or otherwise might be considered blighted will soon get letters from the town’s attorney. The Town Council at the September meeting authorized attorney Cloyd Benjamin, Jr to send the letters out.

There are a number of properties in the town that are not livable due to damage or neglect. A couple of months ago the town council began taking action to get the property owners to clean up or demolish these buildings.

The purpose of the letters is to get the property owners to bring their houses up to an inhabitable condition. Attorney Benjamin explained to The Journal recently that it is a legal process of notices required to either get the property owners to act or face further legal actions by the town.

Police Jury Asked to Join Opioid Litigation

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The Red River Parish Police Jury is being asked to join a nationwide series of lawsuits growing out of the opioid crisis. Several attorneys representing other police juries in the state made a proposal to the jury at the September meeting.

Present were Walter May, John Young and other attorneys representing a group of law firms who are seeking to represent the Police Jury in the suits. May said, “Our group represents 22 police juries in Louisiana. All over the country local bodies are getting involved.” Young said the suit includes “RICO or racketeering legislation. We believe we can bring in elements of RICO which will give treble (triple) damages.” Young added, “There is no political downside to suing opioid manufacturers. No one is coming to their defense.”

Young went on to say, “The drug companies are making billions of dollars and sticking the taxpayers with the cost of dealing with victims. Manufacturers had a fraudulent marketing campaign promoting opioids as safe and denying risks.”

Jury President Shawn Beard told the Journal afterward that he was caught by surprise by their presentation. Beard and other jurors questioned the attorneys on what they were proposing. They also questioned the deadline to join the suit, which is only a month away. The attorneys promised to send more detailed materials on the case, a copy of their contract they said had the approval of the Louisiana Attorney General and a schedule of compensation the law firms would get from any settlement. Beard said the members of the jury would take a look and consider what action to take.