Podcast: Coach Jess Curtis joins Billy West to explain his move to Natchitoches Central

Jess Curtis built a Class 2A high school football powerhouse over the past decade at his alma mater, Many High School. Last week he shocked everybody by taking on the challenge of building a consistently-competitive program at District 1-5A member Natchitoches Central. The Chiefs haven’t won a district championship this century. Curtis won 10 straight at Many, along with three state titles and three more state runner-up trophies. He joins the Billy West Live podcast to discuss his surprising decision.

Photo Credit: Scoreboard Live


OMC JOB OPPORTUNITY

POSITION: Accounting & Fiscal Department

DESCRIPTION: The accounting & Fiscal Department has current positions open

including CFO, Senior Accountant, Revenue Cycle Director, and Fiscal Assistant.

All positions work collaboratively to build a culture of compliance and excellence.

Roles and responsibilities vary from upper-level financial oversight and

management to bank account reconciliations; journal and vendor file maintenance;

analyzing financial information and/or assuring collection revenue is maximal.

QUALIFICATIONS: Range from BS in Accounting to fiscal experience,

dependent on specific position. Federal experience is desirable for managerial

positions.

CONTACT: Human Resources Department at hr@outpatientmedical.org or

visit outpatientmedical.org Career Opportunities section for specific job descriptions and links to apply.

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: Until filled

Outpatient Medical Center is an Equal Opportunity Employer


Remembering Nancy West Harrington

Nancy West Harrington

Nancy West Harrington departed this life on December 21, 2022 after a brief illness. She was 98.

Nancy was born December 6, 1924 in the village of Roxwell, Essex County, England to Charles Henry West and Phyllis Mildred West. She had one sibling, her brother, Don. Nancy had a happy life in the small village that was filled with many of her relatives. She attended Roxwell Church of England School, and was active at St. Michael’s and All Angels church in the village. She taught Sunday School while a teenager. Also as a teenager, Nancy founded a Brownie troop for girls in Roxwell, and became its captain. She graduated the Mid-Essex Technical College with a degree in business, and went to work for the school system. Nancy and her family lived through the Great Depression and World War II. They survived the bombing of their street and yard during the Battle of Britain.

In August 1943, Nancy and a friend were sitting on a bench at the end of her street when two American airmen from a nearby base walked by. One of them was her future husband, Billy. They started dating and became engaged. Billy was sent to France and then Belgium, as part of the Allied invasion of Europe. After Germany surrendered in May 1945, Billy learned that he was being sent to the Pacific theater with his B-26 bomber squadron. He was granted leave and rushed back to Roxwell to tell Nancy that they should get married. Her mother put together a wedding at St. Michael’s church in five days, with Nancy wearing a wedding gown borrowed from the widow of a British soldier who died at Dunkirk. They celebrated a three day honeymoon, and Billy went back to his unit.

After Japan surrendered in August 1945, Billy was sent home to Louisiana. In June 1946, Nancy finally got to join him as one of 65,000 British war brides that arrived in the U.S. by ship. They first lived at Monette’s Ferry with his family, then moved to Cypress and eventually to Flora. Nancy went to work for the Natchitoches Parish School Board, where she had a long career, including many years as the Executive Secretary to five superintendents of schools. When she retired, the School Board voted to permanently name its meeting room The Nancy West Harrington Board Room.

In 2018, Nancy was honored by the Citizens for Democratic Action for her tireless service to others.

Nancy first attended Trinity Episcopal Church on Easter Sunday, 1947, beginning a relationship with a church that she loved so much, and that she and Billy raised their children in.

Nancy and Billy had three children, Rick, Rodney, and Billy Joe. They all graduated Northwestern State University, and all became attorneys. One was elected district judge and another was elected district attorney of Natchitoches Parish. Another has a successful law practice.

Nancy and Billy loved their boys, and were active in their lives from their youngest days, teaching them to hunt and fish, play sports, and excel in school. They raised them as Christians. Nancy taught her sons, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren many life lessons, but perhaps the most important was to treat all people with respect and dignity, no matter who they were.

She lived her life with dignity and grace, and was a living example and inspiration to all who knew her.

Nancy lost her beloved husband in 2004 and moved from Flora to Natchitoches to be closer to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She continued to stay active in their lives and attended their sporting events and other activities. She was her grandchildren’s adored “Grandma Nan”.

Nancy was proud of her English heritage and she and her family made many trips to England to visit their relatives there. Her English family also made many visits to Louisiana to see her. She eventually obtained her U. S. citizenship so that she could vote here, without surrendering her British citizenship.

Nancy was predeceased by her parents and brother, and her husband, Billy. She is survived by her sons, Rick (Carolyn), Rodney (Jan), and Billy Joe (Donna). She leaves eleven grandchildren and their spouses: Charlotte Harrington, Andy (Holly) Harrington, Camille Harrington, Curtis (Kasey) Harrington, Eddie (Emily) Harrington, Emily Erin Harrington, Mary Catherine Harrington, Drake (Brandi) Harrington, Claire (Brandon) Mayeaux, Kyle (Emily) Lechman and Peyton Rimmer. She had 13 great-grandchildren: Austin and Naomi Page, Nell and Lonnie Harrington, Alice and Edmund Harrington, Hudson, Hendrix and Hayes Harrington, Anna and Eva Mayeaux, and Charlotte and Amelia Lechman.

The family expresses its gratitude to Courtyard of Natchitoches, Hospice of Natchitoches, Ellen Chalk, Wanda Sykes and Pam Williams for their care of Nancy.

Services for Nancy will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church, 822 Second Street in Natchitoches, Louisiana on Wednesday, December 28, 2022, beginning at 10:00 a.m. Visitation will be in the church before the service, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Her pallbearers will be her grandsons Andrew, Curtis, Eddie and Drake Harrington, and her grandson-in-law, Brandon Mayeaux. Burial will follow at Weaver Cemetery in Flora, Louisiana, where she will be placed at rest beside Billy. On her gravestone is a phrase from a poem by the British poet Rupert Brooke: “There’s some corner that is forever England.”

Those wishing to honor Nancy’s memory with a donation may contribute to the Trinity Episcopal Church RRR Fund, 148 Touline, Natchitoches, LA 71457.


Chick-fil-A Natchitoches Approaches Opening; Restaurant Looking to Hire 100 Team Members

Now Hiring

New Chick-fil-A® restaurant is now accepting applications for a variety of positions as it prepares to open this fall

WHAT: Chick-fil-A Natchitoches, which plans to open later this fall, is looking to hire 100 part-time and full-time Team Members. The roles span from a variety of positions including back-of-house, front-of-house, leadership and more. Operator Leigh Ann Gilley is excited to bring a new restaurant to the community and share the many benefits of working at Chick-fil-A.

Chick-fil-A is known for hiring, developing and retaining top talent, and providing a positive work environment for people of all ages and backgrounds. Working in a Chick-fil-A restaurant offers the opportunity for teamwork and leadership development in a fast-paced environment. In addition to competitive pay and benefits, Chick-fil-A restaurants offer: 

  • Scholarships varying from $2,000 to $25,000
  • Tuition discounts at more than 100 universities across the U.S.
  • Opportunities for career and leadership development
  • Hands-on training 
  •  

“We’re excited to welcome 100 Team Members to Chick-fil-A Natchitoches,” said Gilley. “Working at a Chick-fil-A restaurant is more than a job – it’s an opportunity for teamwork and leadership development in a positive, people-focused environment. We look forward to building a team focused on creating a welcoming environment for our guests and making a positive impact on the Natchitoches community.”

WHEN: From Monday, Oct. 24 to restaurant opening (fall 2022)
WHERE: Chick-fil-A Natchitoches 440 Keyser Ave., Natchitoches, LA 71457
HOW: Applicants interested can text “MYPLEASURE” to (337) 509-0022 to apply.


Announcement event for Coach Mike McConathy is Thursday in Natchitoches

Mike and Connie McConathy

You’re invited to join Coach Mike McConathy, his wife Connie, their family, and many friends at the Natchitoches Events Center Thursday for an announcement event officially launching his campaign for the Louisiana State Senate representing District 31.

The event is reception-style, running from 4:30-7 p.m., with a short program expected to tip off at about 6 o’clock. Attire is casual. Light refreshments will be served. There is no admission charge.

After concluding a remarkable career as an educator and basketball coach that began in the late 1970s, McConathy is continuing his lifelong commitment to being a servant-leader.

The vibrant 66-year-old Bossier City native and Louisiana Tech University graduate is the winningest college basketball coach in state history, with 682 victories in 39 seasons as head coach at Bossier Parish Community College (1983-99) and Northwestern State University (1999-2022). The number of wins is just one measure of his far-reaching impact not only on campus but in communities around northwest Louisiana.

The new District 31 has roughly 70 percent of its population located in Bossier, Caddo, Natchitoches and Sabine parishes, with portions of Webster, Bienville, DeSoto, Red River, Rapides and Winn included. That fits the geographic footprint which was the base of McConathy’s recruiting area and team rosters at NSU and Bossier Parish Community College.

District 31 has been served by Senator Louis Bernard, who announced this summer that he will not be seeking reelection.

McConathy grew up with a first-hand perspective on public service. His father, John McConathy, was the Bossier Parish Superintendent of Schools for 20 years and later was a key collaborator in the development of the modern Bossier Parish Community College campus between U.S. 80 and I-20 in Bossier City.

Among his accolades, the former NSU coach is enshrined in the university’s Hall of Distinguished Educators for his service as a faculty member at Northwestern, and in 2012 he earned an elite Pillar of Education award from the National Association of Basketball Coaches for leading the Demons’ program into continuing educational outreach in area schools. His program was noted for its wide-ranging community service endeavors, and its academic performance – a remarkable 90 percent of his players earned degrees at NSU.

For questions, information, call Mike McConathy, 318-792-1541


“Coach” Mike McConathy says …

Do YOU know what is happening?


“Coach” Mike
McCONATHY


has an important
Announcement to make
and he wants you
to join him!

Thursday
October 27, 2022

Natchitoches Event Center
Doors open at 4:30 – 7:00

Light refreshments – Casual

  • Paid for by the McConathy for State Senate Campaign

Tracy Lawrence will not play at TappedTober this weekend; Pam Tills will appear

Get Ready for A Great TappedTober

The Natchitoches Regional Medical Center Foundation is working behind the scenes to finalize all the great plans for this year’s 4th Annual TappedTober Craft Beer and Wine Festival. Get ready for the best TappedTober yet! The event takes place this Saturday, October 15th in downtown Natchitoches along the famous Cane River! – Beer & wine tasting, college football, kids zone, mechanical bull, fireworks and music.

We are saddened to find out that Tracy Lawrence has an unexpected illness that has canceled all of his performances this weekend.

“Natchitoches! Due to unforeseen circumstances, I am unable to perform at this incredible fundraiser for the NRMC Cancer Center. Please continue to support their efforts and all they do.” -Tracy Lawrence
But never fear we have scheduled Tracy for the 2023 TappedTober.

Now the great news. In addition to the amazing talents of Nashville breakout artist HunterGirl and Bossier’s own David Daniels, we’ve locked in a legendary singer-songwriter and performer. Grammy award-winning Pam Tillis is coming with her six Number One hits, seventeen Top Ten Hits, three County Music Association awards (including Female Vocalist of the Year), platinum albums, Grand Ole Opry membership, and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer.

Gates open at Noon with college football on the big screen, beer and wine tasting from 2:00 to 5:00 pm and music begins at 5:00 pm, so don’t be late.

We are deeply grateful to our Title Sponsor – Cane River Waterway Commission, our Entertainment Sponsor – Cunningham Financial Group and Ameriprise Financial and VIP Experience Sponsor – Vaughn Chevrolet of Natchitoches and appreciate all of their generous support.

We also want to welcome our VIPs and encourage them to take full advantage of the Ultimate VIP Experience, sponsored by. VIP guests receive access to our private pavilion fully catered with your own TVs, premier eating, and premium VIP “Front Row” stage access.

We greatly appreciate all our sponsors and ticket holders and their support. Proceeds from the event will help fund the addition of the PET scanner at the NRMC Cancer Center. Cancer cells show up as bright spots on PET scans due to their high metabolic activity. This type of imaging is an important tool for detecting cancer and can also be used by doctors to assess whether or not a particular cancer has spread. Thank you to everyone for helping make this technology a reality here in Natchitoches.


OPPORTUNITY: Team Leader (3rd Shift)

AS A TEAM LEADER, YOU WILL: 

  • Supervise utilizing strong interpersonal skills 
  • Use technical knowledge of manufacturing processes, as applies to such supervision 
  • Utilize computer skills to facilitate processes and software used 
  • Pursue objectives with organizational skills to meet goals 
  • Work with personnel at all levels of the organization 

REQUIRED EDUCATION, EXPERIENCE & SKILLS: 

  • Two (2) year Associates Degree, plus one year of related experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience 
  • Excellent communication skills; both oral and written 
  • Great computer skills (Excel and Word 

BENEFITS:

We offer medical insurance plans, dental and vision coverage, 401(k), tuition reimbursement and more. We also provide flexible time-off plans, including parental leave, vacation, and holiday leave.  

Shift is 11:00 p.m. until 7:30 a.m.  Overtime requirements are based on customer needs to meet business objectives. 

If qualified and interested, please apply online at www.emerson.com 

Equal Opportunity Employer 
Emerson is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to sex, race, color, religion, national origin, age, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, disability or protected veteran status.  


OPPORTUNITY: Quality Engineer

AS A QUALITY ENGINEER, YOU WILL:

• Investigate quality defects and perform RCA
• Lead and/or contribute to structured problem-solving for corrective and preventive actions
• Analyze no-conformance trends and evaluate the effectiveness of CAPA
• Identify improvement opportunities and drive actions for improvement by analyzing manufacturing processes and conducting process capability analysis
• Lead initiatives to improve non-conformance PPM and cost of quality
• Perform new product and process qualifications
• Direct quality support team members engaged in measuring and testing products and tabulating data concerning product or process quality

REQUIRED EDUCTION, EXPERIENCE & SKILLS:

• BS degree in engineering or engineering technology with exposure to quality and lean manufacturing, plus two years of related experience
• Strong interpersonal skills with hourly, engineering and management
• Strong computer skills required
If qualified and interested, please apply online at http://www.emerson.com

BENEFITS:

We offer medical insurance plans, dental and vision coverage, 401(k), tuition reimbursement and more. We also provide you flexible time-off plans, including parental leave, vacation, and holiday leave.

Equal Opportunity Employer
Emerson is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to sex, race, color, religion, national origin, age, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, disability or protected veteran status.


OPPORTUNITY: Manufacturing Engineer

AS A MANUFACTURING ENGINEER, YOU WILL:

  • Evaluate and improve existing equipment and tooling and fixture designs in a high-volume manufacturing environment
  • Develop creative solutions to manufacturing process design-related issues
  • Solve complex design/tooling issues
  • Collaborate with diverse groups of people, to include hourly employees, and upper management
  • Relay difficult concepts to multiple business groups

REQUIRED EDUCTION, EXPERIENCE & SKILLS:

  • BS degree in Engineering (Mechanical preferred) or equivalent experience and previous design experience for Assembly processes
  • Proficient in AutoCAD and Inventor
  • Familiar with other CAD software packages, to include Solid Works, NX, and Pro-E
  • Strong problem-solving experience

If qualified and interested, please apply online at www.emerson.com

BENEFITS:

We offer medical insurance plans, dental and vision coverage, 401(k), tuition reimbursement and more. We also provide you flexible time-off plans, including parental leave, vacation, and holiday leave.

Equal Opportunity Employer

Emerson is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to sex, race, color, religion, national origin, age, marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, disability or protected veteran status.


Reward Offered: For Information Regarding the Theft of Two Jet Skis

Between April 26 and May 10, 2022, two jet skis were removed from a storage area located off Highway 71/84 in south Red River Parish. One was a 1998 red Kawasaki and the other was a 2012 blue Yamaha along with a white double trailer that carried both jet skis.

Entrance was gained by cutting the chain to a locked gate. The matter is being investigated by the Red River Parish Sheriffs office.

A reward is being offered to the anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those involved in the theft.

REWARD OFFER: $1,000.00
CONTACT:  The office of Red River Parish Sheriff Glen Edwards
PHONE:  318-932-6701
* All Callers will remain anonymous.


Former NSU hoops coach McConathy considering state Senate run

A DIFFERENT ARENA? Former Northwestern State basketball coach Mike McConathy, a Bossier City native, is considering entering politics as a candidate for revamped state Senate District 31.

When he left Northwestern State In March as the winningest college basketball coach in state history, Bossier City native Mike McConathy wasn’t sure what the future held.

Three months later, he’s considering scratching an old itch. McConathy, who counts Louisiana Political Hall of Famer and longtime influential state legislator Billy Montgomery of Haughton among his primary mentors, is considering running for the state Senate in a redesigned district spanning parts of 10 parishes in northwest Louisiana.

With the anticipated revamp of Senate District 31, incumbent Sen. Louie Bernard of Natchitoches announced last week he will not seek a second term. Bernard previously served 24 years as Natchitoches Parish Clerk of Court and after over 40 years of public service, the still energetic 71-year-old said he’s going to serve out his term until 2023 and enjoy family life.

McConathy grew up with a first-hand perspective on public service. His father, John McConathy, was the Bossier Parish Superintendent of Schools for 20 years and later was a key collaborator in the development of the modern Bossier Parish Community College campus between U.S. 80 and I-20 in Bossier City.

Among his accolades, the former NSU coach is enshrined in the university’s Hall of Distinguished Educators for his service as a faculty member at Northwestern, and in 2012 he earned an elite Pillar of Education award from the National Association of Basketball Coaches for leading the Demons’ program into continuing educational outreach in area schools. His program was noted for its wide-ranging community service endeavors, and its academic performance – a remarkable 90 percent of his players earned degrees at NSU.

“This is something that has been on the back of my mind for quite some time, because I’ve known people who have served and are serving in Baton Rouge who have made a tremendously positive impact for the people they represented, and for the entire state, for that matter,” said McConathy.

“When Louie made his announcement, I had quite a few friends suggest I ought to consider this. I’m now in the process of visiting with people who have a real understanding of political life and public service,” he said, “along with many dear friends and most of all, my family members, so I can make the best possible decision for all concerned.”

The new District 31 has roughly 70 percent of its population located in Bossier, Caddo, Natchitoches and Sabine parishes, with portions of Webster, Bienville, DeSoto, Red River, Rapides and Winn included. That fits the geographic footprint which was the base of McConathy’s recruiting area and team rosters from 1999-2022 at NSU and for 16 years previously at Bossier Parish Community College.

“Some people might wonder how my career in coaching would translate to serving in Baton Rouge in a legislative body, in the political arena. In coaching, to succeed you have to nurture relationships with a variety of people from high school and college students, to colleagues and opponents, throughout a campus community and a fan base with avid alumni of all ages and backgrounds. You have to listen, you have to be responsive, you have to collaborate, and at the same time, you cannot compromise your values and your integrity.

“We all know politics can be a tough business to navigate, now more than ever. Heck, I’ve spent over 40 years trying to find middle ground with the referees,” he laughed. “As long as we understand each other, we can find paths to the best possible outcomes.”

McConathy said if he runs, he would do so as an independent, not affiliated with a political party. The only announced candidate so far is Shreveport Republican state Rep. Alan Seabaugh, who has served in the state House since 2010 but is term limited there.

Photo by CHRIS REICH, Northwestern State


Reward Offered: For Information Regarding the Theft of Two Jet Skis

Between April 26 and May 10, 2022, two jet skis were removed from a storage area located off Highway 71/84 in south Red River Parish. One was a 1998 red Kawasaki and the other was a 2012 blue Yamaha along with a white double trailer that carried both jet skis.

Entrance was gained by cutting the chain to a locked gate. The matter is being investigated by the Red River Parish Sheriffs office.

A reward is being offered to the anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of those involved in the theft.

REWARD OFFER: $1,000.00
CONTACT:  The office of Red River Parish Sheriff Glen Edwards
PHONE:  318-932-6701
* All Callers will remain anonymous.


Journal offering three $3,000 scholarships at NSU for undecided 2022-23 students

Students who aren’t sure where they’ll go to college this fall are encouraged to apply for the Journal Services NSU Scholarships, which will award three new Northwestern State University students up to $3,000 in the next school year.

Applications are being accepted beginning today through midnight June 8. A link to a simple online application form is available at the bottom of this story.

The scholarships are designed to assist Class of 2022 high school students who haven’t settled on a college choice, as well as students currently enrolled at other higher-education institutions who are considering transferring to NSU in Natchitoches.

They are being provided by Journal Services, LLC, the business that serves local and area residents by providing the framework for the Red River Parish Journal. Journal Services, LLC, is based in Natchitoches and supports 12 journals covering north central and northwest Louisiana.

“We know there are students who haven’t decided yet where they’ll go to college this fall. We know that in many cases, money is a key factor in making college accessible,” said Bill Vance, general manager of Journal Services, LLC. “We are providing three game-changing scholarships bringing eager students to NSU to take advantage of the excellent academic programs here, and to live in a community where there are plenty of opportunities to find part-time jobs and to have a great student experience.”

A successful applicant from Red River Parish will join 110 other local students who attend Northwestern. Among the university’s 81,000 alumni, 435 currently live in Red River Parish.

Applicants are asked to provide their high school GPA (and college GPA if applicable), and also, report their ACT score along with listing honors, extracurricular activities and other relevant information on the form. That information will provide a basis for selecting the three winners.

The scholarship awards are for $1,500 cash per semester in the 2022-23 academic year. To renew the scholarship for the Spring 2023 semester, winners must post at least a 2.7 Fall semester GPA at NSU.

Scholarship winners must live in Natchitoches Parish during the upcoming school year. They are also required to have in-person, face-to-face instruction for 75 percent of their classes in 2022-23.

Students who have already accepted financial aid awards from Northwestern are not eligible to apply.

APPLICATION:  To Apply – Click Here


NSU Slated to Receive $52 million in Capital Outlay funding

Among a group of bills given final legislative approval by the Louisiana House, House Bill No. 2 presents a comprehensive Capital Outlay budget. This bill has yet to be signed by Governor John Bel Edwards. Once the governor signs the legislation into law, the Section sends agencies letters notifying them of capital outlay appropriations and of the procedures required to initiate funded projects.

Health Performance Center, Planning and Construction – Payable from State General Fund (Direct) Non-Recurring Revenues

$5,000,000

Renovation of Roy Hall, Planning and Construction – from General Obligation Bonds (Priority 5)

$9,765,000

Replacement of John S. Kyser Hall, Planning and Construction – Payable from General Obligation Bonds

Priority 1 – $3,907,680
Priority 5 – $33,195,000
Total – $37,102,680


Podcast: Louie Bernard talks about re-drawing the Senate and House of Representative Maps


Senator Louie Bernard joins Billy West Live to discuss the recent Legislative Session regarding re-drawing the Senate and House of Representative Maps

Senator Bernard updates the public regarding his new Senatorial District and the process of how the lines for not only his district was redrawn but also how Natchitoches Parish was divided into 3 separate House of Representative Districts


ROAD CLOSURE: LA 507 near Womack in Red River Parish

On Tuesday, The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development advised motorists that beginning on Monday, January 10, 2022, LA 507 just east of its junction with LA 514 near the Village of Womack in Red River Parish will be closed.

This closure is scheduled to take place until Monday, January 24, 2022. It is necessary to allow the contractor to perform a cross drain replacement. This work is part of an ongoing construction project to provide a mill and asphalt overlay on a section of LA 514 and LA 507 east of US 371.

Alternate route: Detour signage will be in place.

Restrictions/Permits: Total road closure at the specified location. All vehicles will need to detour.

This work will be performed WEATHER PERMITTING.


Battle Planning Underway

Happy New Year from the Pleasant Hill Battle committee. They are beginning to get organized for the annual re-enactment of the Battle of Pleasant Hill. That was the last major victory for the Confederacy in the Civil War.

The committee said, “It is officially Battle season for our committee! Planning never stops and is year round but when January hits things start to get busy!

The annual event will be the second weekend of April. If you have never been it is quite a show. In addition to the battle re-enactment, there are many other events to make it a great family weekend.

The committee said, “Our website will be updated soon with all of the information you’ll need to know to plan your visit and support our re-enactment.”


Legislative Update

By Gabe Firment

“They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong. There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.” Ronald Reagan spoke these words in his famous 1964 “A Time For Choosing Speech” that would launch the “Great Communicator” into national political prominence. Reagan’s words ring just as true today as they did during the tumultuous times our nation was experiencing almost 60 years ago when the future 40th President of the United States warned in his speech that those who would sacrifice freedom for security were destined to a pitiful existence under the yoke of totalitarianism.

With the coming of the new year it is natural to recall the events of the past and look forward to the year ahead. In the next few weeks I intend to preview the upcoming legislative sessions, including the critical three week redistricting special session that begins February 1st to undertake the redrawing of political boundary lines that must occur every 10 years. However, I think it is appropriate to briefly take a retrospective look at 2021 before considering what lies ahead in 2022 and beyond.

As I reflect on my first two years as a state legislator it occurs to me that as President Reagan suggested there are simple answers to every vote I cast, to every decision I must make, and to every question I am asked. The answers to the problems we face are not really complicated – the problem is that so many leaders lack the moral courage to take a principled stand and simply do the right thing. Has there ever been a time in our nation’s history when we have displayed such an embarrassing dearth of courage as the past two years? What happened to the heroic American spirit that led our Founding Fathers to declare their independence with “a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence” and to bravely assert that “we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor”?

Instead, we have countless citizens in our nation and state today who have allowed themselves to be paralyzed by fear when incompetent D.C. politicians threaten “a winter of severe illness and death” for free Americans who choose to exercise bodily autonomy and not take a vaccine that has been proven incapable of preventing transmission of the coronavirus. At this point in our history it seems that a strong dose of courage would be more beneficial to most Americans than vaccines, boosters, and “science”. I must agree with Winston Churchill who once said that “without courage all other virtues lose their meaning”. If we do not have the courage to act upon our principles and virtues, then we have lost our moral authority and have no right to challenge those who would strip away our freedom and liberty.

Unfortunately, today we are reaping the harvest of years of governing by cowardice, appeasement, and moderation. Parents who show up at school board meetings are branded terrorists, stating that there are only two biological sexes is considered hate speech, and assembling to worship during a pandemic can get you arrested. We have submitted to lockdowns, mandates, vaccine passports, and contact tracing all in the name of elevating the greater good by “temporarily” sacrificing our individual rights. Reagan was right when he declared in his 1964 speech that “Somewhere a perversion has taken place. Our natural, unalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment.”

It would be easy to accept defeat and say that 2022 will be no better than 2021 or 2020, and that we should all just go along with the crowd and accept our fates. However, I cannot reflect on last year without recalling the tremendous acts of courage that I witnessed right here in District 22 and across Louisiana. I am encouraged by the hundreds of men and women in my district who have taken a stand and chosen to sacrifice their livelihoods instead of caving to unconstitutional federal mandates. I have been emboldened by local officials and law enforcement officers who have bravely asserted their independence by ignoring immoral dictates from Baton Rouge and Washington D.C. I have been inspired by concerned parents who show up at school board meetings to fight for their children and stand against the teaching of critical race theory and radical LGBTQ propaganda in our schools. I have been humbled by the resilience of my own children who despite having their lives turned upside down by the coronavirus restrictions have maintained their optimism and hope for a brighter future.

As Christians we know that for those who love God all things are working out according to His divine purposes. However, this great assurance is not an excuse to separate from the world, rather it should be our motivation to engage the world and live fearlessly in service to Him. For as long as I can remember my favorite Bible verse has been Joshua 1:9 – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” My prayer for 2022 is that I can follow this commandment to be strong and courageous and to meet the challenge offered by President Reagan that at the Time For Choosing I will always do that which is morally right despite the political, social, or economic consequences.

Please know that it is a tremendous honor to serve as your District 22 state representative and I am always available to be contacted at (318)765-9606 or gfirment@legis.la.gov. Happy New Year and God Bless!