Coushatta Man is Traffic Accident Victim

Saturday morning, just after 8:00 a.m., Troopers assigned to Louisiana State Police Troop G began investigating a two-vehicle fatal crash on LA Highway 1, south of U.S. Highway 84.  The crash claimed the life of 31-year-old Marvin Rogers.

The initial investigation revealed that a 2010 Nissan Altima, driven by Rogers, was traveling southbound on U.S. Highway 84.  At the same time, a 2005 GMC Envoy was traveling northbound on U.S. Highway 84.  For reasons still under investigation, Rogers crossed the centerline and collided head-on with the northbound GMC.

Rogers was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the crash but was pronounced dead on scene. The driver of the GMC, who was restrained, was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at a local hospital.

Impairment is not suspected to be a factor in this crash; however, routine toxicology samples were taken and submitted for analysis.  The crash remains under investigation.

Although the exact cause of the crash remains under investigation, Troopers would like to remind the public that inattentive and distracted driving is dangerous and is a leading cause of crashes in our state. Motorists need to pay attention to what is going on outside of the vehicle they are driving. More information on distracted driving may be found online at

In 2021, Troop G Troopers have investigated, 19 fatal crashes, resulting in 20 deaths.

Try Out For Volleyball

Monday and Tuesday will be tryouts for the Lady Bulldog Volleyball Team.  Coach Ellie Drew is calling all potential players.  And she said that players must complete their physical exam prior to trying out.

Tryouts will be in the new gymnasium behind the Junior High building.  That new gym was constructed with volleyball facilities.

See the flyer below.  Email Coach Drew  at with questions.

Summer Football Camp

By Molly Seales

On July 14-16, about 22 young men from grades 3-11 gathered on the field at Marston Stadium for summer football camp.  Excitement is already in the air for football season as the varsity Rebels are coming off of a state Class 1A runner-up finish and are seeking the championship this year. When I asked Head Coach Jared Smelser about camp, he said, “We started with some basic agility drills and blocking schemes.  Some of the varsity players offered their help, and it has paid off.  They are working hard.”

Last year Riverdale football coaching staff gained a huge asset with the addition of defensive coordinator Jensen Spillum.  Spillum was a standout on his team at Class 5A Wakeland High School in Frisco, TX, and he is currently a college student majoring in secondary education at Northwestern State University.  He is passionate about the game and has brought much positive energy to the program.  When I asked him about the camp he said, “These are great kids who are working hard and love the game and/or have found a love for the game.  Like Coach Jared said, we are going over basics of offense and defense. Our varsity players are amazing role models for these young men and are helping with their technique and skill.”

Many of the youngsters at camp were members of last year’s Class 1A Pee-Wee Swamp Bowl Runner Up team, and they are working extra hard to try to bring the championship trophy to Riverdale for the first time in school history.  The Little Rebels will lose Cannon Breedlove and Preston Eaves as they move up to 7th grade, but they will return all of their other starters. While the younger football players worked hard at camp last week, the varsity Rebels have been conditioning all summer, working out in the newly renovated weight room from 6:00-8:00 a.m. every weekday except for Friday.  This shows their passion and dedication to their school and football team.

This year the Riverdale football season will kick off on Friday, August 13, as the Rebels take on the Central Pioneers in a home game in East Point.  We all can’t wait to see them under the Friday night lights and wish the Little Rebels and the Rebels good luck this season!

Photo credit: Keri Dortlon

Cruisin’ Front Street

Beard’s Automotive and Scott Bamburg invite all automotive enthusiasts to a show and shine on historic Front Street Saturday August 28th.  The event is from 11:00 am until 4:00 pm.

Bamburg told the Journal, “Everyone is invited to attend. Beards Automotive  is hosting a car, truck, bike, rat rod, or anything you want to show event.”  Bamburg added, “No entry fee will be charged as this will be a show and shine event. The event is open to all clubs and individuals who has anything they would like to show off.

For several years the Coushatta Chamber held a car show in Coushatta.  The last show was in May or 2019 and the 2020 event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 shutdown.  Bamburg said the chamber had assisted him in securing the location for the August event.

Bamburg said, “This will be our first event. Hopefully it will turn into an annual event for the town of Coushatta.”

At this time, Bamburg is looking for food vendors for the show and shine.  Anyone seeking more information on Cruisin’ Front Street can call Bamburg at Beards Automotive, 318-932-0819 or his cell 318-510-9097.

4-H Cooking Instruction

Members of Red River 4-H received valuable instruction in culinary arts last week.  They prepared many nutritious and delicious dishes.

Jacque Fontenot, the local 4-H Agent posted, “These future chefs kept us rolling as we learned all kinds of new cooking techniques!

FCS Agent Kimberlyn Jones provided the instruction to the students.  Fontenot said, “Thank you for teaching us how to make beignets, meat pies, pita and hummus, and much more!”

Red River Student Top Honor Cadet in CAP

The Top Honor Cadet of the Louisiana Wing of Civil Air Patrol’s 2021 Encampment is a local student.  She is Abby Sims, and she was ranked #1 out of 80 cadets to earn this distinction!

Civil Air Patrol is an auxiliary of the US Air Force that was established to encourage young people in the areas of responsibility, character, leadership, self-discipline and physical fitness. They also teach them emergency services skills, aerospace education, along with many other cool things.

Cadet Sims earned the honor this summer during the CAP encampment at Keesler Air Force Base near Biloxi, MS.  The CAP Wing meets every Tuesday at Barksdale.  Abby Sims is 15 and will be a Sophomore at Red River High in the fall.

Proud mother Kala Sims said, “I’m so proud of her! This is one tough little stick of dinomite! And smart, too!” Kala Sims described the summer event as an encampment that is similar to Basic Training. Eight days of activities based on all of the above.

If you have a child 12-18 who may be interested in CAP, Sims said to contact her.  She is the Children’s Librarian at the Red River Parish Library. “This is an incredible opportunity for our young people! They meet at Barksdale and other squadrons around the state,” said Sims.

Summer Hill Pastor Installation

In late August, the Reverend Martin F. Washington, Sr. will be officially installed at Summer Hill Baptist Church.  Currently Washington serves Willow Grove Baptist Church as well as Summer Hill.

Washington will be the thirteenth pastor of Summer Hill Baptist Church.  The installation will be on Sunday, August 22nd at 2:00 pm.

Washington told the Journal he is transitioning to the ministry full time.  He said, “I am continuing to work in a secular job.  Hopefully by the start of 2022 I will be in ministry full time.”

“I grew up there,” Washington said.  “Summer Hill is my home church.  That is where I first gave my life to the Lord.  I have been there all my life.”

Interview With Bassmaster Classic Champion Hank Cherry

By Steve Graf

Here’s an interview I did last week with the 2021 Bassmaster Classic Champion Hank Cherry. Hank just accomplished what only three other anglers have ever done in history by winning back-to-back Classics. Today you’ll see from his perspective how this tournament unfolded and allowed him to win once again. Financially, a Classic win is worth $300,000 but the impact it has on an angler’s career is huge. Now let’s here from the man himself…Hank Cherry!

Angler’s Perspective: Hank have you recovered from the Classic and the high temperatures you all experienced at Ray Roberts?

Hank: “The heat was unbearable and just the grind of the Bassmaster Classic getting up at 3:00 in the morning every day takes a toll on you both mentally and physically. Now I’m just trying to figure out what happens next and where do we go from here? At the same time, I’m trying to get the family settled back down and make sure they are taken care of before setting out and completing the 2021 regular Elite Series season.”

Angler’s Perspective: This being your second go round with winning the Classic, you should have a pretty good idea for what lies ahead. Compare last year’s win to this year.

Hank:  “Well last year I won this event during the Covid 19 pandemic and this year’s win has already been a lot different. I missed out on several promotional opportunities last year with all the restrictions of Covid 19. But this go round, it looks like I’ll be traveling more and doing more speaking engagements which I really like. I enjoy the interaction with other anglers and the fans. Heck, I might have to hire a travel agent! This year I’m really looking forward to a true victory tour.”

Angler’s Perspective:: Hank, several anglers who many thought would win this event really stumped their toe and struggled. Was it an advantage for you to not have any experience or history on this body of water?

Hank:  “I’ve never been a huge practice guy, but this tournament if you knew anything,  then you really knew nothing due to the high-water conditions and the lake changing every day. There were bushes that are normally on the water’s edge, that were now 4 feet under water. Also, that late winter freeze they had in this region back in the early spring, really set everything back about a month. So, for this event, you really had to fish the moment and disregard what you might have learned in practice due to the constant changing conditions.”

Angler’s Perspective:: Tell us about day 1 and 2 and what you did to catch a good limit both days.

Hank:  “Well the first 2 days I got off to a great start by catching a 6 pounder and 5 pounders early. This really put me in position to fish the way I wanted to by flipping the bushes and throwing a jerk bait along the dam.  The problem in this event was the fact that there was an early shad spawn bite up until 8:00 or 8:30. Then it got really tough, and it became a true grind as the bite really slowed down. But I was able to weigh-in a really good bag on day 1 at 20 pounds 4 ounces and 17 pounds 10 ounces on day 2. This was really unexpected but allowed me to get off to a great start one days one and two which set me up to go for the win on day 3.”

Angler’s Perspective:  Talk about how tough it was on the final day.

Hank: “The third and final day was really tough, hot and humid. Caught one early on a jig and then I went forever without a bite. Then I caught another fish that was a 4 and 3/4 pounder that was probably the dumbest fish in the lake as I pitched to a bush and the bait ricocheted off the bush 4 feet and the fish swam out and ate the bait and went back to the bush. The turning point for me on the final was when I hung up my jig and broke it off in a bush and I decided to downsize with smaller line and a smaller profile bait which is how I caught my last three fish and finished out my limit. I actually went the last two hours of the tournament without a bite.”

Angler’s Perspective: Hank did you know you had won the Classic as you headed in or were you thinking someone probably busted a big bag toady?

Hank: “No, but I knew I had done my best considering the conditions and how tough it seemed.  As I got to the weigh-in I heard that my buddy Matt Arey had caught them pretty good, but I also knew after doing the math in my head that someone would have really had to crush them to beat me.  The thing about this event was that every guy in the top 5 had lost enough fish to win the Classic including Matt Arey who lost two really good fish that would have sealed the deal for him had he landed those fish. But that’s the nature and unfortunate reality of this sport. You’re going to lose some fish; you just hope it does not cost you the win.”

Angler’s Perspective:  Hank earlier you talked about feeling good about how you fished this event and that you gave it your best. Have you ever fished a tournament where you did not feel this way?

Hank: “I’m sure there’s been an event or two where I defeated myself mentally. As a former baseball player, there were times when I felt like I was just going through the motions and just didn’t perform at a high level or the level that I expect. It’s not something I make a habit of but there are times when fishing is comparable to any other sport in that the mental approach is just as important as the physical approach.”

Angler’s Perspective:  Hank, talk about the frame of mind going into the final day as the leader versus being a few pounds back of the leader and having to come from behind.

Hank: “Well, I’ve always said it easier doing the hunting versus being the one hunted. Your approach is totally different in the fact that you don’t have that pressure of trying to close out the tournament. Mentally when you’re chasing someone, you can just go out and fish and swing for the fences so to speak. But when you’re leading and things aren’t going your way on the final day, you start to second guess yourself and what you’re doing.  But for me, I pride myself on being a closer and I can’t think of any time when I wasn’t able to close out a tournament when I did have a lead. Winning an event of this level and having won last year, gives you a tremendous amount of confidence knowing that you’ve been there and done it before.”

Angler’s Perspective:: Hank, thank you taking the time to share your incredible victory and I’m looking forward to watching you go for the three-peat in the 2022 Bassmaster Classic that will be held on your home body of water at Lake Hartwell.

Hank: “Hey thanks for having me today and I’m really looking forward to next year’s event. Hopefully I’ll being doing another interview with you!”

I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview and insight with 2021 Bassmaster Classic Champion Hank Cherry held at Lake Ray Roberts outside of Ft. Worth, Texas. Hank has done an outstanding job of representing the sport over the last year. He’s truly been a great champion and will once again do another awesome job of promoting the sport. Till next time, good luck and good fishing and don’t forget to set the hook!!

Opening:  Creative Arts Teacher/Band Director

The Red River Parish School Board is accepting applications for Red River High/ Junior High Creative Arts Teacher/ Band Director. This person will be responsible for teaching music classes on both campuses and will obtain the position of Jr/ Sr. High Band Director.

You may submit applications at the Red River Parish School Board and at

For more information, you may contact Nicole Eason by email or JC Dickey by email

Nicole M. Eason

Red River Parish School Board

Human Resources Department