Band Camp is On

RRPJ-Band Camp TOP-18Jul11

Band Director Yasmine Jason is conducting band camp on the Red River campus. It lasts through July 21st. Here is her description of the event.

“Red River High School Creative and Performing Arts Department Band Camp will be July 9th-21st at the High School Band Hall! This is a the yearly camp that teaches students basic marching fundamentals, routines, and music. Band camp is free and operates from 8 am – 5pm daily. We are opening an invitation to students in grades 7-12th if they if they interested in band. We have staff to help accommodate all levels of musicianship, from beginner to advanced. Our goal is for each student to bring one friend to camp!

“The Red River High School Band has been known in the community for exceptional performances, outstanding student leadership and scholarship opportunities, and a way for students to travel and perform for multiple communities and areas. The Red River High School band performs at every football game as well as marching and concert competitions. The band receiving Superior ratings for both. It is our hope that participation in the band will foster a better understanding and appreciation of music and develop their skills.

“It is our primary focus that students strive and develop skills and confidence in their area of skill. Participation in the Marching Band, Danceline, Majorette or Flagline will take commitment, dedication and most of all, hard work. All students are expected to attend all performances and commitments.”

RRPJ-Band Camp BOTTOM-18Jul11

Want To Make A Change? Run for Office

RRPJ-Qualifying Soon-18Jul11

There is an old saying “You can’t fight city hall!” But you can make a difference in how things are going. Your chance is coming up.

There will be a primary election on November 6th and a general election on December 8th. All members of the Red River Parish School Board will be running for a new 4-year term.

Registrar of Voters Mary Jones told The Journal that the qualifying period is July 18th through 20th. If you would like to qualify, bring your ID card and your voter registration card to the Registrar’s office in the courthouse. Hours are 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Up for election locally, in addition to the school board, is the Mayor, Aldermen, and the Chief of Police of Hall Summit. Also on the ballot will be Justice of the Peace District C.

Statewide there will be an election to fill the Secretary of State’s office until the end of the current term. All Louisiana Congressman are running again. They serve a two-year term. Red River is in the 4th Congressional District and Mike Johnson is the incumbent.

So If you have ever wanted to “make a change” now is your chance. Qualifying is just a few days away.

Red River Showdown a Great Success

RRPJ-Red River Showdown TOP-18Jul11

Children ages toddler to nineteen came from several states to the Red River Showdown last weekend. It was held at the Livestock Barn at the fairgrounds on Friday and Saturday.

Nancy Nettles, organizer of the event, told The Journal, “We had a great turn out. There were around 30 parishes and three or four states represented.”

Friday evening was the Swine judging. Saturday morning the Sheep judging started about 10:00 am and was followed by Goat judging.

Nettles explained that there is a circuit throughout Louisiana, and Coushatta is the second stop. Young people are awarded points based upon their showmanship and the quality of the animals. Points are collected throughout the tour leading to the Grand Champion and other trophies awarded at the end of the summer.

An Old Familiar Face on the Sidelines

RRPJ-New NSU BKB Asst-18Jul11

It may be just the beginning of football season, however there is big news for followers of Northwestern State basketball. Do you recognize the coach in the picture? Read on!

Demons’ head coach Mike McConathy announced Monday the return of Dave Simmons to the NSU basketball staff after 12 seasons as head coach at Southland Conference rival McNeese.

Simmons, 58, was the lead assistant during McConathy’s first seven seasons at Northwestern (1999-2006), when the Demons made their first two NCAA Tournament appearances (2001, 2006), winning a game both times in March Madness.

Simmons, a DeRidder native and former standout from 1977-81 at Louisiana Tech, carries the title of assistant to the head coach on the NSU staff. He began work Monday.

McConathy and Simmons guided the Demons to their most dynamic stretch. After NSU had just five winning records in its first 24 years of NCAA Division I competition, after McConathy took over and hired Simmons, there were four more winning seasons in the next seven years, including 47 victories in their last two while shattering attendance records at Prather Coliseum.

The Demons beat Winthrop in the 2001 NCAA Tournament after capturing the Southland Conference Tournament championship. In 2005-06, NSU set a school record with 26 wins, claiming the Southland regular-season and tournament crowns before knocking off No. 15 Iowa in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Simmons has a combined 31 years in the Southland as a player and coach, including the last 12 as head coach at McNeese. He guided the Cowboys to the 2010-11 Southland regular-season championship, two Southland championship games and is the only McNeese coach to lead his teams to back-to-back national postseason tournaments: the 2011 NIT and 2012 Tournament.

Simmons won the 2011 and 2012 Louisiana Association of Basketball Coaches “Tommy Joe Eagles Coach of the Year” awards, and was the 2010-11 Southland Coach of the Year.

He is the third-winningest coach in McNeese history. Only Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame member Ralph Ward, who coached 19 seasons, spent more time in charge of the Cowboys basketball program than Simmons, who dramatically improved the program’s Academic Progress Rate scores during his tenure.

As an assistant coach, Simmons has helped three different Southland Conference schools – McNeese, Louisiana Tech and Northwestern – to five NCAA Tournament appearances.

Simmons’ 89 percent free throw aim at Louisiana Tech in his senior year (1980-81) is best in school history by a player with over 75 makes. His career 81.8 percent rate at the line ranks fourth. Simmons is featured on a banner in the concourse of the Bulldogs’ Thomas Assembly Center and is a member of the Louisiana Basketball Hall of Fame, enshrined in 2007 for his playing days as an All-Southland and All-NABC District 23 performer.

ETC… for July 11th.


Crystal Wagoner checked in with word that Hall Summit Baptist Church is holding their kid’s camp. It’s Monday-Friday, next week at Hall Summit Baptist Church, 8am to 5pm daily for kids in the 1st through 8th Grade. Best part is it’s FREE!

NATCHITOCHES – The Mrs. H.D. Dear Sr. and Alice E. Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts at Northwestern State University will present a Fun with Music Camp July 16-20. Children ages 5-11 can participate in a variety of exciting music experiences that include singing, music games, instrumental activities, composing and many other creative music activities. Activities will begin at 9 a.m. and continue until noon, culminating with a large group sing-along. The fee is $150 per student. A sibling discount is available. Snacks and materials will be provided. For additional information contact Dr. Sharon Joy at or (318) 357-5754.

Here are a couple of reminders from the PAW Parents at Red River Elementary School. First, uniforms for the 2018-19 school year are the same as last year. They posted that this goes for all schools in the parish. And Parents may register for 4-year-old preschool starting Monday at the RRP School Board. Must have birth certificate, social security card, updated shot record, proof of address in parish (bill with physical address), and income verification (2current checks stubs.)

A couple of milestones to note. We were saddened this week with the passing of Jack Layfield, an outstanding citizen and veteran automobile salesman. And there was joy and celebration as another community figure; James Nettles celebrates his 90th birthday. The Journal caught up with Mr. Nettles at the Red River Showdown Saturday morning. Pictured below are grandchildren Madison Chamberlain, Carmen Pickett, Maverick Garcia, Madelyn Chamberlain and Kaleigh Pickett. Nettles is hidden in the middle with all the grands in his lap!


Red River Showdown This Weekend

RRPJ-Red River Showdown-18Jul6

Today and tomorrow the Louisiana Junior Show Circuit sanctioned hog, sheep and goat show will stop in Coushatta. Local coordinator Nancy Nettles said it is open for exhibitors from toddlers through age 19. This weekend’s event will be held at the Red River Parish Fairgrounds.

Judging for Hogs will be held today (July 6th) with weigh in beginning at 5:00 pm and Showmanship at 6:30 pm with classes to follow.

Saturday there will be Sheep weigh in beginning at 8:15 am with Showmanship at 10:00 am and classes to follow. Also on Saturday will be Goats weigh in beginning at 10:30 with Showmanship at Noon and classes to follow.

Nettles said Coushatta is just one stop on the circuit which runs through August 16th. “At each stop entrants can earn points that lead to prizes to be awarded at the conclusion,” said Nettles. She told The Journal, “There will be a Grand Champion, Reserve Champion and eight others named to the top 10 in each class.”

Help Keep Seniors Cool

RRPJ-COA Fan Drive-18Jul6

We don’t have to remind you that it is hot! And more hot weather is on the way this summer. But what if you could not get cool? What if you had no air conditioning?

The Red River Council on Aging is concerned with the effect hot weather has on older citizens of the parish. They are having their annual Fan Drive, however they are not getting the response to the drive this year.

COA Director Liz Cannon said, “The price of fans may be keeping some people from donating. They can cost over 20 dollars each.” Cannon said they received 10 fans from CLECO as part of the utility’s donation to councils across the state. “I would like to see us get 100 fans,” said Cannon, “That’s my personal goal.”

The Journal is challenging businesses in Coushatta to step up and help our elderly keep cool. On Thursday, The Journal delivered five fans to Michael Braswell at the council. We challenge businesses and individuals to do the same, or to make a donation to the Council on Aging so they can buy the fans.

Cannon said, “We usually get some fans from the Caddo Council on Aging and we will distribute all that we get. But we could use more.”

When you give fans or cash to the Council on Aging be sure to have your picture taken. Send it to The Journal at We would like to salute others who accept the challenge to help keep our senior citizens cool this summer.

Honoré to speak at the Creole Heritage Center’s 20th anniversary celebration

RRPJ-Honore to Speak-18Jul6

NATCHITOCHES – Lieutenant General Russel Honoré will be one of the special guests at the Creole Heritage Center’s 20th anniversary celebration, September 13-15. Retired Lt. Gen. Honoré will speak at the awards banquet to be held on Friday, September 14.

A native of Lakeland, Honoré was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry and awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Vocational Agriculture upon graduation from Southern University and A&M College in 1971. He holds a Master of Arts in Human Resources from Troy State University as well as an Honorary Doctorate in Public Administration from Southern University and A&M College, an Honorary Doctorate in Laws from Stillman College and an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Stillman College.

Prior to his command of Joint Task Force-Katrina – leading the Department of Defense response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana – Honoré served in a variety of command and staff positions which focused on Defense Support to Civil Authorities and Homeland Defense.

Honoré retired on February 29, 2008, following 37 years of active service with the United States Army. He continues to speak and consult nationally on Building a Culture of Preparedness.

Honoré is sometimes known as “The Ragin’ Cajun,” although he is actually of Louisiana Creole with a West Indies background, whose family came through the port of New Orleans and settled in the Pointe Coupee Parish. The Honoré family surname is still found among the Cane River Créoles.

For more information about Honoré’s appearance, contact the Creole Heritage Center at or 318/357-6685.

Coushatta Water System Improvements a Step Closer

RRPJ-City Water Improvements-18Jul6

The Town of Coushatta has applied to the US Department of Agriculture for funding to make major improvements to the town’s water supply and distribution system. The town has also advertised that the Environmental Assessment on the project is available.

According to the legal notice, the town proposes “to drill two new water supply wells, replace undersized and deteriorated water mains and fittings/valves, replace the water pump station, construct one new and relocate one ground storage tank, replace all water meters, and provide standby electric generators at all of the well sites.

The environment consultant’s report said, “No significant impacts are expected as a result of the construction of the project.” The Environmental Assessment was prepared by the firm of Cothren, Graff, Smoak Engineering, Inc.

The town applied to the Rural Development agency (RUS) for funding for the proposed improvements and upgrades to the water system. The town has been preparing for water system upgrades for many months.