The 2019 Coushatta Christmas Parade rolled through the streets of town Thursday afternoon to the delight of children of all ages. There were plenty of floats brightly decorated in the theme “Silver Bells Meets Silver Screens.”
Many local businesses and individuals created floats and joined the fun. They were accompanied by local school, dance, sports, and cheer groups.
Sheriff Glen Edwards lead the parade followed by the JROTC Color Guard and marching unit. The Red River High School Band came to the reviewing platform and performed “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” for the judges.
Following the parade, at about 6:00 pm, the town was treated to a fireworks spectacular.
There will be a complete photo album of the parade and fireworks in The Journal next Wednesday.
The Coushatta Red River Chamber of Commerce announced that the Grand Marshal of the Christmas Parade this year is Mr. Peter Drake.
Mr. Drake was born and raised in Red River Parish. He graduated from Springville High School in 1954 and spent 2 years in the U.S. Army. He then moved to Los Angeles, CA and spent 40 years there. He received an Associate Degree from Trade Tech Technical College and worked for 29 years in the Transportation Department for Montgomery Ward.
In 1996, Mr. Drake moved back to Coushatta and worked for the Red River Parish Sheriff’s Department. He spent 17 years in service. He was then elected to the Town Council.
Mr. Drake has made his time on the Town Council some of the most productive years of his service to this community. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Red River Council on Aging. He is a Member of the Port of Red River board. He is also on the Tourism Board for Red River Parish.
Mr. Drake is most proud of his accomplishments as Director of Parks and Recreation for the Town of Coushatta. Under the guidance of Mayor Cox, Mr. Drake has been able to make some spectacular updates to the town park located on Industrial Drive. New Walking Trails and Playground equipment have been added as well as Pavilions for picnicking and family fun. There are new bathrooms and the ballpark is closely monitored for use by schools, families, and groups.
The Chamber said, “We in Red River Parish and especially in Coushatta are lucky to have such a wonderful advocate for our Town and Parish. Mr. Drake helps to make Our little corner of the world a great place to call home.”
Drake rode in a shiny convertible in the place of honor at the head of the parade. His sister cheered him on from the crowd.
People were lined up all along Front Street Tuesday afternoon waiting for the KCS Holiday Express to open. By the time the train closed 1194 people had seen the beautiful Christmas display the railroad had brought to Coushatta.
The “early birds” had waited in line up to an hour and a quarter to come aboard. There was a steady stream of people bringing their children and grandchildren to view the train.
The Journal spoke with Santa’s Right Hand Man, Grant Elliott. He said, “Countless volunteers had spent countless hours to bring the train to Coushatta and other towns served by Kansas City Southern. I want to thank them for their effort and also thank the KCS Historical Society and KCS employees.”
Why do they do it? Elliott said, “Sometimes we forget why, then a few minutes ago I saw a little girl dancing and singing ‘boy I love Christmas’ and then I know why we do it. It is the joy we bring to children.” Elliott added, “This is our chance to partner with the Salvation Army to raise money so they can help families in need. This is my 15thHoliday Express season. For me it is a chance to give back.”
Santa rides along with the elves and KCS helpers on a special train. KCS no longer provides passenger service, however some of their finest observation, dining, and sleeping cars have been restored to house the crew. If you looked just north of Ringgold Avenue Tuesday afternoon you saw their crew train.
Check out the photo album accompanying this story. See if you recognize your friends and their children.
Purses With A Purpose was a success thanks to our Red River Cowboy Church family! We would like to thank everyone who donated purses, personal items for the purses, time and prayers for this outreach ministry.
This past weekend we had our purse packing party. We packed 41 purses with the donated supplies along with a handwritten card and devotion book. These will be taken to a local homeless women’s shelter to be given out to women in need.
If you would like to join in this ministry we would love to have you. Sign up for our email on the back table at church, like our Facebook page and join our Facebook group! (Just search Women’s Ministry RRCC)
Make plans to come out and support the Riverdale Rebels this Friday, December 6! We will have our annual Red vs. White Meet the Rebels.
The Little Rebels and JV will play each other. Then the varsity teams will play LSMSA. Games begin at 4:00. The varsity games will begin about 6:00 pm and will be broadcast live by The Journal. Look for your text message alert about 15 minutes before tip-off. If you don’t get the text alerts, go to The Journal’s menu bar and click on “Join Text Club.”
Recently another Riverdale athlete has been recognized for his athletic ability on the football field. Congratulations to Jackson Riggs on being named MSAIS District 2A Defensive MVP for football. Great job Jackson! We are proud of you.
Red River Cowboy Church is planning their 2019 Christmas Fest. It will be a celebration for the family December 14thbeginning at 5:00 pm.
The church posted, “A quick favor from you ladies and gentlemen. Taylor and Jennifer are providing Chili for supper along with something for taking home. We really need a close head count so that we don’t come up short on anything. Please let us know how many people that you will be bringing who are 13 or over and how many are 12 and under.
The program of fellowship, food and fun includes decorating Christmas cards for Wyola, Bible Survivor for the youth, games, live music, and games for the whole family and a special devotion by Radall Beason. All ages are invited to participate in the Ugly Sweater Contest.
They said, “We’re so excited to fellowship and have a great night with you all!”
“A day that will live in infamy” is tomorrow, December 7th. Early that morning in 1941, “Naval and Air forces of the Empire of Japan” attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The quotes are from President Franklin Roosevelt’s address to Congress the next day requesting a declaration of War. Today tourists visit the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. The ship was never raised and became a final resting place for her crew members who died in the attack.
The monthly Senior Dance was moved to tomorrow. The Playmates will be playing Saturday night at the Council on Aging on Front Street. Dance from 7:00 to 10:00 pm. Cover charge is just $6.
Clara Springs Camp said, “Registration is now open for the Kids Winter Retreat January 10-11, 2020.” There is a link to individual and group registration on the camp’s social media page.
Recently The Journal reported on a donation of toys for the children of the men who will be spending Christmas in the parish Jail. Warden Joey Wiggins sent us the picture below of the men receiving their gifts. The toy drive was sponsored by the men of First Methodist Church.
Area residents flocked to the Office of Motor Vehicles Coushatta office on Monday. They had been closed by the ransomware attack on Louisiana’s computer systems.
The Journal spoke with Shajuanna Freeland and Lou Ann Hicks who were glad to be back at work. Hicks said, “Thanksgiving was good, but being here when the computers were down was not good!” Hicks said they had to work during the outage even though the office was closed to the public.
On Monday December 2nd the office was open renewing drivers’ licenses, issuing license plates and taking care of other business. It was good to see Shajuanna and Lou Ann smiling as they worked.
The Kansas City Southern’s Holiday Express rolled into Coushatta Tuesday afternoon. Hundreds of people came to tour the train, talk to Santa, and enjoy a festive late afternoon.
At the head of the line was Ben Wood. He brought his four year old daughter Kendall to see the train and Jolly Ole St. Nicholas.
Ben and Kendall said they had been in line almost an hour when The Journal spoke with them. And they still had 15-20 minutes to go before the line opened for tours of the train.
The Journal will have a more detailed account of the train, the volunteers (Santa’s Elves) who staff it, and the story from Santa’s Right Hand Man in the Friday morning edition. We are also planning a great photo gallery.