Sheriff’s Office Makes Arrest Following Report of Shooting on I-20 Westbound

According to the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Department, on Thursday, May 28, 2021 at approximately 8:53 a.m., the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office advised that a gray Dodge Charger with Mississippi tags driven by a black male should be entering Bienville Parish via I-20. The driver had purportedly shot an 18 wheeler which was westbound on I-20 in Lincoln Parish.

Deputies located the vehicle travelling westbound on I-20 at mile marker 69 and made a traffic stop. The driver Javis Dixon of Vicksburg, Mississippi gave deputies consent to search his vehicle which revealed marijuana, scales, drug paraphernalia, a box of 38 ammunition and a 38 revolver.  Additionally $2300 was found in the vehicle and another $1141 located on Dixon’s person.

Dixon is being held in the Bienville Parish Jail in lieu of $165,000 bond. His charges include illegal carrying of a weapon, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a firearm by a person convicted of domestic abuse battery (felony).

Arrest warrants were also obtained in Lincoln Parish for attempted first degree murder, aggravated criminal damage to property, aggravated obstruction of a highway and illegal use of weapons. Bonds on those charges total $550,000.

Memorial Day – Remembering Bienville Parish’s First Casualty of World War II

By Brad Dison

On Memorial Day, we honor the armed service members, both male and female, who died while serving in the U.S. military. Each day, visitors to the Bienville Parish Courthouse walk by, but rarely give the Veterans Memorial more than a passing glance. While the Bienville Parish Veterans Memorial gets far less numbers of visitors in a year’s time than the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. gets on a stormy day, each of the nearly one thousand names affixed to its granite walls is equally as important. This is the story behind just one of those names.

Zack Andrews standing center

In the first week of September of 1940, eighteen-year-old David “Zack” Andrews, Jr., a recent graduate of Gibsland High School, enlisted in the Navy. He and many other sailors were immediately transferred to the naval training station in San Diego, California. Zack’s occupation in the Navy was as a pharmacist.

USS Houston (CA-30)

Following his training, Zack was stationed aboard the USS Houston (CA-30), a Northampton-class heavy cruiser with 8-inch (203 mm) main guns. The Houston was powered by oil-fired steam turbines and was capable of traveling at faster speeds for a longer period of time than its predecessors. In addition to the main guns, the Houston boasted other improvements which included above deck torpedoes and more effective 1.1 inch (75 mm) anti-aircraft guns. Shortly after Zack arrived on the Houston, the ship became the flagship of the Asiatic Fleet.

On February 4, 1942, several allied ships including the Houston searched for Japanese ships which were reportedly at Balikpapan, a seaport city in Indonesia. 36 Mitsubishi G4M1 “Betty” and 24 Mitsubishi G3M2 “Nell” bomber aircraft attacked the allied fleet. The ensuing battle became known as the Battle of Makassar Strait. Houston’s gunners shot down four Japanese planes, but one bomber evaded the barrage of anti-aircraft fire. With pinpoint precision, the bomber dropped a single bomb which struck the deck near the rear gun turret. The ship shook violently from the explosion. 48 crewmen died as a result, and the rear guns were destroyed. Without fighter protection, the allied ships were forced to withdraw. Zack had survived uninjured.

On February 10, the Houston escorted a convoy of seven ships which carried reinforcement troops from Tjilatjap, Indonesia, to Timor, an island in Southeast Asia. Within hours of their departure, allied sailors noticed a Japanese plane flying toward the convoy. The plane dropped its load of bombs, but none hit the allied ships. Before noon on the next day, Japanese aircraft attacked the convoy in two waves. The Houston put up such a barrage of anti-aircraft fire that, as one witness reported, it was “like a sheet of flame.” The Houston shot down seven enemy planes. Allied forces learned that a Japanese fleet which included aircraft carriers and several other warships was lying in wait for the convoy. The allied ships returned to Tjilatjap.

Admiral Karel Doorman received reports that a large Japanese invasion force was approaching Jawa, an island in Indonesia. Admiral Doorman sent the Houston along with four other cruisers and ten destroyers to attack the Japanese convoy of four cruisers and 13 destroyers. In the late afternoon of February 27, 1942, cruisers of both fleets opened fire in the Battle of the Java Sea. The Japanese launched torpedo attacks in two waves. Within minutes, the Japanese fleet had sunk two allied destroyers and a heavy cruiser. In another torpedo attack, another allied destroyer was sunk. Having exhausted their torpedoes, the Houston was ordered to withdraw. The Battle of the Java Sea was the largest surface engagement since World War I.

On the following day, February 28, the Houston and the HMAS Perth, a Royal Australian Navy light cruiser, reached Tanjong Priok, an Indonesian port city, for fuel and to restock their ammunition and other supplies. With no fuel or ammunition available, the Houston and Perth were ordered back to Tjilatjap for supplies. The two cruisers were supposed to be escorted by a destroyer, but it had been delayed. To get to Tanjong Priok, the ships had to pass through the Sunda Strait. Intelligence reports indicated that the Sunda Strait was free from enemy ships, so the Houston and Perth departed without the escort.

Just after 11:00 p.m., a lookout on the Perth spotted an unidentified ship in the strait. Once the crew realized it was a Japanese destroyer, the Perth began firing. In the darkness, several Japanese warships surrounded the Perth and Houston. The Perth tried to force its way through the destroyers, but the ship was hit by four torpedoes and sank within a few minutes. Crewmen aboard the Houston carried shells from the disabled rear main guns to the forward guns. A torpedo struck the Houston and the ship began to lose speed. Three more torpedoes struck the Houston in quick succession. Among those killed in the three-torpedo attack was Houston’s Captain Albert Rooks.

The damaged and burning ship came to a full stop. Japanese destroyers closed in on the Houston and used machine guns to mow down sailors on the deck of the Houston and those in the water near the ship. Minutes later, the Houston slowly rolled over and sank in the Sunda Strait. Of the 1,061 sailors aboard the Houston, 368 survived only to be captured and held prisoner by the Japanese for the remainder of the war. 77 of the sailors who survived the Battle of Sunda Strait died in captivity.

On March 16, 1942, Zack’s father received news from the naval department that Zack was missing following the sinking of the Houston. Within days, newspapers in Louisiana began reporting that Zack, listed as a seaman second class, was among the sailors reported missing from the Houston following its sinking in the Battle of Sunda Strait. In its official report, the Navy noted that “the classification ‘missing’ covers those who can not be accounted for, some of whom may be prisoners, some of whom may have been rescued at sea and landed at isolated spots and have no opportunity to communicate with the United States naval authorities. In brief, the term ‘missing’ does not mean that the person named is dead.”

Billie Ray Andrews

Later that month, children at Gibsland High School purchased a war bond called a “Memory Bond” in honor of Zack. Zack’s younger brother Billie Ray Andrews held up the “Memory Bond” along with a photograph of his brother for photographers.

Zack’s family in Gibsland spent years in a sort of limbo state. The Navy was unable to confirm whether or not David had died. A little over three years later, David’s family found new hope when they read an article in the Shreveport Times in which Lieutenant Colonel Nicol Smith said that “anyone having relatives on the crew of the Houston can be very optimistic.” Approximately 300 survivors from the ill-fated Houston had been located in a Japanese prison camp in Thailand.

When the survivors of the Houston were liberated from the Japanese prison camp, Zack was not among them. None of the survivors could recall seeing Zack after the ship was struck by the three torpedoes. The Navy eventually listed Zack as killed in action during the Battle of Sunda Strait. Zack was posthumously awarded the purple heart. A bronze plaque was placed above an empty grave in Gibsland Cemetery in memory of David Zack Andrews Jr.

David Zack Andres, Jr. is just one of the nearly 1,000 names on the Bienville Parish Veterans Memorial.  If you know of a Bienville Parish veteran who is not yet included on the memorial, contact Eddie Holmes, Clerk of Court.  There is a small fee to have the plates engraved and affixed to the monument.  

Do you have information, photographs, etc. about a veteran who resides in or has resided in Bienville Parish?  If so, please contact the Journal at

1. The Monroe News-Star, September 5, 1940, p.10.
2. The Shreveport Journal, December 9, 1941, p.6.
3. The Shreveport Times, March 17, 1942, p.7.
4. Tensas Gazette (Saint Joseph, Louisiana), March 27, 1942, p.1.
5. The Shreveport Journal, March 31, 1942, p.3.
6. The Shreveport Journal, March 17, 1942, p.11.
7. The Shreveport Times, May 15, 1942, p.1.
8. The Shreveport Times, August 29, 1945, p.1.
9. The Shreveport Journal, August 25, 1961, p.30.
10. Hornfischer, James D. Ship of Ghosts: The Story of the Uss Houston, Fdr’s Legendary Lost Cruiser, and the Epic Saga of Her Survivors. New York, New York: Bantam Dell, 2006.
11. “David Zack Andrews Jr.,” Find A Grave, accessed May 24, 2021,

New Louisiana Historical Marker Honors Conservationist

By Brad Dison

Last year, Gloria Church, an ambassador in Girl Scout Troop 1512 in Natchitoches, began working on her Gold Award project to acquire a state historical marker at Briarwood Nature Preserve for Caroline Dormon.  She began a fundraising campaign on, and raised $3,865 from 80 backers.  Backers who donated $20 or more received an enamel 1.25″ by 0.9″ pin with a picture of Caroline Dormon. 

Gloria said “I chose to do my Gold Award project on Caroline Dormon because she is underrepresented in the local community considering her great amount of accomplishments. By establishing a state historical marker, not only does it share the history of Dormon, the sign will attract people into Briarwood Nature Preserve to see her legacy. I believe that women who had smaller, but important, accomplishments in local regions are not given the credit they deserve. The sign is a small step, but a push into encouraging other girls to represent historical women in their local regions.” 

The Louisiana historical marker was recently placed near the entrance of the Caroline Dormon Nature Preserve, which is about a mile south of Saline on Highway 9.

Text on front of marker:  The botanist, artist, author, conservator, and pioneer, Caroline Dormon, was born at Briarwood in Saline, Louisiana on July 19, 1886.  Established by Dormon’s grandparents, Harietta and Benjamin Sweat, in 1859, Briarwood was originally a cotton plantation.  In 1921, she became the first woman employed by the U.S. forestry Department, and she took a major part in establishing Kisatchie National Forest in 1930.  Dormon researched and studied a variety of native irises.

Text on back of marker:  President Roosevelt appointed Dormon as the La representative on the Desoto commission in 1936; she was the only woman to serve on the board.  Dormon wrote several publications about wildlife and the environment.  She conserved La wildflowers for landscaping and on highways.  Dormon was awarded with an honorary doctorate from L.S.U. in 1965 for her work in botany and horticulture.  Caroline Dormon passed away on November 23, 1971 and was buried at Briarwood Baptist Cemetery.

Source:  “Caroline Dormon State Historical Marker Funding,” IndieGoGo, accessed May 27, 2021,


Summer Reading Program Underway at Bienville Parish Library

Summer Reading Program Registration begins and the first performance is: Animalogy. They kick off our 2021“Tails and Tales” Summer Reading Program with a bark, squawk, squeak, maybe a hiss, and lots of giggles!

What is Animalogy? It’s an educational wildlife outreach organization that teaches the next generation about the natural world. Human and Animal Ambassadors will give an up-close view of domestic and wild animals, and how we can protect wildlife habitats. Below are the program times for each library:

  • Thursday, June 3rd
    Arcadia at 10:00 a.m.
    Ringgold at 2:00 p.m.
  • Friday, June 4th
    Castor at 10:00 a.m.
    Saline at 2:00 p.m.

Traditionally, summer reading programs are designed to encourage elementary-aged children to keep reading during summer vacation. Last year, our Summer Reading Program was entirely virtual, with Children’s Librarian Cheryl Hough reading stories and presenting crafts through our Facebook Group page. This year we’re returning to our regular program schedule with live performers! Children, parents/guardians and older siblings can now visit the library, pick out their own books, and start collecting their “brag tags”!


This is a new Summer Reading Program reward and there are ten brag tags to snag! When you register your children for the Summer Reading Program you’ll pick up all the materials they’ll need to get started, and “snag” their first brag tag! Preventing the “summer slide” continues to be the main objective of summer reading programs. This new reading incentive gives your reader extra motivation to read and collect all ten tags. It will impress teachers with how many books/pages they read during their summer vacation!

The 2021 Summer Reading Program is designed to help:

  • Children be more motivated to read.
  • Children develop positive attitudes about reading, books, and the library.
  • Children maintain their reading skills during summer vacation.
  • Children have access to experiences that further their sense of discovery.
  • Children have access to experiences through which they can learn to work cooperatively.
  • Most of all – HELP CHILDREN HAVE FUN!

Look for the Pull & Post Fridge Flyer in the Bienville Parish Library Event Guide for dates, times, and list of performers. You’ll also find all you need to know at your Bienville Parish Library and in the Summer Reading Program brochure!

Expect Increased Law Enforcement Presence for Seat Belt Awareness

The national Click It or Ticket safety campaign has begun in Louisiana. Through June 6th, you will see an increased presence of law enforcement in our communities reminding everyone that a seat belt could be the difference between life and death.

Please Buckle Up in the front seat and rear seat, Every Trip, Every Ride.

Seat belts have been proven to be one of the best ways to save your life in a crash. Yet, many still don’t buckle up.

Four Days Left To Register for $100 Giveaway

Click here and enter your name and email address before May 31st.

What would you do with an extra $100?  Sign up for a free email subscription to the Journal and you may be the lucky winner. 

Registering for the giveaway is easy. No purchase is necessary.

Bienville Parish Journal does not share your email address with anyone.

If you already receive the Journal in your email, you’re already signed up for the giveaway. Be sure to tell a friend.

The winner will be selected at random on June 1st and contacted via the provided email address. If the winner fails to respond within 72 hours, another name will be drawn. The winner will be announced in the Bienville Parish Journal.

If you have any questions, please email the journal at or call the editor at 318-332-0558.


Print this page to work the puzzle.

In Cryptoquotes, one letter stands for another. In the example above, Z is used for two E’s, I for the two N’s, etc. Single letters, double letters, apostrophes, the length and formation of the words are all hints. The code letters change with each puzzle.



Cryptoquote solution from May 21: “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” ~ Helen Keller

Angler’s Perspective – Find Your Own Fish!

With more anglers on the water today than in the previous 20 years, one thing has become very apparent. A lot of anglers cannot find their own fish! Now let’s address the main problem…overcrowded lakes. It is insane, the number of boats on our area lakes and waterways compared to twenty years ago. The recent pandemic is also a major contributor to this issue as well. Boat’s sales soared in 2020 with many people not working and schools being shut down. A big majority of Americans all across the country took to the lakes and outdoors which is a great thing! Nothing bad can come of getting folks, old and young alike, out in the great outdoors. I mean what’s the worst thing that can happen?

Well let me give you an idea and a few examples. First, overcrowded boat ramps! It amazes me at how seven days a week, you have to wait in line just to launch your boat. Just two short years ago, you could go to any boat ramp Monday thru Thursday and NEVER have to wait to launch or worry how far you’ll have to park your truck and trailer after you launch your boat. Many of today’s lakes, especially Sam Rayburn or sometimes at Toledo Bend, it might be necessary to request an Uber just to get back to the ramp after parking your truck and trailer. Several times this past year I’ve seen people parked almost a mile from the ramp they launched at. It’s insane!

Now that we’re on the water and ready to go fishing, now let’s crank our motor and head to our favorite spot. Oh wow… guess what, after you run 5 miles up the lake dodging jet skiers and pleasure boaters who have not had a boater safety course, you arrive at your favorite spot, and someone is already there. It’s the same person who saw you yesterday catching fish there. Shocker…but that’s exactly how it is today. There are more people scouting and spying on other anglers like detectives trying to solve a murder mystery. I mean I’ve seen guys using binoculars and watching other anglers at a distance only to wait until they move and then swoop in and mark that location with their electronics so they can return on another day. Tournament anglers are especially targeted and it’s even worse if you have an advertising wrap on your boat. But one thing I’ve done several times just to throw off would be scouts and detectives, is to fake hook sets and I’ve gone as far as to pretend I just caught a fish by leaning over the side of the boat and acting like I’m releasing a fish. It’s quite amusing to watch who moves into the area I just left. I think anyone who has a pair of binoculars in their boat is pathetic.

Next, are what I call “GPS robbers.” These guys are the worst and most unethical anglers on the water. If they see a well-known angler, guide or pro, they will ride up and down the lake looking for these good anglers and will shut down and idle towards the area they are in and hit their GPS button on their electronic units to mark the spot so they can come back later after the angler leaves. While I have never shot anyone before, this is the one thing that I might consider as a consequence for anglers who practice this technique.

Bass fishing is hard enough today with so many anglers competing for a limited number of fishing spots. It just makes an angler mad when you have people on the lake spying on other fishermen and looking to raid their best spots, especially the guides who work very hard to build a reputation for catching fish. This is how they make a living, and it affects their pocketbook when other anglers pull up on their best spots and catch fish. If you are one of those who needs help finding fish, hire a guide and let him show you how to read your electronics so you can find your own fish. It’ll be the best money you ever spent and well worth your time. Till next time, find your own fish and don’t forget to set the hook!

Steve Graf
Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Show
And Tackle Talk Live

Today in History – May 28

585 BC – A solar eclipse occured, as predicted by the Greek philosopher and scientist Thales, while Alyattes was battling Cyaxares in the Battle of Halys, which led to a truce. This is one of the cardinal dates from which other dates can be calculated.

1431 – Joan of Arc was accused of relapsing into heresy by donning male clothing again, which provided justification for her execution.

1533 – The Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, declared the marriage of King Henry VIII of England to Anne Boleyn valid.

1742 – First indoor swimming pool opened (Goodman’s Fields, London).

1754 – French and Indian War: In the first engagement of the war, Virginia militia under the 22-year-old Lieutenant colonel George Washington defeated a French reconnaissance party in the Battle of Jumonville Glen in what is now Fayette County in southwestern Pennsylvania.

1802 – In Guadeloupe, 400 rebellious slaves, led by Louis Delgrès, blew themselves up rather than submitting to Napoleon’s troops.

1830 – U.S. President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act which denied Native Americans their land rights and forcibly relocated them.

1889 – Édouard and André Michelin incorporated the Michelin tire company.

1923 – US Attorney General said it was legal for women to wear trousers anywhere.

1928 – Dodge Brothers Inc. and Chrysler Corporation merged.

1929 – The first all color talking picture “On With the Show” was exhibited (New York City).

1937 – Volkswagen, the German automobile manufacturer was founded.

1937 – Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco opened to vehicular traffic.

1971 – Paul McCartney released his second solo album “Ram”.

1972 – White House “plumbers” first broke in at the Democratic National Headquarters at Watergate Complex in Washington, D.C.

1977 – In Southgate, Kentucky, the Beverly Hills Supper Club was engulfed in fire, which killed 165 people inside.

1987 – A West German pilot, Mathias Rust, who was 18 years old, evaded Soviet Union air defenses and landed a private plane in the Red Square in Moscow, Russia.

1996 – U.S. President Bill Clinton’s former business partners in the Whitewater land deal, Jim McDougal and Susan McDougal, and the Governor of Arkansas Jim Guy Tucker, were convicted of fraud.

1999 – In Milan, Italy, after 22 years of restoration work, Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece “The Last Supper” was put back on display.

2002 – The last steel girder was removed from the original World Trade Center site. Cleanup duties officially ended with closing ceremonies at Ground Zero in Manhattan, New York City.

2018 – Coca-Cola launched its first alcoholic drink, Lemon-Do, on island of Kyushu, Japan.

Four Local Students Graduate from LaTech

Louisiana Tech University Conveyed degrees on 1,040 graduates, the second-largest class in University history, in four ceremonies.  Four of the recipients were from Arcadia.

  • Summer Nichole Banuelos graduated with a Bachelor of Science
  • Julianne Cole Brown graduated with a Bachelor of Science
  • Lillian Breann Rojas graduated with a Bachelor of Arts
  • Kasey Loe Salvaterra graduated with a Master of Education

The Bienville Parish Journal extends a sincere congratulations to each of you!

Eight Local Students Graduate from NSU

Northwestern State University awarded 964 degrees to 935 graduates during Spring 2021 commencement ceremonies, eight of which were from Bienville Parish.


  • Luke Partain graduated with an Associate of Science
  • Macy Guin graduated with a Master of Science in Nursing


  • Tamera Mackey graduated with a Bachelor of Science


  • Kristen Campbell graduated with a Bachelor of Arts
  • Kylie Knotts graduated with a Bachelor of Science


  • Paige Robertson graduated with a Bachelor of Arts
  • Sabrena Hays graduated with a Bachelor of Science
  • Melinda Hennigan graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing

The Bienville Parish Journal extends a sincere congratulations to each of you!

DOTD Accepting Projects to Reduce Pedestrian/Bicyclist Injuries/Fatalities

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development is pleased to announce the 2021 Safe Routes to Public Places Program (SRTPPP) Call for Projects, whose aim is to reduce pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities and injuries on all public roads within the state.

Applications are due at the DOTD Headquarters building by Wednesday, June 30, 2021 at 3:30 p.m. (not just postmarked by this date). DOTD HQ is located at 1201 Capitol Access Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70802.

Safe Routes to Public Places Program (SRTPPP)
SRTPPP is part of the overall Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) and falls under the umbrella of the Louisiana Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). The vision for the SHSP is Destination Zero Deaths and the HSIP is the core federal-aid program that aims to implement the SHSP’s mission to achieve a significant reduction in fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads. To address the need to reduce pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities and injuries, HSIP funds are eligible to be spent on projects to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists on all public roads (state-owned and locally-owned).


Federal funds for the project are provided for 100% of project costs with no required local match within the limits of the DOTD’s project funding commitment and eligibility requirements.


Any public agency is eligible to submit a project application.

Public agencies may apply to fund projects for the purpose of facilitating the development and implementation of projects that will improve safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users of all ages and abilities.

Eligible projects include improving pedestrian and bicycle facilities to schools, libraries, governmental buildings, hospitals, transit facilities, public parks, and other public places.

All public roads, state and locally owned, are eligible under the SRTPPP.

Click here to visit the DOTD Safe Routes to Public Places Program site.

Number of Child Drownings in Louisiana Increased Last Year; Tips To Save a Life

After five consecutive years of decreasing child drownings in Louisiana, 2020 was one of the deadliest in recent history. Louisiana experienced a 60% increase in the number of infant and child drownings (ages 0-14), from 15 in 2019 to 24 in 2020. As warmer weather arrives, it is important for parents and families to stay aware of the precautions they can take to prevent child drownings.

“Water safety and drowning prevention efforts remain as important as ever, especially as families return to water activities at pools, lakes and beaches,” said Dr. Joseph Kanter, State Health Officer. “Louisiana’s latest numbers confirm that most child drownings occur in the warmer months and among children ages 1-4. This year, I urge everyone to take critical steps to reverse the upward trend in fatal child drownings.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data from 2017-19 show that Louisiana has the fourth highest drowning rate for children 1-14 years in the United States, and drowning remains the third leading cause of death for Louisiana children in this age group.

Families can take several important precautions:

  • Watch children when they are in or around water at all times; avoid getting distracted.
  • Teach children how to swim.
  • If you own a pool or spa, install layers of protection, including a four-sided fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate.
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
  • Wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when boating or participating in other water activities.

“Parents and guardians can also prepare for potential emergencies by taking a CPR training class and learning basic water rescue skills,” said Dr. Kanter. Visit for a training center in your area.

The Louisiana Department of Health, Office of Public Health, Bureau of Family Health leads the Louisiana Child Death Review Panel, which reviews unexpected child deaths in order to reduce future injury and deaths. Child drowning prevention is a priority for the Child Death Review Panel. The Bureau of Family Health has secured Consumer Product Safety Commission Pool Safely grant funds to prevent child drownings and drain entrapments in pools and spas, and is working with community partners to provide swim lessons, water safety education, and training for pool contractors and inspectors.

Through these programs, and by following water safety tips and sharing ready-to-use resources, we can help prevent drownings among Louisiana children and youth. has brochures, Water Watcher cards, fact sheets, social media tools, videos and much more to help spread the word.

Notice of Death – May 27

  • Evelyn Juanita Peterson
    May 30, 1932 – May 25, 2021
    A graveside service was held on Thursday, May 27, 2021 in Yankee Springs Cemetery at 11:00am.
  • Jimmy Mack Loe
    November 17, 1945 – May 25, 2021
    Visitation:  Tuesday, June 1, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Antioch Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
    Service:  1:00 p.m. at Antioch Cumberland Presbyterian Church.  Burial will follow in the church cemetery.
  • Scott Mitchell Blackwell
    May 20, 1954 – May 26, 2021
    Visitation:  Saturday, May 29, 2021 from 12:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. at the Edmonds Funeral Home Chapel.
    Service: 2:00 p.m. at the Edmonds Funeral Home Chapel.  Interment will be at Strange Cemetery in Readheimer.
  • Mary Ann Sjorlund Perry
    March 22, 1935 – May 26, 2021
    Visitation: Friday, May 28, 2021 from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at Rockett Funeral Home, Ringgold, LA.
    Service:  Saturday, May 29, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. in New Beginnings Baptist Church, Castor, LA.  Interment will follow in Ebenezer Cemetery, Castor, LA. 

Fishing, Hunting, Boating License Restructure Plan Moves to Senate; Proposed Price Increases

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ proposed legislation for license restructuring went to the floor of the House of Representatives last week.

The restructure plan was approved, with some changes, and is now at the Senate.

If passed:

  • Boat Registration will be simplified but will increase in most cases. (see Revised License Restructure Plan below)
  • Hook & Line Fishing License will double from $2.50 to $5.00
  • Freshwater/Basic Fishing License will increase from $9.50 to $17.00, but will include certain privileges that fisherman currently have to pay extra for such as:
    • Res Rec Wire Net (5) $20.00
    • Res Rec Pipes/Drums (5) $10.00
    • Res Rec Cans/Buckets (5) $10.00
    • Resident Hoop Nets (5) $20.00
    • Res Rec Crawfish Traps (5) $15.00
    • Res Rec Slat Traps (5) $20.00
  • Basic Hunting License will increase from $15.00 to $20.00.
  • Res Big Game will be renamed Res Deer and will increase from $14.00 to $15.00, but will include certain privileges that hunters currently have to pay for individually such as:
    • Res Bow Hunting $10.50
    • Res Primitive Firearm $10.50
  • Res Big Game (Currently $14.00) and Res Wild Turkey (Currently $5.50) will be combined into Res Wild Turkey, and will be $12.00.
  • Res La Duck will be renamed Res Waterfowl and will increase from $5.50 to $12.00.

Many people visited the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Facebook page and expressed their irritation at the proposed price increases.

  • Bruce Dauzat said, “Basic fishing will be outrageous. Most people won’t need/use the extras on the revised license. Senior hunt/fish comb takes a $15 increase, really?!”
  • Daniel Wilson said, “What’s it going to take for you to understand this is a terrible idea? All your going to do here is drive people away.”
  • David Foote said, “Glad I have my lifetime hunting and fishing license already.”
  • Adam Downing said, “Gotta love paying more for no added value…”
  • Lon Prioux said, “Seems like us Seniors will get a 300% increase in our licensing this year? Remember this at election time!!!”
  • Scott Farar said, “Did I read it right it’s gunna cost me $27 a day to hunt and camp in the wma now???? I must of read it WRONG??????? LOL I’ll never step foot on one again if this is true.”

What is your opinion of the Revised License Restructure?

Arcadia Mayor Presents Coach with Key to Town on “Coach Kim Mulkey Day”

On Friday, May 21, Arcadia Mayor O’Landis Millican presented Coach Kim Mulkey, with a key to the Town of Arcadia and a Proclamation which proclaimed May 21st, “Coach Kim Mulkey Day.”

Maryor Millican said, “We honored her for her recent induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, in addition to becoming the new Women’s Basketball head coach at LSU.  Thank you to the special guests that were able to attend and make this small scale welcome home party possible,” which included Sheriff John Ballance, Dan Loe representing Louisiana National Bank, Tis So Sweet, Marcia DeMoss, Vicki Caskey, Kayla Mathews, Bienville Parish Chamber of Commerce, Lari Talbert & Family, Amy Smith Bourgeois, and the Town of Arcadia’s Staff.

Arcadia Mayor O’Landis Millican and Coach Kim Mulkey

Local Gas Prices Below National Average

Average gas prices in Louisiana have risen almost constantly in the past year from $1.64 per gallon a year ago to $2.72 per gallon today.  In that time, Louisiana gas prices have remained about $.30 per gallon below the national average.  The lowest reported gas price in the state is $2.38 per gallon in Baton Rouge. 

The lowest reported gas prices in the parish according to GasBuddy:

  • Arcadia – $2.75 at Exxon, 1314 N Hazel Street
  • Ringgold – $2.99 at Chevron, 2630 Military Road

Source: “Gas Price Charts,” GasBuddy, accessed May 26, 2021,

Governor Signs Updated Public Health Emergency Order Ending Most Restrictions

Following months of improvement in COVID-19 hospitalizations and with nearly three million vaccine doses administered, Governor John Bel Edwards on Tuesday signed an updated public health emergency order that removes all remaining business capacity restrictions and the vast majority of masking requirements. This week, Louisiana hit its lowest level of COVID-19 hospitalizations since the very early days of the pandemic.

Since March 2020, the Governor has issued public health emergency orders that allowed the state to effectively respond to the COVID-19 threat, support local governments and slow the spread of COVID-19 to protect Louisiana’s ability to deliver healthcare. At the peak of hospitalizations, during the third COVID-19 spike in January 2021, as many as 2,069 people were hospitalized statewide at one time.

“For nearly 15 months, Louisiana has operated under necessary public health restrictions designed to save lives by slowing the spread of COVID-19,” Gov. Edwards said. “Thanks to the wide availability of vaccines and the 1.4 million Louisianans who already have gone sleeves up and after hitting a new low in hospitalizations, the order I have signed today contains the fewest state-mandated restrictions ever, though local governments and businesses may still and should feel empowered to take precautions that they see as necessary and prudent, including mandating masks. To be clear: COVID-19 is not over for our state or for our country. Anyone who has gotten the vaccine is now fully protected and can enter summer with confidence. Unfortunately, people who have not yet taken their COVID-19 vaccine remain at risk as more contagious COVID variants continue to spread and as we enter into hurricane season. Because you never know when you may have to leave home and utilize a shelter as the result of bad weather, I encourage all people to take the COVID-19 vaccine as the first step to getting prepared and keeping you and your loved ones safe.”

Masks will be required in educational settings until the end of the current academic semester at which time state and local oversight boards will set their own masking policies. The Louisiana Department of Health will continue to revise guidance and masking recommendations for summer camps, following CDC guidance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that it was safe for vaccinated people to not wear masks in most settings.

Under order of the State Health Officer, masks continue to be required in healthcare settings, which is a federal mandate. In addition, masks are required on public transportation and in jails and prisons, as per federal guidance.

Local governments and businesses may choose to have stronger restrictions than the state does and the Governor encourages Louisianans to respect all local or business mandates, especially when it comes to masking.

The Governor, the Louisiana Department of Health, the CDC and numerous public health officials recommend that unvaccinated individuals continue to wear a face mask in public and when they are with people outside of their households to reduce their likelihood of contracting COVID-19.

Right now, there are three safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines widely available in nearly 1,500 locations across Louisiana. All Louisianans 18 and older are eligible for any of the approved vaccines. Louisianans between the ages of 12 and 17 are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine only.

According to the CDC, more than 1.4 million Louisianans are fully vaccinated, around 30.5 percent of the population. The most vaccinated population, by age, is people 65 and older. Nearly 72 percent of people 65 and older in Louisiana are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

To get your questions answered, find a provider or event near you, get your appointment scheduled or speak directly with a medical professional, just call the COVID Vaccine Hotline at 855-453-0774. The hotline is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

Less Than a Week Left To Register for the $100 Giveaway

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Registering for the giveaway is easy. No purchase is necessary.

Click here and enter your name and email address before May 31st.

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The winner will be selected at random on June 1st and contacted via the provided email address. If the winner fails to respond within 72 hours, another name will be drawn. The winner will be announced in the Bienville Parish Journal.

If you have any questions, please email the journal at or call the editor at 318-332-0558.

Annual Voter Canvass Underway

The Bienville Parish Registrar of Voters Office is conducting their annual canvass of register voters in our parish. This is done annually by law to verify the addresses of voters in which the United States Post Office cannot confirm through their National Change of Address System.

If you receive an identification card or an address confirmation card in the mail, PLEASE take the time to verify the information, make any changes necessary and mail back or bring in to the Registrar of Voters Office in the parish courthouse as soon as possible. Failure to do so may result in a change in your voter status, delays at the polls or the inability to vote.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the Registrar of Voters Office at 318-263-7407 or by email at 

Blowing Off Steam

Blowing off steam is an oft-used expression to describe someone who is doing or saying something to relieve built-up feelings or energy. Sometimes the person exerts a sudden act of verbal or physical violence. This expression has its roots with steam engines. Steam engines use boilers to boil water. The boiling water produces steam pressure, which, when channeled properly, can propel vehicles including pre-diesel train locomotives and water vessels. When functioning properly, safety valves on the engines release or blow off steam to keep the boilers operating at a safe pressure. When not functioning properly, the boilers are unable to release the built-up steam and the pressure increases until the boilers rupture which creates a massive explosion.

In the mid-1850s, steamboats which travelled along the Mississippi River were seen by many as romantic. Children and teenagers idolized the crew of these large vessels, especially the pilots. Steamboats were at the height of technology and offered thrilling adventure with a twinge of danger. Like so many other young men, Henry dreamed of working on a steamboat and eventually becoming a steamboat pilot. Henry’s older brother was a crewman on the sidewheeler steamboat Pennsylvania, and, in the first week of June of 1858, got Henry a job on the same vessel as a “Mud Clerk.” This was an entry level position with no salary, but would become a paid position once the crewman proved himself. On June 5, 1858, Henry’s brother and the Pennsylvania’s pilot got into an altercation which resulted in Henry’s brother’s resignation. Following his brother’s departure, Henry knew he would have to work even harder to impress the pilot.

On Sunday, June 9, 1858, the Pennsylvania left New Orleans, Louisiana bound for St. Louis, Missouri. It was Henry’s first trip as a member of a steamboat crew. Although the work was grueling, Henry was ecstatic. On June 13th, four days into the trip, the Pennsylvania neared Ship Island, about sixty miles south of Memphis, Tennessee. The crew noticed that the steamboat’s boiler was building up pressure to a dangerous level. The safety valves had failed. The crew tried to manually open pressure release valves but the pressure continued to climb. At about 6:00 a.m., the Pennsylvania’s boiler exploded. Within an instant, red-hot metal shrapnel, wood splinters, and scalding hot water violently shot in every direction.

A survivor of the explosion wrote, “The boilers seemed to be heaved upward and forward parting the cabin at the gangway, and rendering the upper works of the boat from that point forward a complete wreck. When the steam and smoke had cleared up from the wreck, there indeed was a mournful spectacle to be seen by the few survivors. The boilers and smokestacks were twisted together like hungry serpents, locking in their hot embrace scores of human beings, dead and dying. Some were killed instantly; others were buried beneath the rubbish to await the advance of the flames which as yet slumbered in the hold.”

Survivors scrambled to aid the wounded. The pilot and some surviving crew members commandeered a local flatboat and, after nearly half an hour, returned to the drifting wreck. The crew loaded survivors and victims onto the flatboat. Using buckets, survivors had nearly extinguished all of the small fires in the forward part of the Pennsylvania when a much larger fire suddenly erupted in the middle of the ship. The heat from the fire was so intense that the crew on the flatboat had to abandon their rescue operation. Survivors, many of whom were wearing cork life vests while others grabbed anything which would float, jumped into the swift current of the Mississippi River. The fire aboard the Pennsylvania burned the steamboat down to the waterline.

The current carried the flatboat and the floating survivors down the Mississippi River. Up ahead was Ship Island, which was mostly underwater due to high rainfall. The crew aimed the flatboat toward the island. Survivors who had enough energy swam to the island. The burning steamboat, survivors who were too weak to swim, and others who were less fortunate, coasted down the river past the island.

Henry had survived the initial blast but his body was scalded by the boiling water from the steamboat’s boilers. Survivors loaded Henry onto the flatboat and transferred him to Ship Island. Henry’s brother stayed with him in the hospital, but there was little hope for his recovery. On June 21, 1858, eight days after the explosion, Henry died from his wounds. He was just nineteen years old.

Henry’s brother regretted getting Henry the position on the Pennsylvania for the rest of his life. He wrote, “My poor Henry — my darling, my pride, my glory, my all, will have finished his blameless career, and the light of my life will have gone out in utter darkness. O, God! This is hard to bear … “

Henry’s brother continued to work on steamboats until the Civil War crippled the shipping industry in the south. Following the war, Henry’s brother entered into an entirely different career field. Had Henry’s brother not argued with the ship’s pilot, he too would have been on the steamboat when it exploded and he might not have lived to write the literary classics “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”. Henry’s brother was Sam Clemens, who is known around the world as Mark Twain.

1. The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana), June 14, 1858, p.1.
2. The Greenville Journal (Greenville, Ohio), June 23, 1858, p.2.
3. “Henry Clemens (Mark Twain’s Brother) Dies While Working On Steamboat.” Accessed May 18, 2021.
4. Julia Keller, “Death of Sibling Crucial Moment,” Chicago Tribune, December 29, 2005,
5. Find A Grave. “Henry Clemens.” Accessed May 18, 2021.

Louisiana Gained 127,400 Jobs Since Beginning of COVID-19 Pandemic; Facts and Figures

Preliminary data for April 2021 released on Friday, May 21, by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) shows that Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment figure was estimated to be 1,837,000 jobs. On the one year anniversary of the lowest employment level of the pandemic, the data shows a gain of 127,400 jobs from the April 2020 estimate of 1,709,600 jobs. The data also shows a gain of 1,700 jobs from the March 2021 figure of 1,835,300.

Louisiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April 2021 is 7.3 percent, a drop of 5.8 percentage points from the April 2020 figure of 13.1 percent. The April 2021 figure also fell by 0.1 percentage points from the March 2021 revised figure of 7.4 percent.

The April 2021 seasonally adjusted civilian labor force, or the number of people employed or looking for work, is 2,070,417, an increase of 28,750 from the April 2020 figure of 2,041,667. The series is down 3,885 individuals from the March 2021 figure of 2,074,302.

Since April 2020, the number of seasonally adjusted employed individuals increased by 146,521 from 1,773,471 to 1,919,992 in April 2021. When compared to March 2021, the number of seasonally adjusted employed individuals decreased by 1,780.

Since April 2020, the number of seasonally adjusted unemployed individuals decreased by 117,771 from 268,196 to 150,425 in April 2021. When compared to March 2021, the number of seasonally adjusted unemployed individuals decreased by 2,105.

Seasonally adjusted total private employment rose by 131,000 jobs from the April 2020 figure of 1,392,900 to 1,523,900. Total private employment has added 1,600 jobs from the March 2021 figure of 1,522,300.

“After a difficult year for Louisiana’s workforce and economy, we are finally turning a corner,” said Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) Secretary Ava Dejoie. “The recovery is ongoing, but we will not stop fighting to get Louisianians back to work in jobs that can support their families.”

As Louisiana’s economy continues to show signs of improvement, LWC is focused on getting people back to work. Right now there are over 20,000 jobs listed on the HiRE site, which allows individuals to file for Unemployment benefits and search for available jobs in their area. Additionally, LWC is hosting a weeklong series of virtual job fairs from May 24th-28th dubbed “Workforce Week” where jobseekers will have the opportunity to meet with over 100 of the state’s top employers. Individuals can register here and attend any day.

Industries that showed the largest gains for seasonally adjusted jobs from April 2020:

  • Leisure and Hospitality gained 62,400 jobs from April 2020.
  • Trade, Transportation, and Utilities gained 27,300 jobs from April 2020.
  • Education and Health Services gained 19,400 jobs from April 2020.
  • Other Services gained 12,700 jobs from April 2020.

Among Louisiana’s MSAs in April 2021, seasonally adjusted data shows:

  • Alexandria (60,000 jobs) showed no change from March 2021, but gained 4,100 jobs from April 2020.
  • Baton Rouge (386,200 jobs) lost 1,700 jobs from March 2021, but gained 33,300 jobs from April 2020.
  • Hammond (45,400 jobs) lost 100 jobs from March 2021, but gained 4,000 jobs from April 2020.
  • Houma (82,000 jobs) lost 100 jobs from March 2021, but gained 3,600 jobs from April 2020.
  • Lafayette (189,900 jobs) lost 500 jobs from March 2021, but gained 8,200 jobs from April 2020.
  • Lake Charles (91,800 jobs) lost 400 jobs from March 2021 and lost 2,800 jobs from April 2020.
  • Monroe (74,000 jobs) gained 200 jobs from March 2021 and gained 5,500 jobs from April 2020.
  • New Orleans (524,400 jobs) gained 1,200 jobs from March 2021 and gained 43,500 jobs from April 2020.
  • Shreveport (167,800 jobs) gained 900 jobs from March 2021 and gained 10,800 jobs from April 2020.

Not Seasonally Adjusted Data

Since April 2020, not seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased by 123,000 jobs from 1,715,700 to 1,838,700 in April 2021. When compared to March 2021, not seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment increased by 6,800 jobs.

Since April 2020, not seasonally adjusted private sector employment increased by 127,400 jobs from 1,395,000 to 1,522,400 in April 2021. When compared to March 2021, not seasonally adjusted private sector employment increased by 6,200 jobs.

Louisiana’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April 2021 is 6.6 percent, a decrease of 6.1 percentage points from the April 2020 not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 12.7 percent. The 6.6 percent figure is the lowest since the Covid-19 pandemic began, and shows no change from the March 2021 figure.

Since April 2020, the number of not seasonally adjusted employed individuals increased by 149,937 from 1,774,424 to 1,924,631 in April 2021. When compared to March 2021, the number of not seasonally adjusted employed individuals increased by 979.

Since April 2020, the number of not seasonally adjusted unemployed individuals decreased by 123,215 from 259,225 to 136,010 in April 2021. When compared to March 2021, the number of not seasonally adjusted unemployed individuals increased by 38 individuals.

March metropolitan statistical area (MSA) and parish unemployment rates will be released on May 28, 2021. The 2021 state and MSA data release dates schedule is now available, to view please click here.

Seasonally Adjusted vs. Not Seasonally Adjusted Data

Jobs and employment trends data are often difficult to understand because there are two different ways to look at the data, seasonally or non-seasonally adjusted data.

Seasonal adjustment works to measure and remove the influences of predictable seasonal patterns to reveal how employment and unemployment figures change from month to month. Not seasonally adjusted data retains seasonal employment trends.

Over the course of a year, the labor force size, available jobs and employment rates undergo predictable fluctuations due to seasonal changes in weather, harvests, major holidays, and school schedules. Seasonal adjustment reduces the impact of these changes, making it easier to understand trends. Seasonally adjusted data is best utilized when comparing several months of employment and jobs data, while not seasonally adjusted data is best used to compare over-the-year trends. Seasonally adjusted data are useful for comparisons among states and the nation.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission primarily uses seasonally adjusted data because it provides a more useful and telling picture of Louisiana’s jobs and employment situation.