Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Festivities Get Going Thursday Afternoon

It’s almost showtime for the Class of 2021 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration kicking off Thursday in Natchitoches, including three free events, and running through Saturday night’s induction ceremony.

There’s another star-studded group of inductees, traveling to Natchitoches from six different states, including California, Florida and New Jersey. The hospitality they will experience while in town will create an extraordinary experience like the recently-inducted Class of 2020 (shown above) experienced.

Due to last summer’s pandemic limitations, the Class of 2020 enshrinement was delayed for a year until this June, thus the induction of the Class of 2021 shifted to the end of August.

All state protocols, notably masking and social distancing, will be observed during the upcoming indoor events.

There’s a free event each day, starting with Thursday’s La Capitol Federal Credit Union Welcome Reception from 5-7 p.m. at the Hall of Fame museum, located at the traffic circle on Front Street.

Friday’s freebie is a big one – the Rockin’ River Fest concert on the downtown Natchitoches riverbank, with no admission charge. Music starts at 6 p.m. Friday from iconic local rockers Billy O’Con and BaDD Apple, with the red-hot Baton Rouge-based country band Parish County Line taking the stage from 8:30-10:30. After the 2021 inductees are introduced a little after 9 o’clock, a 10-minute sports-themed fireworks show will explode over Cane River, followed by more PCL tunes.

Saturday morning brings the free Junior Training Camp presented by Natchitoches Regional Medical Center for kids 7-17, hosted by Northwestern State at the WRAC. Football and basketball instruction along with basic sports skills will be taught. Parents need to take a couple minutes before Saturday to register their kids and execute a waiver form on the LaSportsHall.com website. Kids should check in beginning at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

For information on all events and to purchase admission to the four ticketed events, visit the LaSportsHall.com website or call 318-238-4255.

The 2021 LSHOF inductees are headlined by New Orleans Saints star receiver Marques Colston, Major League Baseball All-Star Rickie Weeks from Southern University, and three of LSU’s greatest competitors – basketball’s Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, football stalwart Glenn Dorsey and 27-time national champion track and field coach Pat Henry.

The LSHOF Class of 2021 also spotlights Natchitoches native and 1980 Bassmaster Classic champion Villis “Bo” Dowden, chosen as one of the 35 greatest pro anglers of all-time in a joint ESPN Outdoors/BASS package in 2004. Former Northwestern State sports information director (1989-2019) and longtime Hall of Fame chairman Doug Ireland is going into the Hall as a recipient of the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism.

Baton Rouge ties connect six members of the LSHOF Class of 2021.

Baton Rouge native Courtney Blades Rogers, considered one of college softball’s best pitchers of all time at Nicholls and Southern Mississippi, joins the trio of LSU competitors, along with LSU alumnus Terry McAulay, a Hammond native who in a 20-year NFL officiating career refereed three Super Bowls. Now the NBC Sports officiating analyst for Sunday Night Football and Notre Dame football, McAuley is the 2021 winner of the Dave Dixon Louisiana Sports Leadership Award.

Other recipients of the journalism award are trailblazing New Orleans television sports anchor Ro Brown, and Baton Rouge Advocate sportswriter Sheldon Mickles.

Cox Sports Television live coverage will be provided at 3 p.m. Thursday for the opening press conference, and from 6-10 Saturday for the induction activities, including a Purple Carpet Special presented by NSU.

Arcadia High School to Host Championship Ring Ceremony Tomorrow

The 2021 1A State Championship Hornet Basketball Team will be awarded their championship rings on Thursday, August 26th, at 7:00 in the Arcadia Events Center.

Due to the current CoVID guidelines, there will be limited seating for the general public. One hundred seats will be available, and admittance will be on a first come – first served basis.

Be sure to come out and celebrate this momentous accomplishment with us, and come early to ensure you get a seat!

World’s Largest Steam Locomotive Passing Through North Louisiana Monday

The Big Boy No. 4014, the world’s largest steam locomotive, is rolling out on tour August 5, 2021 through 10 states, beginning in Cheyenne, Wyoming!

The Big Boy weighs 1.2 million pounds and rode the rails from 1941-1961, going more than one million miles.

Although Big Boy won’t be passing through Bienville Parish, you can see this amazing steam locomotive in person as it passes through Natchitoches. A short stop is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 23 from 1:30-2:15 pm at the Trudeau Street crossing. Scheduled stops are subject to change. Big Boy will travel north from Natchitoches to Shreveport following its stop in Natchitoches. It will be at 6215 E. Jewella Road in Shreveport from Monday afternoon until early Wednesday morning for viewing only (Locations where fans can safely view the Big Boy. In some cases, the Big Boy will be displayed behind a fence or other perimeter. Tours are not available in Shreveport.)

Share the adventure with us August 22, 2021, as we trace the route of Missouri Pacific’s iconic Louisiana Daylight and Louisiana Limited train service, north along the Mississippi River from New Orleans, LA, and over the historic Huey P. Long bridge on heritage passenger equipment pulled by Union Pacific’s steam locomotive “Big Boy,” No. 4014.

This excursion is the annual gala fundraiser for the Union Pacific Museum, a 501 c 3 organization, and passengers must be 18 years or older to ride. This is a rare opportunity for the public to travel behind this historic locomotive.
Big Boy No. 4014 was delivered to Union Pacific in December 1941. The locomotive was retired in December 1961, having traveled 1,031,205 miles in its 20 years in service. Union Pacific reacquired No. 4014 from the RailGiants Museum in Pomona, California, in 2013, and relocated it back to Cheyenne to begin a multi-year restoration process. It returned to service in May 2019 to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad’s Completion.

Please like and share this article as this is a rare opportunity.

2020 Census Results – Bienville Parish Population Decreased

The Census Bureau released its 2020 Census results last Thursday. The data shows that Bienville Parish’s population decreased by 9.6% in the previous ten years from 14,353 in 2010 to 12,981 in 2020, a decrease of 1,372 people (137 people per year).

Possible effects of population decline are:

  • fewer schools, due to there being fewer children;
  • a drop in house prices because more homes are unoccupied;
  • fewer new homes being built;
  • less demand for rented accommodation;
  • fewer care facilities;
  • less turnover of product for shops and businesses;
  • fewer sports facilities;
  • fewer people going to the theatre, cinema or concerts, so these facilities are eventually cut back;
  • local residents have to travel further to reach the facilities they want.

To dive into more detail about Bienville Parish Census Data from the 2019 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, click the file below:

Population Changes Across the Country Since the 2010 Census

Last Thursday’s release reveals changes in the size and distribution of the population across the United States. The population of U.S. metro areas grew by 9% from 2010 to 2020, resulting in 86% of the population living in U.S. metro areas in 2020, compared to 85% in 2010.

“Many counties within metro areas saw growth, especially those in the south and west. However, as we’ve seen in our annual population estimates, our nation is growing slower than it used to,” said Marc Perry, a senior demographer at the Census Bureau. “This decline is evident at the local level where around 52% of the counties in the United States saw their 2020 Census populations decrease from their 2010 Census populations.”

County and metro area highlights:

  • The largest county in the United States in 2020 remains Los Angeles County, with over 10 million people.
  • The largest city (incorporated place) in the United States in 2020 remains New York, with 8.8 million people.
  • 312 of the 384 U.S. metro areas gained population between 2010 and 2020.
  • The fastest-growing U.S. metro area between the 2010 Census and 2020 Census was The Villages, FL, which grew 39% from about 93,000 people to about 130,000 people.
  • 72 U.S. metro areas lost population from the 2010 Census to the 2020 Census. The U.S. metro areas with the most significant percentage declines were Pine Bluff, AR, and Danville, IL, at -12.5 percent and -9.1 percent, respectively.

Sheriff’s Dept. Uses GPS from On Star to Locate Victim of Domestic Abuse

On August 6, 2021, the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Department received an alert from On Star that a male and female were involved in some type of altercation on LA 153 south of Roytown.  The On Star alert originated from the vehicle of the victim. 

Lieutenant Tony Toms used the provided GPS directions and located the female victim and a Campti Man, Jason Connor Howell, at the parking lot of the Roytown store.

While questioning the victims, Lt. Toms learned that Howell had physically attacked the victim and saw evidence that an attack had occurred.  

Lt. Toms arrested Howell on a charge of domestic abuse battery and transported him to the parish jail.  Howell’s bond was set at $5,000.

Voter Registration Week Begins Monday

The Bienville Parish Registrar of Voters, along with Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, will host the annual statewide Voter Registration Week August 23 -27, 2021.  Voter Registration Week activities are aimed at registering Bienville Parish citizens to vote.

Due to Covid-19, registration locations are limited.  The Bienville Parish Registrar will be at the following locations to assist in registrations:

Monday, Aug. 23Castor Library, 1957 Hwy 507, Castor9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 24Ringgold Library, 2078 Hall St., Ringgold 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 25Saline Library, 1434 4th St., Saline 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Citizens with a valid Louisiana drivers license or Louisiana Special ID card can register online 24 hours a day, seven days a week by visiting voterportal.sos.la.gov.  Louisiana residents can also register in person at their parish Registrar of Voters Office when they apply for or renew their drivers license at any Office of Motor Vehicles or when obtaining services at public assistance agencies and Armed Forces recruitment offices.  Citizens wishing to register by mail can

  1. Download and print the application from the Secretary of State’s website at GeauxVote.com;
  2. Complete an application found at public libraries or; 
  3. Through registration drives such as this.

The deadline to register to vote for the October 9th election in person or by mail is Wednesday, September 8.  

The deadline to register to vote online is Saturday, September 18.

The Registrar’s Officer at the courthouse is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact the Registrar’s Office at 318-263-7407 or email BienvilleROV@sos.la.gov.

LDWF Cancels National Hunting and Fishing Day Events Due to COVID-19

Responding to the state’s COVID-19 situation, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has canceled National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHFD) events scheduled for September 25 across Louisiana.

“This was a tough decision, but we think the right decision,” said LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet. “Like so many others, I looked forward to attending the events and watching families, especially young people, learn about hunting, fishing, shooting, and other outdoor activities. But, the risk to the public’s health to hold the NHFD events was too great.”

NHFD is a national event celebrated in all 50 states on the fourth Saturday in September. It was created in 1972 when Congress passed two bills establishing a specific day to celebrate the conservation contributions of the nation’s hunters and anglers.

Man with Police ‘Phobia’ Leads Troopers on High-Speed Chase Through Bienville Parish

Bonnie Culverhouse

A Jackson, Miss. man traveling through Webster Parish Saturday morning was arrested by Louisiana State Police but not before leading them on a chase through two other parishes.

Matthew Denzell Fortes, 29, was driving a silver Hyundai Sonata and traveling eastbound on the interstate, when LSP Troop G officers noticed he was following another vehicle too closely.

The Troop G officer reportedly attempted a traffic stop, but the driver, later identified as Fortes failed to stop and the pursuit ensued. Fortes led troopers, along with multiple other agencies, on a high-speed pursuit from milepost 40 through Bienville and Lincoln parishes, reportedly reaching speeds of 135 to 140 miles per hour.

The report said Fortes passed multiple vehicles on the shoulders “at these speeds,” and three different tire deflation devices had to be deployed in an attempt to stop him.

The Sonata became disabled at milepost 91 in Lincoln Parish. Fortes then fled on foot into a wooded area north of I-20. While fleeing, Fortes reportedly discarded a Springfield XD 9MM with a loaded magazine and a round in the chamber, which was recovered along the path he took through the woods.

After an extensive manhunt, Fortes was located and arrested without further incident. Post-Miranda, reports say Fortes told troopers he ran because he does not have a license and because he has a “phobia” of police. An inquiry into Forbes’ criminal history showed a pattern of arrests and convictions of multiple felonies within the past 10 years. It was also determined the Sonata was stolen and the Texas dealer tag was switched.

Fortes is charged with aggravated flight, illegal possession of stolen things, felon in possession of a firearm, following too close, switched license plate and no seatbelt.

He is incarcerated at Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center.

Today in History – August 20

1707 – The first Siege of Pensacola ended with the failure of the British to capture Pensacola, Florida.

1775 – The Spanish established the Presidio San Augustin del Tucson in the town that became Tucson, Arizona.

1794 – Northwest Indian War: United States troops forced a confederacy of Shawnee, Mingo, Delaware, Wyandot, Miami, Ottawa, Chippewa, and Potawatomi warriors into a disorganized retreat at the Battle of Fallen Timbers.

1852 – Steamboat Atlantic sank on Lake Erie after a collision, with the loss of at least 150 lives.

1858 – Charles Darwin first published his theory of evolution through natural selection in The Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London, alongside Alfred Russel Wallace’s same theory.

1866 – President Andrew Johnson formally declared the American Civil War over.

1882 – Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture debuted in Moscow, Russia.

1910 – Extreme fire weather in the Inland Northwest of the United States caused many small wildfires to coalesce into the Great Fire of 1910, which burned approximately 3 million acres and killed 87 people.

1920 – The first commercial radio station, 8MK (now WWJ), began operations in Detroit, Michigan.

1938 – Lou Gehrig hit his 23rd career grand slam, a record that stood for 75 years until it was broken by Alex Rodriguez.

1940 – World War II: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made the fourth of his famous wartime speeches, containing the line “Never was so much owed by so many to so few”.

1940 – Louis Buchalter was indicted on murder charges in Los Angeles for the killing of Harry Greenberg, a mob associate of casino owner Meyer Lansky and mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel.

1965 – Rolling Stones released their single “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (their 1st #1 US hit) in the UK.

1975 – Viking program: NASA launched the Viking 1 planetary probe toward Mars.

1977 – Voyager program: NASA launched the Voyager 2 spacecraft.

1986 – In Edmond, Oklahoma, U.S. Postal employee Patrick Sherrill gunned down 14 of his co-workers and then committed suicide.

1998 – U.S. embassy bombings: The United States launched cruise missile attacks against alleged al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and a suspected chemical weapons plant in Sudan in retaliation for the August 7 bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Angler’s Perspective: My Unforgettable Co-Anglers….Part II

This week, we continue our series on “My Unforgettable Co-Anglers” with another one of my worst nightmares. The thing I enjoy the most about fishing Pro/Am events is the amount of diversity among anglers. I’ve fished with guys from our region like Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, and from as far away as New York, Florida, Georgia and Alabama, to name a few. Each of them had their own little quirks and different ways of doing things, but I’ve learned something from just about every angler that’s ever gotten into my boat. Just because they are fishing the co-angler side does not mean they don’t know how to fish. Some are really good anglers that fish as a co-angler simply because they can’t or won’t take the time off to scout for a tournament. Some don’t want to pay the higher entry fees to fish the Pro/boater side.

Let me set the stage for this event. It was the FLW BFL Regional Tournament with a full field of 200 boats on my home body of water…the mighty Red River. This particular event went out of the Red River South Marina just south of Bossier City… an absolutely awesome facility that has hosted several national events including the Bassmaster Classic twice. It was a two-day event with the top 5 earning a trip to the prestigious FLW All-American, the pinnacle of BFL anglers all across the country.

Now after day one I was sitting in 3rd place with a golden opportunity to make it to the All- American until I drew “Crack Head Joe” who was strung out so bad that he bit his tongue four times because he was talking faster than his mouth could move. “Joe” was an angler in his mid 50’s from the great state of Tennessee. This guy was a real treat who ran all over my boat like a rat on crack during an eight-hour period. Hyper does not even begin to describe his demeanor. He literally got into my boat shaking before takeoff that morning. I think he must have had twenty cups of coffee with a pound of sugar to boost his energy level past extreme! Now as I have noted, I like an angler or someone in my boat that I can carry on a good conversation with…an angler I can get to know on a personal level. Some have even become good friends of mine over the years. But this man from the Volunteer State has, nor will ever be on my Christmas card list.

As “Joe” and I headed out on day 2, I had a particular spot that I could catch a couple of good fish really early on my way to my main starting spot. On my first flip, I caught a 3 ½ pounder and as I was boating this fish, Joe decided to flip into the same spot in front of the boat (which is against the rules). Co-anglers are not supposed to cast past the boater/pro in front of the boat. Needless to say, I was not a happy angler and I made sure I reiterated the rule of not throwing past the front of the boat. But he was very apologetic as he hooked up and boated a 4 pounder out of the same hole where I just caught my 3 ½ pounder! So already frustrated, I pulled the trolling motor up and headed to another area I had further down the river. On my next stop and about four casts later, I set the hook on another 3 pounder. Well as I was reeling this fish in, I called for him to get the net for me, as he made another cast to the same spot! Once again, I scolded him and promptly reminded him about the rule of casting past the front of the boat. But I could tell that he was not hearing a word I said as he once again apologized and dropped another 2 pound in the live well. Now Joe was also a dancer of some kind because after every fish he boated, he would break out into some sort of Tennessee dance to the tune of “Rocky Top” on the back deck of my boat.

Now that “Joe” has my full attention and I’m so mad I could eat a fried shoe sole, I proceeded down a rock jetty flipping old pilings with a worm. Just a short time later (30 minutes) I set the hook on another good fish and once again ask for him to get the net. While I was fighting this fish, he threw a spinnerbait right by my ear and directly in front of the boat. Now I’m mad and so after I boated another keeper fish, I reach up and grabbed his fishing line and bit it into. He was shocked and the look on his face was priceless. He could not believe I just bit his line into! I told him that he had two choices the rest of the day. Either follow the rules and fish where he was supposed to or continue to break the rules and then I would make sure not to sign his weigh slip at the weigh-in which would have disqualified him from the competition. I WAS NO LONGER GOING TO BE A NICE GUY THE REST OF THIS DAY. FOLLOW THE RULES OR GET OUT OF MY BOAT! Needless to say, Joe straightened up with little to say the rest of the day, much to my pleasure. Now I’m not sure if me biting his line was the reason for his change in demeanor, or if the caffeine just finally wore off. But whatever the reason, he was a lot calmer.

To wrap up, I finished in 7th place and just missed the All-American by less than a pound. While it was still a great tournament and I was proud of how I fished, sometimes things just don’t always go as planned. Even with all the distractions of “Crack Head Joe” I maintained my composure and kept my head down and fished hard. In pro/am style events, you have no control over the co-angler you’ll be paired with. It’s simply the luck of the draw and sometimes you get a really good co-angler and sometimes you get one that you wish you could have left at the ramp. But it’s all good and it’s what makes pro/am tournaments so interesting. Till next time, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to set the hook!

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


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.



Previous Cryptoquote solution:  “Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

BESE Meeting Adjourned After Audience Refuses to Wear Masks- Video Attached

On Wednesday morning, the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education met to discuss multiple items including a discussion on whether school systems could make their own decision pertaining to the masking of students.

Outbursts from the crowd were frequent as board members reminded the audience that the meeting would only continue if it could be done in an orderly manner and only if the audience complied with the governor’s mask mandate.  Each reminder was met with yells from the audience.

Audience members yelled for the board members to remove their masks so the audience could understand them.  The board reminded the audience that they were required to follow the governor’s mandate.  One member of the audience argued that the board was not wearing proper mask but thin pieces of cloth.

After it was clear that the audience was not going to comply with their requests to wear masks during the meeting, the board made a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Some audience members yelled in opposition to the motion.  The board took a roll call vote to adjourn the meeting.  The vote was 8 for and 2 against, and the motion to adjourn passed.   

As the board members stood to leave and the video began to fade out, one audience member repeatedly yelled, “You work for us!”

The last five minutes of the video show the dialogue which led up to the abrupt adjournment.

Crawford Elementary Celebrates Top Teacher and Students

Yesterday, Crawford Elementary celebrated their Top Teacher, Ms. Brittany Bonvillian, and Top Students for their academic achievement on the LEAP test!!

Crawford Elementary posted on their Facebook Page, “We are so proud of all our teachers and students for their hard work!! Our top students received a book bag with supplies in it along with some other goodies compliments of Ms. Melanie Roberson, Arcadia Town Councilwoman. All students received some goodies!! Keep striving for excellence!!”

LDWF Investigating Fake News Purporting “No Vaccine, No Hunting”

A graphic, incorporating a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) logo, is circulating on social media erroneously stating that LDWF will not issue new hunting licenses to persons who can’t show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination.

𝗧𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗶𝘀 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝘁𝗿𝘂𝗲. 𝗗𝗼 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗯𝗲𝗹𝗶𝗲𝘃𝗲 𝗶𝘁!

The department asks anyone who sees the incorrect graphic to ignore it and delete it when possible. LDWF is investigating the source of the graphic.

LA Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics Endorses Masking in Schools

On Monday, the Louisiana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics sent a letter to Gov. John Bel Edwards stating that the 750 member organization strongly recommends universal masking while indoors in schools. Gov. Edwards’ temporary indoor mask mandate went into effect on August 2, 2021 and will remain in place for everyone age five and up until September 1, unless it becomes necessary to extend it. As the fourth surge of COVID-19 continues causing an alarming increase in cases and hospitalizations among adults and students alike, the mandate reflects the fact that no one under age 12 is able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as the school year gets underway.

“I’m very appreciative of the Louisiana AAP and its support,” said Gov. Edwards. “Pediatricians know first-hand how the Delta variant of COVID-19 is impacting our children unlike any other variant before. No child under age 12 is eligible to receive a vaccine, which is why universal masking is one of the best tools to help protect them, teachers and support staff as they all head back to school. Our children are among our most vulnerable, and keeping them safe while in school should be a priority for all of us. In-person learning is important for our children, and wearing masks indoors is critical to making certain our schools stay safe and open.”

In the letter, the LAAP lists several reasons for supporting universal masking including:

  • A significant portion of the student population is not currently eligible for vaccination.
  • Masking provides the best protection of unvaccinated students and teachers from COVID-19 and reduces transmission.
  • Many schools lack of a system to monitor vaccine status among students, teachers, and staff making policy based on vaccine status impractical.
  • Vaccination rates in Louisiana remain low and are inadequate to provide herd immunity at this time.
  • As the pandemic continues, there is growing concern that variants could emerge that could cause more severe disease. Masks remain an important mitigation strategy to reduce the likelihood of this occurring.
  • The Delta variant is eight times more contagious than the novel COVID-19.

“As advocates for children, we are concerned about the health and well-being of every child. We know that vaccines, masking and social distancing are the best ways to protect them from COVID-19. We urge you to continue to support the health of all Louisiana citizens by requiring universal masking indoors for everyone in the school setting until such time as science and medical experts determine it safe to discontinue current policy…”

Do You Recognize This Horse?

The Sheriff’s Department is asking the public’s help in locating this horse’s owner. 

“Does anyone in the area of US 371 at the Bienville-Webster line know whose horse this might be? Or, are you searching for your horse? It appears to be emaciated and need of medical attention. Please call the Sheriff’s Office at 318-894-9185 or 318-263-2215 if you have any information.”

Gov.’s Thanks President for Extension of National Guard’s Mission to Fight Covid-19

Yesterday, Gov. John Bel Edwards released the following statement on President Joseph R. Biden’s extension of the National Guard’s Title 32 COVID-19 mission through the end of the year and 100 percent federal cost share for FEMA Public Assistance Category B – Emergency Protective Measures.

“I want to thank President Biden and his administration for recognizing the ongoing important role of the National Guard in our fight against COVID-19. Our state was the first to petition the administration to extend Title 32 until the end of the year, and I’m grateful for President Biden’s decision. The Guard is a critical part of what we do especially as we continue battling this devastating fourth surge of COVID driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant. On any given week, hundreds of soldiers and airmen are administering thousands of tests and vaccines, providing medical support and distributing supplies and food to food banks across the state. Keeping them in place is incredibly important.

“In Louisiana, today, we reported over 3,000 COVID hospitalizations for this first time since the beginning of the pandemic and sadly, 122 deaths, the second highest single day death count. We are working hard to increase vaccinations throughout our state, and these efforts rely heavily on assistance from our federal partners. The Louisiana National Guard has 919 Guardsmen currently activated, and I am extremely grateful for their hard work and commitment to protecting and serving the people of this great state.”

Are Graphic Novels Real Novels?


Even library people have had the same reaction — and yes, graphic novels are REAL books! Recently, graphic novels have won awards from some of the most highly acclaimed literary committees in the United States. Graphic novels hook even the most reluctant readers with their visual nature, intricate plots and characters. Graphic novels are making their way into classrooms too – teachers recognize these illustrated books have unique stories and they’ve become their secret weapons in teaching children about composition and creative writing skills.

What more can you say? When a child falls in love with a book, or even a whole series of books, we should do everything we can to keep that love thriving, no matter the format.

True, some parents, teachers, and librarians worry that graphic novels do not provide children with the same experiences as true novels do. But point in fact: graphic novels have a ton of benefits for children.

  • Graphic novels include rich language and vocabulary that still challenge young readers to analyze and interpret words and sentences.
  • Graphic novels are incredible for visual learners. The illustrations often help children unravel the meanings of unfamiliar words, while at the same time giving perspective to emotions.
  • Graphic novels help readers to depend on their own critical thinking, using the illustrations and words to process information and draw their own conclusions. The back-and-forth between text and illustration builds brain muscles!
  • Graphic novels hook readers who sometimes pass over the wordy “intimidating” novels. When children read and enjoy what they are reading, they are building their vocabulary, improving their reading comprehension, and developing important literacy skills without realizing how hard their brains are working.

Your neighborhood Bienville Parish Library has a great collection of graphic novels — Come and check them out – more are being added to the collection every month! Below are just a few that are available.

  • Mighty Jack and the Goblin King / Ben Hatke; color by Alex Campbell and Hilary Sycamore.
  • Dog Man unleashed / written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey, as George Beard and Harold Hutchins, with interior color by Jose Garibaldi.
  • Plants vs. zombies. Garden warfare / story by Paul Tobin; art and cover by Jacob Chabot; colors by Matthew J. Rainwater; letters by Steve Dutro.
  • Manners matter on the playground / by Lori Mortensen; illustrated by Lisa Hunt.
  • Narwhal: unicorn of the sea / Ben Clanton.
  • The garden path / written by Paul Tobin; art by Kieron Dwyer; colors by Heather Breckel; letters by Steve Dutro.
  • Tom Thumb: a Grimm graphic novel / retold by Scott Sonneborn; illustrated by Nelson Evergreen.
  • Red’s planet / Eddie Pittman.
  • New kid / Jerry Craft; with color by Jim Callahan.
  • Stinky Cecil in Operation Pond Rescue / Paige Braddock.
  • Firelight / Kazu Kibuishi.
  • The Hobbit / J.R.R. Tolkien; adapted by Charles Dixon with Sean Deming; illustrated by David Wenzel.

In your opinion, are graphic novels real novels?