30th Annual Bonnie and Clyde Festival brought in the crowds

Public enemies of 1934 (Re-enactment group) (Photo taken by: Diana Gulick)

By Paige Nash

Downtown Gibsland was the place to be this past weekend, May 26-27.

The 30th Annual Authentic Bonnie and Clyde Festival kicked off with their Historian’s Meeting that was held at the local Lion’s Club building on Friday evening.

Bart Largent was a speaker at this event. He has been attending the festival since the second year of its exsistence in 1994. Largent is also an active participant in many of the re-enactments that take place throughout the day on Saturday.

“I thought this year’s festival went extremely well. We had more speakers than years past plus more in attendance,” said Largent. “The amount of vendors increased greatly and attendance by the public was outstanding. Overall, the festival was a grand success due to the hard work of everyone involved.”

One of those hard workers include festival committee member Belinda Smith. She oversees the festival’s schedule of events, which this year included a pancake breakfast, loads of vendors, a parade, Bingo, cake walks, a look-alike contest and live entertainment.

She said, “The festival this year was awesome. We had more vendors and people then we have had in years.”

There were multiple re-enactments that took place downtown before the grand finale. The festival goers traveled to the Ambush Site Marker where the re-enactment group, Public enemies of 1934, commenced their last shoot-out of the evening. The re-enactment portrayed the end of Bonnie and Clyde’s gruesome crime spree as law enforcement made their way out of the enbankment, opening fire from the side of the road.

Even though the Bonnie and Clyde Festival is over for 2023, plans are already underway for next year.

Smith said, “I am already working on 2024. Hope to see you all there and looking forward to it being bigger and better.”

Gold Star families recognized at Shady Grove Recreation District’s Veteran Museum

Veterans touring the museum (Photo taken by: Michelle Bates)

By Michelle Bates

A veterans museum dedication and luncheon was held Saturday in remembrance of the 13 Bienville Parish soldiers who lost their lives to war.

The event was so much more than just the remembrance of those 13, as it included recognition of the Gold Star families – the families of those 13 deceased soldiers – and in remembrance of all those who passed during wartime, in observance of Memorial Day.

Rose Jackson, the coordinator of the event, which was hosted by the Shady Grove Recreation District of Bienville Parish, said the idea for the veterans’ museum was brought to light by Bennie Martin, a veteran himself. The Shady Grove Recreation District’s Veteran Museum was originally established as a wall of honor for the veteran men and women honorably discharged from the military, deceased or alive, by displaying plates on the wall with their military information, grouped under periods of time served.

“These veterans were to have attended Shady Grove High School, or either lives in or lived in Bienville Parish communities at some point in time,” Jackson said. “In 2020, I decided to take Bennie’s vision to another level. Initially, I researched on the four graduates of Shady Grove High School, who were killed in the Vietnam War and later decided to research all solders from Bienville Parish who were killed in the Vietnam War and discovered the 13.”

The museum hosts an array of military memorabilia, along with a table set for the fallen soldier.

The 13 deceased soldiers Jackson spoke of were:
– Sgt. Raymond Henry Gray, US Army, Shady Grove Community, Nov. 29, 1970
– Spc. 4 Jerry Wayne Peoples, US Army, Shady Grove Community, March 15, 1971.
– Pfc. 4 John Roy Thompson, US Army, Shady Grove Community, June 11, 1966
– Cpl. Ray Lee Jackson, US Army, Lucky Community, Aug. 25, 1968.
– Tech Sgt. Ivan Preston Whitlock, US Air Force, Gibsland, April 2, 1962
– Chief Master Sgt. Charlie Sherman Poole, US Air Force, Gibsland, June 8, 1979
– Sgt. 1 st Class Melvin Earnest Davis, US Army, Saline, June 6, 1970
– Pvt. Ronnie Brice, US Army, Arcadia, Jan. 18, 1971
– Petty Officer Jeider Jackson Warren, US Navy, Castor, Feb. 27, 1968
– Pfc. Joe Jefferson Brackens, US Army, Castor, Jan. 6, 1969
– Sgt. Ralph Lamar Hampton, US Army, Arcadia, Jan. 13, 1970
– Lance Cpl. Larry Wayne Moreland, US Marine Corps, Arcadia, Jan. 19, 1969
– Pfc. Rodney Wayne Westcott, US Marine Corps, Arcadia, July 22, 1966

Second Judicial District Judge Walter E. May served as the keynote speaker and talked about Memorial Day, why it’s recognized and its importance to American history.

Rep. Patrick Jefferson also presented the Gold Star families with a certificate of recognition on behalf of Gov. John Bel Edwards. May also received a certificate of appreciation as the keynote speaker.

Paradise Funeral Home presented the folding of the United States Flag and what each fold means before it is presented to the next of kin of a fallen soldier. Jackson thanked everyone who had a hand in making the event special.

Bienville Parish students named to NSU President/Honor List for Spring 2023

Five hundred twenty-nine students were named to the President’s List at Northwestern State University for the Spring 2023 semester. Students on the President’s List must be enrolled full-time at Northwestern and have a grade point average of 4.0. 

This list includes students in alphabetical order by town in Bienville Parish:

Bienville: Destiny Holland

Castor: Madison McCarthy

Gibsland: Madison Mullens

Ringgold: Clara Guidry, Avery Myers

Saline: Hannah Leggett

Five hundred fifty-seven students were named to the Honor List at Northwestern State University for the Spring 2023 semester.  Students on the Honor List must be enrolled full-time at Northwestern and have a grade point average of between 3.0 and 3.49.

This list includes students in alphabetical order by town in Bienville Parish:

Arcadia: Lataevia Abney, Cameron Jackson

Bienville: Sarah Macynski

Castor: Katherine Britt, Toni Gates, Gabrielle Guin

Gibsland: Cameron Murphy, Tyler Sneed

Ringgold: Arvionne Reliford

Saline: Bethany Oliver, Mikalee Sawyer

Construction fundraising halfway for Ronald McDonald House

By Bonnie Culverhouse

JOURNAL STAFF – As May is wrapping up, Ronald McDonald House Charities’ organizers have raised almost half of the $10 million needed to build a new facility in Shreveport-Bossier.

“As far as the construction part, we are more than halfway,” said CEO Janell Mason. “Our goal is to get to $6.4 million by the end of the year in donations and pledges so we can start construction.”

Last week, Mason was in Shreveport and said at that point, organizers had collected nearly $4.3 million.

“We’ve been meeting with philanthropists in the community just sharing about the project,” she said. “We are in that silent phase – we aren’t doing a broad ask.”

She said it often takes several meetings to get to the point of receiving a donation.

Ronald McDonald House has released plans to build the new $10 million, 3-story, 20,000 square ft. facility in the Shreveport-Bossier area that will house families and serve hospitals there and in surrounding parishes.

The complex will be located near Willis-Knighton South. There will be 20 family suites, indoor/outdoor place spaces, expansive kitchen and large dining room, laundry rooms, meals and snacks and personal care items, just to name a few amenities. All services are provided free to families.

While in town, Mason said she met with local architects TEG. Organizers want to keep the project as local as possible, she said.

“In a couple of weeks, we will have a meeting where the project is announced in the construction industry,” she said. “We will invite all subcontractors to come hear about the project. They will hear from families touched by Ronald McDonald House.

“When open, parents will no longer be forced to sleep in their cars while their child is hospitalized or miss life-saving appointments and procedures due to financial limitations,” Mason added.

Piney Hills Harmony to offer guest nights, vocal workshops

Their shirts say “Come Sing With Us,” and that’s exactly what Piney Hills Harmony Chorus is saying to area singers. The a cappella group is offering a set of guest nights and vocal workshops in June.

Piney Hills Harmony Chorus, a chapter of Sweet Adelines International located in Ruston, is hosting guest nights mixed with sessions aimed at helping singers improve both their voices and their vocal performances.  

The chorus is welcoming singers of all skill levels to join them for two nights of settings designed to enhance their choral abilities. The sessions will be held during the chorus’s regular rehearsals at 6:30 p.m. June 15 and June 22 in the fellowship hall of the Presbyterian Church of Ruston, located at 212 N. Bonner. 

Piney Hills Harmony currently draws its members from Caldwell, Lincoln, Ouachita and Union parishes. Visitors from other parishes are welcome as well.  

During the sessions, participants will receive instruction from a certified director as well as other experienced singers, with guidance on techniques and skills that are essential to becoming a successful vocalist. Musical arrangements will be four-part harmony, requiring both high and low voices. The ability to read music is not required as vocal learning aids will be provided. 

A community performance that the visitors can participate in is also in the planning stages. 

Piney Hills Harmony is one of approximately 500 chapters of Sweet Adelines International, which was founded in 1945 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by a small group of women who loved to sing and whose dream has spread across the globe. 

For more information, contact Sallie Rose Hollis, vice president and membership chair, at sallierose@mail.com. You can also visit www.pineyhillsharmony.org and Piney Hills Harmony Chorus / Sweet Adelines International on Facebook. 

A Christmas to Remember

It was Christmas Day in 1982.  J.R. and his family and friends, which amounted to about a dozen people in all, were enjoying a wonderful and relaxing Christmas at J.R.’s home in St. James, Jamaica.  The day was bright and cheerful.  Due to Jamaica’s warm climate, there was no snow.  The warm temperature did not hinder their festive holiday moods in the least.  They thought back on previous Christmases they had spent together and looked forward to many more.  As the day slowly turned into evening on the tropical island, the dozen people readied themselves for dinner.  The dozen people entered the large dining room from other parts of the house through three large doors.  They began taking their places at a table large enough to accommodate 20 people which took up almost all of the space in the room.”  They were just about to say the blessing when something happened which would make this Christmas the most memorable of their lives. 

At precisely 6:00 p.m., with everyone seated, they bowed their heads to say the blessing.  At that instant, three masked young men quickly entered all three doors of the dining room.  One had a knife, another had a hatchet, and the third one had a pistol.  One of the masked intruders said, “Somebody’s going to die here tonight!”  J.R. and the others at the table were completely shocked.  Some of them screamed while others were too afraid to make a sound.  One of J.R.’s friends fainted out of fright.  J.R. calmly looked at the intruders.  He showed no fear but followed their instructions.  The intruders had them lay on their stomachs on the floor.  J.R. looked at each of the other 11 people who, before 6:00 p.m., had been enjoying a wonderful Christmas together.  J.R.’s wife, June, slowly moved her hands under her body to hide her jewelry, especially her wedding ring.  Seconds felt like hours. 

“We want a million dollars, or somebody’s going to die!” the pistol-wielding intruder yelled.  J.R. raised his head, looked at the intruder’s eyes, and explained that they did not have a million dollars.  “You’ve got money!” he insisted.  J.R. explained that they had some money but not such a large amount.  One of J.R.’s companions began screaming, “I’m going to have a heart attack! I’m going to have a heart attack!”  This shook the intruders who told one of their captives to go into the kitchen and fetch a glass of water.  They let J.R. and the others change into a sitting position.  J.R. realized that people who intended to kill would never show this sort of compassion.  J.R. studied their movements and the tones of their voices.  Although they were wearing stocking masks, J.R. was able to determine that the boy with the pistol was probably in his early 20s and the other two were only teenagers. He knew they were not professionals.

J.R. felt certain that if they could remain calm, they all might survive.  J.R.’s wife began to break down when one of the intruders began to forcibly remove her jewelry.  The intruder with the pistol grabbed J.R.’s eleven-year-old son and put the gun to his head.  “Everybody do as I say!”  For the next two hours, the armed robbers led the whole group of people through each room of the house and gathered anything of value that they could carry.  All the while, the gunman held the pistol to J.R.’s son’s head. 

At first, the intruders were rough with their captives.  Through it all, J.R. spoke softly and calmly.  Rather than try to hide things of value, he pointed out the most valuable items in the home.  His family and friends were more valuable to him than anything else.  After two hours together, the intruders began to relax and became friendly, polite, and even chatty.  They started calling J.R. “sir.”  The gunman asked J.R.’s son “What do you like to do in Jamaica?  Do you like to snorkel?”  The gunman still held the pistol to his head.  The gunman asked J.R.’s son, “Do you want to feel my gun?”  For the first time, J.R. was terrified by what the gunman meant.  J.R.’s son calmly replied, “No, sir.  I don’t play with guns.  I have a lot of respect for them.  They’re very dangerous.”  The gunman grinned behind his stock mask and said, “Hey, I like you man!” 

Once the intruders bagged up all they could carry, one of them said, “We’re going to lock you in the cellar.”  The intruders led them to the cellar, closed the door, and wedged a two-by-four across the outside of the door.  J.R. and the others could hear their footsteps fading as they walked away.  Before they had a chance to relax, they heard footsteps approaching the door.  Although none of the captives spoke, they all wondered if the intruders were coming back to kill them so as not to leave any witnesses.  Suddenly, they heard a scraping sound on the floor on the other side of the door.  Someone slid a large plate of turkey under the door.  “We want you people to have your Christmas dinner after all,” one of the intruders said.  “We don’t want to take that away from you.”  Again, they heard footsteps fading.  Moments later, when J.R. decided the intruders had gone, he and his brother-in-law began ramming the large, solid door.  After several tries, they finally broke the door down.  J.R. calmly called the police.  Within a few days, police captured each of the three intruders. 

The captives credited J.R.’s calmness for saving their lives.  On the rare occasions that he spoke of the armed robbery, J.R. said that for them to escape unharmed, he knew he had to remain calm.  Perhaps his stint in the U.S. Air Force helped him in this situation.  It was an Air Force rule that required J.R. to assume a name in place of the one his parents gave him.  J.R. chose John.  You and I know J.R. Cash as Johnny Cash, the Man in Black.

Source:  Cash, Johnny, and Patrick Carr. Cash : The Autobiography. San Francisco, Ca, HarperSanFrancisco, 1997, p. 34-43.

The only thing worse than a racist is a hypocrital racist

Disney is big on inclusion and even bigger on lecturing those who are intolerant to the beliefs and lifestyles of others.

The House of Mouse consistently is highlighted for their attempts to give larger roles to marginalized groups and have increased representation in many of the world’s largest media properties.

Good for them on that front. All people need a voice. All people need to feel like they belong no matter the color of their skin, the god they pray to, or who they love. Are you a guy and love another guy? Ok. Fine by me. People are people, and the Alpha and Omega I pray to told me to love others just like He loved me. New Testament dude here. And that’s the bottom line cause Jesus Christ said so.

But Walt Disney Co.’s love and embracement of other cultures extends no further than the western world. Because the only thing they love more than creating the appearance of positively impacting society is the green that other less tolerant nations give them.

Point in fact. Disney has a notorious history of minimizing or outright eliminating actors of color from movie posters that go with their Chinese movie releases. They did it with Poe’s character in Star Wars. They’ve done it again with the new Little Mermaid actress. She’s made to look blue rather than African American. They edit their movies to fit a certain mold for the Chinese. It’s not a good look for them. It’s cowardly, hypocritical, racist, homophobic, transphobic and pretty much every other kind of bigotry under the sun.

Their reason? None given. Media silence. Disney owns all. And he or she who owns all makes the rules and says what and what does not get reported on.

Greed rules all. Just like the worst and sleaziest politicians, Disney panders to whoever brings them the most money. They exchange morals for green. It’s easy to lecture and virtue signal in America. It’s much more difficult to do what’s right in neighborhoods that don’t care about right and wrong. Morals are subjective and morals can be sold for the right price.

The question of why corporations are greedy is a complex one, and there is no one definitive answer. However, one way to approach this question is to consider the nature and goals of corporations.

Corporations are entities established to generate profits for their owners or shareholders. The primary goal of a corporation is to maximize its profits and increase the value of its shareholders’ investments. This means that corporations are incentivized to act in ways that generate the highest possible return on investment, even if that means taking actions that may be detrimental to other stakeholders, such as employees, customers, or the environment.

There are several reasons why some people may choose to engage in unethical or illegal behavior for financial gain. One reason is simply the desire for material wealth and the perceived benefits that come with it, such as luxury goods, status, and power. Some individuals may also feel that they have no other way to achieve financial stability or success, leading them to resort to illegal or unethical means.

Another reason is the influence of social and cultural factors, such as pressure to conform to certain norms or expectations, or the belief that making money at any cost is an acceptable or even desirable goal. Additionally, some people may lack empathy or have a distorted sense of morality, leading them to prioritize their own interests over the well-being of others.

But forgoing your morals for money can have negative consequences for both you and others. Morals are a set of principles that govern your behavior and decision-making, and they are shaped by your beliefs, values, and experiences. When you compromise your morals for financial gain, you are essentially betraying your own values and principles.

Choosing not to speak out or act against racism is cowardly because it allows the problem to continue unchecked. It suggests a lack of moral courage and a willingness to tolerate injustice, which can contribute to the normalization of racist attitudes and behaviors. It is important for individuals to stand up against racism and to actively work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable society for all people.

Remember Disney’s true colors when they are lecturing you. They don’t care about marginalized people. They care about the green.

Josh Beavers is a teacher and a writer. He has been recognized five times for excellence in opinion writing by the Louisiana Press Association.

Strawberry Peach Nilla Wafer Dump Cake

If you did not know what your upcoming weekend needed, now you do!  Start your summer off by diving off into a big bowl of this warm out of the oven with some ice cream!

This is another simple layer cake that requires no mixing, bowls, or any mess other than the one pan.  The crunchy Nilla Wafers are set off with gooey pie filling and topped with strawberry cake mix and pats of butter.  NOTHING WRONG HERE!


  • 1 box Nilla Wafers
  • 1 box strawberry cake mix
  • 2 cans strawberry pie filling
  • 1 can peach pie filling
  • 1 stick butter, cut into 1/2” pats
  • Ice cream


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9×13 with cooking spray.  In 9×13 layer the Nilla Wafers to fit as many as you can evenly.  Next, gently pour and spread the 2 cans of strawberry pie filling followed by the peach pie filling. Sprinkle cake mix over evenly.  Top with butter squares.  Bake for 30 minutes or until cake is mostly done and top is almost golden.  Serve with ice cream.

(Ashley Madden Rowton is a wife, mom and published cookbook author who lives in Minden, La.)

End of the Cereal Sagas

Two of the past three weeks, we’ve traded love notes about one of the Major Food Groups.
Been a good run, our time with cereal.
And it doesn’t have to end — not in real life. Not as long as the amber waves of grain are a thing.
But it does have to end here. Time to move on to other Foods, other Friends, other Things.
As an exclamation point, we’ll do something I used to do semi-regularly but we haven’t done yet in the SBJ. Today, a few of you take the wheel and share some Very Personal Stories. Had to leave out so many, including a favorite from a friend who loves cereal so much, he uses many of his favorites in his various passwords. Thank you to all who took the time to bear their Cereal Souls.
From Donnie Golfgame: There was a time in my life I was torn between Quisp, which I’m proud you mentioned, and Quake – which was like a sister cereal to Quisp, although instead of a sister there was a picture on the box of a miner with a light on his hardhat. As George Herbert Walker Bush would say, Quisp was a “kinder, gentler” form of Cap’n Crunch, which we all know is like having a mouthful of thumbtacks in your mouth. Quake, however, was Cap’n Crunch’s evil uncle as far as texture. Eat a bowl of Quake and you weren’t eating — couldn’t eat — anything else that day. Gum carnage.
I noticed when my kids were little that Sugar Crisp had suddenly become Honey Crisp and then later on it was just Crisp on the box. Same thing with Sugar Pops, which became Corn Pops and I think today it might just be Pops. Sugar has gotten a bad rap.
My Top 10, starting at the top:
1. Cap’n Crunch
2. Raisin Bran
3. 40 Percent Bran Flakes, (which now are just Bran Flakes; I always wondered why they didn’t call themselves 60-Percent-Of-Whatever-Else-Was-In-The-Box Flakes).
4. Rice Krispies; (are they just Krispies now? Is rice wrong?)
5. Fruit Loops
6. Corn Flakes, (or is it just Flakes?)
7. Sugar Pops
8. Honey Comb
9. Cap’n Crunch with Crunch Berries
10. Quaker Oats Oatmeal; (when I was a kid, there was a glass dish inside the oats).
From Duke of Don: There’s nothing more numerous than different people’s sense of humorous, right? I sent your Cereal Piece to a nephew in England. He responded, “Sadly nearly every cereal mentioned is not known to me; here we have our own which are the same as yours only under a different name. My breakfasts are not usually cereal-based but are instead …
1: Muesli (our own make barley flakes, rolled oats, porridge oats, oat bran, every kind of nut crushed up, mixed seeds, and raw cacao pieces plus milk); keeps you going through the day.
2: Croissants with lashings of extra butter, (Sundays only).
3: Porridge
4: Bacon Sandwich
5: Cold meats and cheese when in Europe
6: Crumpets
7: Toast
8: Lashings of coffee
9: Weetabix with warm milk but not very often
10: Corn flakes but only with a gun pointed at my head
From JayVee, Team Captain: First, a resounding NO to Trix, or any cereal with colors, and also to Grape Nuts (who in the world thinks this is really human food?! And why ruin the good name “Grape” by associating it with this product?)
1. Raisin Bran Crunch
2. Frosted Mini Wheats
3 and 4. Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios (tie game)
5. Frosted Flakes
6. Sugar Crisp (as in — add music — “Can’t get enough of them Sugar Crisp.” It’s a different name now — heaven forbid we actually put “sugar” in a name anymore. Gotta eat ’em fast; if soggy it’s a different ballgame.
7. Sugar pops, (ditto previous comment).
8. Raisin Bran
From The Skynman: My go-to is Honey Nut Cheerios. I have ditched the rest. I can do both ways. With milk or without. A handful of HNC for a quick snack is a pick-me-up. And on long trips there is a box in the seat next to me to munch on while I drive and listen to my book on tape.
From Train: If a team of cereal played ball, here’s my batting order:
1. Fruity Pebbles
2. Frosted Flakes
3. Honey Nut Cheerios
4. Lucky Charms
5. Cinnamon Toast Crunch
6. Cocoa Puffs
7. Cap’n Crunch
8. Raisin Bran
9. Count Chocula
Naturally, a bowl would coach first, a spoon third, and milk would be the manager.

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu

Upcoming Events

Please send all non-profit calendar events to bpjnewsla@gmail.com

May 31 (6:30 p.m.)

End of School Carnival – New Ebenezer Baptist Church – 1860 Highway 153 in Castor

June 2

4th Annual Louisiana Sheriffs for St. Jude Golf Tournament – Trails End Golf Course – 400 Par Road 256 in Arcadia

Registration is at 8 a.m. and tee off at 9 a.m.

June 2 (6 p.m.)

Evening Bass Tournament – Mill Creek Reservoir in Saline

3 fish tournament – $100 per boat with 50% payback

June 3 (9 a.m. – 1 p.m.)

Farmer’s Market – Downtown Arcadia Depot

June 3 (9 a.m. – 1 p.m.)

LifeShare Bus- Arcadia’s Farmer Market – Downtown Arcadia Depot

June 5 -10

Teen Youth Camp – Southland Christian Ministries – 3555 Highway 371 in Ringgold

June 16-18

Bonnie and Clyde Trade Days

June 19-23

Vacation Bible School – New Ebenezer Baptist Church in Castor

Arrest Reports

The following arrests were made by local law enforcement agencies.


Raekwon Lockhart of Killeen, Tx. was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, illegal carrying of a weapon in the presence of a controlled dangerous substance, possession or distribution of drug paraphernalia, smoking in a motor vehicle and exceeding the maximum speed limit. 

Thomas Tilley of Jamestown was arrested for unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling.


Kursty Fleming of Castor was arrested for unauthorized use of food stamp coupons, cards and/or devices.


Eliseo Vargas of Fate, Tx. was arrested for no driver’s license. 


Paula Boyd of Gibsland was arrested as a fugitive for theft.

Derick Coliston of Taylor was arrested for criminal mischief – remaining in a place of business after being directed to leave.


JaDarius Ignont of Monroe was arrested for operating a vehicle with a suspended license/no license issued. 

Johnny Lyons of Temple, Tx. was arrested for no driver’s license. 


Amy Bogan of Ringgold was arrested for failure to appear. 

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Notice of Death – May 30

Notice of Death – May 30, 2023

Billy Ray Meshell

Oct. 21, 1956 – May 24, 2023

Zwolle, La.

Visitation: 5 until 9 p.m., Wednesday, May 31, 2023 and 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Thursday, June 1, 2023, Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Many, La.

Funeral service: 2 p.m. Thursday, June 1, 2023, Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Many, La.

Burial: Aimwell Cemetery

Linda Whitlow Washington

April 20, 1941 – May 29, 2023

Springhill, La.

Visitation: 5 until 7 p.m., Bailey Funeral Home, Springhill, La.

Funeral service: 2 p.m. Thursday, June 1, 2023, Springhill Methodist Church, Springhill, La.

Burial: Harmony Cemetery, Magnolia, Ark., under the direction Bailey Funeral Home, Springhill.

Dr. J. Robert Kemmerly

August 15, 1936 – May 27, 2023

Minden,  La.

Visitation: 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 31, 2023, First Methodist Church Sanctuary, Minden, La.

Funeral service: 11 a.m. immediately following visitation.

Burial: Zion Rest Primitive Baptist Church, Jonesboro, La.

Emily Halsey Prothro Van Horn

May 4, 1923 – May 25, 2023

Baton Rouge/Minden, La.

Funeral service: 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 31, 2023, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Minden, La.

Burial: Gardens of Memory Cemetery, Minden.

John Everett Speer

Dec. 23, 1956 – May 22, 2023

Haynesville, La.

Funeral service: No information is available at this time. Thursday, June 1, 2023, Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Many, La.

Bienville Parish Journal publishes paid complete obituaries – unlimited words and a photo, as well as unlimited access – $80. Contact your funeral provider or bpjnewsla@gmail.com . Must be paid in advance of publication. (Above death notices are free of charge.)

Bonnie and Clyde Still Controversial 89 Years Later

(Death car) Bullet-riddled 34 Ford V8 inside the fence of the old Bienville Parish courthouse

By Brad Dison

Bonnie and Clyde. What comes to mind when you hear their names? Crime? Freedom? Running from the law? Robbing Banks? Robin Hood? Kidnapping? Terrorism? Murder?

The annual Authentic Bonnie & Clyde Festival will be held in Gibsland today and tomorrow, May 26-27. The festival is not held to glorify the crime spree of Bonnie and Clyde but to commemorate a historical event that is forever linked with Bienville Parish.

Bonnie and Clyde were among the most notorious gangsters during the Great Depression. Unlike John Dillinger, Ma Barker, Alvin “Old Creepy” Karpis, “Baby Face” Nelson, “Machine Gun” Kelly, and “Pretty Boy” Floyd, there is something about the Bonnie and Clyde story which has kept them in the public eye. Their story has been told in numerous books, films, documentaries, television shows, theater productions, songs, and even cartoons, although few of those are based on actual facts. Even today, 89 years later, the deaths of Bonnie and Clyde remain a controversial subject.

On the morning of May 23, 1934, Bonnie and Clyde were driving toward Sailes on LA Highway 154 from Mount Lebanon when they were caught in what Sheriff Henderson Jordan referred to as “the trap.”

The sheriff, his chief deputy Prentiss Oakley, and four Texas lawmen, Frank Hamer, Maney Gault, Bob Alcorn, and Ted Hinton, waited on a hidden embankment. Ivy Methvin, father of Bonnie and Clyde associate Henry Methvin, parked his truck in the roadway and removed the truck’s front passenger tire. Whether he was a willing participant or forced participant in the trap has been debated ever since that fateful day. At about 9:15 a.m., the lawmen saw the stolen Ford V8 sedan driving toward the trap. Upon seeing Ivy and his apparent broken-down truck, the car stopped. After a brief conversation between Bonnie, Clyde, and Ivy, the lawmen opened fire. The lawmen said they had given Bonnie and Clyde an opportunity to give up but Clyde reached for the gun in his lap. Within a few seconds, their crime spree was over.

Many people in Bienville Parish have grown tired of discussing Bonnie and Clyde. Retired history teacher Charles Butler described the ambush to his students by saying the ambush of “Bonnie and Clyde is the most famous thing that’s happened in Bienville Parish – not the most important, the most famous.” Whether we like it or not, Mr. Butler’s quote is an indisputable fact. People from all over the world have visited the ambush site and have had their pictures taken with the often- vandalized granite marker and the recently stolen bronze marker.

As a historian who was born, raised, and who continues to live in the parish where the criminal duo was killed, researching Bonnie and Clyde is inescapable. I have learned through countless interviews and casual conversations that people tend to take sides in the matter. Like picking teams in a football game, some people are for Bonnie and Clyde while others are for the lawmen who ended the crime spree. Finding someone in the area who has no opinion on the matter is a rarity.

Here are some of the most common phrases I usually hear when discussing Bonnie and Clyde:

“They weren’t as bad as people said they were.”

“They didn’t do all of the things the newspapers said they did.”

“They were good people.”

“They got what they deserved.”

“They were nothing but white trash.”

“They cared for nobody but themselves.”

A few years ago I interviewed Buddy Barrow and Rhea Leen Linder, outspoken members of Bonnie and Clyde’s family. (Buddy Barrow is the nephew of Clyde Barrow. His father was L.C. Barrow, younger brother of Clyde. Rhea Leen Linder is the niece of Bonnie Parker. The name on Rhea Leen’s birth certificate is Bonnie Ray Parker. She was born in October of 1934, just five months after Bonnie and Clyde were killed. Her father was Hubert “Buster” Parker, older brother of the infamous Bonnie. Under the guidance of her aunt, Billie “Jean” Parker, sister of Bonnie Parker, Bonnie Ray Parker began using the alias Rhea Leen Frazier to distance herself from her notorious aunt. Rhea Leen’s name was officially changed from Bonnie Ray Parker a few days before she was to be married. During my interviews with them, both agreed that Bonnie and Clyde were outlaws. Mr. Buddy and Mrs. Rhea Leen did not condone the actions of Bonnie and Clyde and do not glorify their criminal deeds. Mrs. Rhea Leen once told me, “It’s sad for the victims. We certainly don’t want to take anything away from them.”

The victims are often only a sidenote when speaking about Bonnie and Clyde’s crime spree. They are often forgotten. Most people can relate a great deal about Bonnie and Clyde off the tops of their heads. Many people can name at least one or two of the six lawmen who made up the ambush posse. Very few people can name a single murder victim of the outlaw gang. Above all others, it is they who should be remembered.

John N. Bucher of Hillsboro, Texas: Died April 30, 1932

Eugene Moore of Atoka, Oklahoma: Died August 5, 1932

Howard Hall of Sherman, Texas: Died October 11, 1932

Doyle Johnson of Temple, Texas: Died December 26, 1932

Malcolm Davis of Dallas, Texas: Died January 6, 1933

Harry McGinnis of Joplin, Missouri: Died April 13, 1933

Wes Harryman of Joplin, Missouri: Died April 13, 1933

Henry D. Humphrey of Alma, Arkansas: Died June 26, 1933

Major Crowson of Huntsville, Texas: Died January 16, 1934

E.B. Wheeler of Grapevine, Texas: Died April 1, 1934

H.D. Murphy of Grapevine, Texas: Died April 1, 1934

Cal Campbell of Commerce, Oklahoma: Died April 6, 1934

(Ambush Posse) Standing from left to right: Ted Hinton, Bienville Parish Chief Deputy Prentiss Oakley, Maney Gault.   Seated from left to right: Bob Alcorn, Sheriff Henderson Jordan, Frank Hamer. 
Bonnie & Clyde

Grand opening and ribbon cutting for Melisa Rudd Consulting

By Paige Nash

Many family members, friends, elected officials and supporters showed up at 1941 1st Street in Arcadia on Wednesday, May 24 to celebrate the grand opening of Melisa Rudd Consulting, LLC.

This new business will be providing a wide range of services and products to the community including office supplies, custom banners and signs, notary services and dry cleaning pick-up and drop-offs.

Although this is a new business in Arcadia, business owner Melisa Rudd is already a familar face to many local residents in town.

“Last year I opened Rustic Faith Design Co. here as my side hustle, but due to my full-time job, which was my guaranteed money, I couldn’t be open but a few nights a week and on Saturdays,” said Rudd. “The demand for what I was doing wasn’t really there, but I had built a relationship with several of the downtown business owners and I loved the enviroment.”

Rudd previously worked at a corporation, but did not enjoy that enviroment as much as she liked the “mom and pop” atmosphere.

She said, “I turned in my two weeks notice and started following up with people that I knew might need someone to work for them.”

Moving down her list of contacts in the area, she text Tambra Bell at Crafty Skills, another local business.

“She spoke to me like a mentor and has become my second biggest cheerleader besides my family,” said Rudd. “She encouraged me to follow my dreams and my husband stated, ‘you’ve always like it best when you were working for yourself.’ So, here I am.”

Upon hearing the the local DMV has re-opened it’s doors, the closing of an attorney’s office and the void of a notary at her personal bank, she knew there was a need for her services here in Arcadia now more than ever.

Rudd has over 7 years of paralegal experience under her belt and with that the ability to prepare wills, Power of Attorneys, affadavits, estate planning packages, provisional custody letters, LLC packages and more.

She has office supplies available that are competitively priced and will be taking after hours and weekend appointments for notary work. Custom banners and signs can be made with a quick turnaround of 7-10 days. Dry cleaning pick up is available on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Rudd said, “I am truly blessed to have so much support from the people here in Arcadia. God made a way and here I am.”

Stop by and visit Melisa Rudd Consulting or give her a call at 318-578-1431.

North Bienville Fire Department responding to calls on I-20

By Paige Nash and Michelle Bates

The North Bienville Fire Department has begun responding to fire calls on Interstate 20.

Newly appointed board member Bill Sims said after the emergency meeting held in April that the NBFD began responding to calls on I-20.

“They responded to one last week,” he said. “The district attorney had a meeting with them and said they had to answer calls on interstate because it was just on the verge of malfeasance in office not to calls on interstate.”

The emergency meeting was called on April 3 to address the previous refusal to respond to calls on I-20. This was following an incident that occurred the week before with a vehicular fire at the Ada Taylor exit along I-20 in which NBFD refused to respond. This inaction led to Troop G calling on dispatch and the Dubberly Volunteer Fire Department traveled into the parish to extinguish the fire.

“We have been talking about this for quite some time and we were under the impression that all the responses we were doing up there was a courtesy,” Fire Chief Gary Hathorn said. “To the best of my knowledge that is not parish property.”

Hathorn brought the option on whether or not to respond to fires on the interstate to a vote among his volunteer fire fighters and they unanimously voted to not respond.

He questioned District Attorney Danny Newell on if the interstate was included as parish property and if they were required to respond.

Newell said, “In my opinion you do have an obligation. You have taxpayers’ money and I don’t think ownership has any relevance as far as what fires to put out. If it does, are you going to spend the time to research ownership before you respond to a fire? I am not aware of that happening in any other districts at all.”

The DA expressed his biggest concern was liability.

“I don’t see any legal out for refusing to respond to a fire in your district. I can see situations where it’s volunteer and you don’t have enough firemen to respond, but you still make an effort,” said Newell. “Just to say we don’t own this property, so we are not responding to this fire. I don’t think that’s a good basis for refusing to respond.”

He brought it to Hathorn’s attention that if someone were to perish due to the fire departments refusal to respond, a jury would find them liable, especially if the department has a history of not responding.

Hathorn said the fire department receives the smallest fire protection millage in the parish and that they were the only ones who are responsible for any property along the interstate or railroad.

“I guess what I am going to have to do is look to try to get some federal funding or something on a regular basis,” said Hathorn.

LANE CLOSURE: 1-20 Westbound at Bear Creek

LANE CLOSURE: I-20 westbound at Bear Creek, Bienville Parish
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development advises motorists that on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, the outside lane of I-20 westbound at Bear Creek, just east of the US 80 interchange, in Bienville Parish will be closed.
This lane closure is scheduled to take place from approximately 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and is necessary to allow for pavement patching operations.
Restrictions/Permits: There will be 12’ load width restrictions.
Alternate Route: N/A
This work will be performed WEATHER PERMITTING.
Safety reminder:
DOTD appreciates your patience and reminds you to please drive with caution through the construction site and be on the lookout for work crews and their equipment.
Area residents should exercise caution when driving, walking, or biking near an active construction zone.

Salute to Vietnam Veteran: John Roy Thompson

PFC John Roy Thompson (June 18, 1945 – June 11, 1966)

John Roy Thompson was the son of Roy and Rosa Thompson.

He was an armor intelligence specialist with the Army.

John’s Vietnam tour began on March 17, 1966. He was attached to the 1st Infantry Division, 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, Unit Hhc.

Operation El Paso II took place at the Loc Rubber Plantation on a foggy morning. Air assaults were delayed by two hours due to the dense fog. John was working with the Recon Platoon. They were heading westward when they came under intense automatic rifle fire and grenades. Without any cover, they headed toward a trench. The VC had placed a machine gun at one end of the trench and opened fire on them as they headed in. The U.S. captured both hills involved, but it was at the loss of 34 U.S. troops and 98 VC.

He was only 20 years old at the time of his death. Thompson is buried at the Shady Grove Memorial Garden located in Saline

AWARD: Purple Heart

Sources: Find a Grave – findagrave.com

A Shot in the Arm for Lake Claiborne

She’s old, gotten fairly long in the tooth and like most of us, we tend to slow down once this happens to us. There is hope, however, for one of this area’s favorite lakes, Lake Claiborne.

I was fortunate to live in Homer when the lake was constructed and watched water begin trickling over the spillway half a century ago indicating that at long last the lake was now what it was designed to be, a brand new 6400 acre body of water that would provide recreational opportunities not only for the folks living in Claiborne Parish but around north Louisiana as well.

I found a lot on the Beaver Creek branch of the lake, put my money down and purchased the lot so I could enjoy what this new lake had to offer, and boy, did it offer some good stuff.

After purchasing the lot, clearing it off, I did something then I couldn’t think of doing now. With the help of friends, I built a pier and boat house where I kept my ski boat and fishing boat and there weren’t many afternoons after work that I was not out there taking my kids skiing and searching for some of the best fishing holes.

One particular hot spot for bass was a row of green willows that grew in the middle of Beaver Creek just a long cast from my pier. This was one of the hottest spots on the lake to ease up early morning before the sun began to peak over the distant trees to the row of willows, cast out a Tiny Torpedo next to the greenery. I’ve had successful fishing trips since but nothing to me was more fun than being close enough to be able to glance over my shoulder at my boat house, cast the lure and watch a bass explode on it. Man, that was some genuine fun.

I eventually moved from Homer, sold my lot and my trips back to the lake became fewer and further between and it was just as well because the red hot fishing Claiborne had offered was starting to wane. The lake began acting like most lakes with some age on them as vegetation died away and things just weren’t the same any longer.

Something has happened to this half a century old lake over the past few years. First off, the Lake Commission arranged to purchase and release in the lake a species of bass that would hopefully add a shot in the arm to the lake, Tiger bass. Genetically, they’re a special combination of native largemouth and those of the Florida strain that while not having the potential of growing as large as pure Florida’s, tend to be more aggressive and more likely to strike a lure.

I recently visited with Fisheries Manager for Northwest Louisiana for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Jeff Sibley, who is responsible for the management of Lake Claiborne.

“In addition to the Tiger bass that have been released in the lake over the past five years or so, our department is also releasing pure Florida bass which may not be as easy to catch but have the potential of growing quite big,” Sibley said.

Another shot in the arm for Claiborne took place a few weeks ago when the Major League Fishing circuit was in Louisiana fishing on Caney Lake and Bussey Brake. This group has a habitat project they fund on lakes in the states where their tournaments are held.

“They choose a lake not on the tournament circuit and this year they chose Claiborne and contributed some $25,000 to improve the fishing habitat. Special fish attracting structures were put together and placed in the lake in several locations, mainly around the State Park with coordinates available so anglers could locate the structures that should attract fish,” he said.

Time will tell if these “shots in the arm” will return Lake Claiborne to one anglers will be hitting more frequently with the real possibility of bringing in bragging sized fish.

‘He’s shooting at my car!’

Q: If someone is shooting at me while I’m in my car, can I shoot back at them?

A: Sure, you can. Although, a better question might be, “should you shoot back?”

Thinking ahead allows us to consider multiple responses before we’re thrust into “fight or flight” mode. Hick’s law tells us, “More options equals more time.” Time being the most precious commodity during any fight, knowing and limiting our options beforehand can save valuable seconds during a life-threatening situation.

If someone is shooting at you while you’re inside your car and the car is in motion, shooting back will be ineffective at best and, at worst, criminally negligent. Most folks can’t shoot accurately while walking much less while driving. Before we go any further, let’s cover the universal firearm safety rules:

1.) Treat all guns as if they are always loaded.
2.) Never point a gun at anything unless you’re willing to destroy that thing.
3.) Be certain of your target and what’s beyond it.
4.) Keep your finger OFF the trigger, until your sights are on the target, and you have made the decision to shoot.

I don’t like to speak in absolutes when it comes to self-defense. Other than the four universal firearms safety rules which are omnipresent, there are very few instances of “always” or “never” when it comes to preservation of life. So, I won’t say never, but I will say that shooting while driving is generally a horrible idea. Either drive or shoot. Don’t drive and shoot.

If the car is in motion when some (insert your personal favorite term of endearment) bad guy starts slinging lead at you, do your best to keep the vehicle moving. Your safest bet is to drive away as quickly as possible. Know that there are two types of terrain – drivable and non-drivable. We’re conditioned to view things like sidewalks, people’s lawns, shallow ditches, curbs, and parking stops as things we should not drive over. You must know the limitations of your specific vehicle, of course, but when you’re fleeing a dangerous situation, traffic laws and traditional driving rules no longer apply. However, you must remain cognizant enough to avoid injuring any innocent people.

If you’re stopped when the shooting starts, I recommend your plan-A should be to get the car moving as fast as possible. Press the skinny pedal on the right and go! If the deadly threat is in your route of escape, run him over! V8 beats 9mm ten out of ten times, and contrary to popular belief, V8 beats .45 too. If the deadly threat is behind you, put your car in reverse and, you guessed it, press the skinny pedal on the right.

One important consideration when behind the wheel is the space you leave between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you, especially when stopped. Whether at a traffic light or in a drive- through line, leave enough space to be able to drive around the vehicle in front of you. You can accomplish this by making sure the rear tires of the vehicle ahead of you are visible, without you having to lean up in your seat. I understand that isn’t always possible. You might get blocked in by adjacent vehicles, which could make a driving escape impossible. If that’s the case, you might need to fight / shoot your way out of your car.

Yep. I said, “out of your car.” There could be a situation where after you shoot, you’re able to simply drive away. However, if you have no vehicular escape route and you’re forced to deploy other means, you need to get out of that car as soon as possible and beat feet to the closest cover you can find. Please understand that cars ARE NOT adequate cover. Bullets zip and zing through auto bodies with the ease of a gas station burrito sliding through a colon – no stops along the way. Staying inside your vehicle during a gunfight makes you a stationary target in a shooting gallery and using your vehicle as cover is like putting on sunglasses and pretending no one can see you.

Avoidance, avoidance, avoidance. Don’t be a jerk on the roadway. Sure, you could inadvertently get caught up in some gang banger turf war, but the most likely thing to initiate a deadly force encounter on the roadway is good, old fashioned road rage. Be courteous to other drivers. Don’t tailgate people. Don’t blow your horn unless it’s necessary to avoid a crash. And because I know that someone out there needs to hear this, for crying out loud, use your turn signal! That’s the lever on the left side of your steering column that moves up and down. Moving it up signals a right turn and moving it down signals a left turn. Not moving it at all, signals you’re a (insert your personal favorite term of endearment) dork.

Thanks for reading. And remember…

Avoid what you can. Defeat what you can’t.


Please submit your questions to Ryan via email at Ryan@9and1tactical.com

Ryan Barnette is not a licensed attorney and no information provided in “Slicing the Pie” or any other publication authored by Ryan Barnette should be construed, in any way, as official, legal advice.

How to fix summertime boredom – DON’T

Sweet, sweet summertime is upon us my friends. 

Last week was no doubt the busiest week of my entire life, which is to be expected when you have three kids. Ashton was graduating from preschool and enjoying some end of year activities. Emerson had cheer tryouts, dress rehearsals and her annual dance recital. They both wrapped up their ball seasons, while Kameron was just along for the ride. Although, keeping up with her amid all of this is a task in itself. 

But now school is over, late nights at the ballpark are behind us and dance sessions will not resume until August. All at once, the chaos is over – at least for a little while. I am sure looking forward to not having to drive 100 miles a day getting kids to a from places, my car being absolutely packed with ball bags, leftover french fries that missed being devoured in the backseat in between activities and having to listen to the Baby Shark song a million times to keep Kameron from absolutely spazzing out in a carline. You can conclude from this that we practically lived in my vehicle for a little while, always on the go. 

This week has been a complete 180. Things are slower, we are at home more and instead of being so focused on what is happening next, I am living more for now. But with these slower days comes the inevitable, “Mom, I’m bored!” 

Bored??? Let me be bored with you, please! (I cannot tell you the last time I was bored.) 

Usually if the girls tell me they are bored I will find them some chores to do or an activity to do around the house. I tell them to go for a walk or find a friend to play with. Go watch television or your iPad. But now I am thinking of trying an innovative approach… ready for it? Just be bored! 

It is good for kids to not be always entertained and have a little unstructured time on their hands. Instead of jumping up to find them something to preoccupy their time- let them get creative, allow them an opportunity to plan out their day and solve their “problem” of boredom on their own.  

These are all skills that kids can benefit from and may not be able to develop on their own if their parents constantly structure their every waking minute, so let them be bored this summer and maybe find a little time to be bored yourself. 

Paige Nash is a wife, mom, digital journalist for Webster Parish Journal and publisher of Bienville and Claiborne Parish Journals. 

Chicago- My favorite American big city

From left, Harrison and Robert St. John

CHICAGO— I have been coming to this city almost every May for the past 35 years. This time of year is a perfect time to be in Chicago because the weather is brisk, the throng of summer vacationers have yet to arrive, and the restaurants and bars are jamming. The reason they’re so busy is because the National Restaurant Association’s annual trade show and conference is in town. The show brings around 65,000 restaurateurs to the city each year to peruse through the 700,000 square feet of convention center space dedicated to everything that has anything to do with the restaurant business.

For a guy like me, it’s Disneyland. I eat, sleep, and breathe, restaurants. It’s been that way ever since I got my first job in a restaurant at 19. I fell in love with this industry, instantly. I knew sometime within the first week of working that first restaurant job, what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Actually, what I was “supposed” to do with the rest of my life. I couldn’t get enough. I went back to college and majored in Hospitality Management. Between classes I spent hours in the periodical section of the library reading the restaurant trade magazines cover to cover. I wanted to gather as much information about restaurants as I could. I worked two jobs. One managing a delicatessen during the day and the other waiting tables at night at another restaurant. After my shifts I stayed up late designing kitchens and floorplans and coming up with concepts and menus for future restaurants. I still have all those notebooks.

The first time I came to the restaurant show in Chicago it was if I had found my utopian wonderland. Everything I was interested in that had to do with restaurants, food, equipment, supplies, design elements, was in one building. In the days before the Internet, it was the only way to see all the things I dreamed about or saw in magazines. I believe it kept me ahead of the game in my hometown restaurants by staying on the cutting edge of what was going on in the country.

Chicago is my favorite American big city. It’s also a great restaurant city. I have always preferred Chicago over New York. It’s much more accessible. Granted, there aren’t as many restaurants in Chicago as there are in New York, and there aren’t as many Michelin stars, but how many restaurants can I go to at once? In the early days I used to stay in hotels along Michigan Ave. About 15 or 20 years ago I started spending more time the surrounding neighborhoods. These days I mostly stick around the West Loop.

Most of the national figures I have idolized in the restaurant business over the years have come from Chicago. In the 1980s and 1990s Richard Melman was the man. I followed everything he did and every restaurant he opened. If he would have had a fan club, I would have been the president. These days there are several operators I admire. Donnie Madea and Paul Khan of One Off Hospitality do an amazing job. Their concepts are creative and some of the city’s best. Brendan Sodikoff has created several concepts of which I am a fan. But Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz of the Boka Restaurant Group leave me humbled.

This trip is a 100% Boka restaurant trip. My son and I are staying at the Hoxton Hotel in the West Loop which has three Boka properties in it. Momotaro, their Japanese concept, is directly across the street. Stephanie Izard’s Girl and the Goat and Duck Duck Goat are within two blocks, Swift & Sons, one of the city’s great steak houses— in a city full of great steakhouses— is just a few blocks away. During this visit we will also hit Le Select a French Bistro and Alla Vita, Boka’s Italian concept that opened a little more than a year ago.

Five years ago today I was in Chicago with my son. He had just finished his final year of 11th grade. He had been telling me for a few years that he wanted to go into the restaurant business. It’s something that I didn’t pay attention to at first because this business is too brutal to get in on a whim. But he kept persisting so I thought I would take him to the restaurant show in Chicago to see what he thought. He came in lieu of going to the beach with some friends. At the time I think he would have rather been with his friends and the show didn’t speak to him as it does to me. I was a little disappointed— internally— that it didn’t connect with him as deeply as it did (and does) with me. I wondered if the industry decision was a impulse for him. But I told myself that I couldn’t expect him to be as enthusiastic and passionate about this business as I was early in the process.

Fast forward five years. He and I are in Chicago for the restaurant show, again. This time is different, a lot different. He is in culinary school in New York and is “all in” on the restaurant business. He gets it now. As we were having dinner last night the conversation was much different than it was five years ago with me cautiously trying to tell him about aspects of the ins and outs of the trade. This time it was full give and take. He had opinions, he had knowledge, the excitement was there. He’s becoming a restaurateur and a chef.

He’ll spend another 18 months in school and then he’ll come to this city two work for a couple of years before heading back home and hopping into the family business. There is something special about having professional conversations with your grown up children that is unique and singular to all other discussions with all other people. Our conversations used to be over superheroes and if we were granted a superpower what would that be and how would we use it. Then we moved into the fatherly advice stage. These days— at least when it comes to discussions about our industry— we are contemporaries.

We’re not too far from the days where he’ll be teaching me what he knows about this industry to which I’ve dedicated 40+ years of my life. I welcome that day and look forward to it. I look forward to visiting him often during his two-year restaurant stint up here. I look forward to watching him grow in this profession. I have always said, “I have a lot of job titles, but of all of them, ‘dad’ is the most important.” It’s also the most fun.


Pesto Pasta with Roasted Portobello Mushroom Strips and Asparagus

For the Portobellos:

1 cup creamy balsamic dressing

2 tsp minced garlic

1/2 cup vegetable broth

2 tsp creole mustard

1 tsp hot sauce

2 tsp creole seasoning

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

5-6 fresh portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed*

Combine the first 8 ingredients in a mixing bowl. Dip each portobello mushroom in the mixture to coat them completely. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

After the mushrooms have marinated, place them on a baking sheet with the top side down. Cover the baking sheet completely with aluminum foil and bake for 7 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 5 more minutes. Allow the mushrooms to cool, then cut them into 3/4 inch wide strips.

For the asparagus

1 lbs Asparagus, fresh

2 Tbl Olive oil

1 tsp  Salt

1/2 tsp Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toss the asparagus with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet lined with wax paper. Bake 12 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle the almonds over the asparagus.


3 cups loosely packed basil leaves, washed and dried very well

1/3 cup pinenuts

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated

1 Tbl garlic, minced

1 tsp kosher salt1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a food processor, combine the basil, pine nuts, cheese, garlic and salt and puree. With the processor still running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Remove the lid and scrape down the sides of the processor to make sure there are no large pieces of basil, puree for another 30-40 seconds. Use immediately or refrigerate covered with plastic for up to 4 days. The plastic wrap should be placed directly on the surface of the pesto to prevent discoloration. Pesto make also be frozen in an airtight container and held for one month.

For the pasta

1 pound Bowtie pasta

2 Tbl unsalted butter

1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth

3/4 cup fresh pesto

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tspfresh ground pepper

3/4 cup Romano cheese, coarsely grated

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package, drain and rinse with hot water.

In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Place the cooked mushrooms in the pan and heat for 3-4 minutes. Add in the broth, pesto, salt and pepper. Add the cooked pasta to the pan and mix well so that the pasta is evenly coated with the pesto.

Divide the pasta onto serving dishes, and sprinkle the pasta with the shredded Romano cheese.

Divide the asparagus among the serving dishes and serve immediately. 

  • The gills are on the under side of the mushroom and become tough and bitter when cooked. They are easily removed by gently scraping the underside of the mushroom with a teaspoon.

(Robert St. John is a chef, restaurateur and published cookbook author who lives in Hattiesburg, Miss.)

Today in History

0017 – Germanicus of Rome celebrated his victory over the Germans.

1328 – William of Ockham was forced to flee from Avignon by Pope John XXII.

1521 – Martin Luther was banned by the Edict of Worms because of his religious beliefs and writings.

1647 – A new law banned Catholic priests from the colony of Massachusetts. The penalty was banishment or death for a second offense.

1660 – King Charles II of England landed at Dover after being exiled for nine years.

1670 – A treaty was signed in secret in Dover, England, between Charles II and Louis XIV ending the hostilities between them.

1691 – Jacob Leiser, leader of the popular uprising in support of William and Mary’s accession to the English throne, was executed for treason.

1736 – The British and Chickasaw Indians defeated the French at the Battle of Ackia.

1791 – The French Assembly forced King Louis XVI to hand over the crown and state assets.

1805 – Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned King of Italy in Milan Cathedral.

1831 – Russians defeated the Poles at battle of Ostrolenska.

1835 – A resolution was passed in the U.S. Congress stating that Congress has no authority over state slavery laws.

1836 – The U.S. House of Representatives adopted what has been called the Gag Rule.

1864 – The Territory of Montana was organized.

1865 – Arrangements were made in New Orleans for the surrender of Confederate forces west of the Mississippi.

1868 – U.S. President Andrew Johnson was acquitted, by one vote, of all charges in his impeachment trial.

1896 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average appeared for the first time in the “Wall Street Journal.”

1896 – The last czar of Russia, Nicholas II, was crowned.

1908 – In Persia, the first oil strike was made in the Middle East.

1913 – Actors’ Equity Association was organized in New York City.

1926 – In Morocco, rebel leader Abd el Krim surrendered.

1938 – The House Committee on Un-American Activities began its work of searching for subversives in the United States.

1940 – The evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk, France, began during World War II.

1946 – A patent was filed in the United States for an H-bomb.

1946 – British Prime Minister Winston Churchill signed a military pact with Russian leader Joseph Stalin. Stalin promised a “close collaboration after the war.”

1948 – The U.S. Congress passed Public Law 557 which permanently established the Civil Air Patrol as the Auxiliary of the new U.S. Air Force.

1956 – The first trailer bank opened for business in Locust Grove, Long Island, NY. The 46-foot-long trailer took in $100,000 in deposits its first day.

1958 – Union Square, San Francisco became a state historical landmark.

1959 – The word “Frisbee” became a registered trademark of Wham-O.

1961 – Civil rights activist group Freedom Ride Coordinating Committee was established in Atlanta, GA.

1961 – A U.S. Air Force bomber flew across the Atlantic in a record time of just over three hours.

1969 – The Apollo 10 astronauts returned to Earth after a successful eight-day dress rehearsal for the first manned moon landing.

1972 – The Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I) was signed by the U.S. and USSR. The short-term agreement put a freeze on the testing and deployment of intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missiles for a 5-year period.

1973 – Kathy Schmidt set an American women’s javelin record with a throw of 207 feet, 10 inches.

1975 – American stuntman Evel Knievel suffered severe spinal injuries in Britain when he crashed while attempting to jump 13 buses in his car.

1977 – George H. Willig was arrested after he scaled the South Tower of New York’s World Trade Center. It took him 3 1/2 hours.

1978 – The first legal casino in the Eastern U.S. opened in Atlantic City, NJ.

1987 – Sri Lanka launched Operation Liberation. It was an offensive against the Tamil rebellion in Jaffra.

1988 – The Edmonton Oilers won their fourth NHL Stanley Cup in five seasons. They swept the series 4 games to 0 against the Boston Bruins.

1994 – U.S. President Clinton renewed trade privileges for China, and announced that his administration would no longer link China’s trade status with its human rights record.

1998 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Ellis Island was mainly in New Jersey, not New York.

1998 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police officers in high-speed chases are liable for bystander injuries only if their “actions shock the conscience.”

1998 – The Grand Princess cruise ship made its inaugural cruise. The ship measured 109,000 tons and cost approximately $450 million, making it the largest and most expensive cruise ship ever built.

1998 – The United States Senate approved legislation that allowed the U.S. Mint flexibility on how the mandatory inscriptions on the Washington quarter could be placed. H.R. 3301 allowed the mandatory inscriptions to be moved to the front of the quarter for the 50 States Circulating Commemorative Coin Program.

Upcoming Events

Please send all non-profit events to bpjnewsla@gmail.com

May 25 (1 p.m.)

Family Bingo – Ringgold Branch Library

May 25 (5:30 p.m.)

Slabtown Meeting – Sheriff Department Annex Building Downtown Ringgold

May 26 (1:30 p.m.)

Family Bingo – Saline Branch Library 

May 26 at 5 p.m. – May 27 at 6 p.m.

The Authentic Bonnie and Clyde Festival – Downtown Gibsland

Please check out their Facebook event page for a full list of speakers, performances, and parade times.

May 27 (11 a.m.)

Veteran’s Museum Dedication Ceremony

Shady Grove Recreation District of Bienville Parish  – 10896 Hwy 501 in Saline 

June 2

4th Annual Louisiana Sheriffs for St. Jude Golf Tournament – Trails End Golf Course – 400 Par Road 256 in Arcadia

Registration is at 8 a.m. and tee off at 9 a.m.

June 3 (9 a.m. – 1 p.m.)

Farmer’s Market – Downtown Arcadia Depot