Unrestrained Woman Killed in Bienville Parish Crash, Child Seat Saves Infant

Ringgold – Earlier today, just before 10:30 a.m., Troopers assigned to Louisiana State Police Troop G began investigating a one-vehicle fatality crash on US Hwy 371, just south of Pietsch Road. This crash claimed the life of 34-year-old Amber Holman, of Ringgold who was not wearing a seat belt.

The initial investigation revealed a 2006 Honda Accord, driven by Holman, was traveling north on US Hwy 371. For reasons still under investigation, Holman left the roadway and struck a tree.

Holman, who was not restrained, was transported to Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport, where she was later pronounced deceased. An infant passenger, who was properly restrained in a child seat, was not injured, but was transported to Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport for evaluation.

Impairment is not suspected to be a factor in this crash; however, routine toxicology samples were taken and submitted for analysis. The crash remains under investigation.

While not all crashes are survivable, statistics show that seat belts and child seats, when used properly, will dramatically reduce your chance of being injured or killed in a crash. Louisiana law requires that every person in a vehicle, regardless of seating position, always remain buckled up.

In 2022, Troop G has investigated 12 fatal crashes, resulting in 13 deaths.

Castor’s Melayah Rogers is State Class B Shot Put Championship

Congratulations to Track State Champion Melayah Rogers!!!

Melayah won the Class B Shot Put Championship last week at the State Meet held at LSU.

Melayah finished 4th at the state meet last year as a freshman, and this year as a sophomore, she threw her way to the top of the podium. She continues the strong tradition of Tiger track throws, with the Tigers having an individual throw champion in either shot, discus, or javelin every year since 2017.

You can tell by her smile on the podium, it was a great moment.

Way to go Melayah!

If a student has done something they should be recognized for, be it sports, academics, etc., please email the journal at BPJNewsLA@gmail.com.

Police Jury Sets Date for Hearing on Reapportionment Plan – Video, Minutes Attached

On Wednesday, May 11, 2022, the Bienville Parish Police Jury held their regular monthly meeting.

In the meeting, the police jury unanimously voted in favor of setting the next regular meeting of June 8, 2022, as a public hearing to adopt Ordinance #1 of 2022, entitled “An Ordinance Establishing Voting Precincts and Defining the Territorial Limits of Each for Bienville Parish.” 

Please see video and official minutes below.

Today in History – May 13

1373 – Julian of Norwich had visions of Jesus while suffering from a life-threatening illness, visions which were later described and interpreted in her book Revelations of Divine Love.

1501 – Amerigo Vespucci, this time under Portuguese flag, set sail for western lands.

1767 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s first opera “Apollo et Hyacinthus”, written when he was 11 years old, premiered in Salzburg.

1780 – The Cumberland Compact was signed by leaders of the settlers in the Cumberland River area of what became the U.S. state of Tennessee, which provided for democratic government and a formal system of justice.

1846 – Mexican–American War: The United States declared war on the Federal Republic of Mexico following a dispute over the American annexation of the Republic of Texas and a Mexican military incursion.

1861 – American Civil War: Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom issued a “proclamation of neutrality” which recognized the Confederacy as having belligerent rights.

1861 – The Great Comet of 1861 was discovered by John Tebbutt of Windsor, New South Wales, Australia.

1862 – The USS Planter, a steamer and gunship, stole through Confederate lines and was passed to the Union, by a southern slave, Robert Smalls, who later was officially appointed as captain, becoming the first black man to command a United States ship.

1912 – The Royal Flying Corps, the forerunner of the Royal Air Force, was established in the United Kingdom.

1940 – Winston Churchill said “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat” in his first speech as Prime Minister to British House of Commons.

1958 – During a visit to Caracas, Venezuela, Vice President Richard Nixon’s car was attacked by anti-American demonstrators.  Several of Nixon’s staff were injured.

1958 – Ben Carlin became the first (and only) person to circumnavigate the world by amphibious vehicle, having travelled over 11,000 miles by sea and 39,000 miles by land during a ten-year journey.

1958 – The trade mark Velcro was registered.

1960 – Hundreds of University of California, Berkeley students congregated for the first day of protest against a visit by the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

1965 – The Rolling Stones recorded “Satisfaction”.

1966 – The Rolling Stones released “Paint it Black” in the UK.

1970 – The Beatles movie “Let it Be” premiered.

1980 – An F3 tornado hit Kalamazoo County, Michigan. President Jimmy Carter declared it a federal disaster area.

1981 – Mehmet Ali Ağca attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. The Pope was rushed to the Agostino Gemelli University Polyclinic to undergo emergency surgery and survived.

1985 – Police bombed MOVE headquarters in Philadelphia, killing six adults and five children, and destroying the homes of 250 city residents.

1995 – Alison Hargreaves, a 33-year-old British mother, became the first woman to conquer Everest without oxygen or the help of sherpas.

2012 – Forty-nine dismembered bodies were discovered by Mexican authorities on Mexican Federal Highway 40.

2013 – American physician Kermit Gosnell was found guilty in Pennsylvania of murdering three infants born alive during attempted abortions, involuntary manslaughter of a woman during an abortion procedure, and other charges.

Arcadia’s Antavious Roberson Earns Master’s Degree in Education

On Monday, May 11, Antavious Roberson, who teaches fourth and fifth grade math at Crawford Elementary School in Arcadia, earned a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Northwestern State Univeristy.  

Mr. Roberson received his Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Northwestern in 2018. During his undergraduate experience, he was elected Homecoming King in 2017, then Mr. Northwestern State University in 2018. Additionally, he served the Student Government Association in two capacities: Secretary, and Student Affairs Commissioner (undergrad).

Mr. Roberson said, “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also BELIEVE.”

Congratulations, Mr. Roberson!!!

Raborn’s Salt Works: Part 1, Re-Discovery

(Weyerhaeuser’s Seth Carpenter stands beside the “Stack” to show its height)

By Brad Dison

A few weeks ago, a Journal subscriber sent me a picture of a concrete structure and asked if I knew what it was. (See image above). The man said he was driving on the straight stretch about a mile west of Friendship on Highway 4 cautiously watching for deer when he saw what he initially thought was a deer stand. For many years, locals traveling this stretch of road have known to be careful driving in this area because deer have often run into the path of oncoming vehicles. A timber company had recently clear-cut the trees in this area, which exposed the concrete structure. Always interested in local history, I agreed to help determine the origin and use of the concrete structure.

The next day, my family and I drove to the area to see if we could spot the curious object. I told my wife that I doubted we could spot it easily from the road since we both drive past the area on a daily basis and neither of us had ever seen it. There was no traffic behind us so I slowed the vehicle to get a better look. As the old expression goes, “it stuck out like a sore thumb.” Standing tall amongst several small saplings was the mysterious concrete object.

I shared the picture with several lifelong residents of the area but none of them knew anything about the structure. Someone suggested that the structure could be related to Raborn’s Salt Works, something I knew almost nothing about although I have lived within five miles of it my entire life. On a couple of occasions during my childhood, my grandfather had mentioned Raborn’s Salt Works but I was unable to remember any of the details.

I wanted to take a closer look but I needed permission from the landowner. I searched the records held by the Bienville Parish Assessor’s Office and Clerk’s Office and tracked down the current landowner, the Weyerhaeuser Company. I contacted Deano Orr, Weyerhaeuser’s Gulf Region public affairs manager, explained what little details I knew about the mysterious object, and made arrangements for a local Weyerhaeuser representative to accompany me onto the property.

(The Blue Pin Shows the Location of the “Stack.”)

On April 30, 2022, Weyerhaeuser’s Seth Carpenter met up with Eddie Holmes and me near the object in question. (Eddie, the Bienville parish Clerk of Court, has worked closely with me on several historical investigations.) The timber on the land immediately south of Highway 4 was dotted with swamp palmetto and tree stumps left from the recent clear-cutting operation. About 100 yards from the highway stood the “stack.”

The concrete stack stands 134 ½ inches tall. The exposed portion of the hexagonal footing of the concrete stack measures 36 inches on each side and is tapered at an 80 degree angle. The concrete is 22 ½ inches thick at the opening at the base. Horizontal lines in the concrete show that the stack was built in multiple pours. The stack has an opening at the top. Large bolts are evidence that something was once mounted atop the stack. We located three more concrete footings near the stack. Large bolts protruding from the footings show that something was mounted to them as well. Small, brittle remnants of old iron pipes littered the ground.

The land 200 yards southwest of the stack is comprised of a shallow swampland which covers several acres. Unlike most swamplands which are characteristically murky, the water in this swampy area, at least on the day we visited it, was perfectly clear. The water averaged about three or four inches deep.

250 yards to the southeast is another pool of water which measures about 30 yards by 60 yards at its widest points. The whole area near the pool was covered with wildlife tracks. At a ravine leading from the highway to the property, the ground was covered with fresh deer tracks. As we neared the pool of water, a water moccasin slithered away from us in the water which, like the swampy area, was shallow and clear. Visiting the area left me with more questions than answers. I had to dig deeper.

The investigation led me to events that happened way back in 1837, eleven years before the Louisiana State Legislature created Bienville parish. On June 15, 1837, John M. Fouts purchased “seventy-nine acres and eighty hundredths of an acre” of government land, about half of which was marshy lowland, near Friendship in what was then Claiborne parish.

It must be mentioned that prior researchers habitually misspelled John Martin Fouts’s last name as Foust. A creek which passes through this property still bears his name on current maps although it is spelled Fouse Bayou. Locals refer to it as Fouse’s (rhymes with pouches) creek. Legal documents, genealogical research, and the headstones marking his family’s graves have shown his last name to be Fouts.

John M. Fouts was born in 1781 in Virginia. Sometime between 1800 and 1821, Fouts moved to Louisiana. In 1821, Fouts married Martha Ware Nelson in Ouachita parish, Louisiana. Together they had five children, the oldest of which was Maria Theresa Fouts. Maria Theresa will be discussed more as the investigation continues. Early on, Fouts recognized that the water on the land had an unusually high salt content. It is likely that he knew the land contained a high concentration of salt prior to the land purchase. The high salt content is one reason why deer are attracted to the area.

Until the Industrial Revolution when it began to be produced on a massive scale, salt was a much sought after and expensive commodity. For thousands of years, humans have used salt to preserve food, tan animal hides, heal wounds, and for other medicinal purposes. As civilizations spread throughout the world, salt became one of the primary trading commodities. At one point, Egyptians used salted fish as a form of currency. In Ancient Rome, having salt on a dinner table was a sign of wealth. People who sat nearest their host or head of the dinner table were said to be “above the salt.” Those who were less favored by their host were said to be “below the salt.” Someone who was well-respected or something which was desirable was said to be “worth their [or its] weight in salt.” In the Roman Empire, the word for payment to soldiers was Salarium (sala rye um), the Latin word for salt. Over time, the soldiers adopted a shortened version of the word which we still use to denote a worker’s wagers — Salary. Other words derived from salt include salami, savage, sauce, salsa, sausage, and salvation. In some religions salt is considered a symbol of purity. One of the principal factors behind the Lewis and Clark expedition was the search for new supplies of salt. During the American Revolution, British ships captured cargos of salt bound for the colonies to disrupt the colonists’ ability to preserve food. During the War of 1812, when the U.S. government was unable to pay some soldiers with money, it paid them in salt brine.

Soon after purchasing the land, Fouts began to use the salty water to produce salt for his family. According to A.C. Veatch, Assistant Geologist for the state of Louisiana who performed a geological survey of the site in the 1890s, Fouts was likely the first human to utilize the resources of the salt dome because he found no evidence of Native Americans on the land. In 1840, Fouts began a “modest operation” and produced enough salt for his family and neighbors. Four years later, on May 11, 1844, John Fouts’s wife, Martha, died and was buried on the Fouts property. On February 19 of the following year, John Fouts died and was also buried on the Fouts property. Following their deaths, their daughter, Marie Theresa Fouts, and her husband, Chriswell Whitlow, continued to produce salt on a modest scale.

The investigation continues next week in Raborn’s Salt Works: Part 2, the Raborn Era.” 

If you have any information about Raborn’s Salt Works, please email the Journal at BPJNewsLA@gmail.com.

Special thanks to: The Weyerhaeuser Company’s Deano Orr and Seth Carpenter, Kenny Price, Elizabeth Morgan, and Eddie Holmes.

1. U.S., General Land Office Records, 1776-2015 for John M. Fouts, Ancestry.com, https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/1246/images/RHUSA2007B_LA0860-00382?pId=811646
2. Harris, Gilbert D. and A.C.Veatch, Geology and Agriculture: A Preliminary Report on the Geology of Louisiana, Baton Rouge, 1900.
3. “John Martin Fouts Sr,” Find a Grave, accessed March 22, 2022, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/118456718/john-martin-fouts.
4. “Martha Ware Nelson Fouts,” Find a Grave, accessed March 22, 2022, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/118456609/martha-ware-fouts.

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Police Jury Issues Notice of Public Hearing to Discuss Reapportioning Police Jury Districts

The Bienville Parish Police Jury will have a public hearing on June 8, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. to discuss reapportioning the Police Jury districts.  The hearing will be held int he Police Jury meeting room in the Bienville Parish Courthouse, 100 Courthouse Drive, Suite 2100, Arcadia, Louisiana.  The proposed plan maps are available to the public for inspection at the Police Jury office, 100 Courthouse Drive, Suite 2100, Arcadia, Louisiana during regular business hours from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Bienville Parish Police Jury
Rodney L. Warren

Various Genres of Music Presented at the 2022 Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival

The organizers of the Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival, which is going to be presented on the downtown riverbank stage on May 20th and 21st always like to spotlight the diversity of the music at the event and love to set a “If you can’t find some music at this festival that you like, then you just don’t like music.” This statement is clearly illustrated when you break down the various genres of music presented at the festival and the bands that will be performing music of that genre:


  • Dave Duplissey’s Sax in the Corner Band
  • The Nakatosh Rhythm Chiefs
  • The Dan Sumner Band – Featuring Coco York
  • The Forsyth Jazz Collective

Note: All Jazz bands will be performing on the Jazz Stage which will now be located at venue on Front Street.


  • The Commodores
  • Klockwork Band
  • Johnny Earthquake and the Moondogs
  • Deshawn Washington
  • The Kelli Roberts Band
  • Josh Hyde and the Lost Parish
  • The Turn-Ups
  • Cane River Soul


  • The Commodores
  • L.A. Roxx
  • Johnny Earthquake and the Moondogs
  • James Burton
  • Resurrection
  • The Kelli Roberts Band
  • The Sundown Band
  • Jesse Cole
  • The Turn-Ups
  • The Comeback Kids
  • Cane River Soul


  • Gerard Delafose and the Zydeco Gators
  • B Cam and the Zydeco Young Bucks


  • Josh Hyde and the Lost Parish
  • Klockwork Band
  • Cane River Soul
  • The Snake Doctors


  • Marty Haggard
  • The Chase Tyler Band
  • Johnny Earthquake and the Moondogs
  • The Sundown Band
  • Armadillo Jackal Band
  • The Comeback Kids


  • The Commodores
  • Klockwork Band
  • Johnny Earthquake and the Moondogs
  • Cane River Soul


  • L.A. Sweet T
  • Armadillo Jackal Band
  • Snake Doctors
  • 50 Man Machine


  • L.A. Sweet T


  • 50 Man Machine

The festival begins on Friday, May 20th at 7 p.m. with Gerard Delafose and the Zydeco Gators followed by L. A. Roxx, then continues all day Saturday, May 21st with over 20 bands on four different stages with The Commodores closing the show.

There will be lots of food and activities for the kids at this family friendly event.

For tickets and more information go to www.natchjazzfest.com

100 Years Ago in Bienville Parish: Mt. Lebanon Reverend Planned to Build Lake, Country Club

In May of 1922, Reverend J.C. Cox of Mt. Lebanon was in Arcadia working on the “legal preliminaries in connection with the organization of a country club to be located about two miles west of Mt. Lebanon.”  Cox and other organizers planned to call it the Mt. Lebanon Country Club.  It was expected to be a place for outdoor sports and recreation for the Camp Fire Girls, Boy Scouts, and for the families of club members.  

The selected location was said to be ideal in that with minimal labor and expense, workers could have constructed a dam.  Water fed from three big springs would have kept the several-acre lake filled to a depth of up to 25 feet.  A gravel road was planned to be within two miles of the lake.  The final two miles were to consist of a “model dirt road.” Asphalt roads were not yet in the vicinity. 

The Sutton brothers of Mt. Lebanon, who owned the local sawmill, agreed to lease the proposed property to the organization at no cost as long as it was used to be as a country club.  The Sutton brothers also agreed to provide labor for building the dam and for construction materials for the club house at their cost.

The club house was intended to be a two story structure with at least 10 rooms surrounded by a wide gallery or atrium on both floors.

The country club was to have been an ideal place for picnics, fishing, swimming, boating, and bathing.  Indoor plumbing was not available in Mt. Lebanon at this time.  The organizers hoped to eventually add basketball and tennis courts.  

The organization advertised for charter membership, which was limited to 100 members at $25.00 each.  After the first hundred memberships were sold, the price would be raised to $50 each.  By the second week of May, 1922, a large number of people had already applied for membership.

Despite Reverend Cox’s hard work and best intentions, the Mt. Lebanon Country Club never came to fruition.  

Source: Bienville Democrat, May 11, 1922, p.1.

International Space Station Visible to the Naked Eye Tonight

The International Space Station will be visible to the naked eye tonight, weather permitting.  The station orbits the Earth at a height of 254 miles and travels at a mind-blowing 17,500 miles per hour, or 4.76 miles per second. 

  • Tonight, it will become visible at 8:50 PM in the southwestern sky and will travel to the northeast.  It will be visible for about 6 minutes.  It will move at a maximum height of about 33° above the horizon.

The space station will look like a bright star, like the North Star, and will be moving quickly across the evening sky. 

The space station passes overhead many times a day but lighting conditions usually make it difficult or impossible to see.  All sightings will occur within a few hours before or after sunrise or sunset. This is the optimum viewing period as the sun reflects off the space station and contrasts against the darker sky.


Print this page to work the puzzle.  If you are unable to print this page you can download it by clicking “Download” below.

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: “If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.” ~ James Cameron

Angler’s Perspective: Stormy Waters!

By Steve Graf

For years, bass fishermen have heard the phrase, “The wind is your friend.” Well, this is not always true, and today I’ll explain why. Mother Nature can be very unpredictable, and she has an unforgivable temper. Some days she’s awesome with bluebird skies and rays of sunshine streaming down. Other days, she can unleash a rage of fury that will have you taking cover and counting your blessings.

But with regards to the quote of “The wind is your friend,” wind is a very important factor when it comes to the bass biting. Windy shores can be an awesome place to catch a few bass. The science says that the reason bass are present on windy shores is because of the food chain. Wind forces the plankton towards the bank which in turn brings in the smaller fish like shad and bream. When these guys show up, a feeding frenzy is about to begin as the bass will always follow the bait fish. A windy chop on the water’s surface allows anglers to get in close without spooking the fish. So this is why anglers like a little wind, but you must be careful what you wish for.

If there’s one thing that makes me very nervous, it’s an approaching thunderstorm. Over my years of tournament fishing, I’ve had a few rough encounters of the worst kind. Two years ago on Lake Sam Rayburn, a storm came over the lake from the southwest. The sky literally turned black as it approached, and I could tell this was not going to be a small storm. I had a co-angler fishing with me in this particular tournament, who I could tell was getting a little nervous as the lightning got really bad. The biggest problem was that the storm was coming from the same direction as the boat ramp we were trying to reach for the weigh-in. So we had a choice, either try and outrun the storm before it cut us off from the ramp or go east across the lake and seek cover in a cove as the storm hopefully passed over the west side of the lake.

Realizing that we were not going to beat the storm back to the ramp, I decided to head east across the lake and take cover in the nearest cove. As we were running across the lake at 70 mph, I noticed the waves were really starting to get bad with 3-foot rollers. Then out of the corner of my right eye, I noticed the water was swirling as the wind was now blowing what seemed like 40 plus mph. It was obvious we were not going to outrun this storm. As the wind continued to get stronger, it hit the side of boat while we were running at full speed, and it lifted the boat off the water! I thought we were about to flip over, so I let off the gas and the boat sat back down on the water. It was raining so hard that you could not see 20 feet in front of the boat, but we kept moving toward the cove to seek safety.

Next, I had one of those incidents that you have nightmares about… during the downpour I saw another boat coming in my direction from my left. In a matter of seconds, I knew immediately we were on a collision course. As he passed in front of me by a few inches at 60 mph, my heart jumped out of my chest as I shut the boat down. It was an absolute miracle that we did not hit. I could not believe the other boater never shut down, instead he just kept going which I thought was strange since we just avoided a deadly crash. With my co-angler trembling, we finally reach the cove and waited the storm out before heading for the weigh-in.

As I was in the weigh-in line, I saw the angler who I had the near collision with and approached him to apologize for what happened. Turns out, HE NEVER SAW ME ….and that there was divine intervention to save both of us. It explained why he never stopped or slowed down after he passed in front of me. HE NEVER SAW ME! This is why you need to get off the water as soon as you see an approaching storm. Because in a matter of minutes, things can go from bad to worse. Till next time be safe, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to set the hook!

Steve Graf – Co-host
Hook’N Up & Track’N Down Show &
Tackle Talk Live

Gibsland-Coleman Lady Bulldogs Win Class C State Championship, Bulldogs Win State Runner-Up

The Gibsland-Coleman Lady Bulldogs have won the 2022 Class C State Track & Field Championship.

The Lady Bulldogs also claimed both Co-MVPs, Senior Ke’Honesty Williams and Freshman Samora Sampson. Williams and Sampson won all four of their events. Williams was also MVP last year. She clinched the title again with individual state championships in the 100 m dash (13.09 sec), 200 m dash (27.14 sec), and long jump approx. (17ft 0.6 in). Sampson won individual competitions in the 100 m hurdles (16.97 sec), 300 hurdles (50.28), and triple jump (35 ft., 3 in). Each MVP was part of the champion 4 x 100 relay team along with Shamaria Durham and Baleigh Haulcy. Haulcy also was state runner-up in the triple jump behind Sampson. Jordan Allen also finished third behind Sampson in 54.09 seconds. Allen grabbed a state runner-up in the high jump with 4-08.

The Gibsland-Coleman boys are the Class C State Runner-Ups with 67 points. Family Christian won with 108. The Bulldogs were silver crazy. Jakobe Stevens claimed three silver medals. Stevens won individually in the 400 dash (54.16 sec) and high jump (6-0). Stevens also can claim as part of the 4 x 100 team (46.77) including Joshua Adams, Demarquis Durham, and Dadrail Chatman. Durham also took second place in the 100 m dash (11.28 sec). Malik Loud was runner-up in the discus (99-1). Michael Woodford finished second in the triple jump (40 ft 3.5 in).

Ke’Honesty Williams and Samora Sampson

North Louisiana Senator Robert Mills Recognized for Literacy Efforts

BATON ROUGE – The Center for Literacy & Learning has awarded its annual Literacy Advocate of the Year award to Louisiana State Sen. Robert Mills (R-Minden) for helping advance the vision of empowering everyone through literacy. Senator Mills represents Senate District 36, which encompasses Bienville, Bossier, Claiborne and Webster parishes.

The award was presented during Literacy Day at the Louisiana State Capitol on Wednesday, May 4. Louisiana State Rep. Jason Hughes (D-N.O.) was also recognized with the award in the Louisiana House of Representatives. Both the Louisiana House and Senate designated the day as Literacy Day to recognize The Center for their work on improving reading proficiency in all of Louisiana’s students, as well as bring attention to the work and policy changes that still need to be made to continue improvement.

“We appreciate the overwhelming support of the Legislature as we work to put in place legislative and policy changes that will help us increase the state’s literacy rates,” said The Center’s President and CEO John E. Wyble, Ph.D. “It is through the work of legislators like Senator Mills that we will break the cycle of illiteracy and realize our vision that everyone is empowered through literacy.”

During the 2021 Legislative Session, Sen. Mills sponsored SB 216, which put into place requirements for kindergarten through third-grade teachers, as well as administrators at the school to complete a foundational literacy skills instruction course. The bill, which was signed into law by Governor John Bel Edwards, also put requirements in place for teachers and newly hired teachers to complete professional development courses based on the science of reading.

As part of Literacy Day, the Center for Literacy & Learning provided every member of the Louisiana legislature with a children’s book written by a Louisiana author and/or with a focus on Louisiana. Also, various partners and stakeholders provided information to legislators, stakeholders, and the general public through various displays occupying the Capitol Rotunda for the day.

Louisiana ranks 49th in literacy among the nation with only 1 out of every 4 fourth graders reading proficiently, according to the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The pilot program is widely regarded as an important first step toward implementing comprehensive reforms modeled after the state of Mississippi, which currently leads the nation in student growth for literacy.

In January 2020, the Early Literacy Commission released a report of recommendations that urged the legislature to commit recurring funding specifically for literacy. The Early Literacy Commission was legislatively created in 2019, led by the efforts of the Center for Literacy & Learning in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Education.

About The Center for Literacy and Learning

Founded in 1992, The Center for Literacy & Learning is an educational non-profit whose mission is to advance literacy and learning through evidence-based practices in the classroom, home, and community.

The Center, celebrating its 30th anniversary, works toward helping close the achievement gap by providing educators with customized professional learning that is designed to empower educators in recognizing, assessing, and responding to the multiple needs of diverse learners. The Center’s proven and research-based methods are built on the Science of Reading which has resulted in positive change in schools and communities.

The Center‘s core programs include Louisiana Reads!, Cornerstones, Lit Academy, and Growing Reading Brains. The Center also hosts in New Orleans every February Plain Talk about Literacy and Learning®, the largest literacy conference in the world, bringing together literacy and learning experts and attracting education industry professionals from all levels.

Today in History – May 11

868 – A copy of the Diamond Sutra was printed in China, making it the oldest known dated printed book.

1792 – Robert Gray commanded the first expedition to sail into the Columbia River.

1846 – President James K. Polk asked for a Declaration of War against Mexico, and started the Mexican–American War.

1858 – Minnesota was admitted as the 32nd state of the United States.

1864 – Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart was mortally wounded at Yellow Tavern.

1880 – Seven people were killed in the Mussel Slough Tragedy, a gun battle in California.

1889 – An attack upon a U.S. Army paymaster and escort resulted in the theft of over $28,000 and the award of two Medals of Honor.

1894 – Four thousand Pullman Palace Car Company workers went on a wildcat strike.

1910 – An act of the U.S. Congress established Glacier National Park in Montana.

1927 – Louis B. Mayer formed the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

1928 – General Electric opened the first TV station (Schenectady, NY).

1929 – First regularly scheduled TV broadcasts began (3 nights per week).

1943 – World War II: American troops invaded Attu Island in the Aleutian Islands in an attempt to expel occupying Japanese forces.

1945 – World War II: Off the coast of Okinawa, the aircraft carrier USS Bunker Hill was hit by two kamikazes.

1947 – BF Goodrich announced the development of the tubeless tire (Akron Ohio).

1956 – Elvis Presley’s first entry on UK charts with “Heartbreak Hotel”.

1963 – Racist bombings in Birmingham, Alabama, disrupted nonviolence in the Birmingham campaign and precipitated a crisis involving federal troops.

1963 – “Puff (The Magic Dragon)” by Peter, Paul & Mary hit #2 in the charts.

1965 – Ellis Island was added to Statue of Liberty National monument.

1967 – 100,000,000th US phone was connected.

1968 – Richard Harris released “MacArthur Park”.  Harris played Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films.

1970 – The 1970 Lubbock tornado killed 26 and caused $250 million in damage.

1970 – “The Long and Winding Road” was the Beatles’ last American single release.

1972 – John Lennon said his phone was tapped by FBI on “The Dick Cavett Show”.

1973 – Citing government misconduct, Daniel Ellsberg’s charges for his involvement in releasing the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times were dismissed.

1974 – Steely Dan released “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number”.

1981 – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “Cats” (based on poetry by T. S. Eliot) directed by Trevor Nunn, first premiered in the West End, London.

1985 – Madonna’s “Crazy For You” single reached #1.

1987 – Klaus Barbie went on trial in Lyon for war crimes committed during World War II.

1996 – After the aircraft’s departure from Miami, a fire started by improperly handled chemical oxygen generators in the cargo hold of Atlanta-bound ValuJet Airlines Flight 592 caused the Douglas DC-9 to crash in the Florida Everglades, killing all 110 on board.

1997 – Deep Blue, a chess-playing supercomputer, defeated Garry Kasparov in the last game of the rematch, becoming the first computer to beat a world-champion chess player in a classic match format.

LDWF: So-called ‘Bird Flu’ in the U.S., but Not Louisiana

Distribution of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5 and H5N1 in North America, 2021/2022. The red dot represents Commercial Poultry; yellow represents non-commercial Poultry, backyard flock; green represents wild birds.

An outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), or bird flu, seen in parts of the U.S. this year has not been detected here, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) said.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers the current risk of the outbreak to be low to the general public even in states where HPAI has been seen. While bird flu rarely affects humans, it can sometimes be deadly.

LDWF State Veterinarian Dr. Jim LaCour and LDWF Non-game Ornithologist Rob Dobbs do not recommend curtailing outdoor or bird-related recreational activities in Louisiana.

However, they do recommend following standard protective practices when dealing with birds and when coming into contact with surfaces or objects, such as bird feeders, that may be contaminated by bird saliva, mucous or feces.

Those protective practices include:

  • Observe wild birds from a distance, avoiding direct contact with them.
  • Clean bird feeders and bird baths regularly, about every two weeks, by scrubbing away debris and soaking in a diluted bleach solution for 10 minutes.
  • Always wear rubber gloves while cleaning bird feeders and bird baths, preferably in an outdoor setting, never where food preparation may occur.
  • If you find a dead bird in your yard, avoid touching it, but collect it in a plastic bag while wearing rubber gloves, then dispose of the carcass in an outdoor garbage bin.

HPAI is affecting wild birds and domestic poultry across much of North America, primarily in the Midwest and along the Atlantic Coast of the U.S. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and other agencies have detected bird flu in wild birds in 34 states, the closest in Texas and Alabama, and in commercial and backyard poultry flocks in 29 states.

Only one human case of bird flu has been confirmed by the CDC in the U.S. during this outbreak. The case affected a commercial poultry industry worker in Colorado.

LDWF continues to monitor wildlife health statewide, ensuring awareness of any potential threat to citizens of Louisiana.

Remember This?: The Lost Book

Today we have the world at our proverbial fingertips. We can locate and order almost anything we desire via our smart phones with little effort. We can push a single button in checkout to pay for the items, and in a couple of days our order arrives at our homes. Before the age of online shopping, however, things were not so easy.

In 1973, Philip, a Welsh actor, was hired to play a role in a comedy film called The Girl from Petrovka. The script was based on the 1971 book of the same name by George Feifer. Philip, ever the professional, wanted to get a copy of the book to prepare himself to play the character. It would be another couple of decades before the invention of the internet so Philip had to search for the book the old-fashioned way.

Philip took the train into London and stopped at the first bookstore he saw. He perused the shelves of books but was unable to find a copy of The Girl from Petrovka. He asked an employee but still came away empty-handed. Unlike in the modern era when booksellers can pull up their entire inventory on a computer screen and quickly learn whether or not they have the book, booksellers in the 70s could do little other than help customers search for the requested book. He visited another bookstore with the same result. Then another and another. Still no book.

Philip knew that the director would direct him in the part, but he wanted to understand the character. He had to have a copy of the book. He continued searching bookstores in vain. Late into the evening a defeated Philip took the tube—what we Americans call the subway—back to his home. Being that the book was released just two years prior, Philip assumed the book would be widely available.

Philip was running out of time. As the date of filming grew closer, Philip’s determination to get a copy of the book grew. After another unsuccessful search, Philip boarded the train for the return trip home. He made his way into the train car and sat down. He casually looked around the car and noticed something in the seat next to him. To his amazement, it was a copy of The Girl from Petrovka. He looked around the train car again fully expecting the owner of the book to return. Impatiently, he waited. He had searched countless bookstores unsuccessfully only to find an abandoned copy of the book sitting beside him on the tube. Finally, Philip picked up the book and thumbed through it. He noticed that someone had made handwritten notes in the book but that was fine with him. He finally had the book.

Philip studied the book carefully before production began on the movie and used it throughout filming. When filming ended, Philip kept the book on his bookshelf as a memento from the movie.

Sometime after the film’s release, Philip met George Feifer, the author of The Girl from Petrovka. They casually discussed the book and the film. He told George of his difficult search for the book prior to filming. George explained that he had lost his only copy of the book. He told Philip that he had been editing the book for the American market, which included altering certain English words into their American spellings. George told Philip that he had lost the book on the tube. Philip remembered that the book he found on the tube contained handwritten notes.

Months later, Philip and George met again. This time, Philip brought his copy of the book along. George looked at several pages and confirmed that after Philip’s fruitless search in bookstores, Philip had found George’s lost copy of The Girl from Petrovka.

In 1993, Philip was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to the arts. He has worked on a staggering 144 films and television productions dating back to 1960. At 84 years old, Philip shows no sign of slowing down. His most recent work was on the 2022 film entitled “The Son.” His most notable character was as the serial killer named Dr. Hannibal Lecter in the 1991 film “The Silence of the lambs.” Philip’s full name is Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins.

Source: “Why Confounding Coincidences Happen Every Day.” NPR, February 9, 2014, https://www.npr.org/2014/02/09/274075349/why-confounding-coincidences-happen-every-day, accessed May 2, 2022.

OPPORTUNITY: NSU – Purchasing Director

Northwestern State University Office of Business Affairs seeks a qualified applicant for the position of Purchasing Director.

Review of applications will begin immediately.

Closing Date: Continuous until filled
Salary Commensurate with experience
Job Type: Unclassified
Location: Natchitoches, Louisiana

To Apply: Send letter of application, resume and complete contact information for three professionals references to:  Apply@nsula.edu

or submit to:
Human Resources
Northwestern State University
ST. Denis Hall
Natchitoches, La 71497

The successful candidate will be subject to a background check, as a condition of employment.

Northwestern State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, genetic information, age, pregnancy or parenting status, and veteran or retirement status in its programs and activities and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following individuals have been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies (i.e., Title IX):

Employees/Potential Employees- Veronica M. Biscoe, EEO Officer
Students- Reatha Cox, Dean of Students (318-357-5286)

For Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) concerns, contact the Disability Support and Tutoring Director, Randi Washington at 318-357-4460.

Additionally, Northwestern complies with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy & Campus Crime Statistics Act. Information about NSU’s campus security and crime statistics can be found at  http://universitypolice.nsula.edu/annual-security-report/.

Full disclosure statement: http;//university.planning.nsula.edu/notice-of-non-discrimination/

*Inquiries regarding employment application status should be made to the Human Resources Department Telephone: 318-357-5965


  • Bachelor’s degree in Business, Finance or related field from an accredited college or university required.
  • Minimum of seven (7) years’ experience in State Purchasing preferred
  • Experience with conducting complex RFP’s required
  • Understanding of Louisiana Revised Statutes regarding purchasing and ethics required.
  • Professional certification as a Procurement Buyer or Officer preferred
  • Managerial experience is essential
  • This position also requires the ability to communicate orally and through written reports with/to Subordinates, Supervisors and outside personnel.
  • Experience in operating Procurement Management Finance Software; Ellucian/Banner knowledge preferred

Job Concepts:

  • Daily supervision of all Purchasing Department staff
  • Prepare all necessary documents for bid invitation and opening in accordance with public bid laws
  • Review approval of Sole Source requests
  • Negotiate complex operating service contracts including but not limited to software agreement, property leases and marketing agreements
  • Administer University’s P-Card Program
  • Assist with month-end soft close and year-end hard close
  • Work with Business Affairs offices for invoicing, budgeting and financial related tasks
  • Other duties assigned by supervisor

Mt. Lebanon’s Spring Festival a Success

(Photo by Marguerite Gray)

Mt. Lebanon’s annual Spring Festival took place on Saturday, May 7th. The Country Store was open for business with dine-in and take-out plates available.

Stagecoach Trail Museum’s main room was filled with silent auction items generously donated by local residents.

Evelyn Smith won the beautiful Nine-Patch quilt made by Nona Sale.

The cakewalk, with DJ music by John Cole, created fun for everyone who attended. Over 30 homemade cakes were donated, and 8 were auctioned off.

Please mark your calendars for Mt. Lebanon’s Fall Festival on Saturday, November 5th. 

Teddy Allen: A Tip of the Urban Cowboy Hat

Being raised in Ferriday hardly makes you a city boy. But because he could sing and tickle the ivories, and because he opened a watering hole in Texas the size of a football field, Mickey Gilley, a son of small-town Louisiana, ended up batting leadoff in the Urban Cowboy League, which was no small deal in the rawhide-crazed 1980s.

With the sad weekend news of the passing at age 86 of the keyboard whiz, singer and approachable entertainer, our heart was heavier than a couple of barroom bouncers sitting on top a honkytonk piano.

I sort of got to meet Mickey Gilley (somehow you have to say his whole name — “Mickey” or “Gilley” doesn’t sound right) a half-dozen years ago when he played at Squire Creek Country Club in Choudrant. I say “got to meet” but really all I did was take a picture of him and my spousal unit, who he was a bit taken by. They talked and hugged and I took some pictures and they carried on and I got out of the way and went looking for a place to sit down. I’m used to this.

He was a nice man and his picture hangs in her office, along with a lot of other pictures of her and other people I almost sort of got to meet until they met her.

Speaking of women, the 1980s were about Urban Cowgirls as much as they were about cowboys. Country was cool. Ropers and hats and belt buckles the size of saucers. Your friends who usually listened to nothing but hard rock suddenly knew all the words to Lookin’ for Love.

It vanished of course, as all good things do, and now what passes for country music is gut bucket drivel. The Urban Cowboy craze was the last great run country music had. We have been lucky that a George Strait or Brad Paisley have surfaced since, but I’m afraid that the days of Mickey Gilley and Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings are gone, lost as a dozen of your old worn out bandanas.

And so, with our felt Stetson over our heart, we salute a time gone by with the Top 10 Mickey Gilley Songs, According To Me.

10. Room Full of Roses: “I just want my arms around you…”

9: Overnight Sensation: “She’s an overnight sensation, she’s an open invitation…” Mickey Gilley could not quite figure this girl out.

8: Window Up Above: Couldn’t figure this one either. Heartbreak City.

7: Don’t The Girls All Get Prettier At Closing Time: EVERYBODY knew the words to this monster hit.

6. Stand By Me: One of Mickey Gilley’s classic covers, along with …

5. True Love Ways, and

4. You Don’t Know Me

3. Object of My Affection: Lots of good bluesy “boogie woogie” piano here.

2. Power of Positive Drinking: And here too.

1. It’s a Headache Tomorrow (Or A Heartache Tonight): “No matter which one you choose, you loose…” Hurts me. One of the best songs of the Urban Cowboy era, a chapter of which closes with the passing of Mickey Gilley.

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu