A Birthday Salute to Nettles Brown

It wasn’t unusual late Thursday afternoon when Nettles Brown got a call from his wife, Glenelle, telling him he needed to run by the First United Methodist Church on Second Street for a brief 5:30 meeting before they went out to supper with friends.

It wasn’t unusual that Brown showed up 15 minutes early.

It wasn’t unusual to see a few of his fellow FUMC members walking in, as he stood outside chatting.

But when a couple of his colleagues from his New York Life office arrived, well before 5:30, that was a bit perplexing.

Then he walked inside the building, trailing them into a darkened Bostick Hall. He was stopped in his tracks as he finally realized this was no church business gathering. “Whoa, look at this!” he exclaimed, to the delight of dozens of admirers gathered to celebrate Brown’s 80th birthday.

Calling him a pillar of the community is understating it. For decades, he has served Natchitoches in a variety of roles, officially and otherwise. Notably, he has been a cornerstone member of the local Kiwanis Club whose leadership skills and passion carried him to a term in the prestigious position of International President of the organization.

A native of Coushatta and holder of bachelor’s (1963) and master’s (1970) degrees from Northwestern State, Brown settled in Natchitoches in 1967. Brown has been supportive of countless local causes, local schools and NSU Athletics and other university activities and programs.

His impact, not only through his service to the Kiwanis Club, extends well past Natchitoches Parish. That was indicated by the range of out-of-town visitors at the surprise party, including business leaders, friends and family from Shreveport, Alexandria and smaller communities, along with a judge from Alexandria and a Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Deputy, among others from all age groups and all walks of life.

It was 90 minutes of fellowship celebrating a landmark birthday for a gentleman who is deservedly beloved for a lifetime of friendship and service to all.

Birthday celebration pictures.

Census Bureau Projects U.S. and World Populations on New Year’s Day

As the nation prepares to ring in the new year, the U.S. Census Bureau today projected the U.S. population will be 332,403,650 on Jan. 1, 2022. This represents an increase of 706,899, or 0.21%, since New Year’s Day 2021, and 954,369, or 0.29%, since Census Day (April 1) 2020. 

In January 2022, the U.S. is expected to experience a birth every nine seconds and one death every 11 seconds. Meanwhile, net international migration is expected to add one person to the U.S. population every 130 seconds. The combination of births, deaths and net international migration increases the U.S. population by one person every 40 seconds.

The projected world population on Jan. 1, is 7,868,872,451, an increase of 74,235,487, or 0.95%, since New Year’s Day 2021. During January 2022, 4.3 births and 2.0 deaths are expected worldwide every second.

The Census Bureau’s Population Clock displays simulated real-time growth of the U.S. and world populations.

Blessed – Christmas Anomaly

With the precise strokes of an artist’s brush, you can be transported to places never seen with the natural eye. A talented artist can breathe life and imagination into any canvas with simple acrylics, pencils, pens or watercolors. The medium that an artist chooses can leave you spellbound by their skills and creativeness.

This is exactly what the intensely talented, Natchitoches native, Trevor Lucas, accomplished with his entry for the 42nd Annual Natchitoches Christmas Festival Poster.

Karen Terrell, Natchitoches Arts Council, had lots to say about this year’s winner.

“His artwork is a fresh perspective of downtown and the festival. When his poster was chosen, I had no idea he was from Natchitoches and that I know many of his family members. He was a joy to work with and his message of overcoming life’s obstacles is a powerful one.”

At the constant requests, nagging and friendly bullying from his friends and family Mr. Lucas decided to answer the call and make his official entry into the poster contest. It took Mr. Lucas only about five days for his full vision to come to life utilizing the medium of digital art on his Wacom tablet.

While he admits that his childhood memories are a bit foggy, one thing that is clear as a bell is the joy he feels when he thinks of the Christmas Festival. It automatically reminds him of the larger-than-life parade and being on Front Street catching loads of candy.

“There is something about the experience of watching the bands and seeing the smiles on people’s faces. The thought of the parade makes me so happy, and it was definitely my inspiration for the poster,” shared Mr. Lucas.

The poster affectionately gives a nod to the beginning of the parade featuring the Northwestern State University marching band as well as Santa Claus at the end of the parade.

While having an unwavering faith he has never forgotten all the broken and winding roads that life has forced him to ride. The intense pain of losing his mother at the young age of twelve was the propellant that drove him to seek an outlet for his emotions. He wrote poems and traced his cousin’s artwork, who he admired so much, and pretended it was his own. It did not take him long to realize that he had talent of his own and he also drew inspiration from Bob Ross.

It was actually during his childhood drawings that he thought he may possibly have a color vision deficiency. He drew a rose for a friend, and she asked him why the rose was dead. He shaded it brown and did not realize it.

At 17 years old his grandmother signed him in as a troubled teen with the US Navy. While serving a short time he decided that he truly wanted to be a Navy Seal. Life threw him another curve ball; he miserably failed his color exam and he was diagnosed as being color blind. While it wasn’t God’s plan for him to be a Seal, he did have many other plans for Trevor Lucas. He went on to be a father, a husband, a successful businessman, TV personality, and an art therapist for at risk children.

Trevor Lucas is a 1997 graduate of Natchitoches Central High School where he took art classes under Mrs. Gianforte. He wants art students to know to always be your true authentic self.

“If all the characters in a movie were the same, it would be a boring movie. God wouldn’t have created you if you didn’t have your own purpose,” shared Lucas.

Lucas is a firm believer in God’s timing and God’s purpose for our lives. When he started his own art studio, he named his business Anomaly. It wasn’t until many years later that he found out his visual disorder was called, “Deuteranomaly”. God named his gift before he named his disorder. Lucas is 42 years old, and it was the 42nd Annual Christmas Festival Poster. He acknowledges this was no accident.

He also feels it was no accident that he was able to come back to Louisiana to visit with his stepfather who is terminal. Although their relationship was strained as a child, his stepfather was able to share with him how proud he is of his success. Even though he lives in Virginia he says he will always consider Natchitoches his home.

If you were able to meet Trevor Lucas when he visited in the Fall, then you would be familiar with is humble and gracious nature. When you compliment him, he gives all glory to God. When asked his he ever thought about writing a book, or even suggesting that his story would make a good movie, he simply replied, “I feel like I made it out of a burning house and every so often I run back in to pull someone out who has had the same struggles as me, by sharing my story. As long as I have this testimony then I am able to help others.”

When I asked Mr. Lucas to share his favorite scripture with me, he did not hesitate to let me know it was Psalm 18:29.

“It’s my favorite because it gives me confidence to do any and everything without fear because my father in heaven has given me the strength and the power to accomplish amazing things. This verse makes me feel like a superhero with God as my source.”

Lucas went on to say, “It keeps me confident of my gifting but also keeps me humble because I know it’s not me but through him. Watch and marvel at the great things I do with God at my side. I live by this level of faith because it’s been proven time and time again. Nothing will stand in the way of God’s work. I believe I am his work and I’m doing his will. I give him the glory for this assignment”.

“For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.”
Psalm 18:29

All Madden, All Good

By Doug Ireland, Journal Services

Boom! Bam! Doink! Woosh!

No other way to start a piece about John Madden.

Once a Super Bowl champion football coach, Madden became a cultural icon after leaving the sidelines in 1978 and moving upstairs to the TV announcing booth. His everyman personality, candor and unabashed joy doing anything he did captivated us. Above all else, he was authentic, a man of the people, unpretentious.

His football commentary entertained and educated unlike any announcer in any sport ever had. It quickly made him a hot commodity for advertisers. His series of commercials for Miller Lite and Ace Hardware, among others, expanded his audience outside the sports world. If he liked something, we wanted it. Heck, he introduced turducken to the rest of the country after a Thanksgiving Day game in New Orleans.

That likeability brought him into the living rooms and mindsets of America. As his profile grew, a third dimension of his public life exploded: Madden NFL, the football video game launched in 1988 that provides gamers 8 to 85 with a realistic portrayal of pro football action offering actual playbooks, stunningly accurate player depictions, and commentary in the style of an NFL TV announcing crew. The founder of EA Sports came up with the idea in 1984 and pitched it to Madden, who wouldn’t lend his name to the project until it was strikingly accurate enough.

If you haven’t played Madden, your neighbor has. It’s one of the top 10 selling video games ever. Sales of well over $4 billion. More than half the guys playing in the NFL not only grew up playing Madden, but they continue to.

So much so that when a Philadelphia player walked into a hotel suite where Coach Madden was holding court in the runup to a game at San Francisco, he asked, “Where’s Madden?” Somebody said, “right over there.” The player responded, “no, the video game.”

When he passed away unexpectedly Tuesday at 85, a scant three days after an epic Fox Sports 90-minute special on him that aired Christmas Day, reaction rippled around the country far outside NFL territory.

The cascade of admiration for Madden is not about what he had done as much as who he was. That childlike wonderment, shared with all, about what he was seeing and doing. That ceaseless appreciation of the opportunities he encountered. Most of all, his eagerness to engage people from every walk of life, from the woman serving him Skyline Chili over the counter in Cincinnati (he’d walk out with a couple stains on his shirt), to the drivers at the truck stop in the middle of the night somewhere in Arizona, to the kids flipping Frisbees at the rest stop along I-20 in Mississippi, and everyone, anyone associated with the game he loved: football.

That’s why we’re hearing and reading tributes from the biggest names in and around the NFL, the Peyton Mannings and Sean Paytons and such, as well as those production assistants, those assistant coaches, those free agent signees, and everyone in between. And you, and me.

Two-time Super Bowl champion linebacker Gary Reasons, a Northwestern State graduate, was one of Madden’s favorites while playing for the powerhouse New York Giants. Wednesday, his wife Terri recalled the time in the late ‘80s when Madden invited their son Nic onto his “Madden Cruiser” tour bus, which he used to travel the country to avoid claustrophobia on airplanes. John and preschooler Nic shared a Coke on the bus, in the parking lot at Giants Stadium.

Nobody could tell who was having more fun.

Angler’s Perspective – The Division of Professional Bass Fishing

In my lifetime, I can’t remember there being such division among the American people. Whether it’s a moral or political point of view, we just can’t seem to come to common ground. Likewise, three years ago there was a split in the professional bass fishing ranks. Bass Anglers Sportsman’s Society known as B.A.S.S. and its members (professional anglers) had a parting of ways due to differences of opinion on several topics. The powers that be at B.A.S.S. have done things a certain way since the beginning of time and were not willing to compromise on many of these topics. I’ll now give you my perspective as to what happened and what gave birth to an organization now known as MLF or Major League Fishing.

Pretty much all sports have people that think they know a better way to do things. Professional athletes just might have the biggest egos on the planet. Professional bass fishermen are no different, as egos abound, and many think they are the next greatest angler to ever grace the front deck of a boat. Not all professional anglers have one of these super egos, but there are many that do and some of these guys have their own idea as to how an organization should be run. Basically, what happened three years ago is that tour anglers got together (semi-unionized) and decided to approach B.A.S.S. with their ideas on what changes they would like to see made to accommodate the pro’s better.

Over the years, B.A.S.S. has set the schedule and determined when and where the anglers would fish. They set the rules and regulations for all B.A.S.S. events. Professional anglers wanted a bigger say, especially when it came to the scheduled dates. B.A.S.S. over the years has never taken into consideration special dates like Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July, or any other holidays. They said when and where the events were set and expected all anglers to be there no matter what. It was not negotiable! Anglers also wanted more input in some of the rules and how they were applied… like the “no information” rule which is where anglers can’t seek, barter, or retrieve information about a body of water during the dead water period. This has been a controversial topic for years with all professional bass fishing circuits.

So, after the anglers met with B.A.S.S. officials, it was determined that the officials were not willing to give the anglers a say on scheduling events, nor were they receptive to any other suggestions the anglers had. Therefore, 80 anglers decided to venture out and start their own tournament organization where they had a say as to how things were done. They would determine the schedule, set the dates, and make the rules for what they thought would work better. This is what we know today as MLF or Major League Fishing. This idea had actually been in the works for two or three years prior to 80 anglers leaving B.A.S.S. to be a part of the MLF Pro Tour. Now this was a blow for B.A.S.S., but in truth has not really phased B.A.S.S. at all. They are, and have been, the leader in tournament bass fishing since its inception back in the late 1960’s. B.A.S.S. is also home to the greatest tournament in the world….The Bassmaster Classic! This is the biggest tournament in the world and it is all anglers dream to win this event. Professional football players have the Super Bowl, baseball has the World Series and bass fishing has the Bassmaster Classic.

So, for the last three years MLF has waged their own war in the bass fishing world and appears to be fairly strong at this time, but there have been a few signs that things may not be as kosher as MLF wants us to think. Each of the last three years, highly popular anglers have left MLF only to return to B.A.S.S. These have included top name pros like Brandon Palaniuk, Gerald Swindle, Jacob Powroznik, Mike Iaconelli, Jason Christie, John Cox, Justin Adkins and Louisiana’s Greg Hackney…guys who have made a name for themselves and are considered some of the best anglers in the world. If this exodus continues, MLF may not survive. They can’t continue to lose top name anglers to B.A.S.S.

In actuality, professional bass fishing needs this organization to be successful. There too many anglers trying to make a living professionally and having only one organization to accommodate them is just not enough. Major League Fishing is also something new and different when it comes to their format of catching as many bass as you can in a day, rather than just your best 5, which has been the standard for all tournament trails since the 1990’s. MLF requires a little different mindset versus going out and catching 5 big ones. Furthermore, it makes for great TV coverage when every fish counts. This is what MLF promised the anglers who left B.A.S.S., more TV exposure not only for themselves, but their sponsors as well.

The jury is still out on MLF, but hopefully they will continue to enhance and attract more anglers who are looking to fish this style of event. While B.A.S.S continues to be the standard that all anglers hope to reach, MLF for now will have to try and keep as many top name pros as they can if they want to survive. Till next time, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to set the hook!

Steve Graf

LDWF: No CWD Detected in LA Deer So Far; Sampling Completed, Final Results to Come

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) reported yesterday (Dec. 30) that to date that no chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been detected in test results of Louisiana white-tailed deer.  LDWF has received test results from LSU’s Diagnostic Laboratory on 147 test samples in Union Parish and 70 in Morehouse Parish.

LDWF has reached its goal of collecting 300 samples from the two-parish area and has submitted the samples to LSU for testing.

The testing is in response to the recent detection of CWD in Union County, Ark., less than 8 miles north of the Louisiana border near Morehouse and Union parishes. CWD is fatal in deer.

LDWF thanks deer hunters who have contributed to the deer testing effort. Hunters can have their harvested deer tested by visiting our CWD testing website https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/cwd-testing and following the steps outlined. 

CWD has been found in a number of states, including Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi. As of December 29, LDWF had collected 1,109 samples statewide for CWD in 2021 and 13,052 since the inception of the department’s CWD testing program in 2002

WPJ to Publish Engagement, Wedding and Anniversary Announcements

The Winn Parish Journal “WPJ” will start publishing paid engagement, wedding and anniversary announcements for couples who reside in the parish, who have relatives in the parish or who are getting married in the parish. These announcements will be published each Friday morning. 

  • Digital photograph of the couple 

  • The couple’s names 

  • The couple’s hometowns 

  • High school and/or college of the couple 

  • Parents’ names and/or grandparents’ names 

  • Ties to the parish 

  • Wedding time, date, and place 

  • An interesting fact about the couple 

Information for the wedding announcements include: 

  • Digital photograph of the couple 

  • The couple’s names 

  • The couple’s hometowns 

  • High school and/or college of the couple 

  • Parents’ names and/or grandparents’ names 

  • Officiant  

  • Attendants 

  • Ties to the parish 

  • Wedding time, date, and place 

Information for the anniversary announcements include: 

  • Digital photograph of the couple 

  • The couple’s names 

  • Where couple was married

  • Number of children and grandchildren if any 

  • Hometown

  • Ties to the parish 
  • Wedding time, date, and place 

For engagement, wedding and anniversary announcement prices and/or to submit information for publication, please email wpj@winnparishjournal.com

Notice of Death December 30, 2021

Harvey Phillip Cheek, Sr.
April 1, 1933 – December 28, 2021
Service: Thursday, December 30 at 12 pm at Welcome Home Cemetery

Jessie Nell Grigg
October 16, 1930 – December 3, 2021
Service: Saturday, January 8 at 2 pm at the First Baptist Church of Winnfield

Lester H. Lee, Sr.
October 11, 1943 – December 28, 2021
Service: Monday, January 3 at 2 pm at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church

Forrest O’Neil Rothwell
August 20, 1976 – December 29, 2021
Service: Friday, December 31 at 1 pm at Warren Meadows Funeral Home Chapel

James E. Neugent
August 9, 1949 – December 30, 2021
Service: Sunday, January 2 at 11 am at Lambert Town Cemetery

Holly Norred Opperman
June 25, 1971 – December 28, 2021
Service: Friday, December 31 at 10 am at Mt. Zion Cemetery

Severe Weather in Forecast this Week

According to the National Weather Service, Winn and surrounding parishes could be in store for two rounds of severe weather this week. The first will come on Wednesday with a cold front and the second, late Friday into Saturday ahead of a much stronger cold front. Damaging winds, large hail, and isolated tornadoes all appear to be in play with these two potential severe weather events.

PHOTO: Weather Forecast Office – Shreveport, LA.

Goldonna News – New Years Edition

The Village of Goldonna is gearing up for the New Year and the endless possibility of good things to come. I was blessed to be able to visit with area residents as they shared their resolutions and thoughts for 2022.

Pastor Tim Harris from Goldonna Assembly of God shared that they will be hosting a watch night prayer service on December 31st beginning at 8:30pm and will continue until midnight. This will start the new year with a community service that will include a night of singing praises to our Savior.

Everyone is encouraged to bring their favorite finger food to share and everyone is even welcome to sing their favorite song. At 11:30 the lights will be turned down low with praise music playing and corporate prayer will begin and continue through the New Year.

Pastors Tim and Pam Harris were gracious enough to share their New Year’s Resolution which included, “to simply be the servants to the people of Goldonna that God has called us to be always striving to draw closer to Jesus through the power of the Holy Ghost”.

River of Life Church is starting a 21 day fast for the New Year on January 1st. Everyone is invited to participate. Sunday services begin at 10:30 and they are always opened up with a time for sharing testimonies. Come by and share some good news with the church members.

Pastor George Procell wants everyone to know that, “2022 is going to be a blessed year and always remember that nothing is impossible with God, Happy New Year from River of Life”.

Goldonna Baptist Church Pastor Jason Womack sends his New Year’s Blessing:

“For this Christian, New Year is a time for spiritual reflection and self-examination. Too often I have more negative memories than positive ones to reflect on over the preceding year. I try not to beat myself up too badly over this by responding to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, repenting and seeking to draw closer to God each day. I find comfort in the Word of God found in 2 Corinthians 5:17 where Paul wrote, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see the new has come!” We are a new creation and we are not perfect. Growing in Godliness my friends, is a marathon and not a sprint. Therefore get up, dust yourself off and seek to be made more like Jesus each day. Then help your brothers and sisters in Christ do the same. Oh yeah, the end of Christmas and beginning of the New Year reminds me that Crawfish season is just around the corner! I love living in Louisiana!”

– Mayor Jennifer Smith

“I would like to pray blessings over the people of Goldonna and the surrounding areas. I pray that God draw each and every heart towards him into a deeper covenant with him. I pray God’s love and blessings to evident in our heart and lives.” – Ben Dupree

My New Year’s resolution is to treasure each and every moment with family because we’ve seen how quickly things can change. To be thankful always and maybe to get a little healthier. The last will obviously be the toughest! – Town Clerk Candace Paul Smith

‘Oh, Think of the Places You’ll (Hopefully) Go!’

As we wrap 2021, which will go down in history as no one’s favorite year ever, especially if you who won the lottery but couldn’t collect it because you didn’t wear a mask to the presentation of the Big Fake Check and therefore were executed on site, probably by being beaten to death with the Big Fake Check, we must stress this:

 Everything is going to be OK. Eventually. (I think? I’m pretty sure. Maybe … )

 But — and the “but” is important here because the longer you live, the more you realize there is always a “but” (literally) or a “butt” (figuratively) that can mess things up. For everybody.

 And by “mess things up,” I mean turn the world upside down. When grownups get involved — especially grownups with egos the size of any hemisphere you wish to choose — it is never a good thing.

 Never never ever.

The hair-pulling-out frustration of the past two years has been that the people who have titles and are supposed to be “in charge” of such things and advising us — WE are paying them, for goodness’ sake — keep contradicting themselves with their scientific instructions, then them blaming US for not following orders.

 I don’t mind “following the science” if they can tell me what the actual science is. I just don’t want to follow THEM. If science could speak for itself, then we’d be getting somewhere.

 But it can’t, so we are stuck with the usual suspects, regular people in high places — remember, they are regular, make-mistakes people — who keep changing their minds. I realize we live in the most fluid situation ever; it would just be nice if once in a while, these Important People who act they Know Everything would be less dramatic in their relaying of information and would, now and then, say something like, “Uh, I was wrong.” We’d even settle for, “I could possibly be wrong.”

 Or if they would laugh once in a while … either at themselves or at this sometimes-happy, sometimes-heartbreaking situation. At least then we could tell whether or not they’re robots.

 Wouldn’t that be refreshing?

 All that to say I am glad Dr. Seuss passed away in 1991 at the rich old age of 87 and is not around to see this. He was a man of few words because he wrote for children. The Cat in the Hat, which I have read at least 2,457 times, and I still have my original, colored-in copy to prove it; GREAT book — is 1,626 words long. (That’s roughly two Teddy columns.) It uses just 236 different words, and the two longest words are only two syllables.

 Like me, it is almost 65 years old, having been published in March of 1957. (I am only three or four syllables/years behind.) Unlike me, it is still a source of rich joy. 

 But Dr. Seuss could not have explained the past two years with just 236 words. Though he was a working man’s genius, he’d have needed to invent a whole other alphabet to sum up 2021, which, to quote an old Christmastime favorite, Is Beginning to Look a Lot Like 2020.

 His final book was published by Random House in 1990. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! repeats his constant theme of encouragement to young people (and their parents?), a message to inspire and find the success that lies within. Dr. Seuss was always trying.

You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes

You can steer yourself

Any direction you choose.

You’re on your own. And you know what you know.

And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

 Except not so much in these pandemic times, which are now endemic times, which the higher-ups are having trouble admitting. Sigh … Been a tough time for everyone. But as we’ve nervous-laughed our way through it, together, though brow-beaten most every day, here we are on the brink of a New Year.

 So far, so good. Pretty shaky!, but so far, so good.

And no matter what the smarty pants people too proud to check their egos at the door say, Dr. Seuss was right:

 You’re off to great places!

Today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting.

So … get on your way!

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu

Remember This? Pat’s Proof

By: Brad Dison

45-year-old A.R. “Pat” Patterson was a successful businessman from Fairfax, Virginia. In his spare time, he and Findall Marbury, a naval architect and friend, designed a small motorboat. As the design process neared completion, they hatched a plan. They wanted to build the boat and take it on a 1,000-mile trip from Washington D.C. to Jacksonville, Florida. For two weeks, they shaped ¼ inch boards and glued them to a light wooden frame. They used a special glue to seal the boards together to prevent leaks. They installed a lightweight awning to protect them from the sun’s rays. When the boat was finished, it was 15 feet in length, and weighed 150 pounds. Pat, alone, weighed 160 pounds. They mounted a used 10-horsepower outboard motor to the boat and made arrangements for the 1,000-mile maiden voyage. Pat’s total investment in the boat was about $35. Just before they were to begin their trip, Marbury was transferred away from the Washington D.C. area. Pat’s 10-year-old son, Tommy, begged to take Marbury’s place, but Pat decided to make the trip alone.

On Wednesday, June 22, 1960, Pat loaded the boat with a pump, some extra glue and cotton wadding, a folding chair, and began his journey. He set off near the Francis Scott Key Bridge on the Potomac River in Washington D.C. at full speed. Pat’s route would take him down the Potomac River, through Chesapeake Bay, and through various inland waterways which allowed him to stay in sight of land most of the way. He expected the trip to take about three weeks.

On Thursday, June 30, eight days after he began his trip, Pat reached Hampton, Virginia. The trip was taking longer than he had expected. On several occasions, Pat’s boat struck objects in the water and sprung leaks. “I started out full speed and with not too much caution,” Pat said, “but when I hit a stake in the Chesapeake Bay—well, I was careful from then on. The hull split like an innertube.” Pat patched the leaks with glue and wadding, sometimes without ever taking the boat to shore, and continued on his journey. He usually spent about 12 hours on the water before making port. At one port, a reporter asked him how he dealt with the loneliness. Pat responded that he was too busy to become lonely.

Pat’s closest call on his journey did not come from leaks or fear of sinking, but from something he had not anticipated. Pat reached Fernandina Beach, Florida, just a few miles from his journey’s end at Jacksonville, and pulled his boat out of the water. He left his 10-horsepower “kicker” on the boat. Just a few feet away was another boat in the water. Some convicts had escaped and made their way to Fernandina Beach in search of a boat to steal. They looked at Pat’s beached boat and motor and looked at the one in the water. They quickly decided to take the one in the water to save time. They paddled away and left Pat’s boat on the beach.

On Thursday, August 11, 1960, Pat finally made it to Jacksonville, Florida. The trip he thought would take him three weeks took him 50 days. Part of the time was spent fixing leaks. Much of his time on shore dealt with newspaper reporters and curiosity seekers. When Pat beached the boat in Jacksonville, a reporter asked him if he was planning to return in the boat. Pat replied that he planned to return home after a few rrest, but not by boat. He made it clear that he had no plans for another boat trip anytime soon.

Pat became somewhat of a celebrity because of his journey. On February 15, 1961, Pat was a guest on I’ve Got a Secret. In this show’s format, guests shared a secret with the show’s host Gary Moore. A four-person panel had a limited time to ask the guests questions to try to uncover their secret. What was Pat’s secret? The ¼ inch boards used in the construction of his boat were waterproof …cardboard. Pat made the trip in his cardboard boat as part of a promotion for his company to prove that the cardboard boxes his company produced were truly waterproof.

1. The Times and Democrat (Orangeburg, South Carolina) June 23, 1960, p.10.
2. The Times Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia), June 23, 1960, p.8.
3. The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia), June 23, 1960, p.8.
4. Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia) July 1, 1960, p.3.
5. The Bradenton Herald (Bradenton, Florida), August 12, 1960, p.3.
6. The Pensacola News (Pensacola, Florida) August 12, 1960, p.2.
7. “I’ve Got a Secret,” Airdate February 15, 1961.

Photo caption: Pat waving as he begins his journey near Francis Scott Key Bridge in Washington D.C.

My Opinion – We Welcome 2022 With Great Hope and Promise

By: Royal Alexander

It is worthwhile to take a moment to evaluate the long and winding road of the year just ended and reflect upon the journey of the New Year upon which we are about to embark.

2021 was difficult in many respects because the nation is still reeling, as much from Covid itself, as from the clumsy and error-filled governmental response to it. But the resilient U.S. economy continues to find its footing in spite of the damaging economic policies of the Biden Administration which have caused the highest inflation rate in nearly 40 years.

We continue to battle inflation resulting from so many trillions of tax dollars taken from the paychecks of hard-working taxpayers, or borrowed from China, and pumped by a bureaucratic federal government, often counterproductively and wastefully, into the national economy. However, the hopeful news includes the fact that the so-called Build Back Better bill—and its actual $5 trillion cost and massive new taxes and regulations—has for now been stopped in the U.S. Senate. This fact alone is enough to change the trajectory of the American economy in a positive direction.

In our beloved Louisiana, the fact that the Biden Administration’s ban on oil and gas leases has been stopped by a federal court is a boon to our state economy given how critical that industry is to our state. It is simply insane for the Biden Administration to literally beg nations who hate us to provide us with energy so we can send these hostile powers more hard-earned U.S. dollars to be used for terrorism and other anti-American activities all over the world.

This policy of begging for energy represents a special kind of clinical governmental madness given that it is the Biden Administration’s very own domestic anti-energy policies that have caused this problem and have ended America’s energy independence, as well as contributing greatly to America’s surging inflation rate by raising the costs of production and transportation of goods. With the enormous energy capacity in our country, it is simple lunacy to ever rely on foreign oil in that it creates a national security weakness. (For the same reason, we should rely on American farmers—including family-owned farms—and never on foreign food sources.)

Here at home in the Shreveport-Bossier metropolitan area, we are greatly blessed to be—and other states no doubt envy this fact—at the intersection of two federal interstates and alongside the Red River, all providing enormous economic assets to our region. This has contributed, no doubt, to the recent news of at least three major new projects in North Louisiana, either already confirmed or likely to be. The powerful local economic impact this portends is truly encouraging.

Ternium USA plans to invest $98 million in expansion of its Shreveport facility when it adds a second coil coating paint line with an annual capacity of 120,000 tons at its Port of Caddo-Bossier facility. In so doing, the company is retaining 157 jobs while the project creates 35 new direct jobs with an average salary of $69,000, plus benefits. It is also estimated the project will result in 98 indirect jobs, for a total of 133 new jobs in Louisiana’s Northwest Region.

Two other business entities—with over $600 million in investment—are also considering building new facilities in Caddo and Bossier parishes. This includes Bia Energy Operating Company which announced it is evaluating a $550 million blue methanol production plant that would be located at the Port of Caddo-Bossier in Shreveport. If the plant becomes operational, it is estimated the company would create 75 direct new jobs, with an average annual salary of $80,000, plus benefits. The plant’s impact is also expected to include 390 indirect jobs, for a total of 465 new jobs in Louisiana’s northwest region. Nearly 350 construction jobs would also be created at peak construction for the project.

In Bossier Parish, Teal Jones Group owners Tom and Dick Jones announced that the company is evaluating Plain Dealing, Louisiana for a planned $110.5 million southern yellow pine lumber plant. The new sawmill would support 125 new direct jobs, with average annual salaries of $47,000, plus benefits. This is expected to also support at least 369 indirect jobs, for a total of 494 prospective new jobs in Louisiana’s northwest region. The construction of the facility would also generate up to 120 construction jobs.

We should not neglect to recall the announcement several months ago of Amazon’s first robotics fulfillment center in Shreveport bringing an estimated 1,000 jobs and a $200 million capital investment to the Hunter Industrial Park near Interstates 20, 49 and 220 and providing ideal access for Amazon’s logistics operations.

While I realize that our region might not ultimately win all of these projects (however, we might!), the fact that our area is being so seriously considered is a very hopeful sign for Northwest Louisiana.

We should never forget that we still possess so many great assets in and across Louisiana and locally—not least our natural resources, our people, and our faith and hope.

As President Reagan encouraged Americans, “Let us thank God for life and the blessings He’s put before us. High among them are our families, our freedom, and the opportunities of a new year …. I’ve always thought New Year’s Day was an especially American tradition, full of the optimism and hope we’re famous for in our daily lives — an energy and confidence we call the American spirit. Perhaps because we know we control our own destiny, we believe deep down inside that working together we can make each new year better than the old.”

Let’s all continue to fight the good fight, to keep the faith and to finish the race as we move together into a New Year of hope and possibility!

Happy New Year!

The views and opinions expressed in the My Opinion article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Winn Parish Journal. Any content provided by the authors is of their opinion and is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.