Notice: Bills Signed by Gov. Edwards

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced on June 5 that he has signed the following bills from the 2023 Regular Legislative Session into law:

ACT 31-SB15 Provides relative to per diem received by commissioners of the Vinton Harbor and Terminal District.

ACT 32-SB17 Provides for the composition, terms, powers, and duties of the Shreveport police and firefighters’ pension boards of trustees.

ACT 33-SB20 Provides relative to hospital service districts and scholarships for certain healthcare professionals.

ACT 34-SB24 Provides relative to the Louisiana Board for Hearing Aid Dealers.

ACT 35-SB29 Provides relative to the use of a surgical smoke plume evacuation system.

ACT 36-SB36 Provides for funding of certain insurance costs for retirees of the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office.

ACT 37-SB53 Provides for the powers and authority of the commission of the Cane River Waterway District.

ACT 38-SB55 Provides for procuration or mandate by a succession representative.

ACT 39-SB59 Authorizes the sale of certain school property by the Natchitoches Parish School Board and the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

ACT 40-SB64 Creates Ezekiel’s Law and provides relative to protecting children from abuse.

ACT 41-SB68 Provides for the lease of property located within Jefferson Parish.

ACT 42-SB98 Provides for adding interest in bone marrow donorship to the list of options offered during application for renewal of a state-issued driver’s license.

ACT 43-SB100 Provides for advanced recycling facilities.

ACT 44-SB101 Provides for the distribution of funds from the Lafayette Parish Visitor Enterprise Fund.

ACT 45-SB113 Provides for certain insurance premium discounts.

ACT 46-SB115 Provides relative to educational benefits for children, spouses, and surviving spouses of certain veterans.

ACT 47-SB143 Provides for former officers or insolvent insurers.

Weather word to the wise

Two years ago, there was a now-forgotten late-season hurricane. It mustered up weak winds that couldn’t even knock a sick alley cat over and petered out before the eastern seaboard could offer much interest.
Its name was Teddy.
Soft. Mashed potatoes version of a “storm.”
But experience suggests that things ain’t always that away.
For everything—including hurricanes—there is a season.
But good news: the six-month 2023 hurricane season began June 1 and if the names are any indication, there won’t be much trouble. Lots of Teddy-like names in the crowd. Arlene, for instance, the first named storm of 2023, has come and gone with a whimper.
Then you have Bret and Cindy and Tammy and, well, you get the picture. No Brutus or Atilla. But let a professional explain, a man I would trust with anything, including my 7-iron or even my baseball glove …
He’s an old friend who’s found his way into the emergency business, including weather watching. Worked on The Tech Talk with him and then for almost 20 years at The Times in Shreveport. He’s a good golfer, a great dad, an intrepid reporter, and now works for some lucky people as their Director of Communications in a hurricane-endangered place. I can’t tell you where or his name because that would be indiscreet. (Don. Don Walker. In Brevard County, Florida, like Cocoa Beach and Port Canaveral and all that.)
So, this hurricane season, we have boots on the ground, and here is Don’s official early-season report:
“This year’s list of hurricane names includes ‘Don.’ Nice to get some name recognition, but I predict this will be a somewhat calm hurricane season due to the likes of others who made the list – like Hurricanes Gert, Nigel, and Vince. From an emergency communications standpoint, which is how I make a living, it’s going to be hard to convince people to evacuate when we show up in the ‘Cone of Uncertainty’ for a Hurricane Gert. No offense to any Gerts out there, but I see ‘Gert’ as something the doctor might say when what you’ve got is more of an upset stomach kind of thing, not so much a full-fledged stomach bug – but then I’m not a doctor, I’m just a man and a potential hurricane.
“Thank you for checking on us,” Don’s report concludes. “We’re already five days in and, so far, only one disturbance in the Gulf that didn’t faze us. We’re 1-0, but if and when the time comes, you can find me in the dugout – well, we call it a bunker – handling communications for Brevard County Emergency Management. It’s something I’m pretty good at. Well, that, and golf. But not during a hurricane.”
It’s around this hurricane-wary time of year that I thumb through Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson, a book I’ve read three times. It starts like this:
“Throughout the night of Friday, September 7, 1900, Isaac Monroe Cline found himself waking to a persistent sense of something gone wrong.”
Isaac didn’t know half of it.
In the late summer of 1900, Galveston was home to 38,000 and the third-richest city in America, a boom town. As Larson explains in his book that reads more like a suspense novel than non-fiction, Isaac Cline was its young resident U.S. Weather Bureau meteorologist who “failed to grasp the true meaning of the strange deep-sea swells and peculiar winds that greeted the city that (Saturday, September 8) morning. Mere hours later, Galveston found itself submerged by a monster hurricane that completely destroyed the town and killed over 6,000 people in what remains the greatest natural disaster in American history …”
What Isaac and the gang wouldn’t have given for The Weather Channel. Or Larson’s book. While he didn’t get to read it, you might want to. Spoiler alert: as mentioned, I’ve read it three times; Storm is 3-0 so far.
A final note from Larson’s book:
“Galveston was too pretty, too progressive, too prosperous—entirely too hopeful—to be true. Travelers arriving by ship saw the city as a silver fairy kingdom that might just as suddenly disappear from sight, a very different portrait from that which would present itself in the last few weeks of September 1900, when inbound passengers smelled the pyres of burning corpses a hundred miles out to sea.”
It’s a story about “what can happen when human arrogance meets the uncontrollable force of nature.” It’s why I don’t gripe at rain and lightning delays anymore.

Have a great summer, but let’s be careful out there.

Contact Teddy at or Twitter @MamaLuvsManning

Goldonna Elementary Junior High School Honor Roll 22-23

Goldonna Elementary Junior High School Principal, Cori Beth Manuel, would like to congratulate the following Honor Roll recipients for the 22-23 school year.

Principal’s List

Penelope Mann
Lani Todd
Saydee Flack
Piper Killingsworth
Bryson Carter
Case Sampey

A Honor Roll

Breanna Bates
Hunter Quinn
Ozyria Reliford
Jasiah Grayson
Kayden Bedgood
Alaynna Day
Jaclyn Dillon
Makenzie Dodge
Brookelyn Garner
Carlee Martin
Journey Nealy
Posey Riddle
Riley Thompson

B Honor Roll

Cassi Caldwell
Amy Lee
Jace Lee-Johnson
Addyson Martinez
Johnny Stewart
Genesis Williams
Nathan Black
Cortney Cheatwood
Ella Chism
Janiah Grayson
Jazper Choate
Caylee Cotton
Serenity Williams

Junior High
Principal’s List

Haiden Black
Grace Day
Zalien Paul
anthony Giannone
Brody Guin
Joseph Ivy
Daygen Johnson
Carlie Spears

A Honor Roll

Silas Collinsworth
Gavin Spears
Victoria Stewart
Heidi Winn
Daylon Michael-Chris
Chaylie Cox
Ayden Desadier
Bronson Mclendon
Autumn Womack
Zaine Choate
Alex Mccoy
Kara Slaughter

B Honor Roll

Brennan Alexander
Dallas Bates
Gabrielle Bedgood
Remy Dillon
Brett Keith
Tyler Lebrun
Maggie Johnson
Landon James Dakota
Slade Nielsen
Aubrey Oliver
Addison Weaver

Notice of Death – June 6, 2023

Maudie Irene Fabian
December 25, 1935 — May 22, 2023
Service: Saturday, June 10 at 9 am at the Bolton Cemetery in Gorum
William (Billy) Rodgers
May 14, 1937-June 1, 2023
Service: Thursday, June 8 at 10 am at  Oak Grove Cemetery in the Oak Grove community in Natchitoches
George Holland
August 28, 1950 — June 4, 2023
Service: Saturday, June 10 at 2 pm at Christian Harmony Baptist Church in the Trichel Community 

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

Notice of Death – May 30, 2023

Lonnie Mae Baker
December 8, 1941 – May 30, 2023
Arrangements TBA

Debra Darby
July 19, 1960 – May 18, 2023
Service: Saturday, June 3 at 11 am in the chapel of the Winnfield Funeral Home of Winnfield

Sylvia Stanfield
May 28, 1942 — May 28, 2023
Service: Wednesday, May 31 at 10 am at Trinity Baptist Church with interment to follow at Memory Lawn Cemetery in Natchitoches

Patsy Procell
February 13, 1947 — May 26, 2023
Service: Wednesday, May 31 at 11 am at St Anne’s Catholic Church in Spanish Lake Community followed by burial at Beulah Cemetery

Maudie Irene Fabian
December 25, 1935 — May 22, 2023
Service: Saturday, June 10 at 9 am at the Bolton Cemetery in Gorum

The coolest of all summer staples

The problem with making homemade ice cream when you were a kid is it seemed to take forever to freeze.
I scream, you scream, we all scream if the homemade ice cream won’t freeze.
It was like waiting for school to let out or Christmas morning to come. Though the object is the polar opposite, waiting on ice cream to freeze is the same metaphorically as waiting for the watched pot to boil.
“Is it ready yet?”
But some things are worth waiting on: A woman. Game 7. That first autumn day.
And homemade ice cream. The best things just won’t be rushed.
Seems like when we were kids that making homemade ice cream was about as common as shucking corn. On our back porch were muddy boots, a mop and broom, emergency dog food in case scraps were in short supply, a deep freeze filled with stuff in white packing paper and clear quart bags, and a gradually rotting wooden ice cream tub and briny crank handle contraption. Always in the bottom of the tub was the white rock salt residue that never quite came out.
Never did I know as a child what the rock salt was for, only that you “needed it” to “make the ice cream freeze.” That’s what the grownups said. Grownups took a lot of time not explaining stuff to us back then.
“But why?” a little person would say.
“Because I said so,” a big person would say.
It was a simpler time.
Naturally, we just assumed the salt kept the ice cream from contracting rickets.
I have since learned (off the streets) that the salt combines in some chemical way with the ice to lower the temperature a bit below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, thus assuring that the mixture inside the Magic Silver Tube, surrounded by ice, freezes.
It’s one of those science deals.
A couple of weeks ago at the beach, my high school friend J.C. Penney (the four-time Louisiana state 4-H Good Grooming Champ back in the day, which is another column for another time) ran out of salt and out of luck while attempting a homemade batch. He bought salt the next morning and added it to the ice. Less than 20 minutes of churning later, the ice cream was tight as Dick’s hat band and cold as a penguin’s nose. Sweet.
Folks don’t seem to make homemade ice cream as much today as they used to. And that’s a shame. Making homemade ice cream taught us some handy life lessons that today’s kids miss out on.
True, food folk have figured out how to make Food You Buy At The Store better. Preservatives and whatnot. Cake mixes are about as good from the box now as the ones you can make from scratch. What I’m saying here is that if you’ve eaten Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla, I can pretty much rest my case.
But in the days before electric churns, making homemade ice cream taught you patience and safety. The first thing our dads had us boys do was sit on the top of the freezer while they hand churned. This took a calendar day and you couldn’t feel your frozen butt until Tuesday.
The next growing-up step was to sit on the churn and turn it at the same time. This required dexterity and skill, because you haven’t lived until you’ve been churning and accidentally hit yourself in a delicate area. Some things you can feel, even frozen. I scream, you scream…
(From July 2012)

Contact Teddy at or Twitter @MamaLuvsManning

The Hippie Lawyer

By Brad Dison

Ronald Hughes was a novice California attorney whose first trial was approaching quickly.  He was defending a woman named Leslie Van Houten in a multiple murder trial.  Three other defendants had their own attorneys.  Ronald needed a good suit for the trial.  In May of 1970, Hollywood movie studio MGM decided to auction off movie props, many from the golden age of Hollywood, which they figured they would not need for future films.  The props had been kept in climate-controlled storage for decades.  Ronald watched as noteworthy items brought high prices and probably questioned whether he would be able to afford anything at all.  Finally, the lone item he had been waiting for was on the auction block.  It was a man’s suit worn by Spencer Tracy in the 1960 film Inherit the Wind.  The auctioneer opened the bids on the suit and the room fell silent.  As the auctioneer peered around the room, only one person in the audience seemed interested.  Ronald bid $5.00 on the suit and won it.  Ronald was uninterested that the suit was worn in a film, he was interested because the suit was cheap and in his size.

On July 15, 1970, the trial for which Ronald bought the $5 suit began.  The trial was fraught with disruptions from members of Leslie’s family, many of whom were eventually banned from the courtroom.  Due to Ronald’s flamboyant courtroom demeanor, his long hair, long beard, the admission of his squalid living conditions (Ronald lived in a garage with holes in the roof and slept on a mattress on the floor), admission that he wore a $5 suit he purchased at an auction, and his admission to having used hallucinogenic drugs in the past, the press nicknamed him the “Hippie Lawyer.”  The trial dragged on for months.  Finally, on November 16, 1970, after 23 weeks of presenting evidence, the State of California rested its case against Leslie.  It was time for the defense attorneys to present their evidence. 

On November 19, the defense attorneys filed motions for the acquittal of the defendants on the grounds that the state had not presented sufficient evidence to convict them.  The state had presented more than 250 individual pieces of evidence, 73 photographs of the victims, and eyewitness testimony.    The judge rejected the motions for acquittal.  To everyone’s surprise, each of the defendant’s attorneys, including Ronald, stood in turn, and said, “the defense rests.”  The attorneys rested their case without calling a single witness in their defense.  Leslie and other members of her family yelled that they wanted to testify.  The prosecution and defense agreed to recess over the week of Thanksgiving to give both sides a chance to prepare closing arguments.  The trial was set to resume on Monday, November 30. 

When the trial resumed on that Monday morning, Ronald failed to show up.  After waiting an hour, the trial continued without Ronald.  He had been late before because he lacked proper transportation and was once arrested for outstanding traffic tickets.  When he failed to appear for court the following day, the judge ordered deputies to use all possible means to find Ronald and bring him to court.  The trial continued without him.  Deputies learned that Ronald had hitchhiked to the Los Padres National Forest for a Thanksgiving week camping trip.  Search parties scoured the area but found no trace of Ronald.  The defendants, including Ronald’s client Leslie, were eventually convicted of murder.  On March 29, the jury returned death penalty verdicts against Leslie and the other defendants.  On the same day, two trout fishermen found Ronald’s body in a knee-deep creek.  His head was wedged between two large rocks.  Conspiracy theorists and even some of Leslie’s family members concluded that the father of the family had Ronald killed although a cause of death was never determined.  Investigators speculated that Ronald drowned during a rainstorm which caused flash flooding.  However, the possibility that members of Leslie’s family had killed Ronald was not beyond the realm of belief.  You see, the family who disrupted the courtroom proceedings was referred to as the Manson family.  The father of the family was Charles Manson.          


1.     The Los Angeles Times, May 4, 1970, p.4.
2.     The Sacramento Bee, November 17, 1970, p.6.
3.     Santa Cruz Sentinel, November 18, 1970, p.7.
4.     The Peninsula Times Tribune, November 19, 1970, p.1.
5.     Concord Transcript, November 30, 1970, p.2.
6.     The Hanford Sentinel, December 2, 1970, p.1.
7.     The Los Angeles Times, March 30, 1971, p.3.
8.     The Sacramento Bee, April 1, 1971, p.77.

Notice of Death – May 23, 2023

Paul Travis Russell
May 18, 1954 — May 21, 2023
Black Lake – A time of remembrance for Paul Russell will be held on Friday, May 26 from 4-9 pm at the Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home. A eulogy service will be held at 7 pm in the funeral home chapel.

Delphine Jackson
September 12, 1963 – May 17, 2023
Arrangements TBA

Mary Demery
July 4, 1949 – May 13, 2023
Service: Wednesday, May 24 at 2 pm at Kingdom Hall, located at 1645 Breazeale Springs St. in Natchitoches

Ethel M Sarpy
November 20, 1934 – May 19, 2023
Arrangments TBA

Joshua M Howard
March 24, 1980 – May 20, 2023
Service: Saturday, May 27 at 11 am at St. Paul Baptist Church in Bermuda

City Council Moves  Forward On Property Condemnations

The Winnfield City Council acted at its May 9 meeting on its longstanding policy of property condemnation by setting a 60-day timeframe for four property owners to take action on sites while tabling action on a fifth as that situation is reviewed.

The first, Timothy Blakely, spoke on his own behalf, explaining that they had purchased two adjacent properties with the intent of tearing down one to provide additional land space for the second.  However, he said he is a disabled veteran and his wife is also disabled so the work progress is slow as they are doing it themselves.  Their home is on Allen Street and the demolition project is adjacent on South St. John Street.  The council agreed to another 60 days.

Attorney Jonathan McDow represented the next three cases, those being properties of Julius Camp, David D. and Kathy M. Brown and Reba Teresa Thomas Miller.  He gave a report for each and presented paperwork to city attorney Herman Castete.  The city attorney gave a brief summary of the process to council members, showing the start-to-finish time from condemnation to clearance is not as quick as might seem expected.  The council also allowed 60 more days on these.

McDow also reported on the fifth property, that belonging to Constance Meadore.  He said the property owner had not yet replied to his inquiries.  Members voted to table action while the matter is reviewed.

In other business, the council agreed to dissolve the city’s contract with Chad Parker and to further review a proposal from Institute for Building Technology & Safety (IBTS) as a provider of building and electrical service inspections.  Speaking for IBTS, Joseph Migues told the council that Parker had cited too few inspection orders to continue his service.

Migues said he was in Natchitoches one day when a Winnfield call came in and he completed that inspection the same day.  Similarly, he’d conducted 17 or 18 inspections in a timely fashion.  The company conducts a full range of inspection services, including new construction, renovation and code inspections.

The council also approved Ordinance 2 of 2023 which takes into the city limits the property of the Winnfield Animal Clinic on Hwy 167 north.  The target is to bring in all properties on both sides of the highway up to the Hwy 156 (Calvin Road) intersection.  This will allow the city access to available grant funds for sewer line extensions for those properties.

Winnfield City Council took action at a short meeting May 9 with three of five members.  From left are Teresa Phillips (Dist. 5). Mayor Gerald Hamms. Ada Hall (Dist. 2), Erikia Breda (District 1), city clerk Katina Smith and city attorney Herman Castete.  Absent were Chiquita Caldwell (Dist. 3) and Matt Miller (Distr. 4).

Winnfield Rotary Hears History of Dodson from Mickey Simmons

Rotarian Bob Holeman, left, interviewed Mickey Simmons on the history of Dodson

Dodson, the town some may consider just a “speed trap half way between Winnfield and Jonesboro on Highway 167,” actually has quite a history, evidenced at Winnfield Rotary Club’s meeting May 10, 2023. Long-time Rotarian and Dodson native, Mickey Simmons, was interviewed about historical Dodson and its “heyday” by Rotarian Bob Holeman.

Simmons related that Dodson began as a community about 1860, a little before the beginning of the Civil War, when a man named Reeks settled there. The railroad which was run through the area a few years later resulted in growth of the population around the depot to serve those who brought agricultural products to be transported to other markets by train. The name originally planned for the community was Lena, but It was discovered another Lena, Louisiana, already existed. It was then named Dodson, after the last name of the engineer who ran the train. However, Dodson was not formally a municipality until 1901.

In comparison, Winnfield was established as a municipality and the parish seat in 1852. Thus, the old tale that Dodson was considered for the parish seat cannot be true, although there may have been some discussion of moving the parish seat to Dodson when it was thriving and had a population between 2000 and 2500.

Two rather unusual things about Dodson noted by Simmons are that it has no cemetery, and it is home to the only “mountain” in Winn Parish called Doc Cole’s Mountain. located west of the railroad tracks but within the city limits.

What is seen today as one proceeds on Highway 167 through Dodson is not what made up the community of Dodson in earlier days. Most of the businesses, stores, offices, homes and streets which made up Dodson lay east of what is now Hwy 167. At the same time, Gansville was a thriving community, as was Winona. The three spread out so they almost ran into one another. Both Dodson and Gansville hosted a fair and horse races in their heyday. In fact, Gansville was the location of the first Milam & Sons business, and the Milam family then bought property in the Dodson community.

The “town” buildings of Dodson in the earliest days included a medical building, as Dodson had four doctors at one time. Many children, including Mr. Simmons and his brother Harry, were born in the clinic building in Dodson. In addition to a municipal building, there were stores and a café, the home of Dodson State Bank, and an office for the Dodson Times, the local newspaper which printed its last edition in about 1928.

Just south of this area, Mr. Jones and Mr. Milam developed a residential neighborhood, the Jones and Milam addition, where the first brick building in town, the Dodson School, was built. The first principal of Dodson’s school was Charlie Shell, a great uncle of Jan Shell Beville, who always wore a black suit, a black shirt and a black bowtie, and was never seen without a tie. The school remains in that same location today, although the original school building was destroyed in 1939 or 1940 by a gas explosion related to new heaters that had been recently installed in the school. One of Simmons’ childhood friends lived in the neighborhood, and said that, when he and his family heard the explosion, his father said, “the Japs have attacked! Go get my shotgun!”

Mr. Jones, the grandfather of Kenneth Hightower, had a store in town which was thriving even before the advent of the railroad. He moved his store to the area of the railroad depot, and it became even more prosperous. Thus, when he and Mr. Milam developed Jones and Milam addition to the town, he built the huge ramshackle house one can now see from the highway.

The town came into its own when the Louisiana Lumber Company discovered Dodson and its stands of timber and brought its sawmill to town. This is when it peaked in population and industry. Once it had cut all the marketable timber, however, the company left town and moved on to other forested locations. Almost at once, the town died, its population dwindling from 2000 to about 400 at the time Simmons was a boy growing up in Dodson.

Eventually, the businesses in “downtown Dodson” were no more, and the buildings were left uninhabited. A man who was planning to build a house in Winnfield purchased the buildings which made up the downtown and tore them down to salvage the brick during Mr. Simmons’s boyhood. Although he managed to move the salvaged brick to his lot in Winnfield, when he discovered how much the labor to erect the house would cost, he gave up on the scheme and let the brick sit where it was. It seems some of it may still be left here in Winnfield somewhere.

Despite the small number of people still there, Simmons was able to name many who grew up in Dodson and went on to become very successful in the wider world. Two brothers with whom he played as a child became professional athletes. One played pro football with the San Diego team, then the New York Jets, and finally the Detroit Lions. After his football career, he worked for Ford Motor Company in Detroit until retirement. His brother was drafted by and played for the Baltimore Orioles, but hurt his shoulder and left the game. He was later recruited by New York City’s community college system to teach physical education for many years. This friend was inducted into the Grambling Athletic Hall of Fame. There was a Stovall family in Dodson, two of whom played on LSU’s undefeated 1908 football team. The famous Jerry Stovall, who played pro ball for the St. Louis Cardinals and was head football coach at LSU, was a member of this same Dodson family.

Dr. Paul Peters came from Dodson. Another Dodson native went into the U. S. Air Force after completing a degree at Tech, helped design a famous weapon system, and then helped design the first computer made by IBM. A son of Dr. Tolbert who practiced medicine in Dodson for many years followed his father into medicine and became the first board-certified pediatrician in Monroe.

When asked about the “Great Dodson Train Wreck,” Simmons related the following story: “Around about Big Creek where the mill is, there was a train derailment once upon a time. Three boxcars full of cargo, two with Gold Medal flour and one with evaporated milk, overturned and lay in place overnight. A local guy was hired as watchman, and when the company officials showed up the next morning, they found only two cases of milk and one of flour left in the cars.”
The Rotary meeting was adjourned, as customary, with its motto, “Service above Self!”

Large Reception Honors Winn’s Senior Scholars

Winn’s top graduating seniors…39 in all…were invited to a reception at Central Louisiana Technical Community College the evening of May 8.  The invitation did not come due to their athletic prowess, their oratory skill or their social grace, said Supt. Alfred Simmons, but due solely to their academic achievement. 

Each senior has maintained at least a 3.5 GPA throughout their four years of high school.  Many, the superintendent said, have maintained an even higher average.  As an aside, Simmons pointed out that many of these scholars had also excelled in sports and other non-academic endeavors.  As the students leave Winn to pursue their chosen avenue, he challenged them to do their best to be good representatives of their families and of Winn Parish.

Atlanta High School principal Wendy Miller lauded the students for persevering as they worked towards their personal goals.  WSHS principal Dr. Jane Griffin noted that local students traveled and competed all over the state and country, making Winn proud.

The room on the Huey P. Long Campus was filled with family, friends and educators as the students entered in procession at 6 p.m.  They enjoyed a brief program with the presentation of plaques, followed by photo opportunities then a social time with refreshments.

Of the 39 honorees, three are from Atlanta High School, ten from Calvin High School, five from Dodson High School and 21 from Winnfield Senior High School.  They are:

AtlantaZaibriana McLaren. M’Khya Mitchell and Ella Price.

CalvinDillon Caldwell, Samantha Cullen, Kate Dupree, John Bradley Griffin, Jacob Harford, Addisyn James, Remington Lee, Abigail McCarty, Gavin Musgrove and Gunnar Yocum.

DodsonKeyla Garcia, Summer Gorham, Mary Gresham, Trenten Howard and Hunter Vines.

Winnfield Senior HighKarly Avant, Gracee Barton, Maggie Bruce, Gracelyn Chevallier, Olivia Files, Leyton Gardner, Harley Grantadams, Bethany Gray, Annie Heard, Addison Jacobsen,Chloe James, Brady Johnson, Samuel Jones, Alyssa Patterson, Allison Phelps, Lauren Poole, Micah Simmons, Joy So, Parker Sonnier, Kaden Victor and Chloe Whisonant.

WWII: C.W. “Jack” Jones Aboard USS Enterprise when Kamikazi Ends Carrier’s WWII Action

C.W. Jones – WWI and C.W. Jones 2012

C.W. “Jack” Jones has a military family story that the media likes to talk about.  His parents Rufus and Nena Jones had eight sons, and while one died in infancy, five of the remaining boys served in World War II.

His father worked a 40-acre farm with two horses, raising corn, cotton, peanuts, peas, and sugar cane. They also raised cows, hogs, and chickens, which they killed for meat.  The senior Jones, a carpenter, also got $20 a month from the state for serving as a fire warden, responding when the fire tower spotted a blaze in the nearby forest.  “Poppa would fight fires.  He had a flap and a fire rake and that was it.  We also made crossties when farming was slow.”

When Jones started school at Atlanta, there were separate elementary and high schools.  Odelle Durham was one of his early teachers but it may have been English teacher Miss Parish (who became Mrs. J.W. Barr) who made the biggest impression on this young scholar.  “I was a pretty good student and made good grades under her.  I was at Atlanta through all 11 grades, graduating in 1942 when I was 17.”

Out of school, Jones worked at Western Auto under A.W. Berdon.  When he turned 18 (Nov. 15, 1943), he registered for the draft and in January 1944,  reported to Fort Humbug in Shreveport.  “I wanted to be in the Army like my other brothers but they told me you are in the Navy and sent me back home.”

It wasn’t until March 1944 that Jones got the call to actually report for service.  It was back to Fort Humbug, then San Diego by train for boot camp.  “I’d never been out of Winn Parish before.  We were in San Diego for eight weeks training but never got leave so I never saw the ‘Big City.’  But the plains and mountains we’d seen along the way were impressive.  During boot camp, I mastered all the other skills but never made swimmer.  It was good enough because they put me on the USS Miami, a cruiser headed for Pearl Harbor, anyway.”

Jones was at Pearl Harbor through the month of May, cleaning up old planes and other wreckage from the attack two years earlier.  Despite the romance of “Hawaii” today, back then there was little development to see other than the military presence on the islands.

He then boarded the USS Houston and crossed the Pacific to the Caroline Islands, just north of the equator.  There, he got aboard a barge that transported men to the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, the largest ship he’d ever seen.  They were in the middle of the ocean so he boarded the Enterprise by way of a rope ladder up the side. There he’d stay for the rest of the war.

“I was a Seaman Second Class.  I became a Seaman First Class, then later was ranked as an Aviation Ordnanceman Third Class.  First thing they did was assign me sleeping quarters.  I had various duties before being assigned to the Aviation Ordnance Department.  There, different divisions had specific duties.  I loaded ammunition and bombs onto planes.  We had SBD dive-bombers, TBF Avengers which were torpedo planes and F4F Wildcat and F6F Hellcat fighters.  We had to climb up on the wings to load the 50-calibre guns and when loaded we placed masking tape over the barrel so the pilot would know the guns were ready to fire.”

At first, the fighters flew mostly daytime sortees.  In telling his story, the veteran is still impressed that the 50-calibre machine guns were mounted in the wings and the guns had to be synchronized to fire through the plane’s rotating propellers.  One of his duties was making up the rolls of shells and he said every fifth shell had to be a tracer so the pilot could check his effectiveness.  The bombs were either 500- or 1000-pound bombs and it took two men working together to load and arm them.  They were hooked to a trigger wire so that when the pilot dropped a bomb, the detonator was primed.

The Winnfield boy saw his first battle action in the Marshall Islands in what came to be called “The Great Marianas Turkey Shoot” due to the tremendous loss of Japanese aircraft.  Some 500 ships in Task Force 58 covered an area 75 miles across, with about 10 carriers, small and large, with their payload of planes and firepower protected at center by circling rings of battleships, cruisers, and destroyers.

“When we went in to attack, the enemy wanted to get to our carriers.  But they had to get past our defense first.  The task force had about 950 planes.  The Japanese had about 450 aboard carriers with another 200 land-based aircraft.  Our planes were going out all the time.  We got the planes loaded and refueled while the pilots went in to rest and debrief.  Then they’d take off again.  There were too many planes topside for them to use the entire length of the flight deck (809 feet) to take off.  There were two catapults at the front of the deck.  The pilots would rev-up their engines to full thrust before the planes were released by the catapult.

Jones admitted that it was “an exciting but scary time for a little country boy” as the Enterprise began its missions, including the invasion of the Marshall Islands, attack of Saipan and Battle of Philippines Seas.  “It was intense but each of the 2500 men aboard had a job to do and we had to do it in the time available.  Success depended on everyone doing their specific job, knowing that the enemy was out there somewhere and you didn’t know when they might attack.  But we didn’t have time to worry.  We had a job to do and we got it done!”

The Enterprise had been involved in major battles earlier in the war before Jones joined the crew, like Midway and Coral Sea in 1942, when Japan had expanded its offensive as far as it would.  After the Marshall Islands, the Enterprise (nicknamed the “Big-E,” said Jones) was ordered back to Pearl Harbor for repairs, refitting and a camouflage job.  By late 1944, the carrier was back in action in the invasion of the Volcano and Bonin islands chains and by early October sailed into the waters of the Palau Islands.  There they joined up with other carrier units.  Jones observed that the USS Enterprise and the USS Saratoga were the only Pacific theater aircraft carriers to survive the entire war.  (Only the USS Ranger had that distinction on the Atlantic side).  At this point in the war, newly constructed carriers were coming into service to bolster the American fleet.

The Enterprise was part of the strike force against Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Formosa and the Philippines.  After reprovisioning in the Ulithi Islands, the ship joined the American invasion of Leyte Gulf in October 1944.  There were four or five days of intensive fighting in which the carrier USS Princeton was sunk.

“After the Leyte Gulf Sea Battle ended, the Japanese began using their most efficient weapon on the American fleet, the kamikaze.  We were ordered to stay at general quarters at all times.  During the invasion we were on-ready, day and night, never pulling off our shoes or clothing.  We ate K-rations, not the good mess hall food.  I even remember spaghetti being served out of buckets.  We never knew when the kamikazes were going to hit.”  In late October, the Enterprise experienced a “near miss” from a suicide pilot.

A return to Pearl Harbor on Dec. 6, 1944 was welcomed by the crew and it ushered in a new era of their warfare.  “We sailed back out on Dec. 24.  I remembered it was Christmastime and I thought of home again.  We returned to the Philippines with an air group specially trained for night carrier operations.  We were not exempt from day activities but our mission now involved the harassment of the enemy at night.  The carrier swept the sea north of Luzon and the waters of the China Sea, hitting shore targets and shipping from Formosa to the French Indo-China area.  We also covered raids day and night on Tokyo during February 1945.  Then the ship took on its latest objective, the Marine landing on Iwo Jima on Feb. 19.  We remained in the area until about March 9.  Over 5,900 Marines and 23,000 Japanese lost their lives in a land area less than 12 square miles.”

On March 18, Jones came to understand that God was watching over him.  One of his helpers from Drew, Mississippi, was not so fortunate.  A kamikaze came in at such a shallow angle that the bomb did not explode…the detonator was located in its nose and the bomb landed on its belly.  A fire broke out and  Jones’ mate died from his burns several days later.  That night or early the next morning, the Franklin was hit by torpedo planes, with 700 fatalities and 265 others injured, leaving it without power, to be pulled out of harm’s way by the Enterprise.

“But several days later, our ship was damaged and we had to return to Uilithi for a week of repairs,” said Jones.  We returned to action in early April, when kamikaze planes were standard procedure for the enemy.  We were at battle stations on May 14, 1945,  off of Okinawa.  Action of enemy planes had begun early in the day, around 0700 hours.  A Japanese pilot in a bomb-laden Zero broke from the clouds above and placed his plane on the deck of the Enterprise, just behind the forward elevator.”

The plane disintegrated but the bomb, the engine and the body of the pilot continued forward into the elevator pit.  This time, the bomb did explode, sending the 15-ton elevator at least 400 feet into the air (some pilot accounts put it as high as 1000 feet).  Newsweek magazine carried the report and picture in May, 1945. Amazingly, only 14 men were killed and 68 injured but the carrier’s deck was buckled and warped while the elevator and one catapult were knocked out of commission, as was the ship.  The Enterprise and crew headed to Pearl Harbor two days later, then to Bremerton, Washington, for extensive repairs.

“The war wasn’t over but it was over for us.  On June 7, 1945, I got my first leave to visit home for a while.  We were leaving the Puget Sound Naval Yard in September, 1945 when the Japanese officially surrendered.  The Enterprise with its crew was a warship without a war.”

Services of this historic carrier were not complete, however.  It picked up 1,149 liberated POWs at Pearl Harbor and steamed through the Panama Canal to New York where the crew, with Jones, stood on the deck in a naval parade of 47 ships passing before President Harry Truman on Navy Day, October 27, 1945.  Soon, Jones’ war would be over.  He disembarked in New York and went to Norfolk, VA.  On Nov. 13, 1945, he was discharged…though he had to report to the New Orleans Naval Personnel Center before it was official on February 2, 1946.

“I didn’t go sight-seeing or anything,” the veteran said about his time after the war.  “I came home as quick as I could.”  Unlike some who said they picked up where they’d left off, Jones said his time at war had taken its toll.  This country boy worked through this trauma, under a doctor’s care, for a year or so, working odd jobs before he got his feet back on the ground.

When he got himself back together, Jones became associated with Milam’s Department Store, first driving a delivery truck, then serving as a clerk.  Then he went to Milam’s Furniture Store.  Finally he’d take a postal exam and would go on to work for the USPS for over 26 years, retiring November, 1985.

Describing himself as having been “raised in a church” (Sardis Baptist), he has been active in churches since his return.  He became a deacon at South Winnfield Baptist Church in 1956 where he directed Sunday School, Training Union and music. Perhaps recalling God’s protection aboard the USS Enterprise, he said he surrendered to the ministry 50 years ago (February 1962).  Ordained at Laurel Heights Baptist Church, he’s served as pastor at Sardis, Union Hill, Yankee Springs, Hebron, Shady Grove, Zion, Friendship and Trinity.  He’s filled a number of pulpits since retiring.

As to the romance in his life, Jones explained that before the war, he had met Moeice Lashley.  “During the war, we’d communicate some back and forth, but it wasn’t often.  It was delayed or cut up with all the military censorship. You only got mail when you went into a port for repair.  When I returned, we started dating.  That led to us getting married Dec. 21, 1947.”

They have two daughters, Joyce Yvonne Jones and Paula Gail Jones.

May News from the Village of Goldonna

As you cross the railroad tracks when you arrive downtown Goldonna, you may notice a new sign when you stop at the stop sign and turn your gaze to the left. The River of Life Family Worship Center erected a new sign commemorating the church and the year it was founded. The church members were ecstatic for this new look. The prior sign was weathered and worn but it has greeted guests for the past fifteen years. 

“Mr. Houston Etheridge from Winnfield, Louisiana so kindly lent his time, craftsmanship and talented vision to the creation of this sign. Without his generosity this would not have been possible,” shared Pastor George Procell. 

River of Life Family Worship Center is also hosting the “Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Prayer Breakfast” this Saturday morning. Breakfast will be served Saturday, May 20 at 7 am. Worship will begin at 8 am with Brother Wade Smith will be the special speaker. 

Goldonna Assembly of God is hosting a Community Cookout on Saturday, May 27. The church will be providing free food, drinks and good fellowship at the L&A Trails Pavillion. The event will be held from 10 am – 3 pm. For more information please contact Pastor Timmy Harris at 318-481-7191 or Pam Harris at 318-229-8766. The church is overjoyed to share this community event and everyone is welcome to attend. 

Goldonna Elementary Junior High School announced Kindergarten Graduation will be held on Monday, May 22 at 9 am and the 8th grade Graduation will be held at 6 pm. Pre-K Registration is still going on. Friday, May, 19 from 8 am – 3 pm. The last day to register is Thursday, June 1. This is an amazing opportunity for your child to learn, grow and excel. The last day of school is approaching fast. Tuesday, May 23 will be the last day for students. 

The Natchitoches Area Fire District 2 will be holding a fundraiser on Saturday, June 10. They will be hosting their First Annual Poker Run. The poker run will cover miles and miles of scenic terrain with several check points along the way where participants will draw playing cards, to build their poker hand. Prizes will be awarded for the top three hands and there will be door prizes as well as a “Split the Pot”. Complimentary water will be available at every checkpoint. There will be a Fried Fish Lunch available for the low cost of $10 per plate. Non-participants will be allowed to purchase meals too. The ride begins at 8 am and concludes at 5:00pm at the final drawing spot in Goldonna. You must be 21 years or older to participate in the Poker Game. 

All proceeds will benefit the Volunteer Fire Department and their tireless efforts in keeping the community safe. You can pre-register for $20 from now until June 3rd. After that the fee will be $30. For more information you can contact Candace Smith (318-471-0704), Mason Rachal (318-471-8636), or Rachel Chesser (318-663-2964)

Goldonna Baptist Church Youth Group is hosting an Evening Bass Tournament in hopes of raising money for their Summer trip. The tournament will be held on Friday, June 2 at the Mill Creek Reservoir, which is located just a few miles down the road in Saline, Louisiana. Boats will leave at 6 pm and weigh in will be held at 9 pm. It should be noted that this is a three fish tournament. There is a $100 per boat fee with 50% payback. Options include Big Bass $10 and trash fish $5. There will be a .25lb penalty for dead fish. No minimum length rule. For more information you may call or text 318-413-7528

GBS is also laying the groundwork to have the biggest year of Operation Christmas Child that the Goldonna community has ever seen. Pastor Dupree recently announced the following donation schedule:

May                       Hard plastic cups, bowls, utensils

June                      Sewing kits and multi tools

July                        School supplies, pencil cases, notebooks, crayons, coloring books

August                   Hats/caps, tshirts, undies, socks

September            wipes, makeup, hair clips, maxi-pads, solid deodorant 

October                 Christmas Stockings, Christmas Cards

November             Packing Party 

The Village of Goldonna is a beautiful town with the most thoughtful, loving and kind residents. If you would like to highlight a community member please reach out to me. I know there are many gems just waiting to shine.  

If you have news to include email Reba Phelps at