City moves closer to sewer grant

By Bonnie Culverhouse

As of 8 a.m. Wednesday, only 11 signatures were needed for a sewer grant application that will change the lives of residents in City of Minden Districts A and B.

“We needed 242 signatures from these two districts in order to receive a $1.3 million sewer grant,” said Minden Mayor Terry Gardner. “It’s going to help so many people in those areas.”

The Coordinating & development Corporation (CDC) is assisting the City in the preparation and submission of the application for funding through the Louisiana Community Development Block Grant Program.

In accordance with the requirements of this U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funded program, the application for federal assistance must provide information regarding the number of persons who will benefit from the project, their estimated income and other related data.

“For weeks, we have been walking the two districts, trying to get residents to sign applications, so we can get this grant,” Gardner said. “We reached out to the council to help us with this.”

District A councilman Wayne Edwards acquired packets and has been working to obtain signatures.

“Quite naturally we are encouraging people to do this,” Edwards said. “The first time the survey came out, I got 126 signatures. We didn’t have enough to complete the survey, but we’re in the process of doing it right now.”

The first time, to which he is referring, came at the beginning of the Covid pandemic when door to door interaction was discouraged. Edwards said those signatures can be added to the ones most recently collected.

“I get hundreds of phone calls and spend the majority of my time working for my district,” he added. “I’m concerned about my district, and I’m going to do my part to make sure this thing happens.”

Gardner said he feels confident all the signatures will check out, and once they have the 11 needed, that will be sufficient.

“This is not something that is going to help me or anybody that’s knocking on doors,” said the mayor. “This is for the residents in District A and District B. The only way we can accomplish this is to have a total of 242 signatures. If we don’t get them, the sewers in these areas will not be improved. This is a free grant.”

Deadline to collect the signatures and submit the packet is January 6, 2022.

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Montgomery retires from Bossier police jury

From left, former Senate President John Alario, Billy Montgomery and Northwestern State University Head Basketball Coach Mike McConathy.

Former coach and state representative Billy Montgomery retired Wednesday from his latest job, Special Projects Coordinator for the Bossier Parish Police Jury. Montgomery began work with the jury in 2008 as assistant to Administrator Bill Altimus. He served on and worked with several parish boards and commissions, representing the police jury.

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Are the offended offensive?

Rocker occupant grew a touch weary of viewing the goings on of governmental types. Finding anything different from what one would consider the absurdity of the ignorantly arrogant elite can be mentally draining. What better avenue to just relax and be entertained than a little football, right? Wrong. 

Now we know a bunch of you have given up on football, primarily on the professional level, since NFL execs decided politically correct was the correct way to present itself to the masses. Boycotting televised games became quite popular. But up here on the hilltop, Rocker and all the Rockerites still enjoy the gladiatorial aspect of the game. Our motto: If you ain’t capable of beating somebody up, watch somebody else do it.

But, alas, the game has become a toy for those who have taken one word in the American language and made it a hammer with which to bash the big toes of we, the undereducated and uninformed. That word, “offended.” And the offended police are everywhere.

On the tube last week was the gridiron group representing our nation’s capitol, the team formerly known as the Washington Redskins. Now, following years of moaning by Indian (aka, Native American) activists, this racial slur was unceremoniously tossed into the burn barrel of history. Washington is now, The Football Team. How original. 

Rocker has an ancestor on each limb of the family tree that was a member of an American Indian tribe. We are not offended when sport teams use us as nicknames unless, of course, there were teams calling themselves Red Scalpists or Long Knife Killers or such. There is nothing threatening to the psyche about the use of Native names. There is something sinister when the loudest voices prevail.

Other teams are coming under pressure to change their offensive American Indian monikers, most notably the now world champion Atlanta Braves. Also receiving attention from the perpetually offended are the Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Blackhawks and collegiate squads like Florida State (Seminoles) and North Dakota (Fighting Sioux). Surprisingly, there are many more. Those offended folks have their work cut out for them. So many perps, so little time.

An aside: when the NCAA told North Dakota to change the name or face potential consequences, Sioux nation leaders politely asked the association to “bug off.” Message to the NCAA: remember Little Big Horn.

After the success in changing the name of Washington’s NFL pretenders, the offendeds found another win in Cleveland. The team promised to drop their “Indians” name as soon as they can come up with a suitable replacement. Fans are being asked to submit ideas. Rocker likes Cleveland Clowns. Just think of the uniform possibilities.

We’re spending way yonder too much time being offended in this little corner of the world. We’d be hard pressed to believe society will crumble and our culture/heritage will be permanently stained by nicknames of teams that pay big men unthinkable amounts of money to play kids games. Same goes for those teams that now allow athletes to make money on something called Name/Image/Likeness.

Games are for fun. Teams are entertaining, and so should be their names. If we truly want accuracy and emphasis, let’s have the NFL’s Washington Grafters (where payoffs replace playoffs), MLB’s Atlanta Gappers (tribute to Stacey Abrams), the NHL’s Chicago Crime (no explanation needed) and NCAA representative, the Florida State Tofu (vegans need love too). 

We don’t know if the lack of being offended means a person is ignorant of what’s happening or indeed does know what’s happening but can prioritize events and their impact. While the relentless pursuit of finding something offensive is orgasmic to some, it’s a genuine pain in the brain to others.

While the offended seem to be running amok, there are some in our nation who believe it’s their job to be offensive. Those could be called members of Congress and the bureaucrats who feed off government like pilot fish. Offensive. It’s either a noun or an adjective, depending on your view of things.


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Crews working hard to clean up city

City-wide cleanup is underway in several major areas of Minden. Sheriff Jason Parker had a crew on Industrial Drive, b1 Bank workers picked up local shopping centers along Homer Road and Michael Walker and his team picked up on Shreveport Road.

Mayor Terry Gardner said there will be crews working the rest of the week and through the weekend in the Fall Clean Up campaign.

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Arrest Reports

November 22

James Warren Ward, 25, of the 500 block of Fuller St., Doyline, was arrested by Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office for domestic abuse battery.

November 23

Taylor A. Cade, 30, of Haughton, was arrested by WPSO for domestic abuse battery and on a warrant for speeding.

November 29

Lacy Jo McCowen Ware, 39, of the 200 block of Shane Dr., Minden, was arrested by Minden Police for felony theft at a local discount store. She also had two active warrants for the same offense on separate dates.

Bridgette Watson, 43, of Homer, was arrested as a fugitive from Claiborne Sheriff’s Office. She is charged with resisting an officer and theft.

Kayla McLemore, 31, of Hwy. 163, Doyline, was arrested by Webster Parish Sheriff’s deputies for two counts of probation violation.

November 30

D’Angelo Moore, 20, of the 200 block of Hill St., Minden, was arrested for probation violations.

Matthew Lewis, 26, of the 1100 block of Park Hwy., Minden, was arrested by Minden Police for domestic abuse battery with child endangerment after striking the victim with a bottle of marinade in front of her 3-year-old child.

Randy Derald Dyck Jr., 32, of the 1500 block of Hunt Rd., Cotton Valley, was arrested by WPSO on outstanding warrants for possession of controlled dangerous substance Sch. II

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Deadline upcoming to enter parade

Christmas Parade Route

There is still a little time left for those who wish to participate in this year’s Christmas parade. Deadline to sign up is 4 p.m. Saturday, December 4.

Diane Silvis with the Greater Minden Chamber of Commerce said so far there are 22 entries.

“We have floats, trucks, bands,” Silvis said. “But there is no limit on the number of entries we can have … the more, the merrier. We want this parade to be the best ever.”

For an entry form, go to the chamber website and click events, email or call 377-4240.

Using the theme “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” Minden’s Christmas Parade is scheduled for 5 p.m., Saturday, December 11 in downtown Minden.  

This year, there is an extended the parade route, so citizens can practice social distancing.

The parade will begin at the corner of Elm and East and West streets and end at the same location.  Line up begins at 3:30 p.m. at the corner of Elm Street facing south to McArthur. 

Please do not bring vehicles, trailers or floats to line up before 3:30. To drop off participants to get to their floats, please drop off at Richardson Elementary School.  Pick up will be in same location.

Parade entries should feature a favorite Christmas Carol or song as inspiration. Build a float or other parade entry to illustrate the theme of the song. Have music playing for an extra touch. Add lights and colors to make the entry unique.

If you are throwing candy or trinkets you MUST have adult walkers on either side of your unit and throwers must wear a mask.

Awards include the following:

Best Band

Best Marching Group 

Santa’s Award – Given to the overall outstanding entry presenting and illustrating the  theme “Twas The Night Before Christmas!”

Spectacular Sparkles -Given to the entrant that presents an outstanding display of lights and/or other type of illuminations

Awards will be presented in the front of the Minden Civic Center at 6:45 p.m. (or after parade ends).

General Rules: The Greater Minden Chamber of Commerce reserves the right to reject any entry which it believes does not follow the required rules and regulations.

All floats/entries in the parade should have some form of Christmas decoration and Christmas music where practical. Seasonal music and lights are what make Christmas parades special, and we encourage all participants to emphasize these elements.

Animal Groups

1. Animal entries must incorporate the parade theme.

2. Animal entries shall exercise appropriate measures to keep spectators safe.

3. Horses may be either bagged or accompanied by “scoopers” during the parade and while in the staging area.

Lights and Christmas music are welcome and encouraged!

Since the parade is broadcast live on KASO/KBEF Radio, all entrants must supply their own signage for their float/entry. Banners and signs should be neat and easily recognized. Six-to-eight-inch lettering is recommended. Basic, simple signs show best.

Any float with children must have one adult for each five children.

Please NO SANTA costumes! Santa will have his own float at the end of the parade. Santa Claus is the featured guest each year.

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United Christian Assistance Program needs for this week

UCAP has the following needs for the week of Nov. 29:

Food: Vienna sausage, spam, canned fruit, soup, crackers, pasta

Clothing: men’s jeans sizes 32-34 waist, men’s socks and underwear

Household Goods: towels, king and queen sheets, pots, pans and skillets

UCAP is open from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays for food, utility and rent assistance. Clothing is dispersed on Wednesdays only.  

Thanks to the community for your support!

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FBI warns of holiday shopping scams 

The FBI New Orleans Division warns of cyber criminals targeting shoppers hoping to take advantage of online bargains and hard to find gift items for the holidays. Shoppers looking for a good deal this holiday season should also be aware of increasingly aggressive and creative scams designed by criminals to steal money and personal information. 

Consumers need to be vigilant in knowing who you’re buying from or selling to, be careful how you pay, and monitor the shipping process. Fraudsters are looking to scam victims through online shopping, charity, work-from-home, social media, gift cards, and smartphone apps.  As always – if the deal sounds too good to be true, chances are it is a scam.

Consumers can do the following to reduce their chances of being victimized: 

  • Check bank and credit card statements routinely, including immediately after making an online purchase and weeks following the holiday season.
  • Only purchase merchandise from a reputable source.
  • Don’t trust a website to be secure just because it claims to be.
  • Do not respond to spam e-mails or click on links contained within them.
  • Avoid filling out forms contained in e-mails that ask for personal information.
  • Be cautious of all e-mail attachments and scan them for viruses before opening.
  • Verify requests for personal information from businesses or financial institutions by contacting them using the main contact information on their official website.
  • Be cautious when dealing with individuals outside of your own country.

If you suspect you’ve been victimized, contact your financial institution immediately, call your local law enforcement agency, and file a complaint at or the FBI (visit or call 1-800-CALL-FBI).

For more information on holiday scams, visit

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Webster Parish Library, local school team up

The Webster Parish Library is proud to partner with E.S. Richardson Elementary. School to encourage reading. If you didn’t already know, Richardson has an impressive book vending machine available. This is a great example of how forward thinking and positive partnerships can have a huge impact on our parish students. Thank you to E.S. Richardson Elementary School and Webster Parish Schools for all that you do for our students of Webster Parish.

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Notice of Death – December 1, 2021

Bonnie Stevens Root
February 7, 1935 – November 23, 2021
Visitation: 10 a.m. until service time Saturday, December 11, 2021 at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 2201 Airline Drive, Bossier City
Memorial Service: 11 a.m.
Burial: Rose-Neath Cemetery, 5185 Swan Lake Spur, Bossier City

Renee Perot Higginbotham
August 22, 1958 – November 25, 2021
Graveside service: 10 a.m. Saturday, December 4, 2021 at Forest Park Cemetery, Shreveport


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La. Hwy. 531 overpass scheduled to be let in March

La. Hwy. 531 overpass from the south side of I-20.

By Bonnie Culverhouse

La. Highway 532 has a new bridge over Interstate 20, and beginning in the Spring of 2022, persons traveling over I-20 on 531 will be using it a lot more.

David North, Region 04 director for Department of Transportation and Development, said bids on the 531 overpass are scheduled to be let in March.

“It will be a completely new bridge,” North said. “I asked the designer if he was going to use any of the structure that is there, and he said no, it will be completely new.”

A public hearing was held almost a decade ago concerning the overpass, which is when a possibility of three roundabouts was discussed – two on the north side and one on the south; however, some thought that to be excessive.

“Early on, when we talked about this, there were supposed to be three roundabouts,” North said. “They’ve cut it down to two adjacent to the interstate.”

North said DOTD had hoped to let the project for bids soon, but an environmental issue delayed it.

“It had to do with fuel storage tanks at an old truck stop north of the overpass,” he said. “It’s just part of environmental remediations associated with things like this.”

North described the overpass as “a serious project.”

“It will take at least a year and a half,” he said. “There again, it depends on the contractor, when they start and the weather.

“The prices we are seeing may also determine whether or not we (DOTD) can afford it,” North continued. “We are seeing prices that are shocking. There is so much uncertainty right now. Contractors have a great deal of risk when they take on a job. They have uncertain labor markets, and prices are just as volatile as they can be.”

When prices and labor are uncertain, it ups the contractors’ risks, he explained. 

“Accounting for that has to be in dollars for them, so you are seeing prices that are unusual,” he said.

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Checkmate: Notre Dame’s loss is LSU’s huge gain

Brian Kelly and Mike the Tiger

By Doug Ireland, Journal Sports

Lots of people will check their Powerball tickets tonight at 10 p.m., hoping they’ve hit the jackpot, able to claim a cash prize that will be worth about $103 million once taxes are levied.

Brian Kelly already won. Notre Dame’s all-time winningest football coach is the newly minted, emphasis on the word “minted,” man in charge at LSU.

So did Lincoln Riley. He was the guy nearly everybody thought was going to be the LSU football coach. Instead, he headed west, not south, from Oklahoma and is the new top Trojan at Southern Cal.

They are each poised to collect more than $10 million annually for at least the next decade from their new jobs, after shocking everyone at their old ones. Riley became embroiled in speculation last Friday that he was going to be the new head Tiger, and didn’t refute anything until the postgame press conference after OU’s loss to Oklahoma State late Saturday night, when he denied he was heading to Baton Rouge.

Meanwhile, in Tiger Stadium that evening, during the second half of the spectacular finale for fired head coach Ed Orgeron, word began circulating among the very well connected that there wouldn’t be a Lincoln driving to the LSU football facility.

Everybody fond of the purple and gold was ebullient about the thrilling finish of the game, won with 20 seconds left 27-24 by the Tigers over Texas A&M at the expense of the man initially at the center of speculation about the LSU post, Aggies’ coach Jimbo Fisher.

LSU beat one of its biggest rivals. The Tigers sent out the colorful, passionate and loyal Coach O in unforgettable style; or, if you prefer an alternate version, LSU finally shed itself of Coach O and his ineffective staff while knocking off those oddball Aggies led by Fisher, the man who spurned the Tigers five years earlier, thereby opening the door for that crazy Cajun to take the helm.

Whatever the perspective, Tigers were hootin’ and hollerin’ about stunning A&M, until a seemingly astute reporter asked Riley a pointed question in aptly-named Stillwater, Okla. 

LSU’s anticipated coronation of the Sooners’ brilliant young coach was off. Turns out, the reporter was too specific with that question. By lunchtime Sunday, Riley, family and some of his staff were packing bags for the Left Coast.

Talk about a plot twist. For many Tiger fans, and in the eyes of much of the national and Louisiana media, the heir apparent had been kidnapped and found a new home. What seemed to be a master move by LSU’s low-key but highly effective coaching search manager, athletics director Scott Woodward, was apparently up in smoke. There were possibilities, but compared to Riley, they all seemed like three-day-old Thanksgiving leftovers – palatable, just not worthy of great enthusiasm.

Florida took a flier on Ragin’ Cajun coach Billy Napier, who was on the outer edges of LSU’s sphere of interest. No Napier? No matter. Iowa State’s Matt Campbell, Mark Stoops of Kentucky, Michigan State’s Mel Tucker, former Tiger defensive coordinator and successful second-year Baylor head coach Dave Dave Aranda, even former Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl champion coach Doug Pederson (who played at ULM, then the NFL, and began coaching in Shreveport at Calvary Baptist High School 15 years ago) were appealing options.

Nobody had Notre Dame’s Kelly on the list. Not the three-time national coach of the year. Not the guy whose record in the last five seasons (54-9) was virtually identical to Riley (55-10) at OU. Not the coach who has more victories (284 in 31 total seasons, said LSU’s announcement) than any active coach in big-time college football. Not the man who led the fabled Fighting Irish to the College Football Playoffs in two of the last three seasons, and a 113-40 record in his 12 seasons in South Bend.

Nope. Because just last week, Kelly was asked if he would ever leave the Irish, and snapped off an answer dismissing the suggestion. Even a $250 million deal (his figure) would still have to pass his bride’s muster, they loved South Bend so much.

Behind the scenes, however, there were tremors. Notre Dame players don’t have a spacious, cutting-edge academic study center – they often do homework in the hallways of the Irish football facility. They don’t have their own training table (code for bottomless buffet), but have to retask a recruiting lounge into a dining area. These concerns and others were discussed by Kelly and his boss, UND athletics director Jack Swarbrick, but nothing was happening. Swarbrick said Tuesday he noted some “Freudian slips” by Kelly recently revealing some “restlessness” and said he wasn’t shocked at Kelly’s departure. He was the only one.

Today, Kelly, for a dozen seasons in charge of the storied football program on an iconic campus featuring Touchdown Jesus, is in his first day on the job across the street from Mike the Tiger’s lair. The former Golden Domer now will have LSU’s Golden Girls cheering for him. 

He’s not Nick Saban of Alabama, or Clemson’s Dabo Sweeney, or Lincoln Riley. But he is universally regarded on that level in the college game. Nobody, except his agent Trace Armstrong, saw him moving to another college. He’s often been suggested as an NFL coach, with the Chicago Bears said to have him on their short list for that anticipated opening.

But Armstrong saw opportunity, and knew his client preferred coaching on campus. Armstrong’s reward:  he will collect as much as three percent, the industry standard for negotiating coaching contracts, of Kelly’s LSU haul.

Even more spectacular than that roughly $300,000 annual commission? Armstrong is also Riley’s agent. He’ll be cashing in those California dollars, too.

Did Riley have both USC and LSU on his table, and when he went west, Kelly bolted for the Bayou State?

Or were they just better fits where they’ve landed – Kelly with one of this century’s most dominant programs, with all the resources in place, and Riley ready to restore the luster at once-proud USC?

It seems Armstrong, a former Florida star and longtime NFL defensive tackle, was playing chess while his counterparts were playing checkers. The short, pudgy, quiet guy at the next table: the LSU AD, Woodward.

When it appeared he was boxed out of the glamorous Riley sweepstakes, within 24 hours, Woodward completed the mission of scoring a “home run hire” replacing Orgeron.  Checkmate, y’all.

He took Notre Dame’s king, and nobody can argue LSU football on Dec. 1, 2021, isn’t what Kelly said in the Tigers’ press release Tuesday.

“Our potential is unlimited.”


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Shots-fired call leads to arrest

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A shots-fired call from apartments on Lee Street led to the arrest of one of the residents.

Demario D. Nolan, 19, of the 1300 block of Lee St., Minden, was arrested by Minden Police for illegal use of a weapon.

Police Chief Steve Cropper said Ofc. Reece Tewell responded to the call Monday evening and found bullet holes inside one of the apartments.

“The caller said a bullet came through her wall and almost hit her,” Cropper said. “The officer observed a bullet hole in several walls inside the apartment. There were two occupants, and they said the bullet went by both of their heads in two different rooms.”

While studying the bullet holes, Cropper said Ofc. Tewell noted the trajectory indicated the round came from a nearby apartment.

“He made contact with the resident in the other apartment and discovered two males,” Cropper said. “One was identified as Nolan. The other man told the officer the weapon – a Glock 9 MM – was in the closet. It was located and retrieved, however, the closet where it was found was not where it was fired.”

Det. Shane Griffith reportedly spoke to Nolan and the other man. It was determined Nolan had possession of the weapon when it was fired.

“Nolan admitted on body camera to having the weapon and pulling the trigger when it discharged,” said the chief. “Nolan also said he assumed the weapon was not loaded when he was handling it.”

Nolan was arrested and transported to the Minden Police Department without further incident.

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Making Room

 December is here and it is time to make room for Christmas. As for me and my house, we don’t begin clearing space until after Thanksgiving. This involves moving some things around to make room for the Christmas tree and other decorations. Some things are put away to make room for nativities and other seasonal decor. As I thought about what I needed to move out to make room for all my Christmas decorations this year, I thought about preparing my heart for this Advent season. How do I prepare my heart? How I can make room for hope, love, joy, and peace in my life? 

These past two years have been a constant stream of change. I have found comfort in knowing that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. (Hebrews 13:8) I have found renewed strength as I hope in the Lord, that I carun and not grow weary. I can walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31) The joy of the Lord is my strength. (Nehemiah 8:10) Peace that surpasses all understanding is mine in Christ. (Philippians 4:6-7) God gave his One and Only Son for me and for you. (John 3:16) All of this and more is ours in Christ! How amazing is that! But, the enemy would love for us to lose sight of these truths and he would love for us to live with no hope, love, joy or peace. 

So, how do we prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ once again? How do we make room in our hearts for more hope, more love, more joy, and more peace? What needs to go in order for this to happen? I think we find the answer in James 4:7-8, “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” 

We begin by humbling ourselves before the Lord and clearing out space through confession and repentance to make room in our hearts to draw near so that He can draw near to us. May we allow some space in our lives for the simple and the sacred this season to just adore Him. 

(Jennifer Thomas is Director of Spiritual Formation at First United Methodist Church, Minden.)

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Leafing through your 2021, book by book

By Teddy Allen

Is this the 12th month of 2021 or the 24rd month of 2020? When Waylon Jennings recorded “Stop the World and Let Me Off” in 1965, he was a man way, way ahead of his time.

Crazy, crazy …

But things are getting better, as evidenced by our annual Best Books of the Year list. You won’t find any pandemic-related works here like you did last year. Who can forget the 2020 bestsellers, like LOCKDOWN!: Your Place or Mine?, or 1,501 Ways To Make Banana Bread, or The Vaccine Two-Step: Let’s Give it a Shot.

And of course, everyone’s favorite recent trilogy, Why Masks Work and the sequel, Why Masks Don’t Work, followed by the recently published Why Masks Might or Might Not Work.

Crazy crazy crazy crazy crazy…

For years we’ve published our favorite books in late December, but in a rare moment of logical thinking, I figured it would be best to do this now in case you need a Christmas present idea. So …

Isaac’s Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History by Erik Larson was my favorite book of the year. Published in 2000 and on my shelf since, I just got around to reading it, about the Galveston hurricane, Sept. 8, 1900. I have a friend who’s read it three times, and I can understand why.

These others get four of five stars:

News of the World (2016) by Paulette Jiles, about a 72-year-old man in post-Civil War times on a journey from Wichita Falls to San Antonio. In small towns along the way, he reads the news to people who have no access to it. His companion is a girl, 10, kidnapped but now safe, who he’s returning to her family. She basically brings him to life again. I haven’t seen the movie yet, starring Tom Hanks.

Also The Music of the Statler Brothers, An Anthology (2020) by the retired group’s lead singer, Don Reid, and Songteller: My Life in Lyrics (2020) by Dolly Parton. And two books by the late Carl Reiner, My Anecdotal Life (2003) and I Just Remembered (2013). I listened to the authors read the Parton and Reiner books, which was part of the joy. Same with a couple of Dick Van Dyke books, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business (2011) and Keep Moving: And Other Tips and Truths About Living Well Longer (2016). Van Dyke will be 96 Dec. 13. Also Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, and Other Things I’ve Learned (2005), written and read by Alan Alda, if you happen to be a fan. Finally, This is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith and Life (2013), a nice surprise by the entirely likeable Gavin MacLeod from “The Love Boat” and Murray on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

Same with the just-released The Boys, written and read by brothers Ron and Clint Howard, about growing up as child actors but mainly about their endearing relationship with their less-successful actor parents.

Loved it.

Other biggies:

Life Lessons (2021), a book of semi-Sunday school lessons, also by the Statlers’ Don Reid;

A Burning in My Bones (2021), the authorized biography of Eugene Peterson, translator of The Message, authored by Winn Collier;

Also The End of Me (2015) by Kyle Idelman, about the tricky business of dying to self, Improving Your Serve (2004) by Chuck Swindoll, and Anne Lamott’s 2012 Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers. Pastor Tim Keller and others would suggest she left out confession, that;

Help, Sorry, Thanks, Wow would be a more exact title, but most all agree, including Keller, that it’s a thoughtful and most helpful little book.

Also four of five stars to Inside Comedy (2021) a semi-modern history of comedy by David Steinberg, The Only Plane in the Sky (2019), an exhaustive oral history of 9/11 by Garett Graff, Squeeze Me (2020) by Carl Hiassen, who writes brilliant novel after brilliant novel defending his native Florida, pointing out political absurdities in ways that are scorching and funny, and The Queen’s Gambit (2003) by the late Walter Tevis about a female chess prodigy. (The recent drama series on Netflix, set during the Cold War 1950s, is as many thumbs-up as you can give it.)

Three of five stars to The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz (2020) by Erik Larson, The Dutch House (2019), a novel by Ann Patchett, and March Violets (1989), a Berlin noir-like novel by a new guy for me, the late Phillip Kerr, about his German private eye Bernie Gunther.

Finally got around to Moneyball (2011) by Michael Lewis; loved it. And Tobacco Road (1932) by Erskine Caldwell. Re-read The Adventures of Huck Finn (1884) by Mark Twain and The War of Art: Break Through Your Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles (2002) by Steven Pressfield, always a good call.

See you at the library. Read on!

Contact Teddy at

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National Eat a Red Apple Day

Did you that today is National Eat a Red Apple Day? Since the 1800s the Red Delicious variety has been the most popular apple throughout the world. Apples are grown year-round; however, they are in peak season during the fall and winter months. Since apples are now in season, they are more plentiful and less expensive to purchase. Apples are high in fiber, vitamin C, and contain various antioxidants. Apples have no fat, sodium, or cholesterol. Do not peel your apple as two-thirds of the fiber and antioxidants are found in the peel. Antioxidants help to reduce damage to cells, which can activate some diseases. Adults generally need approximately two cups of fruit per day. One small apple is considered as one cup. Remember to wash your apple under clean running tap water before you eat it. #EatARedAppleDay 

Check out these facts about apples below.

Apple trees take four to five years to produce their first fruit.

Apples are the second most valuable fruit grown in the United States. Oranges are first.

Europeans eat about 46 pounds of apples annually.

World’s top apple producers are China, United States, Turkey, Poland, and Italy.

The top apple producing states are Washington, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, and Virginia.

One of George Washington’s hobbies was pruning his apple trees.

Many apples after harvesting and cleaning have commercial grade wax applied. Waxes are made from natural ingredients.

Most apples are still picked by hand in the fall.

There are approximately 2500 varieties of apples grown in the United States.

Apples are sometimes called “nature’s toothbrush,” Apples help clean the teeth and massage the gums.

The old saying, “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.” This saying comes from an old English proverb, “To eat an apple before going to bed, will make the doctor beg his bread.”

The science of apple growing is called pomology.

The pilgrims planted the first United States apple trees in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Shakera Williams, M.P.H.

Assistant FCS Nutrition Extension Agent – General & SNAP- ED

Webster/Claiborne Parish


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Walter Anderson, a free man

There are three constants that have been ever-present in my life from day one— food, music, and art. For the purposes of this column— and the release of my latest coffee table book— I will focus on art. I am not an artist. Though I grew up in the house of an artist.

Tragedy struck my family early. My father died at 36. I was six. My brother was ten. My mother, who had earned an undergraduate degree in art a decade earlier, went back to school, received her master’s degree, and began teaching art to support our family. She continued to teach art for the next 50 years.

Growing up in the house of an artist sets one apart from the other families in the neighborhood, and, to my thinking, in a good way. Before she began teaching in the public and private school systems, and later at the university level, she taught in a small makeshift studio, just off the attic, on the second floor of our home. Our house always smelled of Grumbacher oil paint, wax candles, turpentine, and gumbo.

In the early years our mother took my brother and me to any art event that came within a day’s drive of our South Mississippi home in Hattiesburg. As kids we pled to go to amusement parks. She took us to art galleries. We begged to go to concerts, she took us to arts festivals. Today we are both better for it. She even opened a commercial art gallery at one point. It was there that I was first introduced to the work of Walter Anderson.

What attracted me immediately to the work of Anderson— even as a 10-year-old— were the coastal themes and especially the shrimp, crab, and fish. Anderson’s Mississippi Coast spoke to me. His Coast eventually became my Coast.

Our mother knew that she wasn’t going to be able to play backyard football or hunt, but she figured she could learn how to fish. So, she took what little savings she had, and purchased a small lot just outside of Vancleave, Mississippi in the middle of the last unregulated major river system in the lower 48 states. The camp was nothing more than a single-wide mobile home, but it was paradise. We were two blocks away from John’s Bayou which trickled into the brackish water of Bluff Creek, which flowed into the Pascagoula River which swiftly passed Walter Anderson’s in-law’s estate at Oldfields before heading out into the Mississippi Sound to Round Island and eventually to Anderson’s Gulf of Mexico barrier islet muse, Horn Island.

In the early fish camp days, on a trip “into town,” my mother took us to Shearwater Pottery, the Anderson family art compound in Ocean Springs. It was there— sometime in the late sixties or very early seventies— that she bought an Anderson alligator block print, on wallpaper, which was likely printed and painted by his eldest daughter, Mary, or maybe his wife, Sissy. That alligator hung above the mantle in the den of our home for as long as I can remember. When my mother eventually moved from our childhood home, she gave me the alligator for my home, where it hangs today.

It was the most iconic art in our house. Everything important in the life of our family happened with Anderson’s alligator in the background. That is what art does, it weaves itself into the fabric of families. Now— with a recently released documentary on the artist’s life and a new companion coffee table book just released— Anderson hangs in the foreground of my life.

I have always believed that the best art has a sense of place. I’m not sure if there has ever been an artist, in the history of artists, who was more “of his place” than Walter Anderson. He ventured out from his “place” on occasion, once as far as China. But we felt the Mississippi Coast in that work, even still. Anderson was so of his place he spent thousands of nights— over the course of 20 years— sleeping in the sand, under a small wooden skiff on Horn Island. He travelled to his place using two wooden oars and a bedsheet for a sail. He endured rough seas, rising tides, blistering heat, humidity, mosquitoes, and even the wrath of a hurricane for one solitary reason— his art. He had no choice. He had to do it. He had to get it out of his head and onto paper. Though I suspect the route didn’t originate in the head but came from the heart on its way to those sheets of 8 1/2 by 11-inch typing paper.

Good artists want to paint. Great artists must paint, and the greatest artists must paint at the expense of everything else, and everyone else, in their lives. Walter Anderson was certainly among the greatest. Tagged “America’s Van Gogh,” by art critics, he sacrificed everything for his art— his family, his friends, his social life, and in brief stints, his emotional health and well-being. The Anderson children grew up— not in the house of an artist— but on the grounds of an artist. He made choices, everyone in his life accepted his choices, and the world today is a better place because of that acceptance and those choices.

My grandfather once told me, “The hardest thing to do is to do something nice for someone, then never tell anyone about your good deed.” If that is true, then Anderson did the hardest thing an artist could ever do. He created thousands of watercolors and locked them away in a hand-painted chest in a small, beautiful room that he had painted literally from floor to ceiling for no one to see.

My grandfather would say that he did the toughest thing an artist could do. I would say he did the purest thing an artist could do. I am told that Van Gogh never sold a piece of art in his lifetime, but I don’t think it was for the lack of desire to sell. Anderson used his art for campfire lighter fuel on Horn Island and the ones that made it back to shore at Shearwater were locked away for no one to see. After his death his sister-n-law rescued a large stack of watercolors in the fireplace of his home. The stack was so big that it— thankfully— put out the fire when he dropped it in.

It was about the experience.

To my thinking, the most poignant moment in the life of Anderson occurred when escaping a mental hospital during one of his two stays over the course of his life. Some people are born to make an entrance. Anderson was one who lived to make an exit.

He could have walked out of the front door of that hospital at any moment as he was not court-ordered but self-admitted into the facility. Yet he chose— as he did in almost every decision he ever made in his life—to take the creative way, the dreamers route the artist’s exit. In the middle of the night, he fastened together torn bed sheets to form a makeshift rope, tied it to the corner of the bed, climbed out of the window, and lowered himself to the ground. To me, Walter Inglis Anderson’s life can be summed up in that instant. The moment he lowered himself to freedom tells me more than anything about Anderson. More than tying himself to a tree during a hurricane. More than living the life of a recluse sheltered from society, more than rowing a small wooden boat 12 miles out to an uninhabited barrier island. As he lowered himself down, he used a bar of Ivory soap to draw birds in flight on the exterior brick wall of the hospital.

It could’ve been any animal in the Anderson lexicon, an alligator, a crab, a fish, but it was a bird. The freest of all the animals. To be that driven by art must be the ultimate freeing.

He spent the remainder of his days out of the institution as free as a bird, free to create, free to paint, free from anything that wasn’t art. Free to soar.

Growing up in the house of an artist was much tougher for the Anderson children that it was for me. Though they know, as I know, to live a dedicated life with laser focus and purpose is the ultimate freedom and— in the fullness of time— the ultimate gift to family, to friends, and to the world.

The new coffee table book, “Walter Anderson: The Extraordinary Life and Art of the Islander” by Robert St. John and Anthony Thaxton is released this week and is in independent books stores and gift shops across the state.


Shrimp and Okra Gumbo

1 /2 cup           Canola oil

3 /4 cup           Flour

3 Tbl               File powder

1 cup               Onion, diced

1 /2 cup           Celery, diced

1 /2 cup           Bell pepper, diced

1 1 /2 cups       Fresh okra, sliced

2 Tbl               Garlic, minced

1 1 /2 lbs         Shrimp, small

2 tsp                Salt

1 1 /2 tsp         Black pepper

2 tsp                Creole Seasoning

1 1 /2 tsp         Basil, dry

1 tsp                Thyme, dry

1 cup               Tomatoes, diced, canned or fresh

2 quarts           Shrimp stock

1 Tbl               Hot Sauce

1 /4 tsp             Cayenne pepper

In a large skillet, combine oil, flour and file powder to form a roux. Cook over medium heat, stirring often until roux is very dark (be careful not to burn). Add vegetables, garlic, spices and shrimp and continue to cook for five to seven minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning.

Meanwhile, bring shrimp stock and tomatoes to a boil. Slowly add roux mixture to boiling stock and mix well. Lower heat to a slow simmer and cook 10 more minutes. Add hot sauce and cayenne pepper.

Yield: 1 gallon

(Robert St. John is a chef, restaurateur and cookbook author.)


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Jack Frost in Paris

By Brad Dison

In the summer of 1929, Anne Parrish and her husband, Charles Albert Corliss, were strolling leisurely along the picturesque Seine River in the City of Light (La Ville Lumière), Paris, France.  They spent their time taking in the sites and browsing through the numerous bouquinistes stalls along the Seine River.

Bouquinistes, French for booksellers, have sold used and antique books in small green stalls which line the banks of the Seine River at fixed points since 1859.  Prior to that, beginning around the 16th century, bouquinistes peddled their books from carts along the river. 

Anne derived great enjoyment from looking through the stalls of old books.  Anne was a lover of books.  She was a successful American novelist and children’s book writer.  Many of her books appeared on the New York Times best sellers lists. 

In one of the 900 bouquinistes stalls somewhere between Notre Dame Cathedral and the Louvre, Anne saw the cover of a familiar children’s book which brought back memories from her own childhood.  The book, “Jack Frost and Other Stories”, was worn from age but still in decent enough condition.  It was a book like the one she had as a child in Colorado.  Although she had never tried to seek the book out, she had never seen another copy.  Her mind raced back some 30 years back in time to the Colorado Springs of her childhood.  She glanced at the book for only a second or two and her mind was made up.  She bought the book for a single franc.

Anne was elated to find a book like the one she had cherished as a child.  Her husband was less than enthusiastic and was “skeptical as to its literary value”.  Anne explained that she wanted the book not because it was an important literary work but for its sentimental value.  Anne’s husband challenged her to recall anything about the contents of the book.  She thought for a moment and remembered a story about a girl named Dorothy who hated her nose.  Her husband, still skeptical, shuffled through the book until he came upon the story of Dorothy, just as Anne has claimed.  Her husband knew it was useless to question her further and shuffled through the pages.  Just then, something caught his eye.  On the front page of the book, the flyleaf, he saw a name and address written in a childlike scrawl.  He looked at the book with a seriousness that took Anne by surprise.  Without saying a word, he turned the book around and pointed to the writing in the book.  Anne read the childish scrawl and was just as shocked as her husband.  Written in the book was the original owner’s name, “Anne Parrish, 209 N. Weber St., Colorado Springs”.  Anne had unknowingly bought her own childhood copy of “Jack Frost and Other Stories”.


1. Quad-City Times (Davenport, Iowa), July 28, 1941, p.9.

2.  Lauren Gray, “40 Amazing Coincidences You Won’t Believe Actually Happened,” Best Life, June 14, 2019,

3.  “Les Bouquinistes,” Afar, accessed November 23, 2021,

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Thanksgiving holiday travel deadly across Louisiana

As family and friends gathered for Thanksgiving festivities, Troopers investigated multiple fatality crashes throughout our state.  Lack of seat belt usage and speed were among the major contributing factors.

Troopers investigated 10 fatal crashes, which resulted in 16 fatalities from the afternoon of Wednesday, November 24 until Sunday night.  This was a significant increase as compared to last year’s travel period. In 2020, eight fatalities occurred in seven crashes. This total of fatal crashes does not include crash investigations conducted by local law enforcement agencies leading to potentially higher fatal statistics. Throughout the holidays, traffic congestion will continue and drivers are urged to exercise patience and good judgement behind the wheel. Although the statistics changed, the causes of these crashes remain the same.  Impairment, speeding, distractions and lack of seat belts are common factors. 

As we approach the Christmas and New Year holiday, please do your part by never driving while impaired or riding with an impaired driver.  Obey the speed limit, avoid distractions while behind the wheel, and always ensure proper seat belt use for all vehicle occupants. Louisiana State Troopers and local law enforcement partners remain committed to preventing these tragic crashes and will be working to enforce the state’s seat belt and impaired driving laws throughout the holidays. 

Motorists are urged to contact the nearest LSP Troop by dialing *LSP (*577) if they observe others driving in an unsafe manner. Additionally, information about road conditions, construction activities, and other critical incidents can be obtained by visiting the 511 Traveler Information System website at, calling 511 or downloading the Louisiana 511 app.

This weekend, Troopers and first responders witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of poor decisions on our roadways.  While law enforcement will be on heightened patrol throughout the holiday period, the task of preventing crashes is a joint responsibility with the public. We must work together to change dangerous driving behavior and ensure a safe holiday for everyone. 

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Calendar of Events

Read about non-profit events happening in the community. If you have a non-profit event: church, school or community, please email it to*

December 2

Christmas Celebration dinner theater and auction sponsored by Adult & Teen Challenge. Doors open at 6 p.m., banquet at 7 p.m. For reservations, call Christy at 318-382-0203 or 318-469-5393. Email

Webster Parish Libraries will be hosting a Marvel Movie Night on Thurs. at 6 p.m. in the Minden Stewart Center. This movie is rated PG-13. Anyone under the age of 13 must be accompanied by an adult. Free popcorn and drinks.

December 10

Holiday Trail of Lights Hayride. 6 to 9 p.m. at Minden Civic Center (free)

December 11  Christmas Downtown begins (There may be a cost unless otherwise stated)

9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Brunch and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Geaux Fresh

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hot Chocolate and coffee at the Broken Bean

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  North Police Children’s area at the Civic Center side parking lot.

10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Complimentary gift wrapping at First United Methodist Church

Noon to 2 p.m. Build your own s’more at Wimberly Agency.

1 to 2 p.m. Storytime, music and games with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Webster Parish Library Stewart Center. Free. The Shreveport Symphony will play in between reading and interactive games.

1 to 4 p.m. Ornament Crafting at City Art Works. Free. 2 to 4 p.m. Face Painting at City Art Works, also free.

Mistletoe Town Tree Decorating Contest. Minden Medical Pavilion. Free. From 3 to 5 p.m. vote for your favorite Christmas tree and have pictures made with the Grinch at Foot and Ankle Specialist.

5 p.m. Parade downtown.

7 p.m. Tree lighting ceremony & fireworks.

*Webster Parish Journal reserves the right to determine if a calendar item is a paid advertisement.

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Two Texas residents killed in crash on Interstate 20 in Webster Parish

Just before 10:30 p.m., Sunday, November 28, Troopers assigned to Louisiana State Police Troop G began investigating a two-vehicle fatality crash on I-20, west of U.S. Hwy 371. This crash claimed the lives of 44-year-old Omar Gonzalez of Mission, Texas and 47-year-old Myphuong Thi Truong of Georgetown, Texas.

 The initial investigation revealed that prior to the fatal crash, a 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee, occupied by Myphuong Thi Truong and 62-year old Leslie T. Truong of Georgetown, Texas, was traveling westbound on I-20.  As the Jeep was traveling westbound, it collided with a deer in the roadway. After impact, both occupants exited the vehicle while it was still in the roadway.  

 Shortly after the initial crash, 41-year-old Rafael Escobar Lopez of Waxahachie, Texas, was driving a 2016 Toyota Tundra westbound on I-20 and stopped his vehicle in the roadway behind the Jeep.  As the Jeep and the Tundra were stationary in the left lane, a westbound 2021 Toyota 4Runner, driven by Gonzalez, struck the rear of the Tundra.  This impact caused the Tundra to impact with both Myphuong Thi Truong and Leslie T. Truong as they were standing in the roadway.

 Myphuong Thi Truong suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead on the scene.  Leslie T. Truong was transported to a local hospital in critical condition.  Lopez and two passengers in the Tundra were unrestrained and suffered minor injuries.  Gonzalez, who was not restrained, was transported to Minden Medical Center where was pronounced dead.   


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

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