UPDATE: Suspicious package delivered to courthouse 

UPDATE: A suspicious suitcase on the front steps of the courthouse has been rendered safe. Bossier City Fire Department’s bomb squad x-rayed the package, and reportedly detonated it in the street. It is still unknown what was in the suitcase. Minden Police have taken over the investigation and are currently collecting evidence. Evacuation has been lifted and the westbound lane in front of the courthouse is the only street still closed at this point. Webster Parish Courthouse should be re-opened by noon. Louisiana State Police Hazmat and the Dept. of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) are still on the scene.


By Bonnie Culverhouse

Roads through downtown Minden are closed due to a suspicious package left on the front steps of the Webster Parish Courthouse some time Monday evening.

Sheriff Jason Parker said a suitcase was discovered this morning by courthouse employees coming to work. All were evacuated.

“We have the Bossier City bomb squad here now,” Parker said around 8:45 a.m. “They should x-ray it shortly.”

Parker said the suitcase had a flag in it with “something else draped over it. We have the suspect on camera but we have not identified him yet. Public safety is paramount, so we will let you know when roads are open and we have the green light.”

Minden watches HGTV at watch parties

It is still unknown how many “watch parties” there were in the community for Sunday night’s Hometown Kickstart Minden on HGTV, but perhaps the largest and most well-attended was at Geaux Fresh in downtown Minden.

Jodie Martin and crew at her bistro and bakery were featured as a business makeover, along with the home of the Phillip Smart family and Miller Quarters and Angel parks.

Work begins in earnest now as the community prepares for summer tourists.

Photos courtesy of Tracy Campbell

Remembering our hometown heroes 

By Paige Nash

On Memorial Day weekend, Jessica Stewart Gorman, a local cemetery preservationist, gathered volunteers at Minden Cemetery to place American flags at the graves of the soldiers buried within the grounds, including the 21 unnamed Confederate soldiers who died of wounds at the Battle of Mansfield in 1864.  

“It’s an honor to place those flags on the graves of true hometown heroes,” said Schelley Brown Francis, Executive Director of the Dorcheat Historical Museum Association and Minden Cemetery board member. “I am grateful for the work Jessica Gorman puts into this every year.” 

Memorial Day has been observed in the United States since the 1860s. During the Civil War, with the country largely led by women during this time while the men were at war, decorating graves became a popular practice. With more than 600,000 soldiers from both sides losing their lives during the war, commemorations became widespread.  

The first national commemoration took place at Arlington Cemetery near Washington, D.C. Around 5,000 people gathered with former Union General and sitting Ohio Congressman, James Garfield to help place flags and wreaths on the graves of more than 200,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.  

This event inspired several towns throughout the United States to follow suit and pay tribute to the fallen soldiers in their own ways, much like Minden. 

It was only after World War I, that Memorial Day became an established National Holiday to memorialize and mourn the soldiers who selflessly served our country in the armed forces and in doing so, paid a debt with their lives. On the last Monday of every May we remember their sacrifice.  

Dixie Inn Council meets in special session 

Members of the Village of Dixie Inn council will meet in special session at 4:15 p.m. today (Tuesday, May 31) for the purpose of adopting resolutions to elect a new alderman and to correct the election date.

Dixie Inn Mayor Donna Hoffos was required to vacate her post as alderman in order to serve as mayor, following the retirement of Kay Hallmark-Stratton. Her alderman position must be filled.

Also on the agenda is a resolution to LGAP for covered parking and one for a chlorine residual monitor.

All Dixie Inn council meetings are held at 60 Shell Street, Dixie Inn. The public is invited to attend.

Miller Quarters park officially opens

Webster Parish officials and community residents gathered Saturday for a walk in the park.

Hosted by Webster Parish Convention & Tourism Bureau and the Greater Minden Chamber of Commerce, the day kicked off with a ribbon cutting for Miller Quarters park, along with music by B Cam and the Zydeco Young Bucks, free hamburger plates by Jimmy Hall and snow-cones from Southern Paradise Sneaux.

Logan McConathy State Farm provided drinks and popcorn.

Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Commission is the destination marketing organization for Webster Parish whose mission is to provide leadership on marketing Webster Parish as a highly desirable visitor and meeting destination and engage in visitor promotions.

Miller Quarters park is now open to the public.

Fire destroys Amanda Road residence 

Photo courtesy of Chris McGarity.

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A Webster Parish family lost their home to fire Thursday night.

Dist. 7 Fire Chief Brian Williams said his department was dispatched around 8:30 p.m. to a working house fire in the 100 block of Amanda Rd. near Dixie Inn with a person possibly inside.

“We were training in the area, so our first unit arrived on scene within four minutes of dispatch,” Williams said. “The structure had heavy fire showing on two sides. We started extinguishing the fire at the same time we were searching for anyone who might be home.”

Williams said it was quickly determined there were no residents in the home, however, there were two small dogs. Williams said they were rescued unharmed.

“A neighbor advised us the people were not at home,” Williams said. “At that point, we continued fighting the fire. It was a difficult fire because the home had multiple ceilings in it and multiple roofs on it. It was hard to get to the fire.”

Williams said, with the help of Minden Fire Department, Fire Dist. 10 and Bossier Parish Fire Dist. 1, the fire was contained in about an hour.

“It was another two hours before we made sure the hot spots were extinguished,” he said.

Williams said one fire fighter was injured.

“It was a minor burn that was checked out at the local hospital,” he said. “He was released to full duty.”

Pafford EMS was on scene as protocol to aid firefighters during working fires, however, Williams said they were released.

The fire is still under investigation.

The family that lived in the home, had a nursing home relative. They were prepared to bring that relative home to that house today,” Williams said Friday. “They have family and enough sources to have a place to stay.”

Johnson speaks to Lions about timely issues 

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Fourth Congressional District Rep. Mike Johnson spent some time talking to Minden Lions last week … but even more time answering questions that are some of the ones he’s often asked.

After Col. Carl Thompson introduced him, Johnson complimented Lions on beginning their meetings with the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer.

“Our country really needs it right now,” he said. “Life is short, and prayer matters, so we need to be engaged in that.”

Johnson discussed updates from Washington, addressing first the deaths of children and adults who were killed last week at a school in Uvalde, Texas.

“The reflexive thing is ‘let’s take everybody’s guns away,’” he said. “That is not the solution.” He then quoted Henry David Thoreau, saying, “There are thousands hacking at the branches of evil to one that’s striking at the root.”

Johnson suggested government should look at the root cause of the problem in order to find a solution. “This is a spiritual problem,” he continued. “It requires spiritual solutions.” He added his colleagues in Washington don’t believe in the spiritual side.

He said one of the answers is to restore the soul and foundation of America.

“It’s not going to happen from Washington,” he said. “It’s going to happen in our local communities, among our people. Ronald Reagan said, ‘Freedom is not inherited in the bloodstream. It has to be fought for and defended. It has to be taught to our children so they can preserve it.’”

Johnson was asked about election security.

“I am very optimistic about the upcoming cycle,” he said. “We saw all sorts of chaos and hijinks in 2020. It seemed like a noble goal to make sure everyone could vote during Covid.”

Mailing ballots to everyone in the state seemed like a good idea, but instead, it backfired.

“All of the changes they did to the election laws were unconstitutional,” Johnson said. “There will be no more blanket mail-outs. Poll watchers will be watching everything. If people don’t trust the ballot boxes, we have nothing.”

In addition, he said New York City is allowing undocumented immigrants to vote.

Johnson spoke on other subjects, such as impeaching President Joe Biden.

“If you do that, you will have Kamala Harris,” he pointed out. “If she is impeached also, that leaves you with Nancy Pelosi.”

Following the meeting, District E Councilwoman Pam Bloxom presented the congressman with a proclamation from Mayor Terry Gardner, naming May 26 Mike Johnson Day in Minden.

Legendre is new Glenbrook basketball coach

Glenbrook Athletic Director, James Thurman has announced the selection of Joshua Legendre as the new Boys Basketball Head Coach.

Legendre has served as the Boys Basketball Head Coach at Riverfield for the last three years and has previously coached at Claiborne Academy and Simsboro High School. Legendre has 11 years of experience as a teacher and coach in both the MAIS and LHSAA.

Coach Legendre completed his undergraduate degree at LSU-S in 2011 and later obtained his Masters of Education from Louisiana Tech in 2018.

“I am excited about joining the Glenbrook staff and look forward to this new opportunity” Legendre said. “I am familiar with Glenbrook from my days at Claiborne Academy, and I can’t wait to get started.”

“We are looking forward to Coach Legendre joining our Glenbrook faculty,” Glenbrook Head of School, Darden Gladney, said. “Josh is a former student of mine and has gained a solid reputation as both a teacher and a coach.”

Coach Legendre will teach math and coach football in addition to his role as head of the Apache boys basketball teams.


Remorse for Morse

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Webster Parish Sheriff’s deputies arrested a local woman recently on multiple drug charges.

Winter Nicole Morse, 34, of the 400 block of Whitlock St., Minden, is charged with possession of natural marijuana, possession of methamphetamine, possession of Clonazepam and 2 counts of possession of CDS in the presence of a minor.

Sheriff Jason Parker said deputies Jacob Winiarski and Josh McCormick stopped a vehicle in which Morse was a passenger at around 1 a.m. Thursday, May 26.

“They pulled over the vehicle with a broken license plate light at the corner of Pine and Camp streets,” Parker said.  “There were several people in the vehicle, and as deputies had them all exit the vehicle, they smelled something that resembled natural marijuana.”

Parker said when Morse exited the vehicle, there was a small white pill on the seat.

“While checking Morse for weapons, another small white pill was dropped in the road,” Parker said. “In continuing to search the vehicle, deputies found a pill bottle containing suspected methamphetamine and two small baggies containing the natural marijuana.”

Morse reportedly told deputies she had another baggie of natural marijuana in her clothing.

UCAP Needs for Week of May 30 

United Christian Assistance Program has the following needs:

Food: Ramen noodles, powdered milk, canned fruit, crackers

Household goods: king & queen sheets, cookware

Clothing: men’s medium short sleeve shirts

Thank you for supporting UCAP!

UCAP is open from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays at 204 Miller Street, Minden, for food, utility and rent assistance. Clothing is dispersed on Wednesdays only.

Warriors defeat Panthers by 1

Lakeside Warriors 9, Stanley Panthers 8

Lakeside Warriors snatched the lead late in the game in a 9-8 victory over Stanley Thursday.

The game was tied at eight with the Warriors batting in the bottom of the sixth when Eli Musgraves singled on a 1-0 count, scoring one run.

Bats blistered as Lakeside collected 11 hits and Stanley tallied three in the high-scoring game.

The Warriors took an early lead in the second inning when Jordan Isbell doubled on a 1-0 count, scoring three runs.

Af the the Panthers scored two runs in the top of the fifth, Lakeside answered with two of their own. Stanley scored on a single on a 1-0 count, scoring one run. Lakeside  answered when Bradley Dick tripled on a 1-1 count, scoring one run and Eli Campbell grounded out, scoring one run.

Lakeside scored four runs in the second inning. Isbell and Cooper Chase powered the big inning with RBIs.

Jacob Powell earned the victory on the hill for Lakeside. He went two innings, allowing one run on no hits and striking out one. Entering the game as relief were Isbell, Jon Jon Dick, Cade Boley and CJ Watts, all securing outs and ultimately the victory.

Chase started the game for the Warriors. He allowed no hits and four runs over two-thirds of an inning.

Lakeside tallied 11 hits on the day. Dick andWatts each managed multiple hits, while Watts and Dick each collected two hits to lead the team.

Arrest Reports 

The following arrests were made by local law enforcement agencies. Minden Police Department (MPD), Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office (WPSO), Louisiana State Police (LSP) and others which are named.

May 23

Brett Williams, 31, of Carolina St., Minden, was arrested by Probation and Parole possession of Schedule 1 with intent to distribute, possession of Schedule II with intent to distribute, resisting an officer and parole violation.

May 26

William Derail McClendon, of the 100 block of Azalea St., Minden, was arrested by Minden Police for theft of a motor vehicle.

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

Notice of Death May 30, 2022 

Shirley Ann Taylor

Graveside service: 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 31, 2022, Springhill Cemetery, Springhill, La.

Burial: To follow under the direction of Bailey Funeral Home Springhill.


Vickie Charlotte Cole

June 17, 1950 – May 29, 2022

Visitation: 5 until 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 1 at Bailey Funeral Home, Springhill, La.

Funeral service: 10 a.m. Thursday, June 2, 2022 at Bailey Funeral Home

Burial: Old Sarepta Cemetery, Sarepta, La. Under the direction of Bailey Funeral Home.


Jerry Clifton ‘Poncho’ Bailey Sr.

May 22, 1945 – May 16, 2022

Visitation: 1 until 3 p.m., Saturday, June 11, 2022 at First Baptist Church, Haynesville, La.

Memorial service: 3:30 p.m. Saturday, June 11, 2022 at First Baptist Church, Haynesville, La.

Inurnment: Gordon Cemetery near Haynesville.


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

MCC fundraiser just around the corner

The 2022 Minden Charity Classic, a fundraiser to help families in need, is just around the corner. As of Monday, there were four slots available for the June 3-5 event, now in its 19th year.

A golf tournament, along with an auction, is the main source of fund-raising for this foundation.

The foundation has Section 501(c)(3), tax-exempt status, with the Internal Revenue Service.


5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Cocktail Hour & Games

6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Dinner

7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. Auction & Raffle


7:30 a.m. Morning Flights Shotgun Start

11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Lunch available for Players at the Clubhouse

1 p.m. Afternoon Flights Shotgun Start

6:30 p.m. Ball Drop

6:45 p.m. Calcutta


7:30 a.m. Morning Flights Shotgun Start

1 p.m. Afternoon Flights Shotgun Start

THURSDAY (Following)

Scores audited & checks mailed out

Flight Payouts

1st Place – $1,500

2nd Place – $1,000

3rd Place – $750

4th Place – $500

 ** Two-person teams

** Entry fee/Sponsorship – $1,100 Includes all food and drinks
** Pre-Flighted
** All flights scramble both days
** Flights, Championship, Presidential and First start at 1 p.m. both days. Flights 2, 3 and 4 start at 7:30 a.m. both days.

** This is a private fundraising event. Spectators are welcome. If spectators want to eat and drink, they will be required to pay $100 per person, per day.

The goal of Minden Foundation, a nonprofit organization, is to maintain a fund to provide charitable assistance, within the Minden area, primarily for those needs not specifically met by other charities or organizations.  Some examples would be assisting a family that has suffered a house fire, a flood or a family stricken with a devastating illness that creates a financial hardship.

Monies are distributed by application only, and the group does not advertise. They seek input from ministers, principals and social workers regarding families in need.  Decisions regarding disbursements are made by a board of not less than five persons. Current members of this board are Hodson Brown, Lindsay Collins, Zach Goodman, Patrick Miller, Jason Ogwyn, Andy Pendergrass, Kristin Utphall and Candi Wimberly

Silence isn’t golden 

We’re trying very hard to keep this family-oriented (as in no baddie words) so let’s just say your favorite Rocker is suffering from a massive urinary tract irritation. Why, we hope you ask? A couple of issues.

We read that “multiple” shots were fired at a vehicle belonging to one of Minden’s best reasons to smile; a person whose success could produce a Horatio Alger book. Police report a car belonging to professional footballer J.J. Sneed was riddled with bullets last week…in broad daylight, shortly before high noon.

Fortunately, no one was hit. Fortunately, J.J. was not driving the vehicle at the time. Unfortunately, police cannot yet determine if he might have been the target of the attack.

We hear the shots were fired from another vehicle. We also hear the multiple shots, allegedly fired from a “large” weapon, were capped in a neighborhood where two, count ’em, two public schools–J.L. Jones and J.A. Phillips–were in session. The schools house kindergarten through third grades; both were within a couple of blocks from the scene of the shooting. 

While the incident is disgusting, it could have been tragic. Bullets are as brainless as those who pulled the trigger. Bullets could easily travel the distance to the schools, not to mention any residence that may have been in proximity to the incident. We’ve already lost a three-year-old to drive-by gunfire. The potential of losing another child, or anyone, should cause a shiver of disgust.

A brazen, broad-daylight shooting is bad enough. What makes this incident shameful is the seeming lack of cooperation from the public in assisting police investigators. We hear from some in the affected community that witness information is not easily obtained. 

We can understand why people may hesitate to talk openly with police. They must live in their neighborhoods, often alongside the perpetrators. The ones who commit these acts of violence don’t look kindly on “snitches” and fear of reprisal for sharing information is a strong deterrent. And we know, as do the criminals, that police officers can’t be everywhere. 

Still, someone in our community knows something. These acts of violence can be stopped, but it requires individuals who believe Minden deserves better and are willing to unite to end this senseless violence. 

Public cooperation with law enforcement is critical. Give our officers a chance to protect us. Let them know what you know. Together, malum non vincet nos…evil will not defeat us.

Final thoughts: There are no words to describe the unspeakable tragedy in Uvalde, Texas. We pray for the families and friends of the victims, and for the entire city. We also pray that those who want to politicize this horror will think rationally. Finger-pointing and opposition blaming does nothing to solve this disease that plagues our society.

Also, we just heard that Mayor Terry Gardner is in for the fight of his life, for his life. Prayer vigils are being held. Individual prayers are going up. There’ll be plenty coming from this rockin’ chair. May our great God, through His son Jesus Christ, give our mayor healing and bring comfort to him and his family. 

Community gathers in prayer for mayor 

By Bonnie Culverhouse

While Minden Mayor Terry Gardner was undergoing three surgical procedures Wednesday, the local community was standing at the front door of the Minden Civic Center, praying for him, his family, doctors and nurses.

“Last night, God just put it on my heart that we needed to pray,” said city Human Resources Director April Aguilar. “So, we started making phone calls and putting something on Facebook.”

Gardner has been diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer. Following surgery, he will begin chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Four pastors – Jimbo Yocum, Trey Waller, Terry Combs and Rick Cosby – shared stories about the mayor and how he has touched their lives. Afterward, each prayed with the community.

Combs, who is also head of the city’s street department, prayed the community would put aside its differences and pull together.

“We will go through trials and tribulations while we are on this earth,” Combs said. “We are going to go through some things. Put your arms around somebody and mean it.”

Cosby shared the ways his life has unfolded.

“I saw Chief (Steve) Cropper every week in jail,” Cosby said. But when his life turned around and he came back to Minden, Gardner was instrumental in helping Cosby find a church facility, so he could minister to others.

Waller said he believes God wants Minden to do great things.

“God has ordained our city to do miracles,” Waller said. “Great and mighty things. Miracles happen when there’s no other way.”

Yocum, who is also city attorney, pointed out the Bible says, “wherever three or more are gathered in My name …” Yocum said. “I believe in prayer. God is bigger than cancer.”

Former city councilman and mayor Joe Cornelius also asked for prayer for his wife, Jackie, who is experiencing issues. Prayer for her health was also part of the vigil.

Saturday celebration on tap at Miller Quarters Park

B-Cam and the Zydeco Young Bucks will be live on stage for the grand opening of Miller Quarters Park this Saturday May 28.

The ribbon cutting ceremony, provided by the Greater Minden Chamber of Commerce, will begin at 11 a.m. Elected officials and community partners are invited to attend. Promptly following the ribbon cutting, the park will be open to the public. Hamburger plates and sno-cones from Southern Paradise Sneaux, will be provided by Visit Webster Parish! There will also be bounce houses for the kids and popcorn provided by Logan McConathy State Farm. This event is free and all are welcome to attend. The event listing can be found on Visit Webster Parish’s Facebook page and on http://www.visitwebster.net.

Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Commission is the destination marketing organization for Webster Parish whose mission is to provide leadership on marketing Webster Parish as a highly desirable visitor and meeting destination and engage in visitor promotions.

4-H camp sign-ups happening now  

By Paige Nash

4-H University is happening this year. Members from 8th-12th grade are eligible to travel down south to compete in more than 40 events, ranging from fishing, sports, automotive care, cooking, public speaking and agriculture demonstrations. This is a fantastic opportunity for members to show-off their dedication and hard work they have put into their skill over the last year.  

“This will be our first 4-H University to be held in person on LSU’s campus in two years,” said Laynie Arceneaux Smith. “We are really excited to be back there to provide teens in Webster Parish this excellent opportunity to grow their knowledge and challenge themselves.” 

This event will be held June 21-24 at Louisiana State University Campus in Baton Rouge. The deadline to sign-up is May 31. 

If you are interested in staying more local. Webster Parish 4-H will be partnering with Bienville Parish 4-H to host a summer camp at Bistineau State Park in Doyline. This camp is for members from 4th-6th grade. The weekend will be spent learning about wildlife and fisheries, the outdoors, and swimming. There will also be a talent show.  

“This will be the second year holding the event, but the first year that it’s offered as an overnight event,” said Arceneaux. “We are so grateful here in Webster Parish to have such a beautiful state park to hold this camp at.” 

Summer Camp will be held July 12-14 with overnight and daily drop off options. The registration deadline is May 30. You can sign up for either of these events by reaching out to the LSU AgCenter Extension Office in Minden at 318-371-1371. 

Chicago 2022

Robert St. John, left, and Kevin Boehm

 By Robert St. John

CHICAGO— I first came to this city over 30 years ago. I fell in love with Chicago instantly. There was something about a big city, combined with a Midwestern sensibility, that appealed to me on several levels. It didn’t hurt that, at the time, the city was becoming a major player in the national restaurant scene.

In the 1980s, Richard Melman owned the creative Chicago restaurant landscape. He pumped out inspired concept after inspired concept and I was in awe of his ability to create and tap into a seemingly boundless imagination when it came to restaurants and bars. Melman was a mentor in absentia in those days. I read every interview and followed every restaurant opening of his Lettuce Entertain You restaurant group.

In the late 1980s I started attending the National Restaurant Association’s trade show and convention. It was a restaurant wonderland for me, everything I love about this industry under one roof. Actually, under several roofs at McCormick Place on Lake Michigan. For a guy who spent all his spare time in college in the library reading restaurant trade magazines and staying up until 3:00 AM designing menus and restaurant concepts the restaurant show was information overload in the best way.

Anything that has to do with the restaurant or bar business is at that show. Equipment, food, supplies, furniture, design elements, and anything that has to do with supporting a restaurant or bar is there. For a guy whose hobby is restaurants it is heaven on earth.

The bonus is every year when I come to the show in Chicago is that I get to hop from restaurant to restaurant in what I believe is one of the top three restaurants cities in America. To me, Chicago has always been like a more-accessible New York. I have loved watching the neighborhoods in this city blossom over the years as new concepts have popped up in River North, Logan Square, Lincoln Park, West Loop, Wicker Park, and all the others.

The top restaurateur working in Chicago today— maybe the top restaurateur working in America today— is Kevin Boehm. Kevin and I got to know each other as we were co-founders of the Independent Restaurant Coalition which was formed in March of 2020 to help save restaurants from the devastating business effects of the global pandemic. Kevin and I, and a couple of dozen others from across the country, were there at the start. We met twice a day, every day, for the first several months and then once a day via Zoom for another month or so, and eventually after six months, the meetings dropped to three times a week. But we have stayed in close contact since.

It’s amazing how much you can learn about a person even on a video conference call if you spend hours and hours with them each week. I came to admire and appreciate all my co-founding members. But Boehm and I share slightly similar beginnings.

We both traveled down to the Florida Panhandle in our early 20s. He from Central Illinois, I from South Mississippi. We both worked for Charles Morgan at Harbor Docks. We both opened our first restaurant in our 20s. Though I’m afraid that’s where the similarity stops. Even though he has around 19 restaurants open at present and I have less than that. He has movie-star good looks that make a guy like me look like Streetcar-era Karl Malden standing next to Brando. He also has another zero or two at the end of his financial statement.

Boehm may have movie-star looks, but he’s a rock star when it comes to restaurants. When one meets Kevin Boehm there’s no mistaking as to why he is a success in this brutal business. He has boundless passion for what he does, seemingly endless energy, laser focus on all the most important components of the business, natural charisma, a keen financial acumen, and bounteous restaurant smarts.

His Boka Restaurant Group has done amazing things in Chicago, and now Los Angeles and New York. When he learned that I was coming to Chicago for the National Restaurant Association trade show he offered to set up a progressive dinner tour in a few of his restaurants. It was an amazing night.

As soon as New South Restaurant Group COO, Jarred Patterson and I hit the ground in Chicago, we checked our bags in the Hoxton Hotel (where Boehm’s Boka has three concepts) and walked immediately to the Boka stalwart diner, Little Goat, a breakfast place I never miss while staying in Chicago. That night we ate dinner with Rick Bayless at Frontera Grill. I believe Bayless is the best Mexican-cuisine chef in America. I also believe that when Bayless visits Mexico, he automatically becomes the best Mexican-cuisine chef in Mexico as soon as he steps off the airplane.

The next day’s breakfast started at Boehm’s Cira in the Hoxton. It was perfect. The rest of the day was spent at a One Off Hospitality Group trifecta visiting Donnie Madia’s Dove’s Luncheonette for a late breakfast, Big Star for an early lunch, and The Publican for an early dinner after the restaurant show. We ended the evening at a longtime favorite, Longman & Eagle for a second dinner.

The rest of the trip was all Boka. Well, except for the Tuesday morning bakery R&D run where Patterson, pastry chef/baker Martha Foose, and I hit 11 bakeries, sampling over 50 pastries in a four-hour period. More on that journey next week.

We wisely skipped lunch after the bakery bacchanal and prepped our constitutions for the Boka Restaurant Group progressive dinner Boehm had so graciously arranged. Boehm’s corporate office had arranged three Boka restaurants for us— Alla Vita (the new Italian concept), Momotaro (sushi), and Swift & Son’s (the high-volume producer in the group, and my new favorite Chicago steakhouse). I wanted to squeeze in Boka’s Chinese concept, Duck Duck Goat (another Boka-Staphanie Izard concept) so we started there. I didn’t notify the home office so they wouldn’t pick up the tab at the added stop.

All meals were stellar. From the greeting at the host stand to the salutation as we left each concept. Stellar. I don’t know if I have ever encountered a group of restaurants— especially restaurants performing at that high of a level, and with that much volume— that are moving in the same forward direction, at the same time, as flawlessly and as in-sync as the Boka Restaurant Group in Chicago. Service, food quality, and the attitude of the staff. Every service point was nailed, at every concept, at every turn.

The highlights were the potstickers and ribs at Duck Duck Goat, the ricotta dumplings, roasted octopus, and wood-fired table bread at Alla Vita. A very fatty— in all the best ways— salmon belly and a spicy fried rice dish were the table favorites at Momotaro, and the Baby Beet Salad and ribeye were hits at Swift & Sons.

Though the greatest treat of the night was having Boehm take an Uber directly from the airport after a long travel day to sit and visit with us at the last dinner. He was gracious with his time and very open with information and advice on all aspects of the restaurant business. It was a master class in restaurant operations that none of us will soon forget.

A late-night visit to Lazy Bird, the Boka jazz club/cocktail lounge in the Hoxton ended a whirlwind of a long day, but again, in all the best ways.


Apricot Tarts

The brown butter in the recipe gives these tarts a unique and appealing flavor.

16 pre-made mini frozen tart shells


3 /4 cup butter

1 1 /2 cup apricot preserves

1 /4 cup honey

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup dry apricots, chopped small

2 eggs

3 Tbl flour

Preheat oven to 350

Par-bake the mini tart shells for seven minutes.

For the filling, melt butter in a small aluminum sauce pot and cook until the butter begins to brown. Stir in preserves, honey, vanilla, and dried apricots. Remove mixture from heat.

In a separate bowl, combine egg and flour and beat until smooth. Slowly add the hot butter mixture, stirring constantly. Fill the tart shell and bake 12 minutes.

Cool and serve topped with Chantilly Cream

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

DAR hosts annual Spring luncheon 

Dorcheat-Bistineau Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution’s annual Spring Luncheon was held at the home of Chapter Regent Kathy Johnson.  Special guest for this meeting was State Regent Charlotte White, who talked about her State Regent’s Project which took place during the last 3 years. During her term, she and Louisiana DAR members raised over $80,000 to donate to Phase 1 of the Baden-Roque House restoration project. This French Creole cottage, located near Natchitoches, was built before 1830. It was owned by Nicholas Augustin Metoyer (born 1768-died 1856), a prominent Free Man of Color who founded St. Augustine Catholic Church. He used the cottage as a school for his 10 children, who were educated by French nuns. The house is a poteaux-en-terre (post in the earth) design that was built with bousillage (mud and moss). It is the only one of its kind in Louisiana, and one of only 4 still in existence nationwide. 

Our chapter officers, elected for the 2022-2025 term, were sworn in by Charlotte White.  They are: Cindy Madden (Regent and Curator), Donna Sutton (Vice Regent, Registrar, and Historian), Mary Beth Edwards (Recording Secretary),   Linda Wood (Corresponding Secretary), Nancy West (Treasurer), and Mary Long (Chaplain). Libbey Watkins was appointed Parliamentarian.  

Cindy Madden and Donna Sutton finished the DAR Committee Leaders Course in February, and they were presented with graduation cords during the previous chapter meeting. They completed online modules and a final project to learn about parliamentary procedure, effective project planning and budgeting, and the responsibilities of various DAR committees at the local, state, and national levels.

Spencer Sutton Creech, our Children of the American Revolution state officer, participated in National C.A.R. Day of Service by cleaning Academy Park in Minden and learning about the history of the college that was once at this site.  For a C.A.R. patriotic project, he made a patriotic wreath and presented it to retired Air Force Reserve veteran Jerry Madden. 

Any woman 18 years or older who can prove lineal, bloodline descent from an ancestor who aided in achieving American independence from Great Britain (1775-1783) is eligible to join DAR. Please visit dar.org for more information, and visit our Facebook page: Daughters of the American Revolution – Dorcheat-Bistineau Chapter

Police arrest Homer man for theft attempt 

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A Claiborne Parish man is in trouble locally for attempting to steal from a local discount store.

Kevin Boyd, 45, of the 600 block of South 2nd Street, Homer, is charged with felony theft, possession of crack cocaine, drug paraphernalia and resisting an officer by flight.

Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper said Off. Ben Sparks, Ofc. Anthony Miller and Ofc. Jason Smith were dispatched to the store on Homer Road around 6 p.m. Monday.

“An employee was pointing toward the gas station where a subject matching Boyd’s description was walking,” Cropper said. “Off. Sparks gave loud verbal commands for the man to stop, but when Boyd turned around and saw the officer, he began to run.”

Sparks reportedly pursued and tackled the suspect. Miller secured his hands while Sparks placed him in handcuffs.

“Officers found two wrist watches and a tri-fold wallet inside his pockets. They had not been paid for,” said the chief. “They located a small baggie containing four rocks of crack cocaine weighing 0.5 grams. A pipe used to smoke cocaine was also located in his pockets.”

Witnesses said Boyd placed approximately $550 worth of merchandise in a shopping cart and walked past the checkout registers toward the exit.

“When he was confronted by an employee, he walked out of the exit door without the merchandise, attempting to flee from the employee,” Cropper said.

Boyd reportedly has a lengthy history of theft and burglaries, the most recent in Claiborne Parish from 2017.

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

Upcoming Events 

May 26 

National Honor Society Induction at Lakeside Jr./Sr. High School.

May 27

4 until 6 p.m. Commodity Distribution, First Baptist Church 208 N. Arkansas St., Springhill, La. Must bring photo ID and proof of residence.

Fourth Fridays of May, June, July & August

7 p.m. On the fourth Fridays of May, June, July, & August Cultural Crossroads at The Farm will have live music and local artists will have their work displayed and available for purchase. Gates will open at 7 p.m. and it is FREE to get in. Guests are welcome to bring their coolers with food and drinks and their favorite lawn chairs. There may be food vendors on site, as well. The June date is Adults-Only (21+) and guests can bring their own alcohol. All other dates are family-friendly and alcohol will not be permitted. There will be a $5 cooler fee at the gate on all nights. First date is Friday, May 27. Everett Street Jazz will play a 3 hour set and Bonnie Ferguson will be our featured artist. Pork & Fork BBQ will be selling Honey Glazed Pecan Smoked Pork Chops & Pulled Pork Tacos. 

May 27; June 18; July 16

9 a.m. registration, 10 a.m. Louisiana Christian University Football Camps. All camps at Wildcat Stadium in Pineville. Cost 9s $40/$50 walk-up.

May 28

4 p.m. until … 232 Horseshoe Loop, Doyline, VFW Post 2885 will be hosting a free hamburger meal for veterans and families. Good food; great visiting.

May 31

9 a.m. Senior Awards at Lakeside Jr./Sr. High School.

2-4 p.m., 4-5 p.m., 5-7:30 p.m. Hula Hoop Group The Quad, Mindewn Main Library Branch. Limited spots available. Call Aubrie at 318-371-3080 ext. 135 to register.

June 4

8 a.m. until noon Minden Farmer’s Market- starting June 4th, the Farmer’s Market at Cultural Crossroads The Farm will be held on the 1st & 3rd Saturdays of June, July, & August. Spots are available for vendors.

June 9

7 p.m. Lakeside High School graduation

June 10

8:30 a.m. High School awards at Lakeside.

10:30 a.m. Junior High Awards at Lakeside.

June 10 & 11

Sixth annual Grilling on Main. Sponsored by b1BANK and Webster Parish Tourism. Live music, craft and food vendors, fireworks display.

June 17

11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Sponsored by Men of Courage, Webster Parish,  a chicken plate fundraiser for burn victims Reagan Hardaway, Chancey Hawk and Daniel Payne. Tickets are $10 and must be purchased in advance. Meals include chicken, beans, potato salad and dessert. Pick up is at Mel Smith’s Marine, 1610 Shreveport Rd., Minden. For more information, including sponsorship and donation inquiries, please contact Ramanda Ketchum at ramanda_lee@yahoo.com or 318-347-2614.

June 19

Noon until 5 p.m. Father’s Day at The Farm. This is a free event. There will be musical guests, spoken word and poetry readings, and an open mic segment all centered around celebrating Fathers & Juneteenth. Guests are invited to bring a picnic and enjoy it on the grounds during the festivities. 

  • If you have a non-profit event: church, school or community, please email it to wpjnewsla@gmail.com. * Webster Parish Journal reserves the right to determine if a calendar item is a paid advertisement.

Weekly Filings

The following civil suits were filed with the Webster Parish Clerk of Court the week of May 18-24

May 19

James Keathley vs. James W. Ward, protective order.

Pamela Faye Sampson vs. David Randall Durrett Sr., divorce.

Kristi Elizabeth Greer vs. Jordon Matthew Greer, protective order.

May 24

Ben L. Hullaby vs. Carlos Irizarry, MD, Medical Review Panel.

Alicia Rochelle Smith vs. Jeffery Jermaine Jackson, divorce.