Closure of Bossier youth shelter affects local cases

Johnny Gray Jones Youth Shelter, Bossier City

By Pat Culverhouse

An announced shutdown of an area juvenile detention center has added one more headache for those looking for solutions to major problems in housing juveniles awaiting the disposition of their case (pre-adjudication) in the justice system. 

Minden City Court Judge Sherb Sentell presides over juvenile cases and adult misdemeanor cases, but it’s the juvenile side of his calendar that has now become a larger problem. Johnny Gray Jones Youth Shelter in Bossier City has announced it will shut down Nov. 30 due to a lack of funding. 

Closure means fewer spaces available for an already overloaded juvenile holding system, Sentell said.  With Johnny Gray Jones closing, the only current alternative is to house those juveniles at Ware but Webster Parish has only two bed spaces there.

“We only have two jail spaces for the entire parish for violent or felony offenders at Ware.  Johnny Gray Jones provides us with spaces for truancy and ungovernable juveniles.  With Johnny Gray Jones closing we’re at a crisis,” Sentell said. “It’s shutting down, and we’re losing more than 20 beds that provide spaces for ungovernable juveniles and juveniles who will not go to school.  

“Johnny Gray Jones serves Bossier, Caddo, and Webster parishes. Those kids were cared for, fed, schooled and counseled at Johnny Gray Jones and now we lose those resources. That’s another tool judges and enforcement will not have when dealing with kids who refuse to go to school or follow the directives of their legal custodians,” he said.

Sentell said losing Jones means losing an asset that might eventually help keep juveniles out of the ultimate system, the adult correctional system. More facilities like Jones, not fewer, might also help if, as rumors suggest, governor-elect Jeff Landry seeks to lower the age from 17 to be considered a juvenile and placed in an age-appropriate setting.

“Personally, I think keeping 17-year-olds in the juvenile system is the right thing,” he said. “We were the next to last state to do this. At 17, we still have the ability to save them. They are, for the most part, high school students. The bottom line is they’re still in school and we still have the ability to educate and save them.”

Shutting down juvenile facilities seems to be mostly a cost-saving measure, and it is not the right answer, Sentell said. 

“We’re not taking care of them. It’s my personal opinion, but in Louisiana, we’d rather save money than take care of our kids,” he said. “This is short-sighted because if we cannot save these juveniles, the taxpayers of Louisiana will pay hundreds of thousands more to incarcerate them as adults.” 

One other juvenile detention facility in northwest Louisiana, Ware Youth Center, is located outside Coushatta. In the past, there have been rumors the facility would be moved or closed due to funding issues. In a worst-case scenario without Ware, juveniles awaiting adjudication might have to be shipped far from home, Sentell said. That, he said, is an expensive proposition.

“Parishes in east Louisiana send their kids to Alabama for $400 a day,” he said. “The next best option for Webster Parish, if we cannot solve our own problems, would be to use the Jackson Parish Sheriff’s program.  The Jackson Parish Sheriff has a program that asks participants to sign a contract for $105 a day for each bed space to reserve a specific number of spaces, then it costs $175 per day regular fee if you use the bed space.”  If you do not have a contract with them, they charge $350 a day to house juveniles.    

Sentell’s recommendation, based on his analysis of the problem, is to set up regional centers where juveniles are not too far from their families and the court having jurisdiction.  Regional centers would be more efficient on a cost basis.

“It’s more efficient if you have to have regional costs split between multiple parishes, but you must get that past the legislature. It would be a hefty lift, but it’s a statewide need,” he said. 

Currently, Ware Youth Center allocates its bed spaces between several entities including the parishes of Bossier, Webster and eight others plus the city of Natchitoches. To keep up with increasing needs, Sentell believes an additional 16 beds are needed at Ware. A four-million dollar add-on at Ware would make sense, considering a start-to-finish juvenile facility would run about $24 million, he said.  However, Ware has indicated they cannot staff any expansion and cannot even keep fully staffed at the present.  

Sentell thinks it would be beneficial if the Webster Parish Police Jury would form a subcommittee to study the issue and make recommendations to the police jury and to Senator Adam Bass and Representative Wayne McMahen.  This subcommittee would simply gather knowledge on all the rules and requirements to house juveniles so that the committee could make intelligent recommendations on the best and most cost effective way(s) to solve the problem.    

“I’d love it if Webster Parish could be self-sufficient like Jackson Parish.  If we had eight bed spaces where (Springhill City Court) Judge (Stuart) McMahen and I could put pre-adjudicated juveniles, that would solve a long-term need. If we can’t afford it, we can partner with other parishes that are also desperate. And, I believe if we can find someone to operate the juvenile center other than the Sheriff, we can enter into some type of joint endeavor agreement with the Sheriff, the school board, both Minden and Springhill, and the police jury that would be cost-effective and solve our problem.”

Money for the juvenile system is, in Sentell’s words, “…a challenge because juvenile detention doesn’t pay anything. They don’t pay fines.  Legislators have discussed having juvenile court hearings to determine if the guardians have the financial means to help with some of this incarceration expense, but that has not gained much momentum. That’s a political decision that the legislature hasn’t been keen in looking at and most families do not have the means to pay the pre-adjudication costs.”

And since money is an issue, Sentell suggested it might take a farsighted individual to see that paying $310 a day for a couple of days of juvenile detention might save hundreds of thousands of dollars in adult prison if that juvenile is changed. “That’s a no-brainer,” he said.

“We can’t have a south Chicago scenario where a 12-year-old can shoot somebody and then be turned over to the parents,” he said. “If we don’t have a local facility, we’ll be turning our offenders over to be with Shreveport, New Orleans and Baton Rouge juveniles or possibly out-of-state.”

“Judges can only advise our elected official of matters that affect the judiciary and juvenile justice and warn our local and state elected officials that we need help,” Sentell said. “It will be like a tsunami if we don’t get in front of it. We need to budget money for this even though we don’t have a clear plan on how to spend it right away…put aside small increments and then we can maybe build a facility. All government entities would need to do it.”

Dealing with juvenile offenders from the bench has its ups and downs, but Sentell said positive outcomes keep him optimistic.

“I’m determined to keep working on finding a solution to this problem.  I see it every day and when we save one kid it’s awesome, because this was a kid that was going down and we intervened,” he said. “We rescued them and we’re very proud of those who we can rehabilitate and help become productive members of society.”

Utility pole aids MPD in juvenile arrests

By Pat Culverhouse

A brief chase that ended Tuesday evening when their moveable encountered an immoveable object has landed five Minden juveniles in legal hot water, facing drug and firearm charges.

Assistant Chief of Police Tokia Harrison said a call from a citizen sent local officers to an area near the Minden High School track field to investigate a group of juveniles allegedly engaged in suspicious activity inside a vehicle.

“We received a call from someone saying it looked like some young people were smoking marijuana inside a vehicle parked near the track field,” Harrison said. “We dispatched Sgt. Chris Cayer to investigate and when he stepped from his vehicle, the juveniles fled.”

After a brief chase, the suspects’ vehicle struck a utility pole at the intersection of Ash and Sullivan streets and was immobilized, Harrison said.

“Four of the juveniles fled on foot, but one was apprehended at the scene of the accident,” she said. “We later arrested the others at residences.”

Officers reportedly found marijuana and a handgun inside the vehicle.

Harrison said Webster Parish deputies assisted, and the arrests may help the WPSO in its investigation into another incident that occurred a day earlier.

“The suspects’ vehicle is believed to be one from which shots were fired in an incident that occurred Monday night out in the parish,” she said. “WPSO investigators are working on that.”

Verbal confrontation leads to shooting

By Pat Culverhouse

A verbal confrontation in a north Webster Parish tavern late Monday escalated to gunfire, leaving one man with a non-life threatening wound and another facing a firearm-related charge.

Springhill Chief of Police Will Lynd said 68-year-old Webster Parish resident Joe Troquille has been charged with illegal use of a firearm during an act of violence and is being held in the Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center. The shooting victim was reportedly transported to Ochsner LSU Health in Shreveport for treatment of a single gunshot wound.

Lynd said the incident began sometime around 10 p.m. Monday when Troquille entered Stateline Bar on U.S. 371 in Springhill where he became involved in a verbal confrontation with a woman and her husband. 

“An altercation between the older gentleman and a couple inside the bar turned from verbal to fists, and blows were exchanged,” Lynd said. “Mr. Troquille retrieved a .380 caliber handgun and fired shots at the couple he had been fighting.”

Lynd said the female was grazed by one shot, while the man was struck once in the lower torso.  According to evidence gathered during the investigation into the shooting, Troquille apparently was inebriated at the time of the incident, the chief said.

Juveniles arrested in string of business burglaries

Springhill police were also able to solve a series of business burglaries with the arrest of four juveniles, Lynd reported. 

“We’ve had several store break-ins over the past week and we arrested four kids on Monday and charged them with the burglaries,” he said.

According to Lynd, the four are seventh- and eighth-graders at local schools.  Three of the juveniles have been charged with four counts of burglary; one has been charged with a single count. 

Santelices steps down as Lakeside football coach

Mike Santelices

By Josh Beavers

Lakeside head football coach Mike Santelices has stepped down from the role following an announcement Wednesday afternoon.

Santelices, who has led the Warriors since 2019, said the time was right for new blood to lead the team into the future. He will remain a coach for powerlifting. He also teaches math for Lakeside.

Lakeside principal Denny Finley accepted the resignation and thanked Coach “Sant” for all the hard work he has put in the past four seasons.

“Mike Santelices is one of the most liked and respected teachers we have on staff here,” Finley said. “But after talking we decided it was best for Coach Sant and the football team to move in a new direction.”

Injuries and a difficult schedule made for a disappointing season for the Warriors. Lakeside went 0-5 in district this year and 3-7 overall.

Santelices led Lakeside to its first-ever playoff win when the Warriors defeated North Caddo in 2019.

Finley said the position would be open for applications after the first of the year.

Back to Earth

Thanks for your patience. Your obedient servant needed a breather, and we took it in the form of an intergalactic cruise. Thinking about making it an annual excursion.

First orders of binness might seem a little un-Rockerish, but while we were sabbaticalizing, a couple of happenings happened that we believe are worth mentioning and deserving of kudos.

We were pleased aplenty by the Witches’ Ride through the streets of our hometown during the Halloween season past. What we thought would be a few transports (bikes, carts, footwear) hauling happy holiday haunters turned out to be a lengthy caravan of characters, goodie-tossing to huge crowds lining the streets.

One must tip the archetypal pointy black bonnet to the organizers and participants who, despite more than a little controversy, put their best broom forward and forged ahead. Congrats also to the folks who lined the streets. Enjoyable may not be sufficient adjective to describe the atmosphere.

And most certainly, congratulations to all Minden’s dentists. Them there witches and friends tossed enough sugary treats to keep dental offices full for a few seasons.

We would be remiss if we didn’t also say a very appreciative “thank you” to individuals and collectives who expressed their displeasure at the event. Most of the opposition was faith-based, and we admire the courage of those who gave their opinions. Some language may have been a little offensive, but it cuts both ways. 

Our “thank you” is issued because rumors that swelled quicker’n a toad’s throat that a massive protest to the march was being organized proved to be nothing more than cyberspace scuttlebutt. Opponents did the right thing. They quietly objected by staying away and allowing those who found no offense to have an enjoyable day. Restraint doesn’t mean approval, but it leans toward a measure of respect for diverse views.

We must also look on the bright side. Despite ill-aimed predictions, no newt lost an eye, no bat is now wingless, no cauldron over-bubbled, nothing staked nor burned. Most importantly, there were no reported local inquiries seeking ingredients for the Shakespearean recipe for Witch’s brew. 

Something a little less noticeable to the average eye but esthetically pleasing to a few, including your humble messenger, is the nice trim job that’s been recently applied to the bulk of that area christened Miller Quarters. Your servant had the opportunity to be viewing some drone footage last week and lo and behold, we spotted a bushhogging event. A quick ride behind city hall, then down Sheppard Street proved our eyes hadn’t been playing tricks.

While it’s true that only a pittance of the Quarters’ 11 or so acres has been made worthy of designation as a participatorial park (i.e. swings, picnic tables, designer seats, trippable rocks), the remaining land can be kept weed, scrub growth  and debris free. Thus we may give everyone the impression that something nice lurks within…sooner or later.

Winter weather will be a good groundskeeper, undergrowthly speaking. That will give park managers/promoters time to work on a continuous maintenance schedule while LATech student designers come up with a land usage plan. But, here’s a hint: please think before gouging taxpayers for an eastward expansion. 

Finally: Congratulations to Jason Rowland on his selection as Superintendent of Schools in Bossier Parish. He’s the brother of Webster Superintendent Johnny Rowland, both are natives of our little corner of the world. 

It does, however, give one a point to ponder: There are now nearly 28,500 students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 under the supervision of two guys from Sibley. Those of you who do not believe in the power of the Golden Triangle might want to hit the refresh button.

– Pat Culverhouse

Residential fires keep departments busy

Old Arcadia Road fire. Photo Credit: Webster Fire District 10

By Bonnie Culverhouse 

Two residential fires kept local departments busy Tuesday night. 

Webster Fire District 10 Chief Daniel Davidson said the first call for Old Arcadia Road came in around 7:40 p.m.

“On arrival we found a wood frame structure with heavy fire on the front side of it,” Davidson said. “Fire attack was made, and the fire was quickly knocked down. The house was occupied by a father and son, who were both home at the time of the fire.”

Davidson said the son smelled the smoke first and alerted his father of the fire. Both were in separate parts of the house and were able to escape unharmed.  During the initial fire attack, City of Minden firefighters, who were there as mutual aid, were able to rescue the family dog from under a bed in one of the bedrooms. The dog appeared unharmed and was reunited with the occupant.  

“Units spent more than two hours performing overhaul operations, checking for hidden fires,” said the chief. “The fire had spread into the attic area and into a wall. Foam was applied and a thermal camera was used to check for any hot spots. After the fire was extinguished, all personnel cleared the scene around 10 p.m.”

Davidson said the fire rekindled during the overnight hours.

“Because of the time of night and the low traffic during that time, the fire spread significantly before emergency services were contacted,” he said. “District 10 and the City of Minden were again dispatched around 4:15 a.m. On arrival, units found the house fully involved in flames. Dubberly Fire District 4 was requested as mutual aid for water supply. Units spent more than five hours extinguishing the fire. The house and the contents were a complete loss.”

On investigation of the original call, the origin of the fire was determined to be in the living room, near the front door, he said. The occupant stated there was nothing in that area that could have ignited the fire, to his knowledge. Due to the extent of the damage in that room, the cause of the fire was undetermined. Arson is not suspected, and the property and contents were not insured.

While Minden Fire Department was serving as mutual aid the first time at the fire on Old Arcadia Road, District 4 received a call on La. Hwy. 531 near Pierce Lane in Dubberly, and they were dispatched again as mutual aid.

Dist. 4 Chief Ronnie Chreene said that call came around 8:20 p.m. Tuesday.

“It was a fairly new mobile home,” Chreene said. “It was heavily damaged, but it will be up to the insurance company to decide if it is totaled.”

Chreene said the department, along with help from MFD as mutual aid, knocked out the blaze “fairly quickly.”

“It probably took a couple of hours to put it out completely,” he said.

Cause of that fire is still under investigation.

Old Arcadia Road fire. Photo Credit: Webster Fire District 10

A brief moment of clarity

When I began this column over a year ago now, I vowed to keep it real with you all. I said I would share the good, bad and the ugly. Although it took me a few months to shy away from the light and funny aspects of motherhood, I daresay I have gotten into the groove of only sharing my hardships lately (Lord knows there’s been enough of them.) 

So, after a week off spent loving on my family, I am back in the swing of things and basking in the positive. 

Most moms, me included, are ready to get those kiddos back on routine and in the school yard first thing Monday morning after an extended break. That was not me this time. I actually think I may have been dreading sending them back more than they were dreading going back themselves.  

I cannot pinpoint exactly what made this break so different from any of the others, but there was an obvious shift. It wasn’t just sleeping in, slow mornings, eating everything in the house, being lazy, late nights, lack of structure. I genuinely just miss THEM! I may or may not have thrown around the idea of homeschooling them until I thought about it long enough.  

I know they like to act a little crazy and bring me to the point of insanity sometimes, but I am overwhelmed with love for each of them. I will admit all the sickness going around this time of the year also has me feeling anxious and on high alert lately. I not only want to keep them at home, but I would also like to put them in a bubble if I could.  

I am what one may call a hypochondriac. I have been this way since birth, I think. You did not want to be around me during peak Covid… dark times, dark times. Over the last several days, I have found myself getting back to that – in a constant state of fear and always worrying when the ball will drop.  

If you are a believer, I am sure you can relate to those brief moments of clarity and peace.  Luckily, I had one of these and it was right on time.

Sunday night, I was saying my prayers before bed, and I found myself just repeating the same sentence over and over again. (Like God didn’t get it the first time, right?) I knew at that point I was just saying it over and over to give myself a bit of peace. Yes, MYSELF. This is where the moment of clarity comes in. 

I am reciting, “Lord, please just keep my babies safe. Lord, please just keep my babies safe.” 

It was probably after ten consecutive minutes of just reciting this over and over, I stopped.  

I heard God say, “I’ve got this.”  


In that moment of clarity. I was suddenly no longer anxious or afraid. I know God loves my girls more than I ever could and He is going to take care of them.

But that’s not all.

I felt led to open my Bible and turn to a random page. I do this often and I have ever since I was a kid. I closed my eyes, and my finger blindly led me to a scripture in Philippians.  

“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 


This scripture sounded familiar. A few moments later I found myself going through my backpack that I carry around with me every day and I pulled out a piece of paper that I took from Mass on Wednesday. I scanned it over and discovered it was the exact same scripture recited a few days prior during the service. 

Wow. I was sitting there reminding God over and over to take care of my family, but He made it clear in that moment that He did not need reminding. It was ME that needed the reminding. I did feel connected to this verse my first time reading it on Wednesday, but to blindly rediscover this same scripture a few days later in the midst of the worrying – that cannot be chalked up as a mere coincidence.  

Those brief moments of clarity and peace are few and far between for me, but when I feel them, it is indescribable and something I cling to so desperately in the days to follow.

I also wanted to share a quote from Henri Nouwen, a Dutch priest and professor, that I have referred to several times this week along with a new favorite scripture.

“Optimism and hope are radically different attitudes. Optimism is the expectation that things – the weather, human relationships, the economy, the political situation, and so on – will get better. Hope is trusting that God will fulfill God’s promises to us in a way that leads us to true freedom. The optimist speaks about concrete changes in the future. The person of hope lives in the moment with the knowledge and trust that all of life is in good hands.” 

So instead of worrying the good, joyful and healthy days away while waiting for something bad to happen, I have made it my personal mission to live in the moment and have faith that my God has me and all my loved ones in the palm of His hand.

(Paige Nash is a wife, mother, publisher of Bienville Parish Journal and Claiborne Parish Journal and a digital journalist for Webster Parish Journal.)

Email your Advent event schedule

The Advent Season will soon be upon us. Will your church be hosting special Advent and Christmas services and events?

Email to and we will include them in Webster Parish Journal, where we proudly say “Merry Christmas.”

Dec. 3

4 p.m. Christmas event at Brushwood Methodist Church. All Strings for Granted – a quartet of 2 violins, 1 cello and 1 viola – will be playing Christmas classics. This is a professional string quartet that has provided music for special events all of over the Ark-La-Tex. Brushwood Church is located at 6320 Brushwood Dr., Dubblery. Doors open at 3:30 p.m. All are welcome to come and enjoy.

Dec. 4

5:30 p.m. Doors open for ‘Prepare Him Room,’ First Methodist Church, 903 Broadway Minden. Program begins at 6 p.m. Worship with Rachel Chapman. Program by Prof. Kristi McLelland.

Sundays in December

The public is invited to the Springhill Methodist Church, located at 104 4th Street Northwest in Springhill, each Sunday to help prepare for the Birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ!

10:55 a.m. December 10, at 10:55, come and experience the SMC unique BELL CHOIR, under the direction of Shirley Maynor, performing various Christmas music throughout the service.

10:55 a.m., December 17 Lindy Dixon will direct the Chancel Choir as they present their Christmas Cantata “HOPE” composed and arranged by Joel Raney.

Dec. 24

5 p.m. Second Street Contemporary service, First Methodist Church, 903 Broadway, Minden.

5:30 p.m. Christmas Eve “Candlelight Service” Springhill Methodist Church.

7 p.m. Traditional Sanctuary service, First Methodist Church, 903 Broadway, Minden.

Upcoming Events

Send non-profit calendar events to .

Dec. 2

8:30 until 11 a.m., gree pancakes, milk, juice and free pictures with Santa or Mrs. Claus. Lakeview Methodist Church, 303 Lakeshore Drive, Minden.

10 a.m. until … Sarepta Christmas Festival. A day of live music, food, vendors, pony rides, bounce houses and more, ending at dark with fireworks by Pyromania.

2 p.m. Christmas Movie “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Spring Theatre, Springhill. Admission: $5.

Dec. 3

2 until 5 p.m. Christmas Tour of Homes, Springhill. Tickets: $10. Tickets may be purchased at any of the following homes: Ms. Mara Davis, 203 Mill Pond Rd., Springhill; Mr. & Mrs. Robert Smith, 800 Sherry Lane, Springhill; Mr. & Mrs. Lane Knighten, 400 Columbia Rd. 245, Taylor, Ark.; Mr. & Mrs. Jimmy Jennings, 25459 Hwy. 157, Shongaloo; and Mr. & Mrs. Charles Cole, 125 Rural Rd., Sarepta.

4 p.m. Christmas event at Brushwood Methodist Church. All Strings for Granted – a quartet of 2 violins, 1 cello and 1 viola – will be playing Christmas classics. This is a professional string quartet that has provided music for special events all of over the Ark-La-Tex. Brushwood Church is located at 6320 Brushwood Dr., Dubberly. Doors open at 3:30 p.m. All are welcome to come and enjoy.

6 p.m. The Sounds of Christmas, an instrumental concert. First Minden, 301 Pennsylvania Ave.

Dec. 4

5:30 p.m. Doors open for ‘Prepare Him Room,’ First Methodist Church, 903 Broadway Minden. Program begins at 6 p.m. Worship with Rachel Chapman. Program by Prof. Kristi McLelland.

Dec. 8

2 until 4 p.m., Cookies with Mrs. Santa, Germantown Colony Museum, 200 Museum Road, Minden. Bring your camera.

Christmas in Minden:

5:30 p.m. – Tree Lighting Ceremony, Minden Civic Center;

5:30 until 8 p.m. – Wine Walk, downtown Minden, $25/ticket. Purchase tickets here – – Proceeds benefit new Ronald McDonald House Shreveport-Bossier.

6 p.m. Rehab Reindeer Run, Ridgewood Subdivision; and,

6 p.m. Holiday Trail of Lights Hayride, Minden Civic Center.

Dec. 9

8 a.m. Community Prayer Breakfast, Pine Grove Methodist Church, 4549 La. Hwy. 159.

2 until 4 p.m., Cookies with Santa, Germantown Colony Museum, 200 Museum Road, Minden. Bring your camera.

4 until 6 p.m. Santa in Sibley

Christmas in Minden:

9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Christmas Brunch at Geaux Fresh;

Noon until 3 p.m. Kids Ornament Crafting, Dorcheat Museum, Pearl Street, Minden;

4 p.m. Christmas Parade;

5 p.m. Entertainment, downtown stage; and,

7:30 p.m. Fireworks, downtown Minden.

Dec. 13-14

3 until 4 p.m. Mini Sundancer Camp, Pre-K through 6th grade. Performance at Dec. 15 Glenbrook basketball game.

Dec. 15

6 p.m. Fireworks Celebration at Sibley Town Hall.

Author shares helpful tips to assist parents

The Tri-Community Center in Dubberly is truly grateful to have hosted Kathy Brown as she presented an engaging seminar regarding The Importance of Parental Engagement in Education. She expressed helpful tips that will assist parents in becoming active in their children’s education. 

Additionally, she shared her new children’s book: “Hilda and the Cup Babies – I’m Am Not Afraid to Read.” This book encourages and reinforces fundamental reading skills for kids in preschool through high school. You can connect with Brown directly to receive a copy today.

Brown is a native of Heflin who currently resides in Shreveport.

Thanks to all parents and volunteers who made this event a success.

Article & Photos by Arnedia Wallace

Early hotels in Minden

By Jessica Gorman

In a 1907 article, Mrs. C.P. Chaffe shares a history of the early hotels that operated in Minden. Mrs. Chaffe was Jennie Taylor Chaffe, daughter of Mrs. Jacqueline Taylor, hotel owner. 

The first hotel, and the first building built on what is historically known as the parallelogram, was the Rock Hotel built by Minden’s founder, Charles Veeder. It was located between Main and Broadway at Union Street. It faced Union. The first floor of the hotel was built of rock blocks. The second floor was “built on the old style of morticing and pegging the timbers together.” The hotel was managed by Sanders P. Day. A second hotel was opened in conjunction with this one. It was located just “above” or further up Main Street from the Rock Hotel and was operated under the same management. According to Mrs. Chaffe, students attending school in Minden would stay in this hotel.

Next, was the City Hotel, referred to as the Minden Hotel in advertisements. It was established by Jennie Chaffe’s father-in-law, Christopher Chaffe and also served as the Chaffe family home for a period of time. Mr. Chaffe was a native of England. He operated the hotel, stagecoach line, and several other businesses. The City Hotel was located on the site currently occupied by Moss Eye Care. 

After Mr. Chaffe moved his family to a home across the street, the hotel changed hands several times. It became the Reynolds hotel under the ownership of Mr. A.J. Reynolds. Then, the Taylor Hotel when it was run by Mrs. Jacqueline Taylor. It then passed into the hands of P.H. McCrary and in 1907, was being run by Mack Oliver. At the time, it was the oldest hotel in operation in Minden.

Mrs. Jacqueline Taylor moved her establishment from the City Hotel across town to the former home of Col. John L. Lewis. Col. Lewis died in 1871. The home became a hotel in 1875, being run at different times by Mrs. L.Q.C. Puckette, George Adams, Tom Carter, Tandy Webb, and Mrs. R.B. Murph before it was purchased by Clarence Chaffe, son of Christopher Chaffe and son-in-law of Mrs. Taylor. This hotel was located across the street from Jacqueline Park, so named for Mrs. Taylor, who was “lovingly known by every traveler of the great Southwest as ‘Aunt Jack.’”

Tandy Webb had also operated his hotel at this location. A lawsuit was filed by Mr. Webb against F.H. Drake. Mr. Webb asserted that the merchants of Minden had conspired against him to ruin his business by refusing to do business with any traveling salesman, known as “drummers,” who stayed at his hotel. After he was forced to close, Mr. Webb took his case to the courts seeking a total of $30,000 in damages for “destruction of business,” “humiliation of himself and wife,” and “punitory damages.” The case was heard by the Supreme of Louisiana, who decided in Mr. Webb’s favor, and was reported in newspapers across the country.

In 1899, the Minden Hotel opened in the former home of Mr. John Chaffe, possibly the same home where an attempt was made on Mr. Chaffe’s life. In 1907, it was under the management of Mrs. Stewart. It was located at the corner of Main and Pine streets, facing Main, on the site currently occupied by the Johnson Law Firm and b1 Bank. In 1930, that corner lot was sold to Standard Oil for construction of a service station. The hotel was moved to the back of the property and turned to face Pine Street. 

Mrs. Chaffe concluded her article with these words. “These three hotels in the course of these years, what stories they could tell of comedy, of tragedy, or marriage, of birth, of death. Many a distinguished guest has slept beneath their roofs; governors, senators, civil and military officials have cracked many jokes, laughed and sighed, eaten their fill, and ridden away to pleasures and duties all the happier for their hours in delightful Minden.”

(Jessica Gorman is the Executive Director for the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, Webster Parish Historian, and an avid genealogist.)

OBITUARY: William ‘Bill’ Francis Stanley Jr.

William “Bill” Francis Stanley Jr., 70, of Minden, LA passed away on November 23, 2023.

Bill was born on March 20, 1953, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to William Sr. and Ann Stanley. After graduating from Center  High School he joined the Air Force. Serving from 1971 to 1977, he was stationed in Korea then Barksdale Air Force Base where he was educated in heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration. He worked as an HVAC service tech for Brooks Heating and Air and then Berg Mechanical before founding his own highly successful Stanley Heating and Air in 1981 where he served as President and CEO. In 1998 he sold his company to Service Experts and continued to work there as Operations Manager and consultant until 2001. In late 2000, Bill jumped into a new business venture and started up a home standby generator company he named Alternate Power Company. Both companies were largely successful and Bill mentored many employees throughout his decades of business leadership. He was very passionate about his work and doing right by his customers. For that, he is a well known and respected name around town. 

Outside of his professional life, Bill’s grandchildren were the light of his life. He enjoyed attending their school events and he could never tell them no. From swimming to hunting, to taking them wherever their hearts desired, he just enjoyed the time he had with them. He will undoubtedly be fondly remembered as the fun Pops.

Bill is preceded in death by his parents and his sister Lisa Stanley. He is survived by his loving wife of 27 years Pam, sisters Linda Johnson (Denny), Jackie Stanley, Elaine Sylvester (Skip), Tina Moraga (Gil), brothers Gregory Stanley (Laura), Jeffrey Stanley (Chris), son Barry Knotts (Haley), daughter Candace Haynes (Dakota), son William “Cade” Stanley, and daughter Christie Darden (Cam). Grandchildren Landen Knotts, Dalton Harber, Max Wimberly, Marian Wimberly, Brandt Darden, and Emerson Haynes, along with a host of nieces and nephews.

In lieu of traditional services, we will be honoring Bill’s wishes by having a Celebration of Life to be announced at a later date. 

Gifting an air fryer for Christmas

We have officially entered the season of gift giving and receiving. Air-fryers make great gifts that will benefit the entire family. An air-fryer is a countertop appliance designed to simulate deep frying without submerging the food in oil. It operates like a small convection oven, circulating hot air to cook and brown the food. The best benefit of having an air-fryer is that it gives food an enjoyable taste with less fat. Air-fryers are also easy to clean, energy efficient, and they can fit into any kitchen. If you will be purchasing an air-fryer for yourself or for a loved one for the holiday, consider the six tips below before purchasing.

  1. Capacity. Air fryers come in different sizes, so it’s important to choose one that meets your needs. If you have a large family or frequently cook for a crowd, make sure you get one that’s big enough. 
  2. Cooking presets. Many air fryers come with preset cooking programs for different types of food, such as chicken, fish, or vegetables. These presets can save you time and make it easier to cook your favorite foods, especially if you’re new to air frying or cooking in general.
  3. Budget: Think about how much you are willing to spend on this appliance. Air-fryers can range from $50 to several hundred dollars. 
  4. Warranty: Consumers should check air-fryer models to determine the warranty for various products.
  5. Temperature range. Some air fryers have a wider temperature range than others, allowing you to cook a variety of foods at different temperatures. Look for an air fryer that can reach temperatures up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Look at the lower side too if you want to slowly reheat or dehydrate things.
  1. Accessories. Some air fryers come with accessories like a baking pan, stackable racks, or other tools. Consider what accessories you might want and whether they’re easily available or included in the air fryer purchase.

(Shakera Williams, M.P.H. is Assistant Nutrition Extension Agent- FCS for Webster/Claiborne parishes. Contact her at (318) 371-1371.)

Federal government complicates credit card industry

Dear Editor:

Recently, there have been claims that the Credit Card Competition Act being proposed in Congress will only have a “marginal impact” on rewards per dollar spent for consumers— and here’s why that’s just not true. 

Credit cards are owned by approximately 191 million Americans, who collectively gain $60 billion in cash-back and rewards each year. These rewards are one of the main reasons Americans reach for credit rather than debit. However, the proposed mandatory dual-message networks to function per card is not only technologically infeasible, but would cost $5 billion in the effort to overhaul our nation’s credit card systems. 

This comes at a cost for banks, according to Brock Kannan, an adjunct professor at Wake Forest University School of Law who teaches banking law and regulation. To offset such gigantic costs, credit card issuers might have to increase other fees or alter their rewards programs in some way, Keenan says. 

Additional fees and a cut down in rewards almost certainly means that consumers will be less likely to reach for credit cards.This act will possibly jeopardize not only those rewards, but also the protection that is offered against fraudulent activity. 

This act would increase the cost for credit card companies to fight fraud because of the exhaustive resources required by the dual-mandated networks. This bill also requires that networks give away the card security technology for free– eliminating all chances of security advancement for credit cards in the near future. 

Let’s not pretend that his bill is about a free market or about letting smaller card companies shine— it’s a way for the federal government to complicate and regulate the credit card industry in America. It isn’t by consumers, and it isn’t for consumers.


Maisie Daughtry

Woodrow’s Father

Charles Voyde is considered by some to be a legend in Texas because of his high-profile criminal history.  Charles was a carpet salesman, professional gambler, and a convicted contract killer, a hitman.  Charles was born in 1938 in Lovelady, Texas.  His criminal career began sometime in the late 1950s and escalated from petty crimes to murder.    

Charles had a wife and two children, the oldest of which was Woodrow.  In 1968, when Woodrow was seven years old, Charles was arrested for the murder of Alan Harry Berg, also a carpet salesman.  Woodrow’s father disappeared from his life.  While awaiting trial, Charles and two others were charged with the murder of wealthy grain broker Sam Degelia near McAllen, Texas.  In September 1970, Charles was acquitted of murdering Berg.  After the first trial for Sam Degelia’s murder ended in a deadlocked jury, Charles was convicted in 1973 and sentenced to 15 years in prison.  According to trial testimony, Charles was paid just $2,000 to murder Degelia.  In 1978, after serving five years of his sentence, Charles was released for good behavior.

Like Charles, Jamiel “Jimmy” Chagra was a carpet salesman and a professional gambler.  Jimmy was also a drug trafficker operating out of Las Vegas, Nevada and El Paso, Texas. In February 1979, Jimmy was indicted by a federal grand jury on cocaine and marijuana smuggling charges in Midland, Texas, and the case was assigned to Federal Judge “Maximum” John Wood.  The judge earned the nickname “Maximum” for his tough treatment of drug dealers and smugglers.  Jimmy tried back channels, and, when that failed, threatened Judge Wood, but he refused to step down as the presiding judge in Jimmy’s case.  Jimmy decided to hire a hitman.

According to courtroom testimony, in April 1979, Jimmy Chagra met Charles and Jo Ann, Charles’ third wife, in Las Vegas.  At that meeting, Charles agreed to murder the federal judge for $250,000.  In the following month, Jo Ann, using the false name Fay King, bought a Weatherby rifle in a Dallas gun shop.  A few days later, May 29, 1979, Judge John Wood was standing outside his car at his home in San Antonio, purportedly looking at a flat tire on either his or his wife’s car.  A neighbor heard what he thought was a car backfiring and looked out of his window and saw the judge fall into his car.  He had been shot in the back.  He fell into and died in his wife’s lap.  In the following month, Teresa Starr Jasper, Charles’ stepdaughter, picked up a briefcase which contained $250,000 in Las Vegas from Elizabeth Chagra, Jimmy’s wife.

The murder of the federal judge prompted a massive investigation, and, in August 1979, Jimmy Chagra was convicted in absentia in federal court of continuing criminal activity and sentenced to 30 years without parole.  Five months later, Jimmy was captured in Las Vegas and sent to Leavenworth federal prison.  While in prison, Jimmy bragged to another inmate, Jerry Ray James, that he had Judge John Wood killed and provided some specific details.  Jerry Ray shared the information he learned with investigators.  In September 1980, Charles was arrested in Van Horn, Texas following a 10-hour cocaine-fueled standoff with police.  It was when news broke of the 10-hour standoff that Woodrow learned the whereabouts of his father whom he had not seen in over ten years. 

During interrogation, Charles admitted to killing Judge John Wood.  In all fairness, during the same interrogation he also claimed to have killed several other people including President John F. Kennedy.  In April 1982, a federal grand jury indicted Jimmy, Jimmy’s little brother Joe Chagra, Jimmy’s wife Elizabeth, along with Charles and Jo Ann for conspiracy and other charges in the John Wood murder case.  Joe Chagra made a plea-bargain for a lesser sentence.  Elizabeth Chagra was found guilty of conspiracy for delivering the $250,000 payment to Charles’ stepdaughter.  Jo Ann, who bought the rifle that killed Judge John Wood was sentenced to 25 years in prison for obstruction.  Charles, the hitman who admitted to killing the judge, was sentenced to serve two consecutive life sentences for the murder.  Jimmy was ultimately acquitted of hiring Charles to kill Judge John Wood but was found guilty on numerous drug trafficking charges.                

In the late 1980s, Charles and Woodrow grew closer.  Woodrow visited his father in prison at least once a year.  In 1985, Woodrow became a bartender and began helping his father to get a new trial.  In 1987, when Charles married his fourth wife by proxy, Woodrow stood in for his father during the ceremony.  Charles argued that his legal representation was not adequate in his 1979 trial.  “No matter what you did,” Charles said, “you have a right under that Constitution to a fair and impartial hearing of your peers, and I did not get that.”  In 1998, Woodrow told reporters that it was the “sad truth” that the legal system “seems to work a lot better for those who have enough money.”  Woodrow fought to get his father a new trial until March 21, 2007, when the 69-year-old contract killer died in prison of a heart attack.   

Woodrow once said the fight to get his father a new trial cost a lot of money, but his bartending job paid more than most bartending jobs.  You see, Woodrow, the son of a hit man, was a bartender at the Boston, Massachusetts bar “where everybody knows your name.”  The name of the fictional bar was Cheers.  Charles Voyde Harrelson was the father of actor Woodrow “Woody” Harrelson.


1.     El Paso Times, May 30, 1979, p.1.

2.     Fort Worth Star-Telegram, October 21, 1984, p.89.

3.     Fort Worth Star-Telegram, October 25, 1984, p.69.

4.     Tampa Bay Times, August 7, 1998, p.22.

5.     The Monitor (McAllen, Texas), July 16, 1999, p. 26.

6.     Austin American-Statesman, March 22, 2007, p.21.

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.

Nov. 28

Jaworski Reshon Batton, 39, of the 1200 block of Cotton St., Minden, was arrested by LSP-G on U.S. 79 north of La. 518. He is charged with possession of 2 pounds of marijuana and one ounce of methamphetamine, both with intent to distribute.

Nov. 29

Darrian Tremaine Marry, 39, of the 900 block of East St., Minden, was arrested by WPSO on an active failure to appear warrant.

Tony R. Taylor, 22, of the 700 block of N. Arkansas St., Springhill, was arrested by Cullen Police for entering a drive-in restaurant and cashing a check on a non-existing account. The charge is monetary instrument abuse.

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named 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.

Weekly Filings

The following civil suits were filed with the Webster Parish Clerk of Court the week of Nov. 27. All suits are public record.

Nov. 27

Kimberly Marie Wren Womack vs. Donnie Philip Womack Jr., divorce.

Louisiana Community and Technical College System vs. Hope Weston, monies due.

Republic Finance LLC vs. Dereginald B. Banks, judgment executory & garnishment.

Synchrony Bank vs. Derrick Beene, monies due.

Synchrony Bank vs. Jessica Johnson, monies due.

Hailey A. Bolton vs. Eric D. Bolton, divorce w/children.

Crown Asset Management vs. Tammy L. Owens, monies due.

Wellessiea Presley vs. Benny McKinsey, protective order.

Nov. 28

Kevin Kent Taylor vs. Sonya Devon Taylor, divorce.

Notice of Death – Nov. 29, 2023

Bobbie Lee Garrett

Oct. 16, 1961 – Nov. 22, 2023

Springhill, La.

Memorial service: 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, Bailey Funeral Home, Springhill.

Betty Pennington

Sept. 22, 1936 – Nov. 26, 2023

Springhill, La.

No service times or dates have been released at this point. Contact Bailey Funeral Home, Springhill, for more information.

Donald Truett Harrison

March 6, 1963 – Nov. 22, 2023

Elm Grove/Springhill

Visitation: 2 until 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, Bailey Funeral Home, Springhill.

Memorial service: 3 p.m. immediately following visitation.

William ‘Bill’ Francis Stanley Jr.

March 20, 1953 – Nov. 23, 2023

Minden, La.

Celebration of life to be announced at a later date.

Webster Parish Journal publishes paid complete obituaries – unlimited words and a photo, as well as unlimited access – $80. Contact your funeral provider or . Must be paid in advance of publication. (Above death notices are no charge.)

Juvie crime is national problem with local impact

By Pat Culverhouse

Juvenile crime. It’s a national problem that also has significant impact on local communities and Minden is no different. Det. Sgt. Jason Smith heads the Minden Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division and he sees the problem as one that will continue to grow unless the root causes are addressed.

“Juvenile crime is a big problem, and we’re trying to take analytical tools to develop trends before we get a bigger problem,” he said. “The single most common crime in Minden is violent-related juvenile crime.”

Multiple factors contribute to juvenile crime, but Smith sees one that stands out above others.

“The number one reason that gets kids into the juvenile system is being from a single parent household,” he said. “One hundred percent of our juvenile gang members here come from a single parent household. And the number one reason for adults being involved in the justice system is that they were in the juvenile system.”

Smith said he’s not attacking single moms, “…they’re doing all they can. Half or more of their income is gone, half the supervision is gone, there’s no positive male role model. There are a lot of contributing factors, this is just one.”

Youngsters are looking for family and they’re finding it in street gangs, Smith observed. “They’re not a gang, they’re a family. It doesn’t mean that every kid from a single home will be in a gang. I imagine 99 percent of those kids will be ok, but there are still far too many who won’t be.”

Juvenile street gangs in Minden are not imports, they’re home grown, Smith said. In many cases, young people who turn to gangs often find motivation through social media. 

“They’re incubated in cyber space and the streets. Older kids teach the younger ones who idolize them,” he said. “They’ve been desensitized through social media. They watch fights on Snapchat and that becomes their baseline for normalcy. It’s the world we live in where there’s no Boys and Girls Club, no Boy Scouts, no church involvement…nowhere for the kids to go for positive character reinforcement except on the streets.”

And once they’re on the streets, they find themselves capable of doing just about anything with just about everything at their disposal. Firearms, Smith said, are available to kids at an alarming rate.

“Now I’m a Second Amendment advocate, but in the hands of a hyperemotional, hyper-aggressive juvenile with that juvenile brain, it’s a dangerous combination,” Smith said. “It’s become normal that instead of fighting we’ll just fire a couple of shots, not trying to hit anybody but getting our Internet clout. Until we’re able to direct that violence into something positive, it’s going to go to the streets.”

Bringing juveniles into the justice system is made difficult by what seems to be a lack of consequences for young offenders, Smith said.

“The juvenile justice system here does everything it can, but when we have only two beds (space available at juvenile facilities) there’s nothing any of us can do,” he said. “We have great respect for (City Court) Judge (Sherb) Sentell. He does everything he can for these kids, but he’s at the mercy of the system.”

Smith said it’s up to the state legislature to help with laws addressing the juvenile criminal system, including funding for more facilities and more programs designed to take instructive measures. 

“There have to be consequences for actions, but we need a system that is more corrective and not instructive in how to get better at crime,” he said. “Some of these kids come away from a juvenile facility, knowing that all they’re going to get is an ankle monitor. They are unchanged. I’ve literally pulled a gun from a waistband and a sack of weed from the ankle monitor.”

Smith believes statistics verify that kids must be shown alternatives that aren’t being offered at home. Problems will only worsen without efforts to make positive changes in a time of negative influences.

“Guidance is lacking. In some cases, we’re three of four generations into single parent households and two generations outside the church,” he said. “When morality is taken from the picture, kids are filling it with something else. Asian children idolize mathematicians and scientists, ours idolize sports figures, musicians, rappers…it’s another symptom of degrading our society.”

Savannah Court residents: ‘Don’t leave us out in cold’

By Marilyn Miller

“No news” is just that – no news yet for Savannah Court of Minden.

Residents and staff of the assisted living facility on Germantown Road have been living in anticipation of being “displaced” for an uncertain number of days (weeks? months?) while the owners of the city’s only facility of its kind make decisions regarding the repair of the roof and attic space.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office recently told local management that the residents would have to move out by Monday, Dec. 4 unless the roof repairs could be made before that time. Side issues, such as mold and mildew, would also have to be addressed.

The residents do not have to “move” furniture, etc. from their apartments, they are just being asked to take some “personal” belongings with them. However, some of the residents are tied to medical equipment that is necessary for their continued good health that must be relocated with them.

As the Webster Parish Journal learns more about this story, we will report it to you.

Send us your Advent and Christmas events

The Advent Season will soon be upon us. Will your church be hosting special Advent and Christmas services and events?

Email to and we will include them in Webster Parish Journal, where we proudly say “Merry Christmas.”

Dec. 3

4 p.m. Christmas event at Brushwood Methodist Church. All Strings for Granted – a quartet of 2 violins, 1 cello and 1 viola – will be playing Christmas classics. This is a professional string quartet that has provided music for special events all of over the Ark-La-Tex. Brushwood Church is located at 6320 Brushwood Dr., Dubblery. Doors open at 3:30 p.m. All are welcome to come and enjoy.

Dec. 4

5:30 p.m. Doors open for ‘Prepare Him Room,’ First Methodist Church, 903 Broadway Minden. Program begins at 6 p.m. Worship with Rachel Chapman. Program by Prof. Kristi McLelland.

Dec. 24

5 p.m. Second Street Contemporary service, First Methodist Church, 903 Broadway, Minden.

7 p.m. Traditional Sanctuary service, First Methodist Church, 903 Broadway, Minden.

NSU hires Division III head coach, former LSU player McCorkle as coach

HEADING TO NSU:  Blaine McCorkle guided a dormant Belhaven football program to a conference championship and NCAA playoff appearance, and will try to do the same for Northwestern State. (Photo courtesy Belhaven Athletics/Northwestern State)

By DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports

New Northwestern State football coach Blaine McCorkle is unknown to virtually everybody invested in Demon football, except for one of NSU’s greatest players.

Former NFL quarterback Craig Nall couldn’t be more excited that his former LSU teammate has been hired to take over the program in Natchitoches.

McCorkle, 47, and his family will be introduced to supporters and the media at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the Stroud Room, located in the Donald G. Kelly Athletic Complex. He replaces Brad Laird, one of NSU’s all-time great players, who resigned Oct. 26 as NSU curtailed its 2023 season by cancelling its final four games in the aftermath of the shooting death of junior safety Ronnie Caldwell Jr.

Northwestern has not had a winning season in football since 2008, a 7-5 record. There have been two 6-6 finishes, and two winless seasons, in 2009 and this fall (0-6). Last year Laird’s team had a 4-2 Southland Conference record.

Nall, who earned a degree from NSU after leading the Demons to the FCS playoffs with a record-shattering 2001 season, is a good friend of McCorkle – who has been in coaching for 26 years, the last six bringing a championship to a downtrodden Division III program at Belhaven College in Jackson, Miss.

He took the Blazers from a two-win team the year ahead of his arrival to a nine-win season in 2023, with  an outright USA South Conference championship – the first such title in Belhaven program history – and the program’s first berth in the NCAA Division III playoffs.

In his final three seasons, McCorkle led the Blazers to a 24-7 overall record. The 17-4 mark across the 2022-23 seasons marked the most wins in a two-year span in program history and helped McCorkle earn three American Southwest Conference/USA South Coach of the Year awards, including the 2023 honor.

McCorkle inherited a program that had not won more than three games in a season since 2013.

McCorkle has been an assistant coach as an offensive line coach at six FCS institutions – Delaware, Richmond, Liberty, Tennessee Tech, Chattanooga and UT Martin. Twenty of his 26 seasons as a coach have come at those FCS programs.

“The opportunity to be back at the FCS level where I’ve spent the majority of my career is something I’ve wanted for a long time,” said McCorkle. “It is a pure level of college football that plays for the right reasons. I’m excited to be back at that level. I’m also excited for the challenge of rebuilding – not building – Northwestern State because Northwestern State has been there before. The campus has a lot to offer. The town has a lot to offer. I’m honored and humbled to have the opportunity to restore a program a lot of people take a lot of pride in.”

McCorkle interviewed for the McNeese coaching vacancy two years ago, when the Cowboys replaced current LSU assistant Frank Wilson with Valdosta State coach Gary Goff. Nall said McCorkle was eager to apply for the NSU job six years ago when Laird was promoted from within to replace Jay Thomas.

“I’m really happy and excited, not only for him and his family but for the university. Northwestern State’s getting a good guy,” said Nall, who lives in the Dallas area and operates a nationwide business tutoring high school and junior high quarterbacks.

McCorkle was a walk-on deep snapper on Gerry DiNardo’s LSU teams when Nall arrived as a highly recruited quarterback from Alexandria Senior High. Nall became involved in a three-way battle for the starting job at LSU with Josh Booty and Rohan Davey, weathered the Tigers’ coaching transition from DiNardo to Nick Saban and ultimately transferred to his parents’ alma mater, Northwestern, to play his senior season.

McCorkle finished playing in 1999 and began his coaching career at LSU as a student assistant, earning his degree in 2000 before Nall left. They have remained friends since.

“Blaine has done a great job rebuilding the program that he’s been at, really turned it around and established a winning culture there,” said Nall.

“He’s fully aware of the challenge that’s going to be in front of him. He cares about his players. He’s an awesome coach and he does things the right way.”

McCorkle has no other apparent connections to Northwestern but from his days at LSU and during his time at Belhaven, he’s very familiar with the lay of the land in Louisiana and its football network. Belhaven had 13 Louisiana natives on its roster this fall. Two of his assistants recruited central Louisiana and another recruited south Louisiana.

“He knows the state, knows it well. I think recruiting-wise, he’ll do good. It will take some time but if there’s anybody who can do it, he will. He’ll get in there, roll his sleeves up, and get to work reestablishing a culture of winning,” said Nall.

“(Coming back to Louisiana) played a huge part in it,” McCorkle said. “I’ve wanted to be a Division I head coach in Louisiana for 30 years now. I came here in August 1995 and fell in love with the people, the culture and the passion that is the state of Louisiana. A big part of that culture is college football.

“We’re in a great high school football state that has great areas to pull talent from. One thing I know about the people of Louisiana is you always know where you stand with them. I want to give the people of Natchitoches what they want, earn their trust and build something special for them.”

Contact Doug at