Claiborne Parish students heading to state track meet

Photo courtesy of Dustin Danzie
Haynesville High School –
Students from Haynesville High School competed in their Class 1A regional meet on Monday, April 24, at Ouachita Christian School. 
The Tornadoes placed second overall. 
Students advancing to the state meet include:
4×1 relay
4×2 relay
Haynesville Boys:
4×1 Relay
4×2 Relay
Toby Franklin (field event)
Homer High School:
Homer High School track students also participated in the regional meet held on Monday at Ouachita Christian School in Monroe.
The 4 x 200M boys’ relay team, which includes Katrevrick Banks, Greg Williams, Spencer Dunn and Rob Monroe, are the only Tornadoes advancing to compete at the state track meet.
Summerfield High School:
Track students from Summerfield High School traveled to Gibsland-Coleman High School to compete at their Class C Regional track meet. 
The students advancing to state include:
Amarion Jones – 1st Place Discus
Marquez Tate – 1st Place Shot Put; 2nd Place Discus
Dalton Wilson – 1st Place Javelin; 3rd Place 400 Meter
Trae Kennedy – 3rd Place High Jump; 1st Place 110 Hurdles; 3rd Place 200 Meter
Markece Cooper- 3rd Place 300 Meter Hurdle
Jeremiah Hudson- 3rd Place 800 Meter; 2nd Place 3200 Meter
Seth Thurman- 3rd Place 3200 Meter
Armiya Williams – 1st Place Shot Put; 3rd Place 100 Meter
Amelia Ford – 3rd Place Javelin
Zyan Smith – 3rd Place Long Jump; 2nd Place 400 Meter
Kearra Wilson – 1st Place 1600 Meter
Akeirah Jones- 1st Place 100 Meter; 1st Place 200 Meter
Ella Adkins- 1st place 400 Meter; 3rd Place 300 Meter Hurdles
Shayla Ford – 1st Place 3200 Meter
Ella Adkins, Shayla Ford, Kierra Wilson, Armiya Williams – 1st Place 4×400 Relay
Ella Adkins, Akeirah Jones, Zyan Smith, Armiya Williams – 1st Place 4×200 Relay
The LHSAA Outdoor Track and Field State Meet will be held at the Bernie Moore Track Stadium at LSU in Baton Rouge, May 4-6. No tickets will be sold in person at the event. To purchase tickets please visit 

Claiborne Electric Cooperative awards 20 scholarships

Claiborne Electric Cooperative awards college scholarships to area high school seniors each spring. The scholarship program is open to college-bound high school seniors who are Claiborne Electric members, or whose parent(s) or legal guardian(s) are members of Claiborne Electric. Winners are chosen through a random drawing of all eligible entrants.

This year, 20 scholarships were awarded, with each winner receiving $2,000 toward tuition, books, or student housing. Claiborne Electric has awarded college scholarships over the last 30 years.

“We are pleased to offer these scholarships to some of our area seniors, and we wish them the best of luck as they pursue their educational goals,” said Claiborne Electric General Manager & CEO, Mark Brown.

This year’s scholarship recipients:

Elizabeth Beck, Homer
Allyson Brown, Bernice
Amiyah Chatman, Homer
Kyle Cortez, Minden
Molly Fanning, Homer
Landon Farley, Ruston
Elijah Farris, Ruston
Casey Hale, Downsville
Trinity Johnson, Homer
Hailey Lambright, Ruston
Tremainious McCallister, Grambling
Zoey Onsurez, Choudrant
Emma Reeves, Simsboro
Kendall Richardson, Heflin
Mallory Schilling, Haynesville
Michael Surlock, Ruston
Brady Wade, Spearsville
Brandie Washington, Sibley
Parker Whetstone, Farmerville
Conner Wood, Minden

Parish-wide election this Saturday

This coming Saturday, April 29, there will be a parish-wide election for a proposition of 6.19 mills on all parish property subject to taxation for 8 years beginning in 2036 and ending in 2043. This will amount to an estimated $729,200 to be collected from the tax levy for an entire year. The passing of the millage or ‘mil’ will be used for the purpose of constructing, maintaining and operating public libraries in Claiborne Parish.

This millage will represent a 0.09 increase, due to reappraisal, over the 6.10 mills tax authorized to be levied through the year 2035. This millage passed in the 2011 election.

The Claiborne Parish Police Jury and Claiborne Parish Libraries System humbly ask for the parish residents’ support in renewing this existing tax.

If you are on the mail out program, all absentee ballots must be at the Registrar Voters Office by 4:30 p.m. today, April 28th. 

On Election Day, April 29, residents can vote at the designated polling place between 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.

If you have any questions or concerns please call the CPPJ at 318-927-2222 or the Claiborne Parish Library at 318-927-3845.

To find your polling location visit:

Marker tells how “potlikker” fed Louisiana’s poor

by Wesley Harris

Potlikker, a countryfied sobriquet for pot liquor, is the delicate, savory juice left in the bottom of the pot after cooking certain vegetables. It’s the liquid Huey Long said could feed a hungry nation.

The importance of potlikker in feeding the poor South in pioneer days, through the Great Depression, and beyond has been commemorated with a new historic marker in Haynesville.

The Claiborne Parish Library obtained a grant from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation’s “Hungry for History” program. The Pomeroy grants recognize foods of importance in American history. A marker celebrating the value of potlikker was erected at the future Haynesville branch of the parish library on U.S. 79 last week.

For those who have no knowledge of potlikker (or pot liquor or pot likker), it is the liquid left behind after cooking greens like collards, mustard, and turnip greens or beans. Seasoned properly, a delicious liquid is created suitable for sopping up with cornbread.

According to popular folklore, eating certain foods on New Year's Day guarantees good luck through the year. And when you think about it, they all revolve around potlikker.

Peas and beans symbolize coins or wealth. Southerners choose the traditional black-eyed peas seasoned with pork, but lentils or beans work, too. While not as delicate as potlikker from greens, the liquid from peas works well with cornbread. When eating peas, don’t dish them onto a plate with a slotted spoon. A solid spoon gets plenty of potlikker on the plate to sop up with the cornbread. Green, leafy vegetables at New Year’s ensure financial fortunes for the coming year.

Southern favorites include turnip greens, mustard, collards or boiled cabbage. Whatever green is chosen, chunks of pork and the right combination of salt and pepper are added to achieve proper potlikker. Potlikker without pork is not as tasty.

Cornbread might symbolize gold with corn kernels representing coins. Cornbread provides an essential complement to black-eyed peas and greens, so incorporating all three into a first New Year’s meal can triple luck. And whether you are a “dunker” or a “crumbler,” cornbread is the preferred medium for transferring potlikker to the mouth.

In his 1933 autobiography, Every Man a King, Louisiana Governor Huey Long defined “potlikker.” As a U.S. Senator, Long described green liquor in a lengthy filibuster speech.

He called potlikker “the juice that remains in a pot after greens or other vegetables are boiled with proper seasoning. The best seasoning is a piece of salt fat pork, commonly referred to as ‘dry salt meat’ or ‘side meat.’ If a pot be partly filled with well-cleaned turnip greens and turnips (which should be cut up), with a half-pound piece of the salt pork and then with water and boiled until the greens and turnips are cooked reasonably tender, then the juice remaining in the pot is the delicious, invigorating, soul-and-body sustaining potlikker … which should be taken as any other soup and the greens eaten as any other food.

“Corn pone is made simply of meal, mixed with a little salt and water, made into a pattie
and baked until it is hard.“ It has always been the custom to eat corn pone with potlikker. Most people crumble the corn pone into the potlikker. The blend is an even tasting food.

“But, with the progress of education, the coming of ‘style,’ and the change of the times, I concluded that refinement necessitated that corn pone be “dunked” in the potlikker, rather than crumbled in the old-fashioned way. So I suggested that those sipping of potlikker should hold the corn pone in the left hand and the spoon in the right, sip of the soup one time, then dip the corn pone in the potlikker and bite the end of the bread. My experience showed this to be an improvement over the crumbling.”

Long advocated for vegetable gardens in the rural South and the consumption of potlikker to improve health.

Slaves knew the benefits of potlikker long before Huey Long touted its value on the floor of the U.S. Senate. In narratives collected during the Great Depression by writers employed by the Works Progress Administration, former slaves explained how potlikker sustained their families as a supplement to meager diets. When greens or beans were cooked for the masters, the vitamin-packed juices were saved for the enslaved children.

Food writer John T. Edge, who wrote his graduate school thesis on potlikker, explains the broth “is more than the sum of the juices at the bottom of a pot of greens. It may be one of the more plebeian of Southern culinary creations, but never let it be said that potlikker is without import. Enshrined early in the pantheon of Southern folk belief, potlikker was prescribed by doctors and conjurers alike for ailments as varied as the croup and colic, rabies and fatigue. Though claims of its curative qualities may be farfetched, potlikker is indeed packed with nutrients, for, during the cooking process, vitamins and minerals leech out of the greens, leaving the collards, turnips, or mustards comparatively bereft of nutrients while the vitamins A, B, and C as well as potassium suffuse the potlikker.”

The Haynesville marker was paid for completely by the Pomeroy Foundation. Research into the history of potlikker in the region was conducted by the library’s historian Wesley Harris.

Potlikker is a Southern delicacy with a rich history and the marker will help share that history. Information on the marker and other Claiborne Parish markers can be viewed at

Water Rangers needed in Claiborne Parish

Louisiana 4-H and Farm Bureau Need You!
We are looking for young people to serve as Water Rangers in select parishes to record daily rainfall and to support Louisiana farmers and ranchers.
Louisiana does not have enough individuals reporting daily rainfall which in times of extreme weather can assist our farmers and ranchers with assistance. To be a Water Ranger all it takes is to sign up, participate in a short orientation, and then use your smart phone to record daily rainfall!
This is a great community service project and you truly are making a difference for everyone! Sign up before April 30th at:

Library accepts memorials

By Wesley Harris (Claiborne Parish Library Historian)

For many years the Claiborne Parish Library has accepted gifts and donations as memorials as well as to honor the living. Individual patrons and organizations have donated funds to purchase books to celebrate the memory of loved ones and in honor of retirements, birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions.

When you donate money for memorial or celebration books in honor of a family member or friend, their names and yours will appear on bookplates in the front of the books purchased.

When possible, the interests of the person being remembered will be reflected in the subject matter of the item purchased. Books can be designated to be added to the Adult Collection, Reference Collection, Genealogy Collection, Large Print Collection, Children’s Collection, or a specific subject area. Specific titles can be recommended but acquisitions are based on availability and the library’s needs.

For more information, contact Library Director Pam Suggs at 318-927-3845 or

Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival “TAKE ME TO THE RIVER” VIP Style

Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival Super VIP giveaway!

Purchase at least two $100.00 VIP tickets, and you’ll be entered into our SUPER VIP DRAWING, with a chance to win TWO SUPER VIP PASSESS!

Drawing will be held Friday, April 28, 2023 @ 4pm

There are a limited number of VIP tickets available. Get yours today!

Mark Chestnutt, Tracy Byrd and Cupid

See the full line-up here

Purchase tickets here

Three girls and a dog

My husband and I took the girls camping this past weekend at Lake Bistineau State Park. It is a favorite spot of ours because it is just close enough to our house that we can pop in and tend to the dogs or pick up anything we may have forgotten (which happens a lot). It is also close enough that my husband does not have to burn a ton of gas after hauling the camper and then making a second trip to fetch his boat. See, pulling a trailer is not something I would trust myself with. He would probably let me attempt to pull the camper before his boat though. A skill I will learn one of these days… maybe.  

It is also a favorite of ours for a few other reasons. One… the lake, obviously. Two… they have plenty of playground equipment to keep the girls entertained for most of the day. Three… you are bound to run into at least a handful of people you know. This is a good thing, after you have been stuck in a camper in the middle of nowhere trying to keep three kids entertained while your husband is out on the boat and there is not enough service for their I-pads to work. A little adult interaction helps keep the sanity in check.  

I think I have mentioned before though that I am not the most sociable person ever? That would be a problem, but I have my kids for that. Most of the time, they leave me no choice. 

For instance, while we were camping last Saturday the girls wanted to go on a walk. As we were taking this walk around the other campsites, the girls encountered a little fluffy dog with her human in tow. Of course, they must stop to greet the dog and only the dog, never even looking up at the lady at the other end of the leash. So, I am forced to stop being such a recluse and make small talk with her.  

Turns out, she was camping with her husband and another couple who just so happened to be family friends of mine. Small world, right? After a few more minutes of puppy kisses and small talk, we go our separate ways. Do not let me forget this important detail: the dog’s name is RayRay.  

The reason this is important is because it is all I heard for the next three hours from both Ashton and Kameron. “RayRay this, RayRay that. I want to pet RayRay. Where is RayRay?” 

Coincidentally, RayRay was staying two camps over and they see her outside a little later in the evening, so my husband and I walk over and ask the lady if the girls can pet the infamous RayRay before we head off to find something to eat.  

Somehow, things transpired into us getting invited to eat dinner with them. It was really great. The kids forced me to get out of my shell and my husband and I were able to enjoy some great fellowship with these two other couples- sharing stories and eating a delicious meal that I did not have to prepare. I feel like I say this a lot… But in case you have not read any of my past articles, I am happy as can be any time I get to eat a meal that I did not have to shop for or cook. 

Oh, and the girls (and RayRay) were completely played out by bedtime. Win-win for everybody! 

P.S. This was almost a whole week ago and I am still hearing all about RayRay. We ran into her one more time while loading up to head home on Sunday and I am pretty sure Ashton has a playdate set up with RayRay and our poodle Harley in the near future.  

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

U.S. Intelligence Officials Who Claimed Hunter Biden Laptop Story was “Russian Disinformation” Knew That Was False

It turns out that the 51 former U.S. intelligence experts who signed the letter that President Biden used in the debate with President Trump to allege that the explosive and damaging information contained in Hunter Biden’s laptop was a Russian fake—were, in fact, pushing the actual “Russian disinformation” campaign! 

Recall, this letter was also the “authority” used by Twitter, Facebook, and many other social media platforms to censor and hide from the American people the New York Post’s article which, in great detail, reported the truth about abundant evidence of widespread global corruption of the Biden Crime Family contained on Hunter’s ‘Laptop from Hell.’

Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morrell testified this past week that then-Biden campaign senior adviser, now-Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, was the “impetus” of the public statement signed in October 2020 that falsely but persuasively suggested the laptop belonging to Hunter Biden was “Russian disinformation.” 

Let me try to summarize this slimy mess.

Our current Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, was the driving force behind the fabrication of a letter signed by 51 former intelligence officials to discredit the Hunter Biden laptop story as Russian disinformation when they knew full well it was not.

And why did Morrell, Blinken and the rest falsely discredit the New York Post story regarding Hunter Biden’s laptop as supposed Russian disinformation? 

“One intent was to share our (knowingly false) concern with the American people that the Russians were playing on this issue; and two, it was to help Vice President Biden … to win the election.”

How should we interpret this?

Well, we all enjoy freedom of speech and the right to our own opinions, but it was of great significance and gravity that these prominent, credentialed former intelligence officials lent their names to this knowingly false statement.  Millions of Americans assumed the signatories of the letter had access to information that we, as average American citizens, did not have.  They were right.  These officials did have special knowledge and that’s the reason their signing the letter and attesting to this falsehood is all the more deceitful, manipulative, and damaging.

What was the result?

It provided a lazy, compliant, Biden-supporting national media with the justification it needed to ignore the Hunter Biden laptop story and discredit Hunter’s former business partner, Tony Bobulinski, who went on the record before the election to substantiate much of the information on the laptop through the use of huge numbers of text messages.

Why does this matter so much?

Because the revelation of influence-peddling by Hunter Biden just prior to the election was obviously newsworthy given that former VP Biden had repeatedly said he had “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.” 

The emails effectively proved that Joe Biden was not only aware of his son’s business dealings but actually participated in meetings in support of this lucrative, international scheme to sell access to the U.S. Government.    Thus, Joe Biden demonstrably lied directly to the American people throughout the 2020 campaign and in the Presidential Debates.

So, how should we view this joint effort by the national media and these current and former intelligence officials and other Administration officials who essentially colluded to suppress the Hunter Biden Laptop story? 

The Wall Street Journal offers a sobering admonition:  

This “partisan foray by current and former U.S. intelligence officials … should be deeply troubling to Americans on the left and right.  They have authority by dint of access to information that isn’t confirmable by the press, which takes their spin as gospel.  This is a form of political corruption that needs to be exposed … ” (WSJ, 12-5-22)

What effect would this damaging information have had on the 2020 election?

After the election, a full 17% of Biden voters polled stated that they would not have voted for Joe Biden had they known prior to the election of the information contained on the laptop.

Remember, Pres. Trump only lost the Electoral College count by a mere 44,000 votes in three swing states out of approximately 154.6 million votes cast nationwide!  

As a result of this malevolent suppression of the truth, the voice of the people was silenced, and the trajectory of American history and world history was forever changed.

This was a dirty, cynical, and corrupt political trick of the first order that we have a moral and civic obligation to unfailingly call out and expose.

(Royal Alexander was a staff member to the late U.S. Representative Clyde C. Holloway of Louisiana’s 8th congressional district, since disbanded, who also served as chairman of the Louisiana Public Service Commission. He was also a member of the Republican State Central Committee of Louisiana from 2008-2012. He is an attorney.)

The Controversy of Forward-Facing Sonar Continues

Technology is awesome today as cell phones, smart TVs and computers are just a few of the things where technology has advanced into mind blowing devices.  We have instant access to an information highway that mankind has never seen before. We can play video games on our cell phones and compete against individuals around the globe. No longer do we have to wait until the 6:00 news to get the weather forecast or to hear the latest trades our favorite sports teams have made. Information today is instantaneous!
Today we’ll look at the latest technology that has affected the fishing world and what some anglers are calling a controversial topic; forward facing sonar. What is forward facing sonar? It’s a sonar unit that allows you to see fish swimming up to 100 feet away in real time. These sonars reveal extreme details as you watch fish swim up and actually eat the bait you’re throwing. Basically, it’s a real time fishing video game!
So many anglers were against it and a lot were excited to have it. Opinions varied even among the top-level professional anglers when it first came on the scene. It was not well received by many tournament anglers as they felt it made fishing too easy and any angler could now start winning tournaments. Skills and instincts were no longer enough to win an event, but If you could read and understand what your screen was showing, you had a distinct advantage over other anglers.
The younger generation of anglers today, has adapted very quickly to this new technology. Today’s youth have grown up with cell phones an iPad or computers and are not intimidated by technology like so many older anglers who learn to fish by instinct or what they’ve learned over many years of fishing. But here’s the problem with technology. These new sonar units by Garmin, Lowrance, and Hummingbird are great but like all technology can go on the blink occasionally. The older generation anglers have an advantage when this happens as the younger anglers of today don’t have the instincts or the experience to fall back on.
Watching some of today’s top professional anglers, not all are fans of the forward-facing sonar. Anglers like Elite Series Pro John Cox (a shallow water angler) don’t even own one of these types of units because they’re not very effective in shallow water conditions of five feet or less. The general conscience by tournament anglers across the country is that if you don’t have forward-facing sonar, you can’t compete or win a tournament. This is not true as some of the best fishing pros today don’t use them, and many anglers are having tremendous success without it.   
 So don’t feel like you must go out and spend $5000 for one of these high-tech sonar units. While they’re great if you know how to use and read one, it’s not the end all be-all answer for winning tournaments or catching fish. Time of year is also a factor when these forward-facing sonar units are more effective. Some anglers that I compete against are still winning and do not have one of these expensive sonar units. They are like any other tool in your fishing arsenal, it’s just a tool that’s only as good as the person using it.
Till next time, good luck, good fishing, and don’t forget to wear sunscreen and good protective outerwear when spending the day on a lake.
Steve Graf

Checking boxes and covering bases

BARBERINO-TAVARNELLE, TUSCANY— For the past several years— and for the foreseeable future— I have spent approximately 90 days each year hosting Americans in Europe. I am currently seven weeks into my Spring 2023 trips with the fourth group I’ve hosted since mid-March. We are in Tuscany. Next week I will head to Holland and Belgium to host a group of 25 Americans, most of whom have traveled with me before. For some it will be their fifth or sixth trip with me over the past six years. We are fast friends by now.

On these tours I tell my guests that my plan is to, “Cover all the bases, and check all of the boxes.” What I mean by that is the week they spend in Tuscany, or the 10 days in Spain, or 10 days in the Netherlands and Belgium, I want each of them to experience as much of the country’s culture, art, architecture, craftsmanship, personalities, landscapes, wine, spirits— and especially cuisine— as they can. It is my goal that when they are on their flight home, they will look back on the time they spent and realize how much ground we covered, and how much they experienced.

To accomplish this, we eat a lot of food. In Tuscany, our typical meals consist of way more than the typical Italian would eat daily. For those who are first time travelers it takes two or three days to get into the flow of my trips and to realize the amount of food that is going to be served. For the seasoned guests who have been with me a few times, they understand from day one.

In Tuscany, we probably cover two weeks worth of Tuscany in one week. That holds true for the food choices as well. We eat a lot of food. But, again, I want to cover all the bases and check all the boxes. I want my guests to get an accurate representation of the cuisine in this part of the world in the short time they are here. To do that we have to order a lot of food.

Sometimes guests, in the early days of a trip, will complain, “It’s too much food.”

I always reply, “No one is going to make you eat it all. Just eat what you like, or eat small portions of each.”

The beauty of this system is that there are no misses. I have cherrypicked all the restaurants and meals. I have eaten at these restaurants dozens— if not hundreds in some instances— of times. Everything is a hit. That’s one thing that happens when traveling. You can take all the recommendations and reviews you think you need, but there are still misses. I have eliminated the misses, and all the meals are perfect.

Last week a guest suggested I print T-shirts that state, “There’s more food coming.” I had never thought about it, but it’s obviously something I say often on these trips. My aim is true. I don’t want my guests to fill up on the antipasti course before getting the primi, or the secondi. And certainly not before the dessert. I never thought about how much I use that phrase because I’m typically in host mode and focused on the business at hand.

If one is going to check all the boxes and cover all the bases one must have diverse offerings at every turn. In Spain that is easy to do as we move from city to city every couple of days. The food in Madrid is much different than the food in Barcelona. The same goes with Valencia, Seville, and Malaga which is on the Mediterranean and has a plentiful seafood bounty.

I have hosted tours that included Venice, Bologna, and Milan in one week. Those are all Italian cities. But the cuisine is substantially different in each. Venice leans heavily towards the bounty from the sea, Bologna, a city that many call, “The food capital of Italy,” is very meat-centric, and Milan is a city with a lot of Austrian and French influences in their food— dairy products are used more often than in any other part of the country.

When leading groups through Rome, the Amalfi Coast, and Naples the choices are easy. Rome being a major European capital the food choices are diverse and the offerings are “big city Italian.” The Amalfi Coast is full of excellent seafood that was swimming that morning. Naples is ground zero for pizza, so during those trips the job is easier. All I need to do is find the right restaurants.

In Tuscany, the area of the country that I know best, I focus on what the locals eat. We eat pizza, in the small Tuscan town of Tavarnelle-Barberino which has one of my top two pizza restaurants in the entire country in Vecchia Piazza (the other is Piccolo Buco in Rome). But there are so many other Tuscan classic dishes such as pappa pomodoro, ribollita, dishes with multiple uses of white beans, classic soups, Florentine steak, several pastas, and several dishes using truffles. The food in the countryside outside of Florence is very rustic and workmanlike. I love it. It’s right up my alley.

One thing I overlooked in the early days of my travels here was seafood. I will admit that I am a little bit of a Gulf Coast seafood snob. I believe— and still believe— that the bounty of seafood that comes from the Gulf of Mexico is the best in the world. You can tout the seafoods from the Pacific Coast, Atlantic Coast, Mediterranean and other exotic locales. But the seafood I have eaten all my life that comes from the warm waters Gulf of Mexico is, according to my taste, far superior to all others. Though Tuscany does a great job with seafood. So much of this region consists of the Mediterranean coastline. One of the favorite meals I host for my guests is at an excellent seafood restaurant, Trattoria del Pesce, where we eat mussels, clams, salt-crusted sea bass, and even fish for dessert. It’s excellent.

Yesterday when I told my guests that someone in the previous group suggested I pass out T-shirts that say, “There is more food coming.” One of the new guests suggested that the back of the shirt say, “And wine too!” It’s true. They eat a lot, they drink a lot, and it’s my goal that they “want” for nothing. But we’re in Italy. We need to experience as much of this part of the world as we can in a short period of time. The fact that so many return to travel with me for a fifth or sixth time lets me know I must be doing something right.

It’s work, and sometimes it’s hard work, but if you’ve got to work somewhere, this isn’t a bad place to do it. In the meantime, I’ll continue to cover all the bases and check all the boxes.


Pasta Carbonara

No peas, no cream. That’s real Pasta Carbonara.

1 lb. Dry spaghetti pasta
1 gallon Water
¼ cup + ½ tsp Kosher salt
3 TB Extra virgin olive oil
½ lb. Guanciale or Pancetta, medium diced
2 cups  Parmigianino Reggiano, shredded
1 tsp  Fresh ground black pepper
4 each  Whole large eggs, beaten slightly, at room temperature
½ cup  Warm pasta water

Cook the spaghetti using the instructions on the package.

Heat the oil in a small skillet on medium heat. Add pancetta and stir frequently until cooked, about 6-8 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, grated cheese, remaining ½ tsp salt, black pepper, and pasta water (if the water is too hot you might want to add it in small amounts so the eggs won’t scramble). Mix well. Add hot spaghetti. Add the cooked pancetta and its oil over the pasta and combine thoroughly.

Divide among 6-8 serving bowls.

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

Upcoming Events

Please send all non-profit events to

April 29 (9 a.m. – 12 p.m.)

Rx Disposal at Homer Town Hall

Turn in your unused, unneeded or expired medications for safe, free and anonymous disposal.

April 29 (11 a.m.)

Louisiana Legend Fest Title Sponsorship Announcement – Car Giant of Homer

May 3 (Noon)

LSU AgCenter – Wellness Wednesday Virtual Forum

Topics of discussion will include Skin Cancer Detection and Awareness Month.

To register please visit,

May 4 (11:30 a.m.)

Local Observance of ‘National Day of Prayer’ – Alabama Kinnebrew Park

(In the case of rain this event will be held at Homer City Hall.)

May 6 (10 a.m – 12 p.m.)

Meet & Greet with Main Street Homer Interim Executive Director, Amri Douglas

419 West Main Street in Homer

May 11 (6 p.m.)

Athletic Banquet – Honoring all 2023 Summerfield High School Athletes

Summerfield Gymnasium 

Tickets are $15

May 12 (7:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.)

Summerfield Pre-K “Meet the Teacher”

May 12

Summerfield High School Field Day

May 13 

Homer Country Club 2nd Annual Golf Tournament

May 17-18 (12 – 2 p.m.)

Mini Basketball Camp – Homer High School Gym

$30 per camper. Registration is due by Monday, May 8.

May 20 (9 a.m. – noon)

Town of Haynesville Farmer’s Market on Main Street

For more information reach out to

May 20 (12:30 p.m.)

Homer Alumni Basketball Tournament

Notice of Death – April 27

Notice of Death – April 27, 2023

Catherine Boddie

July 31, 1927 – April 24, 2023

Arcadia, La.

Visitation: 5 until 8 p.m. Friday, April 28, 2023, Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Arcadia, La.

Funeral service: 10 a.m. Saturday, April 29, 2023, Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Arcadia.

Burial: Bear Creek Cemetery

Larry Bennett Litton Sr.

May 3, 1955 – April 24, 2023

Fairview Alpha, La.

Visitation: 11 a.m. until service time Friday, April 28, 2023, Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home, Coushatta.

Funeral service: 1 p.m. immediately following service.

Burial: Zion Cemetery.

Sue Walker Camp

Dec. 16, 1944 – April 21, 2023

Shongaloo/Minden, La.

Visitation: 5 until 7 p.m. Thursday, April 27, 2023, Bailey Funeral Home, Springhill.

Funeral service: 10 a.m. Friday, April 28, 2023, Bailey Funeral Home Chapel, Springhill.

Burial: Western Cemetery, Emerson, Ark.

Henry Luther Boggs

June 10, 1934 – April 24, 2023

Visitation and memorial service: 10 a.m. Saturday, April 29, 2023, Cottage Grove Presbyterian Church, Plain Dealing, La.

Judy Ann Wise

January 24, 1948 – April 20, 2023

Shongaloo, La.

Visitation: 1 until 2 p.m. Saturday, April 29, Old Shongaloo Rock Church.

Funeral service: 2 p.m. immediately following visitation.

Burial: Old Shongaloo Cemetery, under the direction of Bailey Funeral Home, Springhill, La.

Kenneth Edward Rice

August 22, 1950 – April 1, 2023

Ringgold, La.

Visitation: 10 a.m. Saturday, May 13, 2023 at Barksdale Baptist Church.

Celebration of Life to follow immediately.

Claiborne 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 free of charge.)

LDWF agents cite Homer man for turkey hunting violations

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited a man for alleged turkey hunting violations in Claiborne Parish on April 16.

Agents cited Justin Lester, 33, of Homer, for hunting turkeys over a baited area, possession of an illegally taken turkey and failing to tag a turkey.

Agents were on patrol when they came across Lester actively hunting turkeys near Athens in Claiborne Parish. Agents then heard a shot shortly thereafter and were able to make contact with Lester.

During the hunting check, Lester was in possession of a freshly harvested turkey and agents documented corn spread on the ground where Lester was hunting. Agents also found that Lester was cited for hunting turkeys over a baited area in 2022.

Agents seized the turkey and the shotgun used to take the turkey.

Second offense of hunting turkeys over a baited area brings up to an $800 fine and 90 days in jail. Possession of an illegally taken turkey carries up to a $750 fine and 30 days in jail. Failing to tag a turkey brings up to a $350 fine.

Lester may also face civil restitution totaling $1,539 for the replacement value of the illegally taken turkey.

Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Ryan Brasher and Senior Agent Evan Hoek.

Summerfield Elementary students participate in ArtBreak Festival

Students from Summerfield Elementary participated in this year’s ArtBreak Festival.

The festival was held at the Shreveport Convention Center and was an all-weekend event, April 21-23, and it was completely free.

This event provides 100+ schools from across the state a chance to showcase their talent in a wide range of visual, literary, cultural and performing arts. Festival goers were able to see thousands of student art displays, a talent show, fashion show, culinary competitions, and an opportunity to participate in 50 hand-on art activities.

ArtBreak offered over $25,000 in prizes for students who excel in their category of choice.

Multiple students from the Summerfield Elementary school had their art work displayed at the festival, but one caught the eye of the jurors. Second grader, Miyah Houston, won the Visual Juror’s Choice Award for her piece titled, Into the Deep.

Fifth grader, Kaylee Mitchell, won the $50 Literary Elementary Prose for her prose titled Snow Globe.

Miyah Houston’s Into the Deep

Five Claiborne Parish charities participate in ‘Give for Good’

Next Tuesday, May 2, the Community Foundation of North Louisiana is hosting its annual community-wide day of giving that raises millions of dollars for North Louisiana nonprofits including five that support Claiborne Parish directly. These nonprofit organizations work hard to better our parish and they all need our support to continue these efforts. You can donate today by visiting the below website and searching for our participating charities:

Claiborne Parish nonprofits you can support include:
Herbert S. Ford Museum whose mission is to promote and preserve the art, life, culture, and history of the North Central Louisiana Hill Country.

Keep Hope Alive Outreach Ministry whose mission is to inspire hope and transformation in individuals and communities by proclaiming the promise of Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to
prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” We believe that everyone has a purpose and a calling, and that God has a unique plan for each person’s life. Our goal is to help people discover and fulfill that plan, by providing resources, education, and support.

Main Street Homer whose mission is to revitalize Homer through economic development, historic preservation, and advancement of the arts.

The Boys and Girls Club of North Louisiana whose mission is to provide youth in North Louisiana a safe supervised environment where they can develop into positive productive members of society.

Total Health Heroes Foundation whose mission is to combat childhood obesity and the co-morbid conditions associated with obesity including diabetes and hypertension by providing a public health & fitness community with a supporting cartoon brand, the Total Health Heroes make the journey to total health easier for the whole family with plenty of education, encouragement, and fun.

All of these organizations need your support. Please donate to each of them today!

Claiborne Parish Housing Program accepting waiting list applications for Housing Choice Voucher Program

The Claiborne Parish Housing Program will be taking names of persons who are interested in placing an application on the waiting list for the Housing Choice Voucher Program.
If you are in need assistance and 18 years of age or older, The Claiborne Parish Police Jury’s Housing Choice Program will be taking applications on May 4th and 5th from 10:00 a.m. till 2:00 p.m. at the CPPJ Community Services Building Section 8 office located at 621 S. Main St in Homer, La.
Applications will be accepted on both days until a total of 100 applications have been completed and accepted, at which time the individuals will be placed on the waiting list. All others received will not be processed.
Applications will only be accepted and given out during the dates and times listed.

Crossing Lines: Junction City

By Wesley Harris (Claiborne Parish Library Historian)

Unlike any other town in America, Junction City is divided by two states, two parishes, and one county. Situated on the Arkansas-Louisiana state line, the community is actually two towns with separate governments, each electing its own officials. Junction City, Louisiana is divided in half by Claiborne and Union Parishes. Junction City,

Arkansas is located wholly in Union County. The multitude of jurisdictional lines has caused headaches since Junction City’s
founding in 1894 when Captain C. C. Henderson purchased a tract for a depot on the Arkansas Southern Railway. The railroad eventually extended south and led to the creation of Bernice and Dubach and the demise of the Union Parish town of Shiloh which was missed by the rails. Ruston became a railroad crossroads with the Arkansas Southern intersecting the Vicksburg, Shreveport and Pacific line, making it possible for a passenger to transfer and continue travel in any direction.

Legend and a smattering of newspaper reports paint early Junction City as a rowdy little town. In 1896 a town marshal was wounded while attempting to make an arrest. Lish Williams, a violent repeat offender, escaped. A deputy U.S. marshal tracked down Williams in Columbia and with an application of some force, took the fugitive into custody. Among other shootings and killings, two Junction City town marshals were murdered, one in 1916 and another in 1929. Drunkenness, the apparent cause of much of the violence, was condemned several times in the local paper.

The numerous jurisdictions complicated law enforcement. After committing a crime in Louisiana, the offender could slip into another parish or across the state line making apprehension by law officers more difficult.

In 1901, Junction City suffered a disastrous fire with thirteen buildings destroyed, including the bank and post office. The origin of the fire is unknown, but it is thought to have begun in a restaurant.

In August 1905, the governor of Arkansas placed the state under a yellow fever quarantine. For Junction City, especially its Louisiana residents, the decree caused chaos.

Guards on the Arkansas side enforced the quarantine and no one from Junction City, Louisiana was allowed to cross the street into Arkansas without going through considerable red tape. One man who owned a business on the Arkansas side but lived in Louisiana side had to move to avoid trouble with the authorities each time he crossed over.

The quarantine muddled everyday life for residents on the Louisiana side of Junction City. Junction City’s town well was in the center of Main Street. The handle to the well pump was in Arkansas. When someone in Louisiana needed a drink from the well, a
citizen in Arkansas had to pump the handle to get water. The Arkansas guards loitered around the pump and kindly filled the tin dippers of those on the Louisiana side. If Louisianans pumped their own water, they faced the likelihood of arrest.

Most businesses were on the Arkansas side. To purchase household provisions during the quarantine, Louisianans lined up along their side of the border and the merchants assembled on the other side to take orders for meat, flour, bread, and other goods. The orders were filled and at an agreed time, customers met merchants again who handed the purchases across the state line. The method was similar to some strategies used during the recent COVID pandemic.

The many dividing lines also created problems at election time in early Junction City.

A 1922 Shreveport Journal article reported, “Always in elections Junction City has a more or less severe political muddle because it is on the dividing line, and it is a difficult matter to separate the sheep from the goats, as it were.” The article told of a lawsuit by the defeated candidate for mayor of Junction City, Louisiana, challenging the election, claiming nine voters who did not live in Junction City cast ballots, 29 voters for the victor owed poll taxes and were ineligible to vote, and one voter did not live in either Louisiana or Arkansas. The suit failed.

Another jurisdictional flap arose in the 1990s over schools. Beginning in the 1920s, some students living in Claiborne and Union Parishes attended school in Junction City, Arkansas. The parish school boards provided buses, teachers, and other resources to help pay for the Louisiana students’ education in Arkansas. The amount of the contributions was renegotiated each year. In 1995, Union Parish withdrew from the agreement and students who once walked to school were bused to Bernice, Farmerville, and Lillie. By 2008, only 58 Claiborne high schoolers and 55 elementary students were attending Junction City schools.

In 2013, the Claiborne Parish School Board withdrew from the arrangement. The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved a plan for up to 100 Claiborne students to continue to attend Junction City schools. The one-of-a-kind agreement allowed students to remain in Junction City rather than being bused to Claiborne schools. The funding was routed through a charter school that could accept students from across the state.

While the multiple jurisdictions have created issues over the years, for the average resident Junction City is simply Junction City. To those who love their small community, the state, county, parish, and town boundaries are just lines on a map.

Teachers’ Retirement System of Louisiana holding Board of Trustees Elections

2023 TRSL Board of Trustees elections: There’s still time to qualify as a candidate.
Time is running out to qualify as a candidate for one of the three seats up for election this year on the TRSL Board of Trustees. TRSL must receive your letter of intent by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 28.
Serving on the Board of Trustees is an important public service role that allows you to actively participate in the management and safeguarding of System assets that provide retirement income for thousands of TRSL members. The board usually meets once a month in Baton Rouge.
If you’re an active member employed in Districts 2, 3 or 4, and you’re interested in serving, take a look at the election policy and procedures.   
The map below show which parishes are included in District 4.

Main Street Minute – April 26

They say good things come to those who wait, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the business of downtown development, it’s that nothing happens quickly. If patience is a virtue, then Main Street Homer is one of the most righteous organizations on the planet.

The town of Homer has been waiting for over thirty years for something to happen to the iconic Pan American Gas Station on West Main Street and North 2nd Street and our wait is over. A couple of years ago, we started the project to save this building by procuring a grant to hire an historic architect to create a structural analysis of the building. You’ve probably noticed the progress on the building over the last year as we have completed phase two of the project, the demolition of all the decayed portion of the building was funded by a Paul Bruhn Historic Renovation Subgrant. This is where the building stands now, braced and waiting for phase three, reconstruction.

To fund phase three, we applied for a USDA Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) and were notified on April 20th that we were awarded $215,027! This grant is the largest single grant Main Street Homer has received to date. These funds will allow the complete restoration of the building. Reconstruction plans include honoring the past of the building by recreating the historic look and feel of the Pan American Gas Station while adding modern amenities. Once complete, the site will be used to create new business for our community – hence the “rural business development” nature of the grant funding. This new business will be a farmers and maker’s market that will in turn grow more businesses from our local growers and artisans. We are very excited to begin this final phase of the project. Look for construction to start soon as we plan for the project to be completed within the next year. We could not have begun this project without the generous donation of the building to Main Street Homer by the Julius and Anita Peterson family.

Thank you for helping us to revitalize Homer one building at a time. See, good things do come to those who wait.

Remember, next Tuesday, May 2nd is Give for Good day – the day of our annual fund drive that allows us to continue our work to revitalize Homer. While we were very fortunately to receive this USDA grant, it will not fund all the equipment, supplies and operating costs Main Street Homer will incur to operate a farmers and maker’s market. Therefore, we need your generous support to help us get this new venture kicked off on the right foot. Please help us by donating to our Give for Good campaign today by scanning the QR code below or going to our website at Thank you in advance for helping revitalize your community!!!

Jimmy Hand

Board President

An Obligation to Fire

Since the first installment of Slicing the Pie, multiple questions have been submitted, and prioritizing them has been no small feat.  However, the following question is one that I’ve received firsthand on multiple occasions and that I’ve heard being discussed over the years.  So, hopefully this article will offer some insight to our readers regarding “obligation to fire.” 

Q: “If I draw my gun in a self-defense scenario, am I obligated to fire?” 

A: “Absolutely not!” 

Although I have heard this question many times, what I’ve heard even more often is some misinformed chap making a comment to the effect of “if someone forces me to pull my gun, by God, I’m using it.” An even worse rhetoric may go something like, “If I pull my gun, I’m not putting it away until it has spilled blood.”  Both statements are wholly wrong and show a complete lack of training, education, and maturity.  Mr. Colion Noir, an attorney and prominent 2nd Amendment advocate, would eloquently refer to someone making these statements as the proverbial “I wish a MF’er would Guy.”  Just because you draw your gun, does not mean it must be fired.  Not only is that belief horribly misguided, but simply making such remarks could come back to haunt you in a court of law should you ever be forced to fire your gun in self-defense. 

Imagine you were preparing to loosen a rusted bolt on your pick-up truck.  There you are, wrench in hand, having already come to the realization that your knuckles are about to be skinless, fully prepared to give yourself a hernia from all the straining you’re about to do, only to find the bolt in question is already loose enough to be removed with just your fingers.  Would you still use the wrench?  Of course not.  Just because you had on hand the tool necessary to complete a difficult job, you were able to remove that bolt with no harm to yourself and without potentially damaging the bolt.

Avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation – none of which necessarily include physical violence – are all preferred methods of conflict resolution.  Far more often than not, simply drawing a firearm, aiming it toward an attacker, and yelling “STOP!” would be enough to make most folks re-evaluate their life choices. Quite frankly, a loud verbal command to “STOP!”  coupled with the visibility of a gun’s muzzle pointed at the bad guy’s face is universally understood and will likely supersede even the most challenging of language barriers.  On the off chance the attacker persists, then yes, you might be forced to shoot that individual.  I also understand that there are situations where verbal warnings prior to firing a shot are not necessary or prudent, but to hold the belief that drawing a firearm automatically equals a mandatory press of the trigger is simply false. 

John Steinbeck wrote in his book The Acts of King Arthur and his Noble Knights, “the final weapon is the brain, all else is supplemental.”  I would urge our readers to remember that their guns are merely tools and that they, the individuals, are the weapons.  The circumstances always dictate the tactics.  Know that your true power, your most dangerous weapon, is between your ears, not in your holster. 

Avoid what you can.  Defeat what you can’t. 


Please submit your questions to Ryan via email at

(Ryan Barnette is not a licensed attorney and no information provided in “Slicing the Pie” or any other publication authored by Ryan Barnette should be construed, in any way, as official, legal advice.)

The Congressman and the trouble with things that are popular

A Congressman came to town on Monday. The Honorable Mike Johnson, of the fourth congressional district (that’s our neck-a the woods), was in South Webster over at Lakeside for a history lesson, a Q&A session, and a bit of life coaching. 

I’ve heard the congressman speak before including when he was practicing law and fighting in courtrooms to let Americans live by the writings of our Founding Fathers. You know – the freedom of’s and the freedom to’s.  

I’ve come away impressed every time I’ve heard the man speak. I hold very low opinions of many politicians, but not so for Congressman Johnson. The reason is a simple one – I believe what he’s telling me because I know he believes it. I know he’s honest. 

Two things from Monday that resonate. 

He told the kids if you think somethings wrong you can’t go along with it and just because something’s popular doesn’t make it right. 

Boy. You can say that again. 


I said you can say that again. 


He told the kids if you think somethings wrong you can’t go along with it and just because something’s popular doesn’t make it right. 

I’ve written about being a reed in the storm. The analogy is when the storms blow in it’s not the reed that breaks. It’s the mighty oak. The one that stands against the wind is the one that takes the hits and sometimes loses everything. The weeds, the reeds, the mire and the muck, well, they stay alive because they can bend to the will of the roar. 

I’m a reed a lot of times. So are you. So too are we all. We go along with things we know are wrong because standing against them, being an oak, will likely just get us knocked flat. And sometimes you’re not going to get back up to answer that bell. 

I’ve nodded my head and gone along with what was popular because it was easy. Because I was a coward. Because I valued the world of men more than the world beyond. So instead of fire from my belly and a cry of NO, I just shrug and go about my way with all the other reeds. Apathy becomes a way of life and before long you’re believing it when you’re told 2+2=5. 

I know all this to be true and I think you do, too.

So what’s to be done? What can one person do against such recklessness? 

Break the chains of apathy. Read. Educate yourself. Go to political events and ask questions. Don’t have a cynical and distrustful view of education. Education is, as it has always been, the answer to everything. You want real weapons? Don’t go to the gun shop. Go to the library. 

Learn. Question. Berate if you have to. And then, then after all that is done, do the single most important thing you can do as an American citizen.


Vote for candidates who share your beliefs. Vote for city council. Vote for police jury. Vote for school board. Vote for sheriff. Vote locally. That’s where change begins. Not in Washington. Vote for good men and women and tell them what you want for this nation, for your family, for those who will come after you. And most importantly, vote out the others. 

We only have one responsibility in this life. And that’s to leave the world a little bit better than you found it. Picking up arms isn’t the answer. Picking up a book is. 

(Josh Beavers is a teacher and a writer. He has been recognized five times for excellence in opinion writing by the Louisiana Press Association.)