Haynesville man receives 15-year sentence for narcotics and firearm charges

On Wednesday, July 26, United States Attorney Brandon B. Brown announced that Dean Fitzgerald Williams of Haynesville was sentenced for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.

United States District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote, on Monday, July 24, 2023, sentenced Williams, 40, of Haynesville, to 181 months (15 years, 1 month) in prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release.

Williams pleaded guilty to the charges on February 8, 2023.

Williams’ charges stemmed from a June 24, 2022, operation during which Claiborne Parish Sheriff’s Office (CPSO) personnel, with the assistance of the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office (LPSO) Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team executed a search warrant at Williams’ house located at 382 Green Road, north of Homer in Claiborne Parish.

LPSO narcotics agents, United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) personnel, and United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents assisted CPSO with the investigation and with the search.

Approximately 451 grams, or over a pound quantity, of Methamphetamine, over a quarter pound of Crack Cocaine, over two pounds of Marijuana, illegally possessed firearms and $13,420 was seized pursuant to the execution of the search warrant. The estimated street value of the illegal narcotics seized was over $46,000.

The case against Williams was prosecuted by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerry Edwards and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tennille M. Gilreath.

Claiborne Parish Sheriff Sam Dowies recognizes the importance that criminals be held accountable for their illegal acts. Sheriff Dowies hopes the sentence imposed against Williams will serve as a stark example that crime does not pay and as a reminder that the CPSO will aggressively seek to detect and to apprehend those who choose to traffic illegal narcotics and to commit other crimes in Claiborne Parish.

Sheriff Dowies commends Lincoln Parish Sheriff Stephen Williams and the LPSO, the DEA, the ATF, the Claiborne Parish District Attorney’s Office, and the United States Attorney’s Office for their assistance with the investigation and their commitment to ensure Williams answered for his illegal activities in Claiborne Parish.

Property for sale in Historic Downtown Homer

This incredible and unique opportunity is in charming Homer, Louisiana’s historic downtown district. It is 7,245 square foot and listed at $300,000.

Until recently, two businesses occupied this property. For the purpose of this listing, all of this is marketed as one entity, although two separate businesses can occupy the property.

The 600 – 602 North Main, and 605 West Main space contains 5,309 square feet and is occupied by an antique consignment shop operated by the property owner. The name of this store is TIME TRAVEL ANTIQUES. There are currently 31+ vendors in this popular, attractive store. Interior and exterior images are numbered 1-10 in the photo section of this marketing information.

The adjacent space at 607 West Main was, until recently home to the HOME SWEET HOMER CAFE. This particular space contains 1,624 square feet on the ground floor and 336 square feet on the second floor, a stockroom, and a storage area.

If interested in purchasing this property, contact the listing agent: Raymond Alley with Walker- Alley Associates.

Sodium Reduction Strategies

American Cuisine Edition

Cooking from scratch allows you to control the ingredients, including the amount of salt used. In addition to reducing sodium, this can often result in saving money by limiting the use of premade items. Please refer to the sodium reduction strategies listed below when cooking American cuisines at home. 

  • Use less cheese in recipes (e.g., in omelets, cheeseburgers, etc.).  
  • Use fruit or vegetable side dishes as a healthy alternative to French fries or chips.   
  • Incorporate more vegetables into dishes such as sandwiches, omelets, and soups.   
  • Make homemade soups using a low sodium soup base.  
  • Make salads with grilled chicken and fish with low sodium salad dressing.
  • Compare labels on bread and wraps and choose lower sodium options.
  • Use sliced cucumbers rather than pickles on sandwiches or as garnishes.
  • Don’t add salt on fries. 
  • Offer lettuce, tomato, onion, and avocado as toppings for hamburgers.
  • Use unsalted butter for steak or side dishes or avoid butter altogether to save on fat and calories.
  • Use fresh or dried herbs for seasoning rather than salt.
  • Offer steamed vegetables without added butter and salt.
  • Reduce added salt in recipes.  

Shakera Williams, MPH

Assistant Nutrition Extension Agent-General & SNAP-Ed Nutrition 

 Webster/Claiborne Parishes

Office: (318) 371-1371


The LSU AgCenter and LSU provide equal opportunities in programs and employment.

‘Family is but an earlier Heaven’

This has been a pretty tough week for me. Not the worst, but definitely not the best.  

When I have weeks like this, there is nobody else I would rather be surrounded by than my family.  

No question.  

That is a key point: No question!  

Well, they may ask how I have been, how things are going, am I okay, etc. But if I do not feel like disclosing, they know and they do not press the situation.  

They just love me.  

And by doing so, they heal me.  

We go over to my mom and dad’s house almost every Sunday for dinner.  

This is my reset. This is my time to wipe the slate clean for the week and look forward to a new one.  

We may not do anything special at all. Most of the time, there is just good food, sitting on the front porch with my sisters, watching our kids play in the yard and an unspoken promise to keep doing this for as long as we possibly can.  

We know that not every family has this luxury. That it is special and rare.  

Some families have lost certain family members that held the glue together. Some consist of children or grandchildren that have moved on to start their own families across the state or country. And sadly, some just do not get along.  

I could not imagine. I think if my family fell apart for whatever reason, then I would crumble myself.  

My life changes on an almost daily basis, whether it be personal or professional. But one thing that I know I can count on is my family. When everything else is changing around me or when I am changing myself, my family remains constant. The only constant.  

I came across a quote the other day that said, “A happy family is but an earlier Heaven.” I think this has some merit because that is when I am happiest – after eating a good meal, sitting on the front porch with my family, listening to my girls, nieces and nephews laughing as they play. How could life on Earth get any better? 

I hope that as my girls witness and experience the importance of family and our effort to get together on Sundays, they will be instilled with the same comfort as I am.  

That no matter what life throws at them, how hard it gets or how much everything else is changing around them, they can always come home.  

No questions asked.  

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

Don’t worry about the ‘woke;’ worry about the robots

Woke, woke, woke, woke, woke. You can’t doom-scroll on Facebook for five seconds without a “friend” posting a meme about “them” coming to convert your kids into transgender Devil worshippers. Heck, Ron Desantis, the least charismatic and most vacant-eyed politician to ever mount a run on the president’s office, has built his entire campaign on “woke.” That’s it. His entire deal is stopping the “woke.”

Y’all, “woke” is a boogeyman, a pejorative term meant to rile you up and stoke your fear, turn it into a roaring hate toward a small minority of people that are vastly different than what’s considered traditional America. Not saying the “woke” are bad. Just different. See but the Desantis crowd and pretty much all politicians with an R by their name go along with the “woke” fear they helped create in hopes you’ll run with that fear all the way to the voting booth. Push that button to fight the war against the “woke.”

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the other side, of course. The Rs have the “woke” and the Ds have the perpetual all conservatives are racist, homophobic, and misogynistic cards to play. Each side flip those out like UNO Reverse Cards every second of every day. 

A wise guy once said all liberals think conservatives are evil and all conservatives think liberals are stupid. They’re just wired differently, and it’s easy to target what’s different.

Throughout human history, fear has driven people more than love. Hate is more powerful. Fear keeps you alive. Love makes you vulnerable and reach out. Sometimes reaching out gets you bit. No one ever got bit by pulling away. It’s basic offense versus defense. In other words, it’s easier to get elected through a campaign of fear – “you better elect me to stop the evil conservatives or the stupid liberals” – than it is to run on a campaign to fix things. 

Because fixing things, repairing the broken bits of America, is danged hard. And, moreover, there ain’t much money in it. Curing a disease isn’t as profitable as indefinitely treating its symptoms.

You want a real threat? Stop doom-scrolling and read about the imminent threat of AI. 

Artificial Intelligence is here and within a few years it’s going to eliminate hundreds of millions of jobs. These aren’t just jobs like cashiers and fast food. These are truck drivers, nurses, writers, designers, architects, paralegals, researchers, front office staff, on and on. 

And when robotics catches up? No more than 20 years from now, the world economy is going to be in shambles. The very real threat of AI and robotics is going to destroy America. Pretty much every job will be able to be done by a machine. This isn’t a boogeyman. It’s a real-life monster that’s about to pounce. 

Politicians have been warned about this. Congress has had hearings and given the very real and scary truth from tech leaders such as Elon and Zuckerberg and many others. 

They all have told the politicians the same thing – this is coming, it’s already pounding on the door. They’ve warned the politicians to do something now, regulate the industry because if they don’t, the people you serve aren’t going to have jobs and won’t be able to buy gas to drive to the voter booth to put you back in office. 

The response from the politicians? Blank stares and empty promises. They don’t get it. It’s too big for them. Some of them can’t even turn on computers, y’all. How can they comprehend a world where jobs are as rare as winning the lottery? 

So it gets filed away, kicked down the road for younger folk to deal with. And they go back to fighting the evil conservatives or the stupid liberals. 

Listen to me, folks. You want to really make a difference? Next time you go to one of those rallies where the politician is trying to get your money in the fight against the boogeymen, ask them what they’re doing to address the real monster at the door. You have to educate yourself. You have to ask questions because politicians are human, and humans don’t like tough problems. It’ll get kicked down the road and you’ll be the one out of a job, not the politician. 

AI is real and it’s coming. And bad times are coming with it. 

(Josh Beavers is an award winning writer and author. He has earned more than 40 individual writing awards and is syndicated in 12 North Louisiana news journals. The Louisiana Press Association has recognized him five times for excellence in opinion writing, and he has earned numerous Best Investigative Reporting Awards and Freedom of Information Awards for exposure of governmental corruption in Webster Parish.)

Cheating Rocks Pro Bass Fishing… Again

And the saga continues, once again anglers are taking advantage or blatantly ignoring the rules of their sport. Major League Fishing has brought to light a controversy that took place at the Stage 6 tournament on Lake Cayuga, NY. Four anglers have been under investigation for alleged cheating by not following the rules for “sight fishing”.

On Wednesday June 21st, Major League Fishing (MLF) announced that they were investigating accusations that four anglers may have violated sight fishing rules. For those that have no idea what sight fishing is, it’s a technique where anglers visually see a bass sitting on a bed looking to spawn and will try and entice these bass into biting their lure. But one very important rule must be followed. If you are sight fishing, you are required to hook the fish inside the mouth. If the fish is hooked outside the mouth, the fish is considered an unofficial catch and must be returned to the water immediately. This rule is in place so that anglers don’t go out trying to catch fish by snagging them.

Some analysts think it’s immoral or unethical to fish for bass on beds but it’s not that big an issue since the MLF Bass Pro Tour is a catch and release format. Meaning, as each fish is caught, they are weighed, recorded and released immediately.

But here’s what the accusations are; some anglers were not following protocol when they swing their catch on board the boat. Anglers who are sight fishing are required to show their on-board Marshall (an observer who weighs and monitors each fish caught; making sure anglers follow the rules) that the fish is hooked inside the mouth. If not, it must be released and is considered an unofficial catch. But in this event, some anglers were being discreet and hiding their fish as they brought them on board the boat so that the cameras nor the Marshall could see how the fish was hooked. They would just unhook the bass and proceed to weigh it without confirmation it was hooked inside the mouth.

The next issue from this event, was that some anglers were catching the same fish more than once during the day. The rule states that an angler cannot catch and weigh the same fish more than once in a day.

They can return and catch that same fish the following day if they choose. After video reviews 16 anglers were called in and subjected to a polygraph test. Out of the sixteen, one failed.

MLF officials have been hard at work reviewing video footage of the anglers in question in order to make sure all the rules were followed. If they find rules have been violated, MLF officials will have to decide to what extent they should be punished. This is where things could get a little weird and revealing. MLF has got to come down hard on this if they find violations were made. No longer is a slap on the wrist a strong enough punishment for violating the rules. MLF’s reputation and integrity are at stake with these rulings.

Extensive punishment like suspension for the next event or even worse…. suspension for a full season. The best way anglers will get the message that cheating will not be tolerated, is to hit them in their checkbook. But disqualifying their days catch and dropping them in the standings a few places is not strong enough. A message needs to be sent that will make anglers think twice about cheating. Yes, I said cheating! Since its inception, MLF has basically turned a blind eye to certain violations. Just like NASCAR, drivers are always trying to push the envelope and dabble in the grey area of the rules. Bass tournaments are no different as anglers are always looking for an advantage over their competitors by looking for loopholes in the rules.

Due to the amount of money involved in today’s bass tournament world with thousands of dollars up for grabs, anglers are thinking outside the box and looking for ways to get around the rules in order to be successful or gain an advantage. But now the time has finally come for anglers to be held accountable for their actions. While 98% of the anglers do a great job of self-reporting and holding each other accountable, it’s the other 2% that need to be made an example of. With the increase in live prime time TV coverage and national exposure, it’s important to preserve the integrity of the sport and show the anglers and their fans that rule violators will not be tolerated.

I hope MLF officials will come down hard on the angler or anglers if rules were violated. Nothing will bring the sport down faster than anglers who insist on cheating. Till next time, good luck, good fishing and always read and follow the rules for any tournament you’re competing in.

Steve Graf

Angler’s Perspective

A good foot forward

Last week I read an online article about feet. I can’t remember where I read it, or from which website I was perusing. I was probably during one of those Interweb rabbit holes where I’ll start watching a YouTube video about bicycle repair, and two hours later I’m glued to a music video of Herman’s Hermit’s singing “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter,” wondering how I ever got there.

On this day the rabbit hole led me to all things feet. More specifically, bare feet. The piece touted the positive effects and beneficial outcomes of spending a substantial amount of time each day walking around barefooted. The author referenced some science and a few studies to back up the claim and it all seemed plausible. Who am I to doubt foot experts?

I once read a book by Wayne Dyer in which he stated the health benefits of walking barefooted on grass for 10 minutes before bedtime. He had findings and data to back his claim, too. But I didn’t need any of that. Walking barefooted on grass is something in which I have a lot of experience. Not much as of late, but I spent my childhood summers sans shoes.

Summers in South Mississippi are hot. In those days schools held their final day of the year before Memorial Day and didn’t reconvene until after Labor Day. My generation had three full months of summer vacation. Three very hot months of summer vacation. Three months in which I spent 90% of my time barefooted.

Those summers started out with May feet. May feet were soft and tender and made it difficult to even walk softly without shoes. By the end of the summer, we had August feet. August feet were hard and calloused. May feet had a hard time tiptoeing through Bermuda grass. August feet could run down a gravel road at full speed.

May feet would probably gain a lot of benefit from Dr. Dyer’s walking-in-grass-before-bed principle. August feet, hardened by weeks of exposure to aggregate driveways, rigged sidewalks, and hot August asphalt might not feel the first blade of grass.

There are periods in my youth when the only time I wore shoes in the summer was to go to church. I didn’t do it because a scientific study published in some random medical journal said it was the thing to do. I did it because I am a child of the South, and it was the thing to do. It’s what we all did. It may still be the thing to do. Though I am much older and much heavier, and I live in a constant state of May feet. At 61, I may even have February feet.

As a kid I also spent a lot of time walking around on grocery store feet. For some reason walking barefooted in grocery stores yielded much dirtier feet than walking down a dirt road. I wouldn’t let my kids go barefooted in a grocery store when they were young, but, in my day, it was a common occurrence.

One of the great surprises I have experienced at this stage of my life— I’m not sure when it started, but probably around the time I started receiving unsolicited letters from the AARP— is that my feet are one of my most important body parts. Feet never gained a second thought from me as a kid. Unless I stumped a toe, stepped on a nail, or cut my heel, I never cared much about anything below my knees. Shoes, no shoes, flip flops, support, no support, it didn’t matter. They were a vehicle to get me around and they did a fine job and I had other body parts that needed attention. These days I have way since passed the stage of style-over-substance in footwear, and I have become the old guy who doesn’t give a damn about what his shoes look like as long as they are comfortable, have lots of cushion, and offer substantial support. I haven’t started mall walking yet, but I feel the pull as it is beginning to make perfect sense.

Feet may be a strange topic for a weekly column such as this, but I guess that goes along with age. This column has been a weekly commitment for me for the past 24+ years. Over 1,000 words a week and I’ve never missed a week. I’ve never written about feet. But I’ve also never been on the cusp of 62 years on this planet.

Bare feet have their issues. In the mid-1960s I cut my foot on a broken mayonnaise jar that required several stitches. ThoughI don’t remember that injury ever being a hinderance. A boy came to our door one day, collecting money for charity or a school project and I saw my mom put a dollar in his jar. Being an entrepreneurial-minded five-year-old, I went straight to the pantry, grabbed an empty mayonnaise jar, and set out going door-to-door— barefooted, of course— raising money. There was no charity or school project. All I knew is that if I showed up at my neighbor’s doors with a jar there was a good chance they’d put money in it. They did. “Would you like to give me some money?” That’s all I had to say, and I ended up collecting a lot of money for a five-year-old in 1967. That is when karma kicked in.

On the way home with my beggings, I dropped the jar. It broke. In the mad scramble to collect the coins— and a few bills— I cut a large gash in the middle of my foot. After getting stitched up at the emergency room, my mother made me limp up and down the sidewalk, from neighbor to neighbor, returning all the ill-gotten gains. It was a good lesson on several levels, but it didn’t stop me from going barefooted for the next decade.

Kids today get somewhere around six weeks of summer vacation. There is a local school that started their “fall” semester last week. That’s mid-July. Their feet hadn’t fully moved from June feet to July fee yet. Kids today are missing out on August feet and grocery store feet.

Beginning today, I think I’ll start going barefoot more. I won’t walk barefooted in my yard before bed because it’s dark out there and there are two dogs who use that back lawn as their toilet, and one of them is over 100 pounds, and eats a lot. But maybe I’ll just be the old eccentric guy who walks around town barefooted, even in the grocery store.

My life’s goal these days is to die young— as late as possible. Maybe it’ll be even later if I ditch the shoes and live year-round with August feet.


Dirty Rice

1 Tbl bacon fat

2 oz ground beef

2 oz ground pork

1 bay leaves

1 Tbl poultry seasoning

1 tsp dry mustard

1 /2  cup diced onion

1 /4  cup diced celery

1 /4 cup diced bell pepper

2 tsp minced garlic

2 Tbl butter

1 cup rice

2 cups pork stock, hot 

Brown the ground pork in the bacon fat.

Add veggies and seasoning and cook 10 minutes.

Stir in rice and hot stock, lower heat, cover and simmer 18 minutes.

Yield: 3 cups

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

Upcoming Events

Please send all non-profit calendar events to cpjnewsla@gmail.com

July 24-28 (8 a.m. – 2 p.m.)

Fourth Annual Teacher Lock-In – Haynesville Elementary School 

Donations for Haynesville Elementary School teachers and staff, gift cards, teacher supplies and donations from business, can be dropped off at the school office during this week. 

July 28-29 (8 p.m. nightly)

Mt. Olive Christian School Rodeo – 435 Gantt Rodeo Road in Athens

July 29 (8 – 11 a.m.)

Back to School Bash – Mayfield Park

Contact: Tasha Hardaway or Terry Willis at 318-927-3555

July 30 

Back to School Bash – Rocky Springs Baptist Church of Lisbon

July 30 (1 – 5 p.m.)

Fellowship and Fun Day – St. Duty CME Church 

August 7 (3 – 6 p.m.)

Homer Elementary Meet the Teacher Night

August 7 (5 – 7 p.m.)

Summerfield High School – Back To School Night

August 27 (3 – 5 p.m.)

Homer High School Meet the Teacher Night

Remembering James Franklin Tooke

James Franklin Tooke, 91 passed away July 12, 2023 at his home in Claiborne Parish, LA. A graveside memorial service will be held at Arlington Cemetery in Homer. LA at 2 p.m. on Monday, November 20, 2023.

He is survived by his brother, David B. Tooke and his wife Glenda, and a host of nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his father, James Clarence Tooke, mother Annie English Tooke, brother and two sisters, Elmer A. Tooke, Mildred Tooke Bell, and Doris Tooke Smith.

He was a lifetime employee of Philips Petroleum in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Upon retirement, he returned to Claiborne Parish. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army.

Notice of Death – July 27

Notice of Death – July 27, 2023

Sharalyn “Shari” Abercrombie Pickett

Feb. 1, 1948 – July 32, 2023

Minden/Arcadia, La.

Funeral service: 2 p.m. Friday, July 28, 2023, Emmanuel Baptist Church, (Hurricane Community), Arcadia.

Burial: Hurricane Cemetery.

Frances E. Baker

Jan. 5, 1941 – July 22, 2023

Benton, La.

Visitation: 10 a.m. Friday, July 28, 2023, Cypress Baptist Church, Benton, La.

Funeral service: 11 a.m. immediately following visitation.

Burial: Noon, Rose-Neath Cemetery, Bossier City, La.

Melba Vaughan

Sept. 19, 1940 – July 26, 2023

Shongaloo/Homer, La.

Private family memorial, under the direction of Bailey Funeral Home, Springhill, La.

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

Main Street awarded $50,000 grant

Main Street Homer has been awarded $50,000.00 from the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Sub-grant Program (HRSP).

About the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant Program:

The Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant Program, named in honor of the late preservation leader from Vermont, fosters economic development in rural communities through the rehabilitation of historic buildings in those communities. The program provides recipients (referred to as prime grantees) with a single grant that is then regranted in smaller amounts to individual projects (subgrants).  

Prime grantees design and administer subgrant programs that support the economic development goals and needs in their chosen service area. Subgrants could be limited to a single town, made available to rural communities in a particular county, or throughout a multi-county region or an entire state. Similarly, it is up to the prime grantee to determine what types of buildings and community resources will be eligible for subgrants. Will funding be limited to specific resource types (i.e. theaters, community centers, businesses) or can any building in an eligible community receive a subgrant?  

Prime grantees must determine the focus and criteria for the subgrant program they wish to administer and describe this program in the application. If successful, the recipient then develops their own application process and project selection criteria for choosing which buildings will receive subgrants. Prime grantees cannot use grant funds for their own properties or submit applications for individual buildings or pre-selected projects. The intent of this program is to provide funds that can be regranted to projects that have been selected through a locally administered competitive process after the prime grant is awarded. 

Survey to help improve Claiborne Parish Public Transportation

The Claiborne Parish Police Jury Community Action and Public Transportation office is asking for Claiborne Parish residents that travel by the agency’s transit vans to complete a survey.

This survey will assist in future planning and accomodations for those with transit needs. It also lets the Northwest Louisiana Council on Government know how the parish is doing and what the needs in the region are as a whole. 

To complete the survey, please scan the QR code below. 

A scouting report on Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration fun

It’s almost showtime for the 2023 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in Natchitoches (except for Friday’s BOM Celebrity Bowling Bash in Alexandria), so it’s time to plan to take in as much fun as you can.

The most-asked question — can I still get tickets for the Saturday evening Induction Reception (from 5-6:30 at the Hall of Fame museum) and Ceremony (at 7 in the Natchitoches Events Center)?

YES. While the usual big turnout is coming, there is still time to go online at LaSportsHall.com to purchase admission to the signature event. But don’t delay – it could sell out.

The reception provides an array of food stations with fare from not only local restaurants, but some from around the state, along with refreshments and music. It’s a chance to see new exhibits (the Kim Mulkey showcase, for example), new display items to celebrate the museum’s 10th anniversary, the just-installed Class of 2023 display cases, and to meet all of the new inductees and perhaps snap a selfie.

The Induction Ceremony at the neighboring Events Center kicks off promptly at 7 with the National Anthem, followed by the stirring Walk of Legends showcasing past Hall of Fame members returning, then introducing the Class of ’23, set to music from The Natural. The 12 inductions begin immediately after, featuring compelling video introductions followed by on-stage conversations with inductees – producing lots of laughter and some misty-eyed moments certain to create lasting memories.

Saturday evening is the only “dress up” event of the Induction Celebration. Blazers for the men and cocktail dress-style attire for the women are requested.

Otherwise, it’s casual for the rest of the festivities, starting with the free, open to everyone Thursday evening Welcome Reception from 5-7 at the museum. La Capitol Federal Credit Union will mark its 20th year presenting that signature event – again with food, refreshments and music, and the new inductees and their families having traveled in some cases almost 2,000 miles to celebrate the occasion.

There’s still room for bowlers to join in Friday’s BOM Celebrity Bowling Bash at Four Seasons Bowling Center in Alexandria. The doors open at 11:30 with lunch provided by Walk On’s, plenty of warm up bowling and music, and more mingling with inductees, their families, and other sports celebrities before they’re introduced and “competition” begins at 1. Again – sign up at LaSportsHall.com.

The biggest free event is Friday evening on the downtown Natchitoches riverbank stage – the Rockin’ River Fest Concert, from 6-10:30.

It’s family friendly. A free interactive kids zone presented by Louisiana Propane Dealers will include basketball, football, golf and science games for all ages to enjoy.

Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. & the Zydeco Twisters are back as the headline act. Dopsie has played the White House to the Jazz Fest, boogied with James Brown and John Fogerty, and wowed crowds all over, described as “Mick Jagger of the marsh” as “a party seems to break out whenever and wherever Dopsie and his band show up.”

The opening act is Jason Ashley & The Hot Sauce Band, featuring the Alexandria native and regional country music star playing hits from yesterday and today, an act popular around the Gulf Coast and all the way to Nashville.

If you want to beat the summer heat and enjoy a tasty collection of Louisiana foods and specialty refreshments, you can visit LaSportsHall.com to snap up some of the few remaining $100 tickets to the VIP Taste of Tailgating presented by Hancock Whitney.

That party runs from 7-10 p.m. in the air-conditioned comfort of Mama’s Oyster House and Blues Room that will provide exclusive access to the 12-member 2023 Induction Class. They will also be introduced on stage at 9:15, just before a 10-minute fireworks show set to sports-themed music.

Saturday morning’s Junior Training Camp hosted by the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans at NSU’s Webb Wellness and Recreation Center has only a handful of free spots left for kids 7-17. Advance registration is required at LaSportsHall.com.

There’s no more room for Saturday’s Round Table Lunch downtown at The Venue. It’s sold out.

But there are plenty of other chances to see the Class of 2023:  Eli Manning, Alana Beard, Paul Mainieri, Matt Forte, Wendell Davis, Paul Byrd, Walter Davis, Ron Washington, Walter Imahara, M.L. Woodruff, and sports journalists Bruce Brown and Lori Lyons.

You’re invited to join the fun, starting Thursday evening in Natchitoches.

Dave Grohl and …Leonidas?

For those of you that know me, you’re probably aware that I have music in my bones. I fancy myself something of a “below-above average” banger of the drum kit, and a true lover of all things rock & roll. In Dave Grohl’s book – “The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music,” he tells of his humble beginnings, growing up in a Virginia suburb outside Washington D.C. Dave would go on to be an international rock & roll superstar, with success and longevity of relevance that has and will continue to rival that of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

Dave learned the guitar from a Beatles songbook and from spinning various records in his childhood bedroom, and he learned to play drums from banging on pillows – arranged in a drum kit-like configuration. From a Beatles song book and pillow drums, to being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame TWICE is no small feat, especially considering both inductions came during his lifetime. Talk about a short list of peers. Anyway… So how does Dave’s story relate to an article like Slicing the Pie?

Like Dave’s musical journey, everyone’s martial lifestyle has a humble beginning, and the only end to our path comes when we die, or when we choose to stop improving.

You might think my martial journey began when I joined the police force in 2008, but you’d be mistaken.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve benefited greatly from lessons, experiences, and training that wouldn’t exist for me without my chosen career path. However, my martial path began with a YouTube video titled “.40s Suck.” It was my first exposure to James Yeager of Tactical Response, and I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when that video appeared on my screen. I had been a cop for about five or six years at that point and I thought I knew a thing or two about guns – handguns in particular. I’ll have to re-visit the significance of that video and the great caliber debate in a later article.

For now, just know that video encounter left an indelible mark on my life, and set me instantly on a course of enthusiastic, continued education – much the same way the band “Naked Raygun” changed the life of a young Dave Grohl.

Perhaps your path began by learning firearm safety from a parent or grandparent. Maybe it started when you joined the military, or when you took your first concealed carry class. Maybe the proverbial “light bulb” was lit when you read a book or an article that really spoke to you. Regardless, it started (or it needs to start) and it’s your responsibility to continue moving, learning, and growing.

In a 2010 interview with “PopMatters,” Foo Fighters Drummer Taylor Hawkins said “I know I’m not Freddie Mercury or Ann Wilson, and that’s okay. You don’t have to be a great singer to sing rock and roll. That’s not what it’s about.” Similarly, you don’t have to be the Spartan King Leonidas or a decorated Navy Seal to be successful in battle. Comparing yourself to others who have progressed further along the martial path is counterproductive. However, you can glean from their teachings and their bravery – as well as the lives of countless other notable warriors – things that will help you be successful in the most critical circumstances. Nobody expects you to be a high-speed, low-drag, steely- eyed dealer of death – just like nobody expects me to be the 2nd coming of John Bonham. That said, you can achieve a survival level of proficiency, and you can continue to advance even after mastery is obtained.

The decision to prioritize safety for yourself and others is entirely up to you, and how far you progress along the path is only limited by your willingness to put in the work. You can make safety a priority in your life and appreciate the efforts and sacrifices of so many that have gone before you, by continually doing things to make yourself an asset to those around you, rather than a complacent liability.

Just as inroads for modern rockstars were paved by the deeds (and misdeeds) of the flamboyant stage-divers who came before them, your martial path has been paved for you by some figurative giants. All you have to do is commit to walking it. If you never move beyond that article you read, or the hunting skills you learned, the class you attended, or if I’d dismissed that YouTube video – we’d be no good to anyone when the chips are down.

Wes Bayliss, of the band “The Steel Woods” sings “Nothing makes you old like holding onto youth.” If you remain an infant, standing at the precipice of your own journey, you will one day wake up as someone you don’t recognize. You will have been living in the past and on the day of your emergency, when you’re involuntarily thrust into the present, your body will have aged, but your mind will have remained the same. So, get to work – get to training – get to reading – be better tomorrow than you are today, and help keep fresh pavement on the road for the next generation of warriors.

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

Please submit your questions to Ryan via email at Ryan@9and1tactical.com

(Ryan Barnette is not a licensed attorney or a medical provider, 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 or medical advice.)

Stop and Go Traffic

In 1923, Garrett Morgan was driving along the busy streets of Cleveland, Ohio.  By the age of 43, he had achieved the American dream which was characterized in the 1920s as the pursuit of material success, social status, and personal freedom.  Garrett was the owner and editor of the Cleveland Call newspaper, but he came from humble beginnings.  Garrett was born in rural Kentucky in 1877.  His parents were former slaves who survived on the crops they grew.  By the time Garrett turned 14, he realized he wanted more than to eke out an existence on the farm. 

In 1891, the 14-year-old left Kentucky and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio to look for work.  His sights were not set too high.  Garrett initially worked as a handyman.  He had a mechanical mind and could build and repair any machine, even ones he had never seen before.  Within a few years, Garrett left Cincinnati and moved to Cleveland.  His ability to quickly repair machines enabled him to secure a position as a sewing machine repairman.  By 1907, Garrett had saved enough money and opened his own sewing machine repair shop.  Garrett’s reputation grew quickly based on the quality of his work and the speed at which he completed repairs.  His business thrived.  Two years later, Garrett added a garment shop to his business.  In 1920, Garrett started the newspaper, the Cleveland Call, from scratch.  Like his sewing machine repair shop and garment shop, the Cleveland Call was a huge success.

In 1923, when a lot of people in Cleveland still traveled by horse-drawn vehicles, bicycles, and streetcars, Garrett’s successes enabled him to purchase an automobile.  One day in 1923, Garrett shared the busy road with all manner of vehicles including many other automobiles.  At each major intersection, a policeman manually moved levers which raised and lowered metal signs.  Painted on the signs were the words “GO,” or “STOP.”  This type of traffic signal had been in use for decades and had saved countless lives. 

As Garrett neared one of these major intersections, the policeman moved the levers and the signs changed.  Specific details of the accident that followed vary depending on the source.  Some sources assert that the collision was between a horse-drawn wagon and a car, and other sources claim that two cars were involved.  What we know for sure is that there was a horrible collision which resulted in at least one person’s death, and Garrett witnessed the whole thing.  Gruesome images of the collision replayed over and over in his mind.  At night, he had nightmares of the collision.  After a few days, Garrett began to take a different view of the collision.  He began to analyze what he had witnessed to try to determine what had caused the collision.  The traffic signals had worked as designed.  The policeman moved the levers and one lane of traffic’s signal changed from “Go” to “STOP,” and, at the same moment, the signal from the crossing traffic changed from “STOP” to “GO.”  Garrett found what he thought would solve the issue and, on November 20,1923, he received a patent for it.  He eventually sold the rights to his invention to General Electric for $40,000.00, an enormous sum at the time.

Garrett’s invention evolved into something that we all still see and use today.  Rather than slowing traffic down, Garrett’s invention makes most drivers want to increase their speed.  Garrett’s invention added a “WARNING” sign to the two-sign traffic signal to warn drivers that the stop signal would soon change from “GO” to “STOP.”  Garrett’s invention evolved into the yellow caution signal on traffic lights.

Source: History.com, “Garrett Morgan Patents Three-Position Traffic Signal.” HISTORY, 13 Dec. 2018, www.history.com/this-day-in-history/garrett-morgan-patents-three-position-traffic-signal.

Fruit Salsa

Could anything be better for summer than this sweet and spicy dip served with cinnamon pita chips!? I surely think not! I love the juiciness of the fruit combined with the heat of the jalapeno and cilantro flavor.  This is also extremely good over ice cream or yogurt!


  • Strawberries
  • Pineapple
  • 3 kiwi
  • Jalapeños
  • Purple onion
  • Cilantro
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Cinnamon chips for serving


Dice the strawberries, pineapple, kiwi, jalapeños, and purple onion.  Mix together.  Stir in cilantro to your desired taste (fresh is better!).  Squeeze lime juice in and stir.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

(Ashley Madden Rowton is a wife, mom and published cookbook author who lives in Minden, La.)

Gifts from an absent friend

I learned life the hard way, I took all my knocks and lumps

But when I look back down the road at where I’ve been,

I can see that all the things I’ve done in this ol’ life have been more fun

’Cause I shared them with someone who was a friend.

 —  “A Friend,” written and recorded by Jerry Reed (and featured in the movie W.W. and the Dixie Dance Kings, which you should watch ASAP)

Few people if any enjoyed being themselves as much as Jack Brittain loved being Jack Brittain, or “Britt” as his friends called him, and he had more of those than you can find grains of sand and beer bottle tops at the Redneck Riviera.

This is the biggest weekend of the year for locals in my line of work; it’s the annual Louisiana Sports Writers Convention and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration in Natchitoches, where Britt has served as unofficial mayor for decades. You can find out more about the weekend and how you can enjoy it at LASportsHall.com. You can find out more about Britt by asking anyone in Natchitoches or in the LSWA.

A piece of work and then some, this guy.

So, it was a profound and unwelcome sadness when Britt, our LSWA brother, died two weeks ago at age 67 after a short and surprising illness.

He was the red on the candy cane, the helium in the balloon, the sunshine through any cloud.

His attachment to the LSWA was solid and eternal, even though Britt was a lawyer and financial planner. He didn’t write any stories. He was the story. 

He was so good at St. Mary’s that he’s in the high school’s Hall of Fame, then he lettered four years in football at Northwestern State before law school, but shoot, lots of people could do that. What set him apart was a heart and smile big as centerfield, his uncanny ability to see the best in people and the brightest side of things virtually all the time. He went around lettering every day in life, a seed-sower of joy and laughter and earthy charisma.

One of those ‘girls want to ride in his boat, boys want to be his best buddy’ kind of dudes.

It’s hard to describe the impact he had on the LSWA and the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame because we don’t have anything to compare him to. He was just always there, a part of, a calm in a sometimes-stormy sea of egos and chaos, a smile to calm the tide.

In 2017, Britt was the recipient of the LSWA’s most prized honor, the Mac Russo Award, given to an individual who “contributes to the progress and ideals of the LSWA.” It was my lucky and treasured honor to present it to him. If memory serves, I said something clever like, “Here Britt; sorry it took us so long. We’d give you a half-dozen of these if we could — and you’d deserve everyone.”

“Think where man’s glory most begins and ends,

And say my glory was I had such friends.” — W. B. Yeats

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu

Upcoming Events

Please send all non-profit calendar events to cpjnewsla@gmail.com

July 24-28 (8 a.m. – 2 p.m.)

Fourth Annual Teacher Lock-In – Haynesville Elementary School 

Donations for Haynesville Elementary School teachers and staff, gift cards, teacher supplies and donations from business, can be dropped off at the school office during this week. 

July 27 (6 p.m.)

GBT’s Pay Yourself First Saving Seminar – Claiborne Parish Library

July 28-29 (8 p.m. nightly)

Mt. Olive Christian School Rodeo – 435 Gantt Rodeo Road in Athens

July 29 (8 – 11 a.m.)

Back to School Bash – Mayfield Park

Contact: Tasha Hardaway or Terry Willis at 318-927-3555

July 30 

Back to School Bash – Rocky Springs Baptist Church of Lisbon

July 30 (1 – 5 p.m.)

Fellowship and Fun Day – St. Duty CME Church 

August 7 (3 – 6 p.m.)

Homer Elementary Meet the Teacher Night

August 7 (5 – 7 p.m.)

Summerfield High School – Back To School Night

August 27 (3 – 5 p.m.)

Homer High School Meet the Teacher Night 

Arrest Reports

The following arrests were made by local law enforcement agencies.

July 22

Sarah Gryder, 45, of the 2100 block of Henderson Ln., Haynesville, was arrested by Minden Police for criminal mischief (making 5 non-emergency calls to 911).

Antonio D. Turner, 37, of the 1200 back of Crawford St., Arcadia, was arrested by the Claiborne Parish Sheriff’s Office for obstruction of justice and possession of Schedule I drugs. 

July 23

Christopher Ray Johnson, 45, of the 400 block of Maritzky Rd., Homer, La., was arrested by Webster Parish Sheriff’s deputies on Dorcheat Rd., on a warrant for failure to appear (in court).

John Grigsby, 59, of the 2000 block of Spring Dr., Haynesville, was arrested by the Claiborne Parish Sheriff’s Office for first offense D.W.I.

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.

Notice of Death – July 25

Notice of Death – July 25, 2023

Sharalyn “Shari” Abercrombie Pickett

Feb. 1, 1948 – July 32, 2023

Minden/Arcadia, La.

Visitation: 5 until 8 p.m. Thursday, July 27, 2023, Emmanuel Baptist Church, (Hurricane Community), Arcadia, La.

Funeral service: 2 p.m. Friday, July 28, 2023, Emmanuel Baptist Church, (Hurricane Community), Arcadia.

Burial: Hurricane Cemetery.

Linda “Jo” Bell Allen

Feb. 7, 1949 – July 24, 2023

Funeral service: 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 26, 2023, Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home Chapel, Coushatta, La.

Burial: Mt. Zion Cemetery.

Kenneth Bryan Middleton

Feb. 27, 1951 – July 22, 2023

Doyline, La.

Celebration of Life: Noon, Thursday, July 27, 2023, Evening Light Tabernacle in Dixie Inn.

Burial: 10 a.m. Thursday, July 27, 2023, Lebanon Cemetery, Ruple Community, under the direction of Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Minden.

Estelle Christian

July 13, 1943 – July 21, 2023

Arcadia, La.

Funeral service: 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 26, 2023, Rose-Neath Funeral Home, Arcadia.

Burial: Alabama Cemetery.

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

Homer Elementary School is ready to take flight

Homer Elementary School announced the new theme for the upcoming 2023 – 2024 school year: Where Sweet Success Takes Flight!

Homer Elementary School teachers will be focusing on improving classroom instruction by focusing on student-centered instructional practices, but they will need parent’s help to take this growth to new heights.

How can you be a part of supporting this year’s theme?

Help your child understand the importance of their education.

– Use positive language to help your child know that YOU value their education and them doing well in school.

– Attend all of our parental involvement events!

– Read with your child for at least 10 minutes every night!

– Stay in contact with your child’s teacher to know what your child needs help with at home!

The school will be accepting last minute registration packets August 1 – 3 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

All students will need to provide:

– 2 proofs of residency

– Copy of Guardian’s picture ID

– 2 Emergency Contacts

– Updated shot record

– $10 School Fee

New students will need to provide the items listed above, as well as:

– Social Security Card

– Birth Certificate

Next weekend, you’re invited as Louisiana sports greatness is celebrated in Natchitoches

Members of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020 gathered with previously-inducted members on stage. This Legends Lineup concludes each year’s induction ceremony.

There are football legends, a women’s basketball great, four baseball icons, a two-time USA Olympian, a world-renowned (now elderly) weightlifting champion with an inspiring and patriotic life story, and five LSU Tigers.

They – and a fun-filled slate of events — are among the reasons to be in Natchitoches next Thursday, July 27 through Saturday, July 29, to enjoy the 2023 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration.

There are three free events, and four others which require admission charges. Only the grand finale, the Saturday evening, June 29 Induction Reception and Ceremony presented by State Farm Agents of Louisiana, is a dress up affair.

Two – the Friday Bowling Bash presented by BOM, in Alexandria at Four Seasons Bowling Center, and the Saturday morning New Orleans Saints and Pelicans Junior Training Camp on the Northwestern State campus – are activity filled.

Another – the Friday night Rockin’ River Fest Concert featuring Rockin’ Dopsie and The Zydeco Twisters, and rising country artist Jason Ashley, along with a 10-minute fireworks show over Cane River – is activity optional, dancing encouraged.

Tickets for the Bowling Bash, the Friday night VIP Taste of Tailgating party, the Saturday noon Round Table Luncheon, and the big finale, the Induction Reception and Ceremony, are available at LaSportsHall.com or by calling 318-238-4255.

Advance registration at LaSportsHall.com for kids 7-17 is required for the free Junior Training Camp, which will feature many of the 2023 inductees participating as coaches in football and basketball.

Two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning (from New Orleans) joins four-time WNBA All-Star Alana Beard (a Shreveport native) and College World Series champion LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri in a star-studded 12-member induction class.

The LSHOF Class of 2023 also includes New Orleans native Ron Washington, who managed the Texas Rangers to a pair of World Series appearances and in 2021 helped the Atlanta Braves win the world’s championship; two-time LSU track and field USA Olympian and world champion Walter Davis; and Slidell native, Tulane great and Chicago Bears two-time Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte.

Also elected for induction are All-American LSU pitcher Paul Byrd, a 14-year Major League Baseball veteran who made the 1999 All-Star Game; Shreveport native Wendell Davis, who shattered LSU football receiving records before heading to the NFL; multiple national champion and world class weightlifter Walter Imahara, a UL-Lafayette legend; and retired Baton Rouge-Parkview Baptist baseball coach M.L. Woodruff, whose teams claimed 11 state championships.

Two south Louisiana sports journalists, Bruce Brown of Lafayette and longtime New Orleans Times-Picayune high school reporter Lori Lyons, will also be honored.

The LSHOF’s Class of 2023 will be enshrined Saturday, July 29, at the Hall of Fame’s home in Natchitoches to culminate the 64th Induction Celebration.

The Thursday reception, the Friday evening River Fest and the Junior Training Camp are free. As noted above, camp participants must register online in advance.

The 2023 Induction Celebration will be hosted by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, the support organization for the Hall of Fame. The LSHOF Foundation was established as a 501 c 3 non-profit entity in 1975 and is governed by a statewide board of directors. 

For information on sponsorship opportunities and other participation, contact Foundation President/CEO Ronnie Rantz at 225-802-6040 or RonnieRantz@LaSportsHall.com, or Greg Burke, Director of Business Development and Public Relations, at 318-663-5459 or GregBurke@LaSportsHall.com .