Meet Adarian D. Williams: 2023 Rising Lincoln Leader

Adarian D. Williams

(This is one of 20 profiles on the recipients selected by an anonymous committee out of an extensive list of nominees for the 2023 Rising Lincoln Leader Award. The Lincoln Parish Journal thanks Mayor Ronny Walker and the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce for their support of this award. We would like to thank Kevin Hawkins at for the headshots).


Name: Adarian D. Williams

Age: 27

Employer: Grambling State University

Title: Deputy Chief of Staff

Hometown: Simsboro/Fellowship

How long have you lived in Lincoln Parish: 25 years

Civic and Volunteer Organizations

  • Ex-Officio Member, Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce
  • Board Member, Ruston-Lincoln Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Former Board Member, North Louisiana Farmer’s Market
  • Choir Member, Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Grambling, LA
  • Grambling University National Alumni Association
  • LifeLoyal Member, Phi Mu Alpha Fraternity of America, Inc.
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Grambling Chapter
  • Grambling Laboratory High School Alumni Association
  • Board Member, United Way of Northeast Louisiana

Professional Highlights:

  • Experience in U.S. Politics: I gained valuable political experience through internships with the United States Congress and as an Organizing Fellow for the U.S. Presidential Campaign of Joseph R. Biden. My career path in Washington, D.C. has led me to work in the office of former Congressman Cedric Richmond, who served as President Biden’s Senior Advisor. Additionally, I served as the Senior Manager of Congressional Relations for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc.
  • Return Home to Support My Alma Mater: Currently, I serve as Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the President at Grambling State University, where I continue to make a difference in higher education administration. As an undergraduate student, I had the honor of serving as the Student Government Association President for two consecutive terms, leading and representing the student body with dedication and effectiveness. I also had the privilege of being selected as the Student Member to the Louisiana Board of Regents, where I advocated for the interests of Louisiana’s publicly funded institutions of higher learning, highlighting my commitment to advancing education.
  • Empowering Youth and Adults in Our Community: Beyond my professional roles, I am committed to empowering youth and adults in our community. Through motivational speaking, mentorship programs, community outreach initiatives, and educational workshops, I strive to inspire and uplift individuals of all ages, helping them unlock their full potential and achieve their goals.
  • Talents in Performing Arts: Throughout my journey, I have had the incredible opportunity to showcase my talents in the performing arts. I have portrayed highly acclaimed roles in over fifteen theatrical productions and performed in diverse musical settings, including the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Louisiana Senator Patrick O. Jefferson on Adarian Williams: “Mr. Adarian Williams is without a doubt one of this area’s and our nation’s best. He has a heart for people and the intelligence to match. He is wise beyond his years and on a mission to scale the heights of life. I am thankful that I have been privileged to witness his flight, and it’s just beginning.”

Q&A with Adarian Williams

What makes Lincoln Parish special? Lincoln Parish holds a special place in my heart because it embodies the essence of a close-knit community and is strengthening the values of unity, resilience, and growth. What sets Lincoln Parish apart is its unique combination of family, history, culture, and natural beauty. From the picturesque landscapes and charming towns to the warm-hearted residents, every aspect of our parish exudes a sense of belonging and creates an environment where people can thrive. Whether it’s attending local events that celebrate our heritage, exploring the parks and trails, or engaging in community-driven initiatives, there’s a growing spirit of togetherness that makes Lincoln Parish truly special. While acknowledging the exceptional qualities of my home parish, we recognize the areas for improvement that exist. However, it is through our collective efforts and a commitment to continuous growth that we can address these imperfections and create an even brighter Lincoln Parish for future generations.

How do you see your role in improving Lincoln Parish? I consider it both a responsibility and a privilege to actively contribute to the improvement of Lincoln Parish. Guided by my faith, I see my role as not just a physical and tangible contributor, but also a spiritual one. Matthew 25:40 says, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” This powerful scripture serves as a reminder of the inherent worth and value of every individual in our community. It compels me to approach my role with compassion, empathy, and a deep sense of service. Whether it be actively listening to the needs and aspirations of fellow residents, volunteering my time and skills, supporting local businesses, participating in local initiatives, and encouraging sustainable development, I aim to contribute to the growth and well-being of Lincoln Parish. I see myself as a catalyst for progress, working alongside others to grow a community that empowers individuals, and addresses the challenges we face head-on.

Who has played a pivotal role in your professional development and why? Throughout my professional journey, several individuals have played pivotal roles in shaping my development. However, one person stands out for their unwavering support and mentorship – Mr. Richard “Rick” Gallot, Jr. His guidance, expertise, and belief in my potential have been instrumental in my growth as a servant-leader. He has consistently challenged me to push the boundaries of my capabilities, provided invaluable advice, and instilled in me the importance of paying it forward and empowering others on their own journeys. I am grateful for his mentorship, as it has enabled me to develop the skills, confidence, and resilience necessary for success.

City of Ruston prepares 2023-24 budget for Council

By Kyle Roberts

Ruston mayor Ronny Walker and his team are preparing to present the fiscal budget for the 2023-24 year at the September City Council meeting.

“We’re describing this as an aggressive budget,” City of Ruston’s chief financial officer Julie Keen said. “We know we have some big projects that are still ongoing that we hope to have completed in the next fiscal year. From a revenue perspective, we are projecting at $115 million, which is a 10 percent increase from last year.”

Walker gave praise to the trend in revenue rising and is pleased with the 10 percent increase.

“It’s been trending upward for the last six years,” Walker said. “Once we passed the sales tax to allow us to start doing these projects and we started really recruiting businesses in town, that when you start to see if coming up.”

Keen gave an overview in a Tuesday meeting with the Lincoln Parish Journal regarding revenue would be coming from along with operating expenditures (which are all included at the bottom of this story).

“There are lot of pieces (to the increase in revenue),” Keen said. “Some of the bigger ones are the American Rescue Plan (ARPA) money on the table of $3.7 million that we’re using to fund the Fire Station No. 2 (on California Ave.). We have the BUILD project, which is the Monroe Street corridor, and then our Streetscapes grant, which will bring in about $7 million.

“Those are the two big projects we hope to wrap up and get off the table.”

Sales taxes increased this past year to $26 million, which is a $2.3 million increase from last year.

“The sales tax increase cam due to a lot of activity late this past year; alcohol sales being one of them,” Keen said. “And we have seen increases just in the last two months that we think are directly related to alcohol sales.”

Other factors that are likely to yield more sales tax revenue include the summer’s Dixie Youth World Series at the Sports Complex, along with restaurants and shopping done in town.

Enterprise funds, which includes water, sewer, electricity, fiberoptic internet, the airport and ambulance, came in at $44 million, which is up $10 million from the previous year.

On the expenditures side, the City of Ruston is mostly proposing spending that will go to workers to give a one percent cost of living increase to go on top of the minimum hourly rate for city workers at $15.43 per hour.

For context, six years ago, the hourly rate was closer to $10 per hour.

“We are excited and happy that we, as a city, are able to bring all of our employees to what is considered a livable wage for Lincoln Parish,” Walker said.

Details from the budget include:

  • Total revenue of $115 million, up $10 million from previous fiscal budget
    • American Rescue Plan – $3.7 million
    • BUILD & Streetscapes grants – $7 million
    • Sales Tax – $26 mm, up $2.3 mm from previous fiscal budget
    • Enterprise Funds – $44 mm, up $9.8mm from previous fiscal budget
  • Total operating expenditures $73mm, up $3.4mm from previous fiscal budget
  • Total capital expenditures $61mm

Woman arrested for prescription fraud

A Crossett, Arkansas, woman was arrested Friday as she attempted to pick up drugs at a Ruston pharmacy that had received fraudulent prescriptions.

Destiny Aurora Culbreath, 31, was arrested Friday by the Lincoln Parish Narcotics Enforcement Team after she went to Ruston Apothecare to pick up a prescription of Xanax.

In July, the pharmacy notified LPNET that prescriptions for Culbreath had been called into the pharmacy for Xanax tablets.

On August 3, a woman called the pharmacy with a third prescription for Culbreath for 30 more Xanax tablets. The pharmacy was advised not to fill the prescription and notify LPNET if more prescriptions were received.

On August 23, the pharmacy was told Culbreath would be coming to Ruston on August 25 to get the prescription. She was met by LPNET and taken into custody.

Culbreath told LPNET she knew the woman who worked at a doctor’s office in Monticello. She also admitted requesting all three prescriptions and picking up the July 7 and July 21 prescriptions.

Culbreath was booked for three counts of obtaining a controlled dangerous substance by fraud. She is also being held for the Texarkana Police Department and the Arkansas Probation & Parole on other charges.

The driver of the car who took Culbreath to the pharmacy, Latara D. Parker, 33, also of Crossett, was arrested at the scene for possession of marijuana and four counts of illegal use of a controlled dangerous substance in the presence of persons under 17. Four children were also occupying the car.

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

Ruston’s Dauzat riding worldwide wave of music

Mat Dauzat (far right) is pictured in a clip from singer Rick Springfield’s new video “Automatic.” 

By T. Scott Boatright

While most Lincoln Parish residents have spent the summer trying to survive a smothering heat wave, Ruston native Mat Dauzat has spent the summer thriving worldwide in a whirlwind of musical life.

Dauzat, son of Sam and Jo Ann Dauzat, has spent years touring with longtime partner Heather St. Marie, the other half of Americana troubadours two-piece band simply known as Dauzat St. Marie.

But since late spring, Dauzat has been touring as lead guitarist for Grammy-award winning singer Seal, traveling across the U.S. and overseas.

And to top things off, Dauzat is also the guitarist on the new video by singer Rick Springfield released earlier this month.

“It’s definitely been a whirlwind,” Dauzat said. “I’m about to go back out on the road with Seal, and then Heather’s going to come meet us. I’ll wrap up with Seal on (Sept.) 22 and then Heather and I fly to Ireland the next day to do shows in Ireland there that week.

“Then we’ll come back to the States to do a Dauzat St. Marie music video and to prepare for our tour of the southern U.S., which we’re working on a Ruston date for in October,” Dauzat said. 

Those shows in Ireland will be Dauzat St. Marie’s first ever shows outside of the U.S.

“That’s going to be something we’ve never done, so that’s really exciting for us,” Dauzat said. “We’re waiting to confirm all the dates but it looks like we’re going to have about five shows in Ireland.”

Dauzat St. Marie were planning on doing Folk Alliance International showcases in Nashville earlier this spring when an unexpected call sent Dauzat into doing his recent balancing act with Seal.

“We were literally booking flights to Nashville when Seal called me up on a Facetime call and offered me the job, so we canceled all of those showcases because I needed time to prepare for the Seal shows. It was a lot of work. 

“And a week and a half later we were doing two shows in the Middle East, one in Saudi Arabia and another in the United Arab Emirate. Then I jumped on a plane and flew to London to work with Seal’s producer, Trevor Horn, who was musical director for the tour and plays bass in the band.”

Horn had long ago made a name for himself as a member of the band The Buggles (“Video Killed The Radio Star”) and Yes, and Dauzat’s trip to London was to learn Buggles songs because Seal’s manager had asked Horn to reform a version of that band to open for Seal.

“We’re called The Buggles, but it’s more like The Trevor Horn Experience because we play some Buggles songs, two or three Yes songs, an Art of Noise song and the instrumental “Two Tribes” done by Frankie Goes to Hollywood because Trevor produced that, too.

“So we go out and open the show as The Buggles and then go back in for a wardrobe change and come back out as Seal’s band.”

Wardrobe change was also part of Dauzat’s role in Rick Springfield’s new song video, “Automatic,” released earlier this month.

Ever since his days in the Ruston-based 1990s rock band Audiovibe, Dauzat has been known for wearing dark colors, but in the new Springfield video he sports a bright yellow suit along with what has become his trademark with Dauzat St. Marie — a fedora.

“Dauzat St. Marie has opened for Rick and we know him, and he called and asked if I would come do the video for the new recording he had coming out,” Dauzat said. “I landed in Los Angeles, hurried up and learned the song and we had an early call to film the next day, so I was all kind of jet-lagged because I had been over in Europe for three weeks or so.

“But we got it done and it came out great. It looks great.”

Dauzat admits the yellow Haz-Mat looking suit he wore for the video wasn’t his idea.

“That was what was chosen for me,” Dauzat said with a chuckle. “Rick sent me a photo of him wearing a bright yellow suit and told me, ‘This is you, but definitely wear the hat, too.’ So that’s how that happened.”

Dauzat said his love of varied styles of music came from the record collections of his older brothers he listened to growing up.

“My brothers were 10 and 11 years older and I listened to their records,” Dauzat said. “Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Boston — I listened to the good stuff. Old classic rock. I think Boston was one of my biggest influences I would say just because of all of those great guitar riffs and vocal harmonies. But also definitely Seal and especially his song ‘Crazy.’ 

“When that song first came out, I definitely gravitated right to it immediately. I tried to get early Hydrovibe (Dauzat and St. Marie’s band while students at Louisiana Tech) to cover it, but the guys in the band back then were too cool for school to do it. I also tried to get another hard rock band in Las Vegas I was in to do it, but it just didn’t work out, so I was fortunate enough to end up just going directly to the source.I guess I had the last laugh on that.”

He said that early love of music he and Heather St. Marie both had before meeting as students at Tech helped form the foundation of the music Dauzat St. Marie performs.

“I guess what’s cool about Dauzat St. Marie is we can kind of explore different facets of our musical roots. And bluegrass, oddly enough, is always kind of in there, too. I think that’s just because of our love for harmonies, which like I said, probably originally came from my love of the band Boston.

“How did we get all of those roots? I don’t know, because I definitely didn’t grow up listening to bluegrass at all. But we both love it.”

Just as Dauzat loves the music whirlwind of the life he’s living.

“In an ideal world we’d probably do three tours a year across the South, because it’s never enough time to spend back there ,” Dauzat said. “We always try to set up shows around north Louisiana and get a little taste of home, but never the full experience, because we stay busy. Next week I’m headed to Sicily, Belgium, Uzbekistan, Turkey, and then we’ll go to Manchester (England), and Heather’s going to meet us there. 

“So she’ll cruise around with us while we’re home-based in Manchester, because we’re doing all those places in England like Wolverhampton and Liverpool and other places that are short drives away. Then we’ll go down to London, and then hop over to Paris before going back to London where Seal and I are going to do a private acoustic show before Heather and I head to Ireland to do the Dauzat St. Marie thing.”

While Dauzat said he and St. Marie feel the need — the pressure he called it — to continue putting out releases, he admits the state of the industry calls for that to be more sporadic single releases than what were known as albums 10 – 20 years ago.

“These days, I don’t know that there’s any advantage to putting out collections of works as opposed to singles,” Dauzat said. “Right now it just feels like going with more frequent single releases is the smarter thing to do. 

“Live shows are the only real way to make money in music these days. That’s where it’s at. Maybe that will eventually get figured out. But I won’t be the guy figuring it out. We have our live show, and I think that’s a commodity that can’t be replaced. That’s who we are. We’ll just continue to roll with it — living in the whirlwind because that’s what we love doing.”



Panthers set for historic season opener

Lincoln Prep linebacker D’Tavion Wright (6, pictured making a tackle in jamboree action last week against Glenbrook) and the Panthers will play for the first time ever on their home field as they host Madison starting at 7 p.m. today. (Photo by Tony Valentino)

By T. Scott Boatirght

Lincoln Preparatory School opens the 2023 football season at 7 p.m. today against Madison at Panther Field.

And when the game clock strikes the 11:59 mark of the opening stanza, history will already have been made.

That’s because that first second of the contest will mark the first play of the first game ever to be played on the new Lincoln Prep campus, which opened last spring.

The Panthers haven’t played a home game since the 2019 season, and that was on the campus of Grambling State University.

And that makes tonight’s game one that will be remembered forever in the minds of Lincoln Prep fans and supporters, as well as those of the old Grambling Laboratory High School, which was “closed” at the end of 2016 school year following a decades-long desegregation battle under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Justice. Lincoln Preparatory School had occupied the old Grambling Lab School building until the end of the 2020 school year, when the Department of Justice ruled it could no longer operate on the GSU campus.

And that forced the Panthers to become nomads, playing away from home for three seasons.

“This is bigger than big — this is history,” said Panthers head football coach Glen Hall. “Our coaches know that. Our players know that. Our students, parents and supporters know that. Every game is a big game. But there’s no denying this one is going to be special.

“And that’s why we need to get off to a good start. That’s why we need to be at our best to start off the season. Because it’s already a historic season. And we have to go into the game believing that.”

Lincoln Prep is coming off a 3-9 season in 2022 and fell 49-6 in a first-round playoff game.  Madison went 3-7 overall and 0-6 in district play last season, including a 14-6 loss to Lincoln Prep.

There will also be a little more history made on the sidelines, as Hall, a former coach for Grambling State, faces off against former G-Man and new Madison head coach Levi Washington Jr., who was a freshman receiver playing for Coach Eddie Robinson ‘s Tigers in 1997 with Hall coaching GSU defensive backs.

“We’ve always talked and I’ve kept up with his coaching career over the years,” Hall said. “It’s always fun getting to coach against someone you have a relationship with like that. He’s a good coach and has some athletes to work with.

“He’s got some tall, fast receivers and a dual threat quarterback that can run and throw,” Hall said. “So what we’re going to need to do is shorten the game with our rushing attack and play-action passing. We need to try and be smart and control the clock.”

That means Panthers fans should expect a healthy dose of junior running back Jaylin Brown along with some passing from quarterback Jordan Brown, a dual threat of his own.

Hall will be counting on the strength of his team — his defense — especially in a season opening with a lot of new faces at offensive skills positions. 

“That’s the strength of our team right now so we’re going to have to try and get after the football,” Hall said. “Madison didn’t do a lot of scoring last year, but with Levi back in charge over there, I expect they’ll do a better job of moving the ball and scoring this season.”

Washington, who played high school ball at McCall High School under his father/head coach, Levi Washington Sr., before that school changed its name to Madison and then served as head coach at the school from 2014-17.

“Coach Hall and I talk and yes, it’s going to be special getting to coach against him,” Washington said. 

Temporary bleachers are in place at the field for fans at tonight’s game, enough to seat 500 on the home side and 100 on the visitors, as Lincoln Prep awaits the arrival and construction of permanent bleachers toward the end of the season. 

Lawn chairs will also be allowed to be used by spectators.

“It’s going to be a big night, so we just need to start things off right,” Hall said. “It’s the start of a new era, and we need to start it with a win.”

DWI arrests keep police busy

Impaired drivers kept local law enforcement busy over the weekend with four men charged with DWI.

Brian Brantley, 37, of Ruston, was arrested Thursday night after he was stopped leaving the scene of a disturbance on McDonald Avenue. Brantley was allegedly involved in a loud argument with a woman and left the scene before officers arrived. He was spotted and his 2022 Toyota Camry was stopped by Ruston Police.

Brantley told officers he had been drinking and he displayed signs of intoxication. A records check revealed Brantley’s driver’s license was suspended and he had a previous DWI in 2020. Four warrants charging Brantley with failure to appear in Ruston City Court were located. He was arrested and booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center for second offense DWI and the four warrants for various traffic charges.

Bail was set at $22,500.

Cory E. Brown, 42, of Simsboro was arrested early Saturday morning by a Lincoln Parish patrol deputy who saw him swerving over the roadway in Grambling.

Brown exhibited signs of intoxication and could not produce a driver’s license. A check showed his Louisiana license was suspended and he was on probation for a previous DWI.

After Brown performed poorly on field sobriety tests, he was placed under arrest and taken to the detention center where he refused to submit to a breath test. He was booked for second offense DWI, driving under suspension, and improper lane usage.

Orlin L. Maradiaga-Galvez was arrested Saturday night after he was stopped for passing a vehicle on South Farmerville Street in a no passing zone, almost causing a crash. Galvez did not have a driver’s license and showed indications of impairment.

Galvez was taken to the detention center where he was advised of his rights through a translator. He submitted a breath sample showing his blood alcohol content to be 0.244g%, over three times the Louisiana legal limit.

Galvez was booked for a second offense DWI, open alcohol container in a vehicle, no driver’s license issued, an improper passing.

About 7 a.m. Sunday morning, Christian Vanegas, 30, was stopped by the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office after he was clocked at 83 miles per hour in a 70 mph zone on Interstate 20.

Vanegas smelled of an alcoholic beverage and performed poorly on field sobriety tests. He was arrested and given a breath test at the detention center. The test indicated a blood alcohol concentration of 0.173g%. He was booked for second offense DWI, open container in a vehicle, and speeding.

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

Glenn Scriber for Lincoln Parish Police Jury (District 6)

This is a paid political advertorial

• Local small business owner for 38 years, professional painting services
• Four years as member of Lincoln Parish Police Jury, Chairman of the Park, Tourism, and Recreation Committee, member of Solid Waste and Public Works Committees
• Advocate for continued development of Lincoln Parish Park, including development of 3-D Archery Course at no taxpayer cost. The park is also developing a new, state-of-the-art mountain bike and trail hub system
• Leader of national award winning Lincoln Parish Whitetails Unlimited Chapter
• Developing sustainable, long-term solution to Lincoln Parish animal control issues
• Finding a solution to properly manage litter and trash control, making Lincoln Parish a cleaner and even more beautiful place to live
• Providing solid stewardship of taxpayer money by bringing integrity, transparency, and accountability to Police Jury finances, budgeting and spending
• Married to Rachel, Operations Director, Primary Care, St. Francis Medical Group
• 3 daughters: Ashley, Erin, and Anna Kate
• Ordained as a Deacon at Cook Baptist Church, where served as Chairman of many committees
• Member of Temple Baptist Church, currently serving as Chairman of Strategic Planning committee, Sunday School teacher
EXPERIENCED member of Lincoln Parish Police Jury
COMMITTED to transparency and accountability
FOCUSED on meeting Parish residents needs
“I will continue to work to make Lincoln Parish an even better place to live for all of our residents, to represent my constituents with integrity, and treating you like a family member.” — Glenn Scriber
Paid for by the Glenn Scriber Campaign

Be perfect and double your weekly winnings! How does $400 sound?

To enter this week’s contest, CLICK HERE!


Are you ready for some football?!?

Bigger question. Are you ready to win $200 in cash and prizes each week? 

How about $400 in a week? Why not.

The Lincoln Parish Journal will double the weekly prize money for any contestant that goes a perfect 13-0 AND guesses the total points exactly right on the first tiebreaker for that week/s games.

Four c-notes instead of two?

Again, any week that a winning contestant goes a perfect 13-0 AND gets the point total EXACTLY right on the first tiebreaker games will win $400 for the week.

It’s just another fun twist and turn to our Karl Malone Toyota College Football Pick’em Contest presented by Martin Presence and Heard Construction.

Last year it was NFL games. This year it’s what the deep south lives for …. college football.

Anyone is eligible to participate for FREE and each week’s winner will go home with a $200 cash prize.  Each week the winner will be the participant with the best record out of 13 selected college football games (ties will be broken by two separate tiebreakers consisting of guessing the total points scored in two other games).

The Karl Malone Toyota College Football Pick’em Contest presented by Martin Presence and Heard Construction will be conducted over the next 13 regular season weeks of the college season starting with Week 1 games (Sept. 2) and running through the end of November.

There is no entry fee, just like there is no cost to subscribe to the Lincoln Parish Journal. 

All contest decisions by LPJ management are final. Weekly winners will be notified Monday and will be requested to take a photo that will run that week in the LPJ.

Every participant will receive a FREE subscription to the Journal, if you’re not already signed up for the easily-navigated, convenient 6:55 a.m. daily e-mail. Enjoy it all, for FREE, and enter each week’s contest. You could collect $200 each week (or $400 if you can have a perfect week with the correct tiebreaker).


The Lincoln Parish Journal wants to thank Karl Malone Toyota, Martin Presence and Heard Construction for their title and presenting sponsorships of this year’s college football pick’em contest.

We also want to thank Super Movers, American Mattress Outlet, the Dugout, the Ensure Agency, National Jewelry, Hart Designs, Tanyard Creek, Ginn’s Autobody, Ruston Eye and Vision, Pearce Lumber and Bearcat Nation Network for their Pick’em Partnerships within the contest.

Accounting partnership between Tech, Grambling celebrates first graduate

Louisiana Tech Summer Commencement marked a special occasion for Geormar Owens, Tech’s College of Business, Grambling State University, and Deloitte. Owens became the very first graduate to have benefitted from a unique initiative that provides GSU accounting undergraduates with accelerated entry into Tech’s Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program.

Owens first learned about this partnership while enrolled as an accounting major at Grambling. Although he was slightly hesitant at first, he knew this was an opportunity that would set him up for future success.

“I knew that taking graduate level courses at Louisiana Tech while taking my senior undergraduate courses at Grambling would be challenging,” said Owens, who had set a personal goal as a freshman to graduate with honors.

“I did not want to jeopardize that,” he said. “I realized, though, this could be a great chance for me to pursue a graduate degree and open up more networking opportunities, both personally and professionally. I wanted to be the first to complete this program so I could use my experience to encourage others to participate.”

Owens has done just that over the course of his two years at Tech, serving as an ambassador for the program to current Grambling accounting students.

“Once students complete their undergraduate degree, they are well on their way to completing their graduate degree in accounting,” Owens said. “For me, I was optimistic about finishing my master’s degree because by the time the fall quarter started, I was halfway through the concurrent MAcc program.”

Now, Owens is preparing to begin a fulltime role as a tax consultant for Deloitte—the same company that made a large investment in the program’s success. Deloitte’s 2021 investment through scholarship support funds the cost of tuition and graduate assistantships for students in the program.

Owens and other members of his cohort have also had the opportunity to network with Deloitte’s leadership, like Stephen Metoyer, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer for Deloitte Tax LLP and a Tech alumnus.

“You hear people say ‘representation matters.’ I felt that phrase as I listened to Mr. Metoyer discuss his journey from Louisiana Tech to entering the corporate world,” said Owens. “His words had a positive impact on me. To see someone who looks like me in the position he’s in, encouraging me to complete my program and stay the path, was inspiring.”

Owens also received encouragement along the way from his professors and Dr. Chris Martin, dean of the College of Business.

“Dr. Andrea Drake and Dr. Martin have been exceptional during my entire academic journey at Louisiana Tech,” said Owens. “During my first meeting with Dr. Martin, he said I would always be able to discuss with him any issues that arose. He was true to his word. There was never a time that I had a question about anything that I was not able to receive sound advice from him.”

As the program continues to grow and impact more students, Owens can rest assured that he has paved the way for others coming after him—graduates who are highly qualified professionals who will diversify the accounting workforce.

“This initiative showcases the quality of students from both universities,” Owens said. “I was prepared by Grambling State University to attend Louisiana Tech University. Louisiana Tech further prepared me for the employment opportunity I have received with Deloitte. The courses I have taken through the MAcc program and the professors I have had will be instrumental in me being able to do my job competently.”

The concurrent MAcc program allows Tech College of Business accounting majors with a 3.2 GPA and less than 30 hours of coursework remaining to begin taking graduate-level courses while still an undergraduate. Through an MOU, Grambling students meeting these same requirements can also begin the Tech program concurrently while maintaining fulltime undergraduate status at GSU.

For more information about this initiative, visit

Ruston to open season at home against Parkway

By Kyle Roberts

RUSTON, La. — If tonight is anything like this past weekend, expect a sea of Ruston Red at the Sports Complex for the first home match of the 2023 season as the Parkway Lady Panthers come eastward to take on the Lady Bearcats at 6 p.m.

“I think we’re just ready,” Ruston High interim head coach Mandy Caulie said of the season starting. “It’s been long because we’ve been practicing pretty much all summer. Now the wheels are turning, and I think everybody is ready to see what we’re capable of.

“I really think when it comes down to these games finally meaning something, then the girls will be able to find a different level of competitiveness.”

Last season’s Lady Bearcat volleyball squad finished 29-12 and earned multiple postseason district awards including Co-Coach of the Year in Lucie Hunt and Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year in now senior Jade Smith and 2022 graduate Lorelei Freling, respectively.

Ruston also won its first road playoff match in program history in a round one sweep of Terrebonne.

Cauley has the reins for this season in familiar territory; she actually served as Ruston’s head coach in the inaugural season for Lady Bearcat Volleyball. And from empty stands to packed gyms, Cauley is excited to see how the program has grown and that she can help this year.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Cauley said. “I love these kids and I would be at everything anyway. Lucie has still been very helpful serving in the capacities she can. And I’m just glad that I can help her out and hopefully bridge the gap for the girls so it’s not something completely new.

“The assistant coaches are fantastic, and they’ve been so helpful and supportive. And most of the girls are familiar with me; I’m excited about it.”

All Ruston High volleyball will be played at the Sports Complex this season. The freshmen will play at 4 p.m., followed by junior varsity at 5 p.m. Varsity will hold first serve at 6 p.m.


Champions Plaza statue unveil set for Sept. 20

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications

Louisiana Tech Athletics announced Wednesday that the ribbon-cutting and statue unveiling for the Sarah and A.L. Williams Champions Plaza has been rescheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 20.

The champions plaza dedication, originally slated for Aug. 25, was forced to be postponed due to one of the six Hall of Fame statues not arriving on time.

All five living recipients – Terry Bradshaw, Karl Malone, Kim Mulkey, Willie Roaf, and Teresa Weatherspoon – will all be in attendance along with the family of Fred Dean. Fans can join in the recognition of the most highly-decorated student-athletes in LA Tech history as the event is free and open to the public.

The ceremony will start inside the Thomas Assembly Center as doors open at 5:45 p.m. with the program beginning on the east side of the court at 6 p.m. with speakers including Louisiana Tech University President Dr. Les Guice, Director of Athletics/Vice President Dr. Eric A. Wood, and soon-to-be LA Tech Athletics Hall of Famer and philanthropic gift provider Chris Richardson.

Statue recipients will also take part in a 10-12 minute Q&A session with the emcee. Following the conclusion of the program, everyone will make his or her way to the north end zone of Joe Aillet Stadium for a few brief remarks by Dr. Wood and the official ribbon-cutting, statue unveilings.

Once the statues are unveiled, the public will be welcome to walk through Champions Plaza.

The plaza, named in honor of former LA Tech student-athlete and football coach A.L. Williams and his wife, Sarah, had its groundbreaking back on April 22.

Creek opens XC season Saturday

Taylor Ramsey will be one of the veteran runners on the Lady Cougars cross country team this fall.

By Malcolm Butler
Cedar Creek will open its cross country season this Saturday when the Cougars and Lady Cougars compete at meet hosted by Choudrant at The Gospel.
It will be the first of a number of meets that the program’s varsity, junior varsity and middle school will compete at this fall and will also include elementary school races.
Saturday’s meet schedule includes:
Varsity Boys (3 miles) 7:30
Varsity Girls (3 miles) 8:00
Middle school boys (2 miles) 8:30
Middle School girls (2 miles) 9:00
K – 1st grade boys (1 mile) 9:30
K – 1st grade girls (1 mile) 9:50
2nd – 3rd boys (1 mile) 10:10
2nd – 3rd girls (1mile) 10:30
4th – 5th boys (1 mile) 10:50
4th 5th girls (1 mile) 11:10

Head coach Craig Moss said despite the challenges of one of the hottest summers in recent memory, the varsity teams are ready to open their season in a competitive fashion.
“As with all sports teams this summer we endured a tremendous heat wave, but I can say our runners came out of the summer workouts healthy and injury free,” said Moss. “We aren’t where we want or need to be at this stage, but it is process and I am incredibly proud of athletes for their perseverance. I have watched their commitment, dedication, and compassion, for each other and feel they have gelled as a team.”
Moss said the Lady Cougars are a relatively young bunch this year. Taylor Ramsey, Madison Morris and Cat McAdams will be two of the main anchors and most experienced runners on the girls side.
“We will need our youth to step up in order to contend this year,” said Moss. “I believe they will rise to the occasion. We have talented young ladies, and they are excited to get the season started.”
Ramsey captured the 2021 Class A state individual title as a sophomore and then won the Division IV – Region 1 individual title as a junior, helping lead the Lady Cougars to the team title as well. Morris and McAdams also recorded Top 10 finishes at the regional meet last fall.
On the boys side, Moss feels that his squad is a much more experienced and more veteran group.
“Our gentlemen are seasoned cross country runners and excited about the upcoming year,” said Moss. “Their goals are high and I believe we will see a pack running team from our two thru seven runners which will help in our scoring. They have had a tremendous summer of training and know these seniors want to finish their cross country journey strong.”
Myles Head Carpenter was the Cougars top runner a season ago, including a sixth-place finish in the Division IV-Region 1 meet. Ethan McCarthy and Connor Johnson also finished in the top 10 at last year’s regional event.
Moss said mindset is a key component to succeeding this fall.
“We know that If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you,” said Moss. “In order to succeed, we must believe and trust the process, work hard to overcome the mental obstacles and then persevere through the workouts. I am blessed God has allowed me to be a part of these young men and women’s lives, and I cherish this team and this year.”
Varsity Girls
Audrey Barron
Addie Belle Brister
Marley Jinks
Madeline Kneeland
Anna Malsam
Cat McAdams
Madison Morris
Lindsey Osafo
Annalise Paul 
Kendal Ramsey
Taylor Ramsey
Varsity Boys
Tanner Andrews
Hayes Bridges
Myles Carpenter Head
Dylan Drake
John Abram Earls
Gabe Garcia
Connor Johnson
Anderson Maxwell
Ethan McCarthy
Joshua McCarthy
Cole Morganthall

COLUMN: The future of college athletics

With college football season now underway, we are hearing more and more about the changing landscape of intercollegiate athletics.  There has been enormous change over the last few years, and there will likely be much more.  I am no elite prognosticator, but I have a general sense of where intercollegiate athletics are heading.  I am not sure if it will be in the next few years or next decade, but here are my thoughts on what the future will look like.

  • The large schools (Power 4) will eventually assemble into four large conferences of 16-20 teams each.  They will have mega TV deals worth millions of dollars for their football and other revenue generating sports.  The major networks making these deals will require them to only play games within the Power 4 league to ensure maximum TV exposure.  This league will start to resemble professional sports in many respects.  NIL deals will be lucrative, the transfer portal will be wide open, and the monetary budgets will rival large national companies.  
  • The playoff system in football will be twelve teams but will be tied only to these power conferences and schools.  The seeding for the twelve-team playoff format will resemble the NFL, and the TV money will be enormous.  The bowl system as we know it will filter into this playoff format to a degree and the outliers will eventually go away.  

  • • Even with the enormous amount of money these Power 4 schools will be generating, they will eventually spin off from their non-revenue generating sports (the ones not commanding the TV contracts).  These non-revenue sports will go back to more of a regional base of play and not be included in these mega-conference deals.  College administrators will eventually want to save the travel money and overall cost of operating these non-revenue generating sports to further increase profits.  The NCAA’s role will be significantly reduced if not eliminated at this level all together.
  • The smaller schools (Group of 5 along with some current FCS schools) will eventually organize regional based conferences to alleviate as much cost as possible.  They will renew old rivalries, increase fan and student interest, and operate with much smaller budgets.  They will no longer have the “money” games each year and will evaluate mid-week TV deals with fan interest to determine the most valuable revenue source for them.  
  • With reduced overall budgets, the number of scholarships, coaches, and other cost factors will be evaluated.  Title 9 requirements will be in effect, but the evaluation of a hybrid approach to university sponsored athletics and “club” sports will be considered to help budgetary issues as well with lesser revenue generating sports.
  • The smaller schools will form their own twelve team playoff system in football.  The NCAA will continue to consider one playoff system for non-football sports as long as possible but will evaluate basketball along the same lines in time (pending the pressure from the TV networks providing the mega deals).  This football playoff system will be well received by smaller schools and generate some additional funding through TV deals filling open time on networks.  
  • The smaller schools will still have NIL opportunities, transfer portal moves, and other options garnered by the Power 4, but they will just be on a much smaller scale.  Top players will be subject to moving to Power 4 schools each year.  There’s no stopping that fact.  

I share those thoughts, not because I want them to occur.  Rather, I just share what I see happening in the future.  Intercollegiate athletics has turned into a large business model.  The faster a respective university understands its place in this system, the more effective it can navigate to a successful, sustainable level of operation that will effectively serve the students, the student athletes, the alumni, and the respective communities.  

Next week, I will share some thoughts on changes to come in the educational side of university operations as they are also undergoing significant challenges and change.

Bulldog soccer head to Big 12 Baylor

Photo by Darrell James

Courtesy of Louisiana Tech Athletic Communications

After going unbeaten in its two home matches, the Louisiana Tech Soccer team heads back out on the road to face Baylor tonight with first touch at Betty Lou Mays Soccer Field (Waco, Texas) set for 7 p.m.

LA Tech extended its home unbeaten streak to five this past week with a 3-3 draw with ULM and a 1-0 shutout victory over McNeese State.

The Bulldogs battled triple-digit heat in Sunday’s match versus the Cowgirls, defeating the in-state opponent for their first clean sheet of the 2023 season.  The defense allowed a season-low six shot attempts in doing so while freshman goalkeeper Emma Duguay picked up two saves in her first collegiate start.

Forward Lauren Egbuloniu netted the lone goal, which came in the 56th minute of the second half.  It was her seventh career goal scored with four of those being game-winning goals, including the one versus the Cowgirls.  Forward Avery Kyle was credited with the assist, the second straight game she has registered one in her return to the pitch.  

LA Tech is averaging 1.75 goals per game through four matches this season.  They have recorded 43 shots, 23 of which have been on goal for a SOG percentage of 53.5.

Baylor (1-1-1) will be playing its first home match of the 2023 season after being on the road for its first three games at Oregon (2-0 win), Nebraska (2-1 loss), and Texas A&M (1-1 tie).

The Bears have been stellar defensively this year, allowing just three total goals.  They have gotten double duty from goalkeepers Makinzie Short and Ashlee Zirkel in net, combining for 16 saves.

Offensively, four different BU players – Callie Conrad, Tyler Isgrig, Ashley Merrill, and Skylar Zinnecker – have tallied one goal.

Tonight will mark the first time the Bulldogs will not only face Baylor, but also the first time they will take on a Big 12 opponent.  LA Tech will do so again on Sunday when they go up against Houston.

COLUMN: The young brave

On December 12, 1923, Byron, an electrician, and Tillie, a schoolteacher, welcomed a young Indian brave to the world.  The young brave spent most of his youth in the town of Mission on the Rosebud Indian reservation in South Dakota.  He and the others on this particular reservation were members of what the federal government called the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.  The elders called it Sicangu.  His father was one-quarter Sioux. His mother had no known Native American blood.  Like his parents, the young brave spoke fluent English, but little to no native tongue.  One day, the young brave was walking in Mission when he saw an Indian sitting on a bench.  “He had long hair, wore a blanket, and could not speak English.”  Most of the people he saw on the reservation were Americanized, although he pointed out that his friends in school included Alex Raincounter and Chris Yellow Robe, boys with Indian names.

In 1938, the 15-year-old brave met who would become his high school sweetheart, Dorothy Jo, not on the reservation as his parents had met, but at an Ella Fitzgerald concert.  The young brave was surprised to learn that his sweetheart was three-eighths Cherokee Indian.  In decades past, their love for each other would have caused controversy between the tribes.  The different tribes would have forbidden them to be together as it was in the teenage tragedy song “Running Bear,” made famous by Johnny Preston in 1959 (one of the two singers on the recording who provided the “uga-uga” and other Indian war cries was the not-yet famous George Jones).  In the song, Running Bear, a young Indian brave, was in love with an Indian maid named Little White Dove.  Their tribes were separated by hatred as well as a mighty, raging river.  The song ends with the Running Bear and Little White Dove swimming out to be together.  After a passionate kiss, the two drowned in the swift current.  “Now they’ll always be together in their happy hunting ground.”  By the 1940s, the Sioux and Cherokee tribes were no longer at war, and on January 12, 1945, the young brave and Dorothy Jo married with the blessing of their families. 

The young brave was always proud of his Indian heritage.  He once said, “I’ve always bragged about being part Indian, because they are a people to be proud of.  And the Sioux were the greatest warriors of them all.  They’ve been called the greatest light cavalry in the history of man.”  He quipped, “And I have never been on a horse without falling off.”

We know very little about the young brave’s life on the reservation because he rarely spoke about it.  We may know little about his early life, but we all know the young brave.  Last Wednesday, August 26, the young brave breathed his last.  He was just three-and-a-half months shy of reaching his 100th birthday.  From 1972 to 2007, we welcome him into our homes.  He was the host of the longest-running daytime game show in North American television history, The Price is Right.  You and I know that young brave from Rosebud Reservation.  His name was Robert William “Bob” Barker.


1.      Argus-Leader (Sioux Falls, South Dakota), March 25, 1962, p.17.
2.     “Bob Barker, Iconic Host of “the Price Is Right”, Dies.” Time, 26 Aug. 2023, Accessed 25 Aug. 2023.
3.     “Legacy Robert ‘Bob’ Barker – SD Hall of Fame Programs.” n.d. Accessed August 27, 2023.

Remembering Eric Merill Cooper

Eric Merill Cooper

Funeral services for Mr. Eric Merill Cooper, age 53 of Dubach, LA will be held at 10:00 AM, Saturday, September 2, 2023 at Living Water Full Gospel Church in Dubach with Rev. Scott Jennings officiating. Burial will follow in the Fellowship Cemetery in Dubach under the direction of Owens Memorial Chapel Funeral Home of Ruston, LA.

Eric was born May 31, 1970 in Baton Rouge, LA to Eron Monroe Cooper and Ollie Ione Brown and passed away August 29, 2023 in Dubach. He was a National Guard veteran and worked in communications. Eric was a loving husband and father. He lost the love of his life fifteen years ago and always said that he was a one woman man. Eric never remarried and put his focus on raising, spoiling and loving his sweet daughter Faith. He was an oil field man and worked all over the country, and he loved to fish. Eric had a heart of gold and now is walking the streets of gold with his sweet wife Tobie.

Eric was preceded in death by his wife Tobie Cooper; parents Eron Monroe Cooper and Ollie Ione Brown; and sister Robin Cooper.

Eric is survived by his daughter Faith Cooper; aunts Debbie Waltz and Brenda Kay Brown; uncle Mike Brown; nephew Reese Wall who was like a son to him; numerous cousins, nieces and nephews; and a host of other family and many friends.

Serving as pallbearers will be Billy Waltz, Phillip Waltz, John Waltz, Thomas Griffith, Tommy Durrett, III and Taylor Durrett.

Visitation will be held from 9:00-10:00 AM, Saturday, September 2, 2023 at the church. 

Remembering Allen Wayne Elledge

Allen Wayne Elledge

Funeral services for Mr. Allen Wayne Elledge, age 71 of Ruston, LA will be held at 2:00 PM, Saturday, September 2, 2023 at Owens Memorial Chapel in Ruston with Mr. Ronnie Dyes officiating.

Allen was born December 26, 1951 in Monroe, LA to Sadie Mae Calhoun and William Powell Elledge and passed away August 28, 2023 in Jonesboro, LA after a lengthy illness. He was the youngest of six children and grew up in Bernice, LA. Allen met the love of his life Brenda Ann Hattaway at the age of 15, married her at the age of 19 and spent the next 46 years with her until she passed away in September of 2017. He and Brenda had two daughters. They loved spending time together with friends and family. Allen was a proud father and grandfather. Those who knew him would describe him as kind, hard-working and loyal. Those who knew Allen well would also describe him as proud, hard-headed and spoiled (thanks, Brenda!). He never met a stranger and could talk at length to anyone. Allen had great sense of humor and loved to laugh. He was fiercely protective of his family, especially Brenda and their girls. Allen would give you the shirt off of his back and would go out of his way to help anyone. His family grew to include eight grandchildren and a great-granddaughter, and Allen was immensely proud of them all. He was preceded in death by his parents; older siblings; and wife Brenda.

Allen is survived by his two daughters: Pam Peterson and Amber Brazzel, both of Ruston; eight grandchildren: Justin, Taylor, Paige, Lauren, Emma-Claire, Alan-Michael, Anna-Grace and Sophie; one great-granddaughter Madelyn; and a host of other family and many friends.

The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Allen’s memory to Donate Life America.

Serving as an honorary pallbearer is Bill Waltz.

Visitation will be held from 12:00-2:00 PM, Saturday, September 2, 2023 at the funeral home.


Remembering Charles Edward Dumas

Charles Edward Dumas

Funeral services for Mr. Charles Edward Dumas, age 80 of Ruston, LA will be held at 10:00 AM, Friday, September 1, 2023 at Owens Memorial Chapel in Ruston with Rev. Darren Rindt officiating. Burial will follow in the Riser Cemetery in Ruston under the direction of Owens Memorial Chapel Funeral Home of Ruston.

Charles was born August 23, 1943 in Farmerville, LA to Lorena and Ira Dumas and passed away August 28, 2023 in Ruston after his body finally succumbed to pancreatic cancer after a year-long battle with the disease. He had many jobs over his 67 years of working, but his favorite job was driving an 18-wheeler across the country. Charles said that he could get in his truck, turn on the radio, drive and not have to talk to anyone. He married his wife Jean November 28, 1963.Charles was preceded in death by his parents and brothers Jack Dumas and Devon Dumas.

Charles is survived by his wife Jean Dumas; daughters Tammy and husband Ricky Ouber and Tracy and husband Todd Huddleston; grandchildren: Joshua Huddleston, Kevin Elliott, Keith Elliott and Jessica Rindt; great-grandchildren Zoe Elliott and Levi Rindt; sisters: Ann Duke, Betty Hammons and Carolyn Dumas; and a host of other family and many friends.

Serving as pallbearers will be Kevin Elliott, Todd Duke, Jason Duke, Marty Hammons, Landry Duke and Christopher Duke. Honorary pallbearers are Ricky Ouber, Keith Elliott, Joshua Huddleston and Darren Rindt.

Visitation will be held from 5:00-7:00 PM, Thursday, August 31, 2023 at the funeral home. 


Notice of death — August 30, 2023

Charles E. Dumas 
August 23, 1943 – August 28, 2023 
Visitation: Thursday, August 31, 2023, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM, Owens Memorial Chapel Funeral Home 
Funeral Service: Friday, September 1, 2023, 10:00 AM, Owens Memorial Chapel Funeral Home 
Cemetery Committal: Friday, September 1, 2023, Riser Cemetery, Timbers Dr., Ruston  

Allen Elledge 
December 26, 1951 – August 28, 2023 
Visitation: Saturday, September 2, 2023, 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM, Owens Memorial Chapel Funeral Home 
Funeral Service: Saturday, September 2, 2023, 2:00 PM, Owens Memorial Chapel Funeral Home  

Charlotte Ann (Williams) King           
August 5, 1947 – August 10, 2023           
Service: Kilpatrick Funeral Homes – Ruston, Saturday, September 2, 2023, 10:00 am         

Annie Jo Davis      
Tuesday 08/24/1954 — Saturday 08/19/2023       
Visitation: Friday 09/01/2023 3:00pm to 5:00pm at King’s Funeral Home      
Celebration of Life: Saturday 09/02/2023 1:00pm at King’s Funeral Home      
Interment: Saturday 09/02/2023, St. Peter Baptist Church Cemetery, Longstraw Road, Ruston    

Meet Jessica George: 2023 Rising Lincoln Leader

Jessica George

(This is one of 20 profiles on the recipients selected by an anonymous committee out of an extensive list of nominees for the 2023 Rising Lincoln Leader Award. The Lincoln Parish Journal thanks Mayor Ronny Walker and the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce for their support of this award. We would like to thank Kevin Hawkins at for the headshots).


Name: Jessica George

Age: 35

Employer: Louisiana Tech University, College of Business

Title: Executive Director of Student Services and Placement

Hometown: Emerson, Ark.

How long have you lived in Lincoln Parish: We moved to Ruston in August 2012

Civic-volunteer organizations: Wiggin’ Out, Board Member, 2012-2013, 2016-2019, Ruston Parks and Recreation, Volunteer Coach, 2021, 2023

Professional Highlights:

  • 2020 Louisiana Tech University College of Business Innovation Award
  • 2018 Louisiana Tech University Visionary Educator of the Year presented by Vantage (voted on by peers)
  • In my role in the College of Business, I have collected and analyzed data from key constituents and built programs to improve students’ employment marketability, increasing placement by 11% from 2015. The College of Business undergraduate placement has risen to 98% six months post-graduation.
  • I also plan and execute professional development programs such as the Diversity and inclusion in the Workplace virtual event (offered complimentary to students, employer partners, alumni and community members) with an attendance of up to 1,000 people across the U.S. and coordinate keynote speakers including chief inclusion officers from Deloitte, McDonald’s, Cadillac, Lowes, Southwest Airlines, Ford Motor Company, JP Morgan, and J.B. Hunt.
  • Shark Tank contestant in 2013 with JesKa Shoe Company.

Marcia Dickerson on Jessica

Jessica has been an incredible contributor to Louisiana Tech since the day she arrived. She is full of good ideas, encourages and motivates her team, and is energetic in all that she does. Her work benefits our students, faculty, and alumni. And, no matter how busy she is, she always takes the time to help students one-on-one, even with the smallest things.

Jessica is such a valuable member of Lincoln Parish. Many of our College of Business students at Louisiana Tech pursue internships or want jobs in our community, and Jessica has been able to match them with local employers who want great talent. She’s helping to fight the brain drain that many Louisiana communities experience. Beyond that, she makes our community a better place by being the type of person who takes leadership roles when needed. From her volunteer work with Wiggin’ Out to coaching her young daughter’s sports teams, Jessica’s heart for service to others is evident. 

Q&A with Jessica George

What makes Lincoln Parish special?

It represents a place where I’ve experienced personal growth, launched and grew my career, established friendships that will last a lifetime, and created a family. It holds a multitude of memories, milestones, and emotions, an integral part of my life’s story – Lincoln Parish is a truly special place our family proudly calls home.

How do you see your role in improving Lincoln Parish?  

I connect talent to opportunity! My position in career services at the Louisiana Tech College of Business allows me to play a significant role in strengthening our local workforce. By facilitating meaningful connections between students and employers, I have the privilege to actively contribute to the growth and prosperity of this community.

Who has played a pivotal role in your professional development and why?

Marcia Dickerson has been a guiding light in my professional growth. Recognizing my potential early on, she took a chance by hiring me at Louisiana Tech, altering the trajectory of my career and establishing the foundation for our life in Ruston. Her continuous inspiration and unwavering encouragement have been instrumental in shaping the person I have become.

Burns makes the most elite cut, picked for U.S. Ryder Cup Team

Sam Burns will represent the US in the Ryder Cup after being chosen as one of six Captain’s Choices by Zach Johnson.

By DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports

Sam Burns fans didn’t have to wait to see if their favorite PGA Tour pro was chosen for one of six at-large spots on the USA Ryder Cup Team Tuesday morning.

Burns was the first of those announced by team captain Zach Johnson, from PGA of America headquarters in Frisco, Texas. He was joined by four major championship winners and Ryder Cup veterans — Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas – and another familiar Ryder Cup figure, Rickie Fowler.

He got the good news from Johnson Monday, and was clearly delighted when interviewed in the Tuesday morning press conference, speaking from home in Choudrant. The six at-large choices all participated by Zoom.

Burns nearly made his Ryder Cup debut two years ago on American soil at Whistling Straits, but team captain Steve Stricker didn’t find a spot for him then. Burns was considered a bubble pick this time, too, but to his relief, Johnson went with him.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was my Number 1 goal. It’s something I wanted to be part of, didn’t want to miss out on (again),” said Burns, who is based out of Squire Creek Country Club in Choudrant. “When Zach gave me the call, (I was) just incredibly honored.

“For me personally, there’s no higher honor than to represent your country, to be a part of this Ryder Cup and tee it up alongside these world-class players and guys, I’m extremely, extremely excited,” he said.

The Ryder Cup will be staged Sept. 29-Oct. 1 in Rome at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club.

Burns is not new to international team competition. He was part of the USA’s 2014 Junior Ryder Cup Team (a combined boys and girls roster) that posted a 16-8 win over Europe in Scotland, and played for his country in the 2022 President’s Cup, won 17 ½ to 12 ½ over the International team.

“I definitely dreamed it, many, many times. As a kid you watch every Ryder Cup and I always had this idea in the back of your head that you want to be a part of that, and you’d get to experience that one day,” he said. “It’s a very surreal experience when the opportunity presents itself. I can’t wait to be there, tee it up alongside these guys, and hopefully bringing the Cup home.”

“Sam is a stud athlete, number one,” said Johnson. “He won the World Match Play Championships this year. Tremendous putter, which is always good in the Ryder Cup.

“To say he meshes well with the other guys on the team would again be a massive understatement. A versatile teammate. Guys want to be around him, guys want to play with him. It’s nice to lock hands, lock shoulders with somebody you want to be around, and Sam fits that to a T.”

Burns is one of four Ryder Cup rookies on the 12-man squad making his Ryder Cup debut, along with automatic qualifiers Wyndham Clark (the reigning U.S. Open champion), Brian Harman (winner at The Open) and Max Homa. World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, Patrick Cantlay and 2020 Olympic gold medalist Xander Schauffele were other automatic selections based on money won in 2022-23 before last week’s Tour Championship taken by Norway’s Viktor Hovland.

Burs is the fourth Shreveport-Bossier product to make the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Tommy Bolt played in 1955 and 1957. Hal Sutton teed it up the Ryder Cup in 1985, 1987, 1999 and 2002. David Toms was a teammate of Sutton’s in 2002, played for Sutton’s 2004 team (Sutton captained that squad) and played again in 2006.

Two other Louisiana golf greats, brothers Jay and Lionel Hebert from Lafayette, made Ryder Cup squads in 1957 (Lionel), 1959 and 1961 (Jay). Current LIV Golf pro Patrick Reed, who graduated from high school in Baton Rouge, made the roster in 2014, 2016 and 2018.

Burns’ putting ability, and his strong friendship with Scheffler, has made him a popular choice to partner with the Dallas native in the Ryder Cup. Scheffler has struggled putting all season long, and although he ranks No. 1 on the Tour in most statistical categories, he did not win a tournament in 2022-23.

They did partner in the President’s Cup, with Burns going 0-3-2 and scoring one point, but observers agreed that was mostly due to Scheffler being badly out of form as they partnered in all but the closing singles play.

Five Ruston High students awarded by College Board National Recognition Program

By Kyle Roberts

Ruston High School saw five students named to the College Board National Recognition Program for academic achievements at school

These students are Alexis Thompson, Anhaar Wasi, Austin Guillory, Chaz Backhaus and Kirah Spivey.

“The students that were chosen for the college board national recognition come as no shock to me,” Ruston High principal Dan Gressett said. “Those students have worked tremendously hard in the classroom and represent Ruston high school so well. They are great students, great people, and we are so proud of them. What an honor, and one that they absolutely deserve.”

Thompson, Wasi, Guillory, and Backhaus all received National Rural and Small Town Awards, while Spivey earned the National African American Recognition Award.

The criteria for these honors include a GPA of 3.5 or higher along with PSAT/NMSQT or PSTA 10 assessment scores that are within the top 10 percent of assessment takers in each state for for each award program or have earned a score of 3 or higher on two or more Advanced Placement Exams in ninth and tenth grade.

They also much attend school in a rural area or small town or identify as African American/Black, Hispanic American/Latino or Indigenous/Native.