Louisiana Peach Festival Itinerary – June 4

All festival activities are free from 9:00am – 5:00pm.
Admission from 5:00pm – 11:00pm:
$10 for adults (12+)
$5 for kids (4 and under are free all day)

9:00am – 5:00pm
Peach Art Market
Discover art, handmade items, and homemade goods from local artists, artisans, and makers.
Location: Sexton Lot across from Railroad Park

9:00am – 5:00pm
Kids Alley: An Art Experience
Kids of all ages can enjoy hands-on art activities and crafts on East Park Ave., along with interactive performances and demonstrations on the Kids Alley Stage in Esma’s Alley.

Kids Alley activities provided by 4-H, Cub Scouts – Pack 45, Junior Auxiliary of Ruston, Lincoln Parish French Immersion FLAIR, Lincoln Parish Library, Louisiana Tech STEM, Magical Memories, North Central Louisiana Arts Council, Ruston Artisans, and Ruston Community Theatre.

Kids Alley Stage Schedule
10:00am: Science Guys (science demo)
11:00am: J&W Music (instrument show & tell)
12:00pm: 4-H (demonstration)
1:00pm: Lady Chops (interactive percussion performance
2:00pm: Missy Crain Dance (dance performance)
3:00pm: Dat Does the Trick (magic show)
4:00pm: Ruston Community Theatre (scenes from upcoming shows)

Live Performances on the Railroad Park Stage
9:00am: Fifth Sunday
10:00am: Hali Brown
11:00am: Jarrett Bailey
12:00pm: Katelyn Fajardo
1:00pm: Cal Presley Band
2:00pm: Derrick McLendon
3:00pm: The Joanitones
4:30pm: Dead Reckoning String Band
5:30pm: Cold Canyons
7:00pm: Johnny Earthquake & The Moon Dogs
9:30pm: J.A.M. Brass Band

Other Festival Events
May 30 – June 3
Peach Hunt
Find a mystery card hidden in Ruston and you’ll have the key to win $500! Clues will be released every day at 10:00 a.m. on the Louisiana Peach Festival Facebook and Ruston radio stations. Winner must take a selfie at the location of the Peach Prize to prove authenticity. Happy peach hunting!

May 30 – June 4
Peach Restaurant Roundup
Get your appetite ready for all things peachy during the Peach Restaurant Roundup! You can expect peach-inspired drinks, eats, and treats at participating Ruston restaurants.

June 1 – June 23
Peach Art Exhibit
The North Central Louisiana Arts Council will again host its popular Peach Art Exhibit during the festival. The exhibit features drawings, paintings, photography, 3-D art, and mixed media from artists of all ages. Lincoln Parish Library, 910 N Trenton St.

June 2 – June 4
Peachy Sidewalk Sale
Enjoy three days of specials and discounts at participating downtown shops during the Peachy Sidewalk Sale! Downtown Ruston.

June 3-4 | 8:00 p.m.
Annual Peach Rodeo
Patrons will enjoy all standard rodeo events including bull riding, bronc riding, barrel racing, and roping. Calf scramble for local children, dog demonstrations by Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office, and family entertainment for all. Andy Richardson will perform at 7:30 pm both nights. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children. North Louisiana Expo Center, 165 Fairgrounds Rd.

June 4 | 9:00 a.m.
Peach Parade brought to you by Quota of Ruston
Peachy floats will roll through Downtown Ruston. Grab a spot on the route and catch candy and goodies from floats that will be decorated in a “Throwback to Our Roots” theme. If you’re interested in entering a float, you can view the guidelines & application here. Starting on W. Alabama at Tech Drive, turning right on Trenton St, and ending at California Ave.

June 4 | 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Ruston Farmers Market
Shop, eat and support local producers and creators at the Ruston Farmers Market. Seasonal fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, honey, jams, salsa, and other locally produced goods are available on site. 220 E. Mississippi Ave.

June 4
Queen Dixie Gem Peach and Princess Peach Pageant
Queen Dixie Gem Peach will be open to any girl living in and attending school in Lincoln Parish who has completed 9th, 10th or 11th grade. They will compete in interview, outfit of choice, and evening gown. Location: Cedar Creek


RHS looks to proven winner to take over softball program

New Ruston High School softball coach Lauren Garvie (right) is pictured with one of the athletes she helped coach during her four-year tenure at Carthage High School in Texas.

By T. Scott Boatright

After the Ruston softball team went 2-22 in 2022 with no district wins, RHS Athletics Director Jerrod Baugh wanted to bring in a hungry young coach from a proven program to turn things around for the Lady Bearcats.

And he found his coach in Carthage, Texas, where Lauren Garvie was serving as an assistant coach.

“I’m very excited. This is what I’ve been working toward for years now since I entered coaching,” Garvie said. “When I was a player, I decided that I wanted to be a head coach one day. I wanted to run my own softball program.”

Baugh said that while he wasn’t necessarily looking toward Texas to find a softball coach, he’s more than pleased about the way things turned out.

“She and her husband are moving to the area and she was looking at schools — I think West Monroe tried to hire her,” Baugh said about Garvie. “When I was coaching in Gladewater, Texas, I coached in the same district as Carthage and knew it was a strong program. They had won a lot of softball games.

“I’d love to say I went there looking for a coach, but Lauren really just kind of fell into our laps. I think she’s a good young coach, and I know she’s hungry. I think she’s going to be really good for our kids, and that’s the most important thing.”

A native of Sugarland, Texas, who went on to play at East Texas Baptist University, Garvie is a five-year coaching veteran that spent the last four seasons as an assistant at Carthage High School.

“I went to East Texas to play softball but suffered a pretty bad injury. I broke my back and dislocated my hip,” Garvie said. “So my career was cut short. I decided to be bi-vocational in ministry and worked in a youth ministry in the area.”

Moving on to coaching after graduating from East Texas Baptist, Garvie played a key role this past season in helping lead Carthage to a 21-12-1 record, helping guide the Bulldogs to a two-game series sweep in the opening round of the playoffs before falling to eventual Texas Class IV state champion Lake Belton in the second round.

“I have a lot of ideas and a lot of goals for the Ruston softball program,” Garvie said. “I was very lucky in Carthage where my head coach let me take on a lot of responsibilities, more than most head coaches usually give their assistants. And I got to see some girls, seniors this past season who were my freshmen my first year in Carthage buy into my plan. One day when my shortstop made a great play and spun around and looked at me in the dugout and pointed at me, I knew that I had made an impact.

“Over the years I saw a lot of grit in my girls and a lot of excitement about being on the field. I kept telling our defense they were going to practice with purpose and play with passion, that every day they stepped on the field it was an honor.”

That’s something she plans on bringing to the Lady Bearcats.

“I want the Ruston girls to know the honor it is to be on the team, because it’s way more than just a game,” Garvie said. “It’s something that can teach them how to be young ladies. I want to see a little bit of that and a little bit of grit and heart that the girls at Carthage showed.

“When you put on a Carthage uniform there’s an expectation to be great. And that kind of expectation has absolutely just overflowed in me. I already had that expectation when I came to Carthage, but coaching there made it that much stronger and that’s what I’m going to bring to my team in Ruston.”

Garvie said her coaching style starts with the basics with a little psychology thrown in.

“I am huge about fundamentals,” she said. “I want things done in a very specific way, but at the same time you have to know your players. A mentor told me early on that a coach has to have a pulse on every player. Different players may have to be handled differently, and that’s OK. You might need to get up in the face of one player to reach her while you may have to pull another player off to the side and say, ‘Let me show you step by step about what I need from you.’ 

“That’s my plan. Yes, I’ll tailor things to the players I have, but I have a goal and a mindset on things like how we’re going to play our shifts and our cuts. How we’re going to swing, even.”

Garvie said she won’t set any kind of timetable for success without her team being part of it.

“I haven’t gotten to be on the field with the girls yet,” Garvie said. “I have a mindset of where I’d like to be by my first year and my second year. But when I get to know my girls, we’ll have a team meeting and set a team goal. We’ll tell the upperclassmen, this is where you were, where do you want to take us. Let’s set a team goal right now.

“And then hang that up in the locker room and let the girls touch it every day and feel that, ‘We’re going to get this.’ I want them to buy into where they want to go and who they want to be.”


Frosty Factory: Starting at the beginning

This is Part One of a two-part series. Check back tomorrow for Part Two.

By Kelsey Horath

Frosty Factory has been manufacturing frozen drink machines in Ruston since 1983, but these machines reach far beyond the walls of this town. However, to fully understand the success of this company, one must first know where it all began.

“When asked where it all started, I go back to the days of Wilmart,” said Dolph Williams, founder and CEO of Frosty Factory. 

Williams and his parents opened Wilmart in 1977, where they sold different liquors and alcoholic beverages. One of the most popular was a frozen drink created by his mother.

“My mother bought hundreds of these small bottles of products on sale for just a little of nothing and when they came in, they did not sell that well,” said Williams. “After they wouldn’t sell, she came up with this idea to make frozen drinks out of the little bottles, so she got a blender, bucket of ice and some cups.”

Not long after, the hundreds of small bottles had disappeared and the frozen drinks were a hit. His mother created a recipe that allowed her to go on to make the frozen drinks as it continued to gain popularity amongst the surrounding community. 

“People kept hearing about these drinks that you could buy at this liquor store out in the country, and it continued to get bigger and bigger,” said Williams. “But my mother’s blenders kept burning up from all the drinks she had to make, and she would make me go buy new ones throughout the week.”

After one too many runs to Walmart for a new blender, Williams bought multiple small drink machines that use to hold the kids’ beverage known as “Tootie Fruity Drinks” found in old convenience stores. However, the multiple machines purchased by Williams were no match for the growing demand of the drink. 

“My mom looked at me one day and said, ‘We got to have a big machine to do this,’ and that is what got me to thinking that I could design this machine,” said Williams. “I took a brown paper bag I had from Piggle Wiggly’s, cut it open and started writing down my ideas.”

Just a few short weeks later, Williams began building the machine and had his first 20 sold before he even finished the constructing and designing process. After realizing the need for these frozen drink machines in other establishments outside of Wilmart and the success they could have, Williams produced the first Frosty Factory on Farmerville Highway, where they are still producing today.  

“The more machines we built; the better business got. Now we are worldwide,” said Williams.

But the story is just beginning for Frosty Factory that started because of an old liquor store in the country and a mama who needed a “big machine.”


Crash into store leads to charges

A Calhoun man was arrested Monday night after he allegedly crashed into the Ruston Chevron & Subway on the North Service Road.

Ruston Police responded to a single vehicle crash about 11:30 p.m. to find a damaged Ford pickup in the parking lot and damage to the wall and window of the store. The driver, Jimmy Joe Kinman, 40, said his foot slipped and when his truck bumped the curb, it scared him, causing him to hit the gas pedal and strike the building.

Kinman admitted smoking marijuana earlier. In a search of the vehicle, officers found several pills identified as an over-the-counter medication, a marijuana cigarette, and cigarette rolling papers. A drink can in the truck had a false screw top that was removed to reveal a small vial containing pills of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine.

Kinman was arrested and booked for reckless operation of a vehicle, possession of marijuana, possession of Schedule II controlled substances (amphetamine & dextroamphetamine), possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving with a suspended license.

Bail was set at $7,500.


School of Agricultural and Forestry honors students of excellence

Louisiana Tech University’s School of Agricultural Sciences and Forestry (SAFS) awarded $34,000 in scholarships and a number of other awards at its annual Agriculture Scholarship Banquet.

“These students have worked incredibly hard to position themselves to continue their successful career path in agriculture,” said Dr. Christopher Keyes, SAFS Director. “They’ve demonstrated the Tenets of our university including excellence, commitment, knowledge, and leadership and deserve to be celebrated.”

Featured students:

  • Agriculture Business – Hunter Knowles of Bossier City and Chase Lemoine of Pioneer
  • Agriculture Education – Cadie Coleman of Ruston
  • Animal Science – Molly Dickens of Benton, Kelcy Dixon of Farmerville, and Kathryn Eschete of St. Francisville

Scholarship recipients:

  • Riser and Melton Tech Farm Scholarship – Erica Thomas of Ida and Nicolas Vaccaro of Covington
  • David Lee Hays Scholarship – Jordan Porter of  Cypress, Texas
  • Dr. Glenn E. Clark Scholarship – Hanna Johnson of Start
  • Track Kavanaugh Service Award – Truett Bankston of Baton Rouge
  • Tommie & Susie Murphey Memorial Scholarship – Kylie Maldonado of Benton
  • Bulldog BBQ Rub Scholarship – Katelyn Lacy of Walker
  • E.C. “Conry” McCann Scholarship – Jacob Thibodeaux of Shreveport and Elizabeth Walker of Taylor
  • Joel W. Petrus Scholarship – Ella Thomas of Ruston
  • Landon Hays Memorial Scholarship – Nico Norris of Ruston, Jordan Brothers of Haughton, Kathryn Eschete of St. Francisville, Clayton Guyotte of Ruston
  • Todd McAfee Memorial Scholarship – Logan McGrath of Haughton
  • T.W. Ray Johnson Scholarship – Caitlin Lawrence of Benton and Alyssa Mayfield of Monroe
  • John S. and Emmie Louise Green Scholarship – Theadora Dawson of Delhi
  • Hal B. Barker Scholarship – Andrea Wheat of West Monroe
  • Fred & Daphne Jewell Scholarship – Josie Camp of Winnfield
  • John A. Wright Scholarship – Kyleigh Bass of Choudrant
  • James Furman & Lavara B. Love Scholarship – Kyleigh Bass of Choudrant
  • Dr. Jeff Hillard Memorial Scholarship – Kerington Bass of Choudrant,  Baileigh Snow of Murfreesborough, Tennessee, and Grant Davis of Monroe
  • Ruston Garden Club – Baileigh Snow of Murfreesborough, Tennessee
  • Hayne Folk Endowment Scholarship – George Stalling of Oak Grove
  • Forbes Leadership Award – Alyson Fontenot of Pineville
  • The Agricultural Endowment Scholarship – Abigail Wheat of Natchitoches, Brooke Legendre of Slidell, Alana Lovette of Boyce
  • The Agricultural Sciences Scholarship – Laila Chenevert of Cottonport, Kaylee Craddock of Patterson, Kendall LaVigne of Shreveport
  • Debra Martin Memorial Scholarship – Tara Lamb of Wheatland, California, Gabrielle Harris of Shreveport, Makenzi Williamson of Haughton
  • William Green Endowed Scholarship – Alyssa Woodard of Coushatta and Kathlyn Redman of West Monroe

Students awarded a stethoscope for being admitted to veterinary school:

  • Rhiannon Ballard-Davis – West Monroe
  • Katie Black – Bossier City
  • Rachel Buckels – Alexandria
  • Mary Cloutier – Baton Rouge
  • Molly Dickens – Bossier City
  • Katherine Franklin – Delhi
  • Marianna Gallaspy – Bogalusa
  • Kelly Gerald – Shreveport
  • Zharia Gray – Monroe
  • Kelsey Hightower – Blanchard
  • Jay Miller – Dry Creek
  • Ethan Neal – Pineville
  • Brent Riley Nugent – Kolin
  • Zachary Roberts – Fountain Hill, Arkansas
  • Katheryn Steffins – West Monroe
  • Sonni Tarver – Alexandria
  • Courtney Wingate – Shreveport

Students recognized for active participation in the Gamma Chapter of Alpha Zeta, the honor society of highest distinction for service, leadership, and scholarship for agriculture and natural resources:

  • Kerington Bass – Choudrant
  • Kyleigh Bass – Choudrant
  • Arabella (Bella) Bailey – San Marcos, Texas
  • Katie Black – Bossier City
  • Jordan Brothers – Haughton
  • Rachel Buckels – Alexandria
  • Allison Clark – Shreveport
  • Molly Dickens – Benton
  • Kathryn Eschete – St. Francisville
  • Zharia Gray – Monroe
  • Clayton Guyotte – Ruston
  • Kyla Jones – Shreveport
  • Elizabeth “Corinne” McFerren – Bossier City
  • Kathlyn Redman – West Monroe
  • Christan Robicheaux – Lafayette
  • Emonie Roussell – New Orleans
  • Alyssa Woodard – Coushatta
  • Makenzi Williamson – Haughton

Bearcats name Erich Hankamer as boys soccer coach

Coach Erich Hankamer is pictured last year with the son of friends from Pennsylvania. (Courtesy photo)

By T. Scott Boatright

The Good Lord often works in mysterious ways.

That’s something new Ruston High School boys soccer coach Erich Hankamer believes.

Hankamer is coming to Ruston after coaching the past three seasons at Pennsylvania’s Mifflinburg High School, where his girls’ team won a title and he was named Heartland Athletic Conference Division I Coach of the Year last December.

A 2010 graduate of Fontbonne University in his hometown of St. Louis, Hankamer earned his master’s degree in Sport and Fitness Administration/Management in 2012 from Missouri Baptist University, coaching both girls and boys soccer along the way.

His wife Jillian, a native of Nacogdoches, Texas,  has been serving as pastor of First Baptist Church in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, and recently was assigned to take over a church in Monroe, with the Lord’s work leading them to Louisiana.

“The Ruston job came to me from a church contact we made even before we knew it was official that my wife would be taking over the church in Monroe,” Hankamer said. “So I emailed the athletic director and told him that we might be moving to the area and that I was interested in the job, and that I had attached my resume to the email. 

“Within 48 hours it turned into my wife and I were moving to Monroe, and I was hired as the new Ruston boys soccer coach.”

While he didn’t play college soccer, Hankamer said a natural, lifelong love for the game led him to coaching soccer.

“Being from St. Louis, it was kind of the sport to play when I was growing up,” Hankamer said. “I just kind of fell in love with it. I’ve had good mentors over the years who taught me the game, and it’s something I love to do to give back. It’s what I’m meant to do.”

Playing as a child for a select team whose coach was from overseas, and also  earning the Youth Referee Award in the state of Missouri in 2002, Hankamer said his coaching philosophy is based on a variety of styles.

“Being up here in Pennsylvania the past four years, the game is totally different everywhere you go,” Hankamer said. “So I had to learn to adapt to the style up here. Soccer in St. Louis used more of that possession-style, keeping the ball and knocking it around a little bit kind of play.

“When I moved to Pennsylvania, it was all dump and chase. You get the ball to your fast players and let them do all the work. Coaching at Mifflinburg, I kind of brought that St. Louis philosophy style up here. It took until my third year to really build what we were looking for. But it paid off. This past season at Mifflinburg we had a great season.”

Being patient and seeing his team buy into what he was teaching and see it pay off the way it did 

“It was amazing,” Hankamer said. “Going into my first year, I looked at the class I would have as seniors during my third year there. I wanted them to have a successful senior year. I had eight starting seniors last fall, and they were all starters all three years. So seeing them building that knowledge and learning what I was trying to preach was special. I told them that if they listened and trusted me, it would pay off. They bought into the system, and it showed for their final year.”

Hankamer said he’ll build the system he’ll use with the Bearcats around the players he has to work with.

“I think it shows I’m someone who knows and can see and use different philosophies and find ways to adapt and use what works best for the situation the team is in,” Hankamer said. “You build your system for the players you have, and knowing different philosophies helps you do that. I’ve learned over the years that every team you’re going to have will be different. It’s better when you have an opportunity to work with a team for three years like I did at Mifflinburg. I knew what each player was able to do and built a system around them.”

Hankamer and his wife won’t move to Louisiana until July, but he’s already hit it off with new RHS girls soccer coach Jacquelyn Bean, who will handle summer conditioning workouts for both her Lady Bearcats and Hankamer’s Bearcats.

“That’s a great asset to have,” Hankamer said. “I’m coming down in a couple of weeks to meet the team and get some stuff settled and finalized, but I’ve talked to Coach Bean and we have the same kind of philosophy, and that can only help the programs on both sides grow.”

Hankamer said returning to the South is an added bonus for both him and his wife.

“Her family will be only two hours away, and it will be closer for my family in St. Louis, too.   It wasn’t the big factor behind us making the move, but it certainly didn’t hurt and is a good thing.  

“For me, it’s going to be about adapting again. But that’s what I do. I’ll have to see what I have to work with player-wise. It’s really not starting over as a coach, but seeing how quickly we can adapt to each other as a unit. The one thing I’ll start preaching immediately when I get down there is that we’re going to have to work together. It’ll take time for us to get used to each other, but we’ll grow as a unit together.”


Kids in the Kitchen cook up experience

By Nate Goldstein

On June 14-16, the LSU AgCenter will host its annual Kids in the Kitchen workshop. The three-day event starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 12:30 p.m. each day. The workshop will be for all entering fourth through sixth graders in Lincoln Parish and cost $60 for each participant. 

The deadline to register for the workshop is June 1.

The LSU AgCenter area nutrition agent, Cathy Judd, said, “ The workshop is a good way to get the kids to try something new. They also get to learn basic kitchen skills for back home to support their families.” 

The workshop kicks off with Eric Brazzel, who teaches the kids proper safety in the kitchen. Brazzel works for the Ruston Fire Department and has participated in the workshop for a few years now. 

Safety in the kitchen is one of the most important things to follow while cooking. The workshop helps students practice the different types of safety they will need in the kitchen to keep them safe cooking. 

“For the workshop, we try to switch it up a little on what we cook. We do make bread, but we also make things like zucchini boats and zucchini chips. It gives the kids a chance to try something new,” Judd said. 

The workshop also emphasizes teaching the students about nutrition. Cooking this like zucchini chips or boats are much healthier options than most junk foods we have today for a snack.

Students will also receive an apron with their names on it and a cookbook binder upon finishing the workshop. 

The LSU AgCenter is still looking for volunteers to help at the workshop. For those interested, please contact the AgCenter at 318-251-5134.


Dogs overcome long delay; blank 49ers

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Cade Gibson delivered the first pitch of the game at 12:30 p.m.

Almost eight hours later, Wade Elliott retired the final batter of the game on a ground out as Louisiana Tech overcame a more than five-hour weather delay in blanking Charlotte 4-0 in the opening day of the 2022 Conference USA Championships at Pete Taylor Park.

The Bulldogs (39-18) capitalized on two first inning 49ers errors and a two-run blast by Adarius Myers to score four runs in the first inning and three Tech pitchers combined for the shutout, the first time in 56 games that Charlotte has been shut out this year.

Gibson (6-4) worked the first three innings before the skies opened up and the lightning sent both teams and fans to shelter. More than five hours later, the Bulldogs returned to the field and so did Gibson, who tossed two more shutout frames.

“He is a fifth-year senior and he has earned the right to go back out there,” said Tech head coach Lane Burroughs. “Trust me, we talked about it for the entire time we were (in the delay) how ever many hours it was. What a gutsy effort by Cade. That’s a long time off after 40 pitches. That’s a gutsy effort to get us through five. I am very proud of him.”

Following the rain delay, Charlotte turned to its ace Spencer Giestling who recorded 11 strikeouts over the final five innings, holding the Bulldogs off the scoreboard.

“Giestling is good,” said Burroughs. “he is as good as we have seen all year. He did that to us last Thursday. It’s a really good breaking ball and there is not much you can do with it. We left some runs out there. We had multiple times with a runner on third and less than two outs, and we couldn’t get it done. But our guys hung with it and we pitched really well.”

But Jonathan Fincher followed Gibson on the mound for Tech, tossing 3.0 scoreless innings while allowing just two hits.

“Jonathan was as good as he has been all year,” said Burroughs. “He was phenomenal.”

Kyle Crigger came on in the ninth and allowed two base runners before a punch out and a ground ball to Elliott ended the ball game.

“You hand the ball to Crigger and it is lights out,” said Burroughs.

Tech will face Old Dominion at 4 p.m. Thursday. The Monarchs defeated Middle Tennessee 18-7 in Wednesday’s first game.


A flight of fancy

By Brad Dison

Mary and her husband, George, attended a dinner party at Anna’s home.  Anna’s husband was away on business so she convinced her brother, Hall, to be her escort at the formal affair.  It was a big to-do.  All of the men wore dress suits or tuxedos.  The women wore “dinner dresses,” which differed from evening party gowns and reception gowns in the kind of fabrics used.  Anna wore a white satin dress with matching gloves.  The dinner party guests made small talk in the hall until the butler announced, “Dinner is served.” 

The men escorted the ladies into the dining room and to their designated seats.  The guest list was long, but Anna made sure that Mary sat at her table.  Mary and Anna were strong-minded women, and became fast friends when they met the previous year. 

As etiquette necessitated, the meal was doled out in multiple courses.  No one refused a course regardless of whether or not they intended to eat it.  If a course did not suit their fancy, they used their utensils and pretended to eat it while making small talk.  Each course lasted a certain number of minutes.  The plates or bowls for each course were promptly removed at predetermined times whether or not the guests were finished eating.  Everything was done with military precision.

During the multi-course dinner, Anna realized that Mary was becoming impatient with the formalities.  Mary, somewhat of a tomboy, always preferred trousers to dresses.  Mary enjoyed the freedom of movement trousers provided although she recognized that all of the other females wore dresses.  She may have recognized it, but it certainly did not alter her decision to wear trousers.  On this occasion, however, Mary wore a fine dinner dress with a mink coat (which she probably borrowed) because she would never have turned down Anna’s dinner invitation. 

Mary had had enough.  She was enjoying her conversation with George, Anna, and Hall, but the steady stream of servants and all of the rules of etiquette were just too much.  The dinner seemed to last forever.  Finally, Mary hatched a plan.  She suggested to Anna that they sneak out of the party and take a short evening pleasure flight.  To Anna, it seemed like the perfect adventure. 

To the surprise of the wait staff, Anna, Hall, George, and Mary excused themselves from the dinner party with the simple explanation that they would return shortly.  The other guests continued with their dinner as if nothing had happened.  The foursome drove to the airport and boarded an Eastern Air Transport’s twin-engine biplane.  The pilot and co-pilot taxied the plane onto the runway and took off. 

Free from the stuffy dinner party, Mary and Anna were truly enjoying themselves.  As the plane leveled out, Mary suggested that they, Mary and Anna, take their adventure to the next level and fly the plane.  Anna, not one to back down from a challenge, eagerly agreed.  This was her chance to fly.  Anna had applied for pilot’s license but her husband persuaded her not to take flying lessons because he dreamed that she had crashed an airplane. 

Mary and Anna told the pilot and co-pilot that they were going to fly the airplane for a few minutes.  No record exists of George or Hall’s reaction to their decision to commandeer the airplane.  Neither Mary nor Anna would take no for an answer, so Mary traded places with the pilot and Anna with the co-pilot.  For a few brief minutes, the two ladies, still in dinner gowns and mink coats, flew in the skies between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland, before returning to the airport.  Elated, the foursome returned to Anna’s dinner party just as the dessert course was being served.  The other patrons of the dinner party welcomed them back and continued with their own conversations. 

Mary and Anna were thrilled with their flight of fancy.  No one would expect the First Lady of the United States, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, to leave a dinner party at the White House and take a flight with Mary.  Five years later, Mary and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared somewhere over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to circumnavigate the globe in an airplane.  On January 5, 1939, Amelia Mary Earhart was declared dead in absentia.           

Sources:

1. “Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt Flying from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore,” Pioneers of Flight, accessed May 17, 2022, pioneersofflight.si.edu/content/amelia-earhart-and-eleanor-roosevelt-flying-washington-dc-baltimore#:~:text=Amelia%20Earhart%20and%20Eleanor%20Roosevelt%20flying%20from%20Washington%2C%20DC%2C%20to,women’s%20and%20world%20peace%20movements.

2. “Pilots in Evening Gowns: When Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt Took to the Skies,” A Mighty Girl, accessed May 17, 2022, amightygirl.com/blog?p=25357.


Jimmerson, McGuire plan fall wedding

John D. and Michelle Green Jimmerson of Ruston are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Lilla Mary Elise Jimmerson, to Christopher Scott McGuire of Bossier City, LA.

Chris is the son of Scott K. and Sharon Pugh McGuire of Benton, LA. Lilla is the granddaughter of Francelia B. Jimmerson of Dubach; J. Knighten Gunnels of Magnolia, AR; the late John E. Jimmerson; the late Mary A. Green Gunnels; and the late David Maxwell Green. Chris is the grandson of Dorothy C. McGuire of Oviedo, FL; Sherman Pugh of Haughton, LA; the late Daniel W. McGuire; and the late Sarah N. Pugh.

Lilla graduated from Cedar Creek School in 2013. She earned a B. A. in Speech-Language Pathology with an Audiology concentration from Louisiana Tech University in 2017. She earned her M. A. in English with a concentration in Technical Writing in 2020. At Louisiana Tech, Lilla was a member of Sigma Kappa sorority, Student Recruiters, and Sigma Tau Delta English honor society. Lilla is employed as a technical writer by General Dynamics Information Technology. Chris graduated from Benton High School in 2012. He attended Bossier Parish Community College, where he played on the baseball team, before transferring to Louisiana Tech University. He graduated from Tech in 2012 with a B. S. in Marketing. He works an agent for New York Life.

Lilla and Chris will be married on November 26, 2022, at Trinity United Methodist Church in Ruston.


National Trails Day Hike celebrated at Poverty Point

Join the nation’s celebration of National Trails Day on Saturday, June 4, at Poverty Point World Heritage Site. There will be a ranger-led hike showcasing the mounds, earthworks, and nature found at this ancient site. This event begins at 10 a.m. with an introductory video shown in the museum followed by an approximately 2-hour hike.

June 4 is also World Atlatl Day. Have you heard of an atlatl? Rangers will demonstrate the use of this ancient spear-throwing device from 2 p.m. through 3 p.m. that afternoon. Visitors are encouraged to try it out for themselves. Both activities are outdoors and will be available weather permitting.

Poverty Point World Heritage Site offers visitors the unique opportunity to experience and learn about the earthworks and those individuals who raised them from the ground between the years of 1700 and 1100 BCE. The $4 admission fee provides access to the museum, film theatre, hiking trail, driving tour, seasonal tram tour, and any interpretive events taking place at the site. Children (3 and under) and senior citizens (62 and over) are admitted free of charge.


Notice of death — May 25, 2022

Patrick Louis Thomas 
July 15, 1985 – May 21, 2022 
Service: Thursday 5/26, 2:00 pm, J.C. Love Field, Pat Patterson Park, Ruston  

Susan “Susie” Lynn Turner 
February 22, 1968 – May 22, 2022 
Service: 2:00PM, Friday, May 27, 2022 at Rock Corner Baptist Church in Dubach 
Burial: Friday, May 27, 2022 at Mineral Springs Cemetery in Dubach  


Bonnie and Clyde: Interest in Depression outlaws hasn’t waned

By Wesley Harris

Eighty-eight years ago this week, outlaws Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were ambushed and killed by a team of law enforcement officers a few miles south of Gibsland. While it spelled the end to a reign of terror across the South and Midwest, the notorious legacy of the partners in crime endures.

The 29th Authentic Bonnie and Clyde Festival is slated for this weekend. Friday night at 6:00 p.m., a presentation by historians will be held in the Gibsland Bank Annex. The event is $15 and includes a jambalaya supper. Free events are scheduled all day Saturday from recreated shootouts, live entertainment, bingo, a look-a-like contest, and a parade.

Not that interest in the pair had waned, a 2019 motion picture spurred renewed fascination with the Depression Era bank robbers and spree killers. After debuting in theaters, “The Highwaymen” became available on Netflix. While the 1967 classic film “Bonnie and Clyde” focused on the outlaw lovers, the new movie portrays the efforts of former Texas Rangers Frank Hamer (Kevin Costner) and Maney Gault (Woody Harrelson) to stop the gang’s binge of robbery and murder. The film aimed to do dramatic and historical justice to the moment the posse opened fire on the duo a few miles south of Gibsland in Bienville Parish on May 23, 1934.

Dozens of north Louisiana banks were robbed during the Depression but there is no evidence Barrow and Parker were responsible for any of the heists.

Not for lack of trying. On April 27, 1933, the Barrow gang sat for most of the morning in front of the Ruston State Bank. After their surveillance, they decided to steal another car to use in the getaway.

Sophie Stone lived a room at the Brooks Boarding House three blocks from the bank on North Trenton Street. The young woman, Lincoln Parish’s home demonstration agent, was home for lunch when she saw a man get into another boarder’s car. She alerted Mr. Dillard Darby who was inside eating with his family.

Darby ran out of the house and tried to jump on the running board of his car as it pulled away. Unsuccessful at stopping the thief, Darby ran back into the boarding house and told L. K. Brooks to telephone the sheriff that his car had been stolen.

Stone suggested they take her car and try to catch the thief. They took off north headed out of Ruston and finally spotted Darby’s car in Dubach as it turned west toward Hico.

In a statement, Darby said, “We followed the car to about a quarter of a mile the other side of Hico and decided to abandon the chase, turned around and headed back toward Hico and Dubach. A car with four persons in it flagged us down and asked us if we had seen a black Chevrolet coach. I jumped out of Miss Stone’s car and ran toward the other car. When I approached the car, the man driving threw a gun on me and asked me why I had been following that car. I told him it was my car, and this seemed to infuriate him, and he struck me with the butt of his pistol on the back of the head knocking me over Miss Stone’s car. One of the two women in the car got out and jerked Miss Stone out of the car and slugged her in the back of the head and told her to get into their car. 

“One of the men jerked me up and made me get into the car also; the car had a man and one woman in the front seat. And in the back also. They turned off on a gravel road toward Bernice as the driver said he was going to kill us.”

The driver who slugged Darby was Clyde Barrow. Stone was pistol whipped by a smelly, dirty Bonnie Parker. The back seat occupants were Clyde’s brother and sister-in-law, Buck and Blanche Barrow.

Clyde and Buck argued about killing or releasing them. They cursed Darby and Stone for spoiling their plans. They only wanted to “borrow” Darby’s car for the bank holdup and would have driven it only about 150 miles.

“As we approached Bernice,” Darby continued, “they told us to make no sound as they had to buy some gasoline, and they didn’t want to kill us there or to kill anyone anybody at the station. At the station they inquired after my car and headed back toward Dubach to look for it. Just as we were leaving the filling station at Bernice, [Ruston] Mayor [C.C.] Goyne and [Town Marshal] W.D. Risinger passed us and the man said, ‘There goes two Ruston laws. I hope they try to stop us, I would like to fill both of them full of lead!’

“When the bandits found out that my car and the driver wasn’t between Bernice and Dubach they went toward Junction City, and then on toward El Dorado. At El Dorado they bought gas and oil and had it put in a can. About five to six miles out of El Dorado they stopped the car and put the gas and oil in it.”

Clyde and Buck again got out of the car to discuss the fate of their hostages. They eventually let Darby and Stone out of the car. “They started to drive off and then stopped,” Darby said. “One of the men got out and threw a $5 bill down on the road telling me that they had probably carried us further away from home than we had planned on going. And there was a money to use to telephone the sheriff, who would be glad to come and get us and take us home.”

Darby and Stone flagged down a motorist, paying him the five dollars to take them to the nearest town. Darby telephoned Lincoln Parish Sheriff A. J. Thigpen to report the crime. Darby’s brother-in-law picked up the stranded victims returned them to Ruston.

Darby saw one submachine gun, three automatic rifles, three sawed off shotguns, six automatic pistols, a revolver, and plenty of ammunition piled in the back of the car. Darby’s car, which had been stolen by young gang member W. D. Jones, was found abandoned at McGee, Arkansas the next morning.

At the time of the kidnapping, Darby and Stone had no idea who had grabbed them. The driver said if they were to recognize their pictures anywhere and it led to their capture, it would mean the electric chair for them. Darby and Stone viewed photographs a day later and identified Bonnie Parker and Blanche Barrow as the two women. A day later, they were shown additional photos and identified the Barrow brothers.

Stone, later Mrs. W. H. Cook, was horrified by the 1967 Hollywood movie starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. Asked about the film, Cook said, “That was just terrible. It was the biggest lot of nonsense I ever saw. I couldn’t believe it. They made those people look like heroes when they were really just common criminals.”

Cook was also incensed that the scene depicting her and Darby at the boarding house featured them smooching on the front porch swing. “Why, he was married and inside eating lunch with his wife when that car was stolen!” she said in an interview. “I was sitting [alone] in the swing on the front porch.”

Perhaps Sophie Stone Cook can now rest in peace knowing a more accurate portrayal of Bonnie and Clyde’s last days has been produced. “The Highwaymen” ambush scene was shot in the exact spot on the road in Bienville Parish south of Gibsland where the final showdown took place. The now-paved state highway was covered in dirt to replicate the original look.

The film recreated the town of Arcadia, where the bullet-riddled car, still containing the duo’s bodies, was towed to a furniture store with a morgue in the back room. The startling scenes of the crowd mobbing the dead criminals in the moving car are accurate, with the director noting he actually had to tone down that visual.


Diamond Dogs open C-USA Tournament today

Louisiana Tech opens play at the 2022 Conference USA Championships today when the Bulldogs face Charlotte at Pete Taylor Park in Hattiesburg.

First pitch is set for 12:30 p.m. and every game this week (except Sunday’s title game) is on ESPN+ and can be heard on KNBB 97.7 FM and on the LA Tech Athletics app.

The Bulldogs (38-18, 20-10 C-USA) are the No. 2 seed in this week’s eight-team, five-day event while the 49ers (35-20, 17-13 C-USA) are the No. 7 seed.

Head coach Lane Burroughs team just won two out of three against Charlotte this past weekend as the two teams will face off for the fourth time in the last seven days.

Mother Nature could have an impact on start times Wednesday as the forecast calls for rain in Hattiesburg. Fans can keep up with all the updates on start times through social media by following @LATechBSB on Twitter.

The tournament boasts a field that includes eight teams all ranked in the top 100 of the most recent RPI with Southern Miss, LA Tech, Old Dominion and UTSA all ranked in the top 50.

Current projects have all four teams making the field of 64, but the results over the next five days could have an impact on who is in and who is out when the NCAA field is released Monday.

The Bulldogs and 49ers will meet for the 21st time on Wednesday afternoon with Charlotte leading the all-time series 13-7. Charlotte won the first game of last week’s series 11-3 before LA Tech bounced back to win 8-3 and 14-5 in seven innings.

LA Tech is 8-10 all-time in the C-USA Baseball Championship having put together their best performance a year ago at J.C. Love Field falling to ODU in extra innings in the title game.