NSU announces athletic director transition

Greg Burke

NATCHITOCHES — Greg Burke announced Monday he will step aside after 25 years as Northwestern State’s athletic director to accept another position at the university.

Burke requested to be reassigned to a role in fund raising for the NSU Foundation. He began his NSU career generating revenues as director of the NSU Athletic Association and served for five years as director of athletic development at the University of Akron.

The longest-serving athletic director in Louisiana and the Southland Conference, Burke has guided the NSU athletic department since 1996. Discussions with university officials about his future role at NSU have been ongoing for several months.

Northwestern President Dr. Marcus Jones said, “Greg has been highly respected by colleagues in college athletics in Louisiana, the Southland Conference, and the nation throughout his long tenure at NSU. His fervent commitment to enhancing and expanding the overall experiences of our student-athletes has never wavered.”

Jones said the university will engage a sports consulting search firm to assist in the search for a new athletic director and that an advisory committee of university stakeholders will also be appointed to provide input in the process. He said a new AD should be selected within six to eight weeks.

Vice President of External Affairs Jerry Pierce said, “Northwestern is indebted to Greg for his years of dedicated service and extensive contributions to the university. He has made a positive impact on intercollegiate sports in the state and nationally. I am confident that he will continue to serve the university passionately and effectively in his new role at the school.”

Appointed as Northwestern’s 20th president earlier this month after serving as interim president since July, Jones plans to initiate a major development campaign at the university in 2022. He said Burke’s “experience and expertise in fund-raising will be valuable as we embark on that important campaign.”

Burke’s shift away from athletics comes during one of the most turbulent times nationwide in intercollegiate sports because of such issues as conference realignments; name, image, and likeness rules; transfer portal implications, and COVID-related disruptions.

Pierce said, “With the turmoil surrounding college athletics nationally and the importance of continuity and stability in our intercollegiate sports programs and experiences for student-athletes, we are fortunate that Greg will continue to serve as AD during the national search for his successor.”

Burke, who announced his decision to the Athletic Department staff Monday morning, said, “The timing is right for me to make this transition to the NSU Foundation. Doing so will enable me to focus solely on raising funds for a university which means the world to my family and me. I have always had a great working relationship with (NSU Foundation Executive Director) Drake Owens and look forward to working with him and his staff.”

A native of Alliance, Ohio, Burke is a graduate of the University of Mount Union in Ohio and received his master’s degree from Kent State University.

He was a sportswriter for the Alliance Review newspaper in Ohio and director of news and sports information at Hiram College in Ohio before joining the NSU Athletic Department as an intern in 1985.

Burke held athletic fund-raising positions at Northwestern and the University of Akron before becoming athletic director at NSU in 1996.

Under Burke’s leadership, the NSU Athletic Department produced the lone Southland Conference Triple Crown championship, winning the league’s football, men’s basketball and baseball regular-season titles in the 2004-05 academic year. That trio of championships highlighted a run that included 25 NCAA postseason appearances, 24 Southland Conference regular-season championships, 19 SLC Tournament titles, three Olympians and two individual national champions during Burke’s tenure.

The Northwestern State men’s basketball team produced two NCAA Tournament victories during Burke’s time at the helm of NSU athletics, including one of the most memorable upsets in tournament history – the Demons’ 64-63 upset of third-seeded Iowa on March 17, 2006.

NSU student-athletes flourished away from the competitive surface during Burke’s career, collecting 11 Academic All-American honors, numerous Southland Conference Student-Athlete of the Year acclaim and Southland Conference Steve McCarty Citizenship Award winners. In the most recent NCAA Graduation Success Rate data, NSU student-athletes posted a program-record 87 percent graduation rate.

Burke recently began his second of a five-year term on the NCAA Women’s Basketball Committee after previously serving on the NCAA Committee on Academics and Championships/Sports Management Cabinet, the NCAA Division I Football Issues Committee and the NCAA FCS Committee.

Said Burke: “There will no doubt be a void, having worked in college athletics for the past 43 years, but Susu and I will continue to be financially and personally supportive of NSU’s teams and coaches as a fan and advocate. I am forever grateful to Dr. Randy Webb, Jerry Pierce and the Athletic Council led by Dr. Vicki Parrish for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime to lead the NSU athletic program. Over the past 25 years, it has been a blessing to have developed relationships with so many student-athletes, parents, faculty, alumni and NCAA staff members, as well as with coaches and administrators at NSU and nationwide. Much has been accomplished over the course of time but there is always more that can be done to position NSU Athletics for success on all levels. With that in mind, I encourage those who love NSU Athletics to either keep supporting or to begin supporting our student-athletes and coaches because every single gift makes a difference.”

Photo: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services


Wyatt Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Now Hiring

The time to be awesome is now!

Wyatt Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is hiring a Director of Nursing and LPN’s for all shifts at our long term care facility in Jonesboro, LA.

Director of Nursing position – RN Required, salary and benefit package commensurate with experience.
LPN positions – Licensed Practical Nurse certification required

Please call Ron Frazier at 318-259-3290 for more information.

 


Roberts takes lead with LPJ

Louisiana Tech assistant professor Judith Roberts has claimed the licensee ownership of the free online media outlet, the Lincoln Parish Journal, solidifying her role as publisher of the media outlet.

Roberts has her Ph.D. in mass communication with a minor in instructional technology from The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, but she is also a double graduate of Lincoln Parish. She received her master’s in mass communication from Grambling State University and her bachelor’s with majors in journalism and English from Louisiana Tech University. She has also served as news editor at The Ruston Daily Leader and has written press releases for Tech.

“The field of communication presents itself with so many opportunities,” Roberts said. “I have worked on releases for Tech, written for The Minute Magazine, and even dabbled in fitness blog writing. This is just a new opportunity in my field, and I am so excited to take this challenge on to serve my community.”

In her role as assistant professor of communication and media studies, Roberts teaches a variety of classes, including Social Media, Media Law and Ethics, and Copy Editing. Her research focuses on religion and politics, and she has published works in Roman & Littlefield, Lexington Books and Waterhill Publishing. She has also presented research internationally.

“I am grateful for this chance to further support Lincoln Parish as an advocate for the knowledge of the residents of this area,” Roberts said. “I look forward to telling the stories of those at Tech, at Grambling and throughout the parish.”

Roberts’ family also are strong advocates for Lincoln Parish. Her husband, Kyle, is the play-by-play radio broadcaster for Ruston High Football and is the newest voice of the Lady Techsters’ basketball team. The couple’s two daughters, Alice, age 8, and Penny, age 5, both attended Louisiana Tech’s Early Childhood Education Center and now attend Ruston Elementary and Hillcrest Elementary, respectively.

The Lincoln Parish Journal is a free subscription to keep up with the news in the parish. To subscribe, visit JOIN LPJ TODAY… It’s FREE!


Bearcats Looking for Week 2 Opponent

Following the devastation of Hurricane Ida across the southern part of the state, area high school football teams may find themselves in a similar situation to Ruston High.

On Monday afternoon the Bearcats head coach Jerrod Baugh received a phone call from Archbishop Rummel with the news that the Raiders should not be making the trip north in less than two weeks to face the Bearcats at Hoss Garrett Field at James Stadium.

RHS Principal Dan Gressett said late Monday night that the school was looking for a fill in for the week two opening.

“Right now we looking for anything,” said Gressett. “This year if it’s a Covid cancellation, the LHSAA is not allowing you to reschedule the game. It’s a forfeit. But from our understanding with this being weather-related we can reschedule. We found out today. Rummel called and said it could be three or four weeks before they get power.”

Ruston High is scheduled to open the regular season Friday night at Neville in Monroe as the Bearcats are coming off an impressive performance in their 27-0 jamboree win over Opelousas at the 2021 Bayou Jamb last Friday night.

“We have put some stuff out there,” said Gressett. “I am sure there will be more cancellations in the coming days from teams that are scheduled to play teams from New Orleans, maybe even Baton Rouge. We are just looking for an opponent. It was a home game for us so we would like to replace it with a home game. Jerrod isn’t afraid to travel though. He will go anywhere. We just need to try to fill it. This really doesn’t feel much different than last year when we were constantly trying to fill openings.”

Gressett said any school interested in the opening on Ruston’s schedule can call Baugh at 903-918-2359.

Photo:  courtesy of RHS Bearcat Booster Club


HURRICANE IDA: Local pastor remembers Katrina, houses evacuees from Ida

George Lee IV, pictured here with his wife Ciria and children McKenzie and Kingston, is pastor of The Springs church in Ruston.

George Lee IV was a 17-year-old New Orleans resident in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina swept through his city and neighborhood and devastated the area. Now, 16 years later and a resident of Grambling, he remembers that time as he houses his mom and grandmother, who are still New Orleans residents and evacuated from Hurricane Ida.

“My family decided to evacuate for Hurricane Katrina two days before the hurricane made landfall,” Lee, a pastor at The Springs church, said. “While the majority of my family decided to evacuate, my mom and I did not travel with the rest of my family. At the time, my mom was enrolled at the University of New Orleans, and we lived in an apartment on campus. We developed a strong relationship with our neighbor, who was a quadriplegic. When our neighbor’s family from North Louisiana decided to travel to get him, we were given an opportunity to evacuate with them.”

Lee said watching the news coverage from that time was surreal.

“Honestly, as I watched the news coverage, none of it seemed real. I felt numb,” he said. “I guess I was still processing it all. In some ways, even 16 years later, I’m still processing things. As days progressed, I did wrestle with thinking about family and friends who didn’t evacuate.”

While Lee’s family settled in Rayville after Katrina, he eventually made his way to Lincoln Parish after attending Louisiana Tech. Now he, his wife Ciria, and his two children, McKenzie and Kingston, live in Grambling and are active in ministry.

“I have stated often that I never want to move back to New Orleans,” Lee said. “My mother, along with the majority of my family, moved back to New Orleans. We are from the area of New Orleans known as Holy Grove — in the 17th ward of New Orleans uptown. I love Lincoln Parish because of its pace. Everything moves quickly in the city of New Orleans! I value the relationships here. Lincoln Parish is a close-knit community from what I’ve experienced. Lastly, our ministry is here, and I believe the Lord has called my family to minister to this community for the foreseeable future.”

Lee said last year’s Hurricane Laura that came through Lincoln Parish and this past weekend’s Hurricane Ida brought back many preparedness memories.

“As I think about our community battling Hurricane Laura last year and bracing ourselves (for) Hurricane Ida in South Louisiana and other states, I can’t help but play through the series of ‘hurricane protocol,’” he said. “You start thinking about gathering provisions, purchasing gas, installing generators and sending support to family who will be in the affected area. You really start thinking about loved ones.”

For now, though, as he houses relatives who are waiting to see what damage has occurred, he said he is happy his family is safe.

“As devastating as Hurricane Katrina was, I realize that God used that storm in my life to lead me to this community,” Lee said. “I attended school here, met my wife here, started serving in ministry here, built our family here. Good things can come out of bad situations. While my heart still breaks for those who lost loved ones in Hurricane Katrina, I grateful that it gave me an opportunity to be a part of another community — a community I’m not leaving any time soon.”


LA Tech Announces Depth Chart for Saturday

Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz announced Monday night on the Inside Tech Football radio show that West Virginia transfer Austin Kendall would be the Bulldogs starting quarterback when it takes the field Saturday in Starkville against Mississippi State.

Kendall has been competing all fall for the starting position along with sophomore Aaron Allen and freshman JD Head while senior Luke Anthony continues to recover from off-season surgery.

“Right now Austin Kendall will be our starter going into the first week,” said Holtz on the coaches show. “He has come in here since July and done a great job. Joe Sloan has done a great job with him. He has come in and he has picked up the offense.”

Holtz said that the decision came down to experience and leadership.

“Austin Kendall … with his game experience, with the number of offenses he has been in, with his age, and with how well he has picked up the offense … I certainly think this team has got a vote of confidence in him by evidence by the captains voting,” said Holtz. “They feel like he is a guy who can lead us, and we feel that way as a stay.

“We just had captains votes, and he was in the top five in captains votes. He is really making his mark on this football team and really earning a lot of respect.”

Tech and Mississippi State will kick-off Saturday at 3 p.m. at Davis Wade Stadium and the game will be televised on ESPNU.

Kendall originally signed at Oklahoma as the No. 4 pro-style rated QB in the country by Rivals coming out of Cuthbertson High School in North Carolina. After seeing action in eight games with the Sooners, passing for 265 yards and three scores, he transferred to West Virginia. During his time with the Mountaineers, he passed for 2,153 yards and 14 TDs.

“Has a good arm,” said Holtz. “He has a very quick release. Can manage the game; get rid of the ball. He can run the ball better than people think.

“He is a guy who has a great feel for the pocket as long as he has been playing. I think Austin is very, very talented. Very smart. Very accurate. I am excited to see him play.”

Holtz said he was very pleased with Allen and Head and feels they both provide quality depth at the position in 2021.

“Both Aaron and JD have done some great things,” said Holtz. “I think we have two great backup quarterbacks. I would tell you that I think these are the best two backup quarterbacks we have had since I have been here.

“I think both of these guys are going to have their day in the sun here, and I think they are both going to be really good here.”

This marks the fifth time that Tech has opened its season against Mississippi State. The Starkville-based Bulldogs lead the all-time series 11-3.


RCT announces 2021-2022 season

Clue will be directed by Mary Watkins.

Ruston Community Theatre has announced seven new shows for the season, including two plays, two musicals, one musical revue and two junior productions.

Mark Graham, president of the RCT Board of Directors, said the group is ready for the upcoming productions.

“RCT is excited to announce our 2021-2022 season,” Graham said. “We are anxious to be back in the Dixie as it reopens to share some great live performances with our community.”

The first production of the season is “Clue,” directed by Mary Watkins. The performance dates will be Oct. 14-17, and it is sponsored by Graham Real Estate and Property Management.

“‘Clue’ rehearsals are going great,” Watkins said. “We have an awesome cast — not only talented but hilarious! It’s fun watching them build their characters. They are so funny. I can only imagine what they will be like at show time.”

The Christmas musical this year is “A Christmas Carol,” directed by Dee Anderson. That show will take place Dec. 2-5, and the show sponsor is Green Clinic.

“Father of the Bride” is the next play, which will take place March 24-27, 2022. Travis Fontenot will serve as the play’s director, and Century Next Bank is the show sponsor.

“Mary Poppins” will be the summer musical, running from July 14-17, 2022 and directed by Dee Alexander. It will be sponsored by Audrey Chumley Sullivan, in honor of her parents.

Those four productions will round out the season and are included in the season ticket packages. The musical revue and the two junior shows will not be included in the season ticket packages.

“All Together Now!” musical revue will be an RCT fundraiser. It will run from Nov. 14-15 and will be directed by Tami Alexander.

“Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical, Junior” will be the first junior production, running from Feb. 17-20, 2022. Tami Alexander will serve as the director, and the sponsor will be RE/MAX Results Realty and The Lockwood Group. The second junior production will be “Disney’s Frozen Junior,” directed by Steele Moegle. The production will be sponsored by Jonesboro State Bank and will run June 15-18.

Seating for all the productions is reserved, and unless otherwise indicated, performances run Thursday through Saturday at 7 p.m. with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. A play ticket runs $14 for adults, $7 for children/students; musicals are $18 for adults and $9 for children/students. All performances take place at The Dixie Center for the Arts at 212 N. Vienna Street.

Tickets go on sale two weeks before production starts, and season members have the opportunity to reserve seats a week before the public sales begin.

For more information or to become a season ticket member, visit rctruston.org or call 318-595-0872.


GSU faculty members selected to write biology textbook

GRAMBLING, La.- August 30, 2021 – Two Grambling State University faculty members have been chosen to write a high school science textbook as part of an open textbooks program. Dr. Dagne Hill, head of the Department of Biological Sciences, and Dr. Waneene C. Dorsey, a biological sciences professor, have been selected to develop and write a general biology textbook for high school students who will be attending college.

The Louisiana Library Network (LOUIS) and the Louisiana Board of Regents received a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education for the Open Textbooks Pilot Program.

“This initiative engages instructors of dual enrollment across Louisiana in the curation and creation of Open Education Resources (OERs) for 25 of the state’s general education courses,” Dr. Terri Oaks, the grant’s principal investigator and associate commissioner and executive director for LOUIS, said in a press release.

The project could not only reduce the cost of higher education but also eliminate early barriers to participation in post-secondary education.

Dual enrollment programs allow high school students to participate in post-secondary courses for which both college and high school credit may be earned. It can improve college access and degree completion rates by lowering the cost of post-secondary education and accelerating degree attainment, but textbook cost is a barrier to participation.

“I am truly honored to be selected as one of the cohort members to participate in this historic event,” Dr. Dorsey said, explaining that dual enrollment programs give high students a leg up on college credit.

This project will enable and enhance the delivery of OERs and interactive quiz and assessment elements for dual enrollment courses in Louisiana and nationally. The course materials will be released under a license that permits their free use, reuse, modification and sharing with others.

“A lot of times, students do not enroll in dual enrollment programs because of textbook costs,” Dr. Dorsey explained. “When colleges adopt this textbook, it will defray the educational costs for students.”

Although high school students will be using the textbook, it is also a college biology textbook that can be used at colleges across the nation.

Dr. Dorsey said it is very important that she and Dr. Hill are co-authors because they are facilitating diversity in science.

“One of the glaring issues in science is that people of color do not contribute to science. This is not true.” she said. “By improving the diversity landscape to include underrepresented groups, we are encouraging these students to become scientists.”

Dr. Hill said that she is extremely excited to have been selected to assist in the development of an OER course for one of 25 dual enrollment general education courses.

“Each day my educational mission in biology is to assist and to promote students to excel in education,” Dr. Hill said. “This project will allow me the ability to impact a larger number of students in their journey towards academic success.”

Dr. Hill said the project has the potential to reduce costs and to improve the educational outcomes for approximately 20,000 high school students. It is estimated that approximately 250,000 of the total statewide student enrollments per academic year will benefit from the project as well.

“This is vital in that it can increase the number of minority students that elect to further their education by attending college,” she said.


Last day to apply for Lincoln Leadership

A previous Leadership Lincoln class toured the Frosty Factory on Industry Day.

Application deadline for the upcoming Leadership Lincoln class is today.

Leadership Lincoln XXXV begins Sept. 9 and is held on the second Thursday of the month through April.

Each month is filled with a variety of information, such as team building, healthcare and social services, government and judicial information, education, economic and workforce development, industry, media and diversity, tourism, and more.

Established by the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Lincoln has provided hundreds of individuals the opportunity to cultivate community knowledge and personal leadership skills. Leadership Lincoln promotes civic responsibility by encouraging involvement, as well as developing enthusiasm and dedication.

“Leadership Lincoln encourages participants to ask the questions ‘why’ and ‘how’ as they look at all facets of our community and region,” said Judy Copeland, Chamber president and Leadership Lincoln facilitator. “Our goal is to help the participants acquire a better knowledge of the community’s strengths and challenges. Leadership Lincoln’s mission is quite simple: to develop the leadership skills and qualities within our students so they will become well-rounded leaders in their workplace, their church, a civic organization and/or local government. Leadership Lincoln helps identify and motivate emerging community leaders and challenges those leaders to increase their participation in the community.”

Businesses are encouraged to enroll an employee in the program. Several local organizations take advantage of this opportunity year after year.

The President of Hunt Guillot & Associates, Trott Hunt, said, “We send employees for several reasons, but mainly to become more aware of the community and the Chamber overall. Our work tends to be outside of the local community, so this is a way for our up-and-coming managers to get to know some of the local business people. It has been a good program and all of our people have enjoyed the chance to participate.”

For more information or to download the application, visit https://www.rustonlincoln.org/leadership-lincoln.


GSU Notebook: Tough starts for soccer, volleyball

It’s been a “so close, but so far away” kind of start for the Grambling State University soccer team this season.

The Lady Tigers are 0-4, but have lost those four matches by a total of only five points. The latest two losses came by the scores of 2-1 at Sam Houston on Friday and 1-0 to ULM at home on Sunday.

After a scoreless first half, ULM (3-0) netted the winning goal in the 68th minute when Lady Warhark Mara Grutkamp found a streaking Courtney Marten, who received the ball and slid it past GSU goalkeeper Rachel Pugh.

Pugh played all 90 minutes in goal for the Lady Tigers, finishing with three saves.

Grambling State finished with six shots, with four on goal while Louisiana-Monroe attempted 11 total shots, including three on target.

Lizbeth Aguero and Kailey Pena have each netted one of GSU’s two goals on the early season.

Grambling continues a five-game homestand starting at 1 p.m. SUnday against Nicholls State at the GSU Soccer Complex.

VOLLEYBALL: Grambling State’s volleyball team opened the season last weekend at the University of North Texas Invitational, falling in all three matches.

The Lady Tigers fell to both South Dakota State and North Texas in straight sets on Friday before closing out the tournament with a straight set loss to North Texas on Saturday.

Semira Fields leads GSU with 15 kills on the season while Rayven McKenzie has added 12 and Saige Rivers has added 10.

Kalee Caldwell tops the Lady Tigers in digs with 20 while Sheila Borders has chipped in with 19.

Grambling (0-3), next plays host to Centenary on Sept. 7 in the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center.

Photo:  courtesy of GSU Athletics


LPJ now offers engagement, wedding announcements

Email the LPJ today to put your engagement or wedding announcement in our media outlet.

 

The Lincoln Parish Journal will start publishing paid engagement and wedding announcements for couples who reside in the parish, who have relatives in the parish or who are getting married in the parish. Students who are enrolled at Louisiana Tech or Grambling State but who do not live in the parish will also be able to submit. These announcements will be published each Friday morning. 

This move by the Journal allows couples to showcase their announcement on social media outlets. 

“This is a fabulous way for couples to have a traditional engagement and wedding announcement and reap the benefits of the digital age by posting it on social media,” said Judith Roberts, publisher of the Journal. “As the Journal continues to expand and increase its reach in the community, this will allow more people to see the announcements.”   

Information for engagement announcements include: 

  • Digital photograph of the couple 

  • The couple’s names 

  • The couple’s hometowns 

  • High school and/or college of the couple 

  • Parents’ names and/or grandparents’ names 

  • Ties to the parish 

  • Wedding time, date, and place 

  • An interesting fact about the couple 

Information for the wedding announcements include: 

  • Digital photograph of the couple 

  • The couple’s names 

  • The couple’s hometowns 

  • High school and/or college of the couple 

  • Parents’ names and/or grandparents’ names 

  • Officiant  

  • Attendants 

  • Ties to the parish 

  • Wedding time, date, and place 

“We all love the happy news of an engagement and a wedding, and this is a great outlet for that positive information,” Roberts said. “I still have copies of my own engagement announcement and wedding announcement, and my husband Kyle and I will celebrate our 16-year anniversary Sept. 3. I’m so glad we’re able to offer this service to couples today.” 

For engagement and wedding announcement fees and/or to submit information for publication, please email lpjnewsla@gmail.com. All information for the announcement needs to be submitted the Wednesday prior to the Friday publication date. If the information is submitted on a Thursday or Friday, the announcement will run the following week. 


LPJ Introducing Friday Night Lights

The Lincoln Parish Journal wants to start showcasing our parish high school spirit squads (cheer, dance, band, mascots) as we enter football season this fall.

We are encouraging anyone who wants to submit action photos from any of our local spirit squad teams from the weekly high school contests. The LPJ will select a number of these each week and run a “Friday Night Lights” photo-gallery prior to the next week’s games (from the Friday/Saturday game the week before).

“We know how important high school football is in our area, and we are proud of all of our local teams,” said Judith Roberts, publisher of the Journal. “Not only are we going to cover our local teams on the football field, but we want to also showcase all the young men and women who make up the spirit squads that provide an important role in creating that electric Friday night atmosphere.”

Information with submitted photo(s) should include:

· Name of individual(s) in photo

· Exact Spirit Squad (Cheer, Dance, Band, etc)

· High School/College

Photos should be submitted by email to lpjnewsla@gmail.com. Photos and the information need to be submitted by Tuesday following the prior weekend’s games.


Notice of Death – August 30, 2021

Mary Brown
March 10, 1933 – August 27, 2021
Visitation: North Monroe Baptist Church, Tuesday, August 31, 2021, 9:30 am
Service:  North Monroe Baptist Church, Tuesday, August 31, 2021, 11:00 am
Cemetery:  Mulhearn Memorial Park Cemetery, Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Mary “Toady” Jordan
May 24, 1934 – August 27, 2021
Visitation:  River of Life Assembly, Tuesday, August 31, 2021, 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Service:  River of Life Assembly, Tuesday, August 31, 2021, 11:00 am
Cemetery:  Pleasant Valley Cemetery, Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Maurine Roberson Armstrong
August 13, 1932 – August 28, 2021
Visitation:  Paron Baptist Church, Wednesday, September 1, 2021, 1:00 pm
Service:  Paron Baptist Church, Wednesday, September 1, 2021, 2:00 pm
Cemetery:  Rocky Branch Cemetery, Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Timothy L. Griffin
January 4, 1967 – August 28, 2021
Visitation:  Longstraw Baptist Church, Wednesday, September 1, 2021, 9:00 am – 10:00 am
Service:  Longstraw Baptist Church, Wednesday, September 1, 2021, 10:00 am
Cemetery:  Longstraw Cemetery, Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Mary Thames
November 25, 1932 – August 29, 2021
Visitation:  Kilpatrick Funeral Homes – West Monroe, Thursday, September 2, 2021, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Service:  Kilpatrick Funeral Homes – West Monroe, Thursday, September 2, 2021, 3:00 pm
Cemetery:  Hasley Cemetery, Thursday, September 2, 2021

HURRICANE IDA: Ruston prepares to assist evacuees

This image from NOAA’s National Weather Service Hurricane Center shows Hurricane Ida making landfall in Louisiana

Louisiana is no stranger to hurricanes, but the last weekend of August is starting to become unpleasantly memorable.

As Ruston residents remembered the Category 1 Hurricane Laura that swept through the parish Aug. 27, 2020, and further back, the outpouring of support offered to Category 3 Hurricane Katrina evacuees following its Aug. 29, 2005, landfall, they also prepared to take in evacuees for this new hurricane, Ida, which made landfall about 11:55 a.m. Aug. 29 as a Category 4 near Port Fourchon.

NOAA’s National Weather Service Hurricane Center reported Doppler radar data indicated Ida’s maximum sustained winds when it made landfall were around 150 mph.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced during a press conference over the weekend that Ida would be one of the strongest storms to hit Louisiana since at least the 1850s. Ruston residents took in evacuees and worried for their family members who stayed behind.

“My mom is in Baton Rouge,” said Kari McGuire, a Ruston resident and teacher at Choudrant High School. “She’s got one of those built-in generators, but I’m worried about flooding.”

Louisiana Tech took in students from Nicholls State in Thibodaux and allowed students registered for fall quarter to move in early.

“Everyone who works at Louisiana Tech is interested in taking care of our students as if they were our own children,” said Tonya Oaks Smith, executive director of University Communications and Marketing. “For now, these Nicholls State students are members of our Tech Family, and we want them to feel safe and welcomed here in Ruston.”

For the most current information available regarding Hurricane Ida, text LASHELTER to 898-211 for information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


RUSTON DOMINANT ON BOTH SIDES OF BALL TO SHUT OUT OPELOUSAS

Lincoln Parish Sports Services

MONROE, La. – On offense, it was the “Dyson Fields Show” at the 2021 Bayou Jamb for the Ruston Bearcats.

On the first offensive play of the second half, the junior tailback ran through four Opelousas defenders on his way to a 58-yard touchdown rush that summed up the entire night for Ruston’s ground game, capping his night totaling 151 yards rushing. The Bearcats would go on to beat the Tigers by a final score of 27-0, shutting out their opponent from South Louisiana.

“Overall, I was pleased with us as a team by how hard we played,” Ruston head coach Jerod Baugh said. “That was what I wanted to see. We executed our game plan and the things that we do best; that was what I was really pleased with.”

Fields scored on a pair of long touchdowns in the first half, both over twenty yards. Fields totaled 93 yards on the ground and 48 yards through the air for 141 first half yards.

“Dyson had some big runs; he really showed he can be a physical runner,” Baugh said. “He had some nice stiff arms and turned back into defenders and scored on some long runs. Our offensive line and fullbacks did good things by openings areas for him to get started. I was very pleased with him and what he was able to do.”

Fields put the Bearcats on the scoreboard first with a 29-yard touchdown run with 4:35 in the first half thanks in part to a stellar downfield block by senior wide receiver Dawson Willis, and he was able to get his second touchdown of the half thanks to a clean pass in the flat by junior quarterback Jaden Osborne from 26 yards out.

The second touchdown for Fields came on a 26-yard touchdown reception after a check-down pass to the flats that saw Fields score nearly untouched by the Tiger secondary. Osborne completed his second touchdown pass of the half to senior Dylan Rhone for eight yards near the one-minute mark of the first half.

Baugh added how pleased he was with the way the entire defense played in holding the Tigers scoreless for the night.

“Our defensive line competed well up front,” Baugh said. “Any week, that’s a big determiner on how the game will go. Early on, we felt pretty good about our guys and the pressure they could put on the Opelousas quarterback. Anytime you can get pressure on just the line without having to blitz is a good thing. We felt really comfortable with our guys up front getting pressure on the quarterback and kept him off-tempo to make some errant throws. I was pleased overall on the both sides of the ball on the well they competed.”

The Bayou Jamb is an exhibition game format and is split into two 12-minute halves.

Ruston opens the 2021 regular season Friday, Sept. 3, at 7 p.m. against the Neville Tigers. The game will be broadcast live on KXKZ 107.5 FM with the pregame coach’s show starting at 6 p.m.

NOTES: Osborne completed 3 of 4 passes for 56 yards and 2 touchdowns… Ruston totaled 178 yards rushing on 20 carries… Rhone caught 1 pass for 8 yards and a touchdown… Fields averaged 21.6 yards per carry… Senior kicker Brady Beason converted 3 of 4 extra point attempts… Seven Bearcat defenders tallied multiple tackles… Junior running back Lajaveon Ellis rushed 5 times for 26 yards.


Thomas Leads Creek to Jamboree Wins

Jamborees are just that … jamborees.

Glorified scrimmages against another team.

But high school jamborees give coaches one final opportunity to see their teams live prior to the season opener.

On Friday night in Rayville at Mangham Stadium, Cedar Creek head coach Matt Middleton saw his Cougars win a pair of jamboree “games” defeating the host Hornets 6-0 before edging Lincoln Parish neighbor Lincoln Prep 8-6.

Junior AJ Thomas did the bulk of the damage for the Cougars offense, scoring a pair of rushing touchdowns – one in each game.

In the 6-0 win over Rayville, Thomas scored on a 12-yard run for the only points in the ball game. The Cedar Creek defense would do the rest, shutting out Rayville on the Hornets home field.

In the win over Lincoln Prep, Cedar Creek trailed 6-0 until three minutes to play in the game when Thomas scored from six yards out to tie the game at 6-6. Thomas finished the night with 20 yards rushing on three carries on what Middleton called the Cougars “goal-line package.”

Quarterback Caden Middleton then gave the Creek the lead and the eventual “win” with a successful rushing play for the two-point conversion.

Middleton said he was happy with much of what he saw.

“Defensively, we played really, really well,” said Middleton. “I was pleased with us defensively. We also moved the ball on offense. We didn’t punt all night long. The problem is we had two turnovers that ended a couple of drives. But we bounced back. We made some plays. We just have to circle up and clean up a few things offensively before next Friday.”

Middleton completed 11-of-15 passes for 129 yards and one interception in the two games while sophomore running back Lawson Lillo led Cedar Creek with six catches for 45 yards.

“We threw it (a number of) times,” said Middleton. “We threw a couple of vertical balls. We had a couple of 40-yard gains, which is good. We want to stretch the field. So we were able to do that. It opened some things for us.”

Middleton said he was pleased with his entire defense, but specifically praised the efforts of senior defensive back Jed Worthey, who recorded his third interception in two weekends, as well as junior lineman Bryce Rushing, senior linebacker Carson Riley and Thomas.

Cedar Creek will open the regular season Friday night when the Cougars travel down south to Baton Rouge to face Liberty Magnet at Olympia Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

PHOTO:  by Darrell James)


Lincoln Prep Falls in Jamboree

By T. Scott Boatright

RAYVILLE — The Panthers proved they’re competitive, but unfortunately, Lincoln Preparatory School fell in a pair of 15-minute games at the Rayville Jamboree.

Lincoln Prep was downedl 8-6 by Lincoln Parish rival Cedar Creek in the opening stanza/game.

“It was nip and tuck, pretty much,” said Lincolne Prep coach Glen Hall. “They threw an out and my guy (Chauncy Harper) picked it off and ran for a touchdown. “It was about 65 yards. We missed that PAT and pretty much we held them in check. They didn’t get a lot of long runs … they won by a two-point conversion with about 2:30 left.”’

Hall admitted fatigue and miscues paid a late price in the opener.

“We had a chance to win in the end and we ran out of time. It’s something we have to learn from,” Hall said.
In the nightcap, the Panthers were stung by the Hornets 20- 6.
Rayvillle 20-6

“We were tied 6-6 with 3:00 left,” Hall said. “ They scored up and went 14-6 and then picked a ball off later.
“They didn’t just beat us. They made a lot of plays. I just have to get my team in better condition”

Lincoln Prep opens the 2021 season at home on Friday against Beekman-Charter at Eddie G. Robinson Stadium.

Photo:  by Darrell James


HURRICANE IDA: Tech takes in Nicholls State students

Tech President Les Guice helps feed one of the Nicholls State students, who evacuated to Ruston over the weekend.

Louisiana Tech welcomed 40 students from Nicholls State University this weekend as they sought to escape from Hurricane Ida.

The students arrived at Tech Saturday night and are currently being housed at Lambright Sports and Wellness Center with their two police officers and two staff members from Nicholls’ Residential Life.

“Providing support for Nicholls State students is a part of our culture and an expression of Louisiana Tech’s values,” Tech President Les Guice said. “These are the kinds of things we do as a system to support each other, and Nicholls State was helpful to us when we suffered from the tornado.”

Tech suffered greatly in spring 2019 when an EF-3 tornado ripped through the parish, destroying baseball, softball, soccer and tennis courts on the campus.

The Nicholls’ State students’ story is not the only time Tech has taken in students after a hurricane. Sixteen years ago, Tech took in students from Tulane University following Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane.

Ida made landfall Sunday morning as a Category 4.

“I want to thank President Les Guice, Louisiana Tech and the Ruston community for welcoming our students with open arms,” Nicholls President Jay Clune. “It is because of them that we can feel comfortable that so many students are out of harm’s way.”

Clune said he was saddened that his students’ experience is being disrupted in so many ways.

“So many families have already been adversely affected by the pandemic, and this storm will only pile on the stressors that they are facing,” Clune said. “But our student body is a resilient community. They care for one another. They will weather this storm and come out stronger than before. And we will do everything we can to support them.”

Jim Henderson, president of the University of Louisiana System, which includes both Tech and Nicholls State, said this was an example of the collaboration that is evident in the ULS.

“Louisiana Tech opening its arms to the students of Nicholls State is the embodiment of our notion of system,” Henderson said. “The collaborative leadership of President Guice and President Clune is focused where it should be: on students.”


Scrimmage Caps LA Tech Fall Camp

Saturday morning at Joe Aillet Stadium served as a final rehearsal for Skip Holtz and the Louisiana Tech Bulldog football team.

With the 2021 season opener at Mississippi State less than a week away, Holtz and the Tech coaching staff utilized the opportunity to work on a number of areas despite not conducting a true game-like scrimmage.

“We have a couple of positions we are low on numbers as far as injury standpoint. Outside wide receiver and at linebacker we just aren’t as deep right now with injuries,” said Holtz. “So I ended up not going live this morning. I just couldn’t afford to lose another player at one of those positions. We just went team thud and really just simulate game day.

“We have so many new faces and so many new coaches that haven’t been through it. I wanted to go through pregame. We got coaches in the box. We are signaling in calls. Going gameday mechanics for everything. From a staff stand point it was really productive. And from a team standpoint in that we got a lot of those logistical things done in a game-like situation. It was productive.”

Holtz has yet to announce the starting quarterback for the Bulldogs, something the ninth-year Tech boss said he would do later in the week. However, during Saturday’s scrimmage, the Bulldogs looked a little lethargic on both sides of the football.

“I thought the play on the field looked like it was the last day of camp,” said Holtz. “These guys have been going non-stop almost every day for over three weeks. The scrimmage didn’t quite have the energy I would have like for it to have. There were some good things and some bad things. It was certainly a great teaching opportunity to show how drops, turnovers, penalties affect a football game. It was a good lesson for us to learn. It will be a good teaching tape for us to show when we come back on Sunday.”

Tech is coming off a 5-5 record and a seventh straight bowl appearance during the COVID-19 challenging 2020 campaign. The Bulldogs roster boasts more than 20 DI transfers and plenty of experience, something Holtz said provides Tech plenty of depth.

“One of the criteria we had for bringing in (transfers) was they had to have playing time (at their previous school),” said Holtz. “I didn’t want a guy who wasn’t playing somewhere who thought he was just going to transfer into a playing position. You look at our secondary, we have three guys who transferred from Arkansas, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt and have all played at that level. We just have much more experience than we’ve had in the past.”

Saturday’s opener in Starkville is set for a 3 p.m. kickoff and the game will be televised live on ESPNU. Tech fans can hear the contest on the LA Tech Sports Radio Network on 107.5 FM with the pregame show starting at 1:30 p.m. Malcolm Butler and Teddy Allen will provide the call of the game.


Grambling great Melvin Lee remembered

By T. Scott Boatright

The late Eddie Robinson, legendary football coach at Grambling State University once had a motto: “One job, one school, one wife.”

Just maybe, the phrase “one assistant should have been added.

Former longtime Grambling assistant coach Melvin Lee, a walk-on for the Tiger football team in 1952, met a lasting friend and mentor in Robinson.

Lee, who served as a cornerstone for Robinson, passed away Thursday in Shreveport.

Lee played both ways for Grambling — as center and linebacker, despite only weighing 195 pounds.

And in 1955, Lee played a crucial role in Grambling earning its first black college national championship.
After serving in the Army and working as a cement finisher in New Orleans, Lee returned to Grambling at Robinson’s request in 1960 to serve as offensive coordinator, a role he held until 1997.

That’s 37 years of guidance during Grambling’s greatest football heyday.

“Melvin Lee was an important and crucial part of Grambling College and later State University,” said Hall of Fame baseball coach and former GSU associate athletics director Wilbert Ellis. “He and his wife Pauline are in all of our prayers.”

Robinson could be a fiery, emotional coach. That wasn’t Lee.

“They called him ‘Silent Lee’ .. never raised his voice,” Williams said. “Coach Rob was famous for the ‘Wing T’ offense. And with that offense, you have to get the blocking down. That’s

the greatness Melvin Lee brought to Grambling. He knew it inside and out.

For Eddie Robinson III, Lee and his wife Pauline were more family than friend.

“Coach and Miss Pauline, they’re like my aunt and uncle,” Robinson III said. “I didn’t see it coming. A lot of people didn’t realize, he didn’t only build great offenses. He was a great builder and contractor. He was doing ‘Do-It-It Yourself’ projects all the time. … Always working …. always a force.”


HURRICANE IDA: South Louisiana residents seek shelter in Ruston

Hurricane Ida evacuee Jayne Boudreaux made sure to bring her cat, also named “Boudreaux,” with her when she came to Ruston

As Hurricane Ida barreled into the Louisiana coast on the 16th anniversary of the devastating Hurricane Katrina, many south Louisiana residents sought shelter with friends and family in Lincoln Parish.

Aubrey Simmons, a Nicholls State graduate student originally from Ruston, returned home Friday with her cat to wait out the storm.

“I am nervous and worried for the people I know who stayed behind,” Simmons said. “They’ve assured me they’ve made the necessary preparations, but Ida is massive, and I’m just super worried.

“I’m also afraid of having nothing to go back to. Thibodaux has been my home for the past seven years – it’s a wonderful community – and it’s heartbreaking to know the damage and destruction that is about to happen.”

Simmons said she chose to leave Friday in hopes of avoiding empty gas stations and bumper-to-bumper traffic.

“When this storm started to really develop and we saw its possible path, my mom and I decided then that it would be best for me to leave,” she said. “Leaving Friday helped me to get ahead of traffic and I was able to easily get gas. I am fortunate enough to have been able to leave, but I am sure there are those who want to evacuate but do not have the means to do so, and my heart breaks for them. Thibodaux is doing a wonderful thing in that they are providing free transportation for wheelchair bound residents who were unable to evacuate and taking them to the shelter that has been set up.”

Simmons said Ida running through Louisiana on the anniversary of Katria is eerily similar.

“I have friends who went through such tragedy and loss for that storm, and I can’t even imagine the emotions they and other people in southeast Louisiana who went through Katrina are feeling right now on top of the worry for Ida,” she said. “I really do appreciate Ruston lending a helping hand to those in south Louisiana. I love the support that my hometown is showing to my Thibodaux/Nicholls community that I love dearly.”

Jayne Boudreaux, of Luling, evacuated with her 17-year-old cat, also named Boudreaux, who had to evacuate during Hurricane Katrina as well.

“She handled this evacuation better than I expected, but she’s not happy,” Boudreaux said. “She’s a homebody and not sociable. She did fine in Katrina, but we had her sister at the time, and they were still kittens.”

Boudreaux sought shelter with Ruston relatives, but her husband, A.J., is an emergency worker with Roehm.

“He actually should be in good shape,” Boudreaux said. “He’ll be safe at the plant and have air conditioning, food and shelter. I’m more worried about the house.”

The Boudreauxs home was recently remodeled, and Boudreaux said she wasn’t sure which – if any – of her neighbors had decided to weather out the storm.

“I’m still trying to see who is around,” she said. “I just don’t know.”


Weekly events

Each Monday and Friday, the Lincoln Parish Journal will post a list of upcoming events happening in the parish. If you would like to add your event to this list, please email us at lpjnewsla@gmail.com.

Monday, Aug. 30
6 p.m.: Inside Bulldog Football (Dawghouse Sports Grill)

Tuesday, Aug. 31
4:30-6 p.m.: Hillcrest Elementary School Open House

Wednesday, Sept. 1
5 p.m.: Trinity United Methodist Church free back-to-school tailgate
6:30 p.m.: Louisiana Tech women’s volleyball vs. Jackson State (Thomas Assembly Center)
7:30 p.m.: Trivia night at Champs

Friday, Sept. 3
Louisiana Tech fall quarter residence halls open
Noon to 3 p.m.: Mommy and Me Movie Day at 2 High Trampoline Park
4 p.m. LA Tech Volleyball vs. Prairie View A&M (Houston, Texas)
7 p.m. Cedar Creek Football at Liberty Magnet (Baton Rouge)
7 p.m. Beekman Charter vs. Lincoln Prep Football (Eddie Robinson Stadium)
7 p.m. Ruston High School Football at Neville (Monroe)

Saturday, Sept. 4
12:30 pm. Louisiana Tech Volleyball at Houston Baptist (Houston, Texas)
3 p.m. Louisiana Tech Football at Mississippi State (Starkville, Miss.)
4:30 p.m. Louisiana Tech Volleyball vs. Lamar (Houston, Texas)

Sunday, Sept. 5
3 p.m. Grambling State Football vs. Tennessee State (Canton, Ohio)
1 p.m. Nicholls State at Grambling State Soccer (GSU Soccer Complex)