Rita “Dianne” Gallaspy

Funeral services for Rita “Dianne” Gallaspy, 67, of Mansfield, Louisiana will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 3, 2022, at Kilpatrick’s Rose-Neath Chapel, Mansfield, Louisiana. Reverend Vernese C. Green will be officiating. Burial will follow at Gallaspy Cemetery, Mansfield, Louisiana. Visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Friday, December 2, 2022, at the funeral home.

Dianne was born on January 16, 1955, to Arthur and Ruby Monroe in Winfield, Louisiana, and entered into eternal rest on Wednesday, November 30, 2022.

Dianne enjoyed being a housewife to her husband Eddie Gallaspy for 39 years and a mother to her two sons Climmer and Billy Grillette. Dianne had a big heart; she enjoyed caring for people, rescuing animals, and loved growing flowers. Dianne loved her church and church family and especially enjoyed sharing her singing lifting up her Lord and Savior.

Dianne is preceded in death by her son, Climmer Grillette, Jr.; her parents; and brothers, Lester Allen Monroe, Troy Wayne Monroe, and Robert Lynn Monroe. Left to cherish her memory are her husband of 39 years, Eddie Gallaspy; son, William “Billy” Grillette; brothers, Walter Monroe and wife, Robbie, and Arthur Monroe and wife, Betty; sister, Jessie Horn, and husband, Buddy; and a host of nieces and nephews.

North Desoto Handles Breaux Bridge for First Trip to Semis

On Friday Night in Breaux Bridge, the North Desoto Football Griffins (11-1) continued rewriting the history books with a 42-13 win over the 28th seeded Tigers (6-7).

John Lewis, Brian Banks and the Griffins’ Offensive Line took matters into their own hands as Freshman Sensation Luke Delafield had an off night passing. The Rushing attack for the Griffins combined for 442 yards rushing with Lewis being the front runner with 222 of his own.

Although he didn’t reach the end zone his big runs set the stage for the supporting cast to all make plays of their own, Marques Hampton scored his first touchdown of the year on the ground, while Banks and Delafield added rushing scores of their own.

Landon Falls was the recipient of the only Delafield touchdown pass of the night.

Defense and Special Teams opened the contest up for good in the third quarter as they worked to contain the explosiveness of the Breaux Bridge offense. Daniel Olivier returned a Tiger Fumble 80 yards for a touchdown and Cole Cory returned their next punt back for a 55 yard touchdown, that put the game out of reach and the Stonewall faithful that made the trip south celebrated with delight as the North Desoto Griffins reached the Semifinals for the First Time in School History.

The Griffins return to the same Cajun Country on this Friday as they face the #1 Seed Iowa Yellowjackets (11-1) for an opportunity to reach the State Championships. There will be a Community Pep Rally for the Football team at 6:00 pm Thursday in Griffin Stadium.

Earlier this week North DeSoto posted ticket information for the game vs. Iowa Friday night.  Admission is $15.00 and tickets must be purchased online or at the gate with credit card – no cash sales.  The online link is on the school social media posts.

Logansport Season Ends

By Anne Martin, a Voice of the Tigers

The highly anticipated rematch of last year’s State Championship game between the Logansport Tigers and the Homer Pelicans was played Friday night, and unfortunately for the Tigers, had a similar result, with Homer defeating Logansport 47-6.

The Pelicans scored first, with 8:58 remaining in the first quarter, on a 3 yard run by QB Andrevious Buggs.  After a Tiger turnover on downs, the Pelicans scored on the next possession with two long runs by senior running back Elyjay Curry and a touchdown pass to Michael Green.  The point after kick was no good, and the score was 13-0.  The Tiger defense settled in, and they stopped Homer on their next two possessions.  Junior Stevie Holloway and senior Jace Thompson made key tackles in stopping Curry.

The second quarter started with a long drive by the Tigers, with key plays by Nino Hill.  The Pelicans stopped the Tigers in a goal line stand and took over at the 5. Neither team was able to move the ball in their next possessions.  With 1:02 remaining in the half, Logansport started a drive at their 47.  A run by QB Kham Boykin picked up a first down, followed by a pass to Jayven Claybrook brought the ball to the 17.  With 38 seconds to go, Claybrook caught a pass for the first Tiger touchdown.  With a score of 13-6, Logansport kicked off and Homer started at their 34 yard line. A run by Curry resulted in a first down, then a long run with several missed tackles led to another touchdown by Homer.  At halftime the score stood at 20-6.

The second half started with Logansport receiving the kickoff at their 34 yard line.  That drive ended with a blocked punt , and Homer took over on the Tiger 24 yard line.  They scored on a QB keep from the 1 yard line.  The kick was good, bringing the score to 27-6.   After a three and out, Homer started their next drive from their 45.  D’Avery Robinson forced a fumble, and the Tigers recovered the ball at midfield.  The momentum was short-lived, as three plays later, Lamichael Greer intercepted a pass and Homer started from their 40 yard line.  After a penalty, a bad snap, and a stop by Hayden Rolfe, the Pelicans were facing 3rd and 15.  Robinson forced another fumble, but Homer recovered.  On 4th and 7, Green ran in for the touchdown with 2:20 remaining in the 3rd quarter.  Another interception by Homer resulted in them taking over on their 20 yard line to end the quarter.

The fourth quarter started with a great defensive stand by Logansport, resulting in a Homer punt.  Logansport started at their 32 yard line, and Homer picked off another pass, this time by Jamarquese Hampton, who ran it in for a touchdown, bringing the score to 40-6.  After the kickoff, the Tigers started at their 44.  Runs by Nino Hill and Boykins resulted in a first down, but Green scooped up a fumble and ran it in for the final Homer TD. 

The Homer Pelicans will host the Mangham Dragons in the semi-final match up next Friday.

Congrats For Great Seasons

Sheriff Jayson Richardson wants to congratulate both the Logansport Tigers and Mansfield Wolverines on a hard fought and well played football season. 

Now, we turn our eyes to our North DeSoto Griffins and cheer them on in their upcoming game in the semi-finals.  DeSoto Parish is fortunate to have such talent and grit on our fields….and judging by the recent school scores we hear they are pretty smart as well.

What Will You Read In 2023?

 By Teddy Allen 

Time for our annual Best Books of the Year list. Read a lot of good books but failed to score a five-star read, unlike last year when I couldn’t turn around without running into something that hit me just right. 

So it goes in the Reading World. You win some, you lose some, but you show up and read and if a book’s no good, chunk it and, guilt-free, pick up another one. 

Still, much enjoyment this year from reading, and hopefully you will get a charge out of at least one or two of the titles below, or something will jog your memory and help you pick out a just-right Christmas gift for someone.  

If nothing else, we can be grateful we are past all the pandemic-related bestsellers like LOCKDOWN!: Your Place or Mine?or everyone’s least-favorite companion reads, Why Masks Work and the sequel, Why Masks Haven’t Even Ever THOUGHT About Working, Ever Ever Never

Mercy on all that … And now on to the bookmobile. 

Batting leadoff is All About Me! My Remarkable Life in Show Business, by Mel Brooks, my favorite of a lot of biographies. Others that were really good, if you’re interested in these people, are The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man by Paul Newman, A Life in Parts by actor Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Home Work by Julie Andrews (had a crush on her since Mary Poppins as I was an impressionable youngster), Miracle and Wonder by Malcolm Gladwell about singer-songwriter-stud Paul Simon (you have to listen to this one for the conversations with Simon and his occasional singing), My House of Memories by Merle Haggard because, well, Merle Haggard, and finally, Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story, by Rick Bragg. 

A quick aside about Jerry Lee Lewis: he was nothing short of a keyboard genius. Any piano player from Elton John to Ray Stevens will tell you that nobody should be able to play that fast and that well and sing at the same time. A prodigy and bona-fide genius. 

More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell was released in 1987 and reads as a short (128 pages) research document about the historical Jesus and is much worth your time if, like me, you’d missed it all these years. 

Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli by Mark Seal is about the “tumultuous” making ofThe Godfather and was my second-favorite book of the year. If you like the movie, you’ll enjoy it. How the picture got made is semi-miraculous.  

Speaking of movies, The Church of Baseball by Ron Shelton is about the making of Bull Durham, which he wrote and directed; it’s a baseball thing. 

Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen is funny and good, as you’d expect from Carl Hiaasen. Speaking of fiction, if you’ve never read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson or The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, as I hadn’t until this year, you could probably skip those. Didn’t happen for me. But … it’s always wise to consider the similar themes of those two books, which is how the bad part of our nature, which is the main part, runs wild if unchecked, even if that wasn’t our intention. 

Churchill’s Band of Brothers by Damien Lewis was good but a better suggestion would be Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose, which I’ve read three times, about E Company with the 101st in World War II. The British equivalent is interesting but not nearly as rich. 

Also, you will feel a lot better after reading either Everybody Always or Love Doesby Bob Goff, or both. Check him out if you haven’t already. 

Books in my on-deck circle for 2023 include You Are Looking Live! How the NFL Today Revolutionized Sports Broadcasting, by Rich Podolsky, When the Garden was Eden by Harvey Araton, about the glory days of the New York Knicks (they were good and fun when I was a boy, believe it or not), Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley because I haven’t read him and have meant to, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, and Prayer by Tim Keller because I really like Tim Keller and because you need the prayers and Lord knows I need the practice. 

Let me know if you come across anything good. Read on! 

Contact Teddy at teddy@latech.edu

Fastpace Holds Ribbon Cutting

Fastpace Health is now open in Mansfield.  It was constructed on the site of the former Mansfield Auto World on US 84.

Regional Director for Fastpace, Matthew McBride was on hand Monday, November 21st for the ribbon cutting ceremony.  McBride explained the Fastpace concept to members of the public and Chamber of Commerce in attendance.

McBride introduced Detries Morris, the Family Nurse Practitioner on site.  He showed the state of the art facilities and described how patients would be able to sign in online or quickly sign in when they walk-up.

Let’s Go See the Mudbugs

Members of the various parish 4-H clubs in northwest Louisiana are going to see the Mudbugs January 13th.  The Mudbugs will host the Oklahoma Warriors in Shreveport.

4-H is offering members a special event package for $20, however the sign-up deadline is December 9th.  The 4-Hers will enjoy skating before the game, a meal, and the game.  And members will have the opportunity to ride on the Zamboni and participate in games during intermissions.

They went to see the Mudbugs last January and had a great time.  4-H members may sign up at their parish 4-H office for this year’s game.

AG Appointment of Special Counsel Against Trump is Clearly a Political Vendetta

By Royal Alexader

The decision of Attorney General Merrick Garland a few days ago to appoint a special counsel in the investigations of Donald Trump will provide to millions of Americans only, yet another, example of the highly politicized, weaponized nature of the Department of Justice and the FBI.  This assignment specifically includes a probe of both the Mar-a-Lago documents case and whether President Trump “unlawfully interfered with the transfer of power” after the 2020 election or with the Electoral College vote count.

Garland’s announcement of the special counsel states: “based on recent developments, including the former president’s announcement that he is a candidate for president in the next election, and the sitting president’s stated intention to be a candidate as well, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel.”  He closed by contending that “such an appointment underscores the Department’s commitment to both independence and accountability in particularly sensitive matters.”

Unsurprisingly, a spokesman for Pres. Trump immediately responded, “this is a totally expected political stunt by a feckless, politicized, weaponized Biden Department of Justice.”  The Trump statement continued by pointing out that “Robert Mueller, the Russia collusion special counsel, staffed his investigation with partisan Democrats and his probe turned into a debacle.”

As though Jan. 6th has not been investigated enough.  As though the documents at Mar A Lago contained any “secrets” when it’s the president himself who decides what’s classified or unclassified; regardless, when there is a dispute regarding presidential documents it is resolved between the former president’s attorneys and government attorneys.  At the very most a subpoena can be issued.

However, right on the heels of President Trump announcing his candidacy for the presidency, we have the Biden Administration’s politically compromised Attorney General Garland, announcing the appointment of a special counsel.  It is both naïve and nonsensical to assume the attorney general is not coordinating with the Biden White House about this.

It’s all politically motivated because the Biden Administration and its highly politicized Department of Justice fear a second Trump presidency. Nothing else.

Are we really supposed to be this stupid or naive?  The Jan. 6th investigation has been going on for nearly two years—including lengthy hearings and an impeachment effort—while the Mar-a-Lago investigation has been going on for close to a year.  However, as soon as President Trump announces he’s running for president this all fires up?  Does the appointment of a special counsel even matter anyway, given the special counsel reports to AG Garland and AG Garland reports to President Biden.

But let’s recall only now, supposedly, the Department of Justice and the FBI—which covered up and held on to the Hunter Biden laptop for some two years—is taking any steps to investigate or prosecute the laptop or the Biden crime family generally.  There clearly exists in the public record substantial incriminating evidence to do so.   In fact, much of the damaging information contained in those emails has already been corroborated.

Recall that Big Tech, including Facebook, Twitter and many other Left leaning social media platforms successfully suppressed and censored the Hunter Biden laptop story just before the 2020 election.  Following the election, a full 16% of voters polled stated that they would not have voted for Joe Biden had they known prior to the election of the information contained on the laptop. The very reason it was censored!   And so, the voice of the people was silenced and the trajectory of American history was forever changed.

As the Wall Street Journal notes, “the prosecution of a former President, especially one running against Mr. Biden, had better be for serious offenses.  The evidence should be so compelling that it persuades fair-minded Republicans, not merely MSNBC or CNN anchors.”

We simply don’t have that context here and this latest so-called “investigation” of President Trump is, therefore, undermined and compromised from the start.  So will be any judgment it renders.

As Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) noted, “this is Trump derangement syndrome but this time with a gun and badge.”

All Americans should be fearful of the totalitarian state that America is in the process of becoming.

Literacy Festival a Success

The Mansfield Branch of the National Association of University Women held their literacy festival recently in Mansfield. 

The association said, “We had a great time at our Annual Literacy Festival. A special thanks goes to local young author, Miss Kennedy Williams.” 

The children’s librarian at the DeSoto Parish Library’s Mansfield Branch, Ms. Darron Spencer assisted with the program. The kids had a great time.

Curtain Going Up Friday Night

Enjoy the Christmas spirit! Let the Yuletide ring in your heart! Join us as BackAlley presents Not a Creature was Stirring, Not Even a Moose. The Editor of the Herald Tribune plans to use Christmas to his advantage by exposing a crooked mayor and selling a few hundred extra issues. But then, with the help of a letter from a little boy and a mysterious janitor, he and his staff may find the real meaning of Christmas.

Amy Hall has performed on the BackAlley stage in Christmas Belles and Dixie Swim Club. Amy serves on the BAT Board as Youth Theatre Director, managing the Dramaniacs’ after-school program and summer theater workshop.  She and her husband, Chuck, and their son, Ian, live in Stanley; their daughter, Jenna, attends Louisiana Tech. Amy spends much of her spare time directing the Dramaniacs for their upcoming Christmas play December 16, 17, and 18.  She enjoys spending time outdoors with her family, cooking, reading, and watching LSU football.

Jay Fewless was in last season’s Fools. He has also appeared in The Nerd, In-laws-Outlaws, and A Funny Little Thing Called Love. In his spare time, Jay follows his passion for building and flying remote-controlled airplanes–having flown his planes in Monterey, Mexico and the Joe Nall event in South Carolina. He is working with SciPort Discovery Center to develop an aeronautics and aviation STEM program for kids. Jay is originally from Waterford, WI, and is retired from General Motors. He lives in Stonewall with his wife, Jean, and their beloved canines.

Other cast members include Ethan Springer, Pat Gamel, Linda Sibley, Brian McCarty, Heath Lemme, Loni Young, and Abby Nally. Debbie Carr is Director and Terry Sparks is Stage Manager.

Show dates are Friday and Saturday, December 2 and 3 at 7:00 pm, Sunday, December 4 at 2:00 pm, and Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, December 8, 9, and 10 at 7:00 pm. Reservations are required. Click HERE to reserve your ticket, or text/call our box office at 318-461-0202. Tickets are $15 for each show; cash or check only, if paying at the door. We offer sodas, coffee, popcorn, and cookies.

Written by Pat Cook; produced by special arrangement with Eldridge Publishing Company.

Mansfield Gets a New Fire Truck

The Mansfield Fire Department is showing off their latest acquisition.  A new engine.

The department said, “This has been a very much needed piece of the puzzle that will help us continue to protect the citizens more efficiently. Thank you Mayor Jones for making sure all of your department are able to due their job safely and efficiently.”

Weekly Arrest Report

This Week’s report covers a one week period as of 9:00 am Monday morning and includes of all arrests made in DeSoto Parish by the DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office (DPSO), Mansfield Police Department (MPD), and Louisiana State Police (LSP.)

This report covers November 21-28, 2022

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

Notice of Death – November 30, 2022

Mary Muriel Santos

December 23, 1929 to November 26, 2022

View full obituary here:

Annie Ruth Springer Simmons

March 28, 1928 to November 24, 2022

View full obituary here:


Vera Mae Lewis

Homegoing Celebration was held Monday, November 28, 2022 at 1:00 pm at the Eastside Church of God in Christ.

Bobby Bell

Passed November 23, 2022

Graveside Service: Saturday, December 3 11:00 A.M. Jerusalem Cemetery Armstead, LA

James “Pat” Stratton, Jr.

Passed November 23, 2022

Service: Saturday, December 3, 2022 10:00 A.M. St. Mark Baptist Church Holly, LA

Joseph Dright, Sr.

November 6, 1963 to November 21, 2022

Service: Saturday, December 3, 2022 1:00 P.M. Jenkins Funeral Home Chapel Mansfield, LA

The DeSoto Parish Journal publishes paid obituaries – unlimited words and a photo, as well as unlimited access – $70. The obituary will be included in the emails sent to subscribers and to social media.  Contact your funeral provider or DeSotoParishJournal@gmail.com. Must be paid in advance of publication. (Notice of Death shown above with no link to the obituary are FREE of charge.)

ETC… for Wednesday, November 30, 2022

North DeSoto High’s science hallway saw plenty of excitement this week.  The HBS students added the nerves to their PLTW Manikins and chemistry celebrated Jacque Charles to cap off their Gases Unit by constructing hot air balloons from tissue paper and flying them.

The Library Club at the DeSoto Parish Library meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:00 to 5:00 pm.  It is for second through sixth graders.

Weekly Arrest Report

This Week’s report covers a one week period as of 9:00 am Monday morning and includes of all arrests made in DeSoto Parish by the DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office (DPSO), Mansfield Police Department (MPD), and Louisiana State Police (LSP.)

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

Annie Ruth Springer Simmons

Annie Ruth Springer Simmons was born March 2, 1928, in Mansfield, DeSoto Parish, Louisiana.

She spent her childhood & adolescent years growing up in Sabine Parish.  She graduated from Mansfield High School in De Soto Parish, Louisiana.  Annie spent some time living in Long Beach, California employed with the telephone company as a long-distance and marine telephone operator and Shari‘s restaurant as a head hostess.    Any time away from work, she enjoyed dancing with her sister Danielle who was a dance instructor for Arthur Murray Studios.

Annie married Daniel Reed Simmons on March 1, 1952, in Mansfield, Louisiana. Together they lived and raised four children on acreage south of Mansfield. And during that time for many years, she was the bookkeeper in her husband’s home-building construction business. 

Annie was preceded in death by her husband, Daniel Reed Simmons; youngest son, Jack Grindle Simmons; parents, William Elbert (EB) Springer and Minnie Modess Latham; and all her siblings listed in order of birth: Ransdell D., Arba Venessa, Lula Mae, Lennis Barrington, Amos Cleveland, Sam Franklin, William Elbert (Eldon), Ada Burness, Johnnie Lewis, Colvin Latham (Toby), and Danielle.

Annie is survived by three children: Maria Simmons Brasher and husband Bruce of Karnack, TX., Dennis Gordon (Dusty) Simmons and wife Susan of Onalaska, WA., & Mark Mitchel Simmons of Converse, LA;  

11 grandchildren: Daniel, Crystal, Michael, Dustin, Samuel, David, Danielle B., Victor, Angela, Jaclyn, Kathryn; three step-grandchildren: Danielle C., Kristin, & Shawn; 26 great-grandchildren, 17 step-great-grandchildren & one step-great-great-grandchild and a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Annie Ruth Springer Simmons passed away on Thanksgiving Morning, November 24, 2022, in Mansfield, LA.

Annie will always be remembered as a loving mother, grandmother, and a great storyteller to all who knew her. 

Visitation will be Monday from 5-8 p.m. and Funeral services will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m. by her family at Rose-Neath Funeral Home in Mansfield, LA.  followed by internment at the Ebenezer Cemetery in Mansfield, De Soto Parish, Louisiana. 

Pallbearers will be Daniel Simmons, Michael Simmons, Dustin Brasher, David Goldfield, Gavin Simmons, and Robert Springer.

Mary Muriel Santos

Funeral services for Mary Muriel Santos, 92, will be held on Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, 2260 Hwy. 171, Stonewall, Louisiana. Burial will follow at St. Ann’s Cemetery in Stonewall. A visitation will be held Wednesday, November 30, 2022 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. prior to the service. Officiating the service will be Father Mark Franklin.

Muriel was born on December 23, 1929 in Noble, Louisiana to Johnny and Florence Manshack and passed away on Saturday, November 26, 2022 in Shreveport.

Muriel was a resident of Frierson, Louisiana. Her family was the most important thing in her life. She enjoyed yardwork and flower gardening. She was a wonderful mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt and friend. She will be greatly missed by her family but will remain in our hearts forever.

Muriel is preceded in death by her husband, Alton Santos; daughter, Judy Santos; son, Alton Santos, Jr.; and great-grandchildren, A.J. and Jake Swanson. Left to cherish her memory are her daughters, Sharon Roach, Gwen Santos; grandchildren, Denise Jones and Cindy Swanson; great-grandchildren, Paul Wayne Wisely, Jessica Ponder and Haley Holder; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Honoring Muriel as pallbearers will be Paul Wayne Wisely, Jr., Billy Manshack, Huey Manshack, Jr. and Earnest Manshack. Serving as honorary pallbearers will be Chuck Fulford, Chase Ponder and Jeremy Holder.

Griffins Advance, Tigers Go Home

Friday night the Logansport Tigers’ football season came to an end.  Tjeu traveled north to Houma but did not prevail against the Pelicans.  Final score was Homer 47 and Logansport 6.

The Griffins were on fire Friday night.  They made the long trek to south Louisiana and came back with a big win against Breaux Bridge.  Final score was North DeSoto 42 and Breaux Bridge 13.  That brings the Griffins season to 11-1.

North DeSoto moves to the state semi-finals next Friday night.  They will be again on the road and again headed south.  North DeSoto heads to Southwest Louisiana to play Iowa.  On Friday, Iowa defeated the Leesville Wampus Cats 31 to 14.  Iowa’s record is also 11-1.

The Games Must Go On

This is a holiday weekend.  Local schools have been out all week.  Yet football must continue.  The lights will be shinning Friday night.

Unfortunately, they will not be home-town lights.

North DeSoto and Logansport are both on the road Friday night.  Both are contining their quest for a state football championship.

The Griffins travel to Breaux Bridge Friday for their quarterfinal game.  There is a 7:00 pm kickoff.

Tigers of Logansport have a shorter road trip.  They travel to meet #2 Homer on their turf.  Kickoff is also at 7:00 pm.  Tiger fans took to social media to proclaim, “Join us this FRIDAY as we send our FIGHTING TIGERS to Homer. Wear your purple and gold! Bring all the noisemakers and don’t forget to make those great signs.  We will be in front of the gym at 2:00 pm. See y’all there”

Weather.com predicts a 50% chance of rain at Breaux Bridge with a temperature in the low 60s.  At Homer the Tigers face an 80% chance of rain and a temperature in the low 50s.

First Year on the Trail

2022 was Logansport’s first year on the Holiday Trail of Lights.  Their Christmas Festival was held last weekend.  Here is Nicole Tull’s report:

The weather outside was frightful but the festival was so delightful. Cold did not stop the crowds from gathering for the Logansport Christmas Festival. Nearly sixty booths filled the pavilion parking lot and field at the riverfront. Several booths had propane heaters inside their tents that offered a reprieve from the chill. There were Christmas gifts of every kind to be found.

Vehicles entered in the car show were facing the river on the lower parking lot. Ronnie Land won a trophy for his motorcycle with side car and his wife, Deb, won a trophy for her golf cart that looked like an old car. Guy Patton won a trophy for his old Mercury. There were Jeeps, trucks and a new Mustang that also were featured.

The parade rolled through that evening as soon as it was dark enough. Dean Register led the way as Grand Marshall. The winners of the pageant were riding on their own floats. Local businesses and residents supported the parade by entering their own festive floats.

The festival closed the evening with a grand display of fireworks. Folks from both sides of the Sabine turned out for the pops and booms that lit the sky. The small town boasts of quite the barrage of pyrotechnics to start the Christmas season in Logansport.

If you prefer the quieter sounds of holiday cheer, then be sure to come visit the Logansport stop on the Trail of Lights and tune in to FM 105.3 to watch the lights dance in time with the music. The lights will be on display until the new year.

Sheriff’s Department Helps Hospital Foundation

Sheriff Jayson Richardson would like to announce the Beard Charity Donation for the month of October!  Since November of 2021, Sheriff Richardson has offered deputies the opportunity to grow out their beards in exchange for a $20 per month donation. At the end of each month a $1,000 donation has been given to a local non-profit of the Sheriff’s choosing.  This month’s donation marks a total of $12,000 donated back to the community thus far!

This month, Sheriff Richardson has chosen the DeSoto Regional Health System (DRHS) Foundation and the Billy Ray Bedsole Cancer Center.  The Foundation is the hospital’s fundraising arm and seeks community support for the many programs the hospital runs.  For this specific donation, the cancer center was chosen as they assist local patients who are going through outpatient chemotherapy.  DRHS partners with the Ochsner LSU Health Feist-Weiller Cancer Center to provider great care in a relaxed environment that is much more convenient for the patients we serve.  DRHS staff members provide many of the supplies patients need, but can’t afford, as they are going through this difficult time in their lives.  Additionally, DRHS provides treatment for patients regardless of their ability to pay.  The DRHS and Feist-Weiller partnership also allows patients to participate in clinical trials that would otherwise only be available in Shreveport.

The entire DeSoto Sheriff’s Office salutes the DRHS Foundation and the Billy Ray Bedsole Cancer Center for their hard work and dedication towards the health of our DeSoto Parish Residents.

Treats For Nursing Home Residents

Recently students from Mansfield Middle School, The Diamond Doves and The Aspiring Call me MiSTER brought Blessing Jars to all the residents and staff of the Mansfield Nursing Home.

Each item had a label explaining what each item represents.  Mansfield Middle School said the gifts were great.  “We definitely received a blessing.  Thank you students.”

Shavarash and the Trolleybus

Brad Dison

The morning of September 16, 1976 was chilly in Yerevan, Armenia.  The streets were busy with commuters heading to work and other various destinations.  The city used trolleybuses powered by electric lines above the highway to transport the masses of people to their destinations.  Windows wrapped around the entirety of the upper half of the trolleybuses to allow for better visibility.  As it was a chilly morning, all the windows were closed to keep the cold air out.  One such trolleybus was loaded with 91 people and its driver.  As the trolleybus neared Yerevan Lake, something happened.  Some people claimed the passengers and the driver got into a physical altercation, while others argued that the driver had a medical emergency, probably a heart attack.  Regardless of the cause, the trolleybus veered off the roadway.  The arms connecting the trolleybus to the electric wires snapped.  Although the trolleybus had lost its power source, it rolled on its wheels down an embankment and straight into the frigid waters of Yerevan Lake.   One witness said the sound was “so loud, as if a bomb went off.”  Within seconds, the trolleybus was completely submerged.

Sometimes it seems like the right people are in the right place at the right time.  23-year-old Shavarash Karapetyan and his brother Kamo were nearby, heard the crash, and rushed to the water’s edge.  Both Shavarash and Kamo were finswimming champions, a sport in which the swimmers wear fins to increase their speed in the water.  At the time, Shavarash had won 37 gold medals and held nine world records for finswimming.  He had earned nicknames such as “Goldfish” and “Amphibian.”  On this day, however, neither Shavarash nor Kamo had their fins.  Without hesitation, Shavarash sprang into action.  As they ran, Shavarash told Kamo to help him from the shore. 

Shavarash dove into the frigid water and swam to the spot where the trolleybus sank.  He swam down 33 feet where the trolleybus rested on the lake floor.  Shavarash tried to look into the windows of the trolleybus but, at that depth, all he saw was darkness.  Shavarash knocked out one of the trolleybus’s windows.  Air rushed out of the trolleybus.  The change in air pressure by the broken glass forced shards of glass into Shavarash’s skin.  Nine of the passengers exited through the window and swam to the surface. 

Shavarash swam in through the trolleybus’s broken window and used his hands to feel around for passengers in the darkness.  When his hands felt something, he clutched it, swam to the surface, and handed the person off to Kamo.  Then, he dove down again and repeated the process.  Each dive took Shavarash about 25 seconds.  Although he was a champion swimmer, Shavarash was quickly losing strength.  He would not give up.  He could not give up.  Shavarash dove down 38 times before his body could go no further.  He almost drowned several times but somehow barely made it to the surface in time, gasping for air.  On his last dive, Shavarash felt around inside the trolleybus for a passenger, clutched something, and swam up.  On the surface, Shavarash was horrified to learn that, rather than a victim, he was grasping one of the trolleybus’s seat cushions.    

Shavarash could swim no more.  His body was exhausted.  His lungs were injured and he could hardly breath.  Shavarash wanted to go back down but Kamo pulled him from the water.  He could do no more.  In all, Shavarash helped get 46 people to the surface—nine escaped when Shavarash broke the trolleybus’s window, and he pulled 37 people to the surface. 

Within minutes of the crash, doctors from a nearby hospital rushed to the scene to render what aid they could right there on the shore.  Once Shavarash’s strength gave out and Kamo pulled him from the water, the doctors struggled to save his life as well.  Ambulances loaded with survivors raced to the hospital and returned to the shore to transport more survivors, one of them being Shavarash.  Of the passengers Shavarash pulled to the surface, 20 survived.  Shavarash spent over a month in the hospital.  He was diagnosed with septic fever, double-sided pneumonia, and nervous prostration. 

Shavarash survived the trolleybus accident, but it haunts him to this day.  Shavarash nearly drowned several times.  He said later, “I could imagine the agony of those 92 people and I knew how they would die.  I had nightmares about that cushion for a long time.  I could have saved someone else’s life.  In difficult moments like this, your love for fellow humans grows even stronger.”

Shavarash returned to swimming upon his release from the hospital, but he would never be the same.  Swimming underwater was physically and mentally painful.  True to form, however, Shavarash would not give up.  Just a few months after the trolleybus accident, Shavarash competed in a finswimming championship.  Knowing how he was struggling, Kamo ran alongside the pool just in case Shavarash lost consciousness.  But Shavarash did not lose consciousness.  He came in first place and set another world record.  Following this win, Shavarash retired from the sport he so dearly loved.  He could no longer bear to be underwater.

Shavarash was awarded the Medal “For the Salvation of the Drowning” and the Order of the Badge of Honor. What was Shavarash doing just before the trolleybus accident you wonder?  What was he doing just before he dove down to a depth of 33 feet 38 times and helped 47 people from the sunken trolleybus?  You see, Shavarash was already exhausted when he entered the water.  Shavarash had just completed the final portion of that morning’s rigorous training event, a 12-mile run.

Source:  AuroraPrize.com. “Twenty-Five Seconds per Life.” Accessed November 21, 2022. auroraprize.com/en/twenty-five-seconds-life.

A New Face for 4-H

By Nicole Tull

There is a new 4-H Agent for DeSoto Parish, Ms. SarahJayne Driskill. SarahJayne comes to us from the classroom where she has been an educator for the past 8 years and she has also been a 4-H school club leader in Caddo Parish for the past few years. The 4-H folks are looking forward to what she brings to our program.

Make plans to attend the DeSoto 4-H Christmas Open House. There will be a gingerbread man competition, hot chocolate, popcorn, and even a Christmas movie. Plus, you get a chance to meet our new 4-H Agent Ms. SarahJayne!

Please RSVP Ms. SarahJayne by December 14th. You can email her at sjdriskill@agcenter.lsu.edu or call the office at (318)872-0533.