This & That…Wednesday, November 22, 2023

On Friday, November 24th, at 6:30pm you are invited to make history in DeSoto Parish, and light up the sky with a beautiful world record of a Christmas Tree! You may be welcomed with some hot cocoa and a special visit from the man way up north, Santa Claus himself. Come and join in for a wonderful moment as  “The Spirit of DeSoto Tree” is unveiled at the Stonewall Government Plaza.

The 19th Annual Fleur de Lis Christmas Craft Market is coming to Natchitoches on November 25 from 9am – 4:30pm at the Natchitoches Events Center, 750 Second Street. This event is free and open to the public.

The Pelican Library invites the public to their Open House on December 7 at 2pm. Door prizes, fun games, delicious food and an ugly Christmas sweater contest are planned.

Griffins start playoffs with home date against DeRidder on Friday

North DeSoto receivers Landry Wyatt and Eli Procell celebrate this season as the Griffins have one of the most passing attacks in the state.
CREDIT: Madison Ruston

By Matt Vines, DeSoto Parish Journal

STONEWALL – The last time North DeSoto stepped onto a playoff football field – it was the Caesars Superdome to play for the Division II Non-Select championship. The Griffins didn’t take home the hardware in the program’s first-ever championship appearance, falling to traditional power Lutcher in a game which North DeSoto led late in the third quarter.

North DeSoto (9-1) has its eye on a return trip to New Orleans for another shot, and the first playoff obstacle standing in the No. 1 seed Griffins’ way is No. 17 DeRidder (7-4) in a second-round matchup. The game kicks off Friday at 7 p.m. at North DeSoto, which earned a first-round bye.

A high-flying offense and a defense that’s improved throughout the course of the season has secured North DeSoto the No. 1 seed in the Division II bracket. Led by sophomore quarterback Luke Delafield, the Griffins have topped the 50-point mark in eight of their 10 games. Delafield finished the regular season as the state’s seventh-most prolific passer, throwing for 2,475 yards with 29 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

“(Luke) is taking care of the ball better, and he’s not forcing throws into coverage,” said North DeSoto coach Dennis Dunn, who has elevated the Griffins from a solid perennial playoff participant to a championship contender in his five seasons.

The Griffins are the only team in the state to boast two receivers in the top 10 in receiving yards.

Junior Cole Cory entered the season as the team’s most established target, but senior Landry Wyatt’s development has diversified North DeSoto’s passing attack. Cory is second in the state with 1,139 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns, while Wyatt checks in at No. 9 with 861 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns, according to state leaders published by

North DeSoto has won at least one playoff game in each of the past three seasons, and the Griffins will attempt to add a fourth straight playoff campaign with a win.

DeRidder gained late-season steam with three straight wins, which includes a first-round road playoff win at No. 16 Lakeshore (28-21) this past week. The Dragons are a smash-mouth squad with three running backs that average at least 75 yards per game. Reed Williams leads the way with 96 yards per game and a team-high 19 touchdowns.

“They will run the ball right at you,” said Dunn, who led Evangel Christian to nine state championships in 13 seasons in the 1990s and early 2000s. “They are big and physical up front.”

While North DeSoto’s defense surrendered more than 50 points in its first two games against prolific offenses in Airline and Center (Texas), the Griffins have been much stingier in the last eight games. North DeSoto has allowed just 104 points over its last eight contests, which is fewer than the 105 surrendered in the first two games. Those include shutouts of Minden and Booker T. Washington and three points allowed to Loyola.

“Our defensive line was young and inexperienced,” Dunn said. “They’ve continued to progress and get better through the season.”

The winner of North DeSoto-DeRidder will face the victor of No. 8 Iowa and No. 9 Plaquemine.

Mansfield’s fast start not enough at Sterlington as Wolverines’ season ends

Mansfield running back Rykelon Vanzant reeled off a 64-yard run on fourth-down that set up the Wolverines’ first score Thursday. Sterlington eliminated Mansfield 35-15.
CREDIT: Mickey Morgan/Mic’s Pics

By Matt Vines, DeSoto Parish Journal

STERLINGTON – The Mansfield High football team traveled across the state, got off the bus, and delivered the first blow to a Sterlington program that raised a state championship trophy just two years ago.

The No. 18 seed Wolverines traded punches with the No. 3 Panthers throughout the first half Thursday, but Sterlington found its footing in the second half en route to a 35-15 win in the second round of the Division III Non-Select playoffs.

Mansfield’s TJ Pegues plunged in from one yard out to knot the score at 15-15 with just two seconds left in the first half, but Sterlington created distance in the second half by scoring all 20 points.

“We just went out and played hard, kind of punched them in the mouth in the first half,” said Mansfield coach Darrell Barbay. “I’m super proud of our kids’ great effort in playing probably the best team in the state in Division III.”

Sterlington running back Trammell Colvin accounted for four touchdowns as the Panthers reeled off a series of explosive plays to keep pace with and then pull away from Mansfield.

The Wolverines (6-6) struck first thanks to a 64-yard Rykelon Vanzant run on fourth down to set up a 1-yard Pegues touchdown run to give Mansfield an early 7-0 edge.

Colvin responded with a 39-yard scoring gallop, and a two-point conversion handed the Panthers an 8-7 lead.

Mansfield lumbered down the field on its second drive, getting all the way to the Sterlington 7 before missing a fourth-and-six conversion.

Sterlington’s Hagen Herring did the honors on the second possession, scoring from 39 yards to hand the Panthers a 15-7 advantage.

But Mansfield wasn’t going away.

Pegues pushed his way into the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown run, evening the score at 15-15. That last yard propelled Mansfield to 210 rushing yards in the first half.

The senior had two rushing touchdowns in his final game.

But Sterlington made defensive adjustments in the second half, and Colvin scored three second-half touchdowns to advance the Panthers to the quarterfinals.

“Sterlington kept moving the ball the way they had been all night, and we didn’t move it as well,” said Barbay of a Mansfield offense that chewed up chunks of clock in the first half. “We didn’t keep the ball away from them, and we had a tough time blocking their interior guys in the second half.”

Mansfield’s six wins this season is the most since logging eight in 2018, which is also the last time the Wolverines won a playoff game before the first-round victory against Marksville this past week.

The Wolverines started the season 0-4 against top-notch competition before winning six of its last eight contests.

“A lot of building a program is getting kids to trust us as a coaching staff and buying into the program,” Barbay said earlier this week as his second season in Mansfield neared its end. “Our kids work hard and do what we ask of them at practice every day.

“That’s really all you can ask of them – to keep working and get stronger. Our administration has backed us and helped us get the things we need to get better. Our principals, school board and superintendent have been outstanding in this process as well.”

Logansport riding high as Tigers begin playoffs

A Logansport ball carrier attempts to fight through a tackle in a game earlier this regular season. The Tigers began its playoff journey Friday in the second round against Franklin.
CREDIT: Hayley Farmer/Logansport High

By Matt Vines, DeSoto Parish Journal

LOGANSPORT – Dominant doesn’t begin to describe the way the Logansport football team has played during its nine-game winning streak. Logansport has outscored its last five opponents by a combined score of 234-9, allowing just one touchdown during that span.

The No. 1 seed Tigers (9-1) will ride that momentum into their opening playoff game against No. 16 Franklin on Friday. The game will be at Logansport with a 7 p.m. kickoff.

Logansport earned a first-round bye in the Division IV Non-Select playoffs as the top seed, while Franklin (6-5) bashed Grand Lake, 46-13, to reach the second round.

Logansport has won at least one playoff game in each season dating back to 2013, taking home the Class 1A title in 2016, playing in the state championship game in 2021 and reaching the semifinals in 2017 and 2019.

While the Tigers have typically relied on one main weapon in years past, coach Kevin Magee said this bunch has a deeper stable of horses. “We knew we had a large and fairly experienced offensive line coming back, and we’d figure we would play a lot of defense and focus on running the football with play-action mixed in,” Magee said. “But what happened is that we’ve molded closer to the type of offense we’ve been in the past, and now we’re pretty balanced between the run and pass. “We don’t have that one standout guy that is a state leader in a category, but we have a bunch of guys that have a lot of experience and are productive when they touch the football. That makes us more dangerous I think because these guys do it as a group.”

Quarterback Steven Holloway, whom is best known as an all-state linebacker, has filled the shoes under center in his final season. Logansport has a multitude of ball carries led by Jukadynn Carter and Tonashton Bland. D’warr’tez Chatman, D’avery Robinson and Dakamden Flemon are three of Logansport’s top receivers.

“That makes us more dangerous I think because these guys do it as a group,” said Magee, a former quarterback in his own right. “There’s not an ego on the offense that has to have ‘X’ number of touches.”

The defense, which competed well for nearly three quarters with Class 2A power Calvary Baptist in Logansport’s only loss (47-12), has allowed just one other team (Red River) to score more than 24 points.

The Tigers ran roughshod over District 3-1A, which included handcuffing reigning district champion St. Mary’s in a 20-3 win in Week 9, to secure its own district title.

The defensive success starts up front with the defensive line. “We’re physically pretty good up front, and we’ve been told by some other teams that our front is the toughest they’ve faced this season,” Magee said. “Our defensive staff puts together a great plan every week, and they focus on miniscule details and a thorough evaluation of our opponents.”

The scouting report on Franklin is a balanced offense that moves the ball in the air and on the ground. The Class 2A Hornets have won their last three games (including the playoff win), and they are no stranger to being tested on the football field.

Franklin’s opponents include Class 4A Breaux Bridge (31-12 loss), Class 3A Berwick (21-14 loss) and Class 3A Patterson (14-8 loss) along with traditional 2A power Catholic-New Iberia (49-12 loss). Franklin did knock off Class 5A Central Lafourche, 30-28, in Week 4.



CREDIT: Hayley Farmer/Logansport High


North Desoto takes on DeRidder at home

After a bye the first week of playoffs, the Griffins will host the DeRidder Dragons to their turf.
This matchup will pit the 9-1 Griffins against the 7-4 Dragons on the North Desoto home field. The Griffins have been unstoppable in district play this season with a 7-0 record. The Dragons have a 3-2 district record.

DeRidder’s run game matches up with North Desoto with an average of 290 yards rushing against 230 yards per game. The passing yardage is no comparison with ND averaging 259 yards vs. 47yards per game.

All eyes will be on #15, Luke Delafield for a smooth offensive approach and #40 Kaleb Carter for power tackling. Look to #44 Konner Watson, # 5 Kenny Thomas, and # 26 Trysten Hopper to continue to lead the team.

Making Christmas History in DeSoto Parish

News Release
November 16th, 2023
Sheriff Jayson Richardson
DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office

If you Google “What is the current tallest Christmas Tree structure in the world?” you may find results such as in Enid, Oklahoma which stands at 140 feet, or perhaps Indianapolis, Indiana which stands at 284 feet. Such a structure not only provides a little extra holiday spirit during Christmas, but also brings in tourists to visit, admire, and shop in those areas that have made their mark as a welcoming stop during the Christmas Season.

This is a thought that came across Sheriff Jayson Richardson’s mind in December of 2022, as he drove by a specific location and pondered: “Perhaps we can put DeSoto Parish at the top of that list.” Sheriff Richardson soon began contacting entities such as the FAA, FCC, Kay Radio & Electronics out of Alexandria, and various other sponsors and donors that would be willing to approve and cover all time and costs associated with such a bold project. Sheriff Richardson made contact with one man who is currently creating his own Christmas Themed Business here in DeSoto Parish, the “Lumiere Christmas Experience.” Mr. Perry Thompson soon jumped onboard with the Sheriff’s idea, and
accepted the challenge.

The project began in early 2023, and it is time to share this bold idea with you all, as it is destined to become a reality this Christmas! Built around our communications tower at the Stonewall Government Plaza, and standing at a record breaking 300 feet (that’s 28 stories tall), you will find the Tallest Christmas Tree structure currently in the World, right here in DeSoto Parish! The new structure exhibits
a whopping 10,250 beautiful LED lights for all to see, and we want you to join us for its official Lighting Ceremony!

On Friday, November 24th, we invite you to join us at 6:30pm as we make history in DeSoto Parish, and light up the sky with this beautiful world record of a Christmas Tree! You may be welcomed with some hot cocoa and a special visit from the man wayyy up north, Santa Claus himself. Come and join us for a wonderful moment as we unveil: “The Spirit of DeSoto Tree”

Mark Pierce, PIO
Public Relations & Social Media
Cellular Forensics Operator & Analyst
DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office
Office: 318.872.3956 Ext. 251
Cell: 318.461.0504

State Fair Livestock Show is in the books

The 2023 State Fair of Louisiana livestock show is in the books!

Please help us congratulate all of our exhibitors from DeSoto 4-H on a job well done!
(These are in no particular order)

Hayden Hardy-Market Lambs/Market Broilers

Clay Usrey-Market Lambs, Commercial Dairy, Rabbits, Poultry

Landen Cubley-Market Lambs/Market Broilers

Addison Salley- Market Swine/Market Broilers/Commercial Beef

Lauralye Jeter-Market Swine/Prospect Swine/Breeding Swine

Hadley Magee-Market Swine

Lincoln Ebarb-Exhibition Poultry

Jamarsay Green-Market Swine/Market Broilers

Gabriel Johnson-Market Swine/Market Broilers

Jenna Bamburg-Market Lambs/Market Broilers

Khloe Henry-Market Swine/Market Broilers

Joslyn Peterson-Market Lambs/Market Broilers/Exhibition Poultry

Jalisha Green-Market Broilers

Elizabeth Adair-Dairy


Pictured: Lauralye Jeter

Mansfield Christmas parade set to roll

The Mansfield Christmas Parade will take place Saturday, December 9 at 2pm.  Entry forms are now being accepted for the following categories: floats, performing/marching units, bands, automobiles, horses, ATVs and 4-Wheelers. 

Entrants will begin lining up at the old Walmart parking lot between 11am and 1:30pm. The parade will begin promptly at 2pm. 

Performing/marching units and bands are free to participate. Floats, automobiles and individual horses/4 wheelers/motorcycles cost $10. Groups of horses/4 wheelers/motorcycles cost $20.

Forms and entry fees must be turned in no later than December 1 at City Hall. All proceeds raised will be used to purchase additional decorations for the City of Mansfield. 

Salute to fishing guide Jerry Walthall

I’ve often wondered why anyone would want to be a fishing guide, especially a bass fishing guide. It’s a tough job where clients have high expectations of the guide himself. The guide should be able to put you on fish consistently. But there’s more to being a fishing guide than just being able to put customers on fish. He or she needs an attractive personality because there will be many days that it will come in handy.

Some guides go above and beyond to make a fishing trip complete and enjoyable. They bait hooks, take fish off hooks and, the worst part, clean all the fish. But occasionally, they entertain. Some can sing, some can do tricks, and some can tell jokes. Some are great story tellers and like sharing their experiences from previous guide trips while making fun of some of their clients.

For several years, I took trips to Beavers Bend State Park just north of Broken Bow, Oklahoma. Each year I would hire a guide by the name of Jerry Walthall. Now Jerry was an old soul, probably in his late 70s, who was a Vietnam war veteran. He had a wealth of knowledge and knew Lake Broken Bow well. But my last trip with Jerry would be one I’ll never forget.

We met at the boat ramp, loaded the boat, and headed north up the lake. Jerry’s boat was not a high dollar luxury boat. It was an old 21-foot Ranger boat with a 250 Evinrude motor on the back. The seats had seen better days as all of them had duct tape holding them together. To say the boat had been used is an understatement. But don’t be fooled by an overused boat or an old man who moved slowly from console to the front deck. This man knew how to catch fish.

On every trip I made with Jerry, we always made a long run up into the river portion of the lake. Jerry seemed to be the most comfortable and knowledgeable on this end of the lake. I’ve said before that there’s never been an angler in the boat with me that I did not learn something from. Jerry was no exception as we began talking fish catching strategies for the day.

I think one reason Jerry and I got along so well is that we both loved fishing a Zoom trickworm. But a few years earlier, I would be the one to introduce him to the trickworm color black emerald. From that day on, Jerry always made sure we had a few packs of black emerald trickworms in the boat as we headed out.

But on my last outing with Jerry, he did something that I had never seen before and will never forget. As we settled in and Jerry lowered the trolling motor, we both started fishing. Now the scenery on Lake Broken Bow can be breathtaking, especially in the fall. But on this particular morning, it was cold with a low hanging fog just above the water.

After a couple of fish catches by both of us, Jerry told me to please hand him the next small fish I caught. Only minutes went by when I caught a ten-inch fish. Jerry saw the fish and said that was the perfect size. I said to him, “The perfect size for what?” As he took possession of the small bass, he told me to watch the tree line on the other side of the bay.

It was at this point Jerry started to whistle, as if calling his favorite dog, when out of nowhere an eagle came flying off the treetops down to the water level about hundred yards behind the boat. The eagle was soaring just above the water with a purpose and appeared to know exactly what he was looking for. As the eagle approached the back of the boat, he flew within a couple feet and snatched that bass right out of Jerry’s hand! It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen on any fishing trip. I asked Jerry why he had never shown me that before? It was so cool seeing the majestic eagle swoop down off the trees and take a fish out of Jerry’s hand like some kind of circus act.

This would be my last trip with Jerry Walthall. He died during the Covid pandemic. I miss my friend Jerry and the trips we took. We always had great outings no matter how many fish we caught. We both told stories, but his were more interesting. After all he was a Vietnam war veteran but did not like talking about his experiences in the war. I respected him for that as I could tell it had a lasting impact on him, and not in a good way.

To Jerry and all the war veterans out there, thank you for your service and thank you for allowing folks like me to get to enjoy the freedoms of this great country.

‘Til next time, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to set the hook. You never know when you might catch that fish of a lifetime.

Contact Steve at

NSU invites alumni to join DemoNSUnite networking platform

Northwestern State University’s Office of Alumni Affairs has created a community networking platform exclusively for NSU alumni.  The DemoNSUnite platform is another way that alumni can explore and network with NSU entrepreneurs, connect mentors with mentees, post or find jobs and stay current on NSU news and events.

The capabilities of the platform include a News feed from the main NSU page to keep users informed of happenings at NSU, Events feed to stay informed of upcoming events and ticketing information for NSU events and a Live feed that will circulate content from the platform.  The platform also includes a Forums section where topics to engage alumni will be posted, an Opportunities section where individuals can post job listings and mentorship opportunities and a People Directory, where users can navigate and locate other users within the platform.

“The goal of DemoNSUnite is to provide a networking platform for NSU alumni to engage with each other and rekindle friendships,” said Danielle Antoon Cobb, director of Alumni Affairs. “This platform serves as a virtual community where alumni can interact and support each other personally and professionally. As undergraduates, NSU provided us with the education and skills needed to excel in our careers. This platform allows us to network amongst professionals in our fields and beyond. We hope this platform will unite alumni and enable individuals seeking new opportunities to find them. The features of this community will keep alumni up to date with the happenings on campus and opportunities provided by fellow alumni worldwide. In addition, alumni will be able to connect with fellow alumni who graduated within the same decade.”

Individuals can request to join the platform by visiting or following the QR code below. 

For more information, contact Danielle Antoon Cobb, director of Alumni Affairs at or (318) 357-5513. 

Desoto Parish Police Jury meeting agenda

Nov 20, 2023 Meeting Agenda
Police Jury Meeting Room, 101 Franklin Street, Mansfield, LA 71052


      1. Michael Norton, Parish Administrator
      2. Chance McNeely with the Delta Resource Group
      3. Accept the Financial Statements as of October 31, 2023 and Year to Date Budget to actual report
      4. Motion to approve October 16, 2023 Regular Meeting, October 19, 2023 Budget
and Finance Committee Meeting, November 2, 2023, Budget and Finance
Committee Meeting, November 6, 2023 Administrative, Budget and Finance,
Insurance, Solid Waste, Road, Airport and Special Meeting, November 9, 2023
Budget and Finance and Insurance Committee Meeting.

5. Appoint James Martin to the DeSoto Parish Planning Commission for a 6-year
6. Award low bid for the David Means 4H Building Roof Replacement

7. Authorize the President to sign an agreement with Capital Area Finance
Authority and the Certificate of DeSoto Parish Evidencing Public Approval of
Bonds pursuant to section 147(f) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as
8. Authorize the President and Council to sign Lease Agreement 2024 Caterpillar
Track Hoe with changes made per legal council (Already approved in budget)
9. Accept the recommendation of the Parish Administrator and Human Resource
Director for the Solid Waste Superintendent Position.
10. Authorize the E-911 naming of Bossier Estates Private Drive in Logansport

11. Recommends authorizing the President to sign a Resolution for the assignment
of State Agency Lease No. 20218 from SMEP all of their rights, titles and
interest in said lease unto GEP Haynesville II, LLC
12. Recommends authorizing the President to sign the State Project No. H015175
Obstruction Removal Runway 36 Approach Phase III (Construction) C. E. “Rusty Williams” Airport Agreement and Resolution


13. Recommends accepting the resignation of Latarsha Shelton and appointing
Bruce Carol to the EMS Board for the remaining term expiring in July of 2024
14. Recommends accepting the resignation of Michael Rister from the Waterworks
District No. 1 Board
15. Recommends rescinding the authorization for Jurors and employees hunting on
any Jury property.
16. Recommends accepting the resignation of Michael Rister and appoint Tim
McQueary to the Fire District 9 Board of Commissioners serving the remaining
term expiring in 2024 and re-appoint Ross Tilsbury and John Prince to the Fire
District 9 Board of Commissioners for a two year term.
17. Recommends re-appointing Shirley Payne and Mary Thompson to the DeSoto
Parish Tourism Commission serving a 3 year term.

18. Recommends re-appointing Michelle Abington Cooper, Margaret Dickerson and
Leon Hunt to the DeSoto Parish Library Board of Control for a 5 year term.
19. Recommends amending the 2023 Holiday Schedule for the Christmas Holiday to
change Friday and Monday (December 22-25) to Monday and Tuesday
(December 25-26)

20. Recommends amending the budget to transfer $120,000 from the General Fund
to the Office Of Community Service Fund.

21. Recommends staying with United Health Care as is effective January 1, 2024
and later in the year look into changing to self insured

22. Recommends authorizing the President to sign Change Order No. 2 for Road
Drainage Improvements on Charlie Jones, Daw, Mounce and Nash Road – 2016
23. Recommends amending the Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with The Town of
Logansport and amend the Road Budget in the amount of $29,000 for
overlaying the remainder part of Lovell Lane.


NSU gets Title III grant to assist low income students

Northwestern State University has been awarded a Title III “Elevate U” grant in the amount of $2,072,425 to support initiatives aimed at increasing retention and graduation rates for low-income students. 

“Essentially, the grant will help students make purposeful choices in selecting a field of study, determine the most appropriate academic path and ensure they are career-ready upon graduation,” said NSU President Dr. Marcus Jones.   

Title III grants are awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to help eligible institutions expand their capacity to serve low-income students. The grant will enable NSU to improve academic advising and address postsecondary education access, affordability and post-enrollment success at NSU, where many first-time freshmen are classified as low-income.

According to data, average academic performance for low-income students is lower than those of students who are not low-income and lower gateway course success rates and lower GPAs may contribute to students needing more time to graduate. Low-income students have significantly lower four-year graduation rates compared to rates for students who are not low-income.

According to Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Greg. Handel, NSU will implement a two-pronged five-year plan to meet the needs of low-income students, which includes first-generation students who are the first in their families to attend college.

“Our first priority is to improve academic advising and support,” Handel said. “Strategies will include academic advising, guided pathways to degree completion and a more integrated advising, tutoring and career planning experience. First generation students will be a major component of this grant’s impact.”

Handel said NSU has a user-friendly hands-on approach with academic advising already in place and the grant will provide extra layers of support. 

“Students have academic advisors in their majors who guide them through course selection and registration each semester and assist them in networking with future internship placements,” he said. “This grant will assist first generation and low-income students with tutoring and career-placement and strategies for success that are specifically driven by what these students need to succeed.  The grant will enable students will grow academically, be involved socially and professionally across campus organizations and activities and learn strategies that lead to employment after graduation.”

The second component is to expand the first-year and second-year experience at NSU by implementing residential living learning communities to engage low-income students, build community and promote a sense of belonging.

“Living Learning Communities incorporate academic, leadership and career programs that include tutoring, peer mentor support, financial guidance, health and wellness, community building and proactive academic advising,” said Vice President for the Student Experience and Dean of Students Reatha Cox.  “Resident mentors work within the residential communities to promote personal development, citizenship, campus involvement and familiarity with resources that available to help students.”

Administrators will track data, assess outcomes and provide state and federal reports to inform decision making and guide adjustments over the five-year program and beyond.

“Data shows that when students get involved, whether through academic organizations, service organizations or social organizations, the likelihood that they will graduate increases.  We plan to implement programs where low-income students have opportunities to understand that they belong here, help them stay focused on their goals and develop not only academically, but as leaders on campus and in their communities,” Jones said.

DPSO welcomes recent graduate

Sheriff Jayson Richardson and the DPSO staff would like to congratulate Deputy Makeal Williams on his recent graduation from the Caddo Parish Regional Training Academy. Dy. Williams will be joining the Corrections Division in our DPSO family, ready to serve DeSoto Parish.

The Caddo Parish Training Academy is a 16 week program, with one additional week for those seeking a career in Corrections. The course is is a major achievement, but it does not come easy. Academy is challenging in many different areas ranging from physical, mental, and strategical operations. There is a minimum of 496 hours which must be completed and is set forth by POST, the Peace Officers Standards and Training Council. Graduation was held at 4pm on November 09, 2023, at Calvary Baptist Church in Shreveport.

Something That Happened

In the first decade of the twentieth century, young John displayed a passion for reading and writing which his mother, a former schoolteacher, also shared.  John and his family lived in Salinas, California, a small valley town with rich, fertile soil.  As a teenager in the late 1910s, John spent his summers working on local ranches harvesting grapes, sugar beets, and a variety of root vegetables alongside migrant farmers.  One day, John worked alongside a certain migrant farmer just as he had for the previous several weeks.  The migrant farmer was angry at the ranch foreman because the foreman had fired his friend.  When the foreman came near John and the migrant farmer, The farmer “stuck a pitchfork right through his stomach.  I hate to tell you how many times.  I saw him do it.  We couldn’t stop him until it was too late.”   The migrant farmer ended up in an insane asylum. 

Fifteen years later, John used his experiences working with migrant farmers as the basis for a novella in which two displaced migrant ranch workers search for new opportunities in California during the Great Depression.  John carefully crafted his novella.  Rather than using a typewriter, John hand-wrote every word of the novella.  Finally, in the last week of May 1936, after months of laboring over each word, John finished his novella of which he gave the somewhat lackluster title, “Something That Happened.” 

Then, on May 27, 1936, John wrote a letter to his editor.  “Minor tragedy stalked,” he said.  “My setter pup [Toby], left alone one night, made confetti of about half of my book.  Two months work to do over again.  It sets me back.  There was no other draft.”

“I was pretty mad, but the poor little fellow may have been acting critically.  I didn’t want to ruin a good dog for a ms [manuscript].  I’m not sure it is good at all.  He only got an ordinary spanking with his punishment flyswatter.  But there’s the work to do over from the start.  I’m not sure Toby didn’t know what he was doing when he ate the first draft.”  John jokingly wrote, “I have promoted Toby-dog to be lieutenant colonel in charge of literature.” 

When John finished rewriting his manuscript, he sent it to his editor.  In late 1936, his editor sent him a telegram which explained that his novella would be the featured book for March 1937’s Book-of-the-Month Club.  Most authors would have been overjoyed with the achievement, but not John.  He wanted to succeed with his writing, of course, but he hated publicity.  His editor anxiously awaited his reply which he expected to receive within minutes.  Minutes turned into hours, and hours turned into days.  Finally, two weeks later, the editor received a postcard from John on which he had scribbled, “What does it mean?” 

When John began to write the novella, he could not have imagined how successful the book would become.  It received the greatest positive response in his writing career to that point.  Fanny Butcher, a Chicago Tribune book critic, wrote that John’s novella was “so movingly, so factually that only when its last page is finished does the reader realize what a remarkable literary feat the author has performed.  Brutality and tenderness mingle in these strangely moving pages” which included “language that gentle ears would never hear.”  The critic explained, “The reader is fascinated by a certainty of approaching doom.”  Fred T. March wrote in the New York Times, “In sure, raucous, vulgar Americanism, [the author] has touched the quick in his little story.” 

John’s novella became required reading in many schools in the English speaking world because it exemplified what life was like for migrant workers during the Great Depression.  In the novella, John “described brutal times in brutal terms.”  In the decades after the novella was first published, John’s book frequently began to appear on lists of banned books because of the “brutal terms,” – blasphemous and vulgar language.  Other popular titles which appeared on lists of banned books included Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye,” and, more recently, J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series.  John’s novella is included in the American Library Association’s list of the Most Challenged Books of the 21stcentury and John is listed among the most frequently challenged authors of the 21st century.     

Despite attempts to have John’s book banned, it is considered a literary classic.  In 1962, John won the Nobel Prize for Literature for his “realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humor and keen social perception.”  On October 25, 2023, Bonhams auction house sold a small fragment of John’s original draft which was destroyed by his dog, Toby, for $12,800.  That chewed fragment was part of the classic novella originally called “Something That Happened,” which, just before publishing, the author, John Steinbeck, renamed “Of Mice and Men.”


1.     The Des Moines Register, March 14, 1937, p.35.

2.     Argus-Leader, October 26, 1983, p.9.

3.     Fort Worth Star-Telegram, June 20, 2001, p.65.

4.     Mount Desert Islander, September 28, 2006, p.23.

5.     Creamer, Ella. 2023. “Of Mice and Men First-Draft Fragment Torn up by Steinbeck’s Dog Goes to Auction.” The Guardian, September 29, 2023, sec. Books.

6.     “John Steinbeck’s Sword and First Draft Fragment of ‘of Mice and Men’ Eaten by His Dog to Auction.” Accessed November 12, 2023.

7.     ‌ “Bonhams: John Steinbeck the Mary Steinbeck Dekker Family Collection.” n.d. Accessed November 12, 2023.

8.     American Library Association. 2013. “Banned & Challenged Classics.” Advocacy, Legislation & Issues. March 26, 2013.

9.     ‌ The Nobel Prize in Literature 1962. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2023. Sun. 12 Nov 2023.

Coca‑Cola Holiday Caravan schedules stop in Logansport

The magical Coca‑Cola Holiday Caravan is bringing a taste of the holidays to Logansport this year. It arrives in Logansport Park on Saturday, November 25 and is open to the public from 4-6pm. Loaded with holiday gifts, delicious Coca‑Cola products and even Santa himself, you’re invited to come join the fun. Holiday magic and joy awaits.

Since lighting up the small screen in a TV ad that first aired in the mid-1990s, the Coca‑Cola Caravan has signaled the start of the festive season for nearly three decades. The red and twinkling truck makes stops across the country.

The caravan is a massive, Christmas-themed Coca-Cola semi-truck that is lit with thousands of sparkling lights spreading Christmas cheer. There is also a Santa chair and tree display where families can have their picture taken for free with the jolly ol’ man himself. Admission is FREE. 

This & That…Friday, November 17, 2023

The Stonewall Library will hold a special Thanksgiving Storytime Wednesday, November 22 at 10am. There will be a special guest. (There will be no Storytime on Monday, November 20.)

Tickets for the Grand Cane Tour of Homes are now available at Grand Cane Village Hall, Progressive National Bank, DeSoto Chamber/Tourist Office or any HGCA Board member. The tour is December 2 from 1-4pm. Cost is $20. 

DeSoto Parish Schools continue to climb in district performance

DeSoto Parish Schools

NOV 13, 2023

Today, the Louisiana Department of Education publicly released the 2022-2023 School and District Performance Scores. DeSoto ranks 3rd in the state of Louisiana, and is one of only 10 school systems with an overall rating of “A.”

DeSoto received a District Performance Score of 93.7. The District Performance Score is calculated by combining performance in LEAP 2025 state assessments for grades 3-8 and high school courses, ACT scores, graduation rates, strength of diploma, and interests and opportunities. DeSoto Parish Schools ranks 4th overall in Progress Index with a letter grade of “A” and an index of 96.8. This index is a measure of individual student growth when compared to their peers.

“Our continued rise in the state rankings reflects the commitment to excellence and strong culture we are developing across the district; we’re a close-knit family—our board, leaders, teachers, support staff, and families—all working together to ensure our students achieve and succeed not only in school but in life,” said DeSoto Parish School Board President, Coday Johnston.

Logansport High School, Mansfield High School, North DeSoto Middle School, and North DeSoto High School earned an “A” letter grade for overall SPS. Five of nine schools earned an A in student growth. Those schools are Logansport High School, North DeSoto Lower Elementary, North DeSoto Upper Elementary, North DeSoto Middle School, and North DeSoto High School. Seven of nine schools have exceeded 2019 pre-pandemic SPS scores. Those schools are Logansport High School, Mansfield High School, North DeSoto Lower Elementary, North DeSoto Upper Elementary, North DeSoto Middle School, North DeSoto High School, and Stanley High School. Mansfield Middle School improved Interest and Opportunities by 27.4 points.

The Louisiana Department of Education also awards designations to individual schools. The “Top Gains” designation is awarded to schools that demonstrate excellence in student progress from one year to the next. Logansport High School, North DeSoto Lower Elementary, North DeSoto Upper Elementary, North DeSoto Middle School, and North DeSoto High School were all awarded this honor. The distinction of “Opportunity Honoree” is awarded to schools that demonstrate excellence in educating students with disabilities, English learners, and economically disadvantaged students, which were awarded to Mansfield High School, North DeSoto Middle School, and North DeSoto High School. Mansfield Elementary School showed the most significant growth in overall SPS with an 8.7 point gain, followed by Logansport High with a 7-9 point increase in overall SPS.

“I am excited about our growth and what that means for DeSoto students and families, but the work to ensure their brightest possible future is a continuous journey. I am thankful for students, teachers, support staff, and administrators who are committed to the daily practices that will continue to move us forward in that mission,” said Bridget Flanders, Director of Student Learning.

“In DeSoto, our success is deeply rooted in our shared values of “High Performance” and “Making a Difference.” These are not just words but a strong culture that begins with the unwavering commitment of our school board, the remarkable leadership at the district and school levels, and the dedication of our teachers, support staff, and families, all united in our pursuit of giving our students a world-class education,” remarked, Superintendent Clay Corley.

Mansfield’s tough schedule prepared Wolverines for tough trip to Sterlington

Mansfield running back TJ Pegues bolts through the Lakeview defense during a Week 8 win.
CREDIT: Kevin Shannahan/The Journal

By Matt Vines, DeSoto Parish Journal

STERLINGTON – Mansfield has just about seen it all this season. Road trips to pass-happy Evangel Christian and Ouachita Christian. Near upsets of a super athletic Huntington squad and a brutally physical Logansport bunch. And a date with a reigning state champion in Many. So when the No. 18 Wolverines (6-5) load up the bus to head to No. 2 Sterlington for Thursday’s second-round playoff matchup in Division III Select, Mansfield will be prepared. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

“We have played teams this year that prepare us for a team like Sterlington,” said Mansfield coach Darrell Barbay. “Sterlington is really good, but our kids have seen some really good teams this year.” But what faces the Wolverines is a Sterlington (9-1) crew that’s won nine straight games and might be the toughest opponent to date.

After a season-opening loss to West Monroe, Sterlington can count blowout wins against Mangham and Wossman as well as tighter wins against Oak Grove and Union Parish on its till. Those latter four teams either won their first-round playoff game or received a bye. The Panthers also won the Class 3A championship in 2021.

But Mansfield is riding high after recording its first playoff win since 2018 when the Wolverines knocked off No. 15 Marksville, 34-28, in the first round of the playoffs. Meaty running back TJ Pegues plowed into the end zone with just 22 seconds left to lift the Wolverines to a 34-28 victory. Pegues rushed for three touchdowns and 121 yards while Rykeelin Vanzant paced the powerful Mansfield rushing attack with 152 yards and a score.

“Our kids never gave up,” Barbay said. “We had to overcome a lot, and it shows what type of character these kids have.”

Character is what powered Mansfield through an 0-4 start against those state powerhouses, and the Wolverines rallied to win six of their last seven games including the playoff victory. Mansfield won its last four regular-season games by at least 20 points in one of the deeper districts in Class 2A, which included a 42-20 drubbing of a solid Red River team.

The first-round playoff win is a crown jewel of what Barbay has accomplished at Mansfield in his second season. The Wolverines learned tough lessons in an 0-6 start to the 2022 season before winning three of their last four regular-season games to keep its playoff appearance streak intact. Now that Mansfield has a playoff win under its belt, it’ll attempt to knock off a Class 3A giant on the road.

“A lot of building a program is getting kids to trust us as a coaching staff and buying into the program,” Barbay said. “Our kids work hard and do what we ask of them at practice every day. That’s really all you can ask of them – to keep working and get stronger. Our administration has backed us and helped us get the things we need to get better. Our principals, school board and superintendent have been outstanding in this process as well.”

Williams is $100 Winner

This winner of the Marketplace Chevrolet College Football Pickers Contest is Wayne Williams of Mansfield. He won $100 from the Journal for doing the best job of selecting the winning team of ten college football contests.

There were a couple of unexpected turns and twists on the gridiron this week, and at least one upset figured in the final outcome of the ten games on last week’s list. There is a new list, and the possibility of a couple of upsets again this weekend.

CLICK HERE to enter the contest. All DeSoto Parish readers of the Journal are invited to enter and possibly win the $100 prize. It takes a little skill, but lady luck certainly comes into play in the College Football Pickers Contest.

Good luck. And may the best picker prevail.

DeSoto Hoops Youth Basketball League is gearing up for the season

DeSoto Hoops registration closes TODAY, Wednesday, November 15. DeSoto Parish students in grades PK-6th can participate. Registration fees can be paid in cash, money order, personal check or PayPal ( No late registration will be taken.

Practices will be held at Logansport, Stanley, North DeSoto and Central. However, games will be played in Logansport and North Desoto. The season will begin Saturday, January 20 and run for six weeks.

Volunteers are needed for concessions, door, clock, scorebook, clean up and coaching. If you are willing to coach, please indicate that on the registration form. A mandatory coaches’ meeting will held before season begins.

Schedules will be released once teams are finalized. Admission for games is $3 for adults and $2 for students.

Not our kind of day

The sense of irony was sick, but Monday was World Kindness Day, and on that autumn morning, four people were stabbed outside Lambright Sports and Wellness Center on the Louisiana Tech campus, a random act of violence by a young man quickly taken into custody.

Outside of a big gym and workout center. A place where people swim and play.

And the night before in Shreveport, there was a shooting in the parking lot of the YMCA that left one victim dead and another in the hospital. 

Not exactly our kind of Kindness Day.

Kindness Day was established in 1998 with the obvious intent of highlighting the good and the positive, of bridging the gap between all our sorts of differences, and to recognize how much we are alike, to encourage unity.

Some of us aren’t getting the picture.

For lots of reasons, the Lambright Center is a special place to me. I remember it being built. I lived in one of the little houses where its parking lot is now. No telling how many hours we were having fun in there, 40 years ago.

The Shreveport YMCA on the parkway is 100 yards from the Little League fields, holy ground to me for about a decade 25 years ago. Sweaty boys and girls running around, eye black smeared, learning the game, making friends. Unbridled joy. Who pulls a gun 100 yards from a bag of baseballs and a concession stand filled with Frito Pies?

I know the people who run the Lambright. The gang who runs the YMCA are friends of mine, and for a long time. Good-hearted people. None of us are naïve enough to think that violence happens only in back alleys, but goodness gracious…  Instead of shooting or stabbing someone, why don’t these people just go work out?

Few if any habitual offenders will read this. So I’m preaching to the choir. But the rest of us are going to have to double-up on the kindness beat, it looks like, and cover for the ones who get their kicks by ruining the lives of people minding their own business. Have these people never held a baby? Played catch with a child? Petted a dog or provided a lap for a cat’s nap? Have they never laughed? Never lived?

We don’t get a pass from trying to make things better just because a fraction of the population is intent on making things worse.  Mark Twain is credited with saying that kindness is a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see. Maybe some hate-filled soul will see your kindness and it will make a difference. 

He passed away several years ago, but Leo Buscaglia was a professor at USC who in the 1980s was called “Dr. Love” because of his popular books and talks on how and why we should connect. This was after a student’s suicide moved him to start a noncredit class he called “Love 1A.” Not a perfect class or a perfect man, I’m sure, but it started a conversation worth contemplating.

“Too often,” he said, “we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

An anonymous quote that has stuck with me is that “what you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.”

So welcome to Kindness WEEK. Maybe we can pull some of the slack and get this turned around a bit. Keep plugging and not growing weary in doing good, that kind of thing, even though lately, the lunatic fringe seems to be winning more than their fair share of games.

Meanwhile at Tech, the University’s Counseling Services are available to students individually and in a group setting at no charge. Appointments can be made by visiting Keeny Hall 310, calling 318.257.2488, or visiting the website at

A campus blood drive is scheduled for Thursday outside Tolliver Hall from 9 until 3.

Contact Teddy at