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

Hall of Honor Inductee: Walter Evans Dorroh, Sr.

It is our honor to announce that the late Walter E. Dorroh Sr. has been bestowed one of Louisiana State University’s highest military honors with his selection into the Hall of Honor of the Cadets of the Ole War Skule.

The induction activities will occur on the LSU campus November 9-11, the weekend of the LSU versus University of Florida football game.

To those in DeSoto Parish, Walter will always be remembered for his presidency of Community Bank of Louisiana (formerly known as Mansfield Bank and Trust). Mr. Dorroh came from a family of three generations in banking in Louisiana, Florida and Mississippi. He was CEO of banks in Olla, Jena and Mansfield. Mr. Dorroh was very proud of his military service in World War II (even though he didn’t boast of his outstanding feats of noble service) and his association with his beloved alma mater. A lifelong member of the LSU Alumni Association and season ticket holder, he was honored in 2003 as the DeSoto Parish Alumnus of the Year. One of the founding members of DeSoto Chapter of the LSU Alumni Association, the chapter honored him with an endowed academic scholarship in his name for scholars from DeSoto Parish, which he served as a community leader in philanthropy and a business leader. He was very active in the VFW serving as an officer, LaSalle Parish School Board serving as President and officer in the Olla Kiwanis Club. Mr. Dorroh graduated in 1941 from LSU where he was president of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity and on the LSU boxing Team, then he enlisted in the Marines but due to a knee medical issue, he was turned back. Not to be deterred, he enlisted in the United States Air Corp. Graduating with a commission from pilot training, he served in Europe and Northern Africa campaigns as a pilot of B-26 Maurader aircraft, which Senator Harry Truman labeled a “widow maker” due to its difficulties in landing and controlling in flight. The Mauruders were the oldest medium range bomber group in the Mediterranean theater of combat, yet he piloted 51 bombing missions without losing a plane or soldier. On his 49th mission, his plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire and he was able to pilot his damaged plane back to his base. He flew missions over Florence, Rome, Bologna, mini gun positions on the French Riveria, rail bridges in the Po Valley, the Astiense rail yards, Florence rail yards and various sites in Northern Africa. When he returned home, he served as an instructor at the flight school to train other pilots for B-26 planes.

Dorroh was awarded the Croux de Guerre with palms by the French government, Distinguished Unit Badge with Gold Leaf Clusters, the Air Medal with 8 Gold Clusters and was entitled to wear the blue, gold framed Distinguished Unit Ribbon. His unit was the only AAF unit to be cited by both the French and United States governments and to be cited by President Roosevelt twice for bombing raid accuracy on Rome and Florence.

Please join us in congratulating the Dorroh family for this incredible honor.

Alan Seabaugh: Our Long Purple Line!

The success of Northwestern State University is vital to Northwest Louisiana.

My wife, Mrs. Laura, is a 1991 Graduate of NSU and nearly 50 of our close family members are graduates of NSU including three of our four parents. Our great grandparents, grandparents, parents, numerous aunts, uncles cousins and siblings were students, athletes, professors, cheerleaders and graduates of NSU.

The beautiful N that lights the night on top of Turpin Stadium was placed in honor of Mrs. Laura’s grandfather E.H. Gilson. He was the Quarterback for the 1939 undefeated Football Team, her Uncle played in the 1960s and her brother played in the 2000s. Her grandmother was the first band majorette for NSU.

Laura worked for several years in the Admissions office, both as a student and in her first post graduate job. She traveled the state recruiting students to attend NSU. She was also on the original founding team of “Freshman Connectors” for incoming NSU students and helped develop the program.

Our families are from Natchitoches for several generations back. I proposed to Mrs. Laura on Front Street.

Our family has bled purple since it was the Normal School, and before the color orange was added.

In this campaign, our opponent’s supporters are spreading ugly rumors that we are somehow anti-NSU. Nothing could be further from the truth!

We are not naive or blind to the current situation at NSU. Changes must be made if we are going to return NSU to the status it deserves as a top regional university. We are committed to making those changes. Most importantly, we have the experience, insight and team ready to make it happen!

It is time for change. I am asking for your vote on Saturday!


Alan Seabaugh

DPJ Readership Poll

  • Readership Opinion Poll
    October 14, 2023

    The Journal is giving our readers the opportunity to participate in an online poll for PARISH-WIDE and STATE candidates.

    In order to obtain the best results, please vote only for candidates in your district.

    The poll will run until 4 p.m. Thursday, October 12 when the link will no longer be active. The purpose of this poll is to gain insight to our readers opinions regarding the candidates on a ballott.

    As always, we recommend you go to the polls on October 14 and exercise your right to vote.

  • This poll is to gain insight among the readership of the Parish Journal. The result may not be published. The choice to publish or not rest solely with the Parish Journal. This is simply a snapshot-in-time of the opinions of our readership. This is NOT a scientific poll.

  • Should be Empty:

Big News for Vernon Parish

We at Journal Services, LLC are pleased to welcome our newest publication, Vernon Parish Journal. This online publication joins 12 others across Louisiana. Join us in welcoming Rick & Mary Lou Barnickel, publishers of the new Vernon Parish Journal.

“We feel the people of Vernon Parish – Leesville, New Llano, Anacoco, North Fort Johnson and South Fort
Johnson, and surrounding towns – deserve their own publication,” said Bill Vance. “At Journal Services LLC, we pride ourselves in covering local parishes with high-quality news and advertising to keep our readers up to date on what’s happening in their communities.”

All Journals cover local news, features, and sports. Subscriptions are – and always will be – free. Please visit and sign up today – CLICK HERE.

Click to visit any of our journals:

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Freedom Of Information Request To Be Heard In District Court Today

A request for records of the DeSoto Clerk of Court Jeremy Evans is headed to court.  The case is set for a court hearing on Friday, August 4, at the DeSoto Parish Courthouse with Judge Nicholas Gasper presiding.

Suit was filed by Coy Fortenberry, a recent graduate of LSU in political science.  Fortenberry is researching the local Clerk’s office and filed a request for information under the state’s public records law.  Having been bit by the political bug volunteering on local campaigns, Fortenberry accepted the opportunity to work on a private research project about government accountability and transparency.  And that lead to the request for information from Evans.

In a media release, Fortenberry said, “A seemingly ordinary request asking for salaries, expenses for travel and entertainment, advertising, and legal fees did not get the results I was anticipating.” Instead, his request was delayed for weeks, which became months.

“First they told me they would provide the records in 30 days. Then, when that date came and went, I followed up with them both by phone and email on numerous occasions. They responded by saying ‘we are gathering the information’, or ‘we are waiting on the CPA to get us the records’,” said Fortenberry.

Louisiana law and the state constitution require public bodies to make available to the public most records, unless explicitly excepted in the statute. The records must be made available within five business days of the initial request or immediately thereafter as soon as the records are found.

After nearly four months of delays and still not receiving the records, Fortenberry filed suit in the 42nd Judicial District Court, demanding Evans to perform his duties and make available the requested public information.  “I felt that if I didn’t file this lawsuit, I would not get the records in any reasonable amount of time. That leads me to question their motives for not complying as the law requires,” said Fortenberry.

When the suit was filed on June 30, Evans’ attorney immediately responded to say they had the records all along, but they were misplaced in his office. And the records were redacted to shield the names of the employees’ salaries including the clerk himself.

In the correspondence from Evans’ attorney, Fortenberry was challenged as to if his “need for the records is even legitimate.” However, the public records law specifically prohibits public bodies from inquiring or questioning the purpose of a records request.

“We finally got a portion of the records, but they were not complete and the names of persons receiving payments from the office were hidden. Very suspicious, to say the least. For example, one record shows an employee, whose name was redacted and instead titled ‘Employee #18’, receiving $1.1 million during the two terms Jeremy Evans has served as clerk of court. Also, he spent over $230,000 in legal fees to Shreveport attorneys, with no indication as to the purpose of these expenses. These extravagant expenses question the integrity of the operations of the office and the people’s money,” said Fortenberry.

“It is clear to me that this office is not being transparent with their use of the public’s dollars. They should be accountable for their actions and their spending. No elected official should be able to skirt the law to their benefit, especially when a citizen asks questions about their use of our money,” said Fortenberry.

The public will have an opportunity to hear from Fortenberry and Clerk of Court Jeremy Evans at the court hearing this morning.

Boil Advisory Lifted

The parish wide Boil Advisory issued this week by Desoto Waterworks District #1 has been lifted.  The sheriff’s office relayed the word from the waterworks district.

Difficulties with the system and a loss of water pressure this week was the cause for the boil advisory.  Water samples sent off to health officials now show the water is again safe to consume.

Car and Truck Show in Grand Cane

The 10th annual Crusin’ in Grand Cane has been scheduled for Saturday October 21st.  Entries are now being accepted for classic cars, trucks and tractors up through year model 1993.

There will be food vendors, music, antiques, in addition to some mighty fine rides at this year’s Crusin’ event.  Organizers promise cash awards for Best of Show, Best Car, Best Truck and Tractor.  Coushatta resident John Perkins has won Best of Show the last two shows with his 1953 Chevy pickup.  Your reporter will be there with something unusual to show.

Federal Recognition For Local Deputies

Several at the DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office were recently awarded by the United States Department of Justice for their outstanding contributions in the field of drug law enforcement. Sheriff Jayson Richardson is proud to share with the public those who were recognized for achievements in their field, and their dedication to serving and protecting the residents of DeSoto Parish.

Those who received awards are:

Sergeant Aaron Anderson

Sergeant Todd Edwards

Corporal Kelby Pearah

Deputy Matthew Brooks

DPSO K-9 Superstar, Rex\

Brad’s Drink

By Brad Dison

For hundreds of years, people have created drinkable elixirs and tonics which they claimed had medicinal purposes.  Salesmen, many of whom could be better described as con men, arrived in towns and communities and hawked their tonics.  They would tell tales of the miraculous cures that their product was responsible for, sell their drinks to the locals at a low price, and quickly head to the next town while no one was looking.

In the latter half of the 19th century, salesmen of these concoctions began advertising their goods in newspapers.  In 1882, “Hop Bitters” was advertised as an appetizing drink which was a “blood purifier, clears the brain, gives tone to the stomach, and cures all diseases of the liver, blood, stomach and bowels, nerves, kidneys, and purifies and cleanses the entire system.”  “Beal’s Cure Alls” advertisements claimed that the tonic cured “cough, asthma, bronchitis, spitting of blood, shortness of breath, rheumatism, gout, lumbago, sciatica, sprains, bruises, sore throat, and chilblains.”  Some of the names of these concoctions which are no longer in existence are “Brown’s Iron Bitters,” “Electric Bitters,” “Hartshorne’s Cure-All,” “Taraxacum and Podophyllin,” “Samaritan Nervine,” “Pond’s Extract,” “Egyptian Mystery – the Drink of the Ages,” “Charleston Pop,” “Bruce’s Juices,” “Red Head Flapper,” and “Brad’s Drink.”

Most of the tonics had no real medicinal value and were created to make money.  However, some of the creators were professionally trained and believed that their drinks were medicinal.  Caleb Bradham graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, then attended the University of Maryland School of Medicine.  Caleb was on the path to becoming a doctor until his father’s business went bankrupt in 1890.  Caleb dropped out of medical school and returned home to North Carolina.  He taught public school for a short time, but his interests were still devoted to medicine.  In about 1891 or 1892, Caleb opened the “Bradham Drug Company” in New Bern.

With a host of ingredients at his disposal, Caleb began experimenting with different tonics.  He wanted to create a new drinkable tonic which had some medicinal value.  Many of his experimental concoctions tasted too horrible to ingest more than once and were discarded.  In 1893, he mixed several ingredients in a beaker and handed it to his assistant, James Henry King.  Perhaps Caleb had tried too many bad mixtures on that day.  The hesitant assistant downed the drink.  To his surprise, the drink tasted good, and it seemed to sooth his stomach.  Caleb had done it.

Caleb knew he was on the right track.  He needed a name for his tonic.  As to include his reputation in his tonic, Caleb titled the drink after a shortened version of his last name, Bradham.  He called it “Brad’s Drink.”  He began selling his tonic in his own drug store and eventually sold franchises to other local pharmacies.

After August 28, 1898, however, “Brad’s Drink” was no more.  Well, the name, “Brad’s Drink” was no more.  On that date, Caleb changed the name of his concoction.  The most likely reason for the name change was for marketing purposes.  Caleb used kola nut extract in his recipe and decided to use the term “cola” in the new name.  The new first name of the mixture could almost be called false advertising.  Caleb named the drink after an enzyme which aided in digestion similar to the way in which Caleb believed his drink aided in digestion, but his recipe did not include the enzyme.  “Brad’s Drink,” under its more common name, has become the second most valuable soft drink brand in the world, second only to Coca-Cola.  The name of that enzyme was Pepsin.  Caleb changed the name of “Brad’s Drink” to “Pepsi-Cola.”


  1. The Daily Telegraph, September 7, 1882, p.4.
  2. Essex County Chronicle, August 21, 1885, p.2.
  3. The News and Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), July 28, 1895, p.5.
  4. “The History of Pepsi.” Leader Distribution Systems,

Back to School Bash

Living Word Church is planning a celebration of the return to school on Saturday, August 5th.  Their Back to School Bash at Mansfield Elementary will begin at 11:00 am.

The church posted, “We are partnering with barbers in the Mansfield area and providing 100 free haircuts to students. We are also handing out backpacks full of dental hygiene supplies, and school supplies so that our kids will be ready for an amazing start to their school year.”

Meet Your Local Candidates

The Mansfield Rotary Club invites the public to “Come Meet The Candidates” on Saturday September 9th from 11:00 am until 2:00 pm at the Clista A. Calhoun Center in Mansfield.  Invitations have been issued to the candidates for local offices as well as the legislative races and candidates for statewide offices.

The Rotary Club will serve chicken and sausage jambalaya plates for $10.  The jambalaya will be created by DeSoto’s own Billy Parker.  Advance orders are encouraged.  Call Van Reech, Jr. at 318-540-7500 or Robert Burgess at 318-453-1610 for orders and other information.  Delivery will be available for groups of 10 or more orders.

Candidates will set up information tables and tents at the Calhoun Center.  They will be available to answer your questions and hear your concerns.  Water will be available, and candidates are encouraged to bring other beverages and treats to pass out. 

“Meet the Candidates” is the fall fundraiser for the Mansfield Rotary Club.  Proceeds go toward the club’s local community charitable projects all year around.

Deliverance Crew Received Beard Donation

This month, Sheriff Richardson has chosen “The Deliverance Crew” which is an offshoot of the Men of Prayer group in Stonewall to receive the Sheriff’s Beard Donation.

The Deliverance Crew is made up of people who share a deep Christian faith and have compassion for the less fortunate among us.  They meet every Saturday at 8:00 am behind First Methodist Church in Shreveport to distribute donated food products to the homeless such as canned goods, packaged goods, toilet paper, hygiene products, etc.  They begin by serving breakfast sandwiches and coffee which is followed by a short message from either Mr. Tom Gatti or Mr. Mitch Bailey. 

Once a month they also do a clothes distribution as well.  This group is a part of the 318 Church at the Lovewell Center in Shreveport and is a branch off of the Men of Prayer group out of Stonewall.  Sheriff Richardson said, “We are grateful for all the work they do and the compassion that they show to the residents in our community and abroad.”

For those unfamiliar with the beard donations, back in November 2021, Sheriff Jayson Richardson sought out a way to allow deputies to grow out their beards while supporting local charities in the process.  For a small fee each month, deputies would be allowed to let those whiskers grow, and the money would be donated to a non-profit charity of the Sheriff’s choosing.  The goal would be to post and highlight these groups for the great work they do and encourage others to get involved.  Thus far nearly $20,000 has been donated to local charities since 2021. 

Best Job I Ever Had

By Steve Graf

With zero fishing going on due to the hot weather we have been experiencing, today we’ll look at my working career. After walking away from my athletic career in the late ‘80’s, it was time to get a real job. It was time to put my college degree (Industrial Engineering Technology) to good use. One reason I chose this as my major was due to the number of IET graduates the oil and gas companies were hiring out of Northwestern State in the mid ‘80’s. This was my original plan, but the oil and gas industry tanked, and they no longer were seeking graduates with this degree.

Now one thing I’ve learned over the years from the many different jobs I’ve held was that each job helped prepare me in some way for other positions I’ve held. These included car salesman, supervisory role at CONAGRA Poultry, and high school and college coaching. Nothing gave me more satisfaction than coaching did. Working with kids at the high school and collegiate level was truly rewarding and enjoyable. But the hours you put in on the college level are insane and was not a good fit for me personally or my family. I was not willing to make those family sacrifices that college coaches make.

Then in 1990, I decided to apply for an engineering job at a textile company, Holloway Sportswear, based out of Ohio but with factories in Louisiana. Best job I ever had! It was a company that made athletic outerwear and high school letter jackets. Holloway was the Mercedes of the athletic apparel world; they made the best. If you ever earned a letter jacket in high school, there’s a good chance it was made by Holloway who was the original letter jacket company.

After two years with the company, I was promoted to Louisiana Director of Manufacturing overseeing six factories across the state. The job was demanding, but the people were incredible. 

Then around 1998, President Bill Clinton signed what was called the NAFTA agreement with Mexico. This was the beginning of the end for Holloway and all textile companies in Louisiana and across the country. It was at this point that my boss and I made several trips to Mexico to set up sewing factories. Then one by one we slowly pulled styles out of Louisiana and sent them to Mexico for production. This was the hardest thing I ever went though as an employee. It was my job at this point to tell all Louisiana employees they no longer had a job.

Many a day after making these announcements, I shed a few tears on the drive home knowing that I had just made life a lot tougher for so many women, many of whom were single moms. Many had no other skills than sewing. Some women were making as much as $14.00 an hour due to their ability to sew. This was good money back in the ‘90’s and there were no other jobs offered in these small communities that paid those kinds of wages.

All the employees were offered the opportunity to go back to school and learn a new trade. But many were in the age bracket of 40 and above and had no desire to go back to school. Many of these ladies had never done anything else their entire life but work in textiles.

It was sad to see the impact this had on the people I cared so much about. People with a strong work ethic and dedication to go to work every day. People who took great pride in making Holloway Sportswear the best company it could be were now being sent home… for good. Some locations that had been in operation since the mid 1970’s were now being shut down.

The old saying, “Nothing lasts forever,” comes to mind when I think about my Holloway days. Again, this was the best job I ever had that came to an end in 2004. Even during those stressful days when I questioned was it worth it, the people were the reason I stayed. One thing about Louisiana people, they take great pride in doing a good job and are very loyal and dedicated to whatever job they’re doing.

After walking away in 2004, Holloway was sold and is now under the umbrella of Augusta Sportswear in Georgia. The Holloway standard is still alive and well today as they have retained their name and reputation as the best. 

Next week we’ll get back to more fishing topics as we prepare to head into the hottest month of the year…. August. Till next time, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to wear your sunscreen and protective clothing.

Notice of Death – August 4, 2023

Rodney Robinson

3/14/1968 – 7/31/2023

Memorial Service will be Saturday, August 5, 2023 at 12:00 pm at Jenkins Funeral Home Chapel 601 Franklin Street Mansfield, LA .

Jewel Yvonne Ryals Fleming

June 27, 1926 — July 28, 2023

Funeral Service was held August 3, 2023 at Kilpatrick’s Rose Neath Funeral Home, 943 Polk Street, Mansfield, LA.

Lula Richards

August 30, 1946 — July 28, 2023

Funeral services will be held at 10:00 am on Friday, August 4, 2023, at Blue Ridge Methodist Church, 3500 Hwy 175, in Pleasant Hill, Louisiana.

The DeSoto Parish Journal publishes “Remembrances of Loved Ones” with unlimited words and a photo, as well as unlimited access – $70. The Remembrance will be included in the emails sent to subscribers.  Contact your funeral provider or Must be paid in advance of publication.

ETC… For Friday August 4, 2023

A reminder that Monday August 7th is the Senior Sunrise at the Logansport High football field.  The class of 2024 with their parents and LHS teachers will be treated to watching the sunrise as a class while served breakfast.  It all begins at 6:00 am.

DeSoto Schools said, “Pre-K Parents, be on the lookout for information regarding your parent meetings at the school and when your student’s first day will be. Pre-K student, parent, and teacher conferences will be August 7th through 9th.  First day for 1/3rd of student will be August 10, 11 and 12 with Tuesday August 15th being the first day for all Pre-K students.

As the late Jerry Garcia said, “What a long strange trip it’s been.” That’s 30.  Byline John Brewer!

Parish-Wide Water Outage and Boil Advisory

Tuesday morning August first DeSoto Water District #1 issued a statement on an interruption of water service to the parish.  And that there would be a boil advisory in effect after water service is restored. 

The district’s statement: “Waterworks District 1 has a main transmission line down. We have a crew working on the problem. We will have your water restored just as fast as we can. Once the water has been restored you are under a boil advisory until further notice. This is a parish wide boil advisory.”

Upcoming Dates at School

There are less than seven days until school starts. Here is a list of upcoming Open Houses and start dates for Kindergartners.

On Thursday, open houses will be held at all schools in the parish with the exception of Mansfield Elementary & Middle Schools.  MEMS will hold their open house on Friday.

Then Monday, August 7th will be the first day of school for all children in first through twelfth grades.  Kindergarten will have half a day on Monday and Tuesday.  The first full day for Kindergarten will be on Wednesday, August 9.

Additional Performance Scheduled

Mike Smith & Friends have agreed to extend their performance at Back Alley Community theatre.  They are now selling tickets for Sunday August 27th at 3:00 pm.  Purchases can be made on the theatre website:

Both original shows sold out quickly, and a Sunday matinee was scheduled.

Come listen to Mike Smith tell his story of his musical career that has lasted 40 years in DeSoto Parish. This concert will take us from Mike’s early days in music to the forming of The Dolet Hills Band, who played over 20 years in the Ark-La-Tex. The songs chosen for this concert have special meanings in Mike’s life and have always been favorite country classics.

Mike Smith is laying the guitar down, and Back Alley is the one place he chose to show his appreciation to all of his fans throughout the years. With the help of local country music star, Dennis Bell, they have put together an amazing group of musicians to bring you a show you won’t forget. It’s gonna’ be fun! Come see Mike Smith’s Last Rodeo.

Life’s ‘Thank You’ Notes

By Teddy Allen 

Whatever any of us might be today or might become, we owe to family and friends, a whole raft of people. Nobody picks themselves up by their bootstraps (whatever that means), no man is an island and all that, and no turtle ever got to the top of a fence post alone.

Saturday night in the Natchitoches Events Center at the Induction Celebration to conclude the annual Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame weekend, the impressive Class of 2023 tried to thank as many friends as they could for helping them realize the fascinating reality of being inducted into the Hall. All-Americans and MVPs and national champions and multi-time state champs and on an on it went, but not a one was a solo act. 

Each of them had a lot of help.

And each of them had several opportunities to express themselves during the weekend, and they did, gracefully. But at the actual Induction Ceremony, each had only a six-minute interview to be entertaining and informative and grateful, which is a lot to ask in such a tight window of time.

Just in case they forgot to mention someone, here’s where I can speak for them and help, at least a little. 

Two things.

One, never shortchange the value of friendship. I read Charlotte’s Web as a boy and again as an adult. If you missed it, it’s never too late. My favorite line is when Charlotte, the spider, says to the pig Wilbur, “You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing.”


And two, you can always count on Mr. Fred Rogers — more commonly known as Mr. Rogers” — to sum up how best to recognize and remember such lights to our paths. 

In his Acceptance Speech when he was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 24th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards Ceremony in the spring of 1997 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, he said, in part, this:

So many people have helped me to come to this night. Some of you are here. Some are far away. Some are even in heaven.

All of us have special ones who have loved us into being.

Would you just take along with me 10 seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are — those who have cared about you and wanted what was best for you in life?

Ten seconds of silence.

I’ll watch the time.

He looked down at his watch for 10 seconds, looked up, and continued.

Whomever you’ve been thinking about — how pleased they must be to know the difference you feel they’ve made. 

Since it was a live event, Mr. Rogers had to offer the audience just 10 seconds.

There is no time limit for you and me.

Contact Teddy at

Jason Aldean Breaches Cultural Divide, Dares Anarchists to ‘Try That in a Small Town’

By Royal Alexander

There’s been an uproar these past two weeks and the spark for it is a song in a video by country music singer, Jason Aldean, entitled “Try That in a Small Town.”  The national media and the national Left are in convulsions alleging it contains lyrics that “glorified gun violence and conveyed traditionally racist ideas.” (NPR, 07-20-2023).

What is the song about and what does it convey?

These are the lyrics:

Try That in a Small Town

Sucker punch somebody on a sidewalk

Carjack an old lady at a red light

Pull a gun on the owner of a liquor store

Ya think it’s cool, well, act a fool if ya like

Cuss out a cop, spit in his face

Stomp on the flag and light it up

Yeah, ya think you’re tough

Well, try that in a small town

See how far ya make it down the road

Around here, we take care of our own

You cross that line, it won’t take long

For you to find out, I recommend you don’t

Try that in a small town

Got a gun that my granddad gave me

They say one day they’re gonna round up

Well, that shit might fly in the city, good luck

Try that in a small town

Full of good ol’ boys, raised up right

If you’re looking for a fight

Try that in a small town

The racist assertion is rooted in the location where the video was shot, the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia, Tennessee.  The city allegedly was the site of several lynchings in the early 20th century. (The Daily Signal, July 21, 2023, S. McCarthy).

However, the production company responsible for Aldean’s video, TackleBox Productions, clarified that the singer (Aldean) did not choose the location where the video was shot.   TackleBox founder Shaun Silva further explained, “… any alternative narrative … is false” pointing out that the courthouse was a popular filming site outside of Nashville, Tenn. that has been included in several other music videos and films, including scenes in front of the Maury County Courthouse—with no public outcry—from Hannah Montana: The Movie (2009), Steppin’ Into the Holiday (2022 TV Movie), and The Green Mile (1999).

Aldean’s video contains actual news footage of burning of the American flag, riots, robberies, anarchists spitting in the face of police and especially the Black Lives Matter riots in 2020.  It contrasts those images with home video footage of families playing ball and riding bikes, fathers and sons hunting together, and a young boy raising the American flag.

(I continue to hope the FBI will pursue the 2020 BLM rioters with the same intensity it has relentlessly pursued the Jan. 6th attendees.  The 2020 riots that took place in 140 U.S. cities during Summer of 2020 included arson, vandalism and looting that caused $2 billion in government and private property damage, caused injury to 2,000 police officers, and caused death to at least 19 Americans.)

Aldean states there is no reference to race—actual or implied—in the song and that the song refers to the “feeling of a community that he had growing up, where people took care of their neighbors.”

The song is now # 1 and has been praised by many including President Trump: “Jason Aldean is a fantastic guy who just came out with a great new song.  Support Jason all the way.” 

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “the Left is now more concerned about Jason Aldean’s song calling out looters and criminals than they are about stopping looters and criminals.  That tells you everything you need to know about the priorities of Democrats and woke companies like CMT that cave to the liberal mob.”

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem: “I am shocked by what I’m seeing in this country, with people attempting to cancel the song and cancel Jason and his beliefs” …  Aldean is being “persecuted” for writing a song about “law and order” and “the freedom and liberty that this country was founded on,” adding, “Thank you for writing a song that America can get behind.”

Aldean responded to the screaming cancel mob with a sentiment millions of us share: ““What I am is a proud American.  I’m proud to be from here. I love our country.  I want to see it restored to what it once was before all this bullshit started happening to it.”


Qualifying Begins Soon

If you are considering a run for a local political office, the DeSoto Parish Registrar of Voters reminds you that qualifying begins in about a week.  The qualifying period is August 8th through 10th.  The elections will be held October 14th.

Already there are a number of folks who have thrown their hats into the ring.  There are contests in the Sheriff’s race, the Clerk of Court race and other local races.

Back on Track

Mansfield High’s award-winning track team is looking for new and returning athletes for the 2023-24 school year.  They announced that track returns to 5th block athletic period this year.

Mansfield High track said, “If your child is interested in joining our state championship track team or is already a part of it, contact Coach Mychal Word and Dr. VeraZee Morgan ASAP.

Send your information to the following emails:

Remembering Jewel Yvonne Ryals Fleming

A visitation for Yvonne Fleming will be held Thursday, August 3rd, from 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM followed by a service at Kilpatrick’s Rose Neath Funeral Home: 943 Polk Street, Mansfield, LA 71052.

Jewel Yvonne Ryals Fleming, 97, passed away on July 28th after doing what she loved, spending the day with her three daughters. Yvonne Fleming was born on April 27, 1926, in Converse, Louisiana to Perry Wesley Ryals and Martha Jewel Wright Ryals. She was one of five children including an older brother and sister and a younger brother and sister.

Yvonne met the love of her life and husband Ray Leon “Cowboy” in Oak Grove before he joined the Navy. They later got married in Corpus Christi, Texas where they began their beautiful life together eventually making their way back to their forever home in Converse, Louisiana.

She was preceded in death by her husband Ray Leon “Cowboy” Fleming, brother Perry Wesley Jr., sister Thessolie Ryals Oliver, and brother Robert Lafitte Ryals.

She is survived by her sister Troy Fern Ryals Rowe, her three daughters Paula Fleming Harvey, Brenda Kay Fleming, Susan Fleming Jackson and son-in-law Willliam “Bill” Goss Jackson, her grandchildren Dr. Robert Case Harvey and wife Dr. Megan Thompson-Harvey, Cody Jackson, Jordan Jackson Barker and husband Kyle Harrison Barker. Yvonne is also survived by a host of nieces and nephews.