Big news for Rapides Parish

We at Journal Services, LLC are pleased to welcome our newest publication, Rapides Parish Journal. This online publication joins 11 others across Louisiana from Rapides Parish north to the state line.

“We feel the people of Rapides Parish – Alexandria, Pineville, Tioga, Woodworth, Ball, Forest Hill, and surrounding towns – deserve their own publication,” said publisher 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.”

Vance is also the publisher of the Natchitoches Parish Journal.

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

Click to visit any of our journals:

Bienville Parish Journal
Claiborne Parish Journal
DeSoto Parish Journal
Jackson Parish Journal
Lincoln Parish Journal
Natchitoches Parish Journal,
Sabine Parish Journal
Shreveport-Bossier Journal
Red River Parish Journal
Webster Parish Journal
Winn Parish Journal
Rapides Parish Journal

Sheriff’s Office makes arrests in homicide investigation

Sheriff’s Detectives have made two arrests in the LA Highway 1 North homicide investigation from last Thursday.
On April 20 at approximately 10:36 AM, Patrol Deputies responded to the 6000 block of LA Hwy 1 North in reference to a report of a body being found in the ditch by an LA DOTD mowing crew. Deputies, Detectives and Crime Scene investigators responded and began conducting their investigation.
The deceased person has been identified as Rochaune L. Prenell, 42 of Alexandria. Cause of death appears to be gunshot wounds but autopsy report is still pending.
As their investigation continued into late Thursday night and the early hours of Friday morning, Detectives were able to identify Donald Ray Sias, Jr., 32 of Alexandria, as a person of interest in the homicide. From their investigation, Detectives were able to gather sufficient probable cause for a search warrant at a residence in the area of 1700 block Kilkenny Lane in Alexandria. Sias, Jr. was located and taken into custody without incident and placed under arrest for contempt on non-support and convicted felon in possession of a firearm. Sias, Jr. was later booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on those charges.
From their continued investigation, Detectives were able to identify Otha Lee Tatum, Sr. as a second suspect in the homicide investigation. On April 24th, 2023, Tatum, Sr. was located and taken into custody without incident and booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on obstruction of justice and criminal conspiracy charges. Sias, Jr., who had remained in jail, was re-arrested and re-booked for one count carjacking, one count 2nd Degree Murder, one count criminal conspiracy, and one count obstruction of justice. Both Sias, Jr. and Tatum, Sr. remain in jail at the time of this release.
Bond for Sias Jr. has been set at $1,226,000 and bond for Tatum Sr. has been set at $125,000.
Detectives say this is still an active and ongoing investigation. If anyone has any information on this case, they are asked to contact Det. Jason Hagan at 318-473-6727, Crime Stoppers at 318-443-7867 or local law enforcement.
The Crime Stoppers P3 Tipster app may also be downloaded to leave tips and get a claim number for reward. P3 app:
NOTE: Crime Stoppers is a private non-profit organization. Crime Stoppers is not a law enforcement agency.
Donald Ray Sias, Jr., 32
1723 Kilkenny Lane, Alexandria, LA
Contempt on non-support
Convicted felon in possession of a firearm
2nd Degree Murder
Criminal Conspiracy
​Obstruction of Justice​
Otha Lee Tatum, Sr., 39
804 Bogan Street, Alexandria, LA
Obstruction of Justice​
​Criminal Conspiracy
Original Release
Patrol Deputies have responded to the 7000 block of LA Highway 1 North in reference to a deceased person.
According to the initial reports, personnel with the Louisiana Department of Transportationa d Development mowing crews located the body in the ditch at approximately 10:36 am.
Deputies are blocking the roadway in the area as Sheriff’s Detectives and Crime Scene Unit have responded to conduct their investigation. Detective’s say due to the evidence found at the scene, they are treating this as a homicide.
Motorists are asked to take alternate routes until the scene is clear.
No further information is available at this time. More information will be released as it becomes available.
If anyone has any information on this homicide, they are asked to contact RPSO at 318-473-6700, Crime Stoppers at 318-443-7867 or local law enforcement.

Ramp Closures: US 167 at Hwy. 3144, Edgewood Drive

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development advises motorists that beginning on Thursday, April 27 at approximately 9 a.m., the LA 3144 (Edgewood Drive) on and off-ramps at US 167 (Pineville Expressway) northbound in Rapides Parish will be closed.

These ramp closures are anticipated to last until late May 2023, weather permitting, and are part of ongoing construction related to the Pineville Expressway repair project.

The ramps that are currently closed at the US 167/US 165 interchange will be reopened prior to the Edgewood ramps being closed. Both interchanges will not be closed at the same time.

In order to help alleviate congestion and delays, all truck traffic is encouraged to avoid utilizing US 167 between I-49 and US 165 and to seek an alternate route when possible.

Permit/Detour Section:

There will be a 12’ lane restriction on US 167 associated with these lane closures.

US 167 Northbound to LA 3144:
Traffic will continue on US 167 towards US 165 exit. Traffic will then take a right onto US 165 Northbound. Traffic will then take a right onto US 165-B, then a left onto LA 3144.

LA 3144 to US 167 NB:
Traffic will continue on LA 3144 toward US 165-B. Traffic will turn right onto US 165-B, then Left on US 165 southbound. Traffic will then right onto US 167 Northbound.

Safety reminder:

DOTD appreciates your patience and reminds you to please drive with caution through the construction site and be on the lookout for work crews and their equipment.

Area residents should exercise caution when driving, walking, or biking near an active construction zone.

Additional information:

Call 511, visit, or download the Louisiana 511 mobile app for additional information. Out-of-state travelers may call 1-888-ROAD-511 (1-888-762-3511). Motorists may also monitor the LA DOTD website at, by selecting MyDOTD, or by visiting the DOTD Facebook and Twitter pages.

Alexandria Utility System Crews Responding to 16″ Water Main Leak on Applewhite Street

Alexandria Utility System (“AUS”) Water Department crews responded to calls concerning an apparent water leak on April 26 around 1:30 pm on Applewhite St. near its intersection with 9th St. Upon arrival crews determined the 16″ water main along Applewhite St. was leaking heavily causing localized street flooding. Crews worked to isolate the area of the leak and excavate the line in order to make repairs. Repairs were expected to last well into the evening and night tonight. Customers along Applewhite St. between 7th and 10th Streets were advised they would be without water service until repairs were completed.

Customers in the vicinity of the leak as well as in the downtown area may have noticed a temporary drop in water pressure that has now stabilized. System pressure will continue to build and return to normal levels as the system’s elevated storage tanks refill overnight. At this time there are no boil advisories or orders as a results of the leak. The City is also aware some customers are experiencing discolored water at this time; this is a result of increased production to compensate for water lost to the leak; the City will begin flushing main lines to eliminate the discoloration once system pressure returns to near normal levels. Customers are requested to report discolored water complaints via the AlexConnects app.

ASH girls run away with Region 1-5A track championship

REGIONAL CHAMPS: The ASH girls track team celebrated with their regional championship trophy Wednesday at NSU’s Walter P. Ledet Complex. (Photo by DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports)

By DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports

NATCHITOCHES – Thunder rolled overnight in Cenla, after lightning strikes from the Alexandria Senior High girls’ track team set the tone in a championship performance at the Region I-5A track and field meet on a wild weather Wednesday at Northwestern State’s Walter P. Ledet Complex.

A late-morning lightning strike across the street at Turpin Stadium left the timing company’s computers fluttering and sent everyone scurrying for cover. Competition was interrupted in mid-afternoon by a pop-up storm due to the chance of lightning, then just as it resumed a half-hour later, a hard downpour briefly extended the delay before racing resumed in the rain.

The meet wrapped up in cool temperatures as dusk approached, but there were bright smiles shining, especially among the Alexandria Senior High contingent.

The ASH girls rolled to the regional team championship, just as they had dominated the District 2-5A championship a week earlier.

The Lady Trojans scored 114 points, well ahead of second-place Barbe (89).

“Their resolve was impressive. The weather has been up and down and our girls stayed laser-focused and locked in,” said head coach Seddarin Freeman. “Our girls ran some incredible times and did what we needed today.”

The ASH girls qualified 12 entries for next Saturday’s state meet at LSU’s Bernie Moore Track Stadium.

Leading the way were four event winners: the 4×100 meter relay team (47.79), Jakyra Edwards in the 100 meter dash (11.91), Lauren Roberts in the pole vault (11-0 in tough conditions) and a 1-2 finish in the javelin from regional champ Alexis Guillory (139-2 ¾) and Sarah Dupuy (136-7).

The Lady Trojans got five second places: the 4×200 relay (1:41.00), Raegan Monroe in the 3200 (11.29.55), the 4×400 (3:59.41), Noelle Williams in the long jump (16-4 ½) and Dupuy in the javelin.

Also advancing to the state meet for the ASH girls, with third places: Breana Quinney in the 400 (59.88), Laylah Branch-King in the shot put (36-9) and Williams in the triple jump (36-3).

Edwards was the team’s top scorer with 14 ½ points, including relay service. Williams was right behind with 14 points.

In boys competition, ASH finished 10th in the team standings with 26 points and Pineville was 13th with 20 points. Each had three state meet qualifiers by virtue of top three finishes in their events.

The Trojans qualified two relay units, the second-place 4×400 (3:24.16) and third-place 4×800 (8:19.21), and Hunter Rivett’s third-place 147-6 discus mark.

The Rebels got a second-place 800 meter clocking of 1:56.01 by Justin Descant, and two third places: Eli Thomas in the 400 (51.68) and the 4×400 relay (3:28.32).

Deputies visit with Phoenix Magnet students

Deputies from the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office recently spent some time at Phoenix Magnet Elementary for their 2nd Grade Community Worker Day.
Deputies visited with the students and spoke about helping others and the job they do of protecting our citizens.

Remembering Valarie Faye Smith Coldiron

Services for Mrs. Valarie Faye Smith Coldiron will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 27, 2023 at Good Road Pentecostal Church in Jonesville with Rev. Chad Franklin officiating. Burial will follow in the Hamilton Cemetery under the direction of Hixson Brothers Funeral Home of Jena.

The family requests that visitation be observed at the church on Thursday at 12 p.m. until the time of service.

Mrs. Valarie Faye Smith Coldiron, age 68, of Jonesville, was born on July 28, 1954 in Corpus Christi, Texas and passed from this life on Sunday, April 23, 2023 in Ferriday.

Mrs. Valarie was known for her kindness to everyone and the delicious home cooked meals she would provide for her family. She was happiest when spending time with her grandchildren, and when she was shopping with her daughters.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Milton Coldiron; and her parents, Robert Smith and Connie Ramsey Smith.

Those left to cherish in her memory include her oldest daughter, Shannon Coldiron Butler and Sidney Book of Jonesville; her twin son and daughter, Allen Coldiron and Amanda Coldiron; and the baby, Robert Coldiron of Jonesville; brothers, Troy Smith, and Scott Smith (Cherrie); sister, Debra Sue Propp (John); and grandchildren, Chevy Book, Christian Book, Stormie Coldiron, Milton Coldiron, Aaron Coldiron, Maddison Coldiron, and Aslynn Coldiron.

Pallbearers will be Cliff Butler, Luke Book, Josh Bordelon, Christopher Barns, and Matt Coldiron.

Honorary pallbearers are Chevy Book, Christian Book, Sidney Book, and Aaron Coldiron.

Meet Shirley, Rapides Parish School Board to hold Career Fair on April 29

The Rapides Parish School System is better together because of the amazing work that our faculty and staff do every day.
Meet Shirley Alexander, who has been a food service manager for 23 years.
“We are providing a service to our students,” said Alexander. “It’s all about our students and we want to give them our very best and provide meals to our children. The benefits and rewards of working for Rapides Parish Public Schools are incredible.”
Want to be a Food Service Manager like Shirley Alexander? Our District-Wide Career Fair is happening on April 29.
To register, go online to

LCU education alumni recognized as top of their profession

Nineteen Rapides Parish School District teachers who have been recognized as this year’s educators of the year have something in common besides the classroom. They all earned their credentials at Louisiana Christian University.

“I celebrate along with the community these amazing educators’ hard work, investment, and dedication to the children of Rapides Parish,” said Dr. Christy Warren, interim dean School of Education. “They continue to carry on the strong tradition of teacher training at Louisiana Christian University School of Education.  They are living out the university’s mission through their calling by making a difference in the lives of our local children and their families.”

LCU alumni teachers of the year include:

Whitney Williams, Acadian Elementary 2024 New Teacher of the Year

Kirstin Richard Willis, Plainview High School 2024 New Teacher of the Year

Michelle Hay, Alma Redwine Elementary 2024 Elementary Teacher of the Year (district-wide)

Penny Luttrull, Hayden R. Lawrence Elementary 2024 Elementary Teacher of the Year

Mary Johnson, Glenmore High 2024 Elementary Teacher of the Year

Tousha Henton, Horseshoe Elementary 2024 Elementary Teacher of the Year

Robyn Ladner, J. I. Barron Elementary 2024 Elementary Teacher of the Year

Kristin Ray, Phoenix Magnet Elementary 2024 Elementary Teacher of the Year

Mindy Belgard, Buckeye High 2024 Middle School Teacher of the Year

Jessica Smith, Rapides Academy 2024 New Middle School Teacher of the Year

Jordan Holt Freeman, Scott M. Brame Middle, 2024 New Middle School Teacher of the Year

Jamie Henry, Alexandria Middle Magnet, 2024 Middle School Teacher of the Year

Virginia Laborde, Scott M. Brame Middle, 2024 Middle School Teacher of the Year

Paris Babino, Alexandria Senior High, 2024 New High School Teacher of the Year

Angela Brodnax, Buckeye High, 2024 High School Teacher of the Year

Tracy Stokes, Glenmora High, 2024 High School Teacher of the Year

John Howe, Oak Hill High, 2024 High School Teacher of the Year

Wendy Brabham, Plainview High, 2024 High School Teacher of the Year (overall winner)

Julie Gills, Phoenix Magnet Elementary, 2024 Assistant Principal of the Year

Glenmora High School Teacher of the Year Tracy Stokes has been teaching for seven years. She currently teaches chemistry, physical science and emergency medical responder classes.

She said her classroom management skills she learned going through LCU’s program are top-notch and very effective in dealing with many different types of students.

 “LCU prepared me by exposing me to different teaching strategies and showing me ways to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of individual students,” Stokes said. “LCU also helped me to be prepared for teaching challenging students with unique or special needs.”

Stokes said her faith informs her teaching, and it helps her care for and approach her students with compassion, empathy, patience and understanding. 

Michelle Hay, Alma Redwine Elementary’s Teacher of the Year for the school and the district, has been an educator for 16 years. She teaches English language arts (ELA) and social studies.

Hay said the personal attention given through LCU’s program really benefitted her. 

“LCU prepared me for my teaching career by giving me a different perspective,” she said. “For example, the professors were able to model how to use one piece of literature or book to address multiple standards. I was then able to look at books differently and analyze the content rather than just read the content. I find this very useful now when planning my lessons. I enjoy reading to my students, which they not only enjoy but I am also able to use the story to teach and/or review standards.” 

She said she is humbled and honored by being chosen as the district teacher of the year. This is the second time she has been recognized by her school as teacher of the year.

“Being teacher of the year makes me so proud of myself,” Hay said. “However, honestly, I really don’t think about it a lot. I go into work, do my job to the best of my ability and hopefully reach a child in a way that impacts their life in a positive way.” 

A more recent LCU graduate, Whitney Williams, was recognized as the Acadian Elementary New Teacher of the Year. Like Hay, she teaches ELA and social studies. 

She credits the tough love of Dr. Christy Warren and the entire faculty and staff of the School of Education with her achievement. 

“My professors believed in me whenever it was hard to believe in myself, and they gave me a push to not give up on teaching,” Williams said. “It’s amazing how Dr. Christy Warren’s encouragement during my first visit at LCU led me to this moment of being a great educator.”

Seasoned teacher Penny Nugent Luttrull was recognized as H.R. Lawrence’s Teacher of the Year. Luttrull is completing her 32nd year of teaching special education.

While the professors have all changed since Luttrull first entered her classes at LCU in 1986, the same inspiration and encouragement remains.

“I felt very well prepared for the teaching profession,” Luttrull said. “Every faculty member was fully invested in student success but also knew the importance of nurturing and developing the whole person.”

She teaches students who have a myriad of special challenges, and she said her faith really drives her teaching.

“As a special education teacher, I have worked with many students over the years who have come to school with numerous emotional problems, and I strive each day to see the students as Jesus sees them, loving them unconditionally,” Luttrull said. “I love the ‘aha’ moments in my classroom after the students’ have had productive struggle on a particular skill.  The joy and sense of pride the students exude when they have mastered a skill still excites me.  My prayer is that my students leave me knowing they were loved and valued.”

Brame Middle School Teacher of the Year Virginia Cope Laborde has been teaching ever since she graduated LCU in 2014. She teaches 6th grade ELA. The best thing about the program for her was the professional development opportunities available in the summer, including behavior management techniques, Kagan strategies, and other useful information.

“Additionally, I was prepared with knowledge of the new Common Core Standards before those were in place, which was a bonus to my first employer,” Laborde said. “LCU’s program allows you to complete the program while still being able to teach in a classroom setting. You can still be a parent, a teacher, a spouse, and go to school to fulfill your certification.”

Victory Lindo-Lemons, assistant professor of education, said she is inspired to see the abundance of educators of the year in Rapides Parish who have come through the program at Louisiana Christian University. 

“This is a testament to the quality education and training that Louisiana Christian University provides for its students,” Lindo-Lemons said. “The dedication and hard work of the teachers who have graduated from our university is evident. As someone who has also graduated from Louisiana Christian University and received teacher of the year in the public school system, I personally attest to the value of the education and preparation that I received at the university. I am proud to be part of this community and I believe that Louisiana Christian University plays a vital role in developing the next generation of teachers in the state of Louisiana.”

For more information about an undergraduate education degree, alternative certification, or graduate programs—Master of Arts in Teacher or Master of Education, please visit the LCU website.  For information about financial aid available for these programs, email TEACH grants are available. Financial aid can also be reached at 318-487-7386.

Notice of Death – April 26, 2023

Valarie Faye Smith Coldiron
July 28, 1954 – April 22, 2023
Visitation: Thursday, April 27, 2023 at Noon until time of service.
Service: Thursday, April 27, 2 pm at the Good Road Pentecostal Church in Jonesville.

Shirley Guillot Littleton
September 9, 1934 – April 24, 2023
Visitation: Saturday, April 29, 2023 at 9 am in the chapel of John Kramer & Son
Service: Saturday, April 29, 2023 at 10 am in the chapel of John Kramer & Son.
Interment: Saturday, April 29, 2023 following the service in the St. Joseph Catholic Church – Marksville.

Linda Carnahan
December 4, 1946 – April 22, 2023
A Memorial service for Linda Carnahan will be announced at a later date by the family.

The Rapides Parish Journal publishes paid obituaries – unlimited words and a photo, as well as unlimited access – $80. Contact your funeral provider or . Must be paid in advance of publication. (Notice of Death shown above are FREE of charge. You may email them to

Council says count your chickens in rapidly-expanding Ball


Three more tracts have been annexed as the Town of Ball continues its incremental growth.

And a just-revised animal ordinance now governs the ownership of dogs, cats and other pets.

Newly annexed are property on Tioga Road and Hwy 165. All three are zoned for business.

On the south side of the road, 109 Tioga Road is about 1.5 acres owned by Michael and Daniel Thompson.

The Hwy. 165 properties are at 4807 (owned by L.E. Thompson) and 4811 (also owned by Michael and Daniel Thompson).

The animal ordinance resembles that of many other incorporated areas, particularly as it applies to dogs.

A wrinkle in the rules pertains to the keeping of chickens.

Owners are allowed up to six hens on lots of an acre or less. Lots of more than an acre can host up to 20.

Evidently alarm clocks will still be needed to signal first light. The ordinance makes no mention of roosters.

And in keeping with neighborly considerations neither a hen house nor fenced enclosure for the poultry can be less than five feet from any abutting property line.

Residents are prohibited from engaging in the selling of eggs or in chicken breeding, though the apparent absence of roosters seems to make that part of the clause unnecessary.

Even “city folks” know roosters are necessary for chicks, though they may not know infertile eggs do not require them.

Photo:  RPJ file Photo

Washington aspires to follow Larvadain’s route to House District 26 seat


Reddex Washington Jr. hopes to make the same jump Ed Larvadain III accomplished four years ago – from the Alexandria City Council to the House District 26 seat.

Larvadain mobilized his first campaign after Jeff Hall was elected mayor and resigned the House post to take the City Hall job in December 2018.

A special election was called for February 2019 to fill Hall’s unexpired term.

Larvadain put $1,100 of his money in a campaign fund, raised another four grand and launched a winning effort.

Between that February victory and the October primary for a full term he collected $21,000, including $13,900 from Political Action Committees, according to his campaign finance reports.

He defeated two challengers in that vote.

Whether Washington, or any other potential candidate, can duplicate Larvadain’s appeal to PAC purses could be a key factor in this fall’s campaign.

According to the most recent filings, Larvadain raised $21,000 in 2022, including $9,600 from PACS representing a variety of interests.

His campaign fund reported spending $10,000 and having $31,000 on hand Dec. 31.

Washington has not yet filed a campaign organizational statement. The next required finance filing for legislative candidates is 30 days prior to the October primary.

Specifics regarding campaign financing can be read at the Louisiana Ethics Administration website.

PHOTO – House District 26 Rep. Ed Larvadain III (Courtesy photo)

LCU Program Encourages Strengths Based Leadership

By Jim Smilie

Imagine if workers were placed in positions based on their principal strengths. Rather than working to strengthen weaknesses, employers and employees focus on building on a person’s strengths and past success.

That is the goal of the Strengths Based Leadership program explained Meredith Rennier, Vice President of Student Life and Executive Director of Louisiana Christian University’s Center for Calling and Career.

“Our focus is on doing what God has called us to do,” Rennier said Tuesday afternoon during a program for the Rotary Club of Alexandria. “We all have a purpose and a plan, and the center is there to support that.”

The program uses StrengthsFinder to identify individual strengths. Rennier said the survey, comprised of 177 questions, takes about a half hour to complete. It is designed to measure an individual’s talents, their natural way of thinking and their behavioral tendencies. Based on the responses, the program ranks respondents based on 34 predetermined strengths with a focus on the individual’s top five strengths.

“If both you and your employer know these strengths and manage to them, you will have a wonderful career,” Rennier said. To help students get started on the right path, Rennier said all freshmen at LCU complete the assessment. “We do that so they can grow into a leader and focus on those strengths,” she said.

Rennier said research has shown the most effective leaders are always investing in their strengths, surround themselves with the right people and then maximize their team, and they understand their follower’s needs.

The Strengths Based Leadership program identifies four domains of leadership strength: Executing, influencing, relationship building and strategic thinking. Each of the 34 strengths measured by the StrengthFinders assessment fall under one of those four domains.

Rennier said more than 2 million people have taken the StrengthFinders assessment and that “no two people have the same top 5 skills.”

If employers know their employee’s primary strengths, they can then create teams that maximize productivity. Planning groups, for example, may include more team members with strategic thinking as a strength while a sales team would likely include more workers with influencing strengths.

“We all need each other to achieve success,” Rennier said, noting the program makes it easier to build effective teams and operations. “We encourage people to invest in your own talents and build your strengths,” she said.

Buckeye needs sweep today to advance in LHSAA baseball playoffs

After being surprised Tuesday in the opener of an LHSAA Division II Select baseball series on its homefield, Buckeye must win two games today to stay alive in the state playoffs.

Buckeye, seeded sixth, fell 5-3 to No. 11 Kenner Discovery Heath Science in the first of a best-of-three series. The second game will be at 4 o’clock today at Buckeye, with a third game following, if the Panthers can take the 4 p.m. contest. A berth in the quarterfinals is on the line.

The other nine parish teams in the postseason begin their second-round action later this week.

Thursday, Menard is at home in its series opener at 6. Friday, ASH and Pineville play at home while Bolton, Tioga and Glenmora travel for their action.

In single-elimination playoff games in the smaller divisions, Alexandria Country Day plays at Downsville Friday at 5:30, and in an all-Rapides Parish battle that won’t happen until May 5, Grace Christian will host Oak Hill.

Early Childhood Teacher, Leader of the year finalists announced

The Louisiana Department of Education announced its 2024 Louisiana Early Childhood Teacher and Leader of the Year finalists.
Congratulations to Jamie Martin for being a finalist for Early Childhood Leader of the Year, along with both Jennifer Cifelli and Elizabeth Berry for being finalists for Early Childhood Teacher of the Year.
All finalists will be honored at the 17th Annual Cecil J. Picard Educator Excellence Awards Gala, which will be held at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans on the evening of July 22.
Congrats on the accomplishment and good luck with this future endeavor.

Alexandria Zoo offers SNAP Family Days

Rapides Parish resident that receive SNAP benefits are eligible to participate in Alexandria Zoo SNAP Family Days Program, which offers FREE Zoo entry for SNAP users on the first Thursday of the Month from May – October (May 4, June 1, July 6, August 3, September 7, and October 5) between the hours of 2-4:30 pm. On these days there will be food demonstrations presented by the LSU AgCenter. All zoo visitors are welcome to attend these demonstrations.

How does it work for SNAP users?

Show your SNAP card at the ticket window (with matching ID from Rapides Parish). Up to two adults and four children may enter.

Remembering Shirley Guillot Littleton

Services for Shirley Guillot Littleton will be held at 10:00 AM on Saturday, April 29, 2023, in the chapel of John Kramer & Son Funeral Home with Rev. Paul LaPalme officiating. Interment will follow in St. Joseph Catholic Church Cemetery #1, Marksville.

Visitation will be held from 9:00 AM until 10:00 AM on Saturday, April 29, 2023, at the funeral home.
Shirley Guillot Littleton, 88, Lecompte, passed away on Monday, April 24, 2023, at Brookdale Assisted Living.

Shirley is preceded in death by her husband, E.J. Littleton; her son, Rhett Littleton; father, Valley Guillot; mother, Della Guillot; sister, Betty Arrendell; and brother, Jerry Guillot.

Shirley was born on September 9, 1934, and raised in Marksville, Louisiana. She met her husband, E. J. and together they moved to Lecompte. Shirley was a devoted wife and mother to her children. She enjoyed cooking, dancing, going to the casino, volunteering work at Knights of Columbus, going to church, and being around family and friends. Shirley’s most memorable memories were gathering for Friday evenings for fish fries in the shop or having birthday parties and crawfish boils with loved ones. Shirley enjoyed all holiday gatherings. She will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her.

Those left to cherish her memory include her daughter, Marissa Wesson and husband, Les; grandson, Jarred Littleton and wife, Justine; granddaughters, Shea Catteruccia, Adriana Wesson; great-grandchildren, Hunter, Wyatt and Allison Littleton; sisters, Diane Guillot and Patricia Hinson; brothers, Gary Guillot and Larry Guillot; and, daughter-n-law, Dorothy Littleton.

Pallbearers honored to serve will be Jarred Littleton, Hunter Littleton, Wyatt Littleton, Trenton Catteruccia, Jared Belgard, and Jacob Stroud.

Cenla Work Ready Network helps with job readiness

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Let the Cenla Work Ready Network help you identify your skills before you disqualify yourself!
A curriculum will prepare you to test in three areas:
Applied Math
Graphic Literacy
Workplace Documents
After completing the curriculum, you will have the opportunity to take the ACT WorkKeys Assessment to earn your ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate. This nationally recognized certificate is an evidence-based credential that proves to employers you have the skills necessary to be successful in a job.
Feel confident applying for that next opportunity. You can do it!
Take the first step today!
Call or visit our website today to sign up.