Tours offered at new Bolton Academy beginning Dec. 4


Prospective students and their parents are invited to tours of the new Bolton Academy and to supplementary question & answer sessions.

Six tours of the Academic & Performing Arts PreK-12 magnet school will be held, with the first on Monday, Dec. 4. Each will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Other scheduled dates are Dec. 7, 14, 18 and Jan. 10, 11.

The Academy will debut in August 2024 with a student body of sixth through twelfth grade. PreK-5th grade will be added the following school year or when feasible.
Renovating, refurbishing and reshaping the century-old facility on Vance Avenue is well underway.

Questions or inquiries regarding the tours or other aspects of the Academy can be addressed to

Holiday Express Train to visit Pineville on Saturday

The Pineville Christmas CPKC Holiday Express Train is a beloved tradition that brings joy to communities across the country. This year, the train will stop in Pineville on Saturday, Dec. 2 at 4 pm. The train will be stationed on Melrose Street, just outside the entrance to the Louisiana College Baseball Field.
Here are some of the things that make the Pineville Christmas KCS Holiday Express Train so great:
It’s a free event. Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy the festive train and its cheerful characters.
It’s a great way to get into the Christmas spirit. The train is decorated with colorful lights and plays Christmas music, sure to put everyone in the holiday mood.
It’s a fun and memorable experience for children and adults alike. Kids love seeing Santa Claus on the train, and adults enjoy reminiscing about their own childhood Christmas memories.
To ensure the safety of everyone attending the event, please follow these safety rules:
Do not block doorways or exits.
Allow plenty of space for people to move around freely.
Supervise children closely.
Keep children within arm’s reach at all times.
Follow the instructions of any event staff or volunteers. They are there to help keep everyone safe and have a fun time.
Melrose Street will be closed between US 167 Service Road at Wadley Street to Reagan Street from 3-8 pm. The public is encouraged to arrive early and find parking before the closures begin. There will be limited parking available at the event site.

Reese returns in time for No. 7 LSU’s rematch with No. 9 Virginia Tech

EYE-TO-EYE: This shot from last season’s NCAA women’s  basketball championship game may have been the last time LSU coach  Kim Mulkey and Angel Reese have seen eye-to-eye until recently.  (Photo by KRISTEN YOUNG, LSU Athletics)

By RON HIGGINS, Journal Sports     

BATON ROUGE — The “Where is Angel Reese?” saga is over.

LSU women’s head basketball coach Kim Mulkey announced Wednesday that Reese, a junior first-team All-America forward who led the Lady Tigers to their first NCAA national championship last season, is back in action after missing four games because of an alleged suspension.

“Angel is back, and we are happy, happy, happy,” said Mulkey of Reese, who will be in uniform for Thursday’s 8 p.m. home game on ESPN between No. 7 LSU (7-1) and No. 9 Virginia Tech (5-1) in the ACC/SEC Challenge. “She’s happy, happy, happy.”

Mulkey didn’t say if Reese, who averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds in this season’s first four games before sitting the last two weeks, would be in the starting lineup against the Hokies.

But Mulkey said Reese has been practicing and she should play significant minutes since sophomore forward Sa’Maya Smith is done for the season.

Smith sustained torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral knee ligaments early in LSU’s 99-65 win over Niagara 99-65 last Friday afternoon in the Cayman Island Classic. She was averaging 11.7 points and 7.6, moving into the starting lineup after the Lady Tigers’ season-opening 92-78 loss to Colorado on Nov. 6 in Las Vegas.

“I always say timing is everything in life,” Mulkey said. “It’s just so sad for her (Smith) because she improved by leaps and bounds. She stayed here all summer.

“The timing of Angel being back kind of helps. But there is no substitution for the value Sa’Maya has to our team and what she’s meant thus far.”

Mulkey hinted that Reese had been practicing, even before the team left for last weekend’s Cayman Island Classic trip where the suddenly undersized Lady Tigers won two games, including a scrappy 76-73 win over Virginia on Saturday.

“I’ve coached Angel for a year, she knows our system,” Mulkey said of acclimating Reese in her return to action. “It’s fun to see them (the team) high-five each other, pick each other off the floor and just do what they do – just play basketball.”

Mulkey has discovered much about her 2023-24 team in the first month of the season. The absence of Reese and junior reserve guard Kateri Poole, who also appears to still be serving an alleged suspension after missing the Cayman Islands trip, plus the loss of Smith, has forced Mulkey to use lineup combinations such as four guards and a post player.

Undersized 6-1 junior transfer forward Annesah Morrow from DePaul saved the Cayman weekend for LSU by averaging 32.5 points and 13 rebounds per game. She was named to the all-tournament team, thanks to her 37 points and 15 rebounds in a 3-point victory over Virginia.

Sophomore guard Flau’jae Johnson had 14 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists against Niagara, then as a small forward had 6 points and a career-high 15 rebounds against Virginia as she picked up the rebounding slack left in the wake of the injured Smith’s absence.

“I talked to her (Johnson) about having an all-around game,” Mulkey said of Johnson, “just growing her game in other areas besides scoring. You want to impact the game in other areas when the shots aren’t falling, or you don’t get shot attempts. Flau’jae was just huge (in the two LSU wins in the Caymans).”

Tonight’s game against Virginia Tech is a rematch of the Lady Tigers’ 79-72 Final Four semifinal win last season. LSU trailed 79-70 at the end of the third quarter before the Lady Tigers’ fourth quarter 29-13 closing blitz advanced them to the national title game vs. Iowa.

The 6-3 Reese and the 5-10 Johnson are the only two returning LSU starters this season. Tech’s three returning starters are 6-6 grad student center Elizabeth Kitley (24.3 ppg, 11.5 rpg), 5-6 senior guard Georgia Amoore (17 ppg, 8.2 apg) and 6-foot grad student guard Cayla King (8.3 ppg, 2 rpg).

All eyes will be on LSU’s defensive plan to stop Amoore and Kitley. Amoore was guarded primarily in the Final Four semis by since-graduated Alexis Morris, and Reese was on Kitley.

“You can’t guard Amoore with just one kid, I don’t have Alexis Morris,” Mulkey said. “We’re going to have to tag team her a bit.

“I really think Angel will be just like Angel. She’s been really good in practice.”

While Morrow was named ESPN, Associated Press and USBWA National Player of the Week for her play in the Caymans, Kitley earned ACC Player of the Week for the 10th time her career. 

Last week in wins over North Carolina-Greensboro and then Kansas and Tulane both in the Cayman Island Classic, she averaged 26.7 points and 12 rebounds and shot 58.9 percent (33 of 56) from the field and 87.5 percent (14 of 16) from the free throw line.

In consecutive games against UNC-Greensboro (31 points, 10 rebounds) and Kansas (312 points, 18 rebounds), Kitley became the first VT athlete in program history with back-to-back 30-point, 10-rebound games.

Had all of LSU’s team been intact since the opening game loss to Colorado, today’s matchup with VaTech could have been a measuring stick of the Lady Tigers’ progress.

“Again, keep in mind what we’ve been dealing with,” Mulkey said. “It’s not going to be a polished product.  We’ll play hard. I know that.”

Contact Ron at  

New Demons football coach McCorkle stresses pillars of success

SETTING STANDARDS:  New Northwestern State football coach Blaine McCorkle outlined the cornerstones of his coaching philosophy Wednesday in his introduction to media and supporters in Natchitoches. (Photo by CHRIS REICH, Northwestern State)

Five. Six. Forty-seven. Two hundred eighty-three.

NATCHITOCHES – There were a lot of numbers floating around Northwestern State’s Stroud Room inside the Donald G. Kelly Athletic Complex as new Demons football coach Blaine McCorkle spoke Wednesday afternoon. The largest one stood out for a couple of reasons – primarily that McCorkle aims to clear out his number of unread text messages daily.

“I got a lot of responses (Tuesday), some from you who are in this room,” McCorkle said. “My phone number started spreading around quickly. Thanks, (Director of Athletics) Kevin (Bostian). Last night, before I went to bed, I was trying to sift through as many text messages as I could. Before I turned it off, I was at 283 messages. If I haven’t gotten to you, bear with me, it’s coming. The response I got (Tuesday) from the Natchitoches community meant a lot and told me how special this place is and how much you want something to be different.”

McCorkle’s reference to his unread and unreturned messages drew its share of laughs, but the other numbers he spoke of are the ones he plans to make tenets of his time as Northwestern’s 16th head football coach, after six years spent transforming a struggling program at Division III Belhaven in Jackson, Miss., winning 24 games in his last three seasons, capped by a conference championship and an NCAA playoffs berth this fall.

He earned the job from a candidate pool of roughly 60, including sitting Division I and II head coaches, said Bostian, in a search that officially began Oct. 26 with the resignation of sixth-year head coach Brad Laird. McCorkle praised Laird for his passion for the school where he was a record-shattering quarterback, and said from watching videos on the website, Laird’s love for NSU and his players was apparent and admirable.

Meeting with about five dozen current NSU players Tuesday, McCorkle laid out the expectations of his culture.

“When we originally built our program (at Belhaven), we had our four pillars of success – character, trust, unity and accountability – and we added a fifth one to it, which was toughness,” McCorkle said. “The five stars of our five-star culture: character, trust, unity, accountability and toughness. We’re going to teach these kids to be tough. The thing you have to understand about toughness is it’s not always what the world thinks toughness is. Sometimes people think toughness is a big, bad bully walking around. No, no, no.

“Sometimes toughness is in the guy in a white-collar shirt who gets up every morning, puts his feet on the floor and goes to work, sits behind a desk and makes good decisions to take care of his wife and his kids and his family. That’s tough. That’s real grown-man toughness. That’s the type of toughness we’re going to focus on, because those things carry over in the classroom and the community. If we’re hammering on those things, they’ll carry over right there on the field.”

That culture helped McCorkle lift a Belhaven team that had not won more than three games in a season since 2013 to a combined 24-7 record in his final three seasons as Belhaven’s head coach.

Belhaven finished the 2023 season 9-1 and captured the program’s first outright conference title and made its initial appearance in the NCAA Division III playoffs. McCorkle said his final duty at Belhaven was ordering conference championship rings for a team that featured 21 seniors – all of whom already had earned their undergraduate degrees.

That on- and off-field success not only lent credence to McCorkle’s culture but also highlighted his overall strengths as a coach.

“Our players – and most players – are not going to the league although a lot think they are,” Belhaven President Dr. Roger Parrott said Tuesday. “How do you help them shape their life after football when their whole life has been football? That’s the mark I saw in Blaine that I wanted in our coach.

“Yes, he’s going to put some players in the league at (NSU’s) level. Good for him, and good for you. Blaine cares about them at the personal level of who they are, and that’s what I saw in him. I didn’t have any question he knew how to win football games, but I knew he had the stuff to build into his players and to build a staff around him that shared in his values.”

Those values were honed at an early age as the son of a college football coach, who was the offensive line coach at Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Kentucky and other schools, along with head coach at West Alabama.

“I’m 47 years old, and I tell people I’ve been in college football for 47 years,” McCorkle said. “It’s who I am. I’m a football coach.”

He is a football coach with a list of six bullet-point goals – not all that are always defined in the statistical realm.

“These will not change from today until the day I leave here in about 20 years when I retire like (former NSU head) coach (Sam Goodwin) here,” McCorkle said, nodding to the most successful coach in school history, seated in the audience. “The first one is every man who enters our program leaves it better than when he came. It’s easy to have all these football-specific goals like we want to be 42 percent on third down or this in the red zone. Program goals are much bigger than that.

“The second is we want to lead the Southland Conference in GPA and APR on a yearly basis. We all watch the SEC on Saturdays, and we see the patches that underneath them you see the banner that says ‘Graduate.’ If those guys at that level – that’s the best to do it in college football – if they’re graduating players, maybe there’s something to that. That’s a message we need to follow.

“If guys are invested in their school and doing well, it’s harder for them to leave. The third one is we want to be in position yearly to win a conference championship. Fourth, we want to be a sustained program of national prominence. Any time something comes up – playoffs, postseason, rankings – Northwestern State needs to be in that conversation. I started that sentence with the word sustain, not flash in the pan.

“The fifth is to win and advance in the postseason. The last goal in that group is to win a national championship. If you do all the things before that, that puts you in position to play for and win a national championship. I’m not scared to say that here at Northwestern State, and I’m currently the coach that owns an 0-6 football team. That’s on me. I own that, and I’m going to do everything I can to fix that. You have my word.”

McCorkle’s speech Wednesday was the culmination of a 26-year coaching journey that began following his four-year playing career (1995-99) at LSU, when the former long snapper served as a student assistant with the Tigers. The winding road that took him to six different FCS schools – Tennessee-Martin, Liberty, Chattanooga, Tennessee Tech, Richmond and Delaware – led him to finding what he called his comfort zone.

That feeling was reinforced during his tour of the NSU campus Tuesday.

“Personally, this has been a 26-year-long dream to come back to the state of Louisiana, which I love dearly, and to be a Division I head coach,” McCorkle said. “A lot of what attracted me to Northwestern State is FCS is my comfort zone. This is where I feel I fit the best, where I have the most time invested. I love this level of football. I think it still has purity to it while playing at an extremely high level. We still live in the portal world. We live in a world of NIL. That’s real. A lot of players at this level are playing for the right reasons – with a good chip on their shoulder and something to prove.

“I’m excited to be back at this level. Walking around the campus, I just felt comfortable.”

Wednesday, he sounded comfortable and confident in his first full day as the Demons’ coach.

With no parish teams left, what’s to watch Friday night?

By LEE BRECHEEN, Louisiana Football Magazine/YouTube TV

Alexandria Senior High nearly pulled off the comeback of the playoffs last Friday night against Edna Karr, but with the Trojans’ narrow 40-34 loss, the last Rapides Parish team was eliminated from the LHSAA football postseason.

But there’s still plenty of reason to track the semifinal round Friday night. Root for nearby Jena, a top seed that looks the part. From my seat in Baton Rouge, I am giving you previews of the best games statewide this week in the semis.

My best game of the week is Edna Karr hosting the Acadiana Wreckin’ Rams.

Select Division I — Edna Karr goes into the game 10-1 against 10-2 Acadiana. The game will be played in New Orleans hosted by Karr. It’s tough for ASH to swallow, considering they could have been going to Lafayette to meet the Wreckin’ Rams.

The game between ASH and Edna Karr was worth the popcorn and admission and this one will be too, but my prediction is for a much lower scoring game this week compared to Karr’s shootout with ASH, and here’s why.

Acadiana usually has at least a 9-minute drive in every game this season. The Wreckin’ Rams are methodical. That is the perfect medicine to beat a team like Karr, who has a faster team on paper than most college teams in Louisiana. I am going with Acadiana 21, Edna Karr 14 in an upset.

My second favorite best playoff game of the week is the Division IV Select matchup of  Southern Lab of Baton Rouge facing Ouachita Christian from Monroe. This will be a battle of the trenches. Both Class 1A programs have offensive lines averaging over 260 pounds per player!  I am going with the speed of the Kittens from Lab, 28-20.

Division II Select –  I like the matchup of Archbishop Shaw taking on St. Thomas More in Lafayette. Shaw will try for its first crosstown trip to the Dome in nearly 20 years. The Shaw defense taking on the STM offense – which is averaging over 500 yards a game – is a battle royale. I like Shaw and that defense, 21-17 for the win.

Division III Non-Select – Here’s the game Cenla will be watching. I love this game between No. 1 Jena and Union Parish. There’s no Trey Holly for Union — he’s now at LSU – and the Giants have had a fantastic season. I believe the Cinderella team will make its first trip to the Dome. Jena, 17-14.

Select Division III gives us Calvary Baptist hosting the Newman Greenies. This game will be decided in the trenches. Calvary has the best offensive line in the state, in all classes, and beat up on some Class 5A teams early. The Cavs also have the best skill talent in Division III. Newman has a great QB (Eli Friend, stepping in for Arch Manning) and a top-notch offensive Line. I will go with Calvary Baptist wearing down Newman 31-21.

Division IV Non Select offers an appealing 318 AC matchup of Class A powers Haynesville and Logansport. I think the coaching job of the year should go to David Franklin at Haynesville, who has followed in his dad’s footsteps (Louisiana Sports Hall of Famer Red Franklin) but I think the win in this game will go to Logansport and the Tigers’ savvy head coach, former NSU Demon quarterback and LHS alumnus Kevin Magee by 35-21, at home on the Texas border.

Non-Select Division I — The best defensive game of the week will be Dutchtown against Zachary, two Baton Rouge metro schools that on the average only give up 14 points a game. Dutchtown has never played for a state title, but Zachary has won four. I am going with Dutchtown in a upset. They have a good team and finally will make it to a title game, prevailing 21-17.

Finally, I have to talk about the Opelousas-North DeSoto contest in Division II Non-Select. Opelousas has never made a Dome appearance and North DeSoto made its first appearance last year, with a near-miss for the 2022 state title.

Many assume this is all North DeSoto, especially played in Stonewall, but I have seen Opelousas play. The Tigers look like a college football team in talent, and oh by the way, they have the best Class of 2025 RB in the USA in D’Shaun Ford (6-1, 215), and a 285-pound offensive line blocking for him. I’m going to stand with the homestanding Griffins, but it might be closer than you think. In a close call, North DeSoto and former Louisiana Christian coach Dennis Dunn moves on, 35-28.

Contact Lee at

Serious management works for Colvin in downing mystery buck

Louisiana is in the throes of a major drought that has reduced palatable browse for deer; they are having to depend on less desirable food sources to survive.

Forty-three year old Daniel Colvin, Bernice, is offering a 4 ½-acre smorgasbord of wheat, clover and turnips that virtually guarantee that when he sits on his stand, it’s almost a sure thing that he’ll see deer.

Colvin is an entrepreneur who has a variety of professions. He deals in real estate buying and selling, is a commercial fisherman, has a lawn service and is a consultant to property owners who want to provide the best opportunity for attracting and holding deer. 

He has converted his own 1300 acres in Union Parish to a haven for deer and, as a result, he has been successful in growing some impressive bucks. Colvin keeps cameras out year round, provides minerals all year and improves the land by controlled burning and thinning where needed. He knows and keep records on virtually every buck on the property, but there was one that provided a bit of a mystery.

“I’m really not sure if I knew about this particular buck,” Colvin said. “I knew I had a big one on the property and had a photo of one back in July in velvet before his rack fully developed. I knew it was going to be special. Then he just disappeared and I never had a picture of this particular buck after that.”

As dry as things have been, it had rained the night of October 29 and continued on into the next morning, finally ceasing on Monday October 30.

“I knew the deer would be moving after the rain, and bucks were starting to make scrapes and chase does. At 3:30, I got in my box stand, overlooking the food plot and actually ran off a doe and yearling as I got to the stand. Soon after getting settled in the stand, several small bucks showed up and were starting to harass does that had also arrived,” said Colvin.

 Around 5 that afternoon, Colvin noticed one particular small buck had his eyes fixed on the adjacent woods. Suddenly, the buck bolted and ran from the food plot. 

“I knew there had to be a bigger buck that had spooked this little buck so I kept my eyes on the direction the buck was looking. Then I saw a big rack and then the body of an impressive buck as it stepped out. I knew it was a shooter for sure, so I got my 25.06 Remington up and five seconds later, I hit the trigger. The buck ran about twenty yards before falling at the edge of the food plot,” Colvin continued.

The buck sported an impressive rack of 11 points, had an inside spread of 19 2/8 inches, impressive main beams of 24 and 25 inches and 5 inch bases. It was determined that he was 5 ½ years old and weighed in at 190 pounds.

Colvin took him to Greg Hicks, official Buckmaster scorer, and the tape came to 154 4/8 inches.

Although Colvin has a record of just about every deer on the property, this one, never actually identified, was a bit of a mystery that ended successfully. 

Multiple charges on Alexandria felon draw $34,000 bail

Rapides felony arrests are accusations, not convictions. 

November 28
Gage Guillory, 29, Alexandria — disturbing peace loud language/disorderly, illegal use of weapons/instrumentality, possession/sell firearm with obliterated serial number, possession firearm by convicted felon, resisting 2 counts, violation protective order, contempt, $34,000 bail;

Knderrick Joiner, 30, Boyce — aggravated assault/domestic abuse/child endangerment, aggravated assault domestic abuse, resisting, contempt 2 counts — $10,500 bail;

Taylor Rosenthal Jr., 41, Alexandria — aggravated domestic abuse with child present, aggravated strangle domestic abuse battery strangulation, theft, no bail set. 

Sheet Pan Pot Pie

A weeknight meal that could not be easier, more comforting and satisfying! Mix up this filling in no time by using a rotisserie chicken (or hey even leftover Thanksgiving turkey!) and top with premade pie crust. Sheet pan meals make life easier, and I am a fan of that! 


  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 handful baby carrots, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, cut up
  • Refrigerated pie crust


Melt butter in Dutch oven and add diced veggies.  Sauté.  Add chicken.  Sprinkle flour evenly over and stir.  Cook a few minutes stirring gently.  Pour in broth, stirring constantly.  Stir in bouillon and wine.  Pour in cream.  Stir.  Cook over low heat for 4 minutes.  The mixture will thicken.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour into greased jelly roll pan.  Cut pie crust into strips and crisscross over the top.  Bake until crust is golden.

Ashley Madden Rowton is a wife, mom and published cookbook author who lives in Minden, La.

Notice of Death – November 29, 2023

Patrick James Leeney
September 30, 1939 – October 27, 2023
Service: Saturday, December 2, 2023, Noon at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church, Alexandria.
Ethel Reed “CC” Smith Sims
June 4, 1924 – November 27, 2023
Service: Saturday, December 2, 2023, 1pm at Hixson Brothers Funeral Home, Pineville.
Elzie Allen Nichols
February 26, 1928 – November 26, 2023
Service: Saturday, December 2, 2023, 1pm at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Ball.
The Rapides Parish Journal publishes paid obituaries – unlimited words and a photo, as well as unlimited access – $95. 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

Roy refers to ‘demonstrable malfeasance’ in Hall administration; frustration continues over council’s public comment policy

By Jim Smilie

Once again, tempers flared as residents were told by City Council President Lee Rubin that they could not make comments on issues during Tuesday’s meeting of the Alexandria City Council. And, while addressing a comment from a resident, Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy said his administration has been dealing with “demonstrable malfeasance” from the administration of former Mayor Jeff Hall.

Roy’s remarks came after a question asking about auditing city spending. Roy noted the city audit for the year ending April 30, 2023, was released earlier this month and cited significant issues in the way the utility system was managed by the Hall administration in regard to delinquent accounts.

The Rapides Parish Journal reported on the audit findings Nov. 17. That story can be found here The full audit findings can be found at the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s site at$file/00003248.pdf.

Roy noted he considers Hall a long-time friend and said he has been reluctant to publicly criticize his administration. “I try to be polite and respectful,” Roy said, but noted that when speaking to the council he needs to be candid in his remarks. When asked for details regarding possible malfeasance, Roy said residents should read the audit report.

Regarding public commenting issues, Alexandria resident Cornelius L. White, a regular council meeting attendee, became frustrated when Rubin attempted to cut him off as he was asking questions during the Community Affairs, Services and Events Committee meeting which took place prior to the start of the regular council meeting.

The committee meeting started at 4:45 p.m. and was scheduled to end at 5 p.m. for the regular council meeting, but the committee meeting ran long. Rubin asked White to stop speaking so the main council meeting could begin. While speakers at council meetings are limited to three minutes, there is no set time limit in committee meetings and White said he had questions he wanted answered. After a heated exchange of words, that included Rubin seeking to have White removed from the room, White took a seat and the regular council meeting began.

During that meeting, Alexandria resident Sandra Ward asked to comment on a resolution and was told by Rubin she could not speak because she had not signed up in advance to speak on that particular resolution. Current City Council policy requires that anyone wishing to speak on any agenda item must sign up to speak before the meeting begins.

Ward said she spoke with City Council Clerk Donna Jones, who takes the sign-up sheets before the meeting, and indicated that she wanted to speak on a number of issues. Jones acknowledged the conversation, but said Ward had not filled out the proper paperwork required to speak.

For several months, residents have expressed frustration to council members over the policy and the difficulty for citizens to share their concerns and discuss council actions during city council meetings. Most often, residents are stopped from commenting either because they failed to sign up in advance or their remarks are determined to not be germane to the agenda item being discussed. When the council meeting ended, Ward told the council members that “citizens can be heard, or you can be replaced.”

Even council members can be shut down from commenting. At Tuesday’s meeting, District 3 Councilwoman Cynthia Perry asked about an update on work being done at a city basketball facility when a resolution to advertise for bids to renovate the Broadway Avenue basketball courts came up. Rubin cut her off, saying her question, “wasn’t relevant to this item,” to which she quipped, “it was to me.”

When things settled down enough for the council to move through the agenda, the council approved an ordinance to accept a donation of land from Rapides Healthcare System, LLC, for a small parcel of land located adjacent to the Holocaust Memorial located between Fourth and Second Street near Rapides Regional Medical Center.

The council also approved a resolution authorizing adoption of policies and procedures for receipt of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery funding for Horseshoe Canal Hardening and Chatlin Lake Canal Outfall to the Red River. Both projects are intended to reduce flooding throughout the Alexandria area.

Prior to the meeting, District 1 Councilman REDDEX Washington requested an update from the administration regarding funds the city received from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in the Community Affairs, Services and Events Committee meeting.

Specifically, the administration was asked to report the total amount of funds awarded to the city, the amount that has been allocated to date, any remaining funds and the deadline to use the funds.

Mayor Roy said the city received a total of $11,290,002 in ARPA funding and that all of the money has been used. The deadline for use of the funds is Dec. 31, 2026.

Roy said the city received the funding in two equal payments of $5,645,001. The first was received on July 15, 2021, and was used to fund a number of capital projects in the Utility Department. Projects included a 24” Kisatchie Bypass water line, addressing copper corrosion in the water system and replacing the HVAC system in the Utility Customer Service building on Murray Street.

The second allocation was received on August 8, 2022. Roy said roughly $3 million was spent on purchasing new vehicles for the Alexandria Police Department. Roy said hardly any new vehicles were purchased for APD in the preceding four years and that more than 50 cars had to be purchased at once for the fleet.

The remainder of the money was used to replace lost revenue, Roy said. Washington asked if there were any unallocated ARPA funds available that could be used for city needs and Roy responded, “the funds are 100 percent allocated and obligated.”

The next Alexandria City Council meeting is set for 5 p.m. Tuesday, December 12.

Property tax pain? Here’s a primer on what, how much, why


Property owners are doing their annual grumbling as tax bills arrive (payment due by December 31) though most of the pain is self-inflicted.

Police Jury and School Board taxes are by a large margin levies approved by a majority of those voting in one election or another.

A great bit of the opposition voiced to the recently rejected Renaissance proposal was of the “enough taxes” tenor. So what is the property tax load?

First a reminder of how property is valued for property tax purposes.

Residential property is assessed at 10 percent of determined fair market value, commercial at 15 percent.

Homeowners living on a property as their primary residence get a $75,000 homestead exemption.

For instance, a residential property valued at $175,000 and with homestead exemption is factored at $100,000. The 10 percent figure on which property tax is paid is $10,000.

A business of $175,000 fair market value is assessed at $26,250.

Millage rates are the same for residential and commercial assessments. A mill is $1 per $1,000 assessment.

A mill tax on the above properties would yield $10 and $26.25 respectively.

Parish-wide property taxes in Rapides total about 50 mills. All but 13.33 (police jury state constitution, 6.06; school board state constitution 4.83; Red River Waterway, general alimony, 2.34) are voter-approved.

Using the above properties, the parish tax bills are $500 and $1,312.50 respectively.

The voter-passed taxes include senior citizen centers maintenance, 1.06; health unit maintenance, 1.06; coliseum maintenance, 1.00; coliseum debt service, 2.01; Renaissance, 2.06; library, 7.08; sheriff law enforcement district, 17.46; assessor, 2.10.

There are additional taxes, almost all voter-approved, depending on where property is.

Fire District millage ranges from 15.0 to 145.16; road maintenance from 5.56 to 93.23; drainage from 1.04 to 10.04; recreation from 5.0 to 15.0.

About 21 mills is levied parish-wide for schools and from 8.00 to 63.00 in school districts.

Additionally there are property taxes for various purposes in municipalities. Those levies are not subject to homestead exemption.

The Police Jury realized $29.6 million in property tax revenue in its most recent audit year. Of that 3.2 million could be used for general purposes; the remainder for specific dedicated purposes.

For comparison, the parish realized $3 million in sales tax collections available for general purposes and $5 million dedicated to specific uses.

According to the audit, property assessed at $57.6 million was tax abated under industrial development programs, resulting in tax collections foregone of $2 million.

ASH, NSU great Nall thrilled about new Demons’ football coach

While recruiting Cenla, LSU graduate Blaine McCorkle guided a dormant Belhaven football program to a conference championship and NCAA playoff appearance, and will try to do the same for Northwestern State. (Photo courtesy Belhaven Athletics/Northwestern State)

By DOUG IRELAND, Journal Sports

NATCHITOCHES — New Northwestern State football coach Blaine McCorkle is unknown to virtually everybody invested in Demon football, except for one of NSU’s greatest players.

Former NFL quarterback Craig Nall, an Alexandria Senior High product, couldn’t be more excited that his former LSU teammate has been hired to take over the program in Natchitoches.

McCorkle, 47, and his family will be introduced to supporters and the media at 2 p.m. today in the Stroud Room, located in the Donald G. Kelly Athletic Complex. He replaces Brad Laird, one of NSU’s all-time great players, who resigned Oct. 26 as NSU curtailed its 2023 season by cancelling its final four games in the aftermath of the shooting death of junior safety Ronnie Caldwell Jr.

Northwestern has not had a winning season in football since 2008, a 7-5 record. There have been two 6-6 finishes, and two winless seasons, in 2009 and this fall (0-6). Last year Laird’s team had a 4-2 Southland Conference record.

Nall, who earned a degree from NSU after leading the Demons to the FCS playoffs with a record-shattering 2001 season, is a good friend of McCorkle – who has been in coaching for 26 years, the last six bringing a championship to a downtrodden Division III program at Belhaven College in Jackson, Miss.

He took the Blazers from a two-win team the year ahead of his arrival to a nine-win season in 2023, with  an outright USA South Conference championship – the first such title in Belhaven program history – and the program’s first berth in the NCAA Division III playoffs.

In his final three seasons, McCorkle led the Blazers to a 24-7 overall record. The 17-4 mark across the 2022-23 seasons marked the most wins in a two-year span in program history and helped McCorkle earn three American Southwest Conference/USA South Coach of the Year awards, including the 2023 honor.

McCorkle inherited a program that had not won more than three games in a season since 2013.

McCorkle has been an assistant coach as an offensive line coach at six FCS institutions – Delaware, Richmond, Liberty, Tennessee Tech, Chattanooga and UT Martin. Twenty of his 26 seasons as a coach have come at those FCS programs.

“The opportunity to be back at the FCS level where I’ve spent the majority of my career is something I’ve wanted for a long time,” said McCorkle. “It is a pure level of college football that plays for the right reasons. I’m excited to be back at that level. I’m also excited for the challenge of rebuilding – not building – Northwestern State because Northwestern State has been there before. The campus has a lot to offer. The town has a lot to offer. I’m honored and humbled to have the opportunity to restore a program a lot of people take a lot of pride in.”

McCorkle interviewed for the McNeese coaching vacancy two years ago, when the Cowboys replaced current LSU assistant Frank Wilson with Valdosta State coach Gary Goff. Nall said McCorkle was eager to apply for the NSU job six years ago when Laird was promoted from within to replace Jay Thomas.

“I’m really happy and excited, not only for him and his family but for the university. Northwestern State’s getting a good guy,” said Nall, who lives in the Dallas area and operates a nationwide business tutoring high school and junior high quarterbacks.

McCorkle was a walk-on deep snapper on Gerry DiNardo’s LSU teams when Nall arrived as a highly recruited quarterback from ASH. Nall became involved in a three-way battle for the starting job at LSU with Josh Booty and Rohan Davey, weathered the Tigers’ coaching transition from DiNardo to Nick Saban and ultimately transferred to his parents’ alma mater, Northwestern, to play his senior season.

McCorkle finished playing in 1999 and began his coaching career at LSU as a student assistant, earning his degree in 2000 before Nall left. They have remained friends since.

“Blaine has done a great job rebuilding the program that he’s been at, really turned it around and established a winning culture there,” said Nall.

“He’s fully aware of the challenge that’s going to be in front of him. He cares about his players. He’s an awesome coach and he does things the right way.”

McCorkle has no other apparent connections to Northwestern but from his days at LSU and during his time at Belhaven, he’s very familiar with the lay of the land in Louisiana and its football network. Belhaven had 13 Louisiana natives on its roster this fall. Two of his assistants recruited central Louisiana and another recruited south Louisiana.

“He knows the state, knows it well. I think recruiting-wise, he’ll do good. It will take some time but if there’s anybody who can do it, he will. He’ll get in there, roll his sleeves up, and get to work reestablishing a culture of winning,” said Nall.

“(Coming back to Louisiana) played a huge part in it,” McCorkle said. “I’ve wanted to be a Division I head coach in Louisiana for 30 years now. I came here in August 1995 and fell in love with the people, the culture and the passion that is the state of Louisiana. A big part of that culture is college football.

“We’re in a great high school football state that has great areas to pull talent from. One thing I know about the people of Louisiana is you always know where you stand with them. I want to give the people of Natchitoches what they want, earn their trust and build something special for them.”

Contact Doug at

Jury selection underway in murder case

According to the Rapides Parish District Attorney’s Office, jury selection is underway in State v. Detriavion D. Green. Green is charged with one count of second-degree murder and one count of attempted second-degree murder. The case is being prosecuted by ADA Kelvin Sanders.

Alexandria man arrested on domestic abuse charges


The Alexandria Police Department responded to the 400 block of 12th Street on Nov. 27 around 3:30 pm in reference to a domestic battery.  Responding officers located the armed suspect Jeremy Daigrepont, 43 of Alexandria, in a nearby home.  Daigrepont was taken into custody and charged with one count of Resisting an Officer, one count of Domestic Abuse Battery, and one count of Domestic Abuse Aggravated Assault.

This is currently an ongoing investigation.

If anyone has any information about this incident or any other type of crime in the Alexandria area, please contact the Alexandria Police Detective Division at the phone number (318) 441-6416, or APD Dispatch (318) 441-6559. You may also email information to detectives at:

For a cash reward, call Crime Stoppers of CenLa at (318) 443-7867. The Crime Stoppers P3 Tipster App can also be downloaded to leave tips and get a claim number for a cash reward at

Opelousas man pays price for getaway, contempt

Rapides felony charges are accusations, not convictions. 

November 27
Travis Baker, 42, Opelousas — felony flight, contempt, $15,000 bail;

Larry Dubois, 38, Montgomery — felony flight 2 counts, driving under suspension/revocation, reckless operation, improper lane usage, expired license plate/registration, $2,500 bail.

Possession, weapons charges earn $65,000 bail

Rapides felony drug arrests are accusations, not convictions. 

November 27
Tiffany Bosarge, 34, Alexandria — possession with intent, criminal conspiracy, theft second/subsequent conviction, portraying law enforcement officer or fireman, contempt 2 counts, $19,500 bail;

Isaiah Wimby, 21, Abbeville — possession with intent, illegal carrying weapons, illegal carrying firearm with drugs 2 counts, contempt, $65,000 bail. 

Hospital food drive collects 1,101 pounds

Rapides Regional Medical Center collected more than 1,000 pounds of non-perishable food during its recent food drive to benefit the Food Bank of Central Louisiana.

Employees donated 1,101 pounds of food to help the Food Bank’s mission of alleviating hunger in Central Louisiana. The food drive was part of Rapides Regional Medical Center’s division-led food drive in North Texas that collected 23,000 pounds of food and donated $48,000 to 14 food banks.

As part of the food drive, a competition to build creative can sculptures from the donated food was held. Rapides Regional’s submission, Witches Brew, earned the Food Bank of Central Louisiana an additional $500 donation for its honorable mention place.

“Good health is tied to proper nutrition,” says Charla Ducote, Vice President of Marketing, Public Relations and Business Development. “Our compassionate colleagues continue to demonstrate how we care for our community beyond the hospital walls.”