Cenla law enforcement officers participate in annual torch run

By Sherri L. Jackson

More than 100 law enforcement officers participated in the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run through the Alexandria /Pineville area Wednesday in an  effort to get the torch to the Louisiana  Special Olympics held in Hammond.

The state summer games will be May 21-23. Rapides Parish Sheriff Charles Wagner is expected to carry the torch inside of Strawberry Stadium on the grounds of Southeastern Louisiana University.

Wagner participated in Wednesday’s event.

Detective Ricky Ouber of the RPSO coordinated the event.  Officers from Alexandria, Boyce, Leesville, Fort Polk Military Police, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, Louisiana State Police and other agencies participated in the event.

Kathy Smith with the Louisiana Probation and Parole received the annual award for her contributions to the event. Smith is the Central Louisiana coordinator.

Ouber said runners will leave with the torch at 7 a.m. Thursday headed towards Hammond by way of Marksville, Bunkie. They will join up with other law enforcement officers in Krotz Springs and continue the journey.

The Torch Run began in 1981 when Wichita, Kan., Police Chief Richard LaMunyon saw an urgent need to raise funds for and increase awareness of Special Olympics. Today, hundreds of citizens in the United States and more than 50 foreign countries can witness the Olympic Torch being carried by dedicated members of law enforcement through their communities on its journey to the Opening Ceremonies of the Special Olympics Games, according to the Louisiana Special Olympics Web site.

Ferriday woman wins $10,000 top prize

Augustine Davis of Ferriday had to call her niece over to double check her Spot Some Cash! ticket after scratching it to reveal a $10,000 top prize.

“I was at home when I scratched my tickets,” explained Davis, age 63.  “I called my niece over immediately so she could double check my tickets for me.”

Davis shared that she regularly plays scratch-off games, picking new games every couple of weeks.

Davis purchased her winning scratch-off from The U-Pak on East Wallace Boulevard in Ferriday.  She plans to use her winnings to build a gazebo in her yard.

Spot Some Cash! is a $2 game that features the chance to win 10 times on each ticket. The game has four $10,000 top prizes remaining as of April 29.

Jazz on the River set for Saturday, April 17

The Arna Bontemps African American  Museum will present its 15th Annual Jazz on the River, Saturday, April 17, 2010, at the Alexandria Amphitheatre in downtown Alexandria.  Jazz on the River 2010, which is being held in conjunction with the South West Athletic Conference (SWAC) Tennis Championship Tournament April 15-17, will feature award winning international entertainer Kathy Wade “The First Voice of a New Era” of Cincinnati and The Nile Rhythm Band featuring Maynard Batiste in a free evening concert (6-10 PM) on the banks of the scenic Red River.

Also performing will be the Bontempian Big Band, a 16-20-piece jazz ensemble comprised of outstanding Central Louisiana high school students who participate in a jazz residency under the direction of noted music educator Wilmer Christophe.

Kathy Wade, #1 Jazz and Blues Vocalist on MP3.com; #1MP3.com Jazz Vocal Time to Say Good-bye featured on Sci-Fi network’s First Wave sound track and featured in Essence Magazine, March 1999 (Teaching With Music).  Kathy is an award winning international entertainer whose “rich interpretative skills as a song stylist extraordinaire” capture the imagery of emotion on her recording, You Got The Magic and upcoming release, Kathy Wade, Klassic.  (DAKA Music) “Magic,” recorded in Los Angeles, accents Kathy’s “multi-octave contralto of effervescent energy” with world-renowned musicians including Gerald Albright, Harvey Mason and GRAMMY nominated arranger, Producer/Pianist, Bill Cunliffe.  Kathy has opened for Dionne Warwick, Cleo Laine, Nancy Wilson, Diane Schuur, Shirley Horn, Anita Baker, Kenny G, Whitney Houston, David Sanborn, George Benson, Al Jarreau, Stephanie Mills, Jonathan Butler, Frankie Beverly and Maze, Will Downing, Najee and Ramsey Lewis.
The Nile Rhythm Band featuring Maynard Batiste, Jazz pianist and composer,taking Jazz and Rhythm to another level.” Mr. Batiste is the son of the late, great Alvin Batiste, Jazz clarinetist.

Jazz on the River is a free outdoor community jazz concert sponsored by the Arna Bontemps Museum every year since 1996. The organization has three major reasons for producing and presenting this program:

1) to provide audiences outside of New Orleans and the “Jazz Corridor” a chance to experience live jazz, one of Louisiana’s richest art forms and arguably its greatest gift to the world;

2) to cultivate more venues for the performance of jazz in Central Louisiana, of which there are very few;
3) to showcase the art form which profoundly influenced Arna Bontemps and other artists of his era – the Harlem Renaissance and the Jazz Age – including Langston Hughes, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, and Ernest Hemingway. Over the past ten years, Jazz on the River has evolved into Central Louisiana’s premiere jazz event, each year featuring an impressive line-up of internationally acclaimed jazz artists and local talents. Past performers include Ellis Marsalis, Alvin Batiste, Kathy Wade, the Ed Perkins Quartet, the Quamon Fowler Quintet featuring Grammy®-nominee Maurice Brown, Kent Jordan, and Grammy®-winner Nicholas Payton.

Jazz on the River 2010 is a continuum of New Orleans jazz, the birthplace of jazz.

Jazz on the River is sponsored by the Arna Bontemps African American Museum and co-sponsored by the City of Alexandria.

Tables with a seating for ten will be available for reservation at $200.00 to help offset the cost of the concert. For more information, contact the Museum at 318-473-4692 or 318-448-4697.

Erin Ledet named 2010 Ebony Elite belle of the ball

Erin Ledet, a senior at Tioga High School, is the queen of the Ebony Elite Civic and Social Club

She was crowned at the Club’s 20th Annual Debutante Cotillion held Saturday, Feb. 27, at the Alexandria Convention Hall.

Erin is the daughter of of Steven and Zandra Brown and Darrell James Ledet.

Terra Lavalais, daughter of Terry and Angela Lavalais, is first runner up. Kytara Frazier, daughter of Tracy Frazier and David Frazier, is second runner up; and Jessica Merrill, daughter of Mary Merrill and Joseph Merrill, is the third runner up.

Terra attends Pineville High School. Both Kytara and Jessica attend Peabody Magnet High School.

Other debutantes are:

  • Sonnie Letrice Clark, daughter of Sonny Tyrone Clark and niece of Soneter Walker, is a senior at Peabody Magnet High School.
  • Tai Lyn-Chelle Dixon, daughter of Kimberly Cooks and Cornell Dixon, is a senior at Peabody Magnet High School.
  • Mercedes Antionette Granvle, daughter of Matilda Granvle, is a senior at Alexandria Senior High.
  • Kaila Janay Gross, daughter of Dariam David and Gregory Demon Gross, is a senior at Stonewall Jackson Senior High School in Manassas, Va.
  • Stephanie Humphrey, daughter of Felicia Humphrey, is a senior at Peabody Magnet High School.
  • Iesha Shontay Little, daughter of Barbara and Randy Cole, is a senior at Peabody Magnet High School.

Click here to see more photos of the debutantes.

Pineville native vying for stardom on Web-based ‘If I Can Dream’

Pineville native Justin Gaston, age 21, had already chalked up some impressive show business accomplishments before being cast on “If I Can Dream, ” a new multimedia star-making vehicle from the company that made “American Idol.” Read more


Arna Bontemps to celebrate Kwanzaa


  • Sunday, December 27, 2009; 6:00-8:00 P.M.

Arna Bontemps Museum

1327 Third Street

Alexandria, LA 71303

  • Tuesday, December 29, 2009; 6:00-8:00 P.M.

St. Juliana Catholic Church Activity Center

900 Daspit Street

Alexandria, LA 71302

The Kwanzaa observance is free and open to the general public. For more information, contact the Museum at 473-4692.

Gwendolyn Y. Elmore, President/Executive Director

Sylvia Martin, Chair

Ethel Dixon, Co-Chair

Kwanzaa is a unique African American celebration with focus on the traditional African values of family, community responsibility, commerce, and self-improvement. Kwanzaa is neither political nor religious and despite some misconceptions, is not a substitute for Christmas. It is simply a time of reaffirming for African American people, their ancestors and culture.  Kwanzaa, which means “first fruits of the harvest” in the African language Kiswahili, has gained tremendous acceptance. Since its founding in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa has come to be observed by more than 18 million people worldwide, as reported by the New York Times. When establishing Kwanzaa in 1966, Dr. Karenga included an additional ‘a’ to the end of the spelling to reflect the difference between the African American (kwanzaa) and the Motherland spelling (kwanza).

Kwanzaa is based on the Nguzo Saba (seven guiding principles), one for each day of the observance, and is celebrated from December 26th to January 1st.

  • Umoja (oo-MO-jah) Unity stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, which is reflected in the African saying, “I am We,” or “I am because We are.”
  • Kujichagulia (koo-gee-cha-goo-LEE-yah) Self-Determination

requires that we define our common interests and make decisions that are in the best interest of our family and community.

  • Ujima (oo-Gee-mah) Collective Work and Responsibility reminds us of our obligation to the past, present and future, and that we have a role to play in the community, society, and world.
  • Ujamaa (oo-JAH-mah) Cooperative economics emphasizes our collective economic strength and encourages us to meet common needs through mutual support.
  • Nia. (Nee-yah) Purpose encourages us to look within ourselves and to set personal goals that are beneficial to the community.
  • Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah) Creativity makes use of our creative energies to build and maintain a strong and vibrant community.
  • Imani (ee-MAH-nee) Faith focuses on honoring the best of our traditions, draws upon the best in ourselves, and helps us strive for a higher level of life for humankind, by affirming our self-worth and confidence in our ability to succeed and triumph in righteous struggle.

From LA Times Pick (www.tike.com)

Red River Chorale to present Christmas concert

ALEXANDRIA, LA–The Red River Chorale will present its annual Christmas concert  Thursday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m. at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, on Fourth Street, near Elliott Street.

The concert will feature a short cantata by Dietrich Buxtehude, a Baroque German composer.  The composition, Das Neugeborne Kindelein (The Newborn Babe,) will be sung in German.  The remainder of the concert will consist of carols both familiar and unfamiliar, in beautiful arrangements, sung to the accompaniment of the Reuter pipe organ, the Bechstein concert grand piano, and a string quartet.
There will be a reception after the concert in Xavier Hall. All in attendance are invited to attend.
Tickets to the concert are only $10 for adults and $5 for students. They may be purchased from any Chorale member, or by calling the Chorale office at 484-4463.
Consider what lovely Christmas gifts concert tickets would be, either for this concert, or for the next one,  “The French Connection,”  on Thursday, March 18, 2010, under the direction of Lynn Bauman and featuring the Durufle’ Requiem, as well as other works by French composers, including Jean Racine’s lovely Cantique.
For tickets or for more information, call the office at (318) 484-4463.