Monday, March 2, 2015

Winn Parish School Board Regular Meeting - March 2, 2015


Here's the audio of today's School Board meeting:

There are 23 registered Confederates in Louisiana.



According to the Louisiana Secretary of State's office, these are the numbers of registrants for all the parties on the Louisiana voter registration rolls as of March 2, 2015:

Democratic 1339036
Republican 805544
No Party 665170
INDEPENDENT 49801
Libertarian 10945
Green Party 2033
Reform Party 1385
OTHER 1367
CONSERVATIVE 765
AMERICANS ELECT 560
INDENPENDENT 358
TEA PARTY 261
LIBERAL 225
CHRISTIAN 160
CONSTITUTION 124
AMERICAN 108
OPEN 91
MODERATE 85
PRUD ACT RSLTS 82
INDEPENTANT 79
SOCIALIST 70
UNDECIDED 65
LILBERTARIAN 62
CONSTITUTIONAL 48
INEDEPENDENT 45
TEA 37
MAJOR 36
NON PARTISAN 28
UNAFFILIATED 28
INDEPENDENCE 27
JEDI 26
REPUBLIC 24
COMMUNIST 23
CONFEDERATE 23
NEUTRAL 23
LIBERTAIN 22
MARIJUANA 20
UNDECLARED 18
WHIG 17
INDEPEMDENT 16
PROGRESSIVE 16
ANARCHIST 15
FACIST 15
LIB 15

REFORMIST 14
EARTH FIRST 13
3RD PARTY 12
CENTRIST 12
CONSTITUTIONALI 12
LIBRAL 11
INDIVIDUAL 10
MODERN WHIG 10
SEGREGATION 10
PRESIDENTIAL 8
FEDERALIST 7
PATRIOT 7
PRIMARY 7
DEM SOCIALIST 6
NAP 6
NDEPENDENT 6
NON-PARTISAN 6
U S TAXPAYERS 6
WARD 6
BULL MOOSE 5
COMMON SENSE 5
CONSERVATIST 5
FREE 5
INDEPENDENT LA 5
POPULIST 5
Republitarian 5
SOCIALIST USA 5
TAX PAYERS 5
WHITE 5
AMERICAN PARTY 4
BAJEDGOD 4
BAPTIST 4
CATHOLIC REG 4
DEM.REP 4
GDI 4
LIBERALIST 4
NAT SOC 4
PIRATE 4
SOUTHERN 4
STATES RIGHTS 4
THIRD PARTY 4
AEROSMITH 3
AM INDEPENDENT 3
ANARCH 3
BEST 3
BROWN 3

ChrstnSocialist 3
CIVIL LIBERTAR 3
CONS 3
DEMOC SOCIAL 3
JESUS 3
NATURAL LAW 3
PEACE & FREEDO 3
THEOCRATIC 3
USA 3
AMERICAN INDEP 2
ANARCHY 2
BI PARTISAN 2
BI-PARTISAN 2
BIPARTISAN 2
BLACK 2
BLACK PANTHER 2
COMMITTEE 2
COMMUNITARIAN 2
CONFIDENTIAL 2
CONST CONSERVAT 2
DEPENDENT 2
DEPENDS 2
FREEDOM 2
HAZAL 2
INDEPENDANCE 2
INDIVIDUALIST 2
JEFFERSONIAN 2
KINGDOM 2
LA TAXPAYERS 2
LABOR 2
LIBERAL REP 2
MIXED 2
MUSLIM 2
NATIONAL 2
NATIONAL SOCIA 2
NATIONALIST 2
NATURAL 2
NEW PARTY 2
NON PARTISIAN 2
NONPARTISAN 2
NUNYA 2
NUTRAL 2
PAR 2
PEACE 2
PEACE&FREEDOM 2
PEOPLES CHOICE 2

POLITICAL 2
POSSIBILITARIAN 2
PRIVATE 2
RASTAFARIAN 2
SOC-DEM 2
SPLIT 2
WORKERS 2
AID 1
ALBERTUS 1
AMERICA 1
ANTI-PARTY 1
BANANA 1
BEST CHOICE 1
Best One 1
BILLY 1
CAJUN 1
CENRIST 1
CHOICE 1
CHRIST CO 1
CHRONIC HIWAII 1
CITIZEN 1
CONSERVANCE 1
CONSERVATED 1
CONSTRUCTIONALI 1
CU TAI WOU 1
DANSEREAU 1
DISCORDIAN 1
DRUID 1
FAIR 1
FREEDOMIST 1
GALACTIC EMPIRE 1
GOD 1
GOVERNMENT 1
GREEN PEACE 1
GRILLED CHEESE 1
HUMAN 1
HUMANITARIAN 1
IMPERIALIST 1
INTERNETARIAN 1
JasonJohnLeMair 1
KINGDOM OF GOD 1
LEAGUE OF SOUT 1
LIB.REPUBLICAN 1
LIBERAL DEM 1
LOYALIST 1
MARIJUANA REG 1

ME 1
MEADOW 1
MILLENNIUM 1
MINIMALIST 1
MODERATE REPUBL 1
MONARCHIST 1
MOOR 1
MOORISH NATIONA 1
MOTHER 1
NON-DENOMIN 1
P 1
PARTY OF ONE 1
PEDESTRIAN 1
PENTECOSTAL 1
PRO LIFE 1
PROG DEM 1
PROHIBITION 1
PROPREPRESENPTY 1
PRS 1
RADICAL 1
RAINBOW 1
REALIST 1
RENEW 1
REP-AMERICAN 1
RIGHT 1
RIGHT TO LIFE 1
RIGHTWING WHIG 1
SENSATIONALIST 1
SOUTHERN PARTY 1
SOUTHERN REF 1
SPIRITUAL 1
SUB GENIUS 1
SUPERMAN PARTY 1
TAXPAYERS 1
THEOCRAT 1
THUNDER CRAB 1
UNCLASSIFIED 1
UNION 1
UNITED NEUTRAL 1
UNITED REPUBLI 1
UNITED WE ST 1
VETERANS 1
WINDO 1
WORKING CLASS 1
WORLD PARTY 1
Y 1

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Winn Parish Police Jury Regular Meeting - February 18, 2015


Here's the audio of yesterday's Police Jury meeting:



Below is the agenda. (There was one significant change in the agenda. Item 4 under BUSINESS actually involved the Village of Sikes, not the Village of Dodson.)



Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Winnfield City Council Revisits the Resicon Bamboozle



“This is a sore, sore, sore subject - this whole Resicon thing. I mean, we got took.” That’s how Winnfield City Councilperson Sarah Junkin described the 2006 deal to bring a new business to Winnfield, but which actually resulted in large expenditures of municipal funds and no new business. Wyn Courtney, the Welsh-born entrepreneur who came to Winn Parish about nine years ago with plans to open a manufacturing business, became a popular figure around the parish during his short time here. The City of Winnfield spent significant amounts of money renovating the city-owned Vassarette building to make it suitable as Resicon’s local base of operations, but the business never opened and Courtney soon departed Winnfield, leaving debts and bad feelings in his wake. “He was a con artist, but we in good faith thought he was bringing jobs to this town,” Junkin said.

Junkin made those comments during a larger discussion of the now-long-vacant Vassarette building at last night’s Winnfield City Council meeting. Winnfield Police Chief Johnny Ray Carpenter had expressed his frustration about the City Council’s failure to exercise the needed oversight and to properly respond to the possibility that funds were misappropriated during the efforts by the city years ago to create incentives for Resicon and other businesses to come to town and use that building. Chief Carpenter also said that, in the absence of complaints filed by city officials responsible for the building, his office was limited in their ability to investigate burglaries which have happened there over the last several years and which have resulted in the Vassarette building being largely stripped. City Councilperson Jessie Edwards estimated that the value of the building had dropped from a million dollars to $200,000.

Junkin is the only current council member who was on the City Council when the city still had a cordial relationship with Courtney. She joined the council in the summer of 2006. She said the incentive efforts were already underway when she took office.

“But when Resicon was supposed to be opening their business, we all went out there and did a tour. That place was painted. It was in immaculate condition. The man had all his little things set up out there like he was going to go into business any minute.  He never did go into business, did he? I mean, he had us bamboozled. He was supposed to be hiring 30 employees the next day. Never happened,” Junkin said.

She explained that after it became clear that Courtney was not living up to his end of the bargain, the city sued him. She said he disappeared and wouldn’t repay the city. City Attorney Herman Castete said that the city did get a judgment against Courtney and that the city ultimately gained ownership of some of the equipment Courtney left behind.

Chief Carpenter said, “I even stood here many times wanting to see what we could do to bring charges against this man. We’re talking about money.”

Carpenter described some of the expenditures made by the city on the Vassarette building to make it conform to Resicon’s needs. “It was just money, money, money. Nobody went to work. Taxpayers to this day are still paying for it. Citizens filled this room for service that they rendered out there for work. Never got a check. Not one councilman backed us to try to get this money. So, if we’re going to talk about investigation, it failed here. Not one complaint was ever filed. Not one attempt was made to go after this man, nor anybody else.”

Junkin said she didn’t know that the city could go after Courtney criminally. She said she thought they were just after him in a civil lawsuit.

Carpenter said, “There should have been criminal charges brought against this man.”

Carpenter also chided the previous city officials for their lack of due diligence. “That man should have never gotten that far - I mean never gotten that far - with the taxpayers’ money.”

Former Mayor B.R. Audirsh was in attendance to respond to earlier news reports that the problems at the Vassarette building happened during a previous mayor’s administration. He wanted to make clear that the city’s association with Resicon also pre-dated his own administration. Audirsch was mayor from 2010 to 2014. The Resicon deal happened during the administration of former Mayor Deano Thornton, who left office in 2009 after accepting a job as CEO of Winn Community Health Center.

Wyn Courtney is now an author of children’s books and lives in Brownsville, Texas.

Wyn Courtney

Monday, February 2, 2015

There is 1 registered Thunder Crab in Louisiana.



According to the Louisiana Secretary of State's office, these are the numbers of registrants for all the parties on the Louisiana voter registration rolls as of February 2, 2015:

Democratic 1340727
Republican 805298
No Party 664035
INDEPENDENT 49687
Libertarian 10874
Green Party 2028
Reform Party 1387
OTHER 1365
CONSERVATIVE 765
AMERICANS ELECT 562
INDENPENDENT 359
TEA PARTY 257
LIBERAL 225
CHRISTIAN 160
CONSTITUTION 125
AMERICAN 108
OPEN 91
MODERATE 85
PRUD ACT RSLTS 82
INDEPENTANT 77
SOCIALIST 69
UNDECIDED 65
LILBERTARIAN 61
DANSEREAU 49
CONSTITUTIONAL 48
INEDEPENDENT 45
MAJOR 36
TEA 36
NON PARTISAN 28
RADICAL 28
JEDI 26
UNAFFILIATED 26
INDEPENDENCE 25
BANANA 24
REPUBLIC 24
COMMUNIST 23
CONFEDERATE 23
NEUTRAL 23
LIBERTAIN 22
MARIJUANA 20
UNDECLARED 18
WHIG 17
INDEPEMDENT 16
PROGRESSIVE 16

ANARCHIST 15
FACIST 15
LIB 15
REFORMIST 14
3RD PARTY 12
CENTRIST 12
CONSTITUTIONALI 12
EARTH FIRST 12
LIBRAL 11
INDIVIDUAL 10
MODERN WHIG 10
SEGREGATION 10
PRESIDENTIAL 8
FEDERALIST 7
PATRIOT 7
PRIMARY 7
DEM SOCIALIST 6
NAP 6
NDEPENDENT 6
NON-PARTISAN 6
U S TAXPAYERS 6
WARD 6
BULL MOOSE 5
COMMON SENSE 5
CONSERVATIST 5
FREE 5
INDEPENDENT LA 5
POPULIST 5
Republitarian 5
SOCIALIST USA 5
TAX PAYERS 5
WHITE 5
AMERICAN PARTY 4
BAJEDGOD 4
BAPTIST 4
CATHOLIC REG 4
DEM.REP 4
GDI 4
LIBERALIST 4
NAT SOC 4
SOUTHERN 4
STATES RIGHTS 4
THIRD PARTY 4
AEROSMITH 3
AM INDEPENDENT 3
ANARCH 3

BEST 3
BROWN 3
ChrstnSocialist 3
CIVIL LIBERTAR 3
CONS 3
DEMOC SOCIAL 3
NATURAL LAW 3
PEACE & FREEDO 3
PIRATE 3
THEOCRATIC 3
USA 3
AMERICAN INDEP 2
ANARCHY 2
BI PARTISAN 2
BI-PARTISAN 2
BIPARTISAN 2
BLACK 2
BLACK PANTHER 2
COMMITTEE 2
COMMUNITARIAN 2
CONFIDENTIAL 2
CONST CONSERVAT 2
DEPENDENT 2
DEPENDS 2
FREEDOM 2
GRILLED CHEESE 2
HAZAL 2
INDEPENDANCE 2
INDIVIDUALIST 2
JEFFERSONIAN 2
JESUS 2
KINGDOM 2
LA TAXPAYERS 2
LABOR 2
LIBERAL REP 2
MIXED 2
MUSLIM 2
NATIONAL 2
NATIONAL SOCIA 2
NATIONALIST 2
NATURAL 2
NEW PARTY 2
NON PARTISIAN 2
NONPARTISAN 2
NUNYA 2
NUTRAL 2

PAR 2
PEACE 2
PEACE&FREEDOM 2
PEOPLES CHOICE 2
POLITICAL 2
POSSIBILITARIAN 2
PRIVATE 2
RASTAFARIAN 2
SOC-DEM 2
SPLIT 2
WORKERS 2
AID 1
ALBERTUS 1
AMERICA 1
ANTI-PARTY 1
BEST CHOICE 1
Best One 1
BILLY 1
CAJUN 1
CENRIST 1
CHOICE 1
CHRIST CO 1
CHRONIC HIWAII 1
CITIZEN 1
CONSERVANCE 1
CONSERVATED 1
CONSTRUCTIONALI 1
CU TAI WOU 1
DISCORDIAN 1
DRUID 1
FAIR 1
FREEDOMIST 1
GALACTIC EMPIRE 1
GOD 1
GOVERNMENT 1
GREEN PEACE 1
HUMAN 1
HUMANITARIAN 1
IMPERIALIST 1
INTERNETARIAN 1
JasonJohnLeMair 1
KINGDOM OF GOD 1
LEAGUE OF SOUT 1
LIB.REPUBLICAN 1
LIBERAL DEM 1
LOYALIST 1

MARIJUANA REG 1
ME 1
MEADOW 1
MILLENNIUM 1
MINIMALIST 1
MODERATE REPUBL 1
MONARCHIST 1
MOOR 1
MOORISH NATIONA 1
MOTHER 1
NON-DENOMIN 1
P 1
PARTY OF ONE 1
PEDESTRIAN 1
PENTECOSTAL 1
PRO LIFE 1
PROG DEM 1
PROHIBITION 1
PROPREPRESENPTY 1
PRS 1
RAINBOW 1
REALIST 1
RENEW 1
REP-AMERICAN 1
RIGHT 1
RIGHT TO LIFE 1
RIGHTWING WHIG 1
SENSATIONALIST 1
SOUTHERN PARTY 1
SOUTHERN REF 1
SPIRITUAL 1
SUB GENIUS 1
SUPERMAN PARTY 1
TAXPAYERS 1
THEOCRAT 1
THUNDER CRAB 1
UNCLASSIFIED 1
UNION 1
UNITED NEUTRAL 1
UNITED REPUBLI 1
UNITED WE ST 1
VETERANS 1
WINDO 1
WORKING CLASS 1
WORLD PARTY 1
Y 1

Friday, January 30, 2015

"Sacred as Folk" - A Review


About eight years ago I saw a man dressed in monk’s robes walking down the street in Natchitoches. I wondered what that was about, but I drove on. Then, I saw him again on my next trip to Natchitoches. I kept seeing him. He was an older man. In addition to the robes, he wore a large-brimmed straw hat and he was often carrying a Styrofoam beverage container.

Mostly, I saw him around the Front Street area. One time, though, I saw him way over on South Drive near Maggio’s. He was walking and it was cold. I almost stopped and offered him a ride. At that time, though, I still didn’t know whether he was a real monk or a crazy person. I didn’t offer him a ride. I wish I had.

Once, I saw him on Front Street standing outside a store that sold Catholic religious items. He was talking to two priests. I still thought he might just be an old eccentric who liked to dress as a monk. I imagined that the priests were feeling him out so they could report back to the Vatican on the fake friar roaming around Natchitoches.

Eventually, my curiosity led me to Google “Natchitoches monk” and I found out that the man I was seeing really was a monk. His name was Brother Michael David Elvestrom. He had been an art teacher at the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts and he was an accomplished artist.

A few days ago I attended the premiere screening of a documentary about Brother Michael David.


Sacred as Folk was made by first-time filmmakers Matt Perry and David Steele. Both of them are adjunct professors of music at Northwestern State University.

I wanted to see the documentary primarily to get answers to some of the questions I’ve had about Brother Michael David. The stories people who have known him for decades tell about him in the film satisfied a lot of my curiosity, but removing some of the mystery did not make Brother Michael David any less interesting. He more than lives up to his public persona. The vignettes with Brother Michael David at his home (which he named “Our Lady of the Lake Hermitage”) are wonderful. He’s almost like a fairy-tale character, like a wizard, like a fey Obi-Wan Kenobi, but the documentary reminds us that he’s a human in the real world.

Brother Michael David is known, by some, as “The Drunk Monk.” There’s a scene in which one of Brother Michael David’s longtime peers talks about his alcoholism and the effect it’s had on him. That was a little uncomfortable to watch, especially since Brother Michael David was in the audience, but I think a straightforward acknowledgement of that problem gave the film and the character it portrays a depth that would have been missing if the film had only been a series of lighthearted episodes about the lovable local eccentric.

The film touches on his religious beliefs, but not as much as you might think it would given its title and his vocation. Brother Michael David’s spirituality seems more eclectic and fluid than what I would expect from a Christian monk, though it’s about what I would expect from an artist who came of age in the 1960s.


Given that the filmmakers are both music teachers, it’s not surprising that the film’s use of music is one of its greatest technical strengths. I was pleased, though, to see that the film also works visually. The lens they used, the shots they composed, and the effects they applied in editing all work. Natchitoches is one of the most visually interesting cities in Louisiana and they make good use of the setting. Also, the subject of the film is a talented visual artist, so that probably helped them.

A second showing of Sacred as Folk is planned for February 10, 2015, at 6:15 pm at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in Natchitoches.



Monday, January 5, 2015

Party Registrant Numbers for January 2015


According to the Louisiana Secretary of State's office, these are the numbers of registrants for all the parties on the Louisiana voter registration rolls as of January 5, 2015:

Democratic 1342668
Republican 804730
No Party 662644
INDEPENDENT 49504
Libertarian 10800
Green Party 2022
Reform Party 1382
OTHER 1370
CONSERVATIVE 757
AMERICANS ELECT 563
INDENPENDENT 359
TEA PARTY 259
LIBERAL 226
CHRISTIAN 159
CONSTITUTION 125
AMERICAN 108
OPEN 89
MODERATE 85
PRUD ACT RSLTS 82
INDEPENTANT 77
SOCIALIST 70
UNDECIDED 64
LILBERTARIAN 62
CONSTITUTIONAL 47
INEDEPENDENT 45
DANSEREAU 41
MAJOR 36
TEA 36
NON PARTISAN 28
JEDI 26
INDEPENDENCE 25
RADICAL 25
BANANA 24
REPUBLIC 24
COMMUNIST 23
CONFEDERATE 23
NEUTRAL 23
UNAFFILIATED 21
LIBERTAIN 20
MARIJUANA 19
UNDECLARED 18
WHIG 17
INDEPEMDENT 16
PROGRESSIVE 16

ANARCHIST 15
FACIST 15
LIB 15
REFORMIST 14
3RD PARTY 12
CENTRIST 12
CONSTITUTIONALI 12
EARTH FIRST 12
LIBRAL 12
INDIVIDUAL 10
MODERN WHIG 10
SEGREGATION 10
PRESIDENTIAL 8
FEDERALIST 7
NON-PARTISAN 7
PATRIOT 7
PRIMARY 7
DEM SOCIALIST 6
NAP 6
NDEPENDENT 6
U S TAXPAYERS 6
WARD 6
BULL MOOSE 5
COMMON SENSE 5
CONSERVATIST 5
DEM.REP 5
FREE 5
INDEPENDENT LA 5
POPULIST 5
SOCIALIST USA 5
TAX PAYERS 5
WHITE 5
AMERICAN PARTY 4
BAJEDGOD 4
BAPTIST 4
CATHOLIC REG 4
GDI 4
LIBERALIST 4
NAT SOC 4
Republitarian 4
SOUTHERN 4
STATES RIGHTS 4
THIRD PARTY 4
AEROSMITH 3
AM INDEPENDENT 3
ANARCH 3

BEST 3
BROWN 3
ChrstnSocialist 3
CIVIL LIBERTAR 3
CONS 3
DEMOC SOCIAL 3
NATURAL LAW 3
PEACE & FREEDO 3
PIRATE 3
THEOCRATIC 3
USA 3
AMERICAN INDEP 2
ANARCHY 2
BI PARTISAN 2
BI-PARTISAN 2
BIPARTISAN 2
BLACK 2
BLACK PANTHER 2
COMMITTEE 2
COMMUNITARIAN 2
CONFIDENTIAL 2
CONST CONSERVAT 2
DEPENDENT 2
DEPENDS 2
FREEDOM 2
GRILLED CHEESE 2
HAZAL 2
INDEPENDANCE 2
INDIVIDUALIST 2
JEFFERSONIAN 2
JESUS 2
KINGDOM 2
LA TAXPAYERS 2
LABOR 2
MIXED 2
MUSLIM 2
NATIONAL 2
NATIONAL SOCIA 2
NATIONALIST 2
NATURAL 2
NEW PARTY 2
NON PARTISIAN 2
NONPARTISAN 2
NUNYA 2
NUTRAL 2
PAR 2

PEACE 2
PEACE&FREEDOM 2
PEOPLES CHOICE 2
POLITICAL 2
POSSIBILITARIAN 2
PRIVATE 2
RASTAFARIAN 2
SPLIT 2
WORKERS 2
AID 1
ALBERTUS 1
AMERICA 1
ANTI-PARTY 1
BEST CHOICE 1
Best One 1
BILLY 1
CAJUN 1
CENRIST 1
CHOICE 1
CHRIST CO 1
CHRONIC HIWAII 1
CITIZEN 1
CONSERVANCE 1
CONSERVATED 1
CONSTRUCTIONALI 1
CU TAI WOU 1
DISCORDIAN 1
DRUID 1
ENVIORMENTAL 1
FAIR 1
FREEDOMIST 1
GALACTIC EMPIRE 1
GOD 1
GOVERNMENT 1
GREEN PEACE 1
HUMAN 1
HUMANITARIAN 1
IMPERIALIST 1
INTERNETARIAN 1
JasonJohnLeMair 1
KINGDOM OF GOD 1
LEAGUE OF SOUT 1
LIB.REPUBLICAN 1
LIBERAL DEM 1
LIBERAL REP 1
LOYALIST 1

MARIJUANA REG 1
ME 1
MEADOW 1
MILLENNIUM 1
MINIMALIST 1
MODERATE REPUBL 1
MONARCHIST 1
MOOR 1
MOORISH NATIONA 1
MOTHER 1
NON-DENOMIN 1
P 1
PARTY OF ONE 1
PEDESTRIAN 1
PENTECOSTAL 1
PRO LIFE 1
PROG DEM 1
PROHIBITION 1
PROPREPRESENPTY 1
PRS 1
RAINBOW 1
REALIST 1
RENEW 1
REP-AMERICAN 1
RIGHT 1
RIGHT TO LIFE 1
RIGHTWING WHIG 1
SENSATIONALIST 1
SOC-DEM 1
SOUTHERN PARTY 1
SOUTHERN REF 1
SPIRITUAL 1
SUB GENIUS 1
SUPERMAN PARTY 1
TAXPAYERS 1
THEOCRAT 1
THUNDER CRAB 1
UNCLASSIFIED 1
UNION 1
UNITED NEUTRAL 1
UNITED REPUBLI 1
UNITED WE ST 1
VETERANS 1
WINDO 1
WORKING CLASS 1
WORLD PARTY 1

Y 1