NBA head coaches don’t just pace the sidelines to get the best view of the greatest basketball players in the world. They’re leaders of 30 teams working toward the ultimate goal.
With 28 years of professional basketball experience, Kenny Natt finally earned his opportunity when he was named head coach of the Sacramento Kings in December. As a former player, scout and assistant coach, he’s seen the game from an array of perspectives. “It’s all intertwined,” Natt said of how working in different capacities help him as head coach. “I’ve been in their shoes as a player. I’ve been an administrator. And I’ve done basketball operations work in the office like Geoff (Petrie). “But this is what I really have a passion to do now,” Natt continued. “To teach what I’ve learned out here on the floor.”
Like all coaches, Natt brings a unique leadership style. Having served under disciplined motivators such as Jerry Sloan and Mike Brown, he shares their philosophies. But the Kings new head coach also tries to emphasize an optimistic approach. “More positive reinforcement, less criticism,” Natt said about keeping confidence levels high. “It’s all about positive reinforcement here and trying to get in their mind that we all make these mistakes, but we can’t stop fighting. We have to keep fighting and get better.” Part of the team’s improvement that he can control is done behind the scenes. From reviewing film to preparing specific game plans, coaches constantly gain more insight into the nuances of the League.
“I study the main guys of other teams,” Natt said. “I know we have Dwyane Wade and I’ve been here long enough to know you focus primarily on those guys, but I realize at the same time, Dwayne Wade is going to get his. What we can’t have is the x-factor guys making the big difference. Those are the things that kill you most times.”
Head coaches know collaboration is a key component toward building a strong team foundation. With four assistant coaches under his wing, Natt understands the importance of utilizing their basketball knowledge, too. “The coach’s staff has been an extension of every coaching situation that I’ve been involved with,” Natt said. “We make decisions as a unit, not as two guys or three guys. We sit down and we decide. I want their input.” In addition, communication is a vital. Constant dialogue between player and coach is necessary for any success on the court. “I want them to come in and make a suggestion,” Natt said. “Sometimes they may see something that I missed. From that standpoint, I work from their input because I can’t see everything all the time.”
Kings power forward Jason Thompson agrees, exchange between coach and player is essential. But in just his first year, Thompson knows the lines of communication between veterans and coaches and rookies and coaches differ. “It may be different for a rookie,” Thompson said. “Obviously I should be doing more learning than talking. But I think for you to have a say, you have to earn respect from your teammates and your coaches.”
Like Natt, eight-time NBA All-Star Ray Allen has seen plenty in his career. He’s seen lows while playing for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Seattle Supersonics and the ultimate high with the Boston Celtics. From his experience, Allen has gained valuable insight into what coaching methods are successful. In his opinion, the basis is simple — knowledge. “A coaching staff has to be very diligent in what they do,” Allen said after the Celtics made their recent Sacramento appearance. “They have to know the whole league. They have to know every player.”
Though the Natt-led Kings have a lot of work to do to gain the success Allen has reached, Kevin Martin appreciates the pedigree his new head coach brings to the team. “I think every coach has their own style,” Martin said. “Coach Natt has been (in) the NBA for 28 years and he’s been on some great teams, so of course he’s going to take his styles that he learned with Utah and Cleveland and try it here.” While Sloan and Brown’s coaching methodologies differ from those that Martin’s experienced in Sacramento, he believes there are universal traits that make effective head coaches. “They can relate to their players on and off the court and they are somebody that doesn’t get too tense during the game and has confidence in his players,” Martin explained.
Leading the team as it strives to improve, Natt’s aware his position isn’t easy. But with nearly three decades of experience and the influence of successful mentors, he’s confident and optimistic he can help the Kings rise.
Bastrop Native in White House ProgramMay 2, 2008
In this case, it was U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Stacey L. Hawkins, a Bastrop native currently serving in the prestigious White House Fellows program.
Hawkins, a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy who has served in the military for 17 years, has deep ties to the 5th Congressional District of Louisiana – his father is Bastrop Mayor Clarence Hawkins – and was eager to spend a day with Rep. Alexander to learn more about the federal appropriations process as well as the latest news and concerns of his home region.
“I’m grateful for Congressman Alexander’s generosity in allowing me to observe the inner-workings of Congress,” Hawkins said. “The Congressman and his entire staff were exceptional hosts and made me feel at home with Louisianan hospitality.” Alexander said it was an honor to spend the day with Hawkins. “Young men like Stacey represent the best the United States has to offer, and I am proud to say that he is from Bastrop,” Alexander said.
Adopted in 1965 by the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships, the purpose of the White House Fellows program is to provide gifted and highly motivated young Americans with first-hand experience in the process of governing the Nation and a sense of personal involvement in the leadership of society. “It’s an opportunity to get a different view of the world,” Hawkins said of his time as a Fellow, which began in September 2007 and will conclude in August 2008. According to the official White House Web site, selection as a White House Fellow is based on a combination of the following criteria: a record of remarkable professional achievement early in one’s career, evidence of leadership skills and the potential for further growth, a demonstrated commitment to public service, and the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute successfully at the highest levels of the federal government. Hawkins fits the mold.
During his time in the military, Hawkins has served tours with the Presidential Honor Guard, the “Thunderbirds” aerial demonstration team, and as a combat Deputy Group Commander supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Hawkins was the top graduate from Squadron Officer School and one of “Ten Outstanding Young Americans” honored by the U.S. Jaycees for community service achievements.
After graduating from the US Air Force Academy, he earned an MA, with distinction, from The George Washington University. He holds additional graduate degrees from the Air Command and Staff College and School of Advanced Air and Space Studies.
For his year-long fellowship, Hawkins is assigned to the Small Business Administration, an area he said he finds particularly interesting, given his understanding of how critical small businesses are in regions such as North Louisiana. “This is an experience to learn about the worlds of business and finance and what makes our economy work,” Hawkins said, adding that many graduates of the Fellowship program return to their home regions to communicate what they’ve learned and to give back. Hawkins said he and his wife, Natalie, a graduate of then-Northeast Louisiana University, believe their experiences during his time in the military are steering them and their two children in that very direction.
“When we think about where these experiences are leading, they’re leading back to Louisiana,” Hawkins said. “That’s where our heart is.” Before then, Hawkins does have at least one other impressive assignment ahead of him. Upon the conclusion of his White House Fellowship, Hawkins will serve Staff Secretary in the office of the Vice President.
Local Crowned Miss Monroe; On Her way to Miss LouisianaBy Bonnie Bolden Bastrop Daily Enterprise Jan 29, 2009
Raven Hollins, 17, was crowned Miss Monroe Saturday, January 17 at the W.L. “Jack” Howard Theater in Monroe. Hollins, a four-year pageant veteran, said she was approached and asked to compete at another pageant. “It’s the first one they had in several years,” Hollins said. She explained that the scholarship opportunity, $3,000 was a great opportunity.
Hollins interpreted Josh Grobin’s “You Raise Me Up” into American Sign Language in memory of her stepfather John Smith for her talent portion and said her favorite part of any pageant is the personal interviews because it’s the only part not based on stage appearance. “You learn so much about other people and how they perceive the area you represent,” Hollins said. The weekend of the pageant, Hollins said, had difficulties because the pageant’s social event and interview coincided with her grandfather’s wake and funeral respectively. A positive aspect of the pageant, however, was that her entire family and some friends and teachers were able to attend and show their support. “Just to have the support of your family makes it worthwhile,” Hollins said.
Veronica Tappin, Bastrop High School student activities coordinator, said Hollins was also voted BHS student of the year. “We’re very excited about that,” Tappin said.
Hollins has been accepted to five colleges, including Columbia University and Lyons College.
“I do plan to stay in Louisiana,” Hollins said. “I think my place is here in Louisiana, my place to be where I can make the biggest impact.” If selected as Miss Louisiana, Hollins, who graduates in May, would be required to sit out of school for a year. “Whether I’m selected or not, my education is my primary focus in life.” Hollins said she plans to become a pediatrician in the future, but her first degrees will be in biology and Spanish. Hollins said her work with Dr. Daniel Trejo, a local Spanish-speaking family practitioner, made her realize how important communication in healthcare is.
When asked about her biggest role model, Hollis said “my mom.” Hollins noted the way her mother, Leslie Smith, has dealt with loss and the advice to her daughter to ‘Triumph over tragedy.” “To me, she is the epitome of what strength and character mean,” Hollins said. “She’ll always steer me in the right direction; her strength of character is something I admire.” Hollins said her youngest sister, Crystal Smith, 5, has competed in a pageant in Shreveport and won. If voted Miss Louisiana, Hollins said her sister will act as her Fleur de Lis, a cohort that travels with Miss Louisiana. “They make them feel like a princess,” Hollins said.
In addition to her school work, job, tutoring program and sign language group, Hollins’s responsibilities as Miss Monroe include acting as a spokesperson for Monroe and attending ribbon cutting events, the Krewe of Janus parade, the black rodeo and various scholarship events. “I have a non-profit called MODEL,” Hollins said. “MODEL stand for Making Others Dedicated, Educated and Literate.” She explained that the program has tutored students in elementary, middle, and high schools. It encourages education and healthful living, and Hollins said she hopes the group is instituted in some Monroe schools during her reign. “It’s always been my dream to have my program in middle schools,” Hollins said. “Everyone needs help.”
Hollins discussed tutoring programs thinning out at the middle school level, when students potentially have the most academic and social needs. “I’m just committed to service, that’s the most important part,” Hollins said. “I’m just one person trying to make whatever positive impact that I can.”
Bastrop Native briefs President, Governor on California WildfiresBy Wes Helbling Bastrop Daily Enterprise Aug 12, 2008
Louis and Ruthie Moore of Bastrop have always been proud of son Randy’s accomplishments, perhaps never more so than when they received press clippings from The Sacramento Bee with a photo of their son giving counsel to President George W. Bush and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Randy Moore has come a long way since his formative years in Bastrop. He graduated from Delta High School and as a teenager worked for Morehouse Parish Clerk of Court Austin “Speedy” Goodnight. His mother recalls, “Mr. Goodnight told him, ‘You can do anything you set your mind to do. As time went on, he saw what Mr. Goodnight had said coming true.”
Moore earned his degree in agronomy at Southern University. “We had four children in college at one time,” said Ruthie. “It wasn’t easy, but we made it. We instilled in him that education is the key. Education will get you from Point A to Point B.”
Moore began his career at the North Dakota State Conservationist Office, then served as Forest Supervisor of Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri. He also worked in, and with, Washington, D.C.
In 2002, Moore was named Regional Forester in the Eastern Region or Region 9, and last year was selected to lead the Pacific Southwest Region or Region 5, headquartered in Vallejo, Calif. Region 5 of the U.S. Forest Service manages 20 million acres of national forest land in California and assists state and private landowners in Hawaii and U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands.
Today, Moore makes his home in Fairfield, Calif. with his wife, Antonette and sons, Darian and Randy Moore II. The remarkable photo of Moore meeting with Bush and Schwarzenegger was taken July 17 by Nathan Morgan with the Redding Record Searchlight of Redding, Calif. and published in next day’s Sacramento Bee.
Bush visited Redding for briefing on a series of more than 2,000 separate wildfires in California ignited by lightning the month before, and to take an aerial survey of fire damage in the 2.1 million-acre Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Moore was on hand to brief the president and governor about the situation. “I’m just bubbling over with pride,” Ruthie Moore said of the photo. “For him to be briefing the president and the governor of California — that’s a big accomplishment.”
Baseball Great from right here in Bastrop!
Edward Marvin Head (January 25, 1918 in Selma, Louisiana – January 31, 1980 in Bastrop, Louisiana), was a former professional baseball player who played pitcher in the Major Leagues from 1940-1946. He would play for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Head was a natural left-hander but switched to righty after breaking his arm in a bus crash in 1935 accident. After serving in the Army and not pitching in the majors in 1945, Head pitched a no-hitter in his first start of 1946, but failed to make the major league club in spring training of 1947, and never pitched in the majors again. He mananged the Asheville Tourists minor league baseball club in 1949.
About 30,000 baseball fans packed the seats at Ebbets Field to see Dodgers pitcher Ed Head toss a no-hit game against the Boston Braves. “I knew I was going to do it all the time,” Head told the several hundred fans who crowded around him as he left the field.
That afternoon, Head sent a Western Union telegram to his wife, Johnnie, four-year-old son Ed Jr. and infant son John Rickey Dean — born the day before at the Garnier Clinic in Bastrop — telling them he won the game especially for them. The Morehouse Enterprise reports two days later, “Bastropians will remember Ed Head as the southpaw lad who came here after graduating from Ouachita High in Monroe to work around the mills and play baseball with local semi-pro organizations.” Newborn John Rickey was “non-committal” on his father’s game, according to the Enterprise:
“But there will be days in the future when he will look through his daddy’s scrapbooks and find a fellow named Ed Head was ‘Mr. Big’ in the National Baseball league Monday afternoon as he pitched a no-hit, no-run game for the Brooklyn Dodgers, enabling ‘dem bums’ to take a 5-0 victory from the Boston Braves.” Eldest son Ed “Ned” Head Jr. owned Head’s Pharmacy in Bastrop for several years and is now priest in charge at Christ Episcopal Church.
Just as the Enterprise predicted, bits and pieces of his father’s career are preserved in a scrapbook of news clippings from the 1940s. Ned Head shared this scrapbook, and his memories, for this story. Ed Head was born Jan. 25, 1918 in Selma and grew up in West Monroe. He graduated from Ouachita Parish High School in 1936 and played semi-pro baseball in Bastrop, Mer Rouge and Chatham before an accident almost ended his pitching career. Ned Head said his father was playing with the Mer Rouge team in the summer of 1937. While traveling from a game in Bonita, Head was in a bus collision in which his left arm was crushed and another passenger was killed. Dr. Willie in Mer Rouge believed the arm would have to be amputated. Head sought a second opinion from Dr. Lucian Larche in Bastrop, who was able to save the arm by putting it in a steel cast. However, his days of pitching left-handed were over.
Head returned to West Monroe and, over the course of three years, taught himself to pitch right-handed. He later told the Associated Press that he practiced by throwing corn cobs. By 1939 Head was playing with the Abbeville Athletics in the Evangeline League. As the AP tells it, “The lure of pitching brought him back to the mound and his dazzling fast ball brought him to the attention of major league scouts.”
Brooklyn purchased Head’s contract from Abbeville for $10,000. In 1940 he started out pitching for the farm team in Elmira, N.Y. and then was called to play with the Dodgers that summer. Head was optioned to the Montreal Royals in 1941. He later told the AP his game improved during this time, thanks to some helpful advice: “[Dodgers pitcher] Fred Fitzsimmons took me aside one day and gave me a little talk. He told me every time I threw the ball to have some definite idea where I was trying to get it — low inside, low outside, or wherever I wanted it. That’s what I have been doing and all of a sudden I was able to put it in there.” Three years into his major league career, Head was drafted. As the Enterprise put it, “The Army beckoned in 1944 and Ed Head left the colorful Dodgers for the olive drab.” Head reported for basic training at Fort Hood, Texas. Each time he began the 12-week training session, however, he was called back to West Monroe — first because of the death of his younger brother, and again when his mother contracted tuberculosis. Because of these setbacks, Head was assigned to Fort Hood operations rather than going through a third session of basic training. More bad luck followed: His right shoulder was damaged by the recoil of an anti-aircraft gun during camp maneuvers.
Head returned to the Dodgers in 1946. His first post-war game against the Boston Braves on April 23 would make headlines across the nation. Mort Cooper was on the mound for the Braves, and Louisiana Hall of Famer Connie Ryan was in the line-up. Head later said he had a premonition he would pitch a no-hitter. Sure enough, he kept the Braves off balance throughout the game with curveballs, fast balls and change-ups. “The news of Head’s no-hitter spread rapidly through his home town and parish, and the homefolks are feeling mighty proud of the feat,” reports the AP. “Many remembered the gallant struggle of the Ouachita Parish farm boy to become a baseball player at a time when the fates frowned their worst on the then young high school ball player and threatened to end a career before it could begin.”
News accounts from the time quote Head as saying, “Boy, what a day! Here I’ve been handing out cigars all day because my second child, a boy, was born yesterday and now I pitch a no-hitter.” Among the items preserved in Head’s scrapbook is the telegram he sent to his wife and sons at the Garnier Clinic. It reads: “Dearest Babies — Well Darling I have pitched a no hitter against Boston and won five to nothing. This was for my three babies. All my love — Daddy Boy.” The New York Sunday News and several other papers published a photo from the Monroe News-Star-World, showing Mrs. Head and newborn John Rickey with a newspaper covering the big game.
Head made national newspapers again in June 1946, when Ripley’s Believe It Or Not depicted him in cartoon form with a caption explaining how he became a right-handed pitcher. At the end of the 1946 season, Dodgers president Branch Rickey gave each of his players a brand new Studebaker Champion. Ned Head said he remembers riding his father’s Studebaker as a child in the 1950s. Rickey had signed Jackie Robinson as the first black Major League player in 1945. In late 1946, Rickey called each Dodger and asked them how they would feel about playing with Robinson. Head told Rickey, “I’m here to pitch,” and that he did not care about the skin color of his teammates.
Robinson debuted with the Dodgers in April 1947. Unfortunately, Head never got the chance to play with him because of his wartime injury. “Dad went to Montreal to try to rehabilitate his arm,” said Ned Head. “After he finished the 1947 season, Branch Rickey wanted him to start as a manager.” Over the course of a decade, Head managed farm teams in Three Rivers, Canada, Asheville, N.C., Lancaster, Penn. and Mobile, Ala. Ned Head said during this time, he got to meet several famous ball players. He asked some of them to sign his baseball cards, which he would then trade with other children. After Mobile, the Dodgers wanted Head to manage the team in Fort Worth, Texas. “That’s when Dad made a life decision,” said his son. “He left the Dodgers organization.”
Head went to the New York Yankees and became manager of the farm team in Monroe. Three years later, the International Paper Co. invited Head to work at the Louisiana Mill and to manage the mill team, the Bastrop Barons. Ned Head said the family moved to Bastrop in 1956. His father’s uniforms, signed baseballs and other memorabilia were stored in a closet of their Bastrop home. “That was Daddy’s baseball closet. We didn’t go in there as children.”
Ned and his brother continued the sports tradition as students at Bastrop High School. Ned played basketball and golf; John Rickey was a “triple threat” and an All-State quarterback. The latter would attend Baylor University on a football scholarship and play baseball for a time with the Baylor Bears.
Ed Head was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 1965. He continued working at the Bastrop mill long after the Barons were dissolved, and was still employed there when he died at the age of 62 in Jan. 1980. Ned Head said his father rarely talked about his baseball career or his war service. “He was a very modest man. Dad was like most people of his generation — they were humble. They came home and didn’t say a lot.”
After his father’s passing, Ned Head got the chance to meet Baseball Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda. “He told me, ‘Your father got me into the Dodgers organization.’” Lasorda said he was playing for the Three Rivers team when Head was the manager. Head recommended him to Branch Rickey, and so touched off Lasorda’s legendary career as pitcher and manager with the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers. Ned Head said he recently heard a radio disc jockey compare rock stars to Roman candles — many of them hit their peak and then vanish without a trace.
“I got to thinking about my dad,” he said. “Here he was a Brooklyn Dodger, on top of the world. And when it was over, he was able to come back here and live a happy life. I’ve always admired him so much for that.”
Robert (Bob) “Butterbean” Love (born December 8, 1942, in Bastrop, Louisiana) is an American former professional basketball player who spent the prime of his career with the NBA’s Chicago Bulls. A versatile forward who could shoot with either his left or right hand, Love now works as the Bulls’ Director of Community Affairs.
Early yearsAfter starring at Morehouse High School (now defunct) in Bastrop, Louisiana, Love played basketball for Southern University, where he also became a brother of Alpha Phi Omega fraternity. He earned All-America honors in 1963. In 1965, the Cincinnati Royals selected the 6’8” forward in the fourth round of the 1965 NBA Draft. Love failed to make the team, and instead spent the 1965-66 season in the Eastern Basketball League. After averaging over 25 points per game, Love earned the EBL Rookie of the Year Award and gained enough confidence to try out for the Royals once more. He made the team on his second attempt and played two seasons for the Royals, largely in a reserve role. In 1968, the Milwaukee Bucks selected him in the NBA Expansion Draft and traded him to the Chicago Bulls in the middle of the 1968-69 season.
Love and the BullsLove flourished while playing for Dick Motta’s Bulls. In 1969-1970, he became a full-time starter, averaging 21 points and 8.7 rebounds. The following two seasons he averaged 25.2 and 25.8 points per game, appeared in his first two NBA All-Star Games, and earned All-NBA Second Team honors both seasons. Love also appeared in the 1973 All-Star Game, and he would average at least 19 points and six rebounds every season until 1976-1977. Love was named to the NBA’s All-Defense Second Team in 1974 and 1975.
Post-basketball careerLove retired in 1977 with career totals of 13,895 points and 4,653 rebounds. He suffered from a stuttering problem, which prevented him from finding meaningful employment after his playing days were over. Eventually, however, Love found a benefactor to pay for speech therapy classes, and in 1993 he returned to the Chicago Bulls as their director of community relations. In recent years, Love has also become a motivational speaker.
SEASONS WITH BULLS:
His 10 Number Retired on January 14 1994 Chicago Stadium
BULLS CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA All-Star 1971, 1972, 1973… All-NBA Second Team 1970-71, 1971-72 … NBA All-Defensive Second Team 1971-72, 1973-74, 1974-75 … Led the Bulls in scoring for seven straight seasons … ranks third among Bulls all-time scorers (12,623 points) … currently serves as the Bulls Director of Community Affairs, making over 300 visits annually to schools, social service agencies and charity organizations.
William Malcolm Dickey (June 6, 1907 – November 12, 1993) was a Major League Baseball player and manager. One of the most famous catchers in major league history, he played his entire career with the New York Yankees, with whom he appeared in eight World Series, winning seven. Dickey was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1954.
Playing careerDickey, who was born in Bastrop, Louisiana, broke into the majors in 1928 and played his first full season in 1929. It was his first of ten seasons out of eleven with a .300+ batting average. Although his offensive production was overshadowed by Yankee greats Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio, in the late 1930s Dickey posted some of the finest offensive seasons ever by a catcher, hitting over 20 home runs with 100 RBI in four consecutive seasons (1936 – 1939). His 1936 batting average of .362 was the highest single-season average ever recorded by a catcher (tied by Mike Piazza of Los Angeles Dodgers in 1997), until Joe Mauer of Minnesota Twins hit .365 in 2009.
Dickey was noted for his ability to handle pitchers and his strong throwing arm. He was also known for his relentlessly competitive nature. In 1932, Dickey broke the jaw of Carl Reynolds with one punch in a game after they collided at home plate, and received a 30-day suspension and $1,000 fine as punishment.
Friendship with Lou GehrigIn 1942, while still an active player, Dickey appeared as himself in the film The Pride of the Yankees, which starred Gary Cooper as the late Yankee captain and first baseman Lou Gehrig. Late in the movie, when Gehrig was fading due to the disease that would eventually take his life, a younger Yankee grumbled, in the locker room, “the old man on first needs crutches to get around!”–and Dickey, following the script, belted the younger player, after which he said the kid “talked out of turn.”
Dickey also appeared as himself in the film The Stratton Story in 1949. He belted a pitch from James Stewart’s title character, that the audience must assume was a homer based on the eyes of Stratton’s pitching coach following the trajectory, sending Stratton back to the White Socks minor league team.
Dickey had been regarded as Gehrig’s best friend on the team, and while the title of Yankee captain remained officially vacant until it was awarded to Thurman Munson in 1976, Dickey was seen by many as the Yankees’ new leader on the field.
Manager and CoachAfter several seasons of offensive stagnation and time off during World War II, Dickey became the manager of the Yankees in the middle of the 1946 season and led the team to 3rd place in the American League. He retired after the season, having compiled 202 home runs, 1,209 RBI and a .313 batting average over his career.
In 1949, Dickey returned to the Yankees as first base coach and catching instructor to aid Yogi Berra in playing the position. In his trademark fractured English, Berra said, “Bill Dickey is learning me all of his experiences.” Already a good hitter, Berra became an excellent defensive catcher. With Berra having inherited his uniform number 8, Dickey wore number 33 until the 1960 season.
Later lifeDickey was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1954 and Berra in 1972, the year the Yankees retired uniform number 8 for both men. On August 22, 1988, the Yankees honored both catchers with plaques to be hung in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium. Dickey opined that Berra was “An elementary Yankee” who ” and considered the greatest catcher of all time.”
Dickey was named in 1999 to The Sporting News list of Baseball’s Greatest Players, ranking number 57, trailing Bench (16), Josh Gibson (18), Berra (40) and Campanella (50) among catchers. Also like those catchers, Dickey was a nominee for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team, but the fan balloting chose Berra and Bench as the two catchers on the team.
Dickey is currently the only Yankee with a retired number not yet featured on the YES Network series Yankeeography.
Dickey spent part of his retirement in the 1970s and 80’s residing in the Yarborough Landing community on the shore of Millwood Lake in Southwestern Arkansas. He died in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1993.
In 2007, Dickey-Stephens Park opened in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The ballpark was named after Bill; his brother, former baseball player, Skeeter Dickey; and two famous Arkansas businessmen, Jack and Witt Stephens.
NFL Struggles Continue for Bastrop Native!
This is likely Claude Wroten’s last shot for the NFL, but at least he’s been blessed with a new beginning. “First of all it feels great to be able to do what I love again. God allows things to happen for a reason. I’ve been taught the lesson of self discipline,” said Wroten to Fox31’s Josina Anderson.
His agent Richard Burnoski says he received the call Monday morning.
“The Commissioner called me this morning. Claude is an unrestricted free agent, and now he’s free to sign with any team after being reinstated,” said Burnoski who first broke the news to Anderson.
According to Burnoski, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has reinstated Wroten who served a one-year suspension from 2008 after multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy. Wroten was also suspended for four games in 2007 for a similar offense.
Coming out of college, the 6-foot-3, 295-pound defensive tackle out of LSU was touted as one of the best defensive lineman in school history in two seasons with the Tigers.
In 25 total games, Wroten recorded 22.5 tackles for losses and 12 sacks over his career, and was named First-Team All-America his senior season in 2005. Recognized for his quickness off the ball and speed for his size, Wroten was projected as a first-round prospect by several experts for the 2006 NFL draft. However, life caught up with the LSU Tiger star at the worst possible time. In January of 2006, Wroten was pulled over for speeding. Police discovered marijuana in his vehicle, and an arrest ensued for possession with intent to distribute. His stock tumbled dramatically.
Despite the negative headlines, the St. Louis Rams took a chance on the defensive talent’s upside, drafting him in the third-round with the 68th overall pick. It was now up to Wroten to show the entire league the star potential they missed out on by passing him over. Yet Wroten’s career started off slower than expected with the Rams. He certainly contributed in the defensive line rotation playing in 26 games and recording 24 total tackles and 1.5 sacks over two years, but he didn’t start in any of those games.
“The thing was I was living a lifestyle that wasn’t suitable for a professional NFL player. I didn’t take it seriously. I didn’t treat my body right. I took it for granted thinking I was above everybody else. I wasn’t working out like I should, and I think the Rams thought I was taking too long to reach my potential. I think I did let them down,” said Wroten via cell phone interview. Perhaps mounting pressure was to blame, or an inability to settle into a professional schedule, but familiarizing himself with the NFL’s substance abuse program his second season, and missing four games, certainly didn’t help his cause.
Despite this offense, the Rams kept the faith. Hard-pressed to live up to his draft potential, Wroten received plenty of positive reviews for his workouts the following offseason. Training closer to his professional home city this time around, Wroten did his best to prove he wasn’t another bust. Unfortunately, a repeat substance abuse offense, however human, sealed his fate in St. Louis. Wroten was suspended again in 2008, losing an entire year of his NFL career. Just like that everything slipped away in the blink of an eye, leaving him no choice but to hit rock bottom.
“The thing was I had the mindset that I could still beat the system and still play in the National Football league. I realize though that I couldn’t succeed that way and live up to my first-round talent. By the time I realized who my true friends were, it was too late. I learned I can’t smoke marijuana anymore period,” said Wroten. Wroten voluntarily had allowed too many things to make football hard, he had to find a way to make it easy again.
Looking everywhere for an immediate answer, he found none until he finally looked within himself.
His first challenge was to get back to the basics, and rebuild his reputation with the UFL Florida Tuskers. That’s where Burnoski says his new client reminded everyone he still has blue chip potential. “Last season in eight games he had two sacks, 13 solo tackles, and two forced fumbles. On the way to getting his life back in order, and completing a 12-step program, Claude statistically became the best defensive tackle in the UFL in 2009,” says Burnoski. Since then Burnoski says his client has been doing his best to show Commissioner Goodell that he’s been humbled by his downfall and was plenty reflective throughout his entire punishment.
While working out in his hometown of Bastrop, La., Wroten has simply kept his eye on one thing. “I’m here right now as we speak. I learned a lot since I’ve been away. The game has been slowing down for me. I continue to be around football now training and working with the kids at the high school I coach here at Bastrop High School. I teach them about my pitfalls and advise them to stay away from drugs. A lot of people from my town don’t make it. I know I can impact them. Everyday they ask me when are you going back to the NFL. I show them more than I tell them how I keep working on my dream,” said Wroten.
“I am confident that Claude will be a starter in the NFL very soon. I’ve had clients like Marcus Thomas from the Denver Broncos who have made similar turnarounds and have never looked back since. All he needs is for someone to give him a chance as well,” said Burnoski. Burnoski sent a letter to the Commissioner on behalf of his new client, spelling out his own testimony of Wroten’s renewed determination. Thankfully, Goodell listened.
Now it’s a new day, and a new chance to latch on with a new NFL team.
“I don’t think you have enough time for me to tell you how much I want this opportunity again. I don’t want to be boastful, but I know I can be one of the top five defensive lineman in the country again. I’m most proud of the fact that my faith in God has strengthened over these last two years. Whoever signs me, they don’t have to worry about me not totally focusing on football and not taking it seriously. I’m ready to put on a helmet again.”
It’s up to Wroten to get a new NFL helmet and keep it.
Let’s all Pray that Claude will stay on track and be all that God intended for him to be.
Bastrop native named DiamondJacks Casino and Hotel Vicksburg’s New General ManagerBy Staff reports Bastrop Daily Enterprise March 25, 2009
Felicia Davis Gavin, a Bastrop native who currently resides in Clinton, Miss., was recently named Executive Vice President & General Manager / Regional Vice President of Finance DiamondJacks Casino & Hotel- Vicksburg.
Gavin graduated from Bastrop High School in 1986 and received her B.A. in 1989 from Louisiana Tech University. She later received her Masters of Business Administration from Mississippi College.
According to Gavin, she entered the Mississippi gaming industry early, when it first came to the state. A friend in the human resources sector asked if she would be willing to work in that field. At the time casinos were importing employees to the area because locals had no experience in the industry.
“It sounded interesting,” Gavin said.
In 1993, Gavin began her gaming career at Harrah’s Casino- Vicksburg in 1993 as a Senior Accountant and ultimately became the Director of Finance.
After eight years with the company, she left Harrah’s to join Governor Ronnie Musgrove’s administration as Director of Administration and Finance, noting some burnout because gaming can be a “demanding industry.” Gavin said she worked during the last three years of his term and returned to gaming once the term expired.
“I think the industry was in my blood at that point,” Gavin explained. “The burnout phase was kind of gone.”
In 2004, Gavin joined The Isle of Capri Casino & Hotel in Vicksburg as the Senior Director of Finance; in a few years, the Isle locations in both Vicksburg and Bossier City were sold to DiamondJacks, or Legends Gaming of Mississippi, LLC.
Gavin, who described the transition as “very smooth,” was promoted to Regional Vice President of Finance over both locations.
“I’m now the executive vice president and general manager of the Vicksburg location,” Gavin said. DiamondJacks is the second largest casino in Vicksburg; the location has approximately 450 employees.
According to Gavin, the gaming industry is a fun, dynamic environment, even though heavily regulated. She noted that no major changes to the casino floor can be made without approval from the gaming commission.
“You meet a lot of different people,” she said. “It’s not a boring job.”
Gavin said she would encourage people to go into the gaming industry because it is broad, with many avenues to succeed in and lots of growth.
“Learn all you can,” Gavin said, encouraging a ground-up approach. “There’s a lot to learn.”
Night of inspiration coming to BastropBy Wes Helbling Bastrop Daily Enterprise May 20, 2010
Gifts come in many different forms, and Bastrop native Wanda Harris invites people to share their talents for the glory of God in a special night of worship slated for May 29. A graduate of Bastrop High School, Harris now lives in McKinney, Texas and hosts “More Inspiration De La Rouge” on the Promise Land TV Network in Dallas. Harris published her first book of poetry, “Inspirational Verses,” in 2008 and said she has recently completed a second book. She discovered her gift for poetry about eight years ago.
“When my mom passed away, I wrote a poem for her funeral service,” said Harris. “From that point on, people started asking me to write poems for them.” Harris said she is grateful to God for giving her the ability to write poems to encourage others during difficult times.
About two years ago, Harris said she was inspired to begin hosting “Inspiration De La Rouge” nights. These events bring together people with different gifts in spoken word, music, comedy and other areas to encourage, entertain and worship.
“I call it Kingdom R and R,” said Harris. It’s a night when we come together and give praise to God with the gifts He has given us.” Harris explained “La Rouge” derives from Louisiana and the French word for red, which signifies the blood of Christ. Inspiration De La Rouge includes a candlelit atmosphere, refreshments and the signature La Rouge cake.
“The inspiration came from being a Christian, and wanting to go somewhere and relax in a positive environment,” said Harris. “I wanted to do something for the Kingdom, something appealing for all ages.” Harris held an Inspiration De La Rouge night in West Monroe last month. This month, she will host the first such event in her hometown. The Inspiration De La Rouge will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 29 at New St. Paul Church of God in Christ, 916 Collinston Rd., Bastrop. There is no charge for admission.
“Because I’m from Bastrop, it’s going to be free,” said Harris. Several local people have signed up to share their gifts at the event, and Harris said anyone who would like to do so may contact her via e-mail at her Web site, http://www.inspverses.com/. “Any talent in the area — as long as it’s giving honor and glory to God, I welcome it,” said Harris. “The doors are open to everyone. Bring your talent, your gifts and come worship.”
From Bastrop to NashvilleBy Wes Helbling Bastrop Daily Enterprise Aug 20, 2009
The brothers launched Hemphill Brothers Coach Co. in Nashville in 1980. Today, the company has grown to provide top-of-the-line touring buses to a wide variety of famous clients.
Part of their success, they say, can be credited to the life lessons they learned as children in Bastrop. “We were around a lot of good, hardworking people who sort of mentored us,” said Joey Hemphill. “We learned that you do what you say and always try to deliver a good product for your clients. We learned that in Bastrop.”
As the sons of Gospel musical artists Joel and LaBreeska Hemphill, the brothers are familiar with life on the road. Joel Hemphill Sr. grew up in West Monroe, where he began playing music in his father’s church. LaBreeska was touring with the Happy Goodman Family musical group when the couple met and married in 1957. The family settled in Bastrop four years later, where Joel pastored at the Pentecostal Temple. He also began a remarkable song writing career, penning such timeless songs as “He’s Still Working On Me.” Joel and LaBreeska signed their first recording contract with Canaan Records in 1966. Joey Hemphill began performing with his parents as drummer when he was 10 years old. As a teenager, he added his baritone voice to the group and became a songwriter like his father. He was just 18 when he wrote his first hit Gospel song, “Never a Man Spake Like This Man.”
“My name is actually Joel Hemphill Jr., but everybody knows me as Joey,” he said. “Some of my old friends in Bastrop might remember me as Joel.” Trent Hemphill began playing bass guitar with his family at the age of 14. Within a few years, he was playing keyboard and directing the Hemphill band. He would later produce several Hemphill Family albums, earning Dove Awards in 1985 and 1989. “Bastrop will always have a special place in our hearts,” said Trent. “We still have friends and relatives there, and we cruise down there quite a bit. We’ll go out of our way to try to spend a few minutes in Bastrop. It’s a special feeling.” Joey and Trent said they sometimes visit the old family home on Collinston Road, among other special places from their childhoods. Joey recalls eating at P.T.’s Eat a Bite, back when it was called Pippen’s. “We loved Pippen’s,” he said. “They had the best chocolate pie.”
Joey said the brothers have fond memories of fishing at Bussey Brake, swimming at the Cave Off and riding their bicycles to school. “You can go in that store,” Trent said of a local business, “and it almost takes you back.” The brothers attended Oak Hill Elementary, not far from their home. Desegregation in Louisiana meant Trent would begin the fifth grade at Carver Elementary.
“It was a very important time in my life,” said Trent. “I remember two awesome teachers at Carver Elementary, Miss Dorsey and Miss Hawkins. And the friends that we made — it was a positive experience. That was 40 years ago, and it’s stayed with me.” Joey recalls his principal, Mrs. Boone, had a positive influence on his life. “I had done something I shouldn’t have, and I was sitting in her office,” he said. “She told me she was disappointed in me. Here was someone who had high expectations for me, and that left an impression on me as a person.” Joey said each Sunday after morning services, the family would drive to Mer Rouge to get ice cream from the local shop. “Mer Rouge ice cream was a special treat,” he said. “I still get it when I’m down there.”
Like many young people growing up in the region, the boys visited Crossett, Ark. to catch a glimpse of the famous ghost light. As their parents began a singing career, the boys would often stay with friends in Bastrop. “They were in high demand in the area,” said Trent. “We were too small back then to go with them, and we were in school, so church friends would watch us. It was a different time — we wouldn’t even lock our doors at night.” The Hemphills moved to Nashville when Joey was 14 and Trent was 12. Having learned about the needs of artists on the road, the Hemphill brothers purchased two 1965 buses and began leasing them out in 1978. Two years later, they launched Hemphill Brothers Coach Co. with just $500 cash and a $50,000 note co-signed by their father.
The brothers toured, recorded and renovated old buses all at once for several years. Then in 1989, after two decades in the music business and more than two million miles on the road, Joey and Trent turned their focus to the company. “The first 10 years or so were a real learning experience,” said Trent. “Then, out of the blue, we got a call from Good Morning America. That’s when things started to turn around for us.” Throughout the early ‘90s, news networks began using their services and advertising the company. Oprah Winfrey did the same.“How do you top that?” Trent asked of the company’s association with Winfrey. Today, Hemphill Brothers is considered the top entertainer touring bus company in the nation, with the largest solely owned fleet in the industry.
The Hemphill headquarters in Whites Creek, Tenn., outside Nashville, includes a 28,000-square-foot garage capable of holding 80 buses for servicing. The company has installed hot tubs, classrooms and computer stations in their luxurious coaches. The walls of the Hemphill office building feature memorabilia from such famous clients as Tina Turner, Oprah Winfrey and Justin Timberlake. “We have many clients in Louisiana,” said Joey, citing Tim McGraw and Kix Brooks. “It’s a great state to be from.” Perhaps their most famous client to date has been former President George W. Bush. Trent said during the 2000 presidential primaries, a network was using their buses to interview candidates. “The governor’s office called us, and we provided buses for him during the primaries,” said Trent. “We picked him up and took him to Austin on election night.”
The brothers were later invited to Bush’s first inauguration. The president called them again for buses during his 2004 re-election campaign. It was an unusual request, as presidents do not normally use private transportation services. “The Secret Service armored all of the vehicles,” said Trent. “They were on the coaches 24 hours a day.” As one might imagine, “There are a lot of logistics involved.” Trent recalls getting a call on his cell phone from Air Force One. The reception was bad because Air Force One was flying over Iceland at the time.
The brothers were invited to a private Christmas party at the White House last December. During the final days of the Bush administration, the president sent them each a letter of thanks. “No matter what your politics are, it was a real honor for the president to use our buses,” said Joey. Hemphill Brothers has also provided services for California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and 2008 presidential candidates Fred Thompson and John McCain. “We have a very wide range of clientele, from contemporary Christian artists to rock bands like Aerosmith to politicians,” said Joey. Country star Kenny Chesney is currently touring with 10 Hemphill coaches. “You never know who’s going to call you,” said Trent. “They’re all people with needs, who just happen to be famous.”
The Hemphills’ story was featured in the most recent edition of American Profile. Trent said the brothers did not know when the story was going to be published, but by coincidence, his parents were in town when it came out Sunday. “Mom and Dad were passing through Bastrop,” said Trent. “They didn’t even know about the story until someone gave them a copy.” The company was recently filmed for an episode of VH1’s “The Fabulous Life,” slated to air in October. The brothers say many of the lessons they learned as children in Bastrop have influenced their business decisions. “We never thought, back when we were counting the cars go by on Collinston Road, that we would be doing this,” said Trent. They say the faith instilled them from an early age, by their parents and the church, has been the foundation for their success.
“If you’re living your faith, doing unto others as you would have them do to you and obeying the Golden Rule, it’s a win-win situation” said Trent. “You build a relationship of trust with your clients, and business is all about relationships. You learn that early in life.” “We have a lot of clients who have been with us for a long time,” said Joey. “They trust us to keep our word. If you build your business based on biblical principles, you can have success.”
Hawkins says good-bye after 44 years of public service to BastropBy Ashley Adams Bastrop Daily Enterprise Jul 02, 2009
The former Mayor Clarence W. Hawkins will begin his second day out of the office today, which is something he has not done for several decades.
“Today is the first day (Wednesday, July 1) of being unemployed. First time in 44 years,” he said.
Hawkins started out his life by attending school in Laurel, Miss. and Jackson, Miss. He decided to attend Grambling State University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in 1965. In the spring of ‘65, he did his student teaching in the Morehouse Parish School System. The following fall, he was hired as a social studies teacher. He taught Louisiana history, civics and world history.
While teaching in 1972, he received a masters degree in education from Northeast Louisiana University. He pursued his career in education by climbing the ladder to assistant principal, curriculum supervisor, co-director of personnel, supervisor of textbooks and adult education. Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo recalls Hawkins days at Bastrop High School. The future mayor announce the football games and created nicknames for the starting line-up. Not knowing what to call Mayo, Hawkins asked a friend who replied ‘sweet.’ When Mayo came out, Hawkins announced him as Jamie ‘Sweet’ Mayo. “He’s always been a winner. Teacher, husband, father, principal, father. He’s a rare commodity,” Mayo said.
Hawkins’s children, Stacey Hawkins and Tonya Sheppard, remember the days when their father taught at Bastrop High, because he was quizzing them on the subject matter.
“It was pretty fun for us,” Stacey Hawkins said. He also recalled his father showing them around Bastrop and asking his dad “why don’t you work in there” as they were told about city hall and the courthouse.
After 20 years with the school system, Hawkins decided to retire from the education field. He started working with Horace Mann in Bastrop. He also helped to from MCIO and has stayed active in his church his entire life. “My father was a minister; so, I grew up in a service environment. That has always been a part of my life,” he said.
In 1988 – 1989, Hawkins decided to run for mayor. Henry Cotton and he were standing on the street talking; when Cotton asked why doesn’t he run for mayor after seeing Hawkins speak to everyone that passed. This was not something that was new to Hawkins; he was the kind of person that got to know everyone and their family. He started this while working in education. Hawkins thought “politics are dirty.” Cotton persuaded him, however, by saying the politicians lie to get in more terms. So if you don’t do that, everything should be fine. He started thinking about the demographics and relationships he had built.
“If I run and don’t win, I will have gotten recognition for the company,” he said. Hawkins told his wife, Barbara, of his plan to run for mayor. She spread the word to the children, “he’s going to run for mayor now.”
Hawkins said at the time integration was still a big issue. There was not a mixture of races in public offices. “There was not a black person in administration,” he said. He knew in order to take the votes he would have to be accepted by all the races. There was an assumption by the African Americans that if Hawkins won, they would be given more jobs. That assumption was both positive and negative depending on your race. When he launched his campaign that included honesty and openness in 1989, Hawkins was racing against four others. All of whom were white. He ended up in a run-off with Jerry Jordan. In the general election, he won making him the 33rd mayor of Bastrop. Sheppard remembers her father winning that night in 1989. While attending college and living in the dorms that only offered a television in a common room, she turned to the northern Louisiana mayor elections to watch the numbers coming in. Someone asked why they were watching something that was not even going to affect them in central Louisiana. Her reply was “because my daddy is about to be the mayor.”
The following 20 years have graced Hawkins with both good and bad times. “My goal was to create a quality of life for Bastrop, keep a positive image and form relationships,” Hawkins said. ‘I’m thankful we had no scandals. We did have incidents [that were not government problems]. I really enjoyed coming to work.” His lowest point in his 20 years of service came in the last few years. He said there were two things. One is economic; the other was from a human perspective. The International Paper Bastrop mill closing obviously affected Hawkins; since, he worked to keep it afloat for quite some time. “IP would have probably closed five years earlier if not for [Hawkins],” Senator Mike Walsworth said. The other low point occurred on August 10, 2007. Hawkins remembers the day vividly. “I think the assassination has made our community and police department aware. Even though we are small town America, we’re not immune. We must be constantly vigilant about personal safety,” he said. “I’m happy the community rallied and still is.”
The high point he says is the development of the individuals he worked with. “They know how to take care of business. Those folks can help her run the city,” he said. “I like to see people grow. They can feel good about themselves.” One of the last things, Hawkins took care of before handing in his key was to ensure a memorial had been taken care of. “The monument [for Detective Sergeant John Smith and Detective Sergeant Chuck Wilson] will be here mid-August,” Hawkins said. The base is being prepared now. “I wanted to be sure it was in place to ensure it happens. I feel good about being able to do that.”
The future for Hawkins is unknown right now, but he has several opportunities awaiting him if he chooses to take them.
Right now, the USDA is naming state directors around the United States. Hawkins is one of the candidates for Louisiana. He said there have been other offers that he may take if the USDA position does not end up his. Other things to do include spending time with his grandchildren, his garden and taking care of the “20-year long list” his wife has for him to do. “I feel good physically and mentally. I’m amazed at the energy I have. I think I still have something to offer,” he said. In conclusion to his 44 years of public service, Hawkins said, “I want to thank my family for supporting me. My wife first, my children, [who] have never given me a moment of sadness, nothing to regret. They are following their paths. I honestly respect them. I appreciate this community for allowing me [the opportunities I was given]. Some people see a small community like this and they don’t appreciate it. It can prepare you for the world if you just listen. I appreciate them for appreciating me. We made a small impact. This has been wonderful. God bless ya’ll and thank you.”
Bastrop’s Star Quarterback to Lead City of Monroe!
The Honorable James E. “Jamie” Mayo was elected at the 28th mayor of Monroe, Louisiana in October 2001. Since its incorporation in 1820, Mayor Mayo became only the second African-American elected to serve as Monroe’s mayor.
Mayor Mayo is a graduate of Bastrop High School where he was a standout student athlete. As an all-state, all-district quarterback, Mayo led the Bastrop Rams to the playoffs his senior year. The “Mayo to Doaty”(Don) passing attack is legendary in Bastrop High School football lore. He was also and all-state, all district point guard for the BHS basketball team which include the 1975 Bastrop High School Basketball State Championship team coached by LA Sports Hall of Fame coach Mike Vining. He led BHS basketball teams that included several teammates that were NBA draft picks including Calvin Natt(1979, 1st Rnd, 8th Pick, New Jersey), Eugene Robinson(1979, 4th Rnd, 3rd Pick, Milwaukee), Kenny Natt(1980, 2nd Rnd, 7th Pick, Indiana), and Carl Kilpatrick(1978, 8th Rnd, 6th Pick, New Orleans Jazz). He graduated from Northeast Louisiana University(now University of LA at Monroe-ULM), where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration.
After over 20 years of business experience with companies such as State Farm Insurance, Allstate Insurance and Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corporation, Mayo’s public service career began in 1995, when he was first elected to the Monroe City Council. Jamie was re-elected to the Monroe City Council in 1996 and 2000 and served two terms as City Council Chairman before being elected Mayor in 2001.
Mayor Mayo was re-elected in 2004 under the campaign slogan of “Monroe…One City, One Future!” A theme used to emphasize city-wide progress through unity. Progress has definitely been made under the Mayo administration. Projects of note include: 500 NEW Monroe businesses opened; $80 million in capital infrastructure projects started or completed; Completion of a $4 million dollar Fire and Police Public Safety Center; Securing long-needed pay raises for all fire, police and transit system personnel; and, over $3.5 million in Parks & Recreation Improvements.
Under the Mayo administration, the City of Monroe is enjoying its best fiscal position in history. Despite the national recession, Monroe now has a nearly $12 million dollar fund balance (surplus). Monroe has had an official fiscal year budget surplus for seven out of the past eight years under the Mayo administration.
Mayor Mayo is married to Angela Mayo and they have two children, Jared and Ashley.
Betty Alford-Olive upset incumbent Mayor Clarence Hawkins in the primary election held on April 4, 2009, for the top position in city government. Alford-Olive polled 58 percent of the ballots. Her fellow Democrat, Hawkins, received 29 percent, and a third candidate, Troy L. Downs, garnered the remaining 12 percent. Alford-Olive, who is completing two terms on the city council, called her victory a sign that people want change in municipal government. “We hope to get small businesses to grow and involve the banking industry. We have to look at where the economy is emerging. We have to make sure we have a trained work force,” said Alford-Olive
Bastrop Mayor gets an up- close visit with First Lady Michelle Obama
In February 2010, Mayor Betty Alford-Olive received a notice of First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative- Lets Move! This program is designed to bring about awareness to childhood obesity. Mayor Olive took the challenge seriously and in March she contacted School Superintendent Tom Thrower, Curriculum Supervisor Hazel Sellers and H.V. Adams Grade School principal Marilyn Taylor and asked that the school partner with her in the program. In addition, Olive also brought on board Alan Tanzy, City of Bastrop Director of Recreation. Wanting to give the students every opportunity to receive the benefits of the program, the Mayor also contacted Dan Wood, the owner of the Fitness Lodge, and an assembly was held at the campus where students heard about the importance of eating healthy and the benefits of physical activities and exercise. The students accepted the challenge, along with Olive, Tanzy and Wood, to participate in the program and followed the guidelines that had been set by the First lady.
In addition to eating a proper diet and exercise, the students were asked to write a letter to the First Lady. These letters were mailed to the White House along with a letter from Mayor Olive sighting the efforts of the students of H.V. Adams. Much to her surprise, Mayor Olive received a call from the White house late last week asking her to come to Slidell to meet with First Lady Michelle Obama about the initiative at H.V. Adams.
“I was so honored by the request. The White House staffer asked me if it would be okay for the First Lady to quote some of my statements in her speech. Naturally, I said, absolutely,” said Olive.
Mayor Olive graciously accepted the invitation to meet with Ms. Obama at Brock Elementary School in Slidell. She had the privilege/honor of personally meeting with the first lady prior to her public address. During the speech, the First Lady personally thanked Mayor Betty Alford Olive and later commended the Mayor on “challenging young people to improve their eating and exercise habits” in addition the first Lady also sighted quotes from two of the students from H.V. Adams. It is refreshing to know the White House recognized Bastrop for its efforts. The benefits of a healthy lifestyle can benefit any and everyone.
Olive hopes that the students will continue to utilize the skills learned from the program as they grow through life.
Shane Reynolds was born March 26, 1968 in Bastrop, LA and is a former starting pitching in Major League baseball. He played for the Houston Astros from (1992-2002), Atlanta Braves (2003) and Arizona Diamondbacks (2004). He batted and threw right-handed.
Reynold’s best season came in 1999, when he won 19 games, had a 3.51 ERA, and 209 strikeouts. In a 13-season career, Reynolds posted a 114-96 record with 1403 strikeouts and a 4.09 ERA in 1791.1/3 innings pitched. He appeared in four different postseasons, all with the Astros.
Reynolds was the opposing starting pitcher to Kerry Wood in the game where Wood struck out 20 batters in a one-hit shutout.
Reynolds became eligible for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010. 75% of the vote was necessary for induction, and 5% was necessary to stay on the ballot. He received zero votes, and will no longer be on the BBWAA ballot.
Talance Sawyer was born on June 14, 1976 in Bastrop, Louisiana. After going to high school at Bastrop, LA. Sawyer attended the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Sawyer made his professional debut in the NFL in 1999 when he was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the sixth round of the 1999 NFL draft. He played defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings for his entire 5 year career.
In 2002, he sustained a devastating knee injury. He tried to come back the same season, but his rehabilitation was slow in responding and the Vikings reluctantly elected to move on without him.
In 2003 the team announced the re-signing of Sawyer, who has been a popular player and, even when the defensive line struggled, he was one of their most consistent pass rushers.
Most people believe that 2000 was Talance Sawyer’s best year, as he recorded 6 sacks.
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Mable John was the first female artist signed by Berry Gordy, Jr. to the Tamla label, which preceded Motown by more than two years, and one of the few artists to record for the top two labels for ’60s soul, Motown and Stax. John’s three singles releases were part of an unsuccessful blues fling for the company; besides Mable John, Gordy released blues sides by Sammy Ward, Luther Allison, Amos Milburn, Earl King, Arthur Adams, and many others.
The eldest of nine siblings (one of which was legendary R&B artist Little Willie John, of “Fever” and “Talk to Me” fame), Mable John was born in Bastrop, LA. Her parents moved to Arkansas when she was a kid, then later to Detroit to find employment in the bustling auto industry. After graduating from Pershing High School in Detroit, John began working for Berry Gordy’s mother Bertha, who ran a small insurance company. She met Gordy in 1956, started recording for him in 1959, and had her first release, “Who Wouldn’t Love a Man Like This,” on Tamla in 1961, a solid blues item that went nowhere. Her next release, in June of 1961, “No Love” had potential, but Motown simply couldn’t sell blues. Her final release, “Action Speaks Louder Than Words,” dropped during the latter part of 1961.
By 1962, blues at Motown became history, and John was dropped from the roster. (The Supremes, who sang backing vocals on some of John’s sessions, became superstars a few years after her departure.) John then moved to Ray Charles’ Raelettes, performing with them before and after her stint with Stax Records. Her Stax experience began in 1966 and ended in 1968, during which time she waxed the deep soul classic “Your Good Thing Is About to End,” her most successful record. Stax released six other singles by her: “You’re Taking Up Another Man’s Place,” “Bigger and Better,” “I’m a Big Girl Now,” “Don’t Hit Me No More,” “Able Mable,” and “Running Out.” One album, entitled Stay out of the Kitchen, would have been definitive if it had included “Don’t Hit Me No More.”
After leaving Stax in 1968 and rejoining the Raelettes for a brief time, John retired from secular music and devoted herself exclusively to Christianity. In the mid-’70s she managed the Autographs, who had a deal with RCA (unfortunately, the label didn’t release any records by them under John’s watch). In 1994, the Rhythm & Blues Foundation inducted Mable John into their Hall of Fame. It was a just honor for the underrated, blues singer, who made excellent records but never had the luck or the timing to push her over the top. Although she only had one big hit herself, and never became a household name, Mable John has definitely secured a spot in music history.
These days, John is based in Los Angeles where she continues to practice ministry and also directs the Joy Community Outreach to End Homelessness. The organization not only offers food and clothing to the homeless but also provides them with counseling, Bible study and job training. In addition to all her other accomplishments, John has recently become a published author. Since 2006, she has collaborated with noted writer David Ritz on a charming series of novels about “Pastor Albertina Merci,” an R&B singer turned minister.
Tanya Smith-Pettigrew, the daughter of Charles Etta Smith and the late Perry C. Smith of Bastrop is now a published songwriter. She, along with husband Aaron, Karl Antoine and Kevon Edmonds wrote the song, “If I Cry,” which appears on Edmonds’ latest album, “Who Knew.” The song is produced by Smith-Pettigrew’s husband, Aaron Pettigrew, and Karl Antoine. Tanya sings background vocals on the recording.
Edmonds and Pettigrew have been friends for quite some time, but Tanya said that is no guarantee to have a song produced. However, when Edmonds heard the song, and she said he is very particular about the songs that represent him, he wanted to record it and they were very happy. They wrote the song in Nov. 2008 and it has taken almost a year to turn it into a recording. “A lot of people think it is easy to write a song and have it made into a record,” said Smith-Pettigrew. “But it takes a long time for these things to happen.”
Smith-Pettigrew graduated from Bastrop High School and Grambling State University before moving to Atlanta, where she now resides. She met her husband in Chicago through her love of music and spends a large amount of time singing and being a part of the music industry.
“I really don’t have a favorite type of music,” said Smith-Pettigrew. “I sing everything from Christian to country music.”
Tanya has appeared on the Soul Train Music Awards Show, which aired on BET Nov. 29, 2009. She sang back-up for Robin Thicke, Fantasia and Chaka Khan, just to name a few. She also sings annually at the Sisters in Christ Women’s Conference. “Our goal right now is to have a record out,” said Smith-Pettigrew. “That is what we are working towards.”
Edmonds was a member of R & B group, “After 7” before going solo and is the brother of Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds. Smith-Pettigrew said Edmonds’ voice can calm the most stubborn person and can make a newborn stop crying. “His voice is very tender, unique and heartfelt,” she said. “We thank Kevon for the opportunity he had given us and his comment was ‘you brought it’ this time.” “I am proud to be able to share this news with friends and family of my hometown,” said Smith-Pettigrew.
“My message to everyone reading this article is with God first, all things are possible.”
The record, “Who Knew,” was released Oct. 13, 2009 and is in select stores as well as Amazon.com and itunes.
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Worthy is the Lamb
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Bastrop native to release first Gospel albumShe started singing in the church choir at the age of 12, and now Audra Jackson Hawkins is about to release her first Gospel recording. Hawkins, a Bastrop native, said her sister Barbere Kyles inspired her to write a song, “Walking in My Healing,” and to record it. “I did all of this for my sister. She has endured so much and is such an inspiration to me, that this CD is dedicated to her,” said Hawkins.
On the inside cover of the album Hawkins states she did this for her family and God’s people who are struggling with infirmities of the body. Walk in faith, not by sight, God is the healer. Continue to thank Him and give his praise whatever comes your way.
Hawkins, a Bastrop High School graduate, said her family is musically inclined. She began singing at New Jerusalem No. 1 Church at an early age and then her music began to grow. She is the founder of Pastor Gilbert Wilson and the Anointed Voices. There were approximately 75 members of this gospel group. After leaving the Anointed Voices she founded a quartet, The Chosen Vessels, singing with the group, but never solo.
Due to some health problems, Hawkins has not been singing for the past two years, so this album will be a surprise for those that know her. She said she does not sing solo, or does not think she will perform. “I like to be in the background,” said Hawkins. Even though she has been in the music industry business, this is her first attempt at writing a song. Here again she gives her sister the glory for inspiring her to make such a bold step in her life.
She and her husband have opened Choose Life Singing Center located at 117 West Madison. On August 7 and 8 at 7 p.m. nightly there will be gospel singing and her CD will be debuted at this time. The CD was produced locally by TJ’s Studio and the name of the album is “Audra”. For more information contact Mary Hawkins, talent promoter at 318.281.8907. begin_of_the_skype_highlighting Spenser Montgomery is the studio manager.
Bastrop native at MSU named first Edward Couvillion Scholar
Family members of the late C. Edward Couvillion recently established the award in his name as a memorial in College of Veterinary Medicine’s Office of Research and Graduate Studies. Couvillion, who joined the faculty in 1985 as an assistant professor of parasitology, was among MSU’s leading researchers at the time of his death in 1992.
Doffitt, a Bastrop, La., native will receive an initial $500 award. A Bastrop High School graduate, she holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Northeast Louisiana University and a master’s in biology/parasitology from the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
The C. Edward Couvillion, DVM, Ph.D., Endowed Scholarship is designed to recognize top students in the veterinary medical sciences doctoral program who are actively involved in research. Applicants studying parasitology or wildlife diseases are given preference.
A doctoral candidate in the college’s department of basic sciences, Doffitt has concentrated her research on digenetic trematode Bolbophorus damnificus, a parasite known for causing economic hardships on the commercial catfish industry in Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. In July, she will present the findings of her investigation at the annual meeting of the American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists.
The Couvillion award will help cover Doffitt’s travel to the AAVP gathering in Washington, D.C.
Couvillion was a Baton Rouge native. His widow, Linda Naquin Couvillion McGrath, is a Thibodaux native who continues to reside in Starkville. Their family members remain residents of both Louisiana cities.
Luther Egbert Hall was born in Bastrop, LA on August 30, 1869. He became the 35th Governor of Louisiana serving from 1912 to 1916 as a member of the Democratic party. Prior to that, he was a State Senator from 1898-1900, a State District Judge from 1900-1906, and State Appellate Judge from 1906-1911. Before his death, he was Assistant Attorney General from 1918-1921.
In becoming governor, the Tulane University graduate defeated James B. Aswell, the former president of Northwestern State University (then the Louisiana State Normal College) in Natchitoches in the Democratic primary.
Luther Hall ran for Governor with the encouragement and support of John M. Parker and his Good Government League reformers. That support vanished after the election as Hall’s weak reform measures were defeated by legislators beholden to the New Orleans Choctaw Club machine led by Mayor Martin Behrman.
Progressive legislation to reform election procedure, refund state debt and increase state revenue all failed. Hall’s call for a state constitutional convention to unravel confusion about bonded debt was rejected by voters. Legislation to change New Orleans to a commission form of government passed, but machine politicians dominated the new system. About the only successful legislation backed by Hall was a weak workmen’s compensation law.
Hall’s heart was set on a position in the State Supreme Court. He had been a Democratic candidate for Associate Justice when Parker persuaded him to run for Governor. During his campaign to win nomination to the court in 1921, Hall died of a heart attack in New Orleans.
Hall died on November 6, 1921 of a heart attack while campaigning for a seat on the Louisiana Supreme Court, and is interred at Bastrop City Cemetery in Bastrop.
Sam Little was born in 1950 in Bastrop, LA. He is a retired American farmer from Bastrop, Louisiana, the seat of Morehouse Parish, who was sworn into office in Baton Rouge on January 14, 2008, as a Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from District 14. Little currently serves on three House Committees: Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Rural Development; Natural Resources and Environment; Transportation, Highways, and Public Works.
Little defeated Democrat Buddy M. Quinn, a retired dentist, also from Bastrop, by a margin of nine votes in the general election held on November 17, 2007. Little polled 3,936 votes (50.06 percent) to Quinn’s 3,927 (49.94 percent) for the right to succeed term-limited Representative Charles McDonald, a Democrat from Bastrop, which is included within the Monroe standard metropolitan statistical area of northeast Louisiana. McDonald ran unsuccessfully for the Louisiana State Senate in the October 20 jungle primary, having been defeated by another term-limited representative, Republican Mike Walsworth of West Monroe in Ouachita Parish.
Quinn won Morehouse Parish by 619 votes but trailed in Ouachita, West Carroll, and East Carroll, where portions of each parish are included in the district. Had the same number of voters who cast ballots in the attorney general’s race also participated in the state representative contest, Quinn could have easily prevailed over Little, considering the 2-1 margin for successful Attorney General candidate Buddy Caldwell of Madison Parish over the Republican Royal Alexander of Shreveport.
Little had trailed in the higher-turnout October 20 primary, having received 4,479 (35 percent) to Quinn’s 5,262 (41 percent). A second Republican, Stanley J. “Stan” Neathery, also of Bastrop, received 3,187 ballots (25 percent). Little lost 543 votes between the primary and the general election, but Quinn’s tabulation decreased by 1,335.
Little advertised on the radio program of the conservative talk show host Moon Griffon. After his election, he indicated that his first priority in office is ethics reform. Governor Bobby Jindal will call a special session of the legislature early in 2008 to address ethics reform. Little is anti-abortion and a vocal supporter of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.
A Republican group ran a picture of Little superimposed next to Governor-elect Jindal. Quinn charged that the advertisement was “dirty politics” because Jindal endorsed no one in the legislative race, having instead said that he could work with either candidate. Walsworth had run a similar ad in his Senate race against McDonald.
Little, a Bastrop native, has been married since 1971 to the former Pamela Doles (born 1954). The couple has two daughters, Christina and Clair. Little is an active member of Providence Church, in Lake Providence, the seat of East Carroll Parish. He attended both Northwestern State University in Natchitoches and the University of Louisiana at Monroe (then Northeast Louisiana University). He is a long-term director of the Louisiana and Morehouse Parish Farm Bureau Federation and the Morehouse Gin Company. He is a member of the Sparta Groundwater Conservation District based in Simsboro in Lincoln Parish; he was appointed to the district by outgoing Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco for a term which expires on October 15, 2009.
Mack Elwin Barham (June 18, 1924 – November 27, 2006) was a prominent attorney who served on the Louisiana Supreme Court from 1968 to 1975. A native of Bastrop the seat of Morehouse Parish, Barham spent his later years in New Orleans. However, after Hurricane Katrina waters destroyed his Lakewood home near the 17th Street Canal, he relocated to Covington, the seat of St. Tammany Parish.
Barham was the son of the late Henry A. Barham and Lockie H. Barham (1884-1973). The family owned Barham’s Dairy in Bastrop. He graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder. He then entered the Louisiana State University law school in Baton Rouge and obtained his law license in 1946. Two years later, at the age of 24, he was elected municipal judge of Bastrop. He served in that capacity until 1962, when he was elected as a Democrat to the Fourth Judicial District Court bench, on which he served for six years.
Justice BarhamOn the Supreme Court, Barham and Justice Albert A. Tate, Jr., originally from Opelousas, the seat of St. Landry Parish, formed a coalition that led to a 4-3 majority of younger judges who began the implementation of the United States Supreme Court’s civil rights decisions.
A member of that new majority, State Supreme Court Chief Justice Pascal Calogero called Barham “one of the most industrious judges I came to know.” Calogero added: “He was very progressive in supporting process changes on the Supreme Court. He was very capable and he contributed to the evolving jurisprudence. He came on the state court when an extremely conservative court was just beginning to respect the U.S. Supreme Court on constitutional matters.” Calogero said that he had last seen Barham when the state Supreme Court dedicated the newly renovated courthouse in the 400 block of Royal Street in the French Quarter in 2005.
Associate Chief Justice Kitty Kimball did not serve with Barham but sat on the bench when former Justice Barham argued cases before the court. “He was extremely well prepared and obviously intelligent in presenting his client’s position. It was immediately apparent that he was a true student of the law and mastered even the most difficult of concepts with relative ease. He was indeed a brilliant jurist and lawyer,” Kimball said.
U.S. Court of Appeals Circuit Judge James L. Dennis, a Monroe native living in New Orleans, followed Barham to the state Supreme Court in 1975. Dennis described the former justice as “a true and dear friend, but beyond that he was one of the brightest and most courageous judges I have ever known. I was never privileged to serve on a bench with him, but I followed in his path on the district court to the state Supreme Court. He swore me on at every one of those points.”
Dennis continued: “I learned from his writings and his examples. He was an outstanding leader in the Louisiana judiciary. He was at the forefront of the civil law renaissance.”
After leaving the court, Barham went into the private practice in New Orleans and specialized in appellate practice, administrative law, expropriation, environmental law, and commercial litigation. His last firm was Barham and Arceneaux in New Orleans, Louisiana, with his friend and colleague Robert Arceneaux.
One of his most public roles was defending the state of Louisiana in the college desegregation lawsuit, helping negotiate a settlement with the United States Department of Justice that led to enhanced funding for historically black institutions.
Mack Barham was a member of the Order of the Coif, Omicron Delta Kappa, Blue Key, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Alpha Delta, Phi Delta Phi, and authored numerous legal scholarly articles. He also taught at Tulane University Law School in New Orleans. In 1987, Barham wrote an article on the legal contributions of Chief Justice Tate (1920-1986) for the Louisiana Law Review.
A cousin of two state senatorsBarham was a distant cousin of state Senator Robert J. Barham, a Republican from tiny Oak Ridge in Morehouse Parish and also of Robert Barham’s older brother, former state Senator Edwards Barham, also of Oak Ridge. Robert Barham described Mack Barham as “a very distant cousin. We were closer friends than relatives. Mack Barham set the bar for integrity, ability and intellectual capability on the state Supreme Court. He was always a gentleman and an inspiration to anyone connected with the legal profession,” said Robert Barham.
Barham died in a Covington hospital after a lengthy illness. Survivors include his wife, the former Ann Lavois; son, Bret Lane Barham (born 1947), an attorney in Lake Charles; daughter, Megan Richardson (born 1950) of Covington; a sister, Ertie Mae Bowdon of Birmingham, Alabama; five grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.Barham was cremated. The family requested memorials to the LSU Foundation c/o LSU Law Center, Mack Barham Fund, Suite 400 Alumni Office, Baton Rouge, LA 70803.
An all-around athlete at Bastrop, Brodnax was an All-State running back in football, an All-State pitcher in baseball and a member of the state championship mile relay team. As a senior, he helped the Rams to the 1953 district football title. The great fullback led the Rams in an impressive career which eventually landed him at LSU.
At LSU, Brodnax was a three-year starter for coach Paul Dietzel’s football teams. Playing alongside Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon, Brodnax was named Most Valuable Player of the Tigers¹ first national championship team in 1958. He was also selected as Outstanding SEC Blocker by the Birmingham Quarterback Club. In 1957, he returned a kickoff 99 yards, which still stands as an LSU football record. For outstanding achievement in academics, athletics, sportsmanship, and citizenship, he was awarded the Nelson Award in 1958. Brodnax was a three-year letterman and went on to play professional football for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos, and in the Canadian Football League.
He went on to play professionally for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos of the National Football League and also played in the Canadian Football League.
In recent years, Brodnax did carpentry work with his older brother, Jimmy Brodnax of Berwick.
“Considering that he was in a bad car accident in 1968, he was in good shape. He still rode his bicycle and did carpentry work,” said Red’s son, John W. Brodnax III. He added that he and his father had recently discussed making a trip to Bastrop. “We were making plans to go up there one weekend. Dad hadn’t been there in years, and I have cousins there that I have never laid eyes on.”
Here’s a Red Brodnax story from a fan who remembers him:
I went to my first LSU football game because of Red Brodnax. My dad was the shop and industrial arts teacher at Bastrop High for 25 years. Back in those days, teachers made even less than they do today, so a trip to LSU for a football game would have been like our whole vacation. Red must have graduated from BHS in 1955 or 56. Anyway, he helped dad get some tickets to one of the LSU games at Tiger Stadium in 1958. I was six years old. We went to LSU for the game and stayed at my Uncle Frank’s house for the weekend. I don’t remember much about it, but I heard stories about it for years. I don’t even remember who LSU was playing, but I remember the excitement of the game and the guy that was sitting in front of us. He had been drinking a little bit (imagine that!) and he was buying all the kids around him all they hot dogs they wanted as long as they kept yelling loudly for the Tigers. I yelled the whole game, got a sore throat and gained five pounds! The same thing still happens when I go to games TODAY!
My mom reminded me of the story two years ago when I got to go to the Sugar Bowl with my son and watch LSU win the National Championship. I was one of the lucky ones to get to see the Tigers play BOTH the years they won the National Title. At least half of that, if not more, was due to Red getting those tickets for dad.
Dr. Rex M. Horne, Jr., became the 15th president of Ouachita Baptist University on June 1, 2006. Prior to his selection as president by the Ouachita Board of Trustees, he served as Senior Pastor of Little Rock’s Immanuel Baptist Church for almost 16 years. Dr. Horne attended Ouachita Baptist University and graduated from Arkansas College (now Lyon College) in Batesville. He earned a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and the doctor of ministry degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. A native of Bastrop, Louisiana, he grew up in Camden, Arkansas.
Dr. Horne currently serves as a trustee for Baptist Health and is on the board of directors of Southern Bancorp in Arkadelphia. He was president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention from 1995 to 1997 and has served as a trustee for Ouachita Baptist University and Lyon College. For 10 years, Dr. Horne was a columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
He is married to Becky Horne. They have four adult children and seven grandchildren.
Country music recording artist, John Wesley Ryles was born December 2, 1950 in Bastrop LA. Although the singer/songwriter had over thirty chart singles between 1968 and 1988, he never reached the heights of some of his contemporaries. He recorded on famous record labels including Columbia, Plantation, Music Mill, ABC/Dot, MVA, Primero, 16th Avenue, and Warner Bros.
He was raised in rural Bastrop, Louisiana and Texas in a family who entertained themselves in the evening by singing. A guitar player from age six, he made his radio debut the following year. His family formed the Ryles Family Singers and entertained on various local radio stations until accepting an invitation to become regulars on Fort Worth’s Cowtown Hoedown, which led to joining the Big D Jamboree in Dallas.
The whole family moved to Nashville in 1965, and Ryles decided to go solo. He began singing demos, gained experience working as a studio engineer, and frequently appeared with various local club bands. In 1968, he released the single “Kay,” which gave the 18-year-old Ryles, billing himself as John Wesley I, a Top Ten country and crossover pop hit. He recorded two follow-ups in 1969 that only made it to the middle of the charts, but made it to the Top 20 in 1970 with “I’ve Just Been Wasting My Time.” The following year he had a Top 40 hit with “Reconsider Me.” By this time, however, young Ryles had become disillusioned and discouraged, and left Music City to begin performing at various clubs. In 1976, he made another bid for stardom with two minor hit singles. In 1977, he recorded “Fool; ” at first it did nothing, but four months after its release it became a Top 20 hit. He followed with his biggest hit, “Lifetime Thing,” which reached the Top Five. After that, he had several mid-range hits through the end of the ’80s before becoming a session musician and demo singer.
A tireless and passionate mentor, Richard Hall is President of the USAF Academy Way of Life (WOL) Alumni Group. As part of the US Air Force Academy Association of Graduates (AOG), the WOL Alumni Group seeks to increase the number of qualified minority Academy candidates while also providing advice and counsel to cadets and graduates. Richard is a life member of the AOG.
Richard is a former Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Organization of Black Airline Pilots (OBAP) Incorporated. Members expose youth to careers in aviation with special emphasis on increasing the number of minorities as commercial airline pilots. Inspired by the Tuskegee Airmen, Richard is a life member of the Tuskegee Airmen Incorporated and 2nd Vice President of the Miami Chapter.
Richard Hall was raised in Bastrop, LA. A small town just north of Monroe, LA and just south of the Arkansas/Louisiana state line. He was an honor student and varsity athlete at Bastrop High School. He graduated in 1975 and chose to pursue a career in the United States Air Force by earning a scholarship to the US Air Force Academy in Boulder, CO.
After graduating from the USAF Academy in 1979, Richard spent 13 years on active duty. He flew both the C-130 and C-141B aircraft and also earned a Masters Degree in Human Resources Development.
Richard wrote procedures and guidelines ensuring the safety, security, and reliability of the Military Airlift Command (MAC) prime nuclear airlift force, transporting nuclear weapons and components. That assignment led to his becoming the lead briefer on the MAC Presentation Team briefing senior military officers and civilian officials. After working as a key member of the C-17 nuclear certification team, Richard became a C-141 squadron Chief Pilot during Operation Desert Storm directly responsible for the combat readiness of over 100 pilots. He separated from active duty in 1992 and was hired by United Airlines. Richard has flown the Boeing 737, 757, and 767 airplanes. He is currently a Boeing 777 first officer for United Airlines with over 15,000 combined military and civilian flight hours.
Raised in Bastrop, Louisiana, Richard now lives in Miramar, FL. Richard and his wife LaTéssa have two children, Bryant and Briana.
Fred is a native of Bastrop, Louisiana, a small town located in the northeast corner of the state. In 2005, Fred wrote his first book titled “20 Things That You Should Know About Life” which has not yet been published. However in the same year, he self-published a book titled “200 Reasons Why You Might Want to Tell God Thank You!”. Afterwards, he began work on a book titled “How to Maintian a Positive Attitude During Difficult Times” which was published and released by Publish America in April 2009.
Fred’s goal as a writer is to always encourage, entertain and empower his readers to overcome life’s many adversities.
How To Maintain A Positive Attitude During The Difficult Times We all have dreams of what we expect to achieve in life. However, as we pursue our dreams, we discover that the road to success is not gravel free. Fred Atkins, who is inspired by the biblical character Joseph in Genesis, gives the reader valuable insight on how to respond to adversity and maintain a positive attitude. This book encourages the reader to hold on to dreams and be quiet during the difficult times. The book reminds readers that God is always with you. Potholes on the road to success are nothing more than temporary setbacks. If there is one book you must purchase, THIS IS IT!
To learn more about this exciting and inspiring book, click here…
Carl Kilpatrick was born May 16, 1956, in Bastrop, Louisiana. A 6’10” center at Bastrop High School, he anchored the middle for several playoff teams during that period. BHS reached the state semifinals in his senior year in 1974 led by his teammate NBA All-Star Calvin Natt who was a Junior at the time. Carl attended Northeast Louisiana University(now University of LA at Monroe-ULM) and was selected by the New Orleans Jazz with the sixth pick in the eighth round of the 1978 NBA Draft. He played only 2 games for the Jazz, in their first season (1979-80) reincarnated as the Utah Jazz since the franchise relocated from New Orleans, Louisiana to Salt Lake City, Utah.
Kilpatrick’s son Austin is a member of the Idaho State University Bengals men’s basketball team.
Marshay Green pursuing NFL dreamBy Marq Mitcham Bastrop Daily Enterprise Jul 27, 2010
When Marshay Green suited up for his first game with the Panthers in the Bastrop Parks & Recreation Department’s Pee Wee Football League, he was just like any other youngster with visions of one day playing in the NFL dancing in his head.
Unlike anyone else in the league at the time, Green’s dream of playing on Sundays is still alive and well. Starting Saturday, when the Arizona Cardinals hold their first practice at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Green will have the opportunity to make his dream into a reality.
Green, who has been in Bastrop for the past couple of weeks, leaves for camp Thursday. The Cardinals report for physicals on Friday, before getting down to business Saturday.
Green, a 5-9, 175-pound cornerback/return specialist, signed with the Cardinals in April as an undrafted free agent out of Ole Miss. Since then, he has attended minicamp and spent most of the offseason in Phoenix participating in the Cardinals’ rookie offseason program.
It’s no secret that Green’s size is considered his biggest deterrent in his quest to earn a spot on the Arizona roster. But that didn’t keep him from making a favorable impression on John Lott, the Cardinals’ strength and conditioning coach, during minicamp.
“He reminds me a lot of myself,” said Michael Adams, the Cardinals’ 5-8 cornerback, in an article on the team’s Web site, www.azcardinals.com. “Coach Lott came to me earlier this offseason and said, ‘I’ve got me another greyhorse.’”
In the same article, “Driven by Denial,” Darren Urban went on to write, “That’s greyhorse as opposed to darkhorse. It’s a player Lott deems to be a better chance to make the team than a longshot.”
All-in-all, Green says mini-camp was a positive experience.
“It was good,” Green said. “The coaches liked what they saw. Basically, I just have to have a good training camp. I talked to my position coach (Donnie Henderson) and he basically told me to keep doing what I’ve been doing and come to camp ready to play. Everything has been going good for me.”
In general, Green has spent the past three months getting acclimated to the NFL. Football is now his occupation.
“I would say the biggest difference (between the NFL and college football) is it’s more like a business,” Green said. “In order to be successful in the National Football League, you have to watch film, take notes, pay attention to the small things and work on technique every day.”
Since joining the Cardinals, Green has had a chance to visit with some of the team’s established players. All have offered virtually the same advice.
“I’ve talked to (cornerback) Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, (wide receiver) Larry Fitzgerald and (quarterback) Matt Leinart and a lot of the veterans that I’ve watched on TV,” Green said. “They basically just told me to study my playbook, pay attention to the small things and keep working hard.”
To an NFL rookie, the playbook can be more intimidating than any NFL superstar.
“It’s big,” Green said. “It’s 10 times bigger than a college playbook. In order to perform in the National Football League, the first thing you have to do is learn your playbook and take it one day at a time.”
Although he is no longer enrolled in school, Green says the Cardinals’ playbook is as challenging as any college textbook.
“You can’t learn it all in one day or one week,” Green said. “Every chance you get, you have to study that playbook.”
While the NFL is a big — and often harsh — business, it also offers Green an opportunity to earn a paycheck while fulfilling a childhood dream.
“Any time I can go out there and play the game I love, I’m excited about it,” Green said. “Now it’s up to me to make the best of my opportunities. I just have to go out there and take it one practice at a time, do what I’ve been doing and have fun with it. If I do that, I think everything else will take care of itself.”
Green has spent the past couple of weeks in Bastrop with his parents, visiting with family and friends and working out at Bastrop High. Hopefully, he won’t be home again until January or February.
Marshay Among Cardinals Cut
After surviving the Arizona Cardinals’ final preseason cut, Bastrop High product Marshay Green was among three players released by the NFL team early Friday afternoon.
Green, who signed with the Cardinals as a rookie free agent out of Ole Miss, was listed as a third team cornerback and second team punt returner on the team’s depth chart. He is now free to sign with any NFL team.
The Cardinals waived Green along with fullback Reagan Maui’a and linebacker Pago Togafau. In addition, the Cardinals claimed three players off waivers — veteran cornerback Brandon McDonald from Cleveland, outside linebacker Cyril Obiozor and fullback Jerome Johnson.
McDonald started 27 games over the last three seasons for Cleveland but was released by the Browns over the weekend. Obiozor was cut by Green Bay and Johnson was released by the New York Giants.
In other moves, Arizona re-signed three players to the practice squad: offensive lineman Herman Johnson, guard Tom Pestock and wide receiver Isaiah Williams.
Keep After it, Marshay!!! Bastrop’s pulling for you!!!
Calvin Natt starred at Bastrop High School and the former Northeast Louisiana University before an NBA career spent primarily with the Portland Trail Blazers and the Denver Nuggets. The Louisiana Sports Hall of Famer was the No. 8 pick in the 1979 NBA draft and played 10 pro seasons, averaging 17.5 ppg. He played in the 1985 NBA All-Star game. At NLU, Natt was an All-America selection who averaged 23 points and 11.5 rebounds in his career. The 6-5 bruiser was the top scoring freshman in the country in 1976 at 20.6 points per game. He scored 2,581 points in his college career. In 1992 he opened the Calvin Natt Family Mortuary in Denver , Colorado . Calvin is now serving as a Community Ambassador for the Denver Nuggets. On October 16, 2005 , Calvin preached his first sermon at his church, the New Hope Baptist Church in Denver , Colorado . He was licensed to preach.
From Baskets to Caskets and Back!
Catching Up With Calvin Natt
By Scott D. Jones
Calvin Natt proved to be a Nuggets fan-favorite during his four seasons with the team from 1984 to 1988. What many fans (and even some of his team mates at the time) may not have been aware of was Calvin’s unique desire to own and run a mortuary when his playing days came to an end.
The son of a Baptist minister, Calvin admits to being curious about funeral home and mortuary work since he was young. “I’d go to funerals with my father and sit near the aisle so I could touch the casket.” When he broke into the league in 1979 with the New Jersey Nets, then the Portland Trailblazers for four seasons and finally with the Nuggets, Calvin used his time on the road to learn about the business. “I’d call local funeral homes and ask if I could come by or just ask questions and basically just learn.”
But learning about funeral homes wasn’t the only thing Calvin did on the road. Facing All-Star competition every night including the likes of Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Bernard King, Julius Erving and others certainly gave him enough to think about. “It was a different era. I was fortunate to be able to play in Doug Moe’s system, which allowed me to use my skills and excel.” His career highlight? “Being recognized with a selection to the 1985 All Star Team. I was humbled to be included with so many future Hall of Famers.” That season, Calvin averaged 23.3 points per game in his first season with the Nuggets.
Following four productive seasons in Denver, Calvin retired in the late 1980s and opened “Calvin Natt’s Family Mortuary” in Denver. He admits to not having much experience, but with a business degree from Northeast Louisiana, Calvin hired trained embalmers and funeral home specialist to help him better learn the business. But it wasn’t easy.
“People knew me as a good basketball player, but they didn’t know me as a funeral director,” he recalls. “People want to make sure their loved ones are well taken care of. After I had done some services, people started calling and I still get calls today from people needing help.”
Nuggets General Manager Kiki Vandeweghe wasn’t looking for a mortician when he called Calvin earlier this summer. He was looking for special help coaching the Nuggets big men and Calvin was anxious to help out. “He’s here to help give our big men an ‘attitude adjustment’ Vandeweghe said during a break at the team’s training camp at the Pepsi Center.
One of Calvin’s first projects will be 6-11 Center Mengke Bateer from China. “He’s strong as an ox and has a great shooting touch,” Calvin points out. “But he’s not used to playing with toughness, but that’s already starting to change.”
Ironically, Vandeweghe and Calvin Natt are forever connected in Nuggets history. On June 7, 1984, the Portland Trailblazers traded Calvin, Fat Lever, Wayne Cooper and two draft picks for Vandeweghe, then one of the NBA’s most prolific scorers.
“It’s great to be back,” Calvin points out. Obviously there’s plenty of life left in this former Nuggets standout.
Bastrop’s Own Ronnie Coleman – 4 Time Mr. Olympia 98, 99, 00 & 01
Ronnie Dean “Ronnie” Coleman (born May 13, 1964 in Bastrop, Louisiana) is an American professional bodybuilder who holds the record of eight straight wins as Mr. Olympia, a record career total that he shares with Lee Haney.
Alongside his eight Mr. Olympia wins as a professional bodybuilder, Coleman holds the record for most wins as an IFBB professional with 26. He broke the previous record (held by Vince Taylor at 22 wins) in Moscow on November 5, 2004.
Coleman graduated cum laude from Grambling State University (GSU) in 1986 with a B.S.degree in accounting. While attending Grambling State University Coleman also played football as a middle linebacker with the GSU Tigers under famous coach Eddie Robinson. After graduation, Coleman became a police officer.
Coleman supports the Inner City Games, an organization that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger co-founded in 1991. He was the recipient of the 2001 Admiral in the Texas Navy Certificate Award from Texas Governor Rick Perry for outstanding achievements in bodybuilding and for the promotion of physical fitness.
On June 30, 2009 on MuscleSport Radio, Coleman stated that he would compete in the 2010 Mr. Olympia competition. Coleman also indicated that he would not participate in the 2009 Mr. Olympia competition for lack of preparation time. On October 10, 2009 at the Northern Territory Fitness & Bodybuilding Titles in Darwin, Australia, Coleman confirmed that he would compete in the 2010 Mr. Olympia competition.
Ronnie Coleman was married for the first time at the age of 43 to Rouaida Christine Achkar in December 2007. He also has two daughters, Jamilleah and Valencia Daniel. He now works for the Arlington Police Department in Arlington, Texas.
Career Highlights Include:
- 2007 Mr. Olympia – 4th place
- 2006 Mr. Olympia – 2nd place
- 2005 Mr. Olympia – 1st place
- 2004 Mr. Olympia – 1st place
- 2003 Mr. Olympia – 1st place
- 2002 Mr. Olympia – 1st place
- 2001 New Zealand Grand Prix – 1st place
- 2001 Mr. Olympia – 1st place
- 2001 Arnold Classic – 1st place
- 2000 JOE WEIDER’S WORLD PRO CUP – 1st place
- 2000 Grand Prix England – 1st place
- 2000 IFBB Mr. Olympia – 1st place
- 1999 IFBB Grand Prix England – 1st place
- 1999 IFBB Joe Weider’s Pro World – 1st place
- 1999 IFBB Mr. Olympia – 1st place
- 1998 IFBB Mr. Olympia – 1st place
- 1997 IFBB Arnold Classic – 4th place
- 1997 IFBB Grand Prix Czech Republic – 4th place
- 1997 IFBB Grand Prix England – 5th place
- 1997 IFBB Grand Prix Finland – 3rd place
- 1997 IFBB Grand Prix Germany – 5th place
- 1997 IFBB Grand Prix Hungary – 6th place
- 1997 IFBB Grand Prix Russia – 1st place
- 1997 IFBB Grand Prix Spain – 7th place
- 1997 IFBB Ironman Pro Invitational – 3rd place
- 1997 IFBB Mr. Olympia – 9th place
- 1997 IFBB San Jose Pro Invitational – 6th place
- 1996 IFBB Grand Prix England – 5th place
- 1996 IFBB Grand Prix Germany — 5th place
- 1996 IFBB Grand Prix Spain – 5th place
- 1996 IFBB Night of Champions – 2nd place
- 1996 IFBB Mr. Olympia – 6th place
- 1995 IFBB Grand Prix France – 4th place
- 1995 IFBB Grand Prix Russia – 6th place
- 1995 IFBB Grand Prix Ukraine – 3rd place
- 1995 IFBB Night of Champions – 3rd place
- 1995 IFBB Mr. Olympia – 11th place
- 1994 IFBB Mr. Olympia – 15th place
- 1993 IFBB Chicago Pro Invitational – 6th place
- 1993 IFBB Grand Prix France – 4th place
- 1993 IFBB Grand Prix Germany – 6th place
- 1993 IFBB Niagara Falls Pro Invitational – 6th place
- 1991 NPC Nationals – 4th place – Heavyweight
- 1991 IFBB World Amateur Championships – 1st place – Heavyweight
- 1990 NPC Nationals – 3rd place – Heavyweight
- 1990 Mr. Texas – 1st place – Heavyweight & Overall
See more pics of Ronnie on youtube… click here….
Larcenous Lou Brock was born on June 18, 1939 in El Dorado, Arkansas. He grew up on a cotton plantation in Collinston, Louisiana where he tirelessly worked for most of his childhood. As a child, Brock was regarded as a quiet and introverted boy, a child that no one would have predicted would become a National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee. In fact, Brock did not even begin playing baseball until the age of 13 after he was inspired by a class paper he wrote on baseball legends Jackie Robinson and Joe DiMaggio. After a while, he began to fall in love with the classic American pastime and he accomplished many amazing feats both on and off the field.
Brock attended Union High School in Mer Rouge, Louisiana after completing elementary school. There he met his future wife Katie. Lou was on the basketball team and math and chemistry competition squads where he represented his school in various state competitions. Union High School is also where Brock joined his first baseball team, playing as their left handed pitcher. Eventually he earned an academic scholarship to Southern University and he and Katie moved to Baton Rogue, Louisiana to enrich their minds and lives.
Math had been a passion for Brock since his elementary school days, so it was only logical he choose mathematics as his college major. Unfortunately, he lost his scholarship after only one semester at Southern University when he received a C+ instead of a B average. Lowly and depressed about his current academic situation, Brock volunteered to retrieve balls for the college baseball team during his semester break. After one tiring day working on the field, the coaches rewarded Brock with five practice batting swings. He mustered up all his strength and launched three of the five balls over the fence, much to the amazement of the coaches. Thrilled with his performance, the coaches offered Brock a full baseball scholarship on the spot. In time, Brock made the transition from pitcher to outfielder and displayed his winning talents.
Brock excelled in his new position as an outfielder. He gave it his all, eventually helping Southern’s baseball team climb to the NAIA World Series Championship. The young phenom was so fantastic on the field that major league clubs began coming out to see him play. Among Brock’s onlookers was the United States Olympic Committee. They saw the young man’s talent and couldn’t pass him up, offering him a playing position at the 1959 Pan American Games. Brock took that opportunity and ran with it, once again giving his all on the field. His efforts paid off when he was offered a contract with the Chicago Cubs in 1961. Brock signed with the Cubs for a $30,000 bonus and began playing for their minor league team, St. Cloud in the Northern League.
After leading the Northern League in hits, runs, doubles and batting average (.361), it was clear Brock’s stint in the minor league wouldn’t last long. The Cubs quickly advanced him to the major league, where he finished out the 1961 season. He gave the Cubs nothing less than the best and in 1962 he was invited back for the 1962 season. This was a great complement to his abilities but, unfortunately, Brock was ill prepared for his major league promotion.
In the 1962 season he had a .263 batting average and, later in the season, was only brought in games as a pitch-hitter. His 1963 and 1964 seasons were not much better; in 1964 he churned out a dismal 3 for 42 at the plate and stolen a mere 50 bases in two and a half seasons. As result, the Cubs traded Brock to the St. Louis Cardinals in the middle of the 1964 season. That trade is now referred to as one of the worst trades in baseball history. The Chicago Cubs received Ernie Broglio who had won 60 games for the Cardinals in three years. At the time, the trade seemed to make sense, but after the young and promising Brock blossomed on the field, it was clear how lopsided the deal really was.
June 15th, 1964 was Brock’s first official day as a Cardinal. He entered into a team that was in fourth place, six and one-half games out of first. The Cardinals gave their all and surpassed the Phillies, the Giants and the Reds to eventually win the pennant.
The 1965 season was quite fruitful for Brock as well. St. Louis fans cheered as the “Running Redbird” scored 107 runs, hit .288 and stole 63 bases. Perhaps his best season was in 1967 when he blasted away his competition with 113 runs, 52 steals, 21 home runs and drove in 78 runs. That year, he also helped the Cardinals win the World Series against the Boston Red Sox in seven games. In that World Series he stole e14 bases, setting a new record.
Brock went on to lead the National League in stolen bases from 1971 until 1974. In 1974 he broke Maury Willis’s single season stolen base record when he stole 118 bases (his record was broke in 1982 by Rickey Henderson, who stole 130 bases). Accomplishing this feat at the age of 35, Brock became the oldest player to steal over 100 bases. In 1977 he continued his mind-boggling success when he broke baseball legend Ty Cobb’s career stolen base record. In his final season in 1979, Brock batted .304, stole 21 bases and became a member of the elite 3,000 club. Then, after 19 illustrious seasons in the Major League, Lou Brock retired from baseball.
Lou Brock stole 938 bases, scored 90 runs in ten seasons batted .300 in eight different seasons and captured eight stolen-base titles in his career. As a result of his many accomplishments, Brock was selected to the All-Star team six times, inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985, named as one of the Top 100 Players in the century and the only baseball player to have an award named in his honor while still an active player. The Lou Brock Award is bestowed to the National League player with the most stolen bases each year. Brock was even honored by the St. Louis Cardinals with a statue in commemoration of his accomplishments.
Today Brock lives in St. Louis with his wife Jacqueline. They are both ordained ministers and elders at Abundant Life Fellowship Church in St. Louis. In addition, Lou Brock is a spring training instructor for the St. Louis Cardinals and the owner/CEO of Brock World in St. Louis. Brock is regarded as one of baseball’s finest players and considered an ambassador to the sport. He will surely go down in recent history as one of the most determined and accomplished players of his time.