WATCH: Briarwood Nature Preserve, a natural wonder

Briarwood Nature Preserve, located near Saline, Louisiana, is the birthplace and home of Caroline Dormon, a world renowned naturalist, author, artist and the first woman hired by the United States Forest Service. Click the video below for a tour of the wildflowers and serene landscape.

Will people know the color of your heart?

I was very honored to have the opportunity to speak to the graduating seniors of my alma mater, Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. On Thursday, May 5, NSU threw a ‘Fork Em Farewell Crawfish Boil’ for seniors and their families. As a board member for the NSU Alumni Association, I was asked to share some advice for these soon-to-be graduates as they set out into the world.

Here are my remarks:

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In memory of longtime NSU President Dr. Randall J. Webb

In memory of longtime NSU President Dr. Randall J. Webb

Randy Webb exemplified the final word of the Northwestern State University Alma mater, “loyalty.”

It’s been a tough week for many at my alma mater, Northwestern State University, with the passing of former president Randall J. Webb. While he had been retired for almost a year — you’d never know.

His devotion to the success of NSU never waned. You’d see him on campus, at alumni events in Shreveport, and doing whatever he could to tell the world about his beloved “Old Normal.” I wouldn’t expect anything less from someone who has more than 50 NSU graduates in his family tree. Many are convinced that he truly bleeds purple and white. What many didn’t know — Dr. Webb also spent much of his brief retirement fighting an illness.

Just two weeks before his passing, he got in touch with me to ask how I was doing, seeming more concerned with my career and travels than his own health. That’s just the way he was — a very humble man with a caring heart. He and “Mrs. Brenda,” as many know his wife, have earned a special fondness in my own heart over the last decade. Continue reading

My photographic journey hits bookshelves

I’ve always had a love and respect for documentary photography. As a journalist, I appreciate quality storytelling. I think a powerful photograph or visual medium is an incredible means for creatively telling a story without leading the observer.

I’ve always enjoyed photographing the natural beauty of historic Natchitoches, Louisiana, so I’ve assembled my favorite shots into a published book. Click here to preview or purchase Natchitoches: Birthplace of Louisiana.

Meet the woman known as ‘The Armless Marvel’

I’d like to introduce you to someone with a truly incredible story of overcoming adversity and appreciating the abilities of all people. I’ve never met the subject of this story, but we could all learn something from her.

I’ve worked for the Natchitoches Convention and Visitors Bureau for almost four years. Our office is situated in historic downtown Natchitoches, in a small stucco and brick building built in the early 20th century. For the first 40 years of that century, it was occupied by an artist with incredible talent. Continue reading

DFWReporting.com is news without the blues

Chris Ghanbari, a young professional I worked with at WFAA in Dallas last summer, is co-founding a new website aimed at providing a different angle of news coverage for the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. DFWReporting.com will aim to tell stories that might sometimes fall through the cracks amidst the wall-to-wall coverage of car chases and murders.

This team of young journalists comes from a variety of expertise areas, which will certainly be a strength of the operation. Ghanbari along with DFWReporting.com reporter Jessica Trober, who was most recently working with CW33 in Dallas, recently drove to Natchitoches to interview me for an upcoming story. Continue reading

From the Town Talk: “Greeks Work to Change Stereotype”

It’s no secret that the Greek System at NSU is going through a rough patch. Low recruitment, retention, and accountability are among some of the biggest obstacles. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, however. Some very capable student leaders are at the helm of their respective organizations. Comittment to philanthropic service and academic excellence are two strengths credited to NSU’s Greeks. Last week Mandy Goodnight , a reporter with the Alexandria Town Talk was on campus at NSU to profile the progress being made to tear down negative stereotypes of fraternities and sororities.

Click HERE to read the article

Discovering a road paved in good intention

So few communities today embrace their past as closely as Natchitoches, Louisiana. The town is a heritage tourism hot-spot due to its unique blend of the past and present. While the locals are a relatively forward-looking population, tradition and culture are planted deep within daily life.

The relaxed style of living adds to the close-knit feel of the community. People still hold doors and respond with “ma’am” or “sir” regardless of age. Looking beyond the intangible, physical reminders of Natchitoches’ storied past are synonymous with any visit to the town.

Anyone who can properly pronounce “Natchitoches” most likely associates a memory with one of three things: Christmas lights, meat pies, or brick-paved Front Street. Continue reading

Greek Life at NSU Dying?

In an effort to improve the current state of fraternities at Northwestern State University, the Interfraternity Council, or IFC, is undertaking a self-imposed reorganization.

The IFC, which serves as the governing body of six chartered fraternities, voted earlier this semester to disband temporarily and to allow the group to restructure their operations.

“Many fraternities felt the IFC had no real authority over the member organizations,” said Roderick Wilson, president of Theta Chi Fraternity. “We weren’t holding our fraternities to any standards.” Continue reading

New semester, new ideas

Upon arrival in Natchitoches in early August, I hit the ground running with re-tooling my duties with NSU22 News. I planned to return to anchoring this fall, but a class conflict will prevent me from scheduling around the newscast. This may prove to be a favorable coincidence because I have been named to the investigative beat as well as government reporting. This will provide me with ample opportunity to sharpen my skills in both of these areas. I have a few topics here at NSU that I’ll be investigating to see if I can uncover any interesting findings. Continue reading