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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Sabine Schools Superintendent Shane Wright, right, had his contract renewed by the Sabine Parish School Board at its Monday night meeting. Board Pres. Kowonno Greene, left, is shown offering his congratulations. Superintendent Wright’s current contract ends in December, and his new contract is for three years. The motion to extend the contract for Supt. Wright was made by Board Member Terrell Snelling and was seconded by Dr. Leah V. Byles. The motion carried with Kowonno K. Greene, Everett Guidry, Josh Jenkins and Stacy Alford voting in favor. Voting against were Dale Skinner. Donald Remedies and John Stewart. Photo courtesy of Brad Ford

Danny and Donna Manuel of Many, shown at right and left, recently met David Many, center, in Cabot, AR.  It was a chance meeting, and it turned out that David is the great-great-grandson of Col. James B. Many, for whom the Town of Many is named.

This painting of Col. James B. Many is the property of the Town of Many and hung in City Hall for a longtime.  It now hangs in the Depot Museum.

This could be a picture of Col. James B. Many in his later years.  The picture is from his era and was provided to Observations by David Many of Cabot, AR.

It was a chance meeting between Danny and Donna Manuel of Many and David Many of Cabot, AR.  The meeting took place at the recent yearly Spring Sing in Hardy, AR.  Later Danny attended the Bible Class that David teaches at the Church of Christ in Cabot.

They started talking, and Danny told David that he was from Many and David replied that the town was named after his great-great-grandfather, Col. James B. Many who served at Ft. Jesup.

In 1822, Army troops abandoned Fort Selden at what is now Grand Ecore and built a group of log cabins and named it Cantonment Jesup.  It was later named Ft. Jesup, and at the time was the largest garrison in Louisiana.  It consisted of four companies of the 7th Infantry under Lt. Col. James B. Many.  Col. Many left from 1831-33 but assumed command in 1834. He was born in Delaware around 1775.

In 1843, the new town of Many was named after the popular Ft. Jesup commandant, who reportedly “served as genial host for many cotillions, band concerts, parties and gatherings to glamorize the social life of the post where civilians were always welcome.”

Col. Many died in New Orleans on Feb. 23, 1852.  He was in his 70s.  He is buried in New Orleans.

Danny and Donna Manuel are well-known in Sabine Parish.  Danny worked at Farm Bureau Insurance for many years and is also in the rental business.  They have a place in Mountain View, AR and enjoy spending time there.

David Many was born in 1952 and raised in Monroe and still has relatives in West Monroe and Baton Rouge.  His father was Norman F. Many, who lived in West Monroe and was from Donaldsville originally.  He recalled his family had a reunion in Many when he was a young man.

His father was a television repairman, self-employed and held other various jobs.  David was also self-employed but retired in 2009 after 31 years with Century-Tel.

He stays busy now flipping houses and also building houses.  He does home inspections for young couples and is passionate about helping young people obtain housing.  In addition, David is very active in church activities.

The rumor is out that a group has applied for a government grant to study the possible existence of Bigfoot or several Bigfeet in the Fisher area.

A big oak tree in the yard of Dee Dee Chamberlin fell Monday during the noon hour blocking Andries St. in Many, shown above. Crews from the Town of Many worked quickly on the scene to remove the huge tree as crews from CLECO worked to repair power lines.


Sabine Sheriff Aaron Mitchell reported on Friday that a missing 4-year-old child was located in Sabine Parish on Wednesday, April 10.

The child was allegedly taken from its father by its mother during a supervised visit in San Antonio on June 2, 2022. The Bexar County Sheriff's Office and United States Marshal Service (USMS) Texas had been working the case.

The Sabine Parish Sheriff Criminal Investigations Division was notified that the child could be in Sabine Parish. On the morning of April 10, Sabine Parish Detectives and U.S. Deputy Marshals from Louisiana went to an address on Geoghagan Road and removed the child from the maternal grandmother. The child had not been harmed.

The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) assumed custody of the child, and he will be reunited with his family in Texas.

The mother, Lelia Brooke Strain, age 30, was arrested and booked into the Sabine Parish Detention Center on a Bexar County, TX warrant for Kidnapping and Interfering with child custody.

Strain will be held until she is transferred back to Bexar County, San Antonio, TX.

(Special thanks to Det. D. W. Seegers for the report above.)

Sabine native and successful author Susan Sands will launch her new book in Many on May 4.

Many and Sabine Parish book lovers are in for a special treat when author Susan Noel Sands comes to Many City Hall at noon on Saturday, May 4, to launch her 10th novel and hold a book signing party for her latest book, “Bayou Redemption.”


Susan is special not just because she is a successful author, but because she grew up in Sabine Parish, graduated from Negreet High School and Northwestern State University. Her 10 published novels have Southern settings, several in the Many, Natchitoches and Cane River areas. Even though the names of the locations are changed, her readers may recognize these familiar settings.


A self-described late bloomer, Susan began writing her first novel when she was 40 years old. She has compared her challenging journey to publication as “raising another child – a difficult one.” Susan is the mother of three grown children. As a former teacher and stay-at-home mother with three children who didn’t need her quite as much once they neared adulthood, Susan decided it was time to find her passion. An avid reader, she said she often wondered if she perhaps had the skills to write fiction. She bought her first laptop computer and never looked back.


Susan published her first book with Tule Publishing in 2015. She writes Southern romantic fiction filled with mystery and suspense. She is launching her 10th full-length novel, “Bayou Redemption,” in Many on May 4. Three more books will follow soon afterward.


Susan has published southern contemporary women’s fiction novels set in the deep South. She describes her humorous, small-town stories as “fun, romantic, and filled with family love.” Susan says her books have heart, conflict, and always a happy ending. She sets her stories in the Deep South because “I grew up in rural Louisiana and it’s what I know best.”


Susan and her dentist husband live in Roswell, GA. She has a degree in elementary education from NSU. She is a member of the Georgia Romance Writers, the Romance Writers of America, the Atlanta Writers’ Club, Women Fiction Writers of America, and the Broadleaf Writers Association.


She participates in book festivals, book clubs and writers’ conferences around the Soutth. Susan is the recipient of the 2017 Georgia of the Year Award for romance.


Susan’s novels are all available on Amazon. “Bayou Redemption” may now be pre-ordered, or followers can purchase an autographed copy of this novel at the May 4 event at Many City Hall. There will also be giveaways, prizes and refreshments at the noon event.

(Special thanks to Mary Brocato for the above announcement.)

Sabine Parish, Many eyes new growth

Among those gathering to talk growth were, shown seated left to right, Jenni Comeaux, (SPSO Civil Dept.); Crystal Hable, (Town of Many, Lafitte's Home Furnishings); Chief Cheryl Wooley, (Many Police Dept.) and Amie Brown, (Town of Many.) Standing from left were Warren Founds, (Sabine River Authority); Blake Byles, (Earthworks, meeting organizer); Miles Greer, (Hart Airport); Sabine Sheriff Aaron Mitchell; Many Mayor Robert Hable; Sabine Assesor Chris Tidwell; Juror Barry Stevens, (Sabine Parish Police Jury); Jeremy Koss, (Many Water Dept.); Donnie Wooley, (ArkLaTex Financial Consultants); Thomas Young and Justyn Dixon, (North Louisiana Economic Partnership.)

Not shown are Laurie Gentry, (Sen. Alan Seabaugh, Dist. 31); CEO Dale Anderson, (Sabine Medical Center); Supt. Shane Wright and Board President Kowonno Greene, (Sabine Parish Schools) and a few other attendees.

A gathering organized by Many businessman Blake Byles was held at Hart Airport in Many on Thursday, April 11, to make a first move towards fostering industrial growth in Sabine Parish and its vicinity. Representatives from various sectors heard insights from Justyn Dixon, President of North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP), emphasizing key factors essential for attracting manufacturing or other industries to the region.

Byles owns Earthworks, among other Sabine businesses, and he shared his views on untapped potential for growth within the parish and Many. Mayor Robert Hable echoed his sentiment, underlining the need for a unified roadmap towards growth.

Sabine businessman Blake Byles is committed to whatever it takes to increase business and industry, and he is looking for like-minded individuals who share the vision. Sen. Alan Seabaugh and Mayor of Many Robert Hable, among others, are dedicated to growth throughout the region.

Dixon covered long-recognized, fundamental needs like land, utilities and a workforce to attract industries and also shared some options he has seen used elsewhere to help mitigate risk for potential industries as well as noting the evolving landscape of industrial growth.

Positivity and forward-thinking were strongly encouraged by Byles, with an emphasis on fostering a culture of innovation and perseverance.

"We are not looking for 'no' people. It takes no effort at all to say 'no,'" Byles told the group. "You were each invited here today because you are 'yes' people. Anybody can say 'We've never done it that way,' 'We have tried all that before,' or 'It will never work.' That kind of thinking requires zero effort. We want and need 'yes' people who are willing to think outside the box, who aren't afraid of the hard work it will require, and who are committed for the long haul. I am committed. This isn't something this is going to magically appear because we wished it would, but it is something we can work hard for together. That's the kind of legacy I want to leave, and I don't plan to stop," he said.

The meeting recognized the need to adapt to modern challenges and developments, including the fact there is now global competition to attract industry and the use of advancements like Artificial Intelligence in helping supply research and crafting effective strategies for industrial growth.

Attendees were made up of representatives from various leadership, business and community roles, including

Sen. Alan Seabaugh, Dist. 31, (Laurie Gentry);

Sabine Parish Sheriff's Office, (Sheriff Aaron Mitchell, Jenni Comeaux);

Town of Many, (Mayor Robert Hable and wife Crystal, Clerk Amie Brown);

Sabine Parish Police Jury, (Juror Barry Stevens);

Sabine Assessor's Office, (Assessor Chris Tidwell);

Sabine River Authority, (Director Warren Founds);

Sabine Parish Schools, (Supt. Shane Wright, Board President Kowonno Greene);

Many Police Dept., (Chief Cheryl Wooley);

Many Water Dept., (Jeremy Koss);

Sabine Medical Center, (CEO Dale Anderson);

Hart Airport, (Manager Miles Greer);

ArkLaTex Financial Consultants, (Founder Donnie Wooley);

and developer Thomas Young.

Apologies to any attendees who are not listed here.

Tribal dancers are shown celebrating the rich heritage of the Choctaw-Apache Tribe of Ebarb at a past Powwow. Their Spring Powwow is upcoming soon.

The brightly colored regalia moving with the motion of ancestral dance make the 2024 Choctaw-Apache Powwow a must-see event!


The Choctaw-Apache Tribe of Ebarb will host a Native American Mass on Thursday, April 25, followed by the 31st Annual Powwow on Friday and Saturday, April 26-27, at the Choctaw-Apache Tribal Grounds, located at 217 Gene Knight Rd. in Noble.


The powwow celebrates the heritage of the 21 families that make up the tribe of over 7,000 members – one of the largest tribes in Louisiana. The ancestral territory, located in the western part of Sabine Parish, includes Converse, Ebarb, Noble, Zwolle and the communities of Blue Lake and Grady Hill.


All who are interested in joining this celebration are welcome to come and enjoy the traditional music, dance, food, and crafts. Guest drums and dancers are also welcome.


Make plans to take advantage of this opportunity to experience the rich Native American culture in Sabine Parish.


For more information and a schedule of events, call the tribal office at (318) 645-2588 or visit


(A special thank you to Marketing Manager Kelsi Horn of the Sabine Parish Tourist Commission for supplying the article above.)

Lance Rivers has joined BOM Sabine Parish.

BOM in Many recently welcomed Lance Rivers to the bank as Vice-President and Lender. Rivers is a 2009 Northwestern State University graduate and has been in banking for 13 years.

"Lance comes with a wealth of knowledge and a community service mindset that fits perfectly with our team," BOM Sabine Parish President Daniel Bennett shared. "We are excited to have Lance join our BOM family," he said.

Rivers serves as Director of the Florien Dixie Youth and as a youth basketball coach for the Florien Lions Club League. Lance is also a Dallas Cowboys and Houston Astros fan.

"BOM is giving me a great opportunity to grow as a lender and better serve my customer base," Rivers stated.

Lance and wife Monique are the parents of three active sons.

Multiple events are planned across Sabine Parish to take part in Keep Louisiana Beautiful’s Love the Boot Week, set for April 20-28. It is Louisiana’s largest annual litter cleanup effort and coincides with Earth Week, also held the last week of April.


The Sabine Parish Tourist Commission and municipalities across the parish will host their own cleanup events throughout the week to encourage citizens to help in efforts to “Keep Sabine Clean.”


Litter is not a new problem for Louisiana’s 64 parishes, much less our own corner of the Boot. For decades, litter has become increasingly detrimental to our communities, leading to a multitude of repercussions such as:  death of wildlife due to polluted habitats, decline in quality of life in neighborhoods, a negative impact on economic development, infrastructure and tourism, flooding caused by storm drains clogged with litter and debris, and more.


Despite spending over $91.4 million on litter abatement yearly, Louisiana is still experiencing shocking litter levels statewide.


“Litter is everyone’s responsibility. You shouldn’t wait for someone else, or a special organization, to clean up in your hometown. We can’t get rid of litter overnight, but by working together and taking matters into your own hands, we can bring awareness to the issue and move forward towards an even more beautiful Sabine Parish,” said Kelsi Horn, Marketing Manager of Sabine Parish Tourist Commission.


Volunteers may lend a hand at any of the cleanup events listed below. Most locations will provide supplies, but participants should bring their own gloves and trash grabbers to be fully prepared.


Those with questions should contact Meredith at the Sabine Parish Tourist Commission at or (318) 256-5880.

Love the Boot dates are as follows:


April 20 – Town of Zwolle Cleanup at 952 S. Main St. at 8 a.m.

April 20 – Village of Pleasant Hill Cleanup at 8336 Pearl St. at 9 a.m.

April 25 – North Toledo Bend State Park Cleanup at North Toledo Park Rd. in Zwolle at 10 a.m.

April 27 – Toledo Bend and Toledo Town Area Cleanup at 11904 Texas Hwy. at 8 a.m.

April 27 – Get Off Your Fanny and Clean Up Many at 965 San Antonio Ave. at 8 a.m.

April 27 – Village of Florien Cleanup at 237 W. Port Arthur Ave. at 8 a.m.


Keep Louisiana Beautiful (KLB), a 501c3 non-profit supported by the State of Louisiana and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, is focused on promoting best practices for litter prevention and reduction, beautification, recycling, waste reduction and sustainability. The backbone of KLB is the organization’s network of 37 Community Affiliates and 10 University Affiliates – all committed to working toward a cleaner, greener Louisiana.

KLB supports communities across the state with its programs, educational opportunities, and community improvement grants. KLB is affiliated with Keep America Beautiful. Learn more at


(Special thanks to Sabine Parish Tourist Commission Marketing Manager Kelsi Horn for the article above.)

Words to Ponder:

Love requires action.

Trust requires proof.

Being sorry for something requires change.

(The thoughts above are borrowed and anonymous.)



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