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Wednesday, May 1, 2024

TDECU Acquires Sabine State Bank and Trust

From left, Sabine State Bank CFO Paul Sklar; Sabine State Bank Pres. and CEO Lee McCann; TDECU Board Chairman Dave Sikora; TDECU Pres. and CEO Isaac Johnson; Sabine State Bank Board Chairman Jim Cole; General Counsel and CCO John Whitehead and TDECU General Counsel and CLO Aparna Dave.

After rumors running wild that Sabine State Bank and Trust Co. would be selling to a credit union located in Texas, official word came Tuesday morning, April 30 of the sale.

TDECU, Houston’s largest not-for-profit credit union, signed a definitive agreement to  acquire Sabine State Bank and Trust, headquartered in Many, with more than $1.2 billion in assets. At closing, it is expected to be one of the largest credit union acquisitions of a commercial bank in the history of the credit union industry. When finalized, the combined institution will have approximately $6 billion in assets and 471,000 Members.

“We are excited to become a part of the TDECU family, and we share their commitment to strengthening our communities and empowering our customers to build better financial futures,” said Lee H. McCann, President and CEO of Sabine State Bank and Trust. “Our customers can be rest assured that they will continue to experience the best-in-class service they count on from us. Best of all, that service will be enhanced with an even wider array of financial products to help them better secure their futures.”

Founded in 1955, TDECU is a not-for-profit financial cooperative with more than 386,000 Members and over $4.7 billion in assets. TDECU currently has 39 service locations, including 35 Member Centers, and offers a complete selection of convenient, innovative, and competitive products and services, including a full suite of deposit products as well as mortgage, auto and personal loan products, online and mobile banking. TDECU also offers, through its subsidiaries, retirement planning and wealth management, personal and business insurance products. Members can also access a worldwide network of over 55,000 surcharge-free ATMs. For more information, visit or call (800) 839-1154.

(Special thanks to Media Contact Mike O'Neill of TDECU for the information shared above.)

Some two dozen travelers on the historic Jefferson Highway crossed Northwest Louisiana recently, making a stop at the Marthaville General Store, among other places of interest. Shown with the group are Arlene Gould, center in floral shirt, and Sarah Zeagler, right, both with the Natchitoches Tourism Bureau, Shirley and Fuzzy Hennigan of Marthaville, holding Welcome sign and in pink t-shirt, and Laurie Gentry, purple blazer at left, who was on hand to welcome the group to the area on behalf of Sen. Alan Seabaugh, District 31.

Welcoming Natchitoches Convention and Visitors Bureau leadership Arlene Gould, left, and Sarah Zeagler, center right, were Marthaville natives Randall "Fuzzy" Hennigan, center left, and Arden Settle, right, who both brough their classic cars to the celebration in honor of the historic tour.

The “Jefferson Highway Sociability Caravan” recently traveled through the area retracing the historic “From Pine to Palm” route through Northwest Louisiana. The Jefferson Highway of 1915 was the first North-South Intercontinental Highway, from Winnipeg, Canada to New Orleans, Louisiana, a distance of about 1,700 miles.

Senator Alan Seabaugh sent a warm District 31 welcome to the group of about two dozen at their Marthaville stop. They also enjoyed activities in other locations, including Shreveport and Mansfield, on their way to Natchitoches to spend two nights in historic downtown before traveling on to the Hotel Bentley in Alexandria.


In Marthaville, they were warmly hosted by the General Store, and by Fuzzy and Shirley Hennigan at the historic T. M. Middleton store.

The Jefferson Highway is a very interesting piece of history. Observations was proud to join the Hennigans and meet the group at their Marthaville stop.

We had the opportunity visit with Attorney Ronnie Brandon last week and look at the beautiful, spacious addition to his offices on San Antonio Ave. in Many.  He’s taken in the building next to his present offices, and Ronald and Pollie are in the process of completing their renovations.  And it is great.  Looking forward to a grand opening soon.

Louisiana Dept. of Education State Supt. Cade Brumley, center, spoke about the revamped Title IX rules while Governor Jeff Landry and Attorney General Liz Murrill, left of center, looked on during their Monday morning press conference of April 29.

Governor of Louisiana Jeff Landry and Attorney General Liz Murrill held a press conference Monday morning featuring State Supt. Cade Brumley to address concerns surrounding the current presidential administration’s Dept. of Education Title IX regulations, which had major changes released at midnight on Sunday. Thirteen minutes after its release, the Louisiana AG office sued the Biden Administration over the revamped focus of Title IX.

In her remarks, the Attorney General noted that the 400 pages of rules “totally eviscerate” the intent and protections of Title IX, as it has been understood and implemented the last 50 years. Title IX was originally passed to protect biological women against pervasive discrimination. AG Murrill labeled the new paperwork “federal overreach of a degree and dimension like no other. …It is not legal,” she said.

Title IX has been refocused to include discrimination against gender identities, prohibiting single sex bathrooms and locker rooms, opening the door to biologically coed overnight field trips, and also compelling school officials and students alike to use pronouns associated with a child’s claimed gender identity as well as fostering a culture of lack of transparency with students’ parents when a child receives gender identification counseling at school. The AG also noted the new rules’ ambiguity in providing an actual definition of “gender identity” within the entire document.

“It’s ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t,’” Murrill stated. “[With these new rules,] If you don’t protect the rights of biological women, you violate Title IX. If you do protect the rights of biological women, you violate Title IX.  …historically Title IX is what has created opportunities for biological women, and this rule eviscerates that.”

In his remarks, Supt. Brumley said, “This is a line in the sand issue and a bridge too far for the state of Louisiana and across the country. It is a challenge to both common sense and state sovereignty here in Louisiana and across the country.”

He pointed out the new Title IX rules put females in danger and dismantles the framework for biological female opportunity.

“My message to school systems is clear. I already shared with you last week, and I share with you again today:  do not comply. Allow this legal process to unfold, rely on our office if you need support, but do not comply with these radical rules from the Biden administration.”

NSU students from Many were recently recognized, including Macy Dowden, left, Madasyn Ebarb, center, and Shania Collier, right.

Three people from Sabine Parish have been recognized for their academic accomplishments at Northwestern State University.  Macy Dowden of Many received the Marie Shaw Dunn Award in Early Childhood Education in the School of Education.

In the Department of Health and Human Performance, Shania Collier of Many was honored as the Outstanding Health and Exercise Science Undergraduate Student. 

Madasyn Ebarb of Zwolle was recipient of the Chris Roper Memorial Scholarship.  We extend our congratulations to them.

(Thank you to NSU Director of Communications David West for the above information.)

Left, Richard Jennings and grandson Jack; right, Lt. Richard Jennings, Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Congratulations to my nephew, Richard Jennings, who retired Tuesday after 32 years with the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Richard is one of a kind, and we have often enjoyed solving a lot of the world’s problems around a good fire at my family’s old place out from Marthaville.

He can spin a yarn, shoot straight, pull a leg and drive a golf ball with the best of them. In fact, Richard and his wife, Teress, visited us in Many last weekend when he played in an amateur golf tournament at Cypress Bend Resort. He has also taught concealed carry classes throughout Northwest Louisiana as a P.O.S.T.-certified firearms instructor for 25 years.

Richard and Teress are the proud parents of a daughter Bekka (husband Trent) of Houston and a son, Michael, who currently works in the film industry in New Orleans and performs comedy on the side. Richard and Teress are the proud grandparents of little Jack, Bekka and Trent’s son. 

We expect Richard will enjoy spending a lot more time in nature, as he is an avid hunter and general, all-around outdoorsman and probably will introduce Jack to some of the finer points of enjoying God’s creation.

We would be remiss if we did not mention Richard is also one of Hank Jr.’s biggest fans. So, retirement is sure to include some more Hank concerts, with a little Ray Wylie Hubbard and a few other Americana singer-songwriters thrown in.

He’s not the kind who can sit still, so we expect him to be gainfully occupied in several endeavors as he enters this next chapter of life.

Happy retirement, Richard! We wish you the best.

Sheriff Aaron Mitchell reported on Monday the arrests of Justin Lane Parrie, age 43, and his wife Catherine Hippler Parrie, age 34, both of Many.

Justin is accused of sexually abusing his now 14-year-old daughter by having vaginal and oral intercourse with her when she was 12 and 13 years old.

Sabine Parish Sheriff Detectives began investigating the case after the child told her teacher about the sexual abuse earlier this month.

According to the child, Justin began abusing her in February 2023 when she was 12 years old.

Allegedly, the child’s mother, Catherine, knew about the sexual abuse of her daughter and urged her not to tell anyone. According to Louisiana state law, it is unlawful for any person having knowledge of the commission of any rape or sexual abuse of a child to fail to report or disclose such information to a law enforcement agency.

Detectives obtained arrest warrants for Justin and Catherine.

On April 10, Justin was arrested and booked into the Sabine Parish Detention Center for:  First Degree Rape of a Juvenile under age 13 and Molestation of a Juvenile under age 13.

Justin’s bond was set at $500,000, and he remains in jail.

On April 25, Catherine was arrested and booked into the Sabine Parish Women’s Jail for:  Accessory After the Fact of First Degree Rape of a Juvenile under age 13, Principle to Molestation of a Juvenile under age 13 and Failure to report the commission of certain felonies.

As of press deadline, Catherine’s bond had not been set.

(Special thanks to Det. D. W. Seegers for the information above. All persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.)

The Big Bass Splash by Sealy Outdoors is upcoming on Toledo Bend May 17-19.

Family, fishing and fun are on tap at the Big Bass Splash, “where amateurs win like the pros,” presented by Sealy Outdoors May 17-19 on Toledo Bend Lake.

Prizes in the amount of $500,000 are guaranteed in cash and include a 1st Place Overall prize of a Phoenix 721 Pro XP bass boat powered by Mercury equipped with Minn Kota, Humminbird, and Power Pole; a RAM Truck; plus $5,000 cash. The Grand Prize package is valued at $100,000.

Big Bass Splash events are the largest hourly big bass tournaments in the country. The Hourly Big Bass concept was originally created by Bob Sealy in 1984 to give the weekend angler an opportunity to “Win like the Pros.”

Over the years the Sealy Outdoors Big Bass Splash events have paid out millions of dollars to amateur anglers and the history continues.

Fifteen places will be paid in cash each hour of each tournament day beginning with the 7-8 a.m.-hour and continuing through the 1-2 p.m.-hour for the 15 single heaviest bass weighed in. The top prize each hour is $2,500. Hourly updates will be broadcast live on KICKS 105.1 FM and once an hour is official, results will be listed on Facebook/BigBassSplash1984.

The Awards Ceremony will be held Sunday, May 19, at 2:45 p.m. at Cypress Bend Park, 3462 Cypress Bend Dr. in Many.

Contestants weighing in the first 3.00/4.00/5.00 exact weight bass each day of the tournament will be awarded $5,000 at Sunday’s awards ceremony. The “Elimination Drawing” at the Awards Ceremony deems all contestants eligible to win a Phoenix 819 Pro powered by Mercury, but they must be present to win.

All contestants whose entries are received by May 7 will be eligible to win one of five Two-Day Complimentary Entries into next year’s tournament event. This drawing will also be held at the Awards Ceremony where contestants must be present to win.

All participants and spectators 18 years of age and up can get in on the action. All are invited to come out to Cypress Bend Park on May 19, enjoy the festivities and get a free entry for the Special Drawing.

Registration is open online for the Lake Toledo Bend Big Bass Splash®. To enter, visit Onsite registration will be May 16 from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and will continue through the tournament days, May 17-19, from 5-6 a.m. at Cypress Bend Park. Tournament entry fees are $165 for one day, $215 for two days and $265 for three days.

The event benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Sponsors include Phoenix Boats, Mercury Marine, Minn Kota, Humminbird, T-H Marine, Power-Pole, Impulse Lithium, Weaver Motors of Kirbyville, TX, Costa, Lake Fork Trophy Lures, Idle Time and Texas Fish & Game magazine.

The event is being hosted by the Sabine Parish Tourist Commission and Sabine River Authority.

For more information, go to or call (888) 698-2591. Follow all the action on and at Instagram/bigbasssplash.

(Special thanks to Tourist Commission Marketing Manager Kelsi Horn, who supplied the above information. For more details, she may be reached at (318) 256-5880 or                                               

Don’t forget! The big 16th Annual Sale on the Trial happens this weekend all across the region along Hwy. 6, the historic “El Camino Real.”

There will be yard and garage sales, flea markets, entertainment, food vendors, antique and boutique shopping and more. Travelers can journey 111 miles, starting in Natchitoches, coming through Sabine and going onward on Hwy. 6 West (Hwy. 21 in Texas) to Nacogdoches, TX, for super fun finds and great bargains this Friday and Saturday, May 3 and 4.




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