by Junior Johnson (Around The Town Monthly Contributor)
Sadly the Natchitoches Parish School Board closed our Cloutierville Elementary School by a vote of 6-5. I will not get into the politics of this matter except to say this is going to be a final step in the demise of a great country town should they let it happen. We were the last of the old Class C – District 3-C Parish System which included the Gorum Eagles, Flora Lumberjacks, Kisatchie Hawks, And Cloutierville Bulldogs which were in existence when I was a Senior in 1965. Basketball was the life blood of these little communities and now they are all gone. Through the years Cloutierville has seen it’s share of adversity. When I-49 opened in the 1980’s and bypassed our little Village, that was a tremendous blow. It seems that our little Village has had it’s share of destruction by fire as well. In no particular order these are structures that have been lost through the years: Entering Town the Estate of Sam LaCaze Store, the Bayou Folk Musieum, the Carnahan General Store, St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, and several family residences. All this on a Main Street less than a mile long. The residents remain strong. The Masson family operate the only grocery store in the area. God Bless them for their service because there are no stores in the Emanuel, Gorum, and Janie Communities. WE WILL SURVIVE this just as we have the other setbacks along the way because those families who remain there will make it happen I am sure. I have never met finer people in my life. A good example of this is the number of people who come from all over the State to attend our annual Mardi Gras Parade. Over 5000 people were there this year in the cold and light rain, and over 15,000 people lined Main Street the year before when the weather was great. That says a lot about the Village of Cloutierville and that if why I am confident that closing our School will not break our spirit. God Bless my friends who still live there.