Remember This? The Unsinkable Ship

By Brad Dison

It was the largest ship afloat.  At over 800 feet in length, nearly three football fields long, it was a floating city.  Its engineers used cutting edge technology in every facet of its design.  It was considered to be the fastest and safest ship afloat.  Each officer aboard the ship was hand-picked based on his prior service record and on a rigid seamanship examination which focused on sea currents, tides, geography, and wind.  Its crew was also hand-picked based on the strictest of criteria.  The ship boasted two brass bands, two orchestras, and a theatrical company.  It had a company of physicians and fireman in case of emergencies.  

Engineers designed the ship with nineteen water-tight compartments which could be closed in thirty seconds by simply turning a single lever.  Engineers designed the doors of the water-tight compartments in such a way that they would close automatically if they came into contact with rushing water.  The ship could stay afloat even if as many as nine of the nineteen compartments flooded.  Many people, including its designers, builders, and owners, considered the ship to be unsinkable. 

Engineers designed the ship specifically for passenger traffic with every known convenience and comfort imaginable.  Every possible amenity was made available to first-class passengers, fewer amenities for second-class passengers, and even fewer for third-class. The likelihood of the ship being destroyed by fire was unimaginable because the ship would not transport combustible cargo.  Due to all of the ship’s safety features which rendered it practically unsinkable, the ship carried only twenty-four lifeboats, the number required by law.  Cumbersome lifeboats detracted from the travelers’ views of the ocean.  Similarly, the ship carried only the number of cork lifejackets required by law.  Only about two dozen circular life-buoys decorated the decks of the ship.  The buoys were almost considered decorations rather than life-saving devices. 

Engineers determined that the ship was safest when traveling at full speed whether in calm waters, in fog, or during storms, for at least four reasons.  First, if the ship struck another vessel, the force of the impact would be distributed over a larger area if it was traveling at full speed.  Due to the strength of the ship’s construction, the other vessel would sustain the brunt of the damage.  Second, due to the ship’s speed, weight, and construction, it would almost certainly destroy the other vessel, probably cut it in two, if traveling at full speed while only receiving damages that could be easily remedied with a paint brush.  Traveling at only half speed, the ship would sustain more damages to its bows.  Third, at full speed the ship could more easily steer itself out of danger than at half speed.  Forth, in case of striking an iceberg, the ships bows would only be crushed in a few feet further at full speed than at half speed.  At most, only three of the water-tight compartments would flood, which left six to spare before the ship was in danger of sinking.     

On a cold, April night, the ship sailed at full speed in a dense fog in the North Atlantic Ocean.  In the bowels of the great ship, members of the black gang, crewmen who garnered the nickname because they were covered with sweat and coal dust, moved coal by shovel and cart into one of the numerous furnaces. The passengers, oblivious to the workers toiling away below, enjoyed a variety of music, food, and other forms of entertainment.  Some passengers sat in steamer chairs along the decks in the chilly, salty air.  

In the crow’s nest, the highest lookout point on the ship, a single crewman struggled to spot any sign of danger in the thick fog.  Most of the passengers were well asleep by this point.  “All’s well,” the crewman shouted from the crow’s nest at exactly 1 a.m.  At 2 a.m., the crewman in the crow’s nest called out “All’s well,” again.  He yelled the same at 3 a.m.  A few minutes after 3 a.m., the crewman in the crow’s nest yelled that there was something ahead that he was unable to make out.  In the thick fog, the crewman could only make out the faintest outline.  He yelled to officers below that it must be another ship.  The crewmen tried to turn the ship to avoid a collision, but it was too late.  Then the crewmen saw that it was not another ship but a large iceberg.  The ship made only a slight shudder when it struck the iceberg.  Most of the passengers were unaware that they had struck anything.  The ship’s crew was only slightly concerned because the ship was unsinkable.

Conditions on the ship quickly spiraled out of control.  Water quickly filled one water-tight compartment after another.  The ship began to list.  Passengers were awakened by the numerous sounds of plates, glasses, and a host of other items as they crashed to the floor.  They scurried to the ship’s decks to see what had happened.  Few passengers donned life jackets, and even fewer made it into the less-than-adequate number of lifeboats.  The ship sank slowly into the frigid waters of the North Atlantic Ocean.  Most of the passengers and crew perished in the sinking of the unsinkable ship.       

People around the world know the story of the Titanic, and how the ship sank after it struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean with an enormous loss of life.  However, the story you read above was a work of fiction, a novella by Morgan Robertson.  The name of the ship in Robertson’s novella was not the Titanic.  The fictional ship he created was called the Titan.  His book, originally entitled Futility, seemingly recounted the events of the wreck of the Titanic.  However, Robertson’s Futility was published … in 1898, fourteen years before the Titanic sank.  

Source:    Robertson, Morgan. Futility. Rahway, N.J.: The Quinn and Boden Co. Press, 1898.


2nd Amendment, Gun Rights Poised to Return to Supreme Court

By Royal Alexander/Opinion

The latest legal challenge concerns a New York law governing licenses to carry concealed handguns in public but there are potentially a host of others as well

The U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to strengthen and expand 2nd Amendment rights after a decade of no action on the issue. The Court has several current opportunities to further address the scope of its Heller decision that generally pose one legal question: how far may states go in restricting the individual right to carry guns outside a home.

These various legal challenges have worked their way up to the Supreme Court and now require at least four members of the Court to vote to grant the application to hear the cases.
These challenges include the New York law as well as multiple other cases nationally presenting distinct legal issues.

The Supreme Court has not directly addressed the issue of gun rights since its landmark rulings in 2008 and 2010.  The 2008 Heller decision held that the right to keep and bear arms was both a collective (military and law enforcement) right as well as an individual right. The 2010 McDonald decision simply held that the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment extended to the states and municipalities the 2nd Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms.

Several months ago, the Court considered a different prohibition by New York City that kept gun owners from transporting firearms to ranges or second homes outside of the city but then decided not to hear the case after NY City officials repealed that prohibition, rendering that case moot.

During its 10-year break, the Court’s inactivity allowed a number of questionable gun laws and regulations to be passed and then remain law.  These included, for example, a suburban Chicago ban on semi-automatic weapons, a variety of prohibitions across the country against carrying guns in public, age limits for carrying guns in Texas and requiring citizens to disable or lock up guns when not in use in San Francisco.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, as a federal appeals court judge, dissented from a 2019 opinion that banned convicted felons from owning a gun.  That Kanter case involved a man, Rickey Kanter, who had pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud. Judge Barrett wrote in her dissent that the gun ban went too far because it was being applied to someone who had not been convicted of a violent crime, only mail fraud.

In her dissent, then-judge Barrett wrote that “history is consistent with common sense: It demonstrates that legislatures have the power to prohibit dangerous people from possessing guns. But that power extends only to people who are dangerous. Founding-era legislatures did not strip felons of the right to bear arms simply because of their status as felons.”

Still other gun rights issues now pending before the Supreme Court involve a Pennsylvania man who pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in 2005 who is challenging the ban on purchasing or owning a gun.  In another, a Pennsylvania woman who pleaded guilty to making a false statement on her tax returns sued over the ban.  Also, the frequently reversed U.S. 9th Circuit recently upheld a Hawaii gun regulation that limits the ability of citizens to openly carry guns in public.

Further, in yet another New York State case, two residents sought a license to carry guns outside their home but were denied because they supposedly didn’t meet the state’s requirement that they have a “special need for self-protection” above and beyond what’s required by the general public. (That standard is so broad I doubt many of us could meet it but undoubtedly our right to self-defense is a “special need” for millions of us!).

Our Constitutional rights are rights that are “fundamental to the Nation’s scheme of ordered liberty and deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.”  None of those rights are more important than the 2nd Amendment and the Court should strive to further enshrine and protect it.

The views and opinions expressed in the My Opinion article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Grant Parish Journal. Any content provided by the authors is of their opinion and is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.


Boating Education Lagniappe Day Slated for April 24

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will be hosting the 10th annual “Boating Education Lagniappe Day” on April 24 at eight different locations across the state.

During Boating Education Lagniappe Day, LDWF will provide instructors for the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) boating education course, NASBLA boating education certification, food and drinks, giveaways and door prizes all free of charge to the public.

LDWF urges the public to register quickly as most places have limited spaces available and registration is on a first come first serve basis.  To register for one of the eight April 24 classes, please visit https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/boater-education and click on the link for “Find A Course Near You”.

The in person classes will follow all local COVID protocols and procedures.

Anybody born after Jan. 1, 1984 must complete a NASBLA approved boating education course and carry proof of completion to operate a motorboat in excess of 10 horsepower.

The course includes information on choosing a boat, classification, hulls, motors, legal requirements and equipment requirements.  The course also covers many navigation rules and charts, trailering, sailboats, canoeing, personal watercraft and more.  Completion of the course will result in the student being issued a vessel operators certification.

Below is the list of lagniappe class locations:

Webster Parish
LDWF Region 1 Office
9961 Hwy. 80
Minden, LA 71055
Sponsors include Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office, Marine Specialties of Louisiana and Shreveport, The Boat Shop of Shreveport, Bayou Outdoors of Bossier City, Ace Hardware of Minden, Tractor Supply of Minden and BMS Supply of Minden.

Ouachita Parish
Academy Sports and Outdoors
111 Constitution Dr.
West Monroe, LA 71292
Sponsors include Academy Sports and Outdoors and T.P. Outdoors of West Monroe.

Avoyelles Parish
Cottonport Bank Camp
1055 Old River Road
Mansura, LA 71350
Sponsors include Cottonport Bank and Louisiana Wildlife Agents Association.

Lafayette Parish
LDWF Lafayette Office
200 Dulles Rd.
Lafayette, LA 70506
Sponsors include Deano’s Pizza of Lafayette, Redmond Marine of Lafayette, The Prop Shop of Lafayette, Austin’s Outdoors of Opelousas and Action Specialty of New Iberia.

Jefferson Davis Parish
Lacassine Community Center
312 Community Center Road
Lacassine, LA 70659
Sponsors include the Lacassine Community Center and the Beauregard Chapter of Whitetails Unlimited.

Assumption Parish
Assumption Parish Community Center
4910 Highway 308
Napoleonville, La 70390
Sponsors include the Assumption Parish Community Center and the Louisiana Wildlife Agents Association.

Tangipahoa Parish
Manchac Fire Department
30221 Hwy. 51
Akers, LA 70421
Sponsors include the Manchac Boating Club, Brandon Supply of Amite and the Manchac Fire Department.

St. Tammany Parish
Castine Center
63350 Pelican Drive
Mandeville, LA 70448
Sponsors include Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers and the Louisiana Wildlife Agents Association.


Gov. Edwards Eases Some COVID-19 Restrictions, Keeps Statewide Mask Mandate

Some restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Louisiana, including strict occupancy restrictions for bars and restaurants, will be eased this week following sustained improvements in COVID-19 hospitalizations and vaccinations, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced on March 30. Social distancing of six feet will still be required in businesses and Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate remains in place.

“At this point in the pandemic, our three best tools for slowing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping our hospitals operational are vaccinations, masks and distance,” Gov. Edwards said. “Right now, we have fewer people hospitalized with COVID-19 than we did this time last year, and we have a greatly improved supply of three highly effective and safe COVID-19 vaccines, which are available to everyone 16 and older in Louisiana. While COVID-19 and its variants remain a major public health risk, using the tools of vaccination, masking and distancing, we can keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. At least 20 states and one region of Louisiana are experiencing an increase in cases and hospitalizations, likely because of the U.K. variant. We aren’t yet out of the woods.

“Vaccination is the best way we have to put this pandemic in our rearview mirror. While we work to vaccinate even more of our neighbors, now more than ever it is critical that people wear facemasks when they are in public and keep six feet of social distance between them and anyone who isn’t in their immediate household,” Gov. Edwards said. “Today we are taking an important step forward, but all of us play a role in making sure our cases don’t spike again. Get your vaccine now that it’s your turn and help your friends and family members get their shots as well. Working together, we can bring back Louisiana.”

The Governor’s updated public health emergency order keeps requirements for six feet of social distancing in all businesses, as well as other mitigation measures deemed necessary by the Louisiana Department of Health and the State Fire Marshal.  The order runs for 28 days and expires on April 28, 2021.

The Governor’s updated order removes the limitations on when bars and restaurants may serve alcohol, defaulting to local ordinances. People younger than 21 are still not allowed inside bars and bars are only allowed to provide patrons with socially distanced seated service, under the new order.

Salons and beauty shops, gyms and fitness centers, malls and casinos also will not have capacity limits, though social distancing and the mask mandate remain in place along with any other additional measures that may be required by the State Fire Marshal.

Businesses and venues that host larger gatherings, like reception halls, will remain capped at 50 percent of their capacity, with a maximum gathering size of not more than 500 people indoors and strict social distancing. Outdoor events will be capped at 50 percent capacity and social distancing is also required. Some events may require prior approval by the State Fire Marshal. 

Indoor and outdoor sporting events will be limited to 50 percent of their capacity, with social distancing. Masks are required under all circumstances.


DSNAP Approved for 23 Parishes Affected by Winter Storms

Virtual Application Period Will Run in Two Phases Beginning April 5, Will Follow Alphabet Schedule

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has received federal approval to begin virtual Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP) operations in 23 parishes severely affected by the winter storms on Feb. 15-18, 2021. The application process will run in two phases between Monday, April 5, and Saturday, April 17, 2021, and will follow an alphabet schedule according to applicants’ last names.

DSNAP provides food assistance to eligible households who do not receive regular SNAP benefits and who need help buying groceries due to lost income or damages following a disaster. The state must request that the federal government initiate DSNAP but can only do so after the president activates the Stafford Act and approves the parish for Individual Assistance (IA). Each IA-approved parish must also request DSNAP before the benefits can be provided to eligible residents of that parish.

The 23 parishes that requested and were approved for federal Individual Assistance and DSNAP due to extensive power outages, water outages and other damage from the February ice storms are: Avoyelles, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Calcasieu, Catahoula, Claiborne, Concordia, DeSoto, East Baton Rouge, Franklin, Grant, LaSalle, Madison, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, Webster, West Carroll and Winn.

Residents who received SNAP benefits in February 2021 are not eligible for DSNAP and should not apply. Residents who began to receive SNAP benefits after February 2021 may be eligible.

What Applicants Need to Know
Due to ongoing concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic, DSNAP applications will be handled by phone and benefits cards will be mailed to approved applicants.

Residents in the approved parishes will be assigned a day, based on the first letter of their last name, to call the LAHelpU Customer Service Center to apply and be interviewed for DSNAP. On their designated day, residents will call 1-888-524-3578 (select language, then press 3-3-1), between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. See Application Schedule below for assigned dates.

Translation services are available for individuals whose primary language is not English.
Residents are encouraged, but not required, to take the following steps before calling to apply and be interviewed for DSNAP:

Pre-register online first. Step-by-step instructions for this can be found at dcfs.la.gov/page/dsnap-registration.
Download the LA Wallet mobile app for identity and residency verification. 

Residents who pre-registered or applied for DSNAP since March 2020 do not need to pre-register again.
When residents call to apply and be interviewed for DSNAP, a worker will verify the applicant’s identity and residency, and obtain information about their income, resources and disaster-related expenses. Most applicants will be told on the phone immediately after completing their application and interview whether they have been approved to receive DSNAP and, if so, the amount of benefits they will receive. Applicants will also receive a letter by mail, confirming the eligibility decision made on their application.

Applicants may name an Authorized Representative (AR) to apply for DSNAP benefits on their behalf. The head of household must authorize the person to serve as AR on their behalf, and the worker will need to speak to the head of household to confirm that they agree for the AR to speak on their behalf.

Elderly and disabled applicants who cannot complete the phone application process can apply at their local DCFS office.
Application Schedule

Residents should call the LAHelpU Customer Service Center to apply and be interviewed for DSNAP on their designated day (according to the first letter of their last name) or on the A-Z days, which are open to all residents in the approved parishes for each phase.

Phase 1
Parishes: Avoyelles, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Catahoula, Claiborne, Concordia, DeSoto, Franklin, Grant and Ouachita
Monday, April 5 – Residents with last names beginning with A-F
Tuesday, April 6 – G-M
Wednesday, April 7 – N-S
Thursday, April 8 – T-Z
Friday, April 9 – A-Z (All residents in Phase 1 parishes)
Saturday, April 10 – A-Z (All residents in Phase 1 parishes)

Phase 2
Parishes: Calcasieu, East Baton Rouge, LaSalle, Madison, Natchitoches, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, Webster, West Carroll and Winn
Monday, April 12 – Residents with last names beginning with A-F
Tuesday, April 13 – G-M
Wednesday, April 14 – N-S
Thursday, April 15 – T-Z
Friday, April 16 – A-Z (All residents in Phase 2 parishes)
Saturday, April 17 – A-Z (All residents in Phase 2 parishes)


Notice of Death March 30, 2021

GRANT:
None to report

WINN:
Mary Lee Sproles Ortego
May 29, 1949 – March 18, 2021
Arrangements TBA

NATCHITOCHES:
Barbara Ann Delphin Balthazar
January 21, 1927 – March 27, 2021
Service: Wednesday, March 31 at 11 am at St. Augustine Catholic Church

Mildred Braden Anthony
March 27, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Mary Lee Bradford
March 25, 2021
Arrangements TBA

Garry Augustus Cole
October 14, 1942 – March 25, 2021
Service: Saturday, April 3 at 1 pm in the chapel of Blanchard-St. Denis

Mike McCart
April 11, 1961 – March 21, 2021
Service: Monday, April 5 at 7 pm at Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

Van Thomas Barker, Jr.
January 03, 1945 – December 26, 2020
Service: Friday, April 9 from 5-6:30 pm in the chapel of Blanchard-St. Denis Funeral Home

SABINE:
Hazel Mae Faircloth
April 15, 1932 – March 29, 2021
Service: Thursday, April 1 at 10 am at St. Joseph Catholic Church

RED RIVER:
Edward Marion Scallion
July 28, 1943 – March 25, 2021
Service: Wednesday, March 31 at 1 pm at Rockett-Nettles Funeral Home Chapel


Grant Parish to Get New Church, Fast-Food Restaurants and Shopping Center

Grant Parish to add an independent church, two fast-food restaurants and a strip mall.

These locations will be off U.S.167 North across from the Jena Choctaw Pines Casino. Ron Nation is the church planner for the new church and owns the property. He says several businesses have already called about being a part of the first shopping center in the parish.

The plan is to also add picnic tables to the pond on the property for families to enjoy and fish from. Nation said this expansion will be able to impact the community as well as the economy.

“This is something brand new for Grant Parish and we’re excited about it. It’s going to be a great opportunity for folks right here to come and enjoy,” said Nation. “We have a lot of public land and not many businesses, so I believe this will have a positive impact on the tax base. People will be able to come here and spend their money.”

Nation said they are hoping for construction to be completed by the end of the year or the beginning of next year. They also have another 40 acres of land and are planning on bringing more businesses to the parish.


Grant Parish Students Make Louisiana Tech University Winter Quarter President’s and Dean’s Honor Lists

Louisiana Tech University has announced the names of students on its fall quarter president’s and dean’s honor lists.

Students whose names are followed by an asterisk earned recognition as members of the president’s honor list. That distinction signifies achievement of at least a 3.8 academic grade point average on a minimum of nine semester hours completed (100-level or higher), with no grade lower than a B.

To be eligible for the dean’s honor lists, a student is required to earn at least a 3.5 academic grade point average with no grade lower than a C on a minimum of nine semester hours completed (100-level or higher).

Courses yielding satisfactory/failure grades and courses audited do not count toward eligibility for either recognition. Only undergraduates with no incomplete grades are eligible to make either list.

Honor students are listed below by their hometowns, with all Louisiana students listed first by parish.

Grant
• Dry Prong: Lance Holden Delrie*, Jenna Nicole Mouliere, Cabel J. Stockwell*
• Pollock: Kambell Elizabeth Crain, Samuel Keith Lamma*, Michelle Crystal Swor


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