BETTA BOOK IT NOW The first 1,000 passengers who book a Visions Airlines flight to Destin/Fort Walton Beach will win a $200 Visa gift card. To qualify, you have to book a vacation package for two adults, including airfare, hotel/resort accommodations, and car rental with a minimum three-night stay. The first 1,000 customers will receive their gift card upon arrival at Northwest Florida Regional Airport located in Fort Walton Beach. These special vacation packages can be booked at www.visionairlines.com or by calling 1-877-FLY-A-JET. Vision Airlines is so confident about its low-priced packages that it urges customers to compare its rates with other online travel companies. (Though it won’t qualify you for the gift card, you can book a flight to Destin/Fort Walton for $39 each way through June 20.) — Leslie Turk
AN ‘UNCONVENTIONAL’ MOM AND POP SHOP We don’t need no concrete jungle to spur fashion creativity in Acadiana. Forget New York. ’Round here, we give out free dance lessons and fleurs de lis while we sip Budweiser in a “Black & Gold state of mind.” The Gold Machete, a boutique style T-shirt store owned by Ashley Degeyter and Alex Nunez, offers a wide variety of original T-shirt designs with local flavor. The couple’s shop at 317 E. University Ave. is overflowing with one-of-a-kind Saints gear, bright vermilion tees that boast former USL logos, a shirt that pays homage to the hot dog vendor on Jefferson Street — and much more. The duo can customize prints for groups or special occasions that call for 24 shirts or more, and a few local artists have also joined the venture and allow Gold Machete to sell shirts donning original artist prints. Stop by the shop from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, or find The Gold Machete’s Facebook page and become a fan. — Heather Miller
FOR THE RECORD We first heard about the website Kickstarter.com last week when The Ind received an interesting offer from Lafayette musician Bernard Pearce: donate funds to help him finish recording a record and be “one of the good guys.” Kickstarter is a clearinghouse for musicians, filmmakers, performance artists and other creative types to solicit money for cool projects. In Pearce’s case that’s the completion of Without Warning, a record he’s been off-and-on recording for two years in Athens, Ga., with several guest musicians including members of the former Lafayette alt-rock band Urbosleeks, who high-tailed it to Athens over a decade ago in search of hipster fame. Gigging regionally under the guise of One Man Machine, Pearce is also manager of the Tipitina’s Music Co-op in the Hub City, and he’s cleverly incentivized his endeavor: a contribution of $20-$49 gets one a free copy of the CD when it’s completed; $50+ contributions earn a vinyl copy. (Vinyl, baby! It’s still making a come-back!) A $500 donation will send the one man machine to your home to cook a meal for you, the CD and vinyl in tow. Bernard Pearce seriously wants to finish this damn record. To help, log on to Kickstarter.com and search “Bernard Pearce.” — Walter Pierce
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DEC 6 Here we are, at the top of another bad list: this time, Louisiana has the (dubious) honor of beating out all other states when it comes to gutting higher ed funding, this Picayune story reports. The American Association of Colleges and Universities says our cuts (nearly 18 percent this year alone) are the highest in the nation. Three-fourths of the states increased funding last year, with the top spender increasing funding by 28 percent. This is a great legacy for our governor, right?
DEC 6 Blogger Lamar White Jr. takes a look at the creepy effort over in Baton Rouge, wherein the southern, lily-white area of the city wants to secede from the union, er, create its own "city" and take all the really fat sales tax cows with it. Turns out the group campaigning for the move is a for-profit corporation, and Lamar says that means its effort won't pass legal muster.
DEC 6 Blogger Tom Aswell tells us about some fishiness he found in the state worker's comp office. There's some confusion about when one guy started working there, and there's also some involvement by a GOP lege from Hammond. It's all just another example of the Jindal administration's actions that "defy explanation," Aswell says.
DEC 6 Edwin Edwards may think it's possible he will be governor again, but columnist James Gill isn't so sure. Edwards would have to get a presidential pardon to run for governor -- unless he wants to wait until he's 99, Gill says. But even Edwards' many supporters should probably hope he doesn't get that, because there's no real chance he can win, Gill says.
DEC 6 Here's an interesting post on DIG Magazine for football history buffs. It's about the Pelican Bowl, the Bayou Classic and the history of black college football. It's a trip down memory lane and the story of a "mythical black college national crown." What killed it? Trying to compete with the Bayou Classic.
DEC 6 Nelson Mandela became famous while sitting in prison, where he was a symbol of apartheid. But his enduring legacy was his ability to forgive, to reach out a hand of peace to heal his country of division and oppression, and the Picayune talks about this aspect of his personality. The story also reminds us of the more light-hearted moments Louisiana shared with the former President of South Africa.
DEC 6 We've all been passed by a nut on the highway and assumed the driver was on drugs. Maybe that's not hyperbole: here's a story from the Picayune about a guy riding around with a meth lab in his back seat. One wonders if his insurance policy included coverage for random explosions.
DEC 6 Here's a new blog in the NOLA Defender; it's called Shift Change, and it's all about cocktails. This installment by Rhiannon Enlil focuses on the sazerac, the enigmatic cocktail made with absinthe. But Enlil also introduces herself, a long-time NOLA bartender who has "a lot of booze" in her house.
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