During his recent failed bid for District 43 state representative, Patrick LeBlanc and his supporters waged an aggressive pushback campaign against local media outlets ' including The Independent Weekly and KVOL 1330 AM ' that reported on Premier's Texas contracts. Former Bexar County Sheriff Ralph Lopez pled no contest to three misdemeanor charges as a result of his dealings with Premier, which gave Lopez an all-expenses paid fishing and golfing trip to Costa Rica last year while it was being considered for the Bexar County jail commissary contract. Patrick LeBlanc and Premier have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing related to the contract. ... WILL DAVIS OVERHAUL LOUISIANA'S $29 BILLION BUDGET? Few others already in the throes of state government fit into Gov.-elect Bobby Jindal's reform program like AngÃ¨le Davis. Maybe that's why Jindal selected her as his commissioner of administration last week, replacing Acadiana's Jerry Luke LeBlanc. At 39, Davis is a youngster by most standards. She's also proven over the years ' holding the No. 2 spot in the Division of Administration under former Gov. Mike Foster and most recently as tourism secretary ' that she can be aggressive and innovative without being politically hostile.
There are high hopes for what Davis can do with the state's booming $29 billion budget. If her previous administrative style is any indicator, expect big changes. Davis has already been at the helm of a major reform movement that almost seeped into every corner of state government. At the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, she oversaw a dramatic overhaul she referred to as a "budgeting for outcomes" process. Division heads inside the department had to make "offers" and "counter-offers" for their budgets and programs, competing against other division heads for funding. In short, she halted the department's practice of balancing its budget by across-the-board cuts. The operational overhaul involved much more than budgeting. A new management plan was put into place with the goal of boosting accountability, establishing result-oriented performance and changing the overall culture of the department.
At one point last year, there was even chatter of implementing the system in other state departments, but we all know how much bureaucracy loves change and progress. But now that Davis is in line to become one of the most powerful people in state government, who knows what might happen? ... FORMER LED CHIEF OLIVIER JUMPS SHIP After four years of rhetoric about supporting Louisiana's economy, bolstering local companies and strengthening the Bayou State's job market, the first thing Michael Olivier did upon being passed over for economic development secretary this week was to take a gig with an overseas company that operates primarily in Mississippi and Texas.
So much for loyalty.
Republican Gov.-elect Bobby Jindal announced last Wednesday that Baton Rouge Area Chamber Director Stephen Moret would be taking over the department. Olivier, less than 24 hours later, was named Future Pipe Group's regional president of the Americas. The company is based in the United Arab Emirates, alongside the Persian Gulf. The company has offices in Houston and Gulfport, which is where Olivier will reportedly split his time.
Olivier, who previously ran the Lafayette Harbor and Terminal District (now LEDA), first came in contact with Future Pipe as director of the Harrison County Development Commission, when he heavily recruited the company to move to Mississippi. It's obviously a contact that has since paid off. "This is the opportunity of a lifetime," Olivier told The Advocate. ... LOUISIANA CONGRESSMEN HOPE TO EXTEND GO ZONE A bill introduced last week by Louisiana Congressmen Charles Boustany and Richard Baker aims to extend the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act through 2010. Passed in 2005, the Go Zone Act provides significant tax credits and incentives for new construction and renovation in the areas affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Many of the provisions in the bill are set to expire at the end of this year.
A total of 31 parishes, including Lafayette, are covered in the Go Zone, and the legislation has been widely credited with helping to spur the ongoing building boom across south Louisiana. In a press release, Boustany says, "In the aftermath of both hurricanes, the GO Zone Program encouraged business investment to help the Louisiana coast get back on its feet. The GO Zone has been successful, but it needs more time because of the slow pace rebuilding has taken."
Contributors: Jeremy Alford and Nathan Stubbs
The state labor department figures released Friday show the initial claims decreased to 2,312 from the previous week's total of 2,543. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,627.
In a statement, Michael Ranatza, executive director of the association, said Landrieu's "senior status" and her continued support for the sheriffs throughout her career were deciding factors.
The position puts him at odds with GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal, but could bolster support from the business community as the senator raises money for the 2015 governor's race.
On the cusp of a new school year, with the fallout from The IND’s special report, “What’s the Matter at Fatima,” still settling, the administration at Our Lady of Fatima is reaching out to the school “family” to offer reassurances about the academic and spiritual health of the institution.
The Hayride — Louisiana’s one-stop shop for far-right perspectives — has come to the defense of state Rep. Lenar Whitney following her embarrassing, early-exit interview last week with Cook Political Report analyst David Wasserman.
Bright colors, ecletic prints
The Catholic Diocese of Lafayette says a 1992 investigation cleared the Rev. Gilbert Dutel of pedophilia allegations, yet when asked to produce those records, church officials came up empty-handed.
The former president and longtime board member of the Council on the Development of French in Louisiana has taken a Texas lawmaker to task over his use of the slur “coonass” during a legislative hearing.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Hundreds of new laws take effect Friday, with the start of August. A look at some of the changes on the books:
Marques Colston let out a laugh and shrugged his shoulders when the subject of his NFL longevity arose.
The state is accepting public comments on a plan that would invest $1 million in a new Homeowner Rehabilitation Program for low- to moderate-income residents whose homes were damaged after Hurricane Isaac.
A Senate Bill passed Thursday now awaits the president’s signature authorizing long-awaited reforms of the Veterans Affairs Administration, including new clinics for Lafayette and Lake Charles.
The DIY birthday done right
Bump and baby friendly wares
A comprehensive listing of special menu features, pairings and events for the week of Aug. 4-9
Behind the scenes a growing number of parents are saying, ‘We want our school back!’
Is sending a 16-year-old boy to prison with men for up to 99 years really the way to address juvenile crime?
How Lafayette’s family businesses have survived despite the odds
Lafayette is ready to embark on a master plan for growth, but will old habits impede our progress?
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
The IND's Nick Pittman weighs in on new records from Taylor Verret, Plush Claw, Steven Joubert and Lee Benoit.
The Cajundome rocked in July when the first ever Girls and Guys Rock Louisiana Awards Show hit the place.
Allen & Gooch reunites with Whitney Bank to sponsor the sixth annual event honoring Acadiana’s top companies.
Juicing’s health benefits lead to a proliferation of sellers in the Lafayette market.
‘The Tribe’ reflects on Fred Daspits incalculable contributions to Lafayette’s cultural life.
The recently concluded World Cup is awash in analogies.
Style that shines
Go inside the kitchen with chef Michelle Youngberg
It’s an exciting time in life as you prepare to meet your new bundle of joy — get ready to plan out the next nine months so when your baby arrives, you can stress less and love more.