Twenty years ago the torpor of the oil bust held fast in Lafayette. Residents were fleeing the region in search of opportunity. The Lafayette Municipal Auditorium was shuttered for renovations, and the Fine Arts Foundation, a performing arts presenter, folded its tent in bankruptcy. It was dire straits for performing arts fans, but also an opportunity to fill a vacuum. When the old Muni reopened as the Heymann Performing Arts Center, the Performing Arts Society of Acadiana was poised to fill the void, and to fill the stage with a wide world’s variety — classical, jazz and popular music and dance; musicals; orchestras, chamber groups and soloists; Euro circus and Asian acrobats. Lafayette’s cultural life got a booster shot that continues to help maintain our immunity to stupidity.
“Our favorite moments will always be the times when people in our community learn more about the world, about literature, about other cultures or about themselves because they attended a show,” says PASA Executive Director Jackie Lyle. “Stage lights are for artists. We’re here to make the lives of those we serve livelier and better.”
Lyle has presided over PASA from jump, helping — along with a board of directors and a small but committed staff — to build the fledgling non-profit into an Acadiana brand. In addition to its annual performance series, PASA reaches out to the community through daytime performances for students, PASA Plus (performances for senior citizens), Play it Again (a recycled instrument drive for schools), a scholarship fund for aspiring artists, and PASA in the Park, an outdoor performance series. “PASA’s founders never envisioned the array of activities that make up the organization’s portfolio today,” Lyle says, adding that those satellite activities “evolved from a combination of need, circumstance and opportunity.”
PASA in the Park grew out of need: The Heymann Center was closed in October 2005 due to hurricanes Katrina and Rita, but the Aquila Theatre’s production of Hamlet was already booked and needed a venue. PASA moved the Shakespeare performance to Parc International — an ideal remedy for the circumstances. “Didn’t we all need something else besides 24-hour news, anyway?” Lyle observes.
Over the years PASA has also commissioned new works: David Parsons’s Swing Shift (2003) and Elisa Monte’s Feu Follet (1995) and Zydeco Zare! (2008). Those modern dance pieces are still being performed worldwide, born of the financial underwriting of a Lafayette non-profit. That’s pretty cool.
PASA celebrates its 20th anniversary tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 25, with a performance by one of the most dynamic, original, ground-breaking and uniquely American dance companies for nearly a half century. “Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater embodies the history, diversity, excellence and beauty of our nation and of PASA,” says Lyle.
ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER
Lyle Loves It
An executive director’s short list of PASA highlights
“The performance by superstar violinist Itzhak Perlman and the late pianist Samuel Sanders and Tony Bennett’s concert were big hits. The performances of La Traviata and La Boheme by the Stanislavski Opera were our most solid and most inventive opera offerings. The 1990 recital by soprano Dawn Upshaw, one of opera’s most popular names today, was a beautiful night of singing, just after she had won her first Grammy award. Although composer Philip Glass’s solo recital was lightly attended, that selection certainly demonstrated PASA’s commitment to local access: a recital by Philip Glass is an unusual event anywhere, but Glass fans here were able to hear him perform his own music within a short drive from their homes.” — Jackie Lyle
A federal jury found attorney Daniel Stanford guilty Friday afternoon on eight of 13 counts for his role in the Curious Goods conspiracy.
Lafayette City-Court Judge Francie Bouillion has served on the bench for two decades since winning a special election to replace Judge Kaliste Saloom when he retired in 1994.
The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,575 rigs were exploring for oil and 338 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,776 active rigs.
A crew began erecting the 25-foot mini-wheel late morning Friday in anticipation of the evening’s Hottest Night of the Year party at the park.
Frances Boothe of Nunez, who also happens to be filmmaker Stephen Meaux’s grandmother, prepares a cool-weather fave.
The magazine's senior football writer also predicts a break-out year for Saints fourth-year running back Mark Ingram.
New Iberia colonial or Broussard traditional home
The LPSB is poised and ready to move forward with the termination of Pat Cooper following a discussion Thursday with the attorney hired for the investigation of the superintendent, but a decision of this magnitude should be left up to the new board seated in January, especially with three pro-investigation board members bailing out come the new year.
Fiery style for game day
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Gulf Coast ceremonies marking the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina have begun.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says there is little known about the effects of tiger prawns on indigenous Louisiana shrimp. But, officials say the reports they're seeking will help state biologists monitor the distribution of the prawns and determine the possible presence of spawning populations.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh rested his regulars and watched with delight as Ray Rice's backups ground out 214 yards rushing in a 22-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Google vs. Amazon in drone race; more deaths in Syria; Russia escalates Ukraine conflict and more national and international news for Friday, August 29, 2014.
High-profile criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford awaits his fate in the Curious Goods conspiracy trial.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is set to put the kibosh on the legal ownership of monkeys trained to help the disabled, and the agency wants to know what you think.
A federal judge on Thursday asked lawyers battling over Louisiana's new, restrictive abortion law for an agreement that apparently could let clinics stay open — at least for a while — after the law takes effect Sept. 1.
Three bedroom Port Barre cottage or three bedroom historic district Opelousas home
No laboring for shoppers this holiday
It will be next month before Gov. Bobby Jindal will likely get a chance to change the membership of a South Louisiana flood board that is suing dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
An abortion rights organization wants a federal judge to block enforcement of Louisiana's new abortion law while its lawsuit to overturn the law makes its way through court.
Republican presidential prospects Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal are planning to speak at an Iowa Christian conservative event in September.
The attention surrounding Victor White III has spiked with the release of last week’s autopsy report, which has raised a number of serious questions about the night of his death and has put the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office under an increased wave of scrutiny as more national media outlets are jumping on the story, most recently seen on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show.
The Acadiana Center for the Arts and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority have announced a new artist stipend program, ArtSpark, designed to offer financial aid to local artists.
A group supporting taxpayer-funded private school tuition vouchers is appealing a federal judge's order that Louisiana must provide regular reports to federal officials on the state's voucher program.
The Discovery Channel has canceled reality TV star Will Hayden's popular "Sons of Guns" show after his arrest on an aggravated rape charge.
The LPSB will finally hear from the attorney it hired to investigate the superintendent at a special meeting Thursday at 4 p.m.
Three bedroom traditional or two bedroom Victorian cottage