The old mantra says, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Our front section wasn't broken, but we wanted to give it a fresh coat of paint, for a number of reasons.
Some of the best journalism comes from thinking outside the box, and our revamped front section practically blows up the box. In a nutshell, it provides us with much more space and flexibility with our news coverage. While you'll still see the narrative journalism and in-depth stories we strive to bring readers each week, our new design allows us additional room for a substantial amount of news briefs. These briefs are a mixture of breaking news, our take on the notable stories in Acadiana each week, and humorous items on the more absurd developments around town.
Speaking of around town, Staff Writer Nathan Stubbs' column of the same name will no longer be running. And Editorial Director Leslie Turk's "Turk File" column will now run on the fourth week of each month, as part of The Independent Weekly's monthly business section and Acadiana Consumer Confidence Index package. But Stubbs and Turk will continue to contribute the hard-nosed beat reporting they brought to their columns every week ' their stories and scoops will simply be mixed in with the redesigned "Word on the Street" section. So fans of Stubbs' government and political reporting and Turk's business and media reports will still have plenty to look forward to in every issue from both writers.
The changes in our news section complement some subtle redesign changes we implemented in January in our Living Ind section. These include moving away from a rigid horizontal format for our arts and culture stories and incorporating bigger photos and graphics in our "Party Girl" section. In our "The Week" calendar section, we've arranged our live music listings by venue and separated family-oriented events into their own section in the daily listings.
The MVP in this process was Independent Weekly Art and Production Director Jason Roy, who's logged some looooong hours during this process. It's not a stretch to say he's been designing two papers since early January. Between designing and producing the paper weekly with his usual flair and keen eye, he's been constructing new templates in his, ahem, free time, and methodically constructing this redesign piece by piece. It hasn't been unusual to find Jason here in the office on the weekends or until 8 p.m. on weeknights.
We'd be remiss in not thanking New York Pizza & Deli, The Filling Station and Jefferson Street Pub, who provided inspiration in other ways during some of those late nights.
Of course, looks aren't everything. While making The Independent Weekly more visually appealing is essential to our mission, it won't mean a thing if there aren't compelling stories and essential news that readers can't find anywhere else in Acadiana. And I'd humbly suggest that this week's issue offers multiple examples of that kind of quality journalism. Contributor Kristi H. Dempsey's in-depth examination of Lafayette's rocketing real estate prices is a revealing look at a number of market forces creating the high cost of living in Lafayette; Senior Writer R. Reese Fuller reports on the strange downtown battle brewing over long-time street vendor Faramarz "Frankie" Yaghobi; Turk lays out the scenarios for Lafayette's next television station; the details of the multi-million dollar new Acadiana Technology Information Center contract comes courtesy of Stubbs; and Staff Writer Erin Zaunbrecher and regular contributor Mary Tutwiler teamed up to report on some of Acadiana's most vibrant gardens, just in time for spring.
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.