Since The Independent's launch in August 2003, business coverage has always been an essential component of our editorial mission. Acadiana's unique business community deserves that commitment; from powerhouses like the medical and oil and gas industries to small-business entrepreneurs, there is no shortage of compelling stories to tell about the people and companies that drive the local economy. And those stories aren't limited to success stories such as the recent expansion of Creole Lunch House and the re-opening of Jefferson Island. Credible business coverage also means investigative reporting, and whether it's questioning government contracts or digging into the reasons for Southern Structures' financial woes, we're dedicated to providing informed reporting and compelling writing that tells the real stories behind the dollar signs.
This week's issue marks the debut of The Acadiana Consumer Confidence Index, a special long-term project that provides valuable insight into the Acadiana economy. The Independent has partnered with Dean Lewis Gale and Associate Dean Paula Carson of UL Lafayette's B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration and noted Pensacola, Fla., research firm MRI Inc. for this monthly survey to gauge Acadiana residents' expectations of the condition of the local economy. Using a random telephone poll of 350 Acadiana residents that asks questions on subjects such as local unemployment rates and purchasing trends, Gale and Carson will be analyzing the results to provide an economic forecast for Lafayette and all of Acadiana. Beginning next month, the ACCI also allows us to look at how Lafayette stacks up in comparison to national economic indicators. Gale and Carson provide an in-depth explanation of the project and its initial findings, beginning on Page 14.
Complementing the ACCI is data from the Lafayette Economic Development Authority, the Acadian Home Builders Association, the state Motor Vehicle Registration Service and other sources on economic indicators, with accompanying analysis from The Ind's Leslie Turk. The ACCI and this expanded business section will appear in the fourth issue of each month. As patterns and trends emerge from the ACCI's monthly findings, we'll also be compiling comprehensive quarterly and annual reports to put the index's results in perspective.
Most importantly, the ACCI isn't just for the business community. If you're a reader whose eyes glaze over at the mere mention of economic data, keep in mind that the local and national economy is often driven by any number of factors, such as the political climate. So the random phone survey provides a snapshot of how our community is feeling about local and national issues ' another reminder that good business coverage is ultimately about people, not just numbers.
Struggling to preserve their Senate majority, Democrats are attacking Republicans over Medicare and Social Security in Louisiana, spending cuts in Arkansas, off-shore jobs in New Hampshire and women's issues in Colorado.
Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro says he "can't wait" to play against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The heat keeps rising for Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal as a new slate of corruption allegations surfaced this week.
If opposing defenses sell out to stop the Packers' passing game, they risk being gashed by powerful running back Eddie Lacy, a New Orleans-area native.
At the horn the officiating crew trotted to the tunnel and left security personnel to clean up after them.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Sign "ninjas" cleaning up clutter; NYC doctor positive for Ebola; Ferguson grand jury decision nears; and more national and international news for Friday, October 24, 2014.
We can safely assume incumbent Chief K.P. Gibson isn’t too worried about this challenger.
Nationally, Republicans must gain six seats to win Senate control. The most competitive races, many in states where Obama lost in 2012, remain too close to call.
The Baton Rouge Republican has repeatedly battled a perception within his own party that he perhaps wasn't the best choice to carry the GOP banner.
Even if Jimmy Graham's production dips while the star tight end recovers from a shoulder injury, it looks like Drew Brees won't have much trouble finding other targets.
A former campaign manager for Senate candidate Rob Maness is striking at the Republican contender's tea party support, saying Maness only sought to appeal to conservative organizations because he needed money for his campaign.
Ninety-two percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in a report the state issued marking the second year of a new statewide evaluation process.
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.
President Barack Obama is turning to black radio listeners to plead for midterm votes, a targeted approach to drum up Democratic support at a time when many candidates don't want him around in person.
"I am extremely disheartened by the political machines that are attempting to hijack my efforts along with others that advocate for children."
Landrieu, who is fighting to keep her seat for a fourth term, said that Ebola is serious and precautions should be taken, but she accused Republicans of using the virus outbreak in West Africa to "create fear" here at home.
Law enforcement agencies are participating in a "Louisiana Heroin Summit," designed to address the recent rise in heroin use and drug-related deaths around the state.