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.
Black Friday shopping begins; Pope visiting Turkey; oil prices decline and more national and international news for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.