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.
Despite sweeping changes enacted by Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration, the health insurance program for state workers and public school employees will have to use $88 million from its reserve fund to cover its costs this year.
The LPSB races are sure to get heated between now and Nov. 4, and with only 9 available seats, this year's field of 20 candidates will surely be wanting to set themselves apart from the crowd early; they'll get their chance next week, starting Tuesday with the kick-off of a three-day series of candidate forums.
Lawmakers say they've received complaints that waits have spiked, with people being forced to wait in line for more than an hour — and sometimes three hours — to handle routine tasks.
The campaign announced that Rep. Stuart Bishop of District 43 and Nancy Landry, District 31, have thrown their support behind the Naval Academy graduate and entrepreneur in his bid to unseat current Hunter Beasley in District 8.
A Lafayette man with an alleged taste for child porn was busted Thursday evening during a cyber crime sting launched by the Attorney General’s Office.
U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister says his chief of staff is on temporary leave after being booked with drunken driving.
It was a rare moment in Congress this week as Republicans briefly put aside partisanship in support of President Barack Obama's request to train and arm Syrian rebels, and while a number of Democrats opposed the measure, Louisiana's Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu found herself on the same side of the issue as her Republican challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy.
Home Depot breach bigger than Target; Alibaba IPO could be big; Rivers' last project and more national and international news for Friday, September 19, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
City-Parish President Joey Durel is asking the council to sign off on a resolution approving a pair of deals that would lead to razing the seedy Lesspay Motel at Four Corners to build a new police substation as well as transforming nearly a block Downtown where the old federal courthouse building now molders into a mixed-use development.
In 2013, the IRS — already the least popular governmental agency in the country — became the target of intense investigations after it was revealed that they had specifically and improperly scrutinized applications for tax-exempt status from organizations associated with the nascent Tea Party movement.
Improving the running game was "a point of emphasis" during the offseason and the results have manifested themselves in the form of substantially greater production.
Louisiana's health department said Wednesday that its evaluation of the state's Medicaid privatization was on target, despite criticism from the legislative auditor that it lacked key data and contained inconsistencies.
The feds converge on your office, seizing records on several employees as part of a pay-for-plea investigation. WWYD? If you’re Mike Harson, you give yourself a $12k raise.
It’s football season and after back-to-back winless weekends for the Saints and the Cajuns many citizens are finding it difficult to be civil much less happy. Well, chew on this.
Considering his repeated stays in the local penal system, David Narcisse Jr. should have known that having a semiautomatic shotgun, even one given to him by a friend, wasn’t the brightest of ideas.
A state district judge on Tuesday threw out a last-minute retirement hike lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent, ending a political firestorm over a pension boost passed without public scrutiny on the last day of the legislative session.
The House has passed a bill to increase oversight of veterans' hospitals under construction, following a report that some medical centers take three years longer to complete than estimated and cost an extra $366 million per project.
An obvious follow-up question for any Republican politician who accuses Democrats of being science deniers is one about science, to which Jindal bobbed and weaved like a welterweight champ.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council is expected to decide tonight (Tuesday) whether to go along with a proposal City-Parish President Joey Durel made in February’s State of the Parish Address and consolidate taxes for mosquito control and the parish health units into a broader tax program that would also cover animal control.
U.S. District Judge Richard Haik has dismissed Greg Davis’ lawsuit against the LPSB, yet in his ruling, the federal judge doesn’t bite his tongue in pointing out the "threat" being posed by certain board members.
Of all the political offices being contested throughout Lafayette Parish, the race for Broussard’s top police post has literally become one of the most heated.
A state district judge is deciding whether to issue an injunction against the enforcement of a last-minute retirement hike that lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent.
A new website is up for Louisiana's state government employees and retirees to choose their health insurance plans for next year, a choice they must make by October.
That fact that New Orleans led both games in the final 10 seconds of regulation, and lost each by a field goal or less, is of little solace.