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.
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 magazine's senior football writer also predicts a break-out year for Saints fourth-year running back Mark Ingram.
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.
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.
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.
Authorities are investigating a report that a student there warned the principal of impending violence similar to that depicted in the movie "The Purge."
Saints cornerback Champ Bailey has played for more than a handful of playoff teams during a career that has seen him selected to 12 Pro Bowls.
Police say a 56-year-old Lafayette man walking behind a dump truck died when the truck hit him as it was backing up.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is a proud papa of new baby girl.
The books on Louisiana's last budget year have been closed, but it took a bit of borrowing from this year to make the numbers work.
The Iberia Parish Coroner responded Monday to the attention surrounding the questionable shooting of Victor White III, a black man from New Iberia who died April 2 while in the custody of local law enforcement.
Two months after lawmakers agreed to create a $40 million higher education incentive fund, no decisions have been made about how to divide the money.
With Drew Brees back healthy, the New Orleans Saints are free to work on the little things that can make the difference between a Super Bowl run and something less.