Jim Engster, our new state politics columnist, has been a fixture in Louisiana political journalism for more than two decades. New Orleans native Engster graduated from LSU with a bachelor's degree in journalism and has worked extensively in both radio and print. He worked for the Louisiana Radio Network for 20 years, serving as its news director from 1997-1998, and hosted the radio show Louisiana Live for five years. During Engster's tenure, Louisiana Live was named the best public affairs program three times by the Associated Press.
Engster also wrote the column "Political Perspectives" for Baton Rouge Business Report, and has been a longtime contributor to Tiger Rag, covering everything from politics and LSU sports to university issues. Engster is currently the general manager of radio station WRKF in Baton Rouge and hosts the Jim Engster Show, which airs weekdays at 9 a.m.
On the arts and entertainment beat, we're proud to formally announce Shala Carlson as The Independent's primary film critic. Carlson is an Opelousas native and former assistant editor of The Times of Acadiana. Since 1998, she's served as a film critic and managing editor for New Orleans' Gambit Weekly newspaper. Her work has also appeared in Baton Rouge Business Report, and in 2001 she was honored with the Ashton Phelps Memorial Award for Excellence in Editorial Writing from the New Orleans Press Club. Carlson's film reviews will appear bi-weekly beginning with this week's issue.
Also in our Living Ind section, we've made some additions to "The Week" calendar section. Each issue we'll now be including "Road Shows," noteworthy events that weekend in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Houston and other surrounding areas. Another addition is "Coming Attractions," where we'll spotlight high-profile upcoming performances both in Lafayette and out of town. And to keep you in the loop on the latest and best DVDs, CDs and books (in addition to our regular features and reviews), we'll be spotlighting five recommendations every week.
Visualize Lafayette’s next great thing from 3,000 feet.
A Baton Rouge judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday against enforcing a law that prohibits anyone 70 or older from running for justice of the peace or constable.
Gov. Bobby Jindal believes the last-minute passage of a pension hike for his state police superintendent, Col. Mike Edmonson, was improperly handled, according to the governor's office.
As the courts hash out the attempts to preserve and shelve Common Core in Louisiana, a group of six state lawmakers are planning an Aug. 22 trip to Oklahoma to meet with their counterparts and strategize for the 2015 regular session.
While hopes are high for turnout this fall, a new report from the Center for the Study of the American Electorate suggests that Louisiana's midterm face-offs may amount to nothing special in terms of votes cast.
The attorney hired by the Lafayette Parish School Board for a special investigation of Superintendent Pat Cooper has submitted his final report, though it may be another week before the findings are made public.
Poachers killing elephants at increasing rates; independent autopsy on Brown; Gaza truce continues and more national and international news for Tuesday, August 19, 2014.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
The Tea Party of Louisiana is calling Sen. David Vitter a “turncoat” for his newfound embrace of Common Core educational standards.
An annual report evaluating Gov. Bobby Jindal's privatization of Medicaid lacked important financial information and presented rosy performance reviews not corroborated by data, according to a review released Monday.
Lafayette attorney Michelle Meaux-Breaux has announced her plans to seek the Division E seat for judge in the 15th Judicial District.
A card-carrying member of Lafayette’s “tribe,” Milton “Spider” Guidry died over the weekend. IND music writer Nick Pittman remembers the character and the man.
As tensions continue to escalate in Ferguson, Mo., between law enforcement and residents protesting the shooting death of a local teen by police, we’re reminded of the peculiar circumstances surrounding the in-custody death earlier this year of a New Iberia man.
A group of teachers and parents who support Common Core is asking a state judge to invalidate Gov. Bobby Jindal's actions against the multi-state education standards.
Drew Brees walked up to the line of scrimmage early Sunday, taking a snap during the New Orleans Saints' pre-practice walk-through.
A state judge Friday refused a temporary injunction sought against state education officials in an effort to block implementation of the Common Core education standards in Louisiana.
UL was the consensus pick in a coaches' preseason poll to win the league, and experience has a lot to do with that.
The price tag has nearly doubled for Gov. Bobby Jindal's hiring of an outside consulting firm to recommend new ways to balance the state budget.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is under scrutiny for billing private chartered planes to her Senate office when she used the flights to attend campaign fundraisers.
Many people found not guilty by reason of insanity are being held in Louisiana jails, where they cannot get the treatment they need, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday.
In a just-released audio recording, City Prosecutor Gary Haynes claims Mike Harson had direct dealings with the alleged mastermind behind the bribery scheme in the DA’s office.
C-P councilmen sponsor a resolution in support of the notion that one should subscribe to Tea Party ideas about civics before being allowed to seek public office.
Russel Honoré, the retired U.S. Army general known for his role in restoring order to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and most recently for his involvement in the Green Army movement to stop environmental abuses of Louisiana, has now weighed in on the police response to protestors in Ferguson, Mo.
More than three dozen restaurants, bars, convenience stores and supermarkets in Lafayette Parish are facing fines in connection with the state office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control’s 2014 “Summer Crackdown.”
The grim news, delivered to the joint legislative budget committee, barely raised eyebrows at the committee hearing, after more than six years of such disappointing financial forecasts.