Competitors in The Independent Weekly's division included Baton Rouge Business Report, The Times of Acadiana, New Orleans' CityBusiness, Lake Charles' Times of Southwest Louisiana and Shreveport's Forum News, among others.
And out of 35 categories in our division, The Independent took top honors in 21 categories and earned a total of 50 awards, more than any other publication in our division.
Every award is an honor, but a number of the awards are especially gratifying and a testament to the dedication, hard work and creativity of The Independent Weekly's staff. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita challenged us professionally and personally in ways we never could have imagined, and I am immensely proud of the following award-winning work from our editorial team:
â?¢ The Independent Weekly won first place for Best News Coverage and Best Special Section, for the first issue we produced following Hurricane Katrina.
â?¢ Senior Editor Leslie Turk won first place for Best News Story, for her account of New Orleans residents still stranded at Causeway Boulevard and the New Orleans airport two days after the levees broke.
â?¢ In the Best Feature Story category, contributing writer Mary Tutwiler won first place for her moving account of her father's death after his evacuation from Katrina.
â?¢ The 2005 competition also included special categories for hurricane coverage, and Contributing Writer Jeremy Alford won first place in the Best Feature Story Covering Hurricane Katrina or Rita category, for his account of the chaotic communication breakdowns after Katrina. Contributing Photographer Robin May won first place in the Best News/Feature Photo Covering Hurricane Katrina or Rita for her poignant picture of a soldier carrying an elderly woman in New Orleans.
â?¢ We also swept the Individual Feature Writing category for three 2005 cover stories: Shala Carlson's feature on Abdalla's closing won third place; Lili LeGardeur's chronicle of the tumultuous state of the sugarcane industry won second place; and Michael Tisserand won first place for his account of spending the night at the Cajundome in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
â?¢ The Independent Weekly Photo Editor Terri Fensel is one of the most honored photographers in the state, and this year was no different. Fensel won first place in the Best News Photo and Best Photo Feature categories ' for a portrait of a Delcambre family struggling to rebuild after Rita, and for photos of students and teachers at a one-room schoolhouse in New Iberia for evacuee children. She also took top honors in the Individual Black-and-White Feature Photo category.
In addition to honoring The Independent Weekly's hurricane coverage, the judges also praised a number of stories we did prior to September 2005. Managing Editor R. Reese Fuller won first place in the Best Continuing Coverage of a Single News Event for stories he wrote on the bizarre saga of mortgage company Coast Capital leaving customers' private information on a computer that inexplicably wound up at a Goodwill store. And we won the coveted Community Service Award for our ongoing coverage of Lafayette Utilities System's effort to use fiber-to-the-home technology to offer cable, phone and Internet services to local residents. We also won second, third, and honorable mention awards for Investigative Reporting, with exposÃ©s on the proposed UL Lafayette horse farm deal, real estate battles at Cypremort Point and the staff shakeup at the UL Art Museum.
Kudos also to The Independent's production and advertising departments, which won 11 awards for their top-notch graphic design. Art and Production Director Jason Roy is the unsung hero of The Independent staff, as it's his talent and vision that makes our stories (and advertisements) visually appealing.
The judges appreciated our sense of humor, too; Greg Peters won first place for Editorial Cartoon for one of his "Snake Oil" strips excoriating the Lafayette City Council.
I'd also like to extend special congratulations and thanks to our colleagues at The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, which rightfully earned Newspaper of the Year in its division. Their work during and post-Katrina has been nothing short of heroic, and their continued vigilance and dedication to New Orleans and the city's recovery continues to be an inspiration.
Most importantly, these journalism honors ultimately belong to you ' our readers. Last year, you let us into your homes, businesses, shelters and churches. You trusted us to tell your stories, and we hold that bond sacred.
(The Independent Weekly Editor Scott Jordan won first place in Best Continuing Coverage of a Governmental Issue for a series of editorials and news stories covering the politics surrounding Hurricane Katrina.)
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
The former star of Saturday Night Live throws in his 2 cents on the Big Oil lawsuit.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday, March 10, 2014:
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.
A federal appeals panel ruled Monday that businesses don't have to prove that they were directly harmed by BP's 2010 Gulf Of Mexico oil spill to collect settlement payments.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has closed Interstate 10 from I-49 in Lafayette to Seigen Lane in Baton Rouge.