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.)
The political tilt of the Senate during President Barack Obama's final two years in office is likely to hinge on a handful of female contenders in tight and costly races.
A former BP executive will be allowed to travel to the United Kingdom later this month while he awaits trial on charges relating to an investigation of the 2010 Gulf oil spill.
South Koreans defend ramen; special forces had failed to find James Foley; Vegas lures LGBT tourists and more national and international news for Thursday, August 21, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
Friends and family will celebrate Spider's life in September.
Saints safety Jairus Byrd has rarely been so eager to hit and be hit, if only to reassure himself that his surgically repaired back is as healed as doctors believe.
Jindal privatized nearly all the LSU hospitals without waiting for federal officials to sign off on financing arrangements that rely on millions of federal Medicaid dollars.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and her main Republican challenger, Congressman Bill Cassidy, verbally sparred as they officially signed up on the opening day of qualifying for Louisiana's November election.
Superintendent tells crowd he'd just emerged from a four-hour meeting with the attorney hired to investigate him.
The start of the three-day qualifying period for November’s elections has so far yielded 10 official bids and one new announcement from candidates seeking a seat on the school board.
It’s been just over four months since attorney Barry Domingue committed suicide the morning before he was to stand trial for a second day in the federal Curious Goods case, leaving his fellow attorney/co-defendant Daniel Stanford with a temporary mistrial and awaiting his day in court.
Candidates for Louisiana's Nov. 4 election must officially sign up for the ballot this week.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's effort to derail Louisiana's use of the Common Core education standards was halted Tuesday by a state judge who said the governor's actions were harmful to parents, teachers and students.
New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram isn't letting a humbling start to his pro career lower his opinion of what he can still accomplish in the NFL.
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.
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.