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 Lafayette superintendent insists the budget is illegal and vows to fight on.
"I am not a scientist," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has said numerous times, a response that other members of his party have parroted.
Republicans are running strong races against endangered Democratic incumbents in states such as North Carolina, Colorado, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alaska. Republicans are also looking to replace retiring Democrats in Iowa and West Virginia with a GOP lawmaker.
Republican congressman Vance McAllister is trying to make up to Louisiana voters for getting too close to a married former employee.
You may not like all of “it,” but U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, unlike many of her colleagues, isn't sitting around twiddling her thumbs in Congress.
Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro says he "can't wait" to play against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The heat keeps rising for Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal as a new slate of corruption allegations surfaced this week.
If opposing defenses sell out to stop the Packers' passing game, they risk being gashed by powerful running back Eddie Lacy, a New Orleans-area native.
At the horn the officiating crew trotted to the tunnel and left security personnel to clean up after them.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Sign "ninjas" cleaning up clutter; NYC doctor positive for Ebola; Ferguson grand jury decision nears; and more national and international news for Friday, October 24, 2014.
We can safely assume incumbent Chief K.P. Gibson isn’t too worried about this challenger.
Nationally, Republicans must gain six seats to win Senate control. The most competitive races, many in states where Obama lost in 2012, remain too close to call.
The Baton Rouge Republican has repeatedly battled a perception within his own party that he perhaps wasn't the best choice to carry the GOP banner.
Even if Jimmy Graham's production dips while the star tight end recovers from a shoulder injury, it looks like Drew Brees won't have much trouble finding other targets.
A former campaign manager for Senate candidate Rob Maness is striking at the Republican contender's tea party support, saying Maness only sought to appeal to conservative organizations because he needed money for his campaign.
Ninety-two percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in a report the state issued marking the second year of a new statewide evaluation process.
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.