Longtime state Sen. Don Cravins expects to soon finalize a deal on a home in the heart of Opelousas and will begin his campaign to become mayor of the city by the fall. "I actually campaign every day," he says. "But I'll officially start then." Cravins supported current Opelousas Mayor Anna Simmons when she was elected in 2002 but now says he can do a better job than Simmons, who plans to run for re-election next year. Cravins says his key issue in the race will be rebuilding infrastructure, paving roads and giving the city a general cleanup. "There's a lot of little things that can be done almost immediately that won't take a whole lot of money that I think could make a tremendous impact psychologically," he says. He also wants to work toward revitalizing the downtown area, instituting a housing rehabilitation program and starting a business incubator similar to the Enterprise Center of Louisiana in Carencro. Cravins was first elected state senator in 1992, and term limits will force him out of his current office in 2008. City elections for Opelousas are scheduled for fall 2006, when both Simmons and embattled Police Chief Larry Caillier will be up for re-election. Caillier is facing charges of mishandling federal funds. Cravins says he doesn't anticipate Caillier's situation to spill over into the mayor's race. "I think most people are ready to be done with it one way or another." ' NS
RICHARD LEBOUEF'S COOKIN'
On April 23, Cajun musician and Kaplan native Richard LeBouef will begin airing an independently produced weekly cooking and musical television program called Richard LeBouef's Good Time Kitchen. The 30-minute program will air on Saturday mornings on KLFY TV10 and will feature LeBouef as the host as well as musical guests. LeBouef says he hopes to create a cooking show that not only features food, but also local music and the style of humor that made Justin Wilson a household name. ' RRF
RIDEAU TO PAY FOR HIS OWN TRIAL?
On Jan. 12, Wilbert Rideau was released after serving 44 years in the Louisiana State Penitentiary for the 1961 murder of Julia Ferguson ("Rideau's Release," Jan. 26). He was set free after a new trial and jury gave him a 21-year sentence for manslaughter, effectively releasing him for time already served. But the Lake Charles American Press reported last week that Rideau's legal woes aren't over. Judge David Ritchie ordered Rideau to pay $126,000 in court costs for his fourth trial for the crime. The judge stated that he expected Rideau to come into "an anticipated windfall of money" from a lucrative writing career. One of Rideau's defense attorneys, public defender Ron Ware, stated, "It's unprecedented for an indigent [defendant] who has served that much time to be ordered to pay court costs. The trial is over, the verdict is in, and it is time to let it go and move on." Rideau's attorneys have until April 15 to object to the order. ' RRF
SPARE SOME $20,000 IN CHANGE?
Two employees of the Lafayette Department of Traffic and Transportation, Rhagan Thomas and Rachel Wills, have been charged with felony theft for stealing at least $22,000 in coins from Lafayette parking meters. The two were believed to have taken the coins to a local coin-exchange machine where they converted their stolen coins into cash. The Advocate reported that the two employees were part of a larger investigation of at least seven people in consolidated government that had been investigated or arrested for theft and forgery. According to The Advocate, Chief Administrative Officer Dee Stanley stated: "We have a missing bulldozer, for crying out loud ' rolled off a job site two years ago. If any employee knows where our bulldozer is, we'd like to know." ' RRF
BREAUX'S KILLER CONVICTED
Wearing his signature red clogs, Houma resident Daniel Breaux was a fixture at Lafayette festivals and nightclubs for more than 20 years. Breaux danced regularly at Blue Moon Saloon and Festival International, and was a gentle and fun-loving spirit who rarely missed a BeauSoleil performance ("Red Clogs and Angel Wings," May 12). When Breaux was murdered in a botched robbery attempt by four teenagers last May 1 after attending the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the Acadiana arts community went into mourning.
Last week, The Times-Picayune reported that a New Orleans jury convicted 15-year-old John Duncan of Breaux's murder. Since Duncan is a juvenile, he will be jailed in an adult prison until he is 31 years old. Sixteen-year-old Kevin Atkins testified against Duncan and received a five-year sentence for attempted armed robbery. Two more teenagers, Cedric Curtis and Jerone Walls, await trial on second-degree murder charges. ' SJ
GOODY'S MOVING IN
The family clothing store Goody's is gobbling up 28,000 square feet in the Ambassador Row shopping center across from the Mall of Acadiana. The remaining portion of the 52,000-square-foot spot, which housed Hobby Lobby before it relocated to the old Target store in the Acadiana Square shopping center, is not yet leased. "We're currently working a deal," says Debbie Thibodeaux, regional leasing director for Miami-based Equity One, which owns the center.
An extensive renovation to both the faÃ§ade and interior are under way, with Goody's planning a mid-May opening. The Knoxville, Tenn.-based store, founded and now run by the third generation of the Goodfriend family, offers clothing and accessories from brands like Hanes, Healthtex, Lee, Levis, Mudd, Reebok, Keds and Steve Madden.
Considered a moderately priced "junior department store," Goody's has more than 350 locations in 20 states. ' LT
BOULEVARD OPENS GRILLE
The onslaught of chain restaurants in Lafayette hasn't dampened the Cart family's entrepreneurial spirit. "We're a dying breed," says Lynda Cart, who last week launched Boulevard Grille in the Oil Center Gardens. Her husband, Bruce, and son Jeffrey are partners. Lynda is as upbeat as she was nine years ago, when this same trio opened Antoni's Italian CafÃ©, just a stone's throw from the new Tex-Mex concept.
This time, though, 28-year-old Jeffrey is in charge. "He has us for support," Lynda says. "That's the nice thing about having our businesses so close together."
In his first week, Jeffrey is seeing a lot of familiar faces from the successful Antoni's. "They've been coming in to check it out," he says. The grill also will cater to the downtown lunch crowd and hopes to garner significant business from medical professionals at nearby Lafayette General.
Interior designer Judy Leggett (Lynda's sister) has just moved to Lafayette from Dallas and created the restaurant interior's contemporary/cosmopolitan atmosphere, which incorporates Jeffrey's photography. Leggett also assisted on the Antoni's dÃ©cor.
Boulevard Grille, a combination of Tex-Mex and traditional American fare (meat for the half-pound burgers is ground fresh everyday), is open Monday through Saturday, for lunch only. The new restaurant has taken over the spot that most recently housed the Lebanese eatery Essie's. ' LT
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
NJ lady beats Donald Trump; Israel calls up more troops; border hearings accelerated and more national and international news for Thursday, July 31, 2014.
State Rep. Lenar Whitney — one of a handful of Republican candidates vying for Louisiana’s 6th Congressional district — has been described by Cook Political Report analyst David Wasserman as one of the most “frightening or fact-averse candidate[s]” he’s ever met following her reaction to an interview last week.
Mid-August hearing dates have been set for dueling lawsuits over Louisiana's use of the Common Core education standards in public schools.
An investigation into the last-minute passage of a pension hike for the state police superintendent continues, despite Col. Mike Edmonson's decision not to accept the increase.
Safety Jairus Byrd practiced with the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday for the first time since his signing in March.
Sentencing has been delayed for a businessman who provided key testimony in the corruption case that resulted in the conviction of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.
The spectre of priest sex abuse has returned to haunt the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette following the recent release of an investigative report by Minnesota Public Radio, revealing new allegations of another child predator hiding behind the clerical collar.
The sponsor of a Louisiana law that requires doctors that perform abortions to have hospital admitting privileges doesn't believe the provision is in jeopardy after a federal appeals court struck down a similar Mississippi law.
Louisiana's state school board has jumped into a lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal that accuses the governor of illegally meddling in education policy through his efforts to block Common Core education standards.
Here's how one nationally recognized conservative political pundit reacted upon hearing the news Monday that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was leaning toward an endorsement of Louisiana’s lone Democrat senator.
With the qualifying deadline for Lafayette Parish School Board elections quickly approaching, a series of candidate forums have been announced by the Lafayette Parish Public Education Stakeholders Council.
The investigation and potential prosecution of the man charged in the recent hit-and-run death of a Youngsville cyclist won’t happen overnight, according to local law enforcement officials.
Louisiana's state school board is holding a special meeting to consider whether to sue Gov. Bobby Jindal in an ongoing dispute over the Common Core education standards.
A bipartisan congressional deal to help improve veterans' health care access includes approval for new veterans clinics in Lafayette and Lake Charles.
It wouldn’t be a first, however, as the Chamber has thrown money behind Landrieu before.
The Democratic incumbent, seeking her fourth term in office, is a strong supporter of the Export-Import Bank, which helps finance exports of U.S. companies.
The world is a politically tense place these days with hot spots ranging from the Middle East to Ukraine. In Louisiana and Mississippi, where the political chessboard tends to be a lot less threatening and at times entertaining, this election season is living up to expectations.
Louisiana has joined nine other states in support of Indiana’s appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that the Hoosier State’s ban on sam-sex marriage violates the Constitution.
The Saints are being cautious in an effort to minimize risk of re-injury.
LSU Health Sciences Center says people with a common, hard-to-treat kind of lung cancer can join a new national trial to test drugs faster.
As New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis spoke about the opening of training camp, steep, tree-covered mountains were in full view behind them.
The family of fallen cyclist Lon Lomas is speaking out after the release this week of the man charged with his death.
"The solutions are obvious: undo consolidation, or amend the charter to make this hybrid attempt at a new form of government work better."
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is considering whether to get involved in a lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal for his attempts to undermine use of the Common Core education standards in Louisiana's public schools.