Getting in touch with the palate, Lafayette in the New York Times and more
VITAL SPICE

A number of the shops we featured in our cover story last week ("Spice of Life") on ethnic food markets in Acadiana aren't listed in the phone book, and many readers called and e-mailed us requesting the markets' addresses and phone numbers. By popular request, here's the info on all four markets in our story:

Italian Food Market
Maurizio Principato
4807 Johnston St., in the strip mall behind Baskin-Robbins
988-9969

S & P Oriental Market
Som Vang Sonemangkhala
4807 Johnston St., same small strip mall as Italian Food Market
989-1954

El Ranchito
Molly Babb
3011 Cameron St. (near Bertrand)
235-3297

Cedar Grocery
Nabil Loli
1215 Jefferson St.
233-5460

THE TICKING GROWS LOUDER

Presidents of the eight institutions of the University of Louisiana System signed a compact in 2004 to raise graduation rates to a level where they met or exceeded nationwide standards. It's supposed to be accomplished by 2012, but Randy Moffett, president of Southeastern Louisiana University and coordinator of the initiative, says there is still a long way to go.

Graduation rates for the system presently hover around 36 percent, and first-time freshmen retention is about 75 percent ' figures that are well below national averages. "We have worked hard to instill a lot of good things on our campuses such as selective admissions, new degree programs and up-to-date classroom buildings and residential facilities," he says. "But we can't fail to acknowledge that this is a critical issue about which we need to be proactive. We have a lot of work ahead of us ' no one silver bullet exists to provide a cure." Student preparation in critical content areas, such as English and mathematics, heads the official "to-do" list, as does improving the mix of traditional and non-traditional students and quality of advising. ' Jeremy Alford

LAFAYETTE IN THE NEW YORK TIMES

Lafayette earned a glowing write-up in the The New York Times travel section last Friday. Using the Times' "36 Hours" format, writer Alicia Ault spent a weekend roaming the area and had only good things to report. Places and businesses that got props include The Acadiana Cultural Center of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, Prejean's, Blue Moon Saloon, Café Des Amis, Lake Martin, KRVS 88.7 FM and the Rendez-Vous Des Cajuns broadcast from the Liberty Theater in Eunice, Catahoula's, Nitetown, Grant Street Dancehall, 307 Downtown, Randol's, McGee's Landing, Whiskey River Landing and Bois Des Chênes Bed & Breakfast. ' Scott Jordan

THE COMMEMORATION WHIRLWIND

Not to be outdone by those catchy slogans broadcast news outlets come up with for their coverage of war and disasters, a variety of politicians attempted to label the Katrina anniversary last week with varied zeal. The governor titled her laundry list of activities as "A Week of Recovery, Progress and Promise." U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu took the anniversary tour junket to new levels, leading the "Hope and Recovery Tour." She made regular entries into a travel diary on the news site BayouBuzz.Com along with high-profile guests like ABC talking head George Stephanopoulos. She also took questions about the recovery over Yahoo! through the "Generation Next: Talk to Power" program. At press time, there were more than 800 messages posted for Landrieu. ' JA

WILDLIFE CHIEF MOVES ON

Dwight Landreneau officially vacated the top job at the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries last week to become the associate vice chancellor of the Louisiana State University AgCenter. Landreneau, who makes his home in Washington, La., served as secretary during a historic time for the department. Not only did he turn an entire agency ' from boats to biologists ' into a full-scale search-and-rescue operation in the wake of Katrina, but he saw his main constituency and internal resources devastated by the storms.

Last Friday, Blanco promoted Wildlife and Fisheries undersecretary Janice Lansing, the department's accounting and budget manager, to interim secretary. The governor says she expects to name a permanent replacement to Landreneau in October. ' JA

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