Boasso might go Democrat, WRDA passes Houses and more
BOASSO GOING DEMOCRATIC IN GOVERNOR'S RACE?

Conventional wisdom is that Bobby Jindal benefited most by John Breaux dropping out of the governor's race, but Republican candidate and Arabi Sen. Walter Boasso is considering switching over to the Democratic Party. The Advocate reported that some Republicans are adding fuel to the fire by nudging Boasso to defect, further clearing the path for Jindal.

It's too early to predict which way Boasso will go, but he has to be giving the move some serious consideration. On a related side note, this could be a notable instance of the national Republican Party's recent struggles subtly filtering into Louisiana; when was the last time you remember a Louisiana Republican switching to the Democratic Party? ' Scott Jordan

WRDA PASSES HOUSE; WHITE HOUSE VOICES OPPOSITION

Last week, the U.S. House overwhelmingly passed the Water Resources Development Act, the omnibus appropriations bill for major flood control and water-related projects, by a 394-25 vote. WRDA, usually passed every two years by Congress, was last passed in 2000. Both the House and Senate passed separate versions of WRDA last year, but the bill never made it out of conference committee.

The $15 billion House version passed last week includes more than $2 billion earmarked for South Louisiana, including funds for coastal restoration projects, closure of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet and a channel deepening at the Port of Iberia. The House bill also includes more than $850 million for construction of the 72-mile Morganza to the Gulf levee, a provision that the White House previously attempted to strip out of WRDA.

President Bush still opposes the bill and wants to limit the total federal price tag to $10 billion and have states share in more of the project costs. Among Bush's specific objections is a provision the Louisiana delegation fought hard for to lower the state's costs in deepening and maintaining coastal harbors and channels. In response, Rep. Charles Boustany issued a statement noting, "I'm frustrated that the Bush administration is opposed to this provision, but I'm confident that it will not impede this important bill from being signed into law." ' Nathan Stubbs

DUELING BOBBY JINDAL WEB SITES

Now the clear frontrunner in this year's governor's race, Bobby Jindal is galvanizing both fans and critics, who are either elated or petrified by the Metairie congressman's campaign. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Wild West atmosphere of online political blogs, where two dueling Web sites, jindalisgood.com and jindalisbad.com, have cropped up devoted to all things Bobby.

Jindalisgood.com calls Jindal "a modern day Alexander Hamilton" and also features a bizarre chronicle of fictional stories, wherein Jindal is visited by a series of former Louisiana governors. Jindalisbad aims to expose "the truth about Bobby Jindal" and challenges jindalisgood.com for what it claims are several photo-shopped images, including one of a sneering John Breaux holding a martini. Both Web sites feature online stores and exclusive lines of T-shirts and bumper stickers. ' NS

LANGLINAIS' LAWYER TAKES AIM AT IBERIA D.A.

At a recent Iberia Parish Council meeting, Parish President Will Langlinais complained that as a result of the legislative audit investigating alleged wrongdoing, he "had to go out and retain the services of an outside attorney. I've not been kept in the loop." Now Langlinais' lawyer, Paul J. Hebert, a member of Lafayette law firm Ottinger Hebert, is trying to knock Iberia Parish District Attorney Phil Haney out of the loop as well.

Haney is investigating Langlinais, and Hebert contends that for Haney to continue would be a serious conflict of interest and strongly recommends that any further investigation be handled by an independent counsel or the state attorney general. Hebert is slated to address the council Wednesday, April 25. ' Mary Tutwiler

A WHOLE LOTTA LIL' BAND O' GOLD

Lafayette swamp pop supergroup Lil' Band o' Gold got the Led out last week in New Orleans. The band was in the Crescent City recording with none other than legendary Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant; the session was for an upcoming Fats Domino tribute record that will benefit Domino and the nonprofit Tipitina's Foundation. After recording wrapped up, Plant was a surprise guest at the band's Saturday night show at Tipitina's. At around 1 a.m., Lil' Band o' Gold's C.C. Adcock introduced Plant by saying, "All the way from Delcambre ... please welcome The Honeydripper."

Plant sang a five-song mini-set, reprising his Honeydrippers' cover of "Sea of Love," and also sang the chestnuts "I've Been Around," "Treat Me Like a Fool" and Fats Domino's "It's Raining." He led the band through a swamp-boogie cover of the Led Zep classic "Whole Lotta Love" before leaving the stage around 1:30 a.m., and celebrated with the band the next day at a crawfish boil at McGee's Landing. ' SJ

RIDIN' FOR LOUISIANA'S COAST

Last weekend Terry Forrette set off on a three-month, 12,000-mile motorcycle trip around the perimeter of the continental United States. His sole mission is to raise awareness of Louisiana's disappearing coast. He's dubbed the project "Riding the Rim."

"People's lives, homes and jobs are dependent on maintaining the wetlands," he says on his Web site. "Not just for the inhabitants of Louisiana and those states with tidal wetland, but everyone in the entire country. You experience the importance of the wetlands each time you fill up at your gasoline station, pay a utility bill, or dine on fresh seafood from the gulf."

Forrette has partnered with the America's Wetland Campaign to Save Coastal Louisiana. For more information on Forrette's mission, to read about his journey as he travels, to make a donation, or to learn how you can help save Louisiana's coast, visit www.ridingtherim.com. ' R. Reese Fuller

AND THE CULINARY CLASSIC WINNERS ARE ...

The Acadiana Culinary Classic, held last week at the Cajundome Convention Center, each year features the finest buffet spread in town, with chefs from across the region pulling out their finest signature dishes to see whose cuisine reigns supreme. This year's winners include Brian Berry, the former Hilton's chef now with UL Lafayette, who won the poultry competition with his grilled duck breast with seared foie gras accompanied with duchess sweet potato and veggie stir fry; and Scott McCue of Cypress Bayou Casino, who won for best soup with a crawfish and apple wood smoked bacon Yukon gold potato bisque with goat cheese and white truffle croutons. Randol's restaurant won gold in both the finfish and shellfish categories but by far the biggest winner of the night was Cypress Bayou Casino, which racked up a total of 12 medals, including golds in soup, bread, beef & veal, and dessert. Cypress Bayou executive sous chef McCue was also awarded Best in Show, a $10,000 prize, for his bread entry, a brie cheese and grilled portabella mushroom bread, served with raspberry cabernet butter. ' NS

A FAMILIAR FACE ON THE NEW ORLEANS LEVEE BOARD

The secretary of the newly consolidated New Orleans Levee Board is a familiar face. John Barry, renowned historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the epic 1927 Mississippi flood chronicle Rising Tide, is putting his levee expertise to use by helping the board navigate layers of pre-consolidation holdings. "We're spending an enormous amount of time separating flood assets from nonflood assets," Barry told The New York Times last week. "The new board is interested in levees." Barry hopes the new board can overcome the old board's troubled legacy and push to get crucial levee repairs completed. "One thing that is not going to happen is, we're not going to lose our focus," he says.

Barry was a featured speaker in The Independent Weekly's 2006 Lecture Series. ' SJ

FARMER'S MARKET TO REOPEN IN OIL CENTER

The City Garden Market, where local farmers sold everything from apples to zucchuni, is slated to reopen May 5. The new location will be a parking lot on the corner of South College and Heymann Boulevard, directly across the street from Champagne's. Market organizer Leslie Barton says the move from River Ranch to the Oil Center will bring farm fresh produce closer to core customers, as well as locating the market in a neighborhood that has strong association with the development of Lafayette. "We wanted to transform the market into a municipal event with support from city government and the Oil Center Renaissance Association," says Barton. "We're getting back to basics." Barton plans for the market to be open year round, every Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon. ' MT

LOUISIANA LIGHTNING COULD BE IN FOR LONG YEAR

UL Lafayette grad, Cy Young award winner and all-around local legend Ron Guidry, AKA Louisiana Lightning, looks like he has his work cut out for him in 2007 as the New York Yankees' pitching coach. A number of Yankee starting pitchers like Mike Mussina are already battling injuries early in the season, so the Yanks are relying on rookies like Chase Wright, a lefty and Guidry protégé. Last Sunday night must have been particularly galling for Guidry, as Wright gave up a record-tying four home runs in a row against the Bronx Bombers' hated rivals, the Boston Red Sox. The Sox were down 3-0 in the third inning when the onslaught started. As Jason Varitek jacked the fourth Red Sox bomb in a row out of the park, the ESPN cameras caught usually reserved Red Sox G.M. Theo Esptein exclaiming "Oh. My. God." ' SJ

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