On Feb. 19, the day before Mardi Gras, Louisiana Heritage & Gifts will close its doors after almost five years in business. The shop is one of the last independently owned stores carrying a healthy selection of south Louisiana music. LH&G also sells Cajun and zydeco instruments, hosted a weekly jam session, offered accordion and fiddle lessons and was a popular hangout for local musicians, with The Pine Leaf Boys' Wilson Savoy once calling it "the Cajun YMCA."
"It's just too much," says Lisa Reed, who owns and runs the store with her husband, Mitch Reed. Touring with BeauSoleil and Charivari took Mitch away from the shop, as did Lisa's newly started financial services business. Lisa says the decision to close doesn't mean the shop was in financial trouble, but it didn't make enough for them to abandon their other endeavors. "It was coming along, but not far enough along," says Lisa. The Reeds decided to remain open until Mardi Gras, as sales from visiting tourists are brisk during Carnival season. Until then, the store is holding a closeout sale on merchandise, with many popular titles in stock.
The Saturday afternoon jam session will move to McGee's Landing in Henderson, while the music lessons ' fiddle taught by Mitch and accordion by Steve Riley ' have already been halted. Different businesses have offered to carry LH&G's leftover merchandise, but nothing is definite. "It was a labor of love," Lisa says. "It was truly something we wanted to do, but you have to make a living." ' Nick Pittman
AUDIT SPURS RESIGNATION?
Speculation over the imminent release of a legislative audit's findings is helping shape the field of candidates in Iberia Parish for the 2007 elections. On Jan. 3, Iberia Parish Chief Administrative Officer Simone Champagne tendered her letter of resignation to Parish President Will Langlinais with the intention of running for District 49, the seat of term-limited state Rep. Troy Hebert. Champagne, who originally planned to announce her candidacy closer to September qualifying, is leaving her job and made her official announcement Friday, Jan. 5.
She made her move in advance of the Iberia Parish Council receiving the results of a legislative audit revolving around her boss, Langlinais. The audit was initially requested by Iberia Parish Councilman Bernard Broussard in an April 2006 letter to 16th Judicial District Attorney Phil Haney. Broussard requested Haney's help in dealing with "certain questionable contractual arrangements that have been executed by the Parish President with various contractors over the past few years." According to Haney in the Jan. 4 Daily Iberian, the auditors "interviewed the last person they had to interview [Langlinais]. That meant they could be putting the final touches on it hopefully over the holidays. So, it could be getting to the parish council and parish president within 10 days to two weeks."
The specific contract that set the audit in motion was between attorney Shane Romero and Langlinais. Shane Romero is the son of term-limited State Rep. Romo Romero. It is widely speculated that Shane Romero will run for his father's seat in October. Councilman Broussard is considered a candidate for Langlinais' seat should the embattled parish president run for re-election this fall.
Hebert plans to announce his race for term-limited Craig Romero's District 22 Senate seat soon.
Qualifying is Sept. 4-6; elections will be held Oct. 20. ' Mary Tutwiler
MELANCON YAWNS AT GOVERNOR SPECULATION
Rep. Charlie Melancon acts as if he wasn't privy to the recent onslaught of media roundups on the upcoming gubernatorial election ' many of which included his name as a potential contender. "If I told you I've spent five or 10 seconds thinking about it, I'd be lying to you," says the second-term Democrat from Napoleonville. "It's not even on my front-burner, but I never say never to anything." His name has been batted around endlessly ever since Bob Mann, former communications director for sitting Gov. Kathleen Blanco, also a Democrat, mentioned Melancon during a speech in November. At the time, Melancon's campaign staff insisted the buzz had been building much longer, just not as prominently.
Melancon, who represents the 3rd Congressional District that stretches from Acadiana to Plaquemines Parish, may be content with his current position in Congress, which includes a Democratic majority and a seat on the Energy and Commerce Committee. "I'm more interested in the job I have to do right now," he says. ' Jeremy Alford
BOUSTANY, BAKER LAND TRANSPORTATION POSTS
With Louisiana's constant needs for infrastructure and coastal restoration, it's welcome news that two congressmen from the state have landed keys roles on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Republican Rep. Richard Baker of Baton Rouge has been tapped to be the ranking member of the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, which regularly handles infrastructure bills for Louisiana. Its jurisdiction consists generally of matters relating to water resources development, conservation and management ' as well as oversight of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "This is really an opportunity for me to take a strong role in steering policy and resources," Baker says.
Meanwhile, second-term Republican Rep. Charles Boustany of Lafayette has retained his seat on the transportation committee, despite the Democratic majority. The completion of I-49 and other infrastructure issues top his list. In concert with Baker, Boustany should be able to place Louisiana center stage in many debates. "With increased seniority on the committee," he says, "I look forward to continuing to highlight these issues throughout the next two years." ' JA
Compared to the rest of the country, Lafayette has it pretty good when it comes to the cost and speed of our Internet.
Hello Kitty turns 40; police ambush suspect caught; Knicks surprise Cavs and more national and international news for Friday, October 31, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
The Lafayette City-Parish Council will consider on Tuesday a revised plan to the transform a block in Downtown Lafayette into a mixed-use residential-retail-commercial development that doesn’t include giving title to the property to the Lafayette Public Trust Finance Authority, an arrangement the council rejected earlier this month.
Trying to combat the national undertones of Louisiana's U.S. Senate race, Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu is traveling the state this week on a sort of pork celebration tour, telling voters about the projects and aid she's delivered to Louisiana.
Ever thought that big, pink Gulf coast shrimp you ordered at the restaurant or bought from the store didn't taste juicy or salty enough? Maybe it wasn't from the Gulf.
The state treasurer won't sign financial documents needed for $200 million in borrowing or for a refinancing of existing debt until he believes they accurately explain the surplus disagreement.
Bill Cassidy voted for 97 percent of the bills signed by Barack Obama.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is joining South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on her campaign bus tour.
A New Iberia man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing a 4-year-old girl and scalding her 3-year-old brother.
A district judge decided Wednesday against sanctioning attorney/school board candidate Dawn Morris for her behind-the-scenes role in a lawsuit against Mark Cockerham.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler says Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration may have improperly destroyed records in the state employee health insurance program, in the middle of a heavily-criticized rewrite of benefit plans.
Paper cites the former ADA's "experience as a prosecutor, his demonstrated integrity, and his ideas for reshaping the [DA's] office" in urging voters to support Keith Stutes Nov. 4.
Louisiana officials have sent a letter to the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene un-inviting members of the group who have recently been to ebola-affected West African countries from attending the group’s annual conference in New Orleans next week.
Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints have to find a way to win on the road if they plan to take over first place in the NFC South.
"It is obvious that Louisiana economic performance has not outperformed the South or the United States as a whole and, in fact, has substantially underperformed..."
A state district judge said he will rule Friday on a preliminary injunction to keep some charter schools from receiving $60 million through Louisiana's public school financing formula.
Saints fans were to gather, make merry, eat/drink compliments of a new Downtown group and watch the Saints beat Carolina and claim 1st place in the NFC South. But...
New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram doesn't see his dramatic spike in production as any sort of validation.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is facing off one last time with her two main Republican challengers before next week's election.
He’s pulling for Knezek and Hidalgo on his end of the parish but issued endorsements in three other districts as well.
Off a narrow gravel road running between a handful of mostly abandoned lots near a Mississippi River levee, down past sprawling oak trees and thick weeds, a lectern framed by banana trees has been set up in front of three short rows of folding chairs.
Hillary Rodham Clinton is heading to New Orleans this weekend to stir up voter support for Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
Saints coach Sean Payton has spent much of his team's erratic season trying to build his players up.