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
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.
President Barack Obama is turning to black radio listeners to plead for midterm votes, a targeted approach to drum up Democratic support at a time when many candidates don't want him around in person.
"I am extremely disheartened by the political machines that are attempting to hijack my efforts along with others that advocate for children."
Landrieu, who is fighting to keep her seat for a fourth term, said that Ebola is serious and precautions should be taken, but she accused Republicans of using the virus outbreak in West Africa to "create fear" here at home.
Law enforcement agencies are participating in a "Louisiana Heroin Summit," designed to address the recent rise in heroin use and drug-related deaths around the state.
State education officials are preparing to release performance scores for public schools and public school districts.
Saints coach Sean Payton is starting a new week by emphasizing, repeatedly, the many good things he noticed during New Orleans' latest loss.
We will be offering our recommendations on the constitutional amendments tomorrow.
The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings that dismissed the lawsuits against BP and other companies involved in the worst U.S. offshore oil spill.
White registration is down by 7,700 voters while black registration has shot up by 7,100 voters.