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
The Lafayette Parish School Board's mishandling of its insurance selection process over the last two years has caught the attention of the FBI.
Kids under 18 will have to pursue skin cancer the old-fashioned way.
Lafayette Parish School Board member Kermit Bouillion says he will defend his District 5 seat in the upcoming election.
The Louisiana chapter of Americans for Prosperity sent the pledge request to all 144 lawmakers in February.
The 5-foot-10, 203-pound former second-round pick has gone to three Pro Bowls in his five seasons.
The state argues that if they identify how they're getting the drugs, they could have trouble buying more because companies don't want to be known as helping in an execution.
The enrollment period ends this month.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday, March 12, 2014:
So far the Democratic agenda includes proposals to expand Medicaid; increase the minimum wage; offer equal pay to women; heighten regulations on predatory lending practices, like payday loans; and add more transparency in the governor’s office.
Hot-button education issues ranging from Common Core to charter schools have some lawmakers pushing to scrap the appointing process and go back to electing the state's super.
Police say the handcuffed man fatally shot himself in the back, but his family isn't buying the story.
Gov. Bobby Jindal offered a budget proposal that suggests new education and health care spending, pay raises for state workers and an incentive fund to encourage colleges to enhance their science, engineering and technology training.
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.