When Gov. Kathleen Blanco pushed her Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority through the Legislature last month, she touted it as a way to consolidate efforts for hurricane protection, coastal restoration and levee oversight. It was a feel-good measure and meant to be inclusive, but like everything else with a ticking pulse and finite membership slots, lawmakers jostled over who would be appointed to the authority. Even some committee chairmen wanted a hand in the selection process. But one group, Parishes Against Coastal Erosion, was overlooked. "We asked the governor to let us have a member on it, but she told us no," says Lafourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph, one of PACE's vice presidents. Membership in the multi-parish organization includes officials such as City-Parish President Joey Durel, Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Grand Isle Mayor David Camardelle. The group has already made a name for itself by lobbying the Legislature, and a few hard stances on controversial topics are expected in the future. Currently, PACE is circulating a petition to increase Louisiana's share of offshore oil and gas revenues to 50 percent. ' Jeremy Alford
A groundswell of support is forming for a January special session of the Legislature. Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans, a grassroots coalition of businesses and civic activists, has collected more than 46,000 signatures asking lawmakers and the governor to call the session to address levee board reform. "They are rising in anger against patronage politics and special interest deal-making by the political elite," says Jay Lapeyre, a founder of the group and chairman of the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region. ' JA
NUTRIA, SNAILS AND ARMADILLOS
It's no secret that nutria are often the culprits munching on marshland and eroding once-solid land ' they love the stuff and have insatiable appetites. But newspapers around the state have been picking up on another pest. Researchers from Brown and Louisiana State universities, according to The Times-Picayune, have discovered millions of marble-sized periwinkle snails chomping their way through wetlands buffering the Gulf of Mexico. And destruction on hurricane protection layers is not confined to nutria and snails. A 1.6-mile stretch of levee along Bayou Segnette in Jefferson Parish had to be repaired in 1995 ' due to burrowing armadillos. ' JA
ROUTES TO RETURN TO N.O.
Last week, Nick Spitzer, host of the nationally syndicated radio program American Routes, announced that his radio program and its staff would be returning to New Orleans after finding shelter in Lafayette with KRVS 88.7 FM since Hurricane Katrina ("Re-Routed," Oct.19). In an e-mail, Spitzer wrote: "I think we all felt that we had to return to our New Orleans home(s) to help with the rebuilding effort, fulfill our professional commitments, and see what the future holds. It's the appropriate place for us now to continue our conversation about music and culture from and to this region ... and to the nation as a whole." The show will move back to New Orleans after the first of the year to Basin Street Station. ' R. Reese Fuller
The New Orleans Bowl drew more than 18,000 college football fans to Lafayette last week and gave the Hub City some nice national exposure on ESPN. In a different kind of bowl game, Cajundome officials put out the call for volunteers for "The Great Cajundome Flush-off," a test of the Dome's 200 toilets and urinals. ' Scott Jordan
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.