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
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.