Last week, U.S. District Judge Richard Haik of Lafayette issued the first ruling on one of the most disputed insurance issues to arise out of last year's hurricane season: whether or not homeowners with only wind-storm insurance coverage could make claims on property damaged by flooding during a hurricane.
Haik ruled that homeowners without flood-specific insurance are not entitled to flood damage claims.
"You get what you pay for," Haik was quoted saying in The Advocate. "And what they paid for was wind damage."
Haik added, "I wish I didn't think that. I am not a fan of insurance companies."
The suit, filed by two families against State Farm and Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance, was seeking class action status for all homeowners with similar insurance disputes stemming from Hurricane Rita. The plaintiffs are still deciding whether or not they will appeal the decision. A similar case of disputed insurance claims, filed by victims of Hurricane Katrina, is set for a hearing in New Orleans next month. ' Nathan Stubbs
JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT THE TIMES OF ACADIANA COULDN'T SINK ANY LOWER â?¦
Hurricane Katrina and the flood after the levees broke killed more than 1,500 people. Half of New Orleans' residents are still displaced and many will never return. Basic services such as electricity and gas are still out in large portions of the Crescent City.
To The Times of Acadiana, this tragedy that has changed New Orleans and Louisiana forever is the equivalent of â?¦ missing a television show. In case you missed this unfathomably ignorant, callous and stupid piece of "journalism," here's the opening passage from The Times' cover story last week:
"It's 6:50 p.m. Tuesday night, and you're stuck in traffic on Johnston Street. You'll never make it home in time, and you didn't set the VCR â?¦ You're going to miss American Idol. This is more devastating than, well, the damage left behind from Hurricane Katrina. Or so you think." ' Scott Jordan
HENKE RUNNING FOR INSURANCE COMMISSIONER
With a host of issues brewing from last hurricane season, Louisiana's next insurance commissioner will have his or her work cut out for them. Last week, former Lafayette School Board President DeAnne Henke announced she's ready for the task, citing the motivation of watching her grandparents jump through insurance claim hoops after their South Texas home was destroyed by Hurricane Celia in 1970.
Henke has spent the past two years working with a financial investment firm and as a lobbyist for Washington Matters, a firm set up by former Congressman Jimmy Hayes. The special election for insurance commissioner is scheduled for September. Current Commissioner Jim Donelon and State Rep. James David Cain of Dry Creek also have announced they will run for the seat. ' NS
THANKS FOR NOTHING, DOLLAR BILL
At a crucial time when the state is desperately fighting for federal hurricane recovery funds and combating a national perception of political corruption in Louisiana, New Orleans Rep. William Jefferson has given Louisiana opponents a huge stockpile of fresh ammunition.
According to The Times-Picayune, an FBI affidavit released last weekend in the midst of an ongoing House ethics investigation of Jefferson details a videotaped July 2005 meeting where Jefferson took $100,000 in cash from a potential investor in a West African telecommunications company. The affidavit also alleges that Jefferson tried to funnel money into a separate company for his children, and notes the FBI's discovery of "at least seven other schemes in which Jefferson sought things of value in return for his official acts."
Jefferson has professed his innocence and said he will not resign. But the latest allegations are so damning and distracting that Jefferson should step down and fight the charges on his own time and dime, instead of while he's collecting a taxpayer-funded salary. ' SJ
A TALE OF TWO PLANS
One issue in the upcoming governor's race is starting to surface. Around the same time Gov. Kathleen Blanco released her emergency evacuation plan and corresponding maps for southeast Louisiana, Congressman Bobby Jindal issued his own 10-point plan to reform emergency response. Democrat Blanco and Republican Jindal are expected to face off again in next year's gubernatorial contest. Jindal's plan calls for eliminating fraud, streamlining communications and establishing a long-term recovery office for Louisiana. Both efforts arrive as the House Homeland Security and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees passed a bill to strengthen the government's response to catastrophic disasters by reforming the Federal Emergency Management Agency ' and a few of Jindal's action points are included in the national legislation. ' Jeremy Alford
NO MORE FREE TIX FOR IBERIA PARISH POLS
Freebies may be a thing of the past for local politicians at events held at the SugArena Acadiana Fairgrounds in Iberia Parish. Newly elected SugArena board member Ryan DorÃ© insisted in an emergency meeting in April, reported last week in The Daily Iberian, that the practice of doling out over a dozen tickets each to "higher-ups" in Iberia Parish Government "wasn't going to fly" anymore. Some government officials requested tickets to the April Hot Sauce Festival in exchange for groundskeeping work at the parish-owned, state-funded facility. "First off, that's their job (to clean the grounds). And it just seemed like they wanted free tickets in payment of getting work done," DorÃ© says. "I'm not on the commission just to make the politicians happy." ' Mary Tutwiler
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
US cities bidding on Olympics; Guard prevents more Ferguson riots; storm threatens travel and more national and international news for Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.