Embattled Opelousas Police Chief Larry Caillier, who was indicted earlier this year on more than 20 counts ranging from threatening the life of a police officer to malfeasance in office, submitted his resignation to the Louisiana Secretary of State's office on Monday, Nov. 14.
The surprise announcement was a dramatic turnaround for Caillier, who remained defiant after being indicted and pledged to stay on the job. "These charges are merely allegations," Caillier said in July. "Prosecutors can indict a ham sandwich if they want to."
Caillier's resignation is effective Nov. 30. Barring a plea bargain, he'll stand trial next year on charges related to his handling of the Opelousas Police Department's response to fights at a battle of the bands event. He faces separate charges concerning his handling of department funds. ' Scott Jordan
DOWNTOWN MUSIC MARKET DEBUTS
Loving Louisiana music is easy, but purchasing it locally has become more challenging in recent years. Since the shuttering of independent retailer Raccoon Records, Cajun and zydeco music can still be found at Louisiana Heritage and Gifts, but a large number of local artists and genres have struggled to find viable distribution outlets for their CDs and merchandise in Lafayette.Â
Using ArtWalk's success as a model, the Lafayette Music Alliance (composed of organizations such as Downtown Development Limited, Healthcare for Musicians, 307 Downtown and more) is starting a farmers-market style set-up at Nitetown on Jefferson Street. Local performers will have CDs available for purchase between 5-8 p.m. Nov. 26, and free wine and cheese will be served during the event. A number of performances are planned, with artists such as Michael Juan Nunez, Something for Jess and Steve Riley all confirmed to participate.
There is no charge for musicians to participate; artists interested in selling merchandise or performing at the market can contact Cynthia Simien at 837-9997. If the market goes well, organizers hope to do a monthly market coinciding with ArtWalk. ' Scott Jordan
CITY CLUB CHANGES
A renovation of the City Club at River Ranch's Basin Bar & Grill, scheduled to begin in January, will give members the option of al fresco dining. "It's going to be a pretty significant renovation," says River Ranch developer Robert Daigle, an owner of the City Club.
In addition to offering outside seating, the casual dining restaurant will be expanded and converted to a "systems-based" concept used by top chains like Ruth's Chris, Outback Steakhouse and Houston's. "Essentially, you have very [defined] systems in place to ensure product consistency," Daigle says.
In other City Club news, Ghassan Harb, longtime food and beverage director, has left to pursue another opportunity with the Moody family, also a partner in the City Club. "It's my understanding the Moodys are looking at another restaurant concept," Daigle says. To implement the dining changes, the club is working with a team of consultants.
Because the City Club's health and wellness division is growing faster than expected, increasing 25 percent in the past year, to 3,000 memberships (8,000 members), its big banquet space is being downsized to make way for an expansion of this health facility. "We won't be doing the 500-person banquets that we could do in the big room," Daigle says.
All renovations should be complete by May 2006. ' Leslie Turk
LAST CALL IN OPELOUSAS
The days of 24-hour drinking in Opelousas are over. At an Opelousas City Council meeting on Nov. 8, an ordinance was passed that prohibits the sale of alcohol from 2:30-a.m. to 6 a.m., effective Jan. 3, 2006. The previous 24-hour drinking ordinance was adopted in December 2003 at the prompting of Evangeline Downs Racino, and the Racino lost a subsequent fervent lobbying bid to keep the 24-hour alcohol sale law in effect.
In a letter obtained by The Independent, Trey Thibodeaux, director of community relations for the casino, wrote to the casino's vendors: "There is a witch hunt being started by a few clergymen in the community who have convinced our elected officials that serving alcohol throughout the night is wrong." The letter requested for individuals to contact Mayor Anna Simmons, write letters to the Opelousas City Council, and show up for the meeting on the issue. The new law was passed after councilmen voted 3-1 (with one abstention) to shut down early morning liquor sales. ' R. Reese Fuller
BLANCO'S DAUGHTER APPROVED FOR LAFAYETTE COX COMMUNICATIONS POST
Cox Communications intends to hire Karmen Blanco, one of Gov. Kathleen Blanco's daughters, for public relations work in Lafayette.
The Advocate reported that The Louisiana Ethics Board approved Karmen Blanco's hiring because her job would not include business dealings with the state. Cox hopes that Blanco will "assist in its Lafayette community outreach efforts," according to The Advocate. However, it could put mother and daughter in an awkward position if Cox continues to spar with Lafayette Utilities System over LUS' fiber-to-the-home initiative, which Gov. Blanco has supported. ' Scott Jordan
OK, so they’re bentgrass, the type used on golf course greens. But grass is grass.
The Senate Finance Committee approved the bill Wednesday, despite opponents who argued it would shut down the storefront lenders.
A measure to allow the state to implement its own, less stringent plan for limiting carbon dioxide emissions unanimously passed the Senate.
FDA to regulate e-cigarettes, Jodie Foster gets married, Vermont to require labels on genetically-modified food, and more news for today, April 24, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
A push to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program as allowed under the federal health care has been overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate health committee.
Louisiana welfare recipients would be prohibited in state law from spending the federal assistance at lingerie shops, tattoo parlors, nail salons and jewelry stores, under a bill that received the support Wednesday of a House committee.
Senators will consider whether to prohibit private businesses in Louisiana from paying unequal wages to employees of different genders for the same job.
Rep. Joel Robideaux has delayed bill hearings and said unless a compromise can be reached, he won't bring up the legislation this session.
Once again, Lafayette Parish School Board President Hunter Beasley is focused on an issue that has nothing to do with the educational well-being of our public school children.
After exhausting his appeals all the way to the state Supreme Court, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has no legal remedy left save one: do an end run around the high court via a bill that would grandfather his “right” to keep a 550-pound tiger enclosed in a pin at his roadside business.
Louisiana poet Darrell Bourque has won the 2014 Louisiana Writer Award, given annually to recognize outstanding contributions to Louisiana's literary and intellectual life.
Drivers would have to secure dogs riding in truck beds while on interstate highways, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House.
An effort to prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity was shelved Tuesday for the legislative session.
Louisiana won't lessen its penalties for marijuana possession, keeping laws on the books that allow people to be jailed up to 20 years for repeat offenses of having the drug in hand.
“This is one of the oldest divides that exists, and that divide is about the haves and the have-nots.”
It took a few weeks for the pitfalls to emerge in the governor’s $25 billion budget, but the time of judgment has finally arrived.
With pressure continuing to build for him to resign, Congressman Vance McAllister announced plans recently to remain secluded during the Easter break, but the Swartz Republican has said he’ll be back on the Hill casting votes and attending committee meetings when the congressional recess ends April 28.
A bid to limit the use of unmanned aircraft on private property in Louisiana stalled Monday in the Louisiana Senate.
A Shreveport lawmaker said Monday he's scrapping his proposal to name the Bible as Louisiana's official state book.
Attorney hopes fellow lawyers will join him in urging the D.A. to step aside and allow a competent, ethical challenger to take over the scandal-ridden office.
An official with the Louisiana Department of Education was arrested on a range of charges Friday after allegedly breaking into a home and brandishing a knife.
State Rep. Stuart Bishop says he’s concerned with the quality of Capitol Lake, but when it comes to Louisiana’s coastline, this Lafayette Republican doesn't seem to give a damn.
Democrats sweating this year's elections may be hoping that the Obama administration's latest delay to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline takes a politically fraught issue off the table for the midterms.
Louisiana lawmakers are entering the second half of their three-month regular legislative session, which must end by June 2. Where some of the major issues stand: