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
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.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday, March 11, 2014:
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.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.