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
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.
President Barack Obama is turning to black radio listeners to plead for midterm votes, a targeted approach to drum up Democratic support at a time when many candidates don't want him around in person.
WaPo Watergate editor Ben Bradlee dies; Clintons stump for Dems; Liberians stranded and more national and international news for Wednesday, October 22, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
"I am extremely disheartened by the political machines that are attempting to hijack my efforts along with others that advocate for children."
Landrieu, who is fighting to keep her seat for a fourth term, said that Ebola is serious and precautions should be taken, but she accused Republicans of using the virus outbreak in West Africa to "create fear" here at home.
Law enforcement agencies are participating in a "Louisiana Heroin Summit," designed to address the recent rise in heroin use and drug-related deaths around the state.
State education officials are preparing to release performance scores for public schools and public school districts.
Saints coach Sean Payton is starting a new week by emphasizing, repeatedly, the many good things he noticed during New Orleans' latest loss.
We will be offering our recommendations on the constitutional amendments tomorrow.
The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings that dismissed the lawsuits against BP and other companies involved in the worst U.S. offshore oil spill.
White registration is down by 7,700 voters while black registration has shot up by 7,100 voters.
Even though it had been rumored for months, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu finally pulled the trigger recently on a major campaign shakeup that moved control over to a few Big Easy insiders.
Louisiana's health department says it will seek law changes to stop billing sexual assault victims for exams and tests.
It wasn’t the historic slashes to higher ed funding or the ensuing tuition spikes that recently had LSU’s student body and faculty riled up in collective outrage.
Will $400 be enough for the re-election campaign of LPSB's Hunter Beasley to overcome two years of holding our school system hostage and hurting the education of our children all because of a personal dislike of the superintendent?
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham said Friday he expects his playing status in Detroit to be decided by coach Sean Payton on Sunday, shortly before the game.
Lawmakers have sidestepped a decision on whether they accept claims from Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration that the state closed last year's books with a nearly $179 million surplus.