Local television broadcasting's loss is Matt Stuller's gain. Sixteen-year news and sports broadcaster Scott Brazda is leaving KATC-TV3 for a position as executive director of the Stuller Family Foundation, which provides grants to various community non-profit organizations and projects. Brazda and Stuller developed a relationship over the years through their mutual work with St. Jude Dream Home, KATC's biggest and most identifiable charitable project.
Brazda, 46, says he'll stay on at the station until a replacement is named, possibly till mid-August. Brazda likens his new post to his job as a reporter, as he'll be interviewing heads of organizations that make grant requests in order to assess the community's needs. "I'm going to be reporting back to [the foundation board] my thoughts on these requests," he says. As executive director of Stuller Family Foundation, he'll also be charged with helping various non-profits work together in order to avoid duplication of services. (Another primary responsibility will be coordination of one of the Stuller Family Foundation's major projects, the new Ascension High School in Sugar Mill Pond, slated to open in the fall of 2008.)
A 1982 UL grad who grew up in Lafayette, Brazda joined the station's sports department at the age of 30 and worked his way up to the coveted evening anchor spot. He was moved to sports director in December 2003 when Hoyt Harris returned to local TV. Though the sports post was a good fit for him, the transfer was a letdown ' Brazda had developed a greater zeal for the versatility of news.
Nonetheless, Brazda again excelled at the sports desk. "You can't go through life mad," he says. "The first six months weren't easy, because it wasn't my call. They made a business decision."
This time, it's Brazda who's made the call. "I was kind of looking for challenges," he says. "At TV3 I've done everything but weather. I was always open to new possibilities." ' Leslie Turk
GOP LINES UP BEHIND ROMERO
One of the biggest challenges state Sen. Craig Romero faced during the 2004 contest in the 3rd Congressional District ' aside from the fact it was one of the nastiest in the nation ' was tepid support from his own party. But now the New Iberia Republican is solidifying his base. The chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party has endorsed Romero's campaign, as has the national co-founder of the Christian Coalition. But last week Romero was truly brought into the conservative inner circle when House Speaker Dennis Hastert and House Majority Whip Roy Blunt wrote checks to Romero's campaign at a Washington, D.C. fundraiser. The event was also hosted by members of key congressional committees. ' Jeremy Alford
JINDAL: WASHINGTON, D.C. IGNORING BLANCO
Louisiana came one step closer last week to realizing its goal of increasing its share of offshore oil and gas royalties when the U.S. House approved legislation that would guarantee $9 billion over the next decade. Kenner Republican Rep. Bobby Jindal was the lead sponsor of the legislation, and didn't hesitate to use the victory for a subtle dig at Gov. Kathleen Blanco. The governor is pushing her own plan to up revenue sharing by refusing to sign off on offshore royalties in August, but Jindal says her threats aren't resonating. "D.C. never focuses on anything but today," he says. ' JA
NOLA OFFICIALS SOUND OFF ON ACADIANA PLANS
A few Crescent City officials have weighed in regarding The Independent Weekly's June 14 cover story, "The Tourism Trap," which detailed the plan by some Acadiana officials to market the region to tourists as an alternative to New Orleans while the southeastern part of the state recovers from Katrina. Steve Perry, president of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, says Acadiana should promote itself by any means necessary, but the new marketing message is off-base. "We're completely open and operating," Perry says. "Jazz Fest had a half-million people. This week marks the launch of three major conventions. The hospitality industry here is not only open, but it is thriving. The tourism experience is already back to normal." Perry also points to Jackson Square, which received minimal damage, and the aquarium, which is stocked full of fish and open to visitors. Sandy Shilstone, director of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, says Acadiana isn't trying anything new, and she doubts it would help New Orleans transition back to pre-Katrina times. "We appreciate the help from the Acadiana parishes," Shilstone says with a hearty laugh, "but New Orleans is up and running." ' JA
OLD GLORY ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL
Several polls conducted in June bolster forecast that flag-burning will be a fiery topic during the upcoming congressional races. CNN reports that 56 percent of its respondents favor a constitutional amendment banning flag desecration, while FOX Network boasts that 73 percent in its poll want to criminalize the act. NBC, meanwhile, touts a survey revealing 44 percent of voters are more likely to back a candidate with these convictions. When the U.S. Senate took up a constitutional amendment banning the burning last week, Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu threw a bone to conservatives with a press release touting her supportive vote. She called the American flag "our nation's most enduring symbol of freedom," and added, "Today's vote notwithstanding, I still believe this amendment and the Freedom of Speech can stand side-by-side in our Constitution." ' JA
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.