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
The agency previously had said the program raked in more than the $200 million used to balance the budget, but hadn't given a final tally of what was collected and what still was available for spending.
The board is scheduled to vote Friday on proposals from Alleva to make 150 different changes to prices for tickets and parking across university sports events.
It took a unanimous vote of the Youngsville City Council this week to compel Mayor Wilson Viator to pay some $7,500 in bills to a host of vendors used by the city’s fire department, some of whom hadn’t been paid in months.
America is lost, says state Sen. Elbert Guillory, and that’s the reason he’ll be running for Lieutenant Gov. come 2015.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, December 13, 2013:
The Louisiana Supreme Court has punted on its first chance to decide whether a new state constitutional provision declaring gun possession a fundamental right could void a long list of criminal statutes that regulate firearms.
New Orleans' offense, which ranks sixth in the NFL, isn't helping many of its skill players pile up Pro Bowl-type stats. Rather, the approach of coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees has enabled a wide range of play-makers to emerge periodically with high-production outings.
An ordinance phasing out a rebate businesses receive for collecting and remitting sales taxes is tabled, but it doesn’t solve the vexing issue of government revenue.
As part of a national undertaking known by industry insiders as the “Butterfly Project,” a rebranded version of The Daily Advertiser is set to launch with Sunday’s edition of the Gannett-owned paper.
Louisiana moved up a slot to 48th in the ranking of healthy states — once again, thank God for Mississippi! — so all this frettin’ about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s refusal to expand Medicaid per Obamacare ... fuggidaboutit! We don’t need Medicaid no more!
The Denham Springs woman who placed Christmas lights in the shape of a butter finger on her roof in a display of anger directed at neighbors has doubled the trouble for the 2013 holiday season.
The 30-second commercial, to run around the state, is the Democratic senator's first TV spot in her bid for re-election to a fourth term.
It's a number that has edged up but falls far short of the thousands who are eligible for subsidized coverage.
A group of mostly higher education leaders will make recommendations to state lawmakers about how to tweak the policies governing tuition rates charged at the state's public colleges.
That would be Congressman John Fleming talking about Sen. David Vitter.
The alleged mastermind behind the bribery scheme that went on for four years under DA Mike Harson’s nose isn’t just schizophrenic, bipolar and recovering from mini strokes; he now says he has cancer.
Louisiana's higher education leaders are trying to work out a financing deal to keep the state's public colleges from running low on state cash to operate their campuses.
With their latest triumph, the Saints left little doubt about how tough they are to beat in the Superdome. Unfortunately, two of their remaining three games are on the road.
For the first time in at least five years, retired teachers, state workers and school system employees could see an increase in their pension checks.
Lawmakers and Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration shared a collective sigh of relief with the news that Louisiana's tax amnesty program brought in the $200 million that they used to help balance this year's budget.
Drew Brees often makes the extraordinary look routine, particularly during night games in the Superdome.
The teams were extended invitations Sunday for the New Year's Day matchup played at Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If all 44 projects are approved, about $300 million would remain in the fund set up as a down payment to help the Gulf.
Last week, the Saints gave up 429 yards to Seattle, second most in a game this season.
Since Anthony Jennings and Brooks Haack were not expected to contribute until next year at the earliest, it seemed like a sneak peek at hidden Christmas gifts.