Two years ago, The Independent Weekly profiled infamous Opelousas Police Chief Larry Caillier ("Couillon in Chief," August 11, 2004), detailing his public exploits and legal woes. Caillier refused to be interviewed for the story, later telling KATC-TV 3, "You just don't communicate with idiots. Because then, you know, you'd be giving them â?¦ the spotlight that they wanted."
Caillier apparently shared the same kind of contempt for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Despite multiple earlier claims of his innocence, Caillier pled guilty last Thursday to federal charges of fraud. Prosecutors say Caillier filed claims to HUD "that he knew were false, fictitious or fraudulent" for a bike patrol conducted by the Opelousas Police Department.
Caillier still faces several state charges and charges by the state ethics board. He has not been sentenced on his federal conviction but faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. ' R. Reese Fuller
GRANT STREET DANCEHALL RE-OPENING POSTPONED
Despite constant construction and the best intentions of its new owners, Grant Street Dancehall will not reopen its doors the first weekend in June as originally planned. Dave Maraist, director of public relations and entertainment, says issues with permitting and licensing have bumped the club's opening back a month, maybe even to the Fourth of July holiday weekend. The club originally opened its doors on July 4, 1980.
In January, Maraist and a group of investors purchased the building in downtown Lafayette for $385,000, along with the historic club's name ("Staging a Comeback," Jan. 11). After completing the $215,000 renovation, a second bar will open by the end of the year in an unused room hidden behind the stage. ' RRF
ALLIGATOR SUE TAKES TOP HONORS
Lafayette author Sharon Arms Doucet's children's book, Alligator Sue, has been chosen as the 2006 Louisiana Young Readers' Choice Award in the elementary division by a vote of readers who know it best ' third, fourth and fifth graders. The story, illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf, tells the tale of Suzanne Marie Sabine Chicot Thibodeaux, or Sue for short, who is blown off her parents' houseboat in the Atchafalaya Basin by a hurricane. Sue winds up in Mama Coco alligator's nest, where her foster family of Mama Coco and 30 alligator siblings raises her.
"The award is really an honor," Doucet says, "because it's chosen by the kids. Every children's writer's goal is to please kids, not to please adults." Doucet has been reading in schools since hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit. "Since the storms struck, it's been getting out to a lot more kids," she says. "I've been reading to kids who were directly impacted by the hurricanes."
The book focuses on Sue's determination and ingenuity. When another hurricane comes, Sue uses her father's accordion to bellow so loud that she drives away the hurricane. "That's when we have a really good time," Doucet says. "The kids make enough noise to scare away a hurricane. I think it's therapeutic." ' Mary Tutwiler
POLL: SAGGING CONFIDENCE IN LOUISIANA
Before hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck last year, Louisiana residents thought the state and its economy were moving in the right direction, and public education reform was considered the most important issue facing the state. According to the results of a recent post-hurricane poll conducted by the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University, those sentiments have significantly changed. Only 34 percent of respondents think the state is moving in the right direction ' a dramatic 18-point drop from last year's survey. Confidence in Louisiana's economy has also dropped, with 49 percent of residents contending the state economy has gotten worse ' a 24-point downturn. David Bondy, chief executive officer of LUBA Workers' Comp and a member of the survey committee, says the results "should provide state leaders with an invaluable resource, and, used wisely, should help advance the rebuilding process." The full report and a summary are available at www.survey.lsu.edu. ' Jeremy Alford
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday, April 21, 2014:
Monday's Blogs from the Bog!
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.