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
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.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday, December 11, 2013
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.
Louisiana National Guard personnel seeking benefits for same-sex spouses will have an easier time filing the requests, despite a state refusal to let its workers process the paperwork.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera sees one potential flaw with his team's stellar defensive play so far this season. "Apparently we like to bite on the double moves," Rivera said.
Computer hackers may have gained access to the personal information of thousands of Louisiana residents who use debit cards issued by JPMorgan Chase for three state agencies, authorities said Wednesday.
Jim Purcell, who has been in the job since February 2011, notified the Board of Regents about his decision at its monthly meeting.
Hushed plans for a commercial development along the Louisiana Avenue portion of the Holy Rosary campus put the future of longtime tenant EarthShare Gardens in jeopardy.
If a recent advertisement in The Daily Advertiser is any indication, speculation the local daily will be implementing the “Butterfly Project” could be more of a reality than the Gannett-owned paper’s top execs are willing to admit.
Mettenberger injured his left knee while unloading a 32-yard completion in the fourth quarter of No. 14 LSU's 31-27 victory over Arkansas last Friday, and LSU coach Les Miles confirmed the severity of the injury on Wednesday.