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
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
US cities bidding on Olympics; Guard prevents more Ferguson riots; storm threatens travel and more national and international news for Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.