On Feb. 19, the day before Mardi Gras, Louisiana Heritage & Gifts will close its doors after almost five years in business. The shop is one of the last independently owned stores carrying a healthy selection of south Louisiana music. LH&G also sells Cajun and zydeco instruments, hosted a weekly jam session, offered accordion and fiddle lessons and was a popular hangout for local musicians, with The Pine Leaf Boys' Wilson Savoy once calling it "the Cajun YMCA."
"It's just too much," says Lisa Reed, who owns and runs the store with her husband, Mitch Reed. Touring with BeauSoleil and Charivari took Mitch away from the shop, as did Lisa's newly started financial services business. Lisa says the decision to close doesn't mean the shop was in financial trouble, but it didn't make enough for them to abandon their other endeavors. "It was coming along, but not far enough along," says Lisa. The Reeds decided to remain open until Mardi Gras, as sales from visiting tourists are brisk during Carnival season. Until then, the store is holding a closeout sale on merchandise, with many popular titles in stock.
The Saturday afternoon jam session will move to McGee's Landing in Henderson, while the music lessons ' fiddle taught by Mitch and accordion by Steve Riley ' have already been halted. Different businesses have offered to carry LH&G's leftover merchandise, but nothing is definite. "It was a labor of love," Lisa says. "It was truly something we wanted to do, but you have to make a living." ' Nick Pittman
AUDIT SPURS RESIGNATION?
Speculation over the imminent release of a legislative audit's findings is helping shape the field of candidates in Iberia Parish for the 2007 elections. On Jan. 3, Iberia Parish Chief Administrative Officer Simone Champagne tendered her letter of resignation to Parish President Will Langlinais with the intention of running for District 49, the seat of term-limited state Rep. Troy Hebert. Champagne, who originally planned to announce her candidacy closer to September qualifying, is leaving her job and made her official announcement Friday, Jan. 5.
She made her move in advance of the Iberia Parish Council receiving the results of a legislative audit revolving around her boss, Langlinais. The audit was initially requested by Iberia Parish Councilman Bernard Broussard in an April 2006 letter to 16th Judicial District Attorney Phil Haney. Broussard requested Haney's help in dealing with "certain questionable contractual arrangements that have been executed by the Parish President with various contractors over the past few years." According to Haney in the Jan. 4 Daily Iberian, the auditors "interviewed the last person they had to interview [Langlinais]. That meant they could be putting the final touches on it hopefully over the holidays. So, it could be getting to the parish council and parish president within 10 days to two weeks."
The specific contract that set the audit in motion was between attorney Shane Romero and Langlinais. Shane Romero is the son of term-limited State Rep. Romo Romero. It is widely speculated that Shane Romero will run for his father's seat in October. Councilman Broussard is considered a candidate for Langlinais' seat should the embattled parish president run for re-election this fall.
Hebert plans to announce his race for term-limited Craig Romero's District 22 Senate seat soon.
Qualifying is Sept. 4-6; elections will be held Oct. 20. ' Mary Tutwiler
MELANCON YAWNS AT GOVERNOR SPECULATION
Rep. Charlie Melancon acts as if he wasn't privy to the recent onslaught of media roundups on the upcoming gubernatorial election ' many of which included his name as a potential contender. "If I told you I've spent five or 10 seconds thinking about it, I'd be lying to you," says the second-term Democrat from Napoleonville. "It's not even on my front-burner, but I never say never to anything." His name has been batted around endlessly ever since Bob Mann, former communications director for sitting Gov. Kathleen Blanco, also a Democrat, mentioned Melancon during a speech in November. At the time, Melancon's campaign staff insisted the buzz had been building much longer, just not as prominently.
Melancon, who represents the 3rd Congressional District that stretches from Acadiana to Plaquemines Parish, may be content with his current position in Congress, which includes a Democratic majority and a seat on the Energy and Commerce Committee. "I'm more interested in the job I have to do right now," he says. ' Jeremy Alford
BOUSTANY, BAKER LAND TRANSPORTATION POSTS
With Louisiana's constant needs for infrastructure and coastal restoration, it's welcome news that two congressmen from the state have landed keys roles on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Republican Rep. Richard Baker of Baton Rouge has been tapped to be the ranking member of the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee, which regularly handles infrastructure bills for Louisiana. Its jurisdiction consists generally of matters relating to water resources development, conservation and management ' as well as oversight of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "This is really an opportunity for me to take a strong role in steering policy and resources," Baker says.
Meanwhile, second-term Republican Rep. Charles Boustany of Lafayette has retained his seat on the transportation committee, despite the Democratic majority. The completion of I-49 and other infrastructure issues top his list. In concert with Baker, Boustany should be able to place Louisiana center stage in many debates. "With increased seniority on the committee," he says, "I look forward to continuing to highlight these issues throughout the next two years." ' JA
Despite sweeping changes enacted by Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration, the health insurance program for state workers and public school employees will have to use $88 million from its reserve fund to cover its costs this year.
The LPSB races are sure to get heated between now and Nov. 4, and with only 9 available seats, this year's field of 20 candidates will surely be wanting to set themselves apart from the crowd early; they'll get their chance next week, starting Tuesday with the kick-off of a three-day series of candidate forums.
Lawmakers say they've received complaints that waits have spiked, with people being forced to wait in line for more than an hour — and sometimes three hours — to handle routine tasks.
The campaign announced that Rep. Stuart Bishop of District 43 and Nancy Landry, District 31, have thrown their support behind the Naval Academy graduate and entrepreneur in his bid to unseat current Hunter Beasley in District 8.
A Lafayette man with an alleged taste for child porn was busted Thursday evening during a cyber crime sting launched by the Attorney General’s Office.
U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister says his chief of staff is on temporary leave after being booked with drunken driving.
It was a rare moment in Congress this week as Republicans briefly put aside partisanship in support of President Barack Obama's request to train and arm Syrian rebels, and while a number of Democrats opposed the measure, Louisiana's Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu found herself on the same side of the issue as her Republican challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy.
Home Depot breach bigger than Target; Alibaba IPO could be big; Rivers' last project and more national and international news for Friday, September 19, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
City-Parish President Joey Durel is asking the council to sign off on a resolution approving a pair of deals that would lead to razing the seedy Lesspay Motel at Four Corners to build a new police substation as well as transforming nearly a block Downtown where the old federal courthouse building now molders into a mixed-use development.
In 2013, the IRS — already the least popular governmental agency in the country — became the target of intense investigations after it was revealed that they had specifically and improperly scrutinized applications for tax-exempt status from organizations associated with the nascent Tea Party movement.
Improving the running game was "a point of emphasis" during the offseason and the results have manifested themselves in the form of substantially greater production.
Louisiana's health department said Wednesday that its evaluation of the state's Medicaid privatization was on target, despite criticism from the legislative auditor that it lacked key data and contained inconsistencies.
The feds converge on your office, seizing records on several employees as part of a pay-for-plea investigation. WWYD? If you’re Mike Harson, you give yourself a $12k raise.
It’s football season and after back-to-back winless weekends for the Saints and the Cajuns many citizens are finding it difficult to be civil much less happy. Well, chew on this.
Considering his repeated stays in the local penal system, David Narcisse Jr. should have known that having a semiautomatic shotgun, even one given to him by a friend, wasn’t the brightest of ideas.
A state district judge on Tuesday threw out a last-minute retirement hike lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent, ending a political firestorm over a pension boost passed without public scrutiny on the last day of the legislative session.
The House has passed a bill to increase oversight of veterans' hospitals under construction, following a report that some medical centers take three years longer to complete than estimated and cost an extra $366 million per project.
An obvious follow-up question for any Republican politician who accuses Democrats of being science deniers is one about science, to which Jindal bobbed and weaved like a welterweight champ.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council is expected to decide tonight (Tuesday) whether to go along with a proposal City-Parish President Joey Durel made in February’s State of the Parish Address and consolidate taxes for mosquito control and the parish health units into a broader tax program that would also cover animal control.
U.S. District Judge Richard Haik has dismissed Greg Davis’ lawsuit against the LPSB, yet in his ruling, the federal judge doesn’t bite his tongue in pointing out the "threat" being posed by certain board members.
Of all the political offices being contested throughout Lafayette Parish, the race for Broussard’s top police post has literally become one of the most heated.
A state district judge is deciding whether to issue an injunction against the enforcement of a last-minute retirement hike that lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent.
A new website is up for Louisiana's state government employees and retirees to choose their health insurance plans for next year, a choice they must make by October.
That fact that New Orleans led both games in the final 10 seconds of regulation, and lost each by a field goal or less, is of little solace.