The community and school system are still in shock and mourning the death of longtime school board member David Thibodaux, a UL Lafayette English professor whose commitment to education led him to champion small class sizes and improved school facilities. School board President Carl LaCombe, who spent the past weekend with Thibodaux's family, says the board will soon face the difficult task of naming Thibodaux's successor. "We're going to have to do it fairly quickly," he says, noting state law requirements. "We're going to have to have a full board. We're in budget [hearings], and we got a lot of major issues on the table." LaCombe says he will likely sit down with Superintendent James Easton to discuss the issue following Thibodaux's funeral and that the board may need to call a special meeting on the matter this week. The board will have to officially declare the seat vacant and call for applicants to fill the position. At its next meeting, the board will vote on nominations for the position. The appointee will serve until an election can be held to decide who will fill the remaining three years of Thibodaux's term.
Thibodaux, 53, died last Saturday in a motorcycle accident in the Scott area. His funeral will be held Wednesday, March 28 at St. John's Cathedral. He is survived by his wife, Melody and five children. To leave thoughts and comments with the family, visit the guestbook at Martin & Castille's Web site at www.mourning.com. ' Nathan Stubbs
LA. GOP ENDORSES JINDAL; BOASSO BALLISTIC
The day after Gov. Kathleen Blanco announced she wouldn't run for re-election, the Louisiana GOP announced it was officially endorsing U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal. Fellow Republican challenger Walter Boasso isn't happy. Boasso, the Arabi senator who made a name for himself with his levee board reform efforts and formally declared his candidacy less than two weeks ago, says the Jindal endorsement is vintage back-room dealmaking.
"This is not acceptable," he contends. "It's not right. The people of Louisiana are too smart to be fooled by the actions of a few political elite claiming to represent the entire Republican Party and the interests of voters statewide." ' Scott Jordan
SCHOOL BOARD DELAYS DECISION ON TRAHAN
The fate of school system grant administrator Amy Trahan ' an issue which has several school board members at odds with Superintendent James Easton ' is now scheduled to be decided at the board's next meeting on April 4. The board met for almost five hours in executive session last week with Trahan and her attorney, reviewing issues related to her performance, before delaying a vote on whether or not to renew her contract.
Trahan has come under fire recently because the school system hasn't received nearly $13 million in Title money for the current school year ' money the system typically gets in November. Trahan has cited changes in state oversight and its budget cycle for the delays. Superintendent James Easton is recommending her contract be renewed. ' NS
OH NOOOOOOOO! MR. BILL ENTERS GOVERNOR'S RACE
Louisiana filmmaker Walter Williams, creator of Mr. Bill ' the irrepressible 1970s clay character that suffered countless dismembering mishaps on Saturday Night Live ' is running for governor. New Orleans City Business reports that Williams, who lately has worked on documentaries and performed stand-up comedy in New Orleans, is telling friends and family that he's a candidate.
Mr. Bill was last seen advocating for coastal restoration in educational shorts for America's Wetland Campaign. But when major corporate sponsors like Shell Oil signed on to the campaign, Williams pulled Mr. Bill and has since used the character as a protester against Shell's environmental practices. ' NS
VITTER TWISTS THE KNIFE
Most of Gov. Kathleen Blanco's peers and colleagues on the Republican side of the aisle were gracious with their remarks last week after Blanco announced she wouldn't run for re-election. U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal released a statement that said, "This is the governor's day, not mine. Campaigning can wait." The Louisiana Republican Legislative Delegation, led by state Rep. Jim Tucker, issued a few mild jabs but still wished Blanco and her family well in her future endeavors. Sen. David Vitter, however, who's been engaged in an acidic letter-writing exchange with Blanco, apparently couldn't find one respectful thing to say about the governor, and didn't even mention her by name.
"This certainly doesn't change my strong support for Bobby Jindal for governor that I announced some time ago," said Vitter. "I'm excited about Bobby because of the positive change he's for, not who he's running against." ' SJ
GIULIANI COMING TO LAFAYETTE
Rudy Giuliani, Republican presidential candidate for 2008, plans to hold a fundraiser in Lafayette this May. Officials with the local Republican Party say that it's currently the only stop Giuliani has scheduled in Louisiana this year. The fundraiser will be a reception and cocktail party at the home of Pat and Jennifer Leblanc. Ticket prices start at $300 per head.
This will be the former mayor of New York's second visit to Lafayette. In 2004, Giuliani made an appearance at the Paul Fournet hangar of the Lafayette airport in support of David Vitter's campaign for U.S. Senate. Vitter is now returning the favor by serving as a regional director for Giuliani's presidential campaign. Earlier this week, Lafayette Rep. Charles Boustany also announced his endorsement of Giuliani. ' NS
PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE IN LOUISIANA?
If recent history's any indication, Women of the Storm is going to help Louisiana land one of the 2008 presidential debates. The non-partisan group dedicated to educating national politicians on Gulf Coast recovery recruited Sen. Mary Landrieu to prepare a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates ' and the letter's been signed by the six U.S. Senators currently running for their party nominations. Democratic Sens. Joseph Biden, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Chris Dodd and Barack Obama, and Republican Sens. Sam Brownback and John McCain are now all on the record supporting a presidential debate in New Orleans. Women of the Storm has done a tremendous job of tracking which national legislators have visited the region and support Gulf Coast recovery efforts.
Here's one highlight from the letter: "There is no doubt that the next President of the United States will bear a significant responsibility to address the ongoing and momentous challenges of this recovery. This duty is highlighted by the region's vital role in our nation's economy and national security and the statement our efforts make about how America protects and cares for its own people in times of crisis." ' SJ
AT LEAST FOUR MORE YEARS FOR THE SAINTS
Gov. Kathleen Blanco and the New Orleans Saints announced on Monday the removal of termination clauses on both sides of the contract that will keep the Saints in New Orleans for at least four more years. Blanco also said at the press conference in Baton Rouge that she will immediately begin negotiating for a long-term contract, which the NFL says is required for it to consider awarding a Super Bowl to New Orleans. ' Leslie Turk
VIDEO BINGO IN NEW IBERIA
It looks like old-fashioned bingo is about to go the way of the whooping crane. New Iberia residents Allen Kenner and Mike Flash have applied to open a video bingo parlor, Bon Temps Bingo, in Torrido Village Shopping Center. Regulated by the Office of Charitable Gaming rather than the Louisiana Gaming Control Board and the Louisiana State Police, video bingo's licensing is tied to charities. Charities and nonprofits have used bingo to raise money ' especially in parishes which outlawed video poker ' since a 1996 local option vote. In traditional bingo, often played in a church hall, the charity keeps all the profits. However with video bingo, 55 percent of the profit goes back to the company that owns the machines, Alexandria-based Pelican Distributing; the charity keeps 45 percent, out of which they must pay rent and expenses.
Video bingo, with its flash and speed, looks a lot like video poker.
"They're gonna bring in the latest and greatest in video bingo machines," Flash said in the Daily Iberian. "They'll have a better feel to them, and there will be less concentration involved."
Bon Temps Bingo's application is currently pending with the state Department of Revenue. ' Mary Tutwiler
FOUR NEW ACADIANA FACES ON THE LOUISIANA MUSIC COMMISSION
Gov. Kathleen Blanco has appointed four new Acadiana representatives to The Louisiana Music Commission. Local actor and film instructor Marcus Brown, Louisiana Folk Roots' Todd Mouton, Cajun/zydeco Grammy activist Cynthia Simien and Festival International's Lisa Stafford are now on the 14-member commission, which also includes representatives from New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Monroe, Benton and Shreveport. The Louisiana Music Commission operates within the Louisiana Economic Development Department to promote Louisiana music as an economic engine. ' SJ
NUTRIA ' FOR EASTER DINNER?
While even the united effort of local chefs and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries failed to sell the eating public on the virtue of consuming nutria rats, nutria's cousin, the capybara, reputed to be the world's largest rodent, is an Easter delicacy in Venezuela.
"We're conditioned poorly in the United States to think of rodents as rats in sewers and such things," said Rexford D. Lord, a capybara expert at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, in The New York Times.
With Louisiana's wetlands in dire straits at least somewhat caused by the nutria's voracious consumption of wetland plants, perhaps it's time to take another look at nutria as nutrition. According to Cuban native and Guama's restaurant owner Rubens Mesa, nutria ought to be on the table. "In Cuba, we eat them whenever we can catch them," he says. "It's a great meat, tender and delicious." ' MT
LSU's governing board has backed new hospital privatization contracts that give hospital managers greater ease to leave the deal and fewer restrictions about must-have services.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is courting young voters in several appearances across Louisiana this week, talking about her support for legislation that could lower students' college costs.
Coton de tulear joins Westminster; Paypal splitting from Ebay; first US Ebola diagnosis and more national and international news for Wednesday, October 1, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Stage 4 vet takes on cancer and reminds us all what it really means to get involved.
Is Mary fading as Vitter solidifies his lock on the fourth floor?
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration has renegotiated contracts for six LSU hospital privatization deals, hoping to reach a compromise with federal health officials that will keep Medicaid dollars flowing to the privatized patient services.
Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is defending her record on gun rights, seeking to rebut sharp criticism from the NRA in a state where the right to bear arms is given special constitutional protection.
Citizens, you have less than a week to register to vote in the Nov. 4 election. Remember, if you don’t vote you can’t complain about the outcome. Well, you can but it’s kind of hypocritical.
After being forced out by its former landlords last year, the community garden has a new location and a 10-year lease.
The party says it has hit a milestone, reaching 10,000 registered voters in the state.
Defensive captain Junior Galette is disgusted by the Saints' sluggish start.
The use of $60 million in Louisiana's public school financing formula to pay for nearly three dozen charter schools violates the state constitution, a statewide teachers' union claimed Monday in a lawsuit.
February trial date indicates parties were unable to negotiate a settlement.
There was a time when United Ballot had a political stranglehold so tight on Lafayette’s black community it was nearly unbreakable, but that grip might be loosening.
The race for Lafayette city marshal may not be the most exciting of this year’s local political contests, but it could prove the most historic.
With the DA’s race too close to call and negative media coverage of Mike Harson on the ebb, will challenger Keith Stutes take the gloves off?
Gov. Bobby Jindal has been viewed as a health care policy wonk, and he's tried to build on that image ahead of a likely 2016 presidential campaign, positioning himself as the candidate with substantive ideas.
Jerry Jones watched what he called the best effort he's seen in 25 years as owner of the Dallas Cowboys in the first half, and that was before Tony Romo had the longest scramble of his career and DeMarco Murray finished off yet another 100-yard game.
Two of the most recognizable women in Republican politics, Sarah Palin and Mary Matalin, have been heavily involved in Louisiana’s current election cycle.
Even though the Louisiana Democratic Party has thrown its support behind former Gov. Edwin Edwards’ congressional bid, national Democrats are not expected to follow suit.
“[Mike] is no longer the energetic ADA that his recent ad is trying to portray. I just think Mike needs to get the hell out.” — Kermit Harson, DA Mike Harson’s brother
The New Orleans Saints have listed Jonathan Goodwin as questionable for Sunday night's game in Dallas, raising the prospect that second-year pro Tim Lelito will start at center for the first time.
The endorsements keep coming for District 9 LPSB candidate Jeremy Hidalgo, who picked up his fifth vow of support Thursday, this time from the Chamber’s political action committee.
Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter will be out knocking on doors this weekend with anti-abortion activists encouraging people to vote against his colleague, Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.