As the state Legislature convenes in Baton Rouge to assess how the state will move forward following the most devastating hurricane season in history, one of the most pressing issues will be how to offest an estimated $960 million loss in tax revenue created by the hurricanes.
Gov. Blanco has already sliced about $500 million out of the budget through a statewide spending freeze and other cuts, largely to health care and higher education.
"I think it sends us a good message that she's willing to make the necessary cuts," says Lafayette state Sen. Mike Michot, who sits on the state Senate finance committee.
Michot says the state's current financial situation means it should try and find new ways to fund infrastructure and economic development projects, such as financing new roads through toll collections.
"We need to think outside the box," he says. "We need to take advantage of this situation and shrink the size of government."
As for the other hard-to-swallow news that the state will owe the federal government an estimated $3.7 billion for its share of hurricane recovery costs, Michot suggests that the feds shouldn't expect a check anytime soon.
"I say just don't pay it," he says. "The federal government's barking up the wrong tree. In a situation like this, we look to the federal government for help. They need to be helping us, not sending us a bill." ' Nathan Stubbs
Galatoire's decision to open a Baton Rouge location before getting its storied French Quarter restaurant back up and running is not sitting well with some New Orleanians. "Traitors," summed up New Orleans native John Currence in a New York Times story last week.
"After weeks of speculation, Baton Rouge has indeed scored a gastronomical coup with Galatoire's," wrote Baton Rouge-based Daily Report's Gary Perilloux, who said the famous restaurant has signed a seven-year lease for the former Caspian Grill on Perkins Road near Highland and I-10. Caspian Grill closed its operations and sold its furnishings and equipment to the Galatoire's venture, Baton Rouge Restaurant LLC.
Galatoire's hopes to begin serving in Baton Rouge before the holidays in the midst of an expansion of the 4,100-square-foot property to 7,000 square feet with 31 additional parking spaces, according to Daily Report.
Back in storm tattered New Orleans, Galatorie's diehards will have to wait till after the first of the year to booze it up over shrimp remoulade on Bourbon Street.
The Galatoire's news comes on the heels of Ruth's Chris Steakhouse's September decision to make permanent its temporary headquarters relocation from Metairie to Orlando, Fla. ' yet another symbolic gesture of desertion. ' Leslie Turk
LAFAYETTE, STATE TOURISM CAMPAIGN FEATURED IN USA TODAY
The Nov. 4 edition of USA Today newspaper helped send a message that the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission is feverishly trying to send to the rest of the world: Lafayette tourism is open for business. Local and state tourism officials are trying to combat the outside perception that the entire state flooded after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu and the Louisiana Office of Tourism just launched a $550,000 ad campaign to attract out-of-state tourists. The article noted that area attractions such as swamp tours and nightclubs are open, and singled out Prejean's restaurant and 307 Downtown in its coverage. ' Scott Jordan
UL LAFAYETTE HOSTS POST-KATRINA LECTURE SERIES
A band of grassroots organizations is hosting a lecture series titled "Post-Katrina Environmental Issues" at UL Lafayette. Malcolm Suber, one of the organizers of the People's Hurricane Relief Fund and Oversight Coalition, will give the first lecture, "The struggle to include poor and working class people in the reconstruction of New Orleans," at UL's Hamilton Hall on Wednesday, Nov. 16, from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. The People's Hurricane Relief Fund Organization is dedicated to calling attention to environmental and social justice issues related to the hurricane rebuilding effort.
On Monday, Nov. 7, the group helped organize a march across the Crescent City Connection bridge to protest the scores of evacuees who were stopped by police from evacuating into Gretna in the days after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans.
The lecture series is being sponsored by UL's Biology Department. More information on the People's Hurricane Relief Fund organization can be found at www.communitylaborunited.net. ' Nathan Stubbs
Authorities are investigating a report that a student there warned the principal of impending violence similar to that depicted in the movie "The Purge."
Saints cornerback Champ Bailey has played for more than a handful of playoff teams during a career that has seen him selected to 12 Pro Bowls.
Police say a 56-year-old Lafayette man walking behind a dump truck died when the truck hit him as it was backing up.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Fifa under fire for fake turf plans; freed journalist back home; corporate conversions rising and more national and international news for Wednesday, August 27, 2014.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is a proud papa of new baby girl.
The books on Louisiana's last budget year have been closed, but it took a bit of borrowing from this year to make the numbers work.
The Iberia Parish Coroner responded Monday to the attention surrounding the questionable shooting of Victor White III, a black man from New Iberia who died April 2 while in the custody of local law enforcement.
Two months after lawmakers agreed to create a $40 million higher education incentive fund, no decisions have been made about how to divide the money.
With Drew Brees back healthy, the New Orleans Saints are free to work on the little things that can make the difference between a Super Bowl run and something less.
Incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and her lead GOP challenger Congressman Bill Cassidy are running close when it comes to money. Landrieu has $5.5 million to Cassidy’s $5.6 million in the bank.
With expectations mounting that Gov. Bobby Jindal will soon announce his campaign for president, attention is turning to not only who he will bring along with him but also what will transpire politically back home during the transition.
Seven of the 11 U.S. cities in a new ranking of “most dangerous diets” are in the Bayou and Lone Star states, but the ranking is more about poverty than fried oysters.
Lafayette police are investigating a fatal shooting involving an alleged burglar and homeowner.
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham got the message from the NFL. He's not dunking footballs over goal posts any more.
With qualifying over, the start of campaign season is official, and for the Lafayette Parish School Board, the race toward Nov. 4 will pit 20 candidates in battles for all 9 of the district’s available seats.
An abortion rights organization has filed the first court challenge to a Louisiana law that would require doctors who perform abortions to be able to admit patients to a nearby hospital.
U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister started his sign-up for re-election Friday the same as any other candidate, filling out paperwork and handing over cash to pay his qualifying fee. But he finished it quite differently, doused with ice.
The recent release of Victor White III’s autopsy report could spell trouble, as it tells a much different story of his death than the one told five months ago by the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office.
“Candidates for Congress and members of Congress spend between 30 and 70 percent of their time raising money to get back to Congress or to get their party back into power.”
Over the last four days of the trial against attorney Daniel Stanford, there’s been one notable absence from Judge Elizabeth Foote’s courtroom: attorney Bill Goode.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees and wide receiver Nick Toon are not on the same page yet, and time is running short for Toon to get it right.
U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister started his sign-up for re-election the same as other candidates, filling out paperwork and handing over qualifying money. But he finished it like no other, doused with ice.
That’s what Lafayette Parish has obtained in Pentagon surplus since 2006.
Qualifying continues through Friday.