The head of the committee charged with finding Gerald Breaux’s replacement at the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission would not confirm the names of the two finalists, but sources close to the selection process say Renee Areng and Ben Berthelot are the only remaining candidates.
In terms of tourism experience, Areng, executive vice president for sales and marketing at the Baton Rouge Convention and Visitors Bureau, has the edge. She also was convention marketing manager at LCVC from October 1990 to November 2002. Berthelot is director of Lafayette Consolidated Government’s Community Development department.
The selection committee, which includes and was appointed by Hilton General Manager James Thackston (president of the LCVC board), is comprised of businessmen Rob Robison and Thomas Rogers and Holidome General Manager Ed Buchert. Thackston would not confirm the finalists Friday morning, saying the three candidates who did not make the cut may not have received their notification letters yet.
Susan Holliday, Mark Mouton and Dave Domingue were also semifinalists.
Areng and Berthelot are vying for the top post, executive director, which is opening up after almost 31 years due to Breaux's retirement.
Thackston chose the selection committee members based on their length of service on the board, according to Breaux. Ema Haq, who has been on the board since December 2001, however, declined to serve, saying he had too many other commitments. Both Rogers and Robinson joined in December 2003; and Ed Buchert joined in December 2005. Amos Batiste, whose service began in August 2008, was not named to the board because Thackston, who has been serving since March 2009, took a seat on the selection committee. The remaining board members are Lionel Prejean (3/3/09), Charlie Goodson (1/4/11) and Kendall Banks (12/21/10).
The LCVC board will meet in executive session to interview Areng and Berthelot on May 4. Thackston says no consideration was given to holding the interviews in the open, despite that this is a publicly funded position."We were told we didn't have to conduct the interviews in the full public," he says.
LCVC is supported by a hotel-motel tax in the parish. The bureau was created in 1974 to promote tourism and coordinate marketing efforts for Lafayette Parish.
The board hopes to make an offer May 1, with employment to begin no later than June 1.
Breaux will help with the transition process for about a month, as his last official day is June 29.
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OCT 24 You gotta love it when they start eating their young, right? In this post in Politico, BP mouthpiece Geoff Morrell denies that his company's oil spill "ruined the Gulf." Instead, he says, it was Bobby Jindal's decision to divert fresh water into the salt water environment that caused massive losses to shrimp and oyster industries. The evidence doesn't back up any claims that the spill caused that harm, he says. Nothing to see here, move along.
OCT 24 The former mayor of Sorrento was arrested on dozens of child pornography charges, a post on The Creole reports here. Wilson Longanecker Jr. was arrested in his Ascension Parish mansion, the blog reports.
OCT 24 As Bobby Jindal's tenure as governor winds down, blogger Tom Aswell tells us to expect to see more and more of his appointees jumping ship. Some might get shown the door (or the federal indictment, as the case may be) and others are just going to want to avoid standing in "the inevitable unemployment line," he says.
OCT 24 Jim Brown is blogging about elections in this post. There's no one more recognizable when it comes to elections than he is, and yet he still had to show his ID, you know. He gives some easy-to-remember advice on the Amendments: vote against them all. This stuff needs to be handled by legislators, not added to the Constitution, he says.
OCT 24 Bobby Jindal's recent "magical" budget touch - you know, the one that turned a $140 million deficit into a $170 million surplus - is just imaginary, columnist James Gill tells us in this post. It's about as real as that story he tells about the "gold standard" of ethics, Gill says.
OCT 24 George Carter III, a teenage member of the group Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools, died this week, the Picayune reports here. Educators who knew him called him a "visionary." He certainly had some highly-developed ideas for his age, but despite his ability to provide positive ideas for helping kids in the city, in the end he wasn't able to escape NOLA's problems, either.
OCT 24 John Dickerson posts this slice-of-campaign-life look at Mary Landrieu on the trail in Louisiana. Republicans are playing to a runoff, he opines, meaning our state will become "a zoo" if it turns out this race will decide control of the Senate.
OCT 24 Bike lanes have been quite the topic of convo over in NOLA recently, what with streetspace, already at a premium downtown, being sacrified for them. In this post on the Uptown Messenger blog, Owen Courreges opines that the lanes are not really being constructed for people who ride bikes, but instead because developers seeking to make money downtown feel they are needed. He's also predicting that they will increase already nightmarish levels of traffic to new heights. Nah -- that couldn't happen!
OCT 23 Blogger Tom Aswell posts the photo that started making the rounds of the Facebook this week; it shows our governor and his lovely bride, all bright and smiley and holding big guns. The Jindals look a little posed, down to their carefully and properly placed index fingers. They're both grinning wide, displaying how comfortable they are with weaponry. Whee!
OCT 23 This fascinating post on The Lens opens the discussion of New Orleans as subject. C. W. Cannon talks about the concept of dual consciousness and how New Orleanians, especially, have experienced this condition post-Katrina. Cannon attended a recent conference about the issue at Tulane, where the discussion focused on how the romanticization of the city by outsiders masks real social problems.
OCT 23 Bayou Buzz is taking Gov. Bobby Jindal and the GOP to task here for the Ebola shrieking. The so-called "travel ban" makes no sense, and these politicians should have done their homework before coming up with this stunt, Stephen Sabludowsky writes.
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