When is a small-town newspaper more than the sum of its parts? When it quietly moves beyond the antiquated mores of the community it covers. (Perhaps we're being presumptuous about small-town South Louisiana.)
In conservative, Cajun, Catholic Kaplan down in Vermilion Parish, the weekly Kaplan Herald recently published what might be a first in Acadiana: a same-sex wedding announcement. The write-up and photograph were for Chrissy LeMaire, a Kaplan native, and her partner, Lauren Holtzman. The couple was legally wed in Washington, D.C., where they currently reside, although the announcement indicates they’ll soon be moving to Belgium where LeMaire is going to work for NATO. Pretty cool. The announcement was published in yesterday's print issue of the Herald.
What’s most surprising (and pleasing) about the LeMaire-Holtzman announcement is that the Kaplan Herald is owned by Louisiana State Newspapers, a Lafayette-based conglomerate of more than 20 small dailies and weeklies covering towns across south and central Louisiana, and a company generally known for its conservative editorial perspective. The LeMaire-Holtzman wedding announcement suggests the papers within the group enjoy some editorial autonomy.
We can’t recall ever seeing a same-sex wedding announcement in The Daily Advertiser and we’re not even sure what its policy is — we couldn’t find a lifestyles submissions policy at the daily’s website — although The Advertiser does still cling to the outdated habit of requiring new brides to be identified as chattel: Mrs. John Smith, etc.
Kudos to the Herald for being so, um, cosmopolitan. Read the full LeMaire-Holtzman announcement here.
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DEC 6 Here we are, at the top of another bad list: this time, Louisiana has the (dubious) honor of beating out all other states when it comes to gutting higher ed funding, this Picayune story reports. The American Association of Colleges and Universities says our cuts (nearly 18 percent this year alone) are the highest in the nation. Three-fourths of the states increased funding last year, with the top spender increasing funding by 28 percent. This is a great legacy for our governor, right?
DEC 6 Blogger Lamar White Jr. takes a look at the creepy effort over in Baton Rouge, wherein the southern, lily-white area of the city wants to secede from the union, er, create its own "city" and take all the really fat sales tax cows with it. Turns out the group campaigning for the move is a for-profit corporation, and Lamar says that means its effort won't pass legal muster.
DEC 6 Blogger Tom Aswell tells us about some fishiness he found in the state worker's comp office. There's some confusion about when one guy started working there, and there's also some involvement by a GOP lege from Hammond. It's all just another example of the Jindal administration's actions that "defy explanation," Aswell says.
DEC 6 Edwin Edwards may think it's possible he will be governor again, but columnist James Gill isn't so sure. Edwards would have to get a presidential pardon to run for governor -- unless he wants to wait until he's 99, Gill says. But even Edwards' many supporters should probably hope he doesn't get that, because there's no real chance he can win, Gill says.
DEC 6 Here's an interesting post on DIG Magazine for football history buffs. It's about the Pelican Bowl, the Bayou Classic and the history of black college football. It's a trip down memory lane and the story of a "mythical black college national crown." What killed it? Trying to compete with the Bayou Classic.
DEC 6 Nelson Mandela became famous while sitting in prison, where he was a symbol of apartheid. But his enduring legacy was his ability to forgive, to reach out a hand of peace to heal his country of division and oppression, and the Picayune talks about this aspect of his personality. The story also reminds us of the more light-hearted moments Louisiana shared with the former President of South Africa.
DEC 6 We've all been passed by a nut on the highway and assumed the driver was on drugs. Maybe that's not hyperbole: here's a story from the Picayune about a guy riding around with a meth lab in his back seat. One wonders if his insurance policy included coverage for random explosions.
DEC 6 Here's a new blog in the NOLA Defender; it's called Shift Change, and it's all about cocktails. This installment by Rhiannon Enlil focuses on the sazerac, the enigmatic cocktail made with absinthe. But Enlil also introduces herself, a long-time NOLA bartender who has "a lot of booze" in her house.
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