[Editor’s Note: Advance copies of IND Monthly will be available at Another Broken Egg on Main Street in River Ranch Thursday from 6-9 p.m. during Fashion’s Night Out. Print editions of the inaugural IND Monthly will be on racks throughout Lafayette beginning Friday morning.]
Click on the cover image above to read a digital version of the inaugural IND Monthly.
Back in 2003, a band of great local writers and marketing guys teamed up with us to start up a newsweekly for Lafayette. We wanted to put out a paper that appealed to us and to like-minded locals — smart and irreverent writing on topics and with a style not found in The Daily Advertiser nor welcomed by the few on the far ends of the political spectrum. Nine years and literally dozens of statewide journalism and advertising awards later, we’d like to think we’ve by and large met that goal.
Since then, The Independent has broken stories on initiatives that will distinguish Lafayette forever, like LUS’s community-owned fiber-to-the-home network and the development of a massive passive park smack-dab in the center of town on UL’s former horse farm. In conjunction with INDevents, The Independent has nurtured ideas that helped lay the groundwork for the first-ever comprehensive plan for Lafayette Parish and a new direction for our public schools. Through investigative reporting on public agencies, The Independent helped force the resignations of some top officials and the filing of ethics charges, causing no small dyspepsia for entrenched interests on both the south and north sides of town. In our “Fair Share” series on property tax assessments, we set our sights on perhaps the stickiest wicket for political leaders in any community — an issue even more critical in a conservative place like ours as we struggle to make the appropriate government investment in Lafayette’s continued growth and improvements in public education.
Hard news, investigative journalism and political analysis are trademarks of The Independent, along with the market’s best coverage of the arts, entertainment, food, fashion and style. More and more, we’re posting this award-winning content and big breaking news stories online at theind.com, where readership has now eclipsed our weekly rack distribution. With this issue, we complete the transition from The Independent Weekly to IND Monthly in print and the launch of the next phase of our content development online, a change Managing Editor Walter Pierce blogged on Aug. 1: “Today, while our print readership remains as strong as ever, our online readership now consistently exceeds print consumption by up to 150 percent. So we’re making the move. It’s not a baby step — it’s a plunge into the deep end. We’re doing a cannonball into a future that is now. Step away from the computer if you don’t want to get wet.”
IND Monthly. We like the new IND moniker, largely because that’s what we and thousands of our readers have come to call it; plus, it’s a nice tie-in to our online presence, theind.com. But you can still call us The Independent (or anything you want — just call us, as they say!). This change to monthly for our print presence will allow us to do what we do best on both platforms, even as we increase our lifestyle content. We’re also adding dozens of new rack locations for the monthly and targeted new outbound products for the web. If you’re not yet an INDsider, you can sign up today at theind.com and receive our daily outbound e-blasts to keep you, well, IND the know. ABuzz subscribers receive weekly business updates from our business pub, ABiz, each Tuesday, and coming soon: specialized online products designed for foodies, fashionistas, families and weekend entertainment.
Lafayette’s growing, and our industry is changing in ways we couldn’t envision when we launched nine years ago. The IND’s format has evolved, but the mission remains the same, and we look forward to even broader community involvement as the conversation continues. Thanks, as always, for doing what you do in our partnership: being one of thousands of loyal readers who grab us out of the rack or click to connect with us online. This is the beginning of the IND — the new one. The journey continues.
— Steve and Cherry Fisher May, Publishers Odie Terry, Associate Publisher
MAY 17 Here's a column from James Gill, this time in the Advocate. Gill, who has jumped ship from the Picayune, writes about the absurdity of dueling polls in this post. The numbers are so wildly different, it is obvious that both sides are "cooking the books," he writes. In particular, he looks at Sen. Mary Landrieu, and how her recent actions in DC have been received by those polled. Gill's acerbic, amusing prose is a welcome addition to a paper so conservative as to be occasionally lacking in personality.
MAY 17 Blogger Tom Aswell continues delivering bombshells about the state education department and Gov. Jindal's education "reform" efforts. In this post, he reports that students in the Shreveport area have been signed up for a charter school without their knowledge or consent. Most interesting to Aswell is how this Texas-based charter (with ties to GOP types) got the personal student information it has, if the students didn't give it.
MAY 17 This post by JR Ball in the Baton Rouge Business Report is an interesting tongue-in-cheek look at recent Baton Rouge economic development efforts. Among the items he examines is the idea that gaining a Costco makes BR a "world-class city." (Really? All you need is a different brand of Sam's? MK!) This effort, and other recent ones, are all built on the taxpayer's back, with tax zones, tax incentives and tax rebates, Ball writes.
MAY 17 Blogger CB Forgotston is critical of the legislature's reliance on a revenue-estimating committee's decision to include projected tax amnesty income in this year's forecast. That's a problem, CB posts, because the deadline for these people to pay their taxes is June 30, 2014. So when do you think these people who haven't paid taxes in years are going to pay their taxes? Surely not before June 30, and that means the money won't be there for this year's budget, he argues.
MAY 17 Here's an interesting blog out of California by a Hollywood writer, attorney and academic named Brian Alan Lane. He blogs about higher ed, and was a whistle-blower in a scandal over false credentials. In this post, he takes aim at LSU's new top dog, King Alexander. It's convoluted and a little confusing, but it sure makes Alexander a lot more interesting than he was yesterday.
MAY 17 Blogger Robert Mann writes about the LSU Board's refusal to allow Dr. Fred Cerise to testify before the legislature about Gov. Jindal's plan to close down all the state's charity hospitals and dump the poor on the private system. It's hard to imagine anyone more qualified than Cerise to testify about that, so why would anyone try to prevent him doing so? Mann thinks it is because the powers that be aren't interested in hearing any truth about the plan.
MAY 17 This post on the Louisiana Sinkhole Bugle, a blog that notes developments in the Bayou Corne and Jefferson Island salt domes, talks about a proposed expansion of the salt dome storage under Lake Peigneur in Iberia Parish. Residents are working against it for several reasons, including two biggies: the sinkhole disaster in Bayou Corne and the continuing, unexplained bubbling on the surface of the Lake.
MAY 17 NOLA police arrested more people Thursday accused of either being involved in the Mother's Day shooting or hiding the suspect afterward, this Gambit story reports. The NOLA police chief said he suspects the whole thing was gang-related and throws out a challenge to the gangs: he's got informants now, he says, and he knows a lot more than the gangs want him to know. The people who live in the neighborhoods terrorized by gangs are ready to talk, he says.
Is it a crime for citizens to photograph, video, or take notes of a police officer in the line of duty, or a right protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? Locally, such activity, as witnessed recently, will at the very least result in a night spent behind bars.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
Episcopal School of Acadiana’s Dr. Joshua Caffery, chair of the school’s English Department, is headed to Washington, D.C., and the Library of Congress as the latest winner of the Alan Lomax Fellowship in Folklife Studies.