The good news is that New Iberia mayor Hilda Curry met with utility company CLECO and got them to remove the 70 foot tall concrete erections out of the front yard of Stuart and Christina Gonsuron. The bad news is that the poles will be replaced by ordinary wooden creosote poles stabilized by guy-wires.
What’s really maddening is the huge concrete poles were approved by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development office here in Lafayette. DOTD has been working with New Iberia to change out the old two-lane bridge which crosses the bayou at Jefferson Street. It being the historic district, DOTD worked with city officials to design a bridge that would fit in with the neighborhood. The bridge work instituted the necessity to change out the existing utility poles, which will be in the way of the cranes once work begins on the bridge. Bill Fontenot, district engineer administrator at DOTD signed off on the transmogrified poles, stating that they added to the aesthetic of the district. The state paid for the upgrade to the giant poles; Fontenot says he thought that getting rid of the guy-wires was a good objective.
What’s incomprehensible is why not use that extra money to bury the lines instead of building humongous poles. CLECO is working on redoing some of the electric grid in the section of New Iberia across Bayou Teche from downtown. It sure seems like a great opportunity to get those cables underground. Think no electricity outages during hurricanes. Think saving all the costs of constant tree trimming to keep the wires clear. Think beautiful unobstructed views of streetscapes and sunsets. It seems like there is a huge disconnect between how the residents of the neighborhood would choose to spend their tax dollars, if anyone asked them, and what the state decides.
Gonsuron says he never could get any information about what was happening in his front yard from CLECO before the poles went up. I’m sure this was a very expensive exercise in community relations and sensitivity to historic districts. Was it a lesson learned? Depends on who paid the bill.
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AUG 29 Everyone who cares about Louisiana should take time to peruse this story about coastal loss from Bob Marshall of The Lens. It's not enough to call it a story; it's an interactive experience packed with data and amazing graphics, timelines, history, photos and excellent writing. Set aside some time, because you can't go through this one in a few minutes.
JUN 29 This bizarre story from the Advocate on the shooting of a Baton Rouge television personality reads like the script of a soap opera - but not a good one. The allegations against him include sexual abuse of children, including the alleged shooter, and a sham immigration marriage involving his own daughter. The other side? He was a chaplin for the Sheriff's Office in Baton Rouge and preached in a local church.
AUG 29 Here's a story from CBS News about a killer amoeba found in the water system of St. John the Baptist Parish. The story made all three networks (CBS, ABC, NBC) as well as Fox "News," although they have not yet found out how it is Obama's fault. Seriously, the good news is that so far officials know of no one sickened by the water.
AUG 29 Huffington Post has a blog called Love Letters, which is grandly described as "an anthology of reflections on places the world over." This entry is from LSU Football Coach Les Miles, who, it appears, loves Baton Rouge. (Of course he does; he's a rich straight white man.) And certainly Baton Rouge loves him - unless he loses (ask Curley "Golden Flake" Hallman about that) or leaves (ask Nick Saban).
AUG 29 Blogger Bob Mann comments here upon Governor Bobby Jindal's federal lawsuit about Common Core. Mann calls it a "thinly veiled campaign document" and that might be the nicest thing he says in this post. Most troubling for Jindal and his aspirations, Mann has unearthed what Bobby said just a few years ago when he first decided to shove Common Core down our throats.
AUG 29 Blogger Tom Aswell has several developments here related to the so-called Edmonson amendment. The most entertaining one is possibly Tom's acknowledgement that a State Police official is (allegedly) calling the bloggers covering the story some colorful names. Listen up, cowboy: You really think two veterans like Tom Aswell and CB Forgotston care if you call them idiots?
AUG 29 Gotta love those journalists who write something with the enthusiasm that implies they're the first one to figure something out. Mostly, they're not. This is one of those times; the post on Slate Magazine says that Bobby Jindal's Common Core lawsuit is a political stunt. Well - Duh.
AUG 29 This story by WVLA tells us about a guy who got busted for speeding in Baton Rouge. Who cares? This guy took that infraction to new heights by going 129 miles per hour on Nicholson Drive. Poor fella - he probably has spent so much time sitting in Baton Rouge traffic he just had to cut lose.
AUG 28 As the controversy surrounding the Office of Group Benefits intensifies, blogger Tom Aswell gives us some background on the current problems. The OGB, which handles health insurance for current and retired state employees, is deep in the red since it was privatized by Jindal, and Aswell gives us the skinny: this great plan was designed by ALEC. The company handling it? Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana - a longtime member of ALEC.
AUG 28 Blogger CB Forgotston has a concept for a new reality show: the wives of the "Dork Dynasty." That's the name that some troopers have given to State Police Commander Mike Edmonson and his inner circle. The ladies CB has picked for his cast are not just housewives, however, and the connections here are pretty interesting.
AUG 28 Blogger Ian McGibboney is writing about the strife in Ferguson in this post, and articulating what many people down south are saying. There's a fairy tale about how there's tons of racism in the South, but it's all hunky dory up North. (Really? Look again.)
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