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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DEC 8 - Maybe that wasn't such a good idea, after all. This post on the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association's site says we're looking at oil prices that are tanking because there's so much oil coming out of the Gulf. Some are even predicting a glut. What's likely to be the result? Lower gas prices, higher refinery profits, and more pressure on the feds to loosen export restrictions.
DEC 8 Here's the latest from blogger Robert Mann, and it's on one of his favorite topics: Bobby Jindal. He's taking a look at Jindal's record and his current maneuvering, which of course is a ploy to position him for a run for the White House. "America Next," Jindal's current big idea, is just as vague about what it is proposing as Jindal usually is, Mann says. And it won't protect him from his "unimaginative record," as Mann describes it.
DEC 8 - Don't know what that is? Then run on over to LaPolitics and read this post by Jeremy Alford, which serves as a history lesson about the famed tonic and it's purveyor, Dudley LeBlanc. It's really a fascinating story and Alford's description of Dudley as an "icon of Louisiana politics and culture" is not an exaggeration.
DEC 8 In this editorial, the Picayune again urges Gov. Jindal to take the Medicaid money. But the piece's exhortation that Jindal "be sensible" is a little misplaced, isn't it? Because Jindal's not being stupid -- well, maybe he is -- but he's following orders from people he believes can get him into the White House. This editorial is engaging in the argument that Jindal is publicly making, without acknowledging what his true motivations are. Somebody send these guys a clue.
DEC 8 Columnist Mark Ballard is writing about the impact of Vance McAllister's defeat of Neil Riser in this post. He starts out talking about how McAllister's more reasonable approach was more attractive to voters than was Riser's hard-line (tea-party-ish) rants. Dan Claitor, a state lege from BR who is expected to run for Congress soon, expressed it best when he said voters aren't looking for candidates who are "throwing temper tantrums when they can't get their way."
DEC 8 It's always gratifying when a Louisiana son makes international headlines. And our son, David "former KKK grand poobah" Duke is back in the news, making us all proud. This (UK) Telegraph story, unearthed by the Dead Pelican, tells us that Duke has been expelled from Italy but is trying to return. The Italians say he is trying to "establish a pan-European, extremist neo-Nazi group in northern Italy." Huh. You don't say.
DEC 9 This is a kind of puzzling post from columnist Jim Beam, in which he discusses a recent appearance by former Gov. Edwin Edwards in Lake Charles. He said he's surprised by EWE's "grasp of current events." Did Jim never meet Slick Eddie? He's no dummy, and for Beam to assume he is -- well, given he covered the man for 50 years, that's the surprise.
DEC 9 A "suspicious package" shut down part of Zachary Sunday, WAFB tells us in this post. The package, which eventually was "rendered safe" (bomb squad lingo for blown up) was found in a storage unit that someone quit paying on. Other cop gear was found in the unit, so it is possible the thing was a training tool, police say. But they leave out the best part: who bought it? Barry, Jarrod or Darrell?
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