In what’s being called a game-changer for the local area, Canadian-based GCI Federal confirmed in late April that it’s bringing 400 high-tech jobs to a new center at UL Lafayette’s Research Park. LEDA chief Gregg Gothreaux notes that the project (an approximately $25 million investment that includes government incentives) represents half of the job creation expected by the new IBM software development center in Downtown Baton Rouge. A key part of the local project includes a state-funded, 10-year, $4.5 million higher education initiative led by UL that will result in a tripling of the number of undergraduate computer science degrees awarded annually by the university. That growth is anticipated to place the university’s computer science program among the Top 25 nationally for the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded each year. At full employment, the center will have a total annual payroll of about $22 million. “It’s about retaining our grads and bringing some folks home,” Gothreaux says.
The Louisiana Legislature does not like the gays, what with their fancy loafers and aversion to whittling. No, our boys in Baton Rouge like guns and Bibles and womenfolk a-cookin’ near the hearth, content in the bosom of their families. So it was little surprise that lawmakers repeatedly batted down proposed legislation that would make it illegal to refuse to sell or lease property to fans of Cher and Lady Gaga. Among Lafayette reps on the House Commerce Committee where the legislation went to die, kudos to Rep. Vincent Pierre for supporting it and a big, wet kiss-mah-ass to Rep. Stephen Ortego, one of only three Dems to oppose. Ortego — coincidentally, we hope — builds houses and sells them to people. Rep. Stuart Bishop of Lafayette, a Republican, is also on that committee, but he hasn’t shown a facility for self reflection yet, so we weren’t expecting much. The leges also declined to remove from the books a prohibition on sodomy that has been ruled unconstitutional and unenforceable by the U.S. Supreme Court. No sir, when it comes to the gays and their sex, the Legislature has but one position: the missionary position.
Just after Festival International came to a close and 400,000 well-behaved revelers drifted off to happy memories, one drunk fool had Lafayette Police in a state of agitation. The 25-year-old couillon is accused of firing a .357 magnum into the air in the 100 block of Taft Street before speeding off. The officers gave chase. The couillon crashed his pickup into the Habitat for Humanity office on nearby Johnston Street, demolishing the building and leaving — ironically, we guess — the Habitat folks at least temporarily homeless. The suspect remains in jail as of this writing facing a slew of charges that fall generally under the rubric “Stupid Stuff.” This yahoo forgot two important tenets of Newtonian physics: bullets come back to earth and brick buildings stop speeding trucks. Fortunately no one was seriously injured.