Reports of his demise were greatly exaggerated. We felt a lump in our throat when news spread, quickly, that former UL Ragin’ Cajun and Minnesota Viking safety Orlando Thomas had succumbed to Lou Gehrig’s disease. We breathed a sigh of relief when we found out it wasn’t true. The Vikings posted word of the Crowley native’s death on its Web site. The Vikes say they got the information from UL. A spokesman for UL’s sports information department admitted that “some misinformation got out somehow.” The former Cajun great shares exclusive company on the wall of fame at Cajun Field and enjoyed half a dozen solid seasons in the NFL. Thomas does indeed suffer from ALS and he is not well, but we’re not ready to say goodbye. Keep fighting, Orlando.
Higher education in Louisiana is steaming headlong into more dire straits — that’s the projection of the Board of Regents, which last week predicted that the state’s system of higher ed can expect additional cuts of up to $150 million next year. It gets worse. The board estimates that by the 2011-12 school year, state universities will be operating on a roughly $820 million budget — that’s 44 percent lower than the tall-cotton year of 2008, before the bottom fell out on the state budget thanks to plummeting oil prices and state lawmakers’ failure to anticipate them. The course correction promises to be painful: more curricula eliminated, student fees raised, even professors getting pink slips.
Every armed robber is a couillon — that’s a given. But when the victim is in on the heist? That’s a two-fer. A Duson he-couillon and she-couillon are brushing their teeth in the Lafayette Parish Jail after being arrested for allegedly staging an armed robbery in an appropriately named Hit ’n’ Run convenience store on Ambassador Caffery last week. Police say the girlfriend was a clerk in the store; the boyfriend was the bad guy. It took cops mere minutes to piece together the ruse, in part because couillons don’t construct very good ruses. The two were booked on armed robbery charges, but we suspect that will need to be amended since, technically, a robbery didn’t occur.
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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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