Accolades for Louisiana’s business growth and development from obscure biz publications keep rolling in. The latest kudo comes from Business Facilities, which named Louisiana 2010’s “State of the Year,” beating out South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. The mag cites the Pelican State’s business reforms, incentive programs, growth strategy and workforce training program. The award caps a solid year for the state in the pages of recondite trade publications — a year that included recognition by Pollina Corporate Real Estate (“Most Improved State”), Site Selection (ninth best business climate in the U.S.) and Southern Business & Development (“Co-state of the Year”). And although Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret is cited by Business Facilities as the brains behind the win, Gov. Bobby Jindal is taking most of the credit.
The holidays are stressful enough. Being evacuated from your home or your home away from home (Mall of Acadiana) due to a “suspicious package” just compounds the anxiety. Holiday shoppers were rushed out of dressing rooms and away from their bland Sbarro pizza slices in the food court at the mall last week when a package containing an as-yet unspecified device was found outside the mall. Police say the device wasn’t an explosive, but they’re not saying much else. The incident came on the heels of an evacuation of more than 50 homes around the Islamic Center near the UL campus after a briefcase was found leaning against a fence. The FBI, already investigating an earlier car burning at the center as a possible hate crime, says the brief case contained a device that was “a threat that required special care and precautions,” according to The Daily Advertiser, although there’s no evidence linking it to the burned car. We miss the heady days of yore when the “Glue Bandit” injected Super Glue into the locks of south side retailers in the dark hours of Black Friday. That’s a holiday prank we can admire.
And then there’s the incident last week at Lafayette Regional Airport. Imagine the Transportation Security Administration screener’s heart begin to pound as a bag moves through the x-ray machine revealing what appears to be a chicken and a miner’s head lamp. All the makings of a clever new al Qaida plot? No, it was a chicken and a miner’s head lamp. The terminal was evacuated for about an hour as law enforcement brought in bomb sniffing dogs to no doubt salivate over this threat to life and limb. Turns out, the benign cargo was more dangerous than first thought: it was a crawfish-stuffed chicken, or, as it’s known among cardiovascular physicians, a heart bomb.