Lafayette has good reason to watch the new season of American Idol. Last week Jacee Badeaux, a sophomore in Lafayette High’s Performing Arts Academy, made the cut in the New Orleans auditions with a splendid rendition of “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay.” And if you watch Idol, you know the auditions are typically a capella. Pure talent. And he’s only 15. Jacee is a long shot — and we mean long shot — to make it to the top of the heap: He’s really young and isn’t the prototypical “idol” in terms of physique and stage presence. But he has an angelic voice, and we admire any 15-year-old boy who will put himself out there like that. It’s not like that’s an awkward age or anything. We’re pulling for you, Jacee. Make us proud!
We have to wonder how Walter Guillory, the former executive director of the Lafayette Housing Authority who resigned last October amid alarming questions about the Lafayette’s agency oversight and expenditures — he served simultaneously for a time as director of the Opelousas Housing Authority — has now landed a job at another non-profit agency that receives millions of federal (read, our taxes) dollars. Guillory is now at the SWLA Center for Health Services, an agency whose raison d’etre, like that of the LHA, is aiding the poor. Adding tendrils to this web, former (or current, depending on whom you ask) LHA board members Leon Simmons and Joe Dennis also serve on the SWLA board. With so many of the same names — and we’re also referring to the consultants, attorneys and others tangentially connected to the LHA and its various projects — popping up in connection with these federally funded programs that heretofore have had little public oversight, we’re beginning to suspect that helping poor folks is a profitable racket.
Bite thy tongue, Joey Durel. Our city-parish president spewed gasoline on a simmering fire last week by referring to former Lafayette Housing Authority case manager Chris Williams as a “piece of garbage” in an article in The Daily Advertiser. Durel was responding to the embattled Williams calling him a liar. Like a monger in a fish market Williams is obviously flinging red herrings to the compass points as he tries to divert attention from his very questionable and possibly illegal role with the LHA’s Disaster Housing Assistance Program, but Durel could have — and should have — tacked a more diplomatic course. Williams, a former city-parish councilman, clearly remains a bur under Durel’s saddle. Acrimony between the two goes back at least four years to that ugly, public fight over renaming a prominent Lafayette thoroughfare after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Durel referred to Williams back then as “evil.” But upon further consideration, if Williams has gone from evil to merely garbage, we’re thinking he’s risen some in Durel’s estimation.