Another feather in Lafayette’s “Cool Town” cap was bestowed last week when Festival International de Louisiane was named Best World Music Festival in the 2012 About.com Readers’ Choice Awards. The Hub City’s signature spring event out-pointed even the prestigious Smithsonian Folklife Festival for the distinction. “Well, clearly we’re excited about it,” says Dana Baker, executive director of Festival International. “And it’s a humbling award considering who we were up against, too.” The annual cultural fête gets under way in just three weeks. Complementing this year’s FIL will be a brand new venue — in multiple venues — for Lafayette to refine its cool quotient: INNOV8Lafayette, a project of the Innovation Division of the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce that will comprise a festival of ideas celebrating our creative culture.
Point. Counterpoint. Just as Lafayette is ascending into regional and national consciousness as a cool place to live, work, play and even retire — there were no fewer than eight articles over the weekend in major U.S. newspapers extolling the cultural virtues of our fair city and region — the agents of regression we wrote about in the introduction to last week’s “Cool Town” issue turned their ghastly visage upon us, led by City-Parish Council Chairman Jared Bellard. In an exchange at last week’s council meeting about a projected $5 million shortfall in LCG’s operating budget to man two proposed fire stations, Bellard trotted out his usual bogeymen: the horse farm and non-governmental organizations. “Here’s my rectification: 100 percent hiring freeze, get the horse farm money back [and] put it to fire — build your fire station — stop the GPS program, stop a lot of programs; stop the nonprofits, everything that’s a luxury,” Bellard said. The exchange with CAO Dee Stanley came, ironically (?), on the heels of Bellard complaining ad nauseam about the stalled progress in paving a parking lot at a ballpark in his district. In other words, a luxury.
State Sen. A.G. Crowe, R-Slidell, is cawing for Louisiana Family Forum during this year’s legislative session. The GOP solon from almost Mississippi sponsored an odious bill that cleared a Senate committee last week and may, by publication of this week’s Ind, have been debated on the Senate floor. Crowe’s Senate Bill 217 would effectively prevent public bodies — local governments, school boards, public commissions — from requiring private vendors with whom they contract for services to have strictly delineated anti-discrimination policies. Of course, what this is really about is the LFF’s anti-gay agenda; discrimination against gays and lesbians — and the physically uncoordinated and mentally challenged — would be countenanced under Crowe’s bill. If passed, SB 217 could have wide-ranging ramifications, not the least of which is prohibiting local school boards from requiring charter schools to accept gay students, children with poor English skills, a lack of athletic talent or special needs, which the state Department of Education currently requires of charter operators.
in case you missed it