Nearly 15 years in the making and created out of the tragedy of beloved Lafayette musician (and physician) Tommy Comeaux’s death in a cycling accident in 1997, a bachelor’s degree in traditional music — read, Cajun and zydeco — is nearly a reality at UL Lafayette. The university announced recently that the Louisiana Board of Regents has approved the new bachelor of arts program in music focusing on traditional music and the music business. The university in the epicenter of Cajun/Creole culture is awaiting the National Association of Schools of Music to grant accreditation for the program, which will not only teach indigenous music to our sons and daughters but will also be a source of employment for hard-working musicians in traditional music — an art form that provides much joy to locals and a tourism dollars in our coffers but often, unfortunately, something less than a livable wage for its practitioners. Read more about the program on Page 10.
Local officials appear to have been simply doing their jobs in the case involving allegations of inappropriate touching by a Lafayette teacher — except for the police department’s decision to arrest Katie Champagne, 30, for indecent behavior with juveniles before collecting more evidence. Last week a grand jury declined to accept charges against the Lafayette High dance teacher, whom six students claimed had inappropriately touched their breasts and buttocks — in class, in front of other students, all while a video camera was recording. Champagne’s attorney, William Goode, says had police waited for the grand jury to hear the evidence, Champagne would not have been arrested. “In this day and time, everybody has to be hyper-vigilant,” says Goode, arguing Champagne being removed from the classroom and placed on administrative leave would have been a more appropriate course of action, one that would have spared her and her family much expense and humiliation. Champagne has a stellar teaching record, no criminal history and is married and living in the area, posing no risk of flight, he says. Asked if the students simply misinterpreted the touching as something inappropriate, the lawyer remarks, “I think it was more [that the students were] out to get her than misinterpretation.”
How quickly will the St. Martin Parish School board burn through $88,000? Infinitely more quickly than it took the 450 acres of cypress and tupelo trees in a swath of the Atchafalaya Basin to grow into a harvestable commodity. In an epic exercise in short-sightedness, the board last week voted to sell off the acreage in Section 16 of the basin to timber company Good Hope Inc. for what amounts to the entry level salaries of a few teachers. That’s a pristine habitat for migratory birds, a hurricane buffer and a symbol of Louisiana’s natural beauty and abundance in exchange for one-time chump change. All hope isn’t lost, however: It looks like the group Atchafalaya Basinkeepers is poised to fight the sale on legal grounds, and if enough citizens who give a damn about the basin get behind the effort, who knows?
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Two bedroom in Lafayette or two bedroom in Kaplan
Sennond trunk show at kiki
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thursday’s explosion aboard an oil production platform in the Gulf of Mexico is now under investigation by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Four hours after inviting supporters to a rally with Sen. Marco Rubio, Bill Cassidy claimed that Mary Landrieu “voted against stopping executive amnesty.”
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.
Money from the first and only settlement so far in a Louisiana flood board's lawsuit against dozens of energy companies will be placed in a special account dedicated to coastal restoration.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Ten departing CEOs rake in $430 million; profile of FSU gunman emerges; Buffalo's weather woes and more national and international news for Friday, November 21, 2014.
The Ethics Board gives the lame duck Youngsville mayor permission to offer a sweet parting gift to the community he’s presided over for three terms.
Carencro ranch style home or three bedroom traditional in St. Martinville
The money came through a general obligation bond sale Thursday.
A legend in the Acadiana Oil Patch, Comeaux died Monday, Nov. 17.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
With a growing number of alleged sexual assault victims coming out against Bill Cosby in recent weeks, upcoming projects have been canned by NBC and Netflix, but that won’t affect the once-loved comedian and actor’s scheduled performance in Lafayette.
The Baltimore Ravens' retooled secondary had no trouble against a rookie quarterback at home. This week, however, their task is far more challenging: stopping Drew Brees on the road in New Orleans.
Add Texas Gov. Rick Perry's name to the list of possible Republican presidential candidates flooding the campaign trail for GOP Senate candidate Bill Cassidy.
Gov. Bobby Jindal is in Florida this week with his fellow Republican governors for another gripe session aimed at their favorite target, the president, this time taking aim at his immigration plans.
Early voting for the runoff is shortened by two days because of the Thanksgiving holiday.
“Coach Don” Gagnard is running for school board. Today he offers his critique of the socioeconomic relationship between government subsidies and obesity.
BP is heading to a federal appeals court in its effort to oust the administrator of damage settlement claims arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Former Le Rosier chef who cooked at the James Beard House and was named one of the “Best New Chefs in America” by Food & Wine magazine in 1995 was 48.
It was only a few months ago when the LPSB held the school system’s purse strings with a death grip, but oh how board President Hunter Beasley's demeanor seems to be changing with the ouster of Superintendent Pat Cooper.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.