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?
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
C & C Technologies, HIT Fitness, R3 Sciences, the Acadiana Symphony Association and the United Way of Acadiana recognized for innovation.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra has decided to end its traditional Independence Day spectacular known as Red White & Boom.
Under the deal, Teche shareholders would get 1.162 shares of IberiaBank for each share of Teche stock.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The must have pieces this season
Dave Perkins, LCG Comp Plan honored along with local architects and designers at the 2014 INDesign Awards
Greg Manuel’s Lafayette-based residential development company is taking advantage of exponential industrial growth in Lake Charles.
Longtime Lafayette retailer ventures online.
It’s not how aggressive or conservative you are — it’s planning for risk that matters most.
Thanks to cutting-edge digital technology, more and more consumers are banking on ATMs and mobile phones.
Regional bank bids farewell to Downtown May 30
ABiz takes a look back at the most noteworthy moments for the local banking industry over the last year.
Most experts say short-term interest rates will be unchanged through 2014, but long-term rates are inching up.
Largest recruitment event in Acadiana returns May 21 to the Cajundome Convention Center
A lawyer’s ad should only be a starting point, as there is much more to consider when seeking quality representation.
Thanks to the inaugural 2012 INNOV8, a design for lifting heavy objects was brought to market.
The annual juried competition recognizes excellence in architecture, interior design and historic preservation in Lafayette and the five surrounding parishes.
Cypress Bayou GM hosts open house.
New hires, promotions, transfers in Acadiana business
The scion of a landmark Four Corners restaurant climbs back into Lafayette’s culinary scene as franchisee for a popular burger chain.