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?
Breakfast favorites served on a bubbly crust pair with a crisp salad
State Rep. Lenar Whitney — one of a handful of Republican candidates vying for Louisiana’s 6th Congressional district — has been described by Cook Political Report analyst David Wasserman as one of the most “frightening or fact-averse candidate[s]” he’s ever met following her reaction to an interview last week.
West coast casual
Mid-August hearing dates have been set for dueling lawsuits over Louisiana's use of the Common Core education standards in public schools.
An investigation into the last-minute passage of a pension hike for the state police superintendent continues, despite Col. Mike Edmonson's decision not to accept the increase.
Four bedroom traditional Youngsville home or three bedroom traditional Broussard home
On Tuesday, a three judge panel (voting two to one) of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down as unconstitutional Mississippi’s controversial law requiring that physicians who perform abortions maintain admitting privileges in a nearby hospital.
Safety Jairus Byrd practiced with the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday for the first time since his signing in March.
Sentencing has been delayed for a businessman who provided key testimony in the corruption case that resulted in the conviction of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.
The spectre of priest sex abuse has returned to haunt the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lafayette following the recent release of an investigative report by Minnesota Public Radio, revealing new allegations of another child predator hiding behind the clerical collar.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
A ballpark snack topped with BBQ meat can be found cruising town on a food truck
Times Square impersonator crackdown; Israel shells Gaza school; Russia hit with sanctions and more national and international news for Wednesday, July 30, 2014.
"Although the administration is moving forward with climate change regulations at home, we don't consider how policy decisions in the United States impact greenhouse gas emissions in other parts of the world," says Roger Martella, the former general counsel at the Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush.
Louisiana agriculture officials say prices for long-grain rice are projected to drop this year.
First-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending July 19 decreased from the previous week's total.
A judge is getting ready to set a new trial date for a former BP executive charged with obstructing a congressional investigation into the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The sponsor of a Louisiana law that requires doctors that perform abortions to have hospital admitting privileges doesn't believe the provision is in jeopardy after a federal appeals court struck down a similar Mississippi law.
Louisiana's state school board has jumped into a lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal that accuses the governor of illegally meddling in education policy through his efforts to block Common Core education standards.
Here's how one nationally recognized conservative political pundit reacted upon hearing the news Monday that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was leaning toward an endorsement of Louisiana’s lone Democrat senator.
If President Barack Obama’s poll numbers, and those for his health care law, haven’t yet bottomed out in the Bayou State, then Democrats surely don’t want to know what the statistical floor actually looks like.
Midsouth Bank has released its second quarter earnings report, showing a year-over-year increase for shareholders.
The comeback of the Wayfarer
Two bedroom New Iberia ranch style house or two bedroom Lafayette condo
The deadline to purchase tickets for the 2014 ABiz Top 50 Business Luncheon featuring top-selling author, political activist and Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig is only two weeks away.
With the qualifying deadline for Lafayette Parish School Board elections quickly approaching, a series of candidate forums have been announced by the Lafayette Parish Public Education Stakeholders Council.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The investigation and potential prosecution of the man charged in the recent hit-and-run death of a Youngsville cyclist won’t happen overnight, according to local law enforcement officials.
Louisiana's state school board is holding a special meeting to consider whether to sue Gov. Bobby Jindal in an ongoing dispute over the Common Core education standards.