Three Lafayette filmmakers took top honors in the New Orleans Film Festival , which wrapped up last week. The festival’s biggest honor, Louisiana Filmmaker of the Year, went to Zach Godshall for his film, God’s Architects. The film is a documentary that tells the stories of five divinely inspired artist-architects and their enigmatic creations. Raised on Rice and Gravy, the second film by the UL Cinematic Arts Workshop team of Conni Castille and Allison Bohl to score at the NOFF, received the Documentary Short Award. Raised on Rice and Gravy focuses on local plate lunch cooks Roy Williams, Wayne Gary and Merlene Herbert, and how their down-home cooking is an integral part of both Cajun and Creole culture. “It means more to me to win an award at the New Orleans film festival,” says Bohl, “than at any other festival because it’s a Louisiana content film at a Louisiana competition.” “And,” says Castille, “because it’s a film about food in the food capital of the world.”
Residents in Iberia Parish learned last week of the fourth arrest of a sheriff’s deputy this year after Sgt. Keith Koen was nabbed by state police for allegedly having child pornography on his home computer. Koen’s arrest follows the arrests of a female deputy and her husband, himself a former deputy, on medical fraud charges, as well as two others on various malfeasance charges. Koen, inexplicably, was hired as a deputy after a checkered past as an officer with the New Iberia Police Department. Said Iberia Sheriff Louis Ackal to The Daily Iberian: “I’m not going to whitewash it or sweep it under the rug. There’s no preferential treatment.”
East of Baton Rouge, south of stupid. Keith Bardwell, a justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, is shovelling coal into the Idiot Steam Engine and casting more soot on Louisiana’s reputation as a redneck backwater. Bardwell refuses to officiate at weddings for mixed-race couples, specifically black-white couples. In Bardwell’s warped worldview, he’s not a racist — he’s a children’s advocate. He told the Associated Press he won’t do mixed-race marriages because they don’t last, and because the children of such unions aren’t accepted on either side of the family. Hear that flushing sound? It’s further proof that Keith Bardwell isn’t a racist. “I have piles and piles of black friends,” he told the AP. “They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom.”
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.
Philip deMahy Sr., a once respected New Iberia ad exec, was sentenced May 2 to spend the next two years (he faced up to 100 years) in a state penitentiary after state and federal investigators found dozens of images depicting children engaged in lewd sexual acts on his personal computer.