The west-of-the-basin Who Dat Nation has been getting some much-deserved love from the Black & Gold since the Saints hoisted the Lombardi Trophy. It began with kicker Garrett Hartley signing autographs at Academy Sports & Outdoors just a week after the Super Bowl. Last week, super safety Darren Sharper popped in to Lafayette Health Club to rub elbows with the faithful, and Opelousas native and LSU hero Devery Henderson — that’s sure-handed Henderson, y’all — was at Brother’s on the Boulevard Saturday, too. It’s nice to see Acadiana’s devotion to the Saints getting an in-kind donation.
After 13 years as a retail anchor and the nerve center of Second Saturday Artwalk, Jefferson Street Market is giving up the ghost. Following much soul searching, proprietors Rob and Catherine Robison have decided to shutter the downtown market, which has given dozens of artisans and enterprising vendors an outlet for selling their eclectic wares. As downtown Lafayette struggles to find its identity as either an arts/cultural or nightlife district, or both, the loss of our most unique retail space — antiques, jewelry, vintage clothing, Louisiana culinary products, modern furniture, art, you name it — is a blow. The Robisons plan to close the market by the end of the month and put the cavernous building up for sale. ArtWalk won’t be the same, and the thought of strolling past the vacant building during Festival International leaves us feeling, well, vacant.
New Iberia’s historic district is known for a lot of things: beautiful antebellum homes including National Register of Historic Places museum Shadows-on-the-Teche, century-old live oaks, an Art Deco downtown, a thriving farmer’s market and now two ginormous concrete utility poles that will reflect nicely in the waters of Bayou Teche. Perhaps CLECO’s home base in scenic Pineville has numbed the decision makers at the utility to the need to respect where they jam their poles into the ground. “The city had nothing to do with this,” says Mayor Hilda Curry. “The state approved it; we never even saw the plans.” To add insult to injury, Bill Fontenot, district engineer for the DOTD, who signed off on the poles, commented to The Daily Iberian, “The improvements have the historic and aesthetic feel to it.” The mayor is currently in meetings with CLECO and DOTD to try to topple the concrete giants. We hope she succeeds. As it stands, New Iberia’s quaintest quarter is a little bit uglier.
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