20101222-cover-0101Wednesday, December 22, 2010
It’s good, it’s bad and it’s just crazy.  By The Independent Staff

The holidays are tough for us newspaper folk. Schools and courthouses shut down, other public bodies meet less frequently — generally less news is generated. And like everyone else, we’re stressed out by the shopping, crazy uncle tolerating and over eating. Plus, our deadlines are not mindful of the extra time off.

That’s why it’s been an unwritten rule of publishing to roll out a year in review issue. This is ours.

Rather than produce a boiler plate YIR, we’ve tried to be a little more creative. Last year it was a celestial guide that was harder to execute than we imagined going in. This year we turned to Pooyie, the weekly news feature that highlights the good, bad and crazy of our neck of the woods. Like last year, putting this issue together was more difficult than we envisioned.

Going through the previous 54 weeks of 2010, Pooyie turned out to be a reliable guide to the year in news and an accurate barometer of our business. The good news — “C’est Bon” — is overshadowed by both the bad news — “Pas Bon” — and those news makers who over the year warranted some head scratching — the “couillons.” News media tend to gravitate toward the bad — if it bleeds, it leads, as they say in TV.

In distilling our list of the year’s best and worst stories and craziest personalities, we had to jettison a lot of what made its way into Pooyie over the course of 2010. Cajun cook Marcelle Bienvenu being named to the Order of Living Legends by the Acadian Museum in Erath — the year’s first C’est Bon in what was clearly a slow week — didn’t make the list. Nor did the Louisiana Supreme Court’s reversal of a Third Circuit ruling allowing a convicted felon to run for a seat on the Abbeville City Council. It was good that SCOLA clarified state law, but not good enough to make Pooyie 2010.

The most difficult aspect of this enterprise was deciding who made the couillon cut. We love our couillons at The Independent Weekly; they are our bread and butter. While Gov. Bobby Jindal riding the Saints’ coattails for campaign cash on Super Bowl weekend and Rep. Rickey Hardy trying to prevent our grandparents from seeking public office made the list, neither the guy in Rayne who laced hot dogs with pesticide to kill crawfish pond-marauding raccoons nor the bored volunteer fire fighter accused of arson did.
But the big stories that dominated the news — the annexation squabbles, the councilman’s dire financial straits, the Lafayette Housing Authority mess, the horse farm, arts funding and school board — are there. Perhaps the event that will have the most profound effect on the future of our parish merits brief mention as a C’est Bon: creation of the Lafayette Charter Commission.

In reviewing 2010, it’s accurate to say the BP spill garnered the most ink — consecutive covers, in fact, which hadn’t happened here since Hurricane Katrina. And like the national recession, which Louisiana has weathered relatively well, the spill and consequent drilling moratorium failed to kill our economy or our spirit.
So, here’s looking ahead to 2011 and the stories and people who will ascend into Pooyie. Especially the couillons.

Click on the pdf below to see our amazing Pooyie 2010 Calendar.

POOYIE 2010: See Our Amazing Calendar! It’s Amazing!.pdf

2011 Couillon Watch
2010 set a high bar for couillonness, but looking ahead to 2011, things have the potential to get even crazier.
Here’s our prime suspects for earning the couillon spot in our weekly Pooyie segment next year.

Bobby Jindal
Recently, Gov. Bobby Jindal has been spending more time out of state on national campaign fundraisers and book tours than he has at home tending to state business. His “I’m not really running for president” campaign will get really interesting as his gubernatorial reelection in the fall of 2011 draws near, along with the 2012 Iowa presidential caucus. At some point, Bobby’s going to have to decide what office he’s running for, though he’s proven himself pretty adept at dissembling.

Troy Hebert
We were as surprised as anyone when we heard the news that Gov. Jindal had tapped Troy Hebert to be the state’s next Commissioner of Alcohol and Tobacco Control. With his legendary reputation as a capital playboy, it seemed a bit like putting the fox on guard at the henhouse. Hebert recently got married and avows he is settled down for good. We hope that’s the case, given that our last ATC commish resigned amid allegations of stalking one female employee and doling out a promotion to another one that he dated.

Jim Tucker and Rick Gallot
Not sure which of these two state legislators will emerge as the bigger couillon, but if their early squabbles over House redistricting plans are any indication, one of them is bound to get mired in the couillon mud pit. Gallot, who chairs the House and Governmental Affairs Committee that will head up redistricting next year, is already crying foul over Speaker of the House Jim Tucker’s move to stack his committee with Republicans. Given the high stakes involved and Louisiana’s penchant for political gerrymandering, this one’s bound to get out of hand at some point.   

Mary Landrieu
Landrieu has a proven ability to quickly shift her position with the current political winds. First she was for tax cuts for the wealthy, then she was against them. It’ll be interesting to see how long Landrieu can continue her delicate balancing act of bucking the unpopular president while still seeking favor and influence with the Democratic Party.

Jeff Landry
Mix up a right wing tea party philosophy with some Cajun canaille and a greenhorn congressman anxious to make an impression and you’ve got the explosive cocktail that is Jeff Landry, who will be heading to D.C. next year to take the reins from Charlie Melancon, representing Louisiana’s 3rd District.

Charlie Langlinais
The Broussard mayor’s unchecked annexation ambitions put him at odds with neighboring officials in Lafayette and Youngsville this year. Fresh off reelection to another four-year term, he won’t be satisfied until Broussard becomes the parish seat.

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