The idea for this week’s year-end cover story came from a staff writer whom I hadn’t realized was given in any way to kooky ideas. What’s more striking to me is that our no-nonsense editorial director actually bit on it.
The idea is simple in its way: Rather than roll out the tired, threadbare year-in-review edition wherein we look back at the big stories of 2009 and write blurbs about them, we decided to create an astrological-style map of the year and populate its various regions with the personalities and stories that made 2009 what it was. But unlike astrology, our map would have a basis in reality.
And the reality is, 2009 was a little on the blah side. UL’s New Iberia Research Center made national news for all the wrong reasons, the least of which was providing the opportunity to so many to use the phrase “monkey business” when referring to primates. The Stanford bank scandal seemed remote but in truth siphoned possibly hundreds of millions of dollars of wealth out of our community. LUS finally launched its much-anticipated and -ballyhooed fiber service. Elbert Guillory broke the Cravins’ lock on the state Senate District 24 seat. Rowdy, late-night crowds in downtown Lafayette had us talking. State Rep. Rickey Hardy said some stuff. Blah. Blah. Blah.
What was most striking about 2009 was what it wasn’t — cascading foreclosures, “going out of business” sales and lines at the unemployment office. Compared to 2008, Lafayette wasn’t in tall cotton, but relative to the rest of country we’ve fared remarkably well. Just ask the Milken Institute, Forbes.com, Southern Business & Development Magazine, Equifax or Fortune Small Business. All of them placed Lafayette and/or our economy near the top of some type of good list. Being a native Louisianan, occupying the top tier of a good list is a rare treat. If you’re still in doubt, log on and read a year-in-review piece from a newspaper in California, Florida, Michigan or Nevada, and keep the Kleenex handy.
Personally, 2009 has been a year of stark change. I came to The Independent near the quarter pole after six-plus years as a news producer at KATC, and as I complete this final furlong of ’09, I feel like I’m finally getting comfortable in the saddle.
A constant during these nine months has been the task of policing the comment section at theind.com. E-mail notices alerting me that comments have been posted come into my in-box on a continuous basis, and like a town hall meeting in August, it’s generally the malcontents who are standing up and screaming. But there’s been almost no defamation and very little profanity to delete, although there has been a lot of hot air. And then there’s NORTHSIDIAN SHOTGUN, who has tested my patience and tickled my funny bone.
He appeared in the comment section sometime around September (earlier, I suspect, using a different screen name) with gems like, “DA FIRST 10 BUYERS GET AH FREE CAST-IRON PIGGY BANK AND AH POUND OF CRAKLIN FROM DA CRAKLIN $ BOUDIN STOAH RIGHT HEAH ON MAIN STREET. WE INVITE ALLUS ONES LIKE BOUDIN $ CRAKLINS TO DA FAIS DO DO.” As you might imagine, deciphering a longer comment in that heavy Cajun vernacular takes time; so much so that I finally posted a reply to one of NS’s comments urging him to contact me directly via e-mail. When he did, I delivered an ultimatum: tone it down and minimize the UPPER CASE or it gets deleted. After much trial and error — I’ve deleted dozens of NORTHSIDIAN SHOTGUN comments these last few months — he seems to be coming around. His most recent comment as of this writing, posted to the blog last week about Edwin Edwards’ biography selling briskly: “OPRAH, Selection oh da “MONTH” a must read.”
Well, on second thought...
The world is a politically tense place these days with hot spots ranging from the Middle East to Ukraine. In Louisiana and Mississippi, where the political chessboard tends to be a lot less threatening and at times entertaining, this election season is living up to expectations.
As this year’s budget process slogs forward and the Lafayette Parish School Board maintains its hard-headed stance against using any of its more than $60 million reserve fund, another slate of critical programs have rolled through the chopping block, despite the ramifications for the school system.
Meat, cheese and veggies piled high on Texas toast
American companies export smog; UN calls for cease-fire in Gaza; fist bump keeps germ transfer down and more national and international news for Monday, July 28, 2014.
Monday's Blogs from the Bog!
Louisiana has joined nine other states in support of Indiana’s appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that the Hoosier State’s ban on sam-sex marriage violates the Constitution.
The eclectic vibe of summer
Three bedroom River Ranch cottage or four bedroom Youngsville traditional home
The parent of Investar Bank says its second-quarter earnings fell to $1.1 million or 26 cents a share from $1.7 million of 44 cents a share in the same period a year ago.
1,554 rigs were exploring for oil and 315 for gas. Two were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,770 active rigs.
The Saints are being cautious in an effort to minimize risk of re-injury.
Most personal auto insurance policies exclude coverage when people charge money to drive others in their personal vehicles.
In this letter to the editor, Lafayette Parish School Board member Shelton Cobb (the board's former president) weighs in on the difficulty behind this year's budget process, calling out a number of his fellow board members over their inability to drop their power struggle with the superintendent and make the interests of the students a top priority.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
LSU Health Sciences Center says people with a common, hard-to-treat kind of lung cancer can join a new national trial to test drugs faster.
As New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis spoke about the opening of training camp, steep, tree-covered mountains were in full view behind them.
The family of fallen cyclist Lon Lomas is speaking out after the release this week of the man charged with his death.
"The solutions are obvious: undo consolidation, or amend the charter to make this hybrid attempt at a new form of government work better."
A refreshing twist at a Lafayette institution comes served with a black bean salad stuffed avocado
Louisiana's 21 casinos took in $203.5 million statewide in June, edging up one-half of a percentage point from a year earlier.
Three bedroom Sunset Victorian or three bedroom Opelousas Acadian home
Louisiana designer commissioned for NYC Awards gift
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is considering whether to get involved in a lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal for his attempts to undermine use of the Common Core education standards in Louisiana's public schools.
Business First Bank has announced plans for a Baton Rouge market expansion through a merger deal with American Gateway Financial Corp.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The latest meeting of a south Louisiana flood board that stirred political turmoil with a lawsuit against the oil and gas industry is taking place amid uncertainty over the future of the lawsuit — and the board's own membership.
The photos taken nearly a mile under the Gulf of Mexico are so clear that small holes are visible in a lifeboat that may have gone down or been scuttled when a passenger ship was sunk by a Nazi submarine in 1942.
Advocate columnist and Jindal shill Quin Hillyer has been against the New Orleans levee board lawsuit from day one, but a recent piece targeting author/activist John Barry prompted the perfect rebuttal from the board’s former vice-president, who takes Hillyer to task on just about every distorted claim he’s made on the issue.
INDEats and EatLafayette want to give one lucky foodie and friends the most memorable meal — here’s how you can win
Thousands of people who bought health insurance through the marketplace created by the federal health care overhaul face price hikes next year that could top 10 percent.