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...
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Black Friday shopping begins; Pope visiting Turkey; oil prices decline and more national and international news for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Casual cool for Thanksgiving
Shop Lafayette goes strong
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
A divided 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal reversed a Lafayette district judge’s ruling absolving the co-owner of a New Iberia accounting firm of liability in an embezzlement case.
Our View: It’s reasonable, temporary and invests in Lafayette’s future.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
Three bedroom in Port Barre or two bedroom in Opelousas
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
“I am only getting a little nervous about two projects — the proposed Sasol GTL facility [not the new ethylene plant] and the proposed G2X facility — both in Lake Charles. They need a hefty difference between oil and natural gas prices to make sense.”
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Lower oil prices also might slow the growth of oil production in parts of the U.S., Canada and elsewhere because it will no longer be so profitable.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
A Lafayette woman faces up to 20 years in prison for running up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges to her company credit card.
Signs that our state’s banking industry is undergoing a downsizing in 2014 were further confirmed today with the FDIC’s latest figures showing a third straight quarter in which Louisiana lost more banks and earned less money.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.