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...
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."
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
A refreshing twist at a Lafayette institution comes served with a black bean salad stuffed avocado
Marijuana source of disputes for HOAs; experts say still safe to fly; Russian-supported attacks on Ukraine and more national and international news for Friday, July 25, 2014.
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.
Three bedroom traditional Lafayette home or three bedroom Breaux Bridge home
Style market slated for old Artesia
The city prosecutor has released the case file for Lafayette Parish School Board member Tehmi Chassion’s simple battery complaint against Superintendent Pat Cooper, and the seven witness statements given to police illustrate two very different scenarios.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Louisiana fell one spot in an annual national ranking of child well-being that looks at poverty, education and health access.
A federal judge has decided he doesn't need to hear more arguments in the case of a gay couple who want a Louisiana marriage license.
Saints again bring playoff aspirations into 2014 campaign.
New details in the case against the man arrested for last week’s bomb threat and bank robbery has surfaced, including a MidSouth Bank surveillance video showing the alleged suspect attempt an early-morning bank robbery.
Citing conflicting witness accounts, the city prosecutor will not pursue Tehmi Chassion’s allegation of simple battery against Superintendent Pat Cooper.
Smoked meat, fresh sides and the best boudin around
Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers opens on Johnston.
Cirque du Soleil effortlessly combines circus art with beloved Michael Jackson hits.