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...
New menu items ready for the Lenten season
The Cane Fire Film Series screens “MaidenTrip” on Monday, March 10, at the AcA.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The vibe of the tribe done modern
The Louisiana Workforce Commission said Friday that initial claims rose to 2,125 from the previous week's total of 1,964. There were 2,887 initial claims during the comparable week in 2013.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, March 07, 2014:
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
She’s the daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash, but she’s been a gifted artist in her own right for three decades, and she’s coming to Lafayette.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Prepare yourselves for sun
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
Due to the chaos of Mardi Gras and the weather, the entry deadline for this year's INDesign Awards has been extended by one week.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
Queen Evangline and King Gabriel ruled Tuesday night
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
IND Style does Gabriel
Newsy bits for the fam
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.