Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Written by Walter Pierce
State rep takes on the ‘establishment,’ again, in his re-election bid.
State Rep. Rickey Hardy upset the apple cart when he ran for the House District 44 seat four years ago. Now he has to do it again.
He pranced into this political season sporting a pair of boxing gloves emblazoned with slogans when he qualified to run for re-election last week — a made-for-media stunt to be sure, but consistent with Hardy’s devil-may-care style — yet he skipped a forum hosted jointly by Acadiana Progressive and the Lafayette Parish Democratic Executive Committee that aired live on Acadiana Open Channel last night, Tuesday, Sept. 13. (I’m assuming the forum went off as planned; this newspaper goes to press on Monday night.)
Forum participants included the two candidates hoping to make Hardy a one-term state rep: businessman Vince Pierre, who is the nephew of the man Hardy replaced in the House, and attorney Roshell Jones. Hardy passed on the debate not because he wanted to dodge Pierre and Jones; he was a no-show because one of the panelists scheduled to question the candidates was Beatrice Wilson, better known as radio personality Porsha Evans.
“Absolutely, it is a set-up. I fought and exposed corruption and she was a part of it — she was involved,” Hardy told me late last week to explain his decision to boycott the forum. “Why would I go and answer questions from a convicted criminal? It makes no sense for me to go over there.”
Evans-née-Wilson, you see, was one of the Disaster Housing Assistance Program case workers unceremoniously canned last year by the Lafayette Housing Authority board in the fall-out from that ugly 2009 independent audit exposing irregularities in LHA operations in general and in the DHAP program specifically — a sordid unraveling of what appears to have been a federally funded cash cow for a few well-placed individuals in Lafayette that Rep. Hardy was instrumental in exposing to the community. (Evans, it was revealed in media reports during the LHA-DHAP affair, has a criminal history of convictions for theft, drug possession, battery and drug distribution.)
And who did Evans work with on the DHAP gravy train that Hardy helped derail? Former City-Parish Councilman Chris Williams, Hardy’s opponent in the 2007 election for House 44 — the victory that sent Hardy to Baton Rouge to do the people’s business. Evans and Williams even shared office space during their time with DHAP, and it’s fair to say the pair is aligned within north Lafayette’s black political milieu.
In his fourth term on the Lafayette Parish School Board in 2007, which a couple of years before had adopted term limits, Hardy saw an opportunity for bigger and better — an opening in the state House of Representatives — a doorway that was “supposed” to open for Williams, who at the time was a City-Parish Council member coming off a protracted and nasty fight over renaming Willow Street in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s honor.
Hardy’s win over Williams, propelled in no small measure by the former’s willingness to reach across racial lines in the district — Williams’ MLK fracas alienated many white voters in the majority-black district, a demographic that proved critical in securing Hardy’s victory — was seen by many as an upset.
Now, four years after beating expectations and Williams in a runoff to replace Wilfred Pierre, Hardy finds himself up against what he considers the same established political forces in the district — forces that want back what he took in 2007.
One Hardy supporter who asked to remain anonymous shares the state rep’s opinion of the Tuesday debate: “This is like walking into a Russian roulette contest and them handing Rickey a revolver with all the chambers filled!”
A federal jury found attorney Daniel Stanford guilty Friday afternoon on eight of 13 counts for his role in the Curious Goods conspiracy.
Lafayette City-Court Judge Francie Bouillion has served on the bench for two decades since winning a special election to replace Judge Kaliste Saloom when he retired in 1994.
The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,575 rigs were exploring for oil and 338 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,776 active rigs.
A crew began erecting the 25-foot mini-wheel late morning Friday in anticipation of the evening’s Hottest Night of the Year party at the park.
Frances Boothe of Nunez, who also happens to be filmmaker Stephen Meaux’s grandmother, prepares a cool-weather fave.
The magazine's senior football writer also predicts a break-out year for Saints fourth-year running back Mark Ingram.
New Iberia colonial or Broussard traditional home
The LPSB is poised and ready to move forward with the termination of Pat Cooper following a discussion Thursday with the attorney hired for the investigation of the superintendent, but a decision of this magnitude should be left up to the new board seated in January, especially with three pro-investigation board members bailing out come the new year.
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Gulf Coast ceremonies marking the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina have begun.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says there is little known about the effects of tiger prawns on indigenous Louisiana shrimp. But, officials say the reports they're seeking will help state biologists monitor the distribution of the prawns and determine the possible presence of spawning populations.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh rested his regulars and watched with delight as Ray Rice's backups ground out 214 yards rushing in a 22-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
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High-profile criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford awaits his fate in the Curious Goods conspiracy trial.
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An abortion rights organization wants a federal judge to block enforcement of Louisiana's new abortion law while its lawsuit to overturn the law makes its way through court.
Republican presidential prospects Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal are planning to speak at an Iowa Christian conservative event in September.
The attention surrounding Victor White III has spiked with the release of last week’s autopsy report, which has raised a number of serious questions about the night of his death and has put the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office under an increased wave of scrutiny as more national media outlets are jumping on the story, most recently seen on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show.
The Acadiana Center for the Arts and the Lafayette Economic Development Authority have announced a new artist stipend program, ArtSpark, designed to offer financial aid to local artists.
A group supporting taxpayer-funded private school tuition vouchers is appealing a federal judge's order that Louisiana must provide regular reports to federal officials on the state's voucher program.
The Discovery Channel has canceled reality TV star Will Hayden's popular "Sons of Guns" show after his arrest on an aggravated rape charge.
The LPSB will finally hear from the attorney it hired to investigate the superintendent at a special meeting Thursday at 4 p.m.
Three bedroom traditional or two bedroom Victorian cottage