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'We understand the issues ... the people': Lafayette Housing Authority could return to local control

aca LHA bt  Advocate staff photo by Bryan Tuck. Photo shot on 3/29/11.    The Housing Authority of the City of Lafayette's Office on Kattie Drive in Lafayette.

Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux has recommended returning the Lafayette Housing Authority to local control, a move that comes five years after federal officials took over the agency when an audit revealed widespread problems and sparked an investigation that put the executive director in federal prison. Whether the Housing Authority soon will answer to a local… Continue reading →

Patterson man convicted Wednesday of using stolen identities to file tax returns, taking $815,000 in refunds

A federal jury on Wednesday found a Patterson man guilty in a scheme to use stolen identities to file fake tax returns and pocket more than $815,000 in refunds, according to U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley’s office. The three-day trial involving 36-year-old Louis W. Carbins Jr. ended after 30 minutes of jury deliberation, Finley’s office said in… Continue reading →

Opelousas man who admitted to federal computer hacking charge sentenced to a year in prison

A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced an Opelousas man to one year and one day in prison for hacking computers to steal money and passwords, then attempting to sell stolen information on a now-defunct global hacking forum known as “Darkode.” Rory Stephen Guidry, 29, who identified online as, pleaded guilty in February to one count… Continue reading →

Family of mentally ill St. Martin Parish man fatally shot by police consider asking for federal civil rights investigation

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK -- Attorneys Xavier Alexander, top left, and Lucretia Pecantte, standing, speak for the family of Michael Noel Sr., a mentally ill man shot and killed by a St. Martin Parish Sheriff's deputy last December, about their plan to pursue a federal civil rights investigation into his death Wednesday, May 25, 2016, at Pecantte's office in New Iberia, La. Family members pictured are Noel Sr.'s children Sabrina, 7, from left, Michael Jr., 6, and Harmony, 10; Noel Sr.'s mother Barbara and children's mother Cassandra Willis, seated at right.

Attorneys for the family of a St. Martin Parish man killed by deputies last year say they may request a federal civil rights investigation into the shooting death, which happened as the deputies tried to wrangle the man into protective custody during one of his frequent mental episodes. Michael Noel’s mother,… Continue reading →

St. Mary Parish inmate and his aunt accused of trying to bribe officer to smuggle contraband into jail

A St. Mary Parish inmate and his aunt are accused of trying to bribe a corrections officer to smuggle contraband into the jail. Authorities arrested the inmate, 31-year-old Therold James, of Bayou Vista, and his 56-year-old aunt, Geraldine James of Berwick, on Tuesday after the officer went undercover to accept a package filled… Continue reading →

Lafayette man indicted in two-year-old shooting death

A Lafayette man was indicted Wednesday on a count of second-degree murder in a 2014 shooting death that went unsolved for more than a year. Cody Ramon Brown, 33, is charged in the Nov. 21, 2014, killing of Dwayne Lee Batiste Jr., who was 22 when he was shot and killed on West Gilman Road near… Continue reading →

Lafayette arrest report for May 25

Arrests posted May 24, 2016, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s website. DONTREVIOUS BEN: 17, of Lafayette. He was booked on principal to simple burglary. KOBE BIBBINS: 17, of the 200 block of Brockton Drive, Carencro. He was booked on felony theft. JONATHAN BOUDREAUX: 35, of the 100 block of Coach… Continue reading →

Lafayette committee embraces dreaded ‘T’ word, recommending taxes to address critical needs

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK -- Large concrete drainage components are pictured as road drainage and widening work continues Tuesday, May 24, 2016, on Pont des Mouton Road between I-49 and Moss Street in Lafayette, La.

A citizens committee tasked with finding solutions for Lafayette city-parish government’s financial woes has recommended a series of new and increased taxes for a list of neglected needs committee members say will not be met without more money. The Future Needs/Funding Sources Committee presented its recommendations to the City-Parish Council on Tuesday — a suite… Continue reading →

St. Mary Parish man booked on drug counts; authorities seize marijuana plants

Photo provided by ST. MARY PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE -- Deputies on May 22, 2016, arrested Charles Adams Jr., 64, of Verdunville, after finding 53 live marijuana plants inside the man's shed, where he had a grow operation established, according to the St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office.

St. Mary Parish authorities this week arrested a 64-year-old man and seized 53 marijuana plants from his personal growing operation, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Deputies investigating a separate complaint at the home of Charles Adams Jr., of 1291 Prairie Road Circle, on Sunday night “smelled the strong odor of raw marijuana”… Continue reading →

SLCC to offer new technical diploma program in oil, gas production field

South Louisiana Community College on Tuesday announced a new technical diploma program in oil and gas production technology, which is set to begin during the fall semester at the college’s New Iberia campus on U.S. 90. The 45-credit-hour program includes core instruction in oil and gas regulations; safety; pneumatic and hydraulic… Continue reading →

Now dat's funny: Comedian mixes Cajun culture with 'ThunderCats' in webseries 'TundaMinous'

Ash Reese

Imagine a beloved 1980s cartoon with a Cajun twist. That was part of Ash Reese’s thought process when he came up with “TundaMinous,” a web-series that hilariously chops up old episodes of “Thundercats” and features Cajun accents and storylines dubbed over the original animated series. In just three weeks and six short… Continue reading →

Lafayette arrest report for May 24

Arrests posted May 23, 2016, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s web site. WASHINGTON MARTIN ALEXANDER: 35, of the 900 block of Landry Road, Breaux Bridge. He was booked on fugitive. TONY FRANK BAILEY: 59, of the 100 block of Sixth Street, Lafayette. He was booked on disturbing the peace and vagrancy.… Continue reading →

Former Lafayette Parish mayor-president to start work at IBERIABANK

Advocate file photo by BRAD KEMP -- Former Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel speaks during the ribbon cutting ceremonies March 23, 2016 for Ambassador Town Center in Lafayette, La.

Former Lafayette Mayor-President Joey Durel is joining IBERIABANK as business development officer for the Lafayette area, the banking corporation announced Monday. Durel left office in January after serving three terms leading city-parish government. Before taking office, he owned Durel’s Pet Shops in Lafayette and several Arby’s franchises, among other business interests. “We are… Continue reading →

Around Acadiana for May 23, 2016

Hawk’s Boil Up hosts its season finale crawfish boil Sunday from noon until 6 p.m. in downtown Lafayette. The event is at Jefferson Street Pub at 500 Jefferson St., with the first live music act, the Boil Up Boilers, starting at 1 p.m. Horace Trahan and Pine Leaf Boys will begin playing music at 3 p.m. Advanced… Continue reading →

Judge rules Monday that emails should be available for Lafayette detectives to review

Advocate staff file photo by BRYAN TUCK --  Lafayette Parish sheriff-elect Mark Garber

A judge Monday removed the legal barrier that had kept criminal investigators from looking at emails belonging to attorney Richard Mere and Rachel Garber in her divorce from Lafayette Parish Sheriff-elect Mark Garber. Judge Thomas Duplantier dismissed a lawsuit filed by Mere and Rachel Garber, who were alerted in April by Microsoft that detectives had… Continue reading →

Lafayette arrest report for May 23

Arrests posted May 22, 2016, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s website. PHILLIP JAMES ALBERT: 24, of the 100 block of Jules Lane, Opelousas. He was booked on simple battery. FAYE ALEX: 36, of the 200 block of E. Denbas Street, St. Martinville. She was booked on felony theft of a motor vehicle.… Continue reading →

Lafayette School Board to weigh merits of two charter applications; board has history of rejecting applications

While one organization’s plans to build a charter high school in Lafayette Parish have been placed on hold and funding for state-approved charters remains in legal limbo, two more charter organizations are seeking entry into the local educational landscape. The Lafayette Parish School Board will decide whether to approve charter applications submitted by Athlos Academy… Continue reading →

Jennings woman killed in motorcycle crash on I-10

A Jennings woman was killed Saturday after she was thrown from the motorcycle she’d been riding on Interstate 10, State Police said. Donnie Benoit, 51, was a passenger on a motorcycle driven by Philip Benoit, 54, around 11 a.m. Saturday, Senior Trooper Michael Reichardt said in a news release. The motorcycle drifted off the right side… Continue reading →

Louisiana chefs team with group to raise money for Lafayette Victory Garden pavilion

A Lafayette pop-up restaurant, a city development organization and a handful of renowned Louisiana chefs are assembling to cook, sell and serve street food from around the world to raise funds for the Victory Garden’s pavilion area. Billed as the Street Food Collective, the event is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. June 4 at Warehouse 535,… Continue reading →

Lafayette High grads advised to ‘write your own story’

Advocate photo by PAUL KIEU -- Lafayette High School graduates exit the arena floor of the Cajundome following the school's graduation ceremony on May 21, 2016, in Lafayette, LA.

Acadiana-area high school graduates for 2016 marked the end of one chapter of their young lives and celebrated the start of a new one at commencement ceremonies on Saturday. Lafayette High School was the first of five Lafayette Parish high schools to have its students cross the stage to collect their diplomas at the Cajundome during… Continue reading →

Lafayette crime blotter for May 21, 2016

Arrests posted May 21, 2016, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s web site: BRIANNA AUGUILLARD: 23, of the 100 block of Resha Street, Breaux Bridge. She was booked on misdemeanor theft of goods. DEXTIN BENANDI: 30, of the 1400 block of Loop… Continue reading →

Designers want the public’s input on how development should fit in with I-49 corridor through Lafayette

A week of intensive workshops that begins Saturday will explore the future of neighborhoods and commercial areas along the route of the planned Interstate 49 Connector through Lafayette. The state Department of Transportation and Development is planning for the road itself — the 5.5-mile stretch of I-49 through Lafayette — but a related initiative led by… Continue reading →

Lafayette arrest report for May 20

Arrests posted May 19, 2016, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s website. NICHOLAS THOMAS BROOKS: 20, of the 100 block of Cantal Street, Lafayette. He was booked on carrying a weapon while committing or attempting to commit a crime; misdemeanor Schedule I narcotics; prohibited activities (drug paraphernalia); and nine counts of simple burglary.… Continue reading →

Lafayette police arrest two in vehicle burglaries, recover stolen guns

Police investigating a Lafayette vehicle burglary early Thursday arrested two men, one of whom was wanted in a drive-by shooting and vehicle theft, and recovered several guns stolen from area vehicles, according to the Lafayette Police Department. Devonte Wiltz, 28, and Nicholas Brooks, 20, were in a vehicle matching the description of one reported in a… Continue reading →

St. Landry Parish school system looks at projected deficit for this year

The St. Landry Parish School Board was told during a special meeting on Thursday that the district anticipates a $3 million deficit by the end of the 2015-16 fiscal year. Although discussion of the budget was not an item on the meeting agenda, finance director Tressa Miller discussed the district’s financial situation when… Continue reading →

Bell Helicopter says it’s moving assembly of Jet Ranger X from Lafayette to Canada

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK -- The Bell Helicopter facility is pictured Tuesday, March 29, 2016, in Lafayette, La.

Bell Helicopter said Thursday it would assemble its 505 Jet Ranger X in Mirabel, Canada, and abandon plans to build the new-model aircraft at a $26.3 million Lafayette facility that Louisiana financed to lure the company and 115 jobs. Instead, an undetermined number of employees at the Lafayette plant will handle some of the cabin assembly for… Continue reading →

Lafayette arrest report for May 19

Arrests posted May 18, 2016, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s website. LANCE BELAIRE: 27, of the 2500 block of Catahoula Highway, St. Martinville. He was booked on warrant/bench warrant. TRAVON BENJAMIN: 19, of the 400 block of Joan Street, Lafayette. He was booked on possession of firearm or carrying concealed weapon by a… Continue reading →

St. Landry council considers ways delivery of utility funds to needy in the parish

Feds accuse Lafayette General of overbilling Medicare; hospital plans appeal

Federal auditors estimate Lafayette General Medical Center overbilled Medicare for more than $4.4 million over two years, a finding hospital administrators say they mostly dispute and plan to appeal. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General released the audit on Monday. It’s one in a nationwide series of hospital compliance reviews.… Continue reading →

Teen stabbed in altercation Monday near Comeaux High

Kheila Francis

An unknown youth stabbed a 16-year-old boy in the stomach and injured him Monday night near a park in Lafayette, police said. The victim told police he was walking in the 400 block of Bluebird Drive, near Beaullieu Park and Comeaux High School, when the male juvenile approached him and stabbed him once the encounter escalated… Continue reading →

Boy, 16, stabbed during fight near Lafayette Park Monday night

An unknown youth stabbed a 16-year-old boy in the stomach and injured him on Monday night near a park in Lafayette, police said. The victim told police he was walking in the 400 block of Bluebird Drive, near Beaullieu Park and Comeaux High School, when the male juvenile approached him and stabbed him once the encounter… Continue reading →

Lafayette police arrest three in drive-by shooting in Mouton Park

Police on Tuesday arrested three people accused of involvement in a Monday night drive-by shooting in Lafayette’s Mouton Park that injured three people. Isaiah Isaac and Earl Shelvin, both 24-year-olds from Lafayette, are accused of attempted second-degree murder in the shooting, according to a news release from the Lafayette Police Department. A third person,… Continue reading →

More workers eligible for overtime

Associated Press file photo -- The fast-food, retail and hotel industries are among those expected to feel the effects of new federal overtime regulations that will make more than 4 million U.S. workers eligible for overtime pay.

New federal overtime regulations will make more than 4 million U.S. workers eligible for overtime pay, but the rules aren’t expected to result in widespread raises for “managers” in Louisiana. “A lot of people are going to look at different ways to skin the cat,” said Thomas R. Peak, a partner with Taylor, Porter, Brooks &… Continue reading →

Lafayette board defies mayor, police union on police chief qualifications

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK -- Lafayette Police Capt. Reginald Thomas speaks during a press conference after being named the Interim Lafayette Police chief Tuesday, January 19, 2016, at Lafayette City Hall in Lafayette, La.

The Lafayette Fire and Police Civil Service Board on Wednesday kept in place the bachelor’s degree requirement for the city’s police chief, going against a proposal pushed by Mayor-President Joel Robideaux and backed by the police union to allow extensive law enforcement experience in lieu of a degree. The board voted unanimously to keep… Continue reading →

Lafayette arrest report for May 18

Arrests posted May 17, 2016, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s website. MARK ABSHIRE: 41, of the 100 block of Lane Street, Rayne. He was booked on safety belt violation and hold for Vermilion Parish. MITCHELL PAUL ADAMS: 55, of the 100 block of Lana Drive, Lafayette. He was booked on municipal purposes.… Continue reading →

Video: ‘Cajun John Wayne’ says he’ll be a candidate for Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK --  Clay Higgins, a reserve deputy for the Lafayette City Marshal's Office and former captain with the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office, announces his run for Louisiana's 3rd Congressional District seat Wednesday, May 18, 2016, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Lafayette, La.

Clay Higgins, aka “the Cajun John Wayne,” on Wednesday delivered with messianic zeal the news that he is running for Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District seat, which Rep. Charles Boustany is leaving to run for U.S. Senate. “Support for my message and support for this mission is nationwide,” said Higgins, who is running as a Republican.… Continue reading →