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Rain put a damper on Lafayette Fourth of July festival, but only for a spell as skies cleared and revelers returned

The inaugural July 4 “Uncle Sam’s Jam” at Parc International in Lafayette got off to a slow start on Saturday after torrential rainfall drove away the crowd for a spell. But by 5 p.m., the clearing skies and anticipation of the approaching fireworks show brought the Independence Day revelers streaming back. “We had… Continue reading →

Acadiana Regional Airport director says New Iberia facility could become hub of international commerce within a year

The executive director of Acadiana Regional Airport believes the vast air transport facility in Iberia Parish can be a hub of international commerce within a year. “Everything is in place. We’ve got the infrastructure, we’ve got the facility. We’re ready to go,” said Jason Devillier, who concedes he’s a “hopeless optimist.”… Continue reading →

Lafayette police blotter for July 4, 2015

Arrests posted Jul. 4, 2015, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s web site: MIKESHA NICOLE ARNOLD: 20, of the 1700 block of Virginian Colony, La Place. She was booked on misdemeanor theft and two counts of warrant/bench warrant. TONY LANE BEN: 33,… Continue reading →

Patrons flocking to new East Regional Library in Youngsville; main library in Lafayette to reopen Monday

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK --  Library employee Deshirca Goudeau re-shelves books Monday, June 29, 2015, at the East Regional Branch of the Lafayette Public Library in Youngsville, La.

Eight-year-old Brooklynn Martin pauses from coloring to pull out a few of her favorite books of the moment from her tote bag. She opens the book “Freaky Facts About Natural Disasters.” “It’s really cool,” she says as she points to a page on tornadoes. Her family makes frequent visits to… Continue reading →

Workers prepare to move to new digs as Lafayette Parish Courthouse renovations move from one floor to the next

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Ben Arrant prepares to install network cables on the seventh floor of the Lafayette Parish Courthouse on July 1, 2015.

Another phase in the Lafayette Parish Courthouse’s $15 million makeover is nearing completion, and employees with the Clerk of Court’s Office are getting ready to move upstairs so work can begin on floors one and two. The move is one in a series of courthouse employee relocations made necessary by the work being done… Continue reading →

Lafayette police blotter for July 3, 2015

Arrests posted Jul. 3, 2015, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s web site: SAM NEELY BENNETT: 26, of the 100 block of Bell Fontaine, Lafayette. He was booked on misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated and driving on right side of road.… Continue reading →

Lafayette council considering naming bicycle loop after murder victim Michaela “Mickey” Shunick

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK --  A cyclist and her dog pass by the Mickey Shunick "Ghost Bike" memorial on St. Landry Street Extension Thursday, July 2, 2015, in Lafayette, La. Shunick was a University of Louisiana-Lafayette student who was abducted and murdered while riding her bicycle home in May 2012. A proposed "Mickey Shunick Memorial Bike Loop" would circle from her bike memorial on St. Landry Extension down St. Mary Boulevard, then down Girard Park Drive and onto West Bayou Parkway before veering up Roselawn Boulevard to Johnston Street, left on Bertrand Drive and past Cajun Field to complete the loop at Shunick's memorial near Blackham Coliseum.

The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will consider naming a loop of proposed and current bicycle pathways in honor of slain cyclist Michaela “Mickey” Shunick, whose 2012 disappearance while she biked home one night gripped the community and reached the nation. The proposed “Mickey Shunick Memorial Bike Loop” will circle about 8 miles around the city’s… Continue reading →

Under pressure from the state, St. Landry School Board moving ahead with new cafeteria for Leonville Elementary

The St. Landry Parish School Board on Thursday approved a preliminary cost estimate range from $985,000 to $1.25 million for a new cafeteria at Leonville Elementary. The district also plans to spend $11,487 to repair the existing cafeteria, Assistant Superintendent Joseph Cassimere told the board. Architect Donald D’Avy said that while… Continue reading →

Lafayette board’s decision to curtail public comment period may be extended to board members as well

The Lafayette Parish School Board’s decision to cut the time it traditionally set aside at the end of its meetings for the public to approach members on any issue could lead to board members no longer having the same privilege. Board President Tommy Angelle removed the public comment section that was reserved for… Continue reading →

Registration to begin for schools in Lafayette Parish

Registration for Lafayette Parish public schools will be held at the student’s zoned school, and parents should contact the school for summer hours before attempting to visit the school site, Lafayette Parish school officials are advising. The school system previously organized a central registration process on select days in the summer. Officials advise parents to… Continue reading →

Supreme Court overturns lower court, says Vermilion superintendent did not violate teacher’s due process during firing

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- New Vermilion Parish Schools Superintendent Jerome Puyau is leading an initiative to save his district and others across the state money on everything from online classes for students to curriculum resources.

The Louisiana Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s February ruling and declared a law enacted in 2012 giving school superintendents wide latitude in firing teachers as constitutional. The state’s high court said the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal erred when it ruled tenured Vermilion Parish teacher Kasha LaPointe’s termination in 2013 violated her due… Continue reading →

Reelz CEO says decision to air Miss USA pageant not political; 'I completely disagree with (Trump's) comments'

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  Miss USA contestants are prompted by a television producer for footage before they try rock climbing at Perkins Road Community Park Wednesday, July 1, 2015.

The Reelz Channel has come to the rescue of the Miss USA pageant, which lost its broadcasters this week, and to East Baton Rouge Parish, which invested public money into the event in the hopes of receiving national and international exposure. Reelz CEO Stan E. Hubbard told The Advocate he disagrees with inflammatory statements Donald… Continue reading →

Lafayette sets workshops on new development rules for architects, engineers

A series of public workshops on new rules to guide development in Lafayette are planned in July to help prepare architects and engineers for the changes that take effect in December. The workshops on the Unified Development Code are mainly geared toward professionals, with two scheduled so far for architects and two for engineers, although additional… Continue reading →

Donald Thornton Jr., Lafayette High’s former assistant principal, is tapped to fill school’s top post

Advocate file photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK --  Lafayette High School

Former Lafayette High Assistant Principal Donald Thornton Jr. will return to the campus as its principal, Superintendent Donald Aguillard announced Thursday. Thornton replaces Patrick Leonard, who retired June 30 after serving as the school’s principal for the past 12 years. Thornton returns after serving as principal at Lafayette Middle School. He holds a bachelor’s degree… Continue reading →

Acadiana Crime Blotter for July 2

Arrests posted July 2, 2015, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s website. DEVONE ALEXANDER: 24, of the 300 block of Macklyn Street, Lafayette. He was booked on contributing to the delinquency of juveniles and three counts of simple burglary. TIMOTHY BERNARD: 47, of the 200 block of Ena Street, Lafayette. He was booked on… Continue reading →

Demographer says he could have some school rezoning lines ready for the Lafayette School Board by December

The demographer hired to map new lines for Lafayette Parish school zones told the School Board on Wednesday that he could have zoning recommendations to them before Christmas break and advised the board to involve the public through workshops to show them current student populations and the impact of any changes. The board recently received push-back… Continue reading →

High court upholds decision to overturn conviction in Lafayette’s scared-to-death case: No evidence 86-year-old’s heart attack caused by burglar

The Louisiana Supreme Court has upheld a lower court’s decision overturning a jury’s manslaughter conviction of a burglar accused of literally scaring an elderly Lafayette woman to death in 1999 when she returned home and found him inside. Because prosecutors did not present medical or forensic testimony to explain how Willie James Robertson may have caused… Continue reading →

OneAcadiana in early stages of lining up multi-acre sites to lure businesses to the region

Jason El Koubi, left, Jim Bourgeois

The Lafayette-based regional business group OneAcadiana is in the early stages of identifying and qualifying multiacre sites within the organization’s nine parishes that could be used to lure business to the region. OneAcadiana recently hired a site development manager, Zach Hager, and is actively exploring land that is available, said Jim Bourgeois,… Continue reading →

Acadiana Crime Blotter for July 1

Arrests posted June 30, 2015, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s website: CLIFTON AMOX: 27, of the 1200 block of East Pont Des Mouton Road, Lafayette. He was booked on following vehicles too closely and misdemeanor hit-and-run driving. CHRISTOPHER ARDOIN: 38, of the 100 block of Bois Des Chene Drive, Opelousas. He was booked… Continue reading →

Acadiana lawmakers expect budget battles to begin again next year

Reflecting on the recent legislative session, Acadiana lawmakers Tuesday acknowledged that plugging a $1.6 billion hole in the 2015-16 state budget took stopgap measures that relied on accounting tricks in a fight that pitted business against higher education and health care. The legislators who took part in a forum hosted by OneAcadiana, the business group, also… Continue reading →

Friday night football will look a lot different this year in New Iberia

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Elis Cortez, with Southeastern Commercial Masonry out of Alabama, unloads equipment on Tuesday morning as he and fellow workers prepare to begin their phase of the consruction the next day at the New Iberia Senior High School football field. Both New Iberia Senior High School and Westgate High School are recieving new football stadiums thanks to a bond package approved by voters in 2013.

Come late fall, home games will hold a different meaning for the football teams and fans at New Iberia Senior High and Westgate High. For years, the schools have shared Lloyd G. Porter Stadium, located behind the former New Iberia Senior High on Bank Avenue, taking turns scheduling home games on… Continue reading →

Six of nine Louisiana metro areas lose jobs, but state still up overall

Advocate file photo -- Unused inland drilling rigs are stacked together earlier this year at the Port of Iberia. Low crude prices have contributed to a loss of oil and gas jobs in Louisiana, particularly in the Lafayette and Houma-Thibodaux metro areas.

Six of Louisiana’s nine metropolitan areas lost nonfarm jobs over the 12 months through May 31. Big gains in the Baton Rouge, Lake Charles and Hammond areas, however, helped the state gain 8,100 nonfarm jobs over the same period, the Louisiana Workforce Commission reported Tuesday. Louisiana’s nonfarm employment finished the 12 months at 1,994,300… Continue reading →

Lafayette police investigating early morning fatal shooting of man, 21, whose body was found lying in road

The early Tuesday morning shooting death of a Lafayette man marks the third overnight and unsolved killing in the city since early May. Police found the body of 21-year-old Damien Anthony Champ lying in the roadway about 1:15 a.m. in the 300 block of Bossier Street, near the West Gilman Road intersection, Lafayette Police Department spokesman… Continue reading →

Acadiana Crime Blotter for June 30

Arrests posted June 29, 2015, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s website. PAMELA AUGUSTINE: 53, of the 100 block of Hebert Road, Lafayette. She was booked on misdemeanor theft. LEJUNE DESTINY DEE BOUDREAUX: 31, of the 100 block of Acadian Drive, Lafayette. She was booked on three counts of warrant/bench warrant. Chloe… Continue reading →

Mother sought in child visitation case surrenders

A Lafayette mother of three accused of leaving home with her children last week despite a court order granting her husband visitation surrendered Friday, KATC-TV reported. Katelyn Gauthier, 30, walked into the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office shortly after 8:30 p.m. and said she was there to surrender, Maj. Art LeBreton said. She made no statement to… Continue reading →

‘It’s such a blessing’ — family to get new home in Lafayette, thanks to Habitat for Humanity and 400 volunteers

Advocate Photo by BRAD KEMP The new owner of a Lafayette Habitat for Humanity home Natasha Cormier stands outside of the home with her one year old daughter London Landry and daughter Koriana Landry outside of the home after a Dedication and Blessing of the Cormier Family Home Monday June 29, 2015 in Lafayette, La..

Once the mortgage and deed paperwork are signed, single mother Natasha Cormier and her two daughters will move into their new home, a two-story dwelling on Georgia Street where they’ll be able to breathe. The newly built home will be a welcome change from their current place, which has old carpet that caused allergies. The… Continue reading →

Lafayette School Superintendent Donald Aguilllard announces more appointments for his new administrative team

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Lafayette Parish Assistant Superintendent Sandra Billeaudeau, left, speaks with Superintendent Candidate Don Aguillard Wednesday before Aguillard's interview for the position in Lafayette. Aguillard was selected unanimosly by the school board Wednesday.

New Lafayette Parish schools Superintendent Donald Aguillard on Monday announced the remainder of his leadership team. Aguillard was appointed superintendent mid-May, and his reorganization plan has set off several internal moves within the school system, leaving several administrative jobs vacant. Sandra Billeaudeau will now work as the district’s planning administrator. Billeaudeau’s position… Continue reading →

Medical Center to operate Louisiana Oncology Associates locations later this summer

Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center will take over operations of Louisiana Oncology Associates locations and infusion centers in the region effective Aug. 1. The two groups recently finalized a strategic partnership that sees Lourdes operating the Louisiana Oncology Associates locations in Lafayette, New Iberia, Crowley and Opelousas with physician support. Within the next eight… Continue reading →

Class action status allowed for some New Iberia residents after altercation with police during 2006 Sugar Cane Festival

A state appellate court has ruled that some revelers who were tear-gassed at the 2006 Sugar Cane Festival in New Iberia can remain plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit targeting the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office. In a decision published this month, a three-judge panel of the Louisiana 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal approved the class-action… Continue reading →

Around Acadiana: Upcoming July 4 celebrations

Sugar Mill Pond in Youngsville will hold its annual Fourth of July fireworks display from 5:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Friday. The event is free and will feature live music, free parking and trolley rides to the event. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Pets are not allowed, and attendees cannot bring in ice… Continue reading →

‘I can’t believe we’re actually holding it’— Nine same-sex couples in Acadiana receive marriage licenses in historic day on Monday

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK --  Chelsea Hughes shows off her marriage certificate outside the Lafayette Parish Courthouse on Monday, June 29, 2015, in Lafayette, La.

Despite earlier indications that Acadiana’s same-sex couples would have to wait three weeks before they would be allowed to marry, area clerks of court on Monday changed course and issued nine marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Six couples in Lafayette Parish, two in Iberia Parish and one in St. Martin Parish successfully applied for… Continue reading →

Acadiana Crime Blotter for June 29, 2015

Six people were not injured after lightning struck their Youngsville home Saturday night, sparking a fire, KATC-TV reported. Firefighters from Youngsville, Milton and Broussard responded to the 200 block of Revere Drive about 6:30 p.m., where the house was on fire, Fire Chief Blair Rivette said.… Continue reading →

Autopsy of a police custody death: a look into the death of a mentally ill, drug-addicted Scott man

Photo provided by Facebook -- Robert Minjarez Jr.

Officers from the three Lafayette Parish law enforcement agencies who encountered Robert Minjarez Jr. in his final waking moments had dealt with him before. The 30-year-old from Scott struggled with cocaine addiction for at least a decade, with manic episodes involving severe paranoia and hallucination. Law enforcement were often called to manage the situation, with… Continue reading →

Lafayette police blotter for June 28, 2015

Arrests posted Jun. 27, 2015, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s web site: ALEXANDRA BAKER: 25, of the 6 block of Pirates Alley, Lafayette. She was booked on distribution or possession with intent to distribute Schedule IV narcotics; possession with intent to distribute alprazolam; and… Continue reading →

Lafayette man pleads guilty to federal gun charge

A Lafayette man pleaded guilty in federal court to possessing a firearm reported stolen from a gun shop. Cordera Dean Felix admitted his guilt Thursday to U.S. District Judge Richard Haik. Felix faces up to 10 years in prison, three years’ supervised release and a fine up to $250,000, U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley said. Felix… Continue reading →

Master’s program in informatics takes next step to approval for University of Louisiana at Lafayette

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is a step closer to offering its computing students the option to continue their studies and earn a master’s degree in informatics. The university’s management board — the University of Louisiana System Board Of Supervisors — approved the proposal, which now awaits final approval from the Louisiana Board of Regents.… Continue reading →

Scott woman killed, four others injured, in I-10 collision

A 61-year-old woman was killed and four other people injured in an Interstate 10 collision Thursday that occurred when a westbound Buick LeSabre crossed the median and struck a Saturn Vue driven by the woman. Pearl Tucker, of Scott, was pronounced dead at the scene in the 3:40 p.m. crash. Two… Continue reading →