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Scholars to discuss history of Acadians at Vermilionville symposium

Scholars from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Yale and Vanderbilt will discuss the history and culture of the Acadians during a symposium Thursday at Vermilionville. “The Path to a New Acadia: A Symposium” is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Vermilionville Performance Center, 300 Fisher Road, and commemorates the 250th anniversary of the… Continue reading →

Lafayette arrest report for Oct. 7

Arrests posted Oct. 6, 2015, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s website: ALFRED LEONCE ARCENEAUX: 37, of the 5100 block of W. Congress Street, Lafayette. He was booked on hold for court and five counts of warrant/bench warrant. LORI AYMOND: 22, of the 100 block of Brady Road, Port Barre. She was booked… Continue reading →

Lafayette council votes for new zoning restrictions on Louisiana Avenue, looking to limit apartment complexes

Advocate staff file photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Lafayette City-Parish Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux in 2013.

The City-Parish Council on Tuesday approved new limits on the development of apartment complexes along Louisiana Avenue between Willow Street and Interstate 10. Apartments already faced some restrictions under special zoning rules approved for Louisiana Avenue in 2005, but those limits would have largely gone away under a city wide overhaul on zoning regulations scheduled… Continue reading →

Officials promise the proposed elevated I-49 Connector through Lafayette will do more good than harm

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Sherri LeBas, Secretary with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, speaks to the public about the benefits of constructing an I-49 corridor through Lafayette on Tuesday at the Rosa Parks Transportation Center. Behind LeBas, from left, is David Mann, Chairman of the I-49 South Coalition, Joey Durel, Lafayette City-Parish President, Vincent Pierre, District 44 Representative, and Joel Robideaux, District 45 Representative

At a time when many urban areas are talking about tearing down elevated interstates built decades ago, Lafayette is just beginning to talk seriously about how best to build a new one through the middle of the city. The potential downsides of big, elevated roadways — that they can divide communities, foul local traffic patterns and… Continue reading →

Man with multiple immigration-related arrests, including a deportation, pleads guilty to fraud in passport application in New Iberia

A man from Mexico pleaded guilty this week to committing fraud when he applied for a passport in New Iberia in 2013, officials said. Federico Vargas Mares, 28, pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court to federal Magistrate Judge Patrick Hanna. The plea becomes final upon approval by Judge Richard Haik, U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley said.… Continue reading →

St. Landry man enters guilty plea in cocaine distribution case

A 47-year-old St. Landry Parish resident has pleaded guilty in federal court to his role in a 2013 cocaine distribution conspiracy, officials said Tuesday. Steven Paul Banks, of Palmetto, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to distribute 500 grams of cocaine and 28 grams of cocaine base, which is a form of cocaine, U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley… Continue reading →

South Louisiana Community College teams with churches and organizations to recruit first-generation students in effort to break cycle of poverty

Churches and community groups in the Lafayette area have partnered with South Louisiana Community College to help recruit students in an effort to take on the challenge of breaking the cycle of poverty in the community. The 100 Black Men of Greater Lafayette, the Senior Pastors United Alliance and several church congregations have united with SLCC… Continue reading →

St. Landry high school principal, basketball coach arrested after physical confrontation with student

A St. Landry Parish high school principal and a coach were placed on administrative leave Tuesday following their arrests a day earlier in a physical confrontation with a student. Beau Chene High School Principal Keith James, 49, was booked on a count of simple battery in the incident and later released on a $1,000 bond, according… Continue reading →

See Lafayette-area arrests for Oct. 5, 2015

Arrests posted Oct. 5, 2015, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s website. RYAN ARCENEAUX: 44, of the 200 block of Teurlings Drive, Lafayette. He was booked on fugitive. JOHNIE WAYNE BENOIT: 46, of the 100 block of Cabana Row, Lafayette. He was booked on felony simple criminal damage to property; resisting an officer;… Continue reading →

New Iberia woman killed in head-on collision

A New Iberia woman was killed Monday after another car crossed a centerline and collided head-on with her SUV. Marette D. Stevens, 55, died at an area hospital after the crash on La. 3195 near Estate Drive, which happened around 10:30 a.m., according to State Police. Police said they are still investigating why Sharon Witzel, 26,… Continue reading →

Audit report: UL at Lafayette food services company catered parties for student union director for free

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK --  A Sodexo food service van is parked outside of the student union at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Monday, October 5, 2015, in Lafayette, La.

An audit released on Monday revealed the company selling food services to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette overbilled the school on some occasions, provided free catering for non-university events involving a former school official and brokered unwritten meal deals with university employees in exchange for cleaning services and football tickets. The state Legislative Auditor’s… Continue reading →

Around Acadiana for Oct. 6, 2015

Lafayette law enforcement agencies invite the community to the annual crime prevention event National Night Out from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Neyland Park and the Martin Luther King Center, 309 Cora St. The event features music, entertainment, fun jumps, food, games and informational displays from the Lafayette Fire Department, Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s… Continue reading →

Cortez, Hughes facing off for Senate District 23 seat

Louisiana State Sen. Page Cortez, R-Lafayette

If re-elected to the state Senate for District 23, incumbent Page Cortez said he’d continue to deliver funding for road improvements. His challenger, political newcomer Terry Hughes, said he’d push to end Common Core and seek a major overhaul of state-funded consulting contracts. Cortez is seeking a second term in the Senate. He was first elected… Continue reading →

Cuban Club formed in Acadiana after relations warmed between U.S. and Caribbean Island

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK -- Jose Sanchez, left, and Carlos Cruz make Cuban sandwiches Friday, Sept. 25, 2015, at Pepin's in Lafayette, La. Sanchez uses his father's recipe, which was created in the 1950's -- ingredients include ham, roasted pork, swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on Cuban bread.

Shortly after President Barack Obama last December began to restore U.S.-Cuba diplomatic relations, some ex-pat Cubans who have made Acadiana their home formed Louisiana’s Cuban Club. Club members in Lafayette and elsewhere across south Louisiana want to re-establish business and familial connections with the island nation that has been under Communist rule since 1959,… Continue reading →

$60,000 worth of new cutting-edge equipment to put Lafayette Science Museum Planetarium on the map

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK --  Planetarium Curator David Hostetter stands in the observatory at Lafayette Science Museum and Planetarium on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, next to a telescope currently on loan that will soon be replaced with two similar telescopes.

Dave Hostetter, curator at the Lafayette Science Museum planetarium, first proposed an observatory more than three decades ago, shortly after the astronomer took the job in 1980. He’s finally getting his wish. “We’ve had several proposals, but this one is actually going to happen,” Hostetter said last week, showing off some of the… Continue reading →

Lafayette crime blotter for Oct. 5: Three armed robberies occur within 45 minutes, unclear whether all related

Two Lafayette-area convenience stores were held up by an armed robber Saturday, while a Lafayette fast-food restaurant was the target of an attempted armed robbery, all within less than an hour, according to police and sheriff’s reports. The robber in the three holdups appeared to match the same description, though the three law enforcement agencies investigating the… Continue reading →

Lafayette STEM Academy showcases student projects along with $9 million school expansion

Advocate Photo by BRAD KEMP Student Treyon Jackson melts a cube of sugar to see how long it takes to melt in one of the labs after ribbon cutting ceremonies for Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy's new  $9 million science wing and new engineering workshop Friday Oct. 2, 2015 in Lafayette, La.. The sugar took 30 seconds to melt.

Elections took on another cast for David Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy biology students Courtlynn Thomas and Andre Thierry, as they campaigned over which specialized structure within a living cell deserved to win the popular vote. Should it be the Golgi apparatus or lysosomes? The two juniors recounted their stellar cellular campaigns — a recent class… Continue reading →

Lafayette hospital that treated theater shooting victims 'pays it forward' to Oregon hospital treating school shooting victims by ordering pizzas for staff

Paramedics return to their ambulances after delivering patients to Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg, Ore., following a deadly shooting at Umpqua Community College, in Roseburg, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015.  (Aaron Yost/Roseburg News-Review via AP)

A Lafayette hospital on Thursday sent pizzas to the Oregon hospital caring for victims of a community college gunman in what’s now at least the third iteration of a pay-it-forward pizza chain by hospitals experiencing the aftermath of a mass shooting. Just as a Waco, Texas, hospital sent pizzas to Lafayette General Medical Center’s emergency room… Continue reading →

Lafayette police seek man in July 18 shooting during failed drug deal

Harold Onezine

The Lafayette Police Department is trying to track down an attempted-murder suspect accused of shooting the victim after demanding money during a failed drug deal. Detectives have issued an arrest warrant for Harold Onezine, 28, for attempted first-degree murder. Police gave this account of the shooting: Onezine met with the victim on July 18 to sell… Continue reading →

Lafayette Parish President candidates field questions on coal-fired plant, traffic signals, elevated interstate

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Joel Robideaux, State Representative for District 45, listens while Dee Stanley, Chief Administrative Officer for Lafayette Consolidated Covernment, answers a question relating to environmental issues during a forum for the candidates running for Lafayette City Parish President held by the Sierra Club's Acadian Group on Thursday at the Downtown Public Library.

City-parish president candidates Joel Robideaux and Dee Stanley navigated questions on coal-generated power, the disruption an elevated interstate might cause in Lafayette and whether the city has too many traffic signals — all posed at a Thursday evening forum sponsored by the local chapter of the Sierra Club. In a campaign season where the candidates have… Continue reading →

St. Landry School Board takes up Leonville Elementary project, employee Christmas payments and superintendent evaluation

Lafayette School Board votes to maintain employee health insurance costs, passing over a proposal that would have cost the school system only half as much

Lafayette Parish School System employees and retirees won’t face any changes to their health insurance premiums or deductibles next year, the School Board decided during a special meeting Thursday. The board voted 7-2 to retain current premiums and deductible rates, passing on another proposal that would have cost the school system only half as much.… Continue reading →

New Iberia woman killed after crashing into pole

A New Iberia woman died on Wednesday after she veered off the roadway and crashed her car into a pole, according to the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office. Betty Tauzin, 55, was transported to an area hospital after the crash, where she died of her injuries, the Sheriff’s Office said. It happened around 5:45 p.m. on LA… Continue reading →

Stolen mower, trailer recovered in Youngsville following investigation

Police on Wednesday recovered a stolen lawn mower and the stolen trailer used to haul it away — two months after the two Lafayette men accused in the thefts confessed to stealing them though not revealing where they took the equipment. The items were found in Youngsville after an investigation that included the Broussard, Youngsville and… Continue reading →

Morgan City man indicted in fatal shooting of Lafayette man

A grand jury on Wednesday indicted a Morgan City man on a count of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old Lafayette man. Quentin Cooper, 25, is accused of killing Dravin Stevenson and of attempted first-degree murder of another 19-year-old man in the shooting, according to the indictment. Police arrested Cooper the morning… Continue reading →

Literary scholar Burton Raffel, 87, dies at his Lafayette home; translated ‘Beowulf’

SUBMITTED PHOTO  Literary scholar Burton Raffel, a retired University of Louisiana at Lafayette professor who published more than 100 books, including widely read translations of "Beowulf" and "Don Quijote," died at his home on Sept. 29, 2015, at 87 years old.

Among hanging ivy, Asian sculptures and dozens of model ships, thousands of books fill wooden shelves at Burton Raffel’s home, where the renowned literary scholar and retired University of Louisiana at Lafayette professor died in his sleep on Tuesday at 87 years old. “He lived immersed in the things he loved,” said his wife of 41 years,… Continue reading →

Lafayette school officials propose compromise on health insurance plan changes

Lafayette Parish school system officials proposed Wednesday a compromise to help offset the impact of a higher deductible attached to proposed changes to the School Board’s employee and retiree insurance plan. The proposed higher deductible relief is specific to retirees without Medicare. It offers a $600 wellness credit — rather than a $400 wellness credit —… Continue reading →

Lafayette fire investigators trying to determine what sparked garage fire

Fire investigators are working to determine what caused a Lafayette couple’s garage to erupt in flames late Tuesday night, causing heavy fire and smoke damage to the home and two vehicles. Firefighters responded to the 100 block of Michelle Circle, off Doucet Road, around 11:10 p.m. and spent 30 minutes getting the fire under control, Lafayette… Continue reading →

Eunice mother who killed daughters in murder-suicide purchased gun nine days earlier, investigators say

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Firefighters clean off equipment on Monday that was used to extinguish the house fire that was the result of a murder-suicide that took place on Sunday in Eunice.

A Eunice mother who shot her two daughters before turning the gun on herself had purchased the pistol more than a week earlier in what investigators believe was a carefully planned murder-suicide, authorities said Wednesday. Carla Watford, 39, took the lives of 16-year-old Julia Watford and 9-year-old Jayia Watford before killing herself after setting her family’s… Continue reading →

$400 million oil blending facility planned in St. Landry Parish

Hazelwood Energy Hub plans to build a $400 million facility in St. Landry Parish that can store and blend 10 types of crude oil for its customers, a development that will create 123 jobs. According to Louisiana’s economic development agency, the new jobs will have an average annual salary of $63,500 plus benefits. The plant is expected… Continue reading →

Lafayette banking exec says oil prices likely hit bottom, but slow recovery could spell trouble for some energy producers

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK --  Christopher McLindon with Stone Energy gives a presentation on Geology and Faulting of the Louisiana Coastline Tuesday, September 29, 2015, during the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association (LOGA) 2015 Fall Meeting at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Lafayette, La.

The price of oil probably hit bottom in late August when it fell below $38 a barrel, a banking executive whose focus is the energy sector said Tuesday. He predicted oil’s slow recovery but also trouble ahead for debt-laden companies. Jefferson Parker, a vice chairman at IberiaBank Corp, offered his assessment as keynote speaker at the… Continue reading →

Grand Réveil Acadien to celebrate Acadian culture across south Louisiana

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK --  Warren Perrin, a Cajun activist and lecturer, center, his son Andrew, right, and Ray Trahan, a Louisiane-Acadie board member, chat before a news conference about the Grand Rveil Acadien (Great Acadian Awakening), a state-wide celebration of the history and culture of the Acadian influence in South Louisiana, Tuesday, September 29, 2015, at The French Press in Lafayette, La.

South Louisiana is about to embark on a nine-day celebration of Acadian heritage, with events from Lake Charles to Loreauville tied to the arrival of Acadians 250 years ago. The Grand Réveil Acadien, which begins Saturday and continues through Oct. 11, commemorates the arrival of nearly 200 Acadians in 1765 in New Orleans. They would settle… Continue reading →

Lafayette Sheriff’s Office agrees to pay $400,000 to settle suit brought by inmate who alleged he was beaten by guards

The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office has agreed to a $400,000 settlement in a federal lawsuit filed by an inmate allegedly beaten by guards last year, according to documents released Tuesday by the Sheriff’s Office. Two former deputies still face criminal charges in the case. Jason Brungardt, 42, was hospitalized for three days… Continue reading →

Officials do not suspect foul play in deaths of two men whose bodies found two weeks apart in Vermilion River

Foul play is not suspected in the deaths of two men whose bodies were found two weeks apart in the Vermilion River, but the Lafayette Parish Coroner’s Office said it’s still awaiting DNA tests to positively confirm their identities. A full autopsy for both men, which will include cause of death and a toxicology report, is… Continue reading →

Two Acadia Parish schools among those receiving National Blue Ribbon School status

Two Acadia Parish schools — Martin Petijean Elementary and South Crowley Elementary — have been honored as National Blue Ribbon Schools for their efforts to close the achievement gap among students over a five-year period. The National Blue Ribbon Schools designation is an honor the U.S. Department of Education bestows on schools that are either high-performing… Continue reading →

Ville Platte residents allege law enforcement injustices, corruption during meeting Monday with federal investigators

About 150 people gathered in the gymnasium at St. John Baptist Church on Monday to air grievances about their local law enforcement agencies, both of which are under federal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. Providing anecdotal evidence to two attorneys and a paralegal from the federal… Continue reading →