Man arrested for hit-and-run crash into Duson home

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Muddy tire tracks are still visible leading up to a section of Lisa and Sam Viator's West Congress Street home Tuesday after a hit and run on October 11.

A Jennings man was arrested Tuesday after he confessed to crashing his company truck into a Duson home earlier this month, narrowly missing a 6-month-old baby in a crib before fleeing the scene, authorities said. Dustin Wayne Lasseter’s damaged white Dodge was Houston-bound for repairs Monday when Deputy Joey Graciana, who was investigating … Continue reading →


Lafayette Parish system schools earn 'B' from state Department of Education

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Louisiana State Superintendent of Education John White is shown speaking in the cafeteria of the W.D. & Mary Baker Smith Career Center in Lafayette on Oct. 6, 2014. White was visiting schools around Lafayette Parish as part of his Louisiana Believes tour.

The parish school system’s teachers and principals are being credited with maintaining the district’s B letter grade amid the state’s transition to tougher tests and a local initiative to move struggling students to their age-appropriate campuses. “You have to give credit to the teachers and principals who have worked hard,” Superintendent Pat … Continue reading →

Acadiana Crime Blotter for Oct. 21, 2014

A Lafayette man wanted on an attempted second-degree murder count in the Oct. 12 shooting on Clara Street was taken into custody over the weekend. Police say 30-year-old Rondell Derouen, of the 400 block of Eighth Street, was arrested Sunday in the shooting and also booked with one count each of misdemeanor marijuana … Continue reading →

School Board has until Nov. 6 to fill Cockerham’s seat

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Lafayette Parish School Board member Mark Cockerham is shown at a School Board meeting in this August 2014 Advocate file photo.

The Lafayette Parish School Board has until Nov. 6 to fill former Lafayette Parish School Board member Mark Cockerham’s District 7 seat on the board, according to a notice from the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office mailed to School Board offices Monday. The Secretary of State’s Office mailed notification of Cockerham’s … Continue reading →

Chamber, teacher group announce more endorsements

The Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee and the Lafayette Parish Association of Educators recently announced more endorsements of candidates for the upcoming Nov. 4 Lafayette Parish School Board races. The groups have not endorsed any of the same candidates. The chamber’s Empower PAC endorsement is for Erica … Continue reading →

Harvest Moon festival in Franklin

The Franklin Merchants Association’s 15th annual Harvest Moon Festival is from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday along Main Street. The free festival celebrates the sugar cane harvest and the return of fall with arts and crafts and live music. The event also features a 5K run/walk, a classic car show, a Mutt Strut costume … Continue reading →

Lafayette man booked in Oct. 12 shooting, police say

LAFAYETTE — A Lafayette man wanted on an attempted second-degree murder count in the Oct. 12 shooting on Clara Street was taken into custody over the weekend. Police say 30-year-old Rondell Derouen, of the 400 block of 8th Street, is accused of shooting a man twice on Oct. 12 in the 100 block of Clara Street, … Continue reading →

Acadiana Crime Blotter for Oct. 20, 2014

A 44-year-old Lafayette woman who was trying to help a distressed motorist Friday morning was run over by a tractor-trailer and killed on Interstate 10 near Ocean Springs, Mississippi, the Associated Press said Sunday. Wendy Snelling and her family had pulled over to help the driver … Continue reading →

ULL plans to tackle eyesores around city during The Big Event

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Signage and weeds are seen along Johnston St. on Friday afternoon in Lafayette.

Children’s playgrounds in Lafayette are in desperate need of repair, the city’s landscape projects are incomplete, and some of its streets are littered with piles of trash. But on Saturday, some of the eyesores around the city should improve when students, staff and faculty at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette take … Continue reading →

Romero, Haney feud roils Iberia Parish

Advocate File Photo --  Iberia Parish President Errol

. NEW IBERIA — The relationship between Iberia Parish’s president and its chief prosecutor wasn’t always so rocky. Iberia Parish President Errol “Romo” Romero and District Attorney Phil Haney worked together amicably when Romero was sheriff from 1980-96, Haney said last week. And both collaborated to write at least one law and order … Continue reading →

3 vie for District 2 school board

Editor’s note: This is part of a series on the Lafayette Parish School Board district races. Lafayette Parish School Board District 2 incumbent Tommy Angelle faces two challengers in the upcoming election — James Chavis and Simon Mahan. All three candidates said an emphasis on improving facilities in their district is … Continue reading →

Lafayette police blotter for Sunday, Oct. 19

Arrests posted Oct. 18, 2014, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office’s website: BILLY BARNES: 57, P.O. Box 886, Blessing, Texas. He was booked on misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated. AVERY BARNETT: 19, of the 1800 block of Anderson Street, New Iberia. She was booked on … Continue reading →

Man gets 15 years in child porn case

A 30-year-old Jennings man was sentenced Thursday to more than 15 years in federal prison for downloading child pornography, KATC-TV reported. Seth Ryan Bivens was given the sentence Thursday by U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi for one count of receiving child pornography, according to KATC-TV. He also was sentenced to serve a … Continue reading →

Judge to rule next week in Cooper lawsuit

A decision on Superintendent Pat Cooper’s legal claims that three Lafayette Parish School Board members should be disqualified from voting in his upcoming administrative hearing won’t come until Wednesday, 15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque said Friday following two days of testimony. Cooper filed a lawsuit in district court earlier this … Continue reading →

College and Career Day held Friday at the Cajundome

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Louisiana State University Admissions Counselor Will Smith, left, listens to questions from Comeaux High School Students Will Arbuckle and Niki Nguyen, rigth, Friday during a Lafayette Parish School System College and Career Day at the Convention Center in Lafayette.

More than 2,000 Lafayette high school juniors and seniors converged at the Cajundome Convention Center on Friday to preview colleges and career paths available to them. The daylong event attracted representatives from universities, colleges, community colleges, technical education providers and employers who watched as the students paraded through. “They’re pretty helpful. … Continue reading →

Lafayette superintendent criticized over ‘black mafia’ remark

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- District 5 school board member Kermit Boullion holds a copy of the recommendation made by attorney Dennis Blunt concerning formal charges being brought against board Superintendent Pat Cooper during a meeting last month at the Lafayette Parish School Board offices.

A Lafayette educator said she’s still in disbelief over comments by Superintendent Pat Cooper earlier this month that a “black mafia” has a hold on the black community’s vote in the parish School Board elections. Patricia Colbert-Cormier, a 49-year teacher with the Lafayette Parish School System, said she was offended by Cooper’s … Continue reading →

Opelousas woman, three children left homeless following fire

Victor Fontenot

An Opelousas woman and her three children are homeless after their house burned down Thursday morning, and authorities say they suspect the children’s father started the fire. The victim reported around 8 a.m. that 30-year-old Victor Fontenot was physically abusing and holding her hostage at her home in the 500 block of James … Continue reading →

Breaux Bridge man booked in fatal shooting of Arnaudville man

Jamie Zenon

A Breaux Bridge man was booked Thursday on a count of second-degree murder in the Kennedy Drive shooting death of an Arnaudville man. The incident happened around 2:30 p.m. when Jamie Zenon, 31, is accused of shooting 28-year-old Emmanuel Sam during an argument, according to Maj. Ginny Higgins, spokeswoman with the St. Martin … Continue reading →

Lafayette Crime Blotter for Oct. 17, 2014

An Opelousas police officer was placed on leave after a suspect was shot during a gunfire exchange this week. Police say 23-year-old Demarcus Jones, 905 Jordan St., fired the first shot during a police pursuit from Kim Drive to Pulford Street, according to Opelousas Police Chief Perry Gallow. The officer — who has not … Continue reading →

Authorities find mentally challenged Crowley man who went missing

A mentally challenged Crowley man missing since Wednesday afternoon was located shortly after 2 p.m. today at an area shop. Michael Keith Hanks, 24, was found by his father, although no further details are available about his disappearance, said Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Maxine Trahan. Hanks went missing around 4 p.m. … Continue reading →

Lafayette man wanted in shooting surrenders to deputies

Photo provided by the Lafayette Police Department -- Jhailen Trevon Zeno

An arrest warrant has been issued for Jhailen Trevon Zeno, 20, of Lafayette, according to a news release issued by Cpl. Paul Mouton of the Lafayette Police Department. Zeno is wanted for attempted second-degree murder in an incident that occurred the afternoon of Oct. 11, in the 100 block of Van Buren Drive. Zeno is believed to … Continue reading →

Lafayette police investigate Rite-Aid robbery

Image provided by the Lafayette Police Department -- Video image of suspect who robbed the Johnston Street Rite-Aid.

Lafayette police officers were dispatched late Wedensday night to the Rite-Aid store at 4710 Johnston Street to investigate a reported armed robbery, according to a news release issued by Cpl. Paul Mouton of the Lafayette Police Department. The incident was reported to the police department at approximately 11:50 p.m. According to the news release, after the … Continue reading →

Dardenne hears ideas for promoting tourism on Acadiana visit

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Louisiana Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne leads a town hall meeting on tourism and economic growth Wednesday at Vermilionville in Lafayette.

South Louisiana would draw more tourists if the region invested more in French-speaking education, built Interstate 49 south to New Orleans and expanded air travel out of Lafayette, Acadiana officials told the state’s tourism chief Wednesday. The officials also told Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne at a town hall meeting that it would … Continue reading →

Gumbo cook-off set to benefit United Way of Acadiana

Stone Energy will hold its fourth annual gumbo cook-off Thursday at Cajun Field, with proceeds benefiting United Way of Acadiana. For a $10 gate fee attendees will be able to sample as much as they want from the 108 gumbo teams entered in this year’s contest. They’ll also enjoy the music of … Continue reading →