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Dr. Seuss tales delight Lafayette youngsters at library event

Advocate staff photo by ANGELA MAJOR -- Children listen as school board member Mary Morrison reads to them Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015, during Read Across Louisiana at South Regional Library. The event focused on the birthday of Dr. Seuss.

Green eggs and ham may not have been on the lunch menu, but children who gathered for a Dr. Seuss-themed reading in Lafayette on Saturday were nonetheless delighted and amused to hear stories about “The Cat in the Hat,” his mischief-making sidekicks “Thing One” and “Thing Two” and other strange tales. The children at the… Continue reading →

Forum planned on best-seller ‘A Long Walk to Water’, about efforts to improve Sudan

Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel, City-Parish Councilman Brandon Shelvin and One Acadiana President Jason El Koubi will lead a community discussion on the book “A Long Walk to Water” during a forum at 6 p.m. Monday at the South Regional Library. The panel discussion will focus on The New York Times best-selling book, the selection for… Continue reading →

Broussard in midst of building multi-million dollar sports complex

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- A forklift unloads materials to be used in the construction of a building at the site of St. Julien Park Thursday in Broussard.

Construction is now underway on St. Julien Park, a massive $27 million-plus public sports complex being built on 122 acres of land that when completed will offer something outdoorsy for just about everyone. The park is one of three projects ongoing or planned that lie close to each other and offers a glimpse into the… Continue reading →

Lafayette arrests for Feb. 28, 2015

Arrests posted Feb. 28, 2015, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s web site: ROBERT HENRY BRASHER: 25, of the 400 block of Alonda Drive, Lafayette. He was booked on misdemeanor domestic abuse battery and aggravated assault. BRANDON SCOTT BROUSSARD: 27, of… Continue reading →

Bobby Jindal's budget proposal reveals spending, cuts planned for Louisiana

Advocate Photo by MARK BALLARD -- Amite State Rep. John Bel Edwards, head of the House Democratic Caucus, reads the governor's budget proposal on Friday as it was being presented to the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget.

The Jindal administration rolled out a budget plan Friday that avoids much of the doomsday scenario spawned by a $1.6 billion revenue shortfall — partly by scaling back state tax credits — but still imposes significant cuts to government spending. The budget plan includes suggestions for raising money, including the possibility of a… Continue reading →

Need for engineers prompts agreement between UL-Lafayette and Mexican state

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- University of Louisiana at Lafayette President Joe Savoie, standing, speaks at a ceremony with Mexican officials, from left, Rames Pech Razo, Ramon Antonio Rodriguez Laynes and Emilio de Ygartua y Monteverde Friday at the Alumni Center in Lafayette.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette signed an agreement Friday with a university in the Mexican state of Tabasco, opening the door for academic and research partnerships between the two institutions focused on developing engineers for the southern Gulf of Mexico neighbors. The partnership with the Instituto Tecnológico Superior de Centla in the state of Tabasco… Continue reading →

Some nerves about Cosby show in Lafayette, but the entertainer is warmly received

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Aaron Broussard purchases tickets to Bill Cosby's performance for his wife and parents Friday at the box office at the Heymann Performing Arts Center in Lafayette. Asked about the controversy surrounding the comedian, Broussard said,

The nerves about Bill Cosby’s appearance in Lafayette were beginning to show when, shortly before 8 p.m. Friday, this announcement was made before his performance: “Dear patrons: We have been advised that there may be attempts to disrupt tonight’s performance. If a disruption occurs, please remain calm until the matter is resolved and do not confront… Continue reading →

St. Martin school security officer accused of indecent behavior, trying to produce child porn

Photo provided by ST. MARTIN PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE -- Michael Barber, 39, of Breaux Bridge, was arrested Feb. 27, 2015, on counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile, attempted production of child pornography and malfeasance in office after St. Martin Parish School Board officials filed a complaint against the 15-year deputy and school resource officer.

A school resource officer in St. Martin Parish was arrested Friday on allegations of indecent behavior with a minor, the Sheriff’s Office announced in a news release. Michael Barber, 39, of Breaux Bridge, was booked on one count each of attempted production of child pornography, indecent behavior with a juvenile and malfeasance in office, said Maj. Ginny… Continue reading →

Weekly evacuation assistance checks to continue for remaining Bayou Corne residents

Citing continuing risk from rising, flammable gas unleashed by the Bayou Corne sinkhole, the state Office of Conservation ruled Friday that remaining residents in the swampland community must continue to receive weekly $875 checks for evacuation assistance. The order says the checks from Texas Brine Co. should continue until the mandatory evacuation order in place since… Continue reading →

KATC-TV: Lafayette school bus involved in early morning crash

KATC-TV photo -- Lafayette police are investigating an accident involving a school bus Friday morning, Feb. 27, 2015

Lafayette police are investigating an accident involving a school bus near the intersection of Eraste Landry and Foreman Drive KATC reports that there were 40 students on the bus at the time of the crash—but none were injured. See the story here.… Continue reading →

Lafayette police still seeking suspect in East Simcoe Street fatal shooting

Terrence Augustine

Police are still seeking information on the whereabouts of a Lafayette man suspected in an October shooting on East Simcoe Street, according to a news release from the Lafayette Police Department. Terrence J. Augustine, 28, is wanted for attempted second-degree murder in the shooting in the 900 block of East Simcoe Street, in which a 34-year-old… Continue reading →

Embattled comedian Bill Cosby, shunned in many places, says he feels welcome in Lafayette

Associated Press file photo by BRENNAN LINSLEY -- Comedian Bill Cosby performas at the Buell Theater in Denver in January.  The embattled comic will perform at the Heymann Performing Arts Center in Lafayette on Friday.

Embattled comedian Bill Cosby, who has canceled dates on his tour because of sexual abuse allegations that have led to protests in some cities, will perform at the Heymann Performing Arts Center in Lafayette on Friday. In advance of his Lafayette performance, a public relations firm hired by Cosby issued a statement thanking those who plan… Continue reading →

Trio of out-of-towners arrested in armed robbery in Lafayette

Three men were arrested Thursday in an armed robbery at a Lafayette shopping center, police said. Randy Wilson, 29, of Fresno, Texas, and Dante King, 20, of Alexandria, were each arrested on a count of armed robbery after a 22-year-old man reported he was robbed in the Midtown Plaza parking lot in the 2500 block of… Continue reading →

KATC-TV: Bill Cosby thanks Lafayette community leading up to Friday show

In this Nov. 21, 2014, file photo, comedian Bill Cosby performs during a show at the Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts in Melbourne, Fla.  (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

A spokesman for Bill Cosby has released a statement thanking the Lafayette community on behalf of the embattled comedian ahead of his Friday performance at the Heymann Performing Arts Center in Lafayette. Cosby has canceled or postponed more than a dozen shows on his comedy tour amid allegations by numerous women that he sexually abused them.… Continue reading →

Lafayette looking for ‘dynamic, motivated’ school system leader

The search for a “dynamic, motivated educational leader” for the Lafayette Parish School System is officially underway. An advertisement for the schools superintendent job was published in The Daily Advertiser, the parish’s official journal, on Sunday to fill state law requirements linked to filling a vacant superintendent position, said Bruce Leininger, the school system’s human resources… Continue reading →

Lafayette investigating recording of police officer using racial slur

The Lafayette Police Department is investigating an audio recording that a retired police officer says is evidence of one of his former co-workers using an offensive racial slur. City-Parish Council Chairman Kenneth Boudreaux confirmed on Thursday that the department has launched an internal investigation into the incident, which was brought to light by… Continue reading →

Lafayette rapper ‘Vicious’ convicted of ‘inciting a riot with death’


Lafayette rapper Eric “Vicious” Johnson was found guilty Wednesday night of inciting retaliatory violence that led to the 2012 shooting death of a 43-year-old bystander during a melee at a Duson apartment complex. After a two-day trial, the jury deliberated about three hours before announcing Johnson’s conviction on the charge of “inciting… Continue reading →

Lafayette workshops to focus on local food economy

Advocate file by LEE CELANO  -  Venders are set up under large oak trees at the Lafayette Farmer's and Artisan's Market at the Horse Farm Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015.

The growth of the local food economy will be the topic of workshops Wednesday and Thursday at the Rosa Parks Transportation Center in downtown Lafayette. Officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be on hand to discuss strategies to put more local meat and produce on local plates.… Continue reading →

Lafayette police blotter for Feb. 26, 2015

Arrests posted Feb. 26, 2015, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s web site: BRANDON KEITH ALFRED: 26, of the 100 block of Clayton Street, Carencro. He was booked on hold for court. TRAVON BENJAMIN: 18, of the 400 block of Joan, Lafayette.… Continue reading →

Seth Fontenot judge ruled against defense using survivor criminal investigations

Seth Fontenot

After Seth Fontenot fatally shot one 15-year-old boy and wounded two others in February 2013, police and prosecutors investigated the juveniles on suspicion they stole beer and tried to break into the Lafayette man’s truck before the first shot was fired. But a judge in a closed hearing in November ruled that Fontenot’s attorneys could not use… Continue reading →

Lafayette’s ‘Artmosphere’ meets food sale hurdle to hold on to liquor license

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Artmosphere Bistro Wednesday in Lafayette.

The popular downtown music venue Artmosphere can keep serving beer, wine and liquor after the state Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control ruled Wednesday that the business is selling just barely enough food to keep its liquor license. Food sales are an issue because the Lafayette City-Parish Council in 2003 banned any additional bars downtown. So… Continue reading →

Acadiana educators named semifinalists in teacher, principal honors

Four Acadiana-area educators made the list of semifinalists for Louisiana’s teacher and principal of the year honors. Brandi Marcantel, a fourth-grade math teacher at Vidrine Elementary in Evangeline Parish, is one of 18 semifinalists for teacher of the year. Principal of the year contenders include: Cheri Fontenot, of James Stephens Montessori in Evangeline Parish;… Continue reading →

Lafayette board seeks dismissal of Cooper’s wrongful termination suit

Advocate file photo by BRAD KEMP Pat Cooper, former superintendent of Lafayette Parish Schools, speaks to his attorney Lane Roy, right, before the start of the employment hearing that led to his dismissal at the school board offices Nov. 6, 2014.

The Lafayette Parish School Board’s attorney is asking the court to dismiss a lawsuit former superintendent Pat Cooper filed claiming wrongful termination. Cooper filed the suit about two weeks after the School Board fired him on Nov. 6, 2014. The board’s attorney, Dennis Blunt, filed a response to the suit on Monday, denying Cooper’s… Continue reading →

Lafayette rapper ‘Vicious’ on trial for ‘inciting a riot with death’


In a highly unusual case, prosecutors are trying to convince a Lafayette jury that a local rapper who goes by the name of “Vicious” provoked retaliatory violence that led to the 2012 shooting death of 43-year-old Ray Ryan. The rapper, Eric Johnson, 47, was never accused of pulling the trigger but he was charged… Continue reading →

Opelousas man in hit-and-run avoids police because of undocumented status

An Opelousas man arrested Saturday in a hit-and-run crash in Scott said he didn’t stop after he crashed into another vehicle that night because he’s an undocumented citizen, Scott Police said. Grosvin Ortiz Aguilar, 27, was arrested on multiple counts related to the crash around 9 p.m. at the intersection of Westgate and Eraste Landry Roads,… Continue reading →

Authorities investigating burglary, fire at Lafayette apartment complex

A Tuesday morning fire at a Lafayette apartment complex was set intentionally after someone forced entry into the complex’s office building, according to the Lafayette Fire Department. Firefighters responded around 8 a.m. to Himbola Manor Apartments at 804 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive to find a smoldering fire inside the office building, Fire Department spokesman Alton… Continue reading →

Education panelists volley positions on student testing measures tied to Common Core

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- From left, Jay Jackson, chairman of the Lafayette Parish Public Education Stakeholders Council, Sandra Billeaudeau, assistant superintendent of Lafayette Parish Schools, Heather Blanchard, co-founder of Parents Empowered, a parishwide parent-teacher organization and Toby Daspit, president of the Power of Public Education Lafayette participate in an Acadiana Press Club meeting at the Daily Advertiser in Lafayette.

A group of education advocates debated the merits of student testing generally and tests specifically tied to the controversial new Common Core state standards at an Acadiana Press Club forum Tuesday. The state’s implementation of Common Core and the tests tied to it have come under fire from legislators, parents, educators and even Gov. Bobby Jindal,… Continue reading →

Lafayette cardiologist to pay $650,000 in false claims restitution

A once-prominent Lafayette cardiologist now in prison on health care fraud charges has agreed to pay $650,000 to settle a related civil case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday. Dr. Mehmood M. Patel is serving a 10-year federal prison sentence for billing insurers for unnecessary treatments and falsifying medical records to support the… Continue reading →

Carencro High tech team places 2nd in state competition

Carencro High’s Academy of Information Technology placed second in the ninth annual Louisiana High School Online Technology Challenge held by the University of Louisiana at Monroe earlier this month. As part of the competition, teams from across the state compete by performing complex tasks that focus on technology, design and communication. Team members were seniors… Continue reading →

Lafayette’s ‘court-alert system’ getting more people to court on time

Lafayette Parish criminal justice officials are touting a court-alert system that has increased the number of defendants who appear in court when they’re supposed to, and as a result cut the number of judge-issued warrants for court no-shows. In September, deputies with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office started a service where they call defendants… Continue reading →

Jeanerette man dies in crash on La. 674

A Jeanerette man was killed just after midnight Monday in a single-vehicle crash on La. 674 in Iberia Parish, State Police said. Donald Williams Jr., 32, was driving a Cadillac CTS west on La. 674 near Whitney Drive when he veered off the road, crashed into a mailbox and ditch embankment then came to rest in… Continue reading →

Former Kinder police chief pleads guilty to malfeasance, theft charges

Gary Pelican

Gary Pelican, Kinder’s former four-term police chief, pleaded guilty Monday to felony charges for using public credit cards to buy fuel for personal use, Attorney General Buddy Caldwell announced in a news release. Pelican, 54, pleaded guilty to one felony count each of malfeasance in office and theft over $1,500, Caldwell said. His sentencing in 33rd Judicial… Continue reading →

Investigators: Moss Street fire set intentionally

Photo by LANIE LEE COOK -- The Lafayette Fire Department said a Feb. 23, 2015, fire at Tops Auto Rental & Sales at 105 Moss Street was set intentionally.

An early Monday fire at a Moss Street auto sales business was intentionally set, causing heavy damage to the building and some of its merchandise, according to the Lafayette Fire Department. Firefighters responded around 4:30 a.m. to Tops Auto Rental & Sales at 105 Moss Street and found the business, along with four vehicles at the lot,… Continue reading →

Lafayette parents start to receive word on school-of-choice lottery

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Kim Moreau reacts to the news that her child has been accepted in to their school of choice after being notified by Lafayette Parish School System employees Barbara Pippin, recruiting and enrollment specialist, center, and Deanie Spikes, career and technical specialist, on Monday night at board offices.

More than a dozen Lafayette Parish School System parents anxiously awaited — and received — news Monday night on whether their preschooler or kindergartner got a seat in the school of their choice. The school system received more than 4,000 applications for the popular schools-of-choice program, which provides specialized curricula to students from preschool… Continue reading →

Cocktails clash for good cause; and other Around Acadiana events

From left, Richard Burgess, Marsha Sills and Billy Gunn.

Acadiana bartenders will face off March 27 in a “Clash of the Cocktails” fundraiser to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Acadiana. The event, which also will feature a silent auction, art and food from the Village Cafe, will be held at the Madison in Broussard.… Continue reading →

Blake Miguez, Acadiana’s newest legislator, staring at budget abyss

Blake Miguez

The newly elected representative for state House District 49 knows he’s weeks away from a legislative session that will be long on budget problems and short on ways to fix those problems. “This is not going to be a very easy session,” said Blake Miguez, 33, who Saturday trounced his one opponent in a… Continue reading →

Arrests posted Feb. 23, 2015, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s website

HUNTER BROUSSARD: 18, of the 100 block of Westwood Drive, Lafayette. He was booked on misdemeanor domestic abuse battery. LAURA BRUNO: 28, of the 2100 block of Ambassador Caffrey Parkway, Lafayette. She was booked on careless operation; driver must be licensed; resisting an officer; and a warrant/bench warrant. ASHLEY JOYCE CASTILLE:… Continue reading →

One Acadiana group hires corporate recruitment specialist

Jim Bourgeois

The Lafayette-based regional economic development organization One Acadiana announced Monday it has hired corporate recruitment specialist Jim Bourgeois from the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. Bourgeois, 34, will serve as executive director of business development for One Acadiana, formerly the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, said Jason El Koubi, One Acadiana’s president and chief executive, in… Continue reading →

School districts near Lafayette closed by expected icy rain

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Stephanie Latour, right, cleans her windshield with what she refers to as a ‘Cajun ice scraper,’ a barbecue grill cleaner, with coworker Leigh Jones Tuesday in Lafayette. The pair were helping each other at the end of their work day at the Walgreens District Office inside the Regions Bank building on Johnston Street in January 2014.

Frigid temperatures and the threat of icy road conditions closed schools in Lafayette Parish and surrounding parishes Tuesday. Lafayette Parish School System officials said they will continue to monitor the weather, however, classes are expected to resume Wednesday. Classes in Acadia, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion parishes also closed Tuesday. Private, parochial and charter… Continue reading →

Man accused of running over ex-girlfriend sentenced to 15 years in prison and other Acadiana crime briefs

Brian Anthony Woods, the Lafayette man who was charged with driving over his former girlfriend, was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison, The Associated Press reported. Authorities have said that Woods, 27, ran over the woman at Sowela Technical Community College in February 2012. He was originally charged with multiple crimes that included rape,… Continue reading →