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South Louisiana Community College graduates 380 students

More than 380 students from South Louisiana Community College received diplomas Thursday at the Cajundome Convention Center. Students are from all of SLCC’s campuses. These include campuses in Abbeville, Crowley, Franklin, Lafayette, New Iberia, Opelousas, St. Martinville and Ville Platte.… Continue reading →

Opelousas residents rally against police brutality and racial profiling

Advocate Photo by LEE CELANO -- Taneisha Richard holds a sign as she prays during a demonstration in solidarity with police brutality protests nationwide on the courthouse steps in Opelousas on Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014.

“Hands up! Don’t shoot!” “Enough is enough!” “Every life matters!” Familiar chants rang through Courthouse Square in Opelousas as a crowd gathered peacefully Thursday evening to join the national conversation denouncing police brutality and racial profiling. About 70 people braved the chill and threat of rain to… Continue reading →

Single mom battles the odds to pursue nursing degree at South Louisiana Community College

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- South Louisiana Community College nursing graduate Trish Fontenot celebrates with her classmates before their commencement ceremony at the Convention Center on Thursday in Lafayette.

Walking across the stage Thursday at South Louisiana Community College’s graduation ceremony was 26-year-old Trish Fontenot, who, with the help of her family and friends, overcame the challenges of being a single mom to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse. Fontenot was among the… Continue reading →

Acadiana Crime Blotter: Thief steals single mom’s Christmas gifts

Photo provided by AVOYELLES PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE -- Authorities are trying to identify a man captured in surveillance images burglarizing two businesses of booze and cigarettes in the Fifth Ward community outside of Marksville in the early morning hours Dec. 16, 2014.

A thief reportedly got away with a single mother’s Christmas gifts in a daytime burglary Thursday on Lebesque Road, KATC-TV reported. The woman returned home around 5:30 p.m. to find her back door kicked in and the gifts for her niece and 1-year-old son missing, along with a TV, Nintendo Wii, iPad Mini,… Continue reading →

J. Clay LeJeune and wife — Crowley attorneys — indicted on public intimidation charges

A Crowley husband and wife who are both well-known attorneys were charged this week with allegedly threatening and arguing with police after the officers responded to a 911 call by a neighbor reporting a girl possibly yelling for help. J. Clay LeJeune, 45, was indicted on three counts of public intimidation, accused of threatening… Continue reading →

St. Landry president to meet with Sunset officials on request to refurbish landmark Sunset High building

Lafayette School Board agrees to spend funds to avoid mid-year school-level staffing changes

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Lafayette Parish Schools Interim Superintendent Burnell LeJeune gives his opening remarks at the start of the school board meeting Wednesday in Lafayette.

The Lafayette Parish School Board voted 6-3 Wednesday to spend about $875,000 to prevent midyear staffing changes that would have moved four teachers and 15 administrators to other jobs within the school system. The vote comes a week after the board voted on Dec. 8 not to fund those same positions, requiring the board to implement its… Continue reading →

Acadiana Police News: St. Landry sheriff to skip community rally against police brutality

St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz has canceled his scheduled appearance at a community rally to be held Thursday in Courthouse Square, spokesman Sgt. Clay Higgins said. The sheriff had a medical procedure rescheduled for Thursday, and “his doctor advised against” attending the event, said Higgins, who will represent the… Continue reading →

Youngsville chief-elect names assistant chief

Photo provided by NICK LATIOLAIS -- Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office Assistant S.W.A.T. Commander Nick Latiolais, 45, will assume the role of Youngsville's Assistant Chief of Police in 2015 after Chief-elect Rickey Boudreaux announced his hiring Dec. 17, 2014.

Incoming Police Chief Rickey Boudreaux on Wednesday named his second-in-command, a week after the council restored funding for an assistant chief of police position and two years after then-Chief Earl Menard eliminated it. Youngsville resident Nick Latiolais, 45, will assume the role Jan. 1. “I’ve talked to a lot… Continue reading →

Lafayette courthouse to reopen Thursday

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- A sign outside of the entrance to the Lafayette Parish Courthouse states the building's closure on Wednesday afternoon in downtown Lafayette.

The Lafayette Parish Courthouse is scheduled to reopen Thursday after an electrical short left the building without power and forced its closure all day Wednesday. Construction crews have been renovating the top floors of the courthouse, and power went down Tuesday afternoon. A worker draining a sprinkler line leaked water onto the floor and into a… Continue reading →

Texas bank robbery suspect arrested in Breaux Bridge

Eight outstanding graduates to be honored at UL-Lafayette commencement Friday

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Alumni Association’s Outstanding Graduates will be honored during Fall 2014 Commencement ceremonies on Friday. The Outstanding Graduates, one from each of eight academic colleges, are flanked by Margaret Trahan, president of the UL Lafayette Alumni Association Executive Board, and Joseph Savoie, University president. They are, from left: Taylor McCaulley, College of Liberal Arts; Merlin Dartez Jr., Ray P. Authement College of Sciences; Emma Trahan, College of General Studies; Austen Catlin, College of Engineering; Garrett Darbonne, College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions; Nicholas Lott, College of the Arts; Alexandra Dardar, B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration; and April Begnaud, College of Education.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Alumni Association has announced the eight students to be honored as the outstanding graduate of their respective colleges during fall 2014 commencement ceremonies Friday. The deans from the eight academic colleges nominate a student for the honor based on leadership, scholarship and service. The Alumni Association’s… Continue reading →

UL-Lafayette educators get a teacher’s ground-level view

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- J.W. Faulk Kindergarten Teacher Mary Graham, top, works with her class Tuesday in Lafayette.

Educator Aimee Barber sat atop the color-blocked floor mat with some 10 kindergartners from J.W. Faulk Elementary as one of the young students led the class through consonant and vowel sounds and rhyming words. “Can you tell me a word that rhymes with cook?” one young girl asked as she stood in… Continue reading →

Ragin’ Cajuns revved up for repeat appearance at New Orleans Bowl

Photo provided by Brad Kemp/ -- Members of the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajun football team greet young fans during the Cajun Walk has they leave for the New Orleans Bowl at Cajun Field Tuesday Dec. 16, 2014 in Lafayette, La.

More than 200 Ragin’ Cajuns fans formed a sea of red along Reinhardt Drive to wave goodbye to their beloved football team as players hit the road to face the Nevada Wolf Pack in the 2014 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. The three-time New Orleans… Continue reading →

Acadiana Crime Blotter: New Iberia man accused of stabbing wife

Photo provided by IBERIA PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE -- Damien Harding, 31, of New Iberia, was booked on a count of attempted second-degree murder in the Dec. 16, 2014, stabbing of his 37-year-old wife.

A New Iberia man arrested Tuesday morning is accused of stabbing and injuring his wife in the 1100 block of Weeks Street, the Sheriff’s Office said. Damien Harding, 31, was booked on a count of attempted second-degree murder in the stabbing of his 37-year-old wife, who remained in the hospital… Continue reading →

Six sentenced in Lafayette in sales of ‘Mr. Miyagi’ synthetic weed through Curious Goods franchise

Six people received prison sentences Tuesday ranging from 3 to 10 years in the investigation of a local smoke shop franchise that made more than $5 million peddling synthetic marijuana before authorities raided the businesses, shutting down sales of a product marketed as “Mr. Miyagi.” The federal probe spread… Continue reading →

Lafayette School Board owes nearly $90,000 in Cooper investigation, firing, litigation

The Lafayette Parish School Board owes nearly $90,000 for legal services related to its investigation of former Superintendent Pat Cooper, his litigation against the School Board and the employment hearing that led to his termination. The amount is nearly half the board’s $183,000 legal services budget for 2014-15. The board… Continue reading →

Tractor-trailer carrying lumber catches fire on I-10 at Scott

SCOTT — A tractor-trailer carrying a load of lumber caught fire Tuesday morning during an accident on Interstate 10 westbound in Scott, blocking westbound traffic until clean-up was completed, according to a Scott fire official. No injuries were reported. Scott Fire Department Chief Chad P. Sonnier gave this report: At around 8:30 a.m., firefighters responding to… Continue reading →

Lafayette man sought in Celeste Street slaying surrenders to police

Photo provided by LAFAYETTE PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE -- Coderrick Fox, 25, of Lafayette, was booked Dec. 15, 2014, into the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center on a count of first-degree murder in the Dec. 3, 2014, shooting of 57-year-old Jimmy Reed of Lafayette.

LAFAYETTE — A Lafayette man wanted for first-degree murder in the Dec. 3 shooting of 57-year-old Jimmy Reed surrendered to police Monday night, authorities said. Coderrick Fox, 25, was booked into the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center around 10:20 p.m. on a count of first-degree murder, police spokesman Cpl. Paul Mouton said Tuesday in a news release.… Continue reading →

Crowley man dead, another injured in four-car crash

A Crowley man was killed Monday evening in a four-car car crash, according to Louisiana State Police. Phillip Meaux, 49, and another driver were slowing down on La. Hwy. 342 near Brumley Road around 6 p.m. to allow a driver to turn left. While slowing, a 2012 Ford F-350 struck Meaux's 2001 Chevrolet Corvette from behind and pushed it into a… Continue reading →

Acadiana Crime Blotter: Breaux Bridge man, 88, dies in car crash

Photo provided by ST. MARTIN PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE -- Donovan Kennedy, 25, of New Iberia, was booked into the St. Martin Parish Correctional Center on a count of second-degree murder and a count of attempted second-degree murder in connection with the Dec. 14, 2014, shooting death of 20-year-old Breya Batiste and the injuring of her 19-year-old sister.

An 88-year-old Breaux Bridge man died of his injuries Monday after he drove into the path of an oncoming vehicle on La. 328 near Poche Bridge Road, State Police report. Ray Calais was driving a 2013 Chevrolet SUV westbound on Poche Bridge Road on Monday afternoon and stopped at a… Continue reading →

Abbeville carjacking, kidnapping leads to 40-year sentence

A man accused of carjacking a vehicle with three kids inside in Abbeville was sentenced Monday to a total of 40 years in prison, KATC-TV is reporting. A state district court judge sentenced Terrance Mouton to four consecutive 10-year sentences of hard labor after he pleaded no contest to one charge of carjacking… Continue reading →

Around Acadiana for Dec. 16, 2014

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

Even Santa Claus needs to stock up on fresh fruits, veggies and locally made goods. The big, jolly guy will make a visit to the Lafayette Farmers and Artisans Market at the Horse Farm from 9 a.m. until noon Saturday for photos and to listen to wishes. The market will stay open until 1 p.m. to accommodate… Continue reading →

After sentencing in DWI case that killed 3 and unborn child, Lafayette attorney calls for zero-tolerance on drunk driving

A Lafayette attorney representing a woman whose partner was killed by a drunken driver last year held a news conference Monday to discuss the possibility of filing a civil suit for damages on behalf of the couple’s three young sons. Warren Perrin, of the firm Perrin, Landry & deLaunay, also called… Continue reading →

Lafayette Parish School Board member Kermit Bouillion met with FBI, charges board $1,078 for lawyer

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Lafayette Parish School Board Member Kermit Bouillion speaks at the meeting Wednesday in Lafayette.

The FBI questioned some Lafayette Parish School Board members in the spring about its business with an insurance consultant and whether they were offered bribes, some School Board members confirmed Monday. One of the board members questioned, Kermit Bouillion, has asked the School Board to pay his $1,078 legal bill for seeking… Continue reading →

Fans to give Ragin’ Cajuns a hearty send-off for New Orleans Bowl

Advocate file photo by Brad Kemp -- Cajun fans march down Bourbon Street during the 2013 Ragin’ Cajuns Parade. The 2014 parade will be held Thursday.

With the Ragin’ Cajuns headed to their fourth straight R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Dec. 20, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and its athletics department are planning on sending them off with a bang. Topping off the events will be Tuesday’s… Continue reading →

Abbeville man accused of trying to run over officer with car and other Lafayette area police news

Lafayette police are investigating a police-involved shooting after an officer fired at a man who allegedly tried to run him over with a car early Saturday. Officers responded to a domestic disturbance call inn the 300 block of McDonald about 12:20 a.m., Cpl. Paul Mouton, a Lafayette police spokesman, said. They told a woman to… Continue reading →

Abbeville man accused of trying to run over officer with car

Lafayette police are investigating a police involved shooting after an officer fired at a man who allegedly tried to run him over with a car early Saturday. Officers responded to a domestic disturbance call inn the 300 block of McDonald about 12:20 a.m., said Cpl. Paul Mouton, a Lafayette police spokesman. They told a woman… Continue reading →

Opelousas voters hoping for change after ousting incumbents

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Opelousas Police Chief-Elect Donald Thompson.

A few days after Reggie Tatum handily defeated two-term Mayor Don Cravins, a former state senator and longtime St. Landry Parish political figure, a woman dropped by Tatum’s East Landry Street headquarters to wish him well. “People are so glad; Opelousas is blessed; prayers are answered,” the woman told Tatum, holding both… Continue reading →

Lafayette digging into police evidence locker to auction unclaimed jewelry, rare coins

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Lafayette Consolidated Government Controller Melinda Felps shows off a hunting bow, unclaimed from the police evidence locker, being auctioned off online.

LAFAYETTE — In the market for an emerald-cut diamond wedding ring, a collection of Fossil watches or gold necklaces? City-parish government has you covered. “We also have a really cool pit bull ring that’s looking for a good home,” said Melinda Felps, a controller with the Department of Finance and Management, which is gradually rolling out old evidence from the… Continue reading →

Acadiana Crime Blotter: Woman leaving nightclub dies after hit by vehicle

Photo provided by LAFAYETTE PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE -- Chase Franks, 23, was booked Dec. 12, 2014, on one count each of vehicular homicide and operating a vehicle while intoxicated after he struck and killed 22-year-old Kylie Pannell in the parking lot of Cowboys Nightclub in Scott.

A 22-year-old Crowley woman leaving Cowboys Nightclub died early Friday after she was hit by a vehicle exiting the club’s parking lot, police said. Kylie Pannell died en route to the hospital sometime after 2 a.m., Scott Police Chief Chad Leger said. The driver, 23-year-old Chase Franks, of Breaux Bridge, was booked… Continue reading →

Advocate, KATC seek access to Seth Fontenot court records

Seth Fontenot

The Acadiana Advocate and KATC Communications filed a petition Friday seeking access to sealed documents and transcripts of closed court hearings in the first-degree murder case against Seth Fontenot, the 20-year-old Lafayette man accused of killing 15-year-old Austin Rivault and wounding two other teens in a 2013 shooting. Many documents in the case… Continue reading →

About 1,200 to receive diplomas at UL-Lafayette on Dec. 19

Darrell Bourque.

About 1,300 graduates will receive diplomas from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette during fall 2014 commencement ceremonies scheduled Dec. 19. A general assembly takes place at 11 a.m. at the Cajundome Convention Center, while individual colleges will hold ceremonies throughout the day at different locations on campus. During the general assembly,… Continue reading →

Former special assistant to Cooper sues Lafayette board over firing

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Thad Welch is shown in this Dec. 1, 2014, Advocate file photo.

The former special assistant to ousted superintendent Pat Cooper filed a wrongful termination lawsuit Friday against the Lafayette Parish School Board and interim Superintendent Burnell LeJeune. In the lawsuit, filed in 15th Judicial District Court, Thad Welch seeks reinstatement to his position and specified damages. Welch was… Continue reading →

More than 380 set to receive degrees from SLCC on Dec. 18

Gregg Gothreaux, president and CEO of Lafayette Economic Development Authority

More than 380 South Louisiana Community College will receive degrees during the college’s Fall 2014 Commencement at 6 p.m. Thursday, at the Cajundome Convention Center. “Making the decision to earn an education is sometimes the hardest part, especially when someone is faced with adversity,” SLCC Chancellor Natalie Harder said in a… Continue reading →

Acadiana news briefs for Dec. 13, 2014

Lafayette General Health is offering free retinal screenings to diabetes patients from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday at Lafayette General Medical Center’s Owen Auditorium. The screenings, in partnership with Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems, is to check patients for diabetic retinopathy, the leading… Continue reading →