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Broussard man pleads guilty to federal gun smuggling charges for shipment to his native Lebanon

A Broussard man pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal smuggling charges for trying to ship guns, body armor and ammunition to Lebanon. Joe Ali Youssef, 54, was charged last year after agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection found four pistols, two rifles, a shotgun, 8,000 founds of ammunition and body armor during a random check of… Continue reading →

Registered sex offender from Opelousas lands back in prison after leaving halfway house without permission

An Opelousas man serving a federal sentence in a Lake Charles halfway house for failing to register as a sex offender was sentenced again this week for leaving the halfway house in March without permission, officials said. U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi sentenced Christopher James Courvelle, 45, to an additional 15 months in federal custody. Courvelle… Continue reading →

After complaints about unkempt yards and run-down houses, Lafayette considering rental property inspection program

City-parish government is eyeing a rental property inspection program to address complaints about absentee landlords who some residents say care little about the condition of their homes in Lafayette. “We have folks from out of town who are buying property, some of whom have never visited Lafayette,” said City-Parish Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux. At Tuesday’s council… Continue reading →

Lafayette School Board eyes buying buses, increasing health insurance premiums, cutting PE positions as it strives to balance budget

The Lafayette School Board on Tuesday voted to look closely at buying instead of leasing its buses, a move the district’s chief accountant said would save money over the long haul and over $1 million a year immediately. School Board members also voted to raise school employees’ health insurance premiums by 9 percent. Eight of the… Continue reading →

Jeanerette’s police chief worked security at Lipstick Gentleman’s Club, but did nothing while crimes were committed inside, Metro Narcotics reported Tuesday

Marvin Grogan

Marvin Grogan drove an unmarked Jeanerette police unit to Lipstick Gentlemen’s Club in Lafayette, wore a shirt that said “police” along with his Jeanerette police badge and handgun, and identified himself as a law enforcement officer while working security at the topless bar. Yet the Jeanerette police chief did nothing while drug use and prostitution went… Continue reading →

Two Lafayette men drown at Lake Arthur Park

Fire destroys Arnaudville home of cultural renaissance leader

An early morning fire in Arnaudville destroyed the home of Mavis Arnaud Fruge, a woman at the heart of Arnaudville’s cultural French renaissance in recent years and the recipient earlier this year of the French government’s prestigious Knight in the Order of the Academic Palms award. “This home, Fruge’s home, is where she fed, entertained and… Continue reading →

Inmate died from natural causes, Lafayette Parish Coroner’s Office reports

A Lafayette Parish inmate pronounced dead at the jail on Friday died from natural causes, according to a preliminary report from the Lafayette Parish Coroner’s Office. The inmate, 46-year-old Kreig Lutgring, died from cardiovascular disease, the Coroner’s Office reported Tuesday. A full autopsy will take up to two months. Lutgring was found unresponsive in his cell… Continue reading →

Suspected drunken driver crashes into embankment, killing passenger

A Houston man was killed in a single-vehicle crash late Monday after the vehicle’s driver, suspected of being drunk, veered off an Interstate 10 service road and crashed into a ditch embankment, State Police said. Edwin Johnson, 53, was pronounced dead at the scene near the eastbound Iota and Estherwood exit, State Police… Continue reading →

Arrests posted May 25, 2015, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s website

JOSHUA FITZGERALD BABINEAUX: 30, of the 100 block of Barbusse Road, Scott. He was booked on criminal mischief and three counts of warrant/bench warrant. DEMETRE J. BROUSSARD: 36, of the 100 block of Edna Street, Lafayette. He was booked on misdemeanor possession of marijuana and resisting an officer. BRANDI LEIGH BROUSSARD: 32, of… Continue reading →

Lafayette schools superintendent Don Aguillard's first day: Proposes new high school, central office reorganization plan

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Incoming Superintendent of the Lafayette Parish School System,  Don Aguillard, in his office on Thursday morning.

It’s been 11 years since Donald Aguillard was part of the Lafayette Parish School System’s administration, but the educator isn’t carefully wading into the water as he begins his job as the parish’s chief educational leader. He’s jumping right in. The School Board made Aguillard, 60, its unanimous choice for superintendent on April… Continue reading →

Lafayette Sheriff’s Office: Work release program prepares inmates ‘for life after jail’

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Colby Turner removes a tire form a large truck Thursday afternoon at Stelly's Auto and Truck repair in upper Lafayette. Turner worked at Stelly's before his incarceration, so it was natural for him to work there when he enrolled in the Transitional Release Program offered by the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office.

Lafayette Parish’s effort to prepare convicted felons for life after jail has come a long way since Sheriff Mike Neustrom started the Transitional Work Program 11 years ago. Contrast July 2004 when one inmate with time left on his jail sentence entered the work-release program to today’s 98 participants. Eight of them are women.… Continue reading →

St. Landry residents complaining about new automated garbage collection service

A proposal to introduce parishwide automated curbside garbage collection service in St. Landry Parish is generating a barrage of complaints from customers and parish officials. Solid Waste Commission representatives were confronted with extensive criticism during a St. Landry Parish Council meeting last week about what some council members said are flaws… Continue reading →

Lafayette native honors first ‘King of Zydeco’ Clifton Chenier by writing book about the originator of Zydeco

Photo provided by Louisiana Folk Roots/Todd Mouton -- Record by zydeco legend Clifton Chenier

Lafayette native Todd Mouton came to the realization 20 years ago that there had never been a book written about the “King of Zydeco,” Clifton Chenier, and it was a problem he wanted to rectify. This fall, his book will finally be published. For Mouton, executive director of Louisiana Folk Roots, the… Continue reading →

Crime Blotter for Acadiana

A man suspected of being impaired as he drove on the wrong side of the road early Sunday struck an SUV, killing the driver, an 18-year-old Loreauville High School graduate, the Louisiana State Police said. Jordan Prince, 18, of Loreauville, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Iberia Parish coroner, according to a State Police… Continue reading →

Car crash kills recent Loreauville High School graduate

. A three vehicle car crash on US 90 near LA 14 in Iberia Parish killed an 18-year-old man and left others injured early Sunday morning, according to a Louisiana State Police release. Recent Loreauville High School graduate Jordan Prince, 18, of Loreauville, Louisiana died on the scene, according to the release.… Continue reading →

Donation boxes raising eyebrows in Lafayette — charities think they’re a for-profit enterprise

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- A box, requesting donations of shoes and clothing, is pictured at the corner of Louisiana Avenue and Carmel Drive on Friday. Such donation boxes are illegal.

The stenciled letters on the white clothing donation bins popping up in Acadiana read, “RECYCLE TO BETTER HUMANITY,” but some charity groups question whether there is a good cause behind the motto. “In the last month, they’ve kind of come out of nowhere,” said Kelly Courville, of Goodwill Industries of Acadiana, a group known for… Continue reading →

Seniors from five Lafayette Parish high schools received diplomas Saturday during ceremonies at the Cajundome

Advocate Photo by LEE CELANO  -  Lafayette High's Britney Duhon (L) is filled with emotion as she hugs her friend to her friend Rashan Dixon after graduation ceremonies for Lafayette Parish high schools at the Cajundome Sat., May 23, 2015.

More than 1,800 Lafayette Parish high school seniors proudly walked across the stage at the Cajundome to receive their diplomas on Saturday, waving to family members and occasionally snapping a selfie in front of the packed arena. Lafayette High School, the largest high school in the parish, granted 565 degrees to its graduating seniors. Comeaux, Northside, Acadiana… Continue reading →

Jeanerette Police Chief Marvin Grogan arrested late Friday in Lipsticks Gentleman’s Club investigation

Marvin Grogan

Lafayette Metro Narcotics agents arrested Jeanerette Police Chief Marvin Grogan late Friday as part of an investigation into Lipstick Gentlemen’s Club, but no details are available as to why he was taken into custody. Agents booked Grogan into the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center on one count of malfeasance in office and three counts of compounding a… Continue reading →

Lafayette police blotter for Saturday, May 23, 2015

A pedestrian was killed after he was hit by an oncoming car on U.S. 167 near Interstate 49 Friday night, State Police reported. Michael Andrus, 41, of Palmetto, was crossing the northbound lanes of U.S. 167 about 9:30 p.m. when he was hit by the car, the State Police report says. Betty Robert, 61, of… Continue reading →

Death of inmate at Lafayette Parish Correctional Center under investigation

Photo provided by GoogleMaps -- Lafayette Parish Correctional Center

A Lafayette Parish Correctional Center inmate died Friday after he was found unresponsive in his cell, a sheriff’s official said. The inmate was pronounced dead at 1:11 p.m., said Capt. John Babin, public information officer for the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office. The cause of death is undetermined at this time, pending results from the Coroner’s… Continue reading →

Councilman has no immediate plans to ask for another vote on proposal to ban smoking in Lafayette bars

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Scott Bernard smokes a cigarette inside Caffe Cottage on Friday afternoon. On Tuesday, the Lafayette City Council voted down a smoking ban for Lafayette bars.

The councilman who pushed unsuccessfully to ban smoking in Lafayette bars said he has no plans to revisit the issue any time soon following the council’s 5-4 vote on Tuesday to kill the measure. “The influence of the people just did not rise to the level that was sufficient enough to hold people accountable and… Continue reading →

Lafayette School Board’s decision to cut 119 educators from salary supplement fund will save $600,000

The Lafayette Parish School Board’s decision this week to knock 119 educators off the list of those eligible for extra pay from a 2002 sales tax will save at least $600,000, school system chief financial officer Billy Guidry has said. What’s not yet clear, however, is whether those 119 educators are now plumb out… Continue reading →

Lafayette school system providing online live streaming of Saturday’s high school graduation ceremonies

Lafayette Parish School System is providing live streaming coverage online of its high school graduation ceremonies Saturday at the Cajundome. View the ceremonies at https://livestream.com/accounts/13536387/events/ 4070465. Saturday’s graduation schedule: Comeaux High: 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.; Lafayette High: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Northside High: 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.; Acadiana… Continue reading →

Lafayette School Board committee grappling with increasing legal expenses

A Lafayette Parish School Board committee is looking at ways to stem the school system’s rising legal bills, which have doubled in the past year. The reasons for the mounting legal costs involve employee litigation, including the lawsuit involving former Superintendent Pat Cooper, and claims for bus accidents and worker’s compensation. Three options… Continue reading →

Lafayette Sheriff’s Office, Catholic Services of Acadiana to present forum on homeless issues

Two agencies that interact with Acadiana’s homeless population on a daily basis will host a discussion next week on the reasons some people have no homes and the complexities surrounding the issue that prevent easy remedies. The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office and Catholic Services of Acadiana will present the free two-hour discussion beginning at 1 p.m.… Continue reading →

Lafayette city-parish government to spend $110,000 to hire 5 part-time firefighters for rural departments

City-parish government is paying to add part-time staff at fire departments in Milton, Judice and Duson, all of which have had trouble finding enough volunteers to cover rural fire calls in western Lafayette Parish. This week, the City-Parish Council signed off on spending about $110,000 a year for two part-time firefighters at the Milton Volunteer Fire Department,… Continue reading →

Vermilion sheriff’s deputies book two men on drug counts

Jeremy Melancon, left, and Chet Miller

Agents with the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit arrested two Abbeville men this week suspected of distributing methamphetamine, with one of the suspects allegedly tossing a plastic bag containing the illegal drug out of a car window when police started following the pair. Jeremy Melancon, 38, 308 Laura St., was booked on suspicion of possessing… Continue reading →

Lafayette police blotter for Thursday, May 21

Arrests posted May 21, 2015, on the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s web site: ANDREW MICHAEL ALBRITTON: 20, of the 300 block of Bell Downs Drive, Lafayette. He was booked on misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated and improper lane change (no accident). DANIEL RAY ALEXANDER:… Continue reading →

Reward offered for equipment return

Jeremy Melancon

The St. Martin Parish Fire District is trying to recover thousands of dollars in equipment stolen in mid-May from the Catahoula Volunteer Fire Department. Brian Castille, a coordinator with the fire district, said the Catahoula equipment was stolen sometime between May 13 and May 15. The fire district is offering… Continue reading →

St. Martin fire official seeks to recover stolen equipment

The St. Martin Parish Fire District is trying to recover thousands of dollars in equipment stolen in mid-May from the Catahoula Volunteer Fire Department. Brian Castille, a coordinator with the fire district, said the Catahoula equipment was stolen sometime between May 13 and May 15. The fire district is offering… Continue reading →

U.S. Rep. Richmond asks for U.S. Justice Department to investigate allegation of abuse by Iberia Parish deputies

Advocate staff file photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Victor White Sr., father of Victor White, who died while in police custody in March 2014, center, with Takuna Mauluna El Shabazz, with the Community Council of Black Voters, left, and Raymond Brown, President of National Action Now, of New Orleans, speaks during a press conference asking for the resignation of Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal.

A New Orleans congressman on Wednesday asked the Justice Department to launch a sweeping investigation of the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office, citing recent articles in The Advocate detailing allegations of abuse by deputies there. “We can no longer allow the abusive culture that has permeated IPSO to go unchecked,” U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond said in a written… Continue reading →

St. Landry Parish Council hears complaints about road woes; parish still working on road improvement project

Arrest made in May 7 death of Arnaudville man

St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s deputies on Wednesday night arrested Dewayne Gravouia, 55, in the May 7 death of his 67-year-old neighbor George C. Prejean. The two men had been fighting at a residence on Betty Drive in Arnaudville. Gravouia was arrested at a Carencro residence and transported to the St. Martin Parish Correctional Center, where he… Continue reading →

Lafayette School Board trimming the number of employees eligible for sales tax bonus checks

Justin Centanni, Lafayette Parish School Board District 6

The Lafayette Parish School Board decided Wednesday to trim the number of employees who are eligible to receive salary boosts from sales tax revenues dedicated for teacher salaries. The board’s work to cull the list is based on financial responsibility to taxpayers and is not a reflection of the value of an employee’s job, board finance chairman… Continue reading →

St. Martinville man booked in theft of $50,000 worth of cypress

David Latiolais

A St. Martinville man was arrested Wednesday after surrendering in the theft of $50,000 worth of cypress and a utility trailer from a Catahoula residents, according to the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office. David Latiolais, 55, was booked into the parish Correctional Center on two counts of felony theft. He is being held without bail, the Sheriff’s… Continue reading →

Wiggling, laughing and singing, 4-year-olds receive diplomas from Lafayette’s Truman Early Childhood Education Center

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Jaquell Green, left, and Kam'ron Brooks sing a song during their 2015 Spring Program and Graduation on Wednesday morning at Truman Early Childhood Education Center. The students played instruments and sang along to different music under the direction of Jessica Eyster and Daniel Gale, with the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra and Conservatory.

The youngsters wiggled, laughed, sang and danced, 50 or so 4-year-olds who on Wednesday celebrated the end of pre-kindergarten at Truman Early Childhood Education Center. In the audience, parents with camera phones jostled for a clear view of their kids — who are barely out of toddlerhood — receiving their diplomas at the center’s… Continue reading →