from The INDsider

Easton on micromanagement, LUS seeks public input and more


In his latest open letter, Lafayette Parish School System Superintendent James Easton describes what he believes is his biggest challenge ' micromanagement. After providing Webster's definition, Easton writes, "Micromanagers engage FEAR in the workplace, which leads to frustration, depression and loss of productivity. It encourages staff to play politics. It costs your team its best members by demotivating employees, causing resentment and damaging trust."

Easton doesn't cite anyone by name in his micromanagement screed. Although if you see yourself in the questions the superintendent poses, there's still hope: "First you have to admit that you have a problem," says Easton. Read Easton's latest letter at

In other school board news, board member Rickey Hardy called for a permanent injunction against Easton's banishment from the board table. ' R. Reese Fuller


The Times-Picayune kicked off a special multi-part series Sunday chronicling Louisiana's vanishing coastline, and it should be required reading for anyone who cares about the state's safety and future. In a multi-media presentation that includes maps and animated graphics that accompany the stories on, The T-P details how it took 6,000 years for the Mississippi River to naturally build the Louisiana coastline ' and it took man 75 years to destroy the same amount of land with shipping canals, levees and oil and gas exploration. Here's their prognosis: If we don't come up with a dedicated, aggressive plan to protect and fortify our wetlands within the next 10 years, land losses will simply be too widespread to overcome. ' Scott Jordan


In the past month, two separate assaults in and around the public parking garage on Vermilion Street sent two downtown workers to the hospital. The attacks have prompted concerned area business owners to call on city officials to work to further ensure safety for downtown employees and visitors.

Police Chief Jim Craft says one suspect has been apprehended in the assault cases and stresses the city is also exploring proactive steps. "Daytime random attacks like that, that really bothers us," he says. Craft notes his department has already conducted a site security survey for the Vermilion Street parking garage and will be recommending several ways to improve its security. He plans to meet with City-Parish President Joey Durel this week about the recommendations, which include restricting public entrance to the parking garage and improving lighting and video surveillance in the area. In the meantime, Craft says the department has already stepped up its daytime patrol downtown. ' Nathan Stubbs


The state Republican Party is trumpeting a video they say recently "surfaced" on YouTube that paints former U.S. Sen. John Breaux as one of Bobby Jindal's biggest supporters. Last week, a link to the video was being forwarded by state Republican party Executive Director James Quinn. No one had claimed ownership of the video, which was posted by a new YouTube member named Lapoliticalwatch.

The clip recycles old quotes from Breaux that shower praise on Jindal. In 1998, Breaux chaired the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare and appointed Jindal as its executive director, commending the young Republican for his work on health care reform. Breaux is now repeatedly being mentioned as the Democratic Party's top choice to oppose Jindal in this year's governor's race, should Gov. Kathleen Blanco decide not to seek re-election. ' NS


Citadel Broadcasting has relocated the studios of KRDJ-FM, Red 93.7, back to Lafayette and is now calling the station Rock 93.7. As part of the move, the broadcasting group changed the format of the station (which previously played the '70s, '80s, and "whatever") to classic rock. Under a different ownership group, the studios were moved from the Hub City to Baton Rouge in the mid-90s. The station is licensed to New Iberia, and its Atchafalaya Basin tower blasts a 100,000-watt signal throughout Acadiana.

Citadel General Manager Mary Galyean says the move diversifies the group's Lafayette franchise, which now boasts five stations. "We felt like there was an appetite for classic rock in the market," she says. Rock 93.7 has the nationally-syndicated Opie & Anthony Show in the morning drive slot, and its closest rock competitor would likely be Baton Rouge's Eagle 98.1, which caters to an older rock demo. ' Leslie Turk


When it comes to "smokestack chasing," Louisiana is still at the top of the list, according to a new report released by The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation and sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Unfortunately, when it comes to pursuing new knowledge-based economic models, we're being left in the dust.

Louisiana ranks No. 44 ' only ahead of Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas, South Dakota, Mississippi, and West Virginia. The 2007 State New Economy Index follows up on its two previous reports issued in 1999 and 2002, using 26 indicators to assess how states are transforming from industrial economic models. ' RRF


Shortly after its historic victory at the state Supreme Court, Lafayette Utilities System is moving to wrap up plans for its citywide fiber optics network, which it will use to offer residents bundled phone, Internet and cable services. LUS Director Terry Huval says the city will host a public input session to allow interested members of the community an opportunity to share their ideas for what they would like to see the fiber system offer. "This will not be a session to debate the merits of the plan," Huval says. "It is only to solicit ideas from the community." The session is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. March 8 in the City Hall atrium. ' NS


Thankfully, the unexpected return of El Niño weather conditions last year wiped out predictions of a busy 2006 hurricane season, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center now says El Niño's on the way out, and it looks like La Niña's on the way in. "Although other scientific factors affect the frequency of hurricanes, there tends to be a greater-than-normal number of Atlantic hurricanes â?¦ during La Niña events," said NOAA's retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere. La Niña conditions also mean drier and warmer weather for the south in winter months.

NOAA will continue to monitor the developing La Niña conditions and issues its detailed Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook in May. ' SJ


Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell was back in Acadiana last week to speak at the annual Collaborating to Stop Violence Against Women Conference at the Lafayette Hilton. Campbell, a Bossier City Democrat who plans to formally announce his candidacy for governor next month, spoke on a new measure he spearheaded that the PSC recently passed which waives utility deposits for victims of domestic violence. It was Campbell's second stop in Lafayette in less than a week. The previous weekend, he spoke to the Rotary Club of Lafayette and at the annual state Police Jury Association conference, where he stumped for his proposal to levy a tax on all oil and gas processed in the state ' a move he says can fund coastal restoration and allow for eliminating the state's personal and cooperative income tax. ' NS


The new Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence recognizes an African-American writer who has published a full-length work of fiction in 2006. The award was created by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation to honor the legacy of one of Louisiana's most heralded writers while inspiring young writers to strive for excellence.

Gaines, a south Louisiana native who lives in Oscar, La., is the author of renowned works of fiction, most notably The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, A Gathering of Old Men, and the Pulitzer Prize-nominated A Lesson Before Dying, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 2004 he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in literature. Submissions are being accepted through the end of April. The winner will receive a $10,000 award and appear at an event in Baton Rouge to read from his or her winning work. For more info, visit ' LT


Two of Louisiana's favorite wide receivers were released by their teams on the eve of free agency last week. The New Orleans Saints cut loose Joe Horn, the team's all-time leader in touchdown receptions, four-time Pro Bowler and the Saints' voice of the team and region in the nightmare post-Katrina 2005 season. Farther north, The Indianapolis Colts parted ways with Brandon Stokley, the Comeaux and UL Lafayette alum who's been one of Peyton Manning's most reliable targets since 2003. Both Horn and Stokley were plagued by injuries last year and due large bonuses and base salaries for the 2007 season, so neither move comes as a complete surprise. Still, it's going to be strange seeing either of those guys in a different uniform.

Horn's release has an unfortunate subplot, as he told The Fayetteville Observer he felt betrayed by head coach Sean Payton. Horn's agent said he's already been contacted by four other teams, including the Atlanta Falcons. Joe Horn as a Falcon? Blasphemy! ' SJ


Some community leaders in Ozark, Ala., are upset that their city's upcoming crawfish festival ' actually Crawdad Festival ' will serve beer. Mickey Snell, with the Ozark Leisure Services Department, tells Alabama TV station WTVY: "We're trying to make an authentic Cajun style festival. The beer goes along with the crawdad and the other Cajun food that we are going to have."

The Rev. Jim Hill of Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Ozark doesn't think the two should go together. "When you try to mix alcohol with families the two do not mix. Alcohol should not be used, drunk or partaken of when families are around," he told the station. Hill is calling for a boycott of the festival. ' RRF


Doe's of Lafayette on Pinhook is slated to become Catahoula's Steakhouse. John Slaughter, who opened Catahoula's, the Grand Coteau restaurant known for eclectic cooking and enormous photographic portraits of blue-eyed hunting hounds, Catahoula's current chef/owner Jude Tauzin, and Simply Fondue entrepreneur Brach Myers have formed a partnership to launch the new steakhouse. The two Catahoulas will be separate businesses with different menus. Catahoula's in Grand Coteau retains its signature seafood dishes, while the new restaurant will steer diners toward "steak heavy" offerings, according to Slaughter. Doe's owner, Barr Brown, died in a December plane crash in Texas, and the restaurant closed Feb. 28. Catahoula's Steakhouse opens in early April. ' Mary Tutwiler


If you blinked you probably missed the transition from NYPD pizza to the Pizza Place, the newest pizzeria in Lafayette. NYPD closed its doors only two months ago, but with pizza ovens already in place, new owners Carl and Nathalie Rodriguez were able to open in the time it takes to say pepperoni. They bring a 17-year tradition honed on handmade dough and homemade sauce from their Center Street location in New Iberia to Polk Street, downtown and across from Parc International.

Theirs is a nostalgic taste from the past before pizza got trendy or topped with gourmet items. For those who are already jonesing for the 2-foot long stromboli from NYPD, hang on. Pizza Place's Charlotte Broussard says they are working on the recipe and as soon as they're happy with the results, it will be back on the menu. Beer will be back as well, once they receive their liquor license. For more info, call 233-3342. ' MT


Last Sunday's edition of The New York Times declared, "After years of recycled arrangements and graying performers and listeners, Acadiana's dance halls are suddenly filled with young musicians, young dancers and a hard-rocking approach to the old acoustic instruments."

The article, titled "Cajun Sound, Rock 'n' Roll Energy," focused on Wilson Savoy of the Pine Leaf Boys and his musical family. But three other local bands ' the Lost Bayou Ramblers, the Red Stick Ramblers, and Feufollet ' were also cited as "the core of a renaissance in Cajun and Creole music." ' RRF


The National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies studied state child care center policies and regulations and recently released its findings in its report "We Can Do Better." Thanks to Idaho, Louisiana didn't come in last place. The study looked at states' procedures for inspections, health and safety requirements, background checks, child development activities, minimum requirements for center directors, and minimum staff qualifications. ' RRF


Thursday through Saturday, March 8-10, those who litter in Louisiana will be on law enforcement agencies' most wanted list. The organization Keep Louisiana Beautiful, the Louisiana State Police and the state Department of Wildlife & Fisheries are sponsoring the third annual Zero Tolerance for Litter campaign. Working with local law enforcement throughout the state, they intend to send a strong message that those who litter will be pursued and fined.

Prosecution for littering ranges from fines of $50 to $5,000, four to 100 hours of community service, and potential driver's license suspension and jail time. Among other environmental impacts, litter affects fish breeding grounds and contributes to flooding, and KLB estimates the problem costs taxpayers more than $15 million annually. ' LT


A major art exhibit depicting women in French society opened at the New Orleans Museum of Art last weekend. Femme, Femme, Femme contains nearly 85 works by Manet, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Corot and Picasso, among others, and was culled from the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay and 40 other museums throughout France. The show was conceived two months after Hurricane Katrina, when French museum directors and the minister of culture visited New Orleans and pledged a show of support for the Crescent City, once a French colony. Bernard de Reyniès, president of the Alliance Française de Lafayette, was at the opening. "It is everything regarding the woman," he says. "The paintings are very famous, very good. This is a real chance for the people of Acadiana to see French painting from the 19th century and to support New Orleans. It would be a pity not to look at it."

The exhibition will be on view through June 3, 2007. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at ticketmaster online or by calling (504) 522-5555. ' MT