News Briefs

A sinking feeling from 60 Minutes, D'Aquin moves on and Chevron City


Venerable Sunday news show 60 Minutes dropped the ball this past Sunday with a breathless report titled "New Orleans is Sinking." Instead of seriously exploring coastal restoration and levee protection efforts, correspondent Scott Peley filed a sensationalistic story that focused almost exclusively on the devastation in the lower Ninth Ward and gave extensive play to the comments of a professor of earth sciences at St. Louis University who said New Orleans residents should gradually pull out of the city.

No mention of President Bush's pledge to do "whatever it takes" to rebuild the Gulf Coast, no mention of New Orleans neighborhoods that are up and running, and no mention of New Orleans' vital status as a port city.

Where's Mike Wallace when you need him? ' Scott Jordan


After just 11 months on the job, Downtown Lafayette Unlimited Marketing Director David D'Aquin is leaving his post to return to TV3 as a general assignment news reporter. "I missed news," D'Aquin says. "This opportunity came up, and I couldn't pass it up."

D'Aquin, who worked for three years at TV3 as a weather anchor and part-time reporter prior to joining DLU, will be back on air starting Dec. 1. DLU is now actively seeking his replacement. ' Nathan Stubbs


The parking lot of the former Evangeline Downs on the I-49 frontage road in Carencro is now filled with temporary housing. Security booths limit access at two gates to the fenced lot and rows of cream-colored modular trailers, each hooked into portable sewer tanks that look like giant green trash bins, line the old parking spaces.

For the past month, this complex has been home to more than 100 displaced New Orleans residents from Hurricane Katrina. But it isn't a FEMA site; the facilities were set up by Chevron to assist employees of its New Orleans business office.

Chevron spokesman Matt Carmichael says approximately 130 Chevron engineers, geologists, and support staff are now living at the site and working in Lafayette. "These are displaced evacuees living in temporary homes working to restore the energy needs of our nation," Carmichael says.

Carmichael says Chevron signed a six-month lease with Evangeline Downs for the racetrack site last month and is hiring off-duty Carencro city police officers for security. The trailer complex includes two recreation tents with exercise equipment, pool tables and TVs and a mess tent where three meals a day are served.

The Evangeline Downs complex is similar to temporary housing facilities Chevron has set up adjacent to its chemical processing plant in Belle Chase and its petroleum refinery in Pascagoula, Miss., to help displaced workers at those facilities.

Carmichael says many Chevron employees have already left the Evangeline Downs site, which is equipped with 60 trailers that can hold up to 240 people.

The company is cautiously planning its return to New Orleans. Chevron's New Orleans building on Gravier Street, which suffered first floor and garage damage, should be restored by March 2006. However, Carmichael says the company is also monitoring New Orleans' progress in re-establishing its levees and basic city services before returning. "We're planning to return to New Orleans but that comes with a lot of caveats," he says. ' Nathan Stubbs