Smooth sailing, Mr. Flanagan

by Independent Editors

After three years of cranking out prototypical IND investigative journalism, staff writer Patrick Flanagan moves on to his next adventure. We predict it won’t be nearly as fun but probably as rewarding.

Patrick’s two new titles: former Independent staff writer and teacher. After three productive, often provocative years covering public education, law enforcement and host of other topics, Patrick has accepted a job teaching American history to 7th graders at JH Williams Middle School in Abbeville. A former beat reporter at The Daily Iberian who holds a master’s degree in history, Patrick, we predict, will be an excellent educator.

Patrick’s recent series of reporting and analysis of the sheriff’s race, the candidates and Sheriff Mike Neustrom’s innovative approach to law enforcement opened a window into a vexing issue facing Lafayette Parish: how to effectively address crime and recidivism. His reporting over the years on public education, notably the school board, routinely rankled some within the professionally aggrieved wing of the teacher unions whose worthy goals have often been diminished by their allegiance to slime-ball politicians — education activists who are partisans with The Independent on most issues but will countenance no honest criticism of their favored board members. Patrick stood up to their humorless condescension, too.

As a reporter, Patrick was bold and fearless, taking on assignments his colleagues shrank from; asking tough questions, face-to-face, of those in power. His contributions to this newspaper over the last three years have been invaluable. We wish him the best and know he won’t be a stranger at our quarterly effigy burnings.

And remember, Patrick, give those little devils an inch and they’ll take a mile!

From left: with Co-Publishers Steve May, Cherry Fisher May and Editorial Director Leslie Turk