Turk File

Turk File - August 2008

by Leslie Turk

Maria Placer moving on

After more than four decades at KLFY-TV10, Maria Placer is moving over to the information and referral center 232-HELP/211, assuming the role of executive director. The position was most recently held by Sharon Bourgeois, who served from January to mid June. Bourgeois had replaced 232-HELP founder Jewell Lowe, who died last September.

Placer has been on 232-HELP’s board since 2004 and was a close friend of Lowe’s. Lowe founded the center in 1965.

KLFY General Manager Mike Barras says Placer will return to the station for special projects, including the “Wednesday’s Child” program, which she launched in 1982. Placer’s last day at the station is Tuesday, July 31.

Since joining KLFY in 1966, Placer has worked in just about every possible capacity, becoming the first woman to anchor news in southwest Louisiana and the first female television news director on the Gulf Coast, according to the local station. She most recently served as chief community relations officer.

Downtown restaurant blues**

It’s not been a good summer for downtown restaurants. Victor’s, a new Greek-inspired bistro, shut down after only a few months in business, Café Bonjour turned off the java taps in June, and now a beloved plate-lunch institution, T-Coon’s, has closed its doors. Business owner Terry Majors is reluctant to discuss why he chose to end a tradition of fried rabbit, meatball stew, stellar rice dressing and crisp catfish, but there were indications that business was slowing down when T-Coon’s stopped serving breakfast several months ago.

Restaurateur David Billeaud first opened T-Coon’s on Jefferson Street in 1993. He leased the space from downtown landlord Kathy Ashworth. In 2002, Billeaud opened a second location in a strip mall at the intersection of Pinhook and Kaliste Saloom roads. Majors took over the downtown business and lease in 2005, maintaining the menu and recipes Billeaud perfected. The restaurant is filled with local memorabilia; the sound track for the Cajun and Creole cooking was a nonstop two-step of Cajun and zydeco. Over the years T-Coon’s wooden booths saw business deals sealed, political campaigns launched, weekly French-language lunches, and habitués who could tell the day of the week by what was on the menu. As word gets out, the loss is affecting plate lunch junkies and smothered rabbit fans from across Acadiana, who claim to be losing their appetites. Majors’ last word on the closure is a recommendation to head over to the T-Coon’s on Pinhook and “eat with David.” — Mary Tutwiler

Sephora opening in La. Ave. JCPenney

The state’s first Sephora inside of a JCPenney department store (and Lafayette’s first Sephora) is opening Friday, Aug. 1, in the new Stirling Lafayette Shopping Center on Louisiana Avenue. The wildly popular beauty retailer sells top name-brand makeup, fragrances, bath and body, and hair care products.

Featuring the signature Sephora look, the 1,500-square-foot store is located prominently in the center of JCPenney. Sephora was the first beauty retailer to offer the unique open-sell philosophy, allowing clients to shop a myriad of brands while encouraging them to touch, play, and try everything from lip glosses to blushes and fragrances. The store has about 50 beauty brands, including hard-to-find cult makeup lines such as Bare Escentuals, Stila and Smashbox; innovative skincare lines including Cosmedicine, Philosophy and Dr. Brandt; and fragrance offerings from Dior, DKNY, Aquolina and Sean John. Sephora also has its own collection of makeup, skin care, bath and body products, and tools and accessories.

Just as with other Sephora stores, product consultants must complete the company’s educational program focused on skin care and general beauty. They are trained to make non-biased recommendations on products.

In addition to its retail stores, Sephora is the largest online retailer of prestige beauty products. The company was founded in France in 1969 and acquired by Paris-based LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s leading luxury products group, in 1997. Sephora America operates more than 210 stores in the U.S. and Canada, as well as Sephora.com. Sephora recently broadened its accessibility by partnering with HSN, a global multi-channel retailing giant, and JCPenney.

Lourdes, affiliates ban smoking

Following a growing national trend, Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center and its joint venture partner campuses, Heart Hospital of Lafayette, Lourdes Imaging Network and Lourdes AfterHours, will be smoke-free beginning Aug. 4. Smoking will be prohibited on all property owned, leased or operated by Lourdes, including parking lots, sidewalks and all outdoor areas on campus. The policy applies to everyone.

In announcing the new policy, Lourdes noted that 430,000 Americans die each year from smoking. In Louisiana, 6,400 annual deaths are caused from smoking related diseases. Additionally, about 1,000 Louisianans die each year from secondhand smoke, according to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

“Our mission calls us to create a spirit of healing for all those entrusted to our care,” says Bud Barrow, Lourdes’ president and CEO. “Our Lady of Lourdes is a place of healing, and while we respect the rights of adults to smoke, we are also aware of its ill effects. Secondhand smoke exposure has taken the lives of far too many in our community. At Lourdes, we will all breathe a little easier.”

Zeus expanding to River Ranch

Zeus Café founder Nidal Balbeisi is bringing his popular Greek and Lebanese concept to River Ranch. Zeus and Subway will share the space previously occupied by Dagwood’s Sandwich Shoppe between CC’s Coffee House and WOW Café & Wingery on Camellia Boulevard. Dagwood’s shut down about a month ago, after being open less than a year. The company filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April.

Balbeisi says Zeus and Subway should be up and running within two months.