Pooyie! 03.18.2009

Home-grown houses are likely  to be an economic shot in the arm for two Acadiana cities. Louisiana System Built Homes, based in St. Martinville in the former Fruit of the Loom plant, is gearing up to add an additional 300 jobs to its payroll thanks to a deal with the Louisiana Recovery Authority. Although terms have not been finalized, the LRA promised to place an order for 40 houses, which will be purchased through a $74.5 million grant to build permanent housing for victims of the 2005 hurricanes. The components for the St. Martinville company’s houses are manufactured in the local plant and assembled on site. The units have earned the Institute for Business & Home Safety’s “Fortified for Safer Living” designation due to their sturdiness. The deal will also benefit Wells Woodwork Custom Cabinetry, the New Iberia company that builds the kitchen and bathroom cabinets for Louisiana System Built Homes.

Call it a recession depression. Tough economic times are taking a toll on some local non-profits, which rely on donations from individuals and companies and on grants from cash-strapped government bodies. Perhaps nowhere is this more keenly felt than at Stuller Place, the Lafayette nonprofit that provides support services for the sexually abused and operates the Children’s Advocacy Center and the Sexual Abuse Response Center. In a desperate plea for benefactors last week, Stuller Place’s board president, executive director and program director detailed a 98 percent decline in funding as well as evaporating donations, vanishing grants and dwindling fundraising.Donations to Stuller place can be made by calling 269-1157.

You got us, Mr. vice president. Our veep apparently does have a crystal ball inside his head (despite his best efforts to prevent the shine from showing), because he knew Louisiana was losing almost 400 jobs a day before the Louisiana Workforce Commission even got the tally. When Joe Biden got on national TV Feb. 25 to say Gov. Bobby Jindal shouldn’t be criticizing President Barack Obama’s stimulus package because Louisiana was losing 400 jobs a day, we thought that was couillon fodder. After all, Louisiana had added 3,700 jobs in December, making it the only state in the nation to experience employment growth that month. However, Biden — as it turns out — was right on. On March 11 the LWC announced that Louisiana lost 12,300 jobs from December to January (seasonally adjusted); divide that by 31 days and that’s about 397 jobs a day. While that sounds immensely discouraging, it’s not. Consider this: Louisiana experienced a net gain of 4,800 jobs since January 2008 (one of only six states to post an increase), the state’s unemployment rate actually fell from 5.5 in December 2008 to 5.1 percent this January (the only state in the country to have lower unemployment) — and this January’s 1.936 million jobs is the biggest January on record. You figure all that out. Regardless, we owe our vp an apology and make The Independent editorial staff this week’s couillon