Pooyie! 07.08.2009

More positive proof that Acadiana’s community banks are doing just fine, thank you. Last week, Lafayette-based MidSouth Bancorp Inc. cracked a prestigious list of U.S. companies, entering for the first time the Russell 3000 Index. MidSouth’s common stock was added to the R3KI in connection with Russell’s final annual index reconstitution. The 25-year-old index measures the market capitalization of 3,000 of the largest and most liquid companies in the country. That’s some good company. President and CEO Rusty Cloutier told the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, “Across all levels of the bank, we were quite excited to get this news.”

Yes, we give The Daily Advertiser a hard time on occasion. Often, actually. It’s an addiction. But in the greater scheme of things, the journalists who labor at 1100 Bertrand Drive are our peers in this increasingly leaky Fourth Estate. Last week The Advertiser’s parent company, Gannett, announced another round of layoffs: 1,400 this time, but it comes on the heels of last year’s 10-percent workforce reduction among roughly 41,000 employees nationwide. Gannett owns five dailies in Louisiana: The Advertiser, The Daily World in Opelousas, The Town Talk in Alexandria, The Times in Shreveport and The News-Star in Monroe. Just a few weeks ago, Gannett informed Louisiana employees of its plans to consolidate its copy desk operations for all state newspapers in Monroe, a de facto staff reduction. How Gannett can ask its employees to do more and more with less and less and to do it with all the job security of a knife thrower’s assistant is beyond our comprehension. There has to be a breaking point. And we have to warn you: With fewer staff members and no copy editors in-house at 1100 Bertrand, this junky smells a regular fix.

Within hours of Lafayette musician and educator Jason Leonard posting videos on YouTube of Hampton Toyota service employees rifling through compartments in his truck — pocketing change, sniffing pills and apparently watching porn on a diagnostic computer — the dealership flew into damage-control mode and Leonard, a new extended service warranty in hand, pulled the videos. The story behind the story here is that Leonard had notified the company weeks ago, even showed them the hidden-camera video he used to confirm his suspicions that employees were doing more than servicing his truck, and received a gentleman’s agreement for the extended warranty. Hampton did the right thing and canned the offenders, but then dragged its feet on the warranty, prompting Leonard to post the videos. So who’s the couillon in all this? The Independent Weekly. We’ve had the videos for about two months and never posted them ourselves!