Amid all the hubbub at City Hall over funding social service organizations, Lafayette residents Leroy and Joyce Richard are quietly sharing their good fortune with the less fortunate. The couple dipped into their bank account last week and purchased 50 electric fans and 100 cases of water, then contacted District 4 Consolidated Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux, who worked his contacts in churches and civic groups to determine who needed the heat-beating resources the most. Future donations, including a/c window units, are in the works. “I’ve been blessed and have everything I need,” Leroy Richard told The Independent, “and I’m trying to help somebody else.” C’est bon, Leroy.
The recess bell is ringing in Lafayette. We’ve had that sinking feeling that the Hub City’s relatively robust economy couldn’t out-run the nation forever. Evidence is mounting that the national recession is sinking in here, too. Last week the INDsider reported that Lafayette Parish sales tax collections were down for the fifth consecutive month. That’s the longest streak since 1999, when the Sales Tax Department began tracking monthly reports electronically. Sales taxes were down 7.5 percent in May compared to the same month in 2008; down 10.5 percent in the April-to-April period. All told, we’re down 7 percent this year compared with the first five months of 2008. But hey, at least we have heat, humidity and Audra Shay. Read on.
When the Young Republican National Federation gathered July 11 in Indianapolis to elect a leader, it helped cast yet another negative light on Louisiana. Audra Shay of New Orleans, a 38-year-old Army veteran and rabid Obama hater, won the post despite an embarrassing redneck thread of commentary on her Facebook page uncovered two weeks before the election by The Daily Beast and widely circulated among bloggers. In one of them, Shay, obviously responding to a Facebook friend’s rant about “obama bin lauden” and the “mad coons” taking over, posts the response, “You tell em Eric! lol.” Laugh out loud indeed. Shay had the backing of Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has yet to comment. The new YR chairwoman characterized the whole ugly episode as political machinations by rivals vying for the leadership post and has since scrubbed her Facebook page clean of the overt and tacit racism. But it’s too late. Audra Shay, you ain’t nothin’ but a couillon!