News Briefs

Some of the king's men, Web site crashes, and an unlucky cowboy.


Director and writer Steven Zaillian continues to film All The King's Men in Acadiana. The Columbia Pictures feature film based on Robert Penn Warren's novel ' starring Sean Penn, James Gandolfini and Kate Winslet ' was shooting last week on location at Dixie Plantation, Medric Martin's store in Franklin and Albania Plantation just south of Jeanerette. Lodgings from Morgan City to New Iberia are housing crew members, while Cypress Bayou Casino and Charlie's restaurant in Franklin have kept King's crew and cast happy.

In a related note, the film incentives offered by Louisiana to attract such projects are putting other states in reactionary mode. The March 18 issue of the Austin Chronicle notes, "The [Texas] legislature's $20 million in proposed incentives to lure more film projects to Texas is emphasizing jobs and aiming to boost rural areas as well as larger cities like Austin. And, of course, it's all about turning back the infidels in Louisiana and New Mexico whose similar incentive programs have cut into our slice of the auction [sic]. â?¦ More important, they could end the migration of Texas film crew and talent to Louisiana, which was highlighted recently when one of Austin's largest talent agencies, Jeff Nightbyrd's Acclaim, opened a New Orleans office." ' MT/SJ


Last weekend, media all across Louisiana announced that the state's health department would unveil a Web site that would rank the sanitary conditions of Louisiana's 30,000 restaurants. But after the site's launch, it never managed to stay online. The Independent Weekly attempted unsuccessfully to access the site for two days. By the end of the week, there was only a message that read, "The Restaurant Inspection Site is experiencing technical difficulty and has been disabled until further testing has been completed to ensure optimal performance." ' RRF


Firefly Digital CEO Mike Spears was the envy of office workers across Acadiana earlier this year when he announced he was taking a work sabbatical to hike the Appalachian Trail. The 40-year-old entrepreneur planned to hike the complete 2,175 miles of the trail and write daily reports on, a Web site he created to document his trip.

The journey didn't quite go as planned; Spears lasted 13 miles. His knee was hurting, and winter storms were predicted for his third night on the trail, so he left and came home.

"However, on the bright side, in the last five miles of the trail, I realized something. I'm always up for an adventure," wrote Spears in his online journal on March 3. "This was an epic adventure. It was more about discovery and a quest to find something than it was about fun and excitement. In those last miles on the trail I realized that what I was seeking, I'd already had at home. It took a very different perspective, in a very different environment to realize it." Spears did not return a call for comment, but noted in his online journal that he might try and return to the trail and hike smaller increments on future trips. ' SJ