News Briefs

Brazda leaving TV3, GOP lines up behind Romero and more


Local television broadcasting's loss is Matt Stuller's gain. Sixteen-year news and sports broadcaster Scott Brazda is leaving KATC-TV3 for a position as executive director of the Stuller Family Foundation, which provides grants to various community non-profit organizations and projects. Brazda and Stuller developed a relationship over the years through their mutual work with St. Jude Dream Home, KATC's biggest and most identifiable charitable project.

Brazda, 46, says he'll stay on at the station until a replacement is named, possibly till mid-August. Brazda likens his new post to his job as a reporter, as he'll be interviewing heads of organizations that make grant requests in order to assess the community's needs. "I'm going to be reporting back to [the foundation board] my thoughts on these requests," he says. As executive director of Stuller Family Foundation, he'll also be charged with helping various non-profits work together in order to avoid duplication of services. (Another primary responsibility will be coordination of one of the Stuller Family Foundation's major projects, the new Ascension High School in Sugar Mill Pond, slated to open in the fall of 2008.)

A 1982 UL grad who grew up in Lafayette, Brazda joined the station's sports department at the age of 30 and worked his way up to the coveted evening anchor spot. He was moved to sports director in December 2003 when Hoyt Harris returned to local TV. Though the sports post was a good fit for him, the transfer was a letdown ' Brazda had developed a greater zeal for the versatility of news.

Nonetheless, Brazda again excelled at the sports desk. "You can't go through life mad," he says. "The first six months weren't easy, because it wasn't my call. They made a business decision."

This time, it's Brazda who's made the call. "I was kind of looking for challenges," he says. "At TV3 I've done everything but weather. I was always open to new possibilities." ' Leslie Turk


One of the biggest challenges state Sen. Craig Romero faced during the 2004 contest in the 3rd Congressional District ' aside from the fact it was one of the nastiest in the nation ' was tepid support from his own party. But now the New Iberia Republican is solidifying his base. The chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party has endorsed Romero's campaign, as has the national co-founder of the Christian Coalition. But last week Romero was truly brought into the conservative inner circle when House Speaker Dennis Hastert and House Majority Whip Roy Blunt wrote checks to Romero's campaign at a Washington, D.C. fundraiser. The event was also hosted by members of key congressional committees. ' Jeremy Alford


Louisiana came one step closer last week to realizing its goal of increasing its share of offshore oil and gas royalties when the U.S. House approved legislation that would guarantee $9 billion over the next decade. Kenner Republican Rep. Bobby Jindal was the lead sponsor of the legislation, and didn't hesitate to use the victory for a subtle dig at Gov. Kathleen Blanco. The governor is pushing her own plan to up revenue sharing by refusing to sign off on offshore royalties in August, but Jindal says her threats aren't resonating. "D.C. never focuses on anything but today," he says. ' JA


A few Crescent City officials have weighed in regarding The Independent Weekly's June 14 cover story, "The Tourism Trap," which detailed the plan by some Acadiana officials to market the region to tourists as an alternative to New Orleans while the southeastern part of the state recovers from Katrina. Steve Perry, president of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, says Acadiana should promote itself by any means necessary, but the new marketing message is off-base. "We're completely open and operating," Perry says. "Jazz Fest had a half-million people. This week marks the launch of three major conventions. The hospitality industry here is not only open, but it is thriving. The tourism experience is already back to normal." Perry also points to Jackson Square, which received minimal damage, and the aquarium, which is stocked full of fish and open to visitors. Sandy Shilstone, director of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, says Acadiana isn't trying anything new, and she doubts it would help New Orleans transition back to pre-Katrina times. "We appreciate the help from the Acadiana parishes," Shilstone says with a hearty laugh, "but New Orleans is up and running." ' JA


Several polls conducted in June bolster forecast that flag-burning will be a fiery topic during the upcoming congressional races. CNN reports that 56 percent of its respondents favor a constitutional amendment banning flag desecration, while FOX Network boasts that 73 percent in its poll want to criminalize the act. NBC, meanwhile, touts a survey revealing 44 percent of voters are more likely to back a candidate with these convictions. When the U.S. Senate took up a constitutional amendment banning the burning last week, Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu threw a bone to conservatives with a press release touting her supportive vote. She called the American flag "our nation's most enduring symbol of freedom," and added, "Today's vote notwithstanding, I still believe this amendment and the Freedom of Speech can stand side-by-side in our Constitution." ' JA