Two years ago, The Independent Weekly profiled infamous Opelousas Police Chief Larry Caillier ("Couillon in Chief," August 11, 2004), detailing his public exploits and legal woes. Caillier refused to be interviewed for the story, later telling KATC-TV 3, "You just don't communicate with idiots. Because then, you know, you'd be giving them â?¦ the spotlight that they wanted."
Caillier apparently shared the same kind of contempt for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Despite multiple earlier claims of his innocence, Caillier pled guilty last Thursday to federal charges of fraud. Prosecutors say Caillier filed claims to HUD "that he knew were false, fictitious or fraudulent" for a bike patrol conducted by the Opelousas Police Department.
Caillier still faces several state charges and charges by the state ethics board. He has not been sentenced on his federal conviction but faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. ' R. Reese Fuller
GRANT STREET DANCEHALL RE-OPENING POSTPONED
Despite constant construction and the best intentions of its new owners, Grant Street Dancehall will not reopen its doors the first weekend in June as originally planned. Dave Maraist, director of public relations and entertainment, says issues with permitting and licensing have bumped the club's opening back a month, maybe even to the Fourth of July holiday weekend. The club originally opened its doors on July 4, 1980.
In January, Maraist and a group of investors purchased the building in downtown Lafayette for $385,000, along with the historic club's name ("Staging a Comeback," Jan. 11). After completing the $215,000 renovation, a second bar will open by the end of the year in an unused room hidden behind the stage. ' RRF
ALLIGATOR SUE TAKES TOP HONORS
Lafayette author Sharon Arms Doucet's children's book, Alligator Sue, has been chosen as the 2006 Louisiana Young Readers' Choice Award in the elementary division by a vote of readers who know it best ' third, fourth and fifth graders. The story, illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf, tells the tale of Suzanne Marie Sabine Chicot Thibodeaux, or Sue for short, who is blown off her parents' houseboat in the Atchafalaya Basin by a hurricane. Sue winds up in Mama Coco alligator's nest, where her foster family of Mama Coco and 30 alligator siblings raises her.
"The award is really an honor," Doucet says, "because it's chosen by the kids. Every children's writer's goal is to please kids, not to please adults." Doucet has been reading in schools since hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit. "Since the storms struck, it's been getting out to a lot more kids," she says. "I've been reading to kids who were directly impacted by the hurricanes."
The book focuses on Sue's determination and ingenuity. When another hurricane comes, Sue uses her father's accordion to bellow so loud that she drives away the hurricane. "That's when we have a really good time," Doucet says. "The kids make enough noise to scare away a hurricane. I think it's therapeutic." ' Mary Tutwiler
POLL: SAGGING CONFIDENCE IN LOUISIANA
Before hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck last year, Louisiana residents thought the state and its economy were moving in the right direction, and public education reform was considered the most important issue facing the state. According to the results of a recent post-hurricane poll conducted by the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University, those sentiments have significantly changed. Only 34 percent of respondents think the state is moving in the right direction ' a dramatic 18-point drop from last year's survey. Confidence in Louisiana's economy has also dropped, with 49 percent of residents contending the state economy has gotten worse ' a 24-point downturn. David Bondy, chief executive officer of LUBA Workers' Comp and a member of the survey committee, says the results "should provide state leaders with an invaluable resource, and, used wisely, should help advance the rebuilding process." The full report and a summary are available at www.survey.lsu.edu. ' Jeremy Alford
Shoppers familiar with Louisiana-based Rouses Market might be surprised when they walk into the new third location set to open at the Corner of Johnston Street and Duhon Road south the Acadiana Mall on Wednesday.
Noted architect and co-founder/principal of Architects Southwest receives highest honor given to former student.
Know an innovator, job creator and visionary with a penchant for hard work? We want to know that person.
If you care about the wellbeing of Louisiana’s college students, vote against Amendments 1 and 2.
A Mandeville media consultant with big name political connections pleaded guilty Monday to a series of federal mail fraud charges.
Despite a decline in global oil prices affecting the outlook for domestic ethylene producers, South African company moves forward.
1,595 rigs were exploring for oil and 332 for gas. A year ago there were 1,738 active rigs.
Prestigious honor annually recognizes a single attorney for excellence in public interest/pro bono work.
JPMorgan Chase is giving $1 million to Louisiana's community and technical colleges, to help with workforce training efforts to match students to available jobs.
Law firm unveils newly renovated 200-year-old building.
UL grad named web developer at BBR Creative
Lafayette-based emergency department staffing and management company raises $120 million in senior credit facilities through GE Capital, Healthcare Financial Services.
High-rise apartment building, parking garage, hotel and retail part of new development.
The number of Louisianans with jobs continued to set records in September, but the state's unemployment rate kept rising.
Louisiana is drowning, quickly.
An investment group led by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets will buy the Louisiana power company Cleco for $3.4 billion.
Local developer’s Lake Charles Gardens LLC purchases buildings and leases; land still owned by Dugas family.
Economist Loren Scott says Louisiana is in the midst of an industrial boom unlike any other in its history, with more than $100 billion in industrial projects either under construction or in the engineering and design phase.
The Louisiana Treasury holds $18 million in Israel Bonds — bonds that earn 2.868 percent when the three-year U.S. Treasury is yielding 1.08 percent.
ABiz celebrates another class of Acadiana's most influential female trailblazers, the Lourdes Foundation honors a local philanthropist and MedExpress in Opelousas celebrates its 22nd year as the “little ambulance service that could.”
Is Louisiana’s O&G industry ready to head south of the border?
Downtown’s newest live-work space for creatives doubles as a gallery for other upcoming artists to show their work.
A maritime case originating in Lafayette federal court could become a game changer for the oil and gas industry.
Here’s what’s at stake in the November Senate race — regardless of whether Republicans gain control of the upper chamber.
From the publisher’s in-box: ABiz reaches out to Lake Charles, time to “Come Home, Louisiana,” and now accepting nominations for Entrepreneur of the Year.