Raney Redmond is moving Redmond Marine from its small space on General Mouton into the former Alex Stirling Marine building at 1724 General Mouton. After three decades in business, Stirling shut down his business last summer ("Turk File," July 28, 2004).

Redmond says the 6,000-square-foot showroom will allow him to expand his accessory and boat sales. Redmond Marine, which has operated in Lafayette for 13 years, sells Yamaha and Nissan outboards, NauticStar bay boats and Polarcraft aluminum boats. The shop plans to open in mid-February, after an extensive remodeling.

The space has a rich boat retailing history, says Dewitt David of Van Eaton & Romero, who brokered the property sale along with Mike Matherne of Champion Real Estate. Holmes "Termite" Thurmond of Holmes Motor & Boat Co. constructed the building in the late 1950s. David says he later leased it to Rockenschuh Marine and then to Stirling.

Redmond purchased the building from Thurmond's widow, Dorothea, for $150,000.

Wilkerson eyes second downtown location

Local bar owner Shannon Wilkerson has just expanded the kitchen of his new Sidebar at 205 W. Vermilion, in preparation to begin serving lunch after Mardi Gras, and he's already planning to operate another downtown location.

Just out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, he's hoping to manage Pati O's, a new concept planned a couple of blocks away from the Sidebar at 200 E. Vermilion, across Polk Street from Stan's nightclub. Wilkerson says he'll joint venture with a local attorney, who is in the process of buying the vacant building from brothers Dudley Jr. and Roland LeBlanc, sons of famed Hadacol founder Dudley LeBlanc. Wilkerson describes Pati O's as "a bigger version of the Filling Station [restaurant on Jefferson Street]," with boiled seafood as its specialty. He wants to have it open by Festival International in late April.

Wilkerson sought bankruptcy protection from creditors in mid-2003. Last month the case was dismissed, leaving him on his own to settle $1.3 million in debt with his creditors.

The Sidebar relocated from Jefferson Street's Gordon Square in November 2003 when Wilkerson's landlords refused to renew his lease. At the time of his bankruptcy filing, he owned seven bars, including Poets on James Comeaux Road, the Screamin' Coyote on Congress Street and The Old Plaza on Johnston Street. Only the Sidebar and his General Mouton sports bar, The Bulldog, survived.

In other downtown activity last week, Legends opened on Jefferson Street across from Tsunami. Jared Doise, John LeBlanc and Brittany Doyle own the downtown sports bar; Doise also owns the original Legends on Bertrand Drive.

Blue Dog's big story

Steve Santillo's Blue Dog Café on Pinhook, which quickly became a local favorite when it opened in 1999, is featured in Chile Pepper magazine's February 2005 issue.

The story urges readers to go to Louisiana's Blue Dog Café for the art but stay for the food. The seven-page spread explores the successful restaurant's connection to famous Blue Dog artist George Rodrigue, a Lafayette native. "I've had a gallery in Lafayette since 1967," Rodrigue tells Louisiana writer Brooks Hamaker, "but my idea for the restaurant was for a place where people in the area could go, bring their friends, and view the art in a more accessible atmosphere." Rodrigue dines at the restaurant regularly.

The bi-monthly mag's February issue, "The Best of Cajun and Creole, from Blackened Shrimp to Pecan Pie," includes a history of Opelousas-based Tony Chachere's products and smaller profiles of Café des Amis in Breaux Bridge and Black's in Abbeville.

Chile Pepper is available locally at Barnes & Noble.

ESA gets new headmaster

On July 1, Chris Taylor will join Episcopal School of Acadiana in Cade as its top administrator.

Taylor, who has 30 years of experience as a student, teacher and head of independent schools like ESA, replaces longtime headmaster Hiram Goza, who left the school last year. Taylor currently is the director of youth services for the Sierra Club. He previously served as head of school at the American Community School in Hillingdon, England.

In the wake of a student cheating scandal and resulting disciplinary action against those involved ' which was first reported in The Independent last spring ' ESA's board of trustees voted against renewing Goza's contract.

Finding your way

Van Eaton & Romero, Lafayette's largest real estate firm, has made life a bit easier for those with limited ' or no ' sense of direction. The firm's new The Power of Location in Lafayette Parish is a user-friendly resource to better navigate the parish's alphabetical/numerical breakdown ' especially if you're in the market for a new home. The slick booklet is a complete breakdown of the area's geographic designations, like Area O, Area B or Area G2. For example, Area G2's boundaries are Johnston Street, Hwy. 90, the Vermilion River and Ambassador Caffery Parkway. There's also a description of that specific region, its neighborhoods, hospitals and amenities like health clubs. Directories are available at Van Eaton's South College, River Ranch and Carencro offices, as well as the Lafayette chamber and LEDA.

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