Thursday, April 29, 2010

Maybe They'll Burn It

Second weekend of Jazz Fest; Crawfish Fest in Breaux Bridge; gigantic oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico threatening the wetlands and what's left of our natural resources. Just another weekend in Louisiana. Sing it Earl.

p.s. Good luck to STM Lacrosse in the state semis!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Steep Climb

Famous people really do read the Daily Meaux! Yesterday we received this nice note from local celebrity, THE Mr. Hoyt Harris and he hipped us to a project he just finished with his soon to be 90 year old dad. What a fun and sweet story.

Harris writes:
...I follow your blog and enjoy what I've seen there. As the following states, over the last three years I collaborated with my father on his memoir. My Dad is a retired Tennessee surgeon, turning 90 next month. ...Among the interesting things I learned about my "family tree" in working on "A Steep Climb" is the fact that we had a "Lorena Bobbitt" in our family before there even WAS a "Lorena Bobbitt." When my Dad recounted that story to me, we were laughing so hard, I had tears running down my face and my father was choking with laughter to the extent that I thought he was going to literally die laughing.

Then he suddenly stopped laughing. He said, timidly: "Hoyt, we can't put this in the book!"

"Are you kidding me?" I said. "You mean to tell me we had 'Lorena Bobbitt' in our family tree and you don't want to see it in the book! No, it is going in the book!"

And so it has. And I'll leave it at that.

The official press release:
In 2006, I encouraged my retired father to write.
"About what?" he asked.
"About your life," I said.

Three years later, the result of that conversation is "A Steep Climb." Our collaboration, recounting his life and 50 years as a practicing surgeon in Middle Tennessee, was a fascinating journey for us both.

The English poet William Wordsworth wrote, "The child is father to the man." As a college English major, I never quite understood that line. But I do now.

While he was writing, my father kept telling me, "The only 'D' I ever made was in English."

As a pre-med student, he was immersed in things like chemistry, biology, anatomy. Grammar, punctuation, precision--how to write the most with an economy of words--was not his forte. But as an English major who earned a master's degree in journalism and has spent more than 30 years as a television anchor/reporter, I became his editor/professor/mentor. "This" child WAS father to "that" man.

The process was fascinating. Walking back with him into his 86 years of memory and experience had us, at times, laughing so hard we cried. I learned fascinating things about the "family woodpile." My Dad says working on the book elicited memories he had not thought about in 50, 60, 70 years.

“A Steep Climb” is available on and

If your non-chain bookstore doesn't have copies, just give them the following information and they can order it:

Title: "A Steep Climb"

Author: Hoyt C. Harris

ISBN: 978-0-533-16267-3

Library of Congress Catalog Card No.: 2009906137

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wilbert Rideau

Few subjects are as complicated, emotional as crime and punishment (someone should write a book on that). Wilbert Rideau's story challenges notions of justice, rehabilitation and community service from every side. Check out Teri Gross' interview of Rideau and an excerpt from his memoir, In The Place Of Justice, here on NPR's Fresh Air.


January 1972

It's late, and raining. The buildings before me have been abandoned. Life has drained from the traffic arteries below. The wet pavement of empty Lake Charles streets and parking lots doubles the glare of street lamps and neon signs, intensifying the darkness.

It's quiet. Profoundly so. Rain whispers against the open window a few feet away. The only other thing you can hear is your own heart, thumping. I've known men who could not stand this silence, but I've grown accustomed to it. I scratch a fingernail on one of the bars, to reassure myself I haven't gone deaf. I've stood here many nights staring out my second- floor window at the same scene below, week after week, month after month, year after year . . . after year. Except for the rain, it never changes.

Rideau was also featured on CBS Sunday Morning. That segment can be found here.

Monday, April 26, 2010

42,000 Gallons A Day

So much for the "not in my backyard" outrage that echos throughout many states. Nope, not in Louisiana. Our backyard has been filled with oil wells, and refineries, and chemical plants for longer than I've been alive. The wetlands in our backyard are shriveling up and dying, due in large part to the canals dredged by Big Oil, and now provide less protection from hurricane storm surges; stronger hurricanes due to global warming caused primarily by the burning of fossil fuels; and now we have an exploded oil rig leaking an estimated 42,000 gallons A DAY into the Gulf of Mexico, not to mention the eleven men who are lost and presumed dead. Where's the outrage? Does money put everyone to sleep? Are those right-wing talk radio DJ's making gold out of hate and misinformation going to lead the clean up efforts or rebuild our wetlands? I'm sick of this.

Read the New York Times account of the oil spill here.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Survivor Arrested at Festival

Well it looks like my new Survivor pick got himself into a little bit of trouble here yesterday. Russell Hantz was reportedly in town for Festival International de Louisiane and was arrested for allegedly shoving a female to the ground. Reports also say he was close to a bar he owns downtown (? not sure what that one is, but supposedly he and 'Boo' Bernis, the Lafayette native from Survivor Fiji, are friends...). Anyway, according to TMZ, Hantz claims that this whole thing was just a big misunderstanding and may file suit against the police department. Hantz was released without bail and issued a misdemeanor and must report back to court on June 24.

This made me think - Acadiana sure has had it's share of celebrity arrests...Willie Nelson, R Kelly, Nate Newton....yikes.

Happy Festival Y'all - watch out for those celebs!
- jill :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ms. Sharon

It's festival time, and NFL draft time, don't judge me. Epic weekend starts now.

STM Hosts State Lacrosse Quarterfinals

State Quarterfinals for the Louisiana High School Lacrosse League will be held at St. Thomas More Saturday, April 24, 2010. The game features the West District Champions - St. Thomas More Cougars vs. Caddo Magnet and will start at 11:00 am at STM Cougar Stadium.

The winner of this game will advance to the “LHSLL Championship Weekend” to be held May 1 & May 2 at Pan American Stadium at City Park in New Orleans. See website here.

The Cougars come into the game touting a record of 18-4 and ranked # 2 in the state. This is the first time STM has hosted a state playoff game, making it the first time ever in Lafayette Parish.
STM Cougar Head Coach Mike Guidroz expects a battle. “We are honored to be hosting the state quarterfinal game this weekend. Caddo Magnet has a great Lacrosse tradition. It will be a huge challenge for our young team.”
For more information, contact:
Greg Gossen

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

There's No Place Like Home

Oh boy do I love lists and Lafayette made yet another one. came out with their annual list of "Top 100 Places to Live" and Lafayette is the only city from Louisiana to make the cut. They say "Our editorial team discovered communities with strong local leadership, employment opportunities, thriving community commitment, improving real estate markets, growing green initiatives, plentiful recreational options and an overall high quality of life. These are all communities moving in the right direction." You can check out the whole list here (and if you click on Lafayette, it'll take you to a nice big write up) and The Daily Advertiser wrote a blurb here.

Photo by jmeaux

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Oh No!

Mike Triplet reported for the Times-Picayune that Drew Brees is a finalist to appear on the cover of EA Sports Madden 11 video game. This is not good! Many...and I mean many players who have appeared on the cover in past years have been injured and missed the entire season.
The most notorious examples were Detroit Lions tailback Barry Sanders in 1999 (abruptly retired before the season); Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick in 2003 (broken leg in the summer); Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb in 2005 (season-ending hernia); and Seattle Seahawks tailback Shaun Alexander in 2006 (broken foot).

I just finished getting Drew injury free through our Super Bowl season by ritualistic game day preparations, and conjuring. I kinda wanted to relax this offseason. But is he helping? No. He actually wants to be on the cover.
"You know what, I'm not rooting against it," Brees said, when asked about his hopes for the vote. "If it does happen, just like records are made to be broken, curses are made to be broken too. If the fans have spoken, if I am indeed their vote, then I'll do my best to break that trend."

Clearly, he's lost his mind. It's as if he doesn't believe in superstition at all. I'm gonna do what I can, but, he has to want to be helped....I can't do that for him.

Read the article here.

Photo by ian_ransley

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Dream Of The Marionettes

Lafayette, LA — The Dream of the Marionettes, or Le Rêve des Marionettes, an original musical production, will be performed at Cite Des Arts during Festival International de Louisiane, April 21-25. Pre-sale tickets can be purchased at; tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.

Dream of the Marionettes at Cite des ArtsThe Dream of the Marionettes: An Original Musical Theater Production

Cite des Arts, April 21 - 25, 2010

The Dream of the Marionettes, a burlesque-inspired musical, features an all-star cast of Lafayette locals, with music performed by a live band. The show begins each night at 6:30pm with Cirque du Cite, in the Cite des Arts lobby, featuring fortune tellers, jugglers, stilt-walkers, and an assortment of circus side shows. The play begins at 7:30pm.

In Les Marionettes, a hard, task-driving puppetmaster is cast aside by a freedom-seeking band of marionettes, who begin to express their hidden dreams and aspirations in song. The play was co-written by local artists Christine Leichty and Johanna Divine, with an original score by Divine and Daniel Coolik, and choreography by New Iberia native, John Vincent.

Divine and Leichty hope Les Marionettes offers something different to audiences; “We want to create a new experience – a unique piece that showcases the incredible talent found in Lafayette,” Leichty says. They also hope the piece helps re-define the concept of burlesque; “A lot of people think of burlesque as being risqué, “ Divine says, “but we’re presenting it as it was at the turn of the century, focused on parody and satire. It’s a comedy, first and foremost.”

The show is running as a part of Festival International de Louisiane from April 21 to April 25, 2010. Pre-show festivities begin at 6:30 each night, so come early for the best seats! For pre-sale tickets, contact Cite des Arts, 337.291.1122 or at

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lafayette's Newest Park

Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government and the Kiwanis Club of Lafayette are set to break ground on Parc Independence on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at 4:30 pm.

Located within Girard Park, Parc Independence will be the first wheelchair-accessible playground in Lafayette. Parc Independence is designed specifically to accommodate children who have physical and mental disabilities.

Because even the smallest design elements can create the largest obstacles for many children with disabilities, careful attention has been paid towards making the park ADA-compliant. The intent is to eliminate barriers and create a place where all children can play together, regardless of abilities.

“I am thrilled to be a part of this exciting announcement. This park will be a great asset to our community and demonstrate that our community is making an effort to be helpful and accommodating to those with disabilities. I also applaud the heroic efforts of the Kiwanis Club of Lafayette to bring this project to fruition. Anytime we have civic organizations that are willing to partner to achieve a public purpose, it can only strengthen our community,” said Joey Durel, Lafayette City-Parish President.

Well done Kiwanis Club!

Photo by Joshuadelaughter

Friday, April 16, 2010

Meat Lovers Unite!

Lafayette can soon add one more steakhouse to the growing list of eateries as The Elephant Room is planning to open soon in the old Fazoli's location on Kaliste Saloom at Ambassador (across from Albertsons). There has been construction activity for the past couple of months there but we haven't been able to find out too much more about it other than they describe themselves as "The Unforgettable Steak Place" and have a Facebook page here. The project is headed by G & T Development, Eugene Todaro Sr. and Pecot and Company Architects.

ps - on a completely unrelated note....speaking of elephants....did you hear that PETA paid Myrtle Place school a visit this past week? Check out Danny Cuthbert's photo here...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Sassy Style That Will Drive You Crazy

Cue the slow dance selection at the high school dance. It's Leroux with their national hit New Orleans Ladies. 1978. Seriously, I had a horrible childhood. Weekend starts right after therapy.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

You Gotta Eat...

Buffalo Wild Wings is donating 20% of today's sales to Soul Camp, a non-profit UL organization....but in order for your meal to qualify - you must present a flyer. Maybe a member of Soul Camp will be there to give you one, but just in case, check out their Facebook page. Soul Camp - according to their website is:

Service. Outreach. Unity. Leadership. SOUL Camp is a unique experiential transition program for new students designed to provide additional opportunities to build relationships with incoming and upperclass students, engage in community service, learn about campus spirit & traditions, develop an appreciation for multiculturalism and diversity, and discover their personal leadership skills.

Throughout camp, students also participate in activities designed to assist their transition to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Students learn about time management, goal setting, career planning, campus involvement, responsible social engagement, and other topics critical to success as a college student at UL Lafayette.
Good luck Soul Camp!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

He's A Bad Muth...Shut Your Mouth....Just Talking About Seagal

Jefferson Parish Lawman, Steven Seagal, is accused of....breaking the law. According to court paperwork obtained by, a case was filed against Seagal for sexual assault and trafficking women for sex. Accuser Kayden Ngyuen alleges that she responded to a Craiglist ad looking for an Executive Assistant for Mr. Seagal. After being interviewed by Seagal, Ngyuen was hired and told to run home and pack to head to New Orleans but once she arrived there, she says he was keeping 2 Russian 'Attendants' who's jobs were to be available to Seagal 24 hours a day / 7 days a week to satisfy his sexual whims. There's a lot of other weird stuff, including him forcing his hand down her pants and forcing her to consume "illegal pills", then she quit and sued. You can read the court papers here and see the original story on TMZ here.

He's Stirring His Pot...I See Mah Dress...It's Cut In Half

It's Pulitzer season, but I'm guessing this gem of investigative journalism won't be receiving any awards. There's not much story here, but lots and lots of ignorance. Hard to say which is worse, the petty bickering and violence of the folks being interviewed, or KATC for running it.....or me for re-running it here. If you can make it to the end of the video, you can almost see Hoyt Harris questioning how his career brought him to this point. If it's any consolation to Mr. Harris, I ask myself that very question on a daily basis.

P.S. To our chagrin, KATC begins and ends the video with a 15 second ad...... much like the ads we would sell if we were a real news organization.

Monday, April 12, 2010

That's Not How I Thought Things Worked

Mike Hasten wrote an article for the Town Talk in Alexandria about former Governor Edwin Edwards' recent furlough from prison. Edwards, currently serving a ten year sentence for racketeering, extortion, money laundering, mail fraud and wire fraud related to riverboat gambling licenses, was recently transferred to Oakdale Federal Correctional Complex in Allen Parish from a federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas. The state gives model inmates furloughs near the end of their terms so they can start adjusting to life outside prison. Edwards is scheduled to be released July 6, 2011, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a month before his 84th birthday on Aug. 7.

OK, that's all fine. I understand that he's serving his time, he gets a furlough. No big deal. In fact, he even gets to visit with his family at a campground in Port Allen for Easter. Again, seems reasonable. Then comes the weirdness:
...That wasn't an idle question for three state lawmakers staying in campers at the Cajun Country Campground in Port Allen while the Legislature is in session. Rep. Jack Montoucet, whose legislative office is in Edwards' old hometown, Crowley, and Reps. Johnny Guinn, R-Jennings, and Jerry "Truck" Gisclair, D-Larose, paid a social visit to Edwards.
They stay in a campers while the Legislature is in session? Really? I thought they had chic penthouse apartments to be wined and dined by lobbyists armed with high priced call girls. I'm gonna have to re-assess my baseless opinions. Read more here.

Photo by Bill Ward's Brickpile

Friday, April 9, 2010

Eunice News on the TV Machine

The Eunice News made some National News recently. Wednesday night MSNBC's Keith Olbermann declared Governor Bobby Jindal as that night's 'Worst Person in the World' and cited this story in the Eunice News. According to the report, Jindal persuaded state Attorney General Buddy Caldwell to come on board the Health Care reform lawsuit by making a deal with him not to cut state jobs from his department. Caldwell originally opposed the lawsuit claiming it was frivolous but then turned on a dime and announced that he supported it. The Governor's Office has responded that there is "absolutely no truth" to the claim.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Music With A Message

For those with psychedelic aspirations....gnaw on this one for a while. It tells a story, and it looks like it's snowing. Why? I dunno. But this is how I want to start my weekend. Whee!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

She's All Yours

Louisiana Republicans have a new convert to crow about...or deal with. The Boston Herald picked up this A.P. story of adult film star Stormy Daniels' (real name Stephanie Clifford) statement, that should she opt to run for David Vitter's U.S. Senate seat, she will switch parties, and run as a Republican.
In a Tuesday news release making light of a recent Republican spending controversy, Stormy Daniels notes that the Republican National Committee picked up a nearly $2,000 tab at a sex-themed California nightclub. Daniels’ statement says she was a lifelong Democrat, but that the Republicans best espouse what she called her "libertarian" views about sex and money.
Not sure I follow the logic in that statement, but it must have hit a nerve, because Vitter's camp responded with a full-on 8th grade hissy fit, accusing Democratic Charlie Melancon of orchestrating Daniel's party switch.
"Charlie Melancon’s campaign must be fully in desperation mode if they resorted to coaxing the publicity stunt known as Stormy Daniels for U.S. Senate into a Republican primary against Sen. David Vitter," the state party’s news release said.
Melancon's camp has denied any involvement in the Daniels announcement. But party spokesman Kevin Franck may have given the best zinger of the exchange.
"If the Louisiana Republican Party is uncomfortable with a Republican challenger who has a history of selling sex, I would suggest they reconsider standing by an incumbent with a history of paying for it," Franck said in an e-mailed statement.

All this, and Daniels has yet to formally announce if she's going to run for the senate seat. She's expected to give her decision April 15. Whew...stay tune for more installments in the unfolding saga we'll call "Charlie, the Porn Star, and The Whore Monger". It's a long way to November.

More here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

V-Vehicle, We hardly Knew Ye

Down, but not out....yet, V-Vehicle Company has fired its CEO, Frank Varasano, and canceled its lease on a proposed manufacturing site. The company was to build cars that ran on natural gas combustion engines, and create upwards of 1400 jobs for Louisiana. Richard Read wrote an article for The Car Connection detailing a string of recent setbacks for the fledgling auto maker.

From the article:
A couple of weeks ago, we learned that the Department of Energy had declined V-Vehicle's $320 million application to the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program. That rejection had a domino effect, causing the State of Louisiana to withdraw its offer of $87 million in cash and other incentives. So, instead of ending the day with upwards of $450 million in the bank, V-Vehicle was left with only the $86.5 million it had raised from private investors like Mr. [T. Boone] Pickens.

The company plans to re-apply for the DOE loan, and began testing a prototype in February that claims to earn 40mpg and could launch with a sticker price of around $10,000.

"So, you're telling me there's a chance" (Dumb And Dumber).

Read the article here.

Monday, April 5, 2010

New Saints License Plate in the Works

Representative Jeff Arnold of Algiers has introduced a new bill to create an official New Orleans Saints World Champions license plate. The bill has passed through committee and is moving on to the full House for debate. If all goes through, the new plate will be available on July 1 and will cost $28.50. The money raised will go to benefit parks, recreation and children's fitness programs. The Times-Picayune has a full report here and if you are into reading the actual bill, you can check that out here.

Friday, April 2, 2010

What The Hell?

Even in Acadiana where, we've seen the unfortunate incidence of child sex scandals in the past, most notably in the case of Catholic priest, Gilbert Gauthe, and also in the arrests of numerous individuals on child pornography charges, this story of an Acadiana High School teacher allowing his students to have sex in his apartment while he filmed them is shocking. Jason Brown and Richard Burgess, reporting for The Advocate, wrote that Stephen McKay Hurst, 37, was arrested March 26 on federal charges of sexual exploitation of children and attempted sexual exploitation of children for the purpose of producing child pornography.

I was most appalled by the details of the story, such as the allegations that Hurst supplied the students with alcohol, and may have used hidden cameras in some cases to film the students. And while, it's true that some kids in high school drink and have sex, they should not be exploited by an adult entrusted with the responsibility to educate them. Yeah, I know, I'm on my soapbox. Just call me Capt. Obvious. But this quote by Hurst's attorney, Charles Ferrara really put me on tilt:

The defense attorney argued that Hurst is cooperating with investigators, has admitted to many of the allegations, is planning to seek counseling and “wants to straighten out the mess he has done.”

“His biggest concern the whole time is how do I make this right,”

Really? You think the damage done to those kids is something that can just be "straightened out"?

Read the Advocate story here.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Lighthouse Available May 18

One of my favorite singers in the world, has a new record coming out. Pavarotti? Doubt it. Bob Dylan? Of course, I hope he's working on a new one. Nope, this singer is a woman, and a friend and above all, an artist. Susan Cowsill's new record Lighthouse is out May 18 on Threadhead records. This is the follow up to her solo debut, 2005's Just Believe It. Click here for the first press release for Lighthouse. It gives you a brief bio and tidbits about what went into the making of the record. Susan has an amazing history in the music business, and counts lots of famous folks as fans. People like Jackson Browne, Lucinda Williams, Adam Duritz all have contributed their talents to Susan's work in the past, because they (and I) love her and her work. Her kind of talent is rare and deep and soulful. Here's the title track to Just Believe It, featuring husband and collaborator Russ Broussard on drums, Chris Knotts on guitar, and old buddy Rob Savoy on the Longhorn Bass. Click here for Susan's website.

ndekeeW si ereh