In mid-October, The Louisiana Budget Project’s newsletter The Daily Dime ran a story that carried the headline “Don’t Forget Lake Charles.” The headline reflected the thoughts of many in Southwest Louisiana who felt that the Lake Charles hurricane story was one of national significance but was receiving almost no national news coverage. Wrote the Daily Dime correspondent:
“The cries from Lakes Charles, ravaged by Hurricane Laura, grew louder after Hurricane Delta hit a mere 43 days later. But residents of the working-class city of 78,000 fear that their pleas for help will continue to go unanswered. The New York Times’ Rick Rojas profiles a city struggling to recover from a historic double hit from hurricanes, currently being overlooked in a year of disaster and unrest.”
The story went on to quote Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter: “I want people to know that we’re not OK; we’re not back to normal. We’re going to do our part. We’re not just sitting on our butts with our hands out, saying, ‘Come do this for me.’ The extent of this catastrophe rises to a level where if it’s going to fall only on locals to help locals, we’re going to be in the thick of recovery much longer than we need to be.”
The Daily Dime did a good job of describing the sorts of problems that are most common for Lake Charles residents at present: “Days are spent negotiating with bureaucracies for insurance help and government aid, cleaning ravaged homes and businesses and wading through the traffic jams of displaced residents.”
‘Seriously, What Are We Doing Here?’
In the same issue, the Daily Dime questioned the wisdom of convening a special session of the state Legislature at this time. The newsletter quoted The Advocate’s Mark Ballard:
“This session is costing taxpayers more than $40,000 per day and will cost almost $2 million if we stay here … Meanwhile, the legislative process has produced no major solutions to the problems brought to Louisiana by COVID-19 and Hurricanes Laura and Delta.”
Also quoted was House Democratic Caucus Leader Sam Jenkins, of Shreveport, who said, “There appear to be no new dollars we can appropriate to help struggling workers and small businesses.” In summary, we spend $2 million of your money and give you not one single cent in hurricane relief.
New AITP Members Announced
The SWLA Music School announced the winners of this semester’s auditions for its Advanced Industry Training Program. Members of AITP are considered the most advanced in the school’s Young Band Nation program and they often play together as a band around town.
The winners are: Andie Dyer — vocals; Jenna Jackson — vocals; Grayson Hobgood — bass; William McNally — guitar and vocals; and Alyssa Steward — guitar.
Marcus Johnson of SWLA Music Studios commented: “Everyone who tried out did an amazing job and we are proud of each of you. The audition process in and of itself is a difficult thing to get used to doing. The more you do it, the better you get at it. Those of you that didn’t make it this year, I am counting on you to keep working and pushing yourself to keep getting better and more experienced. I am proud of you for your hard work and cannot wait to see where you are by this time next year.”
Treble On The Teche
The sixth annual Treble on the Teche Music, Arts and Culture Camp is set to take place Nov. 23 through 25 from 8 am to 2 pm at the Teche Center for the Arts, 210 East Bridge St. in Breaux Bridge.
Accomplished musicians and artists in Acadiana will teach youths the disciplines of music, art and Louisiana French culture. Students can learn percussion, accordion, guitar and fiddle among other subjects.
Lunch will be provided by area restaurants.
Treble on the Teche is a unique opportunity for students, musicians, artists, volunteers and the community to share their rich and diverse Cajun and Creole culture.
Because of COVID-19, the camp is limited to a total of 20 students who are enrolled in grades 2 through 8. Organizers will implement the recommended CDC guidelines and local and state-mandated standards for ensuring a safe environment for all students and instructors. Masks are required for students and anyone else who enters TCA. The cost is $150 per child or $125 for children from the same family. Registration is required. To register, go to techecenterforthearts.com. For more information contact TCA at (337) 442-1915 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebuild The Gym
A new fundraiser will benefit the reconstruction effort of the congregation of the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church.
Founded in October, 1919, Sacred Heart is the oldest Black Catholic parish in the Diocese of Lake Charles. The history of the church is intimately tied to Sacred Heart School, which began in 1908 and was supported by Katherine Drexel (who was later declared a saint) and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. Sacred Heart Catholic Church celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2019.
Unfortunately, Sacred Heart Church was one of the many victims of Hurricane Laura. The Sacred Heart Parish Hall and Gymnasium, a centerpiece of community life and activities for the church, was left only as a shell of its original structure, with its roof completely destroyed by the hurricane.
To participate in this rebuilding effort, visit gofundme.com and search for “Rebuild Sacred Heart Parish Hall-Gymnasium.”
SWLA Business Earns LED Award
The Louisiana Economic Development group and the U.S. Small Business Administration recently announced the 2020 Louisiana Small Business Award winners for Southwest Louisiana. Wing 7 Advanced Trucking, Leasing and Logistics won the LED Small and Emerging Business of the Year Award.
This is the third time since its doors opened in 2013 that a Southwest Louisiana Entrepreneurial and Economic Development (SEED) Center Incubator client has been given the award. The other two winners were Cypress Engineering and Waitr.
Wing 7 offers truckload and less-than-truckload freight services; for more information, visit Wing7Trucks.com.
If you’re wondering what the SEED Center Incubator does, Adrian Wallace, executive director, tells us, “At any given time, we could have up to 30 businesses starting … in our facility with the help and guidance of our staff and a regional network of business counselors and advisors.”
LED and the Louisiana Small Business Development Center Network served 10,758 small businesses and individuals last year. This service, they say, resulted in 1,373 new jobs, 2,581 retained jobs and the launch of 179 new businesses that represent more than $86 million in capital.
Lake Charles Chamber SWLA member Melissa Hill with Niche Creative Studio received the SBA Champion Entrepreneurial Success Award.