Obsessed Much?

Brad Goins Friday, February 11, 2022 Comments Off on Obsessed Much?
Obsessed Much?

Apparently, Lafayette is going ahead with its long fixation on citing and jailing panhandlers. During a six-month period in 2021, Lafayette police issued more than 200 citations for panhandling. One of the men who was cited wound up serving 48 days in jail. For panhandling.

A new Lafayette panhandling detail has been created. This one, like the previous one, is headed by Lafayette’s president and mayor Josh Guillory. Former police chief Thomas Glover, Sr., who was accused of arresting panhandlers who were “trespassing” on state property, was fired in October of last year. 

Whatever else is going on, of one thing we can be sure: some powerful person in Lafayette has got a really big obsession with panhandlers. I’ve said my whole life that if somebody is continually griping and whining about a thing, there is no doubt that on some level he’s into it. Obsessions only work when you keep them private.

The general theory about campaigns against panhandling is that they are a waste of time and money because they don’t work. Lafayette’s war on panhandling will be about as successful as the war on drugs, the war on terrorism and the war on burping. Some wars just can’t be won. 

A Big Boy Budget

It’s the time of year when Louisianans start talking about what the state Legislature might do when it convenes. 

The Legislature will have at least two sessions this year. The first will be a special session on redistricting. Then will come the three-month regular session. The Current reports that big items on the agenda will include insurance reform, voting machines and “critical race theory.” (If you are one of the huge group of people who have no idea what “critical race theory” is, as I am, the line forms in the rear.)

Melinda Deslatte (formerly of the Associated Press; now working for Louisiana’s Public Research Council) reported that one thing the Legislature will be wrestling with is a relatively rare surplus in the state budget. That surplus includes $1.4 billion in as-of-yet unspent federal COVID aid and $700 million in state revenue that also remains unspent. That gives us a total surplus of $2.1 billion. We ought to be able to do something with that. 

Deslatte says early discussions among legislators have centered around  “water and sewer improvements, transportation projects, broadband internet upgrades,” and, of course, Louisiana’s “rainy day” fund. Money in that fund will be used to pay for debts generated by the state retirement system.

Do you think you know what the money should be spent on? Then the next step is to contact the office of your state representative and senator.

Business As Usual At Music School

Those who are studying at the Southwest Louisiana Music School this spring probably know that lessons and rehearsals at the school’s studio have begun. Students will have the same lesson and rehearsal times they had in the fall unless they’ve made other arrangements. To check out the studio and school, visit 343 Broad St.


A number of people in Lake Charles are advocating the creation of a centralized performing arts venue. This new building would replace various local buildings devoted to the arts — and especially theater — that were destroyed by the hurricanes.

A new board of five has been created to provide guidance for the proposed center. It’s called The Live Arts Venue Alliance (LAVA).

LAVA will work towards creating a venue for theater groups in Lake Charles that have “essentially been made homeless” after the storms. 

LAVA’s president Randy Partin told KPLC-TV that places for recreation, such as parks, athletic complexes and gyms, tend to be much better funded than places used for the arts. “There’s a portion of the population that doesn’t identify with this type of [recreational] activity, and it’s typically performing arts [people],” said Partin. “Whether it’s music or dance or theater — pick any of those — it’s an underserved section of the community.”

The new building would be central and easy for the public to get to. It would include places for rehearsal, performance and the construction of sets and scenery.

The cost of the building will be $7 million. Some of that might come from disaster aid. LAVA board members say that “up to $16 million earmarked for cultural needs in SWLA could be the windfall the theater community needs to move forward with this desperately needed facility …”

While it’s not yet certain where the center will be located, the Lakefront and land near the Little Theater are among the locales being considered. You can follow the progress of the project on the LAVA Facebook page.

New Year, New Galleries

The new year brought Lafayette the first of four proposed “micro-art galleries.” This initial gallery was established by Lafayette artist Bob Borel, who was aided in the project by a local art grant. You can find the city’s first micro-art gallery at Moncus Park, 2913 Johnston St., near the Durel Bell, which is the location of the weekly farmers’ market.

Micro-galleries work just the way mini-libraries do: you take a work of art piece and leave a work. Most of these art works will be the size of a postcard or smaller. The box that houses the small art pieces is weather-proof.

“Once you see the box, you get [the concept] immediately,” Borel told the Acadiana Advocate. The gallery is designed not just to keep art protected but also to be safe for any children who want to use it.

The exterior of the mini-gallery has been decorated by paintings by local artists Kristie Mayeaux and Marshall Blevins. Some of the paintings depict the history of Moncus Park as the University of Louisiana-Lafayette’s Horse Farm. Borel says this exterior art will be helpful in the event that someone shows up and all the works in the micro-gallery have been checked out.

A second micro-gallery will be placed in Freetown at the Acadian Superette. There will be another in Fightinville at the Victory Garden and one more in the McComb-Veazy at Pontiac Point.

“People have been responding really positively,” Borel said. “It’s all about community interaction. It’s very much a community-driven piece.”

The micro-art galleries are built  by Blanchard Home Improvements; they’re funded by means of a $2,700 ArtSpark grant. ArtSpark is a program of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority and the Acadiana Center for the Arts that supports artists in Acadiana for short-term projects.

In Lake Charles, I’m pretty sure the Central School arts center had a mini-library before Laura. The little libraries may also exist at other locations around the city. Central School also once had an old cigarette machine that had been converted so that it would dispense a small local art work for a cost of $5.

In the case of the Lafayette micro-galleries, I suggest that those who are interested in exchanging works of art take a very liberal notion of what art is. Assume it’s not at all necessary to have had any formal art training to participate. If you find yourself near a mini-gallery with nothing to exchange, a stone or a leaf or a doodle scrawled on a scrap of paper will do just fine. 

You can learn more about the new public art project at instagram.com/lafayetteminiartgalleries.

Accentuate The Obvious

I have the feeling there are still a few amateur criminals out there who have not gotten hip to the fact that we now have security cameras everywhere. I believe one of these broke into a Mandeville liquor store on Jan. 1.

As the prospective thief wandered the aisles, the security camera captured clear images of a very noticeable prosthetic left leg made entirely of metal. If the crook had worn long pants, the camera might not have picked up evidence of a prosthetic. But this criminal mastermind chose to wear shorts for his robbery.

The scene of the crime was the Town Crier Tobacco Store on Highway 59. It will come as little surprise that the perp stole cigarettes and alcohol. He apparently also did some damage to the store. He’ll face felony charges when he’s caught. I say “when” he’s caught because all St. Tammany Parish deputies have to do is patrol the streets of Mandeville until they see a white male walking around with a metal prosthetic for a left leg. 

Deputies note that there have been other recent burglaries of tobacco outlets in the parish. Those with information about these crimes can call detective Joel Bratton at 985-726-7824 or dispatch at 985-898-2338.

Comments are closed.