The Week in Review: Recapping Acadiana’s Biggest Stories, January 17-22
It may be cold outside, but the news cycle in Acadiana this week was hot. A brand new airport opened, a state official announces his run for governor, and several big celebrity deaths are all part of this week's Top 10 recap.
In case you missed any of the big news this week--or, if you want a quick refresher--here are last week's biggest news stories.
In no particular order, they are as follows:
Lafayette Regional Airport's New Terminal Opens
After seven years of planning, from an election to tax collections to the drawing of the plans and the construction, Lafayette Regional Airport's brand new terminal is open. The old terminal closed at midnight Wednesday night after serving the city and Acadiana since 1968. The new facility opened for business Thursday morning. It features a round bar, more food and beverage options, and a pet relief area.
Bernadette Lee took a tour of the new terminal on Wednesday. She highlights all of the new terminal's amenities in the story linked below.
We look back at the history of the old terminal and the terminals that came before it at the story linked below.
Freezing Conditions Force School Closures
The good news: This weekend's Arctic blast hasn't caused any issues on Acadiana roadways (yet).
The bad news: The freezing conditions forced local school systems to shut down their campuses. Five districts gave their students and teachers the day off on Friday. Three districts--St. Martin, Iberia, and Jeff Davis--required their students and teachers to work virtually. Evangeline Parish told its students to walk in the cold uphill both ways. Okay, not really, but Evangeline Parish did keep its schools open on Friday.
So far, all schools are open for the coming week.
While the idea of virtual learning is a noble one, Ian Auzenne argues for scratching Zoom classes in favor of a good-old-fashioned "sneaux" day. His commentary is linked below.
John Schroder Running for Governor
The state treasurer is the first candidate to announce his run for the state's highest office. That announcement came in the form of a text message to his supporters. We called Schroder for confirmation and comment, but he has yet to respond to our message. Two other state constitutional officers, attorney general Jeff Landry and lieutenant governor Billy Nungesser, are also expected to enter next year's gubernatorial race.
Our original story is linked below.
Gary Chambers Smokes Weed in Senate Commercial
Gary Chambers is one of two Democrats challenging Senator John Kennedy in this year's Senate race. In his first campaign ad, Chambers smokes a fat blunt while arguing for the federal legalization of weed. In his argument, he mentions the racial disparity in cannabis-related arrests and the amount of money the state has spent on cannabis law enforcement.
Governor John Bel Edwards criticized Chambers for smoking a blunt on his campaign video. On Thursday, Edwards said on his radio show, "The imagery of actually smoking marijuana on an internet ad, just not something that I think people should reward him for."
The internet was quick to clap back at Edwards. People on social media pointed out that Edwards posed with a glass of bourbon to encourage people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine during the state's "Shot for a Shot" program.
Bot stories are linked below.
Lafayette Hit-and-Run Leads to One Death, Two Arrests
This is one of the more bizarre news stories to come across our desks in quite some time.
On Sunday night, we learned of a fatal hit-and-run near the intersection of Ambassador Caffery Parkway and Guilbeau Road. That crash claimed the life of Donald Jackson. On Monday morning, we learned that a woman was arrested for attempted first-degree murder and OWI--not in Jackson's death, but because she drove around barricades at the crash scene and nearly ran over several police officers. An officer fired at the alleged drunk driver, Dominique Mills, in an attempt to stop her. Lafayette police are investigating the firearm discharge. Then, on Thursday, Karl Matthew Miller, Jr., was arrested for felony hit-and-run in connection with Jackson's death.
Both cases remain under investigation.
Here's Bernadette Lee's story from the morning after the crash.
Here's Brandon Comeaux's story about the arrest.
Car Stolen in New Orleans Carjacking Crashes in Lafayette
The driver of that stolen car led police on a chase into Lafayette before he crashed near Teurlings Catholic High School. The car hit a gas meter and a utility pole, forcing Teurlings officials to evacuate students from their classrooms. The suspect is in custody.
Bernadette Lee has the full story at the link below.
Elderly Man Beaten, Tied, and Robbed
This disturbing story comes from Livingston Parish. Two people are in custody, and the victim is reportedly doing well.
Jake has the full details in the link below.
At-Home COVID Tests Available for Free strong>
If you're in need of at-home COVID tests, you can order them through the United States Postal Service. What's more: It's a free service.
Jaycee has details in the link below.
Jazz Fest is Back!
After a two-year hiatus, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is making its triumphant return this spring. Click the link below for more details, including a look at the lineup.
Two Big-Name Celebrities Die on the Same Day
Friday was a rough day for pop culture fans. Just after midnight Friday morning came the news of Meat Loaf's death. Just a few hours later, we learned of the death of Emmy-winning comedian Louie Anderson. We look back at their lives and careers in the stories below.