Retirements, More Shootings, & a Nervous Governor: The Week in Review January 31 – February 5
Quite a bit of news happened over the past week. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards addressed accusations of a cover-up in his administration and by him personally, a local mayor announced his upcoming retirement, and there were more shootings in the Hub City. These stories and more 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:
Edwards Addresses Accusations Concerning Ronald Greene's Death
Let us start with a statewide story that dominated the news cycle for most of the week. On Tuesday, Governor Edwards addressed the media and the state as allegations that his office was involved in a cover-up following the death of Ronald Greene have been ramped up since an AP report accused him of keeping quiet on the horrific details of Greene's death during his reelection campaign.
Ronald Greene, a black motorist, died in State Police custody following a violent struggle with troopers in 2019. Edwards says he did not find out the details of Greene's death at the hands of officers until 2020. Edwards was reelected in 2019.
Whether you were listening or watching the press conference, it was clear that there was a more anxious tone in Edwards' voice, as opposed to his usual press conferences. The statewide media asked him tough questions as the weight of the allegations began getting heavier and heavier. Edwards pleaded with everyone that it is not in his nature to do what he is accused of and ended his press conference by "committ(ing) to ensuring what happened never happens again."
Ronald Greene's mother, Mona Hardin, was not impressed with Edwards' press conference and has already called for him to resign and to face criminal charges.
Redistricting Session, Battle Over Minority-Majority Districts Heat Up
The first week of the Louisiana Legislature's Special Redistricting Session is complete as state lawmakers are debating proposed new U.S. Congressional district maps, and many are at odds over creating a second majority-Black district. The Governor and the Black caucus want a second majority black U.S. House district. Many Republicans are opposed.
The redistricting session continues through February 20th.
Biden: U. S. Raid in Syria Killed Top Islamic State Leader
The Islamic State group was dealt a huge blow by the United States during the week as an overnight raid in Syria left them without their leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, as announced by President Joe Biden.
According to the Associated Press, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi took over as head of the militant group on Oct. 31, 2019, just days after leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died during a U.S. raid in the same area.
This move makes quite an impact in the Middle East as the Islamic State group has been reasserting itself in Syria and Iraq with increased attacks.
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner with Lafayette Ties Arrested on Drugs, Sex Charges
An arrest that happened out of Alexandria sent shock waves through the Lafayette community during the week as 40-year-old Mark DeClouet, Jr. - a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner who has been in practice at Axis Behavioral Health and Recovery in Alexandria - was caught allegedly providing narcotics for sexual favors. Agents say DeClouet would solicit men with cash to locate and provide females for sexual purposes.
DeClouet, Jr., 40, is facing six drug counts, one count of criminal conspiracy, and one count of human trafficking.
In 2020, DeClouet was ranked by the Daily Advertiser as one of Acadiana's Top 20 Under 40.
Joe Burrow is Going to the Super Bowl...and Louisiana Loves It!
Over the past week, football fans across the Bayou State have been basking in the fact that former Heisman-winning LSU Quarterback Joe Burrow has led the Cincinnati Bengals through the AFC gauntlet and to the Super Bowl.
It's almost as if the New Orleans Saints have made the Big Game! In only three years, Burrow has won a National Championship and is now competing for the biggest prize in football. Of the many cool stories featuring Joe Burrow so far, this story showing he and former Northside High/Notre Dame High star and LSU product Tyler Shelvin recreating an iconic photo from their LSU days is a great example of what Burrow means to the state and why people from all different parts of it are rooting for him on Super Bowl Sunday.
Another Week of Shootings in Lafayette
Unfortunately, Lafayette Police were busy working shootings across the Hub City again. The week was highlighted by a man being injured in an afternoon shooting on Beadle Road and two people being hospitalized in a late night neighborhood shooting.
Lafayette Police Corporal Arrested Following Business Burglary
LPD arrested one of their own during the week - Senior Corporal Monika Porter. Very few details have been made available. What we do know is that Porter was arrested after a complainant from a local burglarized business was filed with the Lafayette Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division after Porter was among officers who responded to the overnight alarm.
Porter has been arrested and charged with Malfeasance in Office and Misdemeanor Theft. Both criminal and internal investigations are ongoing.
Lafayette Mayor-President Picks Permanent LUS Director
Mayor-President Josh Guillory selected Jeffrey Stewart to become the permanent director of Lafayette Utilities System (LUS) pending City Council confirmation. Stewart has been with LUS for over 20 years.
In his current position as Engineering & Power Supply Manager at LUS, Stewart oversees electrical and civil engineering, utility marketing, power production, and power supply, as well as assisting in the management of a $240 million annual budget, while supervising more than 120 full-time employees. He also serves on the Louisiana Energy and Power Authority Board of Directors on behalf of the City of Lafayette.
Lafayette, Cajundome Secure Rights to LHSAA Volleyball Tournament
They wanted to make a great impression, and they did.
In a big win for the Cajundome and for Lafayette, the LHSAA announced that its volleyball tournament is being moved to the Hub City through 2024. Earlier this year, Lafayette stepped up at the last minute to host the tournament after Hurricane Ida took away the event's usual home, the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner. There were some big challenges to pulling off the tournament but the hard work clearly paid off, not only for this season but beyond.
Tom Brady is Retiring
Staying in sports, the man many revere as the Greatest Of All Time announced his retirement...amid some confusion about whether he was doing so or not.
Former Tampa Bay/New England quarterback Tom Brady posted his retirement announcement on Instagram, a couple of days after ESPN's Adam Schefter and other news outlets broke the news - which Tom Brady's dad spoke out against.
Among his amazing list of accomplishments, the 7-time Super Bowl winner is in the top five of every statistical category for a quarterback and holds every major postseason record.
Brady is sure to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer as Canton, Ohio, will come calling in 5 years, which is when he will become eligible.
Carencro Mayor to Retire
Speaking of near 20-year eras coming to an end, Glenn Brasseaux has announced he will not run for re-election at the end of the year as mayor of Carencro.
The city has experienced tremendous growth under Brasseaux's leadership as business after business - highlighted by the Amazon Fulfillment Center among others - has moved to the northern portion of Lafayette Parish, helping to bring more dollars and people to the area.
Brasseaux's successor will be elected on November 8. A runoff, if necessary, will take place on December 10. Qualifying is scheduled for July 20-22.