Christiaan Mader

Christiaan Mader founded The Current in 2018, reviving the brand from a short-lived culture magazine he created for Lafayette publisher INDMedia. An award-winning investigative and culture journalist, Christiaan’s work as a writer and reporter has appeared in The New York Times, Vice, Offbeat, Gambit, and The Advocate.
Link to theadvertiser.com Ochsner Lafayette General boosts vaccine efforts

In a bid to boost low vaccine participation, Ochsner Lafayette General added 5,000 appointments and is pushing to grow awareness among those now eligible for vaccination. Via the Daily Advertiser:

The hospital system, which has been operating an appointment-only vaccine clinic in Lafayette’s Heymann Performing Arts Center, is expanding the clinic’s hours to now operate from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with Saturday operations in the works.

Link to klfy.com Are detention ponds the answer to Lafayette’s flooding problems?

LCG is pursuing five massive detention projects to address flooding in Lafayette Parish. One project would convert a sugar cane field into a 200-acre pond. Detention ponds hold water during storm events, slowing flows to the river and other drainage channels. In the floods 2016, water overflowed out of drainage channels and into thousands of homes.

LCG made public necessity declarations for five parcels, freezing them from commercial development while studies are completed. KLFY reports that public works officials have reviewed 90 sites, narrowing the field to 20, including the five currently under consideration.

Link to nola.com Louisiana Covid hospitalizations hit lowest count in almost a year

Hospitals reported 478 Covid patients Friday, the lowest total since March 2020. Louisiana’s third surge has steadily abated since hospitalizations peaked in January at 2,069. Acadiana, which at one time led the state in Covid hospitalizations, counted just 51 in-patients. The region has not reported fewer than 44 Covid hospitalizations since the end of March 2020, just weeks after the area confirmed its first cases. Vaccinations and improved therapies have dramatically cut hospital stays and mortality.

Link to theadvocate.com COVID vaccine eligibility expands to 1.6 million people

Louisiana is expanding vaccine eligibility to include most adults with certain health conditions that put them at high risk. Announced Tuesday by Gov. John Bel Edwards, the new eligibility extends the age range in the high risk pool to as young as 16-years-old, substantially increasing the current priority group. Around 1.6 million people are estimated to now qualify. Below are the conditions listed in the update:

  • moderate to severe asthma
  • cerebrovascular disease
  • cystic fibrosis
  • hypertension or high blood pressure
  • immunocompromised state from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids or use of other immune weakening medicines
  • neurologic conditions, such as dementia
  • liver disease
  • overweight
  • pulmonary fibrosis
  • thalassemia
  • type 1 diabetes mellitus
Link to theadvertiser.com More Chromebooks than students

Louisiana schools used federal coronavirus relief to buy up thousands of tablets for kids to use during the pandemic and beyond. Many school districts have more tablets than kids enrolled. Lafayette Parish, for instance, has 40,000 Chromebooks for its 31,000 students. Connectivity, however, remains a big problem. Not every family has home access to the internet. Mississippi used CARES Act allocation to address that problem directly and was pretty successful at it.

News + Notes

Hotel rooms arranged by local housing advocates kept hundreds of people warm during last week’s crushing freeze. Donations poured in across the Acadiana region. But the makeup of people in need underscores rising housing insecurity in the area.

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Link to theadvocate.com Lafayette bars can re-open after two weeks of low positivity

For two straight weeks, fewer than 5% of coronavirus tests performed in Lafayette Parish have come back positive, meeting the threshold to opt back in to limited indoor service for the first time since November. On Wednesday, Mayor-President Josh Guillory did just that, notifying the governor that he will allow Lafayette bars to re-open at 25% occupancy. Permitting loopholes and lax enforcement have kept much of Lafayette’s night life humming throughout the pandemic, with crowds piling up Downtown on weekends. But some big clubs will remain closed because of the low cap on occupancy.

Link to theadvocate.com Protect the City Committee appointments finalized

All seven seats are now filled on a committee to study what city residents get out of Lafayette’s peculiar form of consolidated government. Five members were appointed for each district, directly by the relevant council member. And two more were appointed at-large by vote Tuesday night.

Here is the full list:

  • District 1 — Joseph Catalon, landman
  • District 2 — Mark Pope, former LCG environmental services manager
  • District 3 — Roddy Bergeron, IT executive
  • District 4 — Jan Swift, attorney and former director of Upper Lafayette Economic Development Foundation
  • District 5 — Tina Shelvin Bingham, executive director of McComb Veazey Neighborhood
  • At large — Stuart Breaux, former assistant city-parish attorney
  • At large — Bill Leyendecker, retired LCG parks and recreation manager