Author: Christiaan Mader

Carlee Alm-LaBar is leaving her post as planning director

The gist: Alm-LaBar has given notice that she will leave her post as director of Lafayette Consolidated Government's Development and Planning Department, effective June 22, to take a planning position with Southern Lifestyle Development, a Lafayette-based real estate group known for traditional neighborhood developments like River Ranch.

Who is she and why is this a big deal? Alm-LaBar was one of a few holdovers from the administration of Joey Durel. She last served as chief development officer in that administration, a position Robideaux eliminated upon taking office.

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In her eight years with LCG, Alm-LaBar spearheaded the development of the Unified Development Code and PlanLafayette, pushing city-parish government toward modernized urban planning. She also led the Evangeline Thruway Redevelopment Team, a committee charged with planning and redevelopment efforts in the neighborhoods inside the future impact zone of the I-49 Connector.

Robideaux's policies Downtown and in the city's urban core arguably reflect Alm-LaBar's influence.

What to watch for: Robideaux’s administration has now lost two experienced and respected directors this spring — Alm-LaBar and [LUS chief Terry Huval] — and three in total, counting the departure of Public Works Director Tom Carroll last year. Replacing Huval and Alm-LaBar will be an important task for Robideaux's administration and will give some indication of his administrative vision.

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Lynda Frese: A figure in the natural world

Exploring the meaning of sacred space

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Downtown is running out of sewer capacity That’s another roadblock for redeveloping the Old Federal Courthouse

Not long after the city received and released ideas for the Old Federal Courthouse from five interested developers, it surfaces that Downtown may not have the sewer capacity to serve their ambitions.

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Cashing in on blockchain What does that mean for Lafayette?

The mayor’s cryptocurrency cash grab took the lead in local day-after headlines, but it may be worth paying more attention to his interest in blockchain

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Mixed Use A snapshot of the five bids to redevelop the Old Federal Courthouse

The Old Federal Courthouse in Downtown has languished unoccupied for about 10 years now. Last year, a team of consultants advised the city to do something with the property, warning that it had become a “monument of indecision” — words now stenciled in polite graffiti on the courthouse door. Now, five groups have thrown their hats into the ring to redevelop it, responding to the city’s call for credentials. The projects and players range in ambition and notoriety. One idea would add 135 new residences to the district. Below are the responses and some overviews. 

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Lafayette General Health warns that it will stop running UHC unless the Legislature fully restores funding to the hospital

The gist

LGH President David Callecod issued a stern warning to Gov. John Bel Edwards(https://lapolitics.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/UHC-040318-.pdf) that if the Legislature can’t find money to fund Lafayette’s University Hospital & Clinics, which LGH runs on the state’s behalf, then LGH would be forced to stop operating the training hospital and its urgent care clinic. Callecod put a June 30, 2018, deadline, the end of an “anticipated” special session, before LGH would vacate UHC and fire its 800 employees. LGH would also demand a refund of the “unused portion” of its near $16 million in prepaid rent for this year.

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Some background

LGH took over operations of UHC in 2013. Previously, LSU’s medical school had run the hospital as a teaching facility. Under LGH’s management, the hospital still serves as a training ground for the state’s medical residents and as an essential source of care for Lafayette’s disadvantaged. The urgent care clinic at UHC, which LGH opened after assuming control, takes Medicaid payments. It’s one of the only clinics in town that does that. Callecod’s letter notes that the facility served 54,000 patients last year, many of them poor and uninsured.

The takeaway

Callecod signaled this move last month(http://www.katc.com/story/37718147/lafayette-general-health-warns-uhc-will-close-if-lawmakers-cant-find-solution-to-budget-crisis). Gov. Edwards’ proposed budget, announced at the beginning of this year, cut $650 million in state health funding, precipitating this confrontation. While it may not be surprising, it nevertheless shows just how bad things have gotten around the state’s budget deadlock. Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics reports that Callecod’s threat is not empty rhetoric. Should LGH follow through, the economic and social impact would be tremendous.

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Lafayette has a river. Why no river walk?

Lafayette doesn’t have a riverwalk like San Antonio or Chattanooga, or lots of other cities for that matter. Why, exactly, is that the case?

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Unpacked

What the self-storage boom says about us and the things we won’t let go.

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Finding Magic In Kolkata

Author Shome Dasgupta’s latest collection of short stories hearkens to the slum-world surrealism of Gabriel García Márquez. Kolkata is Dasgupta’s Columbia.

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Francis Pavy’s One-man Press

“It would be nice to have some oysters that big, huh?” quips Francis Pavy, the childlike blues of his eyes lusting over his own creation. The object of his desire — a plus-sized oyster etched into a 3-foot-by-4-foot slab of composite vinyl — is a custom-print block, a particularly appetizing example of Pavy’s preferred method of application for his vivacious […]

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