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Arts + Culture

A seat at the (Lafayette comedy) table

Local comedians and performers want to build a more inclusive scene in world dominated by “white dudes with beards.”

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Mask up to pass a good time at the Hideaway Kitchen

The scene may have changed at the Hideaway, but the food and the vibe haven’t.

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‘Have you ever heard of a black man with a cheese knife?’ — A conversation with artist Cory Stewart

His Acadiana Black Pride Flag has caught on as a local symbol of solidarity with the nation’s swelling protests and calls for change

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Reader Talk: Y’all ready to go dancing?

The gist: Maybe. It depends when, where, if there’s a vaccine or if Lafayette gets its act together on wearing masks. We heard from 62 readers this week on our live music survey. The responses range (y’all got a lot of opinions), but for the most part what we’ve heard is things aren’t quite what they used to be. 

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Will Lafayette’s bike spike stick around after coronavirus?

Lafayette’s bike community is cautiously optimistic a recent surge in riders could lead to a more permanent growth in bike culture.

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With haircuts coming back, Lafayette’s salons are getting some bold styling requests

It’s hard to imagine Jacob Vincent ever questioned his calling. Standing behind the chair back at The Loft salon in November, he made quick work of my lank after-thought of a haircut, manipulating his shears with practiced confidence. When I saw my smart-looking finished cut in the mirror — an inverted bob, one of Vincent’s favorite styles — I assumed the person who gave it to me had been doing hair for a very long time.

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Virtual Festival gets international ovation

With the pressure ratcheted up, the Festival staff and community responded with admirable speed. Their work is garnering some national attention and applause.

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For virtual Festival International, restaurants say it’s not about the money

From official food vendors sprinkled around the Festival footprint to Downtown bars and restaurants, the people who make up the Festival food economy are figuring out ways to serve the community and keep the spirit alive.

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Lafayette reopens some ‘nonessential’ businesses conditionally, before the state’s lockdown ends

The gist: Mayor-President Josh Guillory rolled out a policy to re-open businesses he says fall in the “gray area” of the governor’s stay-home order that shut down commerce in the state on March 23 — i.e. businesses that are neither “essential” nor prohibited. Questions about who can stay open have persisted since the governor shut the state down amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

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“This order is legal; it’s within the guidance of the governor,” Guillory said, after explaining enforcement measures and punishment for violators.

Calling it his “safe shop policy,” Guillory said the change is needed to address the deluge of unemployment claims filed in recent weeks. Almost 19,000 initial claims are in the pipeline for Lafayette Parish, with more than 4,000 during the week of April 5-11 alone. “This many unemployment claims in this short of a period is by far unprecedented,” he said. 

Louisiana’s stay-home order is set to expire April 30, but the governor has yet to announce an extension. New Orleans, meanwhile, will keep its lockdown going until at least May 16.

Some public health officials have warned against thawing restrictions until widespread testing is available. Testing supplies are growing in Lafayette Parish and nationally, but not to the extent that local testing criteria have been substantially relaxed. High-risk cases still get priority, the mayor-president said at a Wednesday press conference, reinforcing in his remarks the need to keep Lafayette’s 311 pre-screening line open even after the Cajundome screening site was shut down this week. 

“The hospitals here have the ability to absorb [the risk],” said Dr. Doug Clement, an emergency care physician and LCG’s medical director, when asked today whether it is wise to pull back restrictions ahead of more widely available testing. Dr. Tina Stefanski, the state public health director for the Acadiana region, did not attend the press conference. 

The new policy applies to around 60 percent of businesses in Lafayette Parish, including retailers like furniture and jewelry stores, and those selling durable goods, officials said. To reopen under the order, which goes into effect at midnight Thursday, all employees must wear face masks and be symptom-free, and customers must maintain six feet of space when shopping and waiting in checkout lines. There is a maximum of 25 percent occupancy, as defined by fire and building codes, and no group congregating will be allowed. Beginning Monday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., business owners needing clarification on the safe shop policy can call 311 and choose option 2 to speak with someone from the Lafayette Economic Development Authority.

Violators risk having their power shut off, the mayor said, and face fines of $500 per violation and/or up to six months in the parish jail. Spotting noncompliance will rely largely on reports from private citizens. 

Additional reporting by Christiaan Mader

Freetown’s freelancers cope with pandemic porch life

Populated with so many of Lafayette’s musicians, artists, cooks, bartenders and gig workers inexorably tied to the local cultural economy, routine life in Lafayette’s Freetown neighborhood is upended.

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Coronavirus has Lafayette’s restaurant workers living on the fly

In better times, many servers and bartenders are forced to cut costs around healthcare, food, or rent. Setting aside money for savings is not often feasible.

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Lafayette’s food economy turns to hustles old and new to stay afloat during the pandemic

Coronavirus has caused a major gap in the food economy that some local farmers and restaurateurs are hustling to fill.

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