Close Encounters of the Scaly Kind
Lake Charles, Breaux Bridge, Morgan City
Just before Christmas, a big gator was spotted by motorists lazily crossing the road near the I-10 Westbound Ryan St. exit in Lake Charles. It was eventually removed by wildlife agents, but not before crawling under a freaked-out bystander’s car. Another attempted reptilian road crossing occurred in Elm Grove with an 11-footer. Just before mating season, a Breaux Bridge family discovered a big gator looking for love just a few inches from their front door and it was promptly removed by a trapper. Yet another (smaller) gator was seen strolling through a Morgan City cemetery, smack in the middle of town. Since the region has the largest alligator population in the United States, (2 million wild alligators, plus the 300,000 on farms) beware of reptilian encounters when the water rises in 2018.
3 Festivals for March
1. Festival of the Arts.
March 5-26 Lafayette
Each year, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s College of Arts holds a two-week art showcase celebrating works from faculty, students and UL community partners. Guests can expect art exhibits, live music and theater performances among the festivities.
2. Celtic Bayou Festival.
March 16-17 Lafayette
This family-friendly event is Lafayette’s first traditional Irish festival. Attendees can see Irish dancing, listen to Celtic music or even visit a genealogy tent to trace their Irish roots.
3. Crawfish ÉtouffÉe Cook-off
March 26 Eunice
This year marks the 32rd annual World Championship Crawfish Étouffée Cook-off in Eunice. Taste some étouffée, listen to some music, peruse local arts and crafts and enjoy free admission and free parking.
Hail to the Chief
Dr. Jay Clune has been named the 6th President of Nicholls State University, effective as of Jan.1.
The 15th annual Jambalaya Writers’ Conference is held March 3 in Houma featuring a keynote address delivered by “Goosebumps” series author, R.L. Stine. Other featured writers include Joshilyn Jackson, Melissa Marr, Louisiana Poet Laureate Jack Bedell, David Middleton, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, Katy Simpson Smith and Liz Talley (mytpl.org/jwc/).
Timed for Judge Kaliste Saloom’s 99th birthday, friends gathered at UL Lafayette’s Dupré Library in August 2017 to view a documentary featuring Saloom sharing his life and Lafayette’s history, produced by former Mardi Gras King Stuart Clark. Saloom died in December. Born the fifth of seven children to Lebanese immigrants, he served as city judge for 40 years before retiring in 1993. As a judge, Saloom achieved many significant changes that included reforming the process of overseeing the expansion of the court in 1984 from one judge to two. He helped found the Lafayette Juvenile Detention Home and the Acadiana Safety Council, and served as an advocate for disadvantaged people, while taking a stance for civil rights. He was inducted into the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame in 2016. Clark describes Saloom as extremely humble, despite his many accomplishments. The DVD is now located in the library’s Special Collections Center, where it can be checked out and viewed.