Barometer

A compendium of what’s hot and what’s not in Louisiana

Opry Now!
Film crews recorded musical performances on stage at the Princess Theatre in Winnsboro for two 30-minute television pilots for RFD-TV, a cable channel based in Nashville, Tenn. AT&T of Louisiana donated $10,000 to fund the effort. The Grand Ole Opry-style shows are now being edited. “It’s a diamond in the rough right now,” Gene Thompson, the theater’s executive director, told the Franklin Sun.

New Roads to St. Francisville by Bridge
Workers have lowered the final girder into place for the John James Audubon Bridge over the Mississippi River, linking Pointe Coupee and West Feliciana parishes and replacing a ferry crossing. The main span – 1,583 feet in length – is the longest cable-stayed span in the Western Hemisphere, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate. “It’s an engineering marvel,” said Richard Savoie, chief of Louisiana’s Department of Transportation and Development’s engineering section.

How Sweet It Is
Blair Hebert, LSU AgCenter county agent for Iberia Parish, told the Lafayette Daily Advertiser that the current rate of 20 cents a pound for sugar “is the strongest we’ve seen in a long time.” Louisiana’s farmers grow cane on roughly 450,000 acres in 23 parishes from Rapides to Calcasieu to Lafourche, and the state produces 20 percent of the sugar grown nationwide. On average, farmers produced 31 tons of cane per acre, and each ton yielded 228 pounds of sugar. Although less tonnage was hauled to mills than in 2009, the grinding process was cleaner, sugar yield was higher, and the price per pound that farmers fetched was up.

Lost (and Found) Monument
The Dual State Monument, near the intersection of Monument and State Line roads, about 10 miles northwest of Marion in Union Parish, was erected in 1931, the centennial of the Arkansas-Louisiana state line, by George Washington Donaghey, a Louisiana native who served as Arkansas governor from 1909 to 1913. The monument was recently repaired and enclosed by a fence by the Louisiana Office of State Parks, and a rededication ceremony is planned for this year, according to the Bastrop Daily Enterprise.

Half-Pint Milkers
The 29th Annual AG EXPO, sponsored by the North Louisiana Agri-Business Council in West Monroe, joined the American Miniature Zebu Association in presenting two miniature cow shows and a “costume class” show of the animals. Cattle participating included the 2010 31-inch National Grand Champion Cow, according to the Franklin Sun.

King Cake and Pretzels
The Minden Press-Herald noted that Mardi Gras will have a German twist this year. The German celebration of Fasching (which fits nicely with Minden’s German heritage) is being added. A Fasching Karneval, sponsored by the Minden Germantown Festival Commission, will include entertainers and a Mardi Gras parade. Plans for next year’s event, which will begin Nov. 11 and end on Ash Wednesday 2012, are under way.

Breathless in Court
The Baton Rouge Advocate reported that Ascension Parish assistant district attorney Stephen Sheets performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on an 18-year-old criminal defendant who collapsed in court and stopped breathing.

Sheets, 51, said he was able to revive the man by using his training as an Eagle Scout and as a scuba diver.
   
Adding Acreage
The Conservation Fund, a national conservation organization, has purchased 2,340 acres of mixed farm and timberland in Morehouse Parish to be incorporated into the Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge. The donation completes efforts to add a total of 3,905 acres to the refuge, reported the Bastrop Daily Enterprise.

Somebody Needs to Chill Out . . .
The Amite-Tangi Digest reported that the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office asked for assistance in identifying the persons responsible for criminal damage to the Twice The Ice ice machine on the corner of North Baptist and Highway 190 West. The machine had been vandalized by what appeared to be a shotgun blast to its front.

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