Nouvelles des Villes

Honoring the First Female News Anchor in Acadiana
ERATH – Maria Placer, a pioneer as the first female news anchor in Acadiana, has been inducted into the Order of Living Legends at the Acadian Museum.

    Placer worked as both on-air talent and news director for more than four decades with KLFY-TV 10 in Lafayette before deciding to retire in 2008. Placer is probably most remembered for her nightly segments during the Vietnam War in which she read aloud the names of local soldiers killed in the military campaign.

More recently, Placer read the names of Acadiana’s fallen soldiers from missions in Iraq and Afghanistan during a Memorial Day tribute put on by the local chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America.

    In 1982, Placer launched the acclaimed series Wednesday’s Child, a regularly scheduled program aimed at finding homes for children who needed to be adopted, and she was a founder of the Acadiana Chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters. She was part of the formation of a teen pregnancy prevention task force, which has now gone statewide, and has personally produced and aired more than 30 series regarding families in crisis and teen pregnancy.

Award-Winning Hurricane Audrey Documentary on Sale
LAKE CHARLES –  The award-winning documentary All Over But To Cry on the physical destruction and human casualties caused by Hurricane Audrey aired on The Documentary Channel on June 27 – the 54th anniversary of the storm’s landfall in southwestern Louisiana.

    For those who missed it, don’t worry. DVDs of the documentary are on sale for $20 at the Southwest Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau in Lake Charles (800/456-SWLA).

    Directed by Jennifer John Block and produced by Jake Springfield, All Over But To Cry features images of the storm’s wrath and interviews with Audrey survivors who witnessed their neighbors trapped in the rising waters and livestock and farm equipment set adrift in the fierce winds. The documentary won a regional Emmy Award in 2010 and was named the 2010 Humanities Documentary Film of the Year by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.

    Hurricane Audrey remains the strongest Category 4 storm to make landfall in the month of June. It’s estimated 500 people lost their lives because of the hurricane.

Café des Amis, Take 2
NEW IBERIA –  The fabulous food and one-of-a-kind atmosphere of Café des Amis – a Breaux Bridge institution for years – is making its way farther south with a second location to be opened on New Iberia’s Main Street.

    Earlier this summer, Café des Amis owners Brett and Dickie Breaux purchased the building at 225 W. Main St. from businessman and local politician Freddie DeCourt. Most recently, that location was the home of Freddie’s Not Yet Famous BBQ. There is no announced opening date as of yet.

    Open for nearly two decades, Café des Amis’ Breaux Bridge location has become a tourism hot spot largely because of its popular Saturday morning Zydeco Breakfast, where a live band plays and people two-step between bites of Orielle de Cochon and Eggs Begnaud. The line to get a table is usually long and forms up to an hour before the café opens its doors.

Lafayette Wins Rand McNally’s Best for Food
LAFAYETTE – The good folks at Rand McNally just confirmed what locals and visitors knew for a long time: Lafayette’s dining scene is divine.

    As part of Rand McNally’s Best of the Road competition – a survey of American small towns – Lafayette beat out five other finalists (Visalia, Calif.; Addison, W.Va.; Burnsville, Minn.; Gulfport, Fla.; and Costa Mesa, Calif.) for the cuisine crown. Besides the Best for Food category, American small towns also competed for Most Beautiful, Most Patriotic,  Friendliest and Most Fun.

Judges visited each finalist town. A two-person crew that visited Lafayette ate at such local institutions as Randol’s, Charley G’s, and George Rodrigue’s Blue Dog Café.

“[We] learned the true taste of Cajun food to be flavorful, not hot or spicy, and that after a meal, the best dessert is Cajun dancing,” the judges were quoted as saying in a Rand McNally press release.

Our Lady of Lourdes Relocates
LAFAYETTE – Our Lady of Lourdes hospital has a new home.

The regional medical giant completed its move into a brand-new $211 million facility on Ambassador Caffery Road between Verot School Road and Kaliste Saloom Road in southern Lafayette, hauling equipment and supplies from its old headquarters on St. Landry Street.

On the morning of June 25, patients were also transported from the old to the new hospital, thus punctuating the transition.

The new medical campus is situated on 45 acres of land and features a main acute-care hospital, a four-story medical office building and neighboring complexes that house more than 60 physicians who have relocated their practices in the area since construction began in January 2009.

The new 396,000-square-foot hospital will facilitate improvements in nursing, including medical equipment that directly integrates with electronic charts in every room, automated alert communication for critical patient levels and management systems for pharmaceuticals and other supplies that streamline care at the bedside.
Back to the Butte Gives Back
BUTTE LA ROSE— After avoiding what many feared would be extreme flooding when the Morganza Spillway was opened in May 2011, the tiny town of Butte La Rose hosted a party and fundraiser to drum up support for a local church and volunteer fire department. The event, called Back to the Butte, featured various bands, an appearance from alligator-hunter and reality TV star Mike Kliebert and plenty of food and drinks. The festivities kicked off with a Sunday morning Back to the Butte Mass held at Sacred Heart of Jesus Chapel – one of the two recipients of the money raised. The church suffered several financial hardships while it prepared for the floodwaters that thankfully never came.

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