Nouvelles de Villes
Opelousas Acadiana’s cast iron pots are seeing a lot of winter gumbo action during duck hunting season. For variety’s sake, head over to Opelousas for the 16th annual Gumbo Cook-off Jan. 29, when you can sample an assortment of exceptional gumbos by top Acadiana chefs who are competing for the title of “best gumbo.” Benefitting children and families who are burdened with medical and related expenses (facebook.com/TheGumboFoundation).
Stuller Launches Expansion
Stuller, Inc. has begun an expansion project that will result in 100 new jobs at the Lafayette facility, which is North America’s largest fine jewelry manufacturer. Owner Matt Stuller was named as the top employer of the year in Louisiana last year. The $5 million expansion means $2.5 in additional payroll, bringing the total employment to 1,415. It now has job ads listed on an online job board (stuller.com).
Drive-thru Daiquiris, Live Crawfish and Snowballs
A popular stop for to-go boiled and live seafood, The Crawfish Boss, is expanding from its modest 420-square-foot building into a renovated new 4,400-square-foot facility that will accommodate an expanded menu with gourmet snowballs and ice cream (tip: super loaded pineapple). A new frozen daiquiri drive-thru makes its debut upon the restaurant’s reopening in early 2022 (facebook.com/TheCrawfishBoss/).
Fancy but Not Fussy
Stuart and Colleen Ottinger, owners of Lafayette’s hip new Mercy Kitchen, announced the opening of Palmyre, an elegant Euro-chic cocktail lounge, in January. Featuring vintage one-of-a-kind pieces, a unique lofted event space and wine tasting table, sleek bar and an outdoor champagne garden in River Ranch. “We want our guests to feel transported beyond Lafayette,” says Stuart. “It’s a place where you can order a well-made drink, just like you would in a Manhattan bar, but without the fuss.” (thepalmyre.com/).
Faster is Better
AT&T is expanding its footprint in Lake Charles and will soon accommodate 17,000 central Lake Charles households and businesses with access to AT&T’s fiber services. Fiber optic internet sends data 25 times faster than basic cable. AT&T’s objective is to provide equitable service throughout the city via further expansion. The Emergency Broadband Benefit program that provides a temporary benefit on internet services for eligible households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance was also announced (att.com/EBB to determine eligibility).
Eunice, Youngsville, Erath, Abbeville, Kaplan
Louisiana Beef Movement
Coastal Plains Meat Company recently purchased the 19,000-square-foot Eunice Superette and Slaughterhouse facility to upgrade and expand what is already the largest meat processing operation in Louisiana with state-of-the-art equipment. Dedicated to sourcing high quality cattle from Louisiana farms. Also expanding its private labeling programs to support local producers. The primary purpose is to create a “Louisiana Beef” movement by partnering with Acadiana restaurants and grocers including NuNu’s in Youngsville, Champagne’s in Erath and Abbeville, and Larry’s in Kaplan to date (coastalplainsmeatcompany.com).
Experience life as a crime scene investigator during CSI Lafayette, a thrilling outdoor murder mystery event on January 15 using forensic techniques, detective work and codebreaking to crack the case. Fancy dress strongly encouraged; dogs welcome. Enjoyed by over 1 million people worldwide via CluedUpp Games (cluedupp.com/products/csi-lafayette-la).
New Food Truck Park
According to recent statistics, over 17,000 vehicles pass on Hwy 167 (Maurice Avenue) daily, which is a great source of traffic for the food truck industry. Which is why the Catalon family recently opened Catalon Legacy Food Truck Park at 8105 Maurice Avenue. Designed to provide an outdoor eating experience with easy access. Vendors are welcome (facebook.com/Catalon-Legacy-Food-Truck-Park).
Give Us the Dirt
Acadiana residents can now send in their soil samples to be tested at a new soil lab that will not only provide information and recommendations but also alert parents to what their kids could be exposed to while they play. UL’s School of Geosciences’ new Delta Urban Soils Laboratory was designed to facilitate healthier plant and crops. Students are also working with companies to test fertilizer before it can be sold commercially (geology.louisiana.edu/soils-lab; send questions: email@example.com).
Bravocado for Brees!
Beginning in January, consumers can connect directly to former Saints quarterback Drew Brees when they scan the QR code on the Avocados from Mexico big game displays found in select local supermarkets. The QR code leads consumers to the “Get in the Guac Zone” digital landing page where they have the chance to win a $100,000 Smart Home Makeover and get a digital selfie with Brees (avocadosfrommexico.com/shopper).
Christmas in Paris
Stroll through downtown Breaux Bridge beneath festive holiday street lights (and sip wine while checking out shops, galleries and restaurants that will be open late) during the Second Annual Christmas Artwalk in Paris a la Breaux Bridge, held December 11, featuring a festive holiday open-air arts and crafts market with unique gifts and live music by Bellrose (facebook.com/ChristmasArtWalkBreauxBridge).
New Degree Offered
Thanks to a recent $846,000 grant (the largest received in 4 years), LSU Eunice is launching a new Associate of Science in Agriculture degree designed to help empower the next generation of agricultural workers with cutting-edge technological skills needed for modern farming and ranching (lsue.edu}.
Homes for the Holidays
The St. Martinville Garden Club hosts the Christmas Tour of Homes and Merchants Market December 5. Visit several beautifully decorated homes and galleries and explore vendors located under the Main Street Balconies and in the Maison de Tours Bistro Courtyard/Gazebo (facebook.com/events/maison-de-tours/christmas-tour-of-homes-merchant-market/).
Of Wicks and Wax
When Bougie Bar moves out of 403 S. Buchanan St. to relocate into a larger, newly renovated space (209 Jefferson St., formerly the B.E.D. Nightclub), Nutrition Station is moving in as of December. In the new space, Bougie Bar will be offering a new walk-in custom candle making experience called the “Drop-in Bar” for group parties (no reservations necessary). Check out Wax and Wine Wednesdays (www.facebook.com/bougiebarlaf/).
Brandon Ballengée’s The Age of Loneliness large-scale exhibition showcasing 10 years of work spans the first floor and exterior of the Acadiana Center for the Arts through January 22. The internationally renowned, Arnaudville-based artist/biologist (recipient of a 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship) has created a massive Love Motel for Insects: Visitors can interact with bugs in the motel’s large outdoor sculptures lit by UV lights to attract rarely seen nocturnal creatures. Ballengée’s enormous Collapse sculpture has a pyramid of 26,262 specimens in jars (acadianacenterforthearts.org).
For a Better Life
The Louisiana Workforce Commission Mobile Workforce Center, designed to take computer and Internet access to job seekers (via 13 computers with workforce resources on board for applicants and business owners), made its debt at the Region V American Job Center in Lake Charles. The center is a hub for finding job openings, getting help with resumés, seeking placement for the disabled, finding career direction and funding for post-secondary education (www2laworks.net).
Watch that Lawn Mower!
A video posted by Youngsville business owner Craig Spandoni shows work crews using a remote-control lawnmower to maintain the public grass areas. The mower is able to navigate through odd places it may not be able to get to with the weight of a person. More mowers to come!