Sunday, 25 June 2017

Before she was Miss Louisiana 2017, she was a journalist

Before she won the title Miss Louisiana 2017 on Saturday (June 24), Laryssa Bonacquisti practiced her skills as a journalist for the LSU Manship School News Service, covering sessions of the Louisiana Legislature. Videos and podcasts by Bonacquisti have appeared on NOLA.com.

It was clear before the Miss Louisiana Pageant began that Bonacquisti was a likely winner. After all, she had already won a preliminary talent contest with her ventriloquism skills Thursday night and the Lifestyle and Fitness (swimsuit) contest Friday.

In the end, Bonacquisti wore the crown, winning out over 32 women age 18 to 24, all of whom had won local pageants in the past. Bonacquisti will go on to represent Louisiana in the Miss America Pageant.

Miss Louisiana 2015 crowns Justine Ker, the winner of Miss Louisiana 2016, with the help of Miss Outstanding Teen Louisiana Sarah Katherine McCallum at the Monroe Civic Center on Saturday, June 25, 2016. (Hannah Baldwin /The News-Star via AP)

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Friday, 9 June 2017

Will UL-Lafayette P Wyatt Marks go to MLB Draft after emergence as reliever?

Louisiana-Lafayette’s Wyatt Marks (31) pitches against LSU during a NCAA Super Regional game at Alex Box Stadium in Baton Rouge on Saturday, June 6, 2015. (Photo by Brett Duke, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)(

Louisiana-Lafayette pitcher Wyatt Marks started his career with the Ragin’ Cajuns playing at a very high level, but once he struggled to take the next step in his progression, coach Tony Robichaux decided to move the right-hander into a full-time bullpen role.

That move motivated Marks into becoming one of the top relief pitchers in the nation during 2017.

Marks, a former St. Thomas More standout, was named a first-team selection on Baseball America’s All-American team on Thursday after ending his junior campaign with a 2-1 record, seven saves and a 2.28 ERA on pitching 59.1 innings with 25 walks and 100 strikeouts–the most by a reliever in school history.

He ended the season ranking first in the nation in both strikeouts per nine innings (14.97) and hits allowed per nine innings (4.47).

Marks pitched one inning in his last appearance of the season during the team’s extra-inning loss against Georgia Southern in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. Marks came in to pitch relief during the eighth inning with the Ragin’ Cajuns leading, 6-1, and he struck out three of the four batters he faced before the Eagles came roaring back with a ninth-inning rally.

Marks now faces a tough decision because after his breakout season he’s projected as a 14th-round pick going into next week’s MLB Draft, according to DraftSite.com, and he may end up going even higher with his startling strikeout numbers.

It’s still unclear if Marks will decide to forgo his senior season, but if he does return the Ragin’ Cajuns could potentially have one of the strongest bullpens in the Sun Belt Conference once again.

Marks and fellow junior Dylan Moore combined for 18 saves last season and only allowed 31 earned runs in 95.2 innings. If the team’s top starter and Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year Gunner Leger also returns to school, Louisiana-Lafayette may be able to make an argument for having one of the best pitching staffs in the nation next season.

Leger ended his junior season with a 10-2 record after pitching 91.1 innings and posted an impressive 1.97 ERA.

Leger was the top pitcher in the conference, but Marks still managed to end the year with the most strikeouts on the team despite pitching 32 less innings than the left-hander.

With Marks’ ability to make batters miss on a consistent basis, his best fit going forward may be to remain in a reliever role, but it’s also possible that he may want to come back to school and prove that he can be successful as a starter once again.

Much of his decision will likely center around where he goes in next week’s draft and how much a team is willing to pay in guaranteed money to lure him away from the college ranks. But if Louisiana-Lafayette can get him and the rest of its top pitchers to return, the Ragin’ Cajuns may be a dangerous team going into next season.

Wyatt Marks Breakdown

Position: Pitcher

Height, weight: 6-3, 195

Class: Junior

Previous drafts: Not Drafted

2017 stats: 2-1 record, 7 saves, 59.1 IP, 2.28 ERA, 25 BB, 100 SO

LeBron James days in Cleveland could be numbered when his contract expires after 2018 season.

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Thursday, 1 June 2017

20 Summer concerts you can’t miss in Baton Rouge and Lafayette

School’s out. It’s getting hot. You look around and you’re thinking, "What the heck am I gonna do with all this time?"

Well, you won’t be bored this summer in south Louisiana if you love going to a good concert.

Weekend after weekend is full of good shows. In the next few days, Baton Rouge alone will host R&B superstar Maxwell and the ever-soulful St. Paul and the Broken Bones.

After that? Take your pick.

Country legend Garth Brooks will visit the Cajundome in Lafayette for five shows at the end of June. Rapper J. Cole will head to the Varsity for a sold-out show at the top of June. And a few locals will host some big shows as well.

What follows is 20 concerts you can’t miss this summer. So, next time someone tells you, "There’s nothing to do around here," tell ’em, "No sir," and show them this list.

JUNE 6: The Bacon Brothers at the Acadiana Center for the Arts

Though he’s commonly known as the actor in films such as "A Few Good Men" and "Tremors," Kevin Bacon is no musical slouch. He and his brother, Michael, will bring their folk sounds to Lafayette early next week. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. $90-$120. acadianacenterforthearts.org.

JUNE 7: J. Cole at Varsity Theatre

He went platinum with no features. Again. And again. Rapper J. Cole will bring his 4 Your Eyez Only world tour to Baton Rouge next week. Hopefully you have tickets for this one, because it is sold out. Doors open at 8 p.m. The show starts at 9 p.m. varsitytheatre.com.

JUNE 9: Jay Leno at L’Auberge Baton Rouge Casino & Hotel

Whether you like him or not, many cannot argue that comedian Jay Leno is one of the hardest-working men in show business. His blue-collar style won audiences night after night while he hosted "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on NBC. Now, he continues to do what he did — work. 8 p.m. $65 and up. lbatonrouge.com.

JUNE 9: Adam Dollar$ at Spanish Moon

A young rapper on the Baton Rouge scene, Adam Dollar$ continues to impress. Next Friday, he’ll celebrate the release of his stellar new EP, "W8T4IT," with a hometown show at 9:30 p.m. $10. thespanishmoon.com.

JUNE 15: Mutoid Man/Helms Alee at Spanish Moon

If your summer needs a little metal, look no further than this show. Mutoid Man, a trio formed from members of the mighty Cave-In and Converge, is touring behind its forthcoming "War Moans." Expect a head-banging good time. $17-$20. thespanishmoon.com.

JUNE 16: Tracy Lawrence at The Texas Club

Time might march on, but the country sounds of Tracy Lawrence are still golden. The singer-songwriter will bring his hits to the Baton Rouge club for what should be a packed show. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. The show starts at 9 p.m. $29. ticketweb.com.

JUNE 17: Quinn Sullivan at Manship Theatre

At 17 years old, this blues performer has played with legends like Eric Clapton, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeshi, and B.B. King, all while holding his own. To say Sullivan is the real deal might be an understatement. But you can witness his greatness at this intimate show in downtown Baton Rouge at 8 p.m. $33 plus fees. manshiptheatre.org.

JUNE 23: Humble Kind at Varsity Theatre

The legitimately nicest (and most humble?) guys in Baton Rouge rock, Humble Kind, headline a summer show at the Varsity with special guests Hudson Long & The Wild Blue Yonder. Some sweet guitar solos and three-part vocal harmonies will be on display. If that’s your cup of tea, put this on the calendar. Doors open at 8 p.m. The show starts at 9 p.m. $10 in advance. varsitytheatre.com.

JUNE 23, 24, 25, 30, and JULY 1: Garth Brooks at Cajundome

Get your pina coladas ready because the thunder will roll in Lafayette in late June (two puns in one sentence, yes!). Garth Brooks is back in Louisiana for the seventh leg of his world tour. The country singer and his wife, Trisha Yearwood, will perform five shows in Lafayette. No word on whether Chris Gaines will make it, though (and a Gaines mention? This graph is en feugo!). Showtimes are as follows: 7 p.m. June 23 and 30; 7:30 p.m. June 24, 25 and July 1. $74.98. cajundome.com.

JUNE 30: Tony Cobb at Dyson House Listening Room

If you want to hear some more down-home country sounds, head to this intimate venue on Jefferson Highway. Singer-songwriter Tony Cobb will celebrate the release of his full-length debut, "Leave Behind a Song." Showtime is 7 p.m. facebook.com/dysonhouselisteningroom.

JULY 4: The Funk of July at Spanish Moon

Get funky this Fourth of July with a couple of locals. The Baton Rouge venue hosts a triple bill featuring Captain Green, Alabaster Stag and Lemon Stevies (great band name). Doors open at 8 p.m. $10. thespanishmoon.com.

JULY 8: Wish You Were Here at Dyson House Listening Room

The Charles Brooks Collective will mold its improv jazz into a tribute night for Pink Floyd’s classic album, "Wish You Were Here." The show features guest performances from vocalist Margaret Fowler, as well Brooks on the vibes, Chris Lee on drums, Bob Kling on bass, and John Bishop on electric guitar. 7 p.m. $20-$35. facebook.com/dysonhouselisteningroom.

JULY 9: Sean Patton at Club 337

A former New Orleanian, Sean Patton returns to Louisiana for a stand-up set at Club 337 inside the Doubletree Hotel in Lafayette. If you’re unfamiliar, Patton has appeared on "Conan," "Inside Amy Schumer," "@midnight," and "Maron," to name a few. Also, he’s damned funny. Jason P. Leonard hosts the show. Tyler Arceneaux will also perform. 8 p.m. $12 in advance, $15 at the door. facebook.com/lafayettecomedy.

JULY 14: Aaron Neville at Acadiana Center for the Arts

Soul, funk, R&B, even a scene-stealing role in Adam Sandler’s "Sandy Wexler" — New Orleans’ own Aaron Neville does it all. The singer behind hits such as "Everybody Plays the Fool" and "Don’t Know Much" performs at the Lafayette venue in mid-July. 7:30 p.m. $30-$70. acadianacenterforthearts.org.

JULY 15: Hunter Hayes at Blue Bayou/Dixie Landin’

The young country superstar visits Baton Rouge for an outdoor concert. Hunter Hayes performs during the 2017 Dixie Landin’ Summer Concert Series, free to park guests. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. The show starts at 7 p.m. bluebayou.com.

AUG. 11: Alvin Youngblood Hart’s Muscle Theory at Dyson House Listening Room

If you’re in the mood for some soulful blues, head to Dyson House Listening Room in mid-August for this show. Alvin Youngblood Hart will perform with his band at 7 p.m. $15 online, $25 at the door, and $30 VIP. facebook.com/dysonhouselisteningroom.

AUG. 12: Hayes Carll/David Borné at Manship Theatre

Americana sounds is what Manship Theatre is cooking in August. The downtown venue hosts two singer-songwriters in a special Red Dragon Productions show. While Carll is known for winning audiences and awards with his albums such as "Lovers and Leavers," Borné released a new EP, titled "Break My Heart," last year. 7:30 p.m. $39.95-$59.95 plus fees. manshiptheatre.org.

AUG. 17: Flow Tribe + Brass Mimosa at Jefferson Street Pub

Beat the heat with some funk in downtown Lafayette. Flow Tribe and Brass Mimosa will bring the jams at the Jefferson Street venue. Doors open at 8 p.m. The show starts at 9 p.m. $10 in advance on eventbrite.com. facebook.com/socialentertainment.la.

AUG. 25: Shabazz Palaces at Spanish Moon

The summer winds down with some hip-hop flavor from the critically-acclaimed Shabazz Palaces at Spanish Moon. The group is touring behind it summer releases, "Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star" and "Quazarz vs. The Jealous Machines," both due July 14. $17-$20. thespanishmoon.com.

AUG. 26: Kansas at Raising Cane’s River Center Theatre

"Carry on, my wayward son" into the twilight of summer with the prog-rock sounds of Kansas. The platinum band performs at 8 p.m. at the downtown venue’s theater. Expect the hits and some cuts from the group’s latest album, "The Prelude Implicit." $59.50-$99.50. raisingcanesrivercenter.com.

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Saturday, 27 May 2017

Lafayette Louisiana Restaurants That Serve Up All The Great Food

Louisiana makes me think of all kinds of things. From creole and cajun food to the Big Easy, casinos and of course all its great cities, Louisiana is a gem of a state. One of the great cities of Louisiana is Lafayette, and I have certainly driven through that city before. I couldn’t tell you much as far as the scene because I just remember Louisiana in general and stopping in Monroe. However, I have hand selected three restaurants to help you have great places to eat on your itinerary when you stop in or pass through Lafayette.

The first Lafayette restaurant is called The French Press. It is located on East Vermilion Street. Biscuits and breakfast sandwiches have made the menu highlights, and it is said to be a good place in Lafayette for brunch. Now after your brunch stop, let’s see what place we are making a stop at next.

It is Louisiana Crawfish Time, and it is located on Verot School Road. That is the cajun and creole food mentioned earlier, so you get the whole experience at this place. One reviewer called herself a Bayou girl and said she loved them, and you know she knows her stuff. That is making me hungry. Have you ever tried crawfish? I haven’t, but I have tasted creole food. It is going to be a treat for you.

Okay, there is time for one more restaurant, and it is going to be Pizza Artista on Johnson Street. You are talking about not just pizza but cajun sausage, crab and more. More great stuff is mentioned in the reviews, and honestly, it would make me pick this place to visit first. You will have to take a closer look and decide which stop gets your attention first, and then you can feast on a delicious meal.

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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Lafayette restaurant group expanding across state

Double R Restaurant Group — which owns Romacelli, POUR and more than 25 franchises of Another Broken Egg Cafe — is expanding across Louisiana.

Megan Wyatt

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Monday, 22 May 2017

Lafayette International Center Receives Presidential Award for Export Service

.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross presented the Lafayette International Center with the President’s “E” Star Award for Export Service at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. Accepting the award for the International Center and for Lafayette Consolidated Government were Dave Domingue, the Center’s Operations Coordinator, and Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux, pictured here with Secretary Ross (far left) and Acting Under Secretary for International Trade Kenneth Hyatt (far right). Photo credit: LCG

WASHINGTON D.C. (KLFY) – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross presented the Lafayette International Center with the President’s “E” Star Award for Export Service at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. Accepting the award for the International Center and for Lafayette Consolidated Government were Dave Domingue, the Center’s Operations Coordinator, and Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux,.

The award highlights continued export promotion efforts during the past four years.

The center was one of only five presented with the President’s “E” Star Award, one of only two for export service, the only honoree from Louisiana, and the only local government entity in the entire country to be selected out of the 32 U.S. companies and organizations from across the country

“With today’s financial uncertainty, exporting helps to diversify our economy in the best way possible,” said Robideaux. “I am especially proud of the unique partnership between LCG and the International Center, and that the federal government recognizes this partnership as a model for all communities.”

U.S. exports totaled $2.21 trillion in 2016, accounting for nearly 12 percent of U.S. gross domestic product. Exports supported an estimated 11.5 million jobs nationwide in 2015, according to the most recent statistics from the International Trade Administration.

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