Local stories that captivated us in 2017

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- It’s been a big year for news at the national level and here in Acadiana.

Here’s a look back at some of the stories that captivated us and have impacted our community:

Cpl. Michael Middlebrook slain

The Oct. 1 shooting death of Cpl. Michael Middlebrook shook the Lafayette Police Department and the entire city.

Corporal Michael Middlebrook
(Photo Credit: Louisiana State Police)

The shooting at the Big Boy Discount Zone convenience store on Moss Street was the first time a city police officer was killed in the line of duty since the 1960s. -The Advertiser

Ragin’ Cajuns coaching upheaval

Two UL head coaches were removed and replaced this year.

Michael Lotief was terminated on Nov. 1 for his head softball coach position on Nov. 1. The university has since hired Gerry Glasco as the Ragin’ Cajuns four softball coach in 38 years.

After a major loss to Appalachian State, UL terminated head football coach Mark Hudspeth in early December. The team will start the new season with former Arizona State offensive coach Billy Napier.

UL Head Coach Mark Hudspeth

The shooting death of DeJuan Guillory

In the early morning hours on July 6, a couple riding a four-wheeler was approached by an Evangeline Parish deputy on rural gravel road.

There was evidence of a violent scuffle and three bullets from the deputy’s gun struck and killed 27-year-old DeJuan Guillory, according to a report by state police.

The report claims that during the struggle, Guillory’s girlfriend, DeQuince Brown, 21, jumped on the officer’s back, biting and chocking him,

The deadly officer-involved shooting gained national attention as friends and family of Guillory held community marches calling a just investigation into his death.

Earlier this month, an Evangeline Parish grand jury chose not to indict the deputy,  Paul LaFleur.

Brown is still facing pending charges.

The Lafayette City Marshal Brian Pope saga

Far from over, the case against active city marshal Brian Pope has caused enough stir to prompt a petition to remove him from office.

Last year, Pope was indicted last year on perjury, malfeasance in office, prohibited acts and misuse of public funds charges.

Pope has filed his own lawsuit against Lafayette Consolidated Government.

The city marshal is currently completing community service, however, The Independent Weekly has made court claims that Pope’s probation should be revoked due to alleged misuse of public funds.

That matter was turned over to the district attorney’s officer last week by District Judge Jules Edwards.

Pope is scheduled to appear for trial on Feb. 20.

Bizarre kidnapping plot

Former Lafayette businessman Lawrence Michael Handley was arrested after allegedly masterminding the kidnapping of his estranged wife, Schanda Handley, from their home. -The Daily Advertiser

The search for Jacquelyn “Daisy Lynn” Landry

The 18-year-old woman was last seen walking in the parking lot of a Lafayette shopping plaza in May 25.

Days after her disappearance, Malik Davis , 21, was arrested on one count of second degree murder.

But Landry’s body has never been found.

The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office is still investigating what happened to the Lafayette woman last seen near Target the corner of Ambassador Parkway and Kaliste Saloom Road.

Her friends and family are also continuing their search.

Lights out in Lafayette

This summer, the Lafayette City-Parish Council followed the suit of other Louisiana cities such as New Orleans by banning tobacco from all bars, bars and gambling facilities. The ordinance went into effect on Aug. 1.

New Iberia creates police department

For 13 years, the city of New Iberia has relied the parish sheriff’s office as its sole resource for community protection.

In October, 63 percent of the city voted in favor to re-establish a half-cent tax to rebuild the local police force.

Photo Courtesy: Jennings Police Department

Former St. Martinville and Jennings police chief Todd D’Albor was appointed as the department’s new chief in November.

New personnel is expected to be hired in January.

Drainage, flooding issues continue

Many residents whose homes flooded in the August 2016 deluge finished repairs and moved back home in 2017. But each rainfall brought anxiety and stress.

The threat of hurricanes and tropical storms and a few heavy rainfalls, especially in May and November, were especially stressful as some homes flooded again.- The Advertiser

A Ragin’ Cajuns football player walks past piles of debris while helping with flooded homes in Youngsville after the recent flooding.

Though not so total, Acadiana still looks up for solar eclipse

In August, millions of Americans from coast to coast gazed up at the skies to observe a historic, natural phenomenon.

The total solar eclipse’s path of totality didn’t quite reach South Louisiana, but local sky gazers still got to catch a partial glimpse.

National anthem protests go local

Since 2016, debate over whether the National Football League should allow players to protest by kneeing during the U.S. national anthem has stirred controversy nationwide.

In 2017, the issue made it on to local high school football fields, prompting school officials to take a stance on the matter.

(Viewer submitted)

The Hub city sees a spike in gun violence

According to the Lafayette Police Department, 24 homicides were investigated in 2017, a jump from 16 cases in 2016. The department said 96 percent of this year’s homicides were due to gun violence. In the coming year, police are looking at tactics to curb firearm-related crimes.

SMILE Community Action Agency

Illegal telephone votes, illegal meetings, attempts to remove board members and lawsuits marred 2017 for the St. Martin Iberia Lafayette Community Action Agency.

The chaos culminated in July when the federal department that administers the Head Start early childhood education program abruptly canceled its contract with SMILE, pulled more than $14 million in funding and appointed another agency to run SMILE’s Head Start and Early Head Start program. -The Adveriser

Lafayette gets five helpings of Garth Brooks

For the first time in decades, Country music superstar Garth Brooks performed at the Cajundome in June.

But he didn’t perform once. Brooks and Trisha Yearwood performed five times in a span of two weeks, giving fans including an 89-year-old woman something to smile about all year.

(Photo Credit: Scott Clause/The Advertiser)


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