June 28, 2024 8:00am

Lafayette Power Poll voters: Buc-ee's arrival would be very good, Ten Commandments law would be not good

Lots of voters agreed that if Buc-ee's does open in Lafayette, the location is a great spot

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Lafayette, LA Correspondent
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If Buc-ee’s does make if official and builds one of its mammoth stores in Lafayette, several Power Poll voters said placing the Beaver at I-10 and Louisiana Avenue is the absolute right move.

On a different topic, most voters also called the state’s new law to post The Ten Commandments in every classroom the wrong move and predicted that the courts will toss it out.

But more on that later.

Most voters were as excited as expected as this month’s Lafayette Power Poll centered on the pending arrival of Buc-ee’s to Lafayette. Nothing is official – the company is negotiations with DOTD and the Army Corps of Engineers about the site before it will purchase the property – but all signs point to yes.

A Buc-ee's spokesman told The Acadiana Advocate that the company hopes to open by the fall 2025 holiday shopping season. That’s a pretty strong endorsement.

Given five scenarios to sum up the development, 37% of voters agreed with this take: Putting it at the northeast corner of the Louisiana Avenue exit at I-10 is just an outstanding location.

It’s still not known if Buc-ee’s will purchase the entire 42-acre lot that at one time was going to be a Super 1-anchored retail center. Renderings show it would occupy what initially seems like 75% of the lot, which extends all the way Shadow Bluff Drive.

Voters had other takes, including 35% indicated it would be just a great, great grab by Lafayette economic development officials and other leaders. Another 16% figure the novelty would wear off quickly with local people, and 9% say the intersection could become a traffic nightmare.

Only 3% indicated they were stunned Buc-ee’s targeted Lafayette instead of the Baton Rouge or New Orleans markets for its first south Louisiana store.

And voters’ initial reaction was about what you’d expect: over 80% said they were excited or viewed it as favorable with only 14% indicating they did not understand why people are so excited.

“As the leader of the news outlet that broke the 'Buc-ee's coming to Lafayette' story, we've seen first-hand the level of overwhelming interest and excitement among Hub City residents,” said Jim Parker, executive director of news and public affairs at KADN. “Some of News 15's all-time most popular social media posts and online engagement revolves around the Lafayette developments involving Buc-ee's.”

It would be a great grab for Lafayette, and not just for the fact that Beaver nuggets and brisket sandwiches would be way more accessible. It would mean 250 jobs with an hourly pay rate of $20 or higher, and from there the pay escalates.

A listing for an assistant general manager at store in the Texas panhandle offered a $125,000 annual salary. That same store is looking to pay someone $25 an hour and offer three weeks of vacation and other benefits to be its next janitorial/cleaning and maintenance manager.

The typical Buc-ee’s has about 100 gas pumps, and the inside is a traveler’s delight. It once was designated as having America’s Best Bathrooms. And get this: they have Coca-Cola and Pepsi products, not just one or the other.

How much local people will regularly patronize the store is anyone’s guess. When asked to assess the current offerings of convenience stores in the Lafayette area, over half said they are satisfied and stop where they can or that it’s good.

Yet 23% said they’re picky and stop at one or two locations, while 6% graded it as pretty bad.

The Ten Commandments law: Gov. Jeff Landry boasted that he’d welcome a lawsuit regarding the law he signed that requires The Ten Commandments to be posted in all public school classrooms at all levels, and the ACLU honored that boast with a federal lawsuit on behalf of a group of parents of different faiths.

The governor should be careful what he wishes for, most Power Poll voters said. About 75% of voters predicted the law would get tossed out by the courts. Only 25% predicted the law will stand.

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About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.

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