Gautreaux gaining momentum?
While local attorneys Warren Perrin and David Calogero both have an interest in replacing federal Judge Tucker Melancon, who recently assumed senior status, I don’t put much into their chances. Frankly, it will definitely be either an African-American or a female. A white male has as much of a chance on this one as a female does of being invited to be a member of the Augusta National Country Club. Lafayette attorney Kay Karre Gautreaux continues to be the most prominent female name mentioned. Opelousas District Judge Alonzo Harris is also reportedly in the running. In other nomination circles, I’d put my money on state Rep. Rick Gallot Jr. of Ruston as a lock for U.S. attorney to replace Donald Washington in the Western District, except for the swirling speculation that he may not pass the FBI background check over financial issues. U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is in the driver’s seat on both noms, but it’s the U.S. marshal position for the Western District that has her in an interesting quandary: She supports former State Police Cpt. Henry Whitehorn but has gotten a loud endorsement from many Louisiana sheriffs who favor ex-Rapides Parish Sheriff William Earl Hilton. William Whittington, appointed by President Bush, has served since March 2002 and is not being retained. He is responsible for the judicial security of the court houses and staffs in Shreveport, Monroe, Alexandria, Lafayette and Lake Charles. He also oversees the U. S. marshal programs on fugitive apprehension, enforces the orders of the courts, and conducts other law enforcement functions as required.
Congressman Charlie Melancon is rapidly emerging into the role held by former U.S. Sen. John Breaux of being a shuttle diplomat/ dealmaker between multiple factions in Congress. Melancon, a prominent leader of the Conservative Democratic Blue Dog Coalition now comprising more than 50 Democrats, or 20 percent of the Democratic majority, was recently dispatched to the White House to urge President Barack Obama to modify parts of the stimulus package, with success. While there is no love lost between him and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Melancon does hold a very good relationship with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, himself a pragmatic and consensus-building politician. Look for Melancon, as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, to play a key role in Obama’s upcoming energy package.
MAY 20 This post by blogger CB Forgotston draws parallels between Gov. Bobby Jindal and two individuals he probably doesn't want to be aligned with: President Obama and former governor Edwin Edwards. CB says Jindal's trying to jack up the debt ceiling (an Obama play, according to CB) and buy votes from GOP leges who normally wouldn't go for that (an Edwards play, CB says).
MAY 20 Here's a post in the Baptist Message from an alumnus of Louisiana College. The author, Larry Burgess, calls on the leadership of the private school to take care of some pressing problems. Physical plant issues are critical and unaddressed, some faculty make so little they need government health care, and there is an atmosphere that does not encourage honest discussion, he writes. It's time to get things back in order, he says.
MAY 20 This post in Gambit tells of a benefit concert scheduled to raise money for the 19 people shot during a Mother's Day second line on Frenchmen Street in NOLA. Among them was Gambit blogger Deb Cotton, who spoke frequently about violence in the city and reported on the city's second line culture. Gambit's foundation, along with other NOLA non-profits, also is selling t-shirts to raise money for the victims.
MAY 20 Blogger Robert Mann is critical of the personal interest some legislators take in their work here, sharing the comments one NOLA solon made in explaining his decision to vote against a bill that would require people to stop discriminating against female workers. His wife might lose some salary, so he was going to have to vote against the equal pay bill, Conrad Appel said. Appel and everyone who heard him should have been ashamed, but they weren't, and that's what is wrong in that building, Mann argues.
MAY 20 American Press columnist Jim Beam writes about the budget again here, urging kudos for the House and its efforts to try to fix the budget as opposed to passing on a flawed and messy rubber-stamped document as it usually does. The Senate already is poo-pooing the effort, but instead Senators should be trying to find a way to improve it as well, Beam argues. He also has some predictions in here from LABI and CABL.
MAY 20 Here's a link to the photo gallery from Tulane's graduation this past weekend. Dr. John and Allen Toussaint played together and received honorary degrees. The Dalai Lama was so entranced by their performance he got up from his seat and walked across the stage to stand next to them. He even participated in a second line with his own personal, saffron-colored umbrella. To the graduates, he urged them to think about creating a peaceful, hopeful life and society.
MAY 20 This Picayune story questions the rhetoric of NOLA officials who say the city, aside from having a "murder problem," is safe. The talking points generally are that the criminals are killing each other, but everything else is OK. The police chief there says that even Lafayette is more dangerous than NOLA. But crime experts interviewed here say that NOLA's numbers indicate one of two things: either people are so used to violence they don't report it, or somebody's "fudging the numbers."
MAY 20 The Advocate's Mark Ballard writes about some of the background maneuvering that took place during the development of budget alternatives in the Legislature. From Rep. Joel Robideaux being called a "tax and spend liberal" to robo-call influence, Ballard lets us in on some of the work that happens behind the scenes but usually doesn't make it into the Advocate's daily coverage of the session.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.