The latest round of poll numbers for Gov. Kathleen Blanco doesn't bode well for the Fourth Floor.
In a poll conducted over 10 days in early November by the Alabama-based Southern Media and Opinion Research Group, a mere 19.3 percent of the 600 Louisiana voters questioned would "definitely vote to re-elect" Blanco. In New Orleans, the number hovered around 9.8 percent. Meanwhile in Blanco's home base of Acadiana, only 19.4 percent said they would back Blanco again.
The same scenario plays out in the latest poll by SurveyUSA, which is funded by a consortium of media organizations. From the 600 samples taken on Nov. 14, the governor yielded a 34 percent approval rating ' compared to a 55 percent approval rating in May.
The Louisiana Republican Party is throwing gasoline on the fire by distributing freshly made bumper stickers that read, "Don't blame me. I voted for Jindal."Â ' Jeremy Alford
CRAWFISHING ON TARIFFS
The federal tool that allows crawfish processors to collect money from tariffs on foreign competitors could be repealed by year's end.
In an effort to cut spending, the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to repeal the Byrd Amendment, which is the mechanism that triggers payments from importers of Chinese crawfish, among other goods. Since the Byrd Amendment was enacted in 2001, Louisiana's crawfish industry has received $25.4 million. If the repeal passes, that same money would go to the U.S. Treasury in coming years.
Chinese tail meat was so inexpensive during the mid-90s that dozens of Louisiana processors ' many in Acadiana ' were forced to shut down. When the Department of Commerce initiated tariffs on their foreign competitors, the move brought some relief to domestic interests.
Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Bob Odom, who partly oversaw the tariff initiative, says he hopes Congress will preserve not only the current Byrd Amendment, but even consider expanding it to include crawfish farmers, not just processors. "We fought long and hard to get the tariffs in place, and the money collected rightfully belongs to the industry," Odom says. ' Jeremy Alford
MICHOT EYEING SECRETARY OF STATE POSITION
Last week, Lafayette Republican Sen. Mike Michot confirmed his interest in running for late Secretary of State Fox McKeithen's position next year. "I think it would be a good job to have," Michot told WAFB. Michot hopes to formally announce his intentions soon; New Orleans Democratic Sen. Francis Heitmeier is also mulling a run for the post. ' Scott Jordan
DEATH COUNTS DIFFER
Bob Johannessen, a spokesperson with the Department of Health and Hospitals, says deaths resulting from Hurricane Rita are not being compiled on a statewide level yet and the dissemination of such information is being left to parish coroners.
Numerous reports, however, have quoted state officials in recent weeks and months as saying there have been no deaths attributed to Rita, which made landfall around Cameron Parish.
But there has been at least one. According to his death certificate, Lawrence Blanchard of Chauvin died on Oct. 26 from an infection he contracted after entering floodwaters caused by Rita.
For the time being, Johannessen says the state will only continue to update related fatalities from Hurricane Katrina. "We're only putting out the Katrina numbers because of its sheer size and scope," he says. ' Jeremy Alford
HOME SALE INVALID?
The state Ethics Board will decide this month whether an employee of the Lafayette Parish School System can buy a home from a vendor she does business with on a daily basis.
Donna R. Denny, the technology director for the school system, wants to purchase the home of a Dell Computers sales representative in Lafayette, but state law prohibits public employees from receiving anything of economic value from people they do business with. An item of economic value can be anything from a free t-shirt to a discounted price on goods, according to the law. It was enough of a grey area for Denny to request a hearing.
"Before I do anything here, or make an offer, I definitely want to make sure this is possible because we do have business together," she says. Denny says she was approached about buying the home by the sales rep, and both parties are still waiting for an appraisal. ' Jeremy Alford
UL LAFAYETTE TO OVERSEE BUILDING GRANT
The UL Lafayette School of Architecture, in concert with Tulane University in New Orleans, will be coordinating a $100,000 grant project from the federal government to incorporate energy-efficient and sustainable design practices into Louisiana's rebuilding efforts.
The United States Department of Energy award will bring together national experts to share building design concepts at scheduled forums to be held in the hurricane-affected regions of the state starting in January.
"Our goal is to bring together our collective resources, building research and lessons learned from past hurricanes to create safer, stronger, more energy efficient communities," says Douglas L. Faulkner, acting assistant secretary at DOE.
Scheduling dates, locations and possible plan details will be announced in the coming weeks. ' Jeremy Alford
Over the last four days of the trial against attorney Daniel Stanford — the last defendant remaining in the federal government’s Curious Goods conspiracy case — there’s been one notable absence from Judge Elizabeth Foote’s courtroom.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees and wide receiver Nick Toon are not on the same page yet, and time is running short for Toon to get it right.
U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister started his sign-up for re-election the same as other candidates, filling out paperwork and handing over qualifying money. But he finished it like no other, doused with ice.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Jell-o sales plummet; Hamas kills suspected informers; bodies arrive in Malaysia and more national and international news for Friday, August 22, 2014.
That’s what Lafayette Parish has obtained in Pentagon surplus since 2006.
Qualifying continues through Friday.
The political tilt of the Senate during President Barack Obama's final two years in office is likely to hinge on a handful of female contenders in tight and costly races.
A former BP executive will be allowed to travel to the United Kingdom later this month while he awaits trial on charges relating to an investigation of the 2010 Gulf oil spill.
Friends and family will celebrate Spider's life in September.
Saints safety Jairus Byrd has rarely been so eager to hit and be hit, if only to reassure himself that his surgically repaired back is as healed as doctors believe.
Jindal privatized nearly all the LSU hospitals without waiting for federal officials to sign off on financing arrangements that rely on millions of federal Medicaid dollars.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and her main Republican challenger, Congressman Bill Cassidy, verbally sparred as they officially signed up on the opening day of qualifying for Louisiana's November election.
Superintendent tells crowd he'd just emerged from a four-hour meeting with the attorney hired to investigate him.
The start of the three-day qualifying period for November’s elections has so far yielded 10 official bids and one new announcement from candidates seeking a seat on the school board.
It’s been just over four months since attorney Barry Domingue committed suicide the morning before he was to stand trial for a second day in the federal Curious Goods case, leaving his fellow attorney/co-defendant Daniel Stanford with a temporary mistrial and awaiting his day in court.
Candidates for Louisiana's Nov. 4 election must officially sign up for the ballot this week.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's effort to derail Louisiana's use of the Common Core education standards was halted Tuesday by a state judge who said the governor's actions were harmful to parents, teachers and students.
New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram isn't letting a humbling start to his pro career lower his opinion of what he can still accomplish in the NFL.
Visualize Lafayette’s next great thing from 3,000 feet.
A Baton Rouge judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday against enforcing a law that prohibits anyone 70 or older from running for justice of the peace or constable.
Gov. Bobby Jindal believes the last-minute passage of a pension hike for his state police superintendent, Col. Mike Edmonson, was improperly handled, according to the governor's office.
As the courts hash out the attempts to preserve and shelve Common Core in Louisiana, a group of six state lawmakers are planning an Aug. 22 trip to Oklahoma to meet with their counterparts and strategize for the 2015 regular session.
While hopes are high for turnout this fall, a new report from the Center for the Study of the American Electorate suggests that Louisiana's midterm face-offs may amount to nothing special in terms of votes cast.
The attorney hired by the Lafayette Parish School Board for a special investigation of Superintendent Pat Cooper has submitted his final report, though it may be another week before the findings are made public.