Sen. David Vitter was apparently in a joking mood last Wednesday during a speech at a Lafayette Parish Republican Executive Committee luncheon at the Lafayette Federal Courthouse. When state party treasurer Charlie Buckels congratulated Vitter for the senator's post-hurricane efforts for Louisiana, Vitter referenced the work of state officials and said, "It's easy to look like a giant in a land of pygmies." When another audience member asked about the efforts of Gov. Kathleen Blanco, Vitter replied, "If you give me a recall petition, I'll sign it." He later downplayed both statements to The Advocate and said they were jokes.
His remarks were the latest in a string of comments by Louisiana politicians that underscore the dysfunctional relationships between top local and state officials. Just the previous week, Vitter and Sen. Landrieu openly sparred on the Senate floor over loan requirements for Louisiana's $750 million aid package, refusing to yield time to each other and derisively referring to each other as the "senior senator" and "junior senator."
Meanwhile, in an editorial board meeting with The Advocate last Thursday, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin admitted his relationship with Blanco is severely strained. "We have very different styles," Nagin said of Blanco. "I'm really at a loss for what else to do."Â
With state employee layoffs expected in the near future and Blanco and Nagin's announcement of separate committees to steer rebuilding efforts, all eyes will be on the post-hurricane special session called by Blanco that begins Nov. 6. If more signs of harmony aren't shown during that session, federal officials will continue to cast a doubtful eye on Louisiana's ability to manage hurricane relief funds. ' Scott Jordan
On Monday, Gov. Kathleen Blanco announced the formation of the Louisiana Recovery Authority and its 23-member board of directors. Blanco is asking the committee to oversee the rebuilding of Louisiana in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita and develop a 30-day, as well as a five year-plan, to help the state address the pressing issues of housing, health care, employment, transportation and education. The two Acadiana residents serving on the panel are UL Lafayette's John T. Landry and Stuller Inc.'s founder and CEO Matt Stuller. Blanco asked the group to put aside the differences in politics, race and religion that have mired Louisiana's progress in the past. "We can succeed only if we put aside politics and partisanship," Blanco said.Â ' R. Reese Fuller
At press time Monday, tropical storm Wilma was expected to develop into a major hurricane that could possibly affect the Gulf Coast later this week. It's the 21st named storm of the 2005 hurricane season, tying the record for busiest hurricane season set in 1933.
Reuters reported that forecast models for Wilma varied wildly, with some storm tracks taking it as far west as Mexico and other plots taking it toward the Florida panhandle. One thing's for sure: in the next few days, Louisiana residents will once again be watching the Weather Channel and monitoring weather Web sites with an uneasy feeling.
And hurricane season doesn't officially end until Nov. 30. ' Scott Jordan
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.
President Barack Obama is turning to black radio listeners to plead for midterm votes, a targeted approach to drum up Democratic support at a time when many candidates don't want him around in person.
WaPo Watergate editor Ben Bradlee dies; Clintons stump for Dems; Liberians stranded and more national and international news for Wednesday, October 22, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
"I am extremely disheartened by the political machines that are attempting to hijack my efforts along with others that advocate for children."
Landrieu, who is fighting to keep her seat for a fourth term, said that Ebola is serious and precautions should be taken, but she accused Republicans of using the virus outbreak in West Africa to "create fear" here at home.
Law enforcement agencies are participating in a "Louisiana Heroin Summit," designed to address the recent rise in heroin use and drug-related deaths around the state.
State education officials are preparing to release performance scores for public schools and public school districts.
Saints coach Sean Payton is starting a new week by emphasizing, repeatedly, the many good things he noticed during New Orleans' latest loss.
We will be offering our recommendations on the constitutional amendments tomorrow.
The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings that dismissed the lawsuits against BP and other companies involved in the worst U.S. offshore oil spill.
White registration is down by 7,700 voters while black registration has shot up by 7,100 voters.
Even though it had been rumored for months, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu finally pulled the trigger recently on a major campaign shakeup that moved control over to a few Big Easy insiders.
Louisiana's health department says it will seek law changes to stop billing sexual assault victims for exams and tests.
It wasn’t the historic slashes to higher ed funding or the ensuing tuition spikes that recently had LSU’s student body and faculty riled up in collective outrage.
Will $400 be enough for the re-election campaign of LPSB's Hunter Beasley to overcome two years of holding our school system hostage and hurting the education of our children all because of a personal dislike of the superintendent?
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham said Friday he expects his playing status in Detroit to be decided by coach Sean Payton on Sunday, shortly before the game.
Lawmakers have sidestepped a decision on whether they accept claims from Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration that the state closed last year's books with a nearly $179 million surplus.