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
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
US cities bidding on Olympics; Guard prevents more Ferguson riots; storm threatens travel and more national and international news for Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.