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
So far the Democratic agenda includes proposals to expand Medicaid; increase the minimum wage; offer equal pay to women; heighten regulations on predatory lending practices, like payday loans; and add more transparency in the governor’s office.
Hot-button education issues ranging from Common Core to charter schools have some lawmakers pushing to scrap the appointing process and go back to electing the state's super.
Police say the handcuffed man fatally shot himself in the back, but his family isn't buying the story.
Gov. Bobby Jindal offered a budget proposal that suggests new education and health care spending, pay raises for state workers and an incentive fund to encourage colleges to enhance their science, engineering and technology training.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday, March 11, 2014:
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.