Her special session was a legislative and public relations disaster, and now Gov. Kathleen Blanco's getting her feet held to the fire on the Road Home program. New Orleans Rep. Charmaine Marchand is so fed up with the slow pace of recovery checks that she briefly protested by camping out in a tent on the Capitol grounds. That led to a closed-door meeting between Blanco, representatives from embattled Road Home contractor ICF, Louisiana Recovery Authority leaders and ballistic legislators who are tired of hearing excuses about ICF's slow response time and questionable methods for awarding rebuilding grants. Rep. Tim Burns, a Mandeville Republican, described the meeting as "tense" and "soul-baring," and the clock is ticking for Blanco to either fire ICF or get the multiple problems with the Road Home program fixed ' quickly. ' Scott Jordan
REPUBLICANS STACKING TICKETS
After targeting three health care professionals for allegedly administering lethal drugs during Katrina and battling the resulting controversy, the state GOP thinks Attorney General Charles Foti may be ripe for the picking in 2007. Chairman Roger Villere says the party is still in talks with two district attorneys: Doug Moreau of Baton Rouge and Buddy Caldwell, a veteran DA representing East Carroll, Madison and Tensas parishes. "There are also a couple of other big names, but we're not ready to put them out there," Villere says. Other statewide races are being approached in the same manner ' the more the merrier, until one contender is chosen. As for the legislative races, Villere says parish chairmen and members of the GOP's state central committee are shaking the bushes to recruit candidates. "This will be 10 times the effort that we saw four years ago," Villere says. "We plan on having someone in every race, which is something we haven't done in the past. We're going to be active up and down the ballot." ' Jeremy Alford
SPIDERMAN MAY TAKE ON SUGARMAN
Wayne Carter, a Republican member of Baton Rouge's Metro Council, may be throwing his hat in the ring against mega-politico Bob Odom, Louisiana's agriculture commissioner. "There are some people urging me to do that," he says. "We'll make a decision in January." Carter, who also goes by "Spider," is president of Advanced Services, which buys and sells offshore drilling equipment. He's one of those rare south Louisiana Baptists, politically speaking, and he's a card-carrying member of the National Rifle Association. Odom, who has suffered recent sugar-related defeats at the hands of Gov. Kathleen Blanco, still has as much sway ' and money ' as ever, but his public bribery charges could find him back in a courtroom in the near future. ' JA
POLITICAL ADVERTISING RAMPING UP
It's all about the media buy, and all the major players in the 2007 gubernatorial contest are taking heed. The shifting model of modern Louisiana campaigns has television replacing exploratory committees, and Sen. Walter Boasso, a Republican from Arabi, went on the airwaves last week with ads for his "Get It Done Louisiana," a nonprofit group that addresses the needs of recovery. "We need an organization where people's voices can be heard, and this is just the place to do it," Boasso says. Rep. Bobby Jindal, a Metairie Republican, bought airtime all over the state during his election this fall ' not just in his district ' and even New Orleans businessman John Georges got a piece of the action in September when he personally appeared in television ads supporting the consolidated levee board initiative. ' JA
WAIVER SAVES FARMERS
During the final hours of the recent congressional session, lawmakers managed to squeeze out a short waiver extending the life of a popular guaranteed loan program for Louisiana farmers that was set to expire at the end of the year. The federal government had offered no forewarning that the terms were in jeopardy, leaving many farms scrambling for 2007 capital. Congress came through, however, pushing the expiration date to Sept. 30, 2007. The date itself wasn't controversial; it was the fact that it was stuck in the Farm Bill, which has proven difficult to pass through both chambers with agreement. The Farm Service Agency loan program provides operating money to "several hundred" farms in Louisiana, according to Republican Rep. Charles Boustany. "This was a tremendous victory for farmers and ranchers in Louisiana," he says, although the bill is still awaiting President Bush's signature. The FSA helps farmers who cannot qualify for conventional loans because they have insufficient financial resources. It also helps established farmers who have suffered financial setbacks from natural disasters. ' JA
Despite sweeping changes enacted by Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration, the health insurance program for state workers and public school employees will have to use $88 million from its reserve fund to cover its costs this year.
The LPSB races are sure to get heated between now and Nov. 4, and with only 9 available seats, this year's field of 20 candidates will surely be wanting to set themselves apart from the crowd early; they'll get their chance next week, starting Tuesday with the kick-off of a three-day series of candidate forums.
Lawmakers say they've received complaints that waits have spiked, with people being forced to wait in line for more than an hour — and sometimes three hours — to handle routine tasks.
The campaign announced that Rep. Stuart Bishop of District 43 and Nancy Landry, District 31, have thrown their support behind the Naval Academy graduate and entrepreneur in his bid to unseat current Hunter Beasley in District 8.
A Lafayette man with an alleged taste for child porn was busted Thursday evening during a cyber crime sting launched by the Attorney General’s Office.
U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister says his chief of staff is on temporary leave after being booked with drunken driving.
It was a rare moment in Congress this week as Republicans briefly put aside partisanship in support of President Barack Obama's request to train and arm Syrian rebels, and while a number of Democrats opposed the measure, Louisiana's Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu found herself on the same side of the issue as her Republican challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy.
Home Depot breach bigger than Target; Alibaba IPO could be big; Rivers' last project and more national and international news for Friday, September 19, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
City-Parish President Joey Durel is asking the council to sign off on a resolution approving a pair of deals that would lead to razing the seedy Lesspay Motel at Four Corners to build a new police substation as well as transforming nearly a block Downtown where the old federal courthouse building now molders into a mixed-use development.
In 2013, the IRS — already the least popular governmental agency in the country — became the target of intense investigations after it was revealed that they had specifically and improperly scrutinized applications for tax-exempt status from organizations associated with the nascent Tea Party movement.
Improving the running game was "a point of emphasis" during the offseason and the results have manifested themselves in the form of substantially greater production.
Louisiana's health department said Wednesday that its evaluation of the state's Medicaid privatization was on target, despite criticism from the legislative auditor that it lacked key data and contained inconsistencies.
The feds converge on your office, seizing records on several employees as part of a pay-for-plea investigation. WWYD? If you’re Mike Harson, you give yourself a $12k raise.
It’s football season and after back-to-back winless weekends for the Saints and the Cajuns many citizens are finding it difficult to be civil much less happy. Well, chew on this.
Considering his repeated stays in the local penal system, David Narcisse Jr. should have known that having a semiautomatic shotgun, even one given to him by a friend, wasn’t the brightest of ideas.
A state district judge on Tuesday threw out a last-minute retirement hike lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent, ending a political firestorm over a pension boost passed without public scrutiny on the last day of the legislative session.
The House has passed a bill to increase oversight of veterans' hospitals under construction, following a report that some medical centers take three years longer to complete than estimated and cost an extra $366 million per project.
An obvious follow-up question for any Republican politician who accuses Democrats of being science deniers is one about science, to which Jindal bobbed and weaved like a welterweight champ.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council is expected to decide tonight (Tuesday) whether to go along with a proposal City-Parish President Joey Durel made in February’s State of the Parish Address and consolidate taxes for mosquito control and the parish health units into a broader tax program that would also cover animal control.
U.S. District Judge Richard Haik has dismissed Greg Davis’ lawsuit against the LPSB, yet in his ruling, the federal judge doesn’t bite his tongue in pointing out the "threat" being posed by certain board members.
Of all the political offices being contested throughout Lafayette Parish, the race for Broussard’s top police post has literally become one of the most heated.
A state district judge is deciding whether to issue an injunction against the enforcement of a last-minute retirement hike that lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent.
A new website is up for Louisiana's state government employees and retirees to choose their health insurance plans for next year, a choice they must make by October.
That fact that New Orleans led both games in the final 10 seconds of regulation, and lost each by a field goal or less, is of little solace.