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
At a recent fundraiser held not far from the banks of Capitol Lake, Rep. Stuart Bishop, R-Lafayette, spent more time eyeing the water body than the influencers at the party.
Democrats sweating this year's elections may be hoping that the Obama administration's latest delay to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline takes a politically fraught issue off the table for the midterms.
Louisiana lawmakers are entering the second half of their three-month regular legislative session, which must end by June 2. Where some of the major issues stand:
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday, April 21, 2014:
Monday's Blogs from the Bog!
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.