Underscoring why good-government groups have long called for using an appointed, non-political committee to undertake the state’s once-a-decade redistricting, the Legislature, with just three days (including Monday) remaining to complete its chore this special session, remains knotted in turf battles and House-versus-Senate bickering. It now appears likely that the daunting task of redrawing six congressional districts out of the current seven will be put off until 2012, and neither chamber of the Legislature as of this writing has approved its counterpart’s legislative redistricting plan.
In a sign of how much sway Gov. Bobby Jindal has over state politics, we learned over the weekend that five of the current members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation sent a letter to Jindal expressing their desire that lawmakers put off congressional redistricting until next year. (By law, Jindal has no legal control over redistricting; that role belongs respectively to the Senate president and House speaker.)
All the signees of the letter are Republicans including freshman Rep. Jeff Landry, who until very recently appeared to be headed toward having his base in southeastern Louisiana eviscerated and being forced to face veteran GOP Rep. Charles Boustany of Lafayette in a new district that largely resembles Boustany’s current 7th District. Boustany was the lone Republican rep not to sign the letter and, according to The Times-Picayune, is still urging the Legislature to complete its work by Wednesday. The other member of Congress not to sign onto the letter is Democrat Cedric Richmond, who will remain in a majority-black district regardless of how the other five districts are redrawn.
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MAR 6 In this week's post, Jim Brown is remembering former Gov. Jimmie Davis, who was sworn in 70 years ago this week. Included in here is the governor's recipe for raccoon, which was his favorite dish, Brown says. He also tells us who "Sunshine" was - Jimmie's palomino. She's buried at the late governor's farm, Brown says.
MAR 6 Columnist James Gill applies his special combination of wit and sarcasm to our friend Don Briggs in this post. Gill read the oil and gas leader's deposition and almost felt sorry for him -- almost. The problem seems to be related to Mr. Brigg's "stupendous ignorance of his purported area of expertise," Gill writes. He also credits Briggs with doing more for the environmental cause in a couple hours than tree-huggers can accomplish in years.
MAR 6 If you're on the Facebook, you've seen this video of two NOLA police officers line dancing with some Mardi Gras revelers. But this one is even better: it's a NOLA police horse line dancing on Bourbon Street. Hey -- this is Louisiana. We all can get down, if the situation calls for it.
MAR 6 Here's some more new info on the continuing controversy at Louisiana College, this time posted on the Tennessean (so maybe this story is pretty interesting outside of Louisiana, too). The story, originally written by Town Talk reporters, tells us about a document with allegedly forged signatures which was sent to SACS, the organization which issues accreditation for southern universities and colleges. The plot thickens?
MAR 6 When one reads a story like this one on KATC about the person or persons unknown who stole a huge duck balloon, three questions come to mind. First, what kind of person steals a huge balloon used to advertise a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club? And second, how can that person drive off with a huge balloon -- and attract no attention at all? And of course, the biggie: what you gonna do with that?
MAR 6 If you're interested in how things might look in 20 or 30 years, here's a good indication. This post by a 19-year-old sophomore in the LSU Reveille is the first in a series about racism. Written by a white girl, it argues that we must discuss racism and acknowledge its existence. We can't pretend it doesn't exist anymore - because it does, she says.
MAR 6 LaPolitics is doing the math on the state's unclassified workforce, and it looks pretty good -- if you're part of it. The top 50 unclassified positions in state government are making a combined $17 million, LaPolitics reports. That's $3 million more than when Jindal took office. (It's also an average salary of $340,000 in case you're interested) What's really interesting is that a lot of these positions are related to college athletics. Huh.
MAR 6 What does Ash Wednesday in NOLA look like? Beaded trees. This Picayune story takes a look at one narrow aspect of the annual clean-up following Mardi Gras: the beads hanging from trees. It takes weeks for crews to remove the trash from the trees, the story tells us.
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