What a coup for The Advocate, getting three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Walt Handelsman to return to Louisiana and cast his searingly funny gaze on Louisiana politics. Gov. Bobby Jindal should be sweating right now, especially in light of The Advocate’s general willingness to rake him across the editorial coals on a steady basis. The paper announced Handelsman’s services at the end of October, wooing him back to Louisiana — he cartooned for The Times-Picayune from 1997 to 2001 but most recently worked at Newsday in New York City where he snagged a Pulitzer for animated cartoons — with primo box seats at a Saints game and some other-worldly Louisiana October weather. Louisiana cuisine probably didn’t hurt either. Handelsman tells The Advocate he always wanted to return to the Bayou State. With some of the most dysfunctional politics in the world, Louisiana has been waiting for Walt Handelsman.
So, downtown mega club Karma, long the bane of the district’s hyper-cultured merchants, residents and boosters, cut a deal with the state to keep its liquor license and remain in business. Karma celebrated by throwing a knife fight! OK, hyperbole, but surely some “I’m told ya so’s” were muttered when Lafayette police confirmed they’re investigating a pair of stabbings that allegedly occurred in the club just days after the agreement with the state was announced. Many in the Downtown district have wanted the club shuttered for years, pointing to a shooting, multiple stabbings and other felonious incidents over the last several years, not to mention that in general the club’s 1,200-plus occupancy contributes greatly to the Saturnalia of Stupidity that is Downtown Lafayette on a Saturday night. As part of the deal with the state office of Alcohol & Tobacco Control, the club agreed to step up security efforts in the hip-hop venue. Karma, you will need to step higher.
Ragin’ Cajun Nation is in the throes of an identity crisis. Again. Locals, students and alumni have always referred to our local university simply as UL, not by its official name, UL Lafayette. But UL supporters have been trying, mostly in vain, to get ESPN and other sports media to jettison “Lafayette” and refer to our sports teams merely as the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns rather than the more commonly used Louisiana-Lafayette, even though per an agreement with the Legislature then-USL agreed to attach the city appendage to University of Louisiana. So did UL Monroe. It was the price both universities paid to shed a regional brand — southwestern and northeastern — to become University of Louisiana. We all love Lafayette, except when it follows UL. What gives? UL fans are correct to point out that no one insists LSU, whose supporters are ultimately behind this mess, be referred to by its official name, LSU and A&M. So who’s the couillon in all of this? Cajun Nation, that’s who (and The Daily Advertiser for referring to the potential stand-alone “Louisiana” as a nickname. C’est what?). Why in the first place did we ever agree to this deal attaching us at the hip to those rednecks in Monroe? It’s an albatross. Let’s wear it with panache, y’all.