C’EST BON

More like c’est magnifique! Admit it, you probably thought you’d never utter the words Saints and Super Bowl in a sentence that didn’t include the phrase “will never go to.” But as broadcaster Jim Henderson put it at the delirious, goal post-dividing conclusion of the NFC Championship, “Pigs have flown! Hell has frozen over! The Saints are on their way to the Super Bowl!” What is truly bon in this most bon of c’est bons is what a Super Bowl berth — and the 2009 season for that matter — means to the city of New Orleans and to much of the Gulf Coast. The Big Easy may still be a quagmire of crime and corruption, but the hope and optimism generated by this magical season have united a city and a region. Louisiana is already recognized as the happiest state in the union. This will surely be the best Mardi Gras season ever.

PAS BON

A Minden man’s conviction on federal civil rights violations for burning a cross near an interracial couple’s home draws a sharper line between rampantly racist north and central Louisiana and our more tolerant southern part of the state. UL Lafayette, after all, was the first university in the Deep South to integrate, doing so within months of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling. Unfortunately, it is an internal distinction we draw in South Louisiana, and we’ll be smeared with the same broad brush by the rest of the country thanks to 31-year-old Daniel Earl Danforth, who remains stuck in 1953. He faces up to 20 years in prison for the cross-burning incident. Perhaps most egregious is that one of the victims of the cross-burning was Danforth’s cousin. In light of the racial content of America’s prison system, it is morbidly satisfying that there’s a 70-percent chance Danforth’s cell mate will not be a cracker.

COUILLON

We’re not sure what conservative wunderkind James O’Keefe and three other 20-something men including the son of the acting U.S. attorney in Shreveport intended when they infiltrated U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu’s New Orleans office last week and allegedly attempted to tamper with the phone system. But we are sure what they weren’t doing: They weren’t doing it well. O’Keefe — a darling of the right for his now-(in)famous undercover ACORN “pimp” video (Did anyone actually believe a skinny white boy in an extravagant, costume-shop pimp outfit was really a pimp, or just playing a gag, as some former ACORN employees have insisted?) — and his co-suspects are facing some sobering prison time as a result of the scheme. The most recent version of “we did it because” was that the gang wasn’t there to wiretap Landrieu’s office; rather, they wanted to disable the phone system because Landrieu staffers weren’t taking calls from constituents opposed to health care reform. Regardless, the wet-behind-the-ears “investigative journalist” may have learned an important lesson: You ain’t all that.

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