What a state we’re in. Louisiana is our morbidly obese mother, ambling around the mobile home in her wrinkled house coat, chain smoking, nursing a 40, chewing through a greasy sack of cracklins. Her casual disregard for her own health and well being drives us nuts. You’re dropping ashes on the sofa, Mama! We tolerate her self-destruction, not because we don’t recognize it — we just always have. And when we do speak up, it’s in one big cauliflower ear and out the other. And that damned house coat! The neighbors laugh, but she doesn’t seem to care.


Enter uncle Ernest Wooton, a Belle Chasse state rep with a Republican haircut. For the second straight year uncle Ernie has dropped by with a bill to allow guns on college campuses. That’ll put the fight in a tiger and the rage in a Cajun. The measure cleared a House committee last week. The National Rifle Association is very happy. Most university police chiefs are not. Administrators and top cops from colleges across the state, including McNeese State Police Chief Cinnamon Salvador (stop the snickering!), gathered at the Capitol en masse to oppose the measure. “We don’t see it as a constitutional issue because none of us are gun control advocates, at least I’m not,” Salvador says. “When officers arrive at a scene, we’re taught — especially in active shooter situations — to look at people’s hands. If the officers encounter other people with guns in their hands, they have to stop and address that person with that gun and while they’re doing that, the real shooter’s still in the building shooting people.” Makes sense. But by a 9-6 vote, the committee moved the measure on.


You know who likes big guns and lots of them? Men with — let me be figurative here — little dangling modifiers.


Not to be outdone, cousin Kevin Pearson, a Slidell rep — same barber (I’m seeing a pattern here) — drags in a bill to ban mobile dental clinics at schools. He ran over it out on the highway and wants to keep it in the freezer. The mobile clinics overwhelmingly serve poor, rural students who otherwise would rarely if ever visit a dentist. Cousin Kev’s bill also cleared committee despite opposition by the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry, the Louisiana Primary Care Association and the state chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. There ain’t no reasoning with Mama today; she’s making some space in the ice box. The ban is backed by the Louisiana Dental Association, which argues it’s unsanitary to perform dental work in gymnasiums and libraries. No coincidence that the state just increased Medicaid reimbursements for dental work, meaning rural dentists now get more money for providing services to the poor, services the mobile dental clinics have long provided?


So there goes Mama, burning holes in the couch. Dishes are piling up in the sink, and a scrawny dog is panting at the screen door. She’s a real piece of work, that Mama, but man can she cook!

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