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Louisiana State Capitol BuildingLouisiana State Capitol BuildingBy: Jim Plylar

Latest Louisiana Forum Posts

  • In the 10 years since Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has nearly completed one of the world's most remarkable hurricane protection systems to encircle New Orleans. Locals say their low-lying city finally has the storm defenses it should have had before Katrina, which killed hundreds and caused billions in property losses. "The West Bank is astronomically safer. There is no comparison since before Katrina and today," says Susan Maclay, president of Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority — West. It's one of the state entities created after Katrina to consolidate and improve flood control.
  • Police said three people, including the shooter, were killed Thursday night in a movie theater in Lafayette, La. Two died at the scene, including the gunman, and the third in a hospital, Police Chief Jim Kraft said. Authorities said nine other people were wounded. Craft told reporters the victims' conditions ranged from non-life-threatening to critical.
  • The man named by police as the shooter inside a Lafayette, Louisiana, movie theater appears to have been a Tea Party sympathizer with strong views on race, immigration, and the future of America. John Russell Houser, most recently of Phenix City, Alabama, was a frequent poster in online forums on those topics. He appears to have gone by the nickname Rusty Houser—a name tied to him by an email address listed on a LinkedIn page tied to the man wanted in the shooting.
  • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is running for president, and nobody seems to know why. The man who was once called the Republican Party’s savior-in-waiting will formally announce his 2016 bid this afternoon, and Jindal will enter the race with slightly less than one percent of the GOP primary electorate in his corner, putting him dead last among large and growing slate of “serious” Republican contenders. He’s apparently planning to run as a tax-cutting fiscal conservative who will be tough on immigration and defend religious liberty – making him indistinguishable from pretty much every other candidate.
  • A week ago, I broke the story about Steve Scalise, the current House majority whip, attending a conference hosted by the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (or EURO), a white nationalist organization led by David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Since then, the story has been picked up by the national and international media, and as a result, we now know a lot more about the event, its organizers, its agenda and its participants. I spent the last week criss-crossing the state of Louisiana, and along with Slate‘s Zack Kopplin, interviewed more than a dozen policymakers, elected officials and peers of Rep. Scalise.
  • The scandal over Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise’s 2002 speech to a white supremacist group has so badly damaged his image inside the House Republican Conference that he faces serious questions over his political future, according to interviews with multiple aides and lawmakers — including some Scalise allies. Scalise’s job as House majority whip remains safe – and Speaker John Boehner has publicly backed him — but he may be too toxic for some Republican circles. Top GOP aides and lawmakers question whether he’ll be able to raise funds, especially on trips to New York or Los Angeles. Senior figures within the party doubt that the corporate chieftains and rich donors who bankroll Republican candidates will give him money to keep campaign coffers filled.
  • In much the way one used to savor the sight of some lying schmuck be game-set-match cornered by Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes, I love watching conservatives try to explain away race scandals. Like the be-Wallaced lying schmuck, they know deep down they’ve had it. But quite unlike the schmuck, and this is the fun part, they never run up the white flag; indeed quite the opposite. They go on the attack, and it’s just a comical and pathetic thing to see. Before we get to all that, permit me a brief reflection on this matter of Steve Scalise. Let’s allow him the error in judgment, or whatever tripe it is he’s peddling, of speaking to a David Duke-related white supremacist group in 2002. It’s hard to believe, but let’s go ahead and be generous about it.
  • Mary Landrieu is dead, and everyone knows it but Mary Landrieu. The senior senator from Louisiana, a diminutive blond woman with a round, youthful face, is standing under a green canopy in the middle of an airfield. The canopy reads, "City of Hammond, Too Lovely to Litter." There is frustration in her voice as she repeats, yet again, the message nobody seems to be hearing. "The national race is over," she says. "This race is clearly now about what's in Louisiana's best interest." Landrieu's death was foretold on November 4, when any remaining hope Democrats might have had that their candidates' individual qualities could overcome voters' hostility to the president was washed away in a national Republican wave of unexpected proportions.

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