Jim Brown is a Louisiana legislator, Secretary of State and Insurance Commissioner.
The Cajun Navy wasted no time. Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas Coast on a Friday. By Sunday, hundreds of boats were on their way to Texas. I passed a supermarket parking lot two days after the storm hit, and a large contingent of boats and trailers were lined up to head for the Lone Star State. As this column is being written, thousands of Louisianans are offering help. That’s what many Texans did for us here in the Bayou State exactly twelve years ago.
Ah, the wisdom found in the New York Times. America’s newspaper (at least according to them) seems to find a reason every week to denigrate the backwards homefolks that populate Louisiana. Certainly some debasement is justified particularly when it comes to disparaging the state’s political establishment. But there’s one area that is sacrosanct and off limits to even the least well informed news editor. Whatever you do or write, don’t mess with LSU football.
Focus is back on the Ku Klux Klan following the tragic violence in Charlottesville last week. The Southern Poverty Law Center released data alleging that the Klan is still active in Louisiana, particularly in the central and northwest part of the state.
Year after year, Louisiana sits at the top of the list for the most expensive state in the nation for auto insurance. Insure.com just released a new study showing the Bayou State in a neck and neck race with Michigan to maintain it’s honor for average costs that tops $2000 a year.
Louisiana’s chief executive has some big problems ahead. Over one billion dollars in current taxes are set to expire at the end of the year. That loss comes out of the current budget with no plans to take care of the long list of needs for road construction and maintenance, as well as a backlog of other projects that are on the lack burner for lack of funds. What’s an agonizing governor to do?
Does anyone take a real vacation anymore? In the good old days, school didn’t start until the Monday after Labor Day. Family destinations to the beach or the mountains were a regular and anticipated event. The last two weeks in August used to be a popular time for families to get away to the beach for a final summer fling. But not anymore. The American family vacation seems to be dying.
A popular Louisiana Governor died 15 years ago this month. John McKeithen was the first Governor I ever met. When he was elected as chief executive in 1963, Louisiana was still a 19th century state struggling to operate in the 20th century. McKeithen was the catalyst that caused a major realignment of priorities.
The consensus of most folks down in the Bayou State is that Louisiana has a governor who is a pretty decent fellow. He comes across as friendly, accessible, and hands on in running the daily operations of the state. He has an impeccable military background having voluntarily served his country in the Army, something few politicians bother to do in this day an age. He has a supportive, attractive wife who is a schoolteacher and receives high marks as the state’s first lady. Voters call him John Bel and his approval rating hovers above 50%. Yet he will be in the fight of his life in two years with a real battle on his hands if he has any hope of being re-elected.
Thirty-one years ago this week, President Ronald Reagan traveled to West Berlin, and at the Brandenburg Gate admonished: “Mr.Gorbachev take down that wall.” The Berlin Wall had been erected by the puppet soviet state of East Germany. Unless you are over sixty five or are a history buff, you may not understand the tensions that existed then had many observers feeling that we could be on the brink of war with the Soviet Union.