Jim Brown is a Louisiana legislator, Secretary of State and Insurance Commissioner.
It’s the kickoff for hurricane season and forecasters are predicting as many as 14 named storms with anywhere from 3 to 6 of these storms growing into major hurricanes. Here on the Gulf Coast, we certainly perk up when this time of year rolls around. For years, a good story in south Louisiana went like this:
“I’m a Catholic, so I certainly know a good bit about suffering,” she would say.
“Yeah, I’m a Louisiana homeowner, he answered.
“Oh, so you understand.”
It’s been more than ten years since the Stanford Group was shut down, having bilked over 1000 Louisiana investors out of their life’s savings. Lawsuits have been filed against the Securities and Exchange Commission for not providing proper regulatory oversight. But a strong case can be made that there is major culpability on the part of a state agency, the Office of Financial Institutions. And we are talking about Louisiana taxpayers being potentially hit with a bill that could approach $800 million.
Governor Jimmie Davis must be rolling over in his grave right now. Louisiana’s internationally acclaimed official state song is under attack by the Louisiana Legislature. There is an effort by some south Louisiana legislators to designate the Cajun classic Jambalaya as an official public ballad. And them’s fightin’ words for those who have embraced You are my Sunshine as the sanctioned formal melody.
Is there a gubernatorial election taking place in Louisiana this year? Based on the amount of current interest, you wouldn’t know it. Qualifications for statewide offices are less than four months away. Four months? And barely a peep out of candidates who want to run major offices in the Bayou State. What gives?
As the Louisiana legislature begins a new session, the focus—early on—concerns alligators, almond milk, marching bands, the Who Dat Nation, driverless cars, wrestling matches, crab traps, meatless burgers, and changing the name of the state song. By any objective measure, most of these proposals should go by the wayside and the focus should be on educating our kids, particularly at a very young age.
If you are a sports fan living in Louisiana, you are well aware of the rise to the top by LSU’s basketball team that won the SEC championship and made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. But then the bubble burst. Not because the Tigers were defeated by Michigan State. No, the team was undermined by the irresponsible action of the LSU administration itself.
Now this is not a sports column, but a commentary of the dysfunctional leadership at the state’s flagship university. The basketball fiasco is just one more misstep. Here is the latest in a long line of rash actions.
Statewide elections are six months away, so after ignoring Louisiana’s outrageously high insurance rates for the past three years, legislators are running for cover. Two study commissions have been created, one by the Governor and another by the Insurance Department, for the purpose of finding ways to lower the cost of auto insurance. So to be of help and having a bit of background in dealing with insurance issues, I have the solution. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Do one thing. Enforce existing laws.
“The Killer” needs to take a break from Rock and Roll. Jerry Lee Lewis had a recent stroke and will spend the coming months in a rehab facility near his home in Nashville. I was looking forward to his April 28th concert at the Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans, and had already lined up my tickets for his show. But that’s been cancelled. So let me look back on a few memories about Jerry Lee.
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy has stirred up a hornet’s nest back in the Bayou State over his Facebook comments of eating a Louisiana delicacy. The Senator had this to say: “Found this raccoon in my backyard. We ate him for breakfast.” He even included a photo of the raccoon. And his Facebook friends went nuts with comments. Who on earth would even consider eating a raccoon?
Presidential election season has kicked off earlier than usual with new democrat candidates appearing almost daily. Fourteen announced candidates so far with others like former Vice President Joe Biden waiting in the wings. The President is unopposed for now, but anti-Trump forces are searching for several good candidates. So how relevant is Louisiana to the presidential primary process? Not much. But that could change.