Former Gov. Kathleen Blanco is recovering after being treated in Memphis for cancer in one of her eyes, lawmakers said.
“She said it looks to be successful,” state Sen. Butch Gautreaux, D-Morgan City, said Blanco told him. The prognosis appears to be good and she likely will not have to lose her eye, he said.
Blanco recently was diagnosed with choroidal melanoma, which is a rare cancer of the eye.
Edwards starts up Facebook page
Former Gov. Edwin Edwards is wasting little time catching up on technology now that he is out of prison.
Edwards recently joined the Facebook social networking website and quickly has accumulated about 3,000 “friends.”
The former governor cites his engagement to Trina Grimes Scott in his relationship status.
He also cites himself as a moderate Democrat who is a fan of classical country music and “American Idol.”
He has stated he is planning a book tour soon.
Edwards also is weighing in on politics, recently commenting that the 2012 Republican presidential candidates seem to be moving to the far right, “to please and capture the vote of the ‘tea party folks’ who are sincere and good people, but do not represent the average American citizen.”
La. House honors ex-cafeteria chief
The Louisiana House took a break during the final days of the legislative session to honor a long-time figure at the State Capitol.
Jim Lemming ran the cafeteria at the State Capitol for 30 years until his death in January.
“He was a loss for all of us,” said House Speaker Jim Tucker, R-Terrytown.
House members honored Lemming with a resolution.
Clayton, Badon poke fun at Jindal
Southern Board of Supervisors member Tony Clayton joked that he learned his lesson about agreeing to meet with Gov. Bobby Jindal before an announcement.
That major announcement turned out to be the governor’s proposal to merge Southern University at New Orleans with the University of New Orleans. The move failed during this year’s legislative session.
“Next time there’s a photo op with the governor, I’ll be out of town,” Clayton joked at a Southern board meeting Friday.
SUNO employee and state Rep. Austin Badon, D-New Orleans, could not resist the chance to point out Jindal’s out-of-state trips.
“If you’re going to be out of town, there’s a greater chance you’ll run into him,” Badon told Clayton.
TV stars create stir in House chamber
Billy the Exterminator created a minor stir in the House chamber Tuesday. He also visited the state Senate.
But it was alligator hunter Troy Landry who really created a hubbub.
House Speaker Jim Tucker, R-Terrytown, struggled to regain the House’s attention after Landry stopped by for a visit.
Landry, the star of “Swamp People,” hollered, “Choot ‘em” at a legislator’s urging, signed autographs and posed for photos.
Tucker twice asked Landry and his crowd of fans to move outside the House chamber so the House could return to business.
Nungesser set to challenge Dardenne
Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser made it official last week that he would challenge Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne’s re-election bid this fall.
Nungesser said the state needs a lieutenant governor who “has real-world experience creating jobs and a track record of standing up and doing what is best for the state.” He said “we don’t need a career politician.”
Nungesser was seen on the nightly news during the BP oil disaster, complaining about BP and federal government response.
It didn’t take long for Dardenne’s campaign to respond to Nungesser’s announcement.
It posted a web video of an automated call Nungesser made Nov. 1, 2010, asking voters to support Dardenne in the special election in which he became lieutenant governor.
“He’s been a strong advocate for good government, fiscal responsibility and investing in our people,” Nungesser said. “I’m proud of Jay for taking the lead in creating the constitutional amendment that dedicates money to protecting our coastline. I know he’ll fight to restore Louisiana’s image in the wake of the oil spill.”
Nungesser and Dardenne are both Republicans.
Lawmakers run for other elective posts
Seventeen lawmakers can’t run for their House or Senate seats this fall.
But there are other lawmakers who won’t be seeking re-election to their current seats. They have their sights set on other elective offices.
State Rep. Bodi White, R-Central, is preparing to run for a newly created Louisiana Senate seat — one of the districts the Capital region gained as a result of population growth.
The Senate district will run from the Central area of East Baton Rouge down the Interstate 12 corridor to Hammond.
State Rep. Page Cortez, R-Lafayette, plans to run for the state Senate seat being vacated by term-limited Mike Michot.
Two other House members are running for assessor’s jobs — state Rep. Mert Smiley, R-St. Amant, and state Rep. Reed Henderson, D-Violet.
State Sen. Julie Quinn, R-Metairie, plans to get into a Jefferson Parish judge’s race.
Gautreaux takes swipe at governor
Sen. Butch Gautreaux, D-Morgan City, a frequent critic of Gov. Bobby Jindal, made a point of nudging Jindal when the governor appeared in the side gallery of the Senate on the last day of the session.
“I just want to take the opportunity to welcome Gov. Jindal,” Gautreaux told the Senate.
“Long time, no see,” he added.
Gautreaux, a state lawmaker since 1996, took the Senate floor earlier in the week to criticize what he called failings in the Jindal administration.
Pranksters make fun of Chaisson
As Senate President Joel Chaisson II began his farewell speech to the state Senate, pranksters directed Senate workers to distribute boxes of Kleenex in recognition of Chaisson’s tendency to get emotional at times.
“Give me one too, because you are going to miss me,” Chaisson told the Senate and onlookers, including his wife, daughter, parents and some of his siblings.
The Democrat, who has been Senate president since 2008, is leaving the upper chamber because of term limits.
His speech came off without a hitch, but Chaisson choked up briefly when thanking his wife.
PAR criticizes regular session
The Public Affairs Research Council, called PAR, says in a commentary of the 2011 regular legislative session that, in terms of major reforms, “the session surely came up short.”
“The 2011 legislative session might be best remembered for those things that did not happen,” the report says, including the lack of any government services shutdowns because of money problems, no elimination of tax breaks or exemptions, no veto overrides, no sale of prisons and no university mergers.
The review can be found at http://www.la-par.org.
Leach to speak at Press Club meeting
State Democratic Party Chairman Claude “Buddy” Leach is scheduled to speak at Monday’s meeting of the Press Club of Baton Rouge.
Leach plans to discuss the Democratic Party’s future in Louisiana and offer his forecast for Democratic challengers to GOP incumbents seeking election to statewide offices this fall.
The Press Club meets at De La Ronde Hall, 320 Third St. in downtown Baton Rouge. Lunch is $12 for members and $15 for non-members.
The event is free and the public is invited, but only members of the Press Club and news media are allowed to ask questions.
Compiled by The Advocate’s Capitol news bureau. Contact address is firstname.lastname@example.org.