There are already plenty of wide-angle analyses of President Donald Trump's state of the Union address, so let me get parochial for a moment and note that Louisiana got some major play Tuesday night.
The speech eventually turned sharply divisive, but at its start, Trump recognized people who embody the sort of bravery, selflessness and resilience that anyone with a pulse would cheer. Among them were New Orleans-based Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Ashlee Leppert, a hero of the rescue from Hurricane Harvey's floodwaters. Grassroots Cajun Navy (Cajun Navy 2016 founder Jon Bridgers of Walker was an invited guest, and the Washington Post reported that this marked the first ever use of the word "Cajun" in a State of the Union). Trump also singled out House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, who survived a horrific mass shooting last summer, endured multiple surgeries and much rehab, and is now back on the job, as "one of the toughest people ever to serve in this House."
So does the president really love us?
More likely he's like all presidents and really loves to highlight the sort of triumphs of spirit these stories represent, and to downplay stories that might reflect poorly on their own administrations.
Which calls to mind a very different State of the Union, this one by President George W. Bush in 2006, months after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita walloped Louisiana.
WASHINGTON — Efforts to rescue victims of Hurricane Harvey last year landed two Louisiana residents presidential invitations from Donald Trump…
The state was still scrounging for federal aid back then, and Bush's reputation had taken a major hit following the botched immediate response. Louisianans, including then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who was in the House chamber, were looking for signs that the president considered the recovery a national priority. Instead, they waited until nearly the end of Bush's 52-minute address for a brief mention of the monster storms and the mass destruction they left behind. When the cameras cut away to Blanco, she looked livid.
Yet another Louisianan was prominently featured in some of this year's commentary about the tough task facing U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, who delivered the official Democratic response. That slot is traditionally reserved for a rising star from the opposing party, but in recent years it has become known as less an opportunity than a curse.
Credit that to former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, whose stiff, sing-songy response to President Barack Obama's emotional first address to Congress in 2009 drew far more jeers than cheers. Others have had bad moments since — think U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and that ill-timed reach for the water bottle — but it was Jindal who launched the modern era of treacherous responses. He may be out of politics, but nine years later, he's still a cautionary tale.