No matter what your political leanings are or which candidate you’re supporting in the U.S. Senate race, hope that someone wins in a knockout Tuesday night. A December runoff will bring us a lot of attention — all the wrong kind.
A Louisiana runoff could be the only national election left in December, though there is the chance there may be others. A runoff may even dictate whether Democrats or Republicans control the Senate for the next two years.
That means a lot of out-of town reporters would be intently focusing on us. You know what that means: All of the usual memes about Louisiana will pop up on the news shows.
And when I say “Louisiana,” I mean New Orleans, of course, because New Orleans is where nearly 100 percent of the media’s attention will be centered.
Video clips of Bourbon Street will become a signifier for the carefree, bon-temps lifestyle all of us happy-go-lucky Louisianians are believed to lead. Of course, Cajun music is likely to be overlaid that footage, even though the chances of hearing “Jolie Blonde” on Bourbon are about as good as finding a sober person there.
There will be shots of French Quarter buskers singing and playing their instruments. A street-corner troupe of young tap dancers will probably get thrown in as well. There will be the obligatory video of a jazz funeral.
When the news reports turn to the subject of religion in Louisiana, it will probably be footage from the inside of a Catholic church that they’ll use to illustrate their point. The outside of St. Louis Cathedral with a silhouette of Andrew Jackson’s statue in front of it would be even better. They’re going to be shooting video in the Quarter anyway, so that will be an easy shot to get.
Boats plying the Mississippi River through New Orleans will probably show up a few times. Somebody will likely compare the state’s Democratic and Republican electorates to ships passing in the night. (Kudos to the reporter who credits the reference to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and notes that he wrote “Evangeline.” Extra credit to the reporter who reveals that there’s a Louisiana parish named after the poem.)
They’ll probably have to get outside of New Orleans for a few pictures, however.
They’ll want to get a photo of an oil well somewhere, and you don’t find those inside the city. The likeliest bet is that they’ll just rely on file footage of the burning BP rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
And, of course, no news report on Louisiana is complete without the image of an alligator. To find that, they’ll have to get out into the swamps somewhere. Or there’s the easy way out: Photographing the gators at the Audubon Zoo.
There will be endless references to Louisiana’s “spicy political gumbo,” or something along those lines. Illustrating that will be scenes from a noisy, crowded restaurant as waiters and waitresses weave their way through the tables while hoisting large trays teeming with steaming food, some of which may actually be gumbo.
There will be talk of Louisiana’s history of political corruption, and pictures of former Mayor Ray Nagin walking into federal court will probably be included. They’ll likely mention former Gov. Edwin Edwards’ recent congressional campaign as well.
That’s what we have to look forward to, Louisiana, if we don’t settle this thing Tuesday night. Be strong, stand tall and end it all next week.
Dennis Persica’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.