Louisiana has a long history of letting political candidates appear on the ballot as they wish, as long as their chosen nicknames don’t offend.
Okay: “Bobby” Jindal instead of Piyush for governor. “Mrs. Roy” for long-ago losing New Orleans city council candidate who was running to succeed her late husband, which was deemed acceptable despite a rule barring candidates from capitalizing for their spouse’s name because Joyce Glapion insisted it was a real nickname.
Not okay, according to the secretary of state: Any nickname including the “N” word. Yes, this really has come up.
The first day of qualifying for the fall elections this week gave us some typically entertaining variations on the theme. There’s a “Shanky” running for alderman in Ville Platte, a “Gorilla” seeking to be police chief in Mamou, plus various “Docs” and “Boos” and “Treys,” and a few “Coaches.”
A guy who goes by “Noonie Man” is running against Cedric Richmond for Congress. Belden Batiste is an extreme longshot, but imagine the attention he’d get should he somehow make it to Washington.
He may not even win the prize for most memorable nickname on the ballot this time around. Qualifying doesn’t end until Friday afternoon, so it’s still anyone’s game — or almost anyone’s. People who go by something like John or Mary might just want to sit this one out.