He has one southernism down. The next official in high office to go by a boys' name a la Jimmy Carter is Louisiana governor elect Piyush "Bobby" Jindal. At age 4, he adopted his nickname from the Brady Bunch. He's also the son of immigrants a la Barack Obama and a Hindu converted to Catholocism. Jindal is next in a series of Republican governors since Mike Foster and the currently incarcerated Edwin Edwards, after the Democrat in office chose not to run again.
New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin endorsed Bobbie Jindal for governor over Democratic candidate Kathleen Blanco last time around and Bobby lost. These strained relations between the city and state continued after Hurricane Katrina hit, with a city, state and federal split down party lines with the Mayor in the middle. Right after the storm, as evacuees we heard a lot of "All those buses sitting empty. Aren't you mad at the mayor (of governor, depending on which version they heard)?" One social service agency representative told us we couldn't be mad at the President. I don't know if that was a legal requirement, but she didn't help.
Democrats were more likely to talk about the correlation between the weekly cost of the war in Iraq and the five day lag when no federal help came for stranded Americans. Or the head of the Federal Emergency Management Association saying he didn't know there was a Convention Center crisis until he saw it on cable news. Thank god he was watching that day. Speaking of cable coverage and the Crescent City, John Edwards is still recommending switching the Surge to New Orleans on Bill Maher, Extreme Audience Edition.
They would probably Surge right into big oil. Pre-8/29, I attended Wetlands Awareness events and heard the Governor speak about her concern for shoring up wetlands and levees before a natural disaster. I was concerned that big oil had its logos on wetlands awareness posters, tee shirts and merch. In Louisiana politics, big oil is the big oily elephant in the room. The Mr. GO canal was no longer in use when it served as a bullet from water to dry land. It still has not been filled in, despite the pleas of residents trying to rebuild.
As part of his platform, gubernatorial candidate Foster Campbell proposed making the oil industry pay for coastal restoration. He lost.
The number of New Orleans voters has sunk from 121,841 four years ago to 75,880. Hundreds of thousands of New Orleaneans are still displaced, leading one of the only blue cities in a red state to slowly turn purple, and Jindal has won.
Immediately after the news broke, some blog commenters were furious that Jindal was being referred to as a minority since they consider being a minority a slur. Studies after his first attempt at the office showed that many rural Louisianans didn't vote for him because they thought he was African American based on photos. Campaigning heavily in rural Louisiana this time, either he clarified it or just went by Piyush. One conspiracy theory is that American Idol's Sanjaya was a litmus test for Indian Americans wanting to move into US government. As if they both sat in a focus group saying, "America will love the FauxHawk and their votes will be ours!"
Governor Blanco is sometimes called "MeeMaw," because Louisiana likes to nickname. And NOLA.com columnist Chris Rose has nicknamed Mayor Ray Nagin the Invisible Man, so Jindal has saved voters time and trouble with his own pre-selected nickname straight out of '70s television.
My husband's old bandmate Barry Cowsill (straight out of '70s television as the Partridge Family bought the rights to his family's life story) was one of those seen at the Convention Center waiting for help. He was found months later in the Mississippi River.
To help you put a face to a New Orleanean off the voter rolls, this is our new NOMRF video with Barry's song "Kid" recorded in 2005. It also has a live South Central Rain track donated by REM and scenes from the brass band at Barry's memorial along the river.
The best part is Barry juggling bubbles and dropping every bit of the Mr. Bubble in an effort to entertain. He's still missed very much..