JT Lagniappe – Feb. 23, 2019

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The good ole boys network is alive and well in Louisiana.

JT hates to use such a trite phrase as good ole boys but it fits so well. Morgan Lamandre, a Baton Rouge Attorney running for a state House seat last year, was at first not allowed by the Ethics Commission to pay child care expenses from her campaign fund. Political candidates were allowed to pay for Mardi Gras trinkets, cellphone bills and athletic tickets but childcare expenses were a no-no since she didn’t take her kids to campaign events.

Lamandre was insulted for being a mother and denounced by some members of the Legislature for such a frivolous request. According to Lamandre, one of the Ethics board members, 76-year-old Charles Emile “Peppi” Bruneau Jr., told her, “Nobody forces you to run for public office. But you have a child, and that is your primary responsibility, to provide for that child.” Sounds like it’s past time for Peppi to go to the house. And not the one in the legislature.

She finally won the battle but it took several months.

JT read online Wednesday that, without fanfare, state Rep. Blake Miguez can accept guns from the firearms industry if they’re not from a company or person that has a contractual or financial relationship with the Legislature or that is trying to influence specific legislation. The board also said Miguez could work for a firearms company if it doesn’t have a business relationship with the Legislature.

You see, pistol shooting is his hobby. JT has a hard time comparing childcare and pistol shooting.

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JT was reminded once again this week of the strength of women. While the powers that be called off the NSU men’s baseball team game with LSU Wednesday because of weather concerns (the official word was rain delay and field conditions)…the women played a doubleheader just a couple hundred yards away. That’s what you call “Girl Power.” JT really thinks the NSU-LSU game was called off because of the mess construction had made at the Brown-Stroud Field, since most of the field is artificial grass. There are usually a large number of fans that sit on the hill and watch the game. The recent rains and muddy grounds would not have made for a very pleasant experience.

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Speaking of baseball, JT hears we should have a great team this year at NSU. They were Southland Conference champs last year with a lot of pieces of that team still in place. Know how LSU football calls itself….Cornerback U(niversity) for all the athletes they’ve had who have gone on to excel in the professional ranks. Well, NSU baseball can be called Coaching U for all the coaches we have had that have gone on to do great things at Division 1 schools. Current coach Bobby Barbier, now in his second season at the helm of the Demons, and last year’s Southland Coach of the Year, follows in some pretty big footsteps.

There have been at least a dozen former NSU assistants or head coaches who have risen to the top of the professions. Coaches like Jim Wells, (1990-94 at NSU) head coach of Alabama, Dave Van Horn, (1995-97 at NSU) head coach at the University of Arkansas, Mike Bianco (1991-92 at NSU), head coach at Ole Miss, Rob Childress, (1995-97 at NSU) head coach at Texas A&M, Lane Burroughs, (2013-16 at NSU) Louisiana Tech; Mitch Gaspard, (1993-94 at NSU) former Alabama head Coach and now assisting University of Georgia.

As you can see, the really good baseball coaches we’ve had at NSU only stayed a few seasons. You might want to get out and watch this team play so you can say…I remember when…

——- JT hears the Convention and Visitor’s Bureaus (CVB) across the state will have a bill introduced this session dealing with the occupancy tax. It seems you are charged a sales tax on your room even if you only stay one night, but if you stay longer than a night, the occupancy tax kicks in.

If approved…it would charge the occupancy tax each night of the stay. It’s important to CVB’s across the state because it would generate additional revenue for them. JT also learned that a lot of these sites similar to Air B&B where you can find a home to stay in when visiting a town….do not remit any taxes. There’s in the neighborhood of 25 sites in Natchitoches alone that offer rooms or houses to travelers. Not sure how you can monitor that …or get the Sales Tax Office to collect it if you could.

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Hey…good news….sort of. There’s a new national ranking out and we are not at the top of it. And it’s one you think we would have easily claimed title to…the “Most Sinful States.” You would think with Mardi Gras, tailgating, casinos, horse racing and all the festivals we have Louisiana would take the top spot. Well we didn’t. We only ranked sixth. The rankings were based on seven sinful behaviors: anger and hatred, jealousy, excesses and vice, greed, lust and laziness.

Our highest ranking was laziness at No. 2 while we ranked fifth in the categories of anger/hatred and lust. Thank goodness for our 27th ranking in greed…that surely brought our score down…otherwise we might have come in at number 1. Holding down the top spot was Nevada followed by Florida, California, Texas and Tennessee. Last, or best on the list, was Vermont.