The Advocate Blog Network

Banner image

Gov. John Bel Edwards reveals at LSU law graduation that he’s still paying off student loans

Screen shot of Gov. John Bel Edwards speaking at LSU Law Center graduation.

Screen shot of Gov. John Bel Edwards speaking at LSU Law Center graduation.

Governors. They’re just like us.

Gov. John Bel Edwards, giving the commencement speech at the LSU Law Center on Friday, revealed he’s still paying off his student loans from when he attended law school.

Edwards graduated from LSU Law Center in 1999 and he’s the fourth LSU law graduate to serve as governor.

“Like many of you, I was a student at LSU — a little non traditional — I had a wife and two kids, I had no income and I had insufficient savings,” he said in his remarks. “I was just telling (LSU President) King Alexander that I’m still paying on my loans to go to law school. You’re going to be doing that for awhile.”

Edwards, who had a law practice in his home town of Amite, went on to say that his support network of his wife and family was critical to his success, and asked the graduating class to give thanks to their own family and friends who support them.

In his speech, he spoke fondly of Cheney Joseph Jr., who was serving as an interim co-Dean of the Law School at the time of his death late last year. He said Joseph, a well-known legal scholar in Louisiana, set an example for all lawyers.

“What an incredible example he set for you and for me and for everyone about what it means – not to just be great lawyers, but more importantly what it means to be great citizens,” he said. “Because being a great lawyer isn’t just about winning cases and making money – those things are fun and important – but they are not necessarily the measures of greatness, and he exemplified that.”

He encouraged graduates to make a difference both in the legal profession and their community, as Joseph did.


Well known attorney Cheney Joseph dies 



The Rundown: May 18, 2016

Louisiana Legislature Bobby Jindal The Advocate

Today in The Rundown: Resolution calls for restoration of trade with Cuba; Rep. Bryan Adams talks his decision to leave the Legislature; Bills on sanctuary cities and abortion get delayed a week; nursing home bill stalls amid intense pressure from the industry; and more.

Get The Rundown in your inbox by filling out the form here.

Days until the 2016 regular Louisiana legislative session ends: 19

The News  Continue reading

Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden expected to announce he’ll run for Congress Wednesday

Baton Rouge Mayor President Kip Holden has apparently made up his mind about whether to run for Congress. And all signs point to yes.

kipIn March, he said he was 90 percent sure he would run for Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The seat is currently held by Cedric Richmond, a Democrat who has held the seat since 2010.

Holden announced this week that he will hold a press conference on Wednesday at Crowne Plaza Hotel to make an announcement about the fall election.

Crowne Plaza has been the regular site of his press conferences to announce his re-election bids for mayor-president.

And last month, Holden filed his “statement of organization” with the Federal Election Commission indicating his intention to run for the District 2 office. He registered an email address:

Holden, a Democrat, is a term-limited mayor president who will end his 12 years as Baton Rouge’s top official at the conclusion of the year. He previously served as both a state senator and state representative.

Last year he ran for the state’s second-in-command office as Lt. Governor, and lost to Republican Billy Nungesser.

The 2nd District is a majority-black district that includes much of New Orleans and parts of Baton Rouge. It stretches northwest from New Orleans through Jefferson, St. James, St. John the Baptist, Iberville, West Baton Rouge, St. Charles, Assumption, Ascension and East Baton Rouge parishes.



– In Lt. Governor race, Kip Holden is the “horse in the race” 

The Rundown: May 17, 2016

Louisiana Legislature Bobby Jindal The Advocate

Today in The Rundown: Capitol is evacuated for bomb threat; lawmakers still looking to avoid special session; Two House members prepare to step down; and more.

Get The Rundown in your inbox by filling out the form here.

Days until the 2016 regular Louisiana legislative session ends: 20

The News Continue reading

Gov. John Bel Edwards to host fundraiser for Foster Campbell

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards will host a fundraiser later this month for Foster Campbell, a Democrat running for U.S. Senate.

According to an event invitation obtained by The Advocate, the event will take place at the Windsor Court Hotel on Gravier Street on May 31. Attendees will pay $1,000 to $5,400 per person.

Other hosts listed include former New Orleans Mayor Sidney Barthelemy; state House Speaker Pro Tempore Walt Leger; Orleans Parish Clerk of Court Arthur Morrell; and prominent lawyer John Cummings.

Campbell, who serves on the state Public Service Commission, faces Democrats Caroline Fayard, the Rev. Peter Williams and Josh Pellerin and several Republicans in the Nov. 8 election. Under Louisiana’s “jungle primary” system, all candidates — regardless of party — will appear on the same ballot. A runoff will take place between the top two candidates on Dec. 3 if no one gets more than 50 percent of the vote. The runoff can be between candidates of the same party if they come in first and second in November.

Edwards, a Democrat who took office Jan. 11, has urged the state’s Democrats to vote for Campbell.

Louisiana Democrats take aim at Donald Trump via Bobby Jindal

The Louisiana Democratic Party has unveiled a new ad taking aim at presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. The man quoted in the ad: Former Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican and frequent target of the state Democrats.

Louisiana Democrats Donald Trump Bobby Jindal

A new ad from the Louisiana Democratic Party uses clips of former Gov. Bobby Jindal to attack GOP nominee Donald Trump.

The ad, which was debuted on a new site called, splices clips of Jindal, who made his own unsuccessful bid for president last year, referring to Trump as “a carnival act” and “an egomaniac” who is “full of nonsense” and “shallow,” among other claims.

“He cannot be the nominee. He cannot be our next president,” Jindal says in one clip from CNN.

Jindal, who left office in January, has since said he plans to support Trump, now that all other candidates have exited the GOP race for the nomination.

Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign recently released its own ad using Trump’s former GOP opponents to make a case for why he shouldn’t be elected president.

The tactic may remind Louisiana voters of last fall’s gubernatorial race. One of the more prominent ads that GumboPAC ran during the runoff spliced together attacks lobbed by Republicans who had been opponents of U.S. Sen. David Vitter, rather than attacks directly from Democrat John Bel Edwards.

The Rundown: May 16, 2016

Louisiana Legislature Bobby Jindal The Advocate

Today in The Rundown: Senate begins working on the budget; transportation woes stretch on; a look at Cameron Henry: and more.

Get The Rundown in your inbox by filling out the form here.

Days until the 2016 regular Louisiana legislative session ends: 21

The News  Continue reading

Politico: David Vitter in talks for lobbyist job

U.S. Sen. David Vitter hasn’t said what he’ll do when he leaves office next year, but a new report out from Politico says Louisiana’s senior senator “has had talks about working on K Street” — Washington’s lobbying hub.

The report cites unnamed sources.

David Vitter

U.S. Sen. David Vitter talks to reporters before he goes to see the movie “The Interview” at Chalmette Movies on Dec. 29. (Advocate photo)

Shortly after losing last fall’s gubernatorial election to Democrat John Bel Edwards, Republican Vitter announced he would not seek re-election this year. He’s been in the Senate for the past decade, and he previously served in Congress and the Louisiana Legislature.

According to Politico, Vitter’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the tip, but the political news site points out that Senate ethics rules prohibit negotiating such jobs until one’s successor has been elected and the talks may not have risen to the level of “negotiations” yet.

Louisiana voters will head to the polls this fall to elect Vitter’s replacement. (A host of Republicans and Democrats are already vying for his seat.)

Federal ethics laws require outgoing Senators to take a two-year “cooling off” period before they can become registered lobbyists, but they frequently sign on as “consultants” to lobbying firms during that period.

Louisiana’s last U.S. Senator who left office also went the DC lobby firm route. Democrat Mary Landrieu went to work for Van Ness Feldman after losing a bid for her fourth term in 2014.

Billboards going up to promote medical marijuana legislation

medical marijuana louisiana legislature

Medical marijuana advocates are launching billboards in Baton Rouge and Shreveport today (May 10) to promote legislation that would set up the framework for treatment in Louisiana.

The billboards, being paid for by the national Marijuana Policy Project,  feature two local mothers and their young children, who suffer from seizure-related disorders: Katie Corkern of Amite and her son, Connor; and Brittany Osborne of Baton Rouge and her daughter, Kalie. The billboards read, “Medical marijuana would help my child. Will our legislators?”

Senate Bill 271 aims to add more medical conditions that would be covered and address other concerns about the distribution of cannabis oil. It narrowly won approval in a House committee last week and is scheduled to be heard by the full chamber on Wednesday. It already has passed the Senate.

Medical marijuana has been legal in Louisiana for more than two decades, but no one’s been able to legally use it because the state didn’t establish a framework for the distribution or cultivation of the plant, which remains a Schedule I narcotic on the federal level. Lawmakers continue to work through legal hang-ups for distribution and cultivation of cannabis oil, which is a nonintoxicating derivative of marijuana that doesn’t create the drug’s “high” that recreational users seek.

Gov. John Bel Edwards recently indicated that he supports legislation that would give access to medical marijuana but he doesn’t support recreational legalization. Edwards, who was supported by the law enforcement community during the gubernatorial campaign, mentioned parents like Corkern but said he understands concerns by the District Attorneys and Sheriffs who worry that it could send the state down a path to the legalization of recreational marijuana.

That fear of creep — that the medicinal use of oil made from cannabis will eventually lead to the widespread recreational use of the smoked drug — has led many to continue to oppose allowing access to medical marijuana here.

The Rundown: May 10, 2016

Louisiana Legislature Bobby Jindal The Advocate

Today in The Rundown: Budget bill advances; lawmakers strip bloated capital outlay list; retirees could get cost-of-living increases; and more.

Get The Rundown in your inbox by filling out the form here.

Days until the 2016 regular Louisiana legislative session ends: 27

The News  Continue reading