The Advocate Blog Network

Search
Banner image

John Bel Edwards installs chicken coop on lawn of Louisiana Governor’s Mansion

Just three months into his first term in office, the hens are coming home to roost for Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards — but that’s not just a metaphor.

Edwards, a Democrat who was sworn in on Jan. 11, has set up a chicken coop on the lawn of the Governors Mansion and now has “16 lovely hens” living there.

Edwards, who held a press conference to mark his 100th day in office on Tuesday, said he won’t be getting a rooster, joking about noise concerns for his neighbors. He paid for the hen coop with his own money.

“Hopefully they will be laying some eggs shortly,” said Edwards, who represented rural Amite in the state House for eight years before being elected last fall.

The Governor’s Mansion was built in 1963 under Democrat Jimmie Davis’s administration near the state Capitol. The Greek Revival-style Mansion, which overlooks Capitol Lake, also has a vegetable garden on the grounds.

Edwards said the chickens were put in a prominent spot so that schoolchildren who visit the mansion can see them.

A Baton Rouge city ordinance limits residents to three chickens per acre in residential areas. The Governor’s Mansion sits on about eight acres, so Edwards said he’s in compliance.

Leaders in Virginia and Illinois have also erected chicken coops on the grounds of Governors Mansions in those states.

The Rundown: April 19, 2016

Louisiana Legislature Bobby Jindal The Advocate

Today in the Rundown: Gov. Edwards touts Medicaid expansion; Poll reveals Louisiana residents are conservative when it comes to social issues; Raw milk movement makes progress; and more. 

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

Countdown…
Days until the 2016 regular Louisiana legislative session ends: 48

The News  Continue reading

Gov. John Bel Edwards will appear on episode of HBO’s Vice to talk higher education

Gov. John Bel Edwards is being interviewed for an episode of HBO’s documentary series “Vice” on Monday afternoon.

The episode is expected to focus on college affordability and the future of higher education, according to Edwards’ spokesman Richard Carbo.

“Seeing as how Louisiana has had the largest disinvestment in higher education in eight years in the country and budget problems have impacted the governor’s ability to invest in higher education like he’d like to, they asked if we would sit down and talk to them about what went wrong in the past,” Carbo said.

LSU President F. King Alexander is also being interviewed for the documentary, said his spokesman Ernie Ballard.

Vice is a documentary TV series that premiered on HBO in 2013, produced by talk show host Bill Maher,  CNN’s Fareed Zakaria and the chief creative officer Eddy Moretti.

Carbo said it’s not yet known when the episode will air.

 

Campaign commercials for John Bel Edwards win awards

Jared Arsement, the media consultant who produced commercials for the successful gubernatorial campaign of John Bel Edwards, was honored at the American Association of Political Consultants annual “Pollie” Awards in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Lafayette-based Arsement Media Group produced the ad – called a head shot by some, disgusting by others – that focused on GOP candidate David Vitter’s missing a vote in Congress to honor fallen soldiers on the same day he received a call from a prostitute. Politico named “The Choice” one of the top political ads of 2015.

Another of his spots told the story of how Edwards and his wife Donna refused a doctor’s advice to abort their first child after a spina bifida diagnosis. The commercial underscored Edwards’ opposition to abortion and deflated the usually successful effort to tie Louisiana Democratic candidates to the national party’s pro choice stance.

Edwards was the improbable winner of last fall’s gubernatorial election in a red state where Republicans dominate statewide politics. In the Nov. 21 runoff Edwards swamped Vitter, racking up 12 percent more votes against a Republican who had raised more money than his three major contenders combined before the primary election.

david vitter john bel edwards louisiana governor prostitute

Advocate file photo: U.S. Sen. David Vitter (right) and state Rep. John Bel Edwards (left).

Arsement was the sole winner in the Online Video category for “Chain Reaction.” And he took home Bronze for overall TV campaign.

According to the AAPC, “The Pollie Awards are the most prized and sought-after awards in the political communications and public affairs industries. Every entry – whether submitted by a large consulting company or an individual consultant – is considered equal in competing for honors of excellence. A blind jury of professional peers selects AAPC award winners.”

 

Spokeswoman for Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser quits because “it was not a comfortable environment”

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- Jefferson Parish public information officer Kriss Fortunato holds the U.S. flag on a windy opening of the newly redesigned Family Gras site across form Lakeside Mall on the Veterans Boulevard neutral ground in Metairie, La. Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. The site has been redesigned as part of the parishs beautification program, and will now be available to accommodate more events like Family Gras.

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON– Jefferson Parish public information officer Kriss Fortunato holds the U.S. flag on a windy opening of the newly redesigned Family Gras site across form Lakeside Mall on the Veterans Boulevard neutral ground in Metairie, La. Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. The site has been redesigned as part of the parishs beautification program, and will now be available to accommodate more events like Family Gras.

About three months after taking office, Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser lost his top communications aide.

Kriss Fairbairn Fortunato said she resigned from her post as Nungesser’s communications director, effective immediately, last Monday.

“It was not a comfortable environment and not a good fit,” Fortunato said, calling it a personal decision.

She added that she grew tired of the extensive travel required for the job, and wants to concentrate on building up her private communications firm.

Fortunato quit a week before The Advocate published a story about how her former boss worked with state GOP Chairman Roger Villere to recruit a far-fetched oil trade deal involving Iraq. In the process, Nungesser signed letters, invoking Gov. John Bel Edwards’ name, while never actually informing the governor of his plans.

Fortunato said her resignation had nothing to do with the business arrangements.

“I had no knowledge of that until after the fact,” she said. “It was constructed and carried out outside of the communications office and without my knowledge.”

Fortunato previously worked as  Jefferson Parish government’s public information officer, hired by former Parish President John Young.

She’s also a well known face in the New Orleans metro area for her years as an anchor at WDSU-TV.

MORE COVERAGE:

Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser works with GOP chairman to recruit unlikely oil deal, without telling Gov. John Bel Edwards

Jefferson Parish spokeswoman leaving post to work for Lt. Governor

The Rundown: April 14, 2016

Louisiana Legislature Bobby Jindal The Advocate

Today in The Rundown: Edwards signs anti-discrimination order; Scrutiny raised over legislators’ Tulane scholarships; A new path to Real ID is presented; and more.

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

Countdown…
Days until the 2016 regular Louisiana legislative session ends: 53

The News  Continue reading

The Rundown: April 13, 2016

Louisiana Legislature Bobby Jindal The Advocate

Today in The Rundown: Edwards’ budget plan unveiled; Equal pay bill heads to the House; ‘Pastor Protection’ bill advances after scrutiny; and more.

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

Countdown…
Days until the 2016 regular Louisiana legislative session ends: 54

The News  Continue reading

The Rundown: April 12, 2016

Louisiana Legislature Bobby Jindal The Advocate

Today in The Rundown: Gov. Edwards inauguration and transition costs are in; Legislators express condolences for slain former Saints player; Capitol recognizes Equal Pay Day; and more. 

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

Countdown…
Days until the 2016 regular Louisiana legislative session ends: 55

The News 

Inauguration: Gov. Edwards’ inauguration and transition cost about $1.1 million in private dollars collected through donations. The governor didn’t take $60,000 in taxpayer dollars that could have gone toward the expenses. http://bit.ly/1ScesCZ

Saints: The state House and Senate each observed a moment of silence for slain former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith. http://bit.ly/23pVkXk

Equal Pay Day: The Louisiana chapter of the American Association of University Women will sell brownies and cookies to women at the State Capitol on Tuesday for a 35-cent discount to commemorate the national Equal Pay Day. http://bit.ly/1Xs6aVJ

Retirees: A cost-of-living increase for state retirees cleared its second legislative hurdle Monday and can now be presented to the full Louisiana Senate for a vote. http://bit.ly/23qnVvE

Capitol security: The Capitol security project is done, coming in at about $2.4M more than initially budgeted. http://bit.ly/1S1RB7P

Louisiana survey: Most Louisiana residents think the United States economic structure unfairly favors the wealthy, but the public is deeply divided over how the state should try to help the poor, a newly released survey has found. http://bit.ly/1Xs5VtP

Health care: After the closure of two emergency rooms in North Baton Rouge, average trips to the emergency room for some residents have gotten two minutes longer. http://bit.ly/1StHhog

Exotic dancers: A bill that would require strippers be at least 21 in Louisiana is heading to the House. http://bit.ly/1XrK2uP

Kennedy: A bill that could unseat State Treasurer John Kennedy as the chairman of the State Bond Commission advanced through a Louisiana Senate committee Monday, despite objections from Kennedy’s staff. http://bit.ly/1qLLspU

Taxes: A technical issue in the new sales tax hike legislation could allow the Saints to leave New Orleans. http://bit.ly/1PZlKSP

ICYMI:  Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and GOP Chairman Roger Villere have been working to recruit an unlikely Iraq-to-Louisiana business — without telling Gov. John Bel Edwards. http://bit.ly/1SKwsyy

See more coverage of the Louisiana Legislature here: bit.ly/AdvLaLege.

Today at the Capitol

House and Senate both convene at 2 p.m.

House Committees

  • Appropriations meets at 9 a.m. in Room 5.
  • Civil Law and Procedure meets at 9:30 a.m. in Room 4.
  • Commerce meets at 9:30 a.m. in Room 1.
  • Transportation, Highways, and Public Works meets at 9:30 a.m. in Room 3.
  • Ways and Means meets at 9:30 a.m. in Room 6.

Senate Committees

  • Judiciary B meets at 9 a.m. in Room E.
  • Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Rural Development meets at 9:30 a.m. in Room C.
  • Judiciary C meets at 9:30 a.m. in Room F.
  • Judiciary A meets at 10 a.m. in John J. Hainkel, Jr. Room.

Governor’s schedule

  • 7:30 a.m. Black Caucus Prayer Breakfast at the Marriot Baton Rouge.
  •  9 a.m. House Appropriations Committee Meeting.
  • 11 a.m. Equal Pay Day Luncheon at the Capitol (will be streamed at gov.louisiana.gov).
  • Press Conference after luncheon.

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

Tips, comments or suggestions? Send your feedback to ecrisp@theadvocate.com or @elizabethcrisp on Twitter.

John Bel Edwards to give LSU Law commencement speech

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards is slated to deliver the commencement address at the LSU Law Center graduation on May 27.

Edwards, who was sworn in as governor on Jan. 11, is a 1999 graduate of the law school and the fourth LSU Law graduate to serve as governor.

“The governor was an outstanding law student and Coif graduate, whom I and several other members of our current faculty had the pleasure of teaching,” LSU Law Interim Dean Bill Corbett said in a news release. “The 2016 graduating class wanted the governor to serve as its commencement speaker, and we are most grateful that he has made time in his busy schedule to do this.”

“Gov. Edwards’s delivery of the commencement address will serve as an inspiration and reminder to our graduates that, as graduates of the LSU Law Center, they, too, can accomplish great things, enjoy remarkable careers, and render valuable service to society,” he added.

The LSU Law Center’s commencement ceremonies will take place at 10 a.m. May 27 at the Baton Rouge River Center.

The Rundown: April 7, 2016

Louisiana Legislature Bobby Jindal The Advocate

Today in The Rundown: TOPS changes discussed; Gov. Edwards backs juvenile justice reform; Senate panel rejects effort to save Confederate monuments; and more.  

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

Countdown…
Days until the 2016 regular Louisiana legislative session ends: 60

The News  Continue reading