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Our Views: Festival one for the books

LSU printmaking graduate students Amanda James, left, and Molly Miller work a printmaking press inside a tent set up by the LSU School of Art during the Louisiana Book Festival on Saturday in downtown Baton Rouge. The tent gave people a chance to see how printmaking works, and also try their hand at making cotton-fiber paper. James and Miller were using the press to make a woodcut print for a festival attendee

In a state that hosts festivals touting everything from peaches to strawberries to crawfish, we think it’s nice that Louisiana has an annual book festival, too. The Louisiana Book Festival, held today in and around the State Capitol grounds in Baton Rouge, is a good yearly reminder that the state’s rich culture,… Continue reading →

Letter: Transportation commission not a good fit for La.

As Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s DOTD secretary, I have read with interest recent articles that suggest our transportation system would be in better shape if we changed DOTD’s governance model to a commission form, like Mississippi. Theoretically, this proposes to remove politics from transportation decisions and could stretch our tax dollars further, thus improving our roads and… Continue reading →

Letter: Amendment No. 1 could hurt home health care

If proposed constitutional Amendment No. 1 is passed, it could be detrimental for people with ALS who rely on in-home care services. The proposed amendment protects Medicaid-funded primary care institutions, such as nursing homes, from state budget cuts, leaving other critical services unprotected and more vulnerable to cuts. These critical services are vulnerable because they are… Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Bus ride has some senior moments

My wife and I are big Southern University Jaguar football fans. We have traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana, to Jacksonville, Florida, and to some place called Normal, Alabama, to see the team play. For years, we drove or flew to the games. We don’t drive as much these days to games that are more than three hours away.… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: Edwards’ campaign the real reality show

Advocate staff file photo by Travis Spradling -- In this March 17, 2014, file photo, former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards speaks at the Baton Rouge Press Club in Baton Rouge, La. With enthusiasm and vigor that belie his 87 years, Edwards is running for Congress in south Louisiana in what would be his second political resurrection.

Call it the reality show former Gov. Edwin Edwards should have had in the first place, instead of “The Governor’s Wife,” A&E’s grotesque look at his new life with his much younger third bride, which he now concedes was “horrible.” “You may quote me as saying there’s nothing real about… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman for Oct. 31, 2014

Here is the latest from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and animator Walt Handelsman. Continue reading →

Our Views: Welcoming Halloween

In a time of Ebola and ISIS, school shootings, race riots and global warming, do we really need Halloween to increase the world’s quotient of fear? That’s one way of looking at the arrival of another All Hallow’s Eve, but we have a different view. Halloween isn’t really about… Continue reading →

Letter: EBR school board members should answer to voters

Over the summer, Lane Grigsby, head of Cajun Contractors, announced that he wants to put six new members on the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board and that he is displeased with the last three he helped elect to the office. From the Oct. 12 article in The Advocate, it looks like Mr. Grigsby, either directly… Continue reading →

Letter: Report tarnishes Drummond’s legacy

The Advocate unfairly maligned the reputation of Maury Drummond, a man who has devoted most of his life to maintaining the USS Kidd. Drummond devoted 22 years of tireless and honorable service to the USS Kidd at zero cost to the taxpayer. Nonetheless, the state Legislative Auditor’s Office “flagged” Mr. Drummond for… Continue reading →

Letter: Reduce Ebola panic with science literacy

In this Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014 photo, Allina EMS first responders receive training on the latest protocol for handling future patients possibly infected with Ebola in Mounds View, MN. Here, Allina paramedic Jake Shepard, second left, and Allina EMT Pete Cheolis, left, train how to cocoon a potential Ebola patient - fellow Allina paramedic, Tracy Huebner, foreground, portrayed the role of the patient. Looking on is their trainer Renee Rosenberg, Allina operations supervisor. (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, David Joles)

If there was a safe vaccine against the Ebola, would you take it? I think most people would say yes. Yet why do so many Americans refuse flu vaccination, when thousands of American lives would be saved every year? I find this contrast noteworthy. Another interesting revelation for me during this Ebola scare is the high level… Continue reading →

Letter: Vote ‘no’ on Ascension recreation tax proposal

Let’s talk dollars and sense related to the upcoming recreation tax proposal on the Nov. 4 ballot in Ascension Parish. The public should already be aware that one of the projects on the proposed list for the tax is a spray park for $525,000. This project was funded in the 2014 budget. However, last week with… Continue reading →

James Gill: Feldman draws critics across political spectrum

Notwithstanding its well-established reputation as a gay mecca, New Orleans is home to the federal judge who upheld a requirement that marriage involves a man and a woman. Judge Martin Feldman’s counterparts have practically fallen over one another to approve unisex marriage in other states, and five federal appeals courts have agreed that… Continue reading →

Our Views: Rise seen in turnout

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Cheryl Coleman helps her uncle, Arthur Joseph, vote during early voting at New Orleans City Hall on Monday, Oct. 27, 2014. Early voting ends tomorrow, Tuesday, with voting in Orleans Parish at City Hall, the Algiers Courthouse, Lake Vista Community Center, and the Chef Menteur Voting Machine Warehouse Site.

Louisiana’s biggest election, at least in an even-numbered year, is drawing a lot of attention, if early voting totals are any indicator. Turnout for early voting that ended Tuesday is far ahead of the 2010 midterms but did not surpass the numbers of those casting ballots early in the… Continue reading →

Letter: Community deserves apology from superintendent

With all due respect to Lafayette Parish Schools Superintendent Pat Cooper, he has a right to “believe” that his comments were “taken out of context and twisted;” however, the fact remains those comments should never have been made. He needs to man up, admit it, apologize and move on. As shown in the parish and… Continue reading →

Letter: LDOE is not exempt from following Public Records Act

Often, I receive complaints from parents and citizens stating that the Louisiana Department of Education is not following the Public Records Act of Louisiana. The law requires government agencies to provide access to public records as requested by citizens within three business days of the request. The statute’s intent is to ensure transparency in government.… Continue reading →

Letter: Mandeville residents have big choices to make when they step into the voting booth

As a member and chairman of the Mandeville Municipal Employees Civil Service Board, I urge voters to approve the city’s Charter Amendment 4 that places the city human resources director under civil service.
It is a basic principle of the merit system of public employment that a civil service system director should be under civil service, as well.… Continue reading →

Guest commentary: U.S. Chamber fails members on Gulf Coast

Jean Champagne

Chambers of commerce exist to afford businesspeople a voice in their communities, in order to improve the economic climate for all. In 2008, I served as chairman of the board of the St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce, a five-star accredited affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and one of less than 50 chambers so… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman for Oct. 29, 2014

Here is the latest from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and animator Walt Handelsman. Continue reading →

Handelsman animation: Heads up! Negative campaigns ads coming at you

Heads up! Negative ads are flying your way in Walt’s newest animation.… Continue reading →

Our Views: Flu, West Nile greater threats

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- As Linda Beasly, with OLOL's Health Promotions, watches, background, Mayor Kip Holden keeps up the brave smile but doesn't watch while getting his flu shot from Anna Babin-Neal RN BSN, with OLOL's Community Advocacy Department, at the City Parish employees health fair. Even though the mayor doesn't like getting shots, he recognizes the importance for warding off the flu this season. This is part of the

Although Ebola is grabbing the headlines, Louisiana residents have a much greater chance of catching the flu this season, and the consequences can be severe. That’s why residents should heed the advice of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and get their flu vaccinations if they haven’t done so. Luckily, the flu… Continue reading →

Letter: Maintaining ‘Rigs to ‘Reefs’ program vital to Louisiana

If there is one thing Louisianians despise more than amendments, it is the diversion of funds away from their intended purposes. Amendment 8 falls into that category and would establish the Artificial Reef Development Fund and prohibits its money from being used for any purpose other than the program’s intent. In 2009 and 2011, a… Continue reading →

Letter: Help improve roadways

The people of Louisiana are tired of waiting in traffic for 90 minutes to move 10 miles on La. 1 in the afternoon. I am tired of failing infrastructure, and I know Louisianians everywhere are tired of our poor transportation system. As responsible citizens and tax payers, we have an opportunity to improve our infrastructure and move… Continue reading →

Letter: Graves stands for coastal protection, restoration

The Advocate recently reported that Republican candidates for the 6th District congressional seat are questioning why Garrett Graves is receiving support from Environmental Defense Action Fund, which is described as “entrenched in Democratic Party issues.” What they missed is that EDF Action has spent more than $1 million in support of a number of Republican candidates… Continue reading →

Lanny Keller: It takes 3 terms to be ignored

For 20 years, from 1987 to February 2008, the Baton Rouge-based 6th Congressional District was represented by Richard H. Baker, a Republican who became an important national figure in laws relating to banking and financial services. He served his district and state well before retiring to a plush lobbying job — and having not achieved in all… Continue reading →

Stephanie Grace: McAllister, once written off, could prevail at polls

As Louisiana entered this season of unpredictable elections, one certainty seemed to be this: U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister, the charismatic, self-professed family man who stormed the 5th District just last fall, handily beat his party’s establishment choice and then proceeded to get caught kissing a married aide on surveillance film leaked by someone… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman for Oct. 28, 2014

Here is the latest from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and animator Walt Handelsman. Continue reading →

Our Views: New rise in AP tests

It’s human nature to seek a bargain, and one of the best ways to save money on a college education is to get credit for courses while still in high school. That’s why, despite our state’s low ranking in most education measures, we welcome the early successes in a new effort by the… Continue reading →

Letter: Proposition 11 both good for seniors, good for the economy

Please help us help our senior population — pass Proposition 11. This is a quality of life issue for our senior citizens. We have the opportunity to show the rest of the nation how to devote a system dedicated to senior citizen issues. When Florida built their economy in the ’50s and ’60s, it was through retirees.… Continue reading →

Letter: La. judiciary shows lack of judgment

Thanks to James Gill for shining a light on the questionable actions of District Court Judge J. Robin Free and the Louisiana Supreme Court in the recent column “Free ride, in more ways than one,” (Oct. 21). Unfortunately, this is not the first of such instances. A whole series of judicial miscues, ranging from laughable to outrageous,… Continue reading →

Our Views: Isaacson’s lessons for Louisiana

In this Oct. 3, 2014 photo, author Walter Isaacson poses before an interview at his home in New York. Isaacsons new book, The Innovators, offers history of digital age. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

About Walter Isaacson, you already know. He’s the former New Orleans newspaperman who went on to head CNN, and now leads the Washington, D.C.-based Aspen Institute, a leading think tank. In his spare time, Isaacson writes bestselling books about famous geniuses such as Ben Franklin, Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs. But in his new book, “The Innovators,”… Continue reading →

Letter: Master Plan, not new tax, best thing for oil and gas

The Oct. 7 odd-couple column co-authored by Quin Hillyer and John Barry promoting a multibillion dollar processing tax on the state’s oil and gas industry under the guise of a “Coastal Wetlands Environmental Levy” proves the adage, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Variations on a new tax on the movement of oil… Continue reading →

Letter: Amendments 1, 2 help hospitals with funding

Community hospitals stand ready to treat patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Hospitals provide a safe haven for Louisiana’s sick at their most vulnerable and life-threatening moments. After years of government cuts, Louisiana’s community hospitals need a more reliable source of funding to fulfill their mission of providing care for Louisiana’s families. The… Continue reading →

Louisiana Spotlight: Ebola worries ripe for La. politicians

Politicians rarely miss an opportunity to mold a crisis to their advantage. With widespread worry about the deadly Ebola virus, Louisiana officials have offered their own concerns and complaints on the disease outbreak, in a way that also just happens to raise their profile and keep their names in the news. Gov. Bobby Jindal, laying the… Continue reading →

Walt Handelsman for Oct. 26, 2014

Here is the latest from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and animator Walt Handelsman. Continue reading →

Quin Hillyer: Jindal’s jobs record goes unappreciated

Rarely has American politics seen a governor so unpopular amid so many economic accomplishments. Bobby Jindal’s home-state approval rating has remained mired in the 30s in most polls for more than a year — but by almost every measure of state financial health during the Jindal years, Louisiana has made great strides. Start… Continue reading →

James Gill: Cassidy learns perils of honesty

FILE - In this Oct. 13, 2014, file photo, Senate candidate, Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., speaks at a campaign stop at VFW Post 5951in Bossier City, La. An old political stand-by _ the future of Medicare _ is emerging as the go-to attack in Louisianas bitter Senate race as the candidates woo seniors who typically wield strong influence in midterm elections. The $700 billion that Obamacare cut from Medicare spends it on other programs, Cassidy said, referring to the law shifting some health care spending to premium subsidies for working-age policy holders. The $700 billion in the Ryan budget puts it back into the trust fund.  (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

Sen. Mary Landrieu is wheeling out the geezers in her quest for re-election, while her would-be replacement, Congressman Bill Cassidy, harps on her record of voting with President Barack Obama 97 percent of the time. When it comes to bogus issues, the parties are running neck and neck. Landrieu hopes the oldsters will turn out in… Continue reading →

Our Views: Tough slog for reforms to schools

It’s football season, so we can’t resist this image: Progress in public education is more Les Miles football than Pac-12 football. Gains will be measured in just a few yards and a cloud of dust, the kind of football Miles learned under the great Bo Schembechler at the University of Michigan. It won’t be the run-and-gun… Continue reading →

Our Views: New lands for drilling

Regardless of how the November elections for the U.S. Senate go, whether it’s a new Republican or a continued Democratic majority, the prospect for more offshore drilling along the East Coast is likely. That is not just because of the economics of energy demand, which are inarguable. America needs more energy production, even if — as… Continue reading →

Letter: Vote for Amendment 8 helps protect coast

The Advocate has traditionally done what’s right in promoting and protecting Louisiana’s coastal and fisheries resources. However, in the October 17 editorial titled “Our Views on Amendments” this paper’s editorial staff broke with that tradition. The editorial seems to casually dismiss Amendment 8, designed to constitutionally protect Louisiana’s Artificial Reef Development Fund, as simply another restriction… Continue reading →

Letter: Work programs do help rehabilitate prisoners, warden says

Regarding the recent story on prison work release (and those on WWL-TV), I would like to set the record straight. First of all, as a prison warden with many years of experience, I could just incarcerate and release prisoners at the end of their sentence and have no concern for the public. My job is keeper of… Continue reading →

Edward Pratt: Plauche death brings back dark questions

Gary Plauche is one of the big interviews I never got when I was a newspaper reporter. I usually could get interviews that other reporters couldn’t and others wouldn’t attempt. But Mr. Plauche escaped me. I tried to interview his wife, his friends and everyone else close to him as an avenue into… Continue reading →