Tag Archives: Bill Cassidy

An Election in the Days of Advent and Christmas 2014

Happy Advent! Christmas is approaching and today as the final election between Bill Cassidy and Mary Landrieu takes place both politics and liturgical seasons are on my mind.  There is a lot of Christmas and Advent in this post and also some politics.  This post is mostly written and prepared before the final results are in and I predict Cassidy will win. Landrieu beat him in the primary and I voted for her, I voted for Cassidy in this election and sent him some money after first explaining in a post in a campaign site some of my concerns.  I did not want Cassidy to win in the Primary but I do want him to win now. He should do so because Maness was mostly to his right and Maness voters will vote far more for him than Landrieu. The wonder of Christmas and Advent’s time leading up to it have a place in my thinking about everything including today’s election.  I live my life in the context of these seasons of the Church, life and culture. Notwithstanding the nature of this blog, it might serve me well to devote this post solely to  the election. We all know that we elect people into office in a certain time and place but maybe we do not think religious seasons have much to do with it. Advent and its target — Christmas remind us of the importance of parts of life that do not vary as much as electoral politics. Goals like peace on Earth, Goodwill to mankind, Glory to God, Justice and truth in human affairs and charity to the needy.

Mom with a Christmas tree in a previous year. Today she is scheduled to buy a tree.

Mom with a Christmas tree in a previous year. Today she is scheduled to buy a tree.

There is so much to cover in current events today. It is not a slow news day. Today, Luke Somers whose name sounds like mine and who like me has sometimes made his living with words and photographs was killed. Long in captivity with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula he was killed during a failed rescue attempt. That story deserves attention and you can learn some facts here. This happened after his family pleaded publicly for his life in a stirring video message.  NASA has returned to real heavy lift rocketry and that is very important in this blog.  The landfall of Typhoon Hagupit in the Philippines affects a country with importance to me, my family and the United States of America.  Beyond all that there is the race itself between Cassidy and Landrieu.  This race may well deserve a book and certainly the overall election cycle could use a lot of analysis. Knowing who voted for whom and why can shape our future.  Racial demographics alone could demand several good blog posts.

The voting booth remains a powerful part of our society.

The voting booth remains a powerful part of our society.


With all of that to do I should probably either ignore the current events of the day or pick a few of them or certainly leave out comments on Advent. But this is another . There are riots and protests sweeping the nation over Brown, Garner and police relations with the Black community. I have dealt with the issues of this election cycle  in previous posts found here, here and here. So here I can maybe afford to take a bit of a different view.

We all have images of what leadership should look like which are not simple portrayals of reality.

We all have images of what leadership should look like which are not simple portrayals of reality.

Last night I was at a large gathering made up of mostly voters and the election was never discussed. Advent was discussed, the Philippines, China, India and many other places. But not electoral politics. It was the Family Missions Company 18th Annual Members and Donors Dinner. I took some pictures and had one taken of me in front of the venue.  I know some people in the group are active in their parties.  But last night dealt with the issues that we all must face in different terms and in a different way. It was more the spiritual than the temporal side of our lives.

Me in a shoy by one of the proprietors on my phone as I walked into the Donors Dinner.

Me in a shot by one of the proprietors on my phone as I walked into the Donors Dinner at Magdalene Place.

In the coming days there will be  more to blog about in the political world. But one notable fact about this election of the next United States Senator from Louisiana is that the election is  being held on December 6. The sixth of December fall square into Advent.  Lord Hylton my sometimes correspondent, wrote a post on Advent in the House of Lords blog and my comments on it can be found here. Lord Hylton serves in the upper house of the British legislature which is Parliament. Our election is for the upper house of our legislature which is Congress. Where is America to find the answers to the struggles it faces? I am fairly sure the Gospel of Jesus Christ must be a big part of the foundation for a useful discussion in this country even if not in every country.  But this idea is increasingly out of sync with our laws and procedures as a society. The Senate ought not be a Church but neither should it be a faith-free institution.

America faces many challenges in this its own country and in the world. It faces huge challenges over time. How will those challenges be met. In the observance of Advent we remember in abbreviated symbols each of the challenges  of the Old Covenant before the coming of Christ. We ought then to be prepared to face our own challenges better and to better celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ. One of the things that emerges in my comment on Lord Hylton’s post is the shift of power and wealth from the Eastern Mediterranean to the West. These issues and facts across history continue to affect us in many ways beyond Advent or even religion. An example of some of those issues can be seen here for those who wish to think about the issues.

But of course most of our lives are sufficiently challenged with current problems we need not look through much of a historical lens to feel that we can understand. we confront these issues in charitable ventures, private enterprises, family and in politics.  It is the same world where all these things are working and aspects of our lives connect. So it is Advent as we elect this Senator. Part of my experience this Advent was attending the Family Missions Company Donors Dinner on the evening of the fifth of December. I have discussed this briefly and could say more.

A picture I took of my table at the Donors Dinner

A picture I took of my table at the Donors Dinner

Today Family Missions had a Swamp Games Celebration. I got a few pics of that but did not participate directly. Like a lot of other things this event is a celebration which may evolve into something more in future years. It has a bouncy castle for children this year and a course laid out with available objects inspired by The experience of my brother Joseph, my brother-in-law Kevin and others in participating in the Warrior Dash this year. It seemed  like a pretty cool event. There are also barbecues and Advent prayers going on.

The course and the racers were visible from most sides of my home. This is across the back fence and some family land.

The course and the racers were visible from most sides of my home. This is across the back fence and some family land.

The home team of my brother, brother -in- law and nephew among others seem to have defended their honor and turf fairly well against all comers in this friendly competition among various parts of the company. We call an election a race and there are similarities between the two things.  How hostile should an election be?  What is the line between political conflict and civil war? This is a big shift in Congress. America’s future is not so clear in various respects. Cassidy will probably win. But whoever wins the Senator will have to face the Lame Duck  Congress in their old job and then a whole new set of challenges in the time after this Christmas.  I hope all my readers who can vote will. But I also hope we will remember that there is more to this time of the year than our politics.

The Church near the Donors Dinner last night.

The Church near the Donors Dinner last night.

We all have struggles ahead of us to keep a good Christmas. They vary from person to person.  But these lifelong concerns matter just as much as the political events of this time and this set of issues. O come Emmanuel! May you all soon have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year! But for now may you find life a bit more reflective and worth waiting for than usual. I hope the values of patience and reflection fins some good place in our Senate as well.



Last Day of Early Voting

The election to determine the Senator from Louisiana who will  hold the seat of Senior Senator Mary Landrieu will be held December 6, 2014. The last day of early voting is today November 29, 2014. Mary Landrieu’s party will have lost its chairmanships no matter who wins. In addition if Cassidy wins he will be the Junior Senator from Louisiana and David Vitter will become the Senior Senator.  A great deal has changed regardless of the outcome as regards this seat. But a vote by those who read this blog and can vote is important.  I have already discussed the election which includes many issues already decided here.  I have set out some of the impressions the Election Day experience made on me here.  I have set out some of the signs of Obama’s declining stock and discussed its meaning here.  I have discussed Louisiana politics and politicians in a way different than most media have here.  I took two side journeys one on the military and one on race but still part of this election cycle of the blog. But I have not discussed every aspect of the race, I have voted for Landrieu in the past and I voted for Cassidy this  time. I hope people vote according to enlightened self-interest and their consciences. I hope whoever wins will do their duty well. I am giving Cassidy a chance to prove worthy of my support.



The voting booth remains a powerful part of our society.

The voting booth remains a powerful part of our society.

Landrieu tied her reputation to the sing of her party in directions that neither I nor the majority of voters support. America is in a time when many transitions must be made. The GOP will have a chance to show that it can make things better. There will be a lot of conflict with the White House.  Next year will be interesting.

To safeguard liberty we must be able to adapt to the changing times.

To safeguard liberty we must be able to adapt to the changing times.

In all this readers should remember that I belong to no political party. My own political ideas for America are put forth throughout this blog including here, here and here. I am a radical who is committed to the society I would like to change and to its constitutional well-being. I encourage those who can to vote.

Current Politics and Reflections on the Lives of a Few Men.

This is one of those posts which is particularly unsatisfactory before it begins.  Likewise and more rare it is one I will edit after I post it to get something up in a fairly timely manner. Not in a unique way but in the way that a significant number of these blog posts have been. It is a subject where the nature of the subject should offer more than I am able to have it bring forth here. This is crowded post not much supported with images. It happens that this set of deficiencies can visit upon me a sense of loss. The election between Mary Landrieu the Democratic incumbent and Bill Cassidy the Republican challenger is upcoming on December 6, 2014 and there are other reasons why I feel a strong sense of motivation to complete this post. This is a time when the season weighs in at so many levels. Thanksgiving will be the very next Thursday after this blog gets posted. Chores related to freezes and other matters abound. The important religious rituals, readings and charities of a Catholic’s Advent season, football playoffs and Christmas all draw near. This is a time of year that is never easy for me and gets harder most years. But it is also a very important political season with the Louisiana election of a Senator and the lame duck session of Congress. So despite distractions with daily life I find the time to vote, comment on politics and to care about all of this. I want to discuss life and politics in a broad way specific to this place currently in the spotlight.

The voting booth remains a powerful part of our society.

The voting booth remains a powerful part of our society.


Tuesday I attended the funeral of Robert Brady Broussard which was a memorial mass to celebrate the life of former Abbeville Mayor Brady Broussard held at St. Mary Magdalen Church on Tuesday, November 18 at 10 a.m. This comes into my life’s timeline shortly after updating my grandfather and namesake’s biography in the glossary on this blog. This sketch relies in part on the work of Janice Shull, “Frank Summers” In KnowLA Encyclopedia of Louisiana, Edited by David Johnson, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities 2010. Article Published October 13, 2014. THIS ARTICLE OF MINE IN THE GLOSSARY AND HERE IN TWO SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT FORMS WAS PUBLISHED IN THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA ATHLETIC PROGRAM WEBSITE ORIGINALLY. I WAS RESPONDING TO A REQUEST FROM Ed Dugas associated in some way with Veterans Day the Tuesday before the Broussard Funeral. I also received in the mail my bumper sticker which says “Sportsmen for Cassidy”. That latter item is proof positive that I have given a few dollars to the Cassidy campaign. The few men referenced in the title of this post are my grandfather, Brady Broussard, Representative Charles Boustany and myself. We do not all receive equal billing here. The living are given less space in the blog post than the dead. Three have held elected offices won in the regular elections held in the State of Louisiana. I have not held such an office.

Dr. Boustany and I at a town hall meeting.

Dr. Boustany and I at a town hall meeting.

For the moment Louisiana politics are somewhat at the center of at least some attention. That is one reason why it is timely to post this. With much of America’s energy flowing through South Louisiana or produced, refined and processed in her confines leaders like John Breaux, Congressman Boustany and Mary Landrieu have all sought or claimed to seek to promote responsible American energy production in balance with other needs to support this region’s economy or the State economy and help the larger American economy prosper. While Cassidy and Landrieu fight out there positions on these issues Boustany won by a landslide in his recent election. Boustany is a quiet and rational observer of the industry but remains a leading proponent of natural gas production and liquefied natural gas exportation. He seems less prone to environmental sloppiness than some but looks at enhancing the current economic picture and believes these petrochemical contributions to the state and region opportunities are enhanced by advances in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. Boustany is easier to trust than the superficially similar Cassidy for whatever reason as regards a due respect for safety and spill related concerns but clearly continues to support expanding American oil and gas production, both onshore and offshore.    The Oil and gas industry shapes much of world politics and there is no reason Louisiana should not be influential.

The Gulf of Mexico's oil reserves remain vital to our country's future.

The Gulf of Mexico’s oil reserves remain vital to our country’s future.


I had known Brady Broussard for a long time and much of his family. He was preceded in death by his wife Bonnie Gwendolyn Richard who had suffered with what was reputed to be Alzheimer’s disease for quite a while after they left public life and I never knew his well-respected parents Marcus A. Broussard and Muriel Brady Broussard. But he is survived by his children Brady Broussard Jr and his wife Reba whom I have known since before she was widowed from her first husband. His only daughter Darby Champagne and her husband Elton and their children have been supporters of Faith Camp and Family Missions Company and Darby and I were once in a local Catholic singles group before either of us had ever married. His son Delany Broussard and his wife Carla were those I have known least and barely at all. I have known the immediate family since I was in kindergarten or thereabouts and his younger sons were part of my childhood. Lance Broussard was to me Scott’s older brother always although I do not really know his wife Alecia unless I know her without knowing her to be his wife. His youngest son Scott Broussard was in school with me for years before college and his wife Julie is the stepsister of one of an ex-girlfriend. He is also survived by 12 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren whom I do not pretend to keep track of at all. He additionally is survived by his sister, Flo B. Guidry who was a significant figure in many religious groups my parents and I have been involved with over the years and his brother, Judge Marcus A. Broussard Jr. who belonged to the same chapter of Mensa that I did when I was an active member. Family matters a great deal less than it once did in Acadiana’s politics but it still matters a great deal. The name Broussard has been political gold in this region and the connection to living Broussards has long been more than useful in politics.

When I think of politics in my own family this is also true. My grandfather and namesake was born September 5, 1914, in Abbeville, Louisiana to Clay R. Summers and Esther Leblanc Summers of Abbeville, Louisiana. He was a direct descendant of the Leblanc family who sold Pere Megret the land upon which Abbeville was founded and was tied to the French and Acadian relations of the family including being the real cousin of Dudley Leblanc fellow SLI alumnus and author of The Acadian Miracle and a leader in the Acadian community. Community and family were important to him all his life. While he had many connections to life that were not about family he was always aware of it. We shall return to his achievements as a student and athlete but he married at the time when he was ready to start a family. Leaving SLI he continued his education and received an LL.B. from Tulane Law School in 1938. He then married his sometime sweetheart and only wife. The woman he we’d was part of his childhood circle of friends and was a public school teacher, fellow Abbeville native Beverly Marie Miller. My future grandmother was the daughter of Dr. Preston Joseph Miller and Laura Broussard and was a direct descendant on her mother’s side of Acadiana’s cultural Founder Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil. Summers wed Beverly Miller in 1940 and they had six children the oldest being this writer’s father Frank Wynerth Summers II. He was the only child born early in the war while Summers served near home the second would be born when he was in the Pacific. The great conflict came when the young couple who had just started a home life and established a law practice in Abbeville were interrupted by World War II.

My family stopped at a Battleship park after one vacation and I have a long interest in studying and observing military history.

My family stopped at a Battleship park after one vacation and I have a long interest in studying and observing military history.

Congressman Charles Boustany’s last name reflects his connection to the more recent immigrants who are still the well- established Lebanese community in Lafayette Louisiana which gives the town street names like Kaliste Saloom, businesses of long duration like Abdalla’s and other clothing stores in that group which have in some cases closed or lost ground but were prominent merchants in the region. In keeping with those values of extended family Mary Landrieu has associated with her political family in the region and in a combination of the new and the old has not used her husband’s name in public life. She has been criticized for residing in Washington and not having a real residence here but does claim to legally reside with her parents in a home owned by a family trust which keeps her a legal Louisiana resident. I find myself residing with my parents full-time in a life in which little has come my way of success either political or otherwise. Congressman Bill Cassidy and his wife are from different states and Cassidy moved here for school and has stayed in the State since then. He is a native of the State of Illinois which sent Barack Hussein Obama to Congress. Governor Jindal is both a native of Louisiana and an immigrant. He came here in utero. He does show a Louisiana in which Cassidy can win without a huge web of family support. I think he will win this election. But around here we often look to people’s family in a way more prolonged and intense than in many other parts of the country.

What is the purpose of seeking political office? Is there any reason why public policy ought to be or not to be a reason which is joined to one’s entire life. In all political lives in most countries and in this one the life of the politician is merged very fully with the office and its duties. Here in America more than in Europe people vote for the person who holds the office more than for the ideas, policies and parties in more than a few cases. Yet the parties, policies and ideas continue to matter. When an ideology is on the rise attractive candidates are easier to find. So I want to discuss a few political lives here.

Mayor Brady Broussard lived and died connected to family and he passed away peacefully surrounded by his children in his apartment at Eastridge Assisted Living Center on Thursday November 13, 2014 at the age of 82 after a long battle with cancer. Eastridge Assisted Living Center is the same complex as the facility known as Eastridge Nursing Home where my father holds a weekly communion service where my brother Simon often attends and my sister Sarah both attends and sometimes leads. But Brady Broussard was certainly not a regular and only a few from the assisted living facility go next door to the Nursing home for such things. I have been a good number of times and only seen a few people do this and only one man do it regularly. My grandfather died in the home he shared with his wife and my grandmother and once a funeral home prepared the remains they were viewed and the wake and visitation was held in his home. My grandfather has been gone for over twenty years but he knew Mayor Broussard and his brother Judge Broussard well. He died January 26, 1993 when this writer was completing a Master of Arts in History at LSU and I was with him a few days before he died and served as a pallbearer at his funeral.

I do a select but significant number of obituaries in this blog and sometimes like this time include a death notice and memorial in another post. Through these contacts with the community I see something of the way that life is developing for people and families around me. There were no remains and no rite of burial in the specific sense of the pall and covering and blessing of the casket in Mayor Broussard’s death because he donated his body to science at the LSU Health Science Center Department of Anatomical Study. Family and friends did however nearly fill the large church. And those remembering saw in the absence of a body advancing science a further sign in keeping with his life. I have seldom crossed paths with Congressman Boustany at a funeral and almost never with a U.S. Senator. But I have seen Senator Vitter and Congressman Boustany at Town hall meetings in Abbeville. Those meetings had others in attendance whom I have seen at many funerals. I never have met Senator Landrieu nor Bill Cassidy face to face. But Cassidy has never represented me before whereas Landrieu has for eighteen years. My mother once dated former Senator John Breaux and for some reason I repeatedly met former Senator J. Bennett Johnston who was replaced or succeeded by Mary Landrieu at several parties and restaurants over the years although I never had any other connection with him. Governor Jindal I met at an Abbeville town hall as well but otherwise our paths have never crossed directly. Broussard’s funeral and my grandfather’s funeral were family events, community events and also political events. My grandfather also had the twenty-one gun salute at his funeral and so it was also a military event. Many burials around here are such as his was in that way. Politics and the political life often pull those in office out of the web of community life but where the attachments are deep they endure anyway.

Military expressions are often part of Louisiana funerals.

Military expressions are often part of Louisiana funerals.

My grandfather was the only one of the four men I profile here whom I know served in the armed forces. So far as I know neither Cassidy nor Landrieu has served in the armed services. I think the military gives a certain fullness to a public life largely civilian. But I for one do not have such experience. My grandfather di have such a chapter in his life. In December 1941 he entered the Navy. He served first as a Naval Intelligence officer, then commanded an anti-U-boat converted yacht in the Gulf of Mexico before shipping out to the Pacific. In the Pacific Theater he commanded an amphibious vessel of the type called LST or “Landing Ship – Tank” in the action leading up to and following the taking of Okinawa and the surrender of Japan and other actions in the grand campaign in the Pacific. This writer does not have his records from the Pacific Fleet. He felt that he played a role typical of most men in his type of post and saw real combat but not at the center of great battles often arriving before or after the heavy fighting. He took pictures of the damage caused by the atomic bombs on his own time but had to surrender them to the Navy so they do not exist in my files. Discharged with the rank of lieutenant commander November 1945. The time he spent in combat duty on behalf of his nation clearly shaped and informed much of his life and public service. But he was not an executive nor a legislator. He was a devoted member of the Judicial branch of Louisiana’s government. It is in that context that his life is to be seen and understood.

Justice, Frank W. Summers Supreme Court of Louisiana, December 12, 1960, to December 31, 1978 and Eighteenth Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court January 1, 1979, to February 29, 1980 This was a life in which he saw himself always as a farmer, a Catholic, a patriot and a cattleman and he was involved in many things which I will not mention here. Summers was educated in Abbeville public schools and was a student athlete Wildcat in football and track at Abbeville High School but mostly excelled at football. He continued his athletic commitments at the next level which was at the institution hosting this page, now the University of Louisiana. In addition to playing sports he earned B.A. at Southwestern Louisiana Institute in 1936. He remained attached to the University and was honored with the Outstanding Alumni award and supported several descendants there. He and I had matching chargers as I received the similar trophy as Outstanding Graduate in May of 1989. He was very pleased by that tradition.

In addition to his few intense years of military service and the six children he and my grandmother reared and supported into their own lives and the grandchildren he cared for and about in various ways he had a long and serious career as a layer and judge. In 1945 he got back from war and with energy Summers resumed his law practice until appointment as judge of the Fifteenth Judicial District for Acadia, Lafayette, and Vermilion parishes. He served in that office from 1952 to 1954. In all those years he worked on and managed his and his wife’s farm and cattle lands as he did later in life as well. He returned to private legal practice until election to Supreme Court in October 1960 serving as Associate Justice during almost explosive expansion of caseloads at all levels of the judiciary working very long hours until he became chief justice January 1, 1979.He used his single State of the Judiciary speech before the Legislature to urge restructuring judicial system to transfer jurisdiction for criminal appeals from Supreme Court to Courts of Appeal. His health was suffering from years of limited sleep and exercise and he retired after fourteen months as chief on February 29, 1980, to devote more energy to family, to recover his health and to devote energy to the family’s large farm and cattle ranch in Vermilion Parish. He struggled with Cancer for many years but remained somewhat active in professional, civic, and veterans’ organizations.

Brady Broussard’s life was perhaps more complete and involved more broad participation in civic life but was also an example of dedication. He served as Mayor of Abbeville from 1986 to 2002 when he retired for health reasons. Boards Broussard was elected or appointed to over the years addressed many of the concerns of the local people which he shared. These roles on boards include: chairmanship of the Environmental Board LRRDA appointed by the Governor. He was locally the chairman of the Abbeville Fire and Civil Service Board and also chairman of the Vermilion Parish Library Board. He carried this sense of local concerns to the State as a board member of the Louisiana Municipal Association. The Governor also appointed him to the Louisiana Firefighters Investment Board and the State Commerce and Industry Board. At the final level in our system, Mayor Broussard was and appointed to a Federal Environmental Board. He was a devoted parishioner and Eucharistic minister at St. Theresa Catholic Church and was a faithful participant in the annual Grand Coteau retreat that he attended for several decades with many of his local friends and others in the community such as I myself.

I have a dearth of images of him available here and now but this retreat house is one place of many where he and I were together.

I have a dearth of images of him available here and now but this retreat house is one place of many where he and I were together.

The only one of the four lives I have picked which did not include graduating from what is now the University of Louisiana Brady, Broussard matriculated elsewhere in the State of Louisiana. He did graduate from the same high school as my grandfather. The name of which appears on my high school diploma as well. Broussard was educated at Abbeville High School and Northwestern State University, where he excelled in football and track, and also served as AHS student body president and elected into the Abbeville High School Athletic Hall of Fame, inducted in 1982.

Congressman Boustany was raised in Lafayette and did not travel far to begin his studies. The current congressman received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette) in 1978. He went a little East for the next stage and graduated from the Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans in 1982.  He returned to Lafayette in 1990 and began a successful medical practice.  Congressman Charles W. Boustany Jr., M.D.did not start off to seek public office but was first a cardiovascular surgeon with more than 30 years of clinical experience, then was first elected to Congress in 2004. He sees his legislative tenure as profoundly informed by the fact that for fourteen years, he ran medical practice which was independent enough to constitute a small business of the scale of many in this region. In this practice he was also living out personal ideals and moral convictions and was committed to helping others by providing the highest quality healthcare to his patients and the community


In terms of public office my grandfather leaves behind many judicial opinions made to his exacting standards. But only that and a few procedural achievements and a legislative act really testify to a largely hidden life. Congressman Boustany and Mayor Broussard have a more public legacy.
Robert Brady Broussard was a key figure in starting the Boys and Girls Club in Abbeville. As Mayor Broussard undertook many projects including small and large acts of outreach to the broader world. He twinned with French speaking Lasne, Belgium and his administration moved into the new City Hall downtown in what was once the Audrey Hotel, and accomplished major beautification to downtown Abbeville’s Magdalen Square. He started the Abbeville downtown Christmas lighting program.


Congressman Boustany represents Louisiana’s Third Congressional District which includes Abbeville, Vermilion Parish and more.  Boustany has championed health care reform, international trade, and sound energy policy with a keen awareness of providing solutions for all Americans. This is not a new interest and although Cassidy is also a physician it seems harder for him to get beyond the debates related to the Affordable Healthcare Act or Obamacare. It is hard to say how he would fare in a statewide race but he seemsto address the issues in a way that people here relate to well. As a heart surgeon, Congressman Boustany understands the importance of healthcare and is at the forefront of health care policy in Congress.  He believes the patient-doctor relationship is the most critical component of healthcare and has worked to implement patient-centered health care solutions.  Increased access to tax-free health savings accounts (HSAs) represent one opportunity for patients to strengthen their control over their health care decisions, and Boustany introduced legislation allowing seniors and veterans to participate in the kinds of programs he is committed to seeing.


Serving as a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight, Congressman Boustany plays a pivotal role in protecting taxpayers’ dollars by rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse in federal government programs including Medicare, Medicaid, and in entities such as the Internal Revenue Service. Boustany has been regularly recognized by his House Republican colleagues for his strong conservative leadership on these issues.

Additionally, Boustany sits on the Ways and Means subcommittees for Trade and Human Resources. Boustany’s focus on international economic affairs allows him to be a strong voice on matters of foreign and domestic trade to expand markets and business opportunities for U.S. produced goods and services. Coupling his interest in revising the federal tax code to make it easier for American businesses to compete, Boustany seeks to promote an atmosphere of job creation while maintaining American competitiveness.

In his later years, Brady Broussard was honored to be named a Living Legend by the Acadian Cultural and Heritage Foundation. He also supported many charities and persons in need. His interest in family, friends and sports teams continued according to everyone who spoke to me about him. Charles Boustany has a long way to go to reach that point in his journey.

My Election Day and the Next Step In American Public Life

I have written two blog posts on this election cycle already and you can link to them here and here. I also listened to election coverage on the radio, watched it on  cable television viewable in waiting rooms and came home to watch ABC’s coverage last night. While I was doing those things, I also had a busy mix of errands and recreation with my mother in New Orleans. We saw lots of tourists where we went but also many people in the busier streets holding posters supporting local candidates. the weather was beautiful and it was good day to do almost anything worth doing in New Orleans.

Window in the Saint Louis Cathedral in New Orleans showing the sainted King of France for whom the church is named caring for the sick directly.

Window in the Saint Louis Cathedral in New Orleans showing the sainted King of France for whom the church is named caring for the sick directly.

The struggles America is engaged in are clearly showing in the elections of the last twenty years. America is struggling with ISIS and as the new One World Trade Center opens in New York we are all aware of how serious a threat this can be, or at least that it can be a very serious threat. Many Americans have been expressing doubts about whether we are taking this threat seriously enough.  National security and defense are not the only factors in yesterday’s trouncing of the Democratic establishment in our government but it was certainly a factor.

Window in St .Louis Cathedral showing the Crusader saint's body being borne back when he died after launching a great war against Islamists who were terrorizing local Christians and others.

Window in St .Louis Cathedral showing the Crusader saint’s body being borne back when he died after launching a great war against Islamists who were terrorizing local Christians and others.

Republicans have gained control of the US Senate and extended their majority in the House of Representatives. The governors races also went largely to the GOP. There is a sense of staggering loss among many Democrats.  That sense of a huge outcome took top billing on the daily e-mail from the decidedly liberal Huffington Post. There is little to debate about the clarity of the results.  But some report that the White House is not seeing a very clear or focused response to the President and his policy. Some are emphasizing his excuses more than the article I chose to link to in the last sentence. We will have to see how his press conference actually goes this afternoon at two thirty Washington time. We will also have to see how the years play out. Last midterm election he was willing to be candid and say that his party got a shellacking. Policy shifts and candor are two different things.

My mother poses in front of the statue of the Hero of New Orleans who fought the British Empire and become President and the Church of the Sainted Crusader King.

My mother poses in front of the statue of the Hero of New Orleans who fought the British Empire and become President and the Church of the Sainted Crusader King.

I am writing from Louisiana where the nation will be watching the December 6, 2014 runoff between Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu and Republican Congressman and physician Bill Cassidy. Local media has been ready for this race and are reporting it pretty well I think at this early hour. There will be a month more before that vote plays out. Landrieu has invited Cassidy to engage her in six debates. My mother and I went to New Orleans to pick up her expedited passport. The City Care Forgot (not really) was at its best yesterday. We had a tiring schedule but enjoyed the trip thoroughly.

My mother took a picture of me in front of a restaurant that shares my name. We enjoyed eating but did not eat at Frank's yesterday.

My mother took a picture of me in front of a restaurant that shares my name. We enjoyed eating but did not eat at Frank’s yesterday.

The truth is that one election will not determine the course of the country entirely and mostly shows us where we are and where we plan or hope to go.  So much of America is made up of the little and medium sized efforts of its people. the artisans, entrepreneurs and artists of the French Quarter and the French Market are contributors who are not elected and whose lives will be affected by the election but not in simplistic and highly predictable ways.  We bought a few things and did some appreciating. Mom bought a couple of  famous Central Grocery Mufuletta  sandwiches for some young near beggars in the street. The people doing business there are resilient and like many Americans find politics as one part of their lives.  Most Americans were too young, too sick, too criminally convicted, too unsure of their legal status, too busy or too apathetic to vote in this elections cycle.  That is the real majority.

Artisan entrepreneur makes pot plant holders. We bought his fine cypress productions.

Artisan entrepreneur makes pot plant holders. We bought his fine cypress productions.

So does politics matter? I definitely think it does.  I voted for ten of the fourteen constitutional amendments on Louisiana’s ballot and against four. The State ‘s electorate as a whole voted for six and against eight.  Five of the six newly enacted were amendments I favored. Three of the eight opposed were ones I also opposed. These amendments make a difference or at least they often do so. You can read some reporting of how this worked out just here.   But life goes on today much as it would have gone on if the Democrats had won. Change takes a while to play out and is uncertain.

Mom shops and talks on the phone at  the New Orleans French Market.

Mom shops and talks on the phone at the New Orleans French Market.

I hope to hear the President speak today. I will follow the new Congress with interest. I will vote in the Senate Runoff. But I have other things to worry about and hope for and so do you. The big event is over and we must now live, work, trade, fight and pray. life goes on.

The Midterm Elections and Some Issues Beyond

This is the day before election day.  I have a lot to try and discuss here although it my second post on this election. The first can be seen just here and has some useful links and a guide to the constitutional amendments. But this election has a context and this post is part of my effort to provide some context for this post.

In less than twenty four hours the polls will open in Louisiana. This is after a week of early voting which for us closes a week before election day itself. The election will matter for certain.  I feel that my own life is very much in a mode where I know that anything I choose to write is simply  a small chance of expressing some concerns and trying to discuss what is of interest to readers. There is no longer a great chance that I will exercise any kind of direct influence over the offices or issues I discuss in the way that some people thought I might when I was younger.

I do feel that as we vote in the Senate election there are some issues related to the current news which are worth mentioning. We feel in many parts of this country and the world that America is losing its step and has lost some of its path. Most Americans do not feel that the country is heading in the right direction. I am writing this post amid a number of relatively serious problems related to the act of posting itself. This has been a perpetual part of my life for as long as I can remember — there have been major obstacles which involved technically executing a task which tend to overshadow any problems with whatever plan or program I might be discussing or proposing. I have had good functionality with the blog but today it is bad as it ever was in its worst days — and perhaps it was never as bad as today. But by the time I post it those issues may be resolved. The world changes fast and those elected tomorrow may not know what the greatest issues facing them will be. Nor do those in the Senate know who will be President for the majority of the term to which they are being elected.

We all have images of what leadership should look like which are not simple portrayals of reality.

We all have images of what leadership should look like which are not simple portrayals of reality.


There are issues related to space in the news today and over the last few days. Space in my opinion as important an issue as there is and you can touch on some of my views on the subject here, here, and here. However, space flights have always been risky.  One of the bigger risks is how much space is not an issue in this election.  That alone could indicate to me where we are going in terms of dealing with the real challenges of the human species and global civilization heading into the future. I am sure some Senate races are dealing with space but Louisiana’s is not much if at all concerned with it. Louisiana’s race may yet come to great prominence. Some are predicting this and granting its likely place in the national conversation.

NASA stock footage loose in the world reminds us of where we can go.

NASA stock footage loose in the world reminds us of where we can go.

“All politics are local” the old saying goes. On that basis we may understand why Ebola, the issues rocking Ferguson, Missouri and the issues related to water management in the Western United States do not feature prominently here. We have a new pipeline based oil spill. We have ruins in old flood zones by the acre.  We have issues with higher and other public education funding. Louisiana’s race does deal with the Obama Presidency, the issues of Medicare, the AHCA  (or Obamacare), the records of the candidates and how each candidate reacts to immigration issues.  There is discussion of the economy which is national.

Familiar Greenbacks

America is used to paper money as a great symbol of National unity as well as the tangible form of our unifying preoccupation.

They are not much discussing Britany Maynard’s suicide, the violence perpetrated by professional athletes, the rise of ISIS or other issues that provide a context for what all of us here them saying. I think that the US system has some real benefits it derives from a system where the President and Vice President are truly elected  in a national contest which involves states only as means to that national goal and a legislature which really is composed of state elected officials. Of course there are costs to this system as well. But each member of both houses is likely to know something about the State that elects them or within which they are elected.

Maness, Landrieu and Cassidy all have to show that they connect with past challenges. They have to show that they can lead in future crises. But it is hard to say if the national political realities will eclipse some of these memories. Memories of storms and oil spills and their legacies.

A flotilla of shrimp boats adapted for skimming oil.

A flotilla of shrimp boats adapted for skimming oil.

The news is bleak on many aspects of foreign affairs and that will certainly hurt Landrieu who is closely tied to the President. There is recent new from Syria that is very bad indeed as seen here but may in reality be even worse news. Louisiana has paid a good share of the cost for all these wars in that region in the lives and time of the military personnel and their families.  But we remember the National Guard elsewhere as well. The struggle to defend our coasts is endless.

National Guard fights a different battle

National Guard fights a different battle

Whoever comes to power there will be issues related to sex, the sanctity of life, quality of life, racial harmony and constitutional reform. The truth is that few Americans are optimistic that those they elect will effectively deal with these challenges. But I hope all who read me and can vote will do so. I hope that in voting they will know that writing to congress, local elections, civic participation and good citizenship will all be required as follow-up. I am in favor of larger changes but also of working hard to make the best of what we have and trying to make it work.  We really do need a government. People have shown themselves unhappy with their government for a long time but it is becoming a very serious issue now. This poll is the best indication yet of  what people are feeling.

Louisiana’s Early Voting and Some Related Thoughts

Pelicans Injured & Killed by BP Oil

Pelicans Injured & Killed by BP Oil

The early voting in Illinois was marked by President Barack Obama voting yesterday. However, in Louisiana the early voting opens today and goes for a week and with next Tuesday taking the place of Sunday.  I have not yet decided if I will vote early or vote on the regular election day. In this election the biggest and most high profile race is for the United States Senate seat occupied by  Mary Landrieu. Senator Landrieu is running and is opposed by Congressman and physician Bill Cassidy.  Rob Maness is also running and in a first past the post state if he had an open primary as the general election he might split the Cassidy vote and elect Landrieu outright. But here there will be a run-off to achieve a majority and it is not likely to be for Maness. But we  may see Maness again in another race.  I will return to this race near the end of this post. Which party will control the Senate is likely to be a very important question for the future.

There are also all of the seats in the US House of Representatives and any number of local elections. To see more about all of this click here.  You will have to fill in Parish and precinct information to generate the ballot that pertains to you. I will not do justice to these races in this post.

This complicated place has many issues to address

This complicated place has many issues to address

Louisiana also has fourteen constitutional amendments on the ballot and I will fly through those here Below this paragraph. For some view of the text and such click here  for a good general article from a paper where I used to work but which requires log in to view. There are also articles the fact of so many amendmentand on the substance of some amendments from another paper where I used to work here, here and here. The mere text is also available on the sample ballots linked above.  My summary may be imperfect in many ways and each voter should read and research the ballots on their own.

Proposed Amendment 1 Medical Trust Fund & Provider base Rate

A Yes vote would use constitution to protect Medical  Assistance Trust Fund.

A No  vote would leave this in the field of ordinary law and budgets.

Proposed Amendment 2 Hospital Assessment, Trust Fund & Fee Formula

A Yes vote would fund and create a Hospital Stabilization Fund using fees and monies from hospitals and Medicaid.

A No  vote would leave the process to legislative  and other budgets as now.

Proposed Amendment 3 Sales of Property with Delinquent Taxes 

A Yes vote would empower local governments to use collection agencies and make it easier to sell property for back taxes.

A No  vote would keep citizen protections higher under the current system and leave a weakened local funding system.

Proposed Amendment 4 Fund Transfers for an Infrastructure Bank

A Yes vote would implies the legislature should create the bank described but it AUTHORIZES the treasury to invest in such a bank.

A No  vote would leave the State Treasurer probably unable to invest in such a bank even if it existed — it does not exist now.

Proposed Amendment 5 Elimination Mandatory Retirement Age of Judges

A Yes vote would allow judges to serve past 70 years old.

A No  vote would keep judges subject to retirement mandate at 70.

Proposed Amendment 6 Higher Millage Cap for Police & Fire Protection in Orleans Parish

A Yes vote would allow Orleans Parish to collect millage taxes at twice the rate allowed to other parishes.

A No  vote would leave Orleans Parish and City governments with the same tax collecting rate limits as all other parishes.

Proposed Amendment 7 Property Tax Exemption for Certain Disabled Veterans

A Yes vote would allow special homestead exemption for fully disabled veterans.

A No  vote would not create this special exemption.

Proposed Amendment 8 Artificial Reef Development Fund

A Yes vote would probably plan to use BP penalty money but mostly would authorize the protected reef fund so coastal protection funds in it are not subject to the normal budget.

A No  vote would not create a special protected fund. Any fund made by normal law would be subject to normal budget issues.

Country chapel of St. James after a massive flood destryed interior.

Country chapel of St. James after a massive flood destroyed interior.

Proposed Amendment 9 Tax Exemption Reporting for Permanently Disabled Residents

A Yes vote would exempt those permanently disabled and under 65 from having to certify tax exemptions each year.

A No  vote would leave these people the burden to certify their tax status yearly.

Proposed Amendment 10 Tax Sale of Blighted or Abandoned Property

A Yes vote would reduce the redemption period to the 18 months which Orleans Parish already has.

A No  vote would leave longer periods of time to redeem blights property that has been condemned.

Proposed Amendment 11 Increases the Number of State Departments from 20 to 21

A Yes vote would allow on more department so a Department of Elderly Affairs can be created.

A No  vote would not allow for more departments.

Proposed Amendment 12 Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Membership

A Yes vote would increase allocated representation for North and North Central Louisiana.

A No  vote would  leave two kinds of commissioners: those from the coastal parishes and those from the rest of the State.

Proposed Amendment 13 Orleans Lower Ninth Ward Vacant Property

A Yes vote would allow nominal rate sales of  properties in the still devastated Ninth Ward to approved buyers.

A No  vote would leave the Ninth Ward in the same category as other areas.

Proposed Amendment 14 Tax Rebates, Incentives & Abatements

A Yes vote would place laws related to Tax Rebates, Incentives and Abatements in the same category as other fiscal laws and would allow them only to be considered in the fiscal session in odd numbered years only.

A No  vote would allow such laws to continue in general sessions in even years as well as in odd years.

money is always part of the law but fiscal policy is separate here and elsewhere from other laws

money is always part of the law but fiscal policy is separate here and elsewhere from other laws


I want to acknowledge the work of my Louisiana State Representative in reporting on these amendments to her constituents.  Unfortunately her reports are not linkable to this blog.

I think all these amendments scare off and discourage some voters. But I do not really object to having them on the ballot this time. That is not the point. But we must consider how to engage young voters as well as all else we must do. Attracting the right combination of voters in the right numbers is a very important part of the process. Yong people are on such constituency and you can read my recent exchange with Lord Roberts on this subject here.

I think we will earn a lot about the demographics and voter behavior in Louisiana from this election. I think Mary Landrieu is out of step with the State on Abortion, she is very linked to Obama’s policies. On the other hand sh is a devoted public servant and has good seniority, connections and experience. Cassidy is smart,  clear in his policy formulations f not always consistent and has few big blemishes. If there is a runoff then I think the whole country will get involved in the real vote determining which of these two will win. I think Mary Landrieu has a small chance to win out right in the primary with more than 50% of the vote. Cassidy does not have a chance to win that early. But if he is ahead of Landrieu in the primary he will be hard to beat. But Maness will take votes only from Cassidy. So Landrieu should go into the general election at an advantage.

I am voting for Charles Boustany for U.S. Representative. I think he has little opposition. Mike Harson and Kieth Stutes are running hard for District Attorney. We will see how that race plays out. Harson has the edge with Stutes still gaining in my view but not fast enough to beat the incumbent.