Archive for August, 2022

Wall Street 24/7, that online service that tracks everything from the best cars to cities with the highest housing costs to state rankings on a multitude of issues, has just listed the 50 US cities with the highest population growth over a single year’s time.

Not a single Louisiana city made the list.

Conversely, Wall Street 24/7 also has a list of the 50 US cities with the highest percentages of out-migration.

Five Louisiana cities adorn that list, including the city with the very highest rate of population loss.

The highest rates of growth among the top 50 cities ranged from 93.9 percent growth rate experienced by Brookland, Arkansas to the astonishing growth rate of 1,364.6 percent of Fulshear, Texas (from a population of 1,170 in 2019 to 17,136 in 2020).

Three cities had population losses of .4 of a percentage point. They were Boulder, Colorado, Springfield, Illinois, and Alexandria, Louisiana.

You have to come all the way down to 29th biggest drop in out-migration rate to find both New Orleans-Metairie and Monroe, which had population losses of .7 percent each. The Shreveport-Bossier City metro area, with a combined population of 389,155, experienced the 20th largest loss in out-migration at .8 percent.

But the single city in the US with the largest rate of out-migration (5.3 percent) was Lake Charles, with a population of 210,362. Much of that population loss, however, can be attributed to a pair of hurricanes, Laura and Delta, that devastated much of the city, twin disasters from which the city has yet to fully recover because of a lack of federal aid and widespread contractor fraud and shoddy repair work.

In all, the five Louisiana cities combined to lose 27,198 residents in that single year with Lake Charles experiencing a loss of 11,914 residents, easily surpassing the 9,824 residents lost by the much larger New Orleans-Metairie area (pop. 1,261,726)

Alexandria (pop. 150,890) lost 706 residents from 2019 to 2020, while Monroe (pop. 204,884) lost 1,456 during that same period and Shreveport-Bossier (pop. 389,155) lost 3,298 residents.

By comparison, Jackson, Mississippi (pop. 587,202) had the 33rd largest percentage of out-migration at .6 percent (a loss of 3,656 residents), and the metro area of Washington, D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria, VA-Maryland-West Virginia, with a population of nearly 6.4 million, had an out-migration of .8 percent, or the equivalent of the population of a mid-sized city: 66,811.


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Nick Anderson Comic Strip for August 30, 2022

I spent 15 years as emcee of the local comedy club in Baton Rouge and one thing I learned during that time is that occasionally, a joke will literally write itself. Something will happen or someone in the audience will say something that will drop a punchline right into the comic’s lap.

Sometimes it’s so easy and so glaringly obvious that the comic will only have to pause, smile, or raise an eyebrow. Johnny Carson was a master at just the right facial expression without saying a word.

So it was that an email that arrived in my in-box today doesn’t need me or anyone else uttering the obvious punchline. The same thought will involuntarily creep into the mind of everyone who reads this.

The email was from none other than our wingnut Attorney General Jeff Landry – he of the COCAINE DISCOVERY in his apartment when he was a deputy sheriff in St. Martin Parish; he of the political payoff of hiring the DAUGHTER OF THE LOSING CANDIDATE in the 2015 election so that the losing candidate would endorse him (that daughter, by the way had been convicted of fraud and Landry put her in charge of his …fraud division); he of the EXPLOITATION of immigrant labor; he of the expenditure of FAIR HOUSING FUNDS on plastic cups, pens, and keychains; he of the appointment of political supporter SHANE GUIDRY as an investigator, despite his glaring lack of qualifications, in exchange for his appointment to the board of directors of Guidry’s company at $50,000 per year.

Sorry. I didn’t mean to get carried away, but I wanted to be sure you knew which Jeff Landry I was referring to.

Anyway, the email was to announce Landry’s 12th annual alligator hunt, scheduled for next week (Thursday, September 8 through Sunday, September 10).

This year’s special guest will be none other than another fellow rumored to indulge in nose candy from time to time (I personally have never observed him participating in any such debauchery, but the rumors, like those that swirl around Hunter Biden’s laptop in Repugnantcan circles, are certainly out there – and some people apparently put a lot of stock in such rumors): Donald Trump Jr.

That’s right. Junior will be a participant in this year’s alligator hunt. And for the privilege of rubbing elbows with the former First Goofball, one may become a Swamp Master Corporate Sponsor for the bargain price of $50,000. That will include four hunters, 12 VIP camp passes with access to VIP tent hours, reserved sleeping accommodations, RV parking, listing on the Sponsor Board and – get this – a private breakfast with Landry his own self.

For a mere $25,000, you get six VIP camp passes with access to the VIP tent, reserved sleeping accommodations for two hunters, sponsor naming privileges for water ferries, listing on the Sponsor Board and a single VIP parking pass.

For the more economy-minded, $5,000 will get four camp passes for Friday and Saturday for a single hunter, membership in the “General’s Club,” which will get you into all fundraising events hosted by Landry (with the expectation, of course, of chipping in more love offerings).

Bayou Sponsors can get a Sponsor Board listing and four camp passes for Friday and Saturday for the bargain price of $2,500.

For the cheap bas***ds, $1,000 will get a single hanger-on a one-day camp pass on Friday or Saturday (not both – Landry’s not running a charity here).

Did I mention that the Great White Hunter Donald Trump, Jr. is going to be Landry’s special guest? Oh, I did. Well, you know he ain’t coming here for nothing. It’d be nice to know how much Landry’s paying him. Oh, and also providing entertainment will be Craig Morgan and Gary Levux of Rascal Flatts.

Anyway, here’s Landrys email, which I’m pretty sure was sent to me by mistake:

From: Jeff Landry <jeffl@jefflandry.com>
Date: August 29, 2022 at 2:48:58 PM CDT
To: landrygatorhunt@gmail.com
Subject: Alligator Hunt Special Guest!

The Alligator Hunt is right around the corner and I am so excited to announce a very special guest will be joining our Swamp Masters and Bayou Hosts for our VIP night on Thursday.

We are honored to have Donald Trump Jr. joining the festivities for this special part of the hunt! 

If you have not already signed up as a Swamp Master or Bayou Host, do so now and don’t miss out on the fun and chance to visit with Trump Jr.!

We are also excited to tell you about the special entertainment for the Thursday VIP event – Craig Morgan and Gary Levox of Rascal Flatts will take the stage! 

If you’d like to join us as a Swamp Master or Bayou Host for this special night please contact Andree Miller at 337-351-3014 or at landrygatorhunt@gmail.com

Every year I look forward to this event and it gets better every year. That is because of you and your support – I can’t thank you enough. Let’s have the best Alligator Hunt yet!

Now in case you missed it, here’s the setup for that self-writing joke: You’re going to have Donald Trump, Jr. from New York City and alligators from Louisiana converging at the same place and same time in Louisiana swamps.

I wonder if a little Tony Chachere’s on top-secret documents would appeal to alligators’ palates?

See, I didn’t have to resort to the speculation that ‘gators might find certain human grifters to be too rancid for their tastes.

Now get busy and write your own punchline.

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Libraries, it seems, pose an imminent threat to our very way of life. They are destroying the minds and souls of our children, usurping parental authority, laying the groundwork for a (communist, Islamic, or Hispanic – pick one) takeover of our country.

Book banning is the only solution!

The hysteria is spreading throughout the local levels of government in America and you need to voice your opposition at today’s meeting of the Livingston Parish Council at 6 p.m. in the Parish Governmental Building in Livingston.

You never heard such rot in your life – at least not since the Joe McCarthy-spawned panic of the 1950s that produced those silly Americanism vs. Communism classes in high school and the asinine elementary school drills on how to duck under your desk in case of a nuclear attack.

Or the widespread phobia that when desegregation came to our lily-white schools, it would mean the end of life as we knew it. Why, who knows? They might even start dating our daughters (forgetting for the moment that it usually takes the consent of both to constitute a date). Of course, when we had a black running back who could power over the opposition or a point guard who could shoot the eyes out of the basket, we embraced him as “ours” – until his eligibility was up and then we conveniently forgot all about him, tossing him aside like yesterday’s newspaper.

My grandfather taught me that was the very definition of hypocrisy, as was the profession of Christianity on Sunday while donning a white sheet on Saturday night to burn a cross on someone’s lawn.

I remember when I first moved to Denham Springs back in 1981, we visited the Livingston Parish Fair. When a family parked next to us and exited their vehicle, I overhead the wife asking the husband, “Aren’t you going to lock the car? There’s a book on the back seat.”

The husband replied, “When we get back, the car may be gone but the book will still be there.”

We laughed, but his joke was closer to the truth than we would’ve liked. The parish library at the time was housed in a single, cramped room in the back of a medical complex and boasted an embarrassingly limited number of books.

We (Livingston Parish) were a standing joke at the local comedy club with the touring comics and I admit, as club emcee, I am guilty of my own pointed jabs at the prevailing redneck culture of the time. Such was the reputation of Livingston Parish 40 years ago.

I’d love to think that we’ve progressed beyond that. A population explosion caused by the availability of cheap land in more peaceful surroundings coupled with I-12 access to a Baton Rouge commute saw subdivisions spring up like mushrooms in a cow patty. New schools were built, we got a new courthouse and best of all, we built a parish-wide library system of which we can be justifiably proud.

Until now.

Now, the lunatics are trying to run the asylum as the movement to censor – and ban – books picks up momentum. It’s a favorite tactic of any totalitarian dictator: clamp down on literature that might be deemed offensive or perceived as threatening.

They just did it in Jamestown, Michigan, where the public library was defunded over the librarian’s refusal to censor or ban a LGBTQ book. They claimed the library was “grooming” children and calling library staff pedophiles.

Sound familiar? That’s what a guy named Michael Lunsford, head of a fringe outfit called Citizens for a New Louisiana, is attempting to do across the state. He’s already initiated similar efforts in Lafayette and Caddo parishes and now he’s weaseled his way into Livingston by launching a frontal – and defamatory – attack on a popular school librarian.

And now the Livingston Parish Council, in an obviously underhanded effort to conceal its actions from the public, has “added” a late “addendum” to its agenda for today’s meeting:

  • Discussion and possible resolution of support for the reclassification of certain books in the Livingston Parish Public Library.

(Nothing like a late add-on to an agenda item to sneak through controversial actions.)

In a parish devastated by widespread flooding in 2016, it would seem the parish council would have more important matters to consider – like instituting flood control and dredging of the Amite River – than worrying about exposing innocent children to the dreadful poison of LGBTQ books. There’s an old Bob Dylan song that seems relevant today:

Come mothers and fathers throughout the land

and don’t criticize what you don’t understand.

Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command

Your old road is rapidly aging.

Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend a hand

for the times, they are a-changin’.

“Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command.” A most relevant line, one worth remembering.

Grooming? These narrow-minded bureaucrats are so locked in to what some book might contain, they’ve completely overlooked a thing called the Internet and cell phones.

Kids today all have cellphones and those cellphones all have Internet access and cameras. They can access all the LGBTQ literature and all the porn they can imagine – without your knowledge or your consent. And don’t think for a nano-second that some aren’t taking – and sending – explicit selfies to each other. It’s called sexting. And even more dangerous than any book, some are communicating with creepy adults who can introduce them to a much more dangerous world of drugs and sex trafficking.

And we’re worried about some book? C’mon, aren’t there any adults in the room? A book isn’t going to make a kid gay and no religious indoctrination is going to change a gay child to straight.

Book banning is wrong on every level imaginable. We’ve already seen math textbooks banned in Florida, for what possible reason I haven’t the foggiest. This may sound alarmist and it may appear to be some sort of scare tactic but remember where you read this:

If this effort succeeds, it will be just the first step to shutting down American history lessons that don’t agree with someone’s political agenda. It will be the first step toward censoring any literature about women’s rights (like the struggle for women’s suffrage, for example). It will be the first step toward abolishing any teaching about the American Civil War or about the struggle for civil rights. It could even be the first step toward reverting to not allowing blacks or women or even non-property owners to vote.

Drastic? Yes. Draconian? You bet. But once that first step is allowed, the second and third and subsequent steps will be much easier. Once it is decided what you may or may not read, it will be an easy matter to strip away the rest of your rights.

Please be in attendance at 6 p.m. at the Livingston Parish Governmental Building in Livingston to show your opposition to this new form of kneejerk McCarthyism and your crucial support for Livingston Parish librarians. It’s important.

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(To read entire text, click on the plus (+) image at the top and move the bar at the bottom to the right.)

Considerable negative coverage has been given the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) in recent weeks following the deaths of at least three toddlers in the Baton Rouge and Houma areas and the sexual abuse of boys living in a dilapidated foster home in Baton Rouge.

But the problems besetting DCFS go back several years and can be laid at the feet of former Gov. Bobby Jindal, who, in typical Republican fashion, chose to abandon the most vulnerable of Louisiana’s citizens by slashing funding for the agency, producing a turnover rate of nearly 25 percent in 2014 that in turn resulted in a 33 percent reduction in the number of DCFS employees.

Jindal’s gutting of the agency made it virtually impossible for case workers to perform their jobs properly, according to a 77-page report: A Review of Child Welfare, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services.

At one point, a caseworker in Ouachita Parish was arrested and booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison after being accused of filing false reports about mandatory monthly in-home visits with children in foster care.

That was in February 2016. A month earlier, LouisianaVoice received a confidential email from a retired DCFS supervisor who revealed a disturbing trend in her former agency.

“I served in most programs within the agency, foster care, investigations, and adoptions,” she wrote. “Over my career I witnessed the eight years of Jindal’s ‘improvements.’

“Those ‘improvements’ endanger children’s lives daily. The blight is spread from the Secretary to the lowliest clerical worker in the agency. People are overworked and underpaid but it’s not just that. People are so distraught from the unrelenting stress that children are in danger. Add to that the inexperience of most front-line workers and their supervisors’ inability to properly train new staff.”

She then dropped a bombshell that should serve as a wake-up call to everyone who cares or pretends to care about the welfare of children—from Gov. John Bel Edwards down to the most obscure freshman legislator:

“In the Shreveport Region, the regional administrator (recently) told workers that they may make ‘drive-by’ visits to foster homes, which means talking to the foster parents in their driveway. Policy says that workers will see both the child and the foster parent in the home, interviewing each separately (emphasis added). A lot of abuse goes on in foster homes. Some foster families are truly doing the best they can but they need counseling and guidance from their workers. The regional administrator’s answer to that one? Have the foster parent call their home development worker—another person who can’t get her job done now.”

She wrote that she heard of two separate incidents “where a child new to foster care was taken to a foster home and left without paperwork, without contact information for the person in charge of the case, and without knowing even the child’s name.”

You may read the entire 2016 LouisianaVoice post by going HERE.

Adoptions is another area in which there are serious questions about DCFS. A Baton Rouge couple, Christy and Craig Mills, know first-hand the frustrations of trying to get the agency to take action on their behalf in an adoption attempt that went all wrong.

In October 2013, they successfully adopted a baby girl, Morgan, after she was born to a homeless couple, Thomas and Carol, with whom the Mills were working. In February 2014, Thomas and Carol contacted the Mills to inform them they were expecting again and wished to adopt that baby out as well.

The Mills, wishing to keep the natural siblings together, quickly agreed.

Working through the DeColores Adoptions International in Lake Charles and its representative, adoption attorney/social worker Lisa Perquet Harell, the Mills began providing shelter, food, transportation to and from medical visits, and a cell phone for Thomas and Carol.

Four days before the baby boy was born, with Harell’s assistance, Thomas and Carol were suddenly relocated to an undisclosed hotel in New Orleans. It turned out, unbeknownst to the Mills, the expectant couple was also receiving financial assistance from a Denham Springs couple who eventually adopted the infant.

The Mills filed a formal complaint against Harell for an alleged conflict of interest. Included in the package containing the complaint was a copy of a 2005 consent agreement and order in which Lisa Perquet, then a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) admitted to falsifying documents attesting that she had conducted home visits of adoptees on three occasions and that she failed to maintain fee charges and other billing information for the required six years.

The now eight-year-old complaint pointed out that DCFS’s own child placing agency standards say that “Placement of siblings as a family group is usually the preferred placement.”

“Adoption fraud dominates conversations in the adoption industry and has negative effects on families across the country,” the complaint by the Mills says. “We know first-hand how an alleged wrongful adoption has impacted our own lives today and will impact these two children’s lives once they are old enough to learn that a group of adults and adoption professionals licensed by the State of Louisiana, in our opinion intentionally kept them from being together for the purposes of their own monetary gain.”

That complaint and accompanying documents can be seen in their entirety at the beginning of this post.

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You need a program to keep up with all the lame excuses the former guy has tossed out to justify his possessing more than a dozen boxes of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago home/golf club/resort.

First it was “homework,” that he was just taking the documents with him to continue working on them. Well, first, he has never been one to do “homework” in his entire life and second, when you are no longer president, you no longer are responsible for handling affairs of state.

Then, he proclaimed that Obama took 30 million classified docs with him when he left office. Not so. The documents were taken by the National Archives and Records Administration to a NARA facility in the Chicago area where they remain in exclusive possession of NARA.

As a third “alternate fact,” he claims he gave the order to “declassify” all such documents on his way out the door in January 2021. Again, not so, according to those who FORMERLY WORKED FOR HIM. There’s a process that must be followed and that process is very detailed and meticulous.

Finally, he claims that everything was packed in a hurry and he didn’t have time to go over everything that was thrown into cardboard boxes.

That is probably closer to the truth. After all, he had already determined he wasn’t going quietly or willingly, so why pack to leave?

But now, we have the most novel explanation of all and it’s only because it’s so ludicrous, so off the rails, so bizarre, that I give it any exposure here at all. After all, if you can get past the fact that some disturbed individual is actually passing it off as truth (and that some pitifully disillusioned souls are buying it), then it’s kind of funny. Sort of.

It’s the explanation given by the mysterious “Q” of QAnon infamy and (spoiler alert) it’s a doozy.

You see, thanks to Q, we now can rest assured in the knowledge that the FBI “raid” of Mar-a-Lago (and it wasn’t a raid; no guns were drawn, no doors busted down and the Secret Service was alerted beforehand – it was more of a “normal tourist visit”) was a ploy hatched by none other than…(wait for it)…Donald Trump.

Yep, that’s what [s]he says. But don’t take my word for it, here is the actual transcript, as posted by a retired history teacher from Denham Springs, who apparently buys what Q is selling:

Q: Trust Wray. Who leads the FBI?

(He’s talking about Christopher Wray, Trump’s appointee to head up the FBI.)

Q: How do you get evidence entered legally?

Answer, according to Q: A raid by the FBI gets it (evidence) on the record.

Q: Who has all the information?

Answer: DJT, the former guy.

So, there you have it. Trump conspired with Wray to “arrange” for Attorney General Merrick Garland to seek approval of a search warrant, which a judge signed, so that the FBI could take into its possession all that damning information that Trump has been holding for more than 18 months now that will absolve him of everything bad and cast a pall over Joe Biden’s administration.

And now that the FBI and the Justice Department have it, it’s officially “on the record” and will now become public knowledge.

God, the man’s a genius. We played right into his hands.

This is the same Q, by the way, who assured us that Trump would be restored to his rightful position of president on July 23 of this year. I think he has since pushed the date back to sometime in October.

Can’t wait to see what happens.

But of course, Q knew this all along.

On a related note, it seems I’m being recruited for consideration for possible membership in an outfit called the Cajun Guard (not to be confused with the Cajun Navy).

I did a STORY about the Cajun Guard, a local militia-type organization more than two years ago, in June 2020. In writing that story, I reached out to the organization to request more information about them in an effort to give them a chance to present their objectives.

The web site of one of the individuals I profiled in that story has since been taken down.

I finally got a response last Tuesday (Aug. 16), more than two years later, from a guy who identified himself only as “Kevin.” Kevin said he was “responsible for recruitment, among other things.”.

But rather than provide me with any information about the organization, I was invited for “lunch or coffee” to discuss the organization’s “vetting…select individuals/families to join our family,” adding that the Cajun Guard wishes “to expand the members and efforts to the entire state.”

Thanks, Kevin, but I think I’ll pass.

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