Fourteen years ago this week, Derrick Todd Lee received the death penalty in Louisiana. He was the state’s most notorious and prolific serial killer. I was there in the courtroom when the verdict was handed down.
It was a cool Tuesday evening, and I was leaving a reception for former congressman Billy Tauzin at the Old State capital in downtown Baton Rouge. Billy and I had fought many battles together when we both served in the Louisiana legislature back in the 1970s. He had fought and won a separate confrontation with cancer, and a number of Billy’s friends all turned out to celebrate a full life he had led.
Several quick financial fixes are being discussed in the current session of the Legislature involving the expansion of gambling. Here’s an interesting thought. Why is it that Louisiana and neighboring state Mississippi are always on the bottom of every national ranking involving virtually every aspect of a state’s quality of life? Yet casino gambling is widespread throughout both states at a level not found any place else in America outside of Las Vegas.
By Stephen Winham, guest columnist
Publisher on LouisianaVoice.com
Caveat: I worked closely with Buddy Roemer as state budget director. I have only the barest of acquaintances with John Bel Edwards. For this reason, I must question how fair my comparison of the two can be. I admit I am disappointed in John Bel Edwards’ performance as governor to date and have admired Roemer’s efforts even more with the passage of time.
Jim Brown, former State Senator, Louisiana Secretary of State and Insurance Commissioner, knows a little bit about the term, “scrub the budget”. That was the term famously used by former Governor Buddy Roemer, who came from election nowhere in the final weeks of the gubernatorial campaign, to beat then-incumbent Edwin Edwards, Billy Tauzin, Bob Livingston and Speedy Long in 1987.
Twenty-six years ago this week, perhaps the most consequential and controversial election in the nation’s history took place here in the Bayou State. Edwin Edwards and David Duke squared off in a run-off election for Governor. Not only were voters across the nation fascinated by what was taking place down in the deepest of the deep Southern states. There was worldwide interest in a showdown between a controversial former Governor and the former head of the Ku Klux Klan.