Billy Bob Thornton played my hometown last night and I didn’t go dammit. If you didn’t know it, Billy Bob isn’t just an Academy Award winning actor, he is also a musician and songwriter with his own band, The Boxmasters. Their music has a 50’s country kinda vibe, like Hank Williams Sr or Johnny Horton. My wife Amy was there though and took this cool pic, her reviews of the show were excellent, even more reason for me to be jealous… No BBT for me though, a prior commitment, a performance of my own at Murder is Served at Chef Eric Johnson’s in West Monroe- that’s why I missed last night’s show.
‘Funkin Dead’ is a dinner play written by my friend and colleague Toby Otero who is also ½ of the K104 morning show with John Reynolds who stars in Funkin’ Dead alongside my morning show partner Jim Elliott. Needless to say, the play, set in a 70’s funk club, is a Radio People affair. It’s also been a helluva lot of fun, the entire cast consists of local theater vets and the crowds have been nothing short of fantastic.
I’d encourage you to see ‘Funkin Dead’ but it sold out, all eight shows, before opening night. In addition to the entertainment, the Murder is Served shows also feature Chef Eric Johnson’s culinary masterpieces. Some nights it’s hard to remember your lines standing in ‘the wings’ because of the savory aromas drifting around.
Last night was an eventful night across the Twin Cities with the Black Bayou Rodeo at the Civic Center and Battle of the Badges at ULM, a rebuttal to the whiners who say ‘there is never nuthin to do ‘round here’. But I still wish I could have seen Billy Bob & the Boxmasters…
Watching one of the Sunday news shows earlier I was struck, once again, by the goofy manner in which the greatest nation on Earth picks a president. We send them to the Iowa State Fair. There, amid local beauty queens and the latest in farm-combine technology, we find the people vying to be the next leader of the Free World. This made sense in the days when all the presidential candidates traveled from town to town on railroads.
This weekend Donald Trump gave free rides away on his helicopter to Iowa kids at the state fair. The United States of America has operated a series of space stations for almost forty years, we have not one, but two remote control vehicles on Mars. Skype translates to instant communications anywhere on the globe. For goodness sake, we have personal computers on our cell phones. With due respect to Iowans and their free-helicopter riding children, America can do better than state fair cattle calls for presidential campaigns. I like corn dogs, fried butter and carnival rides as much as the next guy but…
Despite an impressive 54% of the vote in 2007, and running for reelection basically unopposed in 2011, Governor Bobby Jindal will be leaving Louisiana in the broad daylight come January and the majority of the citizens he served are glad to see him go. Some polls show Jindal’s approval numbers lower than President Barak Obama’s, a strong statement indeed coming from a very Red Bayou State where 57% of voters pulled the lever for Mitt Romney in 2012.
Bobby Jindal rode into Baton Rouge seven and half years ago with great promise, many voters, even those who voted for ‘the other guy’, took pride in the historical fact that Louisiana had elected America’s first Indian-American governor. But that was then and this is 2015. To most Louisianans Bobby is already gone- seems like he’s been gone for the last two years, always in Iowa or New Hampshire or DC on his quest to make history again, this time as the nation’s first Indian-American president.
As an interesting historical side note; Bobby Jindal was our first Indian-American governor but not Louisiana’s first non-white governor. In 1872, less than ten years after the Civil War ended, a man named Pinkney Benton Stewart ‘PBS’ Pinchback became the United States’ first governor of African-American descent, something that would not happen again in this nation for almost 120 years.
PBS Pinchback was the son of a white plantation owner and the slave he freed and had several children with. Pinchback and his siblings were raised as white children and he attended a private academy in the ‘Free State’ of Ohio. In his 2006 book Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War, Nicholas Lehman described PBS Pinchback as “an outsized figure: newspaper publisher, gambler, orator, speculator, and dandy”.
A captain by the Civil War’s end, one of very few commissioned officers of African-American descent in the Union Army, Pinchback became active in Republican politics in New Orleans. He was elected to the Louisiana senate in 1868 and four years later became the senate’s president pro tempore’. The 1872 elections were marked by violence and fraud and after the sitting governor was impeached and the lieutenant governor died, PBS Pinchback, the son of a slave, became the 24th governor of Louisiana. His term lasted a whopping 15 days, from December 29th 1872 till January 13th 1873. In 1990, one hundred eighteen years later, Douglas Wilder became America’s second African-American governor when he was elected to Virginia’s top post.
On October 24th Louisiana will vote for the person who will become our 56th governor. The candidates are US Senator David Vitter (R), LA Public Service Commission Member Scott Angelle (R), Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne (R) and former LT Gov and current Minority Leader of Louisiana House of Representatives Rep. John Bel Edwards (D). If a runoff is necessary, the top two candidates will face off on November 21st.
A week from today I’ll be a grandfather. My poor daughter is 8 months and three weeks pregnant and is as miserable as any pregnant woman I’ve ever seen. But I’m excited and very proud of my daughter Taylor and of Tyler, her longtime boyfriend and the father of my granddaughter (I call him my pseudo-son-in-law).
I can’t wait to meet my granddaughter, to hold my child’s child. What an amazing world she’ll grow up in. I envy her a little bit, she’ll witness wonders people my age dream about today. And I still haven’t decided what I want her to call me.
Papaw, Grandpa, decisions, decisions…