I know that LSU played well in the NCAA hoops tournament before losing to Michigan but teevee sports is one of the things I’ve learned to live without during the pandemic. I don’t miss it. I didn’t even watch that many Tiger football games last fall. One of the reasons was the lingering stench around the program. I’ll get back to that in our second act.
My preferred method as a pundit is to get people to think by making them laugh. I’m not feeling funny as I write this. I’m not rabidly angry but I’m vexed by what’s going on in New Orleans and the Gret Stet of Louisiana right now. In short, I’m bringing a bit of mad to my March musings. I guess I still feel a bit funny. It’s my nature.
I usually polish the hell out of my 13th Ward Rambler columns. I’m trying a different approach this month, writing from the gut instead of the head. Hopefully, it will still be digestible.
SWB Blues: As I write this, we’re in a second day of torrential rain. Heavy rains bring fear to New Orleanians of flooded streets and houses. My house has never flooded, but we’ve lost a car to flood waters.
The Sewerage & Water Board’s system is ancient. While I like old houses, movies, and music, I like my pipes and pumps as new as possible. Our system fails frequently, so every time there’s a storm (not just tropical systems) there’s fear in the air. This has to stop.
I’ll give credit to Mayor Cantrell and the current SWB management: They’re more transparent than their predecessors. The Landrieu administration brought classic TFC management techniques to bear on the SWB. A reminder that TFC stands for This Fucking City. Team Landrieu’s approach to our infrastructure issues was to kick the can down the road. That’s left us in a ditch, a drainage ditch full of murky water. This has to stop.
I was frustrated by the recent Congressional primary. The Second District’s boundaries are a bad joke brought to us by Gerrymandering. It’s preposterous for vast swaths of Baton Rouge and New Orleans to be in the same district. I’ve lived in both cities and they have little in common. It’s why I ruled out voting for Gary Chambers. He seems like a good guy, but I want our next Congresscritter to focus on infrastructure issues unique to New Orleans.
We’re down to two experienced candidates from New Orleans in the runoff. Unfortunately, both of them are trying to convince us that they can single-handedly pass Medicare for all despite being the most junior member of the House. Yeah, right.
I urge the two Carters to focus instead on infrastructure issues. New Orleans needs federal money to rebuild our antiquated drainage system. Pipes and pumps may not be the sexiest issue in the world but they’re important. This has to stop.
I’m tired of being nervous about going anywhere when it rains. It’s every bit as abnormal as the pandemic. When it rains, I’d prefer that it rain Pennies From Heaven instead of bringing fear to the citizens of TFC. I hope the candidates will listen.
The last word of this segment goes to Louis Armstrong:
The Shame Of LSU: While I’m frustrated by the SWB Blues, I’m downright angry about the ongoing sex scandals in the LSU Athletic Department.
The most recent development took place across the country. Former LSU President King Alexander was forced to resign from his job as Oregon State University’s honcho because of his pathetic mishandling of allegations involving Les Miles.
Alexander attempted to blame everything on Louisiana’s “backwards culture” instead of his own failings as a leader. University presidents are supposed to show leadership instead stepping back and letting things happen. Shame on him.
It’s long been a joke that LSU football should have a university it can be proud of. It should be the opposite: The football program should reflect the values of the university community, not drive the train into a ditch. I used that image in the first segment, but it fits here as well.
I don’t shock easily but I must admit to being shocked by the allegations involving Les Miles. I’d always thought of him as an amiable dunce whose personal qualities overrode his ineptitude as a game coach. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
When I was a French Quarter merchant, Tyrann Mathieu’s father, Tyrone, was my UPS man. He praised the way Miles handled his son’s problems even though Tyrann was thrown off the team for smoking pot. If only Miles had been as sternly paternal with players accused of sexual misconduct. Shame on him.
An investigation found that the Mad Hatter couldn’t be trusted around female students. Instead of firing his ass, Miles was allowed to keep his job because football is the most important thing at LSU. It sends a chilling message to students, staff, faculty, and alumni that women don’t matter. Shame on LSU.
Winning may be everything in professional sports, but it should not be in college sports. There’s a “win at all costs” mentality that pervades the SEC and LSU football. I get it: Winning beats the hell out of losing but winning at all costs is soul destroying. It’s what caused the shame of LSU.
Money is the root of all evil in big-time college sports. The NCAA and SEC have massive television contracts that fuel the mania for winning at all costs. Again, I get it: Money makes the world go ’round. It should not, however, result in academic values that are so corrupted as to be unrecognizable. Shame on LSU.
There’s another thing about the Miles scandal that perturbs me. Bobby Jindal was Governor at the time of the scandal. Miles was a Jindal supporter and Jindal was known to intervene on his behalf. What did Jindal know about the Miles scandal and what, if anything, did he do about it? I’d say shame on him, but we all know that PBJ is shameless.
None of this is new. Football has long been the most important thing at LSU and there have been cover-ups in the past. There’s also a double standard at work: When then women’s basketball coach Pokey Chatman was accused of sexual improprieties with a student in 2007, she was forced to resign. Of course, women’s basketball is not a huge moneymaker and Coach Chatman is a lesbian so, of course, she was treated differently than grass-eating Republican he-man, Les Miles. Shame on LSU.
If LSU doesn’t clean up its act, the only thing this Tiger alum is going to hold is my nose.
The last word goes to Kermit Ruffins: