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Nearly 18 months after Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana and Mississippi, HOH thought it likely everything that could be said about the tragedy already had been said.
Alas, HOH underestimated Pelican State Sen. Mary Landrieu (D), who had some highly original things to say Monday morning at a field hearing in New Orleans convened by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
“I often think we would have been better off if the terrorists had blown up our levees. Maybe we’d have gotten more attention,” Landrieu said, according to a report from the New Orleans station WWL-TV.
The problem, Landrieu continued, is that Louisiana gets a bad rap in Washington, D.C., especially compared to its neighbor to the east.
“Mississippi is actually the most corrupt state in the union, but you never hear that, because there’s some political undertones about having Mississippi look so good and having Louisiana look not so good at the national level,” Landrieu said.
So, beginning from the top, does Landrieu really wish her home state had been attacked by terrorists? Not really, explained her communications director, Adam Sharp.
“She was just reflecting on the priorities of the [Bush] administration,” Sharp said. “Look at the State of the Union — 5,600 words and not one mention of Hurricane Katrina or Rita or the recovery. You are left to wonder if [a terrorist attack] is what it takes to get on the radar screen.”
As for that whole corruption thing, Landrieu makes no apologies for that one either. In fact, Sharp sent HOH a handy dandy report showing that Mississippi is indeed the most corrupt state in all the land.
The report — written in 2004 by the Corrupt Crime Reporter and based on public data — says Louisiana “is not the most corrupt state in the country, as its reputation might indicate. It comes in third.”
Mississippi is a solid No. 1 on that list, while sleeper pick North Dakota slid in at the No. 2 slot.
In any case, Sharp said, Landrieu “was not denigrating Mississippi to make her point. We know that the actions of a few dishonest officials should not be representative of the entire state.”
Not the Easiest Job. She’s dealt with more than her fair share of negative press over the last several months, and now Melanie Roussell is leaving her post as communications director and senior policy adviser to embattled Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.).
In an e-mail Monday, Roussell wrote that she is leaving Jefferson — who is under federal investigation for allegedly soliciting bribes — to take the post of press secretary at the House Judiciary Committee.
“And like a bird leaving the nest, the time has come for me to move on to new and exciting ventures — taking with me the strength of character, motivation, and expertise that I learned here on the Jefferson staff,” Roussell said.
Today is her last day with Jefferson’s office. Perhaps things will be a little quieter at the new gig.