Sept. 1, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Office Space: Bringing Back a Bit of the Bayou

Bill Clark/Roll Call
Rep. Jeff Landry shows off a chain saw for budget cutting in the lobby of his office in the Cannon House Office Building on Tuesday. The chain saw was signed by constituents at a town hall meeting and given to Landry.

“I bought this picture back in, oh, 1995, ’96, and I’ve always had it at home, and I thought, ‘Oh, this is a good one, my bipartisan picture, I’ve got two Democrats and two Republicans in it, so no one can fuss at me and say my office is not bipartisan,’” he said.

Landry also decided in advance that he would hang “One Nation Under God” by Jon McNaughton in his office. The image depicts quite a political and religious hodgepodge with Jesus, historical figures from American history, U.S. soldiers and various other citizens making a collective appearance in front of the Capitol and Supreme Court.

“I have this painting here that I bought when I was running, and I kept it home and had it framed,” Landry said. “I said if I got elected I would hang it in the office. It really symbolizes a lot of what we need here in this country. ... It’s a picture of America, and it kind of touched me when I saw it.”

Then, of course, there’s that alligator head.

It’s a bit of an office mascot, actually. Landry’s friend, who owns an alligator skinning and processing factory back home in Louisiana, gave the office its bit of the bayou.

“We’re hoping that he swallows up the national deficit,” Landry said, laughing. “No, we got people, if they don’t behave, when they come down to Louisiana, we got a couple of live ones just like that.”

Sometimes, he added, the team sticks the menacing head on the office’s main table for special guests.

“When we have people who we really want to get a point across to, we just kind of set it up and let them look right down the throat of the alligator,” Landry said.

Kids who stop by the office are huge fans of the alligator and love trying to stick their heads inside the mouth.

Between the posters and paintings, Landry also keeps personal pictures — such as those of his wife at Mardi Gras and his son at the swearing-in of the 112th Congress. “It’s always good to have the family close to you when they’re kind of so far away,” he said.

Another thing that’s been good to have nearby, he said, is something from his home district to spice things up: Tabasco sauce. When he arrived in D.C., Landry bought bottles for every freshman Member and had the world-renowned hot sauce company make a personalized label for each one. He said he wanted to give his co-workers “a little bit of lagniappe, a little something extra, while we debated issues here in Washington.”

Even with all the personal flair that Landry’s brought to 206 Cannon, the focus has always been on keeping the Big Easy style at the forefront.

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