It’s over! (almost)

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 26, 2011

As the voters of South Louisiana breathe a sigh of relief at the fact that the primary election season is over, the hard work awaits the newly elected and re-elected officials throughout Louisiana. The losers from Saturday night will play Monday morning quarterback for weeks while the elected officials begin their transition plans and assemble their teams. Those candidates, who find themselves in a run-off, have only two weeks to campaign until the voters return to the polls during Early Voting week.

However, in the midst of all of the commercials, robo-calls, and mailers you’ve been bombarded with were candidates, generally good intentioned, fighting to represent you and make our society a better place to live. Their platforms may have differed but under the nuanced differences were platforms of improving our quality of life, making government work smarter, and improving the education systems of our state.

In some races, Party affiliation became an issue due to the fact that each candidate represented another party. However, when it comes to local races the candidate’s personal reputation should matter more than party affiliation because a locally elected official is dealing with issues that you don’t find on either the Republican or Democrat Party platforms: better roads, a new animal shelter, improved neighborhood parks, and beautification programs to name a few.

Regardless of whether your preferred candidate won or lost, all of the candidates elected last Saturday and in the future run-off have their work cut out for them. Many face tighter budgets, shrinking tax bases, and communities of unemployed people looking for opportunity. It will take all levels of government working together to solve some of our problems with innovative solutions. The old 20th century solution of throwing more money at the problem doesn’t work when there isn’t any more money. It didn’t work then and it won’t work now.

So, don’t think our work as citizens is over now that we did our civic duty and cast a vote in an election. In previous columns, I have addressed the need to stand up, show up, and demand the action you desire. America, Louisiana, and our individual communities can no longer afford to sit back and watch history get made. We must engage each other in the present so we can determine our future.

The last bite…

I wasn’t on the ballot Saturday, so I had a chance to drive around and visit the different groups cheering outside of several polling locations. At one stop in LaPlace, I was pleasantly surprised to see Ms. Blanche Watkins serving her famous red beans and rice! I first experienced Ms. Blanche’s red beans in 2003 at another political event and have eaten them every chance I get. She’s famous for her cooking but probably best known for her red beans. Honestly, they are the best red beans and rice I’ve ever tasted. When you get the bowl you expect them to taste like every other bowl of red beans and rice. Well, when you take your first bite you realize that they are “slap ya momma” good!  I give Ms. Blanche’s red beans and rice 5 (out of 5) crumbs!

Buddy Boe, a resident of Garyville, owns a public relations and program management company and is well known on the local political (and food) scenes. His column appears Wednesdays in L’Observateur.