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A Letter to Santa

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Dear Santa,

I know I haven't written in a long time, but I hope that won't count against me. I've got a list that I've checked twice, and I'm not just asking for myself.

I realize that you're pretty busy, so I won't go overboard. Nothing about world peace -- although Osama bin Laden's head on a platter might be nice. If you could do that, I think the U.S. Marines and Navy SEALS could take it from there.

What I had in mind was more local, some things for my city and state. As you read the list, I know you're going to say that we who live here could (and should) get most of these things for ourselves. Believe me, Santa, some of us have tried.

My dad used to tell me, "God takes care of stupid people," and there's a lot of truth in that. But even the Almighty is only willing to go so far, so I'm turning to you. Please do whatever you can.

Here's my list:

1. A Reform Mayor. Sure, they all talk about it, but that's sorta like the weather -- nobody ever does anything about it. Actually, the mayor we have now, who cannot run again, made some progress. But we still have a long way to go, and he isn't the one to take us there. We need someone who really will clean things up at City Hall, who will end the shakedowns, the cronyism and the cynicism about doing business here. Please help. We need this by Feb. 2 -- or March 2 at the latest.

2. A Governor Who Shows Up for Work. I like to duck hunt and fish as much as any man, and more than most. I also went back to law school part-time. But I wasn't governor at the time. Don't tell my wife, but writing a weekly column is a pretty cushy gig. Being governor, on the other hand, requires more than a few drive-bys a week at the Capitol. If you could find Mike Foster and remind him that he has a job -- a full-time job -- and that Louisiana desperately needs him to show up, every day, and actually work at it ... well, that would be nice. And while you're at it, tell him to stop telling us that he hasn't raised taxes. He has. In fact, if he's going to lie to us, tell him to stay in the marsh or to keep his nose buried in a law book. Sometimes we have to be careful what we ask for.

3. More Tourists in New Orleans. Our city is a great place to visit and a great place to live. Right now, the folks who live here wish we had more visitors. I know you'll be coming through next week, but you won't be staying in any of our fine hotels or eating in any of our terrific restaurants. So, how about giving some airfares to New Orleans to people all over the world? I promise we'll be real nice to them when they get here.

4. More Jobs. Granted, the world economy ain't what it used to be. Ditto for the U.S. economy. But if you could help us at least keep up with Mississippi, that would be great. We need more than just service-sector jobs, too. I realize, of course, that this is closely related to that thing about our governor showing up for work. Just see what you can do.

5. Tax Reform. OK, this is right up there with world peace, I admit. But it's also the key to us getting the aforementioned jobs. And, again, we could help ourselves a lot on this one if we could get that honest mayor and governor-who-shows-up-for-work thing going. Please try.

That's pretty much it, although if you're in a mood for stocking stuffers, it would be great to see LSU win the Sugar Bowl and the Saints make it to the playoffs (and win at least one playoff game again). Have a nice Christmas.

Thanks.

Judge Mom Officiating

Second City Court Judge Mary "KK" Norman, dubbed the "Judge of Love" by network TV, has performed thousands of wedding ceremonies during her career as the city court judge in Algiers. Now she's about to do "double duty" at a holiday wedding.

Norman will perform the wedding ceremony of her daughter, Caroline Norman, who is getting married Dec. 29 at English Turn Country Club. The judge will also host the wedding reception at her home in Algiers.

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