by Sam Winston
The death of Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee dominated headlines of the week from beginning to end, with multiple national stories coming from the likes of the Associated Press and the New York Times. His funeral over the weekend produced even more high profile visibility with letters of condolences from Bill Clinton and a local heavies like Edwin Edwards (from prison). All of it proving
just how much clout the big Sheriff had. In seemingly unrelated events, wacky lawlessness also ensued over this past week as a group of Loyola students were arrested for a string of armed robberies and an 11 year old led police on high speed chase over 100 miles an hour.
While Tiger fans were bringing down the house in Baton Rouge on Saturday night, perhaps the most intriguing and over looked story of the week was the news that Secretary of Housing Alphonso Jackson is being investigated by the FBI. All three cases are unrelated, but the FBI's hard look at Jackson makes the third high profile case to connect a highly touted name in Washington with New Orleans malfunction, the Congressman William Jefferson case and Senator David Vitter sex scandal being the other two.
Corruption and Louisiana have been well documented, and there's certainly plenty of local scandal to pile on, however, the USA Today released an article this week with some pretty damning numbers on New Orleans corruption alone. What both the USA Today article and the Jackson investigation point to is a new wrinkle focusing on post-Katrina corruption in association with public officials (and not insurance scams, dubious construction workers, or corruption by public officials before the storm).
The investigations aren't over either. As Bernazzani was quoted as saying in the USA Today piece, "We have some ongoing investigations, as we speak. Once they come up, they'll rock the city again."