by Kevin Allman
• This story was reported by Leslie Turk of The Independent in Lafayette and is printed here with that paper's permission. A developing version of this story can be read on The Independent's website.
“Acadiana Area and Coastal Elected Officials Join Together to Endorse Billy Nungesser for Lt. Governor” was the title of a press release issued by Nungesser spokesperson Amy Jones yesterday — four days before Election Day. The release claimed the endorsement of 14 Cajun Country mayors who had met with Nungesser at Café des Amis in Breaux Bridge that morning.
The problem? It wasn’t true, according to four of the mayors listed as endorsers.
Carencro Mayor Glenn Brasseaux (who was misidentified as “Glenn Broussard”) says he was invited by David Carmadelle, mayor of Grand Isle, to hear what Nungesser had to say. "We went to the meeting. There was nothing about endorsements. I don’t endorse anybody," Brasseaux told The Independent in Lafayette. In a letter to Jones, Brasseaux went further: “At NO time before, during or after the meeting did the endorsement subject come up. It was not suggested or even mentioned that anyone endorse Billy to my knowledge. Regardless, I do NOT endorse anyone for any office. Since your press release, I have wasted almost a whole day responding to newspapers, radio and television not counting calls from some citizens and friends trying to clear up your misinformation.”
"I did not endorse Billy Nungesser. I attended by request of another mayor a function at Café des Amis," New Iberia Mayor Hilda Curry said, noting that she, too, does not make endorsements. "He should know better," Curry said when informed that the Nungesser campaign had issued a press release touting the endorsements. Brasseaux and Curry are president and vice president, respectively, of the Louisiana Municipal Association; the organization's bylaws prohibit its officers from making endorsements. Jack Dale Delhomme, mayor of Breaux Bridge, and St. Francisville Mayor Billy D'Aquilla also said they didn’t endorse Nungesser.
In the meantime, Camardelle sent out his own explanation, which only confused things further: “I organized this morning's breakfast with Billy Nungesser. Some of the mayors were simply there to meet Billy. These elected officials were not identified to the campaign. It was a simple misunderstanding.”
Jones — who did not attend the meeting — told The Independent she would look into the matter. In the meantime, the endorsements are still listed on Nungesser's Facebook page, more than a day after the error was reported: