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Wacky Predictions for 2007

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What will 2007 bring to Louisiana? Considering the craziness that dotted our political landscape last year, the idea of making tongue-in-cheek predictions almost seems redundant. Nothing is too far-fetched these days.

With that in mind, here are some predictions that are so wacky, some of them just might come to pass.

Gov. Kathleen Blanco will call lawmakers into a special session in late January to pass a bill that would give each registered Democratic and Independent voter a check for $50,000 as part of a new program called "Governor Blanco's Road Home to the Mansion." "The Republican Caucus has already let it be known that the GOP does not want to give taxpayers their money back, so we're not giving any to registered Republicans," Blanco will say. "Instead, we will use that money to build more syrup mills in central Louisiana."

Mayor Ray Nagin will give a mercurial MLK Day speech in which he tells of a conversation he had with God, who told the mayor that He wants New Orleans to be a "chocolate city" and that Hurricane Katrina was His punishment for America's war in ... um, wait a minute, that actually happened already. Okay. Um. We'll get back to Nagin later.

The new regional levee board will meet for the first time in early February and elect attorney (and former Orleans Levee Board Chair) Bob Harvey as its president. The board will immediately vote to give Harvey a $200,000 annual stipend -- and use of a Hummer so that he can personally inspect levees and floodwalls. The New Orleans Business Council and Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans will take out full-page newspaper ads calling for repeal of the constitutional amendment creating the new regional board.

Bobby Jindal will announce in a mass email that Louisiana needs a new governor, but first he needs another $790 million in his campaign war chest -- in 48 hours. While waiting for the contributions to pour in, Jindal will announce in subsequent emails that he has just delivered 16 babies, found a cure for cancer and built Category 5 levees across all of south Louisiana.

Congressman William Jefferson will be cleared of all criminal suspicion when he finally discloses the "honorable explanation" for the $90,000 in marked Ben Franklins that FBI agents found in his freezer. "That money was raised at Democratic cake sales to help Nancy Pelosi get another facelift," Jefferson will say. "This was all just a big misunderstanding. The cash got wet while we tried to launder the chocolate frosting off of it, and so I put it in my freezer to dry it out -- just like folks did with all their important documents that got wet during the Katrina flood. So you see, it's really quite innocent, and I'm glad we got that cleared up." Jefferson still will not be reappointed to the House Ways and Means Committee, but he will get a new Dodge SUV from a Central City nonprofit that several of his siblings manage.

Mayor Ray Nagin will plan an investment-seeking mission to New York City, then offend the Big Apple by off-handedly referring to Ground Zero as a "hole in the ..." -- uh, wait, he did that already, too. Damn! Let's come back to Nagin again later.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee will be turned away at gunpoint while attempting to cross the 17th Street Canal Bridge. Lee will protest that he was just trying to attend the grand opening of the Camellia Grill, but state Rep. Karen Carter and movie director Spike Lee, both of whom will fire warning shots over Lee's head in the incident, will defend their actions as protecting Central City and Carrollton from unruly suburban cops.

Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard will strap himself to the leg of one of the parish's new pumping stations in advance of Tropical Storm Andrea, vowing to ride out the maelstrom while protecting Jefferson's property owners -- even though the storm will already have turned northward in the mid-Atlantic.

Former Gov. Edwin Edwards will be pardoned by President George Bush and immediately placed in charge of America's war effort in Iraq. "Cher, there's nothin' in that country that a coupla good casinos won't fix," Edward will say. "Dem casino boys got de best security in da world, so don' worry about no more car bombs. I'll keep them insurgents occupied at the craps tables, me."

Mayor Ray Nagin will insist that New Orleans' population is closing in on 300,000 as he awards lucrative garbage collection contracts to ... oh, hell, just forget it. I can't make up crazy enough stuff for that guy.

Happy New Year!

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