Washington Mardi Gras has always been a regional affair, based on the turf of the sitting chairman, who this year happens to be U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins, R-Port Barre. This go around, however, that traditional regional influence is split between Morgan City and Lake Charles, which are the home bases of king Greg Hamer and queen Madeline Noble, respectively.
“Close to 30 percent of the attendees this year are from those areas,” says senior lieutenant Tyron Picard.
Gérard Araud, the French ambassador to the U.S., hosted a reception at his home for Hamer and Noble on Wednesday evening, just prior to the annual shindig put on by Cheniere Energy at the Institute of Peace.
Our U.S. senators didn’t make it to the Cheniere event due to the ongoing impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, but other key legislators and staffers made appearances. There have been more noticeable absences, though, due to those we lost since last Washington Mardi Gras, including former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, late senior lieutenant Ted Jones, former king Ray Brandt and Bill Oliver broadcaster Cokie Roberts.
“For the krewe leadership, it has left somewhat of a somber tone,” Picard says. “A special tribute has been planned this year.”
They said it: “No, I do not know who the chairs of the money committees will be. But I have been appointed lead counsel on the speaker’s defense team.”—State Rep. John Stefanski, R-Crowley, after being asked about House committee assignments at the Washington Hilton.