‘LaPolitics’: LegisGator event delivers the laughs

After being paused last year and rescheduled this fall, the annual LegisGator luncheon event, hosted by the Chamber SWLA, was held live and in person recently in Lake Charles. It was one of the last political events of the year prior to the ongoing holiday break.

As always, elected officials brought the funny for their speeches, beginning with U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, who recorded a video message for the luncheon. “I would much rather be back in America with you rather than in Washington, D.C., Kennedy said to laughter.

Chamber SWLA President George Swift had to follow the video message, but was up to the task. “He had the advantage on us because he was on video,” Swift told the audience. “I couldn’t stop him. … He didn’t get to tell his two or three bad jokes, though, so we saved some time. … I’m kidding!”

House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales, was asked to speak at the last minute, but managed as well. “If you had to pick one person who doesn’t like to speak, that would be me,” Schexnayder said. “But I am the speaker of the House.”

Schexnayder shared a few memories about his old friend, late Gov. Edwin Edwards. “After he got back from his long vacation, he wanted to have a good meal,” Schexnayder said while sharing one of those stories, clearly a reference to the former governor’s time in federal prison.

So on that occasion Schexnayder did just that—he took Edwards out for a nice dinner. As was usually the case, Edwards’ presence in the restaurant generated a bit of a buzz, the speaker recalled. At one point, a waiter came over and told Edwards there was a table of people requesting to meet him.

After they finished their meal, Schexnayder said he and Edwards made their way across the restaurant until they found the table of people who wanted to meet the political legend. It was two women. When Edwards noticed them, he stopped Schexnayder in his tracks and said, ”One second. I’m letting you know right now that you got the old one and I got the young one.”

The speeches weren’t a complete giggle-fest. Infrastructure policy was a topic that Gov. John Bel Edwards, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy and Congressman Garret Graves touched on. Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, meanwhile, used the event to announce the state was entering its alligator float (from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade) into the New Year’s Day Tournament of Roses Parade.

They said it: “He will be remembered as the infrastructure governor.” —State Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson introducing Gov. John Bel Edwards at the annual LegisGator event in Lake Charles earlier this month. 

Jeremy Alford publishes LaPolitics Weekly, a newsletter on Louisiana politics, at LaPolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter, or on Facebook. He can be reached at JJA@LaPolitics.com.