Once in a way, criminals do stuff that’s bizarre enough to earn at least a mention in the Lake Area’s most beloved column.
Consider the case of one Sarah Parker, a 24-year-old Moss Bluff woman who was recently arrested after she’d been driving around. You’d think from her mug shot that she was a sweet, precious angel. Problem was, there were a few unusual things about Parker’s driving. For starters, it is alleged, she was doing it while there was a dead body in the trunk of the car.
Oh, and did I mention and that her 1- and 2-year-old children were sitting in the car? Sorry I overlooked that. It’s probably worth noting.
Now, about that dead body in the trunk. That was the body of Selena Kyle. And who was Selena Kyle? Oh, she was the wife of the man who was sitting in the passenger seat while Parker was driving around. I guess I forgot to mention that, too.
Well, Parker’s done a lot for somebody who’s just 24. I’m not sure she’ll be such an overachiever in jail, though. After this kind of performance, I imagine she’ll be expected to enroll in developmental gangster skills 099. I hear that can be a pretty rough course.
Now, let’s turn to another area case that, in its own weird way, is just as bizarre. An Oakdale man, Christopher Mitchell, was recently arrested after he ingested formaldehyde. Yes, you read it right. Formaldehyde. He told authorities he was smoking something called “wet,” which is, apparently, marijuana mixed with embalming fluid.
Does the ingestion of formaldehyde have any effects on the human being? Well, it might. It allegedly inspired Mitchell to take a walk in the nude at the intersection of US 165 and La. 10 East. While he was hanging out there in his birthday suit, he did some things it’s probably just as well not to mention in this magazine. He was booked on one count of obscenity.
How do these sorts of things happen? Were there two big marijuana dealers sitting around talking one day?
“Dawg, it’s great that we’re making so much money that we don’t have to work. But all we’re doing is sitting around on this ratty couch all day watching University of Phoenix commercials. Maybe we should do something.”
“Well, I don’t know. Maybe we could mix some weed with some of the formaldehyde pawpaw left in those big old bottles down in the basement.”
“Why not? Can’t hurt. At least it’ll kill some time.”
And thus it is, perhaps, that great new drugs for morons come into being.
RIP Polk Salad Man
I only mention the recent death of popular singer Tony Joe White because when he died on Oct. 24, I learned from the obituaries that he was considered a “swamp rock” legend. One obit stated “White’s ‘swamp rock’ music had elements of Cajun, country, blues, rock and R&B.”
White wrote the song “Polk Salad Annie,” which I always thought was one of the funniest, quirkiest feel-good pop songs there is. I also feel it was just plain good, solid, well-conceived music.
White also wrote the autobiographical ballad “Rainy Night in Georgia,” which Brook Benton turned into a hit. It’s a lyrical bittersweet song that’s deeply moving.
Given his musical output, it’s no surprise that White grew up in Louisiana. He wrote “Rainy Night” in 1967 and scored with “Polk Salad Annie” in 1969. He toured with such acts as Steppenwolf, Sly and the Family Stone and fellow Louisianans Creedence Clearwater Revival. He wrote Tina Turner’s big 1980s hit “Steamy Windows.”
It appears that this swamp pop wonder never stopped working. His last album, Bad Mouthin’, was released in September. South died on Oct. 24 at the age of 75.
This Headline Has Certain Uses
My all-time favorite political sentence comes from Amendment No. 4 as it appeared on the Nov. 6 ballot. The amendment concerned the Transportation Trust Fund of Louisiana.
The sentence goes like this: “The Constitution allows the fund to be used for certain uses …”
Dude, I love that more than I love my dog. That’s a hoot and holler and then some.
That silly sentence is inspiring me to undertake a whole new way of writing. I can imagine that in the future, Up Front will start like this: “You should know that this column can be used for certain uses. Also, this sentence can be used for certain uses. In fact, every damn thing in this column can be used for certain uses. There are all sorts of things in the world that can be used for certain uses. Let’s look at a few of them …” Now that’s a column you can look forward to reading.
Do Not Approach The Bench
You may feel that there’s some attorney in the Lake Area whom you think is a particularly bad actor. But before you pass final judgment on that attorney, you might want to take a trip to Mamou and find out about a lawyer there named Timmy James Fontenot.
The Louisiana Supreme Court has now permanently banned Fontenot from practicing law. The court had already disbarred Fontenot once, but had ruled that he would be eligible for re-admission to the bar in 2022. That’s no longer an option for him. He’s no longer legally allowed to practice law in the state.
Here’s a short list of some of the things the Supreme Court and the Office of Disciplinary Counsel allege Fontenot did to get his permanently extended leave of absence; he is alleged to have:
— Settled a case for a client for $52,000 without getting the client’s consent.
— Forged his client’s signature in order to get the settlement.
— Made withdrawals from the client’s trust account.
— Paid a client $200,000 for a case he settled for $275,000. (The Louisiana Supreme Court says Fontenot still hasn’t been able to explain what happened to the missing $75,000.)
— Forged documents that assured his client that the full amount of the settlement was $200,000.
Fontenot probably didn’t help his case any by the way he behaved when complaints were filed against him in 2016. He allegedly did nothing at all for several weeks. He then denied everything — but only in writing. When he was required to appear to be sworn in and provide documents, he was a no-show.
Fontenot also had better things to do in the next year when he was scheduled to appear before the Office of Disciplinary Counsel on formal charges. But the counsel didn’t seem to be too busy. It took the time to hand down a guilty verdict for Fontenot. Do you think the counsel members would have been more polite if they’d tracked Fontenot down and told him in person? It sounds as if Fontenot really has a hard time getting others to accommodate themselves to his busy schedule.
Teepel. Where Have I Heard That Name?
There’s been little, if any, talk about former Gov. Bobby Jindal since Louisiana got shook of him. But one of Jindal’s old big dogs is getting talked about a lot … in Missouri.
Do you remember the name Timmy Teepel? Sure you do. He was the main spokesman for Jindal’s years-long run for the U.S. presidency.
Well, Teepel’s been racking up the headlines in Missouri. Teepel was recently doing campaign work for Josh Hawley, the Missouri DA who was running for the state’s U.S. Senate seat. Apparently, Teepel did some of his work in the attorney general’s office, where he allegedly ordered the employees to perform tasks for Hawley’s senate campaign.
Emails sent to The Kansas City Star stated that Teepel and others in his team “gave direct guidance and tasks to [the DA’s] taxpayer-funded staff, and followed up to ensure the tasks were completed.” An Advocate story on the matter stated that Teepel’s job assignments covered such things as “budgeting” and “staffing.”
I’ve got a stupid question. Is it standard protocol for a bunch of dudes to walk into a state attorney general’s office and start giving orders to the employees? I have another stupid question. Is it legal to do that? And now I have a really extra-stupid question. Is this the sort of thing we’d expect to read about Team Jindal if people were still writing about Team Jindal?
The Advocate’s Stephanie Grace quoted a statement Hawley made when he was elected AG: “To the political establishment … consultants and lobbyists and the professional political class who’ve gotten used to running our state — your day is over; business as usual is done.” Then she closed with a funny: “I guess that memo got lost somewhere between Missouri and Louisiana.”
(In the election, Hawley defeated the controversial Claire McCaskill by nearly 6 points — an outcome that confounded prognosticators.)
Been Walkin’ ‘Round London Talkin’ To Blokes …
With her recent story, Grace included a link to a story she wrote about Team Jindal back in 2015. It’s not a pretty golden oldie. But it sure is funny.
Grace wrote about a fund-raising tour that Jindal made in Europe at the time. His main speech was given in London. He promised that in this speech, he would “expose the truth about radical Islam.”
The “truth” Jindal exposed to his not-very-happy London audience related to a report that had aired on Fox News during which an “expert” stated that in London, there were areas where the Muslims were so dangerous police refused to go to them. The “expert” called these alleged areas “no-go zones.”
This assertion didn’t go over very well in London or in Britain as a whole. You could say that British Prime Minister David Cameron’s criticism of the statements was direct. Cameron called Fox’s expert a “complete idiot.”
Turns out Fox News wasn’t too crazy about the expert either. The network both retracted and apologized for his statements.
You’d think that would have been the end of it. Nope. The fact is, there are some politicians who just never met a conspiracy theory they didn’t like.
Jindal told the skeptical London crowd that he had “heard from folks here that there are neighborhoods where women don’t feel comfortable going in without veils.” Can you imagine Bobby Jindal padding around London neighborhoods asking assorted residents about the area veil situation?
Jindal was the proverbial fish out of water. And whose fault was that? Did you guess “the radical left”? You’re right!
At the non-event, Jindal told a CNN reporter that “the radical left absolutely wants to pretend like this problem is not here.” Well, yeah. Probably the reason for that was that the problem was not there.
You Don’t Have To Write Poetry. Really.
Lafayette Daily Advertiser reporter Amanda McElfresh must have drunk a funk ton of coffee before she made this Twitter post on the Friday before the big LSU game.
“Gas in the tank.
“Money in the bank.
“LSU’s about to beat the boys from Alabam.
“Then the Saints are gonna take it to the Rams.
“The sun’s in the sky.
“I’m making this up on the fly.
“Geaux Tigers. Who Dat. Goodbye.”
OK! Well that’s … existent.
Way back in 1967, some dude standing at the corner of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco started telling every person who walked by that he or she was born with a talent for writing poetry and absolutely must write poetry. But it turned out that wasn’t actually correct. If you think you should write poetry, but there’s something else you’d rather do, do that. If there’s anything you’d rather do, do that.
“People’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ Revealed”
“She got engaged, her cousin wore the ring”
— Headlines from CNN, both on Nov. 6
“Taste, easy secret to this tailgate favorite”
— CNN, also Nov. 6. No matter how many times I read that headline. I cannot figure out what it means. And I’m not going to click the headline and read the story that goes with it in order to figure out what it means.
So, I see that in a Books-A-Million advertisement, the Harry Potter Advent Calendar is placed right next to The Tattooist of Auschwitz. It’s too deep for me!