Best member of
the Louisiana Legislature
1. Rep. Walt Leger III (www.waltleger.com)
For the third consecutive year, our readers chose the youthful House Speaker Pro Tempore, who represents parts of Uptown, Central City and the Garden District, as their favorite state legislator. Leger has a record to justify that selection — he champions fiscal responsibility, equal pay for women, improved flood protection and full funding for K-12 and higher education, among other important issues. He's also one of the most respected and well-liked lawmakers in the Capitol.
The 37-year-old Leger was Gov. John Bel Edwards' choice for House Speaker in January, but he narrowly lost that contest in a highly partisan vote. Immediately thereafter, however, he was re-elected Speaker Pro Tempore by a unanimous vote. Even in the No. 2 position, he remains one of the most effective members of the House.
2. Rep. Helena Moreno (www.facebook.com/staterephelenamoreno)
3. Sen. Karen Carter Peterson (www.facebook.com/karencarterpeterson)
Best potential candidate
for New Orleans mayor
1. Sidney Torres IV
2. Stacy Head
3. LaToya Cantrell
Best next job for Mitch Landrieu
1. Garbage collector
2. Street repair engineer
So, voters: you want the current mayor to become a garbageman, presumably as an insult to him, and as his replacement you want to elect ... a garbageman. We can't tell whether you're being ironic or much kinder to the garbage business, or if you believe picking up trash is punishment to some and saintly for others. Torres, celebrity trash man and Trumpian real estate mogul, revealed in a 2016 Gambit cover story that he's sort of thinking about making a run. Landrieu is finishing his final term. Who will fill the garbage vacuum?
Best local scandal
1. Irvin Mayfield library scandal
This one went from local scandal to national story: When trumpeter Irvin Mayfield was chairman of the New Orleans Public Library Foundation, he transferred $863,000 of the foundation's money to the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO), where he also was a board member. That money helped build NOJO's new home, the Peoples Health Jazz Market in Central City. Mayfield has resigned both positions and NOJO has promised to pay back some of the money, but revelations about Mayfield's spending continue to trickle out, including an $18,000 five-night stay at the Ritz-Carlton in New York that featured a $1,435 breakfast.
Mayfield still isn't talking, but his critics won't be quiet. A group called Make NOJO Pay erected a billboard near the Jazz Market, and business cards with Mayfield's image and the legend "BOYCOTT THIS THIEF" have shown up at events from Mardi Gras parades to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, where someone festooned a for-sale rack of Mayfield's CDs with the cards.
Meanwhile, WWL-TV's David Hammer, who has been breaking news on the story for more than a year, reported in June that federal investigators have questioned some people close to the matter.
2. Confederate monuments
3. David Vitter's "very serious sin"