Hurricane Katrina of 2005 saw many Louisiana residents temporarily move to Texas. A popular Hurricane Katrina joke was: “Half of Louisiana is under water and the other half is under indictment.” Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal referenced the old joke in his Republican response to President Obama’s address to Congresss in February 2009.
Credit for the line is often given to Bobby Tauzin, who represented Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional district from 1980-2005. However, in a 1992 Congressional subcommittee meeting, Tauzin prefaced his remarks with “someone said.”
Texas political humorist Molly Ivins (1944-2007) was given credit for “Half the state is under water, the other half is under indictment” in 1991. The earliest recorded citation has been in the May 7, 1985 Dallas (TX) Morning News: “Brief conversation with a guy calling from near Louisiana Downs—‘Greetings from Louisiana, where half the state is under water and the other half is under indictment.’”
Wikipedia: Billy Tauzin
Wilbert Joseph Tauzin II (born June 14, 1943), usually known as Billy Tauzin, American lobbyist and politician of Cajun descent, is President and CEO of PhRMA, a pharmaceutical company lobby group. He was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1980 to 2005, representing Louisiana’s 3rd congressional district.
7 May 1985, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Sports Today” by Harless Wade:
Brief conversation with a guy calling from near Louisiana Downs—“Greetings from Louisiana, where half the state is under water and the other half is under indictment.”
Google News Archive
22 March 1991, Spartanburg (SC) Herald-Journal, “Longest part: Porch to driveway” by Joe Murray, pg. A8, col. 3:
South Louisiana is such a lowland that the ground water won’t let the dead stay buried. Columnist Molly Ivins of Austin, who is so funny that it hurts, put all of Louisiana into one sentence: “Half the state is under water, the other half is under indictment.”
Cable television regulation: hearings before the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and Finance of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives, One Hundred Second Congress, first session, on H.R. 1303 and H.R. 2546, bills to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to provide increased consumer protection and competition in the cable television and related markets and to promote more rapid development and deployment of a nationwide advanced telecommunications infrastructure using emerging communications technologies, Volume 4
By United States. Congress. House. Committee on Energy and Commerce. Subcommittee on Telecommunications and Finance
Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office
The gentleman’s time has expired. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Louisiana, Mr. Tauzin.
MR. TAUZIN. Louisiana, the State that somebody said is half underwater and half under indictment. We’ve got our problems, you know.
Seattle (WA) Times
Originally published Tuesday, June 21, 2005 at 12:00 AM
Froma Harrop / Syndicated columnist
Porked-up water act throws good money after bad
Louisiana is famous for — how shall we put it? — its colorful politics. And so Sen. David Vitter got an easy laugh from Washington with the quip, “In Louisiana, we’re half under water and half under indictment.”
New York (NY) Daily News
THE AWFUL UGLY TRUTH. Why we couldn’t save the people of New Orleans
BY ERROL LOUIS
Sunday, September 4th 2005, 1:62AM
These government failures are not merely a matter of incompetence. Louisiana and New Orleans have a long, well-known reputation for corruption: as former congressman Billy Tauzin once put it, “half of Louisiana is under water and the other half is under indictment.”
Washington (DC) Times
Rudderless in New Orleans
9:38 p.m., Tuesday, September 6, 2005
The city of New Orleans issued a “Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan” for hurricanes well before Katrina arrived, and the document gives a window into how city officials saw their roles in the aftermath of a hurricane. The city envisioned itself taking charge of issuing a warning, ordering and managing evacuation, arranging for busses for those without any other transportation, setting up and maintaining shelters, and other critical duties. Given the corruption in municipal agencies—one not necessarily cynical Louisiana politician remarked that “half the state is under water and half is under indictment”—it was inevitable that a picture of responsibilities unfulfilled would emerge after a storm like Katrina.
The Big Easy rocked, but didn’t roll
By Mark Steyn
Published: 12:01AM BST 06 Sep 2005
Congressman Billy Tauzin once said of his state: “One half of Louisiana is under water and the other half is under indictment.” Last week, four fifths of New Orleans was under water and the other four fifths should be under indictment - which is the kind of arithmetic the state’s deeply entrenched kleptocrat political culture will have no trouble making add up.
Los Angeles (CA) Times
Full text of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s Republican response
February 24, 2009 | 8:32 pm
In my home state, there used to be saying: At any given time, half of Louisiana is underwater—and the other half is under indictment.
No one says that anymore. Last year, we passed some of the strongest ethics laws in the nation—and today, Louisiana has turned her back on the corruption of the past.
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Saturday, September 25, 2010 • Permalink