Opinion: Sam Hanna, Jr. – Big G or big trouble

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Big G or big trouble

Louisiana’s U.S. Senate race got a bit nasty this week in light of an accusation that one of the candidates somehow was involved with prostitutes in Jeff Davis Parish who later turned up dead.

U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany of Lafayette is the candidate at the center of the controversy thanks to a new book that includes a chapter about Boustany and the hookers and one of Boustany’s former employees who allegedly operated a hotel frequented by ladies of the night.

Authored by Ethan Brown, “Murder in the Bayou” is the book in question. It’s scheduled to be released this month.

Brown cited anonymous sources in his reporting about the congressman and the former employee, whose stint as one of Boustany’s hired hands ended last week. Brown did not allege Boustany had anything to do with the deaths of the prostitutes. Boustany’s former employee, who’s known as “Big G” on the street, says the congress- man knew nothing about the hotel or the pros- titutes but Big G’s involvement with the hotel was confirmed.
Boustany has denied Brown’s allegations.

This “revelation” about Boustany probably would have gone unreported had it not been for an email dispatched this week by Boustany’s wife, Bridget. Her communiqué to the congressman’s supporters did not men- tion prostitutes. It suggested, though, that Boustany’s opponents were responsible for spreading the allegations about her husband, which she described as “lies.”

State Treasurer John Kennedy, who’s wide- ly regarded as the frontrunner in the Senate race, took umbrage with Bridget Boustany’s email and issued a rather pointed statement that’s certain to keep this controversy alive for weeks to come.

“I want to be very clear that my campaign played absolutely no role in creating this story alleging Congressman Boustany’s sexu- al relationships with prostitutes that were later murdered, his staff’s alleged involvement in running the bar and hotel where this illicit behavior took place, or publishing the book,” Kennedy said. His statement also noted that Kennedy and his wife are keeping the Boustany family in their prayers.

 Boustany and Kennedy are both Republicans. To some observers, Boustany represents Kennedy’s biggest threat among Republicans to make the run-off election in December.
It’s not uncommon to hear tales about members of the Congress sleeping around or chasing hookers or indulging in too much whiskey. It’s a bit eye-popping, though, to read about someone like Charles Boustany being accused of even frequenting a hotel where prostitutes supposedly were present. He’s known to be straight-laced and is widely respected throughout Acadiana.

Without a doubt, Team Boustany made a mistake by sending out an email under Bridget Boustany’s name calling attention to an allegation the press was ignoring because no one believed it. There’s reason not to believe it evidenced by Brown’s refusal to disclose who fingered the congressman.

Still, Brown’s book, including the chapter about Boustany, cannot be dismissed out of hand. It’s being published by one of the finest publishing houses in the world, Simon & Schuster. The book also is getting rave reviews.

Accordingly, a reasonable individual might conclude there might be some truth in these allegations of skullduggery.

Whatever the case might be, the Senate candidates now have something to talk about instead of pandering along and promising the voters anything and everything they’ll never deliver.

Sam Hanna is a state political writer.