Landry’s LSU Board of Supervisors Appointments Are Just Plain Awful

A release which popped out yesterday afternoon marked probably the worst action of Jeff Landry’s term in office so far, and we’re flabbergasted about it.

Today, Governor Jeff Landry announced his appointments to the Board of Supervisors of Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College.

John “Scott” Ballard
Rebecca F. Boniol
John H. Carmouche
Chester “Lee” Mallett
Esperanza E. Moran
Rémy V. Starns

Jimmie M. Woods shall continue to serve as chairman.

“We are excited to announce these appointments to the LSU Board of Supervisors today. These folks will bring the background and knowledge to ensure our flagship university properly educates and trains students for the workforce. I look forward to their great work,” said Governor Landry.

Let’s remember that there is no more plum appointment than a seat on the LSU Board of Supervisors.

Not all of these appointments are bad. Scott Ballard had been on the LSU Board during Bobby Jindal’s time in office and his return is a good thing. Esperanza Moran is the wife of longtime LSU booster and conservative donor Scotty Moran; she’ll be great. Rebecca Boniol is a lawyer in Lake Charles and the wife of Mark Boniol, who has the Chrysler dealership in Lake Charles. They’re big GOP donors.

Lee Mallett isn’t a good appointment but it was unavoidable. Mallett, who has a bunch of businesses in the Lake Charles area (and does a lot of government contracting), is one of those people who seems very effective at buddying up to power so that he can use it for his personal advantage. Mallett was a backer of Jindal, then he was a backer of John Bel Edwards, and now he’s a backer of Landry, so he’s impossible to get rid of on the LSU Board despite the fact he has a reputation as exactly the wrong kind of person to serve in a body like that.

Mallett is about Mallett. So much so that not too long ago when the Board was choosing its chairman and he lost to Pat Morrow, an Opelousas trial lawyer Edwards had appointed, Mallett skipped the next three board meetings out of spite.

It’s entirely possible he’s going to be chairman of the LSU Board before long.

Jimmie Woods staying chairman, at least until this fall, is a favor to Cleo Fields and Cedric Richmond. Woods, who has a garbage pickup and disposal company which went into bankruptcy two years ago amid a dispute with the city of New Orleans over payment for services, was another one of Edwards’ board appointees.

And Remy Starns was yet another. Starns is a personal injury and criminal defense lawyer in Metairie and he’s a massive left-wing Democrat. Given how many conservative Republican donors there are in Metairie it’s almost unfathomable those would have been passed over so that Starns could keep his board seat.

Let’s remember that the LSU Board of Supervisors was unanimous in giving its imprimatur to one of the most disgraceful actions in university history just a short while ago when it defenestrated Troy Middleton, one of America’s most prominent heroes of World War II and the longtime president of the university.

Middleton’s name was abruptly pulled off the school’s main library in the midst of a power play by Edwards’ appointees on the board, a Black Lives Matter-driven cancel-fest over a long-forgotten letter Middleton had written to the then-president at the University of Texas over how to integrate black students into campus life. Middleton wrote that it was preferable to keep the black students apart from the general population of the university where possible, something which now comes off as racist but in the context of the time was actually fairly prudent because the first few black LSU students, including A.P. Tureaud, who now has a university building named for him, were so horribly treated that most of them left.

That context wasn’t heeded, and instead Middleton was unceremoniously packed off to obscurity to the outrage of his family (large LSU donors in their own right) and their friends.

Mallett, Starns and Woods were part of that unanimous vote. It should have disqualified them from future service. That it didn’t disqualify Mallett is depressing but not surprising. But Starns and Woods? These are Democrats, and bad Democrats at that.

What this signals is that regardless of what the voters of Louisiana demand, and very clearly at the ballot box, by the way, the slimeball ruling class in this state will wash each other’s backs. The voters wanted the Jimmie Woodses and Remy Starnses gone from positions of power; that’s why Democrats couldn’t win anything other than a few ghettoized legislative seats last fall.

And yet, what the voters want doesn’t matter. Because these discredited little aristocratic piglets go right on feeding at the trough under a supposed conservative Republican governor just like they did when a Democrat held the governor’s mansion.

Which brings us to John Carmouche, whose appointment is a colossal slap in the face to the people who elected Jeff Landry.

There are two reasons John Carmouche doesn’t belong on that board. Probably there are more than two, but these are the obvious ones which make the appointment impossible to explain.


First is that John Carmouche is the head honcho of the cabal of trial attorneys who got together to convince the parish governments in Louisiana’s coastal parishes to sue the major oil companies for the loss of the state’s coastline.

We’ve gone through, ad nauseam, why this is an awful, disgraceful and disqualifying idea. Suffice it to say that the canals cut into the marshlands of Louisiana’s coastal parishes were cut pursuant to permits the state issued, and even in the dubious proposition that the canals, rather than the leveeing of the Mississippi River to its mouth by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, are responsible for coastal loss those permits would immunize the oil companies from liability decades later.

John Carmouche is quite responsible for Louisiana’s oil and gas industry’s significant swoon over the past decade, and for that reason he shouldn’t be anywhere near a prominent place in state government. Having him on the LSU Board of Supervisors puts the millions of dollars of contributions from ExxonMobil, Chevron and the other large oil and gas players who give to the university at risk. It’s reckless and irresponsible to put him on that board.

But it’s worse even than that. Carmouche was also one of the largest donors to Gumbo PAC, the sleazy Democrat organ which spent more than $10 million in each of the 2015 and 2019 elections attacking David Vitter and Eddie Rispone and creating the disaster which was John Bel Edwards’ eight years in office in the first place. He threw millions of dollars into an organization which turned the 2015 election into a debate about hookers when the state’s future hung in the balance, and then four years later Gumbo PAC wasted the public’s time calling Rispone a crook based on guilt-by-association allegations about things which happened 25 years before the election.

How is a Republican governor rewarding that behavior by putting one of the Democrats’ biggest political donors in one of the most plum appointed positions Louisiana has to offer?

Robert Dampf, who Carmouche replaces on the board, was infinitely less harmful.

These appointments are horrible not just because of who the appointees are but the loss of opportunity they represent. In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis is putting people like education reform champion Christopher Rufo on the boards of public universities and a real difference is being made in turning them around from woke indoctrination factories to something which produces quality entrepreneurs, professionals and leaders.

Jeff Landry has the power to do the same thing at LSU. Even Bill Tate, the university’s president who came up the ranks as an academic writing DEI bilge scholarship papers claiming that math is racist, has shown he’s on board with whatever Landry wants to do. Tate turns out to be much more of a careerist than an ideologue; he might get the hell out of Dodge as soon as another opportunity presents itself, but in the meantime you can drive LSU to the point where it becomes a public version of Liberty University or Hillsdale College and he’s unlikely to object so long as the money comes in.

And instead we’re leaving the LSU Board of Supervisors in the hands of the John Bel Edwards Fan Club.


We’re tempted to say Landry’s just getting bad advice from somebody. But honestly, we’re not buying that excuse at this point. He should know better. Much better. And now what this calls into question is whether the state’s voters, who overwhelmingly wanted to depose the slimeball ruling class who put us in the terrible position we’re in, haven’t been played.



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