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Books and Crooks in the Pelican State

This one came through Infodocket, and boy is it a hoot. Voters in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana had to decide this weekend whether to take money away from the library and dedicate it to a new jail.

That’s a serious issue, and apparently they’re putting so many people in jail down there that the local prison is severely overcrowded. I’m betting most of those people in jail weren’t heavy library users, either, so it’s only fair that the more folks the lock up the more money they need.

We all know libraries are chronically overfunded, or at least this one is, according to the Council Chairman wanting to take away the library’s money and build a jail with it.

“They’ve got too much money,” Toups said. “We’re giving the public the chance to raise the jail money without raising taxes. Any blind man can see that.”

It seems some of the non-blind people in Lafourche disagree, and saying “any blind man can see that” isn’t very persuasive when there are so relatively few blind men around to see it.

But the Council Chairman had a lot more to say. It’s not that he would rather build jails than libraries. It’s that he hates the library. Here, at least according to the article, is what he said, although my first thought was the quote was mangled because it sounds so stupid:

“They’re teaching Mexicans how to speak English,” the council chairman said in reference to Biblioteca Hispana, a Hispanic-language segment of the Golden Meadow library branch. “Let that son of a bitch go back to Mexico. There’s just so many things they’re doing that I don’t agree with. … Them junkies and hippies and food stamps (recipients) and all, they use the library to look at drugs and food stamps (on the Internet). I see them do it.”

Who elects people like this? Oh, never mind. Let’s try to make some sense of this.

Is the library teaching Mexicans how to speak English? We can’t really tell from the comment. There are Spanish speakers apparently living in Lafourche Parish and the library has a section of Spanish books at one library branch.

Are they all from Mexico? I’m no geographer, but I think there are a lot of other countries south of us that speak Spanish.

And how exactly is the library buying Spanish books for Spanish-speaking patrons teaching them to speak English? Wouldn’t that be allowing them to not learn English in order to read books from the library?

I’m now as confused as the councilman. I figured a guy like him would be one of those English-only conservatives who want to limit the country to the only language he sort of speaks.

However, it seems there’s only one Mexican really using the library, and, in the words of the councilman, he’s a “son of a bitch.” He’s probably not the only one around there.

But the last sentence is truly the best. Hippies? Really? Have there been any hippies in Louisiana since the end of Easy Rider? What decade does this guy think we live in?

The final bit is laugh out loud funny. This guy sees people “look at drugs and food stamps (on the Internet).” Can that really be the quote?

I just did a Google Image search and looked at food stamps on the Internet. I have to say, they’re much more tasteful than some things people could be viewing at their libraries.

I also looked at some drugs on the Internet, specifically Tylenol and Bufferin. The blue Bufferin packaging is much more soothing, while the Tylenol red is VERY bright. Perhaps he saw someone looking at Tylenol on the Internet and was just shocked at how bright a red that is. I know I was.

The good news is that there are probably some books on English grammar and maybe even critical thinking in the library that could help people make a coherent proposal without talking about people looking at food stamps on the Internet.

The bad news is that the people who could most use a good book are the least likely to seek one out.

The best news from all of this is that the voters of Lafourche Parish decided they’d rather have their library than a new jail, or at least 54% of the 15.1% of voters who bothered to vote wanted it.

So 8.1% of the voters decided they’d prefer the library to a jail. I guess that’s not a great statistic, but it was good enough this time.

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Comments

  1. Bob Dailey says:

    Mr. Toups, being of Acadian descent, somehow forgot that two generations ago, most of his friends and relatives, along with almost everyone else “Down the Bayou” spoke French. Imagine that! They actually went to school to learn English. From reading Mr. Toups’ inability to corrrectly use the English language, perhaps he could use some help from the library he proposed to shut down.

  2. Desdemona says:

    Hey, good for the people of La Fourche Parish! I have always loved the library and am so disappointed that in the last (10 years?)they’re subject to budget cuts,it seems, all the time!
    Thanks also, Annoyed Librarian,I really needed to hear your hilarious feedback- and btw I agree with every word! And thank you Bob Dailey. I hadn’t remembered that many Louisiana folks are of French descent.

    This Mr. Toups’ comments actually *do* sound like a joke -a mean joke on people from that area!

  3. Lafourche parish resident says:

    You be damn Toups for his comments, then hitch his wagon to conservatives? Really? Isn’t that what you criticized him for doing? FYI, he is a Democrat, assuming arm locked with your party affiliation. This article was a great read, except for that bit of bias.

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