The August 2021 Blog
Volume 3, Edition 10
A Word from the
First Lady of Louisiana
Do You Really Want To Hear The Truth?
Do You Really Want to Hear the Truth?
As I write this month’s post, I can’t help but think about the crisis our state is facing during this fourth surge of COVID-19. I’m grateful to all of you who have received a vaccine and are wearing a mask. You are doing your part to help make our state safer and stop the destruction the Delta variant is having on adults and children alike – something we have never seen during this pandemic. My heart hurts for those affected and for the people who have yet to get vaccinated.
Do you really want to hear the truth? As I write out this question, a line from a famous movie, A Few Good Men, comes to mind, “You can’t handle the truth!” said actor Jack Nicholson. Is that where we are, is it that we can’t handle the truth, or do we no longer recognize the truth or facts? There is so much misinformation, TV reporting mistruths, social media conspiracies, and fake news. It doesn’t help that so many of our leaders don’t speak the truth. So, what are we to do? How in the world do we find the truth or recognize the truth when we see and hear it? There is so much misinformation preventing people from doing the right thing that it’s putting all of us in a perilous situation. So, what are we to do? Keep sharing the truth.
Honesty and integrity have always been the hallmarks of a strong character. We should expect these from all of our leaders. I’m very proud that John Bel, my husband, father of our children and governor of our great state, is a man of great integrity and honor. He has been for as long as I’ve known him. In high school, a civic organization gave him the Honesty and Integrity Award. His peers at West Point Military Academy selected him to serve as vice chairman of the Honor Committee. He has always been known as “Honest John.”
He is the same way today. As he makes difficult decisions about how to best protect Louisiana during this deadly virus, he consistently consults with medical experts across our state and nation. No matter the emergency our state faces, he surrounds himself with those who know first-hand what’s going on. He is always transparent and truthful about where we are. We are both grateful for the many letters, emails, and calls supporting his efforts.
Of course, we should always think for ourselves, but our decisions should be based on facts, not myths spread on social media or by people and sources that are not credible.
What makes me sad about this latest surge is how the defiance and ugliness of others affect our own family and friends, some of whom are nurses treating COVID patients who continue to complain about the vaccines and masks. Wow, I have no words.
We have family and friends who are teachers and have colleagues who are outright disrespectful to them, either by wearing masks on their chins or not at all. But those same educators demand their students follow the classroom rules to maintain safety and order. As teachers, we have always taught the Golden Rule. Did we forget what it means?
The real truth is that there are three safe, effective, free and widely available vaccines at more than 1,400 locations in our state. No one has died from the vaccines, but more than 11,000 Louisianans have died from the virus. The overwhelming majority of hospitalizations and deaths are among the unvaccinated. As many doctors and nurses who are on the frontlines in our hospitals have said, our only way of combating this latest surge is with vaccines and masks. Anyone in our state can call 211 to get their questions answered or find a vaccine location near them.
I also have loved ones who have chosen not to be vaccinated. I don’t agree with their decision, but I still love and am kind to them. Why? It is the right thing to do, and we are called to be good, honest, truthful, and kind.
John Bel works many late nights and weekends. I know he is tired both emotionally and physically. But I also know he is committed to doing what is right by our people and finds great joy serving our state. That’s a gift from God.
One evening after a recent press conference, I said to John Bel, “Don’t you just want to give up on these people who are so completely defiant of the facts?” In a caring and calm voice, he said, “Donna, I can’t give up on them.” Such compassion and patience. My husband genuinely cares.
Each morning before John Bel leaves for the day, we pray together. He often leads. We thank God for our blessings and pray for those who are sick, health care workers, family and friends and that our people will come together in unity. We offer it up and trust in the goodness of God to lead our day and bless our work.
As I close, I have one simple question: Can we just be nice to each other? Because if there is anything this virus has shown us it’s at the end of the day, we are all truly connected in some way. We are all children of God.
Love to all,
ProfTracy on TikTok has gone viral for combatting misinformation surrounding the coronavirus vaccine. She is a retired college professor and holds a PhD in microbiology and immunology. She creates videos which feature people who are spreading misinformation and de-bunks this misinformation in real time.
Watch her TikTok videos here.
Governor’s Fellow Experience
Written by Allison Hunt
My experience in the Governor’s Fellows program has been full of knowledge, passion, and connections that will last a lifetime. It’s given me a new love and appreciation for Louisiana and its people. Traveling to different parts of the state and meeting so many passionate people about making Louisiana the best it can be has inspired me to continue to do the same.
Working in the First Lady’s Office this summer has taught me so many things, one being that we have the best First Lady in the country! Along with her office, she works tirelessly to make life better for children, teachers, and survivors through her Louisiana First Foundation. Getting to learn and help with that work has been an eye-opening experience. I have found a passion for fighting against human trafficking, and I plan to keep fighting after the fellowship ends. The Governor grants the opportunity to present a policy that we wrote with the help of our assigned offices. We present the policy proposal to him and his cabinet at the end of our time in Baton Rouge. I have seen firsthand how government works in Louisiana and even get to play a small part.
LOUISIANA FIRST FOUNDATION
Yes Mam, No Mam, Thank you Mam = Teach MAM!
(Music, Arts, Movement)
03. GOVERNOR'S MANSION
It’s officially August! Time for summer activities to start winding down and school activities to start gearing up. As school days are upon us, one particular activity everyone at the Governor’s Mansion loves is welcoming our school tours to this beautiful property. Since 2016, schools from all over the state of Louisiana have come to the Governor’s Mansion to learn about its unique history and taste one of the famous Mansion Cookies! Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the Mansion is quiet, and we await the final call that the pandemic is behind us so we can have our school tours and visitors back again.
by Dr. Lucio Miele
PEOPLE OF LOUISIANA
Making A Difference
Marco D. French, M. Ed.
04. FEATURED RECIPE
MAKE LEMONS OUT
Leroy’s Lip Smack’n Lemonade Stand was started in 2012 in Leroy Hayward, III’s front yard as a participant in Raising Cane’s National Lemonade Day. The young entrepreneur thought it was a great way to give back to the New Orleans Children’s Hospital since the doctors there had done so much for Leroy. In 2014, he entered his lemonade in the Lemonade Day tasting contest, and won 1st place! At just six years old, Leroy became one of Louisiana’s youngest entrepreneurs. Leroy expanded the business by selling his lemonade at Tiger Stadium, the PMAC and at Matherne’s. In more recent years, the business began bottling its product and now sells the famous lemonade in over twenty stores.
SOMETHING TO DISCERN
05. PAST QUOTES
THE FIRST DOGS
06. THE FIRST DOGS
The First Dogs enjoying books on
National Book Lovers’ Day
07. OUR EDITOR
A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Delery has lived there all of her life except during undergraduate school and a brief stint in Seattle, WA. She is a mother to four boys, ranging in ages from 21 to 16, and they are the heart and soul of her life.
After graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications, she went on to receive a Masters in Non-Profit Management from Louisiana State University. Her volunteer work has mostly evolved from issues that have affected her personally. Actively engaged in disability rights advocacy, Delery has testified numerous times in the Louisiana Legislature regarding issues that affect persons with developmental disabilities. She served as the chair of the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council, worked for seven years directing regional advocacy efforts and is a graduate of Louisiana’s Partners In Policymaking.