New Orleans Politics: The Empty Podium Ad

I’ve described the New Orleans Mayoral election as a snooze fest both here and at the Bayou Brief. It’s starting to get more interesting after a mistake made by one of the leading contenders, Desiree Charbonnet. It involved a forum held by the Voice of the People PAC, which is actually the voice of reality teevee star, one-time celebrity garbage man, and man-bun wearer Sidney Torres hereinafter the Trashanova.

The Trashanova flirted with running for Mayor himself but decided instead to be an “influencer” by throwing his weight and money around. Given that he comes from one of the leading political families in St. Bernard Parish, his claim to be a reformer is ironic to say the least. Torres decided to have a debate, which turned into a trap for Charbonnet.

While this may have been a lose-lose situation for Charbonnet, she chose the most damaging path: to skip the forum at the last-minute and have her spokesperson complain about the rules. Here’s how I put it on Zuckerbook:

The Trasanova’s first attack ad features an empty podium, not an empty chair but the effect is the same. It makes her look cowardly, which is a bad look in the African-American community where people like a fighter.

Here’s the attack ad:

Here’s the deal:  the Trashanova’s “charges” against Charbonnet and her political family are already out there. There’s an anti-Charbonnet web site, which, to be blunt, is unconvincing. Charbonnet *is* guilty of hypocrisy: she’s a machine pol claiming to be a “reformer.” But all the attack site proves is that she uses patronage like every other local pol. Hypocrisy and criminality are not the same thing.

Unless the Trashanova has new mud to sling, Charbonnet would have been wise to attend his vanity debate, stand her ground, and fight. The controversy would be over and he wouldn’t be able to show an empty podium in his attack ad.