Monday, June 04, 2007

My funny Rep. William Jefferson story

Honesty isn't the only quality that freshly indicted Bill Jefferson is missing. He's a big klutz, too, and I can prove it.

It was 1995 and I was working as a reporter for CityBusiness, the weekly business journal in New Orleans.

Jefferson was well into his career as a congressman and considering a run for governor. As part of the process of testing the water, Jefferson came to the CityBusiness office to talk about his positions on issues important to the chamber crowd. I got to do the interview.

We met in the conference room, a glass-enclosed space on the back side of the lobby. We talked for about 30 minutes. He seemed nervous answering some of my questions, a fish out of water.

As the interview ended, we stood and shook hands, then Jefferson turned to exit the glass room. One of his handlers tried to guide him toward the glass panel that served as the door, but for some inexplicable reason Jefferson angled to the left and slammed full body into a crystal-clear wall.

I remember reacting first to the incredible noise that seemed to reverberate through the office. His staff seemed as stunned and uncertain about what to do next as I was. My biggest worry was that I would start laughing. Thankfully, I didn't

Jefferson was dazed. He put one hand to his head, turned around and glared at all of us as though his misstep was somehow our fault.

His handlers grabbed his arms and quickly escorted him out of the office.

He didn't run for governor that year. Maybe he saw the battle with the CityBusiness glass wall as a telling omen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Doubtful the state could have survived both Edwin Edwards and William Jefferson as governors. There really would be nothing left to raid, exploit and profit from as they both have seemed to serve Louisiana's citizens so well.