Hurricane Katrina Forest Recovery

As we work together to tackle the historic challenge that Hurricane Katrina has presented to the forestry communities of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, we hope that this blog will be a valuable resource and tool.

Friday, April 7

Bay St. Louis Mayor Makes Statement With Shorts

The Sun Herald

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Mayor Eddie Favre realized he'd lost almost everything but the shirt on his back and his shorts. In a symbolic gesture to draw attention to the situation of thousands in his small town, Favre vowed he wouldn't wear long pants until Bay St. Louis was well on its way to recovery. And he hasn't. Not when he attended the wedding of his girlfriend's son. Not when he met with the governor. Not even on the several occasions he's met with the president of the United States.

"I arrive here at this important school, and he's got short pants on. Eddie, I like a man who sticks to his guns," President Bush once said, according to a CNN transcript. The president's comment drew the attention of David Letterman. "It got talked about on the Letterman Show," Favre told the Washington Post. "He mentioned this yo-yo with short pants who met the president."

"You're wearing shorts!" a female Washington, D.C., radio reporter (quoted in a Washington Post story last week) said to Favre on March 29 at the 62nd annual Radio & Television Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington. The mayor attended the black tie affair at the invitation of CNN correspondent and former Bay St. Louis resident Kathleen Koch, but only after explaining in advance, and with no disrespect intended, why he'd attend only if CNN didn't mind if he wore short pants. "Are you a sports guy? Or are you an eccentric?" asked the reporter, according to the Post story.

"I'm a lunatic," said Favre, sporting white socks, sneakers and a tuxedo top. Smiling, he added, "I'm a mayor." Favre said it's not about disrespect. It's about calling attention to the situation.
"Whatever it takes to get the attention here to solve the problems we have, to get the assistance we need, I'll do it. For the folks here, whatever it takes," said Favre.

And it's working. "Who is Eddie Favre and why was he wearing shorts?" Houston Chronicle political journalist Julie Mason wrote on her Web log recently. To call attention to issues no one wants to raise is Favre's reply. "We've got to get our residents back from out of state. We've got to take care of individuals," he said. "One of the biggest issues for the city is the lost revenue that nobody is talking about."

So when will he kiss the short pants goodbye? A year? Two years? A decade?

"I'm not sure when that point will be. But hopefully when we see it, we'll know it," Favre said. "I would like to think that it will be in our lifetime. That if I get buried in shorts, it will be out of choice. Not out of necessity."


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