Retired Army Gen. Russel Honore’, perhaps the last candidate who could seriously shake up Louisiana’s gubernatorial candidate field, said he will announce Wednesday whether he will run.
Honore’, who has no party affiliation, is best-known for leading the recovery effort in New Orleans immediately following Hurricane Katrina. He is a Point Coupee Parish native who lives in Baton Rouge.
He told Gannett Louisiana on Tuesday the four announced candidates “should be sweating” his potential candidacy.
So far three Republicans – Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and U.S. Sen. David Vitter – and lone Democrat state Rep. John Bel Edwards have announced they will run.
Honore’, who describes himself as African-American Creole, would be the only minority in the race so far.
Pearson Cross, a political scientist at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, said Honore’ would be an immediate factor should he run.
“He would change the race given his credentials,” Cross said. “He would attract independent voters and have a strong message of accomplishment, so I think he would make an interesting addition.”
Honore formed a consulting and public speaking company after retiring from the army in 2008 and has also been an advocate for the environment, saying the state “has been raped of its natural resources.”
Honore was also asked about the growing national movement to remove the Confederate battle flag from official government buildings like the South Carolina Capitol.
“There are many ways to maintain your heritage without displaying it as an official symbol of government,” he said. “So I think it’s time to move on and focus on the future. The Confederate flag can still be recognized in museums and history classes, but it’s symbolic of something many people find hurtful and offensive.”
The Confederate battle flag doesn’t fly on Louisiana state buildings, but it is part of a specialty license plate design honoring the Sons of the Confederacy.
“We ought to go back and redesign that plate,” he said.
But Honore’ also said Louisiana “has bigger fundamental problems than a symbol of the past. “We have the worst roads, education, pollution and we’re broke,” he said
“Somebody has to knuckle up and do something,” Honore’ said, although he wouldn’t reveal if it would be him. “You’ll have to wait until (Wednesday morning) to find out.”