Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-New Orleans) was the center of attention Monday afternoon in Leesville, as Fort Polk Progress hosted a special luncheon honoring Landrieu for her efforts in supporting Fort Polk in the area's efforts to not only maintain the current troop strength at Fort Polk, but potentially increase it.
Landrieu was joined by James Carville, a campaign consultant and Louisiana native who is known for his help in former President Bill Clinton'e election campaign in 1992. Carville was also a fraternity brother with Sen. John Smith.
Carville said that Fort Polk Progress' efforts, along with Landrieu, make sense from just about any citizen's point of view.
"For me, this makes sense not just in the terms of a personal and emotional connection...but it makes sense as just a citizen of the United States who cares about the young people serving in the military," he said. Carville, who spent time in the U.S. Marine Corps, said that "there's a real soft spot in my heart for the Army."
Carville and others in attendance, including former U.S. Representative Claude "Buddy" Leach, had nothing but kind words to say about Landrieu.
"We've got the right person on our side," he said about Landrieu. "This state comes first to her...She's the first one in the fight and the last one to leave."
"Mary Landrieu has delivered more to Louisiana than any senator or congressman ever has," Leach said.
Landrieu turned around and gave praise for Fort Polk Progress Chairman Mike Reese, telling about the beginnings of Fort Polk Progress a decade ago.
"I said that I can do my part in the Senate," she said. "I just need a group for us to dance with. You guys sent me Mike Reese, and let me tell you, he can flat out jitterbug.
"You think he's going to do X, but he does X plus, or you think he's going to do Y, but he does triple of Y," Landrieu said. "You think you know what's going to do, but he does so much more.
Landrieu commended Vernon Parish and the surrounding communities for the job they have done so far.
"What you all have done is amazing, with the schools and the quality of life," she said.
"This is completely integrated with the community," she said. "It's not just the base over here, booming and busting, and then the community reacting. It's one integrating, fighting force."
She said that while she was not around when Dwight Eisenhower and George Patton trained at Leesville, but she knew what their reaction would be if they saw the support the community has given to Fort Polk.
"I know they would be very proud of this room today," she said.
Page 2 of 2 - Carville said that there's still plenty of fight left in the battle to save Fort Polk.
"Maybe we've got to be a little pushy, stay a little longer, and fight a little harder," he said. "But we're gonna do it."