Governor Edwards Criticizes Lafayette Mayor-President’s “Failure of Leadership” on Mask Mandate

Photo courtesy of John Bel Edwards’ office

Governor John Bel Edwards made the news on Friday when he criticized Lafayette’s city government concerning their mask mandate vote. In a live interview with the Washington Post’s opinion columnist, Karen Tumulty, he was asked, “…Governor Edwards, you’ve had some push back on this mask mandate. The Lafayette City Council voted to reject it. What do you think is driving that, and how do you respond as the Governor?”

The Governor responded, “Yeah, well, first of all, let me be clear, the mask mandate is enforced in effect across the state of Louisiana.  The Lafayette City Council doesn’t have the authority to opt out of that mandate. They took an action saying they weren’t going to enforce it at their level. And that’s regrettable,” This was not his last word on it as he continued, “It’s a basic failure of leadership.” He added, “But the mask mandate remains in effect. We’re going to continue to enforce it at the state level.”

Lafayette’s City Council garnered national attention with CBS News’ hometown native reporter, David Begnaud, when they were recently highlighted for not passing a mask mandate in Lafayette.

While originally a bipartisan action, with Councilperson Nanette Cook, a Republican, supporting the mandate, that changed. After a good deal of public pressure (including at least one person calling her a Nazi,) she withdrew her support and voted against it. Instead, the vote took place along party lines, with two Democrats in support of a mask mandate, and the three Republican council members voting against it.

Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory fired back at the governor. In a statement he said, “It is deeply hypocritical for Governor John Bel Edwards to attack Lafayette in the national media, criticizing our City Council for recognizing the challenges and cost involved in enforcing a local mask mandate. Where is the Governor’s enforcement of his mask mandate? The State Fire Marshal reports to him. ATC reports to him. How many citations have they written for the nearly 4,000 complaints they have received? Zero.”

He added, “If the Governor wants to use the national media to audition for a job in Washington DC, he might want to make sure his own house is in order first.”


The statement is somewhat misleading as the Louisiana state government with the State Fire Marshal’s Office has responded to many complaints concerning coronavirus violations, including at least one hundred businesses in Lafayette. Rather than issue citations, the Fire Marshal’s Office has tried to work with the local community. It is true, however, that there have been no citations.

Local Lafayette government was working with the state to help enforce coronavirus violations until Guillory told them to stand down.

This is not the first time Guillory has recently been in the news. He’s also been highlighted for suing a meme comedian named John Merrifield who runs a humor page on Facebook called CajUUUn Memes, wherein he satirically, jokingly, obviously, claimed Antifa was going to take over Lafayette’s upscale River Ranch community, and previously, the Acadiana Mall. Guillory, having been taken in, not once but twice, by the satirical site, sent out large police numbers in case of an attack. Guillory admits in the lawsuit that he authorized “considerable sums of money” for police overtime and city costs. Needless to say, no one from Antifa showed up. The lawsuit, which appears to be entirely frivolous in nature, has almost certainly cost the city even more money in attorney fees and court costs.

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