Shreveport Attorney John Settle
Opinion by John Settle

An out of state visitor to Shreveport would probably be surprised to learn that Shreveport voters will elect a new mayor on Saturday, December 6. Yes, the Saturday after Thanksgiving ends the current election season for Shreveport voters who will elect a U.S. Senator, a City Marshal, three city Council representatives, 3 school board members, and yes a new mayor.

Since the November 4 primary, the mayor’s race has been as exciting as watching paint dry – – or grass grow. To date, the “big” news, which was expected by knowledgeable politicos, is that Ollie Tyler will not appear in any more debates or forums, televised or not. Thus Victoria Provenza’s days of free TV time and well covered press events are over; reportedly she declined a recent interview request from KTBS.

Stinky Story

Provenza has, of course, cried “foul” at the Tyler decision to end Provenza’s opportunities to grand stand in an effort to make up a 19% voter margin. In reality, Tyler may have bestowed a favor on her upstart opponent who could have been subjected to more probative questioning. Provenza’s KTBS interview with Elsa Gillis was a disaster starting with her “eating bon bons” statement and ending with claims that Gillis was “unpatriotic” for asking her detailed questions. In between, she was confronted with the fact she did not have a Department of Defense clearance nor the business references that she had touted.


Provenza has recently reshuffled her campaign cabinet, filling it with Tea Party members who have a commonality of failure in political races. Undoubtedly she hopes to ride the apron strings of Republican Senate candidate Bill Cassidy (and his former opponent Rob Maness) who is pushing for a large Republican turnout. Victoria has made no real effort to attract black voters and her comments on the extension of I-49 through Allendale are reflective of a lily white voter strategy.

Since the primary Tyler’s camp has publicly been quiet, like very quiet. After being tightly managed and well scripted during the primary, Ollie is expected to make very limited cameo appearances during the run-off other than fund-raising events. To date she has had very limited negative backlash from her “made for TV” admission to killing her first husband that hit the front page of the Shreveport Times on the Saturday before the Tuesday primary. That homicide case has never been closed, and potentially it could become subject to further media inquiry as well as scrutiny by a Caddo grand jury.

Scales Unbalanced-Justice-Power-Money

Provenza hopes for victory hinge on 2 needed outcomes – a high white vote count and a low black voter turnout. Many political observers expect the black turnout to be abysmal – – it was lower than expected in the primary even with a well-funded Landrieu campaign. Victoria must overcome Ollie’s much higher name recognition and credibility – – and severe financial limitations in expanding her campaign beyond a grass roots, social media effort. Tyler will no doubt have the benefit of a well funded campaign coffers to mount her run-off effort and the expertise of a seasoned political consultant.

Voters should not expect any real campaign publicity until the Sunday or Monday after Thanksgiving; before then any campaign messages to voters would be lost in the avalanche of Christmas advertising that will be in high gear by Thanksgiving. Tyler can be expected to have a massive TV and radio blitz the last week before the Saturday vote, along with one or two mailings as well robo-calls to get out to vote. With very limited funds Provenza can do little to match this effort and if the rumors of a youtube of her alleged Highland Mardi Gras “date rape” drugging and her KTBS interview surface, then she can virtually turn the light off on her campaign.

Ollie with an Angel!
Ollie with an Angel!

While the candidates’ media campaigns are on hold, the elections whispers continue about both. The most recent on Ollie is that she has been diagnosed with cancer and has been treated at M.D. Anderson Hospital. This talk has now superseded the “Ollie had an affair with a minor student and suffered from substance abuse while Caddo Superintendent” rumors that permeated the primary – much like the killing of her first husband which she finally admitted to doing.

As for Victoria (who is called little Miss Bon Bon by some pundits) there are rumors that she was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder while in elementary school. This mental infirmity (if true) may explain her 2 attempted suicides in Colorado as well as the reported abandonment of her 2 kids to come to Shreveport when their father/her ex-husband was in England. The candidate has admitted, without further explanation, that she suffered from traumatic brain disorder; whether or not this is a result of her suicide attempts is unknown.

The December 6 will end, at least for the losing candidate, rumors which will undoubtably dog the new mayor during her term. Most sophisticated voters are extremely disappointed that (with the exceptions of the KTBS interview of Victoria) the local media has failed to vet these candidates during in the primary. Its doubtful any meaningful new information about either candidate will emerge before the election that will assistance voters in what many are saying is a choice between the lesser of two evils.