Louisiana’s traumatic bonds with Big Oil


By Robert Mann

What is it about the oil and gas industry that engenders such steadfast devotion from our political leaders? In case you hadn’t noticed, Louisiana’s government has long functioned as a wholly owned subsidiary of Big Oil.

Maybe it’s the millions in campaign cash the industry bestows on governors, members of Congress and state legislators. While I suspect money is largely the culprit, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

The other day I stumbled across a curious psychological malady that might help explain why Louisiana’s leaders are so faithful to Big Oil. It’s known as “traumatic bonding,” described by one expert as the “strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other.”

In such situations, one victim has written, there exists an “imbalance of power, with one person more in control of key aspects of the relationship.” The “victim engages in denial of the abuse for emotional self-protection.”

That’s actually a decent characterization of Louisiana’s stormy relationship with Big Oil or, as I’ll call it here, “Mr. Big.”

For decades, we were infatuated with Mr. Big. He charmed us with sweet talk and showered us with gifts. He was good for our economy. He offered us well-paying jobs and plentiful revenue from his severance taxes.

In time, however, we discovered Mr. Big’s dark side. He’s occasionally domineering, insecure and sensitive to slights. He exhibits a troubling unwillingness to accept responsibility for his actions, which has included spoiling our coast.

Continue reading at NOLA.com

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8 thoughts on “Louisiana’s traumatic bonds with Big Oil

  1. Great analogy ! It fits !

  2. It could also be viewed as an excellent allegory about the Republican Party.

  3. Win or Lose, we have met the enemy. Win or Lose, we elect our leaders. Win or Lose, they have sold our birthrights for a mess of pottage. Heads, they both Win, or tails, we Lose.
    Bob, have you ever written about the Win or Lose Oil Company that enriched Huey Long and his heirs at the expense of the state? Is it still in operation? I understand you once worked for Sen. Russell Long, who was hardly a foe of “Mr. Big”…

  4. Yep, I wrote about Win or Lose. Pretty much a whole chapter in my book about it. I don’t think the company itself is still incorporated, but I could be wrong. That was 22 years ago when I last looked into it for my book.

  5. What did you think of Quin Hillyer’s column this morning and aren’t we lucky Mr. Georges has seen fit to bring his opinions to The Advocate which, according to the Tea Partiers and NRA supporters, had an entirely liberal editorial policy before?

  6. If the Advocate wanted someone to flack for the Jindal administration, they found him. But it’s interesting they had to go all the way to Mobile, Alabama. And even more interesting that they have yet to inform their readers that their new “conservative voice for Louisiana” lives in Alabama and ran for Congress in Alabama just a few months ago. All in all, it might be less expensive if they just reprinted Jindal’s press releases.

    • I was glad to see John Barry’s point-by-point rebuttal in The ADVOCATE this morning.

  7. Steve, John’s piece was very good, indeed.

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