Neuty the Nutria, Takes Center Stage in State Senator’s Campaign

In the lead-up to Louisiana’s statewide election scheduled for this Saturday, one state senator harnessed an unusual figure to boost his campaign efforts: a nutria rat.

In a heartwarming tale, Neuty the nutria, originally discovered orphaned on the side of the road by the Lacoste family on Christmas Day 2020, became an accidental hero. However, Louisiana’s strict regulations on private ownership of wild animals led to the Louisiana Department of Fisheries and Wildlife agents taking Neuty away from the family that had raised him as a beloved pet. Private ownership of such animals is illegal in the Pelican State.

State Senator Cameron Henry stepped in, reaching out to Governor John Bel Edwards and the wildlife agency, advocating for the Lacoste family to keep their cherished companion. Henry firmly believed that amidst the myriad issues facing Louisiana, separating Neuty from his family was not a justifiable action. In a heartwarming turn of events, a groundswell of public support, marked by an almost 20,000-signature petition, swayed the Louisiana Department of Fisheries and Wildlife to relent. Consequently, the Lacoste family became the proud and legal owners of the only permitted nutria in Louisiana.

Denny and Myra Lacoste, Neuty’s owners, expressed their gratitude for the collective efforts that allowed their beloved pet to return home after a short stay at the Baton Rouge Zoo. Neuty’s popularity soared after his widely publicized release. Denny explained, “Everybody loved him and loved the story. I mean, he wasn’t a secret. We have customers coming to see him all the time.” The Lacoste family operates Dennis’ Seafood in Metairie, and Neuty can often be found there, munching on fresh crab legs and Nilla Wafers, showcasing his signature orange teeth.

When he’s not savoring fresh seafood, Neuty enjoys his time in the Lacostes’ saltwater pool, joyrides with his head out the car window, and playfully engaging with their dogs. Even the local classic rock radio station, “The Bayou” at 95.7 FM in the greater New Orleans area, has embraced Neuty, making the nutria its official mascot.

This year, Neuty took an unexpected dive into the political arena, featuring prominently in State Senator Cameron Henry’s campaign materials. Neuty’s backstory and baby picture graced Henry’s most recent campaign mailer. In an interview, Henry acknowledged the incredible impact of Neuty’s presence on his campaign, stating, “[I] literally cannot tell you the value that has been, and I didn’t do it for that. I did it because it was the right cause. And if I want, you know, I had to use him in a mail piece because everybody expected it. They love seeing him.”

However, not all political material featuring Neuty’s face in Louisiana is genuine. An intrepid prankster distributed fake yard signs with the slogan “Less Paths, More Snacks” throughout Jefferson Parish. To dispel any confusion, Myra Lacoste, Neuty’s owner, reassured Fox News Digital that “Neuty did not have those signs made.”

As for Neuty the nutria’s future after Election Day, it is filled with endless possibilities. Denny Lacoste disclosed, “We get people calling us every day. They want Neuty here, they want Neuty there. He was even featured in a documentary a few months ago.” Furthermore, a prominent production company from England recently visited to film a series on Neuty for several days. The sheer amount of attention Neuty has garnered is remarkable, and Denny Lacoste believes that Senator Cameron Henry’s campaign has a good chance of success thanks to Neuty’s extraordinary appeal.

In conclusion, Neuty the nutria’s heartwarming journey from roadside orphan to a beloved campaign symbol illustrates the power of unity and compassion. This unlikely hero has captured the hearts of Louisianans, showcasing that amidst the complexities of politics and regulations, sometimes a furry friend can unite a community and bring smiles to many faces.

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