Last week in this space, I had some fun (I hope you did, too!) at the expense of our elected leaders by making some tongue-in-cheek predictions about “wacky” political stories in 2024. Now it’s time to get serious.

2024 looms large on the national political scene. In addition to a not-universally-welcome rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump for the White House, control of the U.S. House and Senate will be up for grabs. The election results will factor bigly for House Speaker Mike Johnson of Benton and Majority Leader Steve Scalise?of Jefferson; their influence will wane if Dems take back the House.

Neither of Louisiana’s U.S. senators will be on the November ballot, and we just chose a new governor and Legislature — but we may still see some interesting elections.

This being Louisiana, we first have to tell the backstory. It begins with redistricting.

U.S. District Judge Shelley Dick, of Baton Rouge, has ordered state lawmakers to create a second majority-Black congressional district, which will be neither easy nor fun for the majority-Republican Legislature.

To satisfy the judge — and to prevent her from drawing new districts herself — legislators and Gov. Jeff Landry must sacrifice one GOP member of Congress. Many expect U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, of Baton Rouge, to be the odd man out because he endorsed one of Landry’s opponents for governor. We’ll see.

Assuming somebody draws new districts, we should see some very interesting congressional elections in November.

Meanwhile, Landry and GOP lawmakers will likely devote considerable time and energy waging more culture wars by passing even stricter anti-LGBTQ+, anti-library, anti-whatever legislation.

None of that will solve Louisiana's biggest problems, however. For example, will lawmakers and new Insurance Commissioner Tim Temple find a way to lower property insurance rates? Temple promises to give it his best. We’ll see how lawmakers respond.

Landry will be in the news all year as Louisiana’s new governor, and he appears to have an ambitious — but as yet vague — agenda. For example, he promised to do something about violent crime in Louisiana’s largest cities, particularly New Orleans. But, even after his inaugural address on Sunday, it remained unclear what, exactly, he plans to do.

If rolling back the 2017 criminal justice reforms is on his to-do list, the long-term results could be costly — both financially and in terms of human lives — because those reforms only affect nonviolent offenders. Elsewhere, Landry wants State Police to play a major role in making New Orleans safe, which N.O. businesses, residents and visitors would welcome if a safer city is the result.

Speaking of New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell will continue to make news. Two of the Crescent City’s hottest parlor games are predicting which foreign country she’ll visit next and if — or when — the feds will officially put her in their crosshairs.

The first game is pure fun; the second is a snipe hunt. I make no predictions on either, despite what I wrote (in jest) last week.

Happy New Year — and this time, I really mean it!

Clancy DuBos is Gambit's political editor. You can reach him at clancy@gambitweekly.com.