LAKE CHARLES, La. -- On a recent weekday morning, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne (R) and state Rep. John Bel Edwards (D) sat side by side on stage in a ballroom at the Golden Nugget casino in this small southwestern Louisiana city. As Dardenne and Edwards took turns pledging allegiance to the state's forestry and energy sectors, the room full of powerful industry officials nodded along, seemingly eager to get the debate over with so they could move on to the midday happy hour being prepared by staff in a carpeted lobby nearby. Welcome to the singular world of Pelican State politics, where Democrats and Republicans alike must appeal to entrenched oil and gas interests while finding new, bipartisan ways to address coastal erosion and other environmental challenges in the wake of the BP PLC oil spill and Hurricane Katrina.