Boss of the Delta
A biography of the tumultuous career of one of Louisiana’s staunchest segregationist politicians
Leander Perez 1891-1969) was more than simply another Neanderthal segregationist. He was a political boss who held absolute power in Plaquemines Parish to an extent unsurpassed by any parish leader in Louisiana's history. Leander Perez: Boss of the Delta is his full history.
A bit of a social reformer, a political figure of national stature, an oil tycoon worth millions of dollars, Perez was known to one and all, including himself, as the Judge, although the office he held for most of his career was that of district attorney. He got his political start in the early 1920s, when Huey Long was beginning to attract statewide attention. But, even after Long was gunned down in 1935, the Judge continued to dominate life in the lower delta for thirty-four years, until he died from a heart attack in 1969. Above all, Perez relished power, and the essence of his might lay in his skill as a backroom broker and in his personal friendships with such idologues as J. Strom Thurmond, Ross Barnett, Lester Maddox, Orval Faubus, and George Wallace. his grip on the parish was partly economic and partly political, and it was enforced by an iron will stronger than the will of any other man in the lower delta.