Rulers, Rascals, and Reformers
A revelation of the wild, wily, and well-meaning chief executives of a colorful state
Walter Greaves Cowan and Jack B. McGuire, veteran authorities on the Louisiana political scene, trace the history of the state's leaders from the French and Spanish colonial eras to the present day. Using a variety of sources, including personal interviews with the recent governors, they describe unforgettable personalities.
Such early figures as Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville and Jean Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville set the tone for later colonial governors. They had their troubles, fending off protesting Indians and other French and Spanish leaders vying for power. Following the Louisiana Purchase, American politics took control. The Whigs, Know Nothings, Republicans, and Democrats have all waxed and waned through times of slavery, secession, suffrage, and segregation. The early twentieth century saw the rise of Huey P. Long, who established himself as a virtual dictator. An assassin's bullet ended Long's life in 1935, but his followers managed to hold on to the governorship until 1940. In 1948 his brother, Earl Long, brought the family back into power.
Over the years, two governors were impeached but were not removed from office, and two governors were jailed in federal prison. The experiences, decisions, and conflicts of Louisiana governors have reflected and influenced the history of the state, often in dramatic and fascinating ways.