Governors and Legends

Many states have folk characters in their legends. It might be a Paul Bunyan-sized lumberjack; a cowboy as wild as Pecos Bill or a Casey Jones recklessly at a train engine throttle.

In Louisiana the legends are sometimes about a rougarou: a swamp-based werewolf, but most often the legends are about politicians. “Senator, I need to know, are you with me or are you against me?” Gov. Earl Long once reportedly asked a lawmaker.

“Governor, when you’re right I am with you; when you’re wrong I am against you,” the Senator righteously replied.

“When I am right,” Long shot back, “I don’t need you.”

Brothers Huey and Early Long gave Louisiana politics much of its color and many of its problems, a legacy that would be embellished by the four terms served by Edwin Edwards and by the twice-elected country crooner Jimmie Davis.

Not all the governors have been colorful; some were conservative in style and methodical in management. Indeed too much of one style of governor has tended to send voters gravitating to another style, as in from Edwin Edwards to Bobby Jindal. There is a political pendulum that makes voters want more or less.

Sometimes the pendulum stops in the middle. Louisiana begins the year with another change at the mansion. Governors today are less likely to be flamboyant showmen and more conditioned to the TV-oriented 15-second response. Louisiana has historically given its governors great powers so the potential for change, the legislature willing, is enormous.

We wish the new governor well. And may his trail be free of the rougarou.

Louisiana Life won five national awards including two golds at the annual meeting of IRMA, the International and Regional Magazine Association. IRMA is the only trade organization that focuses on state and regional magazines. The meeting was held this past October in San Diego, California.

Winners were:
• GOLD: Art Direction of a Single Story, “Duty and the Beast” Tiffani Reding Amedeo, art director
• GOLD: Photo Series, “Thunder in the Fields.” Ron Berard, photographer,
• BRONZE: Companion Website, Kelly Massicot, web administrator
• AWARD OF MERIT: Column, “The Rural Life,” Melissa Bienvenu, columnist
• AWARD OF MERIT: Cover, March, 2014, “Springtime Recipes,” Tiffani Reding Amedeo, art director




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