Louisiana Institute of Higher Education

 

#49 “Famous Governors of Louisiana”

2006-2007 History Lecture Series Season – May 7th, 2007

Ron Chapman, Assistant Professor of History, Nunez Community College

Attendance – 90

 

Lecture Description

 

 Chapman gave the colorful highlights of the careers of Louisiana’s most famous governors. Inevitably spending most of the time on the Long brothers, Huey and Earl, Chapman balanced the positive and negative accomplishments. Huey was known for almost dictatorial powers along with corrupt practices, but he was the first Louisiana governor to use the power of the office primarily to provide for the common person. His most famous contributions were providing textbooks to schoolchildren and roads to ease the burden of rural communities. Also, it is hard not to enjoy a governor who used his legendary power to call plays at LSU football games, and even to lead the band. Earl carried on the family tradition of notoriety, most famously escaping from a mental institution and cavorting with a French Quarter burlesque star. However, he was also responsible for important events, like ensuring the peaceful opening of an integrated university. Chapman also detailed the exploits of Edwin Edwards. And in an event likely unimpressive to the world, but of vitally important status in post-Katrina St. Bernard Parish, Chapman announced that he had recently experienced the thrill of moving out of his FEMA trailer.