Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal may be sworn in Monday at the state Capitol in Baton Rouge, but the real action takes place a few hours later in the Superdome. It’s not quite fair to sell the politics of Alabama and Louisiana short, however. Both have had their share of colorful characters.
Here’s how The Star’s editorial board rates them:
Huey Long: The Kingfish was governor from 1928 until joining the U.S. Senate in 1932. Populist motto, “Every man a king,” spread his fame across the United States. Career cut short when he was assassinated by a political foe in 1935.
George C. Wallace: Populist who played to the worst of Alabama’s segregationist impulses in the 1960s. His national working-class appeal was demonstrated over several runs for president. Won election in 1982 — his last — capturing majority of black votes.
Advantage: Very close. Long’s popularity reportedly scared FDR more than Wallace ever scared Nixon. However, longevity and end-of-life reversal of racial attitudes (which might be viewed as him playing one last angle) give the nod to Wallace
Edwin Edwards: Served four terms as governor and one term in prison. Spent most of his time in office under one cloud of scandal or the other involving bribery, illegal campaign cash, extravagant gambling debts and extramarital affairs.
Jim Folsom: “Big Jim” won two stints in the governor’s office. Official state bio notes “first term in office was also marred by a paternity case and accusations of scandal, misconduct, and corruption in various state agencies under Folsom’s control or the guidance of his associates.’”
Advantage: Tied; too close for us to call.
Advantage: Jefferson — hiding the loot in cold storage trumps fine duds.
Baton Rouge’s art deco skyscraper: This 34-story, 450-foot masterpiece was made with Alabama limestone. Opened in 1932. Records detailing constructions during Huey Long era reportedly went missing.
Montgomery’s Greek Revival: The building opened in 1851. It has witnessed both the creation of the Confederate States of America and the civil rights movement 100 years later.
Advantage: Historical significance gives edge to Montgomery
Advantage: Goat Hill
Edward Douglass White: Briefly served in U.S. Senate until President Grover Cleveland appointed him to the Supreme Court in 1894. Was later appointed chief justice, a role he filled from 1910 until his death in 1921.
Hugo Black: Clay County native left the U.S. Senate in 1937 to join the Supreme Court, where he remained until his death in 1971. The influential jurist left a substantial footprint on U.S. jurisprudence.
Advantage: The Wizard wins again.
Bobby Jindal: Son of Indian immigrants who took his American-ized name from The Brady Bunch.
Robert Bentley: Mild-mannered physician who won the 2010 race for governor by outlasting better-known and better-financed competition.
Advantage: Jindal, who is in his early 40s, is still considered an up-and-comer in GOP national politics.
Advantage: The outspoken Carville trumps the more mild-mannered Scarborough.