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The Killing of the Louisiana Kingfish

The Killing of the Louisiana Kingfish
September 11
08:20 2021

 Death of The Kingifsh

Huey Long

It was September 10, 1935, and Huey P. Long had just finished speaking to the Louisiana legislature. As he crossed the foyer shots rang out and Long – known as “The Kingfish” – fell mortally wounded.

At the time of his death Long, 42, was one of the most powerful political figures in the country. Once a supporter of President Franklin Roosevelt, Long was considered a formidable rival for the 1936 nomination.

Long was a towering figure in Louisiana politics – essentially serving as one of the state’s U.S. Senators and governor at the same time.

Long was a populist, a champion of the poor and down-trodden. His motto was “Every man a king, but no man wears a crown.”

It was a good motto, even if Long didn’t actually mean it. He quickly ascended the political ladder – earning powerful enemies and bitter rivals along the way.

In the late 1920s until his death “The Kingfish” was the power in Louisiana. Not only did he accumulate power but often the skids had to be greased by any company seeking to do business in Louisiana.

Like most men, Long fought an inner battle with his own angels and demons. He championed education – for blacks and whites – and built up the state’s infrastructure. But he used his political power to crush opponents and bullied the state legislature mercilessly to get what he wanted.

Carl Weiss

Elected governor in 1928, Long was impeached by the Louisiana House in 1929, only to have the impeachment attempt stall in the state senate.

In 1930 Long ran for U.S. Senate and won with 57-percent of the vote. But he did not take his senate seat until 1932 – in the meantime acting as governor and senator-elect!

In 1932 he played a major role in helping Roosevelt win election to the White House, but soon grew disenchanted with the president.

By 1935 Huey Long was a force unto himself and was a serious contender for the Democratic nomination of 1936.

But his strong-arm tactics had made many enemies. In early 1935 an anti-Long paramilitary group was formed in Louisiana as talk began about an armed insurrection to remove The Kingfish.

On September 8, 1935 Long pushed a redistricting bill through the legislature that would punish his longtime political enemy Judge Benjamin Pavy.

As Long was leaving, Pavy’s son-in-law, Carl Weiss, stepped close to Long and fired a single shot. That was the opinion at the time.

Years later it was suggested that Long had been caught in a crossfire between his bodyguards and Weiss. The bodyguards shot Weiss 60 times, but some believe the bullet that killed Long was a ricochet from one of the bodyguard’s gun.

The Killing of the Louisiana Kingfish - overview

Summary: The Killing of the Louisiana Kingfish

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