the long dynasty

A great article from 1966 on the Long political dynasty of Louisiana, by a then-young Stephen Hess. While it was 31 years after Huey’s death and six after Earl’s, the piece is optimistic about the Longs’ continuing power and influence in Louisiana, saying that Huey’s son Russell was a rising national figure and cousins Gillis and Speedy were comers.
It didn’t work out that way. Speedy and Gillis swapped the 8th District seat in Congress between them for a while, but to no great effect. Russell became a drunk. (Or, more accurately, was exposed as a drunk. That’s what the “tempestuous, moody, unpredictable charmer” quote from Russell Baker was about.) And no one else seemed to pick up the Long mantle after that. I guess Jimmy Long was in the state House for a while, but that’s about it.
I’ve always been surprised some enterprising Long hasn’t jumped back into the ring. The name still means something in Louisiana — if not as much as it used to, since anyone who once voted for Huey is dead and the last to vote for Earl are now in their late 60s.
A polished 30-something Long could play the same divide Russell did: being a Long gives you populist credibility among the poor, but being a city-slicker can get you the business interests. And there’d be no shortage of media attention. The closest analog I can think of would be Richard M. Daley following his dad, the old boss, Richard J., as mayor of Chicago. (Richard J. and Huey would have gotten along just fine.)
(I’ve been on something of an Earl Long kick lately. Here’s a great subjective take on him by Jason Berry, one of the state’s best journos. He’s the guy who broke a lot of the first priest abuse stories in the 1980s. And here’s a Rick Bragg piece on the remaining Longs [that, frustratingly, doesn’t get at my above question]. Key quote: “People feared Huey, and loved Earl.”)