Jim Beam Chronicle: Story of a Pro Politician
Posted 6:23 a.m. Thursday, September 1, 2022
“South Louisiana residents didn’t appreciate North Louisiana’s problems and North Louisiana residents didn’t appreciate South Louisiana’s problems.”
These were the words of the late Hartwell M. “Jerry” Doty Jr., one of the most politically informed people I have known in the past 60 years. Doty said that to help people in Louisiana better understand themselves, he created a course called “The Reality of Louisiana Government and Politics.”
Doty was a political consultant who was also a faculty member of the Loyola University and LSU Public Policy Institutes.
In 1975, the Lake Charles Chamber of Commerce invited Doty to teach his class at the Civic Center. When Doty died in 2003 at the age of 68, his obituary stated that his course had been enjoyed by over 20,000 attendees.
The late Governor. Sam H. Jones attended Doty’s local class and said he was impressed with Doty’s presentation.
“Louisiana’s role as a ‘melting pot’ flavors its politics,” Doty said. “And therefore, it is different from other states in the South.
“In Mississippi, Alabama and the other states, the population is divided into two groups, the white Anglo-Saxon Protestants and the blacks. One or the other group is in the majority.
“That’s not the case in Louisiana. Its people belong to eight different groups, and each group has its own particular influence on politics and government.
Doty said white Anglo-Saxon Protestants made up about 40% of the state’s 3.6 million population in 1975. Blacks were the second largest group, 30% of the population.
People of Spanish descent, about 30,000 people from Central America and Cuba, lived in New Orleans in 1975. German migration settled in the Mississippi areas of St. Charles, St. John the Baptist and St. James.
Irish migrants were brought in to build railways and seawalls, Doty said. “They did the dangerous work that slave owners wouldn’t risk having valuable slaves do,” he said.
Dutch migrants built the line south of Kansas City, he said, and there are Dutch town names along the line. The Italians settled in the cities, except for the market gardeners of Tangipahoa, St. Tammany, and nearby Florida parishes.
The eighth migration, he said, was made up of educated and skilled newcomers who expanded Louisiana’s petrochemical, petroleum and other industries.
“I think these people will eventually influence our politics,” Doty said. “I think they are the ones who elect the Republicans. They are not caught up in our old ways.
Give credit to Doty for this prediction. Calcasieu Parish, which had been a Democratic Party stronghold for many years, now votes in large numbers for conservative Republicans.
Doty busted some myths during his local talk here. He said secession was far from a popular issue embraced by most Louisianans in the 1860s. No official vote was taken, but an unofficial tally showed 21,000 were for secession and 19 000 were against.
The merchant-planter coalition wanted to leave the Union. The sugar planters opposed it because they needed the tariff protection offered by the federal government. Doty said that small farmers who did not own slaves did not want to go fight the civil war of the rich.
Plantation farmers survived, he said, because they still had their land, they still influenced their newly freed workers, and the price of cotton skyrocketed after the war.
“The poor farmer in Beauregard parish who left his 160-acre farm and a mule to go to war lost the most,” Doty said. “His mule was killed in the war and he went into greater hardship than the planter.”
Doty said Huey Long had a lot of influence in the state even though he was only governor for just over two years. He gave up office to become a US senator.
You can sometimes beat a sheriff in this state, Doty said, but you can never beat a tax assessor because of the unique powers of the person who values property for tax purposes.
Doty wrote a series of stories for the American press. In a July 1, 1990 article, he said Calcasieu Parish had voted for the winning gubernatorial candidate, with one exception, in every election since 1936. The only exception was in 1979 when Democrat Louis Lambert voted got more votes in Calcasieu than Republican Dave Treen. , the winner.
In the mid-1950s, Doty said there were two rules of Louisiana politics that hadn’t been broken since the 1920s. -Orleans. Edwin W. Edwards broke the first rule in 1971. The other survives.