Even today, Huey Long is a controversial figure in Louisiana.

You can still start arguments by stating that the Kingfish either (1) resembles Willie Stark in "All the King's Men" or (2) was the savior of our state.

But even those appalled at his use of power have to admit he had a way with words.

Ray Schell, of Prairieville, cites Huey's most famous speech, recalled in the 1977 book by David Leon Chandler, "The Natural Superiority of Southern Politicians, A Revisionist History."

Running for governor in 1927, Huey was standing under the Evangeline oak in St. Martinville when he pictured the heroine of Longfellow's poem waiting for her lover Gabriel, and likened this to the people's wait for politicians' promises to be kept:  

"Where are the schools that you want for your children to have, that have never come? Where are the roads and highways that you send your money to build, that are no nearer now than ever before? Where are the institutions to care for the sick and disabled? Evangeline wept bitter tears in her disappointment. But they lasted through only one lifetime. Your tears in this country, around this oak, have lasted for generations. Give me the chance to dry the tears of those who still weep here."

He won, with the help of Acadiana voters. … 

Classy lids

Philip Pisciotta, of Metairie, responding to my diatribe about guys wearing baseball caps in nice restaurant, says men's headgear can, however, be very attractive.

"I wear many very stylish, fashionable fedoras costing $150 to $300 each while dining. Wearing a fine quality fedora at any time makes a man distinguished."

I agree that fedoras are cool. But the old black-and-white movies I watch avidly on TCM — Turner Classic Movies — show that even back when just about every man wore a hat, they removed them when in high-class restaurants or nightclubs.

Rack it

Jack Stiteler's response to the matter above points out one problem that may lead to inappropriate wearing of headgear:

"Way in the past, hat racks were provided in bars and restaurants. This doesn’t seem to be the case anymore." 

Seeing double

A couple of look-alike stories to add to our collection:

  • Joe Fairchild, of Thibodaux, says, "At Houston's Hobby Airport in the '70s, I was waiting to catch a plane back to New Orleans when I saw (or thought I saw) Fred Dent, an old friend and fraternity brother from LSU.

"I walked over and extended my hand, and said, 'Hello Fred, how are you doing?'

"We had both been to conferences and were still wearing name badges. As I looked down at his, I realized it did NOT say 'Fred Dent.'

"He laughed and said, 'Well, I MUST look like Fred; you are the third person today to call me Fred.'"

  • Keith Horcasitas, of Baton Rouge, reminds me of the numerous reports I used to receive from runners saying they had seen singer Rod Stewart in the race:

"Running down Esplanade in New Orleans' Crescent City Classic several years ago, heading to the finish line at City Park, I received a Budweiser from Rod (alias look-alike Desmond O'Connor).

"I knew Desmond from the many 10Ks he'd won in the '80s — usually starting with two Dixie longnecks before the race began."

In the bag

Buddy Knox responds to Monday's "Ask The Advocate" question about recycling the newspaper's plastic bags:

"I recycle by giving the bags to my neighbor Becky. We live in a condo community, and she uses them for 'poop scoop' bags when walking her dogs each day."

Special People Dept.

Julia T. Holmes, of Clinton, celebrated her 90th birthday Saturday, Jan. 12.

Oh, THAT mayor!

Sandy Young, of Lakeview in New Orleans, relates this "small world" phone conversation with an American Girl operator in Wisconsin ("I prefer to purchase from a person, not online"):

"When I gave her my address she said, 'Oh, New Orleans — my uncle was a two-term mayor there.'

"I couldn’t recall any Landrieu relocating there — then I learned it was dear ole Vic Schiro." 

Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.