Go Gary Landrieu 080719

Gary Landrieu signed up Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019, to run for governor without party affiliation.

WASHINGTON — Gary Landrieu, an independent who is running a little chance campaign for Louisiana governor, is facing backlash after he used the n-word on local talk radio.

“Let me tell you, when I was a kid we learned about protecting ourselves and defending ourselves because we were called a lot of ugly names as children,” Landrieu said during an episode of “The Right Chicks” on New Orleans’ WGSO 990 show this week. "As an eight-year-old, they called me, ‘Oh, there’s the n*****-lovers right there."

Landrieu, a cousin of former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and former U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, was chided by the hosts of the show.

He was responding to a caller who called him a "piece of s***." He said that he grew up being called bad names and used the phrase with the n-word as one example.

"You know what growing up in a family of 10 means? You can’t hurt my feelings because I don’t have any," Landrieu said. "You’re entitled to your opinion. That’s what makes America great. You’re free to do what you want, and say what you want, and think what you want, but you know what? I’m free to do and say what I want to do, too. You do that to my face, you’re going to get slapped in the mouth."

Landrieu has launched his campaign as an effort to protect Confederate monuments from removal and combat illegal immigration.

He has been on a campaign bus tour of the state to promote his long-shot race against Democratic incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards, who is seeking a second term, and Republican frontrunners Eddie Rispone and Ralph Abraham, along with three other lesser-known candidates. Landrieu's campaign said he was just describing his experience bluntly.

“What he was saying was as a child they were picked on and they were called n-lovers because of something (Mayor at the time) Moon (Landrieu) had done in office,” said spokeswoman Cheryl Martini. “Moon's children were protected because he was in office and the cousins were not. He was just mentioning that and going over his childhood and what he went through.”

The election is Oct. 12 with a Nov. 16 runoff if no candidate gets more than 50 percent in the first round.

Moon Landrieu, himself, has faced scrutiny over his use of the racial slur after he misattributed it to an aide during a forum last year.

In detailing the difficulty of integrating City Hall in the 1970s, Landrieu said he was accused of looking for a “supern****r” when trying to hire the first black employee above the level of janitor for City Hall.

At that same event Mitch Landrieu talked about the racist attacks thrown at the family during that period.

“I can tell you this, especially where we are in the country right now, where we’re testing this assumption frontally, this is the first time since I don’t know — the '60s — that the country is grappling with whether diversity is a strength or a weakness,” Mitch Landrieu said during the forum shortly before leaving office.

Warning: The video below contains explicit language. If you can't see the video, click here.

Email Elizabeth Crisp at ecrisp@theadvocate.com and follow on Twitter, @elizabethcrisp.