C.B. Forgotston knew more about Louisiana government and politics than just about anyone, after years of working as a state legislative staffer and business lobbyist.
Over the past generation, Forgotston used that knowledge to act as a citizen watchdog on state government — by serving as a source for reporters and political insiders.
In recent years, he regularly skewered elected officials through acerbic posts on a blogsite and Twitter that earned him many enemies. “The king of the subversive bloggers,” longtime columnist James Gill called him, a title that Forgotston loved.
Forgotston died Sunday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Hammond, where he lived. He was 70.
He left a note to his wife, Ella Joy Adams, while she was asleep that morning, and left the house. Sheriff’s deputies found his body based on the instructions he had provided for Adams. He and Adams had no children.
“I don’t know who will be the conscience of the stuff that’s going on,” said Garey Forster, a close friend and business lobbyist who once represented New Orleans in the state House and who served as state labor secretary under Gov. Mike Foster. “He had the guts to say what others wouldn’t say. And he always had his facts right. There are few souls like that.”
Forgotston would help — or aim his fire — at Democrats and Republicans alike. What mattered to him was whether he thought the person was working to help advance the state.
Forgotston detested outgoing Gov. Bobby Jindal, believing that Jindal had ruined the state’s finances to serve his political ambitions.
“There are only 10 days until Bobby Jindal is no longer governor of Louisiana!” he wrote on his final blog post on New Year’s Day.
He was a friendly critic of Foster and Kathleen Blanco, Jindal’s predecessors.
He sparred repeatedly with Gov. Edwin Edwards during Edwards’ fourth term as governor during the early 1990s when Forgotston was the paid leader of forces opposing the creation of what became Harrah’s New Orleans Casino.
Even after his work as a lobbyist on the issue ended, Forgotston became the go-to source for reporters in Louisiana and out of the state on the latest developments involving gambling.
He received tips from mid-level government employees on wrongdoing in state government that he passed along to reporters and top officials he trusted.
Business leaders hired him for his spot-on analysis of political events.
But Forgotston could quickly take offense with those he believed did not maintain high enough ethical standards.
Before the electronic age, he would express his displeasure privately and anger reporters by pointing out errors in their articles. In recent years, he turned to Twitter and his blog to denounce people by name.
“I don’t just burn bridges, I blow them up,” he would say with a half-laugh.
A native of Newellton in Tensas Parish, Charlton Bath Forgotston Jr. graduated from LSU as an undergraduate and then from its law school. He became the staff attorney for the House Appropriations Committee.
Under Appropriations Committee Chairman Kevin Reilly, of Baton Rouge, Forgotston got a firsthand education in the art of politics as Reilly handled a thousand and one demands every year from legislators on how to spend the state’s money.
Forgotston served a key role as an attorney during the drafting of the 1974 State Constitution.
He later became a lobbyist for the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and then struck out on his own.
He and Adams moved to Hammond in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina flooded them out of their New Orleans home.
Adams — who goes by E.J. — asked that donations in Forgotston’s name be given to the Oak Forest Academy Patrons Club in Amite.
Funeral arrangements through McKneeley Funeral Home in Amite are pending.
Follow Tyler Bridges on Twitter @TegBridges. For more coverage of the governor’s race, follow Louisiana Politics at http://blogs.theadvocate.com/politicsblog/.