The dynasty of Louisiana’s most storied political family is coming to an end in January after 72 years.
A member of the Long family has served in the state Capitol or the nation’s Capitol since 1948, according to research by Mitch Rabalais of LaPolitics.com.
The Long era will end with the retirement of state Sen. Gerald Long, R-Winnfield, who cannot run for re-election this fall because of term limits.
The family’s 72-year run began with the election of Earl K. Long as governor in 1948. By the time Earl left office four years later, an older brother, George, was a congressman. Earl was elected as governor again in 1956.
Beginning in 1963, two cousins, Gillis and Speedy Long, alternated in a congressional seat for 22 years.
And from 1948 until 1986, Russell Long, Huey’s son, served in the Senate.
Gerald’s older brother, Jimmy, was a state representative from Winnfield from 1968-2000.
The 72-year era contains an asterisk: Mike Smith, a first cousin of Jimmy and Gerald Long, filled the gap from 1996 to 2008 when he served in the state Senate.
The Long political dynasty actually began in 1918 when Huey was elected to the Public Service Commission, a position he held until he became governor in 1928.
In 1931, he moved to the U.S. Senate, only to be assassinated at the state Capitol in 1935. His widow, Rose, filled the final year of his seat. In 1937, Earl began his political career when he became lieutenant governor followed by a year as governor.
From 1940 to 1948, no Longs held office in Baton Rouge or Washington – until Earl revived the dynasty with his 1948 election as governor.