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After 75 years, Long’s death still a mystery

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Huey Long, governor of Louisiana, is seen here with his son Russell. (File/The Times)

By Mike Hasten

BATON ROUGE — U.S. Sen. Huey Pierce Long died 75 years ago today.

Wounded by a bullet that pierced his abdomen two days before his death, Long made his way down a State Capitol stairway to the ground floor where a car rushed him to nearby Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. Behind him, his bodyguards peppered an accused gunman with 62 bullets from their .30- and .45-caliber automatic handguns.

Although surgeons treated a gunshot wound to Long’s abdomen and stitched damage to his colon, the senator’s condition worsened as time passed.

Long’s death is still a mystery to many. Most agree with the official story that Baton Rouge physician Carl Austin Weiss shot Long, but others believe he was hit by one, possibly two, of the shots intended for Weiss.

There’s no doubt among members of the Long family. They are convinced that Weiss shot the senator before Long’s bodyguards gunned him down.

Witnesses said the noise was deafening and the acrid smoke from the gunfire filled the hallway where a brass plaque now adorns the marble wall above where Weiss was gunned down.

Whether Weiss fired the fatal shot or whether Long was hit by a bodyguard’s errant bullet probably will never be known.

Even the plaque in the Capitol makes no assumption. It states Long “died September 10, 1935, from a bullet wound inflicted here on September 8, 1935. He was 42 years old.”

As they do each year on the anniversary of his death, his birthday and other important days in his life, Huey Long’s grandchildren and great grandchildren have posted sprays of flowers at his gravesite in front of the State Capitol. The white marble monument atop the grave, capped with a larger-than-life bronze statue of the Kingfish, stands as tribute to his accomplishments in only one term as governor.

The story told by witnesses of what happened that night was widely accepted for decades and is printed in history books as fact. The witnesses were Long’s bodyguards and Supreme Court Justice John Fournet, an ardent Long supporter.

But a growing number of people question some of the details, raising the question of who really killed Huey Long.

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Written by demon53

September 10, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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