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In this edition of The Verdict, we’ll take a look at the assassination of Senator Huey Long. To this day, it’s one of the most high-profile and controversial crimes committed in Louisiana—the details of which are still being debated.
When Huey went to the United States Senate, he still controlled the governor’s office through Oscar Allen. And what he would do is get Allen to call special sessions of the legislature to enact new laws. But what those laws were created to do was to build his power base in Louisiana. There were a few holdouts. A couple of parishes—most notably St. Landry Parish—was a place that he had never been able to really gain control of. And there was a judge in St. Landry Parish, Judge Pavy.
It was widely known that Huey Long had opposed my grandfather, Judge Pavy, politically, as Judge Pavy would not support him for governor and the United States Senate when he ran for Senate.
And so, Huey, in that September 1935 special legislature session, which is the reason he was in town, had gerrymandered—in other words, he had redrawn the judge’s district. And he had redrawn it in such a way that the next election for judge, Pavy would be guaranteed to lose.
Judge Pavy’s son-in-law was a doctor in New Orleans named Dr. Carl Weiss. The story goes—although this is certainly disputed—that Dr. Weiss had heard about the gerrymandering of his father-in-law’s district. But even worse, he had heard rumors that Huey Long was going to start spreading negative word about not only his father-in-law but his father-in-law’s family.
We had a cousin by the name of Dudley Guilbeau, who was an elected official in the Louisiana Legislature. Some of the people in my family feel that Dr. Weiss was at the Capitol that day to see Dudley Guilbeau. Now also, Carl Weiss’ home was on—I want to say—4th Street, which is probably about a block, two blocks from the Capitol. Literally, his ride home from Our Lady of the Lake Hospital would have taken him in front of the Capitol. Some of the testimony that came out was that Weiss approached Huey, and he said, “Get out of the way, you little pissant,” and Weiss hit him in the mouth.
“His meritorious rise to fame and power that carried him as far as the United States Senate ended in the State Capitol Building in Baton Rouge, just as he himself had prophesied. This was his assassin, Dr. Carl E. Weiss, Jr., a prominent Baton Rouge eye specialist. Weiss, shown here in an earlier pleasure cruise, was reputed to have met Long in the Capitol and fired a fatal Luger bullet into his side.”
My family always felt that—they just felt they knew Carl. They knew Dr. Weiss so well, and they loved him. And they just felt that he was not the kind of person that would do that kind of act. It was just beyond belief.
I’m David Laborde, and I’m Digger Earls. Join us next time for Part 3 as we dig deeper into the assassination of Huey Long.
This presentation of The Verdict on News 15 was brought to you by Laborde Earls Injury Lawyers.