Political Hall of Fame induction Jan. 28

By James Ronald Skains
Journal Correspondent

Two former Louisiana Congressman highlight the 2012 Louisiana Political Hall of Fame Induction Event in Winnfield on January 28. They are F. Edward Hebert of Jefferson Parish, and Jerry Huckady of Bienville Parish.

Former U.S. Representative F. Edward Hebert represented the First Congressional north of New Orleans for 28 years from 1941 till 1977 and will be inducted along with five other longtime Louisiana political figures.

Hebert made his public mark as journalist and editor for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans. Born in 1901, he graduated from Tulane University in 1924. Hebert covered the heydays of the Huey P. Long era as a front page columnist and editor. It was Hebert's relentless coverage of the "Louisiana Scandals" in the late 1930's that sent Governor Dick Leche to prison, and propelled Hebert into Congress.

Hebert, upon being elected to his first term in Congress in 1940, took a two year leave of absence from the Picayune in anticipation that he would not be re-elected because of his journalistic approach to government. Not only was he re-elected in 1942, but continued to be re-elected with only token opposition until he chose not to seek re-election in 1976.

Congressman Hebert was once quoted as saying, "I never stopped being a journalist."

Many of the more notable members of the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame were his contemporaries: Huey, Earl, Russell, Speedy and Gillis Long, O.K. Allen, John McKeithen and Edwin Edwards. On the national level, he interacted with Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson.

The other Congressman in the 2012 Political Hall of Fame class is Jerry Huckaby. Huckaby was elected to Congress in 1977 and served eight terms until he lost a bid for re-election basically due to the 1990 re-apportionment which created an east-west north Louisiana Congressional district.

Huckaby was born in Hodge, Louisiana in 1940 although his ancestors had settled at Sparta in Bienville Parish in the 1840's. A graduate of Minden High School, he obtained a degree in engineering from LSU and embarked on a career with Western Electric which carried him to Chicago area for 10 years. He returned to Ringgold in Bienville parish in 1973 and established Hallmark Farms on which he operated a diary until his election to Congress in 1977. After losing his re-election bid in 1993, Huckaby remained in Washington. His wife, the former Sue Woodard had established a successful real-estate business in which Huckaby became President. At one time, the Huckaby real-estate firm was ranked No. 10 in sales in the USA out of some 2 million relators.

Another native of Jackson Parish in the Class of 2012 inductees is Edgerton L. "Bubba" Henry. Henry ran unsuccessfully for Governor in 1979. Prior to that, he was Speaker of the House of Representatives in the Louisiana Legislature from 1972 to 1980. Also, Henry was Chairman of the last Louisiana State Constitutional Convention in 1973, and Louisiana Commissioner of Administration from 1980-1984.

Henry was a member of the "Young Turks" elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1968. The "Young Turks" were reformed-minded legislators. Henry represented District 13 which was later represented by now Congressman Rodney Alexander. Jim Fannin, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee is now the representative of District 13.

A second former state representative, Billy Montgomery who represented District 9 north of Shreveport is in the Class of 2012. Montgomery began his career as an educator. He became a coach, assistant principal and principal before being elected to the Louisiana House in 1988 where he served until 2008.

The other elected official in this year's Hall of Fame Class is "master plumber" turned politician, Fred Baden. Baden of Pineville is one of the few mayors inducted into the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame up until this time. He was elected Mayor of Pineville in 1970 and served during a period of growth for the City until 1998. However, he never relinquished his "master plumber" license until his death.

Adras LaBorde, the 6th member in the inductee class of 2012 of the Political Hall of Fame, is a former reporter, managing editor and columnist for the Alexandria Town Talk. Many of the current member of the Louisiana Political Hall of fame came his "political pen" scrutiny including Baden, Henry, and Huckaby of the current class of inductees. LaBorde was considered an authority on 20th Century Louisiana government and politics.

Allen "Al" Harris is the 2012 recipient of the "Friends of Jimmie Davis" Award. Harris, a native of the small Louisiana Delta community of Jigger, learned to play the piano from his mother, a school and community music teacher. Harris, nicknamed "Pugger" at one time, played the piano during the 1960's with the nationally touring "Jay Chevalier Band."

Later, Harris established a longtime relationship with Jimmie Davis and played the piano in many of Davis' performances. Harris, a resident of Lake Charles and longtime Political Hall of Fame supporter, was a non-classified employee with Fox McKeithen during McKeithen's years as Secretary of State.

Linda Huffman Cox, the daughter of Clem Huffman will receive the "Friends of Earl Long" Award. Clem Huffman was the long-time manager of the Pea Patch farm north of Winnfield. Linda lived in the same household with Governor Earl K. Long during the late 1940's and early 1950's.

Earl considered Linda as no less than his "adopted daughter or granddaughter." He lavished Linda with many gifts during her childhood and a very memorable graduate gift. During her childhood days around Governor Long, he would bring her presents most times when he returned from Baton Rouge.

Often times, the Governor would place the gift on top of a dresser, pull out the drawers and entice Linda to climb up the drawers as steps to claim her prize.

Claude Mauberret will accept on behalf of the Mauberret family, the "Louisiana Political Family of Officeholders" Award.

The January 28th Political Hall of Fame event will kickoff at 4 p.m. with a reception at the Louisiana Political Museum located at 499 East Main in Downtown Winnfield. The reception will be followed by an Induction Banquet beginning at 6 p.m. in the Winnfield Civic Center located at 2000 South Jones Street (La Highway 34 South from downtown Winnfield).

Tickets to the annual event are $50 each and may be purchased by calling 1-318-628-5928 prior to January 21, 2012.