"Politricks"

This third phase of the course explores the most central characters and plots of the region's extraordinarily complex, colorful, and checkered political culture: from Huey Long's radically populist, Depression-era uprising against the entrenched, old-guard aristocracy that had controlled the state since the eighteenth century — an uprising that effectively modernized the state through bold infrastructural projects (roads, hospitals, schools) – to the undoing of the Long machine by a political movement in the late 1950s that resisted further change and, specifically, that sought to preserve racial segregation and to purge many African Americans from the welfare system and even the electorate. Soon after the Long machine collapsed, the President of the United States was murdered, and the person accused of pulling the trigger was a young New Orleanian named Lee Harvey Oswald, a figure with many shadowy links to a variety of figures in the radical, political underground of the French Quarter.