Posted: Oct 25, 2010 9:02 PM by Alison Haynes
Updated: Oct 26, 2010 9:39 AM
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Palmer Reid Long, the last surviving child of 1930s populist Huey P. Long, has died. Long, 89, died on Saturday in Shreveport.
His brother was the late U.S. Sen. Russell Long, who died in 2003, while his uncle, Earl K. Long, also was elected governor of Louisiana. His mother, Rose Long, also was a U.S. senator, serving out her husband's term after he was assassinated in 1935 at the age of 42.
Palmer Long's son, Palmer Long Jr., on Monday described his father as the "quiet one," saying he was happy to stay out of the political spotlight and take care of family business.
"With his brother, Russell in politics, Dad was the one who took care of the family matters," he said.
Palmer R. Long was 14 years old when Huey Long was shot. As governor and senator, Huey Long became known as the Kingfish with his populist "every man a king" politics. Long Jr. said his father was very proud of Huey Long and his accomplishments for Louisiana.
"Huey was actually quite involved with his children, despite his travel and political career," he said. "He took my father and Russell with him many places. He liked showing them things."
A strict disciplinarian, Huey Long kept a blackboard in the kitchen of the family home that was used to record any type of misbehavior, Palmer Long told his son.
"When Huey got home he checked that blackboard pretty quickly, and if anyone had five black marks they got a lashing," Long Jr. said.
Paul J. Leslie, a professor of Louisiana History at Nicholls State University, said Palmer Long and his brother, Russell, were probably under a tremendous amount of pressure growing up.
"I think a lot of people expected them to stand up and reach for the mantle and wear it politically to ensure that Huey Long's legacy would continue," Leslie said. "Both Palmer and Russell's lives were a part of Huey Long's successes as well as its tragedies. That's a pretty heavy burden to bear."
Although he avoided direct involvement in politics, Palmer Long worked in Russell Long's 1948 Senate campaign, and those that followed.
He also worked in the campaigns of his uncle, Gov. Earl K. Long.
"If you put my father and Russell together you would have Huey," Palmer Long Jr. said. "Russell handled the politics and oratory. My father took care of the things on the backside."
Besides his son, Long is survived by a daughter, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be Wednesday at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Shreveport.