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George S. Long

George Shannon "Doc" Long (September 11, 1883 -- March 22, 1958) was a member of the powerful Long political dynasty in Louisiana and a Democratic U.S. representative from the defunct Eighth Congressional District from 1953-1958. The late Speedy O. Long of La Salle Parish, another member of the family, once jokingly compared George Long, the older brother of Huey P. Long, Jr., to the family's own "St. Peter".

George Long was the oldest of nine children born to Huey Pierce "Hugh" Long, Sr. (1852-1937), and the former Caledonia Palestine Tison (1860-1913). He was born and reared in a log cabin in tiny Tunica in West Feliciana Parish near Baton Rouge. When the child was five years of age, the Longs moved to Winnfield in Winn Parish some fifty miles north of Alexandria. He attended the Winnfield public schools. Long attended what was then called "Mount Lebanon College," now the conservative Baptist-affiliated Louisiana College in Pineville in Rapides Parish. Long thereafter taught school for a time in Winn and Grant parishes.

Studying dentistry and law

He thereafter studied dentistry in Atlanta, Georgia, Louisville, Kentucky, and New Orleans. He practiced dentistry in Oklahoma from 1904-1935.

In World War I, he was in officer training school in Waco, Texas (McLennan County), when the armistice was signed.

Long was a Democratic member of the Oklahoma State House of Representatives from 1920-1922. He also studied law and was admitted to the Oklahoma bar in 1923. William J. "Bill" Dodd, in his memoirs entitled Peapatch Politics: The Earl Long Era in Louisiana Politics, said that "Doc "got into some kind of shady deal while in the Oklahoma legislature and had to resign or face a trial."

In 1935, Long relocated to Monroe and practiced dentistry there until 1940. In 1948, he was appointed by his brother, Governor Earl Kemp Long, as superintendent of the Louisiana Colony and Training School in Pineville, a facility for the mentally retarded. He also practiced dentistry in Pineville. In 1950, he was demoted from superintendent to institutional inspector at the training school.

George Long and Louisiana politics

George Long was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention that met in Philadelphia in 1948. He was part of the loyalists pledged to the Harry Truman-Alben W. Barkley ticket. The Alabama and Mississippi delegations walked out of the convention in protest of the civil rights plank in the party platform and supported then Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina for president. Thurmond was the official Democratic nominee in Louisiana and three other southern states.

In 1948 and again in 1950, he unsuccessfully contested his party's nomination for the Eighth District U.S. House seat. He lost to Asa Leonard Allen (1891-1969), brother of former Governor O.K. Allen, a Long protege. Leonard Allen continued to have the support of Earl Long. The Long brothers frequently quarreled among themselves and would support the opponents of each other when they saw it in their interests to do so. Doc Long continued to work on Earl Long's teeth throughout their political estrangements. Long was the founder and director of the Dr. George S. Long Corporation.

In 1952, Doc Long just wore down Allen, as was the forte of the Longs whenever they encountered an obstacle to their ambitions, and convinced the congressman not to seek renomination but to yield to Long. George Long was hence elected in "Long country" in 1952, 1954, and 1956. In Congress, he was known for his work on the Veterans Affairs Committee, and he helped to organize the prayer room off the Capitol rotunda.

Long was twice married. His first wife, the former Mary Katherine Shindel died in 1950. He married Jewell Marie Tyson (born 1914) of Pineville on May 11, 1953.

Doc Long served until his death in the Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, midway in his third term. He was a Baptist, Mason, Shriner, and member of the Kiwanis Club. He is buried in Greenwood Memorial Park in Pineville.

Bill Dodd questions "Doc" Long's integrity

Bill Dodd said (pp. 20-21) that George Long "was by far the best-looking of all the Longs. He was an artist's model for the typical southern statesman. His six-foot-two- or three-inch frame was ramroad straight and proportioned like that of a superb athlete. His face was full, and his well-shaped head was crowned with a red mane that reminded one of the king of beasts. His voice and diction would have made Cicero or Quintilian proud. And he rolled his words like well-oiled wheels. Someone once said that a great speaker is a good man speaking well. George Shannon Long was as phony as a three-dollar bill, and most everyone but George knew he was a bag of wind. But on paper or before a group of strangers, his speeches were superimpressive. Earl once told me that 'Shan' [short for "Shannon"] was 'a ship without a rudder, he's like a child who doesn't know right from wrong. He's a congenital thief.' And I believe Earl was right. George Long was smart, and he could have, with his several gifts, been the greatest of the Longs. But he had a screw or two loose and couldn't pull it all together. I like[d] him, and he liked me. With all his faults and weaknesses, George was not purposefully mean, and he had a big heart. He held no grudges and on many occasions, for short spurts, showed marks of genius. In many ways he was the most human and likeable of the Long brothers.

"Dr. Long, both a lawyer and a dentist, had been run out of Louisiana by Huey, or so Earl told me. . . . Earl seemed to like Doc better than he liked his other brothers, but Earl did not respect his honesty or judgment."

Once the commissioner of administrator, J.H. Rester, showed Dodd, who was acting governor while Earl Long was out of state, that George Long "had purchased building materials and charged them to the state, yet had used the materials to construct a private dwelling for himself. He had a lot of other stuff that he said showed Dr. Long to be a crook and thief. I didn't look very carefully at the alleged evidence, but I asked Rester why he was bringing it to me. He said it was his responsbilitlity but he wanted me to advise him what to do. . . I could see the old rascal didn't like Dr. Long or me; he thought he would get me to throw Dr. Long to the wolves, and then Earl would get on me.

"I told Rester than I could not advise him on how to operate his office or handle the alleged wrongdoing of Dr. Long. I did say that he should remember that Dr. Long was Earl's brother and that a scandal would reflect discredit upon the governor. I told him to use his own judgement, but to get ready for a quick trip to the unemployed if he made a lot of charges, and they backfired."

Dodd said that he made his remarks in front of Albert A. Fredericks of Natchitoches, Earl's executive assistant and a state senator from Natchitoches and Red River parishes from 1932-1948. "Fredericks said that if he were in Rester's shoes and had all that crap Rester claimed was in the folder, he would find a nice deep dark, well-hidden trash barrel, and throw the file in the barrel, and accidentally drop in a match. So far as I know, Rester must have found the barrel, for after he left my office, I never heard any more about Dr. Long using state materials on his private home."

Dodd also noted that he agreed to support Doc Long in a race against Leonard Allen for Congress if George would back Dodd for governor. Dodd recalled that when he "grabbed the paper to see what nice things Dodd had said in endorsing me and read [instead] that he had endorsed [official Long choice Carlos] Spaht because I was too young and too wild to be trusted in the governor's office. Later, he laughed about it."

McSween succeeds George Long

"Doc" Long was succeeded in Congress by his fellow Democrat, Harold B. McSween of Alexandria, who served from 1958-1963. Earl Long challenged McSween for renomination in 1960. Earl Long won the Democratic nomination for the position but died several days later. The Democratic State Central Committee certified McSween as the replacement candidate. Therefore, McSween, who was unopposed by Republicans in November 1960, was reelected to Congress after having lost renomination three months earlier. Such a scenario was extremely rare. Then two years later, McSween was defeated by another Long candidate in the primary, Gillis William Long (1923-1985).

References

William J. "Bill" Dodd, Peapatch Politics: The Earl Long Era in Louisiana Politics, Baton Rouge: Claitor's Publishing, 1991

http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=L000416

http://politicalgraveyard.com/bio/long.html#R9M0J4HHQ

Glenn R. Conrad, "George S. Long," A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography, 1988, p. 518

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