ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Huey Long Assassination, LA
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Huey Long Assassination, LA
|Assassination of Sen. Huey P. Long
Senator Long was assassinated here in
the corridor of the Louisiana State Capitol
building on September 8, 1935.
Huey Long Assassination
The assassination took place
inside the Louisiana State
Capitol, a key project of then
Governor Huey P. Long.
Bullet Holes in Baton Rouge
Marks left by bullets still pock
the walls of the corridor where
Senator Long was shot down
on September 8, 1935.
Assassination of Huey P. Long - Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Death of the Louisiana Kingfish
|Copyright 2012 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Last Update: August 4, 2012
Southern Leaders of Note
The Kingfish of Louisiana
Senator Huey P. Long, who
enjoyed being called the
"Kingfish," as he appeared
not long before he was killed.
Library of Congress
Huey P. Long, a U.S. Senator and one of the
most remarkable and enigmatic men in
American history, was shot down in a hallway
of the Louisiana State Capitol on September
8, 1935. He died two days later.
The assassination of Senator Huey P. Long
was a pivotal moment in U.S. history. His
death at the age of 42 changed American
Huey P. Long was born in Winnfield,
Louisiana, on August 30, 1893. He attended
the University of Oklahoma and then Tulane
University before passing the Louisiana bar
exam and being licensed to practice law on
May 15, 1915 at the age of only 22.
Three years later he was elected to the
Louisiana Railroad Commission (today's
Public Service Commission), on which he
served for ten years. During his time there,
Long demonstrated himself to be a strong
Populist by leading the commission to order
telephone company rebates and lowering
natural gas prices to consumers.
Huey Long lost his 1924 race for governor,
but ran again in 1928 and was elected. His
tenure was one of remarkable progress for
- 2,500 miles of roads paved.
- 1,308 miles of roads given asphalt
- Free night schools for adults.
- Free text books for all students.
- Network of charity hospitals for the
- 21 free health clinics.
- LSU Medical School established.
- Tripled the budget for LSU.
- $8 million in construction at LSU.
- Built 100 bridges throughout the state.
- Abolished the poll tax to allow the
poor to vote.
The Long Administration oversaw what was
undoubtedly the biggest state modernization
program in history. To achieve his goals, he
often employed strong-arm tactics and was
more than willing to bulldoze his way straight
over the opponents of his programs. He
financed his programs with a 5 cent per
barrel tax on refined Louisiana oil.
Long's political opponents, many of them
allies of Standard Oil Company, tried to
impeach him in 1929, but failed.
Because the Louisiana Constitution only
allowed a governor to serve one term, Huey
P. Long ran for the U.S. Senate in 1930. He
was elected but did not take his seat until
1932 when the election of one of his allies to
the governor's chair was assured.
He supported Franklin D. Roosevelt in the
1932 Presidential election, but soon came to
oppose FDR's policies as not doing enough
for average Americans who were suffering
through the Great Depression.
On February 23, 1934, he went on national
radio to propose his Share Our Wealth
program. His plan included capping the
fortunes of the wealthy at $50 million and
then using the money taken from them to
fund massive social programs, including:
- Free higher education.
- Free vocational training.
- Veterans benefits.
- Free health care.
- Shortening the work week.
- Four weeks vacation for all workers.
- Yearly payment to people earning
less than one-third of the national
The program received widespread support
from suffering Americans and by the end of
the year his Share Our Wealth program had
enrolled 3 million members. By the middle of
1935, Long and his supporters had formed
27,000 Share Our Wealth clubs and
increased membership to 7.5 million people.
Remarkably for the time, Long welcomed all
people - black or white - into the program,
emphasizing that Share Our Wealth was
designed to help all people living in poverty,
not just the whites. He was widely opposed
by white supremacists.
Where Huey Long Fell
Alleged assassin Carl Weiss
stepped out from behind the
column at right and opened
fire as Long approached from
down the corridor.
Grave of Huey P. Long
Long's grave can be seen on
the grounds of the Louisiana
State Capitol in Baton Rouge.
Exhibits inside the capitol
detail the assassination.
With such massive support, it became clear
in 1935 that Senator Huey P. Long was
emerging as a major threat to President
Franklin D. Roosevelt in the next election.
Many speculate to this day that he might well
have beaten FDR in 1936 and become
President of the United States. It was not to
Even though he had gone to Washington in
1932, Huey Long had maintained a tight grip
on the reigns of power in Louisiana and often
returned to Baton Rouge to direct sessions
of the legislature in the towering new capitol
he had built.
Long predicted several times that his life
would end in assassination. Many of his
opponents agreed. They had come to believe
that the only way to defeat the "Kingfish," as
he liked to call himself, was to kill him.
On September 8, 1935, Long was in Baton
Rouge to oversee redistricting that would
remove political opponent Judge Benjamin
Pavy from office. Surrounded by bodyguards
that he had employed due to repeated death
threats, Huey Long emerged into the long
main corridor of the Louisiana State Capitol.
As Senator Long approached the center of
the building, Dr. Carl Weiss (Judge Pavy's
son-in-law) stepped from behind a column
and shot the senator in the abdomen. Long's
bodyguards returned fire and bullets flew in
all directions. Weiss was shot dead.
Senator Huey P. Long died two days later on
September 10, 1935. His last words were,
"God, don't let me die. I have so much to do."
As is the case with most such political
murders, speculation about conspiracies
continue to this day. For the wealthy of
Louisiana, Long's death was a day of victory.
For the impoverished people he had helped,
it was a day of tragedy.
An estimated 200,000 people attended Huey
P. Long's funeral as he was laid to rest on
the grounds in front of the modern capitol he
had built. A statue of the senator stands over
his grave today.
Long's brother, Earl K. Long, was elected as
Governor of Louisiana in 1948. Huey's son,
Russell B. Long, was elected to the U.S.
Senate the same year and went on to
become one of the most powerful senators
in American history. He served for 39 years.
Huey P. Long's grave and statue can be seen
today directly in front of the Louisiana State
Capitol. Inside on the main floor, an exhibit in
the central corridor details his assassination
at that site. A metal plaque on the wall notes
that Senator Long was shot there and close
examination of the marble walls reveals a
number of scars left by bullets on the day of
the assassination. Please click here to learn
more about visiting the capitol.
Click Play to watch an original newsreel on Long's life.