Corruption Apologists in Shreveport / Caddo History
April 30, 2016
Earlier in this series, I wrote about our community’s Corruption Apologists. I capitalize the name of the group just as historians do the “Longs” and “Anti-Longs” of that era. These names group and identify the essence of members’ beliefs and practices. (Previous article here.)
During the corruption-torn reigns of the brothers Long, our citizens found it important to identify “For!” or “Against!” the public corruption then gripping and wounding our state. Shreveport and Caddo were strongly in the Anti-Long, anti-corruption column. Such is no longer so.
Now, ours is a community of, by and for government, which is to say public officials. These believe we work for them, as they routinely demonstrate. Our freakishly high taxes have created a non-stop gusher of money readily available to such people. Perhaps more so than at any point in our history, these violators have staked-out every branch and corner of local government.
Corruption apologists provide them cover when, where and however necessary.
My aforementioned column struck a nerve. Immediately after its publication, a group of these apologists organized a gathering to push-back against any notion of corruption here. They pointedly write “alleged corruption” in their marketing, thus claiming, without risk of accountability, that the real thing does not exist. (We may therefore assume they also believe the man found standing, smoking gun in hand, beside his just-shot-dead victim is the oft-mentioned alleged killer.)
The real pushers of this No-Corruption-Here political op trace directly to the Caddo Parish Commissioners who are getting away with a $300,000 heist of illegal and unconstitutional “CPERS” retirement benefits.
These particular corruption apologists remixed the “old” Caddo Commission into a “new” Commission which is, in the main, the “old” Commission. Should they actually ever trudge public corruption’s Road to Damascus, they will cease their lame excuses and put up for a public vote a Resolution directing CPERS recipients to give taxpayers our money back.
Also very much in this mix are the attorneys who have now taken another near-$100,000 in payola to make certain the Commissioners’ get away with their looting.
We Must Never Forget …
The mid-1970s fall of Shreveport Public Safety Commissioner George D’Artois taught us much about the ways and means of corruption apologists.
By the early summer of 1976, Shreveport had fallen deep into a pit of wholly unmitigated public corruption. As a Caddo grand jury finally began real action against the curse, and as the end of the ringleader, Commissioner D’Artois, drew near, corruption apologists he personally rallied went public in much the same way as we are now beginning to see and hear.
My brother, Alan, wrote about some of these apologists in the Shreveport Journal, on May 19, 1976.* “One (group) calling itself ‘Concerned Citizens for a Better Shreveport,” distributed flyers in several neighborhoods charging the news media with using ‘guilt by association’ to impugn D’Artois.” And, the president and spokesperson of the city’s labor council issued a public statement directing the news media “to get back to reporting business as usual instead of implying Shreveport is a corrupt city.”
Three weeks later, with words and deeds of these corruption apologists still in evidence, any implication of corruption turned demonstration: Jim Leslie, a friend of mine and many others, was shot dead. Commissioner D’Artois tried to pay Jim for personal services with a City of Shreveport check, but Jim twice returned to him. (Related article here.) D’Artois and many others of us well understood that Jim’s grand jury testimony would bring the Commissioner down.
Literally, D’Artois was, during the very same days and nights, both rallying his troop of corruption apologists and arranging a team of men who would assassinate Jim Leslie in a Baton Rouge hotel parking lot.
Jim’s killing remains unsolved, but there is no statute of limitations on murder.
Mainly, corruption apologists pander. It is theirs to assuage public discomfort, no matter contrary evidence. They ply their trade with a skill-set not unlike carnival barkers, living the lie of creatively misrepresenting what they know is actually behind the curtain.
… more later …
* My thanks to Bill Keith for including these facts in his book, The Commissioner.
(Elliott Stonecipher does this work pro bono … no compensation of any kind is solicited or accepted. He has no client or other relationships which in any way influence his selections of subjects or the content of any article. Appropriate credit to Mr. Stonecipher in the sharing – unedited only, of course – is expected. The use of his work without such credit to him is unethical and will not be quietly accepted.)