In 1928, Felix and Verda Long of Louisiana welcomed a baby boy they named Speedy.
Born on a hot afternoon in June in a two-room shotgun house in Tullos, he spent the first hours of his life in a stove. His premature birth at seven months was the genesis of his name — Speedy. “When the old country doctor came, he said, ‘Oh, you can just throw that in the garbage.’ But my grandmother, being an old midwife, wrapped me in a blanket and stuffed me in the oven of an old potbelly wood stove,” said Speedy Long. The heat helped him survive.
Speedy Oteria Long, like many members of the Long family, went into politics. He was a Louisiana State Senator from 1956 to 1964, then a U.S. Representative from Louisiana’s 8th District from 1965 to 1973. He also ran for governor of Louisiana twice, in 1971 and 1987, but was defeated both times. (His campaign slogan in 1987 was “Right the wrong with Speedy Long.”) He went on to become the district attorney for La Salle Parish from 1973 to 1985.
Speedy passed away in 2006.
- American Heritage Magazine
- Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- “What’s in a name? Ask Speedy Long.” Advocate [Baton Rouge] 10 Oct. 1987.