Fair Grounds Racetrack publicist, handicapper and boxing promoter Allen “Black Cat” LaCombe in 1959 on a dare from cronies at Curley’s Neutral Corner bar, ran for governor under the campaign slogan “Run the Squirrels out of Office — Keep the State Safe for the Nuts.” An Irish Channel character with a “dese” and “dose” Yat accent, LaCombe was originally from Echo, a small town in Avoyelles Parish. Incredibly, he once taught a handicapping course at Tulane night school in hallowed Gibson Hall. But he would finish seventh in a heavyweight field of nine to a former governor, Jimmie Davis, the “Singing Cowboy” of “You Are My Sunshine” fame, who spent more time singing than politicking.
In 1969 an eccentric gambler with deep pockets, Rodney “Get the Gorilla” Fertel, ran for mayor of New Orleans, promising he would get a gorilla for the Audubon Zoo if elected. He didn’t come close. Still he went to Singapore and got two gorillas for the zoo.
Long dogged by corruption charges, colorful Cajun lightning rod Edwin Edwards spent 16 years as the governor of Louisiana. In his last election in 1991 he faced Klansman David Duke. Bumper stickers everywhere said, “Vote for the Crook — It’s Important.” On election day in 1983 against Republican David Treen, Edwards famously told reporters, “The only way I can lose this election is if I get caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy.” In 2001 he was convicted of racketeering charges and served eight years in federal prison.