Winnfield has been considered a hotbed of Louisiana politics since the days of hometown boys Huey and Earl Long. To mark the 100 th birthday anniversary of “The Kingfish” Huey P. Long in 1993, the Louisiana Political Museum held its first banquet in Winnfield to induct the Long brothers and ten other political notables into its Hall of Fame.
On Saturday, February 26, the museum will celebrate the 30th Edition of the Hall of Fame Banquet, adding seven new honorees to a list that will then total 198 members over that three-decade history.
The 2022 Political Hall of Fame inductees are longtime Tensas Parish sheriff and state police bodyguard for Huey P. Long, Elliot D. Coleman; incumbent Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon; Sikes native, journalist and West Monroe mayor Walter B. “Bert” Hatten; longtime politician and Monroe mayor W.L. “Jack” Howard; Court of Appeal judge and state senator Robert W. “Bob” Kostelka; lumber and forestry innovator Roy O. Martin III and longtime Jena physician Dr. I.C. Turnley whose first year of practice was in Winnfield. Also presented that night will be the “Louisiana Political Family of Officeholders Award” to the Claude “Buddy” Leach Family.
The event this February will be held in the Winnfield Civic Center at the Fairgrounds, 2000 S. Jones Street (Hwy 34 South). Activities will get underway at 6 p.m. The annual banquet returns to the Winnfield site every other year. In an effort to “Share the Wealth,” as Huey P. Long might say, the banquet is held in varying Louisiana metros on the alternate years.
Open seating tickets are available for $125 each by calling the museum at 318-628-5928 or online at firstname.lastname@example.org. Reserved seating sponsorship tables of eight are also available.
The upscale event affords folks the opportunity to see and hear in-person or meet men and women who have made a true impact on our state’s political scene. This includes not only the honorees but often their friends and family attending for support. Some of these “rare air” politicians over the years have included Gov. Jimmie Davis, Gov. Edwin Edwards, Sen. Ted Kennedy, Sen. John Kennedy and incumbent governors
Kathleen Blanco, Mike Foster and Jon Bell Edwards.
Blue-collar governor Earl K. Long would have appreciated the museum’s warm-up event that is open free to the public. A Hall of Fame Reception will be held at the museum from 4:30 until 5:30 p.m. on that same Saturday. This more casual and up-close reception is another opportunity for folks and meet and greet many of the honorees and their supporters.
The Louisiana Political Hall of Fame is housed in the renovated L&A Railroad depot at 499 East Main Street in Winnfield. Their collection includes individual displays of memorabilia and information on each of the inductees. Accompanied is a caricature of each, a tradition launched in 1993 by political cartoonist and Hall of Famer P.A. “Pap” Dean.