EARL K. LONG, brother of Louisiana governor Huey P. Long, was born in Winnfield, Louisiana on August 26, 1895. His education was attained at Tulane University and at Loyola University, where he earned a law degree. Long entered public service in 1928 with an appointment as the Orleans Parish tax collector, a position he held four years. He also served as lieutenant governor of Louisiana from 1937 to 1939. On June 26, 1939, Governor Richard W. Leche resigned from office, and Long, who was lieutenant governor at the time, assumed the duties of the governorship. After running unsuccessfully for his own gubernatorial term, Long left office on May 14, 1940. In 1948, Long won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote on April 20, 1948. He was sworn into office on May 11, 1948. During his tenure, teachers salaries were increased, the Louisiana civil service system was eliminated–although all state agencies working with federal funds remained operational and higher taxes were authorized on gasoline, beer and retail purchases. After completing his term, Long left office on May 13, 1952, and returned to his legal career. On April 17, 1953 he was reelected to the governorship, and was sworn into office on May 8, 1956. During his final term, a free lunch program for schoolchildren was endorsed, black teachers were paid the same as white teachers, and an anti-black faction was dealt with. During the anti-black controversy, Long suffered from failing health and a mental collapse. He was committed to the State Hospital for the Insane; however, he was released after using his authority as governor. He removed the hospital director and replaced him with a doctor who was his ally. After Long finished his term on May 10, 1960, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. However he passed away before taking his seat. Governor Earl K. Long died on September 5, 1960, and was buried at the Earl K. Long Memorial Park in Winnfield, Louisiana.
Dawson III, Joseph G. The Louisiana Governors: From Iberville to Edwards. Baton Rouge: Lousiana State University Press, 1990.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.