Monday, 26 May 2014 17:07

Memorial Day Souls: Maginnis fought the Louisiana political wars

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doveWith due respect, it is somewhat fitting that John Maginnis, who died on Sunday,  is being memorialized on the Internet by so many today, Memorial Day.   

Not that he fought or died on foreign soil as those with whom we owe our deep gratitude and committments. 

 No.  Instead, he valiantly fought the Battle of the Louisiana Politics.   In this bloody turf-war  laden with lies, deceits, self-service, mistakes, envy, back-stabbing, human foibles yet, indeed, deep sacrifices, Maginnis’s words were his weapons.  He was also occasionally the target of political shrapnel, a price to pay for the service.

His term of duty lasted forty years in covering this war zone.  During this time, he served our state and our country with respect and courage.

By now, many of those who have known Maginnis have made public statements.  Some of those statements are below.

It is difficult to put in words what he meant to the Political world of Louisiana.    He has been called the “Dean”.  Yesterday, Governor Bobby Jindal, labelled him the “historian”

To me, he has been more than any of those.  He was the “Soul”.

Unquestionably, very few could match his political acumen, his authority, his wit and his writing style.

More than any of those enviable gifts, he excelled because he lived and breathed and understood Louisiana Politics.  As a result, he communicate what he knew, so well.

His words conveyed how we felt.  He wrote what we wanted and needed to know.

I will miss John Maginnis as I know so many of you will do also.

Thank you John,   You led us in battle and wore your scars mightily.

Wwhat others are saying

In recent months John battled a blood disorder, said friend and business partner Jeremy Alford, also a Baton Rouge-based political columnist and editor of LaPolitics. Several years ago, John suffered a mild heart attack. Despite those medical conditions, Alford said, John’s passing caught everyone by surprise. “You always think there’s more time,” he said.

To me, John was the Tim Russert of Louisiana — his comments were always the most authoritative and the most respected among journalists and politicians alike. For four decades, he had no equal when it came to dissecting, analyzing and explaining Louisiana politics. His columns and speeches combined equal measures of humor, insight and accuracy. If John printed it or said it, you could count it as gospel, yet he never boasted or put on airs. Brazile@donnabrazile

John Maginnis, the Dean of
Louisiana politics, has died. A great syndicated columnist and writer about
Louisiana politics.

Scene Magazine@SceneToday

RIP John Maginnis. The most
well respected man in Southern politics publishing:

David Madden@DavidMadden4

Lousiana is poorer for the
recent loss of John Maginnis, one of the most vivid personalities I remember


“I liked his style,” political adviser Timmy Teepell posted on Facebook on Sunday morning. “Not just the way he wrote, but the way he asked questions. He wanted to know your thoughts. He was friendly. He was funny. He was curious. And he was smart. Not combative. Genuinely a good guy with a ready smile and infectious laugh and a small notepad. I guess that’s why we talked to him. And told him more than we told others. And then he would break the stories on Thursday nights. My dad tells me he was the same way in high school and college when he wrote for the school papers back then. He was old school with sources in every nook and cranny of the Louisiana political establishment. I’ll always remember him as the sage of the Capitol and I will miss him. RIP John Maginnis.”


Former Gov. Kathleen Blanco said Maginnis was an integral part of the political landscape in Louisiana. She said he introduced people to the state’s political system in fresh, new ways.

“He was incredibly accurate and trustworthy, and had access to information because of the trust he developed. He told each story from every perspective, and because of that he became an important source of information to lawmakers who may have only been privy to one side of the story in that moment. Many in government depended on his reporting to keep them up-to-date. Our hearts go out to Jackie,” Blanco said in a prepared statement.

I don’t believe in reincarnation, but if I did, I would swear that John Maginnis had been a corrupt Louisiana state senator in a previous life.

How else to explain how this legendary political journalist, who died Sunday at age 66, developed his uncanny ability to read the minds of the pols he covered in more than four decades of writing about Louisiana’s political culture?

In my 30-plus years in and around Louisiana politics, I never met a non-politician who understood the state’s political system better than John. For those of us who write about politics, he was the gold standard by which we all measured ourselves.

He was, as Huey Long once said about himself, sui generis.

JohnMaginnis was a Leaders With Vision member, a political analyst/pundit and a world class journalist, who engaged the every person who was interested and help them understand both the policy and the personalities in Louisiana politics.  

A treasured friend and colleague for over 40 years, Louisiana's has lost a champion of freedom of information for the people.  His sharp insight and wit, professionally delivered both in print and as an original speaker at our annual Reality Check Luncheon nineteen years ago, Beneath his humor, JohnMaginnis genuinely cared about the people of our state.  Leaders With Vision extends our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Jackie, his family, and to Jeremy Alford and the staff of LA Politics.  Truly the Dean of Louisiana politics, he and his syndicated columns will be sorely missed by all ... JohnMaginnis will live on through his books about Louisiana politics..   

Jean Armstrong CPC, CED,

Leaders With Vision, Inc.

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Stephen Sabludowsky | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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