BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A bronze statue of Louisiana’s most famous politician, which faces the Capitol he built, has had a makeover after decades of exposure to weather and birds.
The statue of Huey P. Long was recently cleaned by the expert who is restoring the Capitol’s bronze windows as part of a waterproofing project, The Advertiser reported.
“We felt like it was a good opportunity while we had someone with the expertise on site,” said Jacques Berry, a spokesman for Gov. John Bel Edwards’ Division of Administration.
The 12-foot-tall (3.7 meter) statue, which stands atop a pedestal nearly twice as high, was erected on Long’s grave in 1940, five years after he was shot and killed inside the building.
Long was serving in the U.S. Senate and running for president against Franklin Roosevelt at the time of his death.
The statue faces the front of the 450-foot tall (137-meter) state Capitol he built during his only term as governor from 1928 to 1932.
Charles Heck designed the statue, which cost $50,000.
Carvings on the base include a rearing horse carrying a pennant that reads “Share the Wealth,” Long’s populist plan to redistribute America’s wealth from the rich to the poor. Relief carvings also feature Long distributing free schoolbooks and guiding the construction of the Capitol building while adoring citizens gaze on.
A similar statue of Long, also designed by Heck, was dedicated in the U.S. Capitol National Statuary Hall in 1941. And in his hometown of Winnfield, a bronze statue of Huey Long stands outside the courthouse in the town square.