La. journalist John Maginnis dead at 66
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — John Maginnis, a publisher, author and journalist who chronicled Louisiana politics for over 40 years, died Sunday at his home in New Orleans. He was 66.
His death was confirmed by Jeremy Alford, who worked with Maginnis on LaPolitcs.com a news and opinion website.
In the 1970s, Maginnis published the Baton Rouge-based Gris Gris (gree-gree) magazine. More recently his website and political newsletter were widely followed; and his syndicated column appeared in newspapers around the state.
Maginnis was the author of two books on key campaigns of four-term former Gov. Edwin Edwards.
The first was “The Last Hayride,” about the 1983 governor’s race.
That campaign pitted Democrat Edwards, then a charismatic two-term ex-governor trying to regain his old job after sitting out because of term limits, against incumbent Dave Treen, Louisiana’s first Republican governor since Reconstruction.
Edwards won in a landslide. He dropped out of a 1987 runoff after a third term marked by scandal, but mounted a comeback in 1991 when he defeated former Ku Klux Klansman David Duke. That campaign was the subject of Maginnis’ book “Cross to Bear.”
Maginnis also wrote “The Politics of Reform,” a book about the influential Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana.
Gov. Bobby Jindal issued a statement Sunday praising Maginnis’ work.
“In no uncertain terms, his work has truly impacted Louisiana culture and politics,” Jindal said. “Indeed, reading his books and weekly columns should be a rite of passage for anyone who works in Louisiana politics. But even more, if you just love Louisiana, and want to know about our history, John’s work is a must read.”
Alford said Sunday that he and Maginnis had planned a book on quotable Louisiana politicians of the last 20 years. And Maginnis had one more book in mind at the time of his death, Alford said.
“He was going to call it, ‘Our Heroes Have Always Been Governors,’” Alford said. The book was to be a remembrance of the governors Maginnis had covered.
Maginnis was inducted into the Hall of Fame at LSU’s Manship School of Journalism in 2000. Alford said LaPolitics.com will continue.
The cause of Maginnis’ death was not available Sunday. Maginnis had been battling health problems, including a blood disorder, Alford said.
Maginnis is survived by his wife, Jackie Drinkwater-Maginnis.
Funeral arrangements were pending.