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Tales from the Gridiron: Exhibition features photos and oral history interviews with LSU players, coaches and fans

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Did you know that Governor Huey P. Long once tried to appoint a tailback from the LSU football team to the State Senate?

Abe Mickal was born in Talia, Lebanon, grew up in McComb, Mississippi, was a Collegiate All Star, a National Football Hall of Fame inductee, a doctor and very nearly a Louisiana state senator while still in college.

Learn more about Abe Mickal and more about LSU Football in the exhibition Saturday Night in Tiger Stadium: Reflections on 120 Years of LSU Football, now on display in the Lecture Hall in Hill Memorial Library.

An excerpt from the exhibition:
Abe Mickal reminiscing about Governor Long’s attempt to make a politician out of him.
[podcast]http://news.blogs.lib.lsu.edu/files/2013/09/Mickal_Abe_on_Huey.mp3[/podcast]

Abe Mickal: When Huey had me elected to a state senators’ job as a student at LSU, I was not eligible. But I remember [Coach Lawrence] “Biff” Jones and Troy Middleton, “Don’t get involved because he just did it as a prank.” What he wanted to do was have me elected as state senator from Baton Rouge and he wanted me to come to the legislature and pass legislation benefiting the LSU football team.

So we had . . . You had those kind of people to fall back on and guide you, but Huey was a great guy. I had a beautiful relationship with him. Because here I was a country boy from Mississippi and here was this . . . the Governor of Louisiana, State Senator, who took a liking to me. He . . . When I got hurt in the Tulane game, he came the next day to the Infirmary and visited with me for over an hour; telling me what his dreams and plans were for LSU. He just . . . He aspired to be an athlete, but he never was. But he would have given . . . I think he would’ve almost given up his governorship if he could have been a good football player.

Mickal’s interview is housed in the T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History at LSU Libraries Special Collections. Mickal, Abe, interview by Jennifer Abraham, audio recording, 1998, 4700.1051. Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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