LaPolitics Publisher John Maginnis Dies at 66

maginnishead-e1382668639933-906x1024

The staff of LaPolitics Weekly and LaPolitics.com is deeply saddened to report that founder and publisher John Maginnis died early Sunday morning at his New Orleans residence.

From his first forays in the business -- distributing The State-Times on his bike after school, serving as editor of The Daily Reveille at LSU and as a reporter for The Catholic Commentator -- to his last, John devoted his life to delivering the news. Through his three books, "The Last Hayride," "Cross to Bear," and "The Politics of Reform," he became one of the most recognizable names in Bayou State politics.

He had worked Louisiana's political beat since 1972, finding publishing successes first with Gris Gris magazine and later Louisiana Political Review. The latter gave way to The Fax Weekly in 1993, which underwent a name change, to LaPolitics Weekly, not long after. In recent years, John expanded the political newsletter and its digital counterpart, LaPolitics.com, by adding new staff, developing media partnerships and broadening its editorial scope.

His syndicated opinion column appeared in 21 newspapers around the state. He was also a featured speaker for civic groups and organizations across the Gulf Coast. In 2000, John was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the LSU Manship School of Mass Communications.

With his wife, Jackie Drinkwater-Maginnis, John enjoyed spending weekends in his beloved New Orleans after long days of covering state government in Baton Rouge and the election landscape statewide. His fervor for politics, in fact, was overshadowed only by his love for Jackie and the rest of his family.

John touched many lives and will be missed. When complimented on his work, John was fond of saying, "I owe it all to the material." Those who knew him best, however, knew better.

Funeral arrangements are pending and will be announced at a later date.

Upon hearing of his death, Gov. Bobby Jindal said:

For decades, John captured our unique style of politics, and in turn, his work helped shaped the debate of where Louisiana should be going in the future. It's safe to say he is the historian on Louisiana politics.

In no uncertain terms, his work has truly impacted Louisiana culture and politics. 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.

John was a fixture around the Capitol, always trying to get to the bottom of an issue. He had an incredible gift that enabled him to uncover stories and narratives that no one was talking about, but would ultimately drive the debate.

His work is prolific, but John could capture the essence of Louisiana politics in a single sentence.

I'm saddened that I will not get to read John's future accounts of Louisiana politics, but I know that I can always pick up a copy of "The Last Hayride" or "Cross to Bear" and take in his fantastic work.

John will be greatly missed, but never forgotten.

Former Gov. Kathleen Blanco:

Raymond and I will miss our friend John; he was an integral part of the political landscape for all the years I was in public office. He introduced the community at large to Louisiana politics in fresh, new ways and helped people to understand the inner-workings of Louisiana’s political structure. 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. He will be missed, there will be a great hole at the Capitol as this legislative session winds down.

Public Affairs Research Council President Robert Travis Scott:

John was the perfect professional in his field. His journalistic contribution to the process of democracy and public policy discourse was immense. He was a living forum for the fair and informed discussion of the colorful events, players and shenanigans that make up Louisiana politics. In his clear and authoritative trademark style, John uplifted us with gifted writing and a sophisticated understanding of Louisiana's complicated and confounding political and legislative scene. He understood the vital importance of both personality and policy in Louisiana politics, and he did it all with a warm and infectious sense of humor. He will be deeply missed.

Republican Party of Louisiana Chairman Roger Villere:

We are deeply saddened to learn of John's death. He was a political legend, a loving husband and an esteemed writer. Although his byline will no longer appear in print, his wit and his friendship will not be forgotten.

SPONSORED: Legatus In Louisiana

The intersection of faith and the workplace can be a challenge to navigate. And yet, there is an undeniable way that faith and values inform

Happy Birthday, Trackers!

— Tuesday 10/17: Steve Duke and Kevin Gallagher — Wednesday 10/18: Paul Hardy, Connie Caldwell, Kodi Wilson and Robert Morris —

The Beltway Beat

— U.S. Sen. John Kennedy to Gov. Edwards: “Top quality health care for our people is extraordinarily important. (No reasonable person has

Angele Davis For The State Senate?

When you run better than expected in a statewide race and pull 41 percent in your own Senate District 16 — against five opponents, one of

LaHistory: When The Majority Leader Vanished

Today marks the 45th anniversary of the strange disappearance of U.S. House Majority Leader Hale Boggs, a proud son of Louisiana. Boggs

Oct. 14: What Happened?

An astounding 86.5 percent of Louisiana’s registered population didn’t vote during this past weekend’s statewide elections. The math is a

POD: One From The Lobbying Corps…

Episode 22 of Season 2 has two guests from Spradely & Spradley, a government relations firm in Baton Rouge. They are Tom and Matt

LOWDOWN VIDEO: Election Zombies & Political Daredevils

We've got election zombies and political daredevils in this latest episode of The LaPolitics Lowdown. See how Louisiana lost a half

MEDIA SNAPSHOTS: About Last Night…

SPONSORED: Tax Reform (& A Tax Cocktail)

Tax reform is one of the nation’s most polarizing issue. The topic is so vast and complicated that few even attempt to understand the

You Should Be Listening To The Supremes

Can you name one of the justices currently serving on the United States Supreme Court? If you cannot, you’re among 57 percent of likely

The Beltway Beat

— Lindsay Lohan’s parents want a lawsuit filed against U.S. Sen. John Kennedy for the “mini-bar” comment. Missed that one? Watch

Happy Birthday, Trackers!

— Tuesday 10/10: Late Supreme Court Justice George Eustis (1796) — Wednesday 10/11: Rick Boudreaux — Thursday 10/12: The one and

Political Chatter

— RELEASE: “During the October meeting on Thursday, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission opted not to vote on a proposal to give

Early Voting Analysis: “Not Much To Say”

The following words and thoughts belong to Ed Chervenak, the director of the UNO Survey Research Center… An analysis of the early voting

Jeff Landry’s New Chief Of Staff

Lynnel Ruckert, the former chief of staff to House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, has been hired by Attorney General Jeff Landry to fill the

POD: The Jambalaya Episode

John Diez, the PAC director for the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, stops by to discuss what you need to make the perfect

LaHistory: An Unfriendly Month For Governors

Since 1828 there have been seven Louisiana governors who have passed away during the month of October, either while in office or later in

LOWDOWN: The Time Thibodaux Was Governor

Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser reveals a private conversation he had with Gov. John Bel Edwards about his future election plans... We meet

SPONSORED: Experience Is The Best Teacher

Experience is the best teacher. Louisiana-native Emily Bacque has learned the truth behind this adage after much experience in the

ICYMI: The “Next Frontier” For Public Records

The general counsel for the state’s premier newspaper and magazine association believes that the “next frontier for public records law in

Happy Birthday, Trackers!

— Tuesday 10/03: Former Congressman Charlie Melancon, David Crigler, and John Hill — Wednesday 10/04: Former Gov. Buddy Roemer, former

The Beltway Beat

— Majority Whip Steve Scalise returns to Congress and speaks on the floor. WATCH — The Scalise 60 Minutes interview (his first after he

Political Chatter

— His former colleagues in the Legislature probably won’t dig it much, but John Schroder’s new (and likely final) campaign commercial will

POD: Dardenne Goes To The Hoop

Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne is this week’s guest on The LaPolitics Report podcast. He reveals how close he came to walking