For years I had the pleasure of editing Jeremy Alford's weekly columns and Tyler Bridges' occasional stories in this newspaper. Both writers are first-rate journalists and terrific storytellers. When they asked me to edit Long Shot (see Cover Story Nov. 29), their book on the 2015 governor's race, I was honored.
From the outset, we all knew that collaborating on such an epic story would present challenges as unique as Louisiana's storied brand of politics.
For starters, Jeremy and Tyler have very distinct writing styles, and each has his own "take" on state politics. Add to that mix an opinionated editor and it's a small miracle Long Shot got done at all.
Then there are the readers, many of them experts in their own right. No doubt there will be plenty of critics. That's only fair.
In the end, Jeremy and Tyler's commitment to getting it right and telling the story as honestly — and as thoroughly — as possible overcame every obstacle. Above all, they did a magnificent job of giving the book one "voice." In doing so, they made my job as editor easy — and a genuine pleasure. Every time I finished editing a chapter, I literally could not wait to receive the next one. I hope readers will enjoy Long Shot as much as I did.
If I contributed anything to the work, I hope it was my challenge to the authors to tell the story in a way that would appeal to readers outside Louisiana. I believed from the get-go that while the tale of John Bel Edwards' come-from-nowhere campaign should capture Louisiana's colorful characters and unrivaled political mystique, the fundamental lessons inherent in his victory hold true in all 50 states. Tyler and Jeremy met that challenge and more.
In fact, the book at one point mentions Donald Trump's equally improbable up-ending of the GOP primary field as an example of how an underdog can still win — especially when he or she faces a notably flawed opponent. Truly, the political lessons imparted in Long Shot apply across the board, not just across the country, in races large and small.
I'm fond of saying there's never a recession in Louisiana politics. The events and characters recounted in Long Shot prove that beyond all doubt. It arrives in bookstores this week, just in time for Christmas.
I can't wait to read it again.
Gambit and Martin Wine Cellar are co-sponsoring a book signing of Long Shot from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11, at Martin Wine Cellar (3827 Baronne St.). New Orleans' most famous political experts, James Carville and Mary Matalin — who wrote dueling forewords to Long Shot — are co-hosting the event. It's a great chance to mix and mingle with Carville, Matalin, Alford and Bridges — and to shop for wine, spirits and copies of Long Shot for gift-giving. Attendance is free but limited. Sign up at www.bestofneworleans/longshot and order advance copies of the book at www.louisianalongshot.com. Hope to see you there.