MARCH MADNESS: Crooked vs. Cooked – Day 7

Day 6 Results: “Judge” Leander Perez (3) trounced Earl Long (14) with 73.1% of the vote. Crawfish bisque (3) took care of business by beating grits and grillades (14) with 62.9%. 

Today’s matchups feature “Darth” Dozier, Louisiana’s first of three convicted insurance commissioners, creamy baked shellfish, and a dish that’ll have you seeing red.


CROOKED: Gil Dozier (7) vs. Sherman Bernard (10)
Today’s Crooked competitors each set a noted trend of corruption in their respective statewide offices, to which they were both first elected in the 1970s.

Seventh-seeded Gil Dozier preceded No. 16 seed Bob Odom as Louisiana commissioner of agriculture and forestry, and though he served only one term in that capacity, it was enough time to set the precedent of shaking down numerous entities within (and even outside) his regulatory purview, all under the lame guise of “campaign donations.” The month after he was ousted from office by garnering less than 1/3 of the vote in the 1979 general (runoff) election, Dozier was formally charged with multiple charges of extortion and racketeering.

The former commissioner of agriculture was busted – while out on bail – for trying to hire a professional killer.

Among other things, prosecutors charged that Dozier, while in office in 1977, sought $25,000 from Nicholas Fakouri and the Vermilion Dairymen’s Cooperative Association in Abbeville in return for a loan guarantee from the Louisiana State Market Commission. The year before, during his first year in office, Dozier tried to extort $20,000 from the Louisiana Computer Company with the promise of favorable treatment from the state. Dozier was convicted in September 1980 on four of five counts and sentenced to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine, but the sentence was suspended pending appeal and Dozier remained free on bail.

It was during this time – while he was out on bond – that Dozier was arrested for his involvement in a scheme to tamper with the jury pool for the case in which he was freshly convicted. Additionally, Dozier was implicated in a Watergate-like plot in which he attempted to hire a burglar to break into the office of a business competitor.

But that’s not all! Dozier also allegedly hired a hitman. A fucking hitman. Who did he want to kill? Who the hell knows? But the former commissioner of agriculture was busted – while out on bail – for trying to hire a professional killer. U.S. District Judge Frank Polozola subsequently added another eight years to Dozier’s sentence with nary an additional indictment or trial proceeding.

Dozier ended up spending about four years behind bars. The only reason he didn’t rot in prison is because in 1984, President Ronald Reagan, obviously suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s, commuted Dozier’s sentence without ever releasing files in the case. Later, when he faced a parole hearing in the U.S. Justice Department, Dozier’s attorneys described their client as a “Darth Vader” who turned from a “crusading reformer to a man obsessed by the dark side within a year of taking office, an attitude fueled by an overwhelming desire to run for governor,” thus proving that lawyers are one of the few groups of people who see Darth Vader as a sympathetic character.

No. 10 seed Sherman Bernard spent four terms as Louisiana commissioner of insurance for most of the 1970s and ’80s, but he’s best known for being the first of three consecutive insurance commissioners to be convicted and serve time in prison for various crimes. Five years after leaving office, Bernard confessed to extorting $80,000 from insurance companies during his last two terms in return for obtaining operating licenses. He pleaded guilty to one count of extortion and spent 41 months in the federal prison in Montgomery, AL.

Lawyers are one of the few groups of people who see Darth Vader as a sympathetic character.

As far as we know, Bernard never tried to hire a hit man.

COOKED: Oysters Bienville (7) vs. Shrimp Creole (10)
Not a fan of oysters? Have you tried seventh-seeded oysters Bienville? With ingredients like bacon, shrimp, butter, and Parmesan cheese baked with the oysters, it’s easy to see why it’s a popular dish in New Orleans and South Louisiana, even among those who normally don’t eat the salty mollusks.

By the way, if you’re wondering why we included oysters Bienville and not its close cousin oysters Rockefeller in the tournament, the reasons are twofold: One, the name “Bienville” is synonymous with Louisiana, while Rockefeller is a bit more New York-ish sounding; two, the famous French Quarter restaurant Antoine’s, where the dish was created in 1899, claims that all other eateries purporting to serve oysters Rockefeller are really serving knock-off versions of the original, namely because the original recipe is a secret. In fact, it’s so secret, it’s rumored that the dish’s creator, Jules Alciatore, took the recipe to his grave, which means that even Antoine’s “oysters Rockefeller” may merely be a close approximation of the real thing.

Do you like fresh Gulf shrimp? How about a tomato sauce with a New Orleans kick? Then shrimp creole is where it’s at. Think of it as a South Louisiana shrimp spaghetti sauce served over rice instead of pasta.

Ready. Set. VOTE! (Polls close nightly at 10 p.m. CDT.)


FYI: If you’re trying to make sense of this graft vs. grub competition, here’s an explanation.RedShtick-Top-ColumnStop

About Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff
A random collection of overqualified, underachieving smartasses.

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