Louisiana politicians were and are much like feudal barons. They operate as rulers of geographical principalities or personal followings, independently, calculatingly, and sometimes irresponsibly or petulantly. Two barons may seem to be friends and allies, and then suddenly, because one or the other senses an advantage to be gained or is seized by a whim, they break and become enemies. Conversely, two barons may seem to be political and personal enemies, and just as suddenly and for similar reasons, they will come together as allies. Over a stretch of years the pattern can become bewilderingly complex, as leaders break, ally, and rebreak, in an endless chain of combinations. The process is peculiar to Louisiana, a product of the state’s exaggerated devotion to professional politics.