So explosive are the
details of this book, so power-packed, so credibly visible
the knots of truth being twisted by rife politics, that a
man's life story and the written document of all that impacted
his times are woven here for Newwriters.com in one package,
Sam Pigno's blistering account of life in Louisiana politics.
He was born during the Depression years of poor Italian-American
parents who raised strawberries for a living. His family lived
from year to year by borrowing from an uncle, who was a strawberry
broker. The loans were to be paid off when the crops produced
each year, and by that time they had to borrow against the
next year's crop. It was a vicious cycle. In spite of the
hardships, his parents provided him with the best education
possible. That education was elementary and high school locally
and college studies at a nearby university where he received
a degree in upper elementary education.
To become a teacher in his parish, he found a person had to
be involved in politics. Once into politics, he immediately
found work as an educator. Then, to enhance his chances for
promotion, he returned to L.S.U. to earn a masters' degree
and, later, a plus thirty hours of graduate credit toward
a specialist degree and D Edu. But he immediately found that
credentials made little difference in a racist and bigoted
parish. With politics he worked up from teacher to superintendent
of one of the largest and most political parishes in Louisiana.
Better yet, he insulted this hard-shelled red-neck community
by becoming the first schools superintendent of Italian-American
heritage in the parish's history. The school system was in
shambles when he became superintendent and in just eight years
passed a sales tax to raise enough funds to totally construct
and renovate 35 new and ultramodern schools. Next, he successfully
instituted a plan of education that improved student achievement
from near the bottom in the state, to above the national average.
When his administration discovered the sheriff's office had
not been collecting all the sales taxes due the school board,
the sales tax collection was taken from that office. This
angered the sheriff, who vowed to get even with him and his
school board. Came then the unbridled, unsavory and foul politics;
the sheriff joined with the teacher unions of the parish and
with the District Attorney. Also, incredibly, the sheriff
sought support from a school bus driver who had been called
before the school board on child molestation allegations.
Sam Pigno's life became a bitter hell and his punishment for
being successful was to be charged, convicted and sentenced
to prison. To accomplish this, the entire school system was
brought down and today, that finally-exalted school system
has now gone back to where it was 20 years ago. The only remains
of the once-and-shortly proud administration are the beautiful,
ultra-modern facilities built during that period. All other
contributions made to the system by his board have now been
deleted or altered in some way.
Today, after serving as mayor of his town for four years and
being equally successful as he was in education, he is enjoying
retirement and writing articles in the local newspapers to
keep the public informed of the politics of the parish.
Here is a story that cries for attention, where justice, once
hidden, comes riding, at last, out from the far horizon.