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Author: Sam J. Pigno
Genre: Nonfiction

Registry #: non006


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 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.


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