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Thursday, October 25, 2007

A legal eagle.

Photo by Paul L. Schuetze/The Times
Shown at the luncheon: Glenn E. Walker, U.S. Dist. Judge Tom Stagg, David Broder and Marty Stroud.

Shreveport attorney Glenn E. Walker’s acceptance speech for a Shreveport Bar Association Award Wednesday so awed Pulitzer Prize-winning writer David Broder that he cancelled his speech.

"You had a wonderful talk. It as fine a speech on the role of law as I have ever heard," said Broder. He is national political correspondent who reports the political scene for the Washington Post and whose column in carried in The Times.

The award was given and Broder was the guest speaker for the luncheon at the Petroleum Club.

So, instead of giving his prepared talk on contemporary political leaders — that he had actually delivered the night before — he told stories about national political figures he had covered and knew very well: former Sen. Barry Goldwater, once a Republican candidate for U.S. President ,and President Ronald Reagan and took questions from the lunch bunch.

He said the press wasn’t always kind to Goldwater, but that he was loved by reporters who covered him. "They lionized him as much as anyone," Broder said.

It probably couldn’t happen today, but in those days, Broder and a couple of other reporters made their way to Goldwater’s ranch when he got back to Arizona from the Republican convention.

"He was sitting around fooling with his ham radio and drinking coffee," said Broder.

Goldwater told the reporters that he and Lucky Davis, Reagan’s mother-in-law, a guest at the rance, got up at the same time. "We swap dirty jokes. That is how I start my day," declared Goldwater.

Some of the topics Broder touched on in the question/answer session:

 Polarization of Congress. "It is the most poisonous atmosphere I have ever seen in Washington ... Their lifestyle isolates them. They don’t spend time in Washington and they don’t spend time with each other. There is very little communication."

 How history will view President George W. Bush. "It depends on how the war turns out ... I am not optimistic about the war."

 On the writers of the U.S. Constitution. "The wisest generation of Americans — ever."

As for Walker’s speech, he mixed whimsey and light topics with serious thoughts to discuss the law and how its role in society is to bring order to it.

By the way did you know that Angola Peniteniary has a great museum and gift shop.

The biggest seller in the shop? "The T-shirt that says, 'Angola. A Gated Community,'" said Walker.

Walker is a good and long time friend of mine, so covering the speech and award presentation was very special.

Besides his law prowess, he is also a woodworker who builds and refinishes furniture and once created a fly rod for his wife, my close pal Martha S. Walker.

He is also a cook who once took Cuisinart lessons with my husband Paul L. Schuetze and U.S. Dist. Court Judge Tom from the late Times columnist Carolyn Flournoy. In her South Highlands kitchen.

Congratulations, Glenn! We are proud of you. Well deserved, this award.


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