C.B. Forgotston, a remembrance

 

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C.B. Forgotston

By Robert Mann

 

“He is a man of courage who does not run away, but remains at his post and fights against the enemy.”–Socrates

C.B. Forgotson, the respected Louisiana blogger who died Sunday at age 70, was a fearless, courageous man. He was also an honest man – brutally so, sometimes maddening and but never compromising in his pursuit of the truth.

When I worked for Gov. Kathleen Blanco, I didn’t particularly welcome his regular criticism of her, but I knew that he always told the truth as he saw it. It didn’t matter who the public official was or what he thought of that individual, personally. C.B. never cut people any slack when writing about their policies.

Looking back, C.B. was usually right. He had a well-earned fundamental distrust of politicians, almost certainly acquired by proximity to the political class during so many years at the state Capitol. C.B. not only knew as much about state tax and budget policy as anyone alive; he had an uncanny instinct for the shady, ulterior motivations of many political leaders.

Put another way, C.B. naturally – and, usually, sensibly – began from the position that things were rarely as they appeared. Some might call him cynical. I thought of him as wise and practical. All of us who write about Louisiana politics could use a bit more of C.B.’s inherent skepticism about politicians and politics.

Although he was not trained as a journalist, C.B. followed that old reporters’ saying, “If your mother tells you she loves you, check it out.”

When I began my blog and general rabble rousing in 2012, C.B. immediately enlisted as one of my most enthusiastic supporters. He not only shared with me his experience and deep knowledge of Louisiana politics, he gave me something more valuable at that time – friendship and unflinching moral support.

Over the past four years, hardly a day or two passed that I didn’t hear from C.B. about one thing or another. Usually, it was to compare notes on our mutual disdain of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s misrule. Most his email missives were just a line or two, but his encouragement was always meaningful and, when he offered his analysis about politics or policy, he was usually spot on.

I wish I had told him more how much his support and guidance meant to me. More than that, I hope he knew how much meaningful moral support he gave to other like-minded Louisiana bloggers, who were mustering the fortitude to speak truth to power. Even more, I hope that C.B. knew that his blogging and his dissent made a real difference.

C.B. wasn’t just spitting into the wind, as some of his critics wanted him to believe. He was reminding us that even in Louisiana, the people are sovereign. He was reminding the politicians that they owed their allegiance, not to the governor, LABI or some other special interest, but to the people.

He reminded us all that it was our obligation as citizens to do our part to save our state. For C.B., that part was his role as a relentless and effective critic of Louisiana’s political leaders.

Some people dismissed him because he rarely had anything positive to say about the politicians. But that wasn’t his job – and he knew it. C.B. was exceedingly comfortable playing the role of curmudgeon and subversive at a time when Louisiana desperately needed subversives.

His outspoken dissent didn’t make him popular at the Capitol. But it made him a hero to me and many others.

Rest in peace, my friend. We will miss you.

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19 Responses to C.B. Forgotston, a remembrance

  1. Butch Gautreaux says:

    Very sorry to hear of C.B.’s passing. I was looking forward to seeing his critiques during the current legislative session. He was a man with a message but not an agenda. He will be missed.

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  2. Fredster says:

    I just read about his passing on nola.com

    I generally checked C.B.’s website every few days. I know he didn’t post as much when the lege wasn’t in session, but I checked it the other day and saw his countdown to Jindal’s exit.

    C.B., you left too soon. I think our incoming governor is going to be a good one but he may need his feet held to the fire on occasions. That should have been your job C.B. We’re gonna miss you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I never personally met you C.B. so I was always pleasantly surprised by how quick and how passionately you would reply to my little emails. You had a quick wit and sharp desire to cut through the political bullshit. I found affirmation and strength through our shared love of Louisiana and its people. Lastly, I saw you as a teacher, a man of great character who wanted to be heard, I heard you and I’m the wiser for listening.
    C.B. I hope your going brings you peace.

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  4. Bob in BR says:

    We’ve lost a great overseer for the shenanigans at the Capitol. I didn’t know you personally but feel a debt of gratitude for your unrelenting search for justice and moral fortitude. If any adjustments are needed wherever your beliefs have brought you I’ve a feeling you will report such to the powers in charge. Shine on C.B. and we will miss you. Rest in peace.

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  5. Thank you C.B. Forgotston. Yes the people of Louisiana are sovereign. Thank you again.

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  6. He was the voice of those too afraid to speak to power in Louisiana. He will be sorely missed.

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  7. Pingback: Blessed Are the Sarcastic Truthtellers–On Blogging and the Late CB Forgotston | LA Higher Ed Confessions

  8. jechoisir says:

    A fine tribute to a true watchman. Thank you for writing it.

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  9. Sadly, I had not been in contact with CB for decades. But almost everything I know about Louisiana state politics is the result of his curmudgeonly teaching as he broke me in during CC73 – the constitutional convention. His lessons remained with me always – look beneath the surface for the hidden agenda; the bland but carefully worded phrase that changes the obvious meaning of legislation and goes unnoticed until too late; don’t believe a word politicians say to your face…… In recent years I valued CB’s blogs and observations, and recognized that we have never needed him more. We have lost a treasure, too soon.

    Now it’s up to Bob Mann, Tom Aswell, Dayne Sherman, Lamar White and the rest, to carry the torch. Give ‘em hell, y’all and always speak truth to power. And stupid.

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  10. June Butler says:

    Lovely tribute, Bob. C.B will be greatly missed.

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  11. Leslie Jacobs says:

    Thank you for this column. CB was one of a kind, and he will be missed.

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  12. John D Fitzmorris, Jr says:

    this guy carried the lantern of Diogenes and its light rarely found an honest face. A wonderful tribute

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  13. Reblogged this on LAB Louisiana Boy and commented:

    Professor Mann writes a nice tribute following the passing of C.B. Forgotston. RIP Sir….

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  14. leekhoury says:

    C.B. Forgotston reminded me to not forget what legislation passed and how it effected
    Louisiana citizens. He posted the importance of getting out to vote and holding the elected
    employees accountable to the people and not the lobbyists. He was well-informed of legislative activities and posted what he deemed important and I loved that he was spot on!!
    He had an amazing blog which had a countdown to the end of Jindal’s reign as Governor.
    He really had an ongoing timer of the days counting down continuously, now that was clever!! It was also a beacon of light and served as a reminder that this too in LA. shall pass! And it did. I loved that he didn’t have a place for comments. No need
    He will not be forgotten for that which he worked so hard to tell us. I listened and though I did not know him,I will not forget. Pretty sure there are many more people out there who feel the same.
    Thank you C.B. RIP!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Chris Andrews says:

    Great tribute to a man who always walked the high road. “Facts are stubborn things,” said John Adams. CB was not afraid of the facts. I hope Bob Mann, Lamar White, Tom Aswell and others of CB’s ilk will continue to boldly carry the Torch of Truth. We need voices like yours.

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  16. Anne Johnston says:

    I met C. B. while working for the Constitutional Convention in 1973 and worked with him after at the Legislature. He was a curmudgeon then and I enjoyed many a conversation with him about politics. RIP Charlton Bath Forgotston.

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  17. Len Sanderson says:

    C.B. was everything Bob said, and more. He was brilliant, and maddening. I did not know of his passing until reading Bob’s blog. I knew C.B. for nearly 40 years and he was absolutely indefatigable in his commitment to honest government, not even pretty-good government. If one made progress, it was never enough. And, of course, he was right. He will be missed. Len Sanderson

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