Nov 2, 2007

Leapin’ Lou Messina

Our title is handed down courtesy of Leapin’ Lou Messina, a New Orleans boxing promoter in the l960s. He got his nickname, it was said, when he leaped into the ring to stop a fight in which his guy was getting roughed up. His other dubious passion was betting on short priced horses. Lou was a certified bridge jumper who loved to bet thousands to show on perceived good things. Minimum payout in those days was $2.20 to show so a guy could grab a quick l0% for his trouble.

One stormy afternoon Lou raced up in his white Cadillac, leaving the motor running while he dashed in to make his only play of the day. I remember that it was raining hard all day but that didn’t stop our man from laying it down on a horse owned by T. Alie Grissom and ridden by David Whited who was miles on top of the jockey standings at the Fair Grounds.

Whited quickly opened up a daylight lead in the six furlong race and opened up around the turn to lead by five coming to the eighth pole. His mount began to come unglued at that point but bravely battled on with only three sound legs. He figured to hang on for third but the pain was too much and he lost a head bob for show.

Turning to me in the Fair Grounds press box he said, “Kid, this is a hard way to make an easy living”.