In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History by Mitch Landrieu:
Louisiana’s governor at the time was Jimmie Davis, a country-western entertainer famous for his song “You Are My Sunshine.” He had served a term as governor in the 1940s and made a comeback as an avowed segregationist in 1959, at a time when the Louisiana legislature was purging African Americans from the voting rolls. Southern white resistance was growing against the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v Board of Education ruling that racial segregation in schools was unconstitutional. In Baton Rouge, the legislature in 1960 pushed laws to thwart desegregation of the schools, which under federal law would soon begin in New Orleans. Governors like Orval Faubus in Arkansas, Ross Barnett in Mississippi, and George Wallace in Alabama all used ruses like this along with fearmongering tactics to keep African Americans out of white schools and colleges. The racial demagoguery triggered violent behavior; two men died in the 1962 riot at the University of Mississippi sparked by the registration of James Meredith, the first African American student to attend the school.