Eugene Jepson Cadou · 1978
Eugene Jepson Cadou was born in Philadelphia on March 14, 1896, the son of Felix L. and Lucy Jepson Cadou. His mother died when he was 10 and he lived with grandparents and his father in Washington and Vincennes (Ind.) during his early life.
Jep Cadou was a true-blue Hoosier even during his adolescence. He spent many a day shooting pool with such boyhood characters as Homer E. Capehart, who was to become a three-term U.S. senator; John S. Hastings, a federal judge; and Walter C. (Mickey) McCarty, who became general manager and columnist of the Indianapolis News. Cadou graduated from Washington High School in 1913. After enrolling at Indiana University in Bloomington, he served as editor-in-chief of the Indiana Daily Student. He received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from IU in 1917.
Immediately following graduation from college, he went back to school — this time to Officer’s Training School at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis. World War I was in progress, and after being commissioned as second lieutenant, he spent the next 23 months in France.
His knowledge of the French language proved beneficial and brought him several rapid promotions, including a staff position with headquarters in Paris. His work as liaison between the French and American troops was not at all unpleasant, as he found the accompanying limousine a comfortable conveyance.
He remained in France following the war, and attended the University of Lyon.
Returning to the U.S. in 1919, Cadou accepted a position on the city staff of the Indianapolis News and worked there for about a year before leaving to take a public relations post with the American Legion. He worked for the Legion in Indianapolis, New York, New Orleans and Kansas City during his three years with the organization.
He was married on November 8, 1921, to the former Ruth I. Dern of Kokomo (Ind.).
After leaving the Legion, he went to work for the Indianapolis Times, and was a member of their staff until 1927 when he joined the International News Service (INS).
The remainder of his career was devoted to working for INS, and later for United Press International.
Cadou was transferred from Indianapolis to the INS Washington D.C. bureau in 1934, and he covered the U.S. Senate and the White House during the hectic days of Franklin Roosevelt’s first administration, when big news was breaking almost hourly on the capitol beat.
Despite a brief stay there, he was widely known in Washington, and virtually every reporter who knew him has his own Jep Cadou anecdote.
The older members of the congressional press galleries all knew Jep. The UPI bureau in the Press Building was also quite aware of the tall, smiling Hoosier who reported with surprising clarity on the activities of politicians along the banks of the Wabash.
Whenever reporters from Washington visited Indianapolis, they invariably asked about Jep Cadou and solicited his opinion on politics. And reporters from Indiana working in Washington grew almost accustomed to hearing national celebrities ask: “Oh, so you’re from Indiana….do you know Jep Cadou?”
He enjoyed his experiences in Washington, but being a Hoosier at heart, he jumped at the opportunity to return when the INS bureau manager’s job opened up back in Indianapolis. He served in that capacity until the merger of INS and the United Press in 1958.
Cadou continued his Hoosier political coverage after the merger, and wrote a weekly “Cadou’s Column” on politics for UPI subscribers. He was also a regional executive for UPI, traveling the state to call on editors, publisher and owners of more than 150 newspapers and broadcasting stations. He often referred to himself and other UPI regional execs as “the jolly peddlers.”
Shunning retirement at 63, he continued to work a schedule of six days per week, until just two weeks before his death. His physician ordered him to bed with a “sluggish heart,” and he was admitted to Winona Hospital in Indianapolis a week later. He died there on December 1, 1968 of heart disease, though he also suffered from emphysema.
His wife, Ruth, and his only son, Eugene J. Cadou Jr., were at his bedside at the time of death.
As might be expected, his funeral looked like a Who’s Who in Indiana journalism and politics. Active pallbearers included Robert P. Mooney, political writer for the Indianapolis Star; Edward H. Zeigner, political editor of the Indianapolis News; John H. Lyst, business writer for The Star; Paul M. Doherty, reporter for The Star; Fremont Power, columnist for The News; Kurt Freudenthal, sportswriter for UPI; Boyd K. Gill, Indiana bureau chief for UPI; and John N. Gregory, of the UPI business office.
Honorary pallbearers were former governor Roger D. Branigan; U.S. Senators R. Vance Hartke and Birch Bayh Jr.; former governor Edgar D. Whitcomb; and Indianapolis Newspaper executives Eugene C. Pulliam, Eugene S. Pulliam, James A. Stuart, Robert P. Early, Wendell C. Phillippi, Charles C. Griffo and Charles G. Werner, Lawrence S. Conner, Lowell Nussbaum, Wayne Guthrie, John R. Scott, James S. DeLaurier, Edwin F. Henderson, Thomas C. Batchelor, William C. (Tubby) Toms, Maurice Gronendyke, Eldon R. Campbell, Howard C. Caldwell, Howard C. Caldwell Jr., Robert B. McConnell, Richard M. Fairbanks, Frank M. McHale, George E. Shank, Harold C. Feightner, Robert D. Enoch, Dale W. Burgess, Irwin J. Miller, Anton (Tony) Hulman Jr., Joseph L. Quinn Jr., Homer E. Capehart, Stanley M. Myers, Ralph F. Gates, Clarence A. Jackson, W.A. Dyer Jr., and Willard C. Worcester.
Jep Cadou was showered with honors during the latter years of a career in journalism which spanned nearly a half century.
Dubbed the “Dean of Indiana Political Writers” by his colleagues, he won virtually every honor his peers could offer.
His Indiana friends literally numbered in the thousands, as he was a familiar figure in Indiana villages and towns from Lake Michigan to the Ohio River.
He was a close friend and confidant of Hoosier political leaders throughout his career, and numbered several Indiana governors among his most intimate acquaintances. He personally knew every Indiana governor from Warren McCray, elected in 1920, to Edgar Whitcomb, governor at the time of Cadou’s death in 1968.
He was a master at uncovering the Machiavellian operations of Indiana politicians from both parties, and was noted for his political quips and expertise at deflating political brasshats and government officials.
His traditional address to the joint session of the Indiana house and Senate on their final night, was a biennial highlight of the General Assembly. He directed his brilliant satire and sparkling witticisms at the senators and representatives for what he considered sins of omission and commission during the sometimes dreary 61-day sessions.
And yet they loved him for it, each year giving him round upon round of applause. Long-time friend and then governor Roger D. Branigan made a special point of attending what turned out to be Cadou’s final address to the legislature in 1967.
In 1963 he was named an honorary member of the Indiana State Senate. The action, which was taken while Cadou was seated at his traditional press table, took the UPI correspondent by complete surprise.
The resolution was co-sponsored by President Pro Tem D. Russell Bontrager (R-Elkhart) and Sen. James W. Spurgeon (D-Brownstown), and was countersigned by Gov. Welsh, Lt. Governor Richard O. Ristine, and Secretary of the Senate David Colosimo.
Cadou was also a member of the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame of Sigma Delta Chi, a professional journalism society.
In 1960 he received the Indianapolis Press Club’s Front Page Award as outstanding newsman of the year. Held at the Indiana Roof in Indianapolis, the Front Page Ball was designed to raise funds for journalism scholarships. Special guests at the event that year included singer Patti Page and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.
He received the Sagamore of the Wabash Award in 1964 from then Governor Welsh, and was presented the Grand Buffalo Award from the Indianapolis Press Club in 1966. He served two terms as president of the Press Club.
Perhaps the highlight of his career came in 1966 when he was honored by hundreds of his friends at a special celebration marking his 45th year in journalism. He was nominated for president by the group and the day was officially declared “Jep Cadou Day” in Illinois by Governor Otto Kerner.
Long-time political friends, many of whom had wailed for mercy from Cadou’s writing, spoke or sent messages of testimonial. Among those dignitaries were former U.S. senators Homer E. Capehart, William E. Jenner, Birch E. Bayh and R. Vance Hartke; and former governors Harold W. Handley, Matthew E. Welsh, Roger D. Branigan, Henry F. Schricker and Ralph F. Gates.
At the ceremonies he was awarded the Kentucky Colonel Commission from Kentucky Governor Edward T. Breathitt, and a commission as Admiral of Grindstone Branch from Indiana Governor Branigan. Grindstone Branch is a creek in Daviess County where Cadou spent his childhood.
Cadou was named the recipient of Indiana University’s Distinguished Alumni Service Award in 1968, in special ceremonies at Bloomington in 1968.
A Eugene J. Cadou Memorial Award was initiated after his death in 1968, and his portrait dedicated in the Senate Lounge the following year.
Jep Cadou’s work and outside interests seem to have been somewhat synonymous, though he did take time to raise a family and to occasionally socialize.
Though he managed a passable game of tennis, he was less than a sports enthusiast. He once described Indiana’s nearly sacred past-time of basketball as “a bunch of pimply-faced little bastards running around in their underwear.”
The closest he came to an enjoyable hobby had definite tones of work about it. He was a regular at the daily bridge games in the back room at the Indianapolis Press Club. The games started out as poker, but the group decided to become more cultured with their activities.
Some of his frequent adversaries at the bridge table were Judge John A. Niblack; Indiana High School Athletic Commissioner Phil Eskew; News business writer Frank Salzarulo and other “contacts” like Tom Batchelor, Horace Coats, Don Warrick, Curly Ash, Cliff McNicholl, George Madden, Tom Mendelssohn, George Beal, Jack Shackelford, Harrison Ullman, Joe Areddy and his own son.
He often justified the time spent there by saying, “Sooner or later, every publisher and editor in the state is going to show up here and I want to be on hand when they arrive.”
He broke in a lot of newcomers who would go far in the exciting world of bylines and deadlines. And he taught them well. Among the many journalists that he helped “learn the ropes” were Robert P. Mooney, political writer for the Indianapolis Star, and Hortense Myers, statehouse reporter for UPI.
Surprisingly, his method of cultivating these young pros was one of quiet motivation. Some 30 years ago, Cadou leaned over to a young reporter who had just written his first important story and had gotten a news break on it, and said: “Pretty good number, kid. If you keep at it, you might make a reporter some day.”
He was not the type to make long-winded speeches about journalistic excellence and ethics. He always left that to people who wanted to be in the public eye more than he. But his scorn for a sloppy reporter who allowed his own opinion to get mixed up with the news, was scathing.
One such reporter (who didn’t last long around Cadou) was notorious for this sloppiness. Cadou habitually referred to his stories as “garbage.”