The black Cadillac, driven by Sugar-Boy
, symbolizes Willie’s
power and political authority in the state of Louisiana, particularly in the first sequence of the novel, when Willie flies in the Cadillac into Mason City and its environs, where he grew up in near-poverty as a boy. Throughout the text, Willie hops into his black Cadillac (always driven by Sugar-Boy, and always at great speed), to campaign across the state, to handle emergencies and crises—and to announce his presence to those merely standing on the street, watching. The Cadillac therefore embodies not only Willie’s “arrival” on the political scene in Louisiana, but also the speed with which he wants his ideas to take shape—his impatience with political change in the state, and his desire to build roads, improve schools, reform the tax code, and most importantly, construct a free hospital for the citizens of Baton Rouge to use. It is notable, too, that Sugar-Boy, the driver, is one of the most trustworthy of Willie’s associates; till the end, after Willie’s death, Sugar-Boy wishes to defend his Boss and his Boss’s legacy in Louisiana politics.