This week, as America elects its 45th president, we look back on a former commander-in-chief's connections to Louisiana. Our 12th president, Zachary Taylor, was born in Virginia but lived here many years, including at the time of his election in 1848. Nicknamed "Old Rough and Ready," Taylor had a distinguished career in the U.S. Army during the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War. His military service brought him to Louisiana in 1808. His daughter married Jefferson Davis, future president of the Confederacy, but Taylor was a staunch defender of the Union and vowed to keep the South and North united and to find a resolution to the debate over slavery, which already was dividing the country in the late 1840s. Taylor himself owned at least 300 slaves on his plantations in Baton Rouge and Mississippi. Elected on a Whig Party ticket with Vice President Millard Fillmore, he served only 16 months in the White House before dying of a digestive ailment in July 1850.