Felix Edward Hébert

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For the U.S. Senator from Rhode Island, see Felix Hebert
Felix Edward "Eddie" Hébert
F. Edward Hebert (D–LA).jpg
Member of the United States House of Representatives from Louisiana's 1st district
In office
January 3, 1941 – January 3, 1977
Preceded by Joachim O. Fernández
Succeeded by Richard Alvin Tonry
Personal details
Born (1901-10-12)October 12, 1901
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died December 29, 1979(1979-12-29) (aged 78)
New Orleans, Louisiana
Resting place Lake Lawn Park Mausoleum in New Orleans, Louisiana
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Gladys Bofill Hébert (married 1934)
Children Dawn Marie Hébert Duhé

Son-in-law: John Malcolm Duhé, Jr.

Alma mater Tulane University
Occupation Journalist for New Orleans Times-Picayune
Religion Roman Catholic
Hébert still holds the Louisiana longevity record as a member of the United States House of Representatives
Representative Hébert and other members of the House Committee on Science and Astronautics visited the Marshall Space Flight Center on January 3, 1962, to gather firsthand information of the nation’s space exploration program

Felix Edward Hébert (October 12, 1901 – December 29, 1979), known as F. Edward Hébert, was the longest-serving member of the United States House of Representatives from the state of Louisiana, having represented the New Orleans-based 1st congressional district as a Democrat from 1941 until his retirement in 1977.

Hébert was born in New Orleans to Felix Joseph Hébert and the former Lea Naquin. As a student at Jesuit High School there, he wrote prep-school sports for his future employer, the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

He graduated in 1924 from Tulane University in New Orleans and was the first sports editor of the Tulane Hullabaloo. He was a member of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity and the Young Men's Business Club of New Orleans. On August 1, 1934, Hébert married the former Gladys Bofill, and the couple had one daughter, Dawn Marie (born ca. 1936), who married a future judge of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, John Malcolm Duhé, Jr., of Iberia Parish. The couple had four children, Kimberly Duhé Holleman (born ca. 1957), Jeanne Duhé Sinitier, Edward Malcolm Duhé (born ca. 1960), and Martin Bofill Duhé (born ca. 1962).

Hébert pursued a career in public relations for Loyola University in New Orleans and journalism for the Times-Picayune and the New Orleans States, a paper purchased by The Times-Picayune while Hébert worked there. As a front-page columnist and political editor, he covered the candidacy and election of Governor Huey Pierce Long, Jr., who was eventually elected to the United States Senate. Hébert's coverage of the Louisiana Hayride scandals of 1939 — which put a spotlight on corruption among followers of the Long political family — contributed to the eventual convictions of Governor Richard W. Leche and James Monroe Smith, President of Louisiana State University. The Times-Picayune won the Delta Sigma Chi plaque for "courage in journalism", largely as a result of of Hébert's work.

Hébert's work also led to his election in 1940 to the 77th United States Congress. He served in the United States House of Representatives until the end of the 94th United States Congress, having chosen not to seek a nineteenth term in 1976. That longevity set a Louisiana record for the service in the United States House of Representatives. Hébert was temporarily succeeded by the Democrat Richard Alvin Tonry, who in turn was quickly replaced by Bob Livingston, the first Republican to represent the district since the Reconstruction Era.

Hébert rarely had serious opposition. In 1952, the Republican George W. Reese, Jr., of New Orleans challenged him and drew a third of the general election vote. In 1954, Reese tried again, but in the low turnout off-year election, he polled only a sixth of the vote. In 1960, Reese, then the Republican national committeeman from Louisiana, was also the Republican standard bearer in the United States Senate election against Allen J. Ellender but secured only a fifth of the ballots cast, as John F. Kennedy won Louisiana's then ten electoral votes.

Hébert opposed school desegregation and signed the Southern Manifesto in opposition to the United States Supreme Court's 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision which moved against de jure segregation in seventeen states and the District of Columbia.

Hébert was the chairman of the United States House Committee on Armed Services from 1971–1975. He was removed from the chairmanship in a revolt of the increasingly young and liberal House Democratic Caucus against the seniority system. Many of the younger Democrats were not pleased when he addressed the new members from the Watergate Class of 1974 as "boys and girls". They considered him too amenable to the Pentagon. Hébert is responsible for founding the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.

In a 1960 oral history interview with the Lyndon B. Johnson Library in Austin, Texas, Hébert said that he never participated in any elections other than his own House races — not president, governor, U.S. senator, or Mayor of New Orleans. By shunning other contests, he reasoned that he kept down the number of political opponents who might have challenged him for his otherwise "safe" congressional seat.

Hébert died in New Orleans and is entombed there in Lake Lawn Park Mausoleum.

On January 28, 2012, Hébert, along with Fred Baden, former mayor of Pineville, and Adras LaBorde, former managing editor of the Alexandria Daily Town Talk, was posthumously inducted into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield. A banquet at the Winnfield Civic Center honored the inductees, three living and three deceased.[1][2]

See also[edit]

External links and references[edit]

  1. ^ Avoyelles Today, January 4, 2012
  2. ^ "La. Political Hall inducts former Pineville mayor, 5 others". Alexandria Daily Town Talk, January 29, 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2012. 
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Joachim O. Fernández
United States Representative for the 1st Congressional District of Louisiana
1941 – 1977
Succeeded by
Richard Alvin Tonry
Political offices
Preceded by
Philip J. Philbin
Massachusetts
Chairman of United States House Committee on Armed Services
1970–1975
Succeeded by
Charles Melvin Price
Illinois