Henry L. Fuqua

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Henry L. Fuqua
GovFuqua.jpg
Henry L. Fuqua
38th Governor of Louisiana
In office
May 13, 1924 – October 11, 1926
Lieutenant Oramel H. Simpson
Preceded by John M. Parker
Succeeded by Oramel H. Simpson
Personal details
Born (1865-11-08)November 8, 1865
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Died October 11, 1926(1926-10-11) (aged 60)
Resting place Roselawn Memorial Park and Mausoleum
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Louisiana State University
Occupation Prison warden
Religion Episcopalian

Henry Luse Fuqua (November 8, 1865 - October 11, 1926) was a Baton Rouge businessman and the last Louisiana Governor to have died in office. Fuqua defeated both Huey Pierce Long, Jr., and Lieutenant Governor (and former Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives) Hewitt Leonidas Bouanchaud in the Democratic gubernatorial primary in 1924 to succeed the term-limited John M. Parker. He died halfway into his term, and Lieutenant Governor Oramel H. Simpson succeeded to the top post.

Early years[edit]

Fuqua was born in Baton Rouge to James Overton Fuqua and the former Jeanette Fowles. He was educated at Magruder's Collegiate Institute and Louisiana State University, both in Baton Rouge. On June 4, 1890, Fuqua married the former Laura Matta (1866–1968), and they had two children, Matta Fuqua and Henry L. Fuqua, Jr.

Prior to his entry into politics, Fuqua was the assistant to construction engineers of the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad. He was later a clerk and traveling salesman. He owned and operated his Fuqua Hardware Company in Baton Rouge from 1883-1922.

Warden Fuqua[edit]

In 1916, Fuqua became the warden of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola in West Feliciana Parish north of Baton Rouge. He held the position until he became governor.

As warden, he terminated most of the security officers at the penitentiary and instead placed selected inmate trusty guards on duty, primarily as an economic measure but also to encourage cohesion among the inmates. Fuqua abolished stripes on convict uniforms. The former prison in Baton Rouge was sold to the city and dismantled.

In 1922, a flood ruined the crops of numerous plantations about Angola for the third time in nearly a decade. The owners thereafter agreed to sell land to expand the prison. In a series of eight purchases over some eighteen months, Fuqua arranged the purchase of 10,000 acres (40 km²) at approximately $13 per acre. The acquisitions brought the prison to its present size of 18,000 acres (73 km²).

Fuqua as governor[edit]

Andrew R. Johnson, a Louisiana state senator from 1916–1924, was urged to run for governor in 1924 but he declined,[1] as Fuqua squared off against Long and Bouanchaud. The state Senate formed a committee of five to arrange Fuqua's inauguration as governor in 1924. The five included future Lieutenant Governor Coleman Lindsey of Minden, the seat of Webster Parish in northwestern Louisiana, who was affiliated with the Long faction.

Fuqua brought considerable managerial skill to the governor's office, but his lack of political expertise hampered his efforts during his short term. He is remembered for his interest in levee and road construction and his fight against the resurgent Ku Klux Klan, whom the preceding governor, John M. Parker, had tried to counter as well. The KKK had initially appeared in the year of Fuqua's birth, not in Louisiana, but in Pulaski, Tennessee.

Louisiana's anti-Klan legislation secured harsh penalties to anyone wearing a mask or to anyone committing a crime while masked. An exception had to be made for the popular masked balls and masquerade parties popular during the celebration of Mardi Gras.

He worked to increase the budget for his alma mater, LSU, and to construct more buildings on the new campus in southern Baton Rouge. In a segregated society, he also supported the expansion of the African American institution of higher education, Southern University in Baton Rouge.

He ran into trouble when he awarded the franchise to build a toll bridge from east New Orleans to Slidell across Lake Pontchartrain to a private firm, the Watson-Williams syndicate, represented by former Governor Jared Y. Sanders, Sr. Huey Long used this controversial decision in his successful campaign for governor in 1928, when he defeated both Fuqua's successor Simpson and U.S. Representative Riley J. Wilson from north Louisiana.

Fuqua was the last governor to have won the office on the strength of the New Orleans Choctaw Club political machine.

Fuqua appointed State Representative J. Frank Colbert of Webster Parish to the Louisiana Tax Commission. Colbert was later the mayor of Minden.[2]

Fuqua's death[edit]

Fuqua was Episcopalian. He was initially interred in Magnolia Cemetery in Baton Rouge, but his remains were later relocated to Roselawn Cemetery in Baton Rouge. Some sources spell Fuqua's middle name as "Luce". However, the grave marker is spelled "Luse".

Family[edit]

The original Fuqua family traces it ancestry back to William Fouquet, a Huguenot, who settled in Virginia in the 17th century to escape religious persecution. Fuqua is the Anglicized version of the original French name, Fouquet.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mike Miller, "Andrew R. Johnson," from Henry E. Chambers, A History of Louisiana, Vol. II, Chicago and New York City, 1925, pp. 147-148". usgarchives.rog. Retrieved May 25, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Official Returns Given for Minden Primary Election", Minden Herald, April 14, 1944, p. 1

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
John M. Parker
Governor of Louisiana
1924-1926
Succeeded by
Oramel H. Simpson