Raymond Laborde

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Raymond Julian Laborde, I
Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from District 28 (Avoyelles Parish)
In office
May 1972 – 1992
Preceded by P.J. LaBorde (no relation)
Succeeded by Charles A. Riddle, III
Speaker Pro Tempore of the Louisiana House of Representatives
In office
1982–1984
Preceded by Frank P. Simoneaux
Succeeded by Joseph A. "Joe" Delpit
Mayor of Marksville, Louisiana
In office
1958–1970
Preceded by Edgar Coco
Succeeded by Ben LaBorde (no relation)
President of the Louisiana Municipal Association
In office
1962–1963
Preceded by Charles Cassidy
Succeeded by W.H. "Booty" Scott
Louisiana Commissioner of Administration
In office
1992–1996
Preceded by Dennis Stine
Succeeded by Mark Drennen
Personal details
Born (1927-08-18) August 18, 1927 (age 87)
Marksville, Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana, USA
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Nellie Sanchez Laborde (married 1951)
Children Raymond J. Laborde, II

Charles Laborde
Donald A. Laborde
Minnie C. Lafargue
Rachel Laborde Karam

Alma mater Marksville High School

Loyola University New Orleans

Occupation Department store owner
Religion Roman Catholic

Raymond Julian Laborde, I (born August 18, 1927), is a department store owner and a retired Democratic politician in his native Marksville, the seat of Avoyelles Parish in south Central Louisiana. He was the mayor of Marksville from 1958–1970 and thereafter served five terms from 1972–1992 in the Louisiana House of Representatives.[1][2] He was a gubernatorial floor leader, Speaker Pro Tempore from 1982–1984,[1] and in his last full term the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.[3]

After his election without opposition to a sixth term in the 1991 nonpartisan blanket primary, Laborde immediately resigned to become commissioner of administration in the fourth and final nonconsecutive term of his boyhood friend, Governor Edwin Washington Edwards.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Laborde was born to Dr. Emeric M. Laborde (1901–1969),[5] a Marksville dentist, and the former Minnie L. Neck (1899–1994). As students at Marksville High School, Laborde in 1943 defeated Edwin Edwards for senior class president.[6] In his first year in the House as an Edwards floor leader in 1972, Laborde balked at Edwards' call for a $1 billion tax increase. "And, oh man, did I catch hell. When I got back home, Edwin had put the word out, and everyone was calling me. Let me tell you, it was mighty uncomfortable. I couldn't wait for him to call a special session, so I could get back there and get that tax passed," Laborde said in a 2007 interview with Alexandria Daily Town Talk.[6]

After graduation from Marksville High School, Laborde enrolled at his father's alma mater, Roman Catholic-affiliated Loyola University in New Orleans, where at the age of eighteen he played on the 1945–1946 Loyola national championship basketball team.[7] He graduated from Loyola in 1949 and then launched his Raymond's Department Store at 317 North Main Street in Marksville.[8] He was later a captain in the Louisiana National Guard.[6]

In 1951, Laborde married the former Nellie Sanchez. The couple has four children, Donald A. Laborde, Raymond Laborde, II, Charles Laborde, Minnie C. Lafargue, and Rachel Karam.[9][10][11]

Political career[edit]

Avoyelles Parish has been known for its colorful but mostly local politicians. One who stood out, F.O. "Potch" Didier, sheriff from 1960–1980, actually spent seven days in his own jail after having been convicted of malfeasance in office.[6] The mothers of Laborde and Didier had the common maiden name of Neck (pronounced "Nicks") and were distant cousins.

In 1954, the 27-year-old Laborde ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Marksville but narrowly lost to Edgar Coco (1905–1970),[5] scion of a prominent local family. Four years later, Laborde unseated Coco. From 1962–1963, he was president of the Louisiana Municipal Association.[12] He ran in the 1963–1964 election cycle for the since defunct position of custodian of voting machines (later elections commissioner), an office unique to Louisiana when created in the late 1950s by Governor Earl Kemp Long. Laborde was defeated in the runoff by the one-term incumbent, Douglas Fowler of Coushatta, the seat of Red River Parish in north Louisiana. At the time, candidates for statewide constitutional offices were often affiliated with gubernatorial tickets. Laborde ran with the slate headed by former New Orleans Mayor deLesseps S. Morrison, a ticket which included later state Senator Claude B. Duval of Houma for lieutenant governor and State Representative Jack M. Dyer of Baton Rouge for insurance commissioner. All were defeated with the election of John J. McKeithen as governor and the reelection of Clarence C. Aycock as lieutenant governor.

After his initial election to the legislature, Laborde rarely faced serious opposition. In the 1983 primary, in which Edwards returned for a third nonconsecutive term by defeating Republican Governor David C. Treen, Laborde prevailed over fellow Democrat Johnny Bennett, 10,633 votes (59.3 percent) to 7,346 (40.7 percent).[13] Though considered a strong Edwards ally, he was Speaker Pro Tempore in the Treen administration and later Ways and Means chairman under Governor Buddy Roemer, who defeated Edwards in the 1987 primary.[3]

In 1978, Laborde was named "Avoyellean of the Year".[14] In 2003, he was inducted into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield.[7]

Post politics[edit]

He still operates his Raymond's Department Store, which once had eight competitors downtown. The store is the oldest jobber of Dickies work wear in Louisiana. It now specializes in school uniforms.[15]

On April 7, 2011, seven weeks after undergoing a heart operation, Laborde appeared before the Louisiana House Appropriations Committee that he had chaired years earlier. He excoriated the plan of Republican Governor Bobby Jindal to presumably sell off five state prisons to Jindal's significant contributors, GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America[16] for about $30 million each, far less than their replacement costs.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Membership of the Louisiana House of Representatives". legis.state.la.us. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  2. ^ The state legislative listing indicates that Laborde began his legislative service in 1968, but P.J. Laborde served from 1968–1972.
  3. ^ a b "Lisa Belkin, Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer Tells of Quandary Over Bill to Ban Abortion". The New York Times, July 13, 1990. July 13, 1990. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Gov.-elect Edwards names Raymond Laborde Louisiana's Commissioner of Administration. (Edwin Edwards) , December 11, 1991". highbeam.com. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "Social Security Death Index". ssdi.rootsweh.ancestry.com. Retrieved December 21, 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Philip Timothy, "Ex-governor [Edwin Washington Edwards] tops list of colorful parish politicians"". Alexandria Daily Town Talk. March 18, 2007. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  7. ^ a b "Political Hall of Fame: Raymond J. Laborde". lapolitical museum.com. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Alumni Donors, 1934–1949". giving.loyno.edu. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  9. ^ People Search & Background Check
  10. ^ Net Detective People Search
  11. ^ "Laborde-Bass". avoyellestoday.com. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  12. ^ "Past presidents of the Louisiana Municipal Association". lma.org. Retrieved December 19, 2009. [dead link]
  13. ^ "Louisiana State House District 28". ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  14. ^ "Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana". angelfire.com. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  15. ^ "Raymond’s Department Store". maps.google.com. Retrieved December 19, 2009. 
  16. ^ OpenSecrets.org and FollowTheMoney.org
  17. ^ "Michelle Millhollan, Prison plan dominates public comment session". The Advocate. April 8, 2011. Retrieved April 10, 2011. 
Louisiana House of Representatives
Preceded by
P.J. LaBorde
Louisiana State Representative from District 28 (Avoyelles Parish)

Raymond Julian Laborde, I
1972–1992

Succeeded by
Charles A. Riddle, III
Political offices
Preceded by
Frank P. Simoneaux
Speaker Pro Tempore of the Louisiana House of Representatives

Raymond Julian Laborde, Jr.
1982–1984

Succeeded by
Joseph A. "Joe" Delpit
Louisiana House of Representatives
Preceded by
Edgar Coco
Mayor of Marksville, Louisiana

Raymond Julian Laborde, I
1958–1970

Succeeded by
Ben LaBorde
Political offices
Preceded by
Charles Cassidy of Bogalusa
President of the Louisiana Municipal Association

Raymond Julian Laborde, I
1962–1963

Succeeded by
W.H. "Booty" Scott of New Roads
Political offices
Preceded by
Dennis Stine
Louisiana Commissioner of Administration

Raymond Julian Laborde, I
1992–1996

Succeeded by
Mark Drennen