Roy R. Theriot

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Roy R. Theriot, Sr.
Louisiana State Comptroller
In office
1960 – 1973, his death
Preceded by William Joseph "Bill" Dodd
Mayor of Abbeville, Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, USA
In office
1954–1960
Sergeant-at-arms of the Louisiana House of Representatives
In office
1952–1956
Preceded by Cliff Liles
Succeeded by Gaston Ducote
Personal details
Born (1914-06-26)June 26, 1914
Erath, Vermilion Parish
Louisiana, USA
Died April 19, 1973(1973-04-19) (aged 58)
Resting place St. Mary Magdalen Mausoleum in Abbeville
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Helen Roberts Theriot (married 1947-his death)
Children Barbara Ellen Horaist

Roy Theriot, Jr.
Samuel H. Theriot

Alma mater University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Tulane University School of Law

Occupation Attorney; Politician
Religion Roman Catholic

Roy R. Theriot, Sr. (June 26, 1914 – April 19, 1973), was the Democratic state comptroller of Louisiana from 1960-1973. Previously, Theriot (pronounced TEH RHEE OH) was from 1954 to 1960 the mayor of Abbeville, the seat of Vermilion Parish in southwestern Louisiana.

Background[edit]

Theriot was born in Erath in Vermilion Parish to Lastie Theriot and the former Emerite Barras. He was educated in Erath public schools, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (at the time Southwestern Louisiana Institute), and the Tulane University Law School in New Orleans. He began his law practice on June 7, 1939. Theriot took a role in civic affairs and organized the Abbeville Dairy Festival, first held in September 1949. In 1979, it was renamed the "Louisiana Cattle Festival". In 1956, Theriot invited former Governor Harold Stassen of Minnesota to speak at the festival. Stassen, remembered as a perennial Republican candidate for U.S. president, was so impressed with the festival that he invited the Abbeville High School band to perform at the second inauguration of Dwight D. Eisenhower on January 20, 1957. Theriot later convinced former President Harry Truman to speak at the event.[1]

Theriot organized the Acadian Boucherie Breakfast, which began in January 1960, as a means to preserve the Cajun French culture.

On June 7, 1947, he married the former Helen Roberts (1924–1990). The couple had three children: Barbara Ellen Theriot (born 1949), Roy R. Theriot, Jr. (born 1952), and Sam H. Theriot, a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1979 to 1996 and thereafter the Vermilion Parish Clerk of Court for a single term from 1996 to 2000.

Political career[edit]

From 1952 to 1956, Theriot was the sergeant-at-arms of the Louisiana House. In 1954, he was elected the mayor of Abbeville. On January 11, 1960, he won the Democratic nomination for Louisiana comptroller over Mrs. Marion C. Henderson (1920–2010) of Colfax in Grant Parish, the choice of the deLesseps Story Morrison intraparty slate.[2] In the primary held in December 1959, several other candidates were eliminated from the runoff, including future U.S. Representative Joe D. Waggonner, Jr., of Plain Dealing in Bossier Parish in northwestern Louisiana[3] and Toby O'Rillion, a son-in-law of former State Senator Gilbert Franklin Hennigan of Beauregard Parish in southwestern Louisiana. On April 19, 1960, Theriot defeated the first and only Republican candidate ever to seek the administrative position of comptroller, Robert Lee Clark, Jr., an accountant from Many in Sabine Parish, who had been a presidential elector for Eisenhower in 1952. Theriot polled 86.7 percent of the vote against Clark.

In December 1963, Theriot faced a primary fight for a second term as comptroller with fellow Democrats George Dupuis, Andrew J. Falcon (1923–1991), and Arthur LeBlanc.[4] He prevailed in a January 1964 runoff with Falcon.[5] In later elections in 1967 and 1972, Theriot faced minimal or no opposition. Theriot became comptroller in the second administration of Governor Jimmie Davis and served throughout the tenure of John McKeithen and the first year of Edwin Washington Edwards' first term.

Legacy[edit]

Theriot was known to have lectured Louisiana residents about the lack of pride in their state, a situation that he found in sharp contrast to attitudes persistent in neighboring Texas. He said that the assets of Louisiana are "unknown to many in our own state" remarks similar to those utttered in 1979 by U.S. President Jimmy Carter in what the media dubbed the Malaise speech.[1]

The Theriots were devout Roman Catholics; their remains are entombed in St. Mary Magdalen Mausoleum in Abbeville. They are honored through the Roy and Helen Theriot Memorial Endowed Scholarship in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.


Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Theriot Charges Louisiana Residents With Lack of Pride in Their State", Minden Press-Herald, July 21, 1967, p. 1
  2. ^ Minden Press, January 11, 1960, p. 1
  3. ^ Minden Press, November 23, 1959, p. 13
  4. ^ Minden Press, December 9, 1963, p. 1
  5. ^ "Social Security Death Index". ssdi.rootsweb.ancesry.com. Retrieved May 17, 2010. 

References[edit]

Preceded by
William Joseph "Bill" Dodd
Louisiana State Comptroller (previously State Auditor)

Roy R. Theriot, Sr.
1960–1973

Succeeded by
Appointee of Governor Edwin Washington Edwards; Elected position ended by Louisiana Constitution of 1974
Preceded by
Cliff Liles
Sergeant-at-arms of the Louisiana House of Representatives

Roy R. Theriot, Sr.
1952–1956

Succeeded by
Gaston Ducote