Fritz Windhorst

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Fritz Windhorst
Louisiana State Senator for
Jefferson and Orleans parishes
In office
Preceded by William J. Guste
Succeeded by Francis C. Heitmeier
Personal details
Born Fritz Heinrich Windhorst
(1935-01-31) January 31, 1935 (age 83)
Political party Republican

Not first wife:

Barbara Turner Windhorst
Children Stephen J. Windhorst
Parents Richard E. and Jenny Mary Windhorst
Residence Gretna, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, USA
Alma mater Redemptorist High School of New Orleans
Occupation Attorney

(1) Windhorst voted as a conservative in both social and economic policies while he served from 1972 to 1992 as a Louisiana state senator from suburban New Orleans.

(2) After Windhorst's retirement, a Democrat won Windhorst's state Senate seat, and the district became increasingly African American.

(3) As Windhorst left the Senate, his son, Stephen J. Windhorst, began a nine-year legislative career in the Louisiana House of Representatives in a different district, and was later elected judge in October 2000.

Fritz Heinrich Windhorst (born January 31, 1935) is an attorney from Gretna, Louisiana,[1] who served from 1972 to 1992 as a member of the Louisiana State Senate for Jefferson and Orleans parishes, originally District 8, and later District 7. Windhorst was a conservative Democrat from 1972 to 1985, when he switched to Republican affiliation.[2] His son, Stephen J. Windhorst, served as a Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1992 to 2000, when he resigned to accept a state court judgeship.

Family background[edit]

Windhorst was born to a Roman Catholic couple of German and Italian extraction, Richard E. Windhorst, Sr. (1913–1985), and the former Jenny Mary Motto (1916–2001), a native of Donaldsonville, the seat of Ascension Parish near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She was the daughter of Carmello Motto and the former Angelina Latino. His brother is Richard Windhorst Jr. and his sister was Angela Windhorst Tripkovich (1938–1999) of Metairie in Jefferson Parish.[3][4]

Windhorst graduated from the Roman Catholic Redemptorist High School in New Orleans. He is currently married to the former Barbara Turner (born c. 1941), and the two are particularly active in civic and community matters.[5]

Conservative senator[edit]

Senator Windhorst worked to restrict access to abortion in Louisiana. On June 27, 1990, near the end of his Senate tenure, the Louisiana State Legislature penned the strongest pro-life law in the nation, sponsored by Democratic Senator Mike Cross of Baker in East Baton Rouge Parish. Because it provided no exceptions for impregnations stemming from rape and incest, the measure was vetoed by Governor Buddy Roemer, a Democrat, who switched parties the following year. The state House overrode Roemer's veto, but the state Senate fell three votes short of the required two-thirds majority to enact the measure over Roemer's objection.[6]

Windhorst said that the bill was an outgrowth of the failure of the United States Supreme Court to clarify regulations by the states on abortion: "We are here today because the U.S. Supreme Court did not have the courage or the resolve to be decisive."[7] The Louisiana bill included an 1855 law that made abortion a felony punishable by imprisonment; the sole exception permitted was to save the life of the mother in a medical emergency.[7]

Windhorst also voted with economic conservatives in the Senate. In a special session in 1988, he joined his colleagues in giving newly elected Governor Roemer the power to slash as much as 20 percent from department budgets, abolish or suspend certain programs, and to close institutions if necessary to keep the state financially solvent. Windhorst said that the powers transferred to Roemer were necessary: "It is either this or a much greater evil. If we don't like what he does, we can undo it during the regular session."[8]

Other political matters[edit]

Windhorst's later Senate tenure corresponded with the administration of Mayor Sidney Barthelemy, the second African American to head the municipal government in New Orleans. Windhorst described the Democrat Barthelemy, originally elected with considerable white support, accordingly: "Sidney doesn't whine or complain when things go badly ... He doesn't threaten people who cross him. Just having him as mayor has sharply reduced the anti-New Orleans feelings in the legislature."[9]

Windhorst was a delegate to the 1988 Republican National Convention which met in New Orleans to nominate the George Herbert Walker Bush and J. Danforth Quayle ticket.[10]

When Windhorst retired in 1991, two-term Democratic State Representative Francis C. Heitmeier was elected to the position with 55 percent of the vote in the nonpartisan blanket primary against five opponents. The lone Republican candidate hoping to succeed Windhorst finished with fewer than 17 percent of the ballots.[11] Because African-American influence in the Westbank increased throughout the 1990s, Heitmeier won with 58 percent of the vote in the 1995 primary and faced no opponents in 1999 and 2003. Heitmeier was term-limited in 2007.[12]

Windhorst is Roman Catholic. He is also a member of the West Bank Rotary International.[13]


  1. ^ "Fritz Windhorst". Retrieved October 16, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Membership of the Louisiana State Senate, 1880-2004" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 29, 2008. Retrieved October 16, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Jenny Mary Motto Windhorst obituary". Retrieved October 16, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Social Security Death Index". Retrieved October 16, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Jerry McLeod, "New Orleans Party Picks"". New Orleans Times-Picayune, August 11, 2009. Retrieved October 16, 2009. 
  6. ^ Boulard, Garry (July 8, 1990). "Abortion Bill Veto Override in Louisiana Fails". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 3, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Suro, Roberto (June 27, 1990). "Louisiana Lawmakers Adopt Toughest Anti-Abortion Law in U.S". The New York Times. Retrieved May 3, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Louisiana Governor Given Broad Power To Curb the Budget". The New York Times. March 27, 1988. Retrieved May 3, 2010. 
  9. ^ L.K. Perkins. "Thesis: "Failing the Race: An Historical Assessment of New Orleans Mayor Sidney Barthelmy" (PDF). Retrieved October 16, 2009. 
  10. ^ "Political Graveyard: Fritz H. Windhorst". Retrieved October 16, 2009. 
  11. ^ "Louisiana election returns, October 19, 1991". Retrieved October 16, 2009. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Senate District 7 (includes information on District 8)". Archived from the original on June 19, 2008. Retrieved October 16, 2009. 
  13. ^ "The West Bank Rotator: Service Before Self" (PDF). Retrieved October 16, 2009. 
Political offices
Preceded by
William J. Guste
Louisiana State Senator for the 8th District
(Jefferson and Orleans parishes)

Fritz Heinrich Windhorst

Succeeded by
Francis C. Heitmeier