Henry L. Fuqua

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Henry Luse Fuqua
38th Governor of Louisiana
In office
May 13, 1924 – October 11, 1926
LieutenantOramel H. Simpson
Preceded byJohn M. Parker
Succeeded byOramel H. Simpson
Personal details
Born(1865-11-08)November 8, 1865
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, US
DiedOctober 11, 1926(1926-10-11) (aged 60)
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Resting placeRoselawn Memorial Park and Mausoleum
Political partyDemocratic
Alma mater
OccupationPrison warden; Businessman

Henry Luse Fuqua, Sr. (November 8, 1865 – October 11, 1926), was an American businessman and, for his last two and a half years, a governor of Louisiana. During 1924, Fuqua defeated both Huey Pierce Long, Jr., and former Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives Hewitt Leonidas Bouanchaud to succeed John M. Parker in the state's governorship. He died halfway into his term, and lieutenant governor Oramel H. Simpson took over the top post.


Fuqua was born in Baton Rouge to Captain James Overton Fuqua (1822–1875) and the former Jeanette M. Fowles (1833–1900). His father was a company commander in the confederacy who commanded Company A of the 16th Louisiana Infantry (East Feliciana Guards). He was educated at Magruder's Collegiate Institute and Louisiana State University, both in Baton Rouge. On June 4, 1890, Fuqua married the former Marie Laure Matta (1866–1968), and they had two children.

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 to 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 around 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, who since 1916 had been a Louisiana state senator, was urged to run for governor in 1924. Nevertheless, he declined,[1] and Fuqua squared off against Long and Bouanchaud. The state Senate formed a committee of five to arrange Fuqua's inauguration as governor in 1924. These five officials included future Lieutenant Governor Coleman Lindsey of Minden in Webster Parish in northwestern Louisiana, who was affiliated with Huey Long's populist movement.

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

During Fuqua's time in the governor's mansion, Louisiana's anti-KKK laws imposed harsh penalties upon anyone wearing a mask or to anyone committing a crime while masked. An exception had to be made for the popular masquerade parties popular during the celebration of Mardi Gras.

As well as cracking down on the Klan, Fuqua 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.

Other elements of his governorship were less successful. 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 died in Baton Rouge and was initially interred in Magnolia Cemetery, 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".


The original Fuqua family traces its 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.


  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. Archived from the original on March 16, 2012. 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

Henry Luse Fuqua
May 13, 1924 – October 11, 1926

Succeeded by
Oramel H. Simpson