Joseph A. Sims

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Joseph Arthur Sims, Sr.
Born (1914-07-16)July 16, 1914
Shreveport, Caddo Parish
Louisiana, USA
Died May 20, 1973(1973-05-20) (aged 58)
Manchac, Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana
Resting place Greenlawn Cemetery in Hammond, Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana
Residence Hammond, Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana
Occupation

Attorney

District Attorney for 21st Judicial District Court in Hammond, Louisiana, from 1948 to 1952
Known for Legal advisor to Governor Earl Kemp Long of Louisiana
Spouse(s) Enid Lions Sims (married 1939-1973, his death)
Children

Joe Arthur Sims, Jr.

David Robert Sims
Parent(s)

Linus A. Sims

Isabel Johnson Sims

Joseph Arthur Sims, Sr. (July 16, 1914 - May 20, 1973), was a Democratic operative from Hammond, Louisiana, who was associated with his state's Long political faction. As the legal advisor to Governor Earl Kemp Long, he obtained Long's discharge from the Southeast Louisiana State Hospital in Mandeville in St. Tammany Parish, where Long had been temporarily admitted for mental health problems in a sensational series of incidents in the summer of 1959. Long turned to Sims for help after he began to distrust his personal lawyer, Theo Cangelosi of Baton Rouge.

Background[edit]

Sims was born in Shreveport, the seat of Caddo Parish in far northwestern Louisiana, to Linus A. Sims and the former Isabel Johnson. He was a paternal grandson of Levi Copedge Sims and the former Mary Emily Bussey of Alabama. Sims was educated in the Hammond public schools and the defunct Southeastern School of Law, location unknown. His father, as the principal of Hammond High School, worked to establish Hammond Junior College and then guided the establishment of what is now Southeastern Louisiana University.

On June 29, 1939, Sims married the former Enid Lions (March 5, 1914 - May 6, 2005) of Madisonville, a small town in St. Tammany Parish. She was the daughter of Alphonse Lions (correct spelling), a Madisonville pharmacist, and the former Olympia Galatas. They had two sons, Joseph Arthur Sims, Jr. (born 1946), and David Robert Sims (born 1945), both of Hammond, the largest community in Tangipahoa Parish (pronounced TAN JUH PUH HO UH). Sims, Jr., is a personal injury attorney. After Sims' death, his widow was married for a time to a man named Alfred Sears.

Sims was a Methodist: his father and paternal grandfather were Methodist ministers.

Legal career[edit]

Sims was a former law partner of U.S. Representative James H. Morrison, of the Louisiana Sixth Congressional District, which includes the Florida Parishes and Baton Rouge. Considered a liberal by Louisiana standards, Morrison made three unsuccessful bids for governor in the 1940s and was later denied Democratic renomination for his House seat in 1966, by the conservative John Richard Rarick of St. Francisville, the seat of West Feliciana Parish.

Sims was the Hammond-based district attorney for the 21st Judicial District Court from 1948 to 1952, when he was an unsuccessful candidate for state attorney general on the Long-endorsed ticket of Judge Carlos G. Spaht of Baton Rouge. Sims lost to former Attorney General Fred S. LeBlanc, a former mayor of Baton Rouge. Also running on the Spaht ticket was then freshman State Representative John J. McKeithen of Columbia, an unsuccessful candidate for lieutenant governor, who twelve years later would catapult into the governor's mansion. In 1967, McKeithen became the first Louisiana governor eligible to seek a second consecutive four-year term. He defeated Jimmy Morrison's former rival John Rarick by a wide margin. Another unsuccessful candidate on the 1952 "Long" ticket was Mary Evelyn Dickerson, later Mary Evelyn Parker, who was thereafter on February 6, 1968, elected as state treasurer.

In 1972, Sims joined the staff of incoming Attorney General William J. "Billy" Guste, Jr., of New Orleans but died within a year. He was also the senior partner of the firm Sims and Mack. He was a member of five attorneys' associations: American Bar, Louisiana Bar, American Trial Lawyers, Louisiana Trial Lawyers, and Gamma Eta Gamma legal fraternity.

Sims died in Manchac in Tangipahoa Parish. He is interred at Greenlawn Cemetery in Hammond.

References[edit]

"Joseph Arthur Sims", A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography, Vol. 2 (1988), p. 745

Sims obituary, Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, May 21, 1973

Sims obituary, New Orleans Times-Picayune, May 21, 1973

Sims obituary, Hammond, Louisiana, Vindicator, May 24, 1973

http://pview.findlaw.com/view/2266300_1

http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov/offices/locations.asp?ID=62&Detail=125