Rick Nowlin

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Rickey L. "Rick" Nowlin
Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives
from the 23rd district
In office
January 14, 2008 – January 9, 2012
Preceded by Thomas Taylor Townsend
Succeeded by Kenny Ray Cox
Presidency of Natchitoches Parish
Assumed office
Preceded by New position
Personal details
Born (1948-07-30) July 30, 1948 (age 67)
Ferriday in Concordia Parish, Louisiana
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Widower of Brenda Barr Nowlin (1950-2000)

Jennifer Lauren Nowlin (born 1980)

Matthew Louis Nowlin (born 1983)
Alma mater

Ferriday High School

Louisiana Tech University
Occupation Engineer, businessman
Religion Southern Baptist
Rick Nowlin campaign sign for the Louisiana House of Representatives near Goldonna in rural Natchitoches Parish

Rickey L. "Rick" Nowlin (born July 30, 1948) is a Natchitoches engineer, businessman, and politician who is the first ever president of the reorganized Natchitoches Parish government.

A Republican, Nowlin defeated the Democrat Gerald "Jerry" Longlois in the nonpartisan blanket primary held for the new position on November 6, 2012. The election was held in conjunction with the U.S. presidential and congressional contests. Nowlin received 9,283 votes (59.2 percent) to Longlois' 6,393 (40.8 percent).[1]

From 2008 to 2012, Nowlin was a one-term member of the Louisiana House of Representatives for District 23 (Natchitoches, DeSoto, and Red River parishes). Nowlin and the still-serving State Senator Gerald I. Long are the first Republicans since Reconstruction to represent Natchitoches Parish in the Louisiana legislature.[2] The two took their oaths of office on January 14, 2008, the same day that Republican Governor Bobby Jindal was inaugurated.


Nowlin was born to Louis M. Nowlin (November 16, 1918 – July 1, 2001) and Jocie R. Nowlin (May 21, 1921 – August 30, 2000. He, his brother, and two sisters were reared in Ferriday, a city in Concordia Parish near the Mississippi River. Nowlin graduated from Ferriday High School in 1966. Among his classmates was Dan Richey, who served as a Democrat in the Louisiana House (1976–1980) and the Louisiana Senate (1980–1984), and is now affiliated with the Louisiana Family Forum, a conservative interest group which supported Nowlin in his legislative campaign. In his 2007 campaign, Nowlin secured the endorsement of the National Federation of Independent Business.[3]

Nowlin attended Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, from which he received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering in 1971.[4] He was a member of Eta Kappa Nu honor electrical society, Sigma Nu social fraternity (which endorsed Nowlin in the campaign),[5] and Omicron Delta Kappa honor society. He was listed in Who's Who in American College and Universities. The next year, Nowlin procured a Master of Business Administration degree with honors from Louisiana Tech and was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma honor business society.[6]

Legislative election, 2007[edit]

Nowlin, with the pledge of "A Time for Reform", won a stunning victory in District 23 (then Natchitoches and Winn parishes but since altered) on November 17, 2007, over the Democrat Joseph Michael "Joe" Sampite (pronounced SAM PEH TAY), who served as the Natchitoches mayor from 1980-2000. Sampite is also an inductee into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield.[7] Nowlin polled 4,609 votes (55 percent) in the general election to Sampite's 3,766 (45 percent)[8] In the primary on October 20, Nowlin led a four-candidate field with 4,849 votes (35 percent) to Sampite's 4,598 (33 percent). Two other Democrats, Ralph Wilson and Mack James, polled, 2,847 (21 percent) and 1,459 (11 percent), respectively. Hence, Nowlin and Sampite were thrust into the runoff, called the general election in Louisiana.[9] Nowlin succeeded Thomas Taylor Townsend of Natchitoches, a Democrat who gave up the House seat after two terms to run unsuccessfully against Gerald Long for the state Senate. Townsend is a nephew and law partner of former State Senator Donald G. Kelly of Natchitoches.

Personal and civic life[edit]

Nowlin is the widower of the former Brenda Barr (February 12, 1950 – May 21, 2000). The couple's two children include daughter Jennifer Lauren Nowlin (born 1980), a graduate student at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, and son Matthew Louis Nowlin (born 1983), a 2007 graduate of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.[6] He lost his wife and both parents in a period of fourteen months.

The Nowlins moved to Natchitoches in 1979. He has been involved in many community affairs, including the National Rifle Association, Masonic Lodge, Boys and Girls Clubs of Natchitoches, and, formerly, the National Historic District Commission. He is a member of the First Baptist Church of Natchitoches.[6]

Nowlin is president of N&A, Inc., Consulting Engineers and Land Surveyors, with offices in Natchitoches, Pineville in Rapides Parish, and Jena in La Salle Parish. He owns Ducournau Restaurant and Townhouse in Natchitoches. He is a five-time board member of the Consulting Engineers Council of Louisiana. He has twice served as president of the Consulting Engineers Council of Louisiana, Alexandria chapter. He is affiliated with the Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers and the National Society of Professional Engineers.[6]

Political philosophy[edit]

In 2007, Nowlin described his political philosophy as (1) "Pro-business and Pro-job-creation, (2) Educational reform with emphasis on early childhood development, (3) Fiscal conservatism, (4) Limited government and reduced taxes, (5) Pro-life, (6) Pro-family, (7) Pro-Second Amendment.[6]

On his website, Nowlin said in 2007, "There will be a new legislature and a new governor who must not waste this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to put Louisiana back on track. We must lead with a bold purpose and have the courage to correct the problems that have plagued our state for far too long."[6]

2011 election[edit]

District 23 became a majority African American district in the 2011 redistricting based upon the 2010 census.[10]

Nowlin was unseated for a second term in the legislature by the African-American Democrat Kenny Ray Cox, a decorated retired lieutenant colonel in the United States Army from Mansfield in DeSoto Parish.[11] Cox received 5,556 votes (53.4 percent) to Nowlin's 4,847 (46.6 percent). Nowlin carried Natchitoches Parish but lost decisively in DeSoto and Red River parishes.[12]

In the October 22 primary, Nowlin narrowly led with 5,662 votes (43.6 percent), and Cox trailed with 5,506 votes (42.4 percent). Democrat Ralph Wilson, who also sought the seat in 2007, held the remaining but critical 1,805 ballots (13.9 percent).[13]

Cox graduated from Coushatta High School in Coushatta in Red River Parish.[11] He ran unsuccessfully in 2007 in House District 7 against the Republican Richard Burford of Stonewall, who was re-elected in the 2011 primary.

A year after his legislative defeat, Nowlin rebounded politically to claim the newly established office of President of Natchitoches Parish.


External links[edit]

Louisiana House of Representatives
Preceded by
Thomas Taylor Townsend
Louisiana State Representative from District 23 (Natchitoches, De Soto, and Red River parishs)
2008 – 2012
Succeeded by
Kenny Ray Cox
Preceded by
New position
President of Natchitoches Parish
Succeeded by