Roy R. Theriot
|Roy R. Theriot, Sr.|
|Louisiana State Comptroller|
1960 – 1973, his death
|Preceded by||William Joseph "Bill" Dodd|
|Mayor of Abbeville, Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, USA|
|Sergeant-at-arms of the Louisiana House of Representatives|
|Preceded by||Cliff Liles|
|Succeeded by||Gaston Ducote|
June 26, 1914|
Erath, Vermilion Parish
|Died||April 19, 1973(aged 58)|
|Resting place||St. Mary Magdalen Mausoleum in Abbeville|
|Spouse(s)||Helen Roberts Theriot (married 1947-his death)|
Barbara Ellen Horaist
|Alma mater||Tulane University School of Law|
Roy R. Theriot, Sr. (June 26, 1914 – April 19, 1973), was the Democratic state comptroller of Louisiana from 1960-1973. From 1954 to 1960, he was the mayor of Abbeville, the seat of Vermilion Parish in southwestern Louisiana.
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 Harold Stassen, the former Governor 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. At civic meetins, Theriot often chided Louisiana residents for "lacking pride" in their state, unlike neighboring Texas. He attributed that shortcoming to the "lack of knowledge of what the state has to offer".
On June 7, 1947, he married 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 the Vermilion Parish Clerk of Court for a single term from 1996 to 2000.
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. In the primary held in December 1959, several other candidates were eliminated from the runoff, including the future U.S. Representative Joe D. Waggonner, Jr., of Plain Dealing in Bossier Parish in northwestern Louisiana and Toby O'Rillion, a son-in-law of the 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 one of the ten presidential electors 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. He prevailed in a January 1964 runoff with Falcon. In later elections in 1967 and 1972, Theriot faced minimal or no opposition. He 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.
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 in neighboring Texas. He said that the assets of Louisiana are "unknown to many in our own state", remarks similar to those uttered in 1979 by U.S. President Jimmy Carter in what the media dubbed the Malaise speech.
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.
- "Theriot Charges Louisiana Residents With Lack of Pride in Their State", Minden Press-Herald, July 21, 1967, p. 1
- Minden Press, January 11, 1960, p. 1
- Minden Press, November 23, 1959, p. 13
- Minden Press, December 9, 1963, p. 1
- "Roy Theriot", A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography, Vol. 2 (1988), p. 785; New Orleans Times-Picayune, December 5, 1959
William Joseph "Bill" Dodd
|Louisiana State Comptroller (previously State Auditor)
Roy R. Theriot, Sr.
Appointee of Governor Edwin Washington Edwards; Elected position ended by Louisiana Constitution of 1974
|Sergeant-at-arms of the Louisiana House of Representatives
Roy R. Theriot, Sr.