|Member of the Louisiana Senate
from the 1st district
|Preceded by||Lynn Dean|
|Succeeded by||A. G. Crowe|
|Born||Walter Joseph Boasso
May 10, 1960
Arabi, Louisiana, U.S.
|Political party||Democratic (Before mid-1990s; 2007–present)|
|Alma mater||University of New Orleans|
Walter Joseph Boasso (born May 10, 1960) is an American businessman and Democratic former state senator from Chalmette, the seat of government of St. Bernard Parish in south Louisiana. He was defeated in a bid for governor in the October 20, 2007, nonpartisan blanket primary by the Republican Bobby Jindal. Boasso won 47 percent in his own St. Bernard Parish, his sole plurality showing in any of his state's sixty-four parishes. From 2004 to 2008, Boasso represented Senate District 1, which includes parts of Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, and St. Tammany parishes, many of those areas having been devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
A lifelong resident of St. Bernard Parish, Boasso graduated from Chalmette High School in 1978. He obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of New Orleans. He launched his own company cleaning storage tanks during summer vacations. He soon established a large corporation, Boasso America. The company is still headquartered in St. Bernard Parish and employs hundreds of people in several states. He described the business as having started "with a brush and a bucket of Tide." Boasso America Corp., was sold to a Florida company, Quality Distribution, Inc. at a profit of $60 million. The company maintains its presence in South Louisiana.
Originally a Democrat, Boasso switched to the Republican Party in the mid 1990s. He was selected as the chairman of the Port of New Orleans Authority Board of Commissioners in 2001 and to the state Senate in 2003.
On February 6, 2007, Boasso announced his plans to run in the primary for the governor. He faced opposition from the Republican U.S. Representative Bobby Jindal, who then represented Louisiana's 1st congressional district in suburban New Orleans. After the decision by Louisiana Republicans to endorse Jindal, Boasso was approached about running for governor as a Democrat.
To that end, on April 26, 2007, Boasso formally switched parties again. In addition to Jindal, he was forced to contend with rival Democrat Foster Campbell, of Bossier City in Bossier Parish, a member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission. Campbell ran again for statewide office in 2016, when the lost a race for the United States Senate seat vacated by Republican David Vitter to another Republican, John Neely Kennedy, the former Louisiana state treasurer.
Boasso was hailed for his response to the disaster that struck his constituents on the morning of August 29, 2005. Katrina sent a tidal surge of up to 25–30 feet in height that drowned St. Bernard Parish in a matter of minutes. Boasso was in Baton Rouge at the time, and on being advised of the situation returned to the parish before the winds had completely died. He spent the following weeks bringing supplies, including fuel, food, medicines, and transportation to the parish. Many local residents said that Boasso and Democratic then U.S. Representative Charlie Melancon of Louisiana's 3rd congressional district were nearly the only source of help for his parish. Media coverage was aimed almost entirely at New Orleans alone. Boasso noted that rescuers from Canada were in the parish before any state response got there. Boasso has continued to push for assistance for St. Bernard Parish and has promised that Boasso America will continue to operate there.
Quotes during Hurricane Katrina
- “I've got 122,000 people in my district, and everybody's been affected (by Hurricane Katrina),” said Boasso.
- “I don't care about finger pointing,” Boasso said. “I'm hollering and screaming and you know what? If they can't help us we're going to help ourselves.”
- "Fabulous, fabulous guys," Boasso said. Referring to the Vancouver, Canada's USAR team who came to his flooded town's aid, "They started rolling with us and got in boats to save people."
- "We've got Canadian flags flying everywhere."
Boasso garnered national coverage for the "Boasso Bill," his proposed state legislation that would eliminate the system of local levee boards and replace them with a professionally staffed board to prevent the levee failures that contributed to the flooding.
In 1996, Boasso succeeded the Republican state Senator Lynn Dean of Plaquemines Parish. After Boasso's defection, the seat returned to Republican hands. In the 2007 primary, state Representative A. G. Crowe of Pearl River defeated the Democrat Kenneth L. Odinet, Sr., 11,625 (52 percent) to 10,811 (48 percent). In 2008, Odinet switched to the Republican Party in an unsuccessful candidacy for the Louisiana Public Service Commission.
State Senator, 1st Senatorial District, 2003
Threshold > 50%
First Ballot, October 4, 2003
|Walter Boasso||Republican||19,842 (49%)||Runoff|
|Wayne J. Landry||Democratic||12,288 (30%)||Runoff|
|Wayne Mumphrey||Republican||8,538 (21%)||Defeated|
Second Ballot, November 15, 2003
|Walter Boasso||Republican||25,233 (61%)||Elected|
|Wayne J. Landry||Democratic||16,011 (39%)||Defeated|
Governor of Louisiana, 2007
Threshold > 50%
First Ballot, October 20, 2007
|Bobby Jindal||Republican||699,672 (54%)||Elected|
|Walter Boasso||Democratic||226,364 (17%)||Defeated|
|John Georges||Independent||186,800 (14%)||Defeated|
|Foster Campbell||Democratic||161,425 (12%)||Defeated|
- Project Vote Smart - Senator Walter J. Boasso (LA) profile
- Follow the Money - Richard D. Young
|Member of the Louisiana Senate
for the 1st district
A. G. Crowe