L. B. Henry

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Louie Brannon "L.B." Henry

Rapides Parish Police Juror
In office
1956–1960
In office
1968–1992
Succeeded by Stephen P. "Steve" Bordelon

Born November 28, 1920
Rapides Parish, Louisiana
Died April 13, 2008
Pineville, Louisiana
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Addie Mae Richardson "Spud" Henry
Children Luther Manuel Henry

Louie Rodney Henry
Martha Ann Henry Peters

Louie Brannon Henry, known as L. B. Henry (November 28, 1920 – April 13, 2008),[1] was a figure in Louisiana parish government between 1956 and 1992. A plumber and businessman in Pineville, Henry served on the Rapides Parish Police Jury, equivalent to the county commission in other states, from, first, 1956 to 1960, and, again, from 1968 to 1992. He was defeated for a seventh term in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 19, 1991.

He loved people. He always tried to help the underprivileged, said Mayor Fred Baden of Pineville of his friend L. B. Henry

Henry was the jury president for thirteen years, having been elected annually by his colleagues. From 1979 to 1987, while he still served on the police jury, he also held the administrative post of "parish manager". In 1982, the versatile Henry, was president of the Louisiana Police Jury Association, based in the capital city of Baton Rouge.[2]

Henry's police jury tenure largely corresponded with the thirty-two years that Geraldine Small "Gerri" Gerami (1924–2008)[3] served as the police jury secretary-treasurer. She died five weeks after Henry's passing. One of Henry's colleagues, Charles W. DeWitt, Jr., was the jury vice-president from 1976–1978 and became a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1980 and ultimately served as Speaker from 2000 to 2004. Henry was a member too of the Pineville City Council from 1954 to 1956, when he stepped down in the middle of his term to join the police jury.[4]

Biography

Henry was born in Rapides Parish to Annie Ethal Hooter (information missing) and her husband, Louie Manuel Henry (1894-1924), who died at the age of thirty when L. B. was about four years of age. Louie Manuel Henry is interred in Pine Prairie in Evangeline Parish in south Louisiana.[5]

Henry was disabled at birth because the umbilical cord wrapped around an arm. He adapted to a missing forearm by using the half-remaining limb like a hand, which proved possible in his business as a plumber. Like Henry, another Rapides Parish politician, Fred Baden, who served as mayor of Pineville from 1970 to 1998, was also a plumber, and the two were friends for many years. Baden said that he worked with Henry to upgrade the infrastructure and procure sewerage service to the outlying Wardville and Lee Heights areas. Baden worked with Henry to establish an animal shelter for Pineville and Rapides Parish. "He loved people. He always tried to help the underprivileged," Baden said of Henry.[4]

In addition to his presidency of the state association, Henry served on the police jury executive board for seven years. He served for four years on the Transportation Steering Committee of the National Association of Counties.[1]

On October 24, 1987, in his final election to the single-member District B seat on the police jury, Henry, a Democrat, defeated the Republican Gerard Guillory (1940-1991)[6] of Pineville, 2,701 votes (58.5 percent) to 1,977 (41.5 percent).[7] He was defeated for a seventh term on the jury in 1991 by fellow Democrat Stephen P. "Steve" Bordelon (1939-2015) of Pineville, 2,894 votes (55.47 percent) to 2,323 ballots (44.5 percent). The long tenure suddenly ended.[8] Bordelon, a former Pineville firefighter, and like Henry a former member of the Pineville City Council, was the owner and operator of Bordelon's Tree Surgery Company. He held the police jury seat from Ward 9 for four terms and did not seek reelection in the 2007 primary. Bordelon died just over a month before the passing of L. B. Henry's younger son. He is interred at Greenwood Memorial Park in Pineville.[9]

Henry was a former president of the trade association, the Alexandria-Pineville Master Plumbers Association. He was a past president of the Pineville Kiwanis International and a member of the Masonic lodge and Shriners. For ten years, he provided use of his L. B. Henry Rodeo Arena for the annual Kiwanis rodeo. Henry also dug water wells and operated his L. B. Henry Mobile Home Park on the Marksville Highway in Pineville.[10] He was a cattleman and owned horses too.[1]

Henry in perspective

At times, Henry came under scrutiny for authorizing at public expense the paving of portions of private driveways in outlying areas. Henry said that he was compelled to stop the assistance because "it is against the law to put it on private property." But he said that he thought he was doing the right thing: "My theory on it was those are poor people, and they couldn't afford to buy gravel. All I was doing was trying to help those poor people."[4]

Jack Bennett DeWitt (born January 1940) of Boyce in northwestern Rapides Parish served as Rapides Parish highway superintendent and general superintendent in a career which largely paralleled the years that Henry headed the police jury. He ran unsuccessfully in 1995 for the Louisiana State Senate seat from Rapides Parish against the Reverend B.G. Dyess. In an interview with the The Alexandria Daily Town, the major newspaper of Central Louisiana, DeWitt recalled how Henry would "help you, he would do it in a minute. I remember him as a leader, someone capable of working with other elected officials to get things done."[4] DeWitt was an honorary pallbearer at Henry's funeral, along with former Pineville City Council member Robert F. "Bob" Cespiva (born December 1925).[1]

Lyn Rollins, who as a broadcast journalist for KALB-TV covered the Rapides Parish Police Jury in the 1970s, described Henry as "a populist at heart. A little Edwin Edwards, a little Gillis Long, a little John K. "Tillie" Snyder. ... he was a very likable local politician. He was always accessible. He never dodged a question. ... It's hard to call him progressive, but in some ways he did some progressive things."[4]

Henry was also influential in establishing one of the first parish programs to use state prison labor for local public works projects.[4]

Death

Henry died in 2008 at the age of eighty-seven in a Pineville nursing home from the effects of Alzheimer's disease. In 1943, he married the former Addie Mae Richardson, known as "Spud" Henry (1925-2010), the daughter of Luther Richardson, Sr. (1907-1996) the former Maudie Lee Cheek (1908-1987). Mrs. Henry assisted her husband in his business and political campaigns and was past president of the Rapides Regional Medical Center Auxiliary and worked for eighteen years in the surgery waiting room.[11]

The Henrys had two sons from Pineville, Luther Manuel Henry (born October 14, 1944) and wife, the former Bonnie Thiels, and Louie Rodney Henry (1950-2015) and wife, the former Patsy Rayner. Like his father, Rodney Henry was a plumber in Pineville.[12] The Henrys' daughter, Martha Ann Henry Peters (born January 1949) and her husband, John R. Peters (born June 1948), reside in Homer in Claiborne Parish in north Louisiana. Henry had two surviving sisters, Louise Henry Graef Hebert and Lorraine Deville; nine grandchildren, and fourteen great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Elliot Louis Henry (1925-2000).[1]

Services were held at the chapel of Hixson Brothers in Pineville. Burial was at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Ball, north of Pineville.[1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Louie Brannon Henry. The Alexandria Town Talk on Findagrave.com (April 15, 2008). Retrieved on April 28, 2015.
  2. Sunny McCreary, Communications Director, Louisiana Police Jury Association, Baton Rouge.
  3. Geraldine S. Gerami. findagrave.com. Retrieved on April 28, 2015.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 "L. B. Henry was known for helping other people", The Alexandria Town Talk, April 15, 2008.
  5. Louie Manuel Henry. findagrave.com. Retrieved on April 28, 2015.
  6. Gerard Guillory. findagrave.com. Retrieved on April 28, 2015.
  7. Election Results. Louisiana Secretary of State (October 24, 1987). Retrieved on April 28, 2015.
  8. Election Results. Louisiana Secretary of State (October 19, 1991). Retrieved on April 28, 2015.
  9. Stephen P. Bordelon. findagrave.com. Retrieved on April 28, 2015.
  10. L B Henry Mobile Home Park, Louisiana
  11. Addie Mae "Spud" Richardson Henry. The Alexandria Town Talk (October 12, 2010). Retrieved on April 28, 2015.
  12. Louie Rodney Henry. The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on April 28, 2015.