Aubrey Young

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Aubrey Walsworth Young​

(Louisiana politician and alcohol/drug counselor)

Born May 1, 1922​
Monroe, Louisiana, USA
Died April 7, 2010 (aged 87)​
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Resting place:
Greenoaks Memorial Park in Baton Rouge

Political Party Democrat
Spouse (1) Not available

(2) Kathleen Smith Young​ (married c. 1972-2010, his dath)
From first marriage:
William Grant Young
From second marriage:
Ashley Young Munnerlyn
​ Charles Anthony Young
Cammie Mae Gulledge and William Earl Young, Sr
Alma mater:
Gulf Coast Military Academy
​ Neville High School
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
University of Louisiana at Monroe​

Religion Southern Baptist

Military Service
Service/branch United States Army

(17th Airborne Division, 513th Parachute Regiment)

Years of service 1942-1945
Awards Bronze Star

The Army Good Conduct Medal
The American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal
The Air Medal

  • Young worked in Louisiana state government from 1965, when he was an aide to Governor John J. McKeithen, until 1999. His greatest impact was the establishment of alcohol treatment programs throughout the Department of Health and Hospitals.​

Aubrey Walsworth Young (May 1, 1922 – April 7, 2010) was a public official in the U.S. state of Louisiana, who between 1965 and 1999 established multiple drug and alcohol treatment programs through the Department of Health and Hospitals in Baton Rouge.[1] A political activist, Young organized his contacts from Alcoholics Anonymous to support the election of the Democrat John J. McKeithen as governor of Louisiana in the 1963-64 election cycle.[2]


Young was born in Monroe in Ouachita Parish in northeastern Louisiana, to the former Cammie Mae Gulledge and William Earl Young, Sr., originally from the rural community of Start in neighboring Richland Parish. He attended the former Gulf Coast Military Academy in Gulfport, Mississippi, east of New Orleans. He was the football quarterback at Gulf Coast under then Coach Carl Maddox, later the athletics director at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and Mississippi State University in Starkville. Young left the military school and graduated instead from Neville High School in Monroe, at which he played football and baseball and was the captain of the last boxing team offered there.[1] He was also a cheerleader and a tenor in the Neville glee club. Young first attended on a boxing scholarship the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, then known as the University of Southwestern Louisiana, but he transferred thereafter to the University of Louisiana at Monroe.[2]

In 1942, he enlisted in the United States Army and joined the 17th Airborne Division, 513th Parachute Regiment. He earned his paratrooper wings after completing training at Fort Benning, Georgia. He fought with his battalion in the European Theater of World War II and was active in the Battle of the Bulge, the Rhine River Jump in Germany, and the battle of Luxembourg at the Our River.[1] He received the Bronze Star, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Air Medal. His military service provided lifelong commitments to the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Disabled American Veterans.[2]

Young returned from war with post-traumatic stress disorder, formerly known as shell shock.[1] He became active in Alcoholics Anonymous groups as he fought his own battle with liquor. He worked for a time for the Missouri Pacific Railroad and Delta Air Lines. After a stint as a deputy under Sheriff Bailey Grant of Ouachita Parish,[1] Young opened a hamburger shop called The Huddle on 18th Street in Monroe. He was also a partner in the Paragon Supper Club in Monroe with his friends, the late Tony and Joe Cascio.[2]

Gubernatorial aide

Young's connections through AA caught the attention of John McKeithen, then a member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission, who had entered the crowded race to succeed the term-limited Governor Jimmie Davis. McKeithen won the Democratic nomination in a runoff election over deLesseps Story "Chep" Morrison, Sr., the former mayor of New Orleans, and then defeated the Republican nominee Charlton Lyons of Shreveport. As governor, McKeithen promptly named Young a colonel with the Louisiana State Police and as his gubernatorial aide de camp. The appointments required his relocation to Baton Rouge, where Young resided for the remainder of his life.[2]

In 1965, Young was recognized by the state legislature for his work in evacuating Louisiana residents during Hurricane Betsy. He was honored with a concurrent resolution citing his "new and more meaningful concept of public service." Young served as a mentor for newer legislators and as a contact person for state employees seeking liaison with lawmakers. In 1966, Young handled security arrangements for a visit to Baton Rouge by Vice President of the United States Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, an LSU alumnus.[2]

In 1965, McKeithen asked Young to meet with A. Z. Young, an African American civil rights figure in Bogalusa in Washington Parish, in an attempt to defuse tensions during a march staged by black activists. The demonstrations followed by a few months the better-known Selma to Montgomery marches in Alabama. The procession completed its march with few disruptions, and the two Youngs struck up a longstanding friendship.[2]

Underworld connections

In 1967, while seeking a second term as governor against a fellow Democrat, U.S. Representative John Rarick, McKeithen removed Young as his aide de camp. D'Alton Smith of New Orleans, brother of A. D. Smith, an elected member of the Louisiana State Board of Education, was indicted on public bribery charges stemming from reports that Smith had offered Young $25,000 to influence Young's decisions in government. After leaving McKeithen's staff, Young turned state's evidence, and his testimony before a grand jury led to D'Alton Smith's indictment.[3] Life Magazine indicated that when McKeithen threatened to fire Young over the proposed bribery, Young resigned.[4]

Heavily involved in labor matters, Young also arranged the meeting at which Teamsters union business agent Edward Grady Partin of Baton Rouge was offered, first, $25,000 a year for ten years and, then, $1 million from underworld boss Carlos Marcello (1910-1993) to work out a plan to overturn the conviction of union president James Riddle Hoffa, who was confined to federal prison at the time. Partin's previous testimony had been instrumental in Hoffa's conviction.[4][5]

Life Magazine reported that Young had made fifty to sixty telephone calls from the governor's office to Carlos Marcello in 1966 and 1967, but East Baton Rouge District Attorney Sargent Pitcher conducted a probe and could not substantiate the magazine's claim. Young admitted to having received two calls from Marcello, one dealing with what became the now Mercedes-Benz Superdome and another in regard to Dalton Smith's attempt to bribe Edward Grady Partin. Pitcher said that the telephone used was actually that of Crawford Hugh "Sammy" Downs (1911-1985), a former state senator from Rapides Parish who was then Governor McKeithen's unpaid administrative assistant.[6] Another source alleges that Young was "tied" to Marcello.[7]

In 1981, Young and four others, including Marcello, New Orleans attorney Vincent A. Mannello, lobbyist I. Irving Davidson, and Charles E. Roemer, II, a former aide to Governor Edwin Edwards, McKeithen 's successor, and the father of Edwards' second successor, Charles E. "Buddy" Roemer, III, were charged in U.S. District Court in New Orleans with conspiracy, racketeering, and mail and wire fraud in a scheme to bribe state officials to give the five men multi-million dollar insurance contracts.[8] The charges were the result of a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe known as BriLab.[9][10] U.S. District Judge Morey Sear allowed the admission of secretly-recorded conversations that he said demonstrated political corruption at the highest levels of state government.[11] Young was acquitted of all charges.[12]

Roemer was thereafter convicted of one count of conspiracy[13] and imprisoned. He was released in October 1984.[14] Marcello was convicted of conspiracy and then indicted on additional charges involving an alleged attempt to bribe the judge.[15] He was finally released from prison in October 1989.[14] Irving Davidson claimed that federal agents had used threats and offers of immunity from prosecution to convict Marcello.[16] The Bureau of Prisons inmate locator does not indicate that Davidson or Mannello ever served time.[14]

Treatment for alcoholics

After he left McKeithen's staff, Young used his influence in state government in 1968 to establish a statewide program for the treatment and rehabilitation of alcoholics. Funds were appropriated for treatment facilities in Baton Rouge, Hammond, Lafayette, Crowley, Alexandria, Lake Charles, and Monroe. The Office of Alcohol Abuse was created in the Department of Hospitals. He also pushed for the establishment in 1974 of the Tri-Med program in all state general hospitals. Tri-Med provides alcohol and drug abuse detoxification and mental health acute care treatments in state hospitals. He established an alcohol information curriculum for the In-Service Police Training School at LSU. Young also worked to establish AA groups in state prisons.[2]

D​uring this same period, Young joined Victor Bussie of Baton Rouge, president of the Louisiana AFL-CIO, to establish programs in industrial plants and factories for the treatment and referral of alcoholics. He pushed for greater funding for the statewide substance abuse programs. Young was also the driving force behind the Drug Court program in Louisiana. Judge Bob Downing hailed him: "Aubrey, without you, this program would not have gotten off the ground." He remained active in state substance abuse programs as counselor and as the Governor's Coordinator for Substance Abuse through many administrations from McKeithen in 1965 to Murphy J. "Mike" Foster, Jr., in 1999. He also did advertising for Lieutenant Governor Robert "Bobby" Freeman, a Democrat who served from 1980 to 1988.[2]

Later years

In 1999, the semi-retired Young began a part-time position in the office of Louisiana Attorney General Richard Ieyoub. Skilled in predicting election winners, Young was often approached by candidates seeking his advice. Though a Democrat, Young claimed to have had good relations with Republicans too. He held meetings with U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald W. Reagan as well as the first FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.[2] In 2006, he assisted the Moderate Republican John Leigh "Jay" Dardenne of Baton Rouge in the latter's successful quest for the office of secretary of state in a special election held after the death of Walter Fox McKeithen, son of Young's former mentor, John McKeithen.[1][17]

Young was affiliated with the LSU Athletic Association and various professional organizations dedicated to the prevention of substance abuse. He was a member of the Masonic lodge, the Shriners, and the Jefferson Baptist Church in Baton Rouge.​ [2]

Death and legacy

Young died at his Baton Rouge residence at the age of eighty-seven. He was survived by his wife of thirty-eight years, the former Kathleen Smith of Baton Rouge; three children, William Grant Young (born ca. 1960) of Durham, North Carolina (from a previous marriage), Ashley Young Munnerlyn (ca. 1977) of Baton Rouge, and Charles Anthony Young (born ca. 1979) and wife, Kristen, of Bradenton, Florida; three grandchildren; a sister, Ann Elizabeth Owens and her husband, Bill, of Shreveport, and mother-in-law, Mabel Smith of Baton Rouge. He was preceded in death by his parents and a five-year-old brother, William Earl Young, Jr. Services were held on April 13, 2010, at Jefferson Baptist Church, with pastor Tommy French officiating. Interment was at Greenoaks Memorial Park in Baton Rouge.[2]

Former West Monroe Mayor Bert Hatten, a longtime Young friend, said that Young "knew a lot of people, liked people and many liked him in return and were lifetime friends. His friendship was valued by many politicians through the years, and he worked for probably every governor starting with John McKeithen and ending with Mike Foster."[1] Governor Foster sponsored Young's retirement party, which, according to Hatten, "Aubrey just ate it up because he liked being in the limelight."[1]

During the retirement ceremony in Baton Rouge, Jake Hadley of the Department of Health and Hospitals said that Young's "greatest service was not to politicians in high office but to people with alcohol and drug problems. When Young learned of anyone in need of treatment, he would work tirelessly to get them help. Literally thousands of people across the state owe their recovery, in part, to Aubrey Young, and the people of this state owe him a great debt of gratitude."[2]

Young often cited the Bible verse: "No height, no depth, nor any creature can separate me from the love of God through Christ Jesus" (Epistle to the Romans 8:39).[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Johnny Gunter (April 10, 2010). "Young legacy to go beyond politics". Monroe News Star. Retrieved on April 13, 2010.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 Aubrey W. Young. Monroe News Star (April 11, 2010). Retrieved on April 13, 2010.
  3. Jack Owens (October 25, 1967). "Organized Crime Being Probed in Louisiana". The Free Lance Star. Retrieved on April 28, 2010; no longer on-line.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Sandy Smith. The Fix. Google Books. Retrieved on April 28, 2010. 
  5. Walter Sheridan. Louisiana Hayride. Retrieved on April 28, 2010.
  6. Bill Lynch (July 16, 1968). "B. R. Probe Finds No Proof of Marcella-Young Calls". New Orleans States-Item. Retrieved on June 27, 2013.
  7. A Short Encyclopedia of Modern Visionaries: Gordon Novel section. Retrieved on April 28, 2010.
  8. The New York Times, March 31, 1981, p. 16.
  9. The New York Times, April 22, 1981, p. 17.
  10. Bill Wayne "Bill" Clayton, a former Texas state representative and state House Speaker, was caught up in another phase of BriLab but acquitted of the charges against him.
  11. The New York Times,', May 18, 1981, Section IV, p. 13
  12. The New York Times, July 8, 1981, p. 18.
  13. The New York Times, July 31, 1981, p. 6.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Inmate Locator. Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved on May 1, 2010.
  15. The New York Times, August 6, 1981, p. 13.
  16. The New York Times, July 9, 1981, p. 14.
  17. There was an interim secretary of state, Al Ater of Concordia Parish, before the special election won by Jay Dardenne.