Bryant Hammett

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Bryant O'Dare Hammett, Jr.​

Louisiana State Representative foe
District 21 (Concordia, East Carroll, Madison, and Tensas parishes)​
In office
1992 ​ – 2006​
Preceded by Al Ater
Succeeded by John A. "Andy" Anders​

Secretary of Louisiana
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries​
In office
2006​ – January 14, 2008​
Preceded by
Succeeded by Robert J. Barham​

Born September 30, 1956​
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Susan Cotton Hammett ​
Children Virginia H. Martinez​

Dorothy Elizabeth Hammett
​ Laura Danielle Hammett ​

Residence Ferriday, Louisiana, Concordia Parish, Louisiana, USA
Alma mater Huntington High School​

Louisiana Tech University​ ​

Occupation Engineer; Land surveyor​
Religion Presbyterian

Bryant O'Dare Hammett, Jr. (born September 30, 1956), is a civil engineer and land surveyor from Ferriday in Concordia Parish in eastern Louisiana, who served as a Democratic state representative from 1992 to 2006.[1]​ ​


The son of Bryant Hammett, Sr. (1931-2017), and the former Lollie May Caskey (born 1933), the junior Hammett graduated in 1974 from the private Huntington High School in Ferriday. He subsequently earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. He is a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers,[2] and the American Council of Engineering Companies. He is a former member of the Ferriday Planning and Zoning Committee and served too as the Ferriday city engineer.[2] Hammett is affiliated with Ducks Unlimited and the National Rifle Association.[3]

Hammett and his wife, the former Susan Cotton (also born 1956), originally from Jonesville in Catahoula Parish, are elders at the First Presbyterian Church of Ferriday.[2] The couple has three daughters, Virginia L. "Ginny" Hammett Martinez (born 1981), Dorothy Elizabeth Hammett (born 1983), and Laura Danielle Hammett (born 1986).[4]

Political career

​ At thirty-five, Hammett was elected in 1991 to House District 21 (Concordia, East Carroll, Madison Parish, and Tensas parishes). The seat became vacant when the Democrat Al Ater, a Ferriday farmer, declined to seek a third term. Ater was later the first assistant Louisiana secretary of state who then became the acting secretary of state from 2005 to 2006, upon the death of Walter Fox McKeithen. In the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 19, 1991, Hammett led the African American Democrat, Moses Junior Williams (born 1952) of Tallulah in Madison Parish, 7,464 (49.8 percent) to 4,746 (31.7 percent). A third candidate, Samuel Thomas, trailed with 2,774 votes (18.5 percent).[5] In the second round, Hammett topped Williams, 9,381 votes (52.6) to 8,451 (47.4 percent). His margin came primarily from his own Concordia Parish.[6]

In 1995, Hammett nearly won outright in the primary, having polled 6,464 votes (47.5 percent) to 5,215 (38.3 percent) for the Democrat Sammy Davis, Jr., an African American town council member in Ferriday,[7] and 1,941 (14.3 percent) for the Republican candidate, Steve Alan Fleming (born 1949) of Vidalia in Concordia Parish.[8] Hammett then defeated Davis, 8,153 (56.7 percent) to 6,231 (43.3 percent).[9] In a rematch in 1999, Hammett prevailed once more over Davis, 9,315 (68.6 percent) to 4,269 (31.4 percent).[10]

During the administrations of Governors Murphy J."Mike" Foster, Jr. and Kathleen Blanco, Hammett was chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. In 2001, he introduced legislation to add the Delta Music Museum in downtown Ferriday to jurisdiction of the Louisiana secretary of state. Under this arrangement, the city of Ferriday owns the building and contributes to the budget, but the state funds, operate, and staffs the museum.[11]

Hammett ran unopposed in 2003 but resigned his seat in 2006 to accept a position in the State Office of Community Development. His successor, Democrat Andy Anders of Clayton and Ferriday, held the seat until 2020, but term limits kept him from running again in 2019. Hammett headed a team overseeing disaster recovery for state and government infrastructure affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. He was one of four managers who supervised the recovery.[12]

Several months later, Hammett left the hurricane recovery position to accept appointment from Governor Blanco as the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.[3][13] Hammett was succeeded at Wildlife and Fisheries by former state Senator Robert J. Barham of Morehouse Parish, the appointee of Republican Governor Bobby Jindal.​

In 2007, as the Blanco administration neared its end, Hammett ran unsuccessfully for the District 32 seat in the state Senate, which embraces all or parts of ten parishes. He lost the race to the Republican Neil Riser of Columbia in Caldwell Parish. Riser, a funeral home operator and the first Republican ever to hold this Senate seat, polled 15,622 votes (54.9 percent) to Hammett’s 12,817 (45.1 percent). Hammett ran best in Concordia and neighboring Catahoula parishes.​ [14]​ ​ Louisiana radio talk show host Moon Griffon predicted on his program on August 8, 2013, that Hammett would again run for the state Senate if Neil Riser, who defeated him for that position in 2007, had won the October 19 special election for Louisiana's 5th congressional district seat. A vacancy in the state Senate requires a special election to fill that position.[15]

Hammett has performed engineering work on water systems in Ferriday and St. Joseph in Tensas Parish, where the entire system was replaced in 2017.[16]


  1. Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2020. Louisiana House of Representatives (May 21, 2019). Retrieved on September 27, 2019.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 House District 21,, no longer on-line.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Bryant O. Hammett, Jr.. Retrieved on November 24, 2009; no longer on-line.
  4. Wedding: Martinez and Hammett. Natchez Democrat. Retrieved on November 24, 2009; no longer on-line.
  5. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 19, 1991.
  6. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 16, 1991.
  7. Hammett reelected to Louisiana House. Natchez Democrat (October 24, 1999). Retrieved on September 27, 2019.
  8. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 21, 1995.
  9. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 18, 1995.
  10. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 23, 1999.
  11. Delta Music Museum. Retrieved on November 23, 2009.
  12. Bryant Hammett resigns. Natchez Democrat (June 16, 2006). Retrieved on September 27, 2019.
  13. Louisiana Fisheries: Commercial Fishing for Tilefishes in Louisaina Waters to Close until January 1, 2008. (April 8, 2007). Retrieved on September 27, 2019.
  14. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 17, 2007.
  15. The Moon Griffon Show, August 8, 2013.
  16. Greg Hilburn, "Governor to St. Joe residents: 'We're in this with you,'" The Monroe News-Star, December 19, 2016.

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