Charles Lancaster

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Charles Doerr Lancaster, Jr.

In office
1972–1976
In office
March 1980 – January 14, 2008
Preceded by At-large membership
Succeeded by Joe Lopinto

Born September 22, 1943
New Orleans, Louisiana
Died August 17, 2018 (aged 74)
Metairie, Jefferson Parish
Resting place Lake Lawn Park Cemetery and Mausoleum in New Orleans
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Edith "Patches" Shannon Lancaster (deceased)
Children Edith Helen "Dee Dee Lancaster

Charles D. Lancaster, III
One grandson
Parents:
Charles, Sr., and Helen Stafford Lancaster

Residence Metairie, Jefferson Parish
Alma mater Jesuit High School (New Orleans)

University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Loyola University New Orleans College of Law

Occupation Attorney

Major in Louisiana Army National Guard

Charles Doerr Lancaster, Jr. (September 22, 1943 – August 17, 2018), was an attorney from his native New Orleans who was the longest-serving Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives, with non-consecutive tenure from 1972 to 1976 and 1980 to 2008.

Background

One of four children of Charles Lancaster, Sr., and the former Helen Stafford, Lancaster spent summers in his youth on the Gulf of Mexico at nearby Pass Christian, Mississippi, at which he developed a lifelong interest in fishing. He has a surviving brother, William Bradford Lancaster (wife Suzy), and two sisters, Helen Lancaster Bailey (husband Neil) and Marjorie Lancaster Crowell (husband Mark). He graduated from the Roman Catholic-affiliated Jesuit High School in New Orleans, at which he was a member of the 1960 state championship football team. He was also the state champion in the high hurdles in 1961 and was named "Outstanding Athlete of the Year" by his alma mater. He attended the University of Southwestern Louisiana, since the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, on a track scholarship and was president of Kappa Sigma fraternity. He graduated from Loyola Law School in New Orleans, at which he was a member of the Law Review.[1] He was a fellow of the Loyola University Institute of Politics.[2]

Career

Lancaster practiced law for more than four decades and served for twenty-two years in the Louisiana Army National Guard, from which he retired as a major. During law school, a chance encounter on a train headed to the LSU-Tulane football game with legislator John Hainkel, led to Lancaster's working in Hainkel's law office and a run for the state legislature to which he was elected in the general election held on February 1, 1972,[1] in the same election which the Democrat Edwin Edwards defeated Republican David C. Treen in the first of their two matches at the ballot box. Lancaster ran unsuccessfully for the Louisiana State Senate in the 1975 nonpartisan blanket primary and hence was out of the House for a four-year term.[2]

Lancaster had an interest in betting on horse races and was an inaugural ticket holder of the New Orleans Saints of the NFL and thereafter a dedicated fan. His affiliations include the Louisiana and Jefferson Parish bar associations, the Jefferson Performing Arts Society, the New Orleans Sports Foundation, the Southern Republican Exchange, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and the National Conference of State Legislators. He was also aa former president of the National Republican Legislators Association. Among his numerous legislative aides was the former state Representative Shirley Duvigneaud Bowler, also of Jefferson Parish. A lifelong conservative, Lancaster played a role in the building of the Republican Party in Jefferson Parish and throughout the state. He chaired the influential House and Governmental Affairs Committee for twelve under two governors — one a Republican and one a Democrat. The committee reviews matters of elections, campaign finance, open meetings, public records, and redistricting and reapportionment. He long opposed the nonpartisan blanket primary, adopted in 1975, and often tried to pass legislation to return to closed party primaries. Earlier in 2018, he was inducted into the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame in Winnfield in North Louisiana, which began recognizing various state politicians in 1993.[1]

Lancaster died in his sleep in his Metairie home of a heart attack just over a month short of his 75th birthday. His obituary indicates that he had "a keen intellect, a larger than life personality, an incredible sense of humor, a hallmark laugh, and a love of good times with family and friends". He and his late wife, Edith "Patches" Shannon Lancaster, had two surviving children, Edith Helen "Dee Dee" Lancaster and Charles D. Lancaster, III, and one grandson. His funeral mass was held on August 24, 2018, at Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home, 5100 Pontchartrain Blvd. in New Orleans.[1]

Steve Scalise, the Minority Whip of the United States House of Representatives and the victim of a shooting by a deranged Democrat in 2017, was a protégé of Lancaster: "Charlie took me under his wing when I got elected to the Louisiana Legislature in 1995, and he helped teach me how to build coalitions and get things done."[2] Similarly, former state Representative Charles "Chuck" Cusimano, II, a justice of the peace in Jefferson Parish and a former legislator said that Lancaster "probably did more for the Republican Party over the past thirty-five years than anyone else in the state."[2]

Another former House colleague, Quentin Dastugue, who switched affiliation from Democrat to Republican at Lancaster's behest, called his friend "the most political animal I knew. He lived and breathed it, especially Republican politics. ... He could burn your ears off. He'd debate any subject."[2] Similarly, former state Representative Garey Forster, a Republican from New Orleans said, "There wasn't a major issue that Charlie didn't have an opinion about. He always had an opinion about everything" but was never mean-spirited in debate.[2] According to his obituary, Lancaster as a legislator "valued relationships and respect over partisanship."

Six months prior to his death, Lancaster was inducted into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Charles Doerr Lancaster, Jr.. The New Orleans Times-Picayune (August 22, 2018). Retrieved on August 22, 2018.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 John Pope (August 18, 2018). Charles Lancaster, former GOP state lawmaker from Metairie dies at 74. The New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved on August 22, 2018.