Clyde Fant

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Clyde Edward Fant, Sr.​

In office
1946​ – 1954​
Preceded by Sam Caldwell
Succeeded by James C. Gardner
In office
1958​ – 1970​
Preceded by James C. Gardner​
Succeeded by Calhoun Allen

Shreveport Public Utilities Commissioner​
In office
1944​ – 1946​
Preceded by James Reilly​

Born October 18, 1905​
Linden, Cass County, Texas
Died July 6, 1973 (aged 67)
Shreveport, Louisiana​
Resting place Forest Park East Cemetery in Shreveport​
Nationality American
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Margaret Moos Fant (1909-2009)​
Children Clyde Fant, Jr. (born 1934)​

John Frank "Jack" Fant (born 1937)​

Alma mater East Texas Baptist University​
Occupation Businessman
Religion Southern Baptist

(1) In the first of his five nonconsecutive terms as mayor of Shreveport, Louisiana, Fant was among four mayors from the United States invited to The Hague, Netherlands, in 1948 for the World Conference of Mayors, an occasion which rendered him national attention.
​ ​ (2) During his long mayoral tenure, Fant had been expected to run for governor or lieutenant governor, but he never did so.​ ​

Clyde Edward Fant, Sr. (October 18, 1905 – July 6, 1973), was a 20-year Democratic mayor of Shreveport, Louisiana, having served from 1946 to 1954 and again from 1958 to 1970.​ ​ Fant was cited as "Louisiana's Mayor of the Year" in 1953 by the Louisiana Municipal Association, which he headed for three consecutive years. In 1948, with fewer than two years of mayoral experience, he had been among four mayors in the United States invited to The Hague, Netherlands, for the annual conference of the World Conference of Mayors, an occasion which rendered him national recognition.

Fant's success as Shreveport's mayor was attributed to his commitment to his city, his interpersonal skills, and the approval in his first term of a $9.6 million capital improvements bond issue that set the stage for municipal growth in the post-World War II era. Shreveport was the second most populous city in Louisiana until the 1970s, when Baton Rouge pushed it into third place.


Clyde Fant was a native of Linden in Cass County in east Texas. He was one of six children of Mr. and Mrs. John Preston Fant. John Fant was a cotton gin owner and a one-time Texas state representative. Clyde Fant graduated in 1925 from the former Marshall (Texas) College, now East Texas Baptist University. He taught school for a year in Blocker, a since abandoned community near Marshall in Harrison County. He then worked for a lumber company in East Texas and was thereafter associated with Southwestern Gas and Electric Company. He was an executive with Interstate Electric Company, with seven years of service with the firm, when he was transferred to Shreveport.[1]

Fant was married to the former Margaret Moos (1909-2009); they had two sons, Clyde E. Fant, Jr., Doctor of Theology (born 1934), a Southern Baptist clergyman and author of the "Great Preaching" series, and John Frank Fant (born 1937), an attorney in Texas.[1]​ Dr. Clyde Fant Jr., is a former pastor in Ruston and former professor of preaching at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary] in Fort Worth, Texas. He is professor emeritus at Stetson University in DeLand in Volusia County, Florida.​

John Frank "Jack" Fant received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and in 1962 a law degree from the Louisiana State University Law Center in Baton Rouge. On September 4, 1971, he was appointed to serve as judge over the1st Judicial District, Division "D," in Shreveport to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of William F. Woods. Upon leaving the bench, Jack Fant relocated to Huntsville, Texas, where he took a position as a legal services attorney for inmates in the Texas Department of Corrections. He was later promoted to an assistant directorship. In 2002, his employment was terminated after the Department of Criminal Justice recognized that he did not hold a Texas law license. On May 3, 2004, a Walker County jury found Fant guilty of perjury. He did not appeal.[2] With the resoluton of his legal credentials, Fant remains in private practice in Huntsville.​

Five elections as mayor

​ In 1944, Fant was appointed as Shreveport's public utilities commissioner by newly inaugurated Governor Jimmie Davis, who had been the Shreveport public safety commissioner from 1938 to 1942, and like Fant, a man steeped in the activities of the Southern Baptist denomination. Fant succeeded commissioner James Reilly, who accepted a position with the State of Louisiana.​

In 1946, Fant did not seek a full term as utilities commissioner but instead ran for mayor, under the city's then commission form of government. Sam Caldwell, the incumbent mayor, had run unsuccessfully against Davis for governor in 1944. Fant was elected to a four-year term and reelected in 1950.​

In the 1952 gubernatorial race, Fant supported the successful candidate, Judge Robert F. Kennon of Minden, who prevailed over another jurist, Carlos Gustave Spaht, Sr. (1906-2001) of Baton Rouge.[3]

Fant did not seek a third term in 1954, and the position went to his fellow Democrat James C. Gardner. From 1954 to 1958, he was the president and general manager of the insurance agency, Fant, Chase, and Kline.

In 1958, Fant decided to seek a return to the mayoral position. By a wide margin in the Democratic primary, he unseated Gardner, who was closely identified with more "progressive" politics. Fant pledged to lead Shreveport to greater heights in the 1960s than had already been accomplished. Fant won again in 1962, and he was unopposed for his fifth, and as it turned out final, term in 1966.​

Republicans began to gain strength in Shreveport in the middle 1960s, but no Republican challenged Fant in any of his elections. A group of Republicans tried to convince then GOP State Chairman Charlton Lyons, to challenge Fant in 1966. Lyons politely declined to wage a mayoral campaign, after having lost races for the United States House of Representatives in 1961 to Joe Waggonner and for governor in 1964 to John J. McKeithen. Fant did not seek a sixth term in 1970, in part because of health considerations. He was succeeded by the outgoing public utilities commissioner Calhoun Allen. George W. D'Artois continued as public safety commissioner, a post to which he was elected in 1962, in the new Allen administration; Donald E. Hathaway, later the Caddo Parish sheriff from 1980 to 2000, was elected public works commissioner in 1970.​

The long-term public works commissioner, H. Lane Mitchell, whose service began in 1934 and paralleled most of Fant's tenure, had resigned in December 1968, amid what developed as an embarrassing theft scandal.[4]

Fant had been considered a potential candidate for governor or lieutenant governor, but he ran for no other office than Shreveport mayor. He served in several state appointive positions, including the Louisiana Tax Commission, the Board of Institutions, and the Overton-Red River Waterway Planning Commission.​ ​

Mayoral accomplishments

Fant was credited with maintaining racial calm in Shreveport during the late 1950s and early 1960s at the height of the civil rights movement, when a majority of the city's voters were segregationists. Fant instituted municipal programs aimed at uplifting black citizens, including slum clearance. By the time that he finally left office in 1970, nearly 7,500 dwellings had been rehabilitated, and another 2,000 were demolished. Fant's successor, Calhoun Allen, continued such outreach to the black community, but racial resentments continued for decades.​

Under Fant, an area along the Red River was developed as the site of the Shreveport Convention Center and Civic Center complex. Later the popular Clyde Fant Parkway brought regular joggers, walkers, and bicyclists into the Riverfront area. The acclaimed R.S. Barnwell Memorial Garden and Art Center was also established when Fant was mayor but faced closure in 2014 became of financial problems. Other projects in the Fant years included the Shreveport-Barksdale Air Force Base bridge, the Jewella-Milam Street connection, the Youree Drive extension, and the Southern Avenue and Spring Street viaduct.​

In 1953, Fant was selected by the LMA as "Louisiana's Mayor of the Year." The National Municipal League and 'the since defunct Look magazine, moreover, named Shreveport as one of the nation's top eleven cities. That same year, Fant was the first individual to receive the Shreveport Advertising Club's annual award called "Shreveport's Best Ad," a designation given to an institution or a person who brought the city the most favorable publicity during the year. Fant was a past president of the Broadmoor Kiwanis International.​


The Clyde E. Fant Memorial Award for Community Service is given annually in honor of the late mayor. Past winners include Virginia Kilpatrick Shehee, the first woman to garner the honor, and Donald E. Jones, the former mayor of Bossier City.​ ​ On his death, The Shreveport Times eulogized the former mayor, accordingly:​

Clyde Fant, more than any other person, was Shreveport. He poured his life into our community, and the community responded with respect and love. There was no more powerful force in Northwest Louisiana during the past quarter-century than Clyde Fant. Additionally, the accomplishment of the Fant years in office would rank him as one of the chief top executives in Shreveport history. ​ He was a kind, gentle, Christian man, but his politics were laced with bare-knuckled toughness when he felt it necessary.​ That combination marked continuing progress for Shreveport throughout Mr. Fant's two decades of service. When he was first elected to office at the end of World War II, he inherited a city in a desperate financial condition. Using his immense personal powers, he turned the city around and left a legacy of industrial growth and quality services for Shreveport.​ ​

Clyde Fant was a man of unusual vision, and the consequences of that vision will long be felt by the people here. His programs helped to build our city, not only in a mortar and stone fashion, they also gave Shreveport an aura of humanity. ...​ If he was Shreveport's shining star, then he was also Louisiana's mayor of mayors. ... He needs no monument to mark his resting place because Shreveport is the better reminder of his life.​[5]

Fant was a long-term member of the board of directors of Broadmoor Baptist Church and was chairman of the board for seven years. He taught a men's Bible class. He resided at 340 Ockley Drive in the Broadmoor neighborhood.[6] Services were held at the Broadmoor Baptist Church, with the then pastor, Dr. Scott Tatum officiating. His papers are in the archives of Louisiana State University at Shreveport, a four-year branch campus which opened in 1967, six years before Fant's passing.​

Fant is interred at Forest Park East Cemetery in Shreveport. Mrs. Fant, who died in 2009 a month before her 100th birthday, is buried instead at Oakdale Cemetery in DeLand, Florida, where her older son lives. She had also lived in her later years in DeLand.[7]​ ​


  1. 1.0 1.1 John Andrew Prime (March 30, 2015). Our History: Early Image of Clyde Fant discovered. The Shreveport Times. Retrieved on October 9, 2019.
  2. (Cause Number 02-1701, Walker County Court At Law.
  3. "Over 400 attend Bob Kennon rally Tuesday," Minden Herald, February 8, 1952, p. 1.
  4. State v. Mitchell. (May 3, 1971). Retrieved on June 14, 2014.
  5. Clyde Fant obituary, The Shreveport Times, July 7, 1973​.
  6. William McCleary, "The Broadmoor Neighborhood: One of Shrevport's Older Communities," North Louisiana History, Vol. XLII (Winter-Spring 2011), p. 5.
  7. Margaret Fant. Retrieved on March 30, 2015.

Clyde Fant obituary, Shreveport Journal, July 6, 1973.​ ​ ​​​​