E. W. Gravolet

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Ezekiel Winnfield
"E. W. (Kelly)" Gravolet, Jr.​

Louisiana State Senator for
Plaquemines, St. Bernard, and Jefferson parishes​
In office
1960​ – October 24, 1968 ​
Preceded by Louis H. Folse​
Succeeded by Samuel B. Nunez, Jr.​

Louisiana State Representative for Plaquemines Parish​
In office
1948 ​ – 1960​
Preceded by Chester A. Wooton ​
Succeeded by Herman B. "Barney" Schoenberger​

Born March 11, 1919​
Pointe a la Hache,
Plaquemines Parish
Louisiana, USA
Died October 24, 1968 (aged 49)​
Pointe a la Hache, Louisiana​
Resting place St. Thomas Catholic Church Cemetery in Pointe a la Hache​
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Grace Corrine Miller Gravolet​
Children Grace Kay Gravolet Priestly​

Gayle Marceline Gravolet Loupe Darden
​ Patricia Grace Gravolet (deceased)
Stepson:
King Austin Yawn, III (deceased) ​

Alma mater Holy Cross High School (New Orleans)​

Loyola University New Orleans
​ Loyola University College of Law]]​

Occupation Businessman;​

Attorney
United States Army in World War II

Religion Roman Catholic

Ezekiel Winnfield Gravolet, Jr., usually known as E. W. "Kelly" Gravolet of Kelly Gravolet (March 11, 1919 – October 24, 1968), was an attorney, businessman, and politician from Pointe à la Hache, Louisiana. He served in both houses of the state legislature for a total of two decades, from 1948 until his death in 1968 at the age of forty-nine.

Background

Gravolet (pronounced GRAV OH LAY) was the son of E. W. Gravolet, Sr. (1879-1959), and the former Marcelline Hingle (1883-1970).[1] He was born in Pointe à la Hache[2] and educated at the Roman Catholic Holy Cross High School in New Orleans. He received an undergraduate degree from Loyola University New Orleans and a law degree from Loyola College of Law.​

Gravolet married the former Grace Corrine Miller (1919–2000), a daughter of Lloyd and Ruby Miller and a native of Gainesville, Florida. Grace's first husband was King Austin Yawn, Jr. Grace's son and E. W.'s stepson was King Austin Yawn, III (1941–2000). He died two months before the passing of his mother.​ The couple had three daughters together. Surviving daughters are Grace Kay Gravolet Priestly and Gayle Marceline Gravolet Loupe, later Gayle Darde. A third daughter died shortly after birth.[3]

Military service and political career

​ During World War II, Gravolet served in the United States Army Air Corps, forerunner of the Air Force. After the war, he moved into his father's seafood canning business. He took over the management in 1950 at the age of twenty-nine.[3]

Gravolet joined the Democratic Party and became active in politics. He was elected while still in his twentiesto the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1948, when Earl Kemp Long returned to the state's governorship. Gravolet served in the House until 1960,[4] when he was elected as state senator from what is now District 26, encompassing Plaquemines, St. Bernard, and Jefferson parishes. He was the Senate President Pro Tem during the administration of Governor John J. McKeithen from 1964 until Gravolet's death in office in 1968.​[5]

Gravolet was allied with Leander Henry Perez, Sr. (1891-1969), the political boss of Plaquemines Parish, in unsuccessfully opposing the desegregation of public schools.[3] He also helped write and sponsored numerous grants-in-aid bills, particularly for private schools being set up for white students to avoid integration of the public facilities.[3]

A Roman Catholic, Gravolet is interred alongside his wife at the St. Thomas Catholic Church Cemetery in Pointe à la Hache.[3][6]

Gravolet died less than a year into his third Senate term. In a special election in 1969, his fellow Democrat, Samuel B. "Sammy" Nunez of Chalmette in St. Bernard Parish, won the seat and held it until 1996, when Republicans claimed the seat.​[5]

References

  1. E. W. Gravolet, Sr.. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on January 16, 2020.
  2. A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography lists Gravolet's place of birth as New Orleans, rather than Pointe à la Hache.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Gravolet, E. W.. Louisiana Historical Association: A Dictionary of Louisiana Biographyccessdate=January 15, 2020.
  4. Membership of the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2024. Louisiana House of Representatives. Retrieved on January 15, 2020.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Senate Directory, 18809-2020. Louisiana State Senate. Retrieved on January 15, 2020.
  6. The article about Gravolet in A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography is based on his obituaries in The Baton Rouge Morning Advocate and The New Orleans Times-Picayune, October 25, 1968.

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