Enoch T. Nix
|Enoch Talton Nix
(30-year member of the Louisiana State Board of Education)
|Born|| May 2, 1920|
Jamestown, Bienville Parish
|Died|| December 13, 2001 (aged 81)|
|Resting place|| Hill Crest Cemetery in Haughton in
|Spouse(s)||Billie White Nix|
|Children|| No children|
|Residence||Bossier City, Louisiana|
|Alma mater|| Castor High School|
Enoch Talton Nix (May 2, 1920 – December 13, 2001) was a banker and civic figure from Bossier City, Louisiana, who served for thirty years on the elected Louisiana State Board of Education and its successor organization established under the Louisiana State Constitution of 1974, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Nix was born to Henry and Maude Nix in Jamestown in Bienville Parish. He had two sisters, Sybil Nix and Laura Nix Bell. Nix graduated from Castor High School in Castor under principal E. R. Minchew. He received a bachelor's degree in agriculture from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Upon graduation from LSU, he was accepted into flight school in the United States Navy. He received a commission in 1942 in the United States Marine Corps. He flew the F4U Corsair in the Pacific Theater of Operations. At the conclusion of the war, Nix was assigned with units which patrolled the border of Nationalist China and the Soviet Union.
After his release from the military, Nix settled in Bossier Parish in northwestern Louisiana, where he was, first, an associate county agent. In 1950, however, he joined the former Bossier Bank and Trust Company (1923–1986), since part of Chase Bank. He left BB&T prior to 1971 but remained in the banking field for the remainder of his career. Thereafter, he became the BBT president, the vice-president of United Mercantile Bank under its organizer and chairman Ira E. Moss (1905–1994), and the board chairman of the Gibsland Bank and Trust Company in Gibsland in Bienville Parish.
Nix was a member of the Shreveport Club, University Club, Palmetto Country Club, Shreveport Committee of One-Hundred, Kiwanis International] and the board of the Bossier Housing Authority.
State board president
A Democrat, Nix represented the then Third Louisiana Public Service Commission District on the 11-member state board of education, headed during part of his tenure by the then elected Education Superintendent Bill Dodd. He was already serving on the board in 1963, when Shelby Marion Jackson (1903-1972), was still the superintendent but who left that position in 1964, having run unsuccessfully for governor.
By 1966, Nix was the board president. Among his colleagues were W. E. Whetstone of Monroe, Fred L. Tannehill of Pineville, and J. Marshall Brown of New Orleans, a former state representative and a Democratic National Committeeman from Louisiana.
Late in 1972, while Nix was still board president, two African American students, Denver A. Smith and Leonard Brown, Jr. (both born 1952), attending the large historically black Southern University in Baton Rouge, were shot to death by buckshot from sheriff's deputies during a mass demonstration. Police had been called to the campus after students seized an administration building in connection with their demands for improved housing, food service, and input in administrative matters. It was at Southern University at New Orleans, however, where the greatest fallout from the shootings occurred, as protesting students there launched a boycott of classes. Nix ordered the students to return to class "or we [state board] shall recommend to the governor (Edwin Edwards) and the legislature that a study begin immediately to determine a more effective utilization of the facilities on the campus." Nix was hence indirectly threatening to seek the closure of SUNO, an issue again considered in 2011, not because of demonstrations or racial unrest but because of the high costs of operating the institution, the deterioration of campus buildings, and the minuscule rate of graduations. Republican Governor Bobby Jindal proposed that SUNO be merged with the nearby University of New Orleans, but his plan required a two-thirds vote of the legislature, which could not be attained.
Family and death
Nix was married to the former Billie White (September 1, 1922 – November 7, 1998), a Castor native, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William O. White, a graduate of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, and a schoolteacher for twenty-eight years at Bossier High School in Bossier City. The Nixes were members of the Airline Baptist Church in Bossier City. The Nixe couple died three years apart. They are buried at Hill Crest Cemetery in Haughton just east of Bossier City.
- Enoch T. Nix obituary, The Shreveport Times, December 14, 2001.
- Patterson's American Education, Vol. 60 (1963): See List of Louisiana education officials.. Stanford University. Retrieved on June 17, 2011.
- The Lagniappe, Louisiana Tech University yearbook, 1967, p. 15.
- Education: La. Officials Threaten to Close Troubled Southern UI.. Jet Magazine, December 21, 1972. Retrieved on June 10, 2011.
- Gov. Bobby Jindal Proposes Closing Southern University [at New Orleans", May 12, 2011]. rollingout.com. Retrieved on June 10, 2011.
- Billie W. Nix obituary. archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved on June 9, 2011; no longer accessible.