F. Hugh Coughlin
| Frank Hugh Coughlin
|Born|| February 19, 1897 |
|Died|| December 15, 1979 (aged 82) |
|Spouse|| Anne Spion Coughlin
Coughlin was born in Ashland in northernmost Wisconsin, and attended high school in Antigo in Langlade County in northeastern Wisconsin, and in Escanaba in Delta County in the northern Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He graduated with a degree in civil engineering from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. With his wife, the former Anne Spion (1906-1988), Coughlin relocated to central Louisiana  in the late 1930s.
Coughlin became the vice president and general manager of the Louisiana Ice and Electric Company, the predecessor company to Central Louisiana Electric Company (CLECO), based in neighboring Pineville. From 1947 to 1966, he was the CLECO president. From 1966 to 1972, he was the chairman of the CLECO board of directors. Under his direction, CLECO’s customer base grew from 16,000 to 147,000. Coughlin was a prime mover behind legislation creating the Toledo Bend Reservoir project near Many in Sabine Parish in western Louisiana.
He was a director of the former Guaranty Bank and Trust Company in Alexandria and the Louisiana Forestry Association.
Coughlin was the first president and a lifetime trustee of the conservative Public Affairs Research Council. He was also the first president of the Louisiana State Chamber of Commerce. He was the first president of the Council for a Better Louisiana. During the 1960s, he was vice chairman of the Toledo Bend Forest Scenic Drive Commission and a member of the Louisiana Board of Commerce and Industry, of which he was appointed by Democratic Governor John J. McKeithen. From 1964 to 1974, Coughlin organized and chaired the Gulf South Research Institute. He was also a director of the Boy Scouts, the Alexandria-Pineville Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis International, and the Louisiana State University Foundation.
In 1956, he was honored by the Forest Industries Association. The next year, he received the Andrew M. Lockett Award for outstanding civic service. Pope John XXIII in 1962 named him a Knight of St. Gregory. In 1964, the Alexandria Town Talk presented him with its "Civic Oscar." In 1965, he was named "Man of the Year" by the Louisiana Broadcasters Association. In 1967, he was named "King Cotton" at the Cotton Festival in Ville Platte in Evangeline Parish.
The Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center in downtown Alexandria is partially named for him.There is also a scholarship and a campus building, which contains the nursing education center named for Coughlin at the now four-year Louisiana State University at Alexandria.
- Frank Hugh Coughlin (1897-1979). Findagrave.com. Retrieved on April 13, 2020.
- Coughlin, F. Hugh. A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography: Louisiana Historical Association. Retrieved on April 13, 2020.
- "Coughlin, Business Leader dies," The Alexandria Town Talk, December 16, 1979, p. 1.
- The Alexandria Daily Town Talk, April 13, 1972, and December 16, 1979.
- Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center. Coughlin-saunderspac.org. Retrieved on April 13, 2020.
- Coughlin Nursing Auditorium Ribbon Cutting. Lsua.edu (February 7, 2019). Retrieved on April 13, 2020.