Hale Boggs

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Thomas Hale Boggs, Sr.

In office
January 3, 1971​ – January 3, 1973[1]
Preceded by Carl Bert Albert
Succeeded by Tip O'Neill

House Majority Whip​
In office
January 10, 1962​ – January 3, 1971​

U.S. Representative for Louisiana's
2nd Congressional District
In office
January 3, 1947 – October 16, 1972
Preceded by Paul H. Maloney
Succeeded by Marie Corinne Morrison Claiborne "Lindy" Boggs
In office
January 3, 1941 – January 3, 1943
Preceded by Paul H. Maloney
Succeeded by Paul H. Maloney

Born February 15, 1914​
Long Beach, Mississippi
Died October 16, 1972 (aged 58)
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Marie Corinne Morrison Claiborne "Lindy" Boggs​
Children All deceased:

(1) Barbara Boggs Sigmund
(2) Thomas Hale Boggs Jr.
(3) Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs,
known as Cokie Roberts

William Robertson and Claire Josephine Hale Boggs​

Alma mater Tulane University
Tulane Law School​
Occupation Attorney

Ensign and
lieutenant commander in
United States Navy

Religion Roman Catholic

Military Service
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1943–1946
Rank Ensign
Battles/wars World War II

Thomas Hale Boggs, Sr. (February 15, 1914 – October 16, 1972), usually referred to as Hale Boggs, was an attorney and high-ranking U.S. Representative from New Orleans, Louisiana.


Boggs was born in Long Beach in Harrison County in south Mississippi, located east of New Orleans. He was the son of William Robertson Boggs (1887–1962) and the former Claire Josephine Hale (1889–1975).[2] Boggs graduated in 1935 from Tulane University, and two years later he received his law degree from the same institution.[3]

In 1938, Boggs wed the former Marie Corinne Morrison Claiborne, known as Lindy Boggs (March 13, 1916 – July 27, 2013), who was reared on the Brunswick Plantation near New Roads in Pointe Coupee Parish in eastern Louisiana. Corinne was a descendant of William Charles Cole Claiborne (c. 1773–1817), the first governor of Louisiana. She was a cousin of long-time New Orleans Mayor DeLesseps Story "Chep" Morrison, Sr., who made three unsuccessful campaigns for governor in 1956, 1960, and 1964, after which a few months later he perished with his young son in an airplane crash in Mexico. Chep Morrison and his older half-brother Jacob Haight Morrison, IV, were Boggs' law partner. Lindy Boggs' parents were Roland Claiborne and the former Corinne Morrison.[3]

The Boggses had three children, all of whom are deceased; Barbara Rowena Sigmund (1939–1990), a mayor of Princeton, New Jersey, lobbyist Thomas "Tommy" Boggs, Jr. (1940–2014), and journalist Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Bogg "Cokie" Roberts (1943–2019), a long-time fixture on ABC and PBS and the wife of liberal journalist Stephen V. Roberts.[3][4]

Boggs was a Roman Catholic and a member of the church's men's organization Knights of Columbus. His affiliations included Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, Beta Theta Pi, and the American, Louisiana, and New Orleans bar associations. He was also affiliated with the Congressional Club, the American Judicature Society, the Family Service Society of New Orleans, the International Association of Ports and Harbors, the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, the American Legion, Amvets, and from 1939 to 1940 was the general manager of the Tulane Alumni Association.[3]

Political career

A strong liberal Democrat and originally a declared segregationist who signed the Southern Manifesto,[5] Boggs was elected to the U.S. House for Louisiana's 2nd congressional district in 1940.[6] Because of his service from 1943 to 1946 as a United States Navy ensign and later a lieutenant commander during World War II, Boggs' tenure in the House spanned nonconsecutive stints, 1941 to 1943 and 1947 until his death in 1972.[3] He voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 though he supported the Voting Rights Act of 1965 the following year.[7]

In 1952, Boggs launched an unsuccessful gubernatorial race in which a minor opponent, Lucille May Grace, the Register of State Lands who was allied with Leander Perez, the political boss of Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes, claimed that Boggs was either a communist or had been a communist in his youth. Boggs considered the allegations a "smear."[8][9] Boggs ran third in the crowded primary field, in which other candidates included Bill Dodd, James M. McLemore, and the winner, Robert F. Kennon of Minden in Webster Parish.[10] Boggs' successful selection for lieutenant governor, C. E. "Cap" Barham, a state senator from Ruston, was frequently at odds with Governor Kennon. Barham lost his reelection bid in 1956, whe he ran on the Chep Morrison ticket.[11]

Speaker Sam Rayburn of Texas appointed Boggs to the key tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee and the Joint House and Senate Economic Committee. He was the chairman of the Subcommittee on Foreign Economic Policy. From 1962 to 1970, he was the assistant majority leader, or "whip," serving under Speaker John William McCormack (1891–1980) of Massachusetts.[3]

In 1962,[12] 1964,[13] and again in 1968,[14] Boggs was challenged for reelection by the Republican David Connor "Dave" Treen, an attorney then from suburban Jefferson Parish, who ran strongly in the latter race and was elected in 1972, two weeks after Boggs' death, as the representative for the neighboring 3rd congressional district. In 1979, Treen defeated Democrats Louis Lambert, Jimmy Fitzmorris, Paul Hardy, and E. L. "Bubba" Henry in a heated race for governor, a post he filled from 1980 to 1984 in the interregnum of four-term Democrat Edwin Edwards.[15]

In 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Boggs, along with then U.S. Senators Richard Russell, Jr. of Georgia and John Sherman Cooper, a Moderate Republican from Kentucky and mentor of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, to the Warren Commission, which was the vehicle for the investigation of the JFK assassination. Boggs, Russell, and Cooper dissented from the commission's claim of the "single bullet theory" that was advanced by Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, then a staff member.[16]

Death and successor

The plane on which Boggs was traveling for political purposes in Alaska crashed some two weeks before the 1972 presidential election in which Richard M. Nixon was reelected to a second term which he did not complete. Boggs' remains were never located. He was declared dead by an Alaskan court. On January 4, 1973, he was honored in a memorial mass at St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans,[3]

Boggs' wife, Lindy, easily won the special election in 1973 to succeed her husband in Congress. She was also a liberal though opposed legalizing abortion.[17] She held the House seat from 1973 to 1991. She did not run again in 1990 and was succeeded by William J. Jefferson, the first African American to represent Louisiana in the U.S. House.

See also


  1. Because Boggs was missing in the airplane crash over Alaska, he was not declared dead until January 1973
  2. William Robertson Boggs. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on May 13, 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Boggs, Thomas Hale. A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography: Louisiana Historical Association. Retrieved on May 13, 2020.
  4. A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography uses these sources for the article on Representative Boggs: Who’s Who in American Politics, 1971–1972 and 1975–1976, Who’s Who in America, The New York Times, October 17, 1972, and January 5, 1973, and The New Orleans Times-Picayune, October 17, 1972, and January 5, 1973.
  5. Two references:
  6. LA District 2 Race - Nov 05, 1940. Our Campaigns. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
  7. Majority Whip Hale Boggs’ Support of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. US House of Representatives: History, Art, & Archives. Retrieved January 1, 2021.
  8. Garry Boulard, The Big Lie: Hale Boggs, Lucille May Grace and Leander Perez in 1951 (Gretna, Louisiana: Pelican Publishing, 2001)​.
  9. The Big Lie: Hale Boggs, Lucille May Grace, and Leander Perez in 1951. RALPH Magazine. Retrieved on September 2, 2019.
  10. LA Governor - D Primary Race - Jan 15, 1952. Our Campaigns. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
  11. Barham, Charles Emmett "Cap". A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography: Louisiana Historical Association. Retrieved on May 13, 2020.
  12. LA District 2 Race - Nov 06, 1962. Our Campaigns. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
  13. LA District 2 Race - Nov 03, 1964. Our Campaigns. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
  14. La District 2 Race - Nov 05, 1968. Our Campaigns. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
  15. "Treen, David Conner (1928–2009)," Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, retrieved May 13, 2020.
  16. Richard Russell and the Warren Report 22november1963.org.uk.
  17. Lindy Boggs, Longtime Representative and Champion of Women, Is Dead at 97. The New York Times. Retrieved February 3, 2021.

External links

  • Profile at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress