Last modified on April 21, 2021, at 19:34

Joseph A. Sims

Joseph Arthur Sims, Sr.​

Born July 16, 1914​
Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
Died May 20, 1973 (aged 58)​
Manchac, Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana​

Resting place:
Greenlawn Cemetery in Hammond, Louisiana ​

Spouse Enid Lions Sims (married 1939-1973, his death)​
Religion Methodist

Joseph Arthur Sims, Sr. (July 16, 1914 – May 20, 1973), was a Democratic political operative from Hammond, Louisiana, who was associated with his state's Long faction. As the legal advisor to Governor Earl Kemp Long, he obtained Long's discharge from the Southeast Louisiana State Hospital in Mandeville in St. Tammany Parish, where Long had been temporarily admitted for mental health problems in a sensational series of incidents in the summer of 1959.[1] Long turned to Sims for help after he began to distrust his personal lawyer, Theo Cangelosi, a former state representative from Baton Rouge.​


​ Sims was born in Shreveport in Caddo Parish in far northwestern Louisiana, to Linus Arthur Sims (1882-1949), a native of Crossville in DeKalb County in northeastern Alabama, and the former Isabel Johnson, originally from Monroe in Ouachita Parish in northeastern Louisiana.[1] He was a paternal grandson of Levi Copedge Sims and the former Mary Emily Bussey of Alabama. Sims was educated in the Hammond public schools and the defunct Southeastern School of Law, location unknown. His father, as the principal of Hammond High School, worked to establish Hammond Junior College and then guided the establishment of what is now Southeastern Louisiana University.​[2]

On June 29, 1939, Sims married the former Enid Lions (1914-2005) of Madisonville, a small town in St. Tammany Parish. She was the daughter of Alphonse Lions (correct spelling), a Madisonville pharmacist, and the former Olympia Galatas. They had two sons, David Robert Sims (born 1945) and Joseph Arthur Sims, Jr.[1] (born 1946), both of Hammond, the largest community in Tangipahoa Parish. Sims, Jr., is a personal injury attorney.[3] After Sims' death, his widow was married for a time to Alfred Sears.​[1]

Sims was a Methodist: his father and paternal grandfather were Methodist ministers.​[1]

Legal career

​ Sims was a former law partner of U.S. Representative James H. Morrison[1] of the Louisiana 6th congressional district, which includes Baton Rouge and the Florida Parishes. Considered a liberal by Louisiana standards, Morrison made three unsuccessful bids for governor in the 1940s and was later denied Democratic re-nomination for his House seat in 1966 by the conservative John Richard Rarick (1924-2009) of St. Francisville in West Feliciana Parish.​

Sims was the Hammond-based district attorney for the 21st Judicial District Court from 1948 to 1952,[1] when he was an unsuccessful candidate for state attorney general on the Long-endorsed ticket of Judge Carlos Gustave Spaht, I (1906-2001), of Baton Rouge. Sims lost to former state Attorney General Fred S. LeBlanc, a former mayor of Baton Rouge.[1] Also running on the Spaht ticket was then freshman state Representative John J. McKeithen of Columbia in Caldwell Parish]], an unsuccessful candidate for lieutenant governor, who twelve years later would catapult into the governor's mansion. In 1967, McKeithen became the first Louisiana governor eligible to seek a second consecutive four-year term. McKeithen defeated Jimmy Morrison's former rival, John Rarick, by a wide margin. Another unsuccessful candidate on the 1952 "Long" ticket was Mary Evelyn Dickerson, later Mary Evelyn Parker, who was thereafter on February 6, 1968, elected as state treasurer over the Democrat-turned-Republican candidate, Allison Kolb.​

In 1972, Sims joined the staff of incoming Attorney General William J. Guste, Jr., of New Orleans but died within a year. He was also the senior partner of the firm Sims and Mack. He was a member of five attorneys' associations: American Bar, Louisiana Bar, American Trial Lawyers, Louisiana Trial Lawyers, and Gamma Eta Gamma legal fraternity.[1]

Sims died at Manchac in Tangipahoa Parish and is interred at Greenlawn Cemetery in Hammond.​[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Sims, Joseph Arthur. Louisiana Historical Association: A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography. Retrieved on January 9, 2020.
  2. Sims, Linus Arthur. Louisiana Historical Association" A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography. Retrieved on January 9, 2020.
  3. Joseph A. Sims, Jr., a Hammond, Louisiana, Personal Injury Defense Law Firm. Retrieved on January 9, 2020.
  4. The Baton Rouge Advocate, May 21, 1973.

See also

  • Sims obituary, The New Orleans Times-Picayune, May 21, 1973​.​
  • Sims obituary, The Hammond Vindicator, May 24, 1973​.

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