|Murphy James "Mike" Foster, Jr.|
January 8, 1996 – January 12, 2004
|Preceded by||Edwin Edwards|
|Succeeded by||Kathleen Blanco|
Louisiana State Senator for
District 21 (Assumption, St. Mary,
St. Martin, and Terrebonne parishes)
|Preceded by||Anthony Guarisco, Jr.|
|Succeeded by||John Siracusa|
|Born|| July 11, 1930|
|Died|| October 4, 2020 (aged 90)|
|Resting place||Franklin Cemetery|
|Political party||Democrat-turned-Republican (1995)|
|Spouse(s)|| (1) Divorced
(2) Alice C. Foster
|Relations|| Governor and U.S. Senator Murphy J. Foster, Sr.|
|Children|| From first marriage:|
Murphy Foster, III
|Alma mater|| Louisiana State University|
Southern University School of Law
|Profession|| Businessman; rancher|
Murphy James Foster, Jr., known as Mike Foster (July 11, 1930 – October 4, 2020), served as the 53rd governor of Louisiana from 1996 to 2004. Previously a Democrat, Foster switched to Republican affiliation in his 1995 campaign for the state's highest office. He was considered a conservative but "not an ideologue."
Foster resided at his family's Oaklawn Manor sugar plantation near Franklin in St. Mary Parish in the southern portion of his state. Foster's grandfather, Murphy, Sr. (1849-1921), was a Louisiana governor and U.S. Senator from Louisiana; technically Murphy Foster, III, he used the Roman numeral "II" because his grandfather died nine years before Foster was born.
Though he was unknown statewide at the beginning of the gubernatorial race, Foster prevailed to become the final successor to Democrat Edwin Edwards by defeating an array of opponents, including future U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, former Governor Buddy Roemer, and African-American U.S. Representative Cleo Fields, a current state senator. David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klansman, endorsed Foster in the gubernatorial race; as it turned out Foster had paid from his personal funds $150,000 to Duke for the use of Duke's mailing list. Term-limited in 2004, he was succeeded by the Democrat Kathleen Blanco of Lafayette, who defeated Foster's preferred successor, Republican Bobby Jindal, who subsequently won the 2007 nonpartisan blanket primary to succeed Blanco.
Though elected on an anti-gambling platform, once in office Foster became a quiet ally of the industry. His support for a bailout bill for Harrah's casino in New Orleans secured passage of the measure. Prior to leaving office, Foster quarreled with fellow Republican U.S. Representative and subsequent Senator David Vitter over expanded gambling on Indian reservations. He ran against affirmative action, racial quotas, corruption, welfare fraud, and gun control. He was considered closer to business interests than most other Louisiana governors of his generation. Though he had endorsed conservative Pat Buchanan for the Republican presidential nomination in 1996, he was aligned again in 2000 with the establishment Republicans in leading the George W. Bush-Dick Cheney ticket. He appointed the then 24-year-old as secretary of the Department of Health and later the University of Louisiana System.
In September 2020, Foster at the age of ninety, entered hospice care. He died a few days later at the age of ninety. After a private ceremony at Oaklawn Manor, he was interred at Franklin Cemetery. Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards was the only speaker at the burial.
- Greg Hilburn (October 4, 2020). Mike Foster, former Louisiana Governor diesx at 90. Retrieved on October 5, 2020.
- Foster, Duke La. Campaign Finance Opinion No. 99-360. domino.ethics.state.la.us. Retrieved on October 4, 2017.
- Former Louisiana Governor Mike Foster is in hospice care; John Bel Edwards asks for prayers. The Baton Rouge Advocate (September 28, 2020). Retrieved on September 29, 2020.
- Tyler Bridges (October 7, 2020). 'Exactly the kind of funeral he would have wanted,' Former Gov. Mike Foster is buried in Franklin. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on October 8, 2020.