Paul Hardy

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Paul Jude Hardy​

48th Lieutenant Governor
of Louisiana
In office
March 14, 1988​ – January 13, 1992​
Governor Buddy Roemer
Preceded by Robert Freeman
Succeeded by Melinda Schwegmann

Louisiana Secretary of State​
In office
March 1976​ – March 10, 1980​
Governor Edwin Edwards
Preceded by Wade Omer Martin, Jr.​
Succeeded by James H. "Jim" Brown

Louisiana State Senator for Iberia and St. Martin parishes​
In office
1972​ – March 1976​
Preceded by Francis Romero​
Succeeded by Oswald A. Decuir​

Born October 18, 1942​
Lafayette, Louisiana, USA​
Nationality French-American
Political party Democrat-turned-Republican ​(c. 1987)
Spouse(s) Sandra "Sandi" Gatlin Hardy ​
Relations Robert Angelle (maternal uncle)​

Drauzin Angelle (maternal grandfather)
Florent Hardy, Jr. (brother and archival service director at the Louisiana State Archives​)

Children Gregory Paul Hardy
Yvette Hardy Gross

Florent, Sr., and Agnes Angelle Hardy ​

Profession Attorney
Religion Roman Catholic

Paul Jude Hardy (born October 18, 1942) is an American attorney from the capital city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who was the first Republican to have been elected as his state's lieutenant governor since Reconstruction. He served in the second-ranking post under Governor Buddy Roemer from 1988 to 1992. Both Roemer and Hardy are former Democrats who switched parties later in their careers.​


Hardy was born in Lafayette to Florent Hardy, Sr. (1913–2003), and the former Agnes Angelle (1904–2008), a Roman Catholic couple from the census-designated place of Cecilia in St. Martin Parish. His mother was a homemaker, teacher, and school principal who was visited on the job by former state education superintendents T. H. Harris and Shelby M. Jackson. Agnes's brother, Robert Angelle, the maternal uncle of Paul Hardy,[1] was a Democratic member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1934 to 1964 and the House Speaker from 1957 to 1960.[2]

Agnes' father and Paul Hardy's maternal grandfather, Drauzin Angelle, was a constable, deputy sheriff, and a Democratic power broker in St. Martin Parish during much of the first half of the 20th century.[3] Paul Hardy has a sister, Mary Agnes Belleau and her husband, Dr. Charles Dewey Belleau, of Baton Rouge, and a brother, Florent Hardy, Jr., Ph.D., and long-time employee of the Louisiana State Archives,[1] who was honored in 2014 as "Public Official of the Year" by the Louisiana Association of Museums.​ ​ Hardy was graduated in 1960 from Cecilia High School. In 1965, he received his bachelor's degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, then the University of Southwestern Louisiana, from which his mother had also graduated. ​[4] While Hardy was a member of the USL track team, he won the Gulf States Conference high jump competition for two consecutive years. He was named in 2010 to the ULL Ragin' Cajuns Hall of Fame.[5]

In 1966, Hardy received his law degree from the Roman Catholic Loyola University College of Law in New Orleans, and at the age of twenty-three, he began practicing law in St. Martinville with the firm Willis and Hardy.​[4] He is a member of the Catholic men's organization, the Knights of Columbus.[5]

Political career

State Senator

In 1972, Hardy was elected as a Democratic state senator for Iberia and St. Martin parishes. The defunct Baton Rouge State Times named him the "Outstanding Newcomer" of the year after his first legislative session in 1972. He served alongside fellow Democrat Carl Wiegmann Bauer (1933-2013), who represented St. Mary and St. Martin parishes.​[6] ​ In 1974, state Senator Hardy was named "Conservationist of the Year" among the elected official category by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation.[7]

Louisiana Secretary of State

In 1975, Hardy was elected, again as a Democrat, as the Louisiana Secretary of State,[4] an officer which supervises elections and legal document. Hardy attributed his election to his ability to speak fluent French in the Acadiana region. The secretary of state's post opened when the veteran incumbent Wade O. Martin, Jr.,[5] who was then a Democrat but later switched to the Republican Party after he had left elective politics, stepped down to launch an unsuccessful gubernatorial attempt against Edwin Edwards and a third candidate, state Senator Robert G. Jones, a Lake Charles stockbroker and a son of former Governor Sam Houston Jones and another Democrat-turned-Republican. Hardy came from behind to beat his fellow Democratic opponent, State Representative P. J. Mills of Shreveport. In the primary, Mills had led with 49 percent of the vote. Hardy narrowly prevailed in the runoff—officially the general election in Louisiana. He polled 388,780 votes (51.5 percent) to Mills' 366,510 (48.5 percent).​ It was Mills' last campaign, but he was later chief of staff to Governor Roemer.

Running for governor at 37

​ In 1979, Hardy ran for governor with the endorsement of former Governor John J. McKeithen and won eighteen parishes in the nonpartisan blanket primary, but he missed securing a general election berth by 4 percentage points. Hardy finished in fourth place with 227,026 votes (16.6 percent). In a disputed third place was outgoing Lieutenant Governor Jimmy Fitzmorris, of New Orleans, with 280,760 (20.6 percent). The general election would feature Republican U.S. Representative David C. Treen , then of Jefferson Parish in suburban New Orleans, who drew 297,674 primary votes (21.8 percent). Treen narrowly won the governorship against the remaining Democratic candidate, Louis Lambert of Ascension Parish, with 283,277 (20.7 percent). Hardy hence lost a general election slot by some 56,000 votes. Fitzmorris filed suit in the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge, but Judge Douglas Gonzales, a Republican, ruled that Fitzmorris failed to provide evidence that enough fraudulent votes were cast for Lambert to impact the outcome of the second-place candidacy.​

Though he was still then a Democrat, Hardy endorsed Treen over Lambert. In 1978, he had supported the Republican Jimmy Wilson, a former state representative from Vivian for Louisiana's 4th congressional district seat in Congress, rather than the successful Democrat, Anthony Claude "Buddy" Leach, Jr., then of Leesville in Vernon Parish and later of Lake Charles. In 1976, Hardy endorsed then U.S. President Gerald Ford over Jimmy Carter, the Democratic former governor of Georgia, who won Louisiana's then ten electoral votes.[8]

Thereafter, Treen, who narrowly defeated Lambert in the general election, appointed Hardy as Louisiana's secretary of transportation, serving with undersecretary Tom Colten, the Republican former mayor of Minden. While there, he supervised the spending of a record $2 billion on highways.​[5]

When Hardy vacated the secretary of state's position, the two top votegetters, Sandra Thompson, then a Democrat but later a Republican and the director of the Atchafalaya Basin Culture, Recreation, and Tourism project, and State Senator James H. "Jim" Brown, then of Ferriday in Concordia Parish in eastern Louisiana, went into a general election showdown. Brown emerged a narrow winner.​

Republican lieutenant governor

​ Hardy switched parties and ran as a Republican in 1987 for lieutenant governor. First though he was for two weeks in January 1987 a gubernatorial candidate once again. After intra-party rival, U.S. Representative Bob Livingston of suburban New Orleans, defeated Hardy by a five-to-one margin at a caucus straw poll in Alexandria, Hardy said that he would not be a disrupting factor in the race. He therefore endorsed Livingston and incorrectly predicted that Livingston would be elected governor that year. Victory instead went to then Democrat Buddy Roemer.[9][10]

Instead, Hardy faced five opponents in the race for lieutenant governor, including the two-term Democratic incumbent, Robert Freeman of Plaquemine in Iberville Parish. Another candidate was Democrat William Ford "Bill" Dodd of Baton Rouge, son of Democratic former Lieutenant Governor Bill Dodd, who served from 1948 to 1952.[11] Primary results gave Freeman 586,335 (40 percent), Hardy 429,906 (29 percent), and Dodd 242,519 (17 percent). Three other Democrats polled a total of 14 percent of the primary vote.[12]

In the general election held on November 21, 1987, Hardy unseated Freeman, 521,992 (53 percent) to 460,199 (47 percent). While Hardy was winning as lieutenant governor, state Representative Walter Fox McKeithen (1946-2005), a son of John McKeithen, was elected to Hardy's former position as secretary of state.[13] Incumbent Secretary of State "Jim" Brown, originally from Ferriday, in Concordia Parish, who had succeeded Hardy in 1980, had vacated the post to make an ill-fated run for governor against both Buddy Roemer and Edwin Edwards.

As lieutenant governor, Hardy led the way to enact legislation creating "Tax Free Shopping," which still today gives foreigners an incentive to visit Louisiana. In turn, this concept has resulted in increases in tourism-related jobs, and in 1989 alone increased tourist spending by a record $1.2 billion.​[5]

In 1985, Hardy had assisted local entrepreneurs in the production of the full-length feature film of the Cajun movie Belizaire the Cajun which was filmed in at Acadian Village in Lafayette. He was the associate producer and played a bit part in the movie. Under his leadership thereafter as lieutenant governor, the economic impact of the movie industry increased by $51 million.​[5]

In 1989, Phi Kappa Theta national fraternal organization presented Hardy with the "Man of Achievement" award. In 1991, he was presented with "The Order of the Plimsoll," the highest award of the New Orleans World Trade Center.​[5]

Stinging defeat in 1991

​ Hardy was defeated for reelection as lieutenant governor in 1991 by the Democrat Melinda Schwegmann of New Orleans, daughter-in-law of Jefferson Parish state legislator, gubernatorial candidate in 1971, and grocery mogul John Gerald Schwegmann, Jr. In the primary, Hardy and Schwegmann virtually tied, 624,371 (43 percent) for Schwegmann and 620,199 (also 43 percent) for Hardy.[14]

In the general election, Schwegmann scored a large victory, 1,009,026 (59 percent) to Hardy's 693,412 (41 percent). There was speculation that Schwegmann benefited from coattails of Democratic gubernatorial nominee Edwin Edwards, who won his fourth nonconsecutive term as governor in that same election over the controversial unendorsed Republican David Duke. Edwards polled 1,057,031 votes (61 percent) to Duke's 671,009 (39 percent). Hardy hence ran just some 22,000 votes above Duke's tabulation.[15] Hardy thereafter retired from politics.​

After she left the office of lieutenant governor, Schwegmann switched to the Republican Party. After a stint in the legislature, she attempted to regain the lieutenant governorship in the 2003primary but was badly defeated by Democrat Mitch Landrieu, brother of U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu. Jay Dardenne, like Hardy a former state senator and secretary of state, became the second Republican to hold the position of lieutenant governor, the winner of a special election in 2010 to succeed Mitch Landrieu, who was elected mayor of New Orleans.​[16]

Personal life

Hardy is an attorney, banker, businessman, and political consultant residing in Baton Rouge with his wife Sandra "Sandi" Gatlin Hardy (born 1943), a native of rural Grant Parish in north Louisiana. They have two children and two granddaughters. Gregory Paul Hardy (born 1966), his wife, Dedi, and their daughter Heather Gayle Hardy reside in Baton Rouge, where he practices law. Daughter Yvette Rachal Hardy Gross is a ULL graduate residing in Baton Rouge with her husband, Darrell Gross, along with their daughter, Jessica Yvette Gross.[1]

In 2019, Hardy was inducted into the Winnfield-based Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame.[17]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Agnes Hardy obituary. (April 2008). Retrieved on May 20, 2020.
  2. Membership of the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-24 (ST. Martin Parish). Louisiana House of Representatives. Retrieved on May 20, 2020.
  3. Angelle, Drauvin. A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography: Louisiana Historical Association. Retrieved on May 20, 2020.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Louisiana: Paul Hardy", Who's Who in American Politics, 2007-2008 (Marquis Who's Who: New Providence, New Jersey, 2007), p. 660.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Paul Jude Hardy. Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns Athletic Network (June 21, 2010). Retrieved on May 20, 2020.
  6. Membership of the Louisiana Senate, 1880-2024. Louisiana State Senate. Retrieved on May 20, 2020.
  7. Louisiana Wildlife Federation Conservation Award Winners. Retrieved on May 20, 2020.
  8. The Shreveport Times, November 20, 1979, p. 1B.
  9. "Guste bows out; Hardy jumps in," Minden Press-Herald, January 7, 1987, p.1
  10. "Hardy withdraws from governor's race,"Minden Press-Herald, January 21, 1987, p. 1.
  11. Minden Press-Herald, March 13, 1987.
  12. Louisiana Secretary of State, Primary election returns, October 24, 1987
  13. Louisiana Secretary of State, General election returns, November 21, 1987.
  14. Louisiana Secretary of State, Primary election returns, October 19, 1991.
  15. Louisiana Secretary of State, General election returns, November 16, 1991.
  16. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 2, 2010.
  17. Inductees (2019). Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame. Retrieved on May 20, 2020.

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