Raymond Laborde

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Raymond Julian Laborde, I​

Louisiana State Representative for District 28 (Avoyelles Parish)​
In office
May 1972​ – 1992​
Preceded by P. J. LaBorde (no relation)​
Succeeded by Charles A. Riddle, III​

Speaker Pro Tempore of the
Louisiana House of Representatives​
In office
1982​ – 1984​
Preceded by Frank P. Simoneaux​
Succeeded by Joe Delpit

Mayor of Marksville, Louisiana​
In office
1958​ – 1970​
Preceded by Edgar Coco​
Succeeded by Ben LaBorde (no relation)​

President of the
Louisiana Municipal Association​
In office
1962​ – 1963​
Preceded by Charles Cassidy​
Succeeded by W. H. "Booty" Scott​

Louisiana Commissioner of Administration​
In office
1992​ – 1996​
Preceded by Dennis Stine​
Succeeded by Mark Drennen​

Born August 18, 1927​
Marksville, Avoyelles Parish,
Louisiana, USA​
Died ​January 17, 2016 (aged 88)
Nationality French-American
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Nellie Sanchez Laborde (married 1951)​
Children Raymond J. Laborde, II​

Charles Laborde
​ Donald A. Laborde
​ Minnie C. Lafargue
​ Rachel Laborde Karam​

Alma mater Marksville High School​

Loyola University New Orleans

Occupation Department store owner​
Religion Roman Catholic​

Raymond Julian Laborde, I (August 18, 1927 – January 17, 2016), a department store owner and a Democratic politician in his native Marksville in Avoyelles Parish south of Alexandria, Louisiana. He was often called "Mr. Marksville."[1]

The Marksville mayor from 1958 to 1970, Laborde thereafter served five terms from 1972 to 1992 in the Louisiana House of Representatives.[2][3] He was a House gubernatorial floor leader, the Speaker Pro Tempore from 1982 to 1984,[2] and in his last full term the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.[4]

After his election without opposition to a sixth term in the 1991 nonpartisan blanket primary, Laborde resigned to become commissioner of administration in the fourth and final nonconsecutive term of his boyhood friend, Governor Edwin Edwards.[5]


​ Laborde was born to Dr. Emeric M. LaBorde (1901–1969), a Marksville dentist, and the former Minnie L. Neck (1899–1994). As students at Marksville High School, Laborde in 1943 defeated Edwin Edwards for senior class president.[6]

After graduation from Marksville High School, Laborde enrolled at his father's alma mater, Roman Catholic-affiliated Loyola University in New Orleans, where at the age of eighteen he played on the 1945–1946 Loyola national championship basketball team.[7] He graduated from Loyola in 1949 and then launched his Raymond's Department Store at 317 North Main Street in Marksville.[8] He was later a captain in the Louisiana National Guard.[6]

In 1951, Laborde married the former Nellie Sanchez. The couple has four children, Donald A. Laborde, Raymond Laborde, II, Charles Laborde, Minnie C. Lafargue, and Rachel Karam.[9] ​ Avoyelles Parish has been known for its colorful but mostly local politicians. One who stood out, Fabius Odell "Potch" Didier, Jr. (1919-2007), the sheriff from 1960 to 1980, actually spent seven days in his own jail after having been convicted of malfeasance in office.[6] The mothers of Laborde and Didier had the common maiden name of Neck (pronounced "Nick") and were distant cousins.​

Political career

In 1954, the 27-year-old Laborde ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Marksville but narrowly lost to Edgar Coco (1905–1970), scion of a prominent local family. Four years later, Laborde unseated Coco. From 1962 to 1963, he was president of the Louisiana Municipal Association.[10]

In his first year in the House as an Edwards floor leader in 1972, Laborde balked at Edwards' call for a $1 billion tax increase. "And, oh man, did I catch hell. When I got back home, Edwin had put the word out, and everyone was calling me. Let me tell you, it was mighty uncomfortable. I couldn't wait for him to call a special session, so I could get back there and get that tax passed," Laborde said in a 2007 interview with The Alexandria Daily Town Talk.[6]

He ran in the 1963–1964 election cycle for the since defunct position of custodian of voting machines (later elections commissioner), an office unique to Louisiana when created in the late 1950s by Governor Earl Kemp Long. Laborde was defeated in the runoff election by the one-term incumbent, Douglas Fowler of Coushatta in Red River Parish in northwestern Louisiana. At the time, candidates for statewide constitutional offices were often affiliated with gubernatorial tickets. Laborde ran with the slate headed by former New Orleans Mayor deLesseps Story "Chep" Morrison (1912-1964), a ticket which included later state Senator Claude B. Duval of Houma in Terrebonne Parish for lieutenant governor and State Representative Jack M. Dyer of Baton Rouge for insurance commissioner. All were defeated with the election of John J. McKeithen as governor and Clarence C. "Taddy" Aycock (1915-1987) as lieutenant governor.​

After his initial election to the legislature, Laborde rarely faced serious opposition. In the 1983 primary, in which Edwards returned for a third nonconsecutive term by unseating Republican Governor David C. Treen, Laborde prevailed over fellow Democrat Johnny Bennett, 10,633 votes (59.3 percent) to 7,346 (40.7 percent).[11] Though considered a strong Edwards ally, he was Speaker Pro Tempore in the Treen administration and later Ways and Means chairman under Governor Buddy Roemer, who defeated Edwards in the 1987 primary.[4]

In 1978, Laborde was named "Avoyellean of the Year."[12] In 2003, he was inducted into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield.[7]

Life after elected office

​ He operated his Raymond's Department Store, which once had eight competitors downtown. The store, no longer in existence, was the oldest jobber of Dickies work wear in Louisiana and later specialized in school uniforms.[13]

On April 7, 2011, seven weeks after undergoing a heart operation, Laborde appeared before the Louisiana House Appropriations Committee that he had chaired years earlier. He excoriated the plan of Republican then Governor Bobby Jindal to presumably sell off five state prisons to Jindal's significant contributors, the GEO Groupmand the Corrections Corporation of America[14] for about $30 million each, far less than their replacement costs.[15]​ ​


  1. Richard P. Sharkey (January 17, 2016). 'Mr. Marksville' Raymond Laborde dies at age of 88. Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on November 2, 2019.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Membership of the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2020 (Avoyelles Parish. Louisiana House of Representatives. Retrieved on November 3, 2019.
  3. The state legislative listing indicates that Laborde began his legislative service in 1968, but P. J. Laborde served from 1968 to 1972.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Lisa Belkin (July 13, 1990). Louisiana Governor Tells of Quandary over Bill to Ban Abortion. The New York Times. Retrieved on November 3, 2019.
  5. Gov.-elect Edwards names Raymond Laborde Louisiana's Commissioner of Administration. Retrieved on December 18, 2009; no longer on-line; website no longer operational..
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Philip Timothy (March 18, 2007). Ex-governor Edwin Edwards tops list of colorful parish politicians. The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on December 19, 2009; no longer on-line.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Political Hall of Fame: Raymond J. Laborde. Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame. Retrieved on November 3, 2019.
  8. Alumni Donors, 1934–1949. giving.loyno.edu. Retrieved on December 19, 2009; no longer on-line.
  9. Laborde-Bass. Avoyellestoday.com. Retrieved on December 19, 2009; no longer on-line.
  10. Past presidents of the Louisiana Municipal Association. lma.org. Retrieved on December 19, 2009; no longer on-line.
  11. Louisiana State House District 28. ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved on November 3, 2019.
  12. Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana. angelfire.com. Retrieved on November 3, 2019.
  13. Raymond’s Department Store. maps.google.com. Retrieved on November 3, 2019.
  14. OpenSecrets.org and FollowTheMoney.org.
  15. Michelle Millhollan (April 8, 2011). Prison plan dominates public comment session. The Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on April 10, 2011; no longer on-line.