"Theo" Cangelosi, Sr.
Louisiana State Representative for
East Baton Rouge Parish
|Preceded by||J. A. McCurnin, Sr.|
|Succeeded by||Percy E. Roberts|
|Born|| December 14, 1911|
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA
|Died|| July 14, 1992 (aged 80)|
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
|Spouse(s)|| (1) Missing
(2) Kathleen Flores Webre
|Alma mater||Louisiana State University Law Center|
Theodore Francis Cangelosi, Sr., known as Theo Cangelosi (December 14, 1911 – July 14, 1992), was an attorney, banker, and businessman from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who served a single term from 1940 to 1944 as a Democrat in the Louisiana House of Representatives. He was a confidant of Governors Earl Kemp Long and John J. McKeithen.
Cangelosi was descended from an old-line Italian-American family in Baton Rouge. In 1934, he graduated from the Louisiana State University Law Center. He served in the state House for a single term during the administration of the anti-Long Governor Sam Houston Jones of Lake Charles. In July 1942, Cangelosi enlisted in the United States Army at Camp Beauregard near Pineville in Rapides Parish. He was the first enlisted man ever to become a Judge Advocate General at the rank of first lieutenant. He remained in the legislature until his term ended though he was actually in the military for the last two years.
Cangelosi was married to the former Kathleen Flores Webre (born ca. 1940 and presumably a second wife). His obituary lists ten surviving children, only one named "Cangelosi," seventeen grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
Cangelosi was a high-profile supporter of Earl Long in the latter's 1948 election against Sam Jones to gain a full-term as governor. Long named Cangelosi to the influential LSU Board of Supervisors. At first, Cangelosi opposed a stadium addition approved by the legislature in 1952. He agreed with colleague Margaret Dixon, the then managing editor of The Baton Rouge Advocate, who suggested that a new library would be preferable to an enclosed stadium. According to then LSU President Troy H. Middleton,n. the legislature had approved the stadium, not a new library. Cangelosi and Dixon were recommending policy beyond the scope of the LSU administration. The stadium hence triumphed.
Though he was Earl Long's regular attorney, Louisiana First Lady Blanche Long tried to retain him in 1959 to file separation papers against Earl Long. Caught in the crossfire before the two Longs, Cangelosi first tried and without success to reconcile the couple. Long began to distrust Cangelosi and called Joseph A. Sims of Hammond to perform several legal maneuvers to get Long removed from confinement in the Southeast Louisiana Hospital, the mental facility in Mandeville, where Long had been admitted against his wishes through the intervention of his wife. In a special session of the legislature in August 1959, Long tried to remove Cangelosi from the LSU board but ran into opposition, particularly from two members of the House from Rapides Parish, Ben F. Holt (1925-1995), a conservative, and the more liberal Robert Munson. Long died in September 1960, still separated from Blanche and reportedly involved with the controversial stripper, Blaze Starr.
Cangelosi was a delegate to the 1964 Democratic National Convention, which met in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to confirm the Lyndon B. Johnson-Hubert Humphrey ticket, which lost in Louisiana to the Republicans Barry Goldwater and William E. Miller, a then departing member of the United States House of Representatives from upstate New York. In 1965, Governor McKeithen appointed Cangelosi chairman of the newly established Louisiana State Science Foundation, with former Shreveport Mayor James C. Gardner as the vice-chairman. The foundation was designed to fund research proposals submitted by the private Gulf South Research Institute, a creation of the interest group called Council for a Better Louisiana. One of the research projects funded was to investigate possible uses of the dry pulp remaining from sugar cane after the juice has been extracted. Cangelosi knew the state bureaucracy and was able to get the new science foundation an office constructed in New Orleans. When Cangelosi had a major illness in October 1966, Gardner moved up to the chairmanship.
McKeithen also tapped Cangelosi to serve on a committee to oversee the design of the Louisiana Superdome, since the Mercedes-Benz Suprdome in New Orleans. Cangelosi died at the age of eighty at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, eight months after the passing of Bill Dodd.
- W. Lee Hargrave. LSU Law: The Louisiana State University Law School from 1906 to 1977. Google.com. Retrieved on September 17, 2019.
- Cangelosi obituary, The Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, July 16, 1992, p. 11A.
- In 2020, the LSU board of supervisors considered removing Lieutenant General Troy Middleton's name and bust from the LSU library after it was revealed that he had stopped recruitment of African-American athletes during his presidency though blacks were registered as students.
- Frank James Price. Troy H. Middleton: A Biography. Google.com. Retrieved on September 17, 2019.
- Bill Dodd, Peapatch Politics: The Earl Long Era in Louisiana Politics (Baton Rouge: Claitor's Publishers, 1991).
- "Fight Looms on Cangelosi Firing Issue," Ruston Daily Leader, July 30, 1959, p. 1.
- James C. Gardner, Jim Gardner and Shreveport, Vol. 2 (1959–2006) (Shreveport: Ritz Publications, Sarah Hudson-Pierce, 2006), pp. 80-83.