|Allen Ray Bares|
1972 – 1980
|Preceded by||At-large membership|
|Succeeded by||Ron Gomez|
Louisiana State Senator for
District 23 (Acadia and
1980 – 1992
|Preceded by|| Edgar G.|
"Sonny" Mouton, Jr.
|Succeeded by||J. Lomax "Max" Jordan, Jr.|
President of the Louisiana State Senate
1988 – 1990
|Preceded by||Samuel B. Nunez, Jr.|
|Succeeded by||Samuel B. Nunez, Jr.|
|Born|| September 24, 1936|
Vermilion Parish, Louisiana
|Died|| August 14, 2008 (aged 71)|
|Spouse(s)||Elizabeth "Betty" Jeanne Baquet Bares (married 1962-2008, his death)|
|Children|| Camille B. Massie
Jude Bares, M.D.
|Alma mater|| Erath High School|
Louisiana State University
(1) The National Organization for Women successfully targeted Allen Bares for defeat in 1991 because of his sponsorship of legislation to outlaw most abortions in Louisiana.
Allen Ray Bares, Sr. (September 24, 1936 – August 14, 2008) was a Lafayette attorney who served as a Democrat in both houses of the Louisiana State Legislature between 1972 and 1992. He is particularly remembered for his strong support of the Pro-Life cause and the Boy Scouts. He was the State Senate President from 1988 to 1990, during the first half of the administration of former Governor Buddy Roemer, a Democrat who turned Republican in 1991. Senators removed Bares as president in 1990 in a rare show of opposition to the governor.
Born to John and Oneida Bares (pronounced BAH REZ), Bares was reared in the LeBlanc community in Vermilion Parish near Lafayette. He graduated in 1954 from Erath High School in Erath, at which he played all sports, served as senior class president, and was a member of the chorus and parliamentary teams, both of which secured statewide recognition. Bares then graduated from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, from which he procured his Bachelor of Arts and law degrees, the latter in 1960. He was a member of Sigma Nu at LSU and served as the fraternity president in 1957. He thereafter helped to establish a Sigma Nu chapter at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Bares was commissioned in the United States Army as a second lieutenant in the Louisiana National Guard. He served six months of active duty at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
Bares began his legal career in Abbeville, the seat of government for Vermilion Parish, as an associate of J. E. Kibbee. In 1961, he moved to Lafayette as an associate general counsel with the All American Insurance Company. He organized Val-u Investment Corporation and served as its vice president and general counsel. He practiced law for nearly a half century, with the Oliver and Way firm of Lafayette in his later years. He was a lobbyist after he left the state Senate.
On February 1, 1972, Bares was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives. He was unopposed in 1975 in the state's first ever nonpartisan blanket primary. In 1979, he was elevated to the state Senate for the District 23 seat (Lafayette and Acadia parishes) vacated by Edgar G. "Sonny" Mouton, Jr., of Lafayette, who instead ran unsuccessfully for governor. In that campaign, under the nonpartisan blanket primary, Bares defeated Democrat Pat Juneau, 54 to 46 percent in the general election, popularly called the runoff. Eliminated in the primary was Dud Lastrapes, a Republican who became the mayor of Lafayette the following year. Bares served in the Senate for twelve years until he was unseated in the 1991 general election by the Republican J. Lomax Jordan, Jr., also a Lafayette attorney. The seat was subsequently held by the Republicans Michael J. Michot and Page Cortez.
Roemer selected Bares as Senate President in 1988 though Sydney B. Nelson of Shreveport had actively sought the position and had urged Bares to run for the lesser position of Senate pro-tem. In Louisiana, the Senate president is normally chosen by the governor, but legislators in 1990 returned Nunez to the presidency in a slap at Roemer. The resolution to replace Bares with Nunez, authored by later U.S. Representative William J. Jefferson of Louisiana's 2nd congressional district, was twenty-eight to twenty-one. Roemer referred to the removal of Bares as an example of "what's wrong with this state."
Bares' obituary describes him as "a passionate leader in the pro-life movement [who] authored historic legislation to protect the precious lives of the unborn in Louisiana." In 1991, Bares authored a measure in the Senate, co-sponsored in the House by Representative Sam H. Theriot of Abbeville, which would have outlawed most abortions in Louisiana, including impregnations which resulted from incest. The legislature approved the bill, but it was vetoed by Governor Roemer on the grounds that it went beyond the scope of the United States Supreme Court opinion, Roe v. Wade. Such feminist groups as the National Organization for Women, subsequently headed by the Louisiana native Kim Gandy, formerly of Bossier City, successfully targeted Bares and a pro-life House member, fellow Democrat Carl Newton Gunter, Jr. (1938-1999) of Rapides Parish, for defeat. The controversy worked to Jordan's advantage though he too took the pro-life position. In the end, Bares and Gunter were defeated in what Louisiana feminists hailed as a great success.
Bares led Jordan in the 1991 primary with 13,409 votes (40 percent) to 9,313 ballots (28 percent). Two other Republicans, Carl W. Tritschler (born 1964) and Max A. Menard received a critical 6,713 (20 percent) and 3,921 votes (12 percent), respectively. The three Republican candidates, in what was otherwise a heavily Democratic year in Louisiana politics, polled a combined 60 percent in the state Senate primary. In the runoff, technically the general election on November 16, 1991, Jordan received 22,224 (60 percent) to Bares' 14,730 (again 40 percent). In that same election, Edwin Edwards returned for a fourth nonconsecutive term as governor in the showdown with former Ku Klux Klan figure David Duke.
A reformer in the legislature, Bares served as national vice president of the Education Commission of the States from 1985 to 1986. He championed tort reform and was a lead author of the 1987 Workman's Compensation Reform Act. Bares was president of the Louisiana Chapter of the Association of French Speaking Legislators and a supporter of the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL). In 1991, the nation of France awarded Bares the Medal of Merit to recognize his efforts to preserve the French language and culture in Louisiana. He grew up speaking French and did not learn English until he entered elementary school. On two occasions, Bares, as a state senator, accompanied Governor Roemer on trips to France and to Japan.
Bares was active in Kiwanis International, the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, and St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church. He was the first elected president of Our Lady of Fatima Church. He was president of the Evangeline Area Boy Scouts Council located in Lafayette. He received the Silver Beaver Award from the Scouts in 2000. He was an avid horseman, hunter, fisherman, and golfer.
Bares diedin Lafayette of complications of myelofibrosis. He was survived by his wife of forty-six years, the former Elizabeth "Betty" Jeanne Baquet; eight children, Camille Massie, Jude Bares, M.D., Jeannine Martin, John Bares, Michelle Tober, Jacques Bares, Allen Bares, II, and Elizabeth Mackie; nineteen grandchildren; a sister, Agnes B. Richard, and two brothers, Eno Bares and Emery Bares. A mass of Christian burial was held on August 18 at St. Pius X Church in Lafayette. Entombment was in the Calvary Cemetery Mausoleum.
In 2002, Bares was inducted into the "Living Legends" section of the Acadian Museum in Erath.
- Living Legends: Senator Allen Bares. The Acadian Museum in Erath. Retrieved on September 23, 2019.
- [https://obits.theadvocate.com/obituaries/theadvocate/obituary.aspx?pid=115711761 Allen Bares obituary]. The Baton Rouge Advocate (August 16, 2008). Retrieved on September 23, 2019.
- Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1880–2008 (p. 84). David R. Poynter Legislative Research Library accessdate=August 20, 2008.
- Ron Gomez, My Name Is Ron, And I Am a Recovering Legislator: Memoirs of a Louisiana State Representative, (Lafayette, Louisiana: Zemog Publishers, 2000), p. 37; ISBN 0-9700156-0-7
- "Bares ousted as President of Louisiana Senate," Minden Press-Herald, May 10, 1990, p. 1.
- Ronald Smothers (June 20, 1991). Louisiana Abortion Law Is Delayed. The New York Times. Retrieved on September 13, 2008.
- The Feminist Chronicles — 1991 — Political, Feminist Majority Foundation, accessed August 20, 2008.
- Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 19, 1991.
- Louisiana Secretary of State, General election returns, November 16, 1991.