Rick Nowlin

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Rickey L. "Rick" Nowlin​

Louisiana State Representative for
District 23 (DeSoto, Natchitoches,
and Red River parishes)​
In office
January 14, 2008​ – January 9, 2012​
Preceded by Taylor Townsend
Succeeded by Kenny Ray Cox

President of Natchitoches Parish
In office
January 2013 ​ – ​January 12, 2020
Preceded by New position​
Succeeded by John Richmond ("No Party")​

Born July 30, 1948​
Ferriday, Concordia Parish, Louisiana​
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Widower of Brenda Barr Nowlin (1950-2000)​
Children Jennifer Lauren Nowlin (born 1980)​

Matthew Louis Nowlin (born 1983)​
Louis M. and Jocie R. Nowlin

Alma mater Ferriday High School

Louisiana Tech University

Occupation Engineer, businessman
Religion Southern Baptist

Rickey L. "Rick" Nowlin (born July 30, 1948) is an engineer, businessman, and politician who is the departing president of the government of Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana.​ ​ A Republican, Nowlin defeated the Democrat Gerald "Jerry" Longlois in the nonpartisan blanket primary held for the new position on November 6, 2012. The election was held in conjunction with the U.S. presidential and congressional contests. Nowlin received 9,283 votes (59.2 percent) to Longlois' 6,393 (40.8 percent).[1]​ He was reelected in 2015 but did not seek a third term as parish president in the primary held on October 12, 2019. That office is now chosen in the same election as the governor.

From 2008 to 2012, Nowlin was a one-term member of the Louisiana House of Representatives for District 23 (DeSoto, Natchitoches, and Red River parishes). Nowlin and the former term-limited state Senator Gerald Long, are the first Republicans since Reconstruction to have represented Natchitoches Parish in the state legislature.[2][3] Nowlin and Long took their oaths of office on January 14, 2008, the same day that Republican Governor Bobby Jindal was inaugurated.​


Nowlin was born to Louis M. Nowlin (November 16, 1918 – July 1, 2001) and Jocie R. Nowlin (May 21, 1921 – August 30, 2000). He, his brother, and two sisters were reared in Ferriday, a city in Concordia Parish near the Mississippi River. Nowlin graduated from Ferriday High School in 1966. One of Nowlin's high school classmates, Dan Richey, later served in both house of the legislature from 1976 to 1984. In his initial election, Nowlin secured the endorsement of the National Federation of Independent Business.[4]

Nowlin attended Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, from which he received in 1971 a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering[5] He was a member of Eta Kappa Nu honor electrical society, Sigma Nu social fraternity, which endorsed Nowlin in the legislative campaign,[6] and Omicron Delta Kappa honor society. He was listed in Who's Who in American College and Universities. The next year, Nowlin procured a Master of Business Administration degree with honors from Louisiana Tech and was a member of Beta Gamma Sigma honor business society.[7]

Legislative election, 2007

Nowlin, with the pledge of "A Time for Reform", won a stunning victory in District 23 (then Natchitoches and Winn parishes but since altered) on November 17, 2007, over the Democrat Joseph Michael "Joe" Sampite', who served as the mayor of Natchitoches from 1980 to 2000. Sampite' was inducted into the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame in Winnfield.[8] Nowlin polled 4,609 votes (55 percent) in the general election to Sampite's 3,766 (45 percent)[9]

In the primary on October 20, 2007, Nowlin led a four-candidate field with 4,849 votes (35 percent) to Sampite's 4,598 (33 percent). Two other Democrats, Ralph Wilson and Mack James, polled, 2,847 (21 percent) and 1,459 (11 percent), respectively.[10] Hence, Nowlin and Sampite were thrust into the runoff, called the general election in Louisiana even if both candidates are from the same party.[11] Nowlin succeeded Representative Taylor Townsend of Natchitoches, a Democrat who gave up the House seat after two terms to run unsuccessfully against Gerald Long for the state Senate. Townsend is a nephew and law partner of former state Senator Donald Gene Kelly of Natchitoches.

Personal and civic life

Nowlin is the widower of the former Brenda Barr (February 12, 1950 – May 21, 2000). The couple's two children are Jennifer Lauren Nowlin (born 1980) and Matthew Louis Nowlin (born 1983), a 2007 graduate of Texas A&M University.[7] Nowlin lost his wife and both parents in a period of fourteen months.

The Nowlins moved to Natchitoches in 1979. He has been involved in many community affairs, including the National Rifle Association, Masonic lodge, Boys and Girls Clubs of Natchitoches, and, formerly, the National Historic District Commission. He is a member of the First Baptist Church of Natchitoches.[7]

Nowlin is president of N&A, Inc., Consulting Engineers and Land Surveyors, with offices in Natchitoches, Pineville, and Jena. He is a five-time board member of the Consulting Engineers Council of Louisiana. He has twice served as president of the Alexandria chapter of Consulting Engineers Council of Louisiana. He is affiliated with the Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers and the National Society of Professional Engineers. He owns Ducournau Restaurant and Townhouse in Natchitoches.[7]

Political philosophy

In 2007, Nowlin described his political philosophy as (1) "Pro-business and Pro-job-creation, (2) Educational reform with emphasis on early childhood development, (3) Fiscal conservatism, (4) Limited government and reduced taxes, (5) Pro-life, (6) Pro-family, (7) Pro-Second Amendment.[7]

On his website, Nowlin said that "There will be a new legislature and a new governor who must not waste this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to put Louisiana back on track. We must lead with a bold purpose and have the courage to correct the problems that have plagued our state for far too long."[7]

The 2011 legislative defeat

District 23 became a majority African American district in the 2011 redistricting based upon the 2010 census.[12]

In the general election held on November 19, 2011, Nowlin was unseated by the African-American Democrat Kenny Ray Cox, a decorated retired lieutenant colonel in the United States Army from Mansfield in DeSoto Parish. Cox received 5,556 votes (53.4 percent) to Nowlin's 4,847 (46.6 percent). Nowlin won by some nine hundred votes in Natchitoches Parish but lost decisively in DeSoto and Red River parishes.[13]

Earlier in the October 22 primary, Nowlin had narrowly led with 5,662 votes (43.6 percent), and Cox trailed with 5,506 votes (42.4 percent). Democrat Ralph Wilson, who also sought the seat in 2007, held the remaining but critical 1,805 ballots (13.9 percent).[14]

Representative Cox graduated from Coushatta High School in Coushatta in Red River Parish.[15] He ran unsuccessfully in 2007 in House District 7 against the Republican Richard Burford of Stonewall, who was subsequently re-elected in the 2011 primary.

In addition to Nowlin, two other north Louisiana Republican legislators faced with redistricting woes, Sam Little of Bastrop in Morehouse Parish and Billy Chandler of Dry Prong in Grant Parish, were unseated in the November 19 general election.

In 2012, Nowlin was a Louisiana delegate to the Republican National Convention held in Tampa, Florida.

As the Republican candidate in the November 6, 2012, election for the newly established position of president of Natchitoches Parish, Nowlin handily defeated a Democratic opponent. He assumed his new position, along with five elected commissioners, in January 2013. Nowlin did not seek a third term as parish president in the 2019 nonpartisan blanket primary.


  1. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 6, 2012.
  2. Membership of the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2020 (Natchitoches Parish). Louisiana House of Representatives. Retrieved on October 24, 2019.
  3. Membership in the Louisiana Senate, 1880 - Present (Natchitoches Parish). Louisiana State Senate. Retrieved on October 24, 2019.
  4. Small Business Endorses Rick Nowlin in House District 23. FIB.com. Retrieved on no longer on-line.
  5. Rep. Rick Nowlin Biography. Project Vote Smart. Retrieved on October 24, 2019.
  6. Rick Nowlin for state representative. Sigma Nu Fraternity, Eta Zeta chapter, Louisiana Tech University (2007; no longer on-line).
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Rick Nowlin for Louisiana State Representative - District 23
  8. Winnfield, La - Old L&A Depot, LA Political Museum
  9. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 17, 2007.
  10. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 20, 2007.
  11. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 19, 2007.
  12. Hazel re-elected in House Distrrict 27; Harris wins House District 25. Alexandria Town Talk (October 23, 2011). Retrieved on October 24, 2011; no longer on-line.
  13. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 19, 2011.
  14. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 22, 2011.
  15. Cox runs for State Representative. thesabineindex.com. Retrieved on October 24, 2011.