The Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus (LLBC)
was established in 1977. The ten
founders of LLBC were Rev. Avery C. Alexander,
Diana E. Bajoie, Sidney Barthelemy, Louis
Charbonnet, III, Nick Connor, Joseph A. Delpit,
Alphonse Jackson, Johnny Jackson, Jr., Thomas
Jasper, and Richard Turnley, Jr.
The number of African-American legislators has
increased tremendously since the inception of
the LLBC. This growth is attributed to the
LLBC's legislative skill and wisdom. For
example, the Black Caucus successfully passed
reapportionment legislation in 1983 and 1990,
which established more African-American
legislative districts, thus allowing for the
election of more African-American
representatives and senators. Currently the
Louisiana Legislature has thirty-two (32)
African-American members consisting of nine (9)
senators and twenty-two (23) representatives.
Beyond reapportionment, the LLBC has made other
major accomplishments, which include:
historically Black colleges and universities
employment opportunities in the work place
Eliminating Jim Crow laws
Increasing minority business opportunities
against apartheid in South Africa
Louisiana's indigent families through
expanding educational and economic
opportunities and access to adequate
Developing drug rehabilitation programs
laws with tougher penalties to fight the
increasing crime rate
African-American Louisiana farmers and
against abolishing affirmative action and
the elimination of one of Louisiana's two
majority African-American congressional
the unfair mandate that requires only public
high school students to pass an exit exam as
a prerequisite to being awarded a diploma
the LLBC was formally organized,
African-Americans served in the state
legislature. In 1968, Ernest "Dutch" Morial, a
New Orleans attorney, was elected to the House
of Representatives. As the first
African-American legislator since
Reconstruction, he paved the way for other
African-Americans to travel the hard road to
Baton Rouge. Before his term expired, he sought
and won a seat as a judge in New Orleans
Juvenile Court. A special election was held to
fill his unexpired term in 1971, which resulted
in the election of Louisiana's first
African-American female legislator, Dorothy Mae
Taylor, a New Orleans community leader.
In the immediate years to follow, other
African-American leaders were elected to the
Louisiana Legislature. In 1972, Alphonse Jackson
of Shreveport; Richard Turnley, Jr. and Johnnie
Jones of Baton Rouge; and Johnny Jackson, Jr.,
Theodore Marchand, Louis Charbonnet, III, and
Nick Connors, all of New Orleans were elected to
the House of Representatives. In addition,
Dorothy Mae Taylor was successful in her bid for
In 1976, Johnnie Jones lost his bid for
reelection and Theodore Marchand did not seek
reelection, but more African-Americans won
seats. Joseph Delpit of Baton Rouge and Thomas
Jasper, Rev. Avery C. Alexander, and Diana E.
Bajoie of New Orleans were elected to the House
of Representatives. Sidney Barthelemy of New
Orleans was elected to the Senate, earning a
place in history as the first Black to serve in
the Senate. In addition, Senator Barthelemy
became the first chairman of the LLBC in 1977.
In 1978, Henry Braden of New Orleans completed
Barthelemy's term when Barthelemy won an
at-large seat on the New Orleans City Council.
Richard Turnley was elected as LLBC's second
In 1980, Charles D. Jones of Monroe and Jon
Johnson of New Orleans were elected to the
House. In addition, William J. Jefferson of New
Orleans won a bid for the Senate. Furthermore,
in 1982 Lee Frazier of New Orleans was elected
to the House of Representatives.
In 1984, Lee Frazier did not seek reelection and
Louis Charbonnet and Nick Connors lost their
bids for reelection. Willie J. Singleton of
Shreveport; Wilford D. Carter of Lake Charles;
Melvin Irvin, Jr. of Gonzales; Charles R. Jones
and Arthur A. Morrell of New Orleans; and Jewel
J. Newman and Louis Jetson of Baton Rouge were
elected to the House of Representatives. Louis
Jetson later died shortly after taking office
and his son, Raymond A. Jetson, was elected to
complete his late father's term.
Also in 1984, Richard Turnley was elected to the
Louisiana Senate and William J. Jefferson was
reelected. Dennis R. Bagneris of New Orleans and
Gregory W. Tarver of Shreveport were elected to
the Senate. Joseph A. Delpit was elected Speaker
Pro Tempore of the House of Representatives.
William Jefferson then became LLBC's third
In 1986, Representative Johnny Jackson, Jr. was
elected to the New Orleans City Council and
Naomi (Warren) Farve was elected to complete his
unexpired term. Representative Jon D. Johnson
was elected to the Senate and Sherman N. Copelin,
Jr. was elected to complete his unexpired term
in the House of Representatives.
In 1988, Richard Turnley and Jewel J. Newman
were not reelected. Instead, Cleo Fields of
Baton Rouge was elected to the Senate and both
Melvin "Kip" Holden of Baton Rouge and Irma
Muse-Dixon of New Orleans were elected to the
House of Representatives.
In 1989, Dennis Bagneris of New Orleans became
the fourth chairman of the LLBC. Charles D.
Jones of Monroe was elected the LLBC's fifth
chairman in 1990.
In 1991, William J. Jefferson was elected to the
United States Congress from the Second
Congressional District. Diana E. Bajoie of New
Orleans replaced Jefferson in the Louisiana
Senate, thus becoming the first Black woman to
be elected to the Senate. Renee' Gill Pratt was
then elected to the House of Representatives to
complete Bajoie's unexpired term.
In 1992, Charles D. Jones of Monroe, Marc H.
Morial of New Orleans, and Donald Cravins of
Grand Couteau were elected to the Senate. John
M. Guidry of Baton Rouge replaced Joseph A.
Delpit, who did not seek reelection, in the
House. Willie Hunter, Jr. replaced Charles D.
Jones in the House. Additionally, Edwin R.
Murray of New Orleans filled Charles R. Jones'
unexpired term in the House after Jones was
elected as Judge of the 5th Circuit Court of
Appeals. Roy Quezaire replaced Melvin Irvin, Jr.
of Gonzales. Also elected in 1992 from newly
created House districts were Pinkie C. Wilkerson
of Grambling, Dr. Charles I. Hudson of
Opelousas, Wilfred Pierre of Lafayette, Dr. C.
O. Simpkins of Shreveport, Israel B. Curtis of
Alexandria, Sharon Weston of Baton Rouge, David
Armstrong and Troy A. Carter of New Orleans and
Kyle M. Green of Marrero. In 1992, Senator
Dennis Bagneris became the first African
American President Pro Tempore of the Louisiana
Senate and Sherman N. Copelin, Jr. became the
second African American Speaker Pro Tempore of
the Louisiana House of Representatives.
In 1993, Cleo Fields was elected to the U. S.
Congress from the 4th Congressional District and
Representative John M. Guidry filled Field's
vacant seat in the Louisiana Senate. Yvonne
(Dorsey) Welch was then elected to complete
Guidry's term in the House. In addition,
Paulette R. Irons filled Irma Muse-Dixon's
vacant House seat after Muse-Dixon was elected
to the Louisiana Public Service Commission. Mr.
Elcie Guillory of Lake Charles was elected to
replace Wilford Carter in the House after Carter
was elected as a district judge. After David
Armstrong of New Orleans served just a small
portion of his term, Cynthia Willard-Lewis was
elected to complete his unexpired term.
In 1994, Senator Marc Morial was elected Mayor
of New Orleans and Representative Troy Carter
was elected to the New Orleans City Council,
thus creating two vacancies. Paulette R. Irons
replaced Marc Morial in the Senate and a non
African-American was elected to fill her vacant
seat. A non African-American was also elected to
fill Troy Carter's seat. Also, Senator Diana E.
Bajoie was elected as the sixth chairman of the
LLBC, thus becoming the first female chairman of
In 1996, Ernest Baylor was elected to fill the
House seat formerly occupied by Willie
Singleton, who did not seek reelection. Cedric
B. Glover was elected to fill the house seat
left vacant by Dr. C. O. Simpkins, who ran for
another office. Wilson Fields, brother of Cleo
Fields, was elected to the Senate filling a seat
left vacant by a non African-American. Dennis R.
Bagneris was elected to his second term as
President Pro Tempore of the Senate and Raymond
A. Jetson was elected as the Black Caucus’
In 1997, Sen. John Guidry was elected as judge,
thereby creating a vacancy in the Senate. Former
U.S. Congressman Cleo Fields was elected to fill
the remaining term of Sen. Guidry. Also, Sherman
N. Copelin, Jr. was elected as LLBC’s eighth
chairman in 1997 and was re-elected to serve
additional terms in 1998 and 1999.
In 1998, Senator Dennis Bagneris was elected as
judge to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Lambert Boissiere, Jr. was elected to complete
his term in 1999.
Also in 1999, Rev. Avery Alexander, one of the
Caucus’ founding members, died following the
LLBC Community Outreach Tour. Sherman N. Copelin,
Jr. and Naomi Farve lost their bids for
reelection and Rep. Danny Mitchell and Raymond
A. Jetson did not seek reelection. During 1999
elections, Karen Carter of New Orleans was
elected to Rev. Alexander’s vacant seat; Leonard
Lucas and Cedric Richmond replaced Sherman
Copelin and Naomi Farve, respectively; Lydia
Jackson of Shreveport filled Danny Mitchell’s
seat and Michael Jackson of Baton Rouge replaced
Raymond Jetson. Senator Cleo Fields was elected
as Black Caucus’ ninth chairman.
In 2000, Rep.
Pinkie Wilkerson of House District 11 died in
office and Rep. Richard "Rick" Gallot of Ruston,
Louisiana was elected to complete her unexpired
term. Also, in 2000 Rep. Cynthia Willard of
House District 100 was elected to the New
Orleans City Council and former Saints player,
Patrick “Pat” Swilling was elected in 2001 to
complete the remainder of the term. In addition,
Rep. Arthur Morrell was elected as the LLBC’s
In the fall
of 2001 Sen. Wilson Fields was elected as Judge
to the Nineteenth JDC in Baton Rouge thereby
creating a vacancy in Senate District 15. Rep.
Melvin “Kip” Holden was elected to fill the
remaining term of Sen. W. Fields. In a special
election, Avon R. Honey was elected to fill the
vacancy created by Rep. Holden in House District
In 2002, Rep.
Renee Gill Pratt of House District 91 was
elected to the New Orleans, City Council thereby
creating a vacancy in House District 91. In a
special election Rosalind Peychaud was elected
to fill the remaining term of Rep. Pratt.
In 2003, Sen.
Jon D. Johnson, Reps. Leonard Lucas, Rosalind
Peychaud and Patrick “Pat” Swilling all of New
Orleans, lost their bids for re-election and
Sen. Gregory “Greg” Tarver and Rep. Kyle Green
did no seek re-elections During the 2003
elections, Ann Duplessis, Austin Jalila
Jefferson-Bullock and Austin Badon replaced
Leonard Lucas, Rosalind Peychaud and Patrick
Swilling respectively; Rep. Lydia Jackson was
elected in Shreveport to replace Sen. Gregory
Tarver and Derrick Shepherd of Marrero, replaced
Rep. Kyle Green and Roy Burrell of Shreveport
was elected to House District 2 (replacing
Rep. Lydia Jackson). Also, the
Caucus gained an additional member, Cheryl Gray
of New Orleans in House District 98. Rep. Willie
Hunter was elected as the LLBC’s eleventh
chairman. In 2003 Sen. Diana Bajoie and Rep.
Sharon Weston Broome were both elected as the
first African American women to serve as
President Pro-Tempore (Senate) and Speaker
Pro-Tempore (House) respectively.
In 2004 the caucus also saw the passing of dearly
beloved State Representative Dr. Charles I.
Hudson of Opelousas district 40. Donald Cravins,
Jr., son of Senator Donald Cravins, Sr. was
elected to complete his unexpired term.
Furthermore, State Senator Paulette Irons from
Senate District 4 was elected as a Civil
District Court Judge in New Orleans and State
Senator Melvin "Kip" Holden of House District 15
was elected as the first African American
Major-President of East Baton Rouge Parish.
After his inauguration in early 2005,
Representative Sharon Weston Broome made a
successful bid to replace him in the Senate in
District 15. She resigned her post as Speaker
Pro-Tempore of the House of Representatives, and
filled his unexpired term in the Louisiana
Senate. Additionally, to fill the new vacancy in
House District 29 Rep. Regina Ashford Barrow ran
and won. Furthermore, in 2005, Representative
Yvonne Dorsey of House District 67 was elected
as the Speaker Pro-Tempore of the House of
2005 continued to see changes in the Louisiana
Legislative Black Caucus. Representative Murray
was elected State Senator to replace Irons, and
Senator Lambert Boissiere of New Orleans ran
successfully for the Constable Seat in Orleans
Parish, thereby creating a vacancy in Senate
District 4. Representative Juan LaFonta of New
Orleans successfully campaigned and filled the
unexpired term left by Murray’s recent Senate
election. Rep. Cedric Richmond was elected the
Caucus’ 12th LLBC Chairman and Representative
Derrick Shepherd ran successfully for Senator
Boissiere’s unexpired term and was elected to
the Louisiana Senate. Sen. Shepherd’s election
created another vacancy in the House of
Representatives. In June of 2005, Terrell
Harris, of Marrero was elected to fill the
vacancy in House District 87 created by Sen.
Representative Cravins Jr., and Senator Cravins
are the only father and son to serve in the
legislature at the same time.
2006 brought new changes to the caucus as well.
Rep. Arthur Morrell ran for and won election as
the Clerk of Criminal Court in the Parish of
Orleans thereby creating a vacancy in House
District 97. A special election was called, and
his son Jean-Paul “J.P.” Morrell was elected to
fill his father’s unexpired term.
Also in 2006 Senator Donald Cravins, Sr. ran for
Mayor of Opelousas, which he won thereby
creating a vacancy in the Senate. His son, Rep.
Donald Cravins, Jr. ran to fill his father’s
unexpired term. He won that election, and in
2006 was sworn into the office of State Senator
representing the 24th Senate District.
When Senator Donald Cravins, Jr. won the Senate
race, it created a vacancy in House District 40.
That seat was then filled by Elbert Guillory who
took office in 2007.
Rep. Glover ran for Mayor of Shreveport and in
2006 won the election and became the first
African American Mayor of the City of
Shreveport. His election as mayor created
another vacancy in the House, and in March 2007,
Patrick Williams ran and won the seat as State
Representative for House District 4 thereby
filling the unexpired term left by Cedric