|Name||J. D. DeBlieux|
Baton Rouge, Louisiana , United States
|| September 12, 1912
|Died||March 13, 2005
Oct 31, 2008 02:33pm
|Info||Joseph David DeBlieux, known as J.D. DeBlieux (September 12, 1912 - March 13, 2005), was a Democratic member of the Louisiana State Senate who represented East Baton Rouge Parish from 1956-1960 and again from 1964-1976. DeBlieux (pronounced like the letter "W") is remembered as a crusader for civil rights in Louisiana politics during the latter years of the era of segregation. During the New Orleans school desegregation crisis of 1959-1960, DeBlieux chaired the Louisiana State Advisory Committee to the newly-established United States Civil Rights Commission. He argued for "equal rights for all", as the American South complied with provisons of the United States Supreme Court's 1954 decision, Brown v. Board of Education. |
DeBlieux was a successful Baton Rouge attorney. From 1949-1950, he was an officer of the Baton Rouge American Legion post.In 1952, DeBlieux ran for the state Senate but was defeated by Charles F. Duchein. It was an anti-Long year in Louisiana, with Robert F. Kennon of Minden, the seat of Webster Parish in northwestern Louisiana winning the governorship. DeBlieux rebounded to win the seat in 1956, when Earl Kemp Long made his comeback for a second full term as governor.
In 1966, midway in his second term in the state Senate, DeBlieux waged a fruitless intraparty challenge to U.S. Senator Allen J. Ellender of Houma, the seat of Terrebonne Parish in south Louisiana. While DeBlieux challenged the entrenched incumbent from the political left, another candidate, Troyce E. Guice, a conservative businessman from Ferriday in Concordia Parish in eastern Louisiana, ran to Ellender's right. Ellender, with nearly three-fourths of the votes cast, defeated both DeBlieux and Guice and was then unopposed in the November 8 general election for the last of his six Senate terms.
DeBlieux was unseated in the 1975 elections, the first held in Louisiana under the jungle primary format, by fellow Democrat Thomas H. Hudson of Baton Rouge. In 1976, shortly after he had left the state Senate, DeBlieux waged a challenge to freshman Republican U.S. Representative W. Henson Moore, III, of Baton Rouge in the Louisiana 6th Congressional District. Moore was an easy winner even though DeBlieux's candidate for U.S. President, Jimmy Carter of Georgia won Louisiana's then ten electoral votes. Moore received 99,780 viotes (65.2 percent) to DeBlieux's 53,212 (34.8 percent) and won majorities in all precincts in the district except for two boxes in West Feliciana Parish. Moore was the first Louisana Republican congressional candidate in modern history to run ahead of the presidential electors in the state. Even in areas where the Carter-Mondale ticket won handily, DeBlieux still trailed.The Sixth District did not return to its Democratic moorings until May 3, 2008, when State Representative Don Cazayoux of New Roads in Pointe Coupee Parish defeated Republican former State Representative Woody Jenkins in a special election created by a resignation.
DeBlieux was a former recipient of the "Racial Justice Award" given by the Baton Rouge chapter of the Young Women's Christian Association. On April 2, 2008, DeBlieux was, along with former Judge and 1952 gubernatorial candidate Carlos Spaht and former Register of the State Lands Ellen Bryan Moore, honored posthumously by the annual Louisiana Governor's Prayer Breakfast. He is interred in Baton Rouge.