|Intro||Governor of Louisiana, 1924-1926|
|A.K.A.||Henry Luse Fuqua|
|From||United States of America|
|Birth||8 November 1865, Baton Rouge|
11 October 1926, Baton Rouge
(aged 60 years)
Henry Luse Fuqua, Sr. (November 8, 1865 – October 11, 1926), was a Baton Rouge businessman and, for his last two and a half years, a Governor of Louisiana. During 1924, Fuqua defeated both Huey Pierce Long, Jr., and former Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives Hewitt Leonidas Bouanchaud to succeed John M. Parker in the state’s governorship. He died halfway into his term, and Lieutenant Governor Oramel H. Simpson took over the top post.
Fuqua was born in Baton Rouge to James Overton Fuqua and the former Jeanette Fowles. He was educated at Magruder’s Collegiate Institute and Louisiana State University, both in Baton Rouge. On June 4, 1890, Fuqua married the former Marie Laure Matta (1866–1968), and they had two children, Matta Fuqua Scott (1891-1980), James Overton Fuqua (1893-1900), and Henry L. Fuqua, Jr. (1905-1992).
Prior to his entry into politics, Fuqua was the assistant to construction engineers of the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad. He was later a clerk and traveling salesman. He owned and operated his Fuqua Hardware Company in Baton Rouge from 1883 to 1922.
In 1916, Fuqua became the warden of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola in West Feliciana Parish north of Baton Rouge. He held the position until he became governor.
As warden, he terminated most of the security officers at the penitentiary and instead placed selected inmate trusty guards on duty, primarily as an economic measure but also to encourage cohesion among the inmates. Fuqua abolished stripes on convict uniforms. The former prison in Baton Rouge was sold to the city and dismantled.
In 1922, a flood ruined the crops of numerous plantations about Angola for the third time in nearly a decade. The owners thereafter agreed to sell land to expand the prison. In a series of eight purchases over some eighteen months, Fuqua arranged the purchase of 10,000 acres (40 km²) at approximately $13 per acre. The acquisitions brought the prison to its present size of 18,000 acres (73 km²).
Fuqua as governor
Andrew R. Johnson, who since 1916 had been a Louisiana state senator, was urged to run for governor in 1924. Nevertheless, he declined, and Fuqua squared off against Long and Bouanchaud. The state Senate formed a committee of five to arrange Fuqua’s inauguration as governor in 1924. These five officials included future Lieutenant Governor Coleman Lindsey of Minden in Webster Parish in northwestern Louisiana, who was affiliated with Huey Long’s populist movement.
Fuqua brought considerable managerial skill to the governor’s office, but his lack of political expertise hampered his efforts during his brief term. He is remembered for his interest in levee and road construction, as well as for his fight against the resurgent Ku Klux Klan, which John Parker had sought (and largely failed) to counter. The Klan had initially appeared in the year of Fuqua’s birth, not in Louisiana, but in Pulaski, Tennessee.
During Fuqua’s time in the governor’s mansion, Louisiana’s anti-KKK laws imposed harsh penalties upon anyone wearing a mask or to anyone committing a crime while masked. An exception had to be made for the popular masquerade parties popular during the celebration of Mardi Gras.
As well as cracking down on the Klan, Fuqua worked to increase the budget for his alma mater, LSU, and to construct more buildings on the new campus in southern Baton Rouge. In a segregated society, he also supported the expansion of the African American institution of higher education, Southern University in Baton Rouge.
Other elements of his governorship were less successful. He ran into trouble when he awarded the franchise to build a toll bridge from east New Orleans to Slidell across Lake Pontchartrain to a private firm, the Watson-Williams syndicate, represented by former Governor Jared Y. Sanders, Sr. Huey Long used this controversial decision in his successful campaign for governor in 1928, when he defeated both Fuqua’s successor Simpson and U.S. Representative Riley J. Wilson from north Louisiana.
Fuqua was the last governor to have won the office on the strength of the New Orleans Choctaw Club political machine.
Fuqua appointed State Representative J. Frank Colbert of Webster Parish to the Louisiana Tax Commission. Colbert was later the mayor of Minden.
Fuqua was Episcopalian. He died in Baton Rouge and was initially interred in Magnolia Cemetery, but his remains were later relocated to Roselawn Cemetery in Baton Rouge. Some sources spell Fuqua’s middle name as “Luce”. However, the grave marker is spelled “Luse”.
The original Fuqua family traces it ancestry back to William Fouquet, a Huguenot, who settled in Virginia in the 17th century to escape religious persecution. Fuqua is the Anglicized version of the original French name, Fouquet.