Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Drauzin Angelle

Drauzin Angelle (December 25, 1871 - December 19, 1958) was a farmer and a politician in St. Martin Parish in south Louisiana. As the chief deputy sheriff from 1924 until his death, Angelle became a Democratic power broker in his largely rural sugar-producing parish.

Angelle was born in the Fifth Ward of St. Martin Parish to Jean-Baptiste Angelle and the former Arthemise Dupuis (pronounced DEW PWEE). He was twice married. With the former Aminth Guidry, he had a daughter, Mozella. He wed the former Agnes Guidry on March 27, 1894, and they had eight children, including Robert Joseph "Bob" Angelle (1896-1979), who would serve as mayor of Breaux Bridge, a St. Martin Parish community, and in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1934-1964. He was Speaker of the House from 1957-1960.

Drauzin Angelle's only elected position was as a constable of the Fifth Ward, a position that he held from 1914-1924, when he became the chief deputy under Sheriff Wade O. Martin, Sr., and continued in that capacity after Martin was elected to the Louisiana Public Service Commission in 1932. Angelle remained chief deputy under a number of sheriffs. The sheriffs ran for reelection every four years, but Angelle as the power behind the sheriff remained chief deputy throughout three decades. Angelle was known as the organizer of "The Old Faction" and the "Father of the Fifth Ward".

Angelle was tied to the Long faction of Louisiana politics, as was Sheriff Martin, Sr. However, in the late 1950s, Wade O. Martin, Jr., the Louisiana secretary of state quarreled with Governor Earl Kemp Long, who obtained legislative passage of bills to strip Martin, Jr., of much of the jurisdiction of his office. Drauzin Angelle died about the time of the Long-Martin rivalry.

He is interred in St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Cecilia, a town in northern St. Martin Parish.

[edit] References

  • "Drauzin Angelle", A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography, Vol. 1 (1988), p. 15

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