LaHistory: An Unfriendly Month For Governors

Credit: KnowLouisiana.org, State Library of Louisiana.

Since 1828 there have been seven Louisiana governors who have passed away during the month of October, either while in office or later in private life.

The past week or so actually marks the death of three: Thomas Bolling Robertson (Oct. 5, 1828), Pierre Auguste Charles Bourguignon Derbigny (Oct. 6, 1829) and Henry L. Fuqua (Oct. 11, 1926).

Robertson was Louisiana’s third governor. He died at the age of 48, just four years after his one and only term ended. He went on a search for remedies for an ongoing illness and the healing springs of Virginia, where he was born and his parents resided, sounded promising. Unfortunately, that trip was his last. He is buried in West Virginia.

The same year that Robertson died, Derbigny was elected as Louisiana’s sixth governor. The anti-Jackson, French-born National Republican was 10 months into his single term when he was thrown from a horse-drawn carriage. The head injury he sustained was too much, though, and he died three days later in Gretna. Derbigny is buried in New Orleans.

Fuqua, unlike Robertson and Derbigny, was born in the state that he governed. He was elected in 1924, beating both Lt. Gov. Hewitt Bouanchaud and Huey P. Long in the Democratic primary. He died suddenly halfway through his term at 61, inside what was then the “executive mansion.” He’s buried in Baton Rouge.

Four other governors have passed away during the month of October, including Louis A. Wiltz (Oct. 16, 1881), James A. Noe (Oct. 18, 1976), Henry S. Thibodaux (Oct. 24, 1827) and Dave Treen (Oct. 29, 2009)

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