POLITICAL HISTORY: New Iberia is the new capital!

No, you didn’t read that wrong. And, no, Attorney General Jeff Landry of New Iberia did not somehow become governor through the line of succession and then move government operations westward.

Although, 72 years ago this very week, another Iberia Parish native did attempt to do just that — with some degree of success.

Gov. Jimmie Davis was at the helm at the time, while maintaining a foot in the music industry and movie business. In fact, Davis’ absenteeism became an issue during his first term and he was nowhere to be found on Sept. 18, 1947, as a hurricane inched toward Louisiana.

Luckily, Lt. Gov. J. Emile Verret was around. He turned his seat as president of the Iberia Parish School Board into a successful bid for Louisiana’s no. 2 stateside post, besting none other than Earl Long along the way.

Encouraging everyone in state government to return to their homes, Verret signed a proclamation stating the following: ”Until further notice, the official office of the state will be 215 Julia street, New Iberia, Louisiana.”

That just so happened to be Verret’s own home address, and in a few respects, he did bring much of his office back with him to Iberia Parish to ride out the storm.

The following day, on Sept. 19, 1947, The Daily Iberian blasted this headline to readers, certainly knowing the opportunity might never come again: ”New Iberia Serving As State Capital For the Day!”

 

About Jeremy Alford 201 Articles
Jeremy Alford is an independent journalist and the co-author of LONG SHOT, which recounts Louisiana's 2015 race for governor. His bylines appear regularly in The New York Times and he has served as an on-camera analyst for CNN, FOX News, MSNBC and C-SPAN.

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