John James Maginnis, 66, the publisher of LaPolitics Weekly and LaPolitics.com, and author of “The Last Hayride,” died May 25 in New Orleans.
Born in Baton Rouge on May 17, 1948, he took an interest in politics and journalism at a very early age. As a young man, after school would let out at Sacred Heart, he would fold up editions of The State-Times and deliver them from his bike. While at Catholic High School, he started his first regular column in the school newspaper, The Bear Facts, and later served as editor of The Daily Reveille at Louisiana State University.
John served in the U.S. Navy after college, spending time in the Philippines during the Vietnam War. Upon returning to his beloved Louisiana, John turned to what he did best and landed a reporter’s position with The Catholic Commentator. Soon after he struck out as an independent journalist and publisher, writing three books including “Cross to Bear” and “The Politics of Reform.” He became one of the most recognizable names in Bayou State politics and found publishing successes in the 1970s and 1980s with Gris Gris magazine, Baton Rouge Enterprise and later Louisiana Political Review. The latter gave way to The Fax Weekly in 1993, which underwent a name change, to LaPolitics Weekly, not long after. His syndicated opinion column appeared in 21 newspapers around the state and he was a regular guest on programs like Informed Sources and The Jim Engster Show. He was also a featured speaker for civic groups and organizations across the Gulf Coast.
In 2000, John was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the LSU Manship School of Mass Communications. When complimented on his work, John was fond of saying, “I owe it all to the material.” Those who knew him best, however, knew better. He is survived by his wife Jacqueline Drinkwater Maginnis and his siblings Renee Maginnis Dole of Baton Rouge; Kathleen Maginnis Bierman and her husband Leslie, of Weston, Conn. and Dr. Michael John Maginnis and his wife Mary Kendall, of Baton Rouge. He is also survived by nephews and nieces, including Dr. Michael William Dole and his wife Adrienne of Alexandria; Christopher Todd Dole, Ph.D., and his wife Joy, of Florence, Mass.; Gregory Edward Dole of Houston, Texas; Damian Maginnis Bierman and his wife Winnie of Hong Kong, China; Kendall Ashley Maginnis McCurry and her husband Jamie, of Savannah, Ga.; Stuart Wheaton Maginnis and his wife Brooke, of St. Francisville; Robert Beauclerc Maginnis and his fiancé Sophie, of Baton Rouge; and Brinkley Anne Maginnis, of Baton Rouge.
John was preceded in death by his parents, Edward Joseph Maginnis and Inez Blancq Maginnis.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.