Charles Leblanc was born January 6, 1925 and established a practice with Tom Guzzetta in Thibodaux and South Lafourche in the early 1950’s. He went on to become Thibodaux City Judge from 1961 to 1966, was elected to the Thibodaux City Council in 1975, and his fellow council members voted him president.
He was a long time attorney for the Bayou Lafourche Fresh Water District, which supplies Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes their water needs. He died on September 4, 2008, but he lived to swear in his son, John E. Leblanc as Lafourche Parish District Judge, Division “A” and presented him the gavel he had used as City Judge.
We became friends when I started my new job as Deputy Assessor in 1953.
Dave Robichaux was a former Lafourche Assessor who found great success as an oil lease broker. He had bought the old Citizens Bank building across the street from the Court House, renamed it the Oil and Gas building and Charlie and I often spent time with him discussing politics.
Most people of wealth enjoy football, baseball or basketball. Dave’s game was politics and he played it hard.
In 1954 Leonard Toups, a highly respected insurance agent and former State Representative, was running for Mayor of Thibodaux. In 1952 Robichaux had helped defeat him in his bid for State Senator, even having me write a campaign song emphasizing criticisms the Times-Picayune had made against Governor Earl Long which involved Mr. Toups.
This time, since Toups was fighting his old party, he was strongly supported by Robichaux who asked attorney Charles Leblanc and me to help him tape record speeches and write a campaign theme song.
“The enemy of my enemy is my friend”, and, “political alliances are built on sand”, it has been said.
Charlie and I volunteered our services and sometimes stayed at Leonard’s house until 2 a.m. recording his speeches. Dot and I had been married less than a year and Mr. Toups invited us to dinner, after which, joined by Charlie, we retired to the study and Dot and Belle Toups talked, sipped a glass of wine and watched T.V.
By nine p.m. we realized we needed a 2-tract recorder. KTIB, which only operated daytime, had one. I had the key and permission to use it. Mr. Toup’s theme was “Let’s Be Free” (don’t ask), so Charlie and I wrote it accordingly.
Just imagine this scene: Leonard Toups holding the mike and controls; me with my guitar singing to the tune of Jingle Bells, “Let’s be free, Let’s be free, vote for number 3”; Charlie harmonizing and jingling a hand full of coins into the mike to signifying bells. Definitely not Rogers and Hammerstein, but our candidate played it on radio and sound trucks. It must not have been bad enough to harm him because he won and become a great Mayor.
Suddenly Charlie looked at his watch, it was 2 a.m. and we thought about Dot, who was only 19 and not yet adjusted to my weird life. She met us at the door crying and scared. What I didn’t know was that Mrs. Toups was under strict doctor’s care and had to be in bed by 10.
According to Dot, at ten sharp, Mrs. Toups bid her a gracious good night and was off to bed. It was a big house and Dot did not know where the bathroom was, how to get around or if the doors were locked or not. Charlie and I remembered it as a fun night. Dot does not!
All parents strive to see their children do better, which is natural. Charlie was a City Judge. His son John is a District Judge, one step up. I was a high school graduate who got elected Assessor, but my son Mike was an attorney, ADA, and Assessor.
I guess Charlie and I succeeded. I do so miss them both.
A special thanks to Thibodaux Mayor Tommy Eschete who emailed me pictures of former mayors and I can’t even vote for him, which indicates he’s a good guy.
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Posted on Wed, July 22, 2015
by The Lafourche Gazette