Lether Edward Frazar
(December 1, 1904 –
May 15, 1960) was the
Democratic lieutenant governor of Louisiana under Governor Earl Kemp Long from 1956-1960, who had
earlier, as a member of the Louisiana House of
Representatives from Beauregard
Parish, authored the state teacher
retirement law. Frazar was also the fourth president of
University (then McNeese State College) in Lake
He served at McNeese from 1944-1955, when
he resigned to prepare to become lieutenant governor. He was also
the second president of his alma mater
, the University of Louisiana at
(then Southwestern Louisiana Institute), having
served from 1938-1941.
Early years, education, family
born in DeRidder, the seat of Beauregard Parish, to Moses Edward
Frazar and the former Letha Perkins.
Mrs. Frazar died when
Lether (named for his mother) was twelve days old. Moses Frazar
then married the former Nina May Bland in 1906. There were two
children from the second marriage, Lether Frazer's half-siblings,
Marvin Edward Frazar and Bobbi J. Frazar McGuire.
Frazar was a nephew by marriage — his maternal aunt was Ellen
Perkins Herford — to Drew Dow Herford, a Texas native who
was the first teacher, mayor, and member of the Louisiana House of
Representatives from DeQuincy in northern Calcasieu
Frazar spent many summers during his childhood
at the home of the Herfords.
educated at the then Southwestern Institute in Lafayette having received a bachelor of arts degree in history in 1928. He obtained a Master of Arts from Louisiana State
University in Baton
Rouge in 1932. He also obtained his Ph.D. from Columbia
University in New York
City in 1942.
On August 22
Frazar married the former Lily Hooper (December 12
— November 5
), who was
living in Baton Rouge at the time of her death. She graduated in 1926
from Louisiana Tech
University in Ruston, the seat of Lincoln
At the time, Tech was known as Louisiana
Polytechnic Institute. The Frazars had two daughters, Lily Ann
Frazar and Margaret Brenda Frazar Malone (born 1941) of Baton
a high school principal at Longville (1928–1931) and
Merryville from 1933–1938, both in Beauregard Parish.
1931-1933, he was a principal in Jackson in East Feliciana
Legislative service and OPA
Frazar was elected to the Louisiana House of
in 1936 and served one term until 1940. In
addition to his leadership in the adoption of the Louisiana teacher
retirement law, Frazar worked for the establishment of the T. H. Harris
scholarship foundation, named for a
Louisiana superintendent of education.
the time that he completed his graduate studies at Columbia, he was
also employed in Washington, D.C., by the new Office of Price
Administration, one of the World War
II federal agencies.
Future U.S. Vice President Richard M. Nixon of
California also worked for the OPA at the time that Frazar was
an agency officer.
In 1942, Frazar assumed the position of
Louisiana director of the OPA.
President of two colleges
In 1944, Frazar was named the McNeese college president in Lake
Charles, the seat of Calcasieu Parish. Technically, he was the
first president of the institution because his three predecessors
were known as "deans", not presidents. Under his leadership, many
new buildings and programs were established on the campus of what
had originally been Lake Charles Junior
, which had opened its doors in 1939.
Frazar left McNeese when he was elected lieutenant governor. He
unseated incumbent fellow Democrat C.
E. "Cap" Barham
Ruston in the party primary, 327,679 votes (44.9 pecent) to 195,616
(26.8 percent). Frazar won the position without a majority because
at the time Louisiana did not require Democratic runoff primaries
if there was also no contested primary election for governor at the
same time. Because Earl Long had won his nomination outright in the
gubernatorial primary, Long's ticket-mate Frazar avoided a second
race. Frazar then overwhelmed his Republican
R. Hill, in the general election
held in the spring of 1956. Hill was the only candidate offered by
the Louisiana GOP
in the statewide races that year. Months later, U.S. President
Dwight D. Eisenhower
became the first Republican
candidate to win in Louisiana since Reconstruction.
Frazar came to McNeese with three years experience as the president
of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, then Southwestern
Earl Long loyalist
As lieutenant governor, Frazar was known for his steadfast loyalty
to Earl Long. Barham, however, had often quarreled with certain
policies of Governor Robert F.
and had established the
office of lieutenant governor independently of the governor.
In the-late summer of 1959, Long actually considered resigning as
governor, a move which would have made Frazar the Louisiana chief
executive for some seven months. Under the scenario, Long would
then run for governor himself in the December 1959 Democratic
primary and thereby avoid Louisiana's ban (at the time) on
governors succeeding themselves.
Frazar did not seek a second term as lieutenant governor in the
1959 Democratic primary. Instead Long ran to succeed Frazar as
lieutenant governor, but he fell far short of primary victory. Long
ran on an intraparty "ticket" with former Governor James Albert Noe, Sr.
, with whom Long had once
occasion as acting governor when Long was out of the state, Frazar
signed death warrants for two New Orleans blacks, Edgar Labat and Clifton Poret, who were on
Death Row at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola in
West Feliciana Parish for the
aggravated rape of a white woman on November 12, 1950.
They were scheduled to have been executed on September 20
executions were never implemented -- the night before the new
court-appointed attorneys for the men obtained a stay of execution
from a federal judge. The men declared their innocence, and their
cases remained in the federal courts until Louisiana stopped
executions between 1961 and 1983.
Frazar died the same month that Clarence C. "Taddy" Aycock of Franklin, the seat of St. Mary
Parish, a conservative Democrat
succeeded him as lieutenant governor.
Some four months
later, Earl Long himself was dead after having won the Democratic
nomination in the now defunct Eighth Congressional District.
Frazar was Methodist
. He was a member of
the Southern Regional Education Board, National Education
, the Kiwanis Club
its Blue Key organization, Pi Sigma, Alpha Sigma Phi
, the Masonic lodge
, and the Shriners
Lether and Lily Frazar are interred in Woodlawn Cemetery in his
McNeese State University honored Frazar through the naming of its
Lether Edward Frazar Memorial Library
Frazar Collection, including his correspondence from 1935–1959 is
housed at McNeese. There is also a Lether E. Frazer Memorial Trophy
given annually to the outstanding offensive football
player for the McNeese University
- Numan V. Bartley and Hugh D. Graham, Southern Elections:
County and Precinct Data, 1950-1972, Baton Rouge: Louisiana
State University Press, 1978, p. 122