1998 Louisiana Legends Honorees »»»
Victor Bussie was born in Montrose, Louisiana and moved to Shreveport in 1931 where he attended public schools. His labor career began when he was elected President of the Shreveport Fire Fighters Association in 1946. In 1947, he was elected President of the Shreveport Central Trades and Labor Council and Vice President of the Louisiana Federation of Labor (AFL) and served in these positions until 1956. Mr. Bussie was first elected President of the Louisiana AFL-CIO in 1956 and served in this capacity for forty-one years. He retired last year from this position. Mr. Bussie also recently retired as chairman of the Louisiana Public Facilities Authority, after serving for twenty-five years since its inception. Mr. Bussie has served on countless boards, committee's and advisory panels on both a national and local level.Clyde Conne
Clyde Connell was born in Belcher, Louisiana and has worked and lived in Louisiana all of her 97 years. Developing her art out of the nature of her surroundings, Mrs. Connell explores the themes of communication, pathways, and habitats in a variety of sculptural and collage works. During a trip to New York for an annual church conference, Ms. Connell first experienced the development of surrealism and abstract expressionism and modern concepts of use of materials and thought. She began in the late 60's and into the 70's experimenting and producing collage work. Guardian Post III, 1976, was one of the works in her first series. She used the themes of gates and posts as metaphors to show the way, to enlighten, to inform. The person she is, the objects she creates, the moral beliefs she shares, and the land she lives on integrates into one common strong impact on the individual seeing her work or visiting with her in her studio. She has had numerous solo and group exhibits across the country.Blaine Kern
When letters addressed simply to "Mr. Mardi Gras" arrive at the New Orleans post office, they are routinely routed to Blaine Kern. Blaine Kern Artists was founded in 1947, and has grown from one float in one Mardi Gras parade to become the largest float building company in the world today. Mr. Kern distinguished himself as a talented artist as early as the second grade in Algiers, across the Mississippi from New Orleans' French Quarter. At 19, his talents caught the eye of Dr. Henry LaRocca, the Captain of the Krewe of Alla, the biggest parading organization on the West Bank. After finishing the mural, Mr. Kern was contracted to design and build his first carnival parade, and his talents were rewarded with offers that began pouring in. Mr. Kern received an offer from Walt Disney, but his love for New Orleans and his passion to expand his company, one float and parade at a time, overcame this attractive offer. Today, Blaine Kern and his Blaine Kern Artists are regarded as the most talented creators of carnival art in the world.Allen Toussaint
Allen Toussaint is one of America's greatest musical treasures. Singer, pianist, songwriter, arranger and producer -- the New Orleans native has been making music for nearly forty years. His first career break came at age seventeen when he was hired by Dave Bartholomew to play the piano parts for a Fats Domino recording session when the "Fat Man" was on the road. Some of his best known hits penned include Ernie K-Doe's "Mother-in-Law"; Lee Dorsey's "Working in the Coalmine"; and Glen Campbell's "Southern Nights," which won the Country Music Association's Song of the Year. Mr. Toussaint stayed away from the performing stage for most of his musical career because he feels more comfortable writing and creating for others, but when he does come out, he comes out with a bang... bringing the definable New Orleans sound to the world in the best light possible. Mr. Toussaint recently released his first full length national release in two decades, entitled Connected. He was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.Gov. John McKeithen
John Julian McKeithen was born in 1918 in Grayson, Louisiana. He attended public schools in his home parish of Caldwell. Shortly after graduation from LSU in 1942, Mr. McKeithen enlisted in the Army and served in World War II. After ending is military service in 1945, Mr. McKeithen opened a law practice. He was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1948. In 1954, McKeithen began the first of his two terms with the Public Service Commission. In 1962, McKeithen won the Democratic nomination for Governor and is remembered for his folksy campaign phrase, "Won't you help me?" On May 13, 1964, John McKeithen was inaugurated Governor of Louisiana. During his first administration, he championed the passage of two constitutional amendments: the first authorized the construction of the Superdome in New Orleans; the second permitted Governors to serve consecutive terms. McKeithen easily won a second term as Governor. In 1972, Mr. McKeithen returned to his law firm in Columbia, where he continues to live and work.