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Meet the 2023 Hall of Fame Inductees

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Ben Bagert, Jr. is known as someone who values the dignity of hard work. At Jesuit High School, he excelled in many student and athletic activities. He earned his law degree at Loyola where he was named President of the student body. He began the practice of law in1968

His interest in politics led him to run as a Democrat for State Representative. It was a very tough campaign, but he won at the age of 24. He served in the State House from 1970-1984 and was one of the famed “Young Turks” who worked with E.L. “Bubba” Henry for legislative reform. In 1984 he won a state Senate seat. In the Senate, he worked on opportunities for people suffering from addictive disorders, mental health challenges and those who were developmentally disabled. Bagert ran as a Republican in the 1990 United States Senate race, but withdrew early to prevent David Duke from securing a spot in the runoff election.

He left politics in 1992 to devote himself full time to his law practice. Bagert's ethical standards and legal expertise are widely respected as he has argued cases before numerous courts in several states. He has earned many accolades and awards and is affiliated with many law-related organizations. Bagert has been named a “Top Lawyer” in Louisiana.

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mr. jim carvin

James Desmond Carvin was known as a 'political guru' in Louisiana politics. Born in New York in 1929 to British parents, the family moved back to England during the Depression. At the age of eighteen, he returned to live in the United States, serving in the Air Force during the Korean War using his artistic skills to draw bombing maps.


After the war, he was sent to Lake Charles. After his service was concluded, he started one of the first local advertising agencies here. This led him to what would be his true passion - managing political campaigns. After managing the Gillis Long 1963 Gubernatorial Campaign effort, he moved to New Orleans and partnered with two well-known political veterans, Gus Weil and Ray Strother, to form a political consulting partnership.


Carvin later began his own firm which touted a 75 per cent success record in local, state and national campaigns. He developed campaign strategies for many of Louisiana's leading political figures on both sides of the aisle, including Edwin Edwards' campaigns for Governor and ten consecutive Mayors of New Orleans. Aong with James Chubbuck and Ed Renwick, he was instrumental in developing the Institute of Politics at Loyola University.


This 'Dean of Louisiana Politics' continued his political work even through a debilitating stroke until his death in 2009. It was written that he was “a winner till the end.”

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Louis Charbonnet III was born in 1939 in New Orleans' Historic Treme Neighborhood, the oldest neighborhood of “Free People of Color” in the United States. A graduate of Houston's Commonwealth College of Science, Charbonnet also studied at Loyola University's City College and Southern University. He received the CFSP certification in 2012.


After serving in the Army, Charbonnet returned to New Orleans to work with his father in the construction business and at the family funeral home. Always having a heart for the needs of his community, he ran for and won the Louisiana State Representative seat for the 96th District. He served in this office from 1970-1984. During his legislative service, Charbonnet distinguished himself as a floor leader for Governors Edwin Edwards and Dave Treen, and also for New Orleans Mayors Moon Landrieu and Ernest Morial. In addition, he was the legislative coordinator for the city of New Orleans for Mayor Sydney Barthelemy.


After retiring from the political arena, he devoted himself to his family's funeral business where, as the fourth-generation co-owner and CEO, he built it into the world-famous Charbonnet Labat Glapion Funeral Home. Under his guidance, the funeral home expanded to other locations and began a variety of related businesses, including a French Quarter buggy business.


His 54 years of unwavering dedication have earned him many honors. He considers his greatest honor being recognized as the Robert H. Miller Professional of the Year by the National Funeral Directors and Mortician Association. He is currently guiding the fifth generation of his family, including daughter Kim, to operate his family's legendary New Orleans business.

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Mitch Landrieu had a successful law practice in New Orleans where he became known as an expert reformer. He then served sixteen years in the state legislature and two terms as Lieutenant Governor. He then ran for Mayor of New Orleans, was elected and served two terms from 2010 to 2018.


When he took office, New Orleans was still recovering from Hurricane Katrina and in the midst of the BP oil spill. Landrieu fast-tracked over 100 projects and secured billions in federal funding to help in the city's recovery. In 2015, Landrieu was named “Public Official of the Year” for his efforts. In 2016, he was voted “America's Top Turnaround Mayor” in a Politico survey of mayors. He served as the President of the US Conference of mayors.


Landrieu gained national prominence for his decision to remove four Confederate statues from New Orleans. This earned him the prestigious John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. He authored a book about his personal journey confronting racism, which became a New York Times bestseller, “In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History."

He currently serves as Senior Advisor to the President and White House Infrastructure Coordinator. He is also responsible for coordinating the implementation of the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. He and his wife Cheryl live in New Orleans, where they raised their five children.

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the hon. Marc morial


New Orleans native, Marc Morial, has been described as one of the few national leaders to possess “street smarts” and boardroom savvy”. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Economics and African American Studies. Then, after earning a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, he began an active, high-profile law practice in New Orleans. Morial served as a State Senator from 1992-1994. Following in his father's footsteps, he successfully ran for Mayor of New Orleans in 1994 and served until 2002.


Morial currently serves as the President and CEO of the National Urban League, the nation's largest historic civil rights and advocacy organization. He hosts a weekly syndicated show and authors a weekly opinion column which reaches hundreds of thousands. As a published author, his leadership book, “Gumbo Coalition: 10 Leadership Lessons that Help You Inspire, Unite and Achieve,” has been widely acclaimed.

He has received numerous awards and honors including being named by Ebony magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Black Americans; named by Non-Profit Times as one of the Top 50 Non-Profit Leaders; one of the Top 100 Most Influential Black Lawyers in America; and has been inducted into the Civil Rights Walk of Fame in Atlanta, GA.

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the hon. BEN W. NEVERS


Ben W. Nevers is a 1964 graduate of Bogalusa High School, a 1969 graduate of Louisiana Technical College - Sullivan Campus and a Veteran of the United States Army. In 1980, he founded Nevers Electrical Contracting Company. His was elected to the Bogalusa School Board in 1987 and served until 1994. Nevers was elected to a term in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1999-2003. He then served in the State Senate, District 12, from 2004-2016.


As a Senator, he chaired many committees, including Labor and Industrial Relations, Education, Judiciary, and the Child Poverty Commission. In 2016, Nevers was chosen by Governor John Bel Edwards to lead his gubernatorial campaign transition team, and then to serve as his Chief of Staff. He served in this position until February 2017. He has since chaired the Governor's Advisory Council on Rural Revitalization and Southeast Louisiana Pregnancy Center for Woman and Children.


Among his numerous awards are Southeastern Louisiana University Honorary Doctor of Humanities Degree, induction into the AFL-CIO Hall of Fame and the Russell B. Long Legislative Service Award. He is a member of many associations including the American Legion, Gideons International and the Louisiana Cattlemen's 

Association. He and his wife, Ann, reside in Bogalusa and have three children.

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Suzanne Haik Terrell attended Newcomb College of Tulane University where she received her Bachelor of Arts. She operated a medical equipment business for several years and then earned her Juris Doctorate from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. During private law practice she focused on business litigation and administrative law. At this time, she became active in the political arena, volunteering to lobby on medical issues in the legislature. 

Living in New Orleans in 1993 with her husband, Dr. W. Lee Terrell, and their three children, Ms. Terrell won a term on the New Orleans City Council. She won a second term with no opposition. During her tenure, she helped establish “Teen Court,” a program for juvenile first offenders, and she was instrumental in creating a robust government access channel known as New Orleans Access Television.


In 1999 Suzanne Terrell became the first Republican woman to be elected to statewide office in Louisiana. As the Commissioner of Elections, her hard work saw the Louisiana election system recognized as the Best Voter Registration System in the South and, indeed in the whole country. Terrell streamlined department operations and advocated for the merging of her office with the Secretary of State. She was successful in this endeavor, and when her term ended in 2004, the office of Commissioner of Elections was abolished in Louisiana.

Terrell was then appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Economic Development by President George W. Bush during the aftermath of Katrina. She later became Senior Advisor and Director of Outreach for the Department of Commerce, EDA and served as the agency's Capitol Hill liaison. During her time there, she worked on efforts to revitalize the Gulf Coast.


After this service, Terrell returned to New Orleans and launched the law firm of Hangartner, Rydberg and Terrell. She continues to practice law and serve her community through non-profit endeavors.

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When volunteerism is discussed in Louisiana, the name of Roger F. Villere, Jr. of Metairie must be near the top of the list. His commitment to family and community are unmatched. Villere attended the University of New Orleans, is a fellow of the Loyola Institute of Politics and the UNO Government Leadership Institute. He established Villere's Florist in 1969 and has earned many awards and designed for a number of high-profile persons. He has played a leadership role and continues leading in the local business community.


Villere has served in community positions including the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Council, the East Jefferson Council of the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, the American Academy of Florists and the Louisiana State Florist Association. Villere has also been a part of and led numerous community programs and organizations. Among them are the Alliance for Good Government, Jaycees International, the LaFreniere Kiwanis Club, the East Jefferson Hospital Foundation and the Women's New Life Center.


His service extends beyond his community. Villere was elected Chairman of the Republican Party of Louisiana in 2004, serving through 2018. During his tenure as Chairman, the Republican Party of Louisiana made historic gains across the board. He has attended five Republican National Conventions and has served as an RNC Committeeman and a member of the Rules Committee. In 2011 he was elected to the RNC Executive Committee and served as Vice Chairman in 2012. Villere has received numerous awards, including a Presidential Appointment and a number of Congressional Appointments.


He and his wife, Donna, have three sons, four granddaughters and three great-grandchildren. He will leave a legacy of selfless service.

Political Family of Officeholders Award
the bagneris family


Louisianans are well aware of two brothers who worked from humble beginnings to earn positions of prominence in government. Those would be former Governor and U.S. Senator Huey P. Long and former Governor and U.S. Congressman Earl K. Long.


A modern family in Louisiana politics with three hard-working brothers will be honored with the 2023 Political Family of Officeholders Award. Brothers John, Dennis and Michael Bagneris have made their marks on the Louisiana political landscape.


JOHN BANGERIS worked his way through Southern University and became chairman of Tremé Community Improvement Association which sought better housing and rent control for neighborhood residents. He was elected State Representative for District 100 in 2016.


DENNIS BAGNERIS, a graduate of Xavier University and Tulane Law School, was elected District 3 state senator in 1984 and ran unopposed three more times before winning the Louisiana Fourth District Court of Appeal judgeship in 1999. Support of state teachers was a benchmark of his tenure.  


MICHAEL BAGNERIS, a graduate of Yale University and Tulane Law School, served as executive counsel to New Orleans Mayor Ernest “Dutch” Morial. He would later be elected judge in Orleans Parish Civil District Court where he served 20 years and has remained active as a judicial educator through lectures and committee posts.

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