Surviving Delegates to CC/73 Gather to Celebrate La. Constitution of 1974
Watch one-hour special on Constitutional Convention at http://video.lpb.org/video/2365138665/.
The Louisiana Constitutional Convention of 1973, or CC/73 as it was called, was in session from late 1972 to early 1974. After months of research, hard work, controversy, and compromise, the delegates agreed upon a proposed new state constitution, which was submitted to the voters and ratified by them in April 1974. That constitution, which is still in effect, is called the Louisiana Constitution of 1974.
Of the original 132 delegates to the convention, only about 40 are still alive. The convention’s chairman, former House Speaker Bubba Henry, has been working to locate those surviving delegates, who are being invited to a reunion at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, at the World
War II Museum in New Orleans.
In late November, about 25 of the former delegates gathered at the LSU School of Journalism for the taping of a one-hour television special on CC/73. The eight panelists on the program were former Gov. Edwin Edwards, who asked the legislature to call the convention; and former Gov. Buddy Roemer, Senate President John Alario, former House Speaker Bubba Henry, Federal Court of Appeal Judge Jim Dennis, former Reps. Johnny Jackson and Woody Jenkins, and Mary Zervigon, all of whom served as delegates. Louisiana Public Broadcasting president Beth Courtney served as master of ceremonies.
The one-hour special will air statewide on LPB at a time TBA. However, a six-minute clip from the program can be viewed at www.TheAdvocate.com. Search for Constitutional Convention.
During the one-hour program and another half hour of discussion, which was not part of the televised program, the delegates debated the effect of the constitution and whether a new constitution is needed.
Only Senate President John Alario expressed a desire to undertake major constitutional reform and perhaps a convention. Other former delegates agreed that specific articles could be reformed without opening up the entire constitution for debate.
Former Gov. Edwards said the time is not right for another convention because the mood is too conservative, and he fears the results.
The delegates agreed that the most significant part of the new Louisiana Constitution is the Declaration of Rights, which broke new ground is the protection of individual liberty. For a reprint of an article on the Declaration of Rights from the Loyola Law Review, go to www.woodyjenkins.com.