John J. McKeithen


John J. McKeithen portrait
  • Born: Grayson, Louisiana, 1918
  • Education: High Point College, Louisiana State University, Louisiana State University Law Center
  • Career: State Representative, Public Service Commissioner, Interstate Oil compact Commission Chairman, Governor, Lawyer, Planter, LSU Board of Supervisors
  • Died: Columbia, Louisiana, 1999

John McKeithen was a member of Clarks Lodge no. 382. He was initiated an Entered Apprentice in June 1947, passed to the degree of Fellowcraft in August 1947, and was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason in November 1947.

McKeithen began his professional career practicing law in Columbia, Louisiana. After three years of private practice, McKeithen began his political career as a state Representative from 1947 to 1952. In 1954, he was elected to serve as Public Service Commissioner and won reelection in 1960.

As governor, McKeithen was a reformer who campaigned on a promise to clean up Baton Rouge. During his first term, he promoted a code of ethics, extended civil services, had the state's assets inventoried, and promoted Louisiana nationally as a good place for business and industry. In an effort to ease racial tension, he also formed a biracial Commission on Human Relations. McKeithen's first administration supported two constitutional amendments which have profoundly affected the state. The first was approval for the construction of the Superdome, and the second was an amendment allowing governors to serve two consecutive terms.

During his second term, McKeithen focused on reforming the Department of Corrections, insurance for state employees, and increased highway construction. McKeithen returned to Caldwell Parish after his second term, where he practiced law and ran an oil and gas exploration company. In 1983, he was appointed to serve on LSU's Board of Supervisors. McKeithen died in his hometown of Columbia in 1999.

Click on thumbnails below to view a full-size image:

Member card, Clarks Lodge No. 382

Master Mason, Clarks Lodge No. 382, Work & Returns, 1947

Deceased, Clarks Lodge No. 382, Grand Lodge Past Proceedings, 2000