NATCHITOCHES, La. (AP) An automobile accident has claimed the life of former state Rep. Jimmy Long Sr.
Natchitoches Police Det. John Greely confirmed Long, of Natchitoches, died as a result of injuries sustained in an accident Tuesday near his home. Long was 84.
Greely said a Jeep Wrangler traveling west on University Parkway hit Long's car shortly before noon as he pulled out of a private driveway. Greely said the driver of the Jeep was 16-years-old. He did not know if he was cited in the crash.
Long also served since 2001 as a member of the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System. He also served eight terms in the Louisiana House, from 1968-2000, and worked as a grocer and cattleman.
From the Office of the Governor:
Gov. Edwards issued the following statement on the passing of longtime public servant Rep. Jimmy Long Sr.:
"As a longtime member of the Louisiana House of Representatives and the University of Louisiana Board of Supervisors, Rep. Jimmy Long, Sr. dedicated his life to public service and embodied the hardworking spirit of Louisiana. A trailblazer in education, Rep. Long was chair of the House Education Committee and one of the original founders of the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts. He touched the lives of countless children and families across our state and his legacy will be felt for generations. Donna and I join the people of Louisiana in mourning Rep. Long’s passing and send our prayers to his family during this time."
Press Release from NSU:
Jimmy D. Long, Sr., a leader in state government for nearly a half-century, was killed in a two-vehicle accident Tuesday afternoon near his home on University Parkway in Natchitoches.
Funeral arrangements for the long-time legislator and higher education board member are under the direction of Blanchard St. Denis Funeral Home and were incomplete late Tuesday.
Long, 84, is the brother of current Senate President Pro Tem Gerald Long of Natchitoches. Before his appointment in 2001 to the Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana System, Jimmy Long served eight consecutive terms in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1968 to 2000.
He has served two terms as chairman of the Board of Supervisors, which is the governing board for Northwestern State University and eight other universities across the state. It is the largest higher education system in Louisiana with more than 89,000 students.
Long’s 32-year tenure in the legislature was one of the longest in the state’s history, and colleagues recognized him with a resolution during his last term designating him as “Dean of the Legislature.”
Chairman of the House Education Committee for 16 years and a long-time member of the Southern Regional Education Board, Long was recognized as a leading authority in Louisiana and throughout the South on education-related legislation.
He introduced legislation to establish the Louisiana Scholars’ College at Northwestern and was also an author of the bill to create the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts in Natchitoches.
Northwestern president Dr. Jim Henderson said, “Mr. Jimmy Long’s tragic death has created a deep sense of sorrow at Northwestern State University, which has been enhanced and enriched for nearly 50 years by his remarkable vision and leadership.”
Henderson said, “Tonia and I, who have treasured our close friendship with Mr. Jimmy and Ms. Dot, are joined by the entire Northwestern family of students, faculty, staff and students in extending our condolences and prayers to his wife, son, grandchildren and other members of the Long family.”
Dr. Steve Horton, director of the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts, said, “He was the most selfless man I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Without his vision and forward-minded dedication to education in Louisiana, I am certain that the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts would not be positioned as it is in the country. His influence on our school will always be remembered.”
Dr. Dan Reneau, president of the University of Louisiana System and former president of Louisiana Tech University, said Long’s “steadfast commitment to the board and to higher education will be missed. He was passionate about Northwestern State University, which was only a stone’s throw from his home.”
He added, “Mr. Long and I formed a friendship during my tenure as Louisiana Tech’s president, and I share my deepest condolences with Ms. Dot, Jimmy Long, Jr., and all those who loved him.”
Cited by The Times of Shreveport as one of the “100 Most Influential People of the Century in Northwest Louisiana, Long is a member of the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame and the Northwestern Long Purple Line Hall of Distinction.
He was a lifelong business leader and cattleman in Natchitoches who received numerous other honors for his leadership in civic, professional and church activities.