Richard Ieyoub dead at 78

Published 9:28 am Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Richard Ieyoub, a Lake Charles native who served as Louisiana attorney general for more than a decade, has died at age 78.

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Ieyoub’s death during his State of the State address on Monday to kick off the 2023 legislative session. He reportedly died in his sleep after experiencing complications related to surgery.

“Richard Ieyoub was widely respected,” said Calcasieu Parish District Attorney Stephen Dwight in a statement to the American Press. “He served not only our parish well, but our state and the strides he made for the people of Louisiana are unparalleled. He had a passion for public service and his legal career shows that. My heart goes out to the Ieyoub family during this time.”

Ieyoub received his Bachelor of Arts degree in history from McNeese State University in 1968 and his Juris Doctor degree from Louisiana State University in 1972.

He served as a special prosecutor in the criminal division of the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office for three years and then returned to Lake Charles to enter private practice — with an emphasis on civil and criminal litigation — for nine years. Ieyoub was elected to two terms as Calcasieu Parish District Attorney from 1984-1990.

During his tenure, he served as president of the both the Louisiana District Attorney’s Association and the National District Attorney’s Association. As leader of the national group, he assisted the administration of President George H.W. Bush pass the Crime Bill of 1991, which provided funding for law enforcement agencies throughout the nation and allowed for the hiring of 100,000 additional police officers. For his work on this bill, Ieyoub was recognized by Bush as an “All American Hero” and was appointed to the National Commission on Model State Drug Laws.

He was elected to serve three terms as Louisiana Attorney General from 1991-2004 — and during his first run, became the first Louisiana candidate to get a million votes. While attorney general he successfully settled the state’s lawsuit against Texaco for failure to pay oil royalties for state-leased land that resulted in the payment of $250 million by Texaco.

After the Columbine school shootings in 1999, his office created a CDROM for Louisiana schools to use for crisis planning and prevention. Other states adopted it.

He also led Louisiana’s lawsuit against the tobacco companies to recover monies expended by the state Medicaid program for the treatment of smoking-related diseases. Louisiana received $4.6 billion in the settlement of this case and the tobacco companies were forced to stop cigarette advertisements specifically geared to appeal to minors.

“I love my state,” Ieyoub told the American Press during a 2003 interview. “I love the people of my state, and if I can make it a better place … if I can touch people’s lives and make our people safer, happier and more productive, then my life and my mission as … a human being will have meaning and purpose.”

Following his stent as attorney general, Ieyoub returned to private practice.

In 2016, he was appointed by Edwards to serve as Louisiana’s Commissioner of Conservation. In this role, Ieyoub served as the state’s chief regulator of the oil and gas industry and exercises jurisdiction over all of the natural resources of the state not within the jurisdiction of other state departments or agencies.

He was also inducted into the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame the same year.

“I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my dear friend Richard,” Edwards said Monday. “Not only was he a devoted husband, father and grandfather, but he cared about making life better for everyone in the state he was proud to call home. He leaves behind a long legacy of public service that has left an indelible impact on our state and nation. This is a tremendous loss for his family and Louisiana.”