Journalist and LSU fan Lou Gehrig Burnett passes away at 76.
According to The Forum News Editor Jay Covington Burnett died Friday, Jan. 19 after a brief illness. A
private service was held for Burnett today.
Burnett has been a contributor to The Forum since 1999, and publisher of Fax-Net Update since 2000.
Burnett, a native of Houma, La., graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1963 and a master’s degree in journalism in 1965 from LSU.
Out of high school, Burnett enrolled at Nicholls State College, where fellow Manship Hall of Fame member Al Delahaye convinced him to study journalism and became his mentor.
He became the first sophomore to be named editor of the Nicholls Worth, the college newspaper. After two years at Nicholls, he transferred to LSU, where he served as sports editor, managing editor for two terms and editor of The Daily Reveille.
Following graduation, he was offered the job of press secretary by U.S. Rep. F. Edward Hebert of New
Orleans, having been recommended by Journalism School Dean Frank Price.
Hebert was fascinated with Burnett being named after Lou Gehrig. Hebert, when he was a young sports
reporter, was at the game when Lou Gehrig took over first base for the Yankees for the first time. Being named “Lou Gehrig” locked up the job for Burnett.
When he went to work for Hebert on Jan. 3, 1966, the congressman, at the time, was considered one of the most powerful men in America because of his position on the House Armed Services Committee. Burnett served as his press secretary and confidant until Hebert retired in January 1977.
Burnett retired from the federal government on Jan. 3, 1993, after 27 years on Capitol Hill. He moved to
Shreveport, where he wrote a column for the Bossier Press-Tribune and 13 other newspapers in north
In 1997-98, he was tapped to serve as executive assistant to Shreveport Mayor Robert “Bo” Williams.
In 1999, he became a political columnist for The Forum News, a Shreveport publication where he is now the senior political columnist and is known as the “political voice” of Shreveport. In both 2002 and 2005, his column was selected Best Column.
Burnett also served as a political for several television stations including KTAL-TV.
Covington said, “It cannot be overstated how important Lou’s voice was to this community and to our Forum readers. His honest reporting was appreciated and deeply respected. The passion that Lou had for what he did was heartfelt and readers could sense that. His friends and colleagues knew it. I fear we will not see another like him.”