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Margaret Lowenthal

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Title: Margaret Lowenthal  
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Subject: Vic Stelly, Löwenthal, Politicians from Lake Charles, Louisiana, Victor Bussie, University of Louisiana at Lafayette alumni
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Margaret Lowenthal

Margaret Louise Welsh Lowenthal
Louisiana State Representative for District 35 (Calcasieu Parish)
In office
March 1980 – March 1988
Preceded by Harry Hollins
Succeeded by Vic Stelly
Personal details
Born (1929-07-09)July 9, 1929
Place of birth missing
Died July 19, 2003(2003-07-19) (aged 74)
Houston, Texas
Resting place Big Woods Cemetery in Edgerly in Calcasieu Parish
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Joseph Lowenthal

Michael Welsh Lowenthal
Marc David Lowenthal

Margaret Jo Lowenthal
Residence Lake Charles
Calcasieu Parish
Alma mater

University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Louisiana State University

Baylor University

Radio and television announcer

Religion Southern Baptist

Margaret Louise Welsh Lowenthal, listed on her grave marker as Margaret L. Welsh (July 9, 1929 – July 19, 2003),[1] was the first woman to represent Calcasieu Parish in the Louisiana House of Representatives, with service in District 35 from 1980 to 1988.[2] She ran unsuccessfully in 1986 for the United States House of Representatives for Louisiana's 7th congressional district, since disbanded.


Lowenthal, a long-term resident of Lake Charles, Louisiana, attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge but graduated with degrees in English and speech from Baptist-affiliated Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She worked as a radio and television announcer, owned a public relations agency, worked as a private counselor, and served on the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury until her election in 1979 to the state House of Representatives.[3]

As a legislator, she authored numerous bills relating to the environment, the arts, health, education, family violence, taxation, juvenile delinquency, forced heirship, utilities, and women's issues. In 1983. she was named "Legislator of the Year" by the Louisiana Arts Council. [3] She pushed for extra funds when Sam Houston High School in Lake Charles burned.[4]

In 1985, Representative Lowenthal got into a public dispute with her fellow Democrat, Victor Bussie, the long-term president of the Louisiana AFL-CIO. While addressing the Lake Charles Optimist Club at its regular luncheon meeting, Lowenthal claimed that she had been told by an unidentified representative of Boeing that the firm had considered locating a manufacturing facility in Louisiana, but ultimately chose Mississippi because of Louisiana's unstable political climate and its longstanding problems with public education. Lowenthal said that she was told further by the Boeing representative that, "'As long as you have a man named Victor Bussie sitting in Baton Rouge, calling the shots for labor, we don't need to be in your state.'" Her remarks were telecast over Lake Charles television.[5]

Bussie filed a defamation suit against Lowenthal and Boeing alleging that the statements were false and were made with malice. Bussie alleged that as such the statements damaged his reputation and held him up to public contempt and ridicule and caused him embarrassment, humiliation, mental suffering, and anxiety. Lowenthal claimed that the statements had been made to her while she was attending a cocktail party given by the Louisiana delegation to the National Conference of State Legislators.[5]

In 1986, when U.S. Representative John Breaux ran successfully for the United States Senate to succeed Russell B. Long, Lowenthal entered the 7th District House race to succeed him. The seat, however, went to another Democrat, later Republican convert, Jimmy Hayes, who defeated Lowenthal in a runoff election, In the nonpartisan blanket primary, Hayes led with 51,137 votes (30 percent) to Lowenthal's 42,839 (25 percent). In third place, state Representative James David Cain, another Democrat-later-Republican, polled 40,554 votes (24 percent), some 2,300 votes behind Lowenthal. Also in the running was Republican David Thibodaux of Lafayette, later a parish school board member, who finished with 21,082 votes (12 percent). Two other contenders shared the remaining 12 percnet of the ballots cast.[6]

Hayes then defeated Lowenthal in the 1986 general election, or runoff contest, 95,764 (56.3 percent) to 74,498 (43.8 percent).[7]

Lowenthal lost her bid for a third term in the state House in 1987. A Republican, subsequently Independent, Vic Stelly of Lake Charles, ran for representative against Lowenthal and a second Democrat, Ken Brown. Stelly, the first Republican to represent Calcasieu Parish in the state House and subsequently the author of the since repealed Stelly Plan tax-transfer system, led in the first round of balloting, 6,717 (42.7 percent). He then went into the official general election with Lowenthal, who trailed with 5,802 (36.9 percent). Brown received 3,226 votes, a critical 20.5 percent.[8] Stelly then unseated Lowenthal, 5,509 (55.9 percent) to 4,348 (44.1 percent).[9]

Family and death

Lowenthal was married to a Jewish businessman, Joseph Lowenthal, (1925-2013), a native of Lexington, Kentucky, who owned One Hour Martinizing, a dry cleaning firm in Lake Charles. The couple had three children, Michael Welsh Lowenthal of the capital city of Frankfort, Kentucky, Marc David Lowenthal and wife, Holly, of Prairiveville in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, and Margaret Jo Lowenthal of Davis, California.[10]

Lowenthal died ten days after her 74th birthday in a hospital in Houston, Texas. Her services were held at Trinity Baptist Church in Lake Charles.[11] She is interred at Big Woods Cemetery in Edgerly in Calcasieu Parish.[1] At the time of his death in Lake Charles at the age of eighty-seven, Joseph Lowenthal was married to the former Beverly Greenburg of Louisville, Kentucky. His obituary does not mention Margaret as having predeceased him nor why he and Beverly were residing in different cities some nine hundred miles apart. He is interred at Lexington Cemetery in Lexington, Kentucky.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Margaret Welsh". Retrieved July 12, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives: Calcasieu Parish" (PDF). Retrieved July 12, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Lowenthal, Margaret W.". September 2, 2003. Retrieved July 12, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Former Louisiana Legislator Dies".  
  5. ^ a b "Bussie v. Lowenthal". December 12, 1988. Retrieved July 12, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Election Results".  
  7. ^ "Election Results". Louisiana Secretary of State. November 4, 1986. Retrieved July 12, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Election Results". Louisiana Secretary of State. October 24, 1987. Retrieved July 12, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Election Results". Louisiana Secretary of State. November 21, 1987. Retrieved July 12, 2015. 
  10. ^ a b "Joseph Lowenthal". Retrieved July 12, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Welsh funeral". KPLC-TV. June 26, 2003. Retrieved July 12, 2015. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Harry Hollins
Louisiana State Representative for District 35 (Calcasieu Parish)

Margaret Louise Welsh Lowenthal

Succeeded by
Vic Stelly
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