From the Northwestern State University
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.