Frank Evans Powell Biography

Submitted by Mike Miller

Frank Evans Powell is a resident of De Ridder, an attorney by profession, but is best known for his capable services as a member of the Legislature, a leader in all the progressive legislations of his terms. He was largely responsible for the passage of the bills creating the present parishes of Jefferson Davis, Allen and Beauregard, the last named of which he represented eight years in the Legislature.

Mr. Powell was born on a plantation in West Feliciana Parish December 11, 1881, son of Frank E. and Sallie (Ball) Powell, his father a native of Wilkinson County, Mississippi, and his mother of Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. Frank E. Powell was a planter in West Feliciana Parish and while living there was prominent in democratic politics, serving in the office of parish assessor. Since 1893 his home has been at New Orleans, where he is secretary of the Bernhardt Paint Company. He is treasurer of the St. George Episcopal Church at New Orleans, and a member of the Knights of Pythias.

Frank Evans Powell, oldest in a family of five children, was educated in public schools, including the Boy's High School at New Orleans, and one of his teachers during his youth was Professor Henry E. Chambers, author of the present history of Louisiana. Mr. Powell graduated with the Bachelor of Arts degree from Tulane University in 1903, following which for two years he taught French and mathematics in the Lake Charles High School. He then resumed his work at Tulane University m the law department and was graduated Bachelor of Laws in 1907.

In the same year he engaged in general practice at De Ridder, but from 1910 to 1913 had his home and law offices at Lake Charles. Since 1913 he has been again at De Ridder and since 1920 has been head of the firm Powell & Le Compte, handling a general civil practice.

Mr. Powell in 1912 was elected a member of the State Legislature from Calcasieu Parish. In the following session he introduced the bills creating the present parishes of Allen, Jefferson Davis and Beauregard, all of which were created in 1912. He was assigned to represent Beauregard Parish, and in 1916 was elected for a regular term by that parish. His legislative record is a notable one. He introduced the measure creating a commission form of government for all cities in Louisiana except New Orleans and Shreveport. He also introduced the bill creating a Louisiana Tax Commission. He acted as administration floor leader under Gov. R. E. Pleasant. In 1918 he was the prohibition leader in the House for the ratification of the eighteenth amendment, and exercised a prominent influence on all legislation affecting woman suffrage and child labor. He was co-author of the Haas-Powell bill of 1918, submitting the question of women suffrage to the vote of the people. Another object of his study and influence, both while in the Legislature and as a private citizen has been good roads and good schools. At the constitutional convention of 1921 he represented the Seventh Congressional District. He has also served as chairman of the Beauregard Democratic Executive Committee. He was one of the organizers and was vice president in 1924 of the De Ridder Rotary Club, is past president of the De Ridder Chamber of Commerce, and during the World war was chairman of the Beauregard Chapter of the Red Cross, acted as government appeal agent, both as an individual and through organizations did all he could to promote the success of the government. Mr. Powell is a vestryman, lay reader and teacher of the Bible class in the Trinity Episcopal Church at De Ridder.

He married at Lake Charles, December 30, 1907, Miss Margaret Jessen, a native of Cameron Parish. She was reared in the family of Capt. George Lock at Lake Charles. Since her marriage she has given much time to church work and woman's clubs. Mr. and Mrs. Powell have one child, Medora Emma Powell.

A History of Louisiana, (vol. 2), pp. 274-275, by Henry E. Chambers. Published by The American Historical Society, Inc., Chicago and New York, 1925.