Allen J. Ellender

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Allen Joseph Ellender

In office
January 1937 – July 27, 1972
Preceded by Rose McConnell Long (interim for her husband, Huey Long)
Succeeded by Elaine Edwards (interim for J. Bennett Johnston, Jr.)

Louisiana State Representative for Terrebonne Parish
In office
Preceded by Two-member district:

Reuben Chauvin
Dr. M. V. Marmande

Succeeded by Morris A. Lottinger, Sr.

Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives
In office
Preceded by John B. Fournet
Succeeded by Lorris Wimberly

Born September 24, 1890
Terrebonne Parish
Died July 27, 1972 (aged 81)
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Helen Calhoun Donnelly Ellender (died 1949)
Alma mater St. Aloysius College

Tulane University Law School

Occupation Lawyer
Religion Non-practicing Roman Catholic

Allen Joseph Ellender (September 24, 1890 – July 27, 1972) was a Democratic politician from Houma in Terrebonne Parish in the U.S. state of Louisiana. An original follower of Huey Long, Ellender was elected in 1936 as Long's permanent successor in the United States Senate, replacing Long's widow, Rose McConnell Long (1892-1970). Governor Oscar Kelly Allen (1882-1936) had won the party nomination for the Senate but died before he could be formally elected. In the second balloting, Ellender defeated U.S. Representative John Nicholas Sandlin, Sr. (1872-1957), a fellow Democrat from Minden in Webster Parish.[1]

Ellender served in the upper house of Congress from 1937 until his death in the summer of 1972. At the time he was campaigning for yet another term in the Senate. Ellender was succeeded by interim Senator Elaine Edwards, the first wife of then Governor Edwin Edwards. His permanent successor was his chief primary rival in 1972, former state Senator J. Bennett Johnston, Jr., of Shreveport, who held the U.S. Senate seat until his retirement in January 1997. Johnston had also been Edwin Edwards' rival for the 1971 Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Ellender was a native of Terrebonne Parish in south Louisiana and a lawyer who graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans. Prior to his Senate tenure, he served from 1924 to 1936 as a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives. He was the House Speaker from 1932 until 1936. In the U.S. Senate, he was known for his support for school segregation through the signing in 1956 of the Southern Manifesto. Ellender was also an advocate of farm subsidies and the school lunch program, and he opposed the investigations into communist infiltration of the U.S. government conducted prior to 1954 by his Republican colleague, Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. Though Ellender later opposed the Vietnam War, he voted for the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution of 1964. During his Senate tenure he was chairman of the Agriculture Committee and then the Appropriations Committee. He was considered a mostly conservative Democrat in comparison to his party colleagues. He was a non-practicing Roman Catholic.

In 1948, when other Southern Democrats defected to the Dixiecrat presidential campaign of Strom Thurmond, Ellender remained loyal to Harry S. Truman. Although Thurmond was the official Democratic nominee in Louisiana, Truman's name was also added to the ballot by a special session of the state legislature.

In 1960, Ellender polled some 80 percent of the ballots cast in the general election against Republican George Reese of New Orleans. In 1966, Ellender overwhelmed two Democrats, Joseph Davis "J. D." DeBlieu (1912-2005), on the left, and Troyce Guice, from the right.

During his last two years of office, Ellender was the Dean of the United States Senate His long-term senatorial colleague was fellow Louisiana Democrat Russell Long, older son of Huey Long.

One of his nieces, Bonnie Robichaux, married Bob Livingston of New Orleans, the Republican former U.S. representative for Louisiana's 1st congressional district, a post now held by Republican Steve Scalise.


  1. A minor candidate in the 1936 United States Senate race was Irving Ward-Steinman of Alexandria.