Robert Floyd Kennon
Born: August 12, 1902
Political Affiliation: Democrat
Religious Affiliation: Presbyterian
Education: LSU and LSU Law School
Career Prior to Term: Mayor of Minden; District Attorney; State Judge; Army officer; Associate Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court.
How He Became Governor: Elected in 1952.
Career after Term: Practiced law.
Died: January 11, 1988 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
As Governor, Bob Kennon wanted to take a "civics book approach to government." After defeating Earl Long, Kennon reestablished the state civil service which Long had abolished and pushed for state constitutional amendments to reduce the powers of the executive office. He supported home rule for New Orleans, reducing the kind of interference governors had long practiced in the state's most populous city.
Kennon tried to forestall the implementation of the Supreme Court's desegregation decision in Louisiana, supporting segregationists' efforts to construct defenses around the "separate and equal" public education systems.
Kennon's reforms extended into the social arena. He fought organized crime in the state by attacking gambling and prostitution. He also reformed the prison system and installed voting machines in every precinct. Kennon administered a corruption-free executive branch.
After his term, he returned to his law practice in Baton Rouge. Kennon again ran for governor in 1963 but was defeated in the first primary. He died in 1988.