Wade O. Martin, Jr. Auditorium
Larger meetings are held in the impressive Wade O. Martin Jr. Auditorium in the main lobby. This 100-seat facility is made available to groups for a minimal fee. The auditorium features theater seating with retractable writing platforms, state of the art sound and lighting systems, a stage, and a large video/television screen. The auditorium is dedicated to the memory of former Secretary of State Wade O. Martin, Jr.
Born on April 18, 1911, in Arnaudville, Louisiana, the son of Wade Omer and Alice Mills Martin, young Wade attended public schools in St. Martinville, Louisiana and later earned a B.A. in Education from Southwestern Louisiana Institute (now the University of Southwestern Louisiana) in 1932 and LLB and Juris Doctor degrees from Louisiana State University in 1935.
He served as an assistant attorney general from 1936-40 and practiced law from 1940 until his election as Secretary of State in 1944.
Martin was raised in the frenetic and colorful worlds of Acadiana and state politics. His father, the long-time sheriff of St. Martin Parish, won election in 1936 to the Louisiana Public Service Commission, remaining a member and serving several years as that body's chairman until his death in 1956.
Involvement in his father's campaigns enabled the younger Martin to develop political skills which proved essential in his own successful campaigns. He served continuously as Secretary of State until 1976, a longevity record which earned the bow-tied Martin the affectionate title of "Mr. Secretary of State."
His career was marked by the creation of the Louisiana State Archives, modernization of the Corporations (corporate filings) Division, the reform of Louisiana's election system, and a famous political feud between himself and Governor Earl K. Long during Long's final term. He was also a pioneering leader in support of the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana, the Louisiana-Quebec Cultural and Economic Exchange and the Louisiana Tourist Development Commission.
Of himself, Martin once observed, "I seem to have been born into public service, and the desire to help people has always been a part of my life."
Wade Martin, Jr. died on August 5, 1990, following a lengthy illnesss.