Paul Octave Hebert
Born: December 12, 1818 in Iberville Parish, Louisiana
Political Affiliation: Democrat
Religious Affiliation: Catholic
Education: Jefferson College, Louisiana (1836) and U.S. Military Academy at West Point (1841)
Career Prior to Term: State Engineer and Army Officer
How He Became Governor: Elected in 1853
Career after Term: Confederate General
Died: August 29, 1880 in New Orleans; interred in St. Raphael Cemetery near Plaquemine.
Paul Octave Hebert, first in his class at West Point and a veteran of the Mexican War, won the governorship of Louisiana in an off-year election provided for in the Constitution of 1852.
Trained as a civil engineer, Hebert emphasized internal improvements during his term. Four major railroads received state charters as Hebert strived to connect New Orleans by rail with all of Louisiana.
Unlike most pre-war southern governors, Hebert worked to improve education. The legislature approved free education for whites aged 6 to 16 and established a Seminary of Learning at Alexandria. Charity Hospital and the State School for the Deaf, Mute and Blind improved services with support from Hebert.
The Governor did not follow strict party lines in his appointments, placing both Whigs and members of the "Know-Nothing" Party in office. The "Know-Nothings", a party formed to oppose immigration, raised nativist sentiment in the state and kept Hebert from achieving some of his goals.
Hebert later served as a Confederate brigadier general. He died in New Orleans in 1880.