Former attorney general of Louisiana Richard Ieyoub died on Monday morning after surgery on a ruptured aneurysm, according to the Times-Picayune. He was 78.
Ieyoub also served as district attorney of Calcasieu Parish in the 1980s and early 90s, but narrowly lost races for governor and senator after a dozen years as attorney general.
Most recently, he spent seven years as the top regulator of the oil and gas industry after Gov. John Bel Edwards appointed him to the position of commissioner.
Edwards held a moment of silence for Ieyoub at the beginning of the legislative session on Monday, the first one of the new year. “He was a genuine and kind-hearted man,” Edwards said.
Ieyoub was known as a devout Catholic and for his sincerity in the way he conducted himself during his 19 year political career.
Under him, Louisiana was one of the first states to sue tobacco companies and eventually got the state a $4.6 billion settlement used for education and health care over a number of years.
His wife Caprice said he was most proud of the suit and settlement and was glad it helped many people for years afterward. In pursuing the case, he hired the best lawyers available, both Democrat and Republicans, without regard for their political affiliations.
His narrow Senate loss to Mary Landrieu in 1996 was credited to leaked information that he was facing an FBI investigation for corruption, but he was later exonerated. Unfortunately, the damage had been done, but the leaker was never caught.
He then ran for governor in 2003 but narrowly lost to Kathleen Blanco, missing the runoff by a tiny margin.
As Commissioner of Conservation in the Department of Natural Resources, Ieyoub often had to decide between energy companies and environmental organizations and balance their competing interests as he handed out permits for oil and gas drilling.
“Who the commissioner is is very important to environmentalists and oil and gas companies,” Edwards said.
Ieyoub was well-respected and seen as fair by people on both sides, which helped him make the best possible decisions in a very difficult position.
“I found him to be very fair, honest and open,” president of Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association during the first three years of Edwards’ administration Chris John said.
Besides his wife, Ieyoub left behind seven children, five grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews, according to his obituary on Legacy.com.