About the LWV Lafayette

On November 7, 1945 in the home of Mrs. Hollis Long, nine women met with representatives of the state and national League of Women Voters. These nine women became the founding members of the Lafayette League.

Our History

Founding Years

On November 7, 1945 in the home of Mrs. Hollis Long, nine women met with representatives of the state and national League of Women Voters. These nine women became the founding members of the Lafayette League:

  • Mrs. J.A. Anders
  • Mrs. Fred  Bates
  • Mrs. H.R. Boyland
  • Mrs. Hollis Long
  • Mrs. A.G. Mallison
  • Mrs. Scanton Mouton
  • Mrs. Ira Nelson
  • Miss Inez Neyland
  • Mrs. O.J. Ory

On January 27, 1946 the bylaws proposed by these founders were amended and 33 members joined. By the very next month the membership had swelled to 88, and by July, 1946 to 106 members.

The new League almost immediately began lobbying the state legislature, the city council, and the school board and sponsored public forums on their key issues. In that same first year the League’s Canning Committee processed 651 cans of food for the people of Europe, and moved on to discussing control of nuclear weapons, sent 35-40 telegrams to State Senators in regard to the civil service bill, discussed appointment vs. election of the State Superintendent of Education, and recommended beginning a school survey as its first project and initiated its second project, “Your Town’s Future,” in December.

Emerging Years

Lafayette League members objected to the whites-only use of the City of Lafayette’s public event facilities. In the 1960s they gathered models of efficient local government to promote improvements in the organization of Lafayette Parish. During the 1973 Louisiana Constitutional Convention, the League had an official observer present for this historical endeavor. In the 1980s and early 90s, the League was known for producing its timely voter guide of local election information which was printed and distributed widely.

Renaissance Years

During the 1990s, the League’s membership declined dramatically and the League became less and less active. In 2006-2007, with the support of LWVLA and local League leaders Florence Gossen and Jeanne Latiolais, a new Board of Directors and 12 new members began the renaissance of the Lafayette League. Since 2007, the League has grown in membership, and once again gained recognition with its voter registration drives, voter information stations in public places, live, televised, and YouTube-available candidate forums, online candidate questionnaires, and three local government studies with an accompanying video on Lafayette Parish public school facilities.

Non-Partisan Policy

As a nonpartisan, multi-issue organization, the League does not support or endorse candidates. However, the League encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government.

The most important consideration is to be aware of when you are being perceived as an individual, and when you are perceived as a League member. At a League meeting or event, speaking about a League position or representing the League before the public, members should abide by the League’s non-partisan policy.

Outside their League affiliation, members are encouraged to be active participants in any political activities in which they choose to engage — attending a candidate rally, commenting on local policy, supporting or opposing candidates, etc.

We take action on an issue when we have a position that supports the issue or speaks to the cause

These positions exist at the local, state, and national levels of the League, and are always the result of thorough study and membership consensus.

One of the League’s most important functions is voter services, which includes registering voters, sponsoring live, televised, and YouTube-available candidate forums, publishing candidate questionnaires, disseminating nonpartisan voter information, and increasing voter turnout.

The League may choose to take action at any time as policy issues arise in the community.

The LWV-Lafayette maintains voter information stations in public places, and has completed three local government studies with an accompanying video on Lafayette Parish public school facilities. We have also participated in studies initiated at the state and national levels.

LWV-Lafayette also partners with other organizations and participates in community coalitions to provide education and advocacy for issues consistent with League policies and positions.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

LWV is an organization fully committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in principle and in practice. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to the organization’s current and future success in engaging all individuals, households, communities, and policy makers in creating a more perfect democracy.

There shall be no barriers to full participation in this organization on the basis of gender, gender identity, ethnicity, race, native or indigenous origin, age, generation, sexual orientation, culture, religion, belief system, marital status, parental status, socioeconomic status, language, accent, ability status, mental health, educational level or background, geography, nationality, work style, work experience, job role function, thinking style, personality type, physical appearance, political perspective or affiliation and/or any other characteristic that can be identified as recognizing or illustrating diversity.

Leadership Team

The Leadership Team is the governance model utilized by the LWV-Lafayette in lieu of the traditional board of directors/officers model. The Leadership Team members manage and supervise the business, affairs, and activities of the LWV-Lafayette. The Leadership Team works through shared responsibility. A significant difference between the Leadership Team and traditional board of directors is evident in how the traditional duties of president are divided among the appointed spokesperson and team members. With the Leadership Team, a spokesperson is elected to represent/ coordinate/ communicate with the public on behalf of the league when needed. The responsibilities for planning and leading each of the team meetings is divided among team members who each serve as facilitator for the respective meetings. The facilitator of the meeting solicits input for the agenda and directs the meeting. The Leadership Team has been an excellent way to continue to keep the league active and viable. Sharing of responsibility keeps any one person from being overwhelmed and experiencing burnout. This model has worked well for several years and no one has expressed a desire to return to the traditional governance model

READY TO JOIN?

We are an inclusive community of action and diverse thinkers. Membership starts at $60 per year, opportunities to learn and make an impact are plentiful.