Leroy "Doc" Suire: Erath's Longest Serving Mayor

Dr. Leroy G. Suire
By Robert B. Vincent

October 22, 1999

Today, Erath mourns the passing of a gentle giant. We mourn the death of a man who was instrumental in advancing the Town of Erath into the modern, progressive town that we have today. Dr. Leroy G. Suire was a gentle man with a large heart that always had Erath nearest to it.

Dr. Suire was elected Mayor of Erath in 1961. One of the major problems facing Erath at the time was that of providing electricity. The transformers that were in use could not handle the needs of the people with the evolution of air conditioners. Dr. Suire recognized the problem and tackled it head on. He contacted city officials of Abbeville who were beginning to upgrade their transformers. He negotiated a deal with Abbeville to purchase the transformers for the Town of Erath. Many of these transformers are still in use today.

A landmark, that once served such a useful purpose, had now become obsolete and causing a problem. The cattle pins, in the middle of town, that the railroad had used to load and unload cattle had been abandoned for years. The land was low and overgrown, becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Dr. Suire contacted the railroad and had them tear down the pins. The town eventually purchased the property from the railroad to provide parking for the town merchants.

During his administration, the Town of Erath experienced a period of growth unparalleled in the history of the town. He was instrumental in getting federally subsidize housing for the poor. Security of the townspeople was taken into consideration and most of the town was provided with street lighting. All dirt roads in the town were paved and sidewalks were built throughout the town. 

Dr. Suire recognized the need of recreation for the town. He was the driving force in getting a grant to purchase the old Derouen property with the intention of making a park. In 1984, the town purchased the property and it was dedicated as Erath City Park. Today the Town of Erath has one of the nicest parks in the area due to the commitment of Dr. Suire.

In 1985, a long-term dream of Dr. Suireís was realized. The town was finally able to secure the necessary funding to construct a town sewage system. Sewage collection was provided to all of the townspeople. With the people always close to his heart, Dr. Suire realized that not all the people could afford to connect to the sewage system. Dr. Suire championed their cause and was successful in getting a grant to pay for the connection of these people to sewage system.

Dr. Suire was the guiding hand that led the town through one of its most tragic events in our history, the collapse of the water tower during Hurricane Hilda in 1964. As mayor of Erath, he had a big job ahead of him. Not only did he have to led a grieving town; he was also faced with the huge task of building a new City Hall and salvaging whatever records survived. Dr. Suire immediately contacted Mrs. Edval Simon for the rental of her old store as a temporary city hall. It was used to store court records and dry out those that could be saved. It served as city hall for about one year. Dr. Suire continued the process of finding a proper location for city hall and obtaining the property. Once that was accomplished, the biggest task was finding the funding for it. Dr. Suire was able to obtain some monies from the federal government for the building. However, it didnít cover the complete cost of the project. He promptly went to Texas to meet with the postal department. He negotiated an agreement to locate the Erath Post Office in the new city hall, thereby getting rent revenue for the town. It is very rare occurance that a post office is located in a building that they do not own. This was accomplished because Dr. Suire didnít give up in the face of an obstacle and tragedy of his town. 

Today Erath mourns the death of a great man. Forever we will remember this gentle giant who walked stooped shouldered and dragging slowly his one large foot. We will remember his commitment and devotion to his town of Erath. We will remember him as the tall, distinguished gentleman whose accomplishments as mayor will benefit generations for years to come. Dr. Leroy G. Suire - his legacy will live on forever . . .

 

Erath High School

808 S. Broadway Street

Erath, LA 70533

Phone - 337-937-8451

Fax - 337-937-5109

 

Website URL http://www.vrml.k12.la.us/ehs

 

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