Former Louisiana state senator Sydney Banks Nelson died on Jan. 10, 2022, at the age of 86.
Nelson a Navy veteran, lawyer and former Louisiana State Senator was known for his intelligence and integrity.
"He was not a politician he was a statesman," John L. Hammons, Attorney at Nelson and Hammons said.
In 1977, Nelson & Hammons formed their own practice where Nelson practiced law for 28-years retiring in 2005.
During his 28-year practice, Nelson served in the Louisiana State Senate from 1980 to 1992. During his 12-years of service, he earned the moniker ' The Conscience of the Senate.'
Hammons re-counted the man Nelson was through a memory.
"He was standing up in the senate and was arguing against the passage of a bill. Not philosophically but because the bill needed to be reworked and redrafted and written more precisely. And, at a point one of the other senators stood up and said,'Excuse me, Senator Nelson you don't really need to convince us that this is a poorly written bill, we all know it is a poorly written bill but there is a big difference between you and the rest of us you came down here because you wanted good government all of us are satisfied with pretty good government,'" Hammons recounted. "I have never forgotten that."
Nelson was one of the primary opponents of a mandate to teach creation science in school and a mandate for prayer in school. He also played a cosmic role in the revision and passing of modifications of forced heirship.
Who was Sydney Nelson?
Nelson was born in Shreveport on March 12, 1935, and grew up in the country of Benton, Louisiana. It is known that a young age Nelson could be seen on horseback delivering the local newspaper.
After graduating high school Nelson attended the University of Oklahoma on a Naval ROTC Scholarship where he attained a degree in accounting.
Following graduation, Nelson served three years as an officer in the U.S. Navy, where he would happen to meet his wife of 68-years during Combat Information Center and Controllers school.
Nelson and Gail got married in June 1958 and later welcomed the birth of their daughter Denise Nelson Akers and son Sydney Stephen Nelson.
Following the birth of Akers, Nelson completed his tour of duty in the U.S. Navy and embarked on the journey of law school, attending the Louisiana State University Law Center.
Nelson moved his family back up to Shreveport after the birth of their son where he had a one-year clerkship with U. S. District Judge Ben C. Dawkins. After his clerkship he was employed by Pugh and Nelson and shortly after he joined forces with Hammons.
Nelson served the state of Louisiana for 12-years but is known for his connections he made in Shreveport.
"He stayed active in the Bar even after he retired, up until he moved to Baton Rouge," Dana Southern, Executive Director of the Shreveport Bar Association said. "When he moved to Baton Rouge he would actually call me every once in a while to see how things were going and to let me know he was loving life with his family in retirement."
"He was a very kind soul, genuinely a gentle gentleman," Southern said.
Makenzie Boucher is a reporter with the Shreveport Times. Contact her at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Shreveport Times: Former Louisiana state senator Sydney Nelson dead at age 86