Office Dates: May 12, 1936 - Jun 26, 1939
Born: May 17, 1898
Passed: Feb 22, 1965
Birth State: Louisiana
Family: Married Elton Reynolds; two children
School(s): Tulane University; Loyola University
Military Service: Army
RICHARD W. LECHE was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on May 15, 1898. His education was attained at Tulane University, and at Loyola University, where he earned an LL.B. degree in 1923. During World War I, he served two years as a second lieutenant of Infantry in the U.S. Army. Leche entered politics in 1930, serving as the campaign manager for Huey Long's U.S. Senate race. He also was the private secretary of Governor Oscar K. Allen from 1932 to 1934, and served on the bench of the Louisiana Court of Appeals, Parish of Orleans from 1934 to 1936. Leche emerged as the political successor of the Long dominion, and consequently won the 1936 Democratic gubernatorial nomination. He was elected governor by popular vote on April 21, 1936, and was sworn into office on May 12, 1936. During his tenure, a state mineral board was organized; a state conservation bill was framed; a department of commerce and industry was established; improvements were authorized for roads, bridges and schools; new hospitals were created; and a ten-year tax exemption was granted to new businesses. When a truck selling scandal hit his administration, Leche resigned from office on June 26, 1939. In June 1940, he was convicted on charges of mail fraud and sentenced to ten years in prison. After serving five years, Leche was paroled. President Truman later pardoned him in 1953. Governor Richard W. Leche passed away on February 22, 1965, and was buried at the Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans.
Dawson III, Joseph G. The Louisiana Governors: From Iberville to Edwards. Baton Rouge: Lousiana State University Press, 1990.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.