PAUL O. HEBERT was born in Iberville Parish, Louisiana on December 12, 1818. His education was attained at Jefferson College, where he finished first in his 1836 graduating class. He then attended and graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point. After a year of teaching engineering at West Point, Hebert resigned from the army in 1845 to accept an appointment as chief engineer of Louisiana, a position he held until 1847. During the Mexican War, he re-entered the military, serving as a lieutenant colonel of the U.S. 14th Infantry Regiment and earning the rank of colonel for his heroism in numerous battles. After his military service, he secured an appointment in 1851 as a commissioner to the World’s Fair in Paris, France. Hebert entered politics in 1852, serving as a member of the State Constitutional Convention. He also won the 1852 Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor on December 27, 1852. He was sworn into office on January 22, 1853. During his tenure, a state library was formed, the charity hospital was improved, railroad development was advanced, the state militia was restructured, and the Louisiana Seminary of Learning (Louisiana State University today) was created. Also, a sensible rotation of appointive offices was initiated, and the names of legislators who failed to vote were made public. After completing his term, Hebert left office on January 30, 1856. During the Civil War, he served as brigadier general and commanded the Department of Louisiana, as well as the Department of Texas, and the defenses at Galveston. After the war, he returned to his plantation in Bayou Goula. In 1873, he was reappointed state engineer, and served on the board of the U.S. Engineers of the Mississippi River Commission. Governor Paul O. Hebert passed away on August 29, 1880, and was buried at the St. Paul’s Cemetery in Bayou Goula, Louisiana. He was later moved to St. Raphael’s Cemetery in Iberville Parish, Louisiana.
Dawson III, Joseph G. The Louisiana Governors: From Iberville to Edwards. Baton Rouge: Lousiana State University Press, 1990.
The Political Graveyard
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.