JOHN M. PARKER was born in Bethel Church, Mississippi on March 16, 1863. His education was attained at the Chamberlain Hunt Academy, the Belle View Academy, and at the Eastman Business School. Parker worked in his father’s cotton brokerage house, becoming president of the company in 1893. He also was chairman of several boards including the New Orleans Board of Trade and the New Orleans Cotton Exchange. During World War I, he managed the federal food administration program in Louisiana. Parker entered politics in 1916 as an unsuccessful candidate for governor of Louisiana. Also that same year, he was unsuccessful in his bid for the U.S. vice presidency. In 1920, Parker won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and was elected governor by popular vote on April 20, 1920. He was sworn into office on May 17, 1920. During his tenure, a two percent license tax was instituted on the procurement of the state’s raw materials. The revenue was then used to finance the construction of the Louisiana State University and to fund an extensive highway program. Also, educational programs were advanced, a bill was authorized that aided farmers and other workers, a new constitution was created, and a 1922 investigation was launched that helped to defuse the Ku Klux Klan’s activities in the state. After completing his term, Parker left office on May 19, 1924 and retired from public service. He stayed active, dedicating his time to his Bayou Sara farm, where he conducted alternative farming methods. Governor John M. Parker died on May 20, 1939, 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.