EDWARD FRANCIS KENNON, JR.
Submitted by: Billy Hathorn, Class of 1966
Francis Edward Kennon, Jr. , usually
known as Ed Kennon (born August 31, 1938), is a multi-millionaire
Shreveport real-estate developer and a former Democratic member of the Louisiana
Public Service Commission, the regulatory body for oil, natural gas, and
utilities. He represented north Louisiana on the commission for two six-year
terms from January 1, 1973, until December 31, 1984. During his tenure, the
panel was enlarged from three to five members under a provision of the Louisiana
Constitution of 1974. Kennon first represented thirty-three parishes in
District 3 and then eighteen parishes in the smaller District 5. Kennon was a
nephew of Governor Robert F. "Bob" Kennon, a conservative Democrat who served
Early years, education, business
Like his more famous "Uncle Bob", Ed Kennon was born in Minden, the seat of
Webster Parish in northwestern Louisiana. His father, F. E. Kennon, Sr., was
known as Frank Kennon; his mother, Clara W. Kennon (1913-1997), was a native of
Arkansas. F.E. and his brother, Webb Kennon, operated the former Kennon's
Grocery in downtown Minden, the first in Minden to have price tags on the
merchandise. After Floyd's death, Clara continued to operate the store, for
which she had long handled the financial obligations. She also did tax
consulting for individual clients. Kennon's paternal grandfather, Floyd Kennon
(1871-1966), started the store. Kennon has a younger brother, Michael Webster
"Mike" Kennon (born 1942), a prominent Realtor who operates the Century 21
office in Minden. After he completed Minden High School in 1956, Ed Kennon
attended the Methodist-affiliated Centenary College in Shreveport, but he did
not graduate. Instead, he entered the concrete business in Minden with Frank B.
Treat, Jr. (1923-1994), and built the Kennon Apartments there. Later he became a
high-powered developer in Shreveport, the seat of Caddo Parish, and adjoining
Bossier City in Bossier Parish. He and his wife are directors of the Tri-State
Bank and Trust in Haughton in Bossier Parish. Kennon purchased the bank from the
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. and owns the Tri-State Sand and Gravel
Company, the developer of Lakewood, a 600-home subdivision in Bossier City.
In the political arena
Late in 1963, after Kennon's uncle failed to gain a Democratic runoff slot in a
gubernatorial comeback attempt, Ed Kennon in a public speech in Minden endorsed
former New Orleans Mayor deLesseps S. "Chep" Morrison, Sr., who was making a
third bid for governor. (Robert Kennon sat out the runoff.) Despite Kennon's
assistance, Morrison fared poorly in north Louisiana and lost the runoff to John
J. McKeithen, a folksy lawyer from tiny Columbia, the seat of Caldwell Parish
south of Monroe. Ironically, gubernatorial candidate McKeithen then held the PSC
seat to which Kennon would be elected eight years later.
On November 6, 1971, Kennon ran unsuccessfully in a 10-candidate Democratic
field for lieutenant governor in an effort to succeed the retiring Clarence C. "Taddy"
Aycock of Franklin, the seat of St. Mary Parish in south Louisiana. Aycock
instead ran for governor. Kennon finished third with 162,944 votes. The party
nomination and the general election went to former New Orleans City Councilman
James E. "Jimmy" Fitzmorris, Jr., a former Morrison protege. Closed primaries
ended in Louisiana in 1975, but they return in 2008 only for congressional
races. In the lieutenant governor's race, Kennon had to compete with a second
candidate from Webster Parish, outgoing State Representative Parey P. Branton,
Sr., of Shongaloo. Branton was allied with gubernatorial candidate John G.
Schwegmann of Jefferson Parish in the New Orleans suburbs. Ironically,
Schwegmann later became one of Kennon's colleagues on the Public Service
Commission. Statewide, Branton polled only 53,295 votes, less than third of the
votes that Kennon amassed.
Election to the Public Service Commission
In the August 19, 1972, Democratic primary for the PSC, Kennon challenged
incumbent John S. Hunt, III (1928-2001), a nephew of former Governors Huey
Pierce Long, Jr., and Earl Kemp Long. Hunt's mother, Lucille Long Hunt
(1898-1985), was a sister of the two governors. Also in the race was a Long
kinsman named "Huey P. Long" (1929-2004), then of Pineville in Rapides
Parish. Hunt alleged that Kennon had recruited Long as a candidate to siphon
away some of Hunt's pro-Long support. In the primary, Kennon led with 122,573
votes (47.1 percent) to Hunt's 106,212 (40.8 percent). Long procured a critical
31,692 votes (12.2 percent). Kennon led in twenty-three parishes in the
sprawling district, which then reached as far south as West Baton Rouge Parish.
He won 58 percent in his native Webster Parish and also procured pluralities in
Natchitoches, La Salle, De Soto, Avoyelles, St. Landry, and the Long traditional
stronghold of Winn. Hunt led in ten parishes, including Caddo, Bossier, Lincoln,
Ouachita, and Jackson.
Kennon easily defeated Hunt in the September 30 party runoff, 125,877 votes (58
percent) to 90,833 (42 percent). Kennon won twenty-nine parishes to Hunt's four.
Hunt lost his native Lincoln Parish in the runoff by 176 votes and held his home
base, Ouachita Parish, by a single vote, 15,502 to 15,501. Kennon was
unopposed in the November 7 general election, as no Republican candidate
qualified for the ballot.
On September 16, 1978, Kennon won his second term in the revised Fifth District
PSC seat. In the jungle primary, he polled 124,147 votes (71 percent) to 50,652
(29 percent) for intraparty rival Wayne Martin Pender (born 1940)  of
Monroe. Kennon won all eighteen parishes. Again, there was no Republican
candidate for the seat, once held by Huey P. Long, Jr., himself.
Kennon joined the three-member PSC when he was thirty-four. The senior member
and chairman, Ernest S. Clements, a Long protege, was seventy-five and nearing
the end of a long public career. The two presented a contrast in age and
faction. Clements left the PSC at the end of 1974. With the five-member board,
Kennon served with fellow Commissioners John F. Schwegmann (son of John G.
Schwegmann), Nat B. Knight, Thomas E. "Tommy" Powell of Eunice in Evangeline
Parish, and chairman Louis Lambert, Jr., of Baton Rouge, a former and future
member of the Louisiana State Senate. Kennon did not seek public office after
his PSC term expired, but in 1994 he announced that he would run for governor in
1995. Instead he withdrew from gubernatorial consideration on August 2, 1994,
and the seat eventually went to Republican Murphy J. "Mike" Foster, Jr., of St.
Mary Parish, the grandson of a previous namesake governor. Kennon was
succeeded on the PSC by fellow Democrat Donald Lynn "Don" Owen (born 1930),
a former KSLA-TV news anchorman from Shreveport. In 2004, Kennon crossed party
lines to contribute to the successful Republican candidate for the United States
Senate, David Vitter of suburban New Orleans.
Kennon was first married to the former Mary Virginia Nehring
(1942-2002), "Miss Minden" in 1960, by whom he had a son, John Edward Kennon
(1967-2003). He adopted two children by Virginia's first marriage to Rodney
McMichael: Rodney Kennon (married to the former Jymme Story) of Bossier City
and Kelly Kennon Gillis (born 1964) of Haughton in Bossier Parish. After
Kennon and Virginia divorced, he married the former Jeanette "Jenny" Woodard
(born 1939), who had twice been a "Miss Minden" contestant and was the widow of
professional basketball player Jackie Moreland (1938-1971) and the mother of two
children, Jennafer "Jenna" Moreland and James Steven "Jamie" Moreland. Kennon
was a Minden High School classmate of both Jackie and Jenny Moreland. After ten
years of marriage, Kennon divorced Jeanette. He wed the former Brenda Evans
(born 1958), the daughter of one of Jenny's former classmates. They have a
daughter, Kari Melissa Kennon (born 1987). Jenny Kennon, as she is now
known, operates with her son, Jamie Moreland (born 1965), Lea Hall
Properites, a successful real estate company in Shreveport.
The Kennons reside in a mansion in the fashionable Ellerbe Road area of
Biography of Jeanette Woodard Moreland (Jenny) Kennon State
Statement from the Louisiana Public Service Commission in Baton Rouge
Louisiana State Election Returns, 1971, Baton Route;
State Report of the Louisiana Secretary of State, "Lieutenant Governor
Election Returns", November 6, 1971",
Report of the Louisiana Secretary of State, "Official Returns of the
Democratic First Primary Election, August 19, 1972",
Member of the Public
Service Commission, Third District" Report of the Louisiana Secretary of State, "Official Returns of
Democratic Second Primary Election, September 30, 1972",
Member of the
Public Service Commission, Third District Report of the Louisiana Secretary of State, "Official Returns of Open
Primary Election September 16, 1978",
Member of the Louisiana Public Service
Commission, Fifth District
Retrieved from Wikipedia.Org - Edward Kennon
I heard my Mother, Mary Francis Kennon, daughter of W. P. Kennon, talk about
and Mike Kennon. She had told me Ed was always a worker...riding on a
tractor and doing something to make money. We would sometimes see Mike on a
motorcyle riding around.
F. E. Kennon, Ed and Mike's Daddy, gave my Mother her first job back in
her high school days. My Grandfather, Will Kennon was always doing
something with Webb Kennon. They were cousins and big buddies.