History of the LSMS

In the late 1700s, the Louisiana Territory was growing as a region for trade and water transportation. New Orleans was becoming a center for this new commerce. It was also becoming a center for medical care due to a burgeoning population and the maladies that came along with growth and activity. In these early years, a number of French and English-speaking medical societies were formed on the belief by these early medical practitioners that there was a need for close professional association. However, usually due to cultural and political differences, these societies came and went; as soon as one would disappear, another would be formed to fill the void.

There was interest as well in other parts of the state in organizing local medical societies. The first parish  is said to have been formed in St. Francisville in 1845 and was called the West Feliciana Medical Society. Over the next 30 years, a dozen other local societies were formed, most of which did not survive.

The first suggestion to form a state organization appeared in an editorial in the New Orleans Surgical Journal in 1846. The Attakapas Medical Society — consisting of the parishes of St. Mary, Lafayette, St. Martin and Vermilion — joined with the Physico-Medical Society of New Orleans in 1849 to form the first state medical society. The problems of travel and communications made statewide coordination impossible at this time, and after six annual meetings, the society ceased to exist.

Almost 25 years passed before interest in a statewide society was rekindled. Two local resolutions emanating from Shreveport and Plaquemines Parish called attention to the need for a statewide society. Thus, in 1878, a time that saw a renaissance in Louisiana with the birth of a new state constitution, 80 representing 15 parishes gathered in New Orleans on January 14-16 and formed the Louisiana State Medical Association. The name would later be changed to the Louisiana State Medical Society (LSMS). Since its inception in 1878, the LSMS has worked for a singular purpose: to advance healthcare in the state of Louisiana.

A look at the agendas and actions taken by these pioneering societies might surprise today’s physician, not so much for their novelty and quaintness, but for their amazing similarity to important issues that confront the profession to this day. A committee was appointed to consider and report on bills submitted to the state legislature regarding health. Another would look into medical issues, such as the rapid spread of disease and compulsory vaccinations. And a need was voiced to examine the possibility of establishing examining boards, answering questions of a judiciary nature and developing a code of ethics. Early practitioners also appeared to be cognizant of the importance of public relations.

For years following the Civil War, too many untrained and poorly educated individuals were practicing medicine. In response to this problem, the LSMS led the long fight that ultimately established the first effective licensure law in the state in 1894. This would prove to be the first of many significant issues for which the Society would be the leader for change to protect the public interest.

The functions and responsibilities assumed by the early medical pioneers are still recognized today. However, as medicine and the practice environment have changed, the LSMS has faced more challenges, responsibilities, and concerns and added many new programs during its evolution. The seeds of social consciousness planted by those medical forefathers, however, pass on a tremendous responsibility to the physicians of today — and it is that responsibility which keeps the Louisiana State Medical Society a vital and respected organization.

The material for this brief history of the LSMS was taken from the Rudolph Matas History of the Louisiana State Medical Society, Volumes I and II. In 1926, the president of the LSMS, at the direction of the House of Delegates, formed a committee to prepare a history of the LSMS and appointed Dr. Rudolph Matas as the Chair. Additional information on medicine in Louisiana can be found in the Rudolph Matas History of Medicine, Volumes I and II. To purchase a copy of either Volume, contact membership@lsms.org.

In 2014, as a continuation of medical history in Louisiana, volunteer members of the LSMS began recording conversations with past presidents through a partnership with LSU Library's T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History.

 


 

LSMS Past Presidents

1878-1879

James Cronan Egan, MD

Shreveport

1879-1880

James W. Dupree, MD

Baton Rouge

1880-1881

Charles Magill Smith, MD

Franklin

1881-1883

Aurelius Augustus Lyon, MD

Shreveport

1883-1884

John Pintard Davidson, MD

New Orleans

1884-1885

Richard Hance Day, MD

Baton Rouge

1885-1886

Samuel Logan, MD

New Orleans

1886-1887

David Raymond Fox, MD

Plaquemines Parish

1887-1888

Joseph Jones, MD

New Orleans

1888-1889

Isaac J. Newton, MD

Monroe

1889-1891

Christian David Owens, MD

Eola

1891-1893

John Barnwell Elliott, MD

New Orleans

1893-1894

Albert Baldwin Miles, MD

New Orleans

1894-1895

Rudolph Matas, MD

New Orleans

1895-1896

Robert Moss Littell, MD

New Orleans

1896-1898

Paul Emile Archinard, MD

New Orleans

1898-1899

George A.B. Hayes, MD

Plaquemine

1899-1900

Whyte Glendower Owen, MD

White Castle

1900-1901

Frederick Wm. Parham, MD

New Orleans

1901-1902

Thomas Edgar Schumpert, MD

Shreveport

1902-1903

Isadore Dyer, MD

New Orleans

1903-1904

James Marion Barrier, MD

Delhi

1904-1905

Charles Chassaignac, MD

New Orleans

1905-1906

C.J. Ducote, MD

Avoyelles

1906-1907

Henry Dickson Bruns, MD

New Orleans

1907-1908

Oscar Dowling, MD

Shreveport

1908-1909

Edmund Denegre Martin, MD

New Orleans

1909-1910

Charles Mcvea, MD

Baton Rouge

1910-1911

Edwin J. Graner, MD

New Orleans

1911-1912

R.O. Simmons, MD

Alexandria

1912-1913

Benjamin A. Ledbetter, MD

New Orleans

1913-1914

Fred J. Mayer, MD

Opelousas

1914-1915

George Sam Bel, MD

New Orleans

1915-1916

James C. Willis, MD

Shreveport

1916-1917

William Henry Seemann, MD

New Orleans

1917-1918

Clarence Pierson, MD

Alexandria

1918-1919

Wilkes H. Knolle, MD

New Orleans

1919-1920

Eugene Lee Henry, MD

Lecompte

1920-1921

Homer Dupuy, MD

New Orleans

1921-1922

Joseph E. Knighton, MD

Shreveport

1922-1923

Paul J. Gelpi, MD

New Orleans

1923-1924

Lester James Williams, MD

Baton Rouge

1924-1925

Charles V. Unsworth, MD

New Orleans

1925-1926

Elijah Madison Ellis, MD

Crowley

1926-1927

Stephen M. Blackshear, MD

New Orleans

1927-1928

Arthur Anselm Herold, MD

Shreveport

1928-1929

Leon John Menville, MD

New Orleans

1929-1930

Frank T. Gouaux, MD

Lockport

1930-1931

Hermann B. Gessner, MD

New Orleans

1931-1932

Sidney Conroy Barrow, MD

Shreveport

1932-1933

Roy B. Harrison, MD

New Orleans

1933-1934

Carl Austin Weiss, MD

Baton Rouge

1934-1935

S. Chaille Jamison, MD

New Orleans

1935-1936

Courtland Prentice Gray, MD

Monroe

1936-1937

Hiram Watkins Kostmayer, MD

New Orleans

1937-1938

Charles Manly Horton, MD

Franklin

1938-1939

Joseph A. O’hara, MD

Baton Rouge

1939-1939

Clarence A. Lorio, MD

Baton Rouge

1939-1940

Darman Brinster Barber, MD

Alexandria

1940-1941

C. Grenes Cole, MD

New Orleans

1941-1942

King Rand, MD

Alexandria

1942-1943

Emmett Lee Irwin, MD

New Orleans

1943-1944

Charles C. Degraveles, MD

New Iberia

1944-1946

Val Fuchs, MD

New Orleans

1946-1947

Rhett Mcmahon, MD

Baton Rouge

1947-1948

Gilbert C. Anderson, MD

New Orleans

1948-1949

M.D. Hargrove, MD

Shreveport

1949-1950

Edwin Hugh Lawson, MD

New Orleans

1950-1951

George W. Wright, MD

Monroe

1951-1952

Edwin Lionel Zander, MD

New Orleans

1952-1953

William E. Barker, Jr, MD

Plaquemine

1953-1954

Philip H. Jones, MD

New Orleans

1954-1955

Walter Moss, MD

Lake Charles

1955-1956

Max M. Green, MD

New Orleans

1956-1957

Paul D. Abramson, MD

Shreveport

1957-1958

H. Ashton Thomas, MD

New Orleans

1958-1959

Arthur B. Long, MD

Baton Rouge

1959-1960

W. Robyn Hardy, MD

New Orleans

1960-1961

O.B. Owens, MD

Alexandria

1961-1962

Cuthbert J. Brown, MD

New Orleans

1962-1963

Ralph H. Riggs, MD

Shreveport

1963-1964

George H. Hauser, MD

New Orleans

1964-1965

Henson S. Coon, MD

Monroe

1965-1966

Charles B. Odom, MD

New Orleans

1966-1967

Joseph A. Sabatier, Jr, MD

New Orleans

1967-1968

J.T. Willis, MD

Alexandria

1968-1968

Nicholas Chetta, MD

New Orleans

1968-1969

Filmore P. Bordelon, Jr, MD

Marksville

1969-1970

Jared Y. Garber, MD

Lake Charles

1970-1971

W. Charles Miller, MD

New Orleans

1971-1972

Edward M. Harrell, MD

Lafayette

1972-1973

Eugene C. St Martin, MD

Shreveport

1973-1974

James H. Stewart, MD

New Orleans

1974-1975

Humphrey H. Hardy, Jr, MD

Alexandria

1975-1976

F. Michael Smith, Jr, MD

Thibodaux

1976-1977

Thomas Y. Gladney, MD

Baton Rouge

1977-1978

Arthur Kleinschmidt, Jr, MD

Marrero

1978-1979

Broox C. Garrett, Jr, MD

Shreveport

1979-1980

David M. Carlton, MD

Lecompte

1980-1981

Gerald R. Lanasa, MD

New Orleans

1981-1982

Robert L. Dibenedetto, MD

Baton Rouge

1982-1983

Eugene F. Worthen, MD

Monroe

1983-1984

Sam L. Gill, MD

Shreveport

1984-1985

Donald J. Palmisano, MD

New Orleans

1985-1986

Robert G. Miller, MD

Metairie

1986-1987

Jack T. Cappel, Jr, MD

Alexandria

1987-1988

James W. Vildibill, MD

Lafayette

1988-1989

Daniel H. Johnson, MD

New Orleans

1989-1990

Milton C. Chapman, MD

Shreveport

1990-1991

Charles D. Belleau, MD

Baton Rouge

1991-1992

Howard A. Nelson, Jr, MD

Metairie

1992-1992

Pattie E. Van Hook, MD

Shreveport

1992-1993

Samuel A. Leonard, MD

Metairie

1993-1994

James A. White, III, MD

Alexandria

1994-1995

Jay M. Shames, MD

New Orleans

1995-1996

Lawrence L. Braud, MD

Baton Rouge

1996-1997

R. Bruce Williams, MD

Shreveport

1997-1998

Michael S. Ellis, MD

St. Bernard

1998-1999

Leo L. Lowentritt, Jr, MD

Alexandria

1999-2000

C. Clinton Lewis, MD

New Iberia

2000-2001

Dudley M. Stewart, Jr., MD

New Orleans

2001-2002

K. Barton Farris, MD

Marrero

2002-2003

Keith F. Desonier, MD

Lake Charles

2003-2004

William T. Hall, MD

Shreveport

2004-2005

Joseph Busby, Jr., MD

Monroe

2005-2006

Floyd A. Buras, Jr., MD

New Orleans

2006-2007

W. Juan Watkins, MD

Shreveport

2007-2008

Russell Klein, MD

New Orleans

2008-2009

Roger D. Smith, MD

New Orleans

2010-2011

Patrick C. Breaux, MD

New Orleans

2011-2012

Forrest Dean Griffen, MD

Shreveport

2012-2013

Anthony P. Blalock, MD

Lafayette

2013-2014

Vincent A. Culotta, Jr, MD

Metairie

2014-2015

Roberto Quintal, MD

New Orleans

2015-2016

Dolleen M. Licciardi, MD

River Ridge

2016-2017

Luis M. Alvarado, MD

Franklinton

2017-2018

William “Beau” Clark, MD

Baton Rouge

2018-2019

Susan Bankston, MD

Baton Rouge