Former Assessor Ken Carter, a man who rose from the Calliope Housing Development to achieve many firsts in New Orleans politics, law, and business died today at the age of 74.
He leaves behind his loving wife, Gigi; three daughters: Tara Hernandez, Senator Karen Carter Peterson, and Eileen Carter; three grandchildren: Jessica, Christopher and Aidan; son-in-law, Dana Peterson; and close nephew who was like a son, Thaddeus Young. He leaves behind a host of other loving family members, including three siblings, numerous nieces and nephews, cousins, and dear friends. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Ken Carter came from a hard-working family in Central City and distinguished himself early in life by earning scholarships to Xavier Prep High School and Loyola University - where he was one of the first five African American students admitted to its undergraduate program in 1962. He later graduated from Loyola’s School of Law.
He often referenced a memorable quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.”
His belief in education, learning and self-empowerment were the foundation of his many achievements:
o The first African American elected Assessor in New Orleans;
o The first African American President of the Louisiana Trial Lawyers Association;
o One of the founders of BOLD (Black Organization of Leadership Development) that promoted leaders such as Councilmembers Jim Singleton and Oliver Thomas from Central City;
o A leader for the Dryades YMCA, serving Central City youth and families;
o A leader in the historic Tobacco litigation which successfully reformed the tobacco industry and redefined Multi-District Litigation;
o An active community volunteer and supporter of education, youth, mentorship, and community development; and
o The First President of the Freret Street Development Corporation.
Ken Carter retired from a long career in law and business to reside in St. Francisville, Louisiana with his wife of 53 years.