I can recall when I was just a beginning reporter in Baton Rouge, La. I would run into John at the State Capitol building all the time. I didn’t get to know him that well but good enough to know Louisiana has lost a great and seasoned journalist. Here are the details of his recent death while spending time here in Texas:
John LaPlante, the longtime editor of The Advocate’s Capitol news bureau who covered Louisiana government and politics for more than 30 years, died early Saturday in Galveston, Texas, after a swimming accident. He was 54.
LaPlante died two days after becoming caught in a Gulf of Mexico rip current near the 61st Street Fishing Pier. He was vacationing at the beach with his wife and two children before the upcoming legislative session.
“I am just crushed to learn that he died, and my heart goes out to his wife, Merrill, and the two kids,” said Doug Manship Jr., publisher of The Advocate. “We’ve just lost an excellent employee, and it will be tough to replace him.”
Earlier in their careers at The Advocate, Manship said, he and LaPlante worked together as editorial writers, tackling the political happenings of the state and those in power.
“All I can remember is that we would really laugh and hoot about some of the crazy things going on in the Legislature,” Manship said. “I’m just going to miss him.”
A native of New Orleans, LaPlante attended Mandeville High School before enrolling at LSU, where he earned a journalism degree and worked on the student newspaper.
LaPlante was a reporter for the Alexandria Daily Town Talk in the late 1970s, but spent the bulk of his journalism career at The Advocate, where he worked as a reporter, editorial writer and assistant city editor.
Photo and news article courtesy: The Advocate