Louisiana's late Congressman-elect Luke Letlow remembered for devotion to family, public
The late Louisiana Congressman-elect Luke Letlow was remembered as a devoted family man and public servant during a memorial service in Monroe Saturday less than 24 hours before he was to be sworn in to Congress.
Letlow, 41, died at Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport Tuesday from COVID-19 complications. He is survived by his wife Julia and their two children Jeremiah, 3, and Jacqueline, 1.
U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-Alto, who Letlow was to have succeeded, said Letlow had a deep love for his family, state and the 5th Congressional District.
"He knew the heart and soul of the (5th Congressional District) and Louisiana," Abraham said.
"He cared about nothing but others," Abraham said during the ceremony at North Monroe Baptist Church under direction of Kilpatrick Funeral Home.
Letlow, a Republican from Start, served as Abraham's chief of staff for three terms.
Abraham also read a message from Gov. John Bel Edwards, who said Letlow "will be remembered for strength, courage and love for his family ... and his public service to the great state of Louisiana."
Letlow's family released the following statement before the funeral:
"We are heartbroken to have lost Luke far too early, and with far too much promise, but we are immensely grateful for all that Luke achieved in a life defined by service to others and a steadfast commitment to making a real difference in this world. The incredible outpouring of support from across our community, state, and country is a testament to how many lives Luke impacted through his friendship, leadership and genuine goodness. Luke had a servant's heart, and that was evident in every conversation he had, with people of every walk of life. Our family is so thankful for the outpouring of support we have received, and will work every day to honor his memory and the legacy he leaves behind."
Letlow won the 5th Congressional District seat with 62% of the vote Dec. 5 in a runoff election against fellow Republican state Rep. Lance Harris of Alexandria.
Edwards said he will call a special election on March 20 to replace Letlow. Candidate qualifying will be set Jan. 20-22.
Louisiana's 5th District is the largest geographically in the state covering 24 parishes. Alexandria and Monroe are the population hubs, but the boundaries dip into Acadiana to take in Opelousas and into the Florida parishes to take in Bogalusa.
Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.
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