January 27, 2004

JANUARY 27, 2004

Curtis Johnson Sr., parish councilman Friday January 30, 2004 By Mary Swerczek River Parishes bureau Curtis T. Johnson Sr., a longtime St. Charles Parish councilman, died Tuesday (1/27/2004) of a heart attack at St. Charles Parish Hospital.

He was 71. Johnson's career in politics, which spanned more than two decades, began in June 1977, when he was elected a police juror. From 1988 to 2000, he served as the 5th District councilman representing St. Rose. In the early and mid-1970s, he was employed as a parish zoning code enforcement officer. "His purpose in life was to help people," former councilman Ellis Alexander said. "If you talk to a lot of people about Curtis, I bet every one of them would tell you that he was known for helping people."

Johnson worked to help people in his district, said Hahnville resident Joan Becnel, who worked with him in parish government in the 1970s and was council secretary for the 12 years he was on the council. "He was a very conscientious elected official," Becnel said. "He really worked hard to serve the people of his district." Johnson was a popular councilman who got along with his fellow politicians, said Tim Vial, St. Charles chief administrative officer. "One of the things about Curtis is that he was not a person who sought credit for his accomplishments, but his comfort came in knowing that he did something to help make it better for the people," Vial said. Johnson was a lifelong resident of St. Rose.

He graduated from Booker T. Washington High School and attended Grambling State University for two years. He played professional baseball in the 1950s in New York as a member of the National Negro Baseball League. Johnson joined the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club in June 1990. Zulu will hold a jazz funeral for Johnson on Saturday. Survivors include a son, Curtis "Tiger" Johnson Jr., of Miami; two daughters, Lynette Johnson Brown of New Orleans and Dionne Johnson of St. Rose; and nine grandchildren. A funeral will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at Mount Zion Baptist Church, 100 Second St. in St. Rose. Visitation will begin at 8 a.m. Burial will be in Jefferson Memorial Gardens. Robottom Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.