Dr. J.L. Garrett, a long-time community leader in Hammond, has died. Arrangements are being made at N.A. James Funeral Home.

A native of Newton, Texas, Dr. Garrett held a doctor of veterinary medicine from Tuskegee University and was a captain in the US Air Force. In 1960, he and his family moved to Hammond where he became the first Black veterinarian to open a clinic.

He was one of the organizers of the Second Saturday Breakfast Club, an interracial meeting that continued for decades to promote racial harmony in the city.

Dr. Garrett was deacon board chair at Macedonia Baptist Church for 25 years and became the first Black instructor at Southeastern, serving as an unofficial adviser to five university presidents.

He was one of the first Black citizens to attend Southeastern basketball and football games, provided free kennels for Hammond’s first animal shelter and helped keep Hammond Junior High a public school and not a trade school.

In 2012, upon receiving the first Wilbert L. Dangerfield Award of Excellence, he said he was most proud of his work with parish government, having served as chair of the Tangipahoa Parish charter committee, which drew up the laws for the parish.

(1) comment


If I know just one thing about Dr. J.L. Garrett is that he loved the Lord. Within 10 minutes after I first met him as a Vet Supervisor in the LDAF we were work friends for the life of our work with LDAF. He served as my immediate supervisor in Meat, Poulty, & Seafood Inspection Section. We pretty much always saw eye to eye on everything as common sense was his middle name also. I just wished I would have looked him up after our retirement to spend some time together. In hope to a reunion in heaven and immortal glory some sweet day. My prayers go out unto his family as I know he will be missed; but, in hope that the Holy Comforter will fill his family up with so much joy in his life and also in the Lord that there would be no room for sorrow. J. Dexter Smith, Kenner, La.

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