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.