Harry Connick, Sr.

If ever there was a "made for motion pictures" life story, it would be that of a quite remarkable singer by the name of Harry Connick, Senior.

Most people, in most parts of the world, would recognize Harry Connick first and foremost as the father of his illustrious and talented son, Harry, Jr. But if you lived in Louisiana, and more particularly in New Orleans, you would be likely to say, "Oh, that's the D.A.!" For if the senior Connick is making a big name in show business, he has already made an established one in the legal profession, most notably as the District Attorney of New Orleans.

First elected in 1973, he replaced the late Jim Garrison (who also enjoyed celebrity status as the world-famous protagonist of the Lee Harvey Oswald/John F. Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory) and has been reelected ever since.

To defeat an incumbent in a New Orleans election is no small task. To defeat a Jim Garrison with 100% name recognition, which Harry Connick accomplished on his second try, borders on the phenomenal and stands a a tribute to Connick's ability to communicate with the public--a fact his listening audiences are well aware of.

While in high school, the young district-attorney-to-be followed the music of the big band era and its vocalists, learning the lyrics to all of the popular songs of the day by listening to the radio and records and by purchasing (at 10 cents a copy) the weekly song books which proliferated during that time. After high school, he served in the U.S. Navy before returning to New Orleans and graduating from Loyola University with a degree in business administration. He then joined the U.S. Corps of Engineers where he met his wife, the late Anita Connick (an accomplished flute player) who became one of the first female judges in the city of New Orleans.

When Harry and Anita Connick returned to New Orleans, they opened a record store which became quite successful. Ultimately they owned two stores while simultaneously pursuing law degrees--one working in the store while the other was at school.

The stores enabled the Connicks to pursue their musical interests while generating enough earnings to graduate with law degrees. Along the way, they produced two remarkable children, a daughter Suzanna, who is a student nurse, and Harry, Jr. At that point a career decision had to be made. The law won and show business lost, though temporarily, as history has shown.

Harry Connick served as an attorney for the New Orleans Legal Aid Bureau and as assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana. He was honored by the U.S. Attorney general for superior performance while an assistant U.S. attorney and by Louisiana State University for outstanding service in law enforcement training. He has served as vice president and president of the Criminal Bar Association.

Connick has received national recognition for his establishment of a career criminal bureau and a victim/witness assistance program. His child support enforcement division collects millions of dollars from runaway parents for care of their children.

Today, Connick's goals as district attorney are much the same as when he first took office. He has pledged to provide speed, fair and equitable justice and to continue to express his deep concern, not only in the area of rehabilitation of offenders, but also in the area of assistance to the often forgotten victims of crime.

He has been a frequent lecturer at police academies, law enforcement agencies and various universities and schools throughout the state.

In 1993, the Harry Connicks, Sr. and Jr., and other New Orleanians associated with the entertainment industry formed the Krewe of Orpheus, a new Mardi Gras organization with emphasis on the musical talents of the city of New Orleans. In that same year, Connick also helped form and was elected president of the Voter Information League, a political reform group dedicated to a much-needed upgrading of the New Orleans political scene.

In the midst of all this activity, if you happen to hear the kind f voice that the music world seldom has the good fortune to hear these days, turn around and give a listen--it might be Harry Connick, Senior.

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