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East Baton Rouge Mayor-President candidate Steve Carter speaks during a debate with his runoff opponent, incumbent East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, in an event hosted by the Baton Rouge Press Club, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020 at the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens.

Public officials across Louisiana posted on social media and offered heartfelt condolences as news of the death of three-term state representative Steve Carter broke Tuesday. 

Carter, 77, died Tuesday night from complications due to the coronavirus, a spokesperson said. Carter was hospitalized with the virus earlier this month.

State lawmakers, local officials and friends spoke highly of Carter, from his tireless work in the legislature to his profound commitment to community.

Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a statement that he will order flags flown at half-staff on the day of Carter's funeral.

"I am deeply saddened to learn that former Representative Steve Carter lost his battle with COVID-19 this evening," Edwards said. "Steve served the Baton Rouge community in the Louisiana Legislature for 12 years, and I was honored to serve with him during that time."

Mayor Sharon Weston Broome, his recent opponent in the 2020 election for mayor-president of East Baton Rouge Parish, called Carter “a dedicated family man, public servant, and fellow neighbor” who had “a storied career of serving our community” and offered her condolences to his family.

“You never saw him without a smile on his face and a hand extended to greet you,” she said. “Steve was a Baton Rougean through and through. I am tremendously sad to have lost yet another friend and neighbor to COVID-19.”

Many lawmakers — both close friends and colleagues — fondly recalled their time with Carter in the legislature, praising his kindness and dedication to his state. 

Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said in a tweet that he was “saddened by the loss of my friend Steve Carter, who was a pillar in the Baton Rouge community for many years.

“Back in 2007, Steve defeated me in a race for State Representative by just 87 votes, yet we became fast friends after that race,” he said.

State Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge and a former colleague of Carter issued this statement Tuesday night:

“The news is devastating as Steve Carter was the leader of our delegation and a dear friend. He was so passionate about young people, LSU and the Baton Rouge community.”

“I spoke with him during his mayoral run and he was the same energetic guy and full of life. I hate to hear that this virus has taken another dedicated public servant. My prayers are with his wife and family.”

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James, who is chairman-elect of the Legislative Black Caucus, was hospitalized himself last year with the coronavirus before recovering.

Scott Wester, president and CEO of Our Lady of the Lake, said that Carter was a model of leadership. Carter helped to secure funding for the new Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital. 

“The entire Our Lady of the Lake family mourns the loss of former state representative Steve Carter, our longtime friend and community servant," Wester said. "Rep. Carter cared deeply about all he served and the health of future generations."

House Speaker Pro Tem Tanner Magee, R-Houma tweeted “Sad news. Steve was a nice guy who loved people. I enjoyed serving with him and will miss him.”

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy offered prayers for “one more tragedy of Covid” and posted that Carter was “a wonderful man who shaped and positively influenced so many lives.”

Former Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives Chuck Kleckley lauded Carter's work ethic.

"Louisiana has lost a fighter and true warrior," he said. "Steve’s energy and love for La. was contagious. His hard work, energy and passion for improving education in Louisiana is unmatched."

Carter's influence also stretched beyond the legislature. 

Interim LSU President Tom Galligan said in a statement that Carter was a "good friend" and "great supporter of LSU." Carter graduated from the University Lab School, served in student government during his undergraduate studies and later served as the university's tennis coach where he led their team to an SEC Championship. 

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Steve’s family and his many friends as we mourn his great loss," he said.

To former Southeastern tennis camp participant Stephen Swiber, Carter was "Coach Steve," who remembers his mentor was "all about effort."

"He’d always entice kids in his camp to dive for a ball," he tweeted. "He was a great person to be around and always seemed to leave a big, positive impression on people."

Staff writer Will Sentell contributed to this report.


Email Andrea Gallo at agallo@theadvocate.com